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.

Coaching yourself to a more fulfilling 2019!


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Some of you may be aware that over the past 7 (yes 7!) years I have been completing a Masters in Coaching Psychology. I originally studied psychology as part of my undergraduate studies and always planned to continue study in this area. Fast-forward 10 plus years and I began this Master’s degree part time and have slowly been completing it. My final subject was a research piece on self-control and its role in the self-regulation of behavioural change. My long term plan is to continue with research in this area as I find exploring the underpinnings of behavioural change to support goal attainment fascinating, and of particular interest working with people in the area of behavioural change on a daily basis in my work as a dietitian. 

So where to now? This is the first step in a planned gradual career shift into the world of coaching. Coaching is the process in which a coach and a coachee engage in a relationship that seeks out goal attainment for a coachee. Here a coaches role is to guide the coachee through the cycle of change utilising a series of evidence based steps and interventions to facilitate goal outcome. Unlike pure dietetics work in which my role is to be the expert in providing dietary advice, a coach is not an expert, rather a partner in the change process. While a dietitian can behave as a coach to a certain extent, a coach is also able to work across a range of life or work areas in which one seeks change, hence an expansion to the services I will be offering at my clinic in Bondi Junction.

In addition to my dietary practice, I now also offer coaching sessions. Here I am able to work across a range of life domains – work, relationships, personal growth, health and fitness, career change, life satisfaction to name a few areas in which you have a specific goal, or for which you are seeking support in making change. Coaching sessions generally occur over a series of several weeks. Working with a professional coach can be an enjoyable, enlightening, sometimes challenging but generally fulfilling experience. I find it extremely gratifying as a professional working with individuals and helping them to achieve goals they have for themselves and their lives and I am really looking forward to continuing to expand my work in this area. 

I will be seeing clients in Bondi Junction on Thursday afternoons and evenings so please get in touch if you feel like some professional coaching could help you to achieve your goals in 2019.

My Summer Superfoods


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My Summer Superfoods

Super Salmon*

Often named as one of the dietitian’s favourite superfoods, it is the especially high natural omega 3 content of salmon that gives it its top rating when it comes to being a superfood many of us need to eat a whole lot more of. A single serve of salmon contains your daily recommended intake of omega 3 fats but salmon is also especially rich in good quality protein and a number of key nutrients including Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, selenium and key antioxidants known to support eye health. Enjoyed lightly cooked with salad or vegetables; marinated or even smoked with your favourite breakfasts, aiming to include salmon on your weekly menu at least 2-3 times will boost the whole family’s nutritional intake.

Leafy Greens

Green vegetables – kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, and beans to name a few are rich sources of key nutrients including potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium and in particular a number of powerful antioxidants. Green veges, enjoyed both raw and cooked contain a range of nutrients known to play key roles in cancer prevention and ideally we need to consume at least 2 serves of green leafy vegetables every single day to reap the numerous nutritional benefits. Think kale or spinach added to your favourite breakfast juice or smoothie; lightly steamed or stir fried broccoli or spinach with your evening meal and a serve of salad or soup at lunchtime.

Extra Virgin 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. 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 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

Nut Spreads

A serve of nuts each day is associated with weight control and offers the body a number of essential nutrients including Vitamin E and the plant sources of omega 3 fats. For adults and also children who have no issues with nut allergies, a serve of nut spread such as Mayver’s 100% peanut butter (with no added sugar) is an easy way to get a daily dose of these good fats that are often forgotten in busy peoples diets. Think a tablespoon of 100% nut spread on protein bread for a filling breakfast; on crackers as a filling snack or served with vege sticks for a tasty. Protein rich snack for both adults and children.

Stonefruit

While fruit can be thought of as high in sugar, consuming natural fruit sugar in moderation is no cause for concern. In fact, with just 50 calories per serve, no fat and 2-3g of fibre per piece, whether your preference is a peach, plum, nectarine or apricot, you cannot go wrong. Packed full of fibre, Vitamins A, C and E, stonefruit is a nutrient dense food, perfect for a sweet hit while the short stonefruit season lasts.

*I am currently working with Tassal Salmon, however this is not a sponsored blog post and all thoughts included in this blog post are my own.

School Holiday Snacking


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

School Holiday Snacking 

If the school year has not finished for your family already, the end is only days away and for parents this means many, many hours of time that need to be filled to keep children busy over the next 6 – 8 weeks. At this time of year there is always plenty of food around and one of the issues with this is that boredom, spending more time at home and extra screen time can result in plenty of extra eating. While snacking is an important way busy growing children get all the calories and nutrients they require for optimal growth and development, it is possible to snack too often, especially when there are plenty of treat style foods lying around. So here are some easy ways to tackle school holiday snacking the right way these holidays - 

1. Have set meal times

Children, especially primary school aged children respond well to rules and routines. For this reason, maintaining meal time structure even during the holiday period will help to naturally control food intake and limit snacking. This means breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Planning snacks in advance and even getting kids involved in preparing them, is a great activity to keep kids occupied. Some child friendly snacks that kids can get involved in preparing include banana bread or muffins, banana pops and banana bites (see recipes below).

2. Factor in treats

Throughout the holiday period, there are mountains of treats waiting to be consumed – the chocolates, lollies, stockings and leftovers that are exceptionally tempting especially for little people. In order to avoid a complete sugar overload, a fun way to manage your child’s treats this festive period is to factor in a one treat per day rule. Here children have control over what they are consuming, but parents remain in control of the volumes. 

3. Not in front of a screen

Eating meals and snacks in front of a screen is a recipe for disaster when it comes to mindless munching, which can lead to overeating long term. For this reason even though it is a holiday time, always encourage children to stop what they are doing to sit and enjoy their meals and snacks at a table without distraction. This makes each eating time an occasion, distinguishing it from other activities and is an opportunity for conversation and fun at the table. 

4. Always carry a healthy snack with you

When you are out and about, things can go off track nutritionally when you find yourself with hungry kids and no options other than processed snack foods for them to munch on. If you make a concerted effort to always leave the house with a healthy snack on hand – a banana, protein-based snack bar or some cut up vegetables, it will be much easier to keep your family’s healthy eating on track. 

5. Make food fun

Enjoying good quality food with friends and family is one of life’s most simple pleasures. Often busy lives mean that meal times become a constant battle. When we keep in mind that sitting down to enjoy a meal or snack together should be a fun and pleasurable time, it takes away some of the stress associated with eating. Get kids involved in making their food, plan fun meals in advance and take time out each day to enjoy one another’s company. This ways kids learn that there are certain types of foods we eat at certain times, and have the opportunity to learn good eating habits from their parents in a relaxed environment. 

Banana Bites

Serves 15-20

Ingredients 

2 large bananas, mashed

1 cup rolled oats, raw

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method 

1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates 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.

