Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas cheer.. without the fear!

Just 10 sleeps to go until Christmas! Did you know - on average, Australians put on 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period? This blog is packed full of useful tips so you can have all the Christmas cheer.. without the fear of weight gain!! 

How many calories in that?

A big reason for weight gain during the holidays is the nibbles that flow at parties. A party pie here, a mini quiche there, chips, dips and crackers and you've blown your calorie bank for the day! Remember we should aim for no more than 1200kJ in total for snacks for the day; either 3 x 400kJ snacks or 2 x 600kJ snacks.

High calorie nibbles:
- Handful potato chips 577kJ/ 138 cal
- 4 Jatz crackers with full fat cheddar cheese 750kJ/ 179 cal
- 1 small mince pie 802kJ/ 192 cal
- 1 party pie 539kJ/127 cal
- 2 chocolate Lindt balls 669kJ/ 160 cal
- 1 spring roll 2066kJ/ 495 cal

Low calorie nibbles: 
- Carrot & celery sticks with 2 tbsp skinny hummus 306kJ/ 73 cal 
- 10 cherries 100kJ/ 25 cal 
- 20 grapes 335kJ/ 80 cal
- Small punnet strawberries 262kJ/ 63 cal
- 1 vegetable rice paper roll 396kJ/ 95 cal 
- Skewers with 1 bocconcini ball and cherry tomato 386kJ/ 92 cal

Healthy Food Swaps

- Swap regular hommus for skinny hommus (save 140kJ per 2 tbsp)
- Swap water crackers for carrot and cucumber sticks with dips(save 215kJ per 4 crackers)
- Swap potato chips for wholegrain chips (lower GI)
Swap chocolate for chocolate dipped strawberries (save 944kJ/ 225 cal per 4 squares)
- Swap party pies for tuna sushi (save 398kJ and 5g fat)

No time for exercise?

Yes, it's a busy time of year! However, with all the extra food being consumed, it's important to burn the extra calories with some exercise. Try and incorporate some exercise into your festive occasions. 
- Game of backyard/ beach cricket
- Walk around the neighbourhood to view Christmas lights
- Swimming in the pool
- Park the car further away from the shops when Christmas shoppin

Give the gift of health 

Encourage health and fitness amongst family and friends by giving the gift of health:
- Pedometer 
- Gym gear 
- An indoor basil plant 
- Magazine subscription to a healthy magazine 
- Kambrook Blitz2Go

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Portion Caution

Confused about portion sizes? 

It's not surprising! Take-away food, packaged supermarket food and restaurant meals have 'super-sized' over the last few decades, which makes it hard to know what the right amount of food to eat is. 

To maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, you need to make sure you're eating not only the right type of food, but the right amount. 

Portion Caution Tips

Need a coffee hit to get you going in the morning? Down-size to a small and save on calories. 

Do you grab a handful of nuts for morning tea? This is a healthy habit, but check the portion! 30g is the "perfect" portion which equates to about 15 nuts. 

Other foods throughout the day to show portion caution for are avocado and oils.Using 3 slices rather than 1/2 an avocado saves you over 150 calories. For oil, use 1 teaspoon per person. 

A few more Portion Caution Tips:

  • Meals - serve meals on smaller size plates
  • Coffee - ask for small coffee 
  • Cereal - use measuring cups - aim for 1/2 to 3/4 cup 
  • Cheese - aim for match-box size serve
  • Meat - aim for palm size serve 
  • Fish - aim for whole hand size serve
  • Rice/ pasta - fill no more than 1/4 of your plate 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recipe: 5 minute Superfood Salad

Superfood Salad (in 5 minutes!)


