Posts Tagged ‘Easy Lunches’

Start Shaping Up

August 19, 2014


As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, over 63% of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy eating and not enough physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, and an increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Shape Up Australia is an initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing. There are many everyday changes you can make to help you Shape Up and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.


Life can be busy, and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active.  But being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising each day or that you have to push yourself to the point of feeling exhausted.

There are great benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

You can start with small changes, like increasing the distance you walk by getting off the bus earlier or parking your car further away from the shops.  Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do – it all adds up.  Aim for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.

If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do your 30 minutes (or more) all at once – combine a few shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Those short bursts are just as effective as longer exercise sessions.

To get started, check out these physical activity tips or find activities in your local area using the activity finder.


Tips for being more physically active every day

  • The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth.  Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little.  But you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
  • Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.  The Shape Up activity planner can help you plan and track your activity.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable.  Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get off the bus/train two stops earlier than my usual stop”.
  • Build up gradually.  If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
  • Choose activities that are right for you.  Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, cycling or swimming.
  • Mix it up.  Consider changing your activities every so often to avoid becoming bored.
  • Plan physical activity with others.  This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
  • Do not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Be patient and keep at it.
  • HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.


It can seem hard to find time for physical activity.  One solution is to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
  • If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
  • Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
  • Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
  • Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early).  If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing.  Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.


What is moderate intensity activity?

Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging and fast cycling.

Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.


Eating a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods every day helps us maintain a healthy weight, feel good and fight off chronic disease.

Best of all, healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these seven golden rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit
  3. Watch how much you eat – even foods that are good for us, when eaten in large portions, can lead to weight gain
  4. Eat less processed food
  5. Eat regular meals – don’t skip meals – and always start the day with a healthy breakfast (e.g. a bowl of hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk)
  6. Restrict your alcohol intake
  7. Remember that some foods are high in added fat, salt and sugar and so are best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.  Examples include lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chips, pies, sausage rolls and other takeaways.

To help you eat well every day, check out these healthy recipes and snack suggestions, tips for staying on track when eating out, our guide to healthy eating on a budget, and tips for drinking to health.

Snack suggestions

  • Add fruit and yoghurt to low fat milk and blend them together to make a great tasting smoothie.
  • A slice of wholegrain bread or raisin toast with a healthy spread such as avocado or low-fat cream cheese, makes a filling, healthy snack.
  • A piece of fruit – like a banana or apple – can make a great “on the run” snack.
  • Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of chips, try vegetable sticks with low-fat hummus.
  • An occasional handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruit makes a nutritious snack.
  • Grab a tub of natural low-fat yoghurt and add your own fruit.
  • Air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of salt makes a great afternoon snack.
  • When the weather is hot, fruits such as oranges and grapes make delicious frozen snacks.

Other useful links:

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Stay On Track When Eating Out Fact Sheet

Your Guide To Buying Fruit And Veg In Season Fact Sheet

Information sourced from this Government Website:

Easy Lunch Ideas to get you through your week

September 17, 2012
5 easy work lunches with 15 ingredients

5 easy work lunches with 15 ingredients

Stock these 15 ingredients and your week’s worth of lunches are in the bag!  Thanks to for these nutritious & easy ideas.

Ham, Cream Cheese & Cherry Tomato Pizza

Ham, Cream Cheese & Cherry Tomato Pizza

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap (can use gluten free)
2 tbs chunky tomato salsa
75g shaved ham
2 tbs extra light cream cheese
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
few spinach leaves

Preheat sandwich press.

Spread wrap with salsa, top with ham, dollops of cream cheese, tomatoes and scatter over parmesan.

Toast, making sure the lid doesn’t come in contact with your pizza, for approximately 10 minutes.

Serve with a few spinach leaves scattered over the top.

PER SERVE: Energy:1285 kJ (307 Cals) Protein:  25g, Fat:  8.7g (Sat  4.1g), Carbs:  28g (Sugar  7g), Fibre:  6g

Smoked Chicken Wrap with Cream Cheese & Salad

Smoked Chicken Wrap with Cream Cheese & Salad

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap
1 tbs Extra Light Philadephia Cream Cheese
1 tsp mustard
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup coleslaw
4 slices of cucumber
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
75 g smoked chicken fillet, sliced

Spread wrap with cheese and mustard.

Add spinach, coleslaw, cucumber, tomatoes and chicken.

Season with salt & pepper and wrap, securing with cling wrap or baking paper.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1255kJ (300Cals), Protein:  30g,  Fat:  7.7g (Sat  2.9g), Carbs:  24.9g (Sugar  5g), Fibre:  5.6g

Warm Tuna & Brown Rice Asian Salad

Warm Tuna & Brown Rice Asian Salad

Serves 1

½ 250g packet of pre cooked brown rice (freeze the other half for another time)
95g tin Safcol tuna in springwater, drained
1 cup fresh coleslaw
2 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free)
25g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp ALPS Blend

Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 2-3 minutes. Or heat in a small saucepan, covered, for a few minutes.

Stir and serve.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1384kJ (330Cals), Protein:  29g, Fat:  8g (Sat  2g), Carbs:  35.7g (Sugar  3.2g), Fibre:  1.3g

Tangy Tomato & Smoked Chicken Spaghetti

Tangy Tomato & Smoked Chicken Spaghetti

Serves 1

1/2 packet 250g packet Slim Pasta spaghetti, well rinsed
1/2 cup Chunky Tomato Salsa
150g packet of frozen vegetables
75g smoked chicken fillet, diced
25g baby spinach leaves
1 tbs parmesan cheese (optional)

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Quesadilla

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Quesadilla

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap (or use gluten free)
1 tbs extra light cream cheese
50g coleslaw
50g smoked salmon
lemon pepper to taste

Preheat sandwich press.
Spread cream cheese over wrap.
Add coleslaw and salmon to half of the wrap, season with lemon pepper and fold in half.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden.
Serve with salad.

PER SERVE: Energy: 1136kJ (271Cals), Protein:  23g, Fat:  8g (Sat  3.2g), Carbs:  24.7g (Sugar  4.3g), Fibre:  3.6g

Place pasta in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover.

In microwave safe bowl heat salsa, vegetables and chicken for a few minutes, or until warmed through. Add spinach and heat for another 30 seconds, until leaves have just wilted.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

Sprinkle over parmesan to serve.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1212kJ (  290Cals), Protein:  31.2g, Fat:  5.9g (Sat  2.6g), Carbs:  23g (Sugar  11.9g), Fibre:  21g

Information sourced from: