The only diet tips you need


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It may surprise you to hear that it is planning, not knowledge that is the key to dietary success. Most of us know what to eat – we know that fruits and vegetables are good, and we know we need to move more. We know that chocolate is high in calories, and we know that if we eat less we will lose weight.

In busy, modern life, our healthy eating regimes tend to fall off track when we find ourselves hungry, without any good food choices on hand. Sometimes we may be able to ignore the hunger pains and wait until we stumble across an apple, but in more cases than not the deep desire for food sees us searching desk drawers or attacking the vending machines to feed our low blood sugar levels like a drug feeds an addict.

As such, it is the simple act of planning that ensures that we are never caught off guard and forced to rely on high calorie foods purchased away from the home. So if you regularly find yourself caught out and hungry, here are the easiest ways to plan ahead and take control of your food intake.

1. Shop once a week – basically, if the food is not in the house, you cannot eat it. Set aside just an hour each week to stock up on your dietary staples or try ordering online if you find it hard to make it to the shops each week.

2. Know your quick and easy meals – if you have tuna or salmon, eggs, cheese, pasta sauce, frozen vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes you can make five or six different meals in ten minutes or less.

3. Cook just once or twice a week – if you prepare a couple of big serves of a  nutritionally balanced meals such as pasta bake, a pie or a stir fry with meat and vegetables you are guaranteed two meals during the week that you can freeze or use as leftovers for your lunch

4. Start a lunch club – if you are tired of the same old boring sandwich or salad that you bring from home, team up with a work colleague and start a lunch buddy system. This way you can bring two tasty lunches each, each week and perhaps shout yourself to lunch out on the fifth day of the week.

5. Set aside 20 minutes on Sunday night to plan the meals – make a note of each dish you plan to prepare each night so you know exactly what you need to do to prepare it when you walk in the door.

6. Keep snacks with you at all times – each morning pack a couple of protein rich snack foods to prevent impulse food purchases during the day. Good choices include a nut bar, packet of roasted broadbeans or cheese and crackers.

7. Utilise lunchtimes – if you find it difficult to plan your food over the weekend, utilize lunch breaks at work to get to the local supermarket and stock up on the foods you need during the day, and even for the evening meal.

8. Have a cook up – if the weekdays are simply too frantic to prepare any meals, cook a couple of extra meals over the weekend so you are certain to eat well for at least the first few nights of the week.

9. Develop food rules – create clear limits on when you will and will not eat certain types of food. For example, resolve only to eat out twice each week, this way you know when and in what context you will indulge which will help with your diet goals.

10. Utilise helpers – there are many mums, husbands and even friends who are often only too happy to help at home when necessary. Next time, if and when one of your support team ask if you need help, ask if they will help you with a meal or leftovers if you are finding it too difficult to fit meal preparation into your daily routine, you will be surprised how happy they will be to help. 

How to travel for work and keep your diet on track


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If you regularly jet set around the country for work you will know how difficult it can be to keep your diet on track. Plane food, airports, hotels and conferences just some of the locations which can make finding fresh, nutritious and carb controlled foods very difficult. So if you regularly spend a few days each week on planes and away from home, here are the simple ways to ensure your diet does not become the victim.

1. Start the day right

This may mean getting up at the crack of dawn to make sure you pack yourself a nutritious protein rich breakfast or being strong and saying no to the high fat pastry or banana bread offered on the first flight out in the morning but whatever you need to do to start the day right nutritionally do it. Failing to start the day with a filling breakfast option will leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry for much of the day and is often the reason we are caught out overdoing the milk coffee, pastries and muffins during the day. Good breakie options when travelling include a homemade breakie wrap, tub of Greek yoghurt, breakfast smoothie or eggs enjoyed in the airport lounge or once you arrive at your event or hotel.

2. Take food on the plane

Most people eat the processed snacks on offer during domestic flights because they are hungry and there is nothing else. Imagine how many extra carbs, sugars and calories you are consuming over the course of the year this way. The solution here is simple – get into the habit of always packing a protein rich snack in your briefcase or handbag – cheese and crackers, nut bars and roasted broadbeans all travel well, are filling and will help you to say no to the poor quality snacks found in transit.

3. Order your daily salad

One of the major areas of your nutrition that comes undone when travelling is a lack of fresh foods – salads and vegetables that are hard to find when you are flying or visiting hotels. A simple trick to make sure that you get your leafy greens every day is to get into the habit of ordering a takeaway salad from your hotel each time you are away. Not only does this ensure that you have a nutritious lunch option, but it will also help to stop you finding yourself starving at an airport food court late in the day being tempted by pies, fast food and crappy snack food.

4. Only eat at meal times

Visit an airport at any time of the day or night and people will be eating whether it is a meal time or not. When travelling this often means that you will eat extra meals through the day. Keep strict with your regime and try and only eat at meal times. This will ensure you are actually hungry for proper meals and will help make the decision of whether to eat or not much easier.

5. Remember the supermarket

It is hard to find calorie controlled, healthy foods away from the home – food courts, airports, hotels and restaurants are filled with high calorie food choices which will result in weight gain when they are consumed too regularly. If you are a regular traveler, remember that every town and city has a supermarket. These can be the easiest and cheapest way to stock up on healthy food supplies no matter where you are. Tuna, crackers, soups and salads can be found anywhere and easily eaten so there are no excuses as to why you went through drive through again when you could have easily bought a salad and tin if tuna for $7-8 and enjoyed a low calorie, protein rich, healthy lunch instead.

A new infant and child nutrition partnership with Bellamy’s Organic


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As both a paediatric dietitian and as a new mum, I am thrilled to announce a new ambassador role with Bellamy’s Organic. Bellamy’s is a 100% Aussie company producing Australian made organic foods for our kids with the sole aim of giving our children ‘a pure start to life’. I have come on board with the team at Bellamys_web_logoBellamy’s as a resource to help communicate the importance of early childhood nutrition for life long health and well-being. Not only have I studied the importance of infants developing sound feeding habits as early as possible but now as a mum of 3 month old twins I have never felt more strongly about Aussie families having access to sound, evidence based nutrition and lifestyle advice to support them with this goal.  What we and our children (no matter how young they are), eat on a daily basis builds a platform for their health long term and the importance of this cannot be overstated. Busy families need practical, user friendly strategies to make healthy eating the easy option and my job with Bellamy’s is to help communicate this over the next few months.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.43.30 PMNaturally as a dietitian I believe that when it is possible, breastfeeding is best but it is not always an option for some mums and these mums too need access to the best available information to help guide them on their own personal feeding journeys. As such Bellamy’s not only offer a range of baby, infant and toddler formulas but also stage appropriate organic food options with 100% commitment to sourcing organic ingredients and producing toddler foods with no added salts or sugars. Such is the commitment to quality that I am extremely excited to be working with Bellamy’s to communicate this and to provide insight and guidance on new product ranges. As part of my role I will be blogging regularly, developing recipes and facilitating online interactions and will keep you updated with these new and exciting developments via my online pages and blog. I look forward to bringing you all the latest when it comes to feeding and good nutrition in childhood in conjunction with Bellamy’s. 

