Binge eating vs. emotional eating


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There is a difference between binge eating and emotional eating

You know the feeling. It is an hour or two after dinner. You are watching your favourite reality TV show and suddenly you get the urge for something sweet – an ice-cream perhaps. Or maybe a few rows of chocolate. The urge is strong enough to see you get dressed again, and head to the corner store and buy yourself a treat. You deserve it. You have been good all day.

Or maybe your story sounds a little more like this. You have had a crap day and are heading home alone. Surely you deserve a little something so you buy one of those $3.00 blocks of Cadbury’s they always sell at the front of the supermarket. You also pick up the $1.99 Doritos. And after dinner you eat that block of chocolate. Oh and the Doritos too because you have had a bad day. And even that is not enough. You also polish off an entire packet of rice crackers and 2 bowls of cereal before you head to bed feeling sick, stuffed and pretty ordinary.

Often clients will report back that they have eaten large volumes of high fat, high sugar and high calorie poor quality food because they were emotional. They describe it as comfort eating and as such it is permissible – we all do it right? When we are feeling sad, or have had a bad day and once it is attributed to our emotions it is ok.

I am not so sure about that. There is a big difference between emotional or comfort eating and binge eating. A row or two of chocolate is comfort eating. Eating an entire block of chocolate in addition to hundreds if not thousands of extra calories on a regular basis is binge eating. Binge eating is a significant issue, and one that may need specific management.

Binge eating, unlike comfort eating is often planned. There is gross over-consumption of calories and eating occurs to the point of being ill. Food is often rapidly consumed with no attention to hunger or fullness and there is mental permission given to eat whatever is available, in unlimited volumes because of an external driver such as a ‘bad day’ or because of ‘hormones’.

Comfort eating on the other hand is seeking out a food because you really feel like it; it is consumed in a reasonable portion and eating one food does not give you permission to overeat a number of other foods simply because you have indulged in one. Comfort eating occurs occasionally and is not linked to gross over-consumption of calories simply because you have had a bad day.

Binge eating is usually a habit that has developed over time, and is often linked to an emotional state that triggers off a series of behaviours that lead to over-consumption. Like all bad habits, taking control of binge eating takes time and focus. The first step is the identification that binge eating is an issue for you. Next it is changing the environment and stimulus so a) you do not have the tempting foods on hand and b) so you take yourself out of the environment in which the binge usually occurs. And finally, if your own attempts to stop the binging fail, you may need to see someone professionally to help take control of this issue, for good. 

Struggle to eat healthy when things get too busy for you. Here are 5 ways to ensure you always eat well, no matter how busy you get!

8 common food myths busted!


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

In this day and age, everyone is a nutrition expert and indeed nutrition information is everywhere, with multiple experts telling us what we should and should not eat. Yet despite the influx of information, there remains several beliefs out there that are simply not true! So here are the most common food myths and the actual scientific truth behind them.

Fruit is high in sugar so should be avoided

The anti-sugar brigade has been lecturing us about the toxicity of fructose for a number of years, and of course one of the richest sources of fructose in the diet is from fresh fruit. While fruit does contain the sugar fructose, it also contains plenty of fibre and key nutrients and many thousands of years consumption would tell us that a couple of pieces of fruit a day will do no harm. On the other fruit based snacks, juices and dried fruit are all concentrated sources of fruit sugars and as such can be easily over consumed and linked to weight gain long term.

Nut milks are better for you than dairy milk

Nut based milk is generally only a good choice nutritionally if you cannot tolerate dairy milk or prefer not to drink it. The key nutrients we get from milk are protein and calcium and it is important to remember that almond milk contains literally none of either of these. Some non-dairy milks have a little calcium added, but again it is much smaller amounts than is found in dairy, or soy milks for that matter so if you do choose nut milk, make sure you get your calcium from somewhere else.

If you often feel hungry and unsatisfied, here are some of the reasons why and the key foods you can focus on to keep full and satisfied.

Eggs increase cholesterol

Possibly the most commonly held nutrition belief is that eggs, as they contain cholesterol, in turn increase blood cholesterol levels. Not true. Rather it is our dietary fat balance, calorie intake along with individual genetics that will determine if you have high cholesterol. The good news is that you can enjoy an egg or two as part of a nutritious diet daily without cause for cholesterol concern.

Olive oil should not be heated

No, in fact, the antioxidants in olive oil help protect the oil from oxidising when it is heated. Yes you will get the best results from olive oil when it is used in dressings or for roasting or baking but it does not turn carcinogenic when it is heated as commonly thought.

Lettuce and celery have negative calories

While salad vegetables including cucumber, lettuce and celery contain very few calories per serve, there is no such thing as foods that burn more fat simply because you eat them. This is not to say that they are not a good choice as you could literally eat as much of these water rich salad vegetables as you like with no risk of weight gain.

Raw vegetables are better than cooked ones

This really depends on the type as some nutrients become more concentrated and bioavailable when they are cooked. For example the beta carotene content of carrots increases when carrots are cooked as does the lycopene content of tomatoes. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables can have some of their key nutrients destroyed when exposed to high temperatures so these are best consumed raw or lightly cooked.

Skim milk contains sugar

A shift toward more natural eating has seen health enthusiasts keen to consume their foods in as natural a state as possible. It is often argued that skim milk is more processed than full cream milk, and that skim milk contains more sugar, which is not the case. The truth is that full cream milk contains more fat and more of the naturally occurring sugar lactose than skim milk.

Bananas are not a good choice for weight loss

Bananas, like all fruit are a nutrient rich food and are a rich source of fibre, Vitamin B, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates. Bananas like all fruit is a natural source of good quality carbs and as such can be included in the diet as would any other types of fruit without any concern. If anything bananas are a great food choice when your goals is weight loss as they offer a naturally sweet food, that is also rich in fibre which will help to keep you full in between meals and fuel your body for regular exercise.

Bananas also make a great choice for breakfast. Read more about why here.

Do infants need Vitamin D?


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Vitamin D for Infants

When it comes to key nutrients and their importance in pregnancy, breastfeeding and for optimal growth and development in infants and toddlers we often hear about iron, calcium and omega 3 fats. Less frequently mentioned is the importance of mums and bubs getting enough Vitamin D, a nutrient that a significant number of Aussie adults, children and infants are lacking despite living in the ‘sunny’ country.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed in the body, and is involved in the absorption of calcium in the body and as such low Vitamin D levels in the body can cause issues with bone development. Low levels of Vitamin D are also linked to delays in motor development, muscle soreness, fatigue and long term the development of a number of diseases including some cancers, heart disease and neurological dysfunction as we age.

Adults get 80% of their Vitamin D from sunlight. In recent years, Vitamin D deficiency has become more common in Australia as we proactively spend less time in the sun; cover up with sunscreen and clothing, and work longer hours in office environments. Up to 25% of Australian adults have low Vitamin D levels.

