6 of the best Spring superfoods


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Spring Superfoods

The sun is out, days are longer and many of us are searching for ways to feel and look our best ahead of the festive season. So, if you know that your diet could do with a spring clean, here are some of the seasonal fresh foods to include in your diet. 

Bananas

Packed full of natural energy, fibre, potassium and magnesium, a banana is not only convenient but is the perfect source of fuel for busy people on the go. Not only are bananas easy to find at this time of year, they are versatile – adding natural sweetness to smoothies, baked goods and cereal. They are a great self-packaged snack and can even be frozen and used as a low calorie dessert option. Another trick is to keep soft bananas frozen to grab when you are baking or to add to smoothies and juices. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

While we hear much about the wonders of coconut oil, the truth is that when it comes to looking at the research that supports the health benefits of any particular oil, you cannot go past olive oil. Its great for the skin with exceptionally high levels of powerful antioxidants that help to protect our cells from damage and as an addition to any meal to help boost satiety fullness, olive oil has one of the highest proportions of monounsaturated fat and lowest proportion of saturated fat of all cooking oils. 

Often considered a poor choice for cooking at high temperatures, the truth is that the high quality of olive oil means that it can be used in most dishes with the exception of deep frying, as well as used as a flavoursome dressing. The fresher the olive oil, the higher the antioxidant content, so replace your olive oil every two to three months and also keep in mind that ‘light’ varieties are not lighter in fat or calories and spray varieties lack the nutrient quality of fresh oil. Research suggests that including as much as two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day will help you to reap the many health benefits 

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt not only contains much less sugar than the average serve of store bought yoghurt but is much higher in protein which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day. Added benefits will come if you choose a variety of Greek yoghurt which also contains probiotics, the live bacteria that will help to feed the good bacteria in the gut and is thought to have a powerful role in optimal immune functioning long term. 

Enjoy with some oats for breakfast, as a filling snack, as a light dessert option, and add to smoothies and protein shakes or even as a dressing option with vegetables for a daily calcium boost.

Red capsicum

Another nutrient rich, low calorie vegetable choice is red capsicum which is a rich source of carotenoids, the group of antioxidants known to play a powerful role in helping to down regulate a number of inflammatory pathways in the body. Red capsicum is packed full of Vitamin C, folate and fibre and with just 45 calorie per cup, you can enjoy an entire red capsicum as a filling snack providing a major nutritional hit. A flavoursome base to sauces, added to salads or teamed with hommus or Greek yoghurt. 

Rocket

Ten years ago, rocket was rarely the standard salad leaf of choice but the peppery rocket has become a fond favourite for many. Rocket originated in the Mediterranean region, hence its link with olive oil and parmesan cheese! Like most salad ingredients, rocket is extremely low in kilojoules but unlike plain lettuce and as depicted by its rich dark green colour, is chock full of Vitamin C, fibre, iron and beta carotene.

Rocket is also an amazingly easy salad leave to grow and now is a good time to plant some before it gets too hot. Try planting some seeds in a pot on your veranda or balcony and you will find you have rocket for your favourite parmesan and tomato salad in no time, which is perfect with BBQ’s and with grilled fish. 

Legumes

Legumes or beans have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years with cannellini, kidney and borlotti beans featuring regularly in a range of cuisines including Mexican, Italian and Lebanese. All beans are extremely nutritious containing a mix of low glycaemic index carbohydrates, dietary fibre and protein; their relatively high protein content making them a popular meat substitute for vegetarians. 

The soluble fibre found in beans has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they also contain high levels of B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium as well as folate. While legumes are often used as the base of meals for vegetarians, beans can also be used in range of meals including mince, soups and salads for extra bulk and an extra nutritional hit. And best of all, legumes are extremely cheap, making them an economical addition to any meal.  

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

The top 10 reasons you may not be losing weight


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At times, you may be eating very ‘healthy’ but this does not necessarily mean that you will be successfully burning fat. Here are the most common reasons that your diet may not be working.

