Why I create simple recipes.


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It may surprise you to hear that the meals I generally put together for my family contain 5 or less ingredients and literally take 10 minutes to prepare and that is why I have developed Shape Me Cooks.

Few would disagree that on some nights the thought of whipping up another appealing and nutritious meal for the family simply seems too hard. So is there anything you can prepare from scratch, in less than ten minutes with minimal ingredients that will still tick a number of nutritional boxes? The good news is that once your pantry is stocked with a few food staples, it is far easier to put together a quick, nutritious meal than you think.

Nutritionally the two main things that tends to be missing in meals prepared on the go is a good source of protein and vegetables as these are foods less likely to be on hand when you have not had much time to get to the shops. Simply keeping a supply of tinned fish, ham or a few eggs on hand will ensure that you always have a couple of protein rich options ready to go while tinned or frozen vegetables will keep for many months and can be incorporated into many dishes.

Once you have these ingredients as well as some stock, tomato pasta sauce, pasta or rice and some potatoes you will be able to throw together at least ten nutritious meals. Use pasta sauce and mix with tuna or salmon, as a base for pizza or mix with pasta and beans and a few frozen vegetables. Top a jacket potato with tuna or salmon; add corn and a few cut up vegetables or use frozen vegetables and mix with tuna or leftover mince.

One of the main reasons that some individuals manage to eat well no matter how short of time they are, it that they actively make time to get to the supermarket each week and stock up on the dietary staples they need to be able to prepare meals quickly. If you are one of the many who actually detests shopping, maybe it is time to shop online. Convenient and time effective, online shopping not only means you are ready to eat well each week, but also means you avoid the temptation of buying extra foods you see when you find yourself at the supermarket late at night.

Try some of my quick and easy Shape Me recipes today.

Top 10 quick and easy meals

Jacket potato topped with salmon, cottage cheese and tomato

Pasta with tuna and frozen vegetables

Chili Con Carne

Frittata

Omelette

Mountain bread pizza

Frozen vegetables stir fried with prawns

Quick cook brown rice with ham or tuna

Vegetable soup

Frozen fish and frozen vegetables

Sign up to Shape Me Cooks for access to over 650 of my most popular quick and easy recipes here.

5 things to know about eating for insulin resistance


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Insulin resistance is a challenging condition when it comes to weight loss. Basically if you are insulin resistant your body is producing high levels of insulin in response to carbohydrate consumption (no matter what type of carbs) and when insulin levels are high, fat metabolism will be blocked metabolically. For this reason the right balance of macro nutrients, along with medication in many cases is required to achieve successful weight loss. So, if you are insulin resistant and have been struggling to get the weight loss results you are after, here are some things to consider.

1. The traditional energy balance equation does not apply when you have insulin resistance. As your cells are processing carbohydrates less efficiently you are likely to need fewer calories and carbohydrates at certain times to induce weight loss. Most importantly this is not an absolute amount of calories or carbs, the amount you need will change as you lose weight, become fitter and become more insulin sensitive.

2. Meal timing is incredibly important when you have insulin resistance. Ideally you want at least 3-4 hours in between eating experiences and more meals during the first half of the day.

3. You can consume too few carbohydrates if you have insulin resistance. While low carb diets will give you immediate results, unless you continue to follow a low carb diet long term, eating more carbs when you are still insulin resistance will lead to rapid weight gain. For this reason gradually reducing carbs to support weight loss will give you good results long term.

4. When you eat fewer carbs, it will mean that you eat more good fats and proteins. Ideally we need a 20-30g serve of protein at each meal and 60-80g good fats each day.

5. Hunger is a good sign that your body is starting to burn your food. If you are not hungry every 3-4 hours, it is a sign your macro nutrients and / or calories may need adjusting. 

A New Series: What Mummy Feeds Us.


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IMG_4577I have a new baby…..now I know you are thinking, ‘whats wrong with this chick, she just had 2 baby’s’ but those 2 bubbas are just not giving me enough to do so I have a new Facebook site to share with you that will run via a regularly featured theme to this blog - ‘What Mummy Feeds Us‘. What Mummy Feeds Us will be dedicated to detail the food journey of Baby Harry and Baby Gus as they transition to solid food. IMG_4597As a paediatric dietitian I feel pretty passionately about the importance of small children developing sound eating habits early in life. Working in this area for a number of years, I have some pretty firm opinions based on scientific evidence and my own clinical experience about what kids should and shouldn’t be eating. So what better way than to share these thoughts as I transition my own 5 month twins to solids over the next 6 months than to blog about my processes and practices?

