Why the right fats are so important for us.


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Mayver’s.

Why the right fats are so important for us.

For many years we were told that fat was bad for us and we should avoid it at all costs. Luckily in recent years as we have learnt more about the intricacies of nutrition so too have we learnt that getting the right mix of fats in our diet is really important for our health and wellbeing.  The only confusing thing is how we can achieve the right mix of fat in our daily diets to ensure we are getting all the key nutritional and health benefits the good fats offer.  So firstly, let’s take a look at the different types of fat before we share how you can achieve the right balance of fat in your diet every day. 

When it comes to fat in our diets there are two main types – saturated fats found in animal foods including dairy, meat and many fried and processed foods such as biscuits, cakes and fast foods and unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and avocado. Unsaturated fats can be broken down further and include monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats as well as the long chain omega 3 fats – fats that are primarily found in fish and fats that are known to have a number of specific health benefits. Over time the average intake of omega 3 fats in our diets has declined as changes in our diet as seen us consume more processed foods and less seeds, nuts and fish in general. The result is a diet that is relatively high in saturated fats and omega 6 fats coming from vegetable oils and processed foods and relatively low in the long chain omega 3 fats. 

From a health perspective, the ideal mix of fats is one that includes an equal amount of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fats. This 1:1:1 ratio of fats helps keep the cell at its healthiest. Traditionally though our diets have been much higher in saturated fats which can act to block the health benefits associated with a diet higher in longer chain fats such as the omega 3’s.

In amount terms as the average adult needs roughly 60-80g of fat per day, this translates into 20-30g maximum of each saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fats each day. In food terms this translates into choosing lean meat and dairy foods, using olive oil for cooking and focusing on increasing your intake of nuts, seeds and oily fish to get enough natural long chain polyunsaturated fats.

So if you have not been paying a lot of attention to your fat intake, here are the foods to focus on to get your fat balance right. 

1. Focus on oily fish

While all types of fish are good for us, it is salmon and sardines that are particularly high in omega 3 fats. Tuna is also a good choice too but canned tuna is often low fat and as such as had some of the vital omega 3 fats removed and as such canned or fresh salmon or fresh tuna is a better choice when it comes to the omega 3 content. Try mashing up a little salmon into vegetables, making mini balls or patties or evening crumbing a few strips and cooking them on the BBQ for easy and omega 3 rich meals.

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 11.23.50 am2. Snack on nuts once each day

A daily serve of nuts has been shown to support both weight control and heart health long term. The key is to incorporate a range of nuts into your diet as different nuts have different nutritional properties. For those who have an issue with portion control or who simply love nut spreads, these can be a great way to add into your diet as a spread for toast, as a base for protein balls or as a handy snack on the run when you use a product such as Mayver’s Goodness to Go which is a portion controlled serve of 100% peanut butter than offers a massive 3g of long chain polyunsaturated fats per serve. 

3. Choose the right crackers or bread

Grain based breads and crackers especially soy linseed or chia loaves can be a good source of the plant form of omega 3 fat. If you can tolerate these foods, the grain varieties will ensure you get an extra serve of good fats each day. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 11.19.00 am4. Use superfoods

Chia is a superfood that can easily be incorporate into smoothies and yoghurt and chia is another rich source of the plant source of omega 3 fat. Just a couple of teaspoons of chia each day offers more than the recommended daily amounts of plant based omega’3’s. 

5. Add in the right spreads

Often we revert to butter or margarine as our go to spread but if you have a family who can consume nuts and seeds without concern there are a wide range of Mayver’s 100% nut and seed spreads available in supermarkets which are rich sources of the plant sources of omega 3 fat. Find them in the health food sections of supermarkets and just a couple of teaspoons is another easy way to boost your intake of good fat.  

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Mayver’s.

The Best Smoothie Recipes


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The Best Smoothie Recipes

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

Smoothies are extremely popular both as a quick and easy breakfast on the run, but also as a filling, nutritious drink that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. While smoothies can be a very nutritious choice, they can also be packed with calories and sugars when we do not get the balance right. So if you love your smoothies, but are not sure how to get the right mix of taste and nutrition here are some of my favourite recipes for some inspiration. 

Breakfast Smoothies

Cacao Banana Smoothie 

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Ingredients

1 cup milk

1 small banana 

2 tbsp. LSA powder

½ cup baby spinach leaves

1 tbsp. cacao powder or cacao spread

1 tsp. chia seeds

1 cup of ice 

Method

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Antioxidant Hit

Ingredients

1 small banana

1/2 cup berries 

2 carrots, juiced 

1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt 

1 small piece ginger

1 cup ice 

Method

1. Blend together all ingredients and serve.

Sunshine smoothie

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Ingredients

Handful of kale

1 small banana

1 kiwi fruit

1 cup of milk

1 tbsp. chia seeds

Method

1. Blend all ingredients together and top with chia seeds

Mid-Morning Energy Boost

Banana Berry Smoothie

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Ingredients

½ cup blueberries

3 strawberries

½ cup water

½ banana

 Ice cubes

½ cup milk

Method

1. Blend all ingredients and serve.

Lunch Smoothies

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1/2 cup natural yoghurt OR cottage cheese

1 small banana

1/3 cup berries 

1 tbsp. oats

1 egg

1 tbsp. No Added Sugar Peanut Butter

Method

1. Blend ingredients in a blender for 1 minute until mix is smooth.

Afternoon Energy Boost

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Ingredients

150g frozen blueberries

1 cup water or low fat milk milk (use water if vegan or dairy free)

1 small banana

1 tbsp. ground flaxseed 

1 serve vanilla protein powder (use vegan or dairy free protein powder if required) 

1 pinch cinnamon

Ice to blend 

Method

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

2. Serve immediately.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

Getting your afternoon snacks right


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Mayver’s.

Getting your afternoon snacks right

While some of us can give or take morning tea, most of us are familiar with the need for a nutrition top up mid to late afternoon when our lunch has long worn off and it is still a good few hours until dinner time. While we are often tempted to reach for the biscuits or potato chips at this time, high carb foods can be the worst choice to satisfy the late afternoon munchies. Rather afternoon tea balance is all about protein and fullness so you are not tempted to keep eating all afternoon.

A late afternoon snack will ideally contain fewer than 200 calories and offer the nutrient mix of a little good quality carbs for energy, at least 5-10g of protein for fullness along with some fibre and/ or good fat to help slow down your digestion and keep you full and satisfied for another 2-3 hours. When we choose carb rich snacks such as processed biscuits, cakes, chips and snack food, while we will experience a sudden energy surge will be satisfying for an hour or two before your blood glucose level again goes low and you will find yourself hungry again looking for another sweet hit. 

So if you have been struggling to get your afternoon tea balance right, here are my top options for a calorie and nutritionally balanced snack that will keep your full and energised until dinner time.  

