26 September 2023

Easy Healthy Tasty

Start the conversation

By Christine Salins.


Have you ever thought about how hard cooking is for someone with limited mobility or dexterity? Imagine how difficult it is to create your own healthy food when chopping ingredients is a challenge.

Sydney dietitian Charity Spalding and food writer Jen Richards saw a need for a cookbook that makes home-cooking accessible for everyone. In 2018, with funding from the NSW Department of Community Services, they set to work producing Easy Healthy Tasty, a collection of simple, no-chop recipes that put social inclusion at the centre of the plate.

By focusing on ways to make kitchens easier for everyone, including people with a temporary or permanent disability, they armed their readers with the skills to do the simple cooking tasks that others take for granted.

“The book is jargon-free, doesn’t assume any cooking knowledge and includes food literacy information for people who (are) at the beginning of their food learning,” says Jen.

Although the pair advocate strongly for using fresh ingredients, they say some people find it so difficult to use knives and chop ingredients that it stops them from cooking at all. Their hacks include suggestions for using frozen diced onion, crushed garlic, pre-chopped vegetables and frozen vegetables.

Jen says the no-chop recipes are useful not only for people with limited mobility or dexterity, but also for “new cooks who aren’t confident in the kitchen; older adults having to cook for themselves for the first time; families and parents trying to ‘kid wrangle’ at dinner time, or disability support staff who are cooking with people with disability, who may not have strong cooking skills themselves.”

The book was embraced in the allied health community when it was published, but during the 2020 lockdown when staples began disappearing from supermarket shelves, their audience didn’t know how to alter recipes and substitute ingredients.

The pair began creating Facebook lives of themselves cooking at home to address the gap in food literacy. When the videos were put up on YouTube, they had no idea how popular they would be – until, that is, women in the UK fell in love with their scone recipe and netted it 1.3 million views.

They now have 26,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel and are looking for the next step to make home cookery and food media more socially inclusive.

Easy Healthy Tasty can be ordered online at www.easyhealthytasty.com

Charity and Jen can be seen on YouTube at www.youtube.com/easyhealthytasty

Oven-baked Tandoori Chicken

Serves 4

1 tablespoon tandoori curry paste

½ cup plain yoghurt

4 chicken thigh fillets

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

2 cups cauliflower pieces, fresh or frozen

2 handfuls baby spinach leaves

Heat oven to 200 deg C. Place curry paste and yoghurt in mixing bowl. Mix together well. Add chicken thighs to the bowl. Cover each in the yoghurt mix. Place chicken in baking tray with tomatoes and cauliflower. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

After the chicken is cooked, remove carefully from the oven. Add the baby spinach leaves to the tray and stir through. Transfer to serving dish. Serve with couscous, rice or flat breads.

Recipe and image from Easy Healthy Tasty by Charity Spalding and Jen Richards, 2018.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.