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And hence this first blog post. So, the twins are now 5 months old but just 4 months and 1 week corrected. I wanted to wait until they were fully 4 months before starting any solid foods despite little Gussy constantly staring down everyone eating in his path and stuffing his hands or anything he can find for that matter into his mouth. Now often the first food people will reach for is the rice cereal. Now it is interesting that rice cereal has been used as one of the first infant foods thanks to its fortified iron content and low allergy risk. For me rice cereal is a high GI grain which does not offer a huge amount of nutrients and as I plan to get the boys eating red meat for their iron pretty quickly I decided to go with oats. Now the oats I have used this week are Bellamy’s because even though I had the best off intentions in grinding my own and pureeing them, time got away from me and the Bellamy’s oats are already such a good consistency for a first foods I went with those and ta da, we have eating!

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Both of the twins liked their oats which do have a tad of pear through them. As you can see both got their hands involved in the process and spent plenty of time slurping and playing with the spoon which is exactly what you want to be happening at this stage. GusI choose to feed the boys after their morning bottle at about 10am, before their second feed so they were a little hungry and will offer them about 1-2 tablespoons each day for a couple of days until we move onto vegetables. My baby phase is officially on the way out and I am just going to go and cry a little about that right now. Next bring on the veges!

A new supplement partnership with D&X


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An exciting announcement today – I am thrilled to announce that I have joined the team at D&X and come on board as an official ambassador for the health, well-being and lifestyle brand.

D&X is an Australian conglomerate manufacturing dietary supplements here in Australia. With a commitment to natural, Australian made products D&X products have the goal of supporting optimal health, vitality and well-being.

Watch an introduction to D&X from CEO Rick Chapman see inside the 2016 Global Launch on Sky News Business.

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My role with D&X is to communicate the scientific evidence with D&X’s global R&D team for specific supplements and how they may compliment your diet and lifestyle goals. With products ranging from high strength fish oil, to cranberry relief for urinary health and glucosamine for joint health, D&X is committed to much product development over the next few years.

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If you are in Sydney, check out the flagship store in Haymarket (389-391 Sussex Street, Sydney) and look for special offers we will be running through my website. Each couple of weeks we will also be showcasing a D&X product and outlining the ways in which they may compliment your healthy lifestyle choices and I will be blogging regularly on the role of supplements and how to use them the right way in your diet. So stay tuned for exciting developments with this new brand!

Don’t forget to jump across to the D&X Facebook page to keep up to date on all their announcements too.

The natural cold and flu flighters


Colds and flu

Proven remedies

Now eating well and increasing your intake of fluid can be considered pretty standard treatments to help the body fight infection but what about the myriad of supplements and herbal remedies out there? As research findings grow, there are more and more proven natural remedies out there which are definitely worth a try.

Probiotics

A link between probiotics, the natural bacteria found in the small intestine and immune health has been known for some time and research published in The University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey found probiotics helped reduce the duration of a cold as well as the severity of symptoms. Probiotics can be found in some yoghurts and fermented drinks as well as in supplement form from the chemist.

Garlic

Garlic has been used to treat bacteria, high blood pressure and infection for thousands of years and it is believed that the organosulfides (naturally occurring chemicals found in garlic and onions), along with Vitamin D help to stimulate the production of the immune cells, macrophages. Garlic can be taken as capsules or raw and get some sunlight each day if you can to enhance its potential benefits.

Chicken soup

Chicken soup has been a favourite remedy for colds, flus, coughs and colds for hundreds of years, with many families owning a traditional soup recipe passed through the generations. And it seems that our elders had it right as there is evidence to show that chicken soup with broth made using actual chicken bones may improve immune function. Research published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that a molecule found in chicken soup, carnosine, helped the body’s immune system to fight the early stages of flu by inhibiting the migration of infected cells around the body.
Echinacea

One the most commonly recommended herbal remedies for colds and flu, the antiviral and antibacterial herb that originates from America actually has strong research that supports its use for reducing the likeliness and duration of the common cold. The recommended dose is currently 3g per day.

Olive leaf extract

Olive leaf extract boasts both natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits and contains double the antioxidant content than that of green tea. While research supporting its use as a specific flu fighter is only in early cellular stages, it remains a powerful antioxidant supplement.

Medicinal mushrooms

This one may surprise you but Chinese and Japanese healers have used the powers of mushrooms for centuries to treat numerous ailments. With shiitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms most frequently referred to, cooked varieties of these mushrooms are known to increase immune system activity.

Introducing Shape Me Cooks.