1. Wholegrain crackers with nut spread, cheese or avocado

Whether your preference is for corn cakes, brown rice cakes or a different wholegrain cracker, teaming your favourite crispbread with some 100% Mayver’s Nut Spread, cheese or ¼ avocado creates a snack that is low in sugar and a good source of protein and good fat to help control your appetite. Even better if you add some extra veges such as carrot, tomato or celery to the mix to further boost the fibre content of this snack. 

2. Protein Bread with topping

The great thing about the growing range of protein breads is that you enjoy a guilt free slice of toast in the afternoon with a protein rich topping for as little 5g of carbs and a massive 15-20g of protein which will do wonders for keeping your blood sugar levels controlled all afternoon.

Mayvers Goodness to go3. Mayver’s Goodness to Go with vege sticks

We will all benefit if we eat more veges but sometimes we need just a little something to make them more appealing. The new individual pots of Mayver’s 100% peanut butters, Goodness to Go means that you can enjoy a portion controlled serve of nut spread with your favourite crunchy vegetables and enjoy a snack that is rich in protein, good fat and fibre. 

4. Roasted Broadbeans or Chic Peas

With a 20g pack of roasted chic nuts giving you less than 100 calories along with 5g of protein and literally no sugars, these tasty morsels are a perfect mid-afternoon snack. 

5. Homemade protein ball

There are lots of protein balls out there but few that contain a good mix of both protein and good fat. Ideally a protein ball will contain 5-10g of protein and less than 20g of total carbs per serve so if you are feeling particularly motivated, you can make yourself up a batch so you have your afternoon snacks ready for the week ahead. 

Recipe: Blueberry & Dar Chooclate Bliss Balls

Ingredients

175g (1 cup) Mayver’s Peanut Butter or nut spread

10 dates, pitted

½ cup dried blueberries 

½ cup dark chocolate chips

2 tsp. pepitas

 2 tbsp. hot water for mix

½ tsp. vanilla essence

Coconut for rolling

Method

1. Place all ingredients (excluding the coconut) in a food processor and blend to combine.

2. Using a tablespoon, roll into balls. 

3. Roll in coconut then place in the fridge for up to an hour to firm up.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Mayver’s.

Boost your gut health naturally!


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

World Digestive Health Day - Boost your gut health naturally!

The more we learn about our gut, the more we understand that our gut health plays an extremely important role in maintaining our general health and wellbeing. From immune function, mood and energy levels to a risk of developing more serious gut issues including irritable bowel and even some types of cancer, keeping our gut healthy is just as important as exercising regularly and eating our greens when it comes to our long term health. So to celebrate World Digestive Health Day on May 29th, here are some easy ways to help boost your own gut health, each and every day.

1. Get the good bugs

Known as the ‘good bacteria’, probiotics are microorganisms naturally found in the human digestive tract that improve the balance of healthy bacteria. Probiotics have been shown to reduce digestive symptoms such as constipation and bloating; help restore gut flora after consuming a course of antibiotics – antibiotics can kill the good bacteria naturally found in the gut and rebalance the bacteria required for optimal nutrient absorption. It is thought that poor dietary patterns, along with the stress of modern lives, our gut bugs take a beating and as such making sure we are regularly getting a dose of various probiotics is a powerful step towards optimal gut health.

Probiotics can be found in various food sources, including fermented drinks and yoghurts. It’s been shown just 1-2 serves a day of these foods can reduce bloating in sensitive stomachs. For those individuals opposed to yoghurts or milk-based drinks, probiotics are also available in supplement form, which can be an effective way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

2. Feed the bugs right

While probiotics help to boost the good bacteria within the digestive system, prebiotics help to feed this good bacteria. Prebiotics found in various fibrous foods move through the digestive tract undigested, promoting their growth and optimising gut balance.  As a result the gut is healthier and better able to absorb nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract.

There are a wide range of foods that naturally contain prebiotics, in particular aromatic vegetables including onions, leeks and celery. As well as wheat bran, soy beans, rye based breads and green bananas. While ripe bananas offer the health benefits of 3-5g of dietary fibre per serve, which is still important for gut health, green bananas in particular offer a significant dose of the powerful pre-biotic, resistant starch linked to a number of positive health outcomes.

3. Eat more fibre

Few Australians get the dietary fibre they need each day to help support gut health. Ideally we need a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibre ensure that our digestive tract works efficiently and keeps us regular, but an optimal intake of fibre is also linked to healthy gut bacteria; helping to lower cholesterol levels and helping us to feel lighter and more active. 

An adult requires 25-30g of fibre each day to keep the digestive system healthy and help to reduce the risk of constipation, some types of cancer and diverticular disease. In order to get this much fibre you will need to consume at least two pieces of fruits like bananas which contain 3g of fibre per serve, 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 serves of wholegrains such as oats, wholegrain or rye bread, quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

Nuts for you and your kids!


Mayvers Goodness to go

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Mayver’s.

Let’s not forget how good nuts are for the entire family!

Chances are you know that nuts are good for you but few of us realise exactly why they are so good and specifically why they are so good not just for those wanting to eat healthy but for the entire family. For those at risk of, or dealing with childhood allergies naturally nuts are off the menu, but for those without allergies, nuts are an extremely nutritious, natural whole food, often under utilised in our daily diets. 

All nuts, and even legumes (in the case of peanuts) are packed full of nutrition – a natural source of fibre, protein, Vitamin E and both poly and mono unsaturated fats, nuts are filling, tasty and offer a natural mix of fats which play important roles in our overall health long term. 

A single serve of nuts each day is associated with weight control and heart health but the reality is that few of us reach the recommended daily intake of 30g, 20 individual nuts or roughly a tablespoon of nut spread. This is especially the case for children who can consume nuts but are unable to throughout the school day due to allergy risks. 

As a serve of nuts adds a hearty dose of good fats, not including them along without good fats via avocado, olive oil and oily fish means that our fat balance tends to lean towards a higher intake of saturated fats that come from our meat, dairy and processed and fast foods. It is this pattern of eating that is associated with increased levels of inflammation in the body over time. On the other hand, including a daily serve of nuts along with olive oil and oily fish boosts our intake of both monounsaturated and the important natural polyunsaturated fats which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects over time. It is for this reason getting the fat balance right for children is so important – they too need these good fats to lay the foundation for healthy cells for life. 

Now while I love nuts myself, I find keeping them at home difficult as they are expensive, hard to keep fresh and are exceptionally easy to overeat. For this reason for some time I have been a massive fan of nut spreads. Here you can combine the goodness of nuts, in cost effective jars that are always ready to add to sandwiches and crackers or to use as a base for protein balls and healthy snacks for the twins. Knowing that enjoying nuts is one of the few ways the twins will get their good fats is a daily reminder for me to add some nut spread to their toast or to serve with vegetables for afternoon tea. 