The issue for pregnant women, new mums and infants is that when an adult female starts a pregnancy with low Vitamin D levels, and then goes on to breastfeed an infant, there is less and less Vitamin D available for a new baby. As such health professionals are seeing more and more infants and children will low Vitamin D levels.

While you can get some Vitamin D from foods including egg yolks, oily fish such as salmon and some types of mushrooms, in general our intake of such foods is relatively low. Indeed, some types of spreads, milks and even orange juice may be fortified with Vitamin D, but again these are not foods likely consumed by infants and small children.

It is for this reason that supplementation with Vitamin D is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mums to ensure both mum and baby have access to the amount of Vitamin D needed to maintain both optimal stores for themselves and for bone development. In addition to supplements many toddler milks, including Bellamy’s Organic range, are fortified with Vitamin D. If you are unsure of your own Vitamin D status, it is a good idea to have it checked by your GP so you can manage your own supplementation accordingly.

Susie is a consultant to Bellamy’s Organic. Bellamy’s do manufacture toddler milk. These are her own views on the use of toddler milk as both a paediatric dietitian and as a mum. After working with Bellamy’s and through her own research, she has come to appreciate the benefits of toddler milk drinks and the role they can play in a toddler’s diet, particularly toddlers who are fussy eaters. This is not to say that toddler milk is for everyone, it is simply one nutrient rich option that can play a role in the diets of toddlers.

Susie is a consultant to Bellamy’s Organic. Read more about her partnership with Bellamy’s Organic here.

5 reason why you aren’t losing weight when you have PCOS


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Why you are not losing weight when you have PCOS

PCOS is a challenging condition to diagnose and then manage. More specifically, the weight gain that often accompanies PCOS is rarely as simple as calories in vs. calories out. Rather it requires a specific balance of nutrients, meal timing and calorie adjustments to see both initial and long term weight gain. So if you have PCOS and are not sure why the kilos are not budging, here are some of the common reasons why.

1. Your carb intake is too low

Yes it is generally important to reduce your total carbohydrate intake when you have PCOS, but there is not one set prescription for each person. This means that some girls may need more carbohydrate than others to effectively lose weight, especially if they do not have a lot of weight to lose, and / or they are training regularly. Often girls drop their carb intake to as low as 20% of total calorie intake via diets that exclude all vegetable and cereal carbs. A better option is to choose lighter, nutrient dense carbs such as sweet potato and corn, and time them according to when you are most active.

2. You are ‘good’ some days but binge on others

Diet results are all about consistent. No diet needs to be perfect but it needs to follow a relatively healthy pattern overall. This means ditching the ‘all or nothing’ approach to weight loss and aiming to keep on track most of the time, rather than being on your diet some days and then completely off it. When binges become occasional treats, that is when you will take control of your diet and achieve slow but sustainable weight loss.

See the 5 things you need to know about your everyday diet when you have PCOS here.

3. You are exercising but not moving

Getting to the gym each day is great, but if you spend the remainder of the day sitting down, therein lies your issue. Increasing heart rate via high intensity activity will improve insulin sensitivity and burn a significant number of calories in the short term, but moving at least 10000 steps each day will burn more calories overall, each and every day.

4. You are lifting too much

Resistance training is fantastic, but when you have PCOS, along with insulin resistance, changes are you already have a significant amount of muscle mass. Resistant training regimes that take the place of cardio can result in muscle gain over time, which will in turn result in weight gain on the scales. Now you may be leaner, but you will also be heavier, and few women want that. For this reason, periods without resistant training, or mix sessions that also combine cardio will be best when your goal is weight loss on the scales. 

5. Your calories are not right

You may be eating too few calories on some days for example only 1200 when you spend an hour at the gym, or too many if you sit down all day but when your calorie intake is not right for you, nothing will happen on the scales. The average female will need 1400-1500 calories if they are exercising for 1/2-1 kg weight losses each week but as low as 1200 if they are not exercising, or up to 1600-1800 if they are lean and burning 400-600 calories training. There are no rules, it is about finding the right mix for you

Struggling to lose weight when you have insulin resistance? Read 5 reasons why you might be struggling with your weight loss here.

Women’s health and hydration


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This is a sponsored post.

Our health is our most valuable asset – not only does it determine how we feel and perform on a daily basis but long term maintaining optimal health is the key thing we can do to support longevity and prevent chronic disease. Yet often our health comes second to the daily demands of busy modern life, especially for busy women. So if you know your health deserves a little more of your time and energy, here are some of the key areas to focus on.

The most powerful step you can take towards lifelong health is to try and keep your weight as controlled as possible. The scary reality is that even without trying Australian adults are likely to be gaining weight every single year simply due to our relatively inactive lifestyles and the abundance of food we have in our lives. To avoid being a victim of gradual weight gain, weigh yourself regularly to keep on top of any weight fluctuations. Limit your alcohol intake and make sure you have at least two alcohol free days each week. Eat more vegetables and salad every day, aiming for at least 5-7 serves each day and commit to exercising at least 3-4 times each week.

It may surprise you to hear that despite Aussie’s having access to an abundance of fresh food that nutritional deficiencies are surprisingly common. Up to 1 in 4 Australian women have low iron levels, which can leave you feeling extremely fatigued, susceptible to infection and breathless. Low Vitamin D levels are also common, as more people spend less and less time in the sun. Low Vitamin D can again leave you tired, lacking energy and prone to infection. Other essential nutrients at this time include zinc for hormone production, essential fatty acids for nerve function and overall cell health and iodine to optimise metabolism.

If you then translate these key nutrient requirements into key foods to include in your diet at this point in your life, it is easy to start to tick all your key nutritional boxes. Start on the right foot by making sure that if you are a meat eater you are eating some lean red meat at least 3-4 times each week. This will ensure that you are getting the iron and zinc you need for optimal energy production. Next include omega 3 rich fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines or snapper in your diet each week as well as handful of nuts at least every second day. A regular intake of nuts and seafood will ensure that you are getting your essential fats on a daily basis. And then, once you are eating properly, remember to get out and spend a few minutes in the sun each day to get the hit of Vitamin D that you need for lifelong health and wellbeing.

ZIP_WinningAppliances_10.12.16_72Finally, the simplest step you can take towards keeping your body at its best is to make sure you keep well-hydrated. At any one time, up to 70% of us are dehydrated. Dehydration can result in us feeling tired and lethargic; our reaction time and response to stress is hampered and our cognitive capacity is reduced. In busy lives in which we are constantly trying to keep many balls in the air, not drinking enough leaves us at a daily disadvantage. There is no secret to drinking more water – it simply needs to become a daily habit. Start by always keeping a water bottle with you and aim to drink at least 2 bottles of still or sparking filtered water each day. Serve chilled water with meals and alternate alcoholic drinks with water when eating out. Or, to make your home environment conducive to good hydration, consider installing a Zip HydroTap which will mean you have easy access to filtered still or sparking water every day, which in turn means the whole family will drink more. An investment for your health is the best investment you can make.

