EXAM SEASON NUTRITION

EXAM SEASON NUTRITION

We are entering into exam season and you might have a stressed-out teenager on your hands.  As I'm sure you remember from toddler days, what they eat can have a big impact on mood.  Here’s my tips for the foods to include in your teenager’s diet.

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Fasted training for endurance athletes

Fasted training for endurance athletes

Should you skip breakfast before you exercise?

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Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

Tray Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've had a craving for this Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.   Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure,  and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  I've accompanied the salmon with salsa verde and some lovely roasted veggies.

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MY FAVOURITE YOGHURTS

MY FAVOURITE YOGHURTS

One of the most common questions I get asked is “what yoghurt should I buy”*?  There are so many varieties available with options such as fat free, greek, greek style, pot set – what should you choose? With a group of my colleagues we’ve put together a table of our favourite brands.  What we have considered is taste, protein/fat/sugar content, calcium content and whether the yoghurt contains probiotics. 

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LOW FODMAP SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS

LOW FODMAP SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS

Are you following a low FODMAP diet to manage your IBS symptoms?  FODMAPs are a large group of dietary sugars.  These sugars can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas. Following a low FODMAP diet can help manage IBS symptoms. 

Endurance runners often suffer from stomach problems.  If you also suffer from a FODMAP intolerance, fueling for your long run can be quite tricky.    Here’s some tips to help you focus on your running, rather than your stomach, or wondering where the closest toilet is. 

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Banana, date and almond protein porridge

Banana, date and almond protein porridge

It's sooooo cold in the morning in Sydney at the moment and I love a warm bowl of porridge, but I'm often hungry a couple of hours after I've eaten it.  I've come up with a fabulous trick to increase the protein of your porridge to keep you full all morning.

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nuun electrolyte tablets

nuun electrolyte tablets

A long overdue post about my most used sports nutrition product - nuun electrolyte tablets.   Nuun tablets are added to water and replenish the electrolytes that are lost in sweat during exercise with only 1g of sugar (dextrose) per serve (compared to 36g of sugar in a sports drink).  Nuun contains the four main electrolytes that are vital in hydration and exercise performance and this year they will be the official hydration partner of the City2Surf

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Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

I love taking classic comfort foods and making them a whole lot more nutritious.  I've added lentils and plenty of veggies to my shepherds pie base and my mash is half cauliflower and half potato.  With the veggies, lean lamb and lentils this is a immune boosting recipe for winter that my kids love!

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Toasted maple, nut and seed granola

Toasted maple, nut and seed granola

I developed this delicious granola recipe for my son and he loves it.  He mixes it with yoghurt as a great second breakfast after early morning rugby training or after a game.  The combination of protein and carbs makes it ideal for refuelling my hungry boy! 

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Nicoise salad

Nicoise salad

Create this delicious classic french salad with loads of veggies and heart healthy tuna and eggs for a hot summer night to transport you to the south of France.

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Healthy lunch box ideas for active kids and learning minds

Healthylunchboxresource1.png

Back to school this week and back to school lunches for mum and dad or if you're lucky your kids.  Coming up with a lunch box day after day can do your head in!  A healthy lunch box doesn't need to be full of expensive "super foods" that will get picked at - these ideas can be put together in 10 minutes max. Make it easier for yourself by shopping around the edges of the supermarket in the fresh food aisles.  Cast an eye over the labels and look for items low in sodium (less than 400mg per 100g), lowest in saturated fat and less than 10g per 100g of fat, and low in sugar (ideally less than 15g per 100g).  Breads should have higher than 3g of fibre per serve.

