Food and Water: How to maximise your hydration by combining food and water.


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This is a sponsored post.

We regularly talk about the importance of drinking enough fluids to maintain optimal hydration. Far less frequently do we talk about the ways we can also eat our way to better hydration, especially during the warmer months of the year. So while any meal or snack is best consumed with plenty of filtered water, here are some easy ways to boost your hydration through your food choices.

1. Juice the right foods

While fruit juice contains plenty of concentrated sugars, vegetable juices, on the other hand are relatively low in sugars and calories and offer loads of vitamins, minerals and plenty of water. The majority of vegetables contain between 80-95% water, and when blended into juices, offer plenty of good quality fluid. Good options that work well together in a juice includes carrots, beetroot, celery, spinach and kale.

2. Don’t forget your fruit

Fruit can cop a bad rap as it is a source of the natural sugar fructose, but when consumed whole, fruit is a rich source of vitamins, fibre and water. For example, fruits such as melons, stone fruit and berries are up to 90% water, which means that fresh fruit makes for great hydration and nutritious snacks, especially during summer. Aim to consume two pieces of fruit each day and don’t forget that frozen fruit can make a lower sugar, refreshing sweet treat in place of ice creams and sugary drinks. 

3. Load up on salad

A popular food myth is that you burn more calories eating a salad than the salad actually contains. While this is not entirely true, the high water content of salad vegetables makes all kinds of salads perfect hydration boosters. Often at meal times we forget about the importance of low-calorie side dishes, including salads. The simple act of adding a salad to any meal can reduce your overall calorie intake by as much as 100 calories per meal. The best salad mixes include plenty of leafy greens and high water vegetables including celery, capsicum and cucumber. 

4. Swap your hot drinks

If you find that your cup of hot coffee simply does not do it for you in the warmer months, perhaps it is time to switch to refreshing iced teas. Extremely popular in the United States, low sugar iced teas, in both herbal and caffeinated varieties can be made simply by mixing your favourite tea bags with your Zip HydroTap chilled filtered water  plenty of water and ice. Not only do these flavoured drinks contain no calories, they also add plenty of fluid into your diet. 

5. Go for fruit desserts

Who does not enjoy an icy treat during the warm weather? A simple swap to a fruit-based sorbet or iced dessert is an easy way to indulge in a sweet treat, whilst giving the body plenty of extra fluid. In fact, you can even make a 100% fruit sorbet using just melon or berries, which contains no added sugars, tastes amazing and is hydrating at the same time. Alternatively combine fresh fruit with a little natural yoghurt and freeze for a hydrating, low sugar alternative to ice cream. 

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.

Keeping a food diary


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Why you should keep a diet diary

Some people love them while others can think of nothing worse than having to write down every single think they eat and drink in a day. Diet or food diaries are effective though and as such can play a powerful role in weight control. So if you are not getting the results with your diet you are hoping for, here are the reasons why keeping a food diary supports weight control.

1. We eat more than realise

Human beings will underestimate how much they eat each day by up to 50% – this means that we basically forget up to ½ of the calories we consume each day. This is not necessarily intentional, rather day to day life results in us mindlessly eating a couple of hundred calories each day – the extra biscuit, or serve of dressing, or cup of coffee sneaks in. Keeping an accurate record of everything we put into a mouth is one of the easiest ways to become more aware of how much, or sometimes how little we may be eating. 

2. Our portions are much bigger than we realise

An accurate food diary will include weights and measures of our food – when we occasionally measure our food volume accurately, we suddenly become aware that our portion of salmon at night is actually 250g as opposed to the 150-175g we really need; or our glass of wine is double a standard serve of alcohol. For many of us this is where a lot of our extra daily calories sneak in, and why keeping on top of our portions is a key aspect of portion and weight control.

3. It holds us accountable

For many of us, if no one sees it, or if it not documented, it does not exist. This is one of the major reasons that accurate food records are so powerful, they show clearly how much you really eat on a daily basis. When you see things written down, or even better with a calorie count next to them if you use online APPS that include calories, it suddenly becomes apparent when you are eating way too much, too often. 

4. It helps us to identify dietary patterns

Human beings so not regulate their food intake over a single meal, rather we have patterns of consumption. Seeing your food patterns clearly documented can give insight into when you are most hungry, when you are likely to under eat and as such likely to also overeat. When we become more aware of these patterns we are in a much better position to manage our own daily food intake better. 

5. It can double weight loss

It has repeatedly been shown that the simple act of keeping a food diary supports better weight loss outcomes for dieters wanting to lose weight. Naturally documenting your food intake helps you to make better food decisions, to keep mindful about the types and volumes of food you are consuming and ultimately helps us to eat less. So if you know your diet needs some work, just keep a record for a day or two, especially if you can utilise a calorie monitoring program. Indeed you may be surprised at how much you are actually eating each day, and even better how easy it is to cut back. 

5 key nutrients you need if you are busy


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This is a sponsored post.

Key nutrients busy people need.

Busy people need a strong nutritional platform to ensure they are performing at their best on a daily basis. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes our nutrition can take a back seat when things are frantic, and as a result our intake of key nutrients can be compromised. So if you know that your nutritional intake is not always as on point, here are some of the most important nutrients the body requires to keep our energy systems firing at their best, and the key foods you can get them from as part of your daily diet. 

1. Iron

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, particularly for women with 1 in 4 Australian women having low iron levels. While you do find iron in a range of different foods including wholegrains and legumes, plant sources are generally not well absorbed. For this reason, if you are a red meat eater, it is imperative that you consume lean red meat, in small amounts at least 2-3 times each week to give the body access to the readily absorbed iron it needs to help transport oxygen around the body. A small serve of minced meat, a lamb cutlet, lean sausage or a couple of meatballs are all iron rich options to increase your  intake. It may also be useful to know that when you consume plant sources of iron via wholegrain bread, cereal and legumes, iron absorption will be enhanced when Vitamin C is also consumed via foods such as green vegetables, red capsicum and citrus foods. 

2. Omega 3 fats

Unless we are consuming salmon every day, few of us are getting the omega 3 fats we need for optimal cognitive functioning. While tuna is often considered a good source of omega 3 fats, often the canned varieties we buy are actually low fat and as such richer dietary sources of omega 3 fat include sardines and salmon. If you are not a keen fish fan, it may be worth considering taking a fish oil supplement, which you can freeze to avoid any unwanted side effects or fish aftertaste. 

3. Dietary fibre

The right mix of the right types of fibre is crucial for a well-functioning bowel as constipation and gut discomfort can be caused by an inadequate fibre intake as well as insufficient amounts of fluid. Adults need 30g of dietary fibre each day, with many of us not achieving this target on a daily basis. To achieve this fibre goal we need to consume a couple of pieces of fibre rich fruit such as berries or bananas, 2-3 cups of mixed vegetables and/ or salad as well as wholegrain bread and breakfast cereal each day. In addition, an adult will need at least 1 – 1 ½ litres of fluid to ensure the digestive tract is functioning optimally. 