So to finish this post I am thrilled to announce that I have come on board as an ambassador for Mayver’s – the all Australian makers of the most delicious nut spreads including the brand new Goodness to Go pots which offer a portion controlled pack of 100% peanut butter which as you can see my twins love as much as I do! I look forward to sharing with you some of my favourite recipes that use Mayver’s over the next few months, as well as taking you through their entire extensive range.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Mayver’s.

My 5 favourite energy boosting snacks.


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It is known that when you are feeling tired you are not only likely to eat more, but to eat more high calorie food to help boost glucose levels and give yourself a short term sugar boost so you can make it through the day. The issue with this is that the short term hit of energy is rarely sustained and can further drive the desire for sugars and high calorie foods, leading to overeating. So when you are feeling like you need something to get you through, here are some of the better energy boosting snacks without the extra sugar and calories.

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1. Wholegrain bread with nut spread

Now you can find a range of lower carb breads, teaming these with a good quality 100% nut spread is a perfect way to combine a portion control of good quality carbs along with protein and good fats to help boost and sustain your energy for another hour or two.

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2. Yoghurt with No Added Sugar

There is a growing range of sweet yoghurts that now contain No Added Sugars making a protein rich yoghurt a great option for a little sweetness with sustained energy. 

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 12.19.53 pm3. Nut or Protein Bar

The great thing about nut bars is that they help you to keep your portions of the nuts controlled as we all know how easy they are to overeat. You can now find both nut and protein based snack bars with less than 5g of sugars per serve which strikes a perfect balance between carbs and proteins. My favourites are generally Carman’s Bars but you can find a range of nut and protein bars now with 10g protein per serve. 

4. A milk coffee

This one may surprise you but a small milk coffee contains fewer than 100 calories and the caffeine it contains will boost your energy and concentration for at least an hour. Having milk with your coffee will help to sustain your energy for a little longer or if black is your think enjoy it with a piece of fruit. 

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5. Crackers and cheese

Not only is cheese a tasty and filling food, but teamed with a couple of corn or wholegrain crackers will give you a nice mix of carbs and proteins to boost your energy without the energy drop that follows a sugary treat. My favourite crackers are Vita Weat 9 grains or Corn Thins.

My top 5 ways to improve your energy levels


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How to boost your energy levels.

Who could not do with a little more energy? Starting each day with a spring in your step and finishing it in a place other than sheer exhaustion. In busy, modern life pushing ourselves to the brink each and every day has become the norm and often we are not listening to our bodies when it comes to taking more time out to stop and smell the roses. So if you are chronically tired, here are some easy ways to boost your energy on a daily basis so you can thrive rather than just survive.

1. Prioritise your meal times

When we fail to eat at least 3 well balanced meals each day and actually take the time to stop, savour our food and digest we will always be behind the eight ball energy wise. Picking up processed snacks on the go along with loads of coffee and sugary foods to get us through the day means that we are often not getting the key nutrients we need to be at our best. The simple act of stopping for just 10-20 minutes to enjoy a quick, nutrient rich meal will make a massive difference to your overall nutrient intake and your ability to work and function at your best each and every day. 

2. Drink more water

The easiest and cheapest thing you can do to boost your energy levels is to drink more each day. Most of us walk around chronically dehydrated, drinking far too much coffee and energy drinks which take the place of much needed fluid. The average adult needs at least 1.5L of fluid each day which means getting through at least 2 bottles of water throughout the day.

3. Keep nutrient rich snacks on hand

Long day’s means that you need plenty of nutrition throughout the day and many of us will need to add in a couple of snacks to help regulate our blood glucose levels. Often we reach for quick snacks – rice crackers, biscuits, snack bars which lack the protein we need to support sustained energy release. Better options to keep on hand include fresh fruit, nuts, cheese and crackers and protein bars which will hit the spot but also help to keep your glucose levels under control.

4. Get out and walk

It is not uncommon to hear my clients sitting indoors for 8-12 hours a day without sunlight or movement. The human body is programmed to move, a lot and one of the easiest ways to get the blood pumping is to prioritise moving as much as you can each day and trying to catch some sunlight at least once a day. This also means that getting out at lunchtime is non-negotiable.

5. Set aside some time out

You may only be able to manage 5-10 minutes of time to yourself each day but taking this time to sit, read, have a cup of tea and just be is a crucial self-regeneration step when time is tight. Some people meditate early in the morning, others have a swim or a walk or some may simply choose to watch their favourite show before bed. Whatever your time out is, schedule it and factor it into your life on a daily basis to relax, recharge and reset for the busy day ahead.

National Banana Day is almost here!


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

Wednesday is National Banana Day!

As Australia’s most popular fruit it seems only fitting that bananas are given their own national day to celebrate their very existence. May 1st, 2019 marks National Banana Day here in Australia – a day to talk about, celebrate and enjoy our favourite nutrient rich fruit. 

Bananas are one of the oldest fruits and it is estimated Aussies work their way through 5 million bananas every single day! So while you may know they taste great you should also know that bananas are nutrient powerhouses fueling Aussie families to be at their best every day.

Bananas are regularly referred to as nature’s energy food and indeed when we take a closer look at the nutritional profile of a banana they are a perfect pouch of energy with their very own carry case!  First and foremost bananas are a low GI carb rich food perfect for active busy people on the go. With 20-30g of good quality carbs and naturals sugars along with at least 3g of fibre per serve, bananas will give you the natural energy you need to power through your day. Bananas are especially high in Vitamin B6 which is involved in energy metabolism, potassium which plays a key role in keeping our muscles (including our heart) working efficiently and magnesium again for optimal muscle functioning and recovery. 

Bananas feature on my family’s weekly menu in a number of ways. As a nutritionist I love my kids to enjoy a banana with their breakfast for a dose of good quality carbs and fibre to start the day. I regularly use bananas in my baked snacks including my banana bread and muffins to help fill the twins lunchboxes and also as a soft base for homemade protein balls and I always have a bananas in my bag for a quick natural energy hit when I am out and about on a daily basis. 

Again with my clients I regularly use bananas as part of their meal plans, either teaming them with nut spread and high protein bread for a nutritionally balanced breakfast, with nuts as a late afternoon snack or frozen and even dipped in a little dark chocolate as a calorie controlled, natural sweet treat after dinner. 

Sometimes fruit including bananas get a bad rap for being high in sugar but this is far from the truth. While bananas do contain natural sugars as does all fruit, it is still a relatively low amount overall which means that bananas can still take pride of place in any healthy, calorie controlled diet.

So if you have not had one today, grab yourself one of nature’s superfoods and celebrate National Banana Day with us! Your body will thank you for it!