Banana Pops

Serves 12

Ingredients

2 x 170g tubs of Chobani Greek or Coconut Yoghurt

24 dark chocolate bits

6 small bananas cut in halves

Method

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Dip each banana in yoghurt and add 2 eyes using dark chocolate bits.

3. Place in the freezer to set for around 1 hour. 

Banana Bread 

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2/3 cup caster sugar or low sugar alternative such as Baking Blend

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, eggs, milk and oil.

2. Spoon into loaf tin and bake at 180°C for ~50-60 minutes until cooked through.

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

Sweet Cravings – What Do They Mean?


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

Sweet Cravings – What Do They Mean?

Cravings – the experiencing of wanting something so badly that it is literally all you can think about, and generally ends with a block of chocolate or tub of ice-cream being eaten in one sitting. Since there is no such thing as perfect eating, succumbing to an occasional food craving is not a big deal, but when we are feeling that our cravings are controlling us then it may be time to take control. So, if you are feeling like your cravings are a little out of control, here are some easy steps to take control.

While specific food cravings like the ones experienced during pregnancy may be due to hormonal shifts, more commonly cravings result from the food habits we develop over time which ultimately program our brains to seek out different tastes and flavour sensations. A classic example of this is when we regularly enjoy a sweet treat with a cup of tea, or after our evening meal. Once this pattern becomes entrenched over weeks, months and years, the brain will be looking for this sweet sensation whenever you revert to that same eating scenario and environment. This means that when you find yourself having a cup of tea at a similar time of day; the brain will continue to seek out the sweet stimulation, which will in turn drive the craving. 

Such cravings are largely behavioural and can easily be broken when we work to alter the neural pathways that we have previously established. An example of this would be doing something entirely different after dinner such as going for a walk or having a shower. In fact, a study published in the journal ‘Appetite’ found that a significant number of participants lost their craving for chocolate when they had to go for a walk before they could indulge. Another simple option is to create a new habit by enjoying a sweet but healthy food after your meal to try to avoid the craving altogether. Some good options include fresh fruit such as chopped banana, a little frozen Greek yoghurt, or some low sugar jelly or custard. 

A key thing to remember to help you manage your cravings, is to never feed a craving with more of the same type of food as you are likely to excite the brain and continue to eat far more than you need. The foods we most commonly crave – ice cream, chocolates, cakes and potato chips, all have a rich taste and mouth feel along with a particularly strong flavour, whether it be sweet of savoury. Behavioural research has repeatedly shown that the more intense the flavours we are exposed to, the more we can eat and hence our explanation for polishing off an entire bag of potato chips or tub of ice-cream. Instead, try and limit yourself to a small quantity of the food you are craving before you change the taste in your mouth whether it is via a cup of green tea, iced cold water with a lemon slice, or sugar free mints and gum. And of course, brushing your teeth is a time proven technique! 

Most importantly is the psychological approach we take to our cravings. If we deal with our cravings as if they are in charge of us, and we keep rewarding ourselves with the exact types of foods we are trying to cut back on, cravings will continue. If though, we work towards accepting that cravings will come and go and manage them via proven strategies including distraction, a change of environment, or simply waiting a brief period of time before you indulge them, you will be surprised how quickly they disappear. 

Finally, if you need a sweet hit, there are plenty of healthy sweet options to satisfy your urges – a frozen banana dipped in a little chocolate; a few squares of dark chocolate paired with nuts or banana and nut spread on high protein bread will go a long way in satisfying the cravings, minus the fat and calories of many other indulgent treats. The trick is to have your healthier snacks prepared and ready to go when the cravings strike like these delicious banana bites - 

Recipe: Banana Bites

Serves: 6-8 

Ingredients

2 large bananas, mashed

1 cup rolled oats, raw

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method

1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates 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 a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

How much sugar is your child drinking?


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This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Thermos.

How much sugar is your child drinking?

As the temperature heats up, so too does our need to drink enough fluid to keep hydrated. Hydration is particularly important for children, as they do not cool their bodies as efficiently as adults, and are less likely to recognise when they are thirsty. So as we move into another hot Aussie Summer, here are the most common fluids we offer our kids and what they are actually getting when they drink them. 

Milk

Milk is a nutrient dense choice of fluid but unlike water contains a significant calorie load. For this reason, including 3 serves of dairy which may include milk does form part of a balanced diet but you can consume too much. In fact consuming more than 500ml of milk each day once your child reaches the age of 12 months is linked to a number of issues including iron deficiency. For this reason a small glass or two of milk is no issue as part of a balanced diet but it cannot be consumed freely. A small glass of milk contains 10g of sugars which come from the naturally occurring sugar lactose. Flavoured milk on the other hand contain up to 30g of sugars and as such should only be consumed occasionally.

Cordial

Cordial, like soft drink, is a nutrient poor, high calorie food choices and needs to be limited in the diet, for both adults and children. A single glass of cordial contains more than 4 teaspoons of sugar per serve as well as a number of colours and flavours best left out of the diets of small children altogether. 

Fruit Juice

For many reasons, freshly squeezed fruit juice epitomizes good health, and while fresh fruit is a nutrient dense snack choice; packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals; the concentration of fresh fruit juice means that it can contain up to 6 teaspoons of sugar in a single serve, way too much for small children at any time. Fruit juice is also highly acidic, which can act to erode tooth enamel and cause decay. For this reason it is best left out of bottles and cups of babies and small children entirely. 

Vitamin Water

Vitamin waters have been available for a number of years, but have experienced a recent resurgence courtesy of powerful marketing campaigns that align these waters with attractive mind-body states such as “vitality” and “energy”. While these rather expensive waters do contain added vitamins, the harsh reality is that the vitamins that have been added are rarely lacking in the diets of children or adults and with more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per serve, they are another option best avoided. 

Sports drink

Sports drinks are a specially formulated mix of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and mineral salts which were originally developed for elite athletes to aid in the recovery and re-hydration process after competition. While sports drinks have a specific role in high level sport, for children participating in recreational sport they are an unnecessary source of added sugars in the diet. A bottle of sports drink contains between 9-11 teaspoons of sugars. 

Soft drink

With up to nine teaspoons of sugar per 375ml can, there is no place in the diet of children for soft drink. It does not matter if it is lemonade, cola or berry flavoured soft drink, it all contains the same amount of sugars per serve, which is way too much for an adult at any one time let alone a child. And while diet options may not contain sugars, they are still highly acidic and a nightmare for young teeth. 

Coconut Water

A popular ‘health’ drink, while coconut water is lighter in sugars than cordial, juice and soft drink with 14g or 3.5 teaspoons per 200ml bottle, coconut water is not significantly better than fruit juice. While it is a rich source of potassium, it is still adding a concentrated source of sugars into the diets of small children for whom it is suggested they consume not more than 20g of added sugars per day in total. 