My flat stomach is long gone


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IMG_2587Prior to having my twins in January this year I was pretty obsessed with exercise. I would exercise most days and often more than once, fitting in as much walking, gym workouts and PT sessions as I could in between working. I even trained right up until the twins were born with slow, heavy walks filling my last few days despite my enormous belly. If you had asked me what my exercise plans were after the birth I would have answered you with an air of arrogance that only naivety can permit – I would return to this amount of exercise and be back to my pre-pregnancy shape within weeks. How silly I was.

IMG_4260As you can see there is still plenty of baby belly left almost 4 months after I had the twins and despite even my own Dad pointing that out just this morning, which is really no surprise giving the quantity of cakes and high fat breastfeeding cookies I have been demolishing for the past 3 months I really have little interest in doing much about it right now. And I definitely have no interest in getting back into full blown training for the many hours each week like I used to. Suddenly the whole idea of spending time in a gym when I could be with my little bundles is a no brainer and the only thing I am even remotely interested in doing is walking with them, however slowly I need to go to show them the ocean, the dogs and the world around. Even thinking about the obsession I used to have for what I looked like; whether my bum was bigger; how much weight I wanted to lose seems pointless, superficial, boring and self-absorbed. I have much more important things to think about and spend my time doing and this could continue for the rest of the year or the next 18. Time will tell.

I have also lost interest in the many social media posts highlighting peoples body’s – I really don’t want or need to see another fitness model / personal trainer / super mum posing in their gym outfits. We know you have a good body, do we really need to see it every single day? Maybe I am just jealous but I still don’t think I would post pictures of my body like that even if I looked good. Instead my social media feeds are filled with ideas for dinner, lots of baby’s and ideas for twins. When I see you constantly at the gym I can’t help but wonder why you don’t have anything better to do than look at yourself in the mirror…..again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the gym and I love working out along with the huge rush in endorphin’s that comes from it. And of course I know only too well the benefits of keeping fit and healthy and being a good role model for kids. I just don’t think this translates into countless hours spent training taking selfies when you could be out living.

So instead of the original 3 month get back to before training plan I had set for myself I have taken all time frames off getting rid of my belly. It will come off when it’s ready. And I promise you I won’t post a selfie of it……even if and when I ever get it even close to looking flat again. 

Attention food companies – The case for acting socially responsible!


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Attention food companies!

As a dietitian, food companies are regularly in contact to highlight steps they are taking to improve the nutritional profile of the foods they offer. There is no doubt that such initiatives have increased over the past fifteen years as many of the big players including McDonalds, Coca Cola, Uncle Toby’s and Kellogg’s have sought to bring new healthier products to market and make significant changes to formulations in an attempt to cut sugar, fat, calories or all of the above. While these are all positive initiatives there is nothing worse than a token attempt. Offering a sh**ty salad for an inflated price at a fast food chain which is simultaneously marketing $2 meal deals is no more useful than offering a new soft drink that still contains added sugar. These moves are at best an attempt at some positive PR with no likely benefit for the nation’s health. So if food companies are really serious about making a difference and don’t want to be criticised for actively contributing to the obesity epidemic, this is what really needs to happen.

1. Stop making the shittiest of crap foods

It may be a large sized soft drink, the most sugary cereal or the biggest fruit smoothie but any food that has literally no nutritional benefits for many, many calories needs to go, or cost significantly more than it does so the extra revenue can be donated to health.

2. Cut the calories in all products, not just one or two

Offering a couple of healthy options does not change sugar or calorie consumption of a country, but cutting the calories and sugars across an entire range does, particularly for large franchises serving hundreds of thousands of Australians every day.

3. Stop with the token efforts

 If the only reason you are doing it is for some positive PR stop wasting your time. The public can see right through and you lose credibility. If you are basically selling crappy food unfortunately you are going to continue to see sliding sales as the public becomes more aware of what they are eating and what is in your food. It’s better to let your shareholders know now rather than try and mislead people and tell them you are really doing some good when you are actually doing mostly bad.

4. Donate some more money to health

Someone is going to have to pay for obesity in the country over the next 10-20 years. If you are selling high calorie, high fat products consider donating more of your profits to health services that actively help to manage and prevent childhood obesity.

5. Think in terms of being socially responsible

Ultimately taking a stance against actively contributing to the obesity epidemic means that food companies need to think of acting socially responsible rather than for what they think is the right thing to do. If your product is contributing significant amounts of sugar and poor quality calories into the food supply, the question you need to ask yourself is ‘am I acting in a socially responsible way?’. If the answer is no, it may be time to have a serious think about the core of the business you are involved in.

New product alert – Pumpkin Seed MUNCH


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It has been a long time since I have found a new product that I am a big fan of. It seems that any packaged food, even if it is better nutritionally than others contains additives such as sugar that will send social media into a frenzy if I dare mention it. For this reason I have held off the product reviews but this snack I have found is a very strong product. Pumpkin Seed Munch is one of the very few high protein (7.6g per serve), low carb (3.3g per serve) snacks that are rich in good fats but also nut free. Most importantly, they taste good which is also difficult as many of the nuts and seeds products develop a rancid taste quite quickly. Yes there is a little added sugar but relative to the nutritional strengths of this product and in the whole context of diet it is not significant. So if you are looking for a light, protein rich snack for both you and the kids, check these out in the health food section of supermarkets. I am a big fan.

Why am I so hungry? 5 reasons why your hunger may be getting the better of you.


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Unexplained hunger can be extremely frustrating. If you are trying to lose weight it can be the difference between getting results or not, and for many it explains food binges and excessive consumption of sweet foods when the hunger becomes too much to bear. So if you find yourself constantly hungry, here are some of the reasons why.