4. Vitamin D

With up to 50% of Australian adults battling low Vitamin D levels, especially throughout the Winter months, it is worth considering how much sunlight you are actually getting as many of us take the ‘slip, slop,slap’ message very seriously. It is also good to know that there are some dietary sources of Vitamin D that you may be able to incorporate into your diet more frequently including dairy foods, eggs, tinned fish and some specific mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light to trigger Vitamin D production and are marketed as such in supermarkets. In general most of us will need at least 10-20 minutes of daily sunlight exposure, in addition to some daily food sources to ensure we keen on top of our Vitamin D levels and it is worth doing, as low levels are an issue for our mood, metabolism and bone health long term. 

5. Magnesium

Adults need plenty of magnesium on a daily basis, especially those of us who are particularly active as magnesium is involved in energy production, protein formation, muscle contraction and nerve communication. Magnesium is found in a range of foods including bananas, leafy greens, wholegrains, nuts, and avocados, foods which we will need to consume on a daily basis to get the recommended amounts. Simply focusing on choosing wholegrain sources of carbs; aiming for a daily intake of leafy greens and snacking on nuts and fresh fruit including bananas will help to tick the box on the recommended amounts of magnesium in your diet.

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 6.33.50 PMBanana Breakfast Pancakes

Serves 1 – per serve: 280 cals | 6g fat | 20g protein | 40g carbs | 6g fibre

Ingredients

1 scoop protein powder 

3/4 cup organic instant oats

1 small banana 

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp. stevia 

Method

1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender.

2. Pour batter into a pre heated skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium high heat.

3. Flip very carefully after a few mins and cook the other side.

Read more on the breakfast mistakes you are making here.

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

The most common weight loss questions.


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In the world of weight loss, there are questions from clients that come up again and again. Here are the most common ones that may help to explain why you may not be getting the results on the scales you have been expecting. 

Why does it take so long to lose weight?

Basically the human body does not like to lose weight, rather it is programmed to build and store. As such, mobilising fat stores, especially fat stores that have been present for some time, takes time but also plenty of energy. And, the fewer the kilos you have to lose, the longer it can take. When people lose weight quickly, it tends to be a whole lot of water weight and also the stores of glycogen found in the muscles as opposed to fat. The average person with 10kg or less to lose at most will be able to lose ½ -1kg a week and as such it will take at least 4 weeks to drop 5kg and close to 3 months to lose 10kg or a little more, at best. 

Why do I need to eat more to keep losing weight?

When you begin a new weight loss regime, it is the sudden, dramatic reduction in overall calorie, carb and fat intake that sees relatively quick changes on the scales, as extra fluid weight and glycogen stores in the muscles are rapidly depleted. Over time though, as the body starts to burn through fat stores, the body’s cells actually become more efficient at burning energy. As such, you will actually need more calories to continue burning fuel efficiently. In addition, if you are exercising and gaining muscle mass, over time metabolic rate will increase again meaning the body requires more calories to function. This is the reason you may begin a weight loss program with just 1000-1200 calories but long term need to increase it when you find your weight loss results slow and your appetite increases. 

I am exercising every day, and only eating 1200 calories, why am I not losing weight?

Most likely the difference between calorie output via exercise is far greater than the number of calories you are consuming. For example, if you are burning 600-800 calories at the gym, walking 10000 steps and then only eating 1000-1200, there is too great a differential and the body is likely to be in starvation mode. To avoid this, keep your calorie output and input differential to 400-500 calories at most to avoid this scenario. In most cases this simply means you need to eat an extra small meal of 200-300 calories to compliment your extra training.

Is an early breakfast really that important?

Unless you are adopting an intermittent fasting regime, the earlier you eat in the morning, the better it is for your metabolism. The reason we feel hungrier when we eat early is that our metabolism has increased slightly. Eating early (before 8am) helps to shift our calorie intake forward; helps to control our appetite later in the day and ensures we focus on our nutrition early in the day. 

Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?

It depends really on what you eat when you are drinking. Alcohol as a nutrient is metabolised preferentially to carbs, proteins and fats and as such, when we eat and drink at the same time, the food we are consuming is more likely to be stored. As such when you have several alcoholic drinks along with a burger, the burger calories are much more likely to be stored. The average person needs to limit their alcohol intake to just 1-2 drinks at most, and if they are also eating fat metabolism will be far less likely. As such, the fewer days you drink overall when your goal is weight loss, the better. 

For the most common nutrition questions I get asked, click here.

The most common nutrition questions.


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Each and every day nutrition professionals get asked the same questions, over and over again. So here are the most common nutrition questions that get asked in the dietitian’s office, and the answers you may, or may not have been hoping for.

How many eggs each day can you eat?

Old science told us that a diet high in saturated fat resulted in increases in blood cholesterol and since eggs, like all animal foods contain both saturated fat and cholesterol, they were banished from many a diet altogether. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods out there, and while they contain some fats, as part of a balance diet consumed an egg or two each day will not negatively impact your weight or cholesterol levels. 

Do I need to stop eating bread to lose weight?

Not at all, there is not one food that causes weight gain, rather it tends to be the type of bread we are choosing. Large wraps, Turkish bread and thick slabs of the white stuff we often consume at cafes will easily result in a carb and calorie overload if we are not careful. On the other hand, a slice or two of small, dense grain or Sourdough bread will not significantly increase calorie or carbohydrate intake and adds much nutritionally to the diet. 

Is fruit too high in sugar?

Fresh fruit, like dairy contains naturally occurring sugars. For example the average piece of fruit will contain 20-30g of sugars depending on the size of the piece of fruit. When your overall sugar intake is low, consuming a piece of two of fruit per day, as recommended will not adversely impact your diet or weight loss goals. On the other hand, if you enjoy your fruit juiced or in a dried form, you will be consuming much more added sugar than you realise and as such when it comes to fruit, fresh is always best. 

Which is the best yoghurt?

There are literally hundreds of yoghurts and it can be very confusing to pick ‘the best’ option. Generally speaking plain Greek yoghurts are a good choice, especially the higher protein varieties. Fruit yoghurts are generally much higher in sugars (20-30g vs. <10g in natural / plain yoghurt). For this reason, if you do not like higher protein Greek yoghurt, natural yoghurt teamed with fresh fruit is your next best choice. Swedish style yoghurt, or quark is also exceptionally good nutritionally if you like to taste. 

Is sushi a healthy choice?

Sashimi is a healthy choice, but large California rolls made mainly of rice are not as nutritious as you may think containing much more carbs than protein or nutrient rich vegetables. Improve your Japanese order by focusing on sushi, edamame, seaweed salad and just 1-2 small brown rice rolls. . 

How much sugar a day should I be having?

Added sugars are different from natural sugars, and ideally we should aim to keep our added sugars that come from processed foods, sauces and treats to an absolute minimum or <25g or 5 teaspoons a day. You will get this simply from using a sauce or two through the day, and perhaps a little in a processed snack bar, yoghurt or breakfast cereal. Check labels and look for options that do not have sugar written on the ingredient list, or that contain <10g of sugars per 100g or <5g of sugars per serve. 

What oil should I be cooking with?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – contrary to popular belief you can cook with olive oil, in fact it is one of the most stable cooking oils to cook with, especially at home when we are generally cooking between 160-240 degrees. Extra Virgin Olive oil is nutritionally rich offering antioxidants and Vitamin E and its intake as part of the Mediterranean diet is linked to reduced heart disease risk factors and longevity. Coconut oil, another popular alternative is actually a largely saturated fat which does not offer the benefits of antioxidants or extra nutrients, while vegetable oils are heavily refined and do not compliment the ideal fatty acid ratios the average person should be consuming for optimal health. 