A well balanced lunch box should include:

  • a bottle of water
  • a source of wholegrain and protein like wholemeal bread sandwich with some lean  meat, cheese and salad/wholemeal pasta with tomato sauce and tuna/brown rice sushi with chicken and avocado/wholemeal pita with falafel/wrap with omelette.  My favourite time saver is to cook extra at dinner time and use that for lunch - like a leftover burger patty on a wholegrain wrap with salad .  Including some protein in lunch will stop the after lunch slump.  Make sure you include  a chill brick to keep lunch cool.
  • some veggies like cut up cucumber, celery, carrot, cherry tomatoes.  When you are chopping up veggies at dinner cut up a few more so that lunch is ready to go.  Including some humous, or mixing in some cubed cheese or bocconcini can help get this item eaten

If you are time poor these pre-packed humous can be combined with pre-chopped up carrot sticks:

 

  • Easy to eat fruit grapes, an apple, bananas or mandarin.
  • A dairy item like a milk popper, some cheese, or a yoghurt.  With yoghurt look for one that has less than 12g of sugar per 100g (6g of this is from naturally occurring lactose sugar).  If your kids won't eat unsweetened yoghurt then the vaalia one is a good choice.
healthy lunch box ideas
healthy lunch box ideas
  • For a snack a small popcorn, wholemeal english muffin with jam, wholegrain corn thins with vegemite
healthy lunch box ideas
healthy lunch box ideas

Don't forget when you are prepping lunch boxes to think about what you can take to work for yourself the next day too.  Constantly grabbing lunch from the food court means you are choosing a meal that has about 30% more calories that what you need.  Some chopped up veggies and a small packet of nuts will help you avoid the office biscuit jar at 3pm.

If you have any questions about how you can improve lunch for you or your children, please get in touch.

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Bun Cha Bowls

Bun Cha Bowls

Hot summer evenings are calling for this divine BUN CHA bowl with a warm dipping sauce.  

Healthy, low carb, high protein, with heaps of veggies, Gluten Free and FODMAP friendly!

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Beetroot Smoothie

Beetroot Smoothie

If you hang around the sports nutrition world you'll see there's a lot of fuss about beetroot juice, which has recently been promoted to a Grade A supplement by the Australian Institute of Sport.  Whether you are trying to improve your exercise endurance, improve your blood pressure or just add more veggies to your diet - check out my beetroot smoothie.

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Mid-week Mojito

Presenting my mid week mojito...


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 peppermint tea bags
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • plenty of ice
  • maple syrup (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the teabags to 1 litre of boiling water and leave to steep in the fridge for 2 hours 
  2. Half fill a jug with ice, mint leaves and the lime juice.  Add the cooled tea.
  3. Stir through 1 tab table syrup if you like it sweet
  4. Enjoy in the sun!

Should you be drinking A2 milk?

Over the last few years A2 milk has become a significant player in Australia and New Zealand.  It has recently expanded into the UK and US markets too.  If you suffer from bloating or an upset stomach after drinking milk, it might be worth giving A2 milk a go.

WHAT IS A2 MILK?

All regular cows’ milk brands today contain a combination of two main types of beta-casein protein, namely A1 and A2. The A2 milk company has developed a genetic test to choose cows which don’t produce the A1 protein.  The farms that produce the A2 milk use only cows which produce the A2 protein.   The rest of the A2 milk process is no different to the production of any other milk - it doesn't use genetic engineering or a special technological process.  

IMPROVED DIGESTION IN SMALL STUDIES

There have been 2 small human studies looking at the effect of A2 milk.  The first study was conducted on a small group of 41 people, of which 10 reported an intolerance to dairy milk.  In this trial after drinking A1 protein only the study participants reported softer stools than after drinking A2 milk.  It is thought this was due to an increase in gut inflammation caused by consumption of the A1 protein. 

This second study  on 45 people compared common commercial milk that contained both A1 and A2 milk proteins and to milk containing only A2 protein. This study found that consuming A2 milk did not cause an increase in unpleasant digestive symptoms (for example, bloating and flatulence) usually associated with milk consumption in those who were lactose-intolerant. 

These studies were both very small.  Currently Monash University is conducting a larger trial which will have results published in December.

SO SHOULD I TRY IT?