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

How to spend just $40 at the supermarket


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How to spend just $40 at the supermarket

It is a commonly held belief that you need to spend a lot to eat well each week and while you can easily drop $100 at a supermarket and seem to have very little in your trolley, it is also possible to spend very little and get a whole lot of nutritious foods. The trick is to know the key nutritious yet cheap staples that you can build several meals each week around for relatively small amounts of money. Recently I took myself to Aldi with the goal of buying a weeks worth of groceries for $30. Now I couldn’t quite get it to $30 but I came pretty close with a few extremely cheap superfoods. These were my picks.

IMG_9550Corn Thins or Vita Grains

Perfect for lunches and snacks just $1.99 a box.

Rolled oats

The perfect breakfast teamed with frozen berries or tinned fruit and milk for just $1.08 per massive bag which would last 2 weeks at least.

Fruit Snacks

4 serves of peaches for just $1.99 and helps to avoid the seasonal fluctuations in price of fruit.

Baked Beans – 65c

A great sandwich or potato filler or breakfast plus protein and fibre rich.

Soup Mix – $1.49

The perfect base to a heart soup that will give you at least 10 serves and makes a light dinner or filling lunch on a budget.

Tinned Tuna

4 cans at 85c a can means $3.40 for lunches through the week.

Tomato Pasta Sauce – $1.35

A great base for vegetables, or to mix with tuna.

Brown rice – $1.39

2 serves for a dinner or lunch option

Chicken Mince – $4.99

Great with vegetables for dinner, or to make into meatballs.

Porterhouse Steak – $5.00

For a red meat hit 1-2 x a week.

Microwave Chat Potatoes – $1.79

At least 2 weeks worth and a filling side to dinner, can use to make meatballs or teamed with tuna for a filling lunch.

Cage Free Eggs  – $3.39

For omelettes, meat balls, frittatas or hard boiled to enjoy with sandwiches or crackers.

Long life Skim Milk – $1.89

For oats, tea and coffee or even as a protein rich drink.

Frozen Spinach / Vegetables – 99c / $1.99

For less than $3.00 you have enough green veges for the whole week.

Wholegrain Bread – $1.99

Can replace crackers or lunch and used for toast and sandwiches through the week

Total = $31.41

If you take your budget up to $40 you can easily add in another 2 meat serves with stir fry strips, and for $50 you can add cheese, chocolate and yoghurt.

So for just $30-50 a week you can eat extremely well. You will need to have a couple of vegetarian meals and make a soup each week but there will be plenty of food, whilst not uncompromising your nutrition.

Eating when you are super stressed


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

Eating when you are super stressed

Stress is an unfortunate side effect of busy lives. The rushing, scrambling and pressure we put on ourselves means most people are dealing with some sort of stress in their day-to-day lives. While we can dream of a stress-free existence, the reality is it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. As such, we have to get better at managing it, so we can feel and perform at our best. The good news is, there are a number of easy ways you can manage and reduce the stress in your life with simple lifestyle strategies that will benefit both your physical and mental health.

1. Plan your meals

The simple act of taking 5-10 minutes each week to plan your meals in advance goes a long way in saving time, money and stress in busy lives. Planning your meals in advance means that you can shop just once or twice each week; then you do not have to decide what on earth you are going to have at 6 or 7pm each night and it ultimately saves plenty of hard earned dollars by not throwing away cash on meal deliveries each night. By preparing a large meal or two at least once each week, you create meals for 3-4 nights and baking a simple nutritious snack such as a healthy banana bread means you won’t have to worry about snacks either – check out our healthy banana bread recipe below!

2. Drink more water

With 70% of adults walking around dehydrated, and dehydration closely linked to an exaggerated experience of stress, drinking more water is the simplest thing you can do to help with day-to-day stress management. Always carry a water bottle with you, aim to drink at least 2 bottles of water each day and make water the drink of choice for your family by keeping chilled water on hand for the entire family to enjoy.  

3. Load up on your key nutrients

Keeping your nutrition on point is a no brainer when it comes to stress management. This means supercharging your meals with nutrient-rich superfoods such as fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds is the key to boosting your intake of omega 3 fats and key vitamins and minerals which help your body to deal with the stress. Specifically, Vitamin B6 found in relatively large quantities in bananas and wholegrains, plays a key role in helping the body deal with stress and as such are key foods you should incorporate into your diet every day. 

4. Prioritise sleep

When was the last time you had a solid 8 or even 9 hours sleep? Most people get far less sleep than they need, especially when they are exposing themselves to stressful situations multiple times each day which can deplete both our physical and mental energy. When you know that you are stressed one of the best things you can do to help your body manage and recover is to rest. This means no TV in the bedroom, no mobile phones next to the bed and ideally getting into bed earlier each day so you are getting more sleep in total. Not only does hormonal regulation improve when you are getting the rest you need, the more you sleep, the less likely you are to eat high calorie, high sugar foods when you are stressed. 

5. Get out into nature 

Busy lives mean we generally have less time to do the things we really want to do and taking control of the stress in our lives can simply come down to taking some time to regularly decompress from the daily demands of modern life. A proven psychological strategy to improve health and wellbeing is to escape the rush of modern life and be reunited with the wonder of nature. Whether it is a bush walk, swim in the ocean or drive to the country, you will feel reinvigorated as a result. Pack yourself a picnic and some healthy nutrient-rich snacks such as nuts, seeds and energy-rich bananas and head out for a day in the great outdoors. It will be the best medicine you can take! 

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

Should you eat foods raw or cooked?


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Should you eat foods raw or cooked?

When it comes to optimal nutrition there are several schools of thought in terms of whether it is best to consume certain foods raw, or cooked. Vegetables in particular are often discussed along with seeds and nuts as nutritionally superior when consumed as part of a raw diet. Then there are the recommendations that suggest foods cooked in a certain way increase nutrient absorption while others are inhibited. So if you are looking to get the most out of your food, here is your own guide about what to eat raw and what to eat cooked to get the most out of your food on a daily basis. 

As is the case with all areas of nutrition, it is not as simple as ‘cooked vs. raw’. In fact much of the eating process right from the first bite you take impacts the way we digest and absorb the nutrients found in various types of food. For example, when it comes to raw vegetables and salad, chopping and cutting them helps to increase the availability of nutrients by breaking down relatively tough plant cell balls – think skin of the capsicum and cucumber. In a similar way, crushing and chopping some foods may help to release different enzymes as is the case with onions and garlic. Even soaking some foods including beans may help to reduce the acids that inhibit the absorption of some other nutrients. 