Read how a Zip Hydrotap changed Susie’s life, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

5 easy ways to eat healthy when you are busy


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Do you know anyone who is not busy? Chances are you and those people around you are constantly trying to stuff more and more into already full schedules leaving you feeling tired, overwhelmed and lacking energy. The first things to suffer when we are overly busy are our diet and exercise habits, as we revert to quick and easy options, or in the case of exercise skip it altogether. So here are some easy ways to eat healthy even when you are crazy busy.

1. Have convenient options handy

For times you do not have time to shop and meal prep, the next best option is to keep a supply of quick and easy meal and snack options on hand to grab on the run. When we pick food up at food courts, fast food chains and service stations it can be hard to find the protein and vege rich choices. On the other hand, meal replacement shakes and bars, protein balls, pre-cut vege packs, packet soups and even healthier frozen meal options will be nutritionally superior to fast and takeaway food and help to keep your calories controlled.

2. Order in

One of the biggest barriers to eating well is simply not having the food on hand you need to eat well. Forget spending an hour or two out of your schedule each week to shop and buy groceries, utilise online options which can deliver meal packs, your shopping or even snacks to your home or workplace.

Lunch time is often a case of eating on the run or grabbing things quickly and even when you try and pick healthier options, it could be coming unstuck for you. Here are 5 ways you could be getting your lunch wrong.

3. Know the better options

One difference between nutrition professionals and the average person is that they know what to choose when they must pick up food on the run. So a good starting point in case you do need to grab a meal or snack quickly is to know that you can get a burger without the bun; you can find chicken strips and a salad and some sashimi or a plain stir fry can all be reasonably healthy options.

4. Know your filling options

When we do not have meals and snacks ready to go it can be easy to grab a snack here, and a drink there and before you know it you have eaten much more than you even realise. A better option is to fill yourself up with a larger meal, say big protein smoothie or eggs for breakfast, or a large lunch that will keep you full for several hours rather than seeking out more meals and snacks when you know you will not have time to.

5. Remember your water

When we are not eating well, chances are you will not be drinking anywhere near as much water as you need. Good nutrition starts with good hydration so if you can manage little else make an effort to drink plenty of water and herbal tea throughout the day and until you get to your next decent meal.

In need of a quick and easy recipe you can whip up for lunch or dinner? Try our Easy Salmon Salad recipe, here.

How many serves of vegetables per day? Why 2&5 should actually be 10 a day.


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Why 2&5 should actually be 10 a day.

Of all the public health and nutrition messages out there, 2&5 has been one of the most successful – many people know this as the number of fruit and vegetable serves they should consume each day and while consumption data indicates that very few of us actually achieve this target, it is not for lack of knowledge, mostly likely accessibility and other life priorities. What needs to be remembered is that this number is derived from scientific studies investigating the minimum number of serves of fresh fruit and vegetables we need for disease prevention. Not for optimal health. And when it comes to eating for optimal health, longevity and disease prevention it is more like 10 serves of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, similar to that consumed in Mediterranean countries that is the gold standard when it comes to health and nutrition. 

Research performed by the Imperial College in London has reported that consumption of  800g, or 10 portions of fruit and veges was associated with up to a 30% reduction in heart disease, stroke and premature death. These finding support those known for many years that people living a largely plant based lifestyle and who eating lashings of fresh produce live longer and have much lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer than the Western world. Overall these diets are higher in fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins and lower in calories. 

And while there are key differences between fruits and vegetables – fruits contain significantly more natural sugars and calories than the majority of orange, red and leafy green vegetables, this study found that all types of fruit and vegetables were good choices. In particular, apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were found to be be specifically linked to reductions in disease risk.

So if we are to adopt a message of 10 per day,how on earth are we to do it, especially given that only one in 20 Australians currently eats enough vegetables. Put most simply vegetables need to become a key part of all our meals – it does not matter if we eat them cooked or raw, just that we eat them. We need vegetables with our eggs in the morning, or at least a vegetable juice. A salad or side of vegetables at lunch and we need another 2-3 cups at dinner. And we need to make them taste good, as when they taste good with sauces, dressings and seasonings we eat more of them. Forget superfoods, paleo, quitting sugar and juice cleanses. Living longer is as simple as eating more vegetables and to a lesser extent fruit. 

Get more vegetables into your day with these easy ways to increase your vegetable serves each day without noticing.

Make a super start to your day


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The way we start our day is the way we will finish our day. So when it comes to committing to a healthy lifestyle that allows us to be at our best, we want to start the day right. Unfortunately, as we get older, ongoing tummy discomfort can become a challenge. The good news is that some simple lifestyle changes may be all that is needed to help you feel lighter and more active on a daily basis. To help you achieve your health and wellness goals in 2017, Metamucil has developed the Feel Super with Metamucil Wellness Plan, in partnership with Fernwood Fitness, which is packed full of movement, mindfulness and nutrition advice, to help you maintain digestive peace and be your best self each day.

Tummy troubles can develop for a number of reasons. Stress, a poor diet, intolerances that develop over time and fatigue are just some of the reasons our digestive system may not be functioning at its best. And our health can suffer as a result. As we learn more about the importance of maintaining a healthy digestive system, we come to understand that so much about the way our immune system works, and the way we feel, comes down to the health of our digestive tract.

Consuming enough of the right types of fibre is an easy way to keep your digestion running smoothly. Yet the average Australian generally falls short of their daily fibre intake thanks to busy lifestyles, buying quick and easy meals on the run and not getting enough fresh fruits and veggies. Consuming enough dietary fibre is crucial for digestive health. A high fibre diet will also help to manage blood cholesterol levels as well as help us to feel lighter, and more active each and every day.

Untitled design (1)If you know that you need to improve your digestive health, and that you probably don’t get enough dietary fibre in your diet, an easy way to give your body the good quality fibre it needs is to start the day with your own daily glass of super, Metamucil. Metamucil is a multi-health fibre supplement made from 100% natural psyllium, known for its digestive health benefits. Enjoyed as a supplementary drink (just add to water) or in a tasty smoothie such as our Banana Breakfast Smoothie, incorporating a daily serving of Metamucil acts as a daily cleanser for your insides and is an easy way to give your digestive tract the help it needs.

Digestive health and daily wellbeing is not only about what we eat – it is about our total and holistic health which incorporates our daily movement and the way we nurture our minds. Busy lifestyles can mean that exercise and movement fall by the wayside contributing to us feeling tired, overwhelmed and stressed. But the good news is, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to achieve sustainable lifestyle balance. Simply incorporating more walking into your day, along with a few stretches or a regular yoga class are effective ways to get back in touch with your body. Regular movement is also an important part of keeping your digestive system functioning optimally.

And let’s not forget the importance of looking after our busy minds. Stress can play havoc with our minds and our tummies, which is why actively incorporating stress management strategies into our day is a key aspect of total mind and body wellness. Again this does not have to be difficult or require a lot of time. It is as simple as remembering to take time out to breathe deeply. It’s about practicing mindfulness so you can focus and stay in the moment rather than constantly worrying about the little things outside of the ‘now’. And finally, it’s about actively looking for ways to add more positivity into your day with simple mindful exercises such as keeping a journal or starting and finishing each day with a few minutes of meditation.