1. Your breakfast does not have the right balance of carbs and protein

A breakfast too high in carbs (think big acai bowls and fruit smoothies) or too low in protein (think cereals, plain toast, bagels and fruit yoghurt) is likely to see your blood glucose levels plummet two to three hours after breakfast leaving you craving cakes, banana bread and raisin toast at 11am. Starting the day with 20g of protein via milk, whey, eggs, salmon or Greek yoghurt and at least one serve of carbs via grain bread, fruit, sweet potato or a wrap will help to see you satisfied until late morning just in time for an early lunch.

2. You are eating too frequently

The more we eat, especially the more sweet food we consume, the more we are going to crave. This explains the scenario which sees individuals polish off an entire block of chocolate or packet of biscuits. Well balanced meals will keep you satisfied for at least 3-4 hours and if you are eating sweet foods including milk coffees in between this, it could be driving your appetite.

3. Not enough bulk

Simple meals – a plain ham sandwich, an egg on toast or a salad with 2-3 ingredients simply does not contain the bulk of foods required to fill the stomach, slow digestion and satisfy you for an extended period of time. Bulk your meals by adding low calorie salads and vegetables every time you eat. Mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or a vegetable juice work well at breakfast; always add a salad or soup to lunch and aim for at least 2 cups of vegetables with dinner.

4. Your calories are too low

The lowest number of calories a small female not exercising will generally need is 1000-1200 for weight loss. In addition you will need an extra 200-300 for every hour of intense activity that you are doing. Many dieters consume too few calories early in the dieting phase which may result in instant results on the scales but it is almost impossible to maintain. Check your calories on a program such as ‘myfitnesspal’ to keep an eye and make sure they are not too low.

5. Your carbs are too low

While some specific dietary regimes require a particularly low carb approach, in generally we need at least 100-120g of carbs to give the muscles and the brain adequate fuel. Amounts lower than this seen when we consume few grains and cereals and fruit and rely only on vegetables for our carbs will see you lose weight initially but over time if you are burning far more carbohydrates than this your hunger will eventually kick in and lead to the ravenous hunger that often results in binge eating.

How do I juggle work with my twins?


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It has been a few weeks in between twin updates primarily because I don’t have a lot of time but one of the most common questions I have been asked is how am I managing to juggle work with 2 small baby’s? So I thought a little honesty may be in order here rather than maintaining a facade of being some sort of superwoman.

The truth is the only reason I am able to work is that I do not do it all. Rather I have a rather large network of people in my life who do quite a lot of the work associated with the twins so that I can pull out a few hours to work. First of all and most importantly I have an amazing mum. My mum is a midwife and retired just as the twins were born to give me at least 1 night each week respite so I never get too sleep deprived. Mum also cares for the twins once or twice each week so I can go to the office and see clients a couple of times. Then I have my Dad. Dad is great at holding baby’s so that means he often comes with mum to basically hold a baby, as that is what you need with twins, lots of hands. I also have a nanny, an ex Tresillian nurse who also had twins to give me 4 hours a week to write (that is who is looking after the twins as I write this piece). In addition I also have a cleaner and a couple of close friends and family who I can call on for night events or other meetings that I sometimes need to go to.

In saying that, my house does run on a pretty tight schedule. Meals and shopping are planned well in advance. Bottles and expressing run like clockwork and baths and nighttime reading to the twins is done by 6pm so Chris and I can relax. Work time is strictly scheduled so that I can engage fully with the twins when they need me and I am far less flexible than I ever was in terms of meeting times and extra events. Exercise is now only walking with the twins or a brief gym class before Chris leaves in the morning. Often TV appearances are scheduled early in the morning so they do not interfere with the day too much and I can get a lot of work done on the mobile while I am expressing milk. Sleep is no longer 8 or 9 hours rather 6 or 7 and I am ok with that. In an ideal world I would have had a complete break after having twins, but the nature of having your own business and wanting it to continue to flourish is that you need to work – maternity leave is simply not an option.

The other question that remains is how do you manage with two? I actually do not think having two the same age and stage is any more demanding than one or even two at different ages. You can feed twins at the same time, entertain them at the same time and dress and bathe them very quickly. The toughest thing is keeping calm and mentally focused when they are both restless and loud. My strategy for this is to keep exceptionally mindful; concentrate fully on one at a time and not let the noise get to me. As the twins get older they will realise that as there are two someone does have to wait. Very rarely are baby’s crying for anything other than hunger, a wet nappy or attention and it is ok to let them sit crying for a few minutes until I can get to them. A lot of this challenge is mental management. Finally I two key strategies I employ. One is to only commit to one extra ‘thing; each day, for example a walk or a meeting or a lunch, not all three, which is what I would previously have scheduled. This slower, more realistic pace suits the twins better and helps me to be a more mindful, preset mother. And I have daily goals. The goal may be to write one article or bake one thing. Having a goal helps to focus my attention and the limited time I have, but ensures that I feel as if I am making progress every single day.

5 reasons to buy your groceries online


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If there is one thing most of us are short on, it is time and despite the lack of time so many of us experience on a daily basis many of us still schlep to the supermarket multiple times each week wasting much time and often money. So here are 5 reasons to consider swapping your weekly trip to the supermarket and instead, buy your groceries online. And once you start, trust me, you will not look back.

1. You will save much time and stress.

You know what it is like – the queues of people; the battle in the carpark; the time spent getting there and back; the kids nagging for items you don’t need; the items you forget and the lack of time to fit it in at all. In a time poor society, you can easily add at least an extra 2 hours into your week simply by swapping to online shopping.

2. Your nutrition will improve.

The nature of online shopping means that you need to do some meal planning prior to placing your order. Planning is the key to dietary success – when you know what healthy meals you will be preparing in advance, you are much less likely to be seduced by other high fat options purchased away from the house. Online shopping also means that you can make sure you have a ready supply of healthy snacks, veges and staple foods to ensure you always have foods on hand to eat well no matter how busy you are.

3. You will no longer be tempted at the supermarket.

You know the tricks supermarkets use to encourage us to purchase extra foods – the $1 chocolate biscuits at the end of the aisle and the 2 for 1 deals on chips, chocolates and every other crappy food you can think of. Then there are the extras we slip into the trolley when we are particularly tired, hungry, bored or emotional. Online shopping takes away all of these extras.

4. You will save money.

Consider how many extra items slip into the trolley when you go shopping. Or the impact of extra trips to the supermarket each week when you easily spend $50 or $100 each trip. Going to the supermarket less translates very simply into you spending a whole lot less and with delivery costing as little at $5, it makes a lot of sense financially to shop online.