1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup chickpeas (canned, drained & rinsed)
1/2 cup green peas 
30g reduced fat fetta  
1 tbsp linseed, sunflower & pine nut mix (lightly toasted) 
1/4 avocado 
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon, juice 


1. Lightly toast seed & nut mix in oven 
2. Toss together spinach, chickpeas, peas, fetta and avocado 
3. Mix oil, vinegar & lemon juice together and pour over salad 
4. Top salad with toasted seed & nuts 

Nutritional benefits:

  • High in protein - almost 30g per serve
  • Sustained energy - chickpeas are low GI 
  • Good source of healthy fats - monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado) and polyunsaturated (linseeds)
  • Full of fibre - soluble (chickpeas) and insoluble (peas, spinach)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Liquid Breakfast Drinks in the Spotlight

If you've been down the cereal aisle recently, you'll have noticed that the range of on-the-go breakfast drinks is growing. We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is convenience taking priority over nutrition, particularly in our children?
A recent review by Choice reviewed 23 on-the-go products. All of the drinks reviewed included added sugars. 10 of the drinks had more than 23g of sugar per serve, which is more than 5 teaspoons of sugar. Breakfast is often where we obtain a lot of the fibre in our diet. Breakfast cereals are generally high in fibre, some providing more than 1/3 of our daily fibre requirements in one serve, but the liquid drinks just don't quite meet the mark.
Of all of the drinks reviewed, my pick nutritionally would be Sanitarium Up & Go Vive, which has just 12g sugar per serve. For the best start to the day; try and make time for a nutritious breakfast (for both you and the kids), and leave these convenience drinks for emergencies. Some quick, healthy breakfast ideas include;
  • 1/3 cup untoasted muesli with Black Swan low fat greek style yoghurt or 0% fat Chobani greek yoghurt and a banana
  • 2 slices wholegrain bread with Kraft No Added Salt or Sugar Peanut Butter
  • Smoothie with frozen berries, skim milk, natural yoghurt and honey
  • Goodness Superfoods Quick cooked oat sachets with sliced banana
For the full review visit the Choice website at;

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What's making news in nutrition?

Vegetarians Live Longer than Meat-Eaters

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests vegetarian diets are linked to reduced death rates, with more favourable results for males than females. The study involved 70,000 people and assessed diet using a questionnaire dividing participants into categories, either non-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian (includes seafood), lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes dairy/ egg) and vegan.

Apps for mindful eating help weight loss

Common distractions while eating, such as TV or computers, can increase your food intake, not only at that one meal, but at subsequent meals too. One reason for this is that distractions disrupt the 'reward' function in the brain, preventing the memory of eating that meal, increasing the likelihood that you'll seek 'reward' foods later.
Mindfulness is the Buddhist practice of being aware. Mindful eating is consuming your meals whilst being wholly conscious of doing so. This means noticing textures, flavours and listening to your hunger signals. A recent review found paying attention to what was eaten, helped reduce energy intake in participants, with them losing an average of 1.5kg over 4 weeks.
One mindful eating app available is "Eat, Drink and Be Mindful".
Another great way to practice mindful eating is to log a food diary. Read my previous blog on keeping a food diary for weight management at

Suffer from daytime sleepiness?

A study showed that higher fat consumption was associated with increased daytime sleepiness, while higher carbohydrate intake was associated with increased alertness. There was no relationship between protein consumption and sleepiness.
My take on this study? Eat balanced! Consume meals with low GI carbohydrates for sustained energy (and alertness!), include a protein food for satiety and a healthy fat in moderation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vitamin D "de'fish'ency" strikes 1/3 of Australians

I see many clients in my practice with vitamin D deficiency. It's not surprising, as nearly 1/3 of adult Australians are vitamin D deficient. With winter coming this week and the (sigh!) subsequent shorter days and less exposure to sunlight, we need to consider where we will get our vitamin D from this winter?

Did you know that some foods contain vitamin D? 
  • oily fish
  • mushrooms
  • smaller amounts in eggs and butter
Tassal Australia is the largest farmer of fresh and frozen salmon. They have released results revealing that one standard portion of Tassal salmon (150g) contains 8 micrograms of vitamin D - more than 1/2 the recommended daily intake for adults.

Tassal has produced the following delicious salmon recipes, using their salmon range. They have fresh portions, smoked salmon and canned salmon. Jump on their website and use their recipe finder to find more ways to include salmon in your diet! I love the look of the smoked salmon and quinoa cakes (recipe at link below).