So, if you and your tummy are in need of a reboot, the Feel Super with Metamucil Wellness Plan will help you to look after your tummy, mind and body. Remember – good health starts with healthy digestion.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.30.44 PMRecipe: Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ banana

1/2 cup baby spinach leaves

1 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tsp. chia seeds

1 dose (1.5 tsp.) Metamucil Natural Daily Fibre Supplement

1 cup of ice

Method

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

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Metamucil and Shape Me.

Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fibre from psyllium husk, as in Metamucil, may lower cholesterol levels. Reductions in cholesterol may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease

Dosage varies on desired benefit. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional

5 steps to take when your diet isn’t working


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Most days I will get an email or text from a client upset or frustrated that they are not losing weight. Understandably if you are trying hard, eating less and moving more without the scales moving no wonder you are feeling frustrated. Unfortunately weight loss is not always a matter of calories in versus calories out, it can be impacted by a number of factors many of which we do have control of. So if your goal is weight loss, here are 5 steps to take when your diet isn’t working.

1. Check your compliance

Often we think we are following something but it is not until we actually keep a record of everything we eat and drink and record it in a calorie monitoring app can the extras, or sometimes too few calories being consumed be determined. In many cases we are eating larger portions than we think or changing the meal plan slightly by missing meals or snacks which can result in too few calories bring consumed. 

2. Be prepared to change things around

Weight loss is not an absolute science, sometimes it will require you to try different things to get results. So rather than getting frustrated and angry when you are not seeing change on the scale, the best thing you can do is see it as a challenge and explore ways you may be able to adjust your food and / or exercise to initiate a change.

3. Be realistic

Often we get frustrated when we have not lost more an a kilo or two each week but the reality is that even with a strict calorie control and exercise the average person carrying weight will only lose 1/2 -1kg a week. If you have insulin resistance, or PCOS this can be as low as 1-2kg a month as significant metabolic changes have to occur for fat loss to be induced.

4. Move more

Most of us do not move enough and when it comes to weight loss a exercise class is unlikely to be enough. Chances are you are going to have to  move at least 10000-12000 steps per day and exercise to get weight loss of 1-2kg a week.

5. Consider other factors

Even when your food and exercise is perfect, if you are stressed, have hormonal issues, are taking medication or are not sleeping a lot weight loss will be hard. There is a right time for everything and sometimes when you already have significant life stressors at play it is simply not the right time to concentrate on weight loss. 

5 steps to an anti-inflammatory diet


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This is a sponsored post.

It may come as a surprise to hear that our diet not only plays a key role in the way we feel on a daily basis but it also influences our risk of developing a number of  chronic diseases including some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Even the way our skin, joints, hair and body looks is impacted by the daily diet choices we make. Unfortunately in modern life, with significant amounts of stress, poor diet choices and high intake of caffeine, fat, sugar and alcohol our bodies are in a chronically inflamed state, and over time inflammation causes damage to the cells that leads to a number of chronic diseases. While this may all sound a little depressing, the good news is that an anti-inflammatory diet, or a diet that focuses on the key foods that help to reduce inflammation naturally in the body are favoured in place of the foods known to actually increase inflammation is the key to help your body look, feel and function better on a daily basis. So if you know your body is not at its best; or have high cholesterol or aching joints, it may be time to put these simple steps into action.

1. Get your balance right

Some types of fat increase inflammation in the body, while others actively reduce it and the key to getting the right balance of fat in modern diets is to choose the right mix of foods every single day. Ideally we need 2-3 serves of omega 3 rich food such as oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and chia every single day. In addition we need a couple of serves of monounsaturated fat via avocado, almonds and olive oil. Ideally we will also keep our intake of processed vegetable oils to an absolute minimum by avoiding processed and fried foods and get our saturated fats from a little meat and dairy. Many of us fail to get this balance right as we do not eat enough oily fish, and as such supplementing your diet with fish oil is the way to go.

2. Load up on fruits and vegetables

The brighter the colour of the fresh fruit or vegetable, the higher the antioxidant content is likely to be and the more antioxidants we consume naturally as part of our daily diet, the better it is for the health of our cells long term. Countries with the longest lifespan and the lowest prevalence of chronic disease are known to consume 7-10 serves of antioxidant rich fresh fruits and vegetables every single day. This means a vegetable juice for breakfast; a large salad or serve of vegetables at lunchtime as well as ½ a plate or bowl of vegetables at night as well as a couple of pieces of fruit every single day.

Did you know a surprisingly high number of people have a fatty liver? Learn how you can help build a healthy liver here.

3. Add in your superfoods

Green tea is one; beetroot juice another as are walnuts, salmon and pumpkin seeds. Foods that are naturally high in specific nutrients known to have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits in the body.

4. Cut the sugars and refined carbs

Sugar along with processed fats and refined carbohydrates such as white breads, white rice and processed potato send blood glucose levels soaring which in turn increases inflammation in the body. If you are serious about cutting your risk of developing these diseases, cut them from your diet completely, especially liquid sugars found in soft drinks and fruit juices. Liquid sugars store fat in the liver more readily than other types of carbohydrate and are closely linked to increased inflammation in the body.

5. Add in any supplements that can help

CoQ10 is known to promote cell health as is fish oil and other antioxidants including grape seed. If you suffer from the effects of inflammation such as chronic pain, insulin resistance and fatty liver, adding concentrated sources of key nutrients may too help to improve your natural anti-inflammatory response and help you to feel better each and every day.

To learn more about D&X product range including where to buy them, click here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for D&X. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

Foods that will make you feel full


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

Foods for Fullness

Is there anything worse than feeling hungry? Unlike thirst which is a relatively weak sensation, unsatisfied hunger can drive us crazy, resulting in us seeking and eating foods that we never usually would to satisfy us. Indeed when clients describe themselves as feeling constantly hungry it can be an indication that their baseline diet is lacking in some of the essential nutrients that help to keep us full. So if you often feel hungry and unsatisfied, here are some of the reasons why and the key foods you can focus on to keep full and satisfied.

The foods that inundate our diets in modern, busy lives give much insight into why we eat a lot more than we once did. The influx of processed snack foods made using refined starches and sugars – white bread, fruit juices, pastries and refined grains and cereals – are all foods that contain far less fibre than their more natural counterparts, as well as carbohydrates that are more rapidly digested. This results in fluctuating blood glucose levels and subsequent hunger. These foods can also be consumed quickly, require minimal amounts of chewing and see us hungry again an hour or two after eating them.

What are the best foods to eat when you are training? Click here to see.