1. You are having too many extras

Keep a record for a day of all the times that food or drink enters your mouth – you may be surprised how many extras slip in there. Alternatively track your calories on an online program such as CalorieKing

2. You are drinking too much coffee

Back tea or coffee without milk or sugar is fine but as soon as you choose a cappuccino or latte, the calories start to add up. Enjoy just 1-2 small coffees each day and try and enjoy them as part of your meal or snack – not as an extra.

3. You are eating to much at night

Often we try so hard to be ‘good’ during the day, that we do not eat enough and then find ourselves overly hungry at night. Make sure you have a good breakfast and lunch as well as a filling mid afternoon snack so you are able to keep your calorie intake at nighttime low.

4. You are eating breakfast too late

Remember that the body burns more calories in the first half of the day as this is when you are most active so aim to eat your breakfast as early as possible.

5. You are eating your dinner too late.

The body’s hormones are programmed to store at night so if you are regularly eating your last meal of the day after 8 or 9 at night, you amy need to eat your main meal at lunchtime and enjoy a light snack such as soup later at night.

6. You are drinking too much alcohol

Alcohol, per gram has almost as many calories as fat so a glass or two of wine can really add up. If your weight loss has halted, try eliminating alcohol for a week or two to see if that may be holding you back.

7. You are having too few calories

When we begin a new program, we can adopt the mindset that ‘less food is better’ – while this is somewhat true, if you take your calories too low you risk reducing metabolism which will slow weight loss. As a general rule of thumb make sure you are always consuming at least 1200 calories and you may need more if you are training constantly for more than an hour a day.

8. You are not exercising at the right intensity

There is a big difference between going for a gentle walk and flogging yourself at boot camp 6 days a week. For weight loss we need at least 3-4 sessions of high intensity exercise so it may be time to ramp up your training a little.

9. You are not eating before you exercise

If you are training intensely before breakfast or late afternoon, you are likely to burn more fat if you have a small protein rich snack before your session – a couple of crackers with cheese, ½ glass of milk or ½ a protein bar is all you need.

10. You are not moving enough

It is one thing to exercise, but if you then spend the rest of the day sitting down therein lies your problem. Ideally we need at least 8000 steps a day in addition to our exercise sessions so you may need to walk a little more to achieve the weight loss results you are looking for. 

How to make great tasting water


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With summer just a few weeks away, we can almost smell the end of the year. The return of longer days and warmer temperatures means there are plenty of social occasions on the horizon to celebrate the end of another year. Warm weather also means that our fluid requirements increase, especially when we are regularly outdoors. So if you’re keen to jazz your water up a little, here are some easy ways to enhance the visual appeal of your water, whilst adding to its flavour and nutrition. 

Cucumber Mint

Mint is well known for its potential benefits to the digestive system – helping to reduce bloating and tummy discomfort. When combined with various fruits and vegetables, it creates beautiful cooling water. Not only does the mint cleanse the palate, helping to reduce sugar cravings, it also adds more fluid into our summer drinks when combined with high water-containing fruits and vegetables such as berries or cucumber.

Lemon Berry

The addition of citrus to any meal helps to lower the glycaemic load, or how quickly the glucose that comes from sugars is released into the bloodstream. This means adding some citrus to any water to be consumed with meals is a great option. Lemons mixed with any type of berries and strawberries offer a lovely flavour too. Another trick is to freeze your berries and add them into your glass of Zip filtered sparkling water which will help to retain their colour and plumpness. 

Apple Cinnamon

If you regularly crave sugar this could be the mix for you. Cinnamon is not only known to help control blood glucose levels but when combined with a few apple slices, it creates a slightly sweet flavour with only a few extra calories. This mix will appeal to children especially if you find it difficult to get them to drink as much water as they need. Simply use a cinnamon stick and leave it in the bottle or Mason jar to bring out the best flavour. 

Pineapple Ginger

When the weather is cool, one of my favourite hot drink mixes is a little ginger, honey and lemon. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, and commonly used to manage nausea. It’s easy to make a summer version of this immune boosting mix by combining a little fresh ginger and a few cubes of frozen pineapple, which will cut through the sharpness of the ginger without adding any extra sugars. 

