Mel Christensen

Mel Christensen

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Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps … Because DIET is my least favourite four-letter-word!

Lettuce Cups

I just love cookbooks… And while I have a collection that rivals most bookshops I still find myself bringing them home with the shopping for my next bit of inspiration.

A cookbook I picked up the other day was actually from a Vinnies store… It was an old Women’s Weekly mini cookbook called “Skinny Food” … Flipping through it, I was reminded just how far we have come over the past decade with our understanding of what is healthy. Clearly, at the time of publishing, consumers were looking predominantly for low-fat, low calorie with little disregard for sugar content and highly processed ingredients. That said, there were a couple of gems in this book that inspired a few Fitness Foodie “makeovers” … This is one of those dishes.

Gone is the sweet chilli sauce (basically sugar syrup with a few chilli flakes for colour!) and the sweet soy sauce (more sugar plus gluten and a nice hit of MSG) and instead I have come up with a marinade mainly from coconut – that is, coconut aminos (found at most good health food stores) and coconut sugar. Add to these oodles of freshly chopped herbs and crisp fresh vegetables and you’ll be in taste (and health) heaven!

To get this dish whipped up at lightning speed, I really recommend investing in a julienne peeler (I found mine for less than $5 at my local Asian Grocer.) A zoodle maker would also work well too! There are so many variations you could go with for the filling too! I bought a cooked chook and simply shredded the breasts, but you could fry up some mince, or throw in a can of tuna or salmon … or for something a bit special, I reckon pulled pork would be amazing!

Experiment away, get acquainted with the awesomeness that is eating fresh, crunchy lettuce wraps and you might just forget how kind you are being to your waistline!

Happy Days!


Easy Vietnamese Lettuce Cups

*Low Carb, Low Calorie, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free.



  • 8 large Iceberg Lettuce Leaves, trimmed
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 100g snow peas with ends trimmed
  • 120g (1 small) red capsicum
  • 120g (1 medium) carrot
  • 120g (1 small) zucchini
  • 120g (1 small) Spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 1 handful each of fresh coriander and Vietnamese mint (or regular mint will do), plus some extra to garnish



  • Juice of one lime (or the whole lime of it’s a small one)
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Aminos (available at most health food stores. Can be replaced with Tamari or Soy Sauce if you can tolerate soy and/or gluten.)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1-2 small birdseye chilli, finely chopped. (depending how hot you like it!)



  1. Place lettuce leaves in a large bowl of iced water and refrigerate.
  2. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  3. Finely julienne your snow peas, capsicum, carrot and zucchini. You can use a kitchen tool such as julienne peeler or “zoodle maker” to make this quick and easy!
  4. Add your julienned vegetables to a large bowl along with the sliced onions, shredded chicken and freshly chopped herbs.
  5. Pour over two-thirds of your dressing and toss well. Garnish the top with the extra fresh herbs.
  6. Serve up each person with a bowl of the filling, a few of lettuce leaves, and a small dipping bowl with some of the extra sauce – or go communal and pop an platter in the centre of your table for everyone to just tuck in! 😉