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Today I have another exciting development from Shape Me to share with you all. For those of you who are not familiar with Shape Me, Shape me is an online weight loss program that offers direct access to a dietitian and caters to a number of key dietary requirements including gluten free, PCOS, low FODMAPS and insulin resistance meal plans. Shape Me has now helped thousands of Australians achieve their weight loss goals. Shape Me is popular as it features personalised meal plans plus the support of a dietitian literally making it your own personal dietitian. One of the other major strengths of Shape Me is that it has hundreds of calorie controlled recipes, recipes that Shape Me users are often keen to continue using after their program finishes. It is for this reason that we have now launched Shape Me Cooks – a recipe subscription that allows you to access the Shape Me recipes for just $19.95 a month – that’s less than 72c a day!

Sign up to Shape Me Cooks today!

FacebookAd-FreeRecipes

When it comes to recipes, my mantra is simple, literally keep it simple. As soon as I see complicated recipes with numerous ingredients, I simply tune out because I have no time to make elaborate meals, especially during the week. As such as of the Shape Me recipes are simple, primarily using mainstream supermarket brands and can bee made within just 10-20 minutes suiting families and busy people in general.

Want to try some of our Shape Me recipes out first? Try our most popular recipes for free, here!

So if you are looking for some recipe inspiration and are also keen for your recipes to be nutritionally balanced and calorie controlled, check out Shape Me Cooks. Recipes are added weekly and we cater for all major dietary requirements. It could not be easier than having your healthy recipes at the touch of a button 24 hours a day!

Sign up to Shape Me Cooks today here.

My top Winter soups


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With soup season finally upon us, while it may be on your weekly to do list to make yourself a homemade batch, it is always good to know which the best are pre-prepared options should you need a quick option on the go. So here are my top Winter soups which make great low calorie lunch options teamed with ½ a sandwich or crackers or as a low calorie dinner option.

La Zuppa SoupLa Zuppa Kale, Quinoa and Vegetables

The pick of the bunch when it comes to pre–made soups. Clean ingredient lists, literally no sugars and packed full of vegetables plus they taste great.

Pitango

With a massive 16g of fibre per serve, this vege option has a clean ingredient list and makes a filling, low calorie meal.

Darikay Chicken Noodle Soup

A number of the Darikay fresh soups are low calorie, vege rich options.

Campbells SoupCampbell’s Healthy Green with Kale

A new variety of soup that is packed full of vegetables, is relatively low in salt for a packet soup and in a handy non messy container.

Woolworths Home Style Fresh Soups

You do need to check the labels of these fresh soups as they are not all good options but the vege and chicken varieties are relatively low in carbs and calories. 

Get motivated…..NOW!


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One of the most common questions I am asked by clients is about motivation – how to find it, how to keep it and what the secret is to keeping it going. Unfortunately there is no easy answer. Motivation is complicated. Ultimately it is about finding a reason to do something because you really want to and because you even like doing it. This means that no one can give it to you, nor are you likely to wake up with it randomly one morning. Rather it will come when something is really important to you and you start to make positive food decisions and move your body because you want to, not because you have to; think you should or are doing it for someone else. Personally I feel motivated to eat well, control my weight and move my body every day as I know I am at my best when I am lean, fit and energised. I never feel good when I am not eating well, or when I am feeling heavy. When I look in the mirror and feel good I know I am at my best to deal with whatever life is throwing at me. So when I am feeling down or over life, always the easiest thing for me to do to feel better is prepare some healthy food and go for a big walk. Nothing makes me feel as good as this does. So if you are looking for that elusive dose of motivation, here are some things you can actually DO to move you forward.  

1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself

No one is blessed with a big hit of motivation. Individuals who are motivated work at it, constantly and consider what they need to do to be at their best, not what someone else can do for them.

2. Do something positive

The simple act of thinking positive and even more of doing something that makes you feel positive – going for a walk, buying some flowers, catching up with a friend can be the easiest way to help you open your mind to opportunities. In the case of diet and exercise motivation this can mean just getting started as the positive feelings that come from that are likely to help you keep motivated and press on.

3. Accept

Keeping motivated to eat well and exercise has a lot to do with accepting this is something most of us need to do on most days for the rest of our lives. The beliefs that things are easy for some or that it is not fair are ultimately just excuses that give us a reason for not doing anything, yet they are not really true.

4. Stop thinking

Motivation to do has a lot to do with putting a stop to the self-talk that keeps holding you back and commit to action only. Simple acts such as cooking a healthy meal or catching up with a friend over a talk are small but powerful actions that will help to move your forward with minimal commitment.