Specifically when it comes to foods better consumed raw, it is the nutrients effected by heat – Vitamins B and C including folate are all easily destroyed at high temperatures which gives some rationale to consume foods rich in these nutrients including leafy greens, capsicum, broccoli, avocado and cauliflower raw. While these nutrients are heat sensitive, what is important to remember is that lightly heating the veges is unlikely to be a major issue as opposed to cooking at high temperatures and in fact, serving salad vegetables or cooking these veges with a little olive oil will actual increase nutrient absorption of other key nutrients. For this reason, there is benefits of eating a mix of raw and lightly cooked salad vegetables every day to tick all your nutritional boxes. 

Then there are the nutrients for which you will actually absorb more when they are cooked. While overcooking vegetables does tend to destroy certain Vitamins (think soggy, discoloured vegetables boiled in a pot) cooking tomatoes and carrots for example actually increases the quantities of the antioxidants lycopene and beta carotene. This is the case for any red/orange and yellow vegetables for which lightly cooking will help to break down the cell walls and increase nutrient availability. 

While vegetables and salad are the key foods targeted when it comes to raw vs. cooked, let’s not forget our proteins. Omega 3 fats found in oily fish are relatively stable raw or cooked but for any raw meat fans, or for those who like to add a raw egg or two to their morning shake, cooking these proteins helps to denatures the proteins found in these foods, making them much more digestible.

Meal plan like a pro!


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Meal plan like a pro!

If you are a regular user of social media, chances are that at some point you have been intimidated by the increasing number of images which detail fit looking peoples meal planning – the impressive images of perfectly packed lunch boxes, chopped vegetables and pre-prepared dinners which puts your fridge and lunch to shame. Never fear, it is very easy to organise your meals the exact same way the health gurus do with these simple steps. 

1. Make time to do it

When it comes to meal planning, most of us know how to do it, but rarely commit the hour or two meal planning needs each week to be successful. The key is committing to a time when you know you will do it – for some of us this may be Sunday but if you are busy and often out on a Sunday you may find that Monday nights is a better time to cook, shop and prepare for the week ahead. 

2. Get your containers sorted

It is time to take on your kitchen cupboards and find all the lids to your Tupperware containers, or invest in a few key pieces at the supermarket that you can use week in, week out to pack your fresh food in advance. The simplest option is to invest in a container of each size, for example a larger one for salads and a few small ones to pack fruit and nuts in but if you want to go all out, buy 5 of each sized container so you can pack all 5 meals and snacks for the week ahead.

3. Cook a couple of meals

When we see images of meals prepared in advance they generally include a hot lunch, along with a salad or vegetables then a couple of snacks. For this reason, cooking 1-2 meals that can be enjoyed as lunches such as frittatas, mini pies, chicken and brown rice or a vegetable bake is all you need to do each weekend to have the lunches ready for the week ahead. You can then pack and freeze them to be used as needed.

4. Add your vegetable or salad sides

Your preference may be cooked vegetables, cut up raw vegetables, soup or salad but whatever you prefer having them divided, chopped and packed in advance does mean that we tend to eat a whole lot more of them and also are less likely to waste the extra ingredients we do not use at the end of each week. Most vegetables will keep fresh once they are chopped and stored in a sealed container as will salad leaves. An alternative is to cook up an entire tray of roasted vegetables and then divide them into serves as these will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge or even longer if frozen and then reheated for lunch. 

5. Plan your snacks

The average person will need a couple of small snacks each day and protein rich snacks such as portion controlled serves of nuts, hard boiled eggs, Greek yoghurt and nut and protein bars , along with some fresh fruit for extra  nutrients and fibre. Packing your snacks in advance helps to structure your days eating, and avoids you seeking out high calorie options when you find yourself hungry at 3pm with no nutritious options on hand. Planning your snacks also helps you with your shopping as you then know you need so many individual piece of fruit or yoghurts or snack bars to be ready for the week ahead.

Take control of your nutrition this Autumn!


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Take control of your nutrition this Autumn!

With 6 weeks left until the Easter break, there is a good amount of time that can be dedicated to all things health and indeed taking control of our health before the tough Winter months are upon us is a great idea. The weather is still good, the days relatively long and if we work hard we can even strip down a few kilos before the Easter holidays. Here’s how you can do it. 

1. Commit to meal planning

It is nice to check out the images on Insta of all the fitness people mea prepping each Sunday but the simple act of prepping at least some of your meals and snacks each weeks goes a long way in keeping your calorie intake controlled. Try starting with one main meal, a large serve of vegetables and a homemade snack such as protein balls or banana bread and notice how much better you eat for the first few days of the week.

2. Get a buddy

If you struggle with motivation, committing to a new regime with a close friend is an easy and cheap way to improve compliance, muster support and make the whole idea of eating well and exercising a whole lot less boring.

3. Clean out everything

Committing to a new healthy lifestyle regime means cleaning out your old habits, your cupboards and even your life. It is a chance for a fresh start, to rid the old and make way for the new. This means setting aside time to not only clean out the fridge and your cupboards of all the foods you know you should not be eating, but also any old clutter which you know you will be better off without. 

4. Eat less often

Diets often focus on what we should eat and when, when really we eat too much, far too often. One of the simplest and most effective dietary strategies is to have a day or two each week of light eating. Soups, salads and protein to remind you what it actually feels like to be hungry.

5. Commit to a Kickstart

2 weeks is a good period of time to dedicate to a new dietary regime – it is long enough to see real results but not too long to become boring. For this reason we have developed the Shape Me 2 Week Kickstart for Autumn. With all the recipes, tools and meal plans you need to take control of your diet this Autumn. 

How to nutrient boost your daily nutrition


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

How to nutrient boost your daily nutrition

Modern life means that there are plenty of demands on the body’s energy systems – stress, long working days, commutes, the juggle of work and family, along with a poor diet can all contribute to leaving us feeling less than our best on a daily basis. The good news is that giving your diet a daily nutrient boost is as simple as adding a few key superfoods to your meal choices. You can often significantly increase your overall nutrient intake without even noticing!

Breakfast

As a general rule, there are those who enjoy breakfast cereal, and then there are those who are toast and eggs kind of people. If breakfast cereal is your thing one of the easiest ways to increase your nutrition is to add some fresh fruit such as a chopped banana or fresh berries to your cereal mix for a vitamin, fibre and antioxidant boost. If toast is your thing, simply adding some chopped veges to your avo or egg mix is another easy way to increase your nutrient intake. If you want to take it another step further, adding in some chia or nuts to your breakfast mix will also give you a dose of healthy and tasty fats.

Morning Snacks

If packaged snacks are your thing, getting into the habit of grabbing some fresh fruit or vege to go with your snack is an easy way to boost your intake of fresh food each day. Or if you are super organised, you can get into the habit of making your own healthy snacks each week such as banana bread (recipe below) or homemade protein balls.