Spuds are back!


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This is a sponsored post in conjunction with UberEATS and their Family Feed Campaign.

For a number of years the poor old potato has copped a  whole lot of spud bashing with claims its high carb content is a recipe for weight disaster. Nutritionally though this could not be further from the truth, with the humble spud containing just 20-30g of carbs, similar to that found in a couple of slices of bread along with heaps of nutrients including fibre and Vitamin B. Potatoes are also extremely filling, and as such make a fantastic meal option for a filling lunch or dinner side. (We all need to remember that most of us eat our potatoes as fried chips where is where things go wrong for potatoes!)

So when I stumbled upon a Spudbar when I was in South Melbourne recently, I was beyond excited. A roasted potato packed full of salad is a perfect meal option nutritionally and with expansion plans for Spudbar around Australia is is time you know about them too! 

So this week I spoke to lead Spudbar potato man Matt to get the lowdown on spuds!

Matt, I have loved a filled spud as a healthy option for my clients for a long time now, tell me how did you get into making spuds a meal?

We discovered the Spud was the perfect platform to build a meal around – delicious, filling, and much healthier then the typical meal staples of pasta, bread and rice.

A number of people actively avoid potatoes, why should they not?

The spud is a nutrient rich gem of natural goodness, and sweet potato options mean lower GI options.

The menu offerings are so delicious, what are your most popular potato fillings?

Fresh vegetables, free range chicken, chilli bean and salsa, moroccan chickpea and kale – you can literally add anything to a warm spud and it tastes great!

What is the most common feedback you get from your customers?

Happy that great tasting food doesn’t need to mean heaps of sugar and fat. Fast food doesn’t have to mean junk food.

At the moment Spudbar is Melbourne based, any plans for expansion?

Yes with 16 (about to be 19) in Melbourne, plus with a store in Fremantle (WA), and Brisbane (QLD), we are opening more stores each few months, with a National footprint ever expanding.

And even better Spudbar is a part of UberEats Family Feeds, which means a family can grab for hearty spuds for just $40 when you need a quick and easy meal options that can be delivered to your door – add discount code etc here

So if you have not enjoyed a filled spud for a while, do yourself a favour and remind yourself how nutritious and yummy a simple spud can be.

Want $10 off your UberEATS order?

Every UberEATS customer receives a unique promo code that you can share with your family and friends. When they use the code to order UberEATS for the first time not only will they get $10 off their order, you’ll get $10 off yours as well! Find your unique code in the “free food” section within your profile of the UberEATS app.

How to get Family Feeds with UberEATS

1. Download the UberEATS app from the iOS or Google Play stores.
2. Open the app and head to the search function.
3. Type in Family Feeds.
4. Select a meal deal from one of your local restaurants.
5. Select any extras you want.
6. Tap ‘order’.
7. Sit back and wait for your meal to be delivered in an average of 30 mins.

For more information on UberEATS and their Family Feed Campaign, click here.

Top tips for mums to drink more water


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This is a sponsored post.

Why it is hard for mums to drink more water?

Drinking enough water is one of those things that we often take for granted with our health. Like eating vegetables, we know we need to do it, yet life can and does often get in the way of us drinking enough on a daily basis. After talking to a television colleague of mine recently; another mum who has three small children, she also reminded me that one of the biggest issues mums have when it comes to drinking the 1-2L of water we ideally need each day for optimal hydration is needing to use the bathroom more frequently. Not only are the pelvic floors not so great after childbirth, but many a busy mum can attest to the fact that when you are juggling the demands of small children, sometimes you barely find enough time to go to the bathroom at all, let alone multiple times a day when you are hitting your water targets. So if you are a mum who identifies with this and knows that there is nothing worse than sitting in the car with a sleeping baby and demanding toddler, busting to go to the loo, here are the ways to keep hydrated each day whilst managing your bathroom needs. 

1. Drink early

Most mums will spend at least the first hour or two of their day at home and as such starting the day with a large herbal tea, or glass of filtered lemon water is the best way to start the day well-hydrated but also with enough time to empty your bladder before you hit the road. As we know, once the kids are up there is no time to do anything, so developing a morning ritual that includes you drinking a reasonable amount of fluid is the best way to get your daily hydration on the right path. 

2. Keep a bottle with you, both in your bag and in your car

As we know, any large volume of fluid will see us rushing to the bathroom 40-60 minutes later, which is not always practical. On the other hand, sipping small amounts of water regularly will help to ensure you never experience the uncomfortable urgency we get after a large coffee or bottle of water. This also means you can time your fluid intake to ensure it corresponds to the next time you will be close to a bathroom. Having a bottle in both your bag and your car avoids the scenario of us never having the bottle in the right place, at the right time. 

3. Hydrate with your food

During the day it may not be all that practical to sit down with a cup of tea or expect yourself to drink an entire bottle of water at lunch, but another simple trick is to get some of your daily fluid via high water fruits and vegetables, as well as soups and salads. A bowl of soup at lunchtime, along with a snack of berries or some cut up cucumber contributes a good amount of water to your diet, as well as plenty of nutrition for minimal calories. 

4. Drink when you eat

Many mums will be sitting down sometime between 5pm and 7pm each day to join their children in the feeding frenzy. While many a mum will grab a glass of wine at this time, a great habit to get into is to keep a large glass of still or sparking water handy. This way you are catching up on the fluid you may have missed during the day, but do not need to worry about the availability and location of a clean bathroom. 

5. Go for the herbals after dinner

While tea and coffee do contribute to our daily total fluid intake, when it comes to hydration, herbal tea is the best option for the evening, as they contain no caffeine, which may disrupt sleep. Peppermint, caffeine-free green tea or mixed berries are all good options which may even help to prevent and manage sugar cravings. 

For more on women’s health and hydration, click here or for Susie’s top tools for a healthy kitchen, click here.

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 11.54.47 AMRead 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.

How many meals a day should we have?


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To be honest, I don’t know. It really depends on how active you are, how hungry you are, how busy you are, how you like to eat…..the list goes on because nutrition is complicated, there is not a one size fits all model and the reason why making extreme claims about what we should and should not be eating is a simplistic way of looking at a complicated science.

Eating 3 meals a day is not a conspiracy from food industry to make us eat more. Rather it is a tradition that has formed as a result of the way many of structure our lives and meals and as generally speaking our meals will keep us full for a few hours at a time. It is metabolism not marketing. Sitting down at a table to enjoy a meal with friends and family is also one of life’s most simple pleasures and as we enjoy doing it, we do tend to take the opportunity when it arises.

In modern life, we do tend to eat too much, and we do not tend to do it the right way. A balanced nutritious meal consumed three times each day, has now more likely been replaced with us grabbing random snacks and meals on the go that we scoff down in front of the computer or in the car. Therein lies the biggest issue with our nutrition – it tends to take a back seat to the other aspects of our lives, lives which we spend sitting down and as such burning calories relatively inefficiently and as such often need to eat a lot less, not a lot more.