With only 10% of Australians consuming their recommended 3-4 serves of dairy each day I am a big fan of any product that helps people drink more milk.   Dairy products are a rich source of a wide range of nutrients including calcium, protein, iodine, vitamins A, B2, B12 and D, and zinc.   Improved dairy intake has been linked to weight management, reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and provides one of the best dietary sources of calcium for bone health.   

If you already drink milk with no tummy upsets, there is no advantage in switching to A2 milk, and it does cost nearly twice the price of regular milk.  However if you do suffer from digestion issues after drinking milk then it's certainly worth giving A2 milk a go.  

Note that A2 milk is not lactose free, so will not solve medically diagnosed lactose intolerance.  However, if you have diagnosed lactose intolerance but would still like to try a2 Milk™,  you can add a lactase enzyme supplement (such as Lacto-Free) to break down the lactose milk sugar making it possible for you to enjoy dairy.

if you do want to try A2 milk, make sure you buy the labelled A2 milk and don't be tricked by other milk that "contain A2 protein" as it's the A1 protein you want to avoid.

RELATED PRODUCTS

I am a big fan of Jalna A2 yoghurt which is a reduced fat yoghurt made from A2 milk.  While all yoghurts contain starter cultures, not all have probiotics (live bacteria that survive digestion and colonise in the gut).  The strains in all Jalna Yoghurt are: Lactobacillus acidophilusBifidobacterium and Lactobacillus Casei. These cultures have been shown to survive in sufficient numbers to reach the large intestine, where they multiply and colonise.  These cultures have been  demonstrated  to provide gastrointestinal and immune health benefits.

 

 

 

 

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Party time! Six tips for 6 weeks of silliness.

My Facebook feed at the moment of tips and tricks of how to "survive" the holiday season as if celebrating with friends and family is something to be dreaded.  I love a party and I'd hate to think of people depriving themselves but it's worth knowing some tricks and tips so you can enjoy the party without that stuffed full feeling.  

Here's my 6 top tips to enjoy 6 weeks of the silly season.

  1. Try not to turn up to the party ravenous - make sure you've had a really good lunch with plenty of veggies and protein.  If you're still hungry mid afternoon have a snack - say an apple and some nuts with some chopped up veggies. You'll feel much more in control and not dive straight into the bowl of chips and dip
  2. Choose the food & drink you really love.  I love a beautiful french champagne and some rich creamy St Agur cheese.  But I can leave cheap Sauvignon Blanc and deep fried canapés.   Savour the experience of eating good quality food rather than high fat snacks that leave you feeling bloated and heavy afterwards. 
  3. Practice your mindful eating "gap" by asking yourself "do I really feel like eating this?" - this simple question is often enough to help you control the amount of food you are eating. Another simple trick is to limit yourself to just 3-5 canapés at any one event and say it out loud to yourself before you go into the party.
  4. Count your drinks - Try to have at least two alcohol-free days each week to give your liver a break and make every second drink at the party water.  You can offer to drive sometimes too.  
  5. Christmas is one day not two months - you don't need a mince pie in November.  Try to differentiate “special” occasions from run of the mill drinks and parties with work colleagues and acquaintances. This way you can indulge when there is a truly special occasion but keep on track with healthy habits the rest of the time. 
  6. Offer to bring a plate.  Everyone loves it if you go to the effort of providing a whole lot of veggie sticks and homemade dips, and they are always eaten, after all we're all grownups and most  people don't really want the deep fried food.  Here are some of my favourites.

 

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INTERMITTENT FASTING - WILL IT WORK FOR YOU?

Intermittent Fasting diets have been popular for a few years.  Recently researchers from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne compared the results of the popular 5:2 intermittent fasting diet with a standard kilojoule reduced diet.  The 5:2 diet involves eating only 2,500 kilojoules (or 600 calories) on two non-consecutive days a week and then eating normally on the other five days.  Both diets demonstrated similar weight loss and reduction in body  fat and girth over a 6 month period.  