F4012BF6_HRWater

Water should be the main fluid of choice for children. Not only do small children need to learn that water is the first choice of fluid but not offering sweet drinks helps to ensure they do not develop a preference for sweet drinks. Not only does keeping hydrated ensure children perform at their best but it also helps to helps to prevent fatigue, keep bowel habits regular and manage mood on a daily basis. Get your child to drink more water by always keeping their chilled water bottle or cup handy and offer water at regular intervals. Even better, the more they see you drink, the more they will reach for their bottle too and when children learn to drink water early, they will maintain the habit long term. Water contains no sugars, and an easy way to encourage your child to drink more water is to invest in a Thermos FUNtainer® where they can enjoy their chilled water along with their favourite characters minus any extra sugars. 

Sugars in drinks

Drink | Sugar (g) | Tsp. sugar

Fruit Juice | 22 | 4

Large Boost Juice | 44 | 9

Banana Smoothie | 53 | 10

Iced Tea | 22 | 4 ½

600ml soft drink | 65 | 13

Hot chocolate | 29 | 6

Coconut water | 14 | 3

Glass of cordial | 20 | 4

Sports drink | 45 | 9

The secrets of Summer hydration


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

The secrets of Summer hydration

Things are getting hot! And that means we need to start thinking about all things hydration. Not only do our fluid needs increase as the temperature soars but more time spent outdoors, especially if you are a keen exerciser means that we need to stay focused on our fluid intake. On a daily basis most of us do not drink enough fluid. This means when we consider the increased demands of Summer we can generally all benefit from drinking more. So here are my best tips to keep your hydration top of mind this Summer.

1. Start the day right

If coffee is your go to drink first thing, a simple swap to a cup of warm filtered water with lemon, or an infused tea will instantly put you on the right foot hydration wise. Check out the growing range of sugar free infused teas available at supermarkets which help to make hydration a whole lot easier.

2. Put your bottle in the right place

When drinking water is the easy option, hydrating becomes second nature and this means placing your water bottle in a position in which you will see it before you walk out the door. Another option is to keep appealing fluid in easy to reach places at home, in the car and at work so it is always easy to grab filtered water on the run. I keep a bottle in the car; a jug of infused water in the fridge and have my Zip HydroTap on hand for a glass of chilled sparkling water when I arrive home from work. 

3. Set your targets

When you have a daily water target, it is easier to track your overall fluid intake and there are also a number of apps for your mobile device or computer than can remind you throughout the day to drink. In generally aiming for 500-600ml before lunch, another 500-600ml throughout the afternoon and another 500-600ml throughout the evening will help you to keep on track with your fluid targets.

4. Use hydrating solutions where necessary

If you exercise in warm conditions you are likely to need an extra 500-1000ml of fluid to compensate for the total amount of fluid you have lost. Adding hydration salts is another way you can help to rehydrate quickly after intense training so you are fully recovered for your next session. It has also been shown that adding a little flavour to water with minimal sugars can also increase total fluid consumption. 

When we have great tasting, icy cold still or sparking water on tap the entire family drinks more. For this reason investing in a Zip HydroTap is one of the best Christmas presents you can give the family so good hydration is an easy choice for everyone, especially in the warm Australian Summer months. 

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.

Why you are not losing weight when you are trying to.


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Dietitians reveal why you are not losing weight.

When you see clients each and every day for weight loss you become pretty familiar with the common reasons individuals are not reach their weight loss goals. So if you are constantly struggling to take off that extra 5-10kg, here are the most common reasons you may be sabotaging yourself. 

You are on or off your diet

The most common dietary pattern is that we are ‘good’ for 2-3 days each week before overindulging in treats, alcohol and meals out Thursday through to Monday morning. One of the most significant predictors of weight loss is consistency which means giving yourself a meal or two off a calorie controlled plan each week, not 3-4 days. 

You are eating more than you realise

On a daily basis, calories tend to slip without us realising fairly easily – an extra coffee here, a biscuit there and a few mouthfuls of your toddlers dinner and before you realise it you have consumed an extra 300-400 calories a day, the difference between losing weight and not. One of the most powerful things you can do to take control of your food intake is to keep a food diary for a day or two to gain insight into how much you are really eating each day, you may be surprised. 

Too much good fat

Some fat is good for us, in fact the average adult requires 60-80g of predominately good fats from extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish each day but this does not mean demolishing an entire bag of cashew nuts or multiple avocados on a daily basis. Like anything, too much of a good thing when it comes to good fats holds true. The key is keeping an eye on your portions and sticking to a couple of tablespoons of oil, a handful of nuts and just 1/3 – ½ an avocado.

Not enough sleep

The less you sleep, the more you eat and the more you are likely to want to eat. This means aiming for at least 7-8 hours of shut eye each night and factoring in a food cut of at 7 or 8pm to give yourself at least 10-12 hours overnight without food. 

You are not moving enough

Many clients exercise regularly but then spend the remainder of their day sitting down. The human body is designed to move, and if you sit down most of the day the structured 30-60 minutes of exercise will not be enough to compensate for the prolonged periods of sitting. Ideally we need at least 10000-12000 steps every day plus structured exercise at least every second day if the goal is weight loss. 

Your meal timing is off

Timing is important when it comes to fat loss – either aiming to consume all your calories in a an 8 hour period eg 10am -6pm or starting the day early with a substantial breakfast to give the metabolism a boost but then making sure you finishing eating by 8pm at the latest. If you work long hours this may mean eating your main meal during the day and having a light meal of soup, sashimi or salad later in the day. 

Your carbs are too low

While low carb diets can be extremely effective in supporting rapid weight loss, if you skip the carbs throughout the first half of the day only to binge on crackers, chocolate and treats later in the day the benefit is negated. For this reason if you are unable to stick to a low carb approach often you are better to eat small amounts of carbs throughout the day to avoid binging on sweet food come 3 or 4pm. A carb intake of 80-120g per day will still result in good weight loss results if you time your carbohydrates to be consumed throughout the day rather than the afternoon and evening and if you are relatively active. 

The issue with high protein yoghurts for kids


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The issue with high protein yoghurts for kids

Yoghurt is a nutrient rich food – packed full of protein, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, it is a great choice for growing children who need 2-3 serves of dairy each day in order to get the calcium they need for optimal bone development. 

The growing range of high protein yoghurts including Chobani and YoPro has been a great addition to the yoghurt aisle for adults. With almost 20g of high quality protein per serve, these lower sugar, higher protein options have revolutionised the yoghurt aisle of the supermarket and are generally my yoghurt recommendation of choice for adults. 