As a general rule of thumb, the more natural a food is, the higher the fibre content, the longer it will take to digest. Take a banana for example; a whole piece of the fruit contains at least 3g of fibre and just 100-120 calories, but when fruit is juiced you generally consume more than double the number of calories and sugars, minus the fibre when consumed whole with the skin intact it is a relatively low calorie, high fibre food. The same can be said for a potato – when mashed, or made into chips, we remove some of the fibre, often add fat and wonder why potatoes are suddenly making us fatter. -. As such, for fullness fresh is always best.

The other important factor linked to fullness is the way we eat, often finding ourselves grabbing a bar or snack on the run and consuming it quickly. When we eat this way not only do we often forget we even ate the snack but these types of processed snacks are generally made with refined carbohydrates and contain minimal amounts of protein, and as such are digested very quickly. Instead if we actually sit down and enjoy a nutritionally balanced snack such as a banana with Greek yoghurt or a handful of nuts, a snack that contains some slowly digested carbs along with plenty of fibre and protein, you will find yourself full for at least 2-3 hours – hunger crisis diverted. For this reason, nutrient balance is crucial when you are planning your snacks and meals. Check out our list of filling snack foods to help you avoid extreme hunger through the day.

It may also be helpful to know that the average Australian eats far less dietary fibre than they should. Ideally we need 30g of fibre every single day to keep our bowel healthy but also to feel full and satisfied after our meals and snacks. To get this amount of fibre every day you need to choose wholegrain bread and cereals; enjoy 2 pieces of fresh fruit a day as well as at least 2-3 cups of salad or vegetables – check out our fibre counter to see how much you are getting each day.

Top 5 filling snack foods

• 1 banana and ½ cup Greek yoghurt + 1 tbsp. nuts or seeds

• 4 wholegrain crackers with cheese and tomato

• Wholemeal banana muffin

• 20 mixed nuts + Piece of fruit

• Cut up vegetable sticks with 3 tbsp. hummus

Food | Fibre Content

½ cup peas / beans | 3g

2 Weetbix | 3g

1 banana | 3g

½ cup berries | 2g

½ cup All Bran Flakes | 4g

1 slice wholemeal bread | 2g

1/2 cup baked beans | 8g

1/2 cup white pasta | 1g

1 cup wholemeal pasta | 5g

See Susie’s earlier post on which fruit is healthiest, here.

How to start the year right.


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This is a sponsored post.

Over the next few weeks you are going to see a lot of articles and blogs written on New Year’s diets, quick weight loss and detox programs. So if you are looking to overhaul your diet and lifestyle in 2017 here are the quickest and easiest changes you can make to your diet to drop a few kg quickly and help reset your health in no time.

Clean out the fridge and cupboard – now!

If there are tempting treats and sugary snack foods in sight, you will eat them. If you are serious about getting your diet and lifestyle on track in 2017, you need to keep all the healthy foods you need on hand to eat well, minus the temptation. So get organised, get shopping and get a ready supply of healthy foods on hand to help you eat well.

Look for natural ways to boost your health

It may be taking a fish oil capsule to help reduce inflammation in the body; a liver supplement to help you recover from the silly season or some grapeseed oil to give you an antioxidant boost but starting the year with the right regime of supplementary health products is an easy way to give your health a boost and complement your busy lifestyle.

Read more on fish oil and how it can help you, here.

Base 1 meal a day on vegetables

Whether this equates to a vege juice to start the day; a large salad for lunch or a vegetable soup for dinner, simply replacing one meal a day with a low calorie vegetable based alternative you will drop 200-300 calories out of your day without noticing which will support 1⁄2 – 1 kg weight loss a week.

Just 3 meals a day – no snacking

Unless you are training for more than an hour a day, or start work before 8am, chances are that you will only need to eat 3 times a day. Often we snack out of habit not hunger, and as such take in an extra 400-500 calories a day, just on snacks alone. Shifting your food intake to 3 good, filling meals will not only help to regulate your appetite so that you are really hungry for your meals, but it also helps to control the release of the hormone insulin which is involved in fat metabolism long term.

Did you know a surprisingly high number of people have a fatty liver? Learn how you can help build a healthy liver here.

Include a protein rich breakfast

Basing your first meal of the day around protein rich foods such as Greek yoghurt, eggs, cottage cheese or lean meat which offer 15-20g protein per serve appears to help regulate the release of the hormone insulin, which in turn appears to regulate appetite. Not only are these protein rich foods also rich in nutrients, but they will help to prevent the sugar cravings that kick in at 10-11am after a breakie of cereal, toast or fruit.

No food 8pm – 8am rule

It may surprise you to hear that just having a 12 hour break without food overnight may help you to lose weight. Late night meals can mean we eat lightly the next day and shift our calorie intake towards the second half of the day, when we are least active. Make a concerted effort to eat your final meal each day by 8pm at the latest and notice how much more you enjoy a filling breakfast the next day.

To learn more about D&X product range including where to buy them, click here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for D&X. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

5 reason why you aren’t losing weight when you have insulin resistance.


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So you have insulin resistance – why are you not losing weight?

Weight loss is difficult at the best of times. Not only does it require focus and commitment, but nagging hunger, especially in the early stages of changing your eating habits is challenging to deal with. If you also have insulin resistance, it becomes even harder. Insulin is perhaps the most powerful hormone in the body. It controls fat metabolism. This means if your insulin is not working properly, your ability to successfully burn body fat will be impacted. Welcome to the world of insulin resistance. So if you have IR, and are having trouble successfully shifting the kilos, here are some of the reasons why.

1. You are not getting the right amount of carbs

Carbohydrate is the primary fuel for the muscles and for the brain. Insulin breaks down carbohydrate and allows it to be burnt as energy. As such when insulin is not working well, as is the case with IR, it makes sense that we need to cut back on our carb intake. This is where is becomes all about the balance – too little carb will halt fat metabolism, as will too much and unfortunately there is no magic number for all people. Your carbohydrate needs will differ depending on the degree of IR you have; your activity levels and how much weight you have lost already.

2. You are getting too many calories

When we cut back on carbs we have a tendency to eat larger serves of protein rich foods and overdo the good fats courtesy of nuts, oils, spreads and avocado. While carbohydrate control is important with IR, so too is calorie control. The number of calories you need will also differ based on how much activity that you do. Individuals with IR will also need fewer calories than a person with IR as their cells are less efficient at burning fuel.

For more on what you need to know about diet when dealing with insulin resistance, click here.

3. You are exercising but not moving

Often when we get the gym we are so proud of ourselves that we then actually sit down more and burn fewer calories throughout the day than if we had gone to the gym. While exercise that gets your heart rate up and works the muscles is an important aspect of managing IR, so too is being on your feet and moving at least 10000-12000 steps each day.

4. You are eating at the wrong times

Insulin management requires regular amounts of carbs and proteins spaced throughout the day. This means that small breakfasts and lunches followed by an evening of snacking, even if you calories remain controlled will not support weight loss.

5. You need medication

For some people, no matter how much they diet and exercise their insulin remains elevated. High insulin levels will block fat loss which is why some people will need medication to help manage their insulin levels. To determine if this is the case you will need a GTT with insulin levels ordered by your GP. 

