Man Up In The Kitchen

Man Up In The Kitchen

Man Up In The Kitchen

The nation's peak body for dietitians is calling on Australian men to ditch the takeaway and start cooking meals at home after a recent survey found one in four need to -man up in the kitchen'.


DAA has this week launched its annual Australia's Healthy Weight Week (AHWW) campaign (15-21 February) which aims to inspire Australians to make simple changes towards smart eating, starting with cooking at home. 


The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) survey, which looked at the cooking habits of more than 800 Aussie men, found 24 per cent cook at home no more than twice a week[i].


These statistics come despite the same survey finding more than 90 per cent of men -like cooking' or -like cooking at lot'.


DAA spokesperson Themis Chryssidis said the survey results show a change in the traditional distribution of household chores as men become more acquainted with the kitchen, but there is still some work to do.


-These survey results are really clear - men do like to cook, which is great. They are just not stepping into the kitchen often enough and this could be for a variety of reasons.  Men need to make cooking more of a priority in their lives,' said Mr Chryssidis, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

DAA's survey follows recent research from Omnipoll, commissioned by DAA, which found men are almost twice as likely as women to eat three or more takeaway meals a week[ii].


-This regular intake of takeaway is really concerning as we know takeaway meals can be high in kilojoules, fat, sugar and salt, so shouldn't be eaten regularly.  Men need to step away from the pizza box, don an apron and get busy in the kitchen!' said Mr Chryssidis.


According to Mr Chryssidis, cooking at home is absolutely key to maintaining weight and improving health. 


-Research tells us that people who cook at home are more likely to have a healthier diet, eat less kilojoules, and eat more vegetables. 


-Not only is cooking at home healthier, it's also more affordable and a great way to relax and socialise,' said Mr Chryssidis.


DAA is asking men to think outside their normal cooking repertoire – and for some men this means getting friendly with greens.


-Most blokes consider themselves grill masters, but there is more to cooking than just the odd barbecue in summer. Too often, men cook the meat and their partners prepare the salads.


-Gents, it's not that hard to whip up a delicious salad and, if you do it well, people will talk more about your salad than the perfectly-cooked steak,' said Mr Chryssidis. 


Themis' top tips for -man-friendly' cooking:

Get spicy in the kitchen – and this doesn't just mean hot!  Spices add flavour without relying on salt.  Don't be afraid to use more than one spice in a meal and go hard on them too!
Make salads interesting. A salad isn't just iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato – get inventive. Try using roasted vegetables such as sweet potato and beetroot or include whole grains, nuts or lentils, or even seasonal fruit. If you're looking for a barbecue-friendly addition try char-grilled eggplant, capsicum and zucchini topped with a homemade dukkah.
Balance your meal. Try to balance your meal in terms of flavour and nutrition and include a variety of textures to keep the meal interesting. For example, include some toasted sesame seeds with some spiced salmon or some roasted almonds in a fresh salad. By keeping your dishes balanced and interesting, chances are you'll also keep someone else interested in you!

Mr Chryssidis and award-winning celebrity cook Callum Hann (both from Sprout) will support Australia's Healthy Weight Week this year by teaching Australians about home cooking and choosing the right portions sizes.


Hundreds of health-focused events, including nutrition workshops and cooking classes, are being held around the country to mark the week. Find out what's on near you, and get nutrition tips and recipes, at


About Australia's Healthy Weight Week (15 to 21 February 2016): AHWW, an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia, is an ideal time to kick-start healthy eating habits.


The aim for the 2016 campaign is straight-forward: to encourage more Australians to cook at home as a way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. AHWW also encourages Australians to seek expert and individual nutrition advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). APDs are nutrition scientists with years of university study behind them. They work with people to develop tailored eating plans and support and motivate them to make diet changes for life.


Award-winning celebrity cook, Callum Hann, and Accredited Practising Dietitian, Themis Chryssidis (both from Sprout), are supporting AHWW in 2016. 


Download the new AHWW cookbook Everyday Healthy II: Seasonal, Fresh and Tasty, from Ingredients for four of the recipes in the cookbook can be purchased from Thomas Farms Kitchen. Also see the AHWW website for nutrition tips, recipes, event details and a social media toolkit. Take part in the AHWW Instagram Cooking Challenge and follow AHWW at and use #AHWW, and join the AHWW live Twitter Chat on Wednesday 17 February.  


Fast facts

The latest National Health Survey (2014-2015) found 63.4% of adults are overweight or obese, this equates to 11.2 million Australians. Looking a little deeper the survey found seven out of 10 men (70.8%) and just over half of women (56.3%) are overweight or obese[iii].
The same survey found only 7% of Australian adults meet the recommended daily serves of vegetables, and just 49.8% meet the Australian Dietary Guideline's recommendation for fruit.
According to Australia's latest National Nutrition Survey (2011-2012), more than 2.3 million Australians (13%) aged 15 years and over reported that they were on a diet to lose weight or for some other health reason. This included 15% of females and 11% of males[iv].

Note: Australia's Healthy Weight Week 2016 is proudly supported by Thomas Farms Kitchen, Meat & Livestock Australia, CanPrint, Australian Mushroom Growers, and Next Media.


Fish tacos

(Serves 4)




2 x 150g white fish fillets such as snapper or barramundi

Juice of 2 limes

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 Lebanese cucumber, halved, seeds scraped out

1 clove garlic

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

¼ bunch coriander, leaves picked

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

1 avocado

4 wholemeal tortillas



In a shallow bowl or plate combine fish with juice of 1 lime, cumin, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Grate cucumber and finely grate garlic onto a chopping board. Slice the chilli and chop into the salsa. Chop the coriander leaves and stir in. Slice spring onions and chop roughly into the salsa on the board. Mix in ½ tablespoon olive oil, juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt. Stir in cherry tomatoes.

Preheat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add fish and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until just cooked. Meanwhile, halve the avocado and remove the seed. Scrape out flesh into a small food processor. Add remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil and juice of half a lime. Add a pinch of salt and blend to combine. Alternatively, mash avocado with a fork.

Remove fish from pan, flake with a fork or tongs. Warm tortillas if desired. Spread with guacamole, top with flaked fish and salsa. Serve immediately.


Recipe developed by Sprout as part of the new AHWW cookbook Everyday Healthy II: Seasonal, Fresh and Tasty.