5. Do things you like

One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to lifestyle change is that we try and make ourselves do things we don’t want to do. We join a gym even though we hate it; or follow a diet that includes foods that we do not like eating. Motivation will come a lot more readily when you actually like your diet and exercise regime.

If you are struggling with your motivation and would like to take control today, try Shape Me by Susie Burrell for easy to follow meal plans, recipe ideas and diet, motivation and exercise tips to help you feel your best. Sign up today here.

Let’s talk about the snacks marketed to young children.


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As a parent, chances are you are keen to give your children the best nutritionally. The issue with this when it comes to foods marketed for children is that there are plenty that are far less healthy than you would think. Here are a few popular kids’ foods and what you will find in them.

Weetbix Go Breakfast Biscuits

With more than 8g of sugars in a single serve, a biscuit is a biscuit is a biscuit and biscuits are not a healthy choice for breakfast.

Heinz Little Kids Oat Bikkies

With butter and sugar listed within the first three ingredients, these are not a good choice for small children especially who are best to have no added sugars in their diet.

Aribar

Marketed as organic and with 25% less sugar, ARI bars still contain sugars, agave and rice syrup which are all sugars meaning that each bar contains a teaspoon or ¼ sugar.

Wholekids Organic Fruit Bar

Another product with multiple sources of added sugars via dried fruit, honey and sugar, a single bar contains almost 15g of sugars, or 3 teaspoons in a single bar!

Uncle Toby’s Roll Ups

These is nothing healthy about pressed fruit and sugar and your child’s dentist would agree. Each roll up contains almost a teaspoon of sugar.

Rafferty’s Garden Fruit Snack Bar

The second and third ingredient on this product is sugar giving each bar 6g.

Whole Kids Organic Farm Biscuits

With sugar and vegetable oil as the second and third ingredients, again there is nothing healthy about feeding small children sweet biscuits.

Sakata Paws

While rice crackers may seem to be a healthy option, a closer look at the ingredient list reveals added sugar, vegetable oil and a highly processed snack option.

Fantastic Rice Crackers

Not only do many varieties of flavoured rice crackers contain added MSG (621) but vegetable oil, sugar and salt as well – no good for small tummy’s or taste buds.

5AM Organic Yoghurt Tubes

With sugar listed on the ingredient list and 14g of sugars or more than 3 teaspoons in a 120g pouch there are much better yoghurts available for children.

Milk Arrowroot Biscuits

Plain sweet biscuits remain a popular choice for mums but when you consider that this biscuit is made up of palm oil, sugar and white flour giving 5g of sugars per 3 biscuits, again there are much better teethers for children.

My Yummy Lunchbox Sesame Sticks

With added rice syrup, sweetened condensed milk and sugar or three different sugars, these vegan, gluten free bars also contain a teaspoon of sugar which is ¼ of the 18g bar.

Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Yoghurt

With sugar as the second ingredient and 12g of sugar per 70g tube, the negatives of this product for small children outweigh any potential nutritional benefits.

Vaalia Kids Yoghurt

Sugar is another core ingredient in this yoghurt which contains 15g or more than 3 teaspoons of sugar per 140g serve.

Only Organic Apple Custard

Added sugar translates into 11g of sugars per 120g tube of this dessert marketed for babies.

The only diet tips you need


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to travel for work and keep your diet on track


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

1. Start the day right

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

2. Take food on the plane

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

3. Order your daily salad

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

4. Only eat at meal times

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

5. Remember the supermarket

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

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


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

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

My flat stomach is long gone


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

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

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

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

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

Attention food companies – The case for acting socially responsible!


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Attention food companies!

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

1. Stop making the shittiest of crap foods

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

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

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

3. Stop with the token efforts

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

4. Donate some more money to health

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

5. Think in terms of being socially responsible

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

New product alert – Pumpkin Seed MUNCH


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

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


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

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

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

2. You are eating too frequently

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

3. Not enough bulk

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

4. Your calories are too low

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

5. Your carbs are too low

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

How do I juggle work with my twins?


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

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

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

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

5 reasons to buy your groceries online


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

1. You will save much time and stress.

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

2. Your nutrition will improve.

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

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

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

4. You will save money.

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

5. You can have food delivered to work

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

5 things to know about your diet when you have PCOS


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

1. It is all about the carbs

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

2. Timing is important

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

3. Fat is all about the type

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

4. Calories are still important

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

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

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

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

5 things a new mum can’t live without


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

Zip Tap1. Zip Hydrotap

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

Avent Breast Pump2. Avent Breast Pump

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

Melrose Nut Spreads3. Nut Spread

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

4. TV Series

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

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

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