5. You can have food delivered to work

I am not talking about your toilet paper arriving at the office, rather online shopping is a great way to have a regular delivery of lunch staples and snacks delivered straight to your office on a regular basis so that you can prepare a lower calorie healthy lunch at work. If you consider that lunches you prepare yourself such as soups, salads, wraps and salads will contain half the calories than a meal purchase at a café or food court, ordering online again makes sense from a calorie and weight control perspective. 

5 things to know about your diet when you have PCOS


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PCOS can be a very tough condition to manage form a dietary perspective. Not only are carbs important, but so too are your good fats, calories and meal timing. So if you are one of the many women trying to manage it, here are 5 things to know about your diet when you have PCOS.

1. It is all about the carbs

Chances are if you have PCOS you are also battling high insulin levels. The issue with high insulin is that it also means you are more likely to store fat. The amount of carbohydrate you consume when you have PCOS is very important. Too much and you will not lose weight, too little and your metabolism will slow and make weight control even more difficult. So for each individual it is about getting the right amount of carb for you to achieve your weight loss goals. For most girls this will be 30-40% total calorie intake.

2. Timing is important

We could debate this for hours but when you are trying to control insulin levels through the day, meal and carb timing is important. Too little at the wrong time of day will likely lead to overeating and cravings later. For this reason, small meals with even amounts of carbs and proteins is the best approach for managing PCOS.

3. Fat is all about the type

When we talk fat it is not about whether you have full cream or skim milk or use olive or coconut oil, rather it is about the total balance of fat in your diet as the right fat balance will help the cell wall be more receptive to the hormone insulin. Most of us consume too much poor quality fat and this drowns out the good fats. For this reason, chances are you need to eat more nuts, seeds, good oils and less cakes, processed foods and fats from fatty meats and fast foods. 

4. Calories are still important

You can have a perfect balance of carbs and proteins and still not be losing weight if you are consuming too many calories. Remember when your hormones are out of whack you may not be burning calories as efficiently as you once did which means your calorie control may need to be a little tighter if you have PCOS.

5. To get results, you will need to be strict, at least most of the time

One of the biggest dietary issues when battling PCOS is that little extras always slip in which prevent weight loss. In turn this can mean weight continues to increase gradually over time and the PCOS gets worse. For this reason, periods of strict carb and calorie control to induce weight loss will ultimately improve hormone levels and make weight loss easier long term.

If you struggle with PCOS and are looking for a weight loss program, the Shape Me PCOS plan could be for you. With over 350 PCOS designed recipes, Shape Me has developed a higher protein option for women battling PCOS and weight gain on an ongoing basis. As PCOS is a medical condition, Shape Me strongly recommends working directly with Susie via the Ask Susie functionality to have all of your individual needs supported throughout this program. Sign up today here.

5 things a new mum can’t live without


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I love a good recommendation and have been asked a few times about items that have been useful since having the twins almost 3 months ago. So here are the things I currently can’t live without and which be handy in your own home if you are juggling kids, baby’s and a busy life in general.

Zip Tap1. Zip Hydrotap

I honestly don’t think I could have used a product more over the past 3 months. Between trying to drink enough to support breastfeeding twins, having boiling water on tap to clean bottles and to make much needed cups of tea in the middle of the night, this tap has saved my life. And that is not even taking in account how fab it to have sparking water on tap.

Avent Breast Pump2. Avent Breast Pump

This pump is the first thing I see in the morning and the last I see at night and its the best relationship I have ever had. No seriously, if it was not for this pump I would not be able to keep breastfeeding my twins as long as I have. It is easy to use and is a great investment for any new mum.

Melrose Nut Spreads3. Nut Spread

To satisfy the late night hunger and also add some much needed good fat to the diet to help make good breast milk, you cant go past these nut spreads on crackers or wholegrain toast. Find them in the health food section of supermarkets.

4. TV Series

To date it has included Flesh & Bone, UnReal and many Real Housewives but being kept awake in the middle of the night is so much easier when you have a little titillating TV to watch.

Sids and Kids Red Nose Wipes5. SIDS and Kids Red Nose Baby Wipes – UnScented

These are seriously the best wipes on the market. I have not had one issue with nappy rash from these wipes, they support a good cause and are not just handy for mums, everyone needs wipes in their life. We literally go through boxes which I think will only increase with 2 little boys in the house!

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome


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Today we have introduced a specific PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) plan to Shape Me, by Susie Burrell. What is PCOS? Well, if you or someone close to you has PCOS you will be well aware of what a challenging condition it is – the painful and/ or absent menstrual cycle, adult acne, weight challenges and ridiculous cravings that can govern your life on a monthly basis, and that is without considering the issues PCOS can cause with fertility, insulin resistance and diabetes long term. It truly is an awful medical condition to be managing.

Unfortunately the incidence of PCOS is increasing a result of lifestyle variables which can see women rapidly gain weight during their teens and early adulthood. High carbohydrate diets and a lack of movement are largely to blame and relatively rapid weight gain which sees individuals carrying an extra 20-30kg in their 20’s and 30’s can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS which in turn continues to make weight loss very challenging as the body fights to store rather than burn body fat.

While PCOS is difficult to manage and may require medical intervention, what is also important to acknowledge is the huge role lifestyle variables do play in managing PCOS long term. Not only does different types of training help to improve a muscles sensitivity to the hormone insulin but the right mix of general movement, training along with a diet that is tightly controlled when it comes to carbs and ticks the box for the right mix of good fats and protein can help to prevent further weight gain and ultimately lead to weight loss over time. The more tightly controlled your weight is when you have PCOS the better your weight management. Uncontrolled weight will inevitably keep increasing.

Such is the demand for lifestyle programs that specifically cater for women dealing with PCOS that has lead Shape Me to develop a specific program for sufferers of PCOS. Not only will this plan offer you hundreds of meal options with the right mix of carbs, proteins and good fats for PCOS but ultimately it is designed to help you shift the kilos, in a safe and sustainable fashion. And most importantly, you have direct access to me if you need, for all of your specific questions.

And if you are not quite ready to commit to a program, and you have PCOS, here are the most important things you can target in your diet today to help control and manage your PCOS from a dietary perspective.

1. White foods are not your friend

White breads, rice, pasta and snacks need to go. They are so packed full of refined carbs that it will be difficult to lose weight while you are regularly consuming these foods.