Lunch

Whenever we pick up lunch on the go, generally speaking our intake of processed food and refined carbohydrates increases, while our intake of fresh vegetables and protein is on the low side. For this reason, keeping nutrient rich proteins such as tins of tuna, or hard boiled eggs on hand, goes a long way in boosting our overall protein intake. Just as important is our intake of fresh food each day and simple ways to boost our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables include; ordering salad on the side of meals, ordering a vegetable juice or banana smoothie to accompany meals, or taking some cucumbers or tomatoes to work to add to crackers, salads or sandwiches.

Afternoon snacks

Afternoon hunger means we need protein to keep us full and satisfied until dinner time and we often forget that nuts and seeds are not only protein rich but are also a rich natural source of the long chain plant based fats that have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. For this reason, a nut and/or seed based snack such as high protein bread with nut spread, a trail mix with fruit, seeds and nuts, or some homemade bites such as our banana nut bites (add recipe) are an easy way to give your afternoon snack a major nutrient boost.

Dinner

When it comes to dinner, the key thing to remember is that the more colour you can fit on your plate, the better. This means brightly coloured vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato, purple carrots and kale, cooked with extra virgin olive oil instantly offer you a nutrient boost of many key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Or if you find yourself eating out, make an effort to order extra vegetable sides to ensure that you do not miss out. When it comes to protein, seafood especially salmon and shellfish are rich sources of omega 3 fats and iodine, while meat eaters need lean red meat at least 3 times each week to get the iron they need to support optimal energy levels. And if you are craving something sweet after dinner, don’t forget that fresh fruit is the perfect sweet treat, especially if you dip a banana in dark chocolate and freeze it like I do – here you have a delicious ice-cream like treat with no added sugar.

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 1.26.51 pmRecipe: Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2/3 cup caster sugar

1 cup low fat milk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon light olive oil

2 bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

Method

1. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar in a bowl with mashed banana, vanilla essence, eggs, milk and oil.

2. Spoon mixture into loaf tin

3. Bake at 180°C for ~50-60 minutes, or until cooked through.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

Eat more salmon to build your superpowers!


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Tassal Salmon

Eat more salmon to build your superpowers!

You would be pushed to find a list of superfoods that does not include salmon at the top of the list. Superfoods generally get their title as they contain key nutrients in particularly high amounts and specifically salmon delivers on the definition of being ‘super’ thanks to its dense nutrient profile. As one of the most balanced sources of protein, rich in Omega-3, and range of B group vitamins Aussie families have lots to gain when they power their plates with salmon to support their health and wellbeing. Here are just some of the key superpowers that will be fuelled by adding salmon into the family’s diet regularly. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 6.40.22 pm1. Super Happy 

When it comes to mood-boosting, salmon is top of the charts. Make sure your family wakes up on the right side of the bed by eating their way to a happier state. Salmon contains long chain polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids; DHA and EPA have been shown to play a key role in facilitating cellular communication and enhancing brain function. Eating salmon regularly can help keep your family’s brains healthy and Super Happy by keeping brain cells flexible, allowing neurotransmitters to work more effectively.

2. Super Vision 

Delicious salmon is rich in vitamin B, vitamin-E and Omega-3 fatty acids, all which can help protect our eyes. Press pause on screen time and help revitalise your little one’s eyes with some delicious Tassie salmon for dinner. Rich in B group vitamins which can help slash the risk of cataracts and vision problems by about half, instead of relying on a visit to the optician, head to the supermarket and put some Tassal salmon in your basket for Super Vision! 

3. Super Strength 

Salmon is one of a select few foods that naturally contains Vitamin D and with a massive 30g of high-quality protein in a single serve, eating salmon helps ensures that your muscles have the Super Strength they need to perform at their best. Providing the power to help you and your family’s bodies perform to their highest potential every day. 

4. Super Healing 

A powerful superfood for super heroes big and small, the dynamic Omega- 3 fats act as potent anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce inflammation at the cellular level, which helps lessen muscle pain and soreness after exercise. Studies have shown the good fat balance found in fresh salmon offers the perfect natural remedy to help buffer the daily stress we put our body under and give yourself the power of Super Healing. Whether your family enjoys a game of backyard cricket or full of fitness fanatics, salmon is the perfect protein for every super hero. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 6.40.54 pm5. Super Sparkle 

Turn to salmon instead of buying various face and body creams. Jam packed with essential Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, to naturally help moisturise your skin, hair and nails from the inside out, help to protect against excessive sun exposure, as well as being a natural anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants we can consume, fighting off free radical molecules to help give our skin, hair and nails a Super Sparkle. 

6. Super Productive

Whether you’re a busy running around after your little super heroes or at your desk, your health is a priority and important you keep up with the demands around you. Super salmon is rich in B group Vitamins – B1, B3, B5, B6 and B12 – which helps keep our minds working efficiently and Super Productive., The B group Vitamins help connect the neurotransmitters which are essential for keeping your brain sharp, helping with alertness and concentration to get you powering through your to-do lists. 

7. Super Memory 

On top of being packed full of essential Omega-3 fatty acids which has been shown to help re-build brain cells, DHA’s found in salmon can also help slow cognitive decline by activating the acetylcholine transmitter for storage and memory recall. Salmon is also a rich source of B12 which studies have shown is associated with memory function and concentration. Whether your kids are learning their time tables or the science behind bee hives, fueling them with salmon can help ensure they work to their maximum potential. 

8. Super Sleeper 

We all need a sound sleep to help rejuvenate energy levels and avoid sickness after a long day of school or work. As if there weren’t already enough ‘super’ health benefits for eating salmon, the protein also contains vitamin B6, which promotes the production of the sleep hormone, serotonin, allowing little super heroes to switch off and restore their powers. Salmon is one of the key foods that boosts serotonin and being naturally rich source of the amino acids, salmon is the perfect food to fuel your Super Sleep! 

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 6.47.32 pm9. Super Play 

Fun and games are more than a chance to enjoy some time with the family. Play is serious business when it comes to a child’s health and development. Salmon contains Omega-3 fats, selenium, Vitamins D & E and potassium which are essential nutrients for growing children. To unlock the power of play, feed your family with Tassal salmon to help enrich thriving brains, bodies and social bonds. 

10. Super Immunity 

Feeling unwell is never pleasant so it’s wise to explore ways to boost your immune system to help ward off illness. Salmon contains selenium which help keep the immune system and thyroid working at an optimum level. Your body relies on selenium for many of its basic functions from reproduction to fighting infection, a single serve of salmon offers almost a third of your recommended daily requirement of this powerful nutrient. A great source of prevention to get your body as healthy as can be especially when under stress. 

It is these multitude of superpowers that make salmon consistently one the dietitian’s favourite superfoods. As a mum of 2, I feed my own family super salmon at least 2-3 times a week so my question to you is, are you getting enough super salmon to fuel your family’s superpowers?

