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Our recipes explained

We’ve done the planning for you! The team at Healthy Food Guide work hard to make every recipe a healthy one for you to enjoy. Here’s what we do:

  • Our recipes are based on real, whole, nutrient-dense ingredients that are affordable and easy to find in the supermarket.
  • Every recipe must contain the optimum amount of vegetables – at least two servings per person for main meals – and our recipes are based on ideal portion sizes.
  • Every recipe must fit within our criteria to ensure that it has maximum nutritional goodness and doesn’t contain too much energy, saturated fat, sodium or too many free sugars.
  • If a recipe doesn’t meet our nutrition criteria, it won’t be in Healthy Food Guide. Please see more info on this below.
  • Every dish is tried and tested at least twice so we know it is a fantastic recipe and tastes great.
  • Every recipe shows a full nutrition panel. See How much do I need to eat? to put this into the context of your daily nutrition and energy needs.


This website is viewed by people from all around the world, so it is natural that some ingredients may be called different things in different countries. Where we know an ingredient is known by a different name we have highlighted the ingredient name, so when you hover over it or click it, you will see the different names that it may be known by. For example if you find a recipe with chickpeas in the ingredients and you click on chickpeas you will see that its also known as garbanzos. If you have any questions or suggestions about an ingredient name, let us know here.

Weights and measures:

We use standard measurements where:
1 teaspoon is 5ml
1 tablespoon is 15ml
1 cup is 250 ml (8fl oz)

Metric / Imperial conversions 

All our recipes have been created using metric measurements. You will see a converter between metric and imperial at the top of every recipe, simply click metric or imperial and the website does the rest. Please note that this has required some minor rounding protocols in imperial.

Our recipe badges – here’s what they mean

Low kJ

Mains 1700kJ /405kcal or less
Desserts/snacks 1000kJ /230kcal or less
Sides 600kJ /143kcal or less
Drinks (250ml) 200kJ /48kcal or less

High fibre

Mains 6g or more
Desserts/sides/drinks (250ml) 3g or more

Mains with less than 30g carbohydrate

Low sodium

Mains 500mg or less
Sides 200mg or less
NOTE: We use no-added-salt product variants where available.

High calcium

250mg or more

High iron

4.5mg or more

5 Veges

Easy ways to find recipes right for you:

diabetes friendly* 50g or less carbohydrate and 4g or more fibre and 6g or less saturated fat and 600mg or less sodium. (Applied to meals and soups 1000kJ or more.)

low FODMAP These recipes are suitable for those following a low-FODMAP diet.

gluten free Has no ingredients known to commonly contain gluten.  But always check the ingredients you are using.

no dairy Has no ingredients known to commonly contain dairy products. But always check the ingredients you are using.

vegan Has been approved by the Vegan Society Aotearoa NZ and contains no animal products. But always check the ingredients you are using.

vegetarian Has no ingredients known to commonly contain meat or meat products. But always check the ingredients you are using.

money saver Costs $3.50 or less per serve.**

The number of vegetable serves per person.***


Our recipe criteria – healthy eating guidelines

At Healthy Food Guide we take our recipes seriously. We’ve developed a stringent set of criteria for the nutritional profiles required in each of our different recipes, such as for main meals, snacks or desserts. These are based on guidelines from the Ministry of Health and other leading health oriented organisations. We have criteria for energy, saturated fat, fibre, sodium,  sugars and more for each type of recipe.  This ensures that all our recipes fit within a balanced, health promoting diet. They are also delicious; we test them all.

From time to time we review our recipe criteria to ensure we’re keeping up to date. As evidence-based dietetic science emerges, and as guidelines from the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization or the Heart Foundation evolve and change over time, so too do our recipe criteria. Sometimes it’s not feasible to review and adjust every previously published recipe that may subsequently fall outside of our revised criteria.  Please note the date of publication of each recipe, or any revision thereof, is detailed at the bottom of every recipe.

Nutrition information

We show you the nutrition information for our recipes so you are fully informed and can make your own decisions about what you eat. We analyse nutrition information using the New Zealand FoodFiles database which includes data from FSANZ, UK National Nutrient Databank or McCance and Widdowsons’s The Compositions of Foods Integrated Dataset,  USDA National Nutrient Database. From time to time there are updates in the food composition data used to analyse our recipes, but it’s not possible to review the analysis for all of our previously published recipes when this happens. These changes are usually small.

If you are concerned please note the date of publication which is published at the bottom of every recipe or contact us.


On this website we use the international standard way of measuring blood glucose levels which is in terms of a molar concentration, measured in mmol/L (millimoles per litre; or millimolar, abbreviated mM). In the United States, Germany and other countries mass concentration is measured in mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre).


*This is a broad guideline for people with type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes should follow individualised advice from their doctor or dietitian. Please check the amount of carbohydrate is right for you.

**Recipe costs are based on supermarket prices at the time of publication. Prices may vary between outlets and regions.

***For potatoes, kumara and legumes a maximum of one vegetable serve is counted.