2. Carbs need to be portion controlled

This means just ½ cup serves at main meals as opposed to the standard 2-3 cup serves.

3. No treats for a period of time

The issue with many women and their diets is that extras slip in on a daily basis that stops them from reaching their weight loss goals. Just a week or two without any high sugar treats can be all you need to kick start weight loss when you are dealing with hormonal conditions.

4. 2-3 cups of salad or veges at every meal

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once you eat this much salad and vege bulk you will help to control the cravings that currently govern your food selections.

5. The right good fats

Nuts every day; a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, oily fish and grainy breads will help to control your appetite and offer your cells the much needed good fat balance to help improve hormonal control. 

My Shape Me PCOS plan is available now and you can sign up for as little as $1.31 per day.

The real secret to weight control


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Imagine if there was just one thing you needed to do to successfully lose weight? With the myriad of weight loss solutions, diets and programs available, imagine if it was really that simple. Well it is. After more than fifteen years seeing clients for weight loss, there is one common factor that stands out above all else when it comes to those who are successful at weight loss. Are you ready for it?

OK, here it is, the real secret to weight control – they are successful because they turn up. Yes, you heard it right. Weight loss success is not dependent on any one diet or exercise regime. It is not about getting ready for a wedding or a reunion. It is not about a special juice fast or a million hours at the gym. Rather it is about committing to any one process and simply turning up.

Turning up is actually very easy to do. It means turning up to what you have committed to, 100% with no excuses. It means going to the gym even when you would rather not. It means making that extra effort to get to the supermarket even though you are tired. It means attending your diet appointment or meeting with your personal trainer as that is what you have committed to.

Turning up is the most important factor when it comes to making progress, no matter how small as when we turn up, instantly we build energy, energy that ultimately helps us to continue moving forward. Once you get to the gym for example, you feel more positive, burn some calories and leave feeling inspired and motivated. The same can be said for a diet appointment. You may not have made progress the week or fortnight prior, but simply attending helps to keep holding you accountable and will always leave you feeling more motivated than before you went.

Yet so often we take the easy way out and give ourselves a reason not to turn up – ‘I had a bad week’; ‘I know what to do, I just need to do it’, ‘it is not the right time’, ‘it is not the right program, person, time or diet for me’, the list goes on and for every one of these excuses more time gets wasted, chances are more weight is gained and positive progress is never made.

So if weight loss is your goal, do yourself a favour this week and ‘just turn up’. I guarantee you will be in a much better position physically and psychologically at the end of the week simply by doing so. 

Get Healthy at Work – http://www.wellnessshow.com.au/work/


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Do you work full time? Did you know that we spend up to 1/3 of our time at work? And that is without considering the time we spend commuting and working at home.

As such it makes sense that if we are to be at our best physically, our work environment and the lifestyle habits that we practice routinely at work need to be conducive to weight control and health. Yet we are a very unhealthy bunch as a result of poor health habits that become deeply entrenched at work hours spent sitting, mindless eating, office feeders and calorie over-consumption at work functions, office feeders and trips to the food court.

For some time I have been very interested in developing optimal nutrition and lifestyle programs for clients who are struggling to achieve weight control whilst remaining committed to busy work schedules. While we may know what we ‘should’ be doing when it comes to our nutrition on a daily basis, the issue for many of us is that it is virtually impossible to do what you ‘should’ or ‘need’ to do while you are coping with the day-to-day demands of work.

logo_footerAnd it is for this reason that I have partnered with the team at ‘Get Healthy at Work’. It’s a free NSW Government workplace health service that aims to reduce the prevalence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes among working age Australians.

I really love that you don’t need to be a human resources or workplace health expert to benefit. By registering your business, you’ll receive all tools, resources and support you need to develop a simple health program for your workplace. Most businesses choose to focus on healthy eating or physical activity, but you can also develop a program that helps your team achieve a healthy weight, quit smoking or reduce alcohol use.

Plus, everyone at your work will get the chance to complete a free and 100% confidential health check to set you on the path to better health with helpful tips and referrals to other free programs like the Get Healthy Info & Coaching Service.

In helping to raise awareness about Get Healthy at Work, I have been giving my keynote speaking address, ‘The Office Diet Solution’ – a 10-step program designed to empower busy people to take control of their nutrition during the work day, to help them perform and feel their best on a daily basis. While there are many aspects to maintaining optimal health and well-being including exercise, alcohol consumption, sleep and activity levels, my focus is on building a strong dietary platform on a daily basis to help us perform at our best.

What we choose to eat at each meal and snack has a major impact on our physiological well-being on a daily basis. In turn it impacts our ability to feel, look and perform at our best. Yet we so often fail to give our nutrition the focus and attention it deserves. Rather we take our meal choices for granted and fall into patterns of eating what crosses our path or prioritising other aspects of life way before we focus on what we are having for lunch or dinner. The Office Diet Solution brings the focus back to feeling good on a daily basis as a result of a strong nutritional structure for individuals along with work environments that are conducive to eating well. Here, good nutrition is not about what you should or should not be eating, rather it’s about making sure that your diet is structured to support optimal energy, performance and ultimately health long term. The focus is entirely on what you should focus on doing, rather than focusing on what we should be avoiding, as well as the key dietary areas to focus on to build and maintain this powerful health platform on a day-to-day basis.

A couple of weeks ago Get Healthy at Work held a breakfast event in Sydney to showcase this exciting initiative to employers. Anything that supports individuals seeking to maintain their health whilst maintaining demanding work lives should be welcomed. So if you would like your workplace to be healthier, make sure you check out Get Healthy at Work website to see if the program may be right for you. There are events held regularly around the state (like the one in Sydney last week) and we would love to see you there. And if you are in Sydney tomorrow, I will be speaking at a free event at 9am - http://www.wellnessshow.com.au/work/, talking all things The Office Diet Solution and cooking as well. Would love to see you there!

Dinner after 8pm? The best meals to eat late at night


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You know the feeling all too well – it has been a frantic day, you have barely had time to use the bathroom let alone eat anything substantial and now it is 9pm, and you find yourself at home, tired and hungry. What are the best meals to eat late at night?

As modern life places more and more demands on our time and as work days get longer and longer, it is not surprising that the evening meal is often enjoyed after 8 each night. For our bodies, this is not good news as it means that the bulk of our calories are consumed during the second half of the day, the time that we tend to be relatively inactive as we socialise, relax or sit in front of the television. The side effect of this is often gradual weight gain, especially if our late night meal options are quick, heavy meal choices such as Thai takeaway, pasta, toast or breakfast cereal.

