Healthy on a budget

The Busy Mum’s Guide to Weight Loss on a Budget, by Rhian Allen, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99.
The Busy Mum’s Guide to Weight Loss on a Budget, by Rhian Allen, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99.
It all started as a way to support mums to get healthy after having a baby. Now, Rhian Allen is running one of the largest health and wellness websites catering just to mums in the world.

In The Busy Mum's Guide to Weight Loss, Allen provides tips and tricks on how to create a healthy lifestyle on a budget with recipes, practical advice and meal and exercise plans, which do not include gym memberships, personal trainers or pre-prepared meal services.

''You will find my favourite budget and family-friendly recipes plus advice on how to become the best version of yourself - without breaking the bank.''

Allan covers topics such as meal planning, shopping lists, tips on bulk shopping and staple ingredients as well as advice on exercising, eating out and what to put in lunch boxes.

She has also included tips from women who are part of her ''Healthy Mummy'' community and case studies of women who have taken part in her Healthy Mummy programmes.

The book is broken up into recipe chapters for breakfast, smoothies, light meals, stove top, pasta, noodles and rice, bakes, snacks and desserts.

Here she has provided a sample of a day's food (excluding morning and afternoon snacks).


Photos: Chris Middleton
Photos: Chris Middleton
Breakfast - Peanut butter granola

Serves 4

Cooking time 5 minutes (plus 10 minutes cooling time)

Cost per serve $0.68

⅓ cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
1⅓ cups rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅔ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yoghurt
⅓ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

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

Combine the peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave in 10-second bursts until the peanut butter has softened. Stir to combine well.

Add the oats and stir until the oats are completely coated in the peanut butter mixture.

Spread the mixture over the prepared baking tray and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 8 minutes until the granola is lightly browned.

Remove and set aside. It will become crunchy as it cools.

Serve the granola topped with yoghurt and blueberries.

Nutri details per serve 1279 kJ/304 cals

Protein 10.1g | Fibre 4.2g | Total fat 11.7g | Sat fat 2.3g | Carbs 37.9g | Total sugar 17.2g | Free sugar 11g

Lunch - Chicken caesar wrap

Serves 1

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 6 minutes

Cost per serve $2

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
40g chicken breast fillet
1 slice lean smoked ham, sliced
1 Tbsp reduced-fat plain Greek yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 wholemeal mountain bread wrap
½ cup shredded cos lettuce
1 hard-boiled free-range egg, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Shortly before the chicken is ready, add the ham to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly crisp. Set the chicken and ham aside to cool, then slice the chicken.

Whisk the yoghurt and lemon juice in a bowl to make a dressing.

Top the wrap with the shredded lettuce, chicken, ham and egg.

Sprinkle with the grated parmesan and drizzle over the dressing.

Roll up the wrap and enjoy.

Nutri details per serve 1289 kJ/307 cals

Protein 25.4g | Fibre 1.8g | Total fat 15.8g | Sat fat 5g | Carbs 14.7g | Total sugar 3.7g | Free sugar 0g

Dinner - Sausage and vegetable pasta bake

Serves 4

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Cost per serve $1.55

200g wholemeal pasta (any shape)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
280g lean sausages of choice, sliced
2 carrots, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
120g pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed, grated
2 Tbsp tomato paste
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated reduced-fat cheddar

Preheat the oven to 180degC.

Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water according to packet directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add the sausage pieces and cook for 5 minutes until nicely browned.

Add the carrot, zucchini, pumpkin and cup of water. Simmer, stirring gently, for 2 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Mix through the tomato paste and canned tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the drained pasta.

Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

Allow to cool slightly, then divide equally among four plates and serve.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutri details per serve 1903 kJ/455 cals

Protein 26.7g | Fibre 8.4g | Total fat 20.1g | Sat fat 8.4g | Carbs 37.1g | Total sugar 9.9g | Free sugar 0g

Evening snack - Peanut butter and chocolate brownie bites

Serves 24

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

(plus cooling time)

Cost per serve $0.35

190g peanut butter
1 cup pitted medjool dates, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained and pureed
½ cup oat bran
2 free-range eggs
cooking oil spray
60g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
80g light cream cheese
2 Tbsp reduced-fat
milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup crushed peanuts

Preheat the oven to 180degC and line a 20cm square slice tin with baking paper.

Place the peanut butter, date puree, oat bran and one egg in a large bowl and mix to form a thick dough.

Press the dough into the base of the prepared tin (the mixture is sticky, so it is a good idea to spray your hands with a little cooking oil first). Bake the peanut butter layer for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, melt it in the microwave.) Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then stir in the cream cheese, milk, vanilla and remaining egg until smooth.

Remove the peanut butter layer from the oven and pour the chocolate mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the crushed peanuts and bake for a further 10 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the brownie comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.

Cool completely in the tin, then cut 24 bite-sized squares. One square is one serve.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutri Details per serve 609 kJ/145 cals

Protein 4.7g | Fibre 1.8g | Total fat 9.8g | Sat fat 2.6g | Carbs 9g |

Total sugar 6.4g | Free sugar 0g

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