So this takes us back to the entire point of this blog, how many meals should you eat? The average person will need 3-4 small meals – breakfast, early lunch, an afternoon snack and then a small dinner to keep their calories controlled, and their bodies and brains fuelled. Now some people who exercise a lot and who eat their first meal early in the day may need more, and then others who prefer to engage in a fasting style diet may only need a couple.

In a time when most people eat far too much, too often, debating the right or wrong of three meals a day is fruitless. The truth be known if the average person ate just three meals a day we would all be a lot leaner and healthier as a result. It is the other 20 meals, snacks and drinks that most of us go wrong. 

Can you have a social life and still be heathy or lose weight? See my earlier post here.

Should any of us diet? Here are some of the pros and cons of dieting so you can make an informed decision on whether dieting is right for you.

The breakfast mistakes we all make!


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This is a sponsored post

The Breakfast Mistakes We All Make

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day – not only does a good breakfast help to control our appetite as well as our weight but the habit of enjoying a nutritionally balanced breakfast on a daily basis sets our nutrition up for the entire day. So here are the most common mistakes we make when getting our breakfast right, and the easiest nutritionally balanced breakfasts you can prepare to ensure you are fuelled optimally no matter how time poor you are. 

Are you eating breakfast too late?

As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you enjoy your breakfast, the better it will be for your metabolism. It is commonly thought that delaying hunger until later in the morning; or waiting until after a workout will optimise fat burning but the truth is that you will train more effectively if you eat something small beforehand and then have a more substantial meal after training.  Light breakfast options include a slice of wholegrain toast with peanut butter, a couple of crackers with cheese or a banana is all you need to get your metabolism going. Ideally then you will back this up with a high protein breakie of eggs, Greek yoghurt and fruit or some protein pancakes later in the morning.  

Are you not getting the right nutrient mix?

An ideal balance of wholegrain, low glycaemic index carbohydrates and 15-20g of protein at breakfast will ensure that you not only have well controlled blood glucose levels and energy throughout the morning but a good serve of protein will help to keep you full and satisfied for at least 3-4 hours, ideally until lunchtime. Protein rich breakfast options including eggs on toast, a protein and banana smoothie or Greek yoghurt with fruit.

Are you forgetting the coffee?

Flat whites, cappuccinos, soy mochas and chai Lattes all contain calories and sugars (generally from lactose naturally found in milk) and calories that do need to be considered as part of a meal, not an insignificant extra. Often we start the day with a milk coffee, and follow it up with another once we arrive at work and forget that these both count as part of the breakfast. For any coffee that contains a significant amount of milk, consider is equal to a slice of toast in calories and if you are watching your total calorie and / or sugar intake consider swapping to black coffee or tea to cut out some of these extra calories. 

Are you overindulging in a café breakfast?

For city workers, or anyone who has a great café close to home or work that offers a coffee and toast for a cheap price, it can be hard to resist a daily café treat. Unfortunately, the type of breakfast options served at cafes rarely complement our dietary goals. Large slices of Turkish toast slathered in butter; fatty sandwiches with cheese and fatty meats, oversized muffins and thick sugary yoghurt and granola can equate to 600-800 breakfast calories, more than double what the average person needs. Save the café breakfasts to weekends or special occasions or at least look for lighter options such as an omelette with 1 slice thin toast, mini breakfast wraps or Greek yoghurt and fruit. 

Not time to prepare a healthy breakfast

Not having enough time to prepare a nutritionally balanced breakfast is one of the most common reasons we end up overindulging with muffins and fried breakfasts that we can pick up on the run. The easiest way to take control of these poor breakfast choices is to get into a habit of preparing a nutritionally balanced breakfast the night before. Homemade Bircher with oats, banana and Greek yoghurt, breakfast wraps with lean meat and cheese, hard boiled eggs or a frittata can all be prepared the night before and then enjoyed the next day. 

Here are some easy breakfasts to whip up at home that tick all the health and yummy-ness boxes!

Banana Nut Pancakes

Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Wheat Free

Serves 1

Cals – 420 | Fat – 15g | Protein – 19g | Carbs – 46g | Fibre – 3g

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 egg whites

1/4 cup low fat milk

1 tsp. brown sugar

2 drops of sp. vanilla essence

1/2 banana, mashed

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup Greek yoghurt

1 tsp. maple syrup

Preparation Method

Whisk quinoa with egg whites, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and banana.

Spray fry pan with canola spray and divide batter into 3 pancakes.

Cook each pancake for 3 mins each side.

Serve with 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt, a sprinkle of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Breakfast Power Smoothie

Vegetarian, Egg Free

Serves 1

Cals – 450 | Fat – 6g | Protein – 43g | Carbs – 50g | Fibre – 5g

Ingredients

1 cup (250 ml) of your preferred milk

1 small banana, chopped

2-heaped tbsp. rolled oats

1 scoop (20g) vanilla or chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp. natural low fat yoghurt

1 tsp. LSA

Ice to blend

Preparation Method

Mix all ingredients in a blender and serve.

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

The pros and cons of dieting


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Every week there is a new diet and weight loss, nutrition and diets remain popular across all media outlets. Yet there are also plenty of health professionals who aggressively argue against dieting. So the question is should you diet at all? Here are some of the pros and cons of dieting so you can make an informed decision on whether dieting is right for you.

Pros

A diet gives us structure

Whether we like it or not, we all follow a diet. Your diet may be packed with take away meals and coffee but it is still a diet. Dietary habits tend to form the basis of any one person’s diet and as such if these habits become healthy ones, so too our diet becomes healthy overall. Human beings benefit from structure and healthy habits and as such committing to a lifestyle that is built around healthy habits will naturally create a healthy diet. It is approaching dieting from a restrictive, strict approach that is the issue when it comes to diets, not diets in general. 

Any diet will work if we stick to it

Whether your preference is Paleo, 5:2 or vegetarian, the majority of diets, with the exception of strict juice fasts or not eating altogether will generally give good results. The issue for the average human is that we choose diets we do not like and as such are not compliant long term. If you find a diet that you can follow and stick too most of the time, without feeling restricted you will be on your way to long term weight control. 

There are many different diets

Ranging from eating a lot to eating a little; eliminating food groups or not, or being strict or not, there are so many diets the key is finding the one that suits you long term. In addition you can always see a dietitian who will develop an individualised diet for you, to get both the results you are wanting, via a plan that suits your food preferences and lifestyle. 

Many of us are too fat and need to lose weight 

Australians in general are not an overall healthy bunch and gradual weight gain in our 20’s and 30’s tends to lead to significant weight issues for 60% of us in our 40’s and 50’s. Many of us need to lose weight for our health and well-being. As such many of us need some type of dietary intervention that supports weight loss. Intuitive eating is a nice concept but it does not necessarily lead to weight loss on the scales the same way calorie control and structured eating does. 

Cons

Strict diets are not sustainable

When most of us think of diets we think of strict regimes that may deliver results initially but are rarely sustainable. It is for this reason that so many diets have coped a bad rap and the mere idea of starting a new diet is enough for most of us to feeling restricted and fall off the wagon before we have really given it a go. Indeed long term data suggests that few if any ‘strict’ diets work long term.