While it may not make a whole lot of sense that eating the same foods as you usually would, just later at night would make weight control more challenging, it comes down to the fact that the human body is programmed according to a 24-hour, circadian rhythm. This means that our metabolism and hormones are programmed to do their work in the day when humans are active, and then store, build and recover at night when we rest, sleep and regenerate. In real life terms this means that in order to keep our metabolism, or the body’s ability to burn calories at its best, ideally we will eat most of the calories we need during the day, and then allow our bodies to have 10-12 hours without food overnight. When it comes to dinner, this means ideally we should try and consume our last meal of the day by 8pm at the latest.

For many of us though, this is just not possible and as such we need strategies to achieve the right balance between a full and busy life, a social life outside of work and good food choices to keep our bodies in the best shape possible. So, here are some tips to point you in the right direction and make some better choices when you do find yourself searching for dinner after a very long day.

1. Swap your meal times.

If you regularly find yourself eating dinner after 8pm each night, it may be worth swapping your evening meal to lunchtime and then enjoying a lighter snack in the evening. Great lunchtime meal options include leftovers, a stir fry with noodles and lean protein, a large meat and salad sandwich or a hot meal from a local café or pub which includes vegetables and that will keep you full and satisfied for 4-5 hours

2. Know your best quick options

There is a big difference between choosing a high fat curry and Pad Thai from your local Thai or ordering stir fry vegetables. It is crucial to remember that any meal you purchase away from the home will contain at least 200-300 calories more than the same meal you would prepare at home thanks to the extra oils, sauces and condiments. So, if you do find yourself relying on quick meals purchased on the go, make a concerted effort to choose lighter menu options. Grilled fish with salad, BBQ chicken with salad or plain vegetable dishes are some of the better choices.

3. Prepare an extra meal and freeze it.

There is nothing worse than arriving home hungry and having no decent meal options on hand. To avoid this scenario entirely make a concerted effort to prepare a soup, stir fry or baked vegetable dish that you can keep in the fridge or freezer for a quick yet healthy late night meal. Just as importantly, keep a supply of tinned soups, tins of beans, tuna or salmon and at least 1-2 salad vegetables that can be converted into a quick, yet nutritious meal in no time.

4. Keep a couple of frozen options on hand.

Sure, we know that fresh is always best but there are a number of frozen meal options that are quite sound nutritionally and yet allow for a nutritious meal to be heated in no time. Frozen salmon fillets, chicken breasts and numerous vegetable options can literally be put in the oven and ready in less than the time it takes to shower. And nutritionally they will give you at least 200-300 calories fewer than if you had resorted to take away food options. Another great option for busy people is to order some ready to go meals from a home delivery service and keep on hand for late night dinners. While these options are more expensive, the quality is much better and often works out the same price as you would spend if you were buying all your ingredients from scratch.

5. Think salad / vegetables and protein.

The later you consume your final meal of the day, the lighter it needs to be. Eating heavy, carbohydrate rich meals late at night is not only related to higher body weights and a high intake of calories at night but it can also mean that you do not wake up hungry for breakfast the next day. For this reason, lighter dinner options for late night dinners include a small piece or tin of fish or eggs served with salad or vegetables. And remember, toast or breakfast cereal is not a meal!

Top 10 Late Night Dinners

Omelette or frittata

Vegetable stir fry

2 lamb cutlets and vegetables

Tuna or chicken salad (see my Mexican Chicken Salad recipe from my weight loss program Shape Me, here.)

Salmon or tuna on crackers

Potato stuffed with tuna and coleslaw

¼ BBQ chicken or chicken strips with salad

Sashimi with seaweed salad

Bowl of vegetable based soup (see my Roast Veg Soup recipe from my weight loss program Shape Me, here)

Baked beans and tuna

For more quick and easy recipe options, see my free Shape Me recipes here.

No my twins are not sleeping through the night…….


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9 weeks in and the questions and advice are aplenty – Are my twins sleeping through the night? Maybe you should change formulas? Are you breastfeeding? The list goes on. So this week’s update is all things feeding, from start until now and where we are up to.

As a paediatric dietitian naturally I wanted to breastfeed my baby’s. As a paediatric dietitian I was also well aware that breastfeeding does not always come easily, nor does it always suit a mum and / or a baby for that matter so I was open to what happened naturally. Since I had always had a Size A boobs I was also not sure how that situation would work out with twins either. So I was pleasantly surprised that I did get milk 3 days after the twins were born and that my bigger twin Harry had no issue feeding. The twins had been formula fed immediately after birth on advice from the neonatal paediatrician and I started to supplement these feeds with as much breastmilk as I could get.

I was also very lucky that the amazing people at Avent had sent me a breast pump so I was able to continue expressing for my smaller twin Gus once I arrived home. I thought that I had been doing quite well with roughly ½ the twins food coming from me, and ½ formula and to be honest in the midst of sleepless nights and the excitement of two tiny baby’s I did not notice that was I getting smaller and smaller amounts of breast milk. It was not until I went to my 6 week check with the bubs and was asked if I had any questions that I mentioned I would like to be giving the boys more breast milk and as there any medications to help with this. Immediately I was told that I could definitely boost my supply with a medication called Motilium did I realise that I probably should have taken this drug immediately following the birth.

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Not only had the twins been born almost 4 weeks early, but I had a Caesarean and also with  twins it was highly likely that I would have got a lot more milk had this medication been suggested much earlier. It has been disappointing to think I was not told this earlier but at least I have it now and have now enough breast milk to give my boys at least ½ their feeds coming from breast milk. Mostly I express simply as it is much quicker than breastfeeding and as a mum of twins time is the one thing I have very little of but I do try and give an actual breastfeed to at least one of the twins each day. So for any mums to be, especially if you are expecting twins or deliver early, make life easier and ask about this drug if you are struggling with your milk supply. Don’t wait for someone to suggest it as they may not, based on their personal belief systems around breastfeeding.

My bigger twin, Harry suffers badly from colic and will spend at least a few hours each afternoon and evening uncomfortable. This can be quite challenging but it is also pretty normal for young baby’s and as I had colic as a baby too, I am sure he will grow out of it. I also need to pay huge amounts of attention to how much I am drinking and eating, much more than I would have ever thought. Now knowing this it is an area of education I will now spend much more time on when educating new mums about the importance of their own self-care in the first new months of being a new mum. And this really comes down to the basics of good nutrition.