Try on of our Shape Me insulin resistant recipes, such as our Spring Lamb with Walnuts & Beetroot, here.

Heart health. Keeping your heart healthy.


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*This is a sponsored post*

Keep your heart healthy this February

With February being the month for all things love, romance and big red hearts, it is also an opportune time to talk about heart health, or more specifically the foods known to keep our hearts healthy. When it comes to heart health, Australians are not doing overly well. Heart disease remains our biggest killer yet many cases of heart disease could actually be prevented when the right lifestyle factors are targeted. So if you do have high cholesterol or blood pressure, or simply want to eat better to help lose a few kilos, here are some of the best foods for the heart.

Olive Oil

While we hear much about the wonders of coconut oil, the truth is that when it comes to looking at the research that supports the health benefits of any particular oil, you cannot go past olive oil. Great for the skin, with exceptionally high levels of powerful antioxidants that help to protect our cells from damage and as an addition to any meal to help boost satiety fullness, olive oil has one of the highest proportions of monounsaturated fat and lowest proportion of saturated fat of all the cooking oils available. Often considered a poor choice for cooking at high temperatures, the truth is that the high quality of olive oil means that it can be used in most dishes with the exception of deep frying, as well as used as a flavoursome dressing. The fresher the olive oil, the higher the antioxidant content so replace your olive oil every 2-3 months. Also keep in mind that ‘light’ varieties are not lighter in fat or calories and spray varieties lack the nutrient quality of fresh oil. Research suggests that including as much as 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day will help you to reap the many health benefits

Legumes

Legumes or beans have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years with cannellini, kidney and borlotti beans featuring regularly in a range of cuisines including Mexican, Italian and Lebanese. All beans are extremely nutritious containing a mix of low glycaemic index carbohydrates, dietary fibre and protein; their relatively high protein content making them a popular meat substitute for vegetarians. The soluble fibre found in beans has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels and beans also contain high levels of B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium as well as folate. While legumes are often used as the base of meals for vegetarians, beans can also be used in range of meals including mince, soups and salads for extra bulk and an extra nutrition hit. And best of all, legumes are extremely cheap, making them a most economically addition to any meal.

Oily fish

Oily fish including fresh salmon, sardines, tuna and snapper is an excellent source of the heart-healthy omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA have profound effects on heart health, ranging from decreasing triglyceride levels — an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease — to reducing the risk of sudden death from heart attacks by almost 50 percent.

Nuts

We should eat a serve of nuts every day for a healthy heart. Yes, it is true – nuts are very good for us. In fact, a 30g serving a day is actually linked to weight control long term. Unfortunately, as is the case with many things in life, more is not better and knowing that nuts are good for us does not mean we can eat them in unlimited volumes. In fact, we only need 30-50g of nuts each day to reap the numerous health benefits. Nuts, like seeds and grains are relatively high in fat with a small serve providing between 20-30g of fat in total. The good news is that the fat found in nuts is predominately unsaturated, the type of fat that contributes to optimal cell health, the fat which helps to regulate a number of hormones as well as improving good cholesterol levels. When it comes to which type, walnuts stand out as clear winner. Walnuts are known as a “super food” as they contain exceptionally high amounts of the long chain polyunsaturated fats. For this reason, individuals with high cholesterol can reap many benefits of adding 10 walnuts a day to their daily diet prescription.

Vegetables

When the diets of cultures who have the lowest rates of heart disease are examined it becomes apparent that fresh fruits and in particular vegetables have a huge role to play. Specifically studies investigating the dietary patterns of those from the Mediterranean have identified including a massive 7-10 serves of brightly coloured vegetables in the diet every single day is a key component of this diet linked to specific health benefits. Not only do vegetables add a hearty dose of antioxidants and fibre to the diet, they are exceptionally low in calories which means they play a key role in weight control. Even better serves them with olive oil to help promote nutrient absorption.

Water

ZIP_WinningAppliances_10.12.16_72Often forgotten for the specific roles water can play in our health, research published in the Journal of Epidemiology has shown a specific link between a high daily intake of water and a reduced risk of heart attack. In fact makes who consumed more than 5 glasses of water each day had almost a 50% lower risk of having a heart attack while women who drank 2 glasses of anything other than water had almost 3x as high a risk of having a heart attack. A diet that includes plenty of water is linked to better dietary practices, an increased feeling of fullness and lower blood pressure. Even more reason to load up on the clear stuff.

Hydration plays a major role on how you perform through the day, both at home and at work. Read more here.

And the one we do not need to worry about

Eggs

Eggs do not increase blood cholesterol levels. Old science told us that the cholesterol we consume in foods (animal foods contain cholesterol) increased blood cholesterol and we now know that is not the case. Rather genetics, the total calorie and fat balance in the diet will determine if food patterns increase blood cholesterol levels. So how many eggs should we consume each week? Given that eggs are an extremely nutrient rich food (with at least 11 key nutrients) adding a couple to your daily food repertoire poses no issue and may even support weight control thanks to their high protein content thought to help control insulin levels and appetite.

Read more about why drinking more water can be the easiest way to lose weight, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

Infants and junk food


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Why are we feeding our kids so much crap?

If you have spent any time in a shopping centre, or at a park that mums, nannies and prams inundate at 9 or 10am each morning, chances are you would have noticed that our small children seem to eat a lot more than they used to. Babychinos, biscuits, dried fruit and rice snacks fill tiny plastic containers as carers continually feed their young ones in an attempt to pacify them so they can enjoy their skim capp in peace. You have probably also noticed that the foods small children are eating are not always so healthy. Potato chips, juice, cordial, cakes and sweet biscuits frequent the snack boxes of small children a lot more frequently than they should. No longer are these foods an occasional party treat.

New research published by the University of Melbourne has confirmed what observation was suggesting. The study followed the diets of more than 450 infants until they reach 20 months of age. Not only were 1/3 of the children not meeting the dietary guidelines for key foods that supply important nutrients for growth and development including meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables but there was an incredibly high intake of ‘junk’ foods. Alarmingly by the time infants were just 18 months of age, 18% were eating hot chips, 27% sweet biscuits and 16% lollies and chocolates more than twice a week. It appears that these high fat and / or sugar and high calorie foods are no longer party foods, rather foods that parents routinely feed their children, even at this young age.

Struggle with the balance of a healthy lunchbox and one they will also actually eat? See Susie’s breakdown of what a well balanced lunchbox should look like here.

While there is always the argument that it is better for kids to get used to eating treats so they do not feel deprived, there is a major difference between treats being used as occasional treats, once or twice each week and these foods becoming part of the regular diet of small children, often in place of more nutritious food options. Contrary to popular opinion, small children do not need a lot of food, which means these treats quickly form the basis of their diets. At a time when young children are also learning about the types of foods that we need to eat to keep healthy on a daily basis, sending the message that these are everyday foods is setting them up for a lifetime of poor eating habits. In addition, programming the taste buds of small children to seek out exceptionally sweet and salty foods is again teaching them to seek out these flavours, flavours and tastes that will always be preferred over bland vegetables, grains and proteins.