Lemon Pepper

Now this option is not for the faint-hearted! If you don’t mind a little spice with your fluid, adding a single cayenne pepper to your water, along with a squeeze or two of lemon and a little honey or maple syrup, can help give your body a small metabolic boost. Cayenne peppers have been used for hundreds of years to help increase the rate of metabolism, clear nasal congestion and aid digestion. Add a little to your water for some natural zest and flavour.

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.

The non diet approach to weight loss


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Non diet weight loss? It’s possible!

On a daily basis we hear so much about the foods we should eat and the diets we should follow for weight loss that it all gets a little boring.  Imagine if you could lose weight via strategies that do not involve calorie counting, label reading or spending hours at the gym? Well, guess what, you can with these proven strategies.

Plan your meals

The simple act of allocating 20 minutes each week to planning your meals in advance not only saves much time, stress and money but when it comes to weight control, planning your meals ensures that you are less likely seduced by tempting high calorie snacks and food picked up on the go. As a general rule of thumb, meals chosen quickly at cafes, fast food outlets and in food courts contain significantly more calories and fat than meals prepared at home. Save yourself literally hundreds of calories each week simply by planning the majority of your meals and snacks in advance.

Shop online

We have all been there; the 99c Cheezels at the end of the supermarket aisle; the pre-dinner dip and crackers you find yourself hungry for when shopping on the way home from work and of course the obligatory chocolate bar you throw in the trolley while you wait at the checkout. Supermarkets know all too well that a significant number of purchases are completed on impulse and as such, shopping online not only eliminates all of these impulse buys but helps you to meal plan in advance each week, saving you calories and plenty of dollars.

Clean out the kitchen

If it is in your kitchen you will eat it at some stage, whether it is the chocolate biscuits you say are for guests; cooking chocolate for baking or the kid’s leftover Easter eggs. Be ruthless in your kitchen and refuse to keep any food items you know you will eventually eat when you are feeling tired, bored or vulnerable. Not only will cleaning out the fridge and pantry feel empowering, it will inspire you to stock up on fresh, healthy foods that will help to keep your diet on track.

Check menus before you go out

Human beings are exposed to more than 200 food decisions on a daily basis – skim or full cream; large or small; vegetables or salad? Is it any wonder our brains become overwhelmed with all the options? As such, when we are exposed to tempting menu choices, including foods we would not usually consume, the variety can overwhelm us and rather than making mindful, informed choices we lash out and treat ourselves to treat style foods, often in line with what others around us are also ordering. A simple yet effective strategy to manage this information overload is to peruse menus when you are not hungry, prior to dining out. Here you can make a string decision nutritionally before you go out and be less likely to be drawn into the excitement of the ordering process. 

Sit down to eat

This one sounds simple, but when you sit down and concentrate solely on eating and nothing else, not only are you likely to consume fewer calories at that meal but also for the remainder of the day. An eating behaviour study published in the journal Appetite found that dieters who consumed their lunch whilst watch TV consumed significantly more cookie calories at afternoon tea than dieters who had enjoyed their lunch at a table with no distractions. It appears that keeping mindful during the eating experience is an important part of appetite regulation.

Pack your lunch

Did you know that the average lunch order from the food court contains 600-800 calories, or double what lunch for a small female should contain. Even if you pack your own salad or leftovers a couple of times each week you will be saving many, many calories on a weekly basis without really noticing it.

Eating healthy vs eating for weight loss


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The difference between healthy eating and eating for weight loss

I am going to say something rather awful right now – you can have a very healthy diet and still not be losing body fat. In fact, I would say that up to 90% of my clients have a very healthy diet and yet still carry extra body fat. There are many reasons for this – metabolism; nutrient balance; meal timing and calorie loads just some of the reasons you may be making an acai berry smoothie each day and just not shedding the kg. So if you are both committed to healthy eating but also would not mind dropping a kg or two, here some of the other factors to consider.

What do you really eat?

It sounds so simple but once you write down exactly what goes into your mouth each day, you may find the answer as to why you are not losing body fat. You know the little extras I am talking about – the slice of cake at work; the office biscuits; a few lollies at night along with some dip and crackers before dinner – all common culprits that prevent fat loss. Write down everything that you put into your mouth for just a day or two and it will be easy to see where any extras are slipping in.