Smoked Salmon and Quinoa Cakes

Vitamin D is not only important for the absorption of calcium for healthy bones. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to increased risk of Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

So, top up your vitamin D levels and avoid vitamin D "de'fish'ency" by:
  • exposing 15% of your body (equivalent of arms and legs) to the sun daily
  • including 2 serves of fish a week, particularly oily fish such as salmon
  • including eggs, low fat milk and mushrooms in the diet in recommended amount

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Learn a little bit more about the life of a dietitian by checking out my profile listing in Dietitian Connection this week at the link below. 

Dietitian Connection Profile - Courtney Dinnerville

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's making news in nutrition?

Food Revolution Day 2013

May 17th was Food Revolution Day, a global day of action raising awareness of the importance of healthy food, by encouraging everyone to "Cook it, Share it, Live it"! Jamie Oliver is the face of Food Revolution Day. I love his everyday passion and food philosophy! I celebrated Food Revolution Day by cooking a beautiful dish using nothing but the freshest ingredients. I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Almond & Cumin Crusted Salmon

2 salmon fillets
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp cumin
Green beans
1/2 Pumpkin
2 carrots
Juice of fresh lemon
Olive oil

1. Chop pumpkin and carrots and place on stovetop, bring to boil, cook until soft
2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on fillets. Meanwhile mix almond meal and cumin in a bowl and coat fillets in mixture
3. Place fillets in hot fry pan with olive oil and cook about 7 minutes either side (depending on thickness)
4. Strain pumpkin and carrots and mash with a fork using tsp olive oil

Don't shop on an empty stomach

You've probably heard this one before... don't go shopping when you're hungry. Well, a study from Cornell University has shown people who were hungrier bought higher calorie food options when shopping. No surprises there!

My tips for a healthy shopping trolley:
  • Don't go shopping when you're hungry
  • Plan your meals, write a list and stick to it
  • Stick to the outer layers of the supermarket (where the fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, low fat dairy and wholegrain breads are found)

Meatless Monday - why not try mushrooms?

Mushrooms make a great replacement for meat as they are very low in calories, fat and have a meaty flavour. A recent study showed overweight and obese participants lost weight and body fat by switching a serve of red meat for one cup of button mushrooms. Why not try cooking mushrooms this meatless monday?

Risoni and Mushroom Salad

Monday, May 6, 2013

Protein Balls

My recipe is adapted from Teresa Cutter's The Healthy Chef recipe. Protein balls are a great snack to cure 3pm sugar cravings, have post-workout or on-the-go. The great thing about protein balls is that you can experiment with so many different ingredients. Plus, they take only 5-10 minutes to make!

My protein balls are a great source of complete protein (made using whey protein isolate), a good source of Vitamin E from the almond meal and high in iron and magnesium from pepitas (pumpkin seeds).


60g Whey Protein Isolate (I used Musashi brand) - about 6 scoops
16 dates, pitted
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup pepitas, ground


If you have a food processor, place protein powder, almond meal and pepitas in and process until the mixture looks crumbly. Then add dates and a splash of water and process again until the mixture is soft. I didn't have a food processor so I used a mortar and pestle to grind the pepitas and chopped the dates finely with a sharp knife. Form the mixture into 12 balls. Store in the fridge and they're ready to go!

Nutrition per ball:

(makes 12)

Energy: 252kJ (60 cal)
Protein: 5.4g  
Carbohydrates: 3.5g
Fat: 2.4g

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Autumn Recipe Collections: Chicken & Vegetable Lasagna

Free range chicken mince 500g
Tinned tomatoes 250g (preferably no added salt)
Wholemeal lasagna sheets (San Remo brand)
Extra light ricotta 250g (Perfect Italiano brand)
1 Eggplant
2 Zucchinis
1/3 Pumpkin
125g Frozen Spinach

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Heat oil in a large pan and brown the mince, mixing in 1/3 of the tin of tomatoes.

2. Slice the eggplant and zucchini, spray with olive oil, and place in a pre-heated oven to brown.

3. Cut the pumpkin into cubes and microwave covered in water to soften for 3-4 minutes.

4. Layer the bottom of your lasagna tray with lasagna sheets. Top with half the mince. Spread the roasted zucchini and eggplant. Follow with the defrosted spinach, 1/2 the tub of ricotta and 1/3 of the tin of tomatoes. Spread with remaining chicken, pumpkin cubes and remaining ricotta.