The only issue with these products is that it has not been mentioned that these products are not appropriate for children, especially toddlers and even primary school aged children. 

When it comes to protein intake, It is recommended that we get between 0.75-1g of protein per kilo of body weight. For a teenager or adult this means we have 60-100g of protein on average to play with each day and as such as tub of yoghurt that offers 20g of high quality protein is no issue. On the other hand, feeding a 15kg toddler a tub of yoghurt with 20g of protein, or even a 35g school aged child ½ their daily protein requirements in a small snack is not ideal. It would suggest that at times their protein intake is well over the recommended intakes of just 20-40g in total each day which they will easily receive via a daily serve of meat, chicken or fish, milk and wholegrain breads and cereals.

This is not by any means to say that yoghurt is a poor choice for children. Regular natural yoghurt is a great choice for growing children, especially when served with fresh fruit. There are a number of kid’s yoghurts also available, and a number of these are also good options as they contain protein levels ranging from 5-8g of protein per serve. The issue with these can be that they can contain a fair amount of added sugar, with some varieties containing up to 20g of sugars per serve. For this reason it always pays to check the sugar content of any yoghurt you are giving to the kids and aim for <5-6 of added sugars per serve where possible. Based on this, these are my favourite options for kids.

Cal | Protein (g) | Carbs (g) | Sugars | Calcium (mg)

Petit Miam Tubes | 51 | 2.4 | 6.7 | 5.4 | 145

Vaalia Natural | 83 | 6 | 9.6 | 7.4 | 200

Tamar Valley Kids | 100 | 4 | 4.2 | 3.5 | 155

Brookfarm Squishy | 54 | 2.7 | 7.5 | 5.5 | 179

Brookfarm Lactose Free | 39 | 2.4 | 5.0 | 4.9 | 84

Vaalia My First Yoghurt | 71 | 4.2 | 7.2 | 6.0 | 136

Rafferty’s No Sugar | 48 | 3.3 | 1.6 | 1.6 | 103

Rafferty’s Banana 50 | 3.0 | 3.2 | 2.8 | 90

The best breakfasts to kick start the day


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

The best breakfasts to kick start the day

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day for a number of reasons. Not only does enjoying a nutritionally balanced meal first thing in the morning give the metabolism a kick start, but it has been proven that those who enjoy the right breakfast have higher levels of concentration and are less likely to snack on high calorie foods throughout the day. Unfortunately breakfast skipping is still relatively common in Australia with the 2011 Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey finding that between 12-15% of children and teens skipping breakfast on any one day. So, what does a nutritionally balanced breakfast that will keep you energised and satisfied all morning, look like? Here are some of the best breakfast options –  

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The biggest issue with some smoothies is that they tend to be particularly heavy on the carbohydrates, if honey and sweet yoghurt are used to create a sweet blend. On the other hand, if you get your smoothie mix right, with a hearty serve of 20g of protein via a protein powder or Greek yoghurt, one piece of a fibre rich fruit such as a banana, some vegetables like spinach, kale or cucumber, and light almond or skim milk; your smoothie will have the right mix of nutrients to keep your calories controlled, while keeping you full and satisfied for several hours. 

Mushroom Omelette

Eggs are known for their high protein content, which as a nutrient, helps to control blood glucose levels, but less often do we remember to add in the vegetable bulk known to significantly increase the fibre and nutrient content of any meal. In particular, mushrooms have been shown to bulk up a meal to the same extent as mince, minus the extra calories. For this reason, adding plenty of your favourite vegetables such as spinach, mushroom, tomato and capsicum is an easy way to get more mileage out of your regular omelette each day. A side of potato or sweet potato will also offer a little carbohydrate to this popular breakie choice – which is common in the US. 

Egg Wraps

Toast is one of the simplest and most popular breakfast choices but eaten alone with just a spread means that it offers little for weight loss. On the other hand, swapping to a lower carb wrap which can contain as little as a 1/3 of the carbohydrates as Turkish bread, served with plenty of protein via eggs, smoked salmon or lean turkey and cheese, means you have a light, filling breakfast with the 20g of protein known to help regulate insulin levels and as such appetite through the morning. 

Protein Bread with nut spread and banana

There are a number of high protein breads that offer all the nutritional benefits of grains and seeds, with a fraction of the carbs. Teaming this dense grain and seed bread with some 100% nut spread and a little sweet fruit like sliced banana, will give you the perfect balance of carbs, proteins and good fats in a yummy sweet breakfast that literally takes 3 minutes to make! 

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 2.22.04 PMGreek yoghurt and fruit

When we think of yoghurt, we generally tend to think of the sugary fruit varieties we find at food courts and in delis, and while these are scrumptious they are also extremely high in sugars. On the other hand, a single tub of high protein Greek yoghurt can offer more protein than 2 eggs in a single 170g serve, and can easily be enjoyed with a piece of fruit for a quick breakfast option. If you are time poor, simply add wholegrain cereal and banana to a cup of Greek yoghurt, sprinkle with cinnamon, and leave to soak in the fridge overnight for a delicious breakfast bowl you can enjoy on the way to work. 

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

How much water do you really need to drink?


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

How much water do you really need to drink?

Keeping well hydrated is the most powerful thing we can do to be at our best each day, yet with the time demands and pressures of modern life is it any wonder it is the one area of nutrition that often falls by the way side? It can also be hard to know exactly how much fluid we should be drinking. Do we all need the same amount of fluid? How much is too much? And what about if you exercise? Everything you need to know is right here…..

What is the minimum amount of fluid we need?

From a physiological perspective, an adult requires between 35-45 ml per kilo of body weight – if we take this at an average of 40ml / kg, all you need to do is multiply your weight by 40ml to get a rough idea of your baseline requirements. So if you weigh 60kg, you need a total of 2400ml or 2.4L of fluid each day. Now this may seem like an awful lot, but it does also include what we get from our food which equates to at least 500ml of this, hence the recommendation for roughly 2L a day of fluid for a small female and about 3L for an average male. 

Does it always have to be water?

Water, still or sparkling is always the best choice of fluid but you can also include tea in this. Unfortunately you cannot include coffee as it is often smaller volumes of fluid in total. If you have particularly high fluid requirements you may also find sugar free waters or electrolyte mixes also help you to drink more fluid in total. 

What about if I exercise?

Naturally if you are losing fluid when you exercise you need to drink extra to compensate for the losses. This means if you go for a light walk you are not likely to need a lot more than your baseline 2L but if you are sweating it up in a cycle class you will need an extra 500-1000ml for every hour of hard physical training you are doing. For a more exact figure the best thing to do is weigh yourself before and after an exercise session to work out exactly how much fluid you are losing. You will need to drink an extra 1.5x the amount of weight on the scales you lose. So if you lose 1kg of weight after a training session you will need to drink an extra 1.5L of fluid to re-hydrate properly. 