Are your nutrients balanced?

The less weight you have to lose, the more precise the balance needs to be in terms of the quantities of protein, carbohydrate and fat you are eating. A simple thing such as having too much carbohydrate in the morning or too little fat can prevent fat loss. The best way to identify your nutrient balance is to have nutrient analysis completed by a professional or download a monitoring APP such as ‘myfitnesspal’ which will calculate the amounts of macronutrients for you. Generally speaking a good balance for fat loss is ~40% energy form carbohydrate, ~30% from protein and ~30% from good fats. This regime will ensure that your variety of foods is not overly restrictive but is more sustainable than strict regimes such as Atkins (~10% carbohydrate, ~50% fat, ~30-40% protein.

Are you eating too few or too many carbs?

Completely cutting our carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, rice and pasta, can actually reduce your metabolism as your body is forced to break down muscle tissue to use as energy. A better option is to eat a balance of carbohydrates and proteins during the day and then keep them light at night. On the other end of the scale if you have cut right back on all carbs, and are reasonably active, chances are you are not eating enough. Even if you have a few kg to lose you will need a serve of carbs at both breakfast and lunch if your goal is fat loss.

What time do you eat?

The ability to burn fat depends on what different fuels the body has available to it. Within a mixed meal of carbohydrate, protein and fat, the body will always utilise the carbohydrate and proteins before it will the fat. This is merely an evolutionary adaptation for humans to store extra fat for times of famine. What this means in terms of fat loss, even if you eat a very low fat, nutritionally balanced diet, if you eat the bulk of your calories in the second half of the day you are unlikely to burn body fat simply because the body will spend its time digesting the carbohydrate and protein contents of your food and is unlikely to get to fat stores before you eat again the next day.

For this reason, a key step in fat loss is to shift your food intake forward, Aim for a carbohydrate protein breakfast, morning tea and lunch and then taper off the carbs sticking to meat and vegetables for dinner. Naturally, rewarding yourself with chocolates, biscuits or lollies late at night for all your hard work during the day is not a good idea as it is fuelling you up at night and likely to be preventing fat stores being broken down.

How I manage to find time to exercise.


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I used to exercise a lot – at least an hour a day, probably more but since having the twins I am lucky to fit in a walk most days. But what I have realised over the past few months is that it is finally time to get my fitness back on track now that the twins are almost 2 years old (omg can you believe it?) so here are the ways I have managed to take back some time for me so I can again get my body back to its best.

1. Start with steps

Getting to the gym for a workout or to go for an extra run is indeed a luxury and generally depends on a number of factors coming together each day (husband arriving home on time, baby’s happy and well etc, etc) but on most days of the week I can manage to take at least 8000 steps. Indeed on days I can get way beyond this, up to 12,000-15,000 steps, even whilst including the twins on extra walks I really notice the difference in my body at the end of the day.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule

I like most women feel incredibly guilty when I take time away from home and from the twins to exercise. It feels self-absorbed, frivolous and selfish, and generally speaking my partner does not make me feel great about leaving the house but now, at least twice a week I get out. I leave, even when the twins are screaming and its bath time to meet friends, just walk, just do something. It may not be every day, but at least it means 2-3 times a week I have some formal exercise in my schedule.

3. Link to friends

It is much easier to keep a commitment to exercise when you have others you are meeting to train with. It makes training more fun, it reminds you there is a big world outside of motherhood and I never feel as good as the nights I have seen my buddies and had a workout. I highly recommend your own little exercise club who is always available for a quick session locally.

4. Pretend you are a man

Husbands rarely think about their partners being stuck at home all day dealing with the whims of small people. When do they ever say, ‘baby I know you’ve been home alone for 10 hours, why don’t you take an hour for yourself’?’ – do they? On the other hand, they do not think twice about telling you that they will be late because they, have a work meeting, will stop at the pub, need to get their bike fixed, the list goes on. So now, I do the same and announce that I will be going out (to exercise) rather than ask for permission. Because they never do. 