Often clients ask me whether an Intermittent fasting approach would work for them.  My answer is - it depends.  It works well for some people. If you are like Client A  who has a busy job, not really into food, happy to fast for 2 days because they forget to eat much at work anyway and don't feel the need to "feast" on the non fasting days an intermittent fasting approach might work.  

However for client B who works from home, prepares the family meals, who gets a lot of hedonistic pleasure from planning and enjoying meals (this is me by the way) - going 2 days with only 500 calories ("what does that equate to anyway?!") would find intermittent fasting a challenge.  

Client C might be a  strict "If it fits your macros"  gym-bro who isn't afraid to sacrifice meals, avoids "cheating" when a goal is near, and is used to restrictive eating might be able to persevere with intermittent fasting while they get results and then might move on to the next thing if intermittent fasting non longer works for them.  

Really, any approach that involves eating less and moving more is likely to get results. However with any way of eating before you commence it you need to think about whether you can imagine doing it for the rest of your life because that's ultimately the plan that will work for you.  

I'd prefer people to tune in to mindful eating, where they notice and enjoy food and recognise hunger and fullness cues.  I'd love to see more families cooking at home and eating together  with parents modelling a balanced, healthy approach to food.  You can find out more about mindful eating here and my coaching approach here.  

If you do decide to try intermittent fasting make sure you talk to your GP first. There have been concerns around risks for some people on certain medications or with particular medical conditions – fasting might make some conditions worse. If you're on medication for high blood pressure or type II diabetes, you may need a different medication regime on that day or a whole change of medication. Also in some susceptible people, it can stir up their liver as the fat starts emptying out of it. This can actually make the liver more inflamed and trigger liver disease. A similar thing can happen in the gallbladder, too.

My 3 top tips for eating mindfully

Mindful eating is all about focusing our attention on the act of eating.  It means eating with awareness and using all the senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.  

image source: eatingmindfully.com 

I love this image from the guru of mindful eating - Susan Albers.    Before you start eating take a few deep breathes and truly concentrate on the taste of food.  Savour the flavours.  As you progress in your meal you might notice that the pleasure in eating decreases and the speed at which you are eating increases.  When the food is not giving you pleasure it might be time to put down your knife and fork.  

Here are some of my favorite ways of bringing mindfulness to mealtimes: 

Eat slower

It’s a good idea to remind yourself (and your family) that mealtime isn’t a race.  By eating slower you are more likely to notice when you are full.  S lowing down and chewing food properly helps you digest your food and helps prevent food-baby tummy aches we get from eating too quickly.  

REMOVE the phone.  TURN off the Telly. 

 do you see a spot for your mobile?  I don’t either

Our lives are full of distractions, and often families eat with the TV on or with someone playing with their iPhone. Try making family mealtime an electronics-free zone. I’m not saying you can’t ever eat pizza in front of the TV, but if you do want to do that - make it a deliberate choice. 

Pay attention to flavor

The tartness of lime, the spiciness of chilli flakes, the crunch of a pizza crust — paying attention to your food can be a great way to eat mindfully. When you eat on the go or get through your meal in five minutes, it can be hard to notice what you are actually eating, let alone truly savour all the different sensations of eating. 

 

Mindful eating can be a simple commitment to appreciating and enjoying the food you eat every day. It can be practiced with salad or ice cream, an apple or a piece of chocolate, and you can practice it at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go -though you may find yourself doing this less often.

 

When the focus becomes how you eat, rather than what you eat, you might find what you want to eat changes too.

If you'd like to learn more about MINDFUL EATING and be supported along the way with lessons and recipes click here

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Salmon Burgers

With the arrival of spring in Sydney I've been looking for a new way of including fish in our meals. Salmon is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are inti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial to your health - they can help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure,  and may reduce symptoms of arthritis and depression.  Omega-3s are essential fats that must be obtained from our diet. These burgers are an excellent source of quality protein that can help build and repair lean muscle.

