THE NUTRITIONIST YOU SHOULD TAKE NOTICE OF

Melanie Lionello.

Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours… Damn right.

Oh, and by milkshake, I mean Smoothie – the healthy version.

This young and inspiring Nutritionist is popping up all over our radar, and it’s hard to ignore.
With an extensive collection of recipes that not only taste delicious, but are also a healthier alternative for most devilish treats you’ll find on the internet, Mel’s method to achieve a healthier lifestyle is taking over the nutrition game.

So much so, in fact, we had to bring her on board our latest collab with Body By Gilles.

Mel has an innate ability to create Naturally Nutritious recipes that are easy to follow, taste amazing, and fuel your body with everything it needs to perform at its full potential. Pair that with an effective, and powerful workout regime and you have yourself a recipe for world domination. Almost.

First things first… Do you believe in ‘Cheat Meals’?
No I don’t! I don’t think you should have to ‘cheat’ or set aside a time to have a ‘cheat meal’ because in reality, life happens! Just listen to your body, if you’re out with friends and feel like having a couple of cocktails and some hot chips then go for it! If you’ve had a great week and are just sitting in your PJs at home watching a movie and feel like ice cream, have one! Just don’t do it everyday 🙂 Deprivation can lead to bingeing and overeating so just listen to your body, enjoy every mouthful and get back into your usual eating routine the next day.

Is there a meal which stemmed from a traditional family recipe that you continue to use today? 
It would have to be the famous Lionello bolognese sauce! My nonna, my mum and I all make it with our own little twists but it seriously never fails to hit the spot big time!

Where did your love for cooking come from?
My family for sure. I’m pretty certain being Italian means you’re born with the ‘must-love-cooking’ gene!

What are your top tips for healthy cooking on a budget? 
Buy veggies and fruit that are in season, they are always the cheapest around. Also, canned or frozen legumes and vegetables (without added salt) are cheaper than fresh varieties most of the time and they are just as, if not more, nutritious due to them being snap frozen upon harvest. And hit up the market at the end of the day, you can buy kilos of fresh produce for a tenner because the vendors want to offload as much as they can before the weekend!

Name 5 key ingredients you ALWAYS keep stocked in your kitchen:
Extra virgin olive oil, passata, pasta, frozen broccoli, oats

What has been your main motivation for delicious, healthy cooking? 
During my nutrition degree, I was able to learn, read and discuss a lot of evidence that suggested that Australians in particular don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables every day. This combined with a lot of anecdotal evidence from friends and family such as ‘I hate veggies’ and ‘Chips/french fries are vegetables right?’ kinda put a bee in my bonnet to change their minds. I’m pretty sure that we’ve all had cauliflower and broccoli boiled until it’s grey and it’s no wonder if that’s your only experience with vegetables that you would hate them! When cooked properly, they can be amazing! I would say my passion to show people that healthy cooking is simple and delicious has really motivated me to keep going as well as being passionate about good overall health. I just want to make everyone love veggies and great food so I’ll keep cooking and creating until I change every veggie-haters mind!

How important is variety in your diet? What are the nutritional benefits? 
I think it’s really important! How boring would it be to eat the same thing day-in-day-out?! It’s also important nutritionally, each food has it’s own set of micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals), the nutrients in an apple are different to those in pumpkin so to make sure you’re getting enough of everything, you need to eat lots of different whole foods everyday!

What has been your all-time favourite meal creation to date?
100% my honey and oat banana bread. It’s off the hook and my followers/blog readers think so too! It’s my most popular/recreated recipe to date and it’s so so easy!

What, in your opinion, is the most nutritional cuisine?
Ooooh that’s tough but I strongly believe the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is the best in the world. High veggie consumption, huge olive oil consumption and low meat consumption means you’re eating tonnes of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and healthy fats. The evidence to support this diet as the best in the world is there as well, it’s actually overwhelming!

The first thing to come to mind when you read the following words: 

Microwaveable
Macaroni (the Kraft from-a-packet kind haha!)
Dehydrated
Drink some water!
Gluten Free
No thanks (just joking! – plenty of GF recipes in the guide!)
Raw
cheesecake!
Pasta
My one true love (sorry Isaac!)

How would you describe your journey so far?
Like a rollercoaster! It’s been crazy and fun and I have just fallen into it! I started my blog as a hobby during my undergrad degree and it just snowballed! I now work for myself creating healthy recipes and content for brands around the world full-time!

What advice would you offer to aspiring students of nutrition and foodies alike? 
Get creative! Nutrition is a science and creativity might not come naturally to you but get in the kitchen and learn to cook, share your experiences and focus on doing the things you love! Your passion shines through in whatever line of work you choose so work hard, have fun and say yes to any opportunity that comes your way!

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry? How did you overcome it?
Probably trying to convey evidence-based nutrition information via social media to my audience and being challenged with pseudoscience and fad diets and false information. It’s really hard to re-educate people but I try my best and I think having two nutrition degrees from a reputable, internationally recognised university has definitely helped in increasing my credibility with my followers and clients.

How would you describe the Nutrition Guide you created for Body By Gilles, and how does it complement the Body By Gilles Fit Guide?
YUM! And fulfilling! The recipes I created for the guide are well-rounded, hearty, veggie-ful and easy. They compliment the Fit Guide perfectly, they fuel you appropriately, they are flexible just like the workouts and they are fast to make also like the workouts! The perfect guides for time-poor health-conscious people!

Mel.

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