5. Enroll in events

Training is great, but it is even better when you are preparing for an event that requires a formal training schedule. It means you have something to look forward to, a goal to work towards and a commitment that needs to be fulfilled. The Blood Long Walk & The 7 Bridges Walk are two I’ll be using as training excuses in the next few weeks!

Salmon vs tuna. Which is healthier?


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Why salmon is a better choice than tuna

Whether it is enjoyed on a sandwich; with brown rice or in a salad, tuna is a popular lunch choice. Known for being high in protein and relatively low in fat, tuna is a popular choice for fitness professionals and those wanting to lose weight and it is not uncommon to see fans work their way through several tins each day. 

Far less popular as a regular lunch choice is tinned salmon yet when it comes to the good fats that we know are good for us, it may surprise you to hear that tinned tuna is generally very low in these good fats. Tinned salmon on the other hand is one of the richest natural sources of the powerful omega 3 fats, and as such it would benefit many of us by making a swap from tuna to salmon, at least some of the time. 

While tuna fillets do contain some omega 3 fat, it is still relatively low compared to that of salmon fillets. In addition, there is often consumer demand for ‘low fat’ products and as such, the fat that is naturally present in tuna may even be extracted and then resold as a fish oil supplement. On the other hand, even though tinned salmon is not as concentrated in omega 3 fat as fillets, even the tinned varieties contain upwards of 1g of omega 3 in a single serve. This means a serve of tinned salmon each day is not only a protein rich choice, but one that gives you a hefty dose of these powerful fats.

The other thing to keep in mind if tinned tuna is your go to protein of choice is that tinned tuna is also a source of mercury, and as such the recommendations for regular consumption is at most twice each week. Many people eat tinned tuna every single day, which is again another reason to swap to salmon at least some of the time. 

Per 100g | Total Fat | Total Omega 3 | EPA | DHA

Tassal Roasted | 10.4| 1.8 | 374 | 425

John West Olive Oil | 13.6 | 0.3 | 109 | 190

Tassal Springwater | 6.9 | 1.2 | 382 | 434

Coles Pink Salmon | 0.9 | 0.4 | 80 | 260

Sirena Tuna in Oil | 7.0 | N/K | EPA & DHA =135

John West Tuna Slices | 0.9 | 0.3 | 35 | 262

John West Salmon & Beans | 8.2 | 1.5 | 54 | 99

Tassal Salmon & Beans | 8.4 | 0.5 | 111 | 160

Tassal Easy Bake Natural | 14.2 | 1.6 | 395 | 535

Birds Eye Steam Fresh | 2.8 | N/K | N/K | N/K

How many steps should I walk in a day? Why 10,000 steps is not enough.


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10,000 steps is not enough

To start with I will openly state that I am not a personal trainer, or exercise physiologist. Rather I am writing this based on my experience as a dietitian in clinical practice working with individuals to adjust both their diet and activity levels in order to achieve weight loss.

For a number of years now we have been told that we need to walk 10,000 steps every day. Over time this message has been translated into meaning we need to move 10,000 steps for weight loss, and as such many of us routinely record our steps and quickly become frustrated when we walk 10,000 steps but do not seem to lose weight.

The rather harsh reality of this is that 10,000 steps is not enough for weight loss. Moving this much is good for our heart; our fitness levels, our mood and body in general but if you goal is weight loss, the truth is that you are actually going to have to move a whole lot more. Here are the reasons why.

1. We sit down, a lot

Aiming to walk at least 10,000 steps a day is a simple and positive public health message and for the many of us who spend 8-12 hours a day sitting down, it helps to compensate for some of this sedentary behaviour, but not all of it. Walking for 60-90minutes per day, or the rough equivalent of 10,000 steps for the average person will support weight maintenance but in order to actually burn extra body fat and lose weight, we need to compensate for all the sitting and in addition burn a significant number extra calories each day. For most of us walking 10,000 steps is simply not enough for weight loss. 