5. Layer with more lasagna sheets and spread remaining tinned tomatoes on top.

6. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Diogenes Study: "diet, obesity and genes"

The Diogenes Study aimed to identify the diet which would be most effective in preventing weight gain and weight regain. The study looked at diets with varying glycaemic index (GI) and protein contect.
Participants lost 8% of their original weight over 8 weeks, using low calorie formula's. They were then assigned to one of 5 different diets.
Group 1: Low Protein, Low glycemic Index.
Group 2: Low Protein, High glycemic Index.
Group 3: High Protein, Low glycemic Index.
Group 4: High Protein, High glycemic Index.
Group 5: Control Diet, medium protein and medium glycemic index.

As you can see in the graph above, those in the low protein-high GI group (Group 2) showed the poorest results, regaining 1.67kg. The best results were seen in those in the high protein-low GI group (Group 3). Those in Group 3 were consuming 22% protein, 43% carbohydrate and 32% fat.

Group 3
Pictures of meals for participants in Group 3 (High Protein, Low gycaemic Index) at the link:

Examples of meals for participants in Group 3:
Breakfast: Rye bread, egg, skim milk, apple
Lunch: Egg, dried beans, vegetables
Dinner: Turkey, vegetables, wholegrain pasta, avocado, reduced fat feta
Snacks: Vegetables, reduced fat cheese, nuts

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's making news in nutrition?

Protein-rich breakfast prevents hunger

Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but how much protein you have is also important. A small study published in the AJCN showed eating a protein rich breakfast significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking in the evening. In the study, overweight or obese adolescent females either skipped breakfast, consumed a 350 calorie, high protein (35g protein) breakfast or ate a 350 calorie, normal protein breakfast. Not suprisingly, those who ate the high protein breakfast had increased satiety and reduced food cravings, shown through MRI imaging, blood tests and questionnaires.

Introducing solids to babies

With lots of friends my age becoming first time mothers, I have become interested in infant and toddler nutrition. Since I have been a dietitian, the debate over when to introduce solids to babies has always been a hot topic. A recent article published in Pediatrics Journal reported that many mums introduce solids to babies before they are 4 months old. There is agreement amongst countries that solids should be introduced no earlier than 4 months. The concern with introducing babies to solids before 4 months is that early introduction may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, allergies and it also means the benefits of breastfeeding are cut short.

The recommendation in Australia still remains to breastfeed/ formula feed exclusively until 6 months old and continue supplemental breastfeeing until at least 12 months.


Organic doesn't always equal healthy  

Studies have shown foods labelled as 'organic' can lead us to think that a food is healthier, through the 'health halo effect'. In one particular study, shoppers were asked to rate the taste, calorie content and price they'd pay for items labelled 'organic' versus 'regular'. Despite the shoppers knowing, both products were identical; it was just that one was labelled 'organic' and the other 'regular'. The shoppers perceptions were that the 'organic' varieties had fewer calories, were lower in fat, more nutritious, more flavourful and they were willing to pay 23.4% more.

This study found people who regularly read nutrition labels are less susceptible to the organic 'health halo' effect. So, next time you're tempted to buy an 'occasional' food such as chips or biscuits that is labelled 'organic'; read the nutrition information panel to check if you're making the best choice. In addition, the use of the word 'organic' is not regulated in Australia. If you wish to choose organic, always try and choose foods that are 'certified organic'.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

The 5:2 Diet: healthy or fad?

What is the 5:2 Diet?

The 5:2 Diet involves 5 days of "feasting" and 2 days of "fasting". On the "feast" days you can eat "normally", as long as you don't go overboard. On the "fast" days, you eat 25% of the calories of a normal diet. On average, that's 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. The calories can be eaten all at once (just one meal) or spread out throughout the day.

What are the pro's?

  • No food groups are eliminated on the "feast" days
  • Increases people's awareness of what they're eating  

What are the con's?

  • Lethargy and lack of concentration on "fast" days
  • Doesn't encourage healthy eating, as you can eat whatever you like on "fast" days
  • There is uncertainty and lack of evidence surrounding 'intermittent fasting' and whether it is healthy
  • People who continue to make poor food choices on the "feast" days still won't lose weight
  • Not sustainable longterm

What can I eat on a "fast" day?