At this point in time when more than ¼ of our children have weight issues, there is no sugar coating it. Parents have to get serious and stop feeding their kids so much crap. This also means that they too probably need to eat a lot less crap. We need to stop feeling like we need to constantly need to reward and treat our kids with poor quality food. Because ultimately it is only them who suffer.

Struggle with a fussy eater? Susie’s eBook Your Kids, Their Food can help you learn to manage a fussy eater without compromising on their nutrition. Available now for just $14.95. Click here to purchase.

5 things you may not know about sparkling water


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*This is a sponsored post*

Things you may not know about sparkling water

We all know we need to drink more water to be at our best on a daily basis but if plain still water is just not your thing, what about sparkling water? Is it as good nutritionally as regular water and is there any other issues to be aware of if sparkling is your preference? The good news is that sparkling water offers a number of health benefits and if it helps you to drink more filtered water in general, it can only be considered a good thing.

1. Sparkling water may help with indigestion

Forget pills and potions, the tiny bubbles and mix of minerals found in sparking water is one the easiest ways you can quickly reduce digestive discomfort and indigestion. It appears that the gas found in sparkling water helps to move food through the digestive tract, which in turn helps to alleviate abdominal discomfort quickly.

2. Sparkling water may help your skin sparkle

Used throughout Asia for this very purpose, it is thought that the carbon filled bubbles of sparkling water help to tighten and firm the skin; reduce puffiness and help to remove dead skin cells. To gain the benefit simply use some sparkling water with your evening cleanser to wash your face, mixing both sparkling with a little warm still water. Who would have thought that good skin starts in the kitchen!

Read more about why drinking more water can be the easiest way to lose weight, here.

3. Sparkling water can help to aerate foods

For anyone who likes their pancakes fluffy, their tempura batter light or anywhere else you see water added to a recipe, swapping it for sparkling water will help to create a light, fluffy effect thanks to the addition of the carbon bubbles of sparkling water because pancakes and pikelets can never be too fluffy!

4. Sparkling water can brighten your dull vegetables

As you focus on your New Year’s Resolution to eat more vegetables, let’s be honest, there is nothing less appealing than some soggy, boiled vegetables on a plate. Give your vegetables a whole new lease of life by simply plunging boiled vegetables into sparkling water after cooking to help them hold their colour. Sparkling water helps to reduce the chemical process that results in a loss of chlorophyll and carotenoid (the colours) of the vegetables.

5. Sparkling water helps you to keep your heart healthy

One interesting study published in the Journal of Nutrition has examined the impact of women drinking a litre of sparkling water each day and found a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels. While the exact mechanism that explains this outcome is not fully

understood, it appears that the minerals in sparkling water have numerous benefits on fluid balance and liver function. And if choosing sparkling means that you will drink more in total, there are only weight and health benefits associated with that so drink up!

Read how a Zip Hydrotap changed Susie’s life, here.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Zip. Read more about her partnership with Zip here.

Help! My child won’t eat breakfast


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The best breakfasts for kids who won’t eat breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – chances are you have heard this before. Specifically when it comes to weight control, hunger management and helping with attention and concentration, breaking the overnight fast is a key dietary habit to establish, particularly for our kids. And now it seems we have another key reason to make sure your kids do not leave the house without breakfast. Recent research from the University of Cardiff has shown that primary school aged children are twice as likely to do better at school when they consume a nutrient rich breakfast.

The study examined the dietary habits of more than 5000 children aged 9-11 years from 100 different schools who listed all the foods they consumed over a 24 hour period, which included 2 breakfasts. The study found that students scored 50-100% higher on assessment scores when breakfast was consumed. Even more specifically, the quality of the breakfast was another significant predictor of performance with nutritious foods including wholegrains, dairy and fruits linked to better performance whereas treat style breakfasts of biscuits, potato chips and sweet treats, as reported by as many as 20% of children had no link with better academic performance. So yet another reason to nag your slightly defiant primary schoolers to eat something decent before they head out the door.

The good news is that you do not necessarily need to sit the family down over a hot breakfast every day to reap these academic benefits. Good nutrition can also be quick, easy and child friendly once you know the right mix of foods.

Struggle with the balance of a healthy lunchbox and one they will also actually eat? See Susie’s breakdown of what a well balanced lunchbox should look like here.

Top quick and easy breakfasts for non-breakfast fans

Breakfast drink

Whether it is a glass of milk or a fruit smoothie, rest assured that milk is a nutrient rich breakfast choice that will be more than adequate in fuelling a young brain for a few hours until recess or fruit break. If you are super organised, a vege / fruit smoothie is extremely nutritious but even a simple glass of milk will do the trick.

Toast with avocado or peanut butter

Simply teaming a wholemeal or wholegrain slice of toast with a protein rich topping such as cheese, peanut butter or avocado creates a breakie combo that is significantly more nutritious than toast with sweet spreads and while peanut butter may be a concern at school, if your house does not need to be nut free, 100% nut spread is a highly nutritious food.

A tub of Greek yoghurt

While fruit yoghurts can be packed with sugar, Greek yoghurt is much higher in protein and can be found in convenient squeezie tubes and consumed on the way to school. Another idea is to freeze Greek yoghurt with a little fruit to create a breakfast ice-cream on a stick.

A couple of crackers with cheese

Who said breakfast has to be toast or cereal? Nutritionally a couple of wholegrain crackers teamed with a cheese slice or stick is a good mix of low GI carbs and protein offering similar nutrients to that of a small serve of breakfast cereal whilst remaining a quick and easy option to eat on the way to school.

Breakfast baking

Who does not love a bit of baking and kids are no different. If you like to get into the kitchen you could do a lot worse for breakfast than a fruit muffin or homemade banana bread, particularly when recipes utilise eggs, wholemeal flour, fruit, nuts and seeds. And these can even be frozen and kept for emergencies when cereal or toast is flatly rejected.

Struggle with a fussy eater? Susie’s eBook Your Kids, Their Food can help you learn to manage a fussy eater without compromising on their nutrition. Available now for just $14.95. Click here to purchase.

Updated post: Packaged snacks for kids


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Of course fruit, dairy and homemade snacks are always the best option when it comes to lunchbox fillers but let’s be honest, there are plenty of parents who buy packaged snacks for their kids. So, if you do, here are some of the better packaged snacks for kids that I see on the market.

LCM’s Oaty Bubble Bars

With 25% less sugar than original LCM’s; just 100calories per serve and 2g of fibre, if you want to avoid fights with your kids but still give them a snack that is relatively low in sugars, you will find they like this one.

Sunbites Air Popped Popcorn

With <80 calories per serve, 2g of fibre and no added sugars, popcorn is a great lunchbox choice.

The Happy Snack Company Kids Roasted FAV-VA beans

With a perfect mix of protein and fibre, minus the sugars of many snack foods, these tasty morsels come in a variety of flavours and are a much better option nutritionally then potato chips.