2. Heart rate is rarely elevated

In order to burn a significant number of calories and ultimately increase metabolic rate via walking, we need heart rate to be elevated and elevated for a relatively long period of time. With the majority of people walking at an average pace as part of their 10,000 steps, heart rate is rarely significantly elevated for the 30-40 plus minutes required to significantly increase calorie burn. A stroll is good for us, but is unlikely to see significant drops on the scales unless you are significantly overweight and have many kilos to lose. 

3. We eat more when we think we are being active

In modern life, when sitting has become the norm, we psychologically reward ourselves when more food whenever we feel that we have been active. Even though our 10,000 steps is simply a balancing act for sitting, many of us see our 10,000 as health purism and as such give ourselves permission to eat higher calorie foods. The good old, ‘I have exercised today so I can have that glass of wine’ mentality kicks in. And as such the extra calories we consume very quickly undo any of the benefits gained from moving a little more in our day to day lives.

4. It is easy to eat more than we burn

If you consider that the average adult burns between 60-80 calories per hour sitting, and then 100-120 calories per hour when they are walking, albeit slowly, adding in an hour or two of extra movement per day to give you your 10000 steps will result in you burning an extra 100-200 calories per day. With a single Tim Tam offering 100 calories, you can see how easy it is to eat the calories you have burnt off walking your 10,000 steps. 

5. 10,000 means maintenance

The human body is designed to move. When we are very inactive, our metabolic rate drops and our cells become less efficient at burning calories, which is why we gain weight so easily when we sit down a lot. Moving for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day is a basic amount of activity the body requires to keep it functioning normally. Moving to promote fat burning and to burn a whole lot more calories means actual exercise, with an elevate heart rate and a step count of 15,000-20,000 per day, then you will start seeing results on the scales. 

How to enjoy your favourite sweet treats while managing your health


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How to enjoy your favourite sweet treats while managing your waistline.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I love to bake. In fact, I love to bake a little too much because as we know when you bake you also tend to eat, and who can really eat that much cake, cookies or banana bread without suffering the consequences?! And this is the simple reason that I have partnered with the Whole Earth Sweetener CoTM to bring you a fantastic new baking product that will help you to keep enjoying your favourite baked treats, without all the calories.

Whole Earth Sweetener Co has developed a unique product, Baking Blend, that combines Raw sugar with stevia plant extract, a natural sweetener found in a plant species native to South America called ‘stevia rebaudiana bertoni’.  The Baking Blend offers the taste, texture and baking properties of regular sugar, but with 50% less calories because you only need to use half the amount. For keen bakers like me, it means that the Whole Earth Baking Blend gives us the best of both worlds – a product that still tastes good and bakes well for all my favourite cookies, muffins and banana bread with less sugar. In today’s health focused environment where most of us are trying to reduce our sugar intake, this really is a great balance. It’s perfect for those looking to cut down on their sugar consumption but are not yet ready to move to a completely sugar free option.

Being able to utilise a sweetener blend that still gives the sweet taste and texture our baked goods need minus a significant number of calories – we are on the right track, especially for weight control.

Reduced calorie and sugar alternatives are not only useful for baking – they’re great for anyone who enjoys smoothies, sugar in their tea or coffee, or a touch of sweetness in Greek yoghurt. Utilising a sweetener blend that mixes a natural sweetener with sugar itself again strikes a balance between flavour and calorie load. They are incredibly easy to incorporate in to everyday life and can be used across a whole variety of recipes and foods. 

It is true that people have been put off sweeteners in the past as they haven’t understood conversion rates when trying to substitute it for sugar. It really is very simple and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. has made it easy to use, with exceptionally helpful assistance on packaging. Just a half cup of Whole Earth Sweetener Co Baking blend replaces a full cup of sugar.

Natural sweetener blends represent an excellent alternative not only because they offer a natural option but they do not give the bitter aftertaste that a number of sweeteners give, which many people find off-putting. Whole Earth Sweetener Co. Baking blend is a good option in general – it can be used anywhere you use sugar in baking recipes, while letting go of 50% of the calories from sugar 

So if you are like me and enjoy a bake, watch out for my recipes that show how simple it is to substitute sugar for a 50% less sugar alternative (see me cooking one of my recipes, my Oaty Fruit Pancakes on Studio 10 below!). I have utilised Whole Earth Sweetener Co. Baking Blend to lower the calorie and sugar load of many of my old favourite recipes. 

