Healthy diet based on variety

THE BOOK: The Feel-Good Family Food Plan, by Dr Joanna McMillan and Melissa Clark, published by...
THE BOOK: The Feel-Good Family Food Plan, by Dr Joanna McMillan and Melissa Clark, published by Murdoch Books, RRP$39.99
Giving parents the confidence that they are feeding their children delicious, nutritious meals is the aim of The Feel-Good Family Food Plan recipe book.

Written by Australian nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan and caterer Melissa Clark, it offers advice to those families confused by the different food advice and information that is coming at them.

The pair advocate a healthy diet based on eating a variety of foods, including plants, but with minimal processed foods.

McMillian also uses the ‘‘Dr Joanna Plate’’ to show how the make-up of a dinner plate is different (although the food is the same) for each family member depending on their age, occupation and activity level.

It has information on feeding babies, pre-schoolers, primary school-aged children and teenagers as well as tips for dealing with issues such as constipation, fussy eaters and body positivity or weight issues.

The pair also urge families to be prepared whether it’s baking on a Sunday for the week ahead’s lunches or making enough dinner for lunches the next day.

There are also meal plans for summer and winter covering the three main meals and snacks.

For those struggling to get back into the swing of making lunch again, there are also tips and recipes for lunch boxes.

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
Banana raspberry nut loaf

Commercial fruit loaves are usually made with white flour and refined oils, and are loaded with added sugar. Our super-tasty version uses buckwheat flour, nut meal and fabulously healthy extra virgin olive oil. You can slice and freeze it in individual portions and even thaw it directly in the toaster for a quick after-school snack. Grown-ups will also enjoy this loaf with an afternoon cup of tea.

Serves 10

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

120g buckwheat flour

100g hazelnut meal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 300g in total)

⅓ cup (115g) honey

2 large eggs, lightly whisked

¼ cup (60ml) mild-flavoured extra virgin olive oil

1 cup (125g) fresh or frozen raspberries


Heat the oven to 180degC. Line a 10cm x 20cm loaf tin with baking paper, allowing the paper to extend over the sides.

Sift the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl.

Combine the mashed bananas with the honey, eggs and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Reserve about 12 raspberries for decoration. Gently stir the remaining raspberries through the batter.

Spoon the batter into the tin, then top with the reserved raspberries. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the loaf is cooked through when tested with a skewer. If the skewer comes out sticky, bake the loaf for a further 5-10 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tips: Use a gluten-free baking powder for a gluten-free loaf. You can replace the hazelnut meal with any other nut meal.

For a chocolate version, add 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips along with the raspberries.

Nutrition per serve: Energy 1010kJ | protein 6g | fat 13g (sat fat 1g, poly 1g, mono 9g) | carbohydrate 24g | fibre 3g

Coconut fish fingers with sweet potato fries

Serve the fish with the fries and a lovely big salad of mixed greens and other veges dressed with salad dressings.

Serves 4

Prep time 15 minutes

cook time 40 minutes

800g sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skin on

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

400g flathead fillets (or any firm white fish)

1 cup (60g) fresh wholemeal sourdough breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp shredded or desiccated coconut

¼ cup (50g) semolina

¼ cup (35g) plain flour

2 large eggs

Salt flakes


Heat the oven to 200degC. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the sweet potatoes into large, long matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with the paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the fries on the tray in a single layer. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, or until the fries are browned and cooked through. Don’t worry if the edges of the fries become slightly darkened.

While the fries are cooking, cut the flathead fillets into fingers (one fillet will make approximately three fish fingers).

Combine the breadcrumbs, coconut and semolina in a shallow bowl. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Put the flour in another shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs in a third shallow bowl.

Dust the fish in the flour, then dip into the egg, turning to coat. Finally, toss the fish in the breadcrumbs, covering all sides.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook the fish, turning, until golden and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Dont let the pan get too hot otherwise the crumbs will burn.

Remove the fries from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt. Serve immediately with the fish fingers.

Nutrition per serve. —

Energy 2020kJ | protein 32g | fat 16g (sat fat 5g, poly 2g, mono 8g) | carbohydrate 49g | fibre 8g

Vege ricotta muffins

Savoury muffins are a nifty way of sneaking in a few extra veges. They are lovely cold in lunchboxes or as an after-school or after-sport snack. You can also freeze these, although once thawed they are best warmed in the oven or microwave.

Makes 12

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

½ red onion, finely diced

½ red capsicum, finely diced

1 cup (150g) wholemeal plain flour

1 cup (120g) besan (chickpea flour)

3 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

½ cup (115g) ricotta cheese

¼ cup (60ml) milk

1 carrot, grated

1 small apple, grated

½ cup (100g) drained tinned corn kernels

handful of basil leaves, finely chopped

a few dill sprigs, finely chopped

20g parmesan cheese, grated


Heat the oven to 180degC. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases or brush with extra virgin olive oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and capsicum for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Sift the flours and baking powder into a large bowl.

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, then whisk in the ricotta, milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the carrot, apple, corn and herbs and mix well, then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix or you will end up with tough, dry muffins.

Divide the batter among the muffin holes. Top with the parmesan and bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and cooked through when tested with a skewer. If the skewer comes out sticky, cook the muffins for another 5 minutes and test again.

Leave the muffins in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition per muffin: Energy 720kJ | protein 7g | fat 8g (sat fat 2g, poly 1g, mono 4g) carbohydrate 17g | fibre 4g


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