They can play havoc with our minds

In general the idea of ‘dieting’ results in cognitive restriction, which in turn results in the brain focusing on the foods we should not be eating which in turn fuels the diet – binge cycle. It is for this reason that if a ‘diet’ is to work, it needs to not be physically or mentally restrictive. 

Dieting can do metabolic damage

While strict regimes that slash calories, carbs and result in relatively quick weight loss, the issue metabolically is that while some of the weight loss is fat mass, it will also be muscle mass. As muscle is the tissue that actually burns calories, the less of it we have, the lower our metabolic rate will be. This somewhat explains why individuals are able to lose large amounts of weight following a strict regime once or twice but over time these results are difficult to replicate as metabolic rate is reduced and we are able to eat far fewer calories than we once did. 

You do not need a strict diet to lose weight

While human beings like to feel like they are being pure and virtuous following a strict diet the reality is that you can still lose weight, and keep it off without a strict diet. You simply need dietary structure which is a very different thing to a ‘diet’ so why put yourself through gruelling, restrictive regimes when you do not have to?

How to boost your metabolism


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It is a fact of life that once we hit our 30’s, exercise far less than we need and gain weight over time that our metabolic function starts to decline. The issue with this is that as our cells become less efficient at burning calories, and as we lose muscle mass, we burn fewer and fewer calories. Unfortunately that also means we need less food, which as we know, is easier said than done. The good news is that we actually do have some control over our metabolic rate. While 75% of or metabolic rate is determined by genetic factors, this leaves 25% directly impacted by how and what we eat and how many calories we burn via activity. So, if you are over the age of 30, spend much of the day sitting and know that your weight has been gradually on the increase; it may be time to consider what steps you can take to give your metabolic rate a serious boost.

Change something, change everything

The body gets used to the same habits and routines very quickly and becomes more and more efficient at doing them, burning fewer calories over time as a result. This means that if you have followed the same diet and exercise regime for as long as you can remember, it is time for a change, and the more you mix things up, the better both for your diet and your exercise program. For example, try different types of exercise, and mix up the times of day you are training and change the way you eat including the size of meals and the times you have them. Such change constantly challenges the body, forcing it to work harder and burn more calories as a result.

Pay attention to your hunger

Hunger is a sign that your body is burning your food efficiently. If you are not feeling hungry every 3-4 hours, or are feeling hungry too frequently, your meal balance is not working to support optimal metabolic function. If hunger is lacking you can try eating larger meals less frequently so you definitely experience hunger, or if your meals are large, it may be a sign to cut back with your portions. The key thing to remember is that regular hunger is a sign you are burning your food well as embrace it rather than avoid it by eating too much or too little.

Time to lift baby

If you are serious about getting your metabolism going you need to include some type of resistance training at least a couple of times each week. This does not mean you need to lift weights like a body builder, but it does mean including some type of training that incorporates resistance via weights or body weight to place load on the muscle cells. The more muscle cells you have and the harder they work, the more calories you will burn and the more efficient your metabolism will get. If you are not familiar with weights, see a trainer to help write you a program or look for various classes held at all popular gyms that incorporate weights into their supervised classes.

Train efficiently

When it comes to training, efficiency is the key. It is better metabolically to train harder for shorter periods of time than it is to training with less intensity for longer. For example running for 20 minutes versus walking for an hour. It is also much better to use as many of your different muscles as you can, which is why running is such a good workout compared to sitting down and riding an exercise bike. Jumping, running, push-ups, any activity that uses a number of large muscles groups is going to be of the most benefit for those wanting to target their metabolic rate.

Not sure what to eat when it comes to your training? Susie shares the best foods to eat for training here.

Get your snacks right

When it was reported that eating regularly was the best way to boost metabolism, the part we forgot was to clarify that eating regularly meant eating small meals regularly. A small meal = 100-200 calories, a small mix of carbs and proteins to give us an extra calorie burn that actually comes from eating. Unfortunately, what we tend to see in real life is 300-400 calorie snacks which much more carbohydrate than protein. So if you do prefer to eat several times a day, check the calories of your favourite snacks and if you are having 6 meals rather than 3 meals and 3 small snacks, that could be where you are going wrong.

For a nutritious and filling snack you can whip up at home, try our Chocolate Protein Muffins. Get the recipe here.

Include more protein

As a nutrient protein requires slightly more calories to digest than carbohydrate or fat does and for this reason adding a rich protein sources such as low fat dairy, lean meat or fish, nuts, soy or eggs to each of your meals or snacks will also help burn some extra calories over the course of the day. Aim for 20-30g of total protein at each meal and at least 5-10g per snack to reap the metabolic benefits protein rich foods offer.

Protein Counter

Beef/pork/lamb (per 100 grams) – 30

Chicken/turkey (per 100 grams) – 28

Seafood (per 100 grams) – 23

Milk (per 250 ml glass) – 9

Cheese (per 1 slice) – 5

Yoghurt (per 200 gram tub) – 10

Rice (per 1 cup cooked) – 5

Pasta (per 1 cup cooked) – 8

Egg  (per 1-cooked) – 7

Tofu (per 100 grams) – 8

Baked beans (per 1 cup) – 10

Nuts (per 50 grams) – 10

The Flexitarian diet. What is it and should you do it?


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What is a flexitarian and should I be one?

Chances are that you most likely know someone who has adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. And with veganism one of the fastest growing dietary preferences you may even know someone who is completely vegan. But there is also a new type of dietary approach out there, flexitarianism – the dietary approach which sees individuals mix veganism with a regular diet to gain the health benefits of a plant based diet without the dietary limitations of a full vegan or vegetarian approach.

There is no doubt there are numerous health benefits associated with a plant based diet – lower body weights, reduced risk of developing some types of cancer, reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes and a longer lifespan. For meat eaters though, who like and enjoy eating a varied diet that includes a range of proteins from animal sources including meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy, considering going cold turkey on all of these foods can simply be too much of a stretch for the average person.

And as part of a balanced diet, in which controlled portions of lean proteins are regularly consumed, good health can too be maintained. Where this tends to go wrong in modern life is that the types of proteins we consume are not as lean as they should be and our portions are too large. In Australia we are often consuming 2-3 x the amount of meat that is recommended and downing literally litres of milk from a high intake of milk based drinks including smoothies and coffee. The result is a diet that has too much animal food at the expense of nutrient rich, low calorie plant based foods.

Adopting a flexitarian approach is an easy way to strike a better nutritional balance – still enjoying your favourite meats, fish and dairy but having some time during the week when you focus a lot more on 100% plant based foods or if you like a day or two of vegetarian or vegan style eating. Not only does reducing our total intake of animal food have major benefits for the environment but our bodies benefit too from a diet high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and lower in calories, even if it just for a day or two each week.

So if you know that you overdo the protein and need to eat a lot more plant based foods how can you start without becoming a full vegetarian. An easy way to start is to commit to a meat free meal a couple of times each week – a soup, vegetable stir fry or pie or lentils or beans made into a curry or Mexican dish are all meat free, delicious meals. Next eat a lot more salad and vegetables as part of your daily diet – a vege juice in the morning, salad with your lunch and a few vegetable snacks is an easy way to plant up your diet. And finally look for protein rich plant based snacks – hommus, BOUNCE Plant Power vegan protein balls* and nuts with fruit are all nutrient rich, 100% plant based snack foods to compliment your flexitarian approach to diet. 

