A peek inside the trolley of a nutritionist

Ever wondered what a health professional buys at the supermarket? Nutritionist Samara Ogden shows us her list of weekly must-have staples.

Chia seeds

I just love chia seeds; they are a great source of fibre, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as providing good amounts of zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and potassium.

They are easy to incorporate into your diet – I add them to my porridge in the morning, as well as into cakes and muffins to boost the nutrient content. They form a gel-like consistency when added to water and can be used to thicken sauces, make jam or even as an egg substitute in baking.


These are your original super food, containing at least 11 essential vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of protein – with amino acids, B vitamins and zinc, and also contain selenium and iodine (two nutrients hard to obtain from other food sources).

The yolks also contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health and may help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.


Beetroot contains folate (important for normal growth and development), manganese, potassium, copper, fibre, magnesium and iron, as well as vitamins C and B6.

The phytonutrient betanin is found in beetroot and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also supports the liver’s natural detoxification process.

Dietary nitrates in beetroot may assist in lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and have been shown to improve exercise performance, particularly high-intensity endurance activities, in athletes.


Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea effects, and also helps to aid digestion.

I add it to curries, stir fries, juices and smoothies, or use it to make a calming lemon and honey tea.


These are by far my favourite fruit. They are high in fibre, antioxidants and flavonoids, all of which have numerous health benefits.

They also contain pectin, an appetite suppressant that helps the stomach feel full. Pectin also acts as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. If you have difficulty digesting raw apples, try stewing them with a little cinnamon instead.


Chickpeas are a cheap and easy staple in my shopping basket. They can be added to soups, curries, made into hummus and other dips, as well as tossed in olive oil with a little salt and cumin and baked in the oven for a delicious snack.

They are a great source of B vitamins, protein and fibre, helping you to feel full for longer.


This is the no.1 staple in my diet. It contains a compound called allicin, which has many health benefits, including anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can assist in preventing cardiovascular disease by helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

It is very easy to incorporate into cooking. My favourite way to eat it is either roasted or stir-fried with leafy greens. It can add an extra depth of flavour when used raw in dips and salad dressings.

Leafy greens

These are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are a great addition to your daily diet. They can be added to soups, curries, stir-fries, salads, egg dishes as well as smoothies and juices.

Lean red meat (beef, lamb, kangaroo)

A recent blood test revealed my iron levels are on the low side, so I’m incorporating more red meat into my diet. It’s high in iron, particularly haem iron, which is easier for the body to absorb than the non-haem kind found in plants.

Eating it with vitamin C rich foods – such as red capsicum, kiwi fruit and citrus fruits – will enhance its absorption. Lean red meat is also a great source of protein, zinc and vitamin B12.

Extra virgin olive oil

It is high in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce your risk of many chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. I choose extra virgin olive oil as this is the highest quality, extracted during the first pressing of the olives without the use of any chemicals.


Contains antioxidants and B vitamins; and vitamins K (bone and brain health), A (skin and mucus membranes, vision, immunity) and C (immune system and skin integrity) as well as fibre.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is used for digestive complaints and to relieve constipation. I love stewing rhubarb with ginger and a little honey and adding to porridge, muesli or natural yoghurt.

Turn those ingredients into something delicious with this gluten-free roasted rhubarb and strawberry porridge, or this jazz apple, rhubarb and ginger filo scrunch.

Samara Ogden (BHSc) is the founder of Daylesford and Melbourne-based Lokahi Health and Massage.

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