Why it’s time to ditch the BBQ chicken and chips

Jaymie Hooper discovers that dining at home is often not just the healthier option, but can be just as delicious as eating takeaway.

Your social calendar may be overflowing with brunch dates, beachside lunches and late-night dinners as you revel in the summer weather, but according to dietitian and AIA Vitality ambassador Marika Day, all that eating out could be sabotaging your health goals.

“Often when purchasing food from cafes or restaurants, fats, salts, and sugars are added to improve the overall taste of the product,” she tells Body+Soul. On the other hand, when you cook for yourself, you know exactly what you’re putting into the meals. “You get to choose how much fat and sugar you add.”

3 meals to make this summer

You don’t need to deprive yourself of eating out entirely, but you should try to cook at home a few times a week. Or invite some friends around for some of these dietitian-approved meals.

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Stir-fried dishes are quick and easy, which means they’re perfect for busy summer lunches and dinners.

“They are a great way to use up veggies that may be on their way out,” tips Day. “And you can use all kinds of flavours to keep them interesting, too.”


Think soups are only for winter? Think again. “People often feel like something lighter at lunch or dinner during hot weather, and soups can be great for this,” Day explains.

Opt for legume-packed soups like gazpacho for a fibre fix or Vietnamese pho for a protein punch, and always use a plant-based, low-salt stock to help you hit your veggie targets.


“These are great for those hot summer days and nights where the last thing you feel like doing is cooking,” Day tells Body+Soul.

While leafy greens should make up the base of your salad, don’t forget to add protein (like chicken, legumes or haloumi), nourishing fats (like avocado) and texture boosters (like nuts, seeds or dried fruit). Healthy carbs like brown rice or quinoa are also essential, and you can up their flavour by cooking them in stock.

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