Try some of Shape Me vegan recipes, such as my Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie, Overnight Almond Chia Pudding or my recipe for The Best Tomato Soup.

*Susie is an official BOUNCE ambassador. This is not sponsored content.

Spring into action. 5 tips to getting your eating habits back on track for Summer.


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Spring into action

The arrival of Spring is a subtle reminder that Summer aka known as bikini/beach/boardie season is a mere 12 weeks away. So if the extra Winter kilos have suddenly become apparent it is time to take action to get your body back into tip top shape in time for Summer. Here are 5 tips to getting your eating habits back on track for Summer.

1. Give your breakfast a protein boost

Whether you choose a couple of eggs; a hearty serve of Greek yoghurt or a protein shake, research shows that consuming 20g of protein at breakfast helps to control the hormone insulin which regulates fat metabolism in the body. Protein rich breakfasts are also more likely to keep you full throughout the morning so you avoid snacking on carb rich foods such as banana bread, muffins and biscuits. Even better, add some extra vegetables to bulk up your protein rich breakie – a vegetable omelette, vege juice added to your yoghurt or some veges blended into your shake or smoothie.

2. Swap a meal

Very few of us get a 2-3 cups of salad and vegetables we need at both lunch and dinner for optimal health and nutrition. And the easiest way to lose weight is to eat more vegetables yet few of us adopt this relatively easy strategy. The low calorie content of vegetable based soups and salads, means that you could literally eat as much of these foods as you like without weight gain. Put simply, when we eat lots of low calorie, nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, there is less room for other high calorie foods. One of the easiest dietary strategies you can adopt when trying to shift a few kg quickly and safely is to replace a meal with a soup or salad. Whether you choose a rich vegetable soup for dinner or a leafy green or roasted vegetable salad for lunch, your total calorie intake will be significantly reduced when you bump up the vegetable content of your diet.

3. Concentrate on meal timing

One of the biggest issues from a dietary perspective is that we eat our meals a lot later in the day than we did 20-30 years ago. Breakfast is often not until 9am, lunch at 2 or 3 and then we are lucky to have dinner by 8 or even 9 at night. Another exceptionally easy dietary strategy is to simply eat earlier. Breakfast by 8am, lunch by 1pm and dinner by 7pm at the latest so you have 10-12 hours without food overnight – so simple yet so effective. A sign you are on the right track is when you actually wake up in the morning hungry.

4. Keep dinner small

Generally speaking most of us eat a light breakfast and lunch followed by much nibbling and munching through the afternoon as well as enjoying our heaviest meal at night. The greater the volume of food we eat at night, when we are least active, the harder it will be to lose weight. For this reason, committing to eating a light, relatively low calorie meal as early as possible is an easy way to drop a few kilos quickly. Light 300-400 calorie dinner options include a piece of white fish and vegetables, 100g lean meat or chicken with salad or an omelette.

5. Count your carbs

We often hear about counting your calories but another relatively easy yet often overlooked way to support weight loss is to count your carbs. As carbs are the key source of fuel for the muscle, actively counting the amount you are consuming is an easy way to control your total fuel intake. Small females will lose weight safely on 120-140g of total carbs per day, while men 140-180g. You can count the total amount of carbs you are eating using on online monitoring app use as ‘myfitnesspal’. A classic example of ways you can cut back on carbs is by swapping large slices of Turkish or Sourdough bread (40-60g carbs) for smaller, thinner slices of lower carb wholemeal or multigrain bread (20-30g carbs) per serve.

Have you overindulged in Winter and could really do with a ‘reset’ to your eating habits. Our Shape Me Spring Reset Plan eBook could be just what you need. For just $9.95, receive all the information, recipes, meal plans and tips from Susie you need to get your food and nutrition on track using nutrient rich foods and sustainable lifestyle changes that can be reincorporated into your daily food regime this Spring or whenever you feel as if you need a diet ‘RESET’. Purchase your copy here.

Mix up your water and help to stay hydrated


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This is a sponsored post.

When we think about water and hydration we generally think about numerous glasses and bottles of the clear stuff that we are supposed to consume every single day. Far less often do we remember that we can use a number of different types of water to help optimise our hydration on a daily basis. 

Filtered water

Without a doubt the best option when it comes to drinking water suitable for the family. Filtered water not only tastes fantastic, but having a ready supply of great-tasting filtered water ensures that you and your family are not being exposed to contaminants, including heavy metals such as lead and common parasites that can be found in unfiltered water. Most importantly, contrary to popular belief, fluoride is not removed when your water is filtered using a system such as MicroPurity as used by Zip HydroTap®. Simply having ready access to filtered water is all you need to ensure your family drink more water daily. 

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Hot water

Imagine if you could prepare your favourite warm drink in just seconds as opposed to having to track down the teapot; brew the leaves, let it sit – who has that kind of time? On the other hand, having ready access to hot water means that you can enjoy your favourite hydrating teas as often as you like. For those of us who are not all that keen on drinking plain water, different types of tea may hold the answer to your hydration issues. Green tea in particular has a number of proven health benefits, including slightly increasing fat metabolism after meals. 

Sparkling water

Some like their water still and room temperature, while others really prefer the effervescence of sparking water. Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely nothing wrong nutritionally with sparkling water – it does not contain added salt; it is not bad for the teeth and if it means you drink more water, it is a great daily choice of fluid. The beauty of having chilled sparkling water on tap is that you no longer have to worry about supplying bottled drinks when entertaining. You can simply serve chilled sparking at any time straight from your Zip HydroTap® All-In-One ARC design.

So if you are looking for a hydration solution for your family, consider installing one of the new Zip HydroTap® All-In-One ARC designs which now delivers all home water needs from a single tap. Offering filtered, boiling, chilled and sparkling water combined with a regular mixer tap with unfiltered hot and cold-water options (perfect for washing up). 

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With advanced energy efficiency and best-in-class cooling technology, the Zip HydroTap® All-in-One ARC also performs to the highest standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Unlike water-cooled systems, its air-cooled ventilation system doesn’t use precious water during the cooling process, instantly quenching your thirst while doing its bit to help the planet. When water is this irresistible, it’s easier than ever to drink more and improve your wellbeing, health and happiness. Discover more at www.zipwater.com.au.

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.

Announcing UberEATS Family Feeds


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This is a sponsored post.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 4.32.24 PMFor any busy family, making sure that there is a nutritious, family friendly meal on the table seven nights a week can be a challenging task. Generally speaking parents do want their family to eat well, and would love to spend hours on meal preparation each week, but in modern life time can get away from us and we need quick and easy mealtime options. 