I modified a Teresa Cutter recipe here and it was a huge hit with the family.

salmon burgers

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices stale bread (preferably wholegrain)(gluten free if needed)
  • zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small bunch parsley
  • 2-4 spring onions
  • 600g salmon fillets, bones and skin removed
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil for shallow frying

METHOD

  1. In a food processor pulse bread, zest of one lemon, 1/3 bunch parsley.  Tip into wide, shallow bowl
  2. Add remaining lemon zest and parsley and spring onions to food processor, pulse.  Add salmon fillets and pulse again (so you have a chopped texture not a paste).  Add egg and lemon juice and briefly pulse again until just combined.  Season with salt and pepper
  3. Divide into 8 portions and form into burgers
  4. Roll burgers in herbed breadcrumbs and place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up
  5. Heat fry pan to a low - medium heat and cook in a little olive oil for  4-5 minutes on each side until golden outside and just a little pink in the middle

I serve the burgers on a bun for the kids and "naked" for me.  I like to serve along roast sweet potato and carrot wedges (cook at 200 C for 40 minutes, drizzled with evoo) and a big green salad.

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Product review - HIT 100

As a nutritionist people often come to see me for weight loss, glowing skin or extra energy.  These might be a measure we can see on the outside but  I believe it is far more important to invest in your internal health and do everything you can to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.  I wrote about pre-diabetes and insulin resistance here.  With more than 100,000 Australians having developed diabetes in the past year it is likely that you know someone living with diabetes.   

I first came across Hit100 when researching a university assignment looking at strategies for managing diabetes and insulin resistance.  Hit 100 is a meal delivery service catering specifically for people living with diabetes.  The meals have been developed by dietitians and prepared by chefs and are aimed at improving blood sugar levels. Hit100 were kind enough to offer me a few frozen meals to try.

We tried:

  • chicken tikka marsala

  • hearty beef stew

  • pumpkin and ricotta lasagna

There are plenty of other choices on the hit100 website including some great looking breakfast and lunch options like corn fritters and oat and berry pikelets.

What are they?

The Hit100 meals are based on the latest healthy eating guidelines containing non-starchy vegetables, good quality carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins.  These are the guidelines we all should be following - whether or not we have insulin resistance, diabetes or not.

If you have diabetes you don't need to avoid carbohydrates - carbohydrates play an essential role in your diet as they are the main source of energy your bodies rely on to function optimally. Many carbohydrate based foods are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, which all act together to keep us healthy. 

How did they taste?

I heated the dishes in our oven (microwave for 5 mins is also an option) for 35 minutes and tried the meals with my two teenage kids.  We enjoyed all the meals with the favourite being the hearty beef stew closely followed by the chicken tikka marsala.  What I loved was the generous serve of veggies on the side.  I was concerned that the veggies would not heat up well in the oven but they had a delicious lemon salsa on them and were all eaten up.  

I liked that the meals had a decent amount of protein (17 for the lasagne to 29 for the beef stew) and you could see real pieces of chicken and beef.  The sodium levels are less than 120mg/100g which means they are considered as low in salt.  The portion size was ideal for a woman, an active teenager or man might like these for lunch or need some extra veggies at dinner.

When would I use these?

While I am a big fan of cooking and believe you can put together a quick healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes, I realise not everyone likes cooking and also sometimes even 20 minutes is too much to ask.  These are a great option to have in the the freezer and much much healthier than takeaway pad-thai.  I also think they would be a great option to get for an older parent or friend who might not enjoy cooking for themselves.  

Want to know more?

You can head over to the Hit100 website and try an introbox.  

Want to know more?

You can head over to Hit100's website and try an introbox - which is a great taste tester of what they're all about.  For $69.95 you’ll get:
+ 5 main meals
+ 2 mini meals
+ 2 breakfasts
+ 2 yoghurts

Enter coupon: ‘racheleagleton10’ at checkout to receive this exclusive $10.00 discount (valued at $79.95)!

* As mentioned Hit100 provided these meals free to me for my review.  I only post reviews of products that I like and am happy to use. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

 

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