Can I drink too much water?

Absolutely. While keeping well hydrated is the goal, over-hydrating can be dangerous. While it is hard to do, it can happen, especially for small females drinking upwards of 4-5L each day. The average person will be drinking more than enough if they are managing 2-3L/day unless they are a large male undertaking large volumes of training and as such may be needing 3-4L of total fluid each day. 

How do I manage drinking this much?

For some these fluid targets may seem enormous, and the key to hydration success is to get into good drinking habits. Set a goal of drinking one bottle or a couple of glasses of water throughout the morning, afternoon and evening and add an extra bottle if you train hard regularly. Then you will find you hit your targets easily every single 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.

A banana a day keeps the heart doctor away. It’s World Heart Day


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

September 29th marks a very important day around the world – it’s World Heart Day, a day dedicated to making a promise to do what we can, no matter who we are, to help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia with more than 4.2 million Australians effected by the condition, with the disease causing more than 43,000 deaths in 2016 alone. Most alarming of all, is that in many cases, these deaths could have been prevented if small healthy lifestyle changes had been adopted.

So, this World Heart Day, it’s all about making a promise to yourself, to do what you can, to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It could be diet related, or a commitment to exercise more, or to even stop smoking – every small change helps to keep you healthier and reduce your own risk of developing heart disease.

If you need some inspiration, here are some easy lifestyle changes that will help to keep your heart healthier every day.

1. More fresh fruit and vegetables

The more fresh fruit and vegetables we consume, the higher our overall nutrient and antioxidant intake is, and the healthier are our cells. Fruits and vegetables like bananas, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato and cucumbers are all packed full of potassium and a diet rich in potassium is linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of developing heart disease. At a minimum, aim to eat a couple of pieces of fruit and 2-3 servings of vegetables every single day.

2. Add in a handful of nuts

Nuts are a rich dietary source of essential fats and walnuts in particular are rich in omega 3 fat, which is particularly good for the heart. The key is to stop at just one handful and consuming a serve of nuts each day is linked to reduced heart disease risk, thanks to healthier arteries and better blood fat ratios.

3. Don’t forget the fibre

With a gradual reduction in carbohydrates, our fibre intake has taken a bit of a beating but dietary fibre plays an important role in regulating the fats in our blood. Soluble fibre in particular, which is found in oats, beans and fruits including apples and bananas, is known to help lower LDL cholesterol or the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood stream. For this reason, getting your fibre by including wholegrains, legumes and fruit in your daily diet is an easy option to help improve heart health.

4. Keep your fats natural

When you are getting most of your dietary fat from good quality olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado, and keeping your intake of processed fats from fried foods and snack foods low, you will be well on your way to promoting the right fat balance in the body! This naturally acts to reduce inflammation in the body which in turn lowers heart disease risk.

5. Seek out fish

Very few Aussies get enough long chain omega 3 fat – the type of fat known for its heart health benefits. While all fish is good for us, only salmon, fresh tuna and sardines contain relatively high amounts of omega 3 fats. For this reason, bumping up your intake of these types of fish is one of the easiest ways to increase your omega 3 intake and get the heart health benefits associated with a high intake of omega 3 rich fish.

Banana & Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 1 – per serve: 400 cals | 24g fat | 11g protein | 44g carbs | 2g fibre

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 1/2 banana mashed (1/2 for serving)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey for serving

Preparation Method

1. Mix egg, ricotta cheese, banana, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl.

2. Heat a small amount of the olive oil in a frypan and in 2 tbsp. Batches, spoon mixture into the pan.

3. Cook until mixture starts bubbling then flip.

4. After 1 2 minutes, serve with slices of banana and a drizzle of maple syrup/honey.

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

The top Spring foods for weight loss


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Weight loss foods for Spring

Spring has finally arrived and for many of us the warmer weather is a stark reminder of the need to bare flesh very soon. So if you have gained a few kilos over the last few months, here are the key foods to base your diet around to get rid of those kilos ASAP. 

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt not only contains much less sugar than the average serve of store bought yoghurt but it is much higher in protein which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day. An added benefit will come if you choose a variety of Greek yoghurt which also contains probiotics, the live bacteria that will help to feed the good bacteria in the gut. Enjoy with some oats for breakfast, as a filling snack, as a light dessert option, add to smoothies and protein shakes or even as a dressing option with vegetables for a daily calcium boost. .

Cottage cheese

Often forgotten, humble cottage cheese is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can enjoy, with minimal calories especially on a low calorie weight loss eating regime. With a serve giving more than 16g of protein per ½ cup along with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B12, adding a serve of cottage cheese into your day is a great way to bump your intake of essential nutrients for very few calories. Add to sandwiches or crackers for a protein rich filling, serve with cereal and fruit for breakfast or even use to help add flavour to salads and vegetables.

Prawns

Prawns are an extremely nutritious type of seafood, packed full of protein, calcium, iodine and zinc with little fat and particularly low in calories. The biggest issue with prawns is what we eat them with. Served grilled or marinated and with salad is fine, but if they are deep fried, or served with creamy sauces and dressings, the fat content will be significantly increased, so try and enjoy these tasty treats in as natural a state as possible to reap all the health benefits without extra calories.

Lemons

Not only are lemons a rich source of Vitamin C, but they are a handy addition to juices and smoothies to help neutralize the earthy taste of green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Lemon juice is also a low calorie salad dressing; it helps to lower the GI of carb based meals and for some it can be a great ritual when teamed with a glass of water to start the day by rehydrating. 

Blueberries

Any berries are fab but blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, fibre whilst also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. Enjoy as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts. 

Apples

An apple a day (or two) keeps the calories at bay it seems with research growing to show that the polyphenol content of apple skin plays a role in fat metabolism, and that a fibre rich, low calorie apple is one of the most filling foods out there, especially when enjoyed whole. All fruit is good for us, but apples in particular are one of the best fruits we can choose when it comes to weight control. 

Spinach

One of most versatile leaves, fresh baby spinach leaves make a delicious salad base; can be added to green juices and is delicious stir fried with a little olive oil and nutrient rich garlic and teamed with light fish meals or as a vege base for omelettes. The dark green leaves of spinach gives some insight into its rich nutrient content; spinach leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C, E, K beta carotene and folate and cooking spinach in a little olive oil will help to enhance nutrient absorption. 

White fish

If weight loss is your goal, white fish is your superfood. Exceptionally high in protein, low in fat and calories, any type of white fish ranging from dory, perch, barramundi, sole, flounder and whiting is a superfood when it comes to weight loss. Served grilled, BBQ’d or even fried in a little olive oil, fish is a perfect base to light meals served with plenty of brightly coloured, nutrient rich veges. 

