Danijela, Healthy Always (Photo taken by Natasha H’ng)
Danijela Unkovich is the woman behind the gorgeous recipes and healthy food inspiration at the Healthy Always Instagram account. In a little over a year Danijela has amassed 100,000 followers, drawn in by the beautiful photos and nutritious meal ideas and recipes that she posts. Danijela is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Human Nutrition and Physiology. Ultimately she plans to work with individuals to help them optimise their own health and wellbeing through the food they eat.
We wanted to know more, so we took the chance to learn about the inspiration behind Healthy Always, and to ask Danijela for some simple suggestions to improve your health an vitality.
Q. Why did you become interested in health and nutrition?
I've always been interested in health and nutrition, and find the connection between what we eat and the influence it has on our body highly fascinating. However, it only really began as a lifestyle after my health suffered after a busy and very stressful year and it became of great importance to start looking after myself. Through embarking on a balanced lifestyle, combining a wholefoods diet with regular exercise and a lot more me time, I began to see changes in my health and that's when I really committed to it.The whole experience taught me to never take your own health for granted, and has really fuelled my desire to help individuals take on their own health journey.
Q. What are your top tips to improve your health and vitality through what you eat?
- Simplify your way of eating. Eat foods in their most natural state as much as you can, and avoid heavily processed and pre-packaged convenience foods.
- Up your green vegetable intake. Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses brimming with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Include them in any way that you can: stir-fry them, boil them, eat them raw, incorporate them into your smoothies...just make sure you’re getting them in.
- Intuitively listen to your body and nourish yourself in a way that works for you. Our bodies are not created equally, and what works for one person may not work for another.
- Stay hydrated-always! Water is absolutely critical for the body to function well.
- Introduce (green) smoothies into your diet. They are a wonderful way to amp up nutrients into your diet, and are fantastic if you are a busy person on the run.
Q. What are your favourite superfoods?
Right now I am loving Maca for energy and increasing stamina, and Chia seeds for their nutrient dense profile.
Q. What do you eat every day? Can you share with us a day in your plate?
Breakfast: My day always starts with a big glass of warm water. For breakfast I will usually alternate between a green smoothie, a big bowl of oats, homemade muesli, or my healthy pancakes. I add variety with various seasonal fresh fruit (right now I am loving the strawberries we have in season!). Generally I eat all my fruit in the morning as I find it better on digestion.
Lunch: During the weekdays I'll be either at university or work, so I usually just bring leftovers from last night’s dinner, and then add a fresh salad dressed in olive oil and apple cider vinegar. On the weekend when I have a little more time I love getting creative in the kitchen and it’s generally when I will make something a little more indulgent. I love making big batches of nutritious soups filled with seasonal vegetables, or warm coconut based curries, as you can use almost whatever leftover vegetables you have in the fridge. I'll then freeze portions for the coming week for when I am stuck for time and need a quick and healthy meal.
Dinner: It varies but will usually always include a form of protein, grain, and vegetables.I always switch up my vegetables depending on what seasonally produce is available. Flavour wise I keep it simple, and usually just cook with fresh herbs and olive oil.
Snacks: I'm always baking or cooking up healthy treats, so at any point in time you can guarantee there's a few sweet treats in the fridge/freezer.My favourite snacks to tackle my sweet tooth are bliss balls, a homemade energy slice + dark chocolate covered almonds.
We’ve often admired Danijela’s foodie creations so we were excited when she offered to create a recipe using her favourite Matakana SuperFoods ingredients. To get her delicious Coconut and Chocolate Maca Thickshake recipe click here.