Struggle with the balance of a healthy lunchbox and one they will also actually eat? See Susie’s breakdown of what a well balanced lunchbox should look like here.

Milo Energy Snack Bars

With <5g of added sugars, just 80calories and almost 2g of fibre, this popular brand combines some nutrition with a child friendly product.

Freedom Foods Caramel Crunch

One of the very few gluten free, nut free snack bars that comes in at just 80cals, is low in sugars and has a massive 4g of fibre per bar.

ARI Bars

In the health food section, a low sugar, gluten free bar option for <100calories.

Cobb’s Popcorn

Another popcorn option.

Milo Starz

Another 80 calorie snack choice with a relatively low amount of sugar compared to traditional biscuit style snacks for kids.

Uncle Toby’s Fruity Bites

Individual sized portions of breakfast cereal that combines wholegrains and fibre in <80calories and 5g of sugars.

Not sure what to give the kids after they come home from a long day, tired and cranky? For Susie’s list on her top after school snacks, click here.

The best foods to eat for training


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

If you train regularly, at the gym, with a PT or by yourself, the last thing you want is for your nutrition post training to be undoing all of your hard work. Similarly, if your goal is to bulk up and help build muscle tissue, what you eat immediately after your session is crucial to ensure you reach your training goals. So if you are unsure about what you should be eating when to satisfy your workout goals, here is your ultimate guide to help you choose the best thing to eat after exercise.

Before your workout

It is a common belief that not eating before your workout will help to maximise fat metabolism, but unless you are going for a light walk, you will train harder for longer and as such, burn more fat in total if you take a small amount of carbohydrate (20-30g) on board before your workout. Carb rich options that are easy to digest include a banana or a couple of plain crackers.

For morning workouts

As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you eat in the morning, the better it is for your metabolism. This means that even though you may have been taught to wait an hour until you eat after training to optimise fat loss, it is actually better to eat straight away to fuel your depleted muscles and get your metabolism pumping. If your goal is fat loss, a protein rich breakfast with 1-2 serves of carbohydrates should fuel you for at least another 2-3 hours. Good options include a protein shake with a banana, eggs on wholegrain toast or Greek yoghurt with fruit and a couple of tablespoons of wholegrain cereal. If your goal is to gain lean tissue, aim for a 500-600 calorie meal such as an omelette with brown rice or wholegrain toast as well as a protein shake with milk or fruit to boost your calorie, protein and carbohydrate intake to support muscle growth.

See Susie’s previous posts for Australian Bananas, including ‘Are bananas a good choice for breakfast? Yes!’ here.

For afternoon workouts

Afternoon workout sessions can be tricky as on one hand you do not want to spoil your dinner by overeating after training but sometimes it can still be an hour or two until we eat our next meal. If you will be eating your evening meal within an hour of your session ending, and your goal is fat loss, you are fine to wait until dinner to eat. For hard sessions of 30 minutes or more, include at least half a cup of cooked carbohydrate such as sweet potato, corn, quinoa or brown rice at this meal to help you recover adequately before your next session. If it will be another hour or two until dinner, to avoid experiencing ravenous hunger an hour or so after your session, grab a light 150-200 calorie high protein snack with a small amount of carbs to keep your blood glucose levels regulated. Good options include a nut based snack bar, a banana and a handful of nuts or a couple of wholegrain crackers and a slice of cheese. On the other hand, if your goal is muscle gain, regardless of when you will next eat, adding another 300-400 calorie meal immediately post training will help to provide extra calories and carbs crucial for muscle growth. Good options include a shake with milk and a banana for some carbs, brown rice with tuna or a chicken sandwich.

For evening workouts

Exercising after your evening meal has a number of metabolic benefits including helping to reduce post meal blood glucose levels but often we are then left with hunger right before bed. As not to undo all of your hard work but overeating at this meal, if you are peckish before bed and your goal is fat loss keep your snacks small and protein rich. Good options include a small serve of 10-20 nuts, a couple of crackers with a slice of cheese or a banana. On the other hand, if your goal is to gain muscle mass, another 200-300 calorie meal before bed will support weight gain. Try Greek yoghurt and a banana or a couple of slices of toast with tuna or cottage cheese.

The best frozen meals


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The ever expanding frozen meal section of the supermarket would suggest that we have less time to prepare meals than ever before. The issue with such wide variety is that it makes it very difficult to decipher what is a nutritious choice that supports weight control. While most frozen meals promote some kind of health benefit whether it is ‘a healthy choice’, ‘lean’ or ‘high protein’, in many cases the ingredient list can reveal products packed with fillers, preservatives and very little in the way of actual vegetables and lean protein. As a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better when it comes to frozen meals. Most importantly, options that have a relatively high proportion of protein rich foods and vegetables rather than consist mostly of rice and pasta are among the best choices. So to save you some time at the supermarket, here are 5 of the best frozen meals that offer a nutritious, calorie controlled and relatively cheap lunch or dinner option if you are time poor.

Lean Cuisine Pots of Goodness Spanish Chicken

With almost 20g of protein, 12g of fibre, good fats via the addition of seeds and 2 ½ serves of vegetables these handy pots make a nutritious light dinner or lunch option. Another strong indicator of the quality of this meal is the high proportion of vegetables (44%) along with very few ingredients which would deem the product overly processed. All varieties in this range are strong nutritionally but this variety stands out.

Michelle Bridges Beef and Tomato Casserole

Of all the meals in this range, this option stands out thanks to its especially low total carbohydrate (22g) and high protein (26g) content per 375g serve. With a massive 10g of dietary fibre and a relatively low sodium content, this fibre rich meal ticks a number of positive nutritional boxes.

Healthy Choice Protein Plus Italian Baked Chicken

One of the few varieties in this new higher protein range that is not packed full of carbs. With 29g of protein and 29g of carbs per 380g serve this is a well-balance, calorie controlled meal choice. A good volume of vegetables also adds 9g of fibre per serve. The couple of downsides are that the sodium content is relatively high and the ingredient list shows added salts and thickeners. Despite this, the meal itself is well balanced nutritionally.

Lean Cuisine Balanced Serve Beef in Red Wine Sauce with Garlic Mash

Most of the varieties in this range have a rice or pasta base at the expense of veges and protein but this option with just 280 calories, 14g of protein and 30g of carbs is one of the better options. The ingredient list is not as clean as that showcased in the Lean Cuisine Pots of Goodness range and the vegetable content is much lower but this remains a relatively food, calorie controlled lunch or light dinner option.

On the Menu Angus Roast Beef

Available at Coles, this inconspicuous range has a couple of simple meal options that are not specifically marketed as healthy options but which still tick a number of positive nutritional boxes. This roast option is low in fat, high in protein with a couple of serves of vegetables all for just 300 calories and minimum added salt.

Alternatively, for quick and easy (and nutritionally balanced) recipe ideas, check out some of my favourite Shape Me recipes here.