The increasing popularity of home delivery meal options for busy people is not surprising. Most of us are time poor and rely on a quick meal to be delivered regularly to feed the family quickly without any fuss. Unfortunately when it comes to our health, and the health of our younger family members, this is not always the best outcome. Far too often fast food meals and orders from the kids menu are high in fat, contain few vegetables and offer little nutritionally.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 4.32.52 PMThis is the very simple reason that I have partnered with UberEATS to launch their new family friend meal offering, Family Feeds. Now whenever you open your UberEATS app, you will notice that a number of cafes and restaurants are pointing you towards special Family Feeds packs. These packs are not only family friendly and cost $40 or less, but they have my stamp of approval when it comes to nutrition. You will notice that Family Feeds packs have more salad, more vegetables and offer leaner sources of protein so you can feed your family quickly yet not need to worry about their nutrition. And this is just the start, UberEATS will continue to get the support of more and more food outlets, cafes and restaurants to help offer families a wide range of Family Feeds meals so you and your family can eat healthier, no matter what cuisine everyone feels like. 

So next time you need to order a meal to feed your family quickly, don’t forget to make the most of Family Feeds. It is the easiest way to get you family to eat more nutritious meals, no matter where the meal is coming from!

How to get Family Feeds with UberEATS

1. Download the UberEATS app from the iOS or Google Play stores.
2. Open the app and head to the search function.
3. Type in Family Feeds.
4. Select a meal deal from one of your local restaurants.
5. Select any extras you want.
6. Tap ‘order’.
7. Sit back and wait for your meal to be delivered in an average of 30 mins.

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Getting your diet back on track this August


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This is a sponsored post.

Hands up if your pants are feeling a little tight? With Spring just a few weeks away many of us know that our diets need a major overhaul. While it is easy to say eat less and exercise more, what we need are some easy, clear strategies to help get our food prep, nutrition and eating back on track. So here are some easy tips to take control of your diet today!

1. Go for protein at breakfast

A couple of eggs with plenty of vegetables; Greek yoghurt and a banana or a protein breakfast smoothie or some cottage cheese, banana and a small amount of a wholegrain cereal will not only help to keep you full throughout the morning but a protein rich breakfast will also help to control the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates both glucose and fat metabolism in the body and keeping these well-regulated is a key step in long term weight control. Check out our high protein breakfast shake below!

2. Eat your meals earlier

Not a 1 or 2pm lunch and an 8pm dinner, shift your meal times. Ideally aim to take a meal break at 12pm each day and enjoy a well-balanced lunch of ½ a cup of carbs, 100g of protein and at least 2 cups of salad and vegetables. Not only will you feel more satisfied and less prone to cravings throughout the day, but eating lunch earlier will help eliminate the need for a mid-morning snack. The same can be said for dinner, if you try and consume your last meal by 7pm at the latest, you will give the body a good 10-12 hours without food overnight, which is a great way to give your metabolism a kick start and wake up nice and hungry the next day. 

3. Get strict with your liquid calories 

Any type of coffee, tea, juice or energy drink contains calories, calories we do not appear to compensate for. For this reason, if you can manage to drop a couple of milk coffees from your day; or swap a juice or energy drink for water, you will immediately eliminate up to 300 extra calories from your day. And if you are a coffee devotee, simply swapping your order to a piccolo will again drop an extra 100 calories from your daily total. 

4. Plan for 4pm

3-4pm is the time that things often do downhill for those wanting to eat better. 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 handful of mixed nuts and a banana. 

5. Focus on vegetables

This is the simplest of all the diet tricks yet the one we forget all too often. As soon as you add some vegetables to your breakfast; 2-3 cups to lunch and dinner and an extra soup or salad a day, you have no room left for all the other rubbish, and you will feel better and more in control of your diet in no time.  

Banana Protein Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 banana

1 cup milk

½ cup Greek yoghurt

20g (1 tbsp.) vanilla protein powder

Vanilla for flavour

½ cup ice

Method

1. Blend ingredients together for a delicious breakfast smoothie. 

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

The power of plants


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This is a sponsored post

Whether you choose to go meat free on Mondays; live as a flexitarian or are a full vegetarian or vegan, you are not alone. The interest in plant based diets has grown exponentially in recent years, as more and more evidence suggests there are numerous health benefits associated with diets packed full of plant based foods. So how can you too get the benefits of a plant based diet no matter what your overall dietary preferences are?

You do not need to be a full vegan or vegetarian to get the benefits of a plant based diet. Rather, a diet that includes a significant proportion of grains, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits and vegetables will automatically give you many of the health benefits associated with plant based diets, including lower body weights; lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels and a longer life span. Evidence suggests that it is the lower calorie and higher fibre and antioxidant intakes associated with plant based diets that result in these numerous health benefits. 

So how much do you need? While there is no set proportion of plant foods that will give you these benefits, basically the more the better, and simply basing our meals and diets around plant based foods in some capacity is a good starting point. This translates into wholegrain carbs along with loads of fresh fruits and vegetables each and every day, along with meat free main meals occasionally to again bump up our intake of plants. In the case of snacks it means focusing on fruits, seeds, nuts and wholegrain snacks to again boost our intake of essential nutrients each day.

It also means looking at the quality of the plant based foods especially when it comes to considering our protein intake. As complete protein, or protein that is more readily absorbed in the body comes from animal based foods including meat, fish, eggs and dairy, swapping to a diet filled with more plant foods means we also need to be mindful of the quality of proteins we are consuming. Mixes of different grains such as legumes and rice means that you will get the complete mix of amino acids and higher protein quality in plant based meals. 

Eating more plant foods also does not mean you need to ditch the meat, eggs, dairy and fish unless you want to. Dietary balance is all about consuming foods in the right amounts. Simply focusing on plant based foods and meals means that we tend to get our animal proteins in smaller portions which is also good for our weight, our health and environment long term. It is not about eliminating them or having good or bad foods, rather creating a dietary balance that complements our health long term. 

Bounce Australia is thrilled to have recently released a brand new range of plant based energy balls. Made with a mix of rice and pea protein, these 100% vegan range of energy balls are high in protein (>8g) per serve; offer the full range of amino acids; are gluten and lactose free for happy tummies and are an easy way to super boost the plant power in your diet every day. 

Screen-Shot-2017-08-03-at-7.25.53-amAvailable in 5 flavours; Almond Kale, Beetroot Cashew, Almond Spirulina, Coconut Cumin and Cashew Peanut, Bounce Plant Power range is available in Coles and health food stores.

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

Healthy eating for kids


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This is a sponsored post

The foods children and teens consume on a daily basis directly influences their energy levels, attention, growth and development. And while professionals and parents may know how important good nutrition is, getting kids to eat what we want them to can be easier said than done. It is for this reason that focusing young diets’ around nutrient rich superfoods, along with regular family meals are two easy ways you can set your family’s nutrition on a sound path. Of all the child friendly foods out there, eggs are one of the most versatile and nutrient rich options to include in your family’s diet. Packed full of protein and a range of key nutrients, eggs are a perfect option to compliment family meals.