Cucumber

Consisting of more than 96% water, an entire cucumber contains just 60 calories and is good source of fibre and potassium, which helps to rid the body of extra fluid. Simply munching on a cucumber a day and adding it to green juices and smoothies gives you the benefit of one of nature’s most powerful diuretics, especially if you feel bloated and heavy. 

Eggs

Nutritionally eggs are among the most nutrient dense foods available not only offering high biological value protein but also more than 20 other essential nutrients including iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, Vitamin A, folate, the brain boosting nutrient choline. Perhaps the greatest benefit associated with eating eggs, in particular eggs for breakfast is the direct and indirect impact they have been shown to have on weight control. A couple of eggs contains close to 20g of protein, the amount of animal based protein which provides the body with plenty of leucine, the amino acid directly involved in regulating insulin levels in the body. The more tightly we control our insulin levels, the better it is for weight control and appetite regulation.

Green tea

If you are looking for a fat burning boost, adding in a couple of cups of green tea to your day is the way to go. Not only is green tea a rich source of powerful antioxidants that help to prevent cell related damage but there is also some evidence to show that green tea may increase fat metabolism. Any variety is a good choice, matcha even better and a great addition after meals to help neutralise sugar cravings. 

My brand new 2 week Shape Me Spring Kickstart meal plan is designed to get your diet back on track this Spring; to help you drop a few extra kilos the right way and to help you to take control of your nutrition. So if you have been feeling less than your best and know your diet needs some work, this Kickstart is for you! Join and get your meal plan here

Drink more water to reset your diet this Spring.


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

Drink more water to reset your diet this Spring

The long cold Winter is over and it is time to get out, get active and get our diet back on track after a number of weeks spent indoors, watching Netflix and indulging in comfort food. Resetting your diet does not have to be labour intensive or difficult, rather it is about reminding ourselves how much better we feel when we are eating well, focusing on our hydration an taking time out each week to preparing healthy nourishing foods for our body. So if your body is in need of a Spring clean out, here are the easy steps to take towards a healthier, lighter Spring!

1. Focus on hydration

If your skin is dry and lifeless it is time for some water therapy – giving the cells the fluid they need each day is imperative for optimising metabolism; controlling appetite; helping the digestive system to operate efficiently and to keep our eyes and skin clear and bright. At a minimum we need 1.5-2L of fluid each day and that is not taking into account the fact we will need more fluid if we are also training regularly. So make sure you take your water bottles everywhere filled with some still or sparking water and sip throughout the day to keep on top of your hydration.

2. Go for bucketloads of fresh produce

Forget 2 & 5 if we really want to take control of our nutrition we need at least 7-10 serves of fresh fruit and vegetables every single day to get the nutrients we need such as fibre for optimal health and well-being. This means fruit or veges at breakfast; salads and vegetables for both lunch and dinner, veg juices, cut up veges as snacks and a sweet hit from fresh fruit. The added benefit of eating this volume of fresh fruit and veg is that you will also increase your overall water intake considerably which will in turn aid in keeping you well-hydrated. 

3. Get your timing right

Shifting our first intake to the first half of the day plus allowing 10-14 hours overnight without food goes a long way in keeping our food intake on track. This means eating an earlier breakfast along with an early dinner, or adopting a fasting regime in which you limit your eating to just 8 hours each day. As soon as you restrict the number of hours each day that you eat, you automatically limit calorie intake without any strict diets or calorie counting. 

4. Plan for 3-4pm

3-4pm is the time that things often go downhill with our diets. A relatively strict day of eating is followed by extreme hunger and cravings late afternoon which inevitably leads to binge eating and sugar cravings if not well managed. Avoid this scenario after an early lunch by planning for a substantial filling snack between 3-4pm. Options that have a good balance of carbs and protein include a Mountain Bread Wrap with cheese, nut spread or lean meat; Wholegrain crackers with cottage or goats cheese and some cucumber or tomato or a meal replacement or protein shake with fruit and seed mix. 

5. Build new habits

When it comes to our health one of the most powerful things we can do is to focus on building positive habits so drinking enough water and eating well become second nature. Simple positive health habits that will help to build your own positive nutrition platform this Spring include starting each day with some boiled filtered water and lemon; packing your healthy lunch the night before; always carrying a bottle of still or sparking water from your Zip Hydrotap and keeping a supply of healthy snacks on hand. When eating and drinking the right thing is the easiest choice, our health improves without us even noticing. 

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.

Can you eat as much fruit as you like?


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How much fruit is too much?

Mixed messages about sugar in recent years has caused some confusion about where fruit fits as part of a healthy diet. Some diets ban it altogether, while others remind us that naturally occurring sugars such as fructose (found naturally in fruit) and lactose (found naturally in dairy foods) are very different to the added refined sugars found in processed foods. So can you eat as much fruit as you like, and how much is too much?

Fruit, depending on the type provides a wide range of different nutrients including Vitamin C, beta carotene, Vitamin K as well as carbohydrates for energy and dietary fibre. The average piece of fruit contains 80-120 calories which is equivalent to a slice of bread. Some varieties of fruit have slighter higher amounts of sugars than others, but overall the differences are relatively small. For example a large banana may have 5-10g more natural sugar than a small peach or apple but in the diet overall these differences are not significant. 

The same can be said for the glycaemic index of different types of fruit. While some types of fruit including watermelon and bananas have a higher glycaemic index than others, meaning they release their sugar more quickly into the bloodstream than fruit that has a lower GI, the calorie content of all types of fruit is relatively low. This means that all fruit is a good choice, whether it has a high GI or not. 

The two exceptions to this rule are dried fruit and fruit juice. Both of these forms of fruit result in the energy content of the fruit being concentrated. For example, an average box of sultanas contains as much carbohydrate or sugar as two pieces of regular fruit. While juicing fruit, again results in you getting a much more concentrated source of energy, without the fibre and bulk that actually eating the fruit provides. For this reason, fresh fruit is always much better than any processed varieties. 

From a weight control perspective, if you model different diets to determine how much of each food group we need to not only satisfy our nutrient requirements but to avoid taking in too many calories, the average Australian adult needs at most two to three pieces of fruit each day. Naturally this quantity can be increased for extremely active people, but if you consider that up to 60% of Australian adults are overweight, many of us need less food and two to three pieces of fruit is more than enough.

When it comes to choosing better different types of fruit, generally speaking all types of fresh fruit are good choices. Eat the types you enjoy and perhaps target different types of fruit for different reasons as part of your overall healthy diet. For example choosing a banana when you need an energy boost, and a daily serve of berries for an antioxidant hit. Fruit is one of nature’s superfoods, and two to three pieces each day forms part of a balanced, healthy diet so you can feel free to enjoy its natural sweetness minus the food guilt. 