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Recipe: Salmon Tacos

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

Serves 4 – per serve: 390 cals | 16g fat | 48g protein | 9g carbs | 8g fibre

Ingredients

4 Tassal Fresh Tassie salmon fillets, skin-off

10 corn tortillas, warmed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin powder

1 tsp ground coriander powder

½ tsp ground chilli powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

Pinch of salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 jar chunky tomato salsa

1 large avocado, deseeded, peeled and diced, to serve

Preparation Method

1. Place garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and combine.

2. Place each salmon portion into the spice mix, coating all four sides, and let sit for 15 mins.

3. Heat oil in a non-stick fry-pan and cook the salmon fillets for approximately 10 mins, turning once. Once cooked, gently flake salmon into a bowl.

4. Place a spoonful of chunky salsa, avocado onto warmed tortillas, add salmon and enjoy!

Drinking more water for a healthy, happy Summer


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Zip Water.

Drinking more water for a healthy, happy Summer

If there is one thing we need to talk about at this time of year, it is how important keeping well hydrated is when it comes to looking and feeling our best over the Summer months. Not only is party season in full swing but the climbing temperatures and humidity mean that we need more fluid than ever before. So here are the reasons why drinking more at this time of year is so important, and the easy ways you can reach your daily fluid targets.

To help boost your energy

One of the easiest ways we can boost our energy on a daily basis is to keep well hydrated yet many of us resort to coffee and energy drinks for anything but a natural energy hit. At this time of year when everyone is feeling a little tired and overwhelmed you will be surprised how much better you will feel when you aim to consume at least 1-1.5L of chilled still or sparkling water each day. 

To support weight control

New Year, New start and for many of us the beginning of a bright and shiny new year also means a commitment to eating well and exercising to help undo the sins of the silly season. Not only does drinking enough fluid help to control appetite but also supports a healthy digestive system after several weeks of heavy eating. For this reason aiming for 2-3L of fluid each day is a key aspect of long term weight control and more specifically weight loss when you are cutting back your calorie intake. 

To keep your skin clear

Late nights, lots of fat, salt and sugar and a lower than normal intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can spell disaster for our skin. Skin cells expose dehydration quickly and dull lack lustre skin is one of the first signs you need to up your fluid intake. Even more importantly keep in mind that if you like to enjoy the warm days outdoors you will need at least an extra litre of fluid to help compensate for the fluid lost in sweat. 

To offer a natural detox

Forget expensive pills and potions if the goal is to give your diet an overhaul at the end of the party season, all you need to do in order to give your body a natural cleanse to up your fluid intake. Plenty of water, vegetables based soups, juices and herbal teas is the easiest and cheapest ways to drop a couple of kilos quickly and safely, cleaning out the digestive tract and rehydrating your cells so they can work at their best. While water fasts are not recommended, a day or two of light eating with plenty of water will have you back to your best in a matter of days. 

To build a positive health habit

Positive daily habits are the key step known to facilitate good health and nutrition long term. When we make it a priority to keep well hydrated through the day, over time drinking water at regular intervals becomes second nature.  It takes time to build a new habit, at least 3 months and as such when building a new habit such as drink more water, reminders, prompts and visual aids such as keeping a reusable water bottle on your desk at work and in your car are strategies that will help to boost your overall fluid intake. And as we move into a New Year, investing in a Zip HydroTap at home is a proven way to support the entire family in drinking more filtered still and sparkling water each and every day. 

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here OR read how a Zip HydroTap® changed Susie’s life, here.

Healthy Summer Treats


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

Healthy Summer Treats

Summer celebrations and catch-ups with those closest to us mean that we are often in search of healthy sweet treats and snacks to share. The good news is that treats do not have to mean a complete calorie overload, rather it can be as simple as taking our favourite fresh fruits which are naturally sweet and teaming them with other nutrient rich foods such as nuts, dark chocolate and yoghurt, to create tempting yet nourishing treats to enjoy throughout summer.

Frozen fruit yoghurt pops

All you need is your favourite fresh fruits – banana, berries, grapes or mango, frozen with Greek or natural yoghurt, and made into individual protein rich ice blocks or yoghurt pots to enjoy as a light breakfast, afternoon snack or sweet dessert treat.

Protein Bites

You do not need expensive protein powders and special powders to make your protein snack bites! Simply blend some nuts or nut spread (such as 100% peanut butter) with dates or oats, and some soft fruit like banana, and roll in nuts or coconut for your very own fibre rich protein bites. 

Choc-Dipped Fruits

If you’re looking for a lower calorie, lower sugar alternative to chocolate dessert, you can take strawberries or banana, skewer and dip these into dark chocolate, and freeze to make your very own frozen fruit dessert. 

Banana Chips

Forget deep-fried potato chips and wedges. Make your own healthy option by slicing a hard banana into 1/2 cm slices. Place on baking paper along with a drizzle of lemon juice and bake in the oven at 200°C for two to three hours until crispy. Drizzle with a little honey for some extra sweetness. 

Banana Berry Smoothie

There are few things as refreshing as a fruit-based drink in summer and you cannot go wrong when you blend a banana with your favourite milk or yoghurt. An easy snack or light breakfast smoothie can be made when you blend a frozen banana, handful of spinach leaves and ½ cup of berries with a cup of your favourite milk and some ice cubes. A delicious icy treat! 

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

5 healthy snack recipes


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If you start the day early, train regularly or have a family of hungry, growing little people you will be very familiar with the struggle of finding tasty and nutritious snacks on the run. While there are some nutritionally sound  packaged options around, if your dietary preference is to make you own snacks, I thought it was a perfect time of year to share with you some of my favourite homemade bites and balls that are not only easy to make but a rich source of good fats, protein and fibre to help keep you and the little ones full for at least a couple of hours. While there are some of us who cannot have nuts at home, for those who can don’t forget that nuts and seeds are extremely nutritious and as such including them in the diet regularly is a great addition to our overall nutritional intake.

When it comes to the difference between morning and afternoon snacks, in general I aim for morning snacks to be slightly higher in carbohydrates – think crackers, homemade energy balls and banana bread while in the afternoon I focus on more good fat and protein to keep you satisfied throughout the afternoon. Here are 5 healthy snack recipes to try.

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 11.46.31 amCacao & Orange Protein Balls

gluten-free | vegetarian | vegan | dairy-free | egg-free

Serves 6 – per serve: 175 cals | 12g fat | 5g protein | 13g carbs | 4g fibre

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. cacao powder

Juice of 1 orange

Zest of 1 orange

Preparation Method:

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until ingredients have come together.