* Sourced from 

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (2 eggs and splash of skim milk) served with 2 grilled tomatoes (170 calories).
Dinner: Baked beans with a baked potato using a small 200g can of baked beans and a 150g baking potato (320 calories).
Total: 490 calories

Breakfast: Fruit salad made with an orange, an apple and a small banana (50g), served topped with 100g of low-fat plain cottage cheese (220 calories). Dinner: Chicken stir-fry made with 120g lean chicken breasts cut into thin strips, a little soy sauce and 200g cooked weight of frozen stir-fry vegetables (280 calories).
Total: 500 calories

Breakfast: Skimmed-milk latte (250ml) with a plain croissant (270 calories).
Dinner: Tuna salad using 110g canned tuna, lots of lettuce and cucumber, a teaspoon of light salad cream and a warm mini-pitta (230 calories).
Total: 500 calories

My thoughts?

The 5:2 diet is not sustainable long-term and doesn't teach you the foundations of a good diet. The "fast" days will leave you feeling hungry and lethargic, and with no energy to exercise.

Eat well-balanced, healthy meals with at least 2 serves fish per week, 2 serves legumes/ lentils per week (1 serve = 1/2 cup), 3 serves of low fat dairy a day, 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day. Allow yourself 1 "cheat" meal a week, perhaps on the weekend, where you eat whatever you like. If you're after something sweet, allow yourself a treat to cure the craving, but be sensible! If you open the packet of tim-tams, eat 1, not the whole packet.

If you eat well-balanced meals, limit your intake of calories from drinks (alcohol, coffee, juices, smoothies, energy drinks) and exercise at least 150 minutes a week; you'll be healthier, happier and have more energy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Australian Dietary Guidelines - what's new?

The new & revised Australian Dietary Guidelines were released on the 18th February. The guidelines are for all healthy Australians. They are intended as a tool to help us make healthy food choices. 

What's changed since 2003?

The last time the Dietary Guidelines were revised was in 2003. The latest evidence shows that we need to eat more:
  • Vegetables and legumes/beans 
  • Fruits 
  • Wholegrain foods such as wholegrain bread, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese, preferably reduced fat 
  • Fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans 
  • Red meat (young women only)
We need to eat less:
  • Refined grains such as white bread, low fibre cereals
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese, full fat varieties 
  • Red meat (adult males only)
  • Energy dense, nutrient poor foods and drinks such as sugar sweetened drinks, fried foods, cakes, biscuits and confectionary 

The Australian Dietary Guidelines

1. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  • Healthy weight range is a BMI = 18.5-25kg/m2
  • Women aim for waist circumference <80cm, Men <94cm
2. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day:
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seedsand legumes/ beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat
  • Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/ beans
3. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
  • Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, pizza, fried foods, chips and other savoury snacks
  • Replace saturated fats such as butter, cream, coconut and palm oil with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/ pastes and avocado
  • Limit foods and drinks containing added salt 
    • Read labels to choose lower salt options
    • Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table
  • Limit foods and drinks containing added sugars such as soft drinks, cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake
4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding

5. Care for your food; prepare and store it safely

Sample meal plans available at:

How does your diet compare?....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why do you need protein post work-out?

Are you a frequent gym-goer... body attack, body pump, cross training or weights?

To optimise results and recovery after your work-out, you need to make sure you have your nutrition right.

The key nutrient for recovery is protein. Aim for 10-20g protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. The benefits of protein work best when coupled with carbohydrate, as carbohydrate stimulates the body to release insulin which improves the uptake of protein into the muscle. The best ratio of carbohydrates:protein is 3:1, therefore ~30-60g carbohydrate.

Good post workout snacks include:
  • Fruit smoothie with berries, 200g low fat yoghurt and 150ml low fat milk and ice (20g protein, 40g carbohydrate)
  • Fruit smoothie with banana, 200g low fat yoghurt, tbsp skim milk powder, low fat milk and ice
  • Glass of milk, apple and 15 almonds (15g protein, 30g carbohydrate)
  • 170g chobani yoghurt and