Ever wondered what a professional foodie eats? We sat down with Accredited Nutritionist Georgia Bellas to get a sneak peak into her daily eats, her top tips for maintaining what she calls “your best body”, and how she finds the perfect balance between being healthy and still enjoying a sneak glass of red with her favourite – a good Italian cheese board…
Firstly, tell us about what you do and why?
Growing up in a big fat Greek family mean that food was a major part of my upbringing. In our culture, food is a celebration of family, love and creating memories, and this saw me develop a passion for cooking from a very young age. I can’t put it any other way – I just love feeding people good food! This passion slowly turned into an interest in nutrition after I took an elective in my first year of uni, where I discovered that I didn’t just love food, I loved educating people about how to eat well too.
What is your food philosophy?
Eat the way your grandparents use to – fresh, simple and wholesome! My Papou (grandfather) had an enormous vegetable garden and would show me how to pick cucumbers, eggplants, spinach, silverbeet (the list goes on). Everything he cooked came out of that garden! He only ate lean meats, fresh yoghurt and cheese, legumes, olive oil (in absolute abundance and in true Greek style) and never had a major ailment. He lived his life in balance, enjoyed the occasional drink and Greek sweet, and really taught me the importance of eating well without restriction.
So what does a typical breakfast look like for you?
I know I’m supposed to say that I drink a glass of water with lemon every morning, but I’m going to be real - I start every day with an almond flat white (my one and only of the day) and it’s the best part of my morning! I strongly believe in listening to your body, and for me it’s not about the caffeine, I truly enjoy a good cup of coffee. About an hour later, I’ll whip up a couple of eggs with a side of avo and greens (usually spinach and peas) – this gives me a good does of protein and healthy fats to keep me full and roaring until lunch. Having some form of protein in the morning is my #1 breakfast tip, whether it be eggs, smoked salmon, Greek yoghurt or if you’re on the run – a protein smoothie.
It’s lunchtime, what are you dishing up?
Without fail, I’m having some form of a tuna salad. I’ll usually cook extra veggies with dinner the night before (I’m currently obsessed with roasting Brussel sprouts), I’ll add cherry tomatoes, grate in some zucchini and carrot and that forms the base of my salad. Fibre is super important for a healthy gut so I try and bulk out my salads with as many veggies as possible. Then I’ll add in a can of tuna and use the olive oil from the can for dressing along with another current obsession of mine – mixing about a tablespoon of yoghurt with a tablespoon of tahini – it makes the creamiest dressing, not to mention the little dose of calcium I get from the tahini! Then I’ll top it all off with a handful of walnuts or seeds for a little crunch.
It’s 3pm and you’re feeling like a snack, what do you reach for?
If I don’t have any of my favourite ‘Krumballs’ balls on hand, I’ll usually whip up a little protein-packed snack using a vegan protein powder - I don’t tolerate lactose well, which is why I opt for vegan over normal whey. Sometimes I’ll blend a scoop of the chocolate flavour with a little almond milk and almond butter, stick it in the freezer for about an hour and it forms a cheeky little mousse! I also love corn thins with a spread of peanut butter and a fresh mint tea. Apart from being really good for your digestion, peppermint has a natural sweetness that can be really good at keeping those sugar cravings at bay.
It’s dinner time already, what’s cooking in the kitchen?
Dinner is usually some sort of lean meat with veggies. My go-to mid-week meals are my oven-baked pork rissoles with lemon potatoes and a greek salad, a piece of grilled fish with homemade sweet potato chips and greens, or my version of fried rice with honey & soy chicken tenders and roasted broccoli. A good general rule for your dinner plate is that half should be filled with green veggies, a quarter with a lean protein, a quarter with a complex carbohydrate and about a 50 cent piece of healthy fats (think olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds). On the weekends I might make something a little heartier – like my lamb roast or a chickpea soup with loads of veg and pancetta for extra flavour!
You have a very healthy diet, do you ever indulge?
I think it’s extremely important to enjoy the things you love and not feel guilty about it. I also think the reason I find it so easy to eat healthy is because I don’t restrict myself if I want something a little indulgent. I’m an absolute sucker for a good cheese board and a glass of wine – do I eat it every day? No. But that’s the trick – you can indulge without overindulging. Whenever I am designing a meal plan for a client looking to lose weight, I always ask what they’re favourite food or vice is and make sure to include it in some element in their meal plans. This shows them that they can still enjoy the foods they love in moderation without being restrictive and still see results.