Healthy attitude, happy eating

The Nude Nutritionist, by Lyndi Cohen, published by Murdoch Books, $30.
The Nude Nutritionist, by Lyndi Cohen, published by Murdoch Books, $30.
Helping people learn how to eat healthily without obsessing or dieting is Lyndi Cohen's goal.

The popular Australian television nutritionist, who is known as The Nude Nutritionist, and practising dietitian shares her own story in her new book, The Nude Nutritionist.

She talks about having an obsession with losing weight when she was growing up, sacrificing and counting calories as she grew older and trying all the well-known diets and boot camps.

''But even once I got to my goal weight, it never felt the way I imagined. I'd still look at photos and think 'Your arms are still so big. You could lose more weight'.''

Eventually, that led to binge and emotional eating.

It all came to a head after she was diagnosed with anxiety and the shock led her to question her relationship with food.

''I realised that years of dieting had made me hate my body and gain weight.''

So she stopped weighing herself and counting calories.

''It wasn't a swift or easy process.''

After four years, she has lost 20kg, but the biggest victory for Cohen is not feeling controlled by food any more.

In her book, she shares what she did to regain control of her eating and her attitudes in chapters on how to spot a diet in disguise, intuitive eating, basic nutrition, boosting body image and balancing hormones, mood and energy. Case studies and work sheets are included.

Once you have ''digested'' all the information, there are more than 50 recipes that she says are easy to make and do not require a lot of clean-up.

They include breakfasts, mains, salads and desserts, with plenty of tips about ingredient swap-outs or additions.

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
Crazy like a coconut macaroons

These cookies will not only make your house smell fab, but you'll also be mistaken for a domestic superstar, even though they only contain four everyday ingredients.

Kids will love helping you make these treats, as they couldn't be easier. Plus they're loaded with fibre and naturally nut- and gluten-free, making them a winner at the school bake sale.

Serves 12

Prep time 5 minutes

Cooking time 15-20 minutes

2 ripe bananas
2 cups (130g) shredded coconut
⅔ cup (100g) chocolate chips
A pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 180degC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the coconut, chocolate chips and salt and mix well. Scoop out about 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture per macaroon on to the baking tray. Press down lightly with a fork to flatten.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tips: Play around with the recipe and try adding natural vanilla extract, cacao powder or cinnamon.

You can also make this recipe into a coconut slice by spreading the mixture firmly on to a baking tray and cutting it into squares once it has cooled.

Store in the fridge for up to a week (if they last that long).

Use vegan-friendly chocolate chips if you are catering for vegans.

Pumpkin falafel

These falafel are super-moist so you can eat them the next day. My favourite bit is that they are so ridiculously simple to make. I love having baked pumpkin in my fridge (its one of my favourite veges) and once a week I'll do the life-saving baked rainbow veges as meal prep, then use some of the pumpkin for this recipe.

Makes 20

Prep time 5 minutes

Cooking time 4 minutes

1 cup cooked peeled Kent pumpkin (squash)
2 x 400g cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves
½ cup (70g) wholemeal plain flour
½ cup (10g) parsley leaves
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for cooking

Put all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, into a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or until smooth. Roll into balls, then press down to flatten slightly.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the falafel balls and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel.

Tips: If you haven't any baked pumpkin on hand, peel 400g-500g of pumpkin and bake it at 200degC for 45 minutes or until soft.

Enjoy the falafel balls with a salad or serve with tzatziki, wholemeal pita bread and quinoa pomegranate tabouleh.

Use gluten-free flour if you're sensitive.

Sesame-crusted fish

After a weekend of big eating, some delicious fish served with salad tends to be my preference come Monday. White fish is super-easy to cook, but adding a delicious marinade or crust can take it to the next level.

Serves 2

Prep time 5 minutes

Cooking time 6 minutes

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1cm piece ginger, grated
¼ cup (15g) chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 chilli, sliced
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp mixed pepper and salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra, toasted, to serve
2 firm white-fleshed fish fillets, about 100g each

To serve
lime wedges

Combine all of the ingredients except the fish and extra sesame seeds in a small bowl. Add the fish and coat well.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the fish fillets for 3 minutes on each side.

Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve with lime wedges.

Tips: Double or triple this recipe if you're cooking for a family or a group of friends, or so you have plenty of leftovers.

I love to serve this with a rainbow grated salad and brown rice or throw together some fish tacos by stuffing tortillas with sliced red cabbage and avocado and topping with hot sauce.

Don't like coriander (cilantro)? Skip it or use parsley leaves instead.

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