When the dietary staples offered at home include nutrient choices at each meal and snack you will be on the right path with your family’s nutrition. In general, protein rich options including eggs, lean meat, fish along with dairy foods and brightly coloured vegetables are all natural superfoods that can easily be incorporated into child friendly meals such as scrambled eggs, pies, omelettes, fried rice and baked products such as healthy muffins and frittatas. While busy families often resort to grabbing quick meals and snacks on the run, incorporating whole natural foods means you tick a number of key nutritional boxes compared to more processed meal and snack choices. Take a breakfast of an egg on a slice of toast compared to toast alone. The egg adds up to 8g of high quality protein, essential fats and more than 13 essential vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, selenium and Vitamins D and A, contributing a significant number of key nutrients into the diet of a growing child in a single meal. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.52.09 PMInvolving children in the process of planning, cooking and preparing meals is another key step in improving the nutritional intake of your family as they are much more likely to eat the food they have had some role in cooking. Spending time as a family each week planning the meals in advance will give children and teens something to look forward to and helps to further create a unique family ritual around meals in your home. Even better, as kids get older assigning them the task of making breakfast; a slice for after school snacks or even a quick dinner is a great way to get them intrinsically motivated when it comes to involving themselves with both their nutrition and the family meal time routine. Quick and easy meals that even relatively young children can be involved in making include scrambled eggs, muffins, fritattas, fried rice and a stir fry. 

The next thing to consider is how your family generally enjoys their meals. Is dinner at your house scoffed in front of the television or do you routinely sit down at the table with the television switched off? Family meal times are important for a number of reasons – the simple coming together, at a table, without distraction on a regular basis has been shown to support both the cognitive and psychosocial functioning of children and teenagers. It appears that there is something very simple, yet also quite complex about the act of a family enjoying meals together on at least four occasions each week that impacts behaviour long term. 

The other known benefit about enjoying meals together as a family, is that the nutritional quality of the meal is superior. Take a sit down breakfast for example, a nutritionally rich breakfast of eggs and toast offers much more than a quick grab and go breakfast, and also facilitates the modelling and conversation linked to long term health and well-being outcomes seen in studies specifically examining the benefits of family meal times. In a similar way, evening meals served at a table are more likely to be nutritionally balanced options that offer lean proteins such as fish, meat and eggs, along with salad and vegetables – all foods which offer the key proteins, vitamins and minerals that growing children need as opposed to quick on the go meal options such as frozen meals, fast food and high fat takeaway options.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.58.37 PMSo knowing that there are both psychological and nutritional benefits of enjoying family meals together as frequently as possible, how can you make it work in modern life when schedules are pushed to the max? First of all start small – if you can only manage a family meal a couple of times each week, it is better than nothing. You may find a weekend breakfast of eggs, along with a Sunday lunch or Friday night dinner are a few meals in which most family members will be home, and where you can start to introduce the ritual of enjoying a meal together at the table. Next when you can commit to family meals, turn the television off. It appears that the natural flow of conversation between family members is the key to family meal time success and creating a special time in which both nutrition and relationships flourish. Where you can focus on superfoods such as eggs to supercharge your family’s nutrition. And finally, try and enjoy the process. Food, eating and family are life’s greatest and most simple pleasures, it is not supposed to be so stressful so try to relax and enjoy the process. 

This post is sponsored by the Australian Egg Corporation. For more information, please click here.

5 ways to drink more water in Winter


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This is a sponsored post.

How to drink more water this winter

Well it sure is chilly outside – chances are your skin is dry, your lips chapped and your nose is constantly running. Welcome to the world of winter and while the last thing you may feel like doing is drinking chilled water, it may surprise you to hear it is one of the most important things you can do when the temperature drops to keep well, healthy and feeling your best.

Dehydration is surprisingly common. Our thirst reflex is not overly strong, and when it is cold outside we are far less likely to keep our water bottle on hand the way we would when it is much warmer outside. In short it means we are at greater risk of dehydration, especially in cold and flu season which sees us lose plenty of fluid via coughs and colds. So here are some easy ways to make sure you are drinking enough fluid to maximise your immune system and your energy no matter how cool it is outside.

1. Set a water target

While you may feel like drinking less water at this time of year, simply setting a reasonable target, such as 600-1L of fluid each day via sparking or still filtered water are reasonable targets that will give your hydration a strong baseline level before we add in extra fluid via tea, soup and fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Add a glass to meals

We are much more likely to drink great tasting water when it is readily available to us so an easy habit to build is always serving your meals with a glass of sparkling or still water. Not only will this help to regulate appetite but it is also a good habit for the whole family. To make it even easier, consider installing a Zip HydroTap at home or at work so you always have filtered still and sparking water readily available.

3. Include your tea

The good news is that you can include tea in your fluid count each day. This means if you are a little off your water at this time of year you can easily replace it with cups of herbal or black tea. And the great news about tea is that it adds antioxidants into your diet with minimal calories or in the case of herbal teas offers a range of health benefits ranging from craving control to digestion ease. 

4. Add extra where you need

If you are sneezing up a storm, or exercising at high intensity simply add an extra 500-600 ml of water to ensure you are compensating for the extra losses, even if you are not sweating or feeling thirsty. Another option may be to enjoy warm boiled water with a little lemon to get the hydration benefits via a warming fluid.

5. Keep water within easy reach

This may mean having a bottle in the car, a glass and a jug on your desk or Zip HydroTap at home, but the simple act of prioritising your fluid intake and always keeping filtered water close by is the key to optimal hydration, even in winter. 

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.

Why isn’t my diet working?


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The real reasons your diet is not working

We often hear that we are eating too much, or not enough. That the times we are eating are all wrong, or our macros are out of balance but in reality, the reasons I see my clients not achieving their weight loss goals are far more simple. So let’s tell it the way it really is.

You do not really want to do it

Weight loss, especially during the early stages is hard. In many cases you need to eat less, exercise more and stop doing things that you really like to do. Now human beings in general are often not all that keen to work hard, deprive themselves and as such often do not make the sacrifices they need to get good eight loss results. While many of us would ‘like’ to lose weight, far fewer of us are prepared to do the hard yards to actually do it. We want the easy, quick fix but unfortunately, especially as we get older it does not work when it comes to weight loss.

You have too much else going on

What we know from research in the area of willpower is that it is a limited resource. This means that when you can put significant focus into your diet and exercise regime you are more likely able to achieve results. On the other hand, when you have a lot of other things going on in your life it is going to be much harder to find the focus and control that is required for weight loss. This means that the best time to concentrate on losing weight, is a time when everything else in life is going smoothly. Not when you have just had a baby; have family or relationship or health drama or are about to start a new job, go overseas or go through other considerable stress.

You are treating yourself too often

We are an indulgent bunch and unfortunately eating a couple of Freddo frogs, a few glasses of wine along with little to no walking each day is unlikely to result in weight loss. While you do not have to have a ‘perfect’ diet to lose weight, you do need to have one that is calorie controlled and as such high calorie foods including cakes, chocolates and alcohol need to be consumed sparingly, if at all especially during the first few weeks of a new program. If you are eating chocolate, cakes restaurant food regularly, weight loss will be challenging if not impossible.

You are buying too much food out

Foods we buy away from the home, whether it is restaurant or café food or even a salad from the food court have up the double the calories than meals we prepare at home. For this reason if you are eating out a number of nights each week, or buying your lunch at work each day, therein most likely lies your problem.

You are eating more than you think you are

Human beings underestimate their calorie intake by 20-30% each day – portion sizes, mindless eating and habitual eating just some of the factors that tend to limit the amounts we remember ourselves eating. If you are unsure as to why the scales are not changing, it may be time to log your food accurately in a monitoring program such as ‘myfitnesspal’ so you can really see what is going on, objectively. 

So you didn’t stick to your diet. Click here to find out what you should do next.