Fruit | Total cal | Total carbohydrate (g) 

Banana | 100 | 20

Mango | 120 | 25

2 peaches | 100 | 18

Cup of grapes | 115 | 25

1 cup strawberries | 35 | 5

Box of sultanas | 75 | 17

6 dried apricots | 100 | 19

250mls fruit juice | 120 | 19

The most common dietary mistakes to avoid this Spring


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How to keep your weight loss on track this Spring

When you see clients for weight loss on a regular basis there are a number of common dietary habits and patterns that arise time and time again. Here are the most common dietary mistakes many of us make on a daily basis, and mistakes that are preventing us from reaching the weight and health related goals we have set for ourselves. 

Overdoing the coffee

It does not matter if it is a flat white, latte or cappuccino, any coffee that contains a significant amount of milk, is also likely to contain a significant number of kilojoules, especially if it is ordered in a large or Grande size. There are several issues with large, milk based coffee. First of all humans do not tend to compensate for liquid calories, which means we do not eat less simply because we have drunk an extra liquid kilojoules. Coffee can also mean that we have a few small breakfasts, especially when we begin the day with a coffee, add to that some extra toast or cereal and then have another coffee on arrival at work an hour or two later. And then for some of us, breakfast has become coffee which can interfere with our natural hunger and fullness signals through the morning. 

Solution – if you enjoy a coffee, enjoy a small sized serve with your breakfast and then wait at least 2-3 hours before you eat again. You can enjoy black tea or coffee without worry.

Eating too much, too late

A typical dietary pattern sees busy people grabbing a quick breakfast or coffee on the run, followed by a light, late lunch and then a series of afternoon snacks and relatively heavy dinner. Unfortunately this eating pattern is linked to weight gain simply as we tend to move much less during the second half of the day and are also less likely to wake up hungry for a good breakfast the next day. For many of us a shift to this schedule is unlikely to happen anytime soon which means some subtle shifts to our food intake patterns will help to reverse the daily cycle of higher calorie eating towards the second half of the day.

Solution – commit to making both breakfast and a good lunch a priority and if dinner will be enjoyed after 8pm each night, keep your portions small and choose lighter options such as salad, grilled fish and vegetables. For some, enjoying a heavier meal at lunchtime is great solution.  

Mindless munching

You know what I am talking about here – picking at the kids leftovers; the slice of cake a colleague offers you at work or the few handful of nuts you munch on throughout the day. Eating you may not necessarily remember doing but the high kilojoule extras that seem to slip in most days. Mindless munching is a habit that tends to gradually creep up on us over time, is often situation dependent and a habit many of us are in complete denial about. If you wonder why you are not losing weight despite eating relatively well simply keep a track of every morsel you put into your mouth over a 24 hour period. You may be surprised how many extras slip in. 

Solution – aim to eat just 4-5 times each day with 2-3 hours in between meals and only water, herbal or black tea or coffee in between. 

Adopting an ‘all or nothing’ diet mindset

Chances are at some point you have started an incredibly strict diet one Monday only to run out of steam by Wednesday afternoon as the hunger pangs and feelings of restriction got the better of you. As soon as any diet feels restrictive, whether it is or not, the brain will respond by focusing on what you are psychologically missing out on. If you are overly restrictive with calories, hunger and cravings will make it very difficult to maintain the restriction for a prolonged period of time. These are just some of the reasons strict diets do not work.

Solution – make positive dietary changes gradually, one at a time. For example, one week focus on eating more vegetables. The next on reducing portions. Here the focus is not on what you can’t do, rather what you can to get results.

Not checking labels

Just because a particular product looks healthy, does not mean that it is and an abundance of food labels telling us about the benefits of packaged foods rather than the cons means we often get sucked into buying foods that are not particularly healthy. 

Solution – a quick scan of an ingredient list will tell you much of what you need to know what processed and packaged foods. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is and as soon as you see extra fats, sugars and additives it is a sign to leave the product on the shelf.

5 reasons I love bananas for myself and for my clients!


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

As the world’s most popular fruit, there are plenty of things to love about bananas, especially in relation to the key nutritional benefits that they offer. So if you need one more reason to love bananas, here are the five reasons I love them so much, for myself and my clients!

1. Bananas are a natural energy food

Forget special bars, gels, drinks and supplements, when you are fit and active and need an energy boost to help you power on through your day or fuel your workout, a banana has all the natural fuel you need. With 25-30g of carbs in a single serve, bananas are the most convenient energy food you can grab when you are on the run.

2. They are ready to go

No need for knives, cutting, chopping or finding a container they fit into, bananas come with their own packaging which mean they can be taken anywhere at any time making them the most convenient snack of choice.  And just as important, bananas are available all year round so you always have easy access to them at affordable prices.

3. They are the best healthy baking ingredient

Whenever there is the desire to make healthy snack foods at home, one of the biggest issues is what to use in place of added sugar when baking bars, bites and fruit breads. When you keep a couple of frozen bananas in the freezer you can add to baked goods to give the sweetness fruit breads, muffins and bites need minus the added sugars found in many bars and bites. 

4. Frozen banana is like ice-cream

Of course bananas are yummy fresh, but you never have to throw bananas out because even soft bananas can be put in the freezer and then used in baking (see Number 3) but if you want to freeze your fresh banana you will find that eating it is literally like eating ice-cream, minus the fat and calories. Blended into a smoothie, added to smoothie bowls or yoghurt or blended whole will literally give you 100% banana ice-cream which the whole family will love.

5. They can help to heal your gut

We hear a lot about foods that are good for our gut, including prebiotics but before you rush out and spend a fortune on kombucha did you know that un-ripened green bananas are one of the richest natural sources of resistant starch, which is a super nutrient for our gut. So if your tummy is giving you troubles, add a little unripe banana into your yoghurt or smoothie for a natural dose of prebiotics. 

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

Is sushi really healthy?


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Is sushi really healthy?

One of the most common lunches my clients enjoy is sushi – now the description of ‘sushi’ can mean anything from a few California rolls to a full sashimi plate or even a Bento box. Just as all these foods are different so too is their nutritional profiles and while some types of sushi can be exceptionally healthy, others are simply a mix of rice, soy sauce and fried fillings. So if sushi is your go to lunch, here are the best options, and a run down on how often you can enjoy your favourite sushi without fear of taking in too much mercury.

Mercury is a heavy metal that can be found in small amounts in some types of fish, namely larger fish that have spent some time eating small varieties of fish such as swordfish, tuna and sea bass. As mercury is unable to be removed from the body, ingesting too much over time can cause mercury poisoning which can lead to headaches, development delays and long term brain damage and organ failure. It is for this reason that if sashimi is your number one choice of sushi you do need to be mindful of how often you are consuming it. For this reason it is suggested that sashimi not be consumed more than a couple of times each week. 