IMG_3109The twins are definitely not sleeping through the night lol – at most I get them down for 4-5 hours at a time. If I am honest though, unless I am exceptionally tired I don’t mind. I see it as a really special time. I like the quiet of the hours of the early morning and I love the closeness I feel to my tiny baby’s who are growing up so quickly. This process has been really useful as a cognitive re-framing exercise in my current studies in psychology. So often we talk about the negatives of new parenthood – the sleep we are not getting; the cries that disrupt us from our life and sleep; how hard this time is. Of course at times it is hard – 2 loud baby’s screaming is not pleasant but I have tried from the beginning to enjoy this time. Looking at it as a short period of time that will not last forever and savouring as much of it as I can. And when I get a gummy smile at 2am while Celine Dion is playing it does not seem hard at all.

10 things to know about eating gluten free


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Gluten free is one of the most popular dietary options we offer over on Shape Me and with 1 in 70 Australians with coeliac disease this is no surprise. Of most interest is the fact that 80% of people out there who do have coeliac disease actually do not realise they have it, which means a lot of us are choosing gluten free foods by choice rather than necessity. So if you do prefer to eat gluten free, here are 10 things to know about eating gluten free.

1. While many people think that gluten is the cause of their gut issues, often it is the sugars found in wheat as opposed to the protein gluten actually causing gut issues including bloating and wind. These individuals will benefit from a low FODMAP diet as opposed to eating gluten free. Learn more about that here.

2. Many gluten free foods are not healthy; gluten free cakes, biscuits and other sweet foods are just as unhealthy as regular cakes, biscuits and sweet treats.

Try my gluten free Choc Peppermint Bliss Balls recipe for a perfect afternoon snack. 

3. If you choose gluten free foods, still look for wholegrain options where possible otherwise you end up with a diet that remains relatively high in refined carbohydrates.

4. If weight control is your goal, you still need to count carbohydrates when choosing gluten free biscuits, bread and cereals. Ideally <20-30g of carbs per serve is the goal but often gluten free products are much more concentrated in carbs than this so you do need to be mindful of portions.

5. Autoimmune conditions including coeliac disease, PCOS and thyroid dysfunction tends to run in families so it will serve all family members to be tested for coeliac disease if anyone is showing symptoms.

6. A diagnosis of coeliac disease can be masked if your diet is relatively low in gluten as you avoid bread, pasta and cereal grains. For a correct diagnosis you will need to eat foods that contain gluten prior to being tested.

7. Unless your child has been tested for coeliac disease and tested positive they will not benefit from a gluten free diet any more than they will benefit from a general healthy diet that contains as little processed food as possible.

8. Anyone with chronic gut issues will benefit from adding a probiotic into their day.

9. A true coeliac will experience negative symptoms from even a slight trace of gluten compared to someone with ‘gluten intolerance’ who will generally not react as strongly to small amounts of gluten in their diet.

10. Individuals managing coeliac disease and trying to control their weight will still benefit from a higher protein diet which controls the amount of concentrated carbs such as pasta and bread as opposed to thinking a gluten free diet is good for weight control.

Shape Me is a individualised dietary program overseen by Dietitian Susie Burrell and offers calorie controlled, gluten free meal plans along with gluten free recipesto help you achieve your diet and weight loss goals with the help of a Dietitian. 

Recipe: Brown Rice Lunch Bowl

gluten-free | low FODMAPS | dairy-free | nut-free | egg-free | wheat-free

Serves 1 – per serve: 320 cals | 12g fat | 24g protein | 24g carbs | 6g fibre

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

70g cooked chicken breast

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 carrot, grated

1/2 Lebanese cucumber, chopped

20g goat’s cheese

Preparation Method

1. Combine chicken with brown rice and salad ingredients.

2. Sprinkle with goat’s cheese and serve.

To try some of my additional gluten free recipes, such as Quinoa and Prawn Salad or Roast Veg Soup, click here.

It was the week before Easter…….surviving Easter.


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Hands up if you have already indulged in some Easter treats. Chances are that you have had a couple of mini Easter eggs (or packets) or enjoyed a few Hot X Buns already, especially since they have been available since the week after Christmas! Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying celebratory foods, in fact, indulging occasionally in festive treats is a part of normal, healthy eating. The issue is when Easter or any holiday period becomes an excuse for mindless overeating which inevitably leads to weight gain over time. So, if you want to enjoy Easter without a few extra unnecessary kilos to match, here are the simple steps to take in surviving Easter!

1. No more hot cross buns until Good Friday – I mean it! They are 300cal (a small meal) each along with 50-60g total carbs and that is without the butter we generally enjoy them with. To reduce your carb and calorie intake, look for the smaller buns and avoid extras such as choc chips which is really just adding more fat and calories to this traditional favourite. If you wanted to be particularly strict you could always enjoy ½ of the bun or pull out some of the soft middle to reduce the carb load.

2. One special egg on Easter Sunday – whatever your favourite egg is, buy it and enjoy it on Easter Sunday. This does not mean you need the 500g extra-large bunny or egg, especially if you keep in mind that a relatively small 200g bunny contains almost 1000 calories, or almost all the calories you need for an entire day. In general one large bunny or egg is  a better choice than small individual eggs as we end up eating more of the smaller eggs anyway as we do not psychologically register how many we are actually consuming. A small packet of individual eggs with still set you back almost 800calories without you even noticing you are eating them.

3. Give away the extras – take them to work, re-gift them, and just get it out of the house. Whether it is Sunday lunch leftovers, Easter cake, show bag contents or the kids Easter eggs, if they are in the house, you will eat them. One other trick is to purchase the kids treats that you do not actually like, then you will be far less tempting to take and eat them late at night when the munchies hit.

4. More exercise – plenty of public holidays means plenty of time to move more. Holidays are never a time to do less physically, rather they represent an opportunity to do more as we have more time. Make a concerted effort this Easter to be physically active each holiday day with at least a basic walk added into your schedule.

5. One food show bag – for both kids and adults to avoid gross over consumption. If you are planning a trip to the Easter Show, make sure you take some of your food as the options readily available for reasonable prices tend to be poor quality, high fat fast foods. Once you get to the show bag hall, show some restraint. Again if you buy it for yourself or the kids, you will eat it eventually so the easiest way to control calorie intake is to limit the number of food show bags that you purchase. 

