Stacey will be at the Go Figure Stand at NZ Fitness Expo 28 and 29 July so make sure you come along and visit us. Stacey will be able to answer any questions you need regarding food and nutrition!


I love the look of horror on clients faces when I tell them I would like them to be eating meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables , nuts (and for some, grains, dairy and beans/legumes).  I can see what they’re thinking


“Eek!  Where’s the crackers, sauces, Nutrigrain & Muesli bars...How will I SURVIVE THIS!!!!!”


It’s not until we get into the principles of freestyle cooking that this list of foods actually becomes exciting.  Freestyle cooking goes at it without a recipe and follows your instincts.

Loads of bodybuilders get stuck into freestyle cooking which increases the list of things you can do with chicken & broccoli (if that’s your chosen core diet).  Some of the suggestions I make herewith may not suit a dieting competitor, but the principles apply across the board.


Freestyle cooking relies on a few things:








So let’s break it down



This is an easy one – what have you got in the cupboard?  What’s on your food list?  Keep it wholesome and avoid packets (unless it’s frozen fruit or veg)



Another easy one.  Think about what timeframe you have to cook?  How good are you at cooking?  If you suck at frying stuff, then stay away from it.  Mix up cooking methods, bake one thing, but George Foreman the rest.



Are you a tinned tomato fiend or a curry addict?  What flavours do you like?  You will always find me cooking with the natural flavours of my foods, seasoned well with the right amount of salt.  If I feel like a flavour difference, I tend to aim for either curry, smoked paprika or garlic.  I’m not much of a tomato flavoured food fan.



In a recent seminar I asked the audience to yell a carb, protein, fat and flavour at me and my challenge was to think up an on the spot freestyle recipe.  My ingredients were: Weetbix, prawns, sour cream and chilli flakes.  Nice combo (not).  But here’s my dish.  Heat prawns until hot, mix through sour cream (add a little salt).  Crush weetbix together with chilli and a little salt and sprinkle over prawns/sourcream – grill in the oven for a bit.


Someone actually wrote the recipe down, they thought it sounded nice – I didn’t think it was too bad in my head.  Remember, everyone has a different palate.


When you are freestyling, you have to go into it with reckless abandon, be free and creative and there will always be a recipe around the corner without spending hours in recipe books or on the net.


And most importantly, don’t worry about what it looks like on the plate.  Does it taste good?  And does it fit the requirements of what your body prefers you to eat?



I understand my palate does not like tomato based foods.  So why would I bother cooking a dish that tastes like tomatoes.  If you understand your palate, then you can start basing your flavour choices around it and you end up with a lot more enjoyment out of your food.  All of a sudden, every day foods actually feel like treat foods...and we put an end to “diets” once and for all.



This may be the trickiest part.  We know that fat, salt and sugar gives food flavour.  So if you are going to make a curry flavoured dish, make sure you add some salt or it will taste pretty gross.  Dip your finger in your dish and taste it, does it taste good?  Does it need a little more salt?  It’s hard to teach people about tastes and seasoning.  The best way to learn is to use no seasoning on something and taste it, then slowly add little bits and see how the taste changes.



So now my chicken and broccoli is starting to look a lot more exciting.  Let’s whip up some freestyole recipes from those two ingredients.

1.       Basic Stirfry – chicken, broccoli, onion, garlic, soy sauce

2.       Smoked Stirfry – chicken, broccoli, onion, garlic, salt & smoked paprika

3.       Salad – raw chopped broccoli, red onion, red capsicum, dressed with a little apple cider vinegar.  Chicken baked with a little garlic powder and salt, chopped and mixed through.

4.       Pesto Chicken Salad - Raw chopped broccoli, red onion, red capsicum, fresh basil, dressed with 1 TBSP pesto.  Chicken baked with a little garlic powder and salt, chopped and mixed through.

5.       Raw broccoli, blended in food processor, mixed with 2 eggs, a bit of salt and panfried.  Served with popcorn chicken.  (popcorn chicken = chicken bite sized pieces, dipped in egg or egg white, crumbed with psyllium husk and panfried)

6.       Popcorn chicken (see #5) served with Pesto salad (see #4, minus the chicken in the salad)

7.       Baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower boiled till it’s quite soft in one pot.  Mash all together with a little salt and a tsp of coconut oil, serve with roast chicken.

8.       Pesto Chicken Salad (see #4) served on top of smoked stirfry (see #2, minus the chicken)

9.       Roast Chicken (see #7) served with basic stirfry (see #1 minus the chicken)

10.   Curry Chicken stirfry – Broccoli, onion, garlic, chicken, other veg – all stirfried with curry powder (or paste, salt and a bit of coconut oil)

11.   Curry Chicken Stirfry Salad – (See #10, and serve on top of #5 or a plain lettuce salad)

12.   Chicken & Broccoli Burrito – chop chicken into small bits and panfry with onion, garlic and finely chopped broccoli, add tinned tomatoes, chilli powder, paprika & salt.  Roll into a Mountain Bread Wrap (which, BTW, will fall apart on you)


The world is your oyster, and as you can see I copy and pasted a lot and really didn’t stray too far from the core ingredients.


Once you can Freestyle cook and think outside the box, you can free yourself from things like Chicken Tonight, Kantong and Pasta Bakes and get back to wholesome whole foods eating without it feeling like groundhog day.  Once you become really skilled at it, you can invent your own body friendly slices, bars and other ‘treat’ type foods.

Stacey Hancock
July 2012

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