When it comes to California rolls which are generally made with sushi rice, fillings ranging from avocado, to fish to fried chicken and some seaweed. As the rice used to make sushi often contains added sugars to help it stick, the combination of rice and high fat fillings such as avocado, fried meat and mayonnaise can mean that a single hand roll can contain as much as 170 calories and as much carbohydrate as 2 slices of bread. Or a small lunch pack of 6 rolls, up to 300 calories and 50g of carbohydrates. For this reason, sticking to a small number of rolls, and brown rice options will help to improve the nutritional profile of the average sushi roll. 

On the other hand, when it comes to other popular Japanese foods including Edamame, miso and fermented veges, you cannot go wrong. Specifically edamame is one of the best options on a Japanese menu, edamame is a protein and fibre rich option which adds much bulk to your favourite Japanese meal, minus the calories. With just 60 calories per pot of beans, adding a serve to your meal will significantly improve its nutritional profile. Seaweed salad is another nutrient rich addition, seaweed is a superfood in the world of nutrition as it added much needed iodine into our diet which is crucial to help our thyroid function optimally. It also contains next to no calories with a ½ cup serve adding just 20 calories to your meal. And miso soup, a Japanese staple is especially rich in nutrients, offering a range of vitamins and minerals as well as probiotics known to be particularly important for gut health. While miso is relatively high in sodium, containing up to 1000mg per serve, it is also low in calories with less than 100 calories per serve, and the health benefits associated with consuming it as part of a balanced Japanese meal outweigh any of the negatives. 

While we do need to be aware of the volume of sushi and sashimi we are eating, we also need to be aware of the less than healthy options too. Tempura for example, the Americanised version of Japanese, is relatively high in fat compared to traditional Japanese cuisine. In the case of a California roll, the addition of tempura will almost double the calories, while a single serve of tempura prawns and vegetables will contain at least 20g of fat, most likely coming via a blended vegetable oil. Noodle dishes too can be a calorie bomb in disguise. For example, a small cup sized serve of noodles will contain at least the same amount of carbohydrates as two slices of bread and in many cases they will be cooked using extra oil so go easy on your portions. 

Menu Item | kJ | Carbs (g) | Fat (g)

Tuna Sushi Roll | 240 | 7 |  1.5          

California Roll | 170 | 7 | <1

Miso Soup | 150 | 5 | 1

Sushi Pack (12) | 1100 | 45 | 3

Teriyaki Chicken | 1100 | 7 | 9

Edamame Beans | 670 | 12 | 7

Sushi Hand Roll | 490 | 18 | 2

Udon Noodles & Beef  | 2340 | 20 | <1

Sashimi Piece | 500 | 1 | <1

5 easy ways to stick to your diet


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The easy ways to stick to your diet

While many of us may have the goal of weight loss, far fewer of us are successful when it comes to losing a few kilos and keeping them off. The reasons for this are varied and complex – often life gets in the way; we are stressed, bored and tired and some of us simply do not like being told what to do and tend to rebel at the mere thought of restricting our food intake. 

So if you are constantly trying to diet without success, here are some easy steps to take to try and increase your chances of success.

1. Choose the diet that is right for you

You may like to fast each week; or buy calorie controlled meals or Paleo might be your thing but the key to achieving success with any diet is simply sticking to it. This means the more you like your diet and they easier you find sticking to it, the more likely you are to get results. 

2. Give yourself time

All of us want instant results but even the strictest diet is likely to only see a 2-3kg weight loss over the course of a week and that is if you have plenty of kilos to lose. This means that you need to allow at least 1 month to lose 5kg. Committing this time will in turn allow you to lose weight slowly and sustainably. 

3. Factor in meals off

Life will inevitably see you engage in social occasions in which high calorie foods and alcohol are served. This means that dietary success needs to allow for a couple of eating occasions each week in which you do not have to be strict. 

4. Do it with someone

Support during the diet process is crucial which means if you are committing to a new regime with someone else – a friend, partner, sibling you will be much more likely to stay on track.

5. Get rid of the food

Often we buy tempting foods and keep them in the house and expect not to eat it. Human beings will eat whatever food is readily available to them which means keeping your environment free from tempting foods is a crucial part of success.

How to be healthier at work


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

How to be healthier at work

With many of us spending at least 10 hours at work each day, and with much of that spent sitting, is it any wonder that many of us are feeling a little tired, lethargic and run down? So if you are feeling less than your best and know your workday health routines could do with a little Spring clean, here are some easy ways to be healthier while you are at work. 

1. Have set meal and snack times

Mindless munching brings many of us undone when it comes to excessive calorie consumption, especially when we get into bad habits of eating in front of the computer. Keep your food intake limited to set meal and snack times which will not only help to control your total calorie intake but also ensure you take breaks from the screen every 2-3 hours.

2. Prioritise your hydration

Considering that at least 70% of us are chronically dehydrated at any one time is it any wonder many of us are feeling mentally fatigued while we are at work? If you do not have a water bottle within easy reach, it is highly likely you are not drinking enough. While we can count the fluid we get from cups of tea, in reality this means we still need at least a litre of extra water each day to keep moderately hydrated. So get into the habit of always keeping cold water close by and aim to get through at least 1200mls during the working day – which looks like two full servings of your reusable water bottle – one through the morning and one throughout the afternoon. 

3. Take your food to work with you

The foods we routinely purchase from a food court contain double the calories of the meal we prepare at home. For this reason not only is taking a sandwich, salad or leftovers for lunch smart from a calorie perspective but it will also save you plenty of cash a week. 

4. Take your lunch break

It could be argued that as part of a long working day, lunch is actually the most important meal of the day. Failing to take your lunch break is likely to leave you craving carbs and sugars come 4pm, and the wrong choice at the food court will leave you with a lunch choice that contains double the calories you need. The simple act of prioritizing a 400-500 calorie lunch that includes lean proteins and vegetables by 1pm each day is one of the key things you can do to keep your nutrition on track. Good options include a large salad with some wholegrain crackers; leftovers or a plain stir fry with vegetables. Most importantly including 500-600ml of still or sparking water with your lunch will keep your hydration on track. 

5. Make your workplace healthier

Healthy workplaces have healthier employees. This means putting the biscuit tin and fundraising chocolates away. Having the option of stand up desks to increase the amount of activity in the office and having a clean kitchen and fridge with healthy appliances such as a Zip HydroTap to encourage water consumption throughout the day. It is well documented in the literature that we become like the people we spend our time when it comes to our weight and our health. This means if you are in a healthy office environment it is going to be much easier to control your weight compared to an unhealthy environment of little activity and overeating. 

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.