It is the first time I have used a lower sugar option in my baking and I am pleasantly surprised with how well my recipes are turning out. 

Recipe: My Oaty Fruit Pancakes.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional:  510cal | 22g protein | 8g fat | 92g carbs | 18g sugars | 7g fibre

Ingredients

2 cups mixed cereal (oats, Weetbix, granola)

4 tbsp. Whole Earth Baking Mix

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

2 cups milk

4 eggs

1 tbsp. olive oil (for cooking)

1 cup mixed fruit such as berries or mashed banana

Method

1. Combine dry ingredients.

2. Mix with mixed wet ingredients.

3. Add fruit.

4. Heat pan to medium, wet plan with olive oil. Spoon 2-3 tbsp. mixture and cook each side for 2-3 minutes then flip.

5. Serve with ricotta or a little syrup or Greek yoghurt.

Susie has partnered with the Whole Earth Sweetener Co. for this post. All thoughts and opinions are her own. For more information on the Whole Earth Sweetener Co. and their products, click here.

Healthy halloween recipes to make with the kids.


Photo by: damianshaw.com

Mummy Pizzas

Recipe makes 8

Photo by: damianshaw.comIngredients

Packet of 8 mini wholemeal pita pockets

140g tub of Leggo’s pizza sauce (1.5g sugar per tablespoon)

3 tomatoes, thinly sliced

8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced

16 thin slices of unprocessed ham

8 slices of light tasty cheese

1 jar of sliced kalamata olives

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Distribute the pita pockets on the baking trays. Top each with 1 tbsp of pizza sauce and smear out with the back of a spoon. Then top each pizza with 2-3 slices of tomato, sliced mushroom and 1-2 slices of ham so it covers the whole pizza.

3. Slice cheese slices long ways in half centimetre strips to make the Mummy bandages. Place the cheese strips along the pita pockets to look like wrapped bandages. Tuck two pieces of sliced olives into the cheese bandages as eyes.

4. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until the cheese has begun to melt and the edges are beginning to brown and crisp.

Photo by: damianshaw.com

Banana Ghosts

Makes 12 ghosts

Ingredients

2 x 170g tubs of Chobani Greek or Coconut Yoghurt

24 dark chocolate bits

6 small bananas cut in halves

Method

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

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

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

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes

Makes 24 mini cupcakes

Photo by: damianshaw.comIngredients

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

Salt

2 cups wholemeal plain flour

Icing

60g light creamed cheese

20g butter, softened

Orange food colouring

12 Pretzel twigs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 24 mini muffin tray with butter.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together the olive oil and maple syrup with a whisk, then beat in the eggs. Mix in the pumpkin puree, milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and a pinch of salt.

3. Add the flour and stir through until just mixed, don’t over mix.

4. Distribute the mixture between 24 mini muffin holes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and when a bamboo skewer inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

5. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely.

6. To make the icing, beat together creamed cheese, butter. Add a few drops of food colour and mix, continue to add drops of colour and mixing until you have a pumpkin orange colour.

7. Smear a heaped tablespoon of icing onto cooled cupcake with a butter knife and smooth out. Use the back edge of the knife to create 6 grooves from the middle of the cupcake to make the pumpkin look. Stick a pretzel twig into the middle of each cupcake to make the stalk of the pumpkin.

Photo by: damianshaw.comScary Spiders

Makes 16 spiders

Ingredients

1 cup roasted almonds

1 cup macadamias

3/4 cup 100% nut spread (peanut butter or mixed nut spread as preferred)

1 cup chopped dates

2 tablespoons cacao

Coconut for coating

Method

1. In a food processor, place macadamias, almonds, nut spread and cacao powder and process. Add dates and process until the mixture comes together. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a few drops of water and process again.

2. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of cacao onto a plate. Roll the mixture into 16 balls, then roll into the cacao powder. Press 2 white chocolate buttons into the spiders as eyes. Use the dark chocolate icing pen to dot eyeballs in the middle of the white chocolate buttons.