2. Roll 1 tbsp. scoops of the mixture into a ball. Place on a plate or tray and then repeat for the remaining mix.

3. Place the tray or plate of protein balls into the fridge to set until firm.

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 11.46.03 amCrackers & Nut Spread

vegetarian | vegan | dairy-free | egg-free

Serves 1 – per serve: 200 cals | 14g fat | 7g protein | 11g carbs | 2g fibre

Ingredients:

2 Vita Weat or Rye Cruskits

1 tbsp. Mayver’s Peanut Butter

Energy Juice

gluten-free | vegetarian | Low FODMAPS | dairy-free | nut-free | egg-free | wheat-free

Serves 1 – per serve: 200 cals | 1g fat | 1g protein | 24g carbs | 4g fibre

Ingredients:

1/2 cup spinach leaves

1/2 cup pineapple

1/2 cup No Added Sugar coconut water

1 small banana

2-3 mint leaves

1/2 cup ice

Preparation Method:

1. Blend ingredients for a delicious afternoon energy boost

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 11.47.36 amLemon & Coconut Protein Balls

vegetarian | vegan | dairy-free | egg-free

Serves 6 – per serve: 190 cals | 13g fat | 8g protein | 11g carbs | 3g fibre

Ingredients:

10 dates

1 cup Mayver’s Almond, Brazil Nuts & Cashew Spread

1 scoop vanilla protein powder of your choice

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup desiccated coconut + extra for rolling

Preparation Method:

1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix together.

2. Place the extra coconut on a plate then take 2 tablespoon scoops of the mix and roll into a ball. Roll in the extra coconut then place on a separate plate or tray. Repeat for the remaining mix.

3. Place in the fridge until firm.

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 11.47.18 amGreen Pea Hummus with Veg

gluten-free | vegetarian | vegan | dairy-free | nut-free | egg-free | wheat-free

Serves 4 – per serve: 100 cals | 4g fat | 3g protein | 3g carbs | 3g fibre

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen peas

1 tbsp. tahini

1 garlic clove

1/4 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. mint

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch of salt, to taste

4 cups of your preferred vegetables for serving (such as carrots, cucumber, green beans, red capsicum etc), cut into sticks.

Preparation Method:

1. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the peas.

2. Place the peas and all remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

3. Serve a quarter of the hummus along with one cup of vegetables for an afternoon snack.

*Susie is currently in partnership with Mayver’s, however the content above is based on Susie’s professional opinion of these products and is not sponsored.

Brain Foods For Kids


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The brain foods busy children need to fuel their school day

At this time of year there is plenty of talk of what healthy foods should be packed in school lunchboxes. Less often do we talk about the superfoods specifically linked to optimal cognitive function that will help keep busy brains at their best. So as we move into the start of another busy school year, here are my top 5 brain foods to help school aged kids learn, think and perform at their best every single day. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 12.10.10 pmAtlantic Salmon*

There are few foods that tick the brain power box to the extent that salmon does. Not only is salmon one of the richest natural sources of omega 3 fats which are intricately involved in brain functioning, but in addition the range of B group vitamins including Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 are individually associated with a range of key physiological functions including energy production, language development and memory. Ideally growing children need to include a rich source of omega 3 fats in their diets 2-3 times each week. 

Eggs

Not only are eggs a source of high biological value protein and a great filling breakfast option, they are also a good source of the vital nutrient choline. Choline has been shown to have a number of vital functions including optimal cell membrane function and neurotransmission which is linked to enhanced brain function. Serve them hard boiled, mashed on sandwiches or made into mini muffins or frittatas as handy snacks on the go.

MAYVERS-PB-SMOOTH-375g-1Nuts

Often forgotten as superfoods for children because of their link to allergies, for families not impacted by allergies the reality is that nuts are nutrient dense foods that have much to offer children and adults alike. With essential fats, including the plant sources of omega 3 fats, protein, fibre and micronutrients including zinc, adding a serve of nuts or 100% spreads* in your child’s diet when they can enjoy nuts safely at home is a no brainer. 

Blueberries

With exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, a single serve of blueberries a day adds Vitamin C and fibre to the diet for minimal sugars and calories. Of particular interest is that of all the berries, blueberries have been specifically linked to improved cognitive function. To keep them fresh in lunchboxes, try freezing them for a yummy snack. 

Green Leafy Vegetables

Not the easiest food to encourage small children to eat but whether it is broccoli, kale, spinach or bok choy you cannot go wrong when it comes to including leafy greens regularly in the diet of growing children. Rich in antioxidants it appears that the regular consumption of leafy greens helps to protect the brain against damage over time. Try blending leafy greens into smoothies if you have difficulty getting them into the diet of your little ones regularly.

*Susie is currently in partnership with Tassal Salmon and Mayver’s, however the content above is based on Susie’s professional opinion of these products and is not sponsored.

The best breakfasts on the go for busy parents


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With just a few weeks until the rush of the school year begins again, it is time to think of the quick and easy breakfast options to grab on the go. Plenty of children and teens still skip breakfast which mean that they are missing out on the key nutrients and energy they need to be at their best for a demanding day at school. So if you constantly struggle to identify the best quick and healthy breakie options for children and teens, here are my best picks.

1547430237222blobAldi High Protein Bread with Mayver’s Nut Spread and banana

High protein bread is an extremely nutritious food choice as it is packed full of grains and seeds and when teamed with a nut spread such as Mayver’s which contains no added sugar and you will have a perfect mix of good fats and protein. Add a banana in and you have the perfect quick breakie on the run.

Fruit Smoothie

All you need is your favourite milk of choice and some fruit and a blender or mixer and you have a healthy breakfast drink that can be ready in a few minutes. 

Yoghurt Tube

There is a wide range of yoghurt tubes you can find in supermarkets that target kids but few are low in added sugars. For smaller children Petit Miams are relatively low and Rafferty’s Garden make a No Added Sugar variety. For children aged 10 years and older, one of the Chobani or YoPro tubes are particularly high in protein.

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 9.46.57 pmBreakfast Bar

Now there are plenty of breakfast bars and biscuits on the market but there are not many that tick the right boxes nutritionally. Ideally you want a breakfast bar that contains plenty of fibre, wholegrains along with some protein. One particularly good option is the new Uncle Toby’s Breakfast Bakes which contain the same amount of protein as an entire bowl of oats

Protein Bites

If you want to get particularly organised you can make your entire weeks’ worth of protein breakfast bites in advance to grab on the way out the door – see recipe below. Alternatively BOUNCE and Smooshed both offer bites which stack up relatively well nutritionally.

Recipe

Banana Bites

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

2 large bananas, mashed

1 cup rolled oats, raw

1 cup Mayver’s Protein Peanut Butter

1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method

1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and peanut butter in a blender for 1 minute.

2. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.

3. Roll the mixture into small-sized balls in your hands.

4. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge.

*Susie is currently in partnership with Mayver’s and Uncle Toby’s Breakfast Bakes. The suggestions made in this post remain based on the individual nutritional profile of these products.