Full cream vs Skim Milk


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When I finished studying nutrition, I started clinical practice with the idealism of any 20 something professional armed with nothing other than a shiny new degree and lots of energy. It was with this enthusiasm that I preached the benefits of eating more vegetables, more dietary fibre and the crucial importance of making the change to skim milk.

I have to be honest, now more than 10 years later I am much more open minded in my approach to nutrition, particularly when it comes to the full cream vs skim milk debate. In fact, in many of my client examples on a daily basis, I would argue in many cases there are far worse dietary habits to change than swapping from full cream to skim milk.

The focus on low fat dairy foods emerged largely in the 1980’s after the links between a high intake of saturated fat and heart disease was noted in the scientific literature. Based on this it was reasoned that as Australians were consuming a significant proportion of their saturated fat via meat and dairy foods that recommending low fat dairy foods was a powerful way to reduce our intake of saturated fat as a population and hence help reduce the incidence of heart disease. To some extent, it makes sense. A single glass of full cream milk contains 10g of total fat, 6 of which is saturated fat and since we ideally need to cut back out saturated fat intake to just <20g  a day in total to support heart health, choosing low fat dairy, milk in particular makes sense.

The issue with this approach is that while it may sound optimistic from a public health perspective, when it comes down to an individual dietary prescription it makes less sense. Sure you can cut the fat out of your milk, but if you continue to eat fatty meat, fried food and refined carbohydrates, your risk of heart disease is not likely to be any lower, if anything probably worse, all the while you are feeling as if you are ticking the right nutritional boxes with your low fat, skim style diet. The same can be said for the diets of individuals which are already reasonably ‘healthy’ – if you make a concerted effort to eat a low fat diet with lean meat, limit your treats and high fat foods and exercise regularly, if your fat intake is already low, is skim milk in place of a more nutrient rich milk really be a better choice?

Milk, like bread has been a dietary staple for hundreds of years, and yet it seems modern life and the impact it has on our weight and health is more the issue than any one food. Sure, if you polish off 500ml of full cream milk a day, swapping to light or skim milk will save you 12-18 grams of fat but if your milk is more likely consumed via a cup of coffee once a day, it is likely that you feel that the extra 5-6grams of fat is worth it for flavor and taste alone. Then there is the school of thought who argue that full cream milk, or even light, reduced fat milks are more satiating, and hence help us all to ultimately eat less – the number one thing we can all do for weight control.

It should be said that there are a couple of common misconceptions when it comes to both skim and full cream milk. Skim milk has not had sugar added in processing, nor does full cream milk have a better nutrient profile than low fat milk. If anything, low fat milk tends to have better nutritional properties with higher levels of calcium, protein and essential nutrients, which have often been added to the milk to improve the entire nutrient profile – the only thing that full cream milk offers is extra fat.

So, what do I tell my clients based on both the science and from an individual, whole diet perspective? Usually I hedge my bets and recommend reduced fat or light style milk – it still tastes creamy, cuts out 5-6 grams of fat, 3-4 of which are saturated and seems to be a nice balance between full cream and skim. If though, I find that one of my clients enjoys full cream milk sparingly via a coffee once a day or a little with their oats, and the rest of their diet is looking pretty good, very rarely would I suggest that they make the change. If anything, the recent media reports of our biggest dairy suppliers using permeate – the byproduct from cheese production as a ‘filler’ in our milk makes me think that when it comes to any of our processed foods we have more important things to take into account when choosing different brands than whether the milk is full cream or not.

And then let’s not forget individual choice. Like many of you, I actually do not like the taste of full cream milk, having been programmed throughout my childhood to drink reduced fat milk. Perhaps though, like many for you also, I tend to make up my saturated fat intake via good quality cheese, which clearly a food type that is simply not meant to be consumed in a low fat style. Such a decision and example of the different food mixes that can achieve a sound dietary balance again emphasizes why dietary prescription should always be made based on an individual’s food preferences and choice, there is simply not one approach that is best for all of us.

The worst snacks for kids


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A quick scan of any toddler’s playground or mums enjoying a mid-morning break at the local coffee shop will see any array of brightly coloured snack food packs being fed to small children in an attempt to keep them quiet, for a few minutes at least. What always surprises me is that popular snacks for small children are often quite unhealthy choices, particularly when you consider that they are being fed to very small children. Here are some of the most popular kid’s snacks, and the reasons they are the worst snacks for kids.

Snacks - Vaalia YpghurtSqueezie yoghurt tubes

Marketed as a nutritious calcium rich choice for children the majority of major brands on the market contain added sugars, which is completely unnecessary for young children. For this reason, sweet yoghurt is much better replaced with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit to help stop kids getting a taste for the sweet stuff.

Snacks - Fruit pureesFruit purees

It does not matter which brand it is, purees only need to be consumed by infants aged 6-7 months. Once infants and toddlers can chew, fruit purees simply serve as a concentrated source of sugars minus the fibre and bulk factor of whole pieces of cut up fruit.

Snacks - Milk arrowroot biscuitsPlain sweet biscuits

Any plain sweet biscuit is a poor choice of snack food for a young child. A mix of refined white flour, sugar and oil, often palm oil you may as well give your child a chocolate bar for the nutrition that a sweet biscuit offers a growing child.

Snacks - Rice crackersRice Crackers

They may seem to be a plain, relatively healthy snack choice but refined white rice has an exceptionally high GI which makes this snack about as nutritious as a slice of white bread.

Snacks - Tiny teddyTiny Teddy’s

This one should come as no surprise – small packets of chocolate flavoured biscuits are a high fat food that should be considered in the same category as lollies.

Snacks - SultanasSultanas

Concentrated fruit sugars may appear to be a more nutritious option that other processed snacks but with a 40g box containing close to 30g of sugars, kids are always better to get their fibre and vitamins from fresh fruits.

Snacks - fruit sticksFruit sticks

While they may be labelled as 100% fruit, they remain a concentrated source of sugars for a relatively small volume of food. They also lack the fibre of whole fruit and are a nightmare for the teeth as young children can suck on them for relatively long periods of time.

Snacks - muesli fingersMuesli fingers

With an ingredient list like this – ‘Fruit and Fruit Juice , Muesli , Rice Flour , Sugar , Honey , Yoghurt Coating , Maize Starch , Skim Milk Powder , Citrus Fibre ‘ – it is safe to say that no toddler needs a muesli bar that contains refined flours and a number of added sugars when they are so young.