3. Break pretzels to make curved spider legs. Press 3 pretzel legs into the side of every spider so they curve downwards.

4. Allow the spiders to set in the fridge for an hour.

Eyeballs

Serves 12

Photo by: damianshaw.comIngredients

12 Light Baby Bel Cheese rounds

4 black olives, sliced into thin pieces,

1 tbsp. tomato sauce

1 tsp. natural red food colouring

Method

1. Place piece of black olive in the centre of the cheese.

2. Fill middle with a little tomato sauce.

3. Use red food colouring to draw blood vessels onto eye using a very thin paint brush, fine eye line pen or toothpick.

5 foods we think are healthy but aren’t.


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The healthy options that are not so healthy

Generally speaking we do know healthy foods when we see them – we know that fruit and veges are healthy; we know that wholegrains are healthy and we know that fried food, biscuits and cakes are foods that we should not be consuming every day. Then there are those sneaky foods that are commonly assumed as good choices nutritionally when they may not be as healthy as we are led to believe. Here are some of the common offenders. 

Spray Oil

When the low fat movement was in full swing, spray varieties of oil were recommended as a way to significantly reduce the total amount of oil used in cooking. While using a spray oil does mean you consume just 2g of oil per serve as opposed to 20g in a tablespoon of oil poured from the bottle, the processing involved in making spray varieties of oil mean that any of the potential health benefits associated with using olive oil in particular are negated as the antioxidants and vitamin quality will be affected. The take home message is utilise the best quality oils such as extra virgin olive oil in its natural state to reap any potential health benefits, and avoid processed mixed vegetable oils completely. 

Tinned Tuna

Now tuna is generally a good choice – high in protein, and low in fat but as many varieties of tuna are low in fat, they do not offer the significant does of omega 3 fats that other varieties of tinned fish such as sardines and salmon do. The other issue with tinned tuna is that it is a source of mercury, an element that is unable to be excreted from the body. Whilst tinned tuna has less mercury than fresh tuna, as it is generally farmed before the tuna get too large, the recommendation is for Australians to consume tinned tuna at most 2-3 times each week. For this reason if tuna is on your daily menu, it may be worth swapping to salmon or sardines every so often.

Rice Malt Syrup

Often considered ‘much’ better than sugar, the harsh truth is that rice malt syrup is a refined sugar that is produced by cooking rice flour or starch with enzymes and with a GI of 98 (white bread = 100), its supremacy as an alternative to table sugar is highly questionable. The sugar mix of rice malt syrup is 3% glucose, 45% maltose and maltotriose 52% so while it may be fructose free, it does not mean concentrated calorie free, especially when used in large quantities in ‘sugar free’ baking.

Soy Sauce

The common sauce served with a healthy Japanese lunch, with a single serve of soy sauce containing more than 1000mg of sodium, or more than ½ our upper daily limit, a serve or two of soy along with our sushi rolls means you are also consuming a massive amount of salt. Associated with fluid retention, thirst and increased blood pressure over time, on a daily basis Australians consume way too much added salt in their diet. For this reason go easy on the added soy sauce when you are enjoying Asian cuisine and where possible look for salt reduced varieties of soy which contain almost ½ the amount of sodium as regular soy sauce. 

Rice Crackers

With a massive 24g of total carbohydrates in just 10 rice crackers, the equivalent of 2 small slices of bread, and often a good dose of MSG, flavoured rice crackers in particular are hardly a healthy choice, especially for children. White rice is also a dense source of high glycaemic index carbohydrate which means that blood glucose levels rapidly increase, along with the hormone insulin, the hormone that also promotes fat storage in the body. Rice snacks are also low in protein and other key nutrients which mean that they simply offer ‘empty calories’ along with a rapid rise in blood glucose levels rather than long lasting energy. Better snack options when it comes to blood glucose control include corn and rye based cakes and crackers and always check ingredient lists to make sure flavour enhancers including MSG (621) are not being used as a flavour source. 

See Susie on Sunrise here, talking more on the foods we think are healthy options but are actually not healthy.

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