How to make delicious healthy meals

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By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article publishedSep 18, 2020

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On Heritage Day, also known as a braai day, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate the great diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up our nation.

The day is characterised by friends and families getting together, cooking and sharing meals. It also serves as an opportunity to share and pass on cultural and nutritional knowledge and skills.

With health being a priority during the pandemic, South Africans are encouraged to make Heritage Day celebration a healthier event.

Wilmi Hudsonberg, a spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, says “many of the meals we share are around a fire but is often accompanied by food that’s not healthy for our hearts”.

Hudsonberg advises choosing proteins wisely –lean meats, such as fish and skinless chicken breast instead of too much red meat. If you do opt for red meat, rather buy loin or tender cuts and remove any visible fat before cooking.

“Marinate or rub meat with salt-free spices and lemon which add amazing flavour and will reduce the need for salt, which heightens your risk of hypertension. Use chilli, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, paprika, thyme or rosemary for a lip-licking taste.”

Pick n Pay dietitian Juliet Fearnhead shares tips and hacks for healthy sides and veggies:

Wrap sweet potato and butternut in foil and toss them into the coals – these veggies are loaded with fibre, B vitamins and vitamin C.

Pre-boil mealies until just tender then place on the braai until charred on the outside, and sprinkle with chilli flakes.

Take a bunch of trimmed asparagus, toss with a little olive or canola oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pop on the braai for 2-3 minutes.

Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable. It is a very good source of fibre, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium

Add vegetables to kebabs – peppers, mushrooms, baby marrows and brinjals marinated in lemon juice and balsamic vinegar work perfectly. Remember to pre-soak wooden skewer sticks for 30 minutes to prevent the ends from burning.

When making a potato salad or coleslaw, use a little light mayonnaise added to fat-free plain yoghurt to make a creamy texture without adding excess calories and fat to the salad.

Tossed green salads are great – add spears of asparagus and steamed broccolini for extra nutrition, and dress with lemon juice and vinegar.

Slice brinjals and baby marrows lengthways, brush with a little oil and cook on the braai.

For the vegetarians, fill red peppers or butternut with fresh herbs, reduced-fat feta cheese and spring onions. Wrap in foil and toss in the coals.

Dessert:

Bananas cooked in their skins on the braai are delicious!

Fruit salad or fruit kebabs served with fat-free cottage cheese blended with a touch of vanilla essence.

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