A coeliac dietitian shares her day on a plate

Hi! My name’s Melissa. Pleased to meet you.

I’m a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian and I also have Coeliac Disease. So, if you’re interested in how I accommodate the two, here’s my best attempt. As you’ll probably be able to tell, my nutrition philosophy focuses on eating a wide variety of real, wholefoods, sans fads and so-called superfoods.

Breakfast

When I have the time, I love to start my day with a veggie omelette, packed with cherry tomatoes and zucchini, topped with feta and avocado.

Another favourite is poached eggs on a couple pieces of grainy gluten free toast, paired with sautéed veggies. On the weekends, I usually add a piece or two of haloumi cheese (for good measure, of course).

For those mornings when I’m in a bit of a rush (read: hit the snooze button too many times), I like to have a quality muesli in my pantry to pair with low-fat yoghurt. I either make my own muesli using quinoa flakes and a mixture of nuts and seeds, or I’ll buy a healthy option from the shops.

And for those times when I’m feeling super prepared, I’ll make a batch of baked beans on the weekend. That way, I can quickly re-heat a single portion on the stove in the time it takes to toast my gluten free bread. I usually also have an egg cracked into the centre of my baked beans for a delicious, hearty mid-week breakfast.

Morning tea

When I’m on the go, I tend to have a piece of fruit for morning tea, sometimes along with a coffee. My order is a skim flat white.

If I’m working from home and have a little more freedom, I like to make a smoothie instead (especially in the summer time). My favourite recipe is half a frozen banana and a few cubes of frozen mango, blitzed with a cup of skim milk and a small handful of raw, unsalted almonds. Yum!

Lunch

I’m definitely a salad kinda gal. My default homemade option is mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, half a tin of no added salt legumes (think chickpeas or lentils) and a tin of tuna with feta cheese sprinkled on top.

If I’m at home, I love to roast up a batch of whatever veggies I have in my crisper and make a salad with these ingredients instead. I’ll usually add quinoa and a poached egg, too.

If I need to buy something for lunch (usually at the end of the week when the fridge is looking a little empty) – I’ll find the nearest salad bar and enjoy whatever takes my fancy that day.

I’m also a fan of a plain old toastie – tuna, low fat cheese and mustard on a grainy gluten free loaf is a winner for me.

Afternoon tea

I usually get a little hungrier in the afternoon so my snacks tend to be more substantial.

At the moment, I’m loving having a crunchy apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. I also always have a healthy yoghurt in my lunch bag.

Other favourites are seedy crackers with a slice or two of low fat cheese, or some veggie sticks with hummus.

Dinner

One of my favourite dinners is salmon, homemade oven-baked sweet potato chips and salad – this meal is a staple on my weekly menu.

I also love to make a roasted veggie frittata (#meatlessmonday). It’s a great way to use up all of those veggies in the crisper!

A few nights a week, we’ll have the standard meat and veg. I always try to bulk up my plate with veggies and have a smaller portion of protein, like chicken or turkey. We often throw some brown rice into the veggie mix for a healthier fried rice.

Sometimes I’ll have gluten free pasta, with a homemade tomato-based sauce packed with veggies like carrot, zucchini and mushrooms.

I also usually go out for dinner once or twice over the weekend. When I’m out, I love to order grilled fish, or if at a tapas style-restaurant, we usually have dishes like veggie sticks and dips, oysters, slow cooked meats or whole fish and of course – lots of salads to bump up those veggies!

Dessert

I’m the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth. In fact, I’m usually the first to the dessert table at family functions.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying treat foods every now and then. After all, life’s all about balance. The key is to enjoy them only occasionally and in moderation – not as an everyday affair.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.

For more on this topic, these are some handy tips on how to get enough fibre into your diet when you’re gluten free. Plus, you’ll want to check out the recipe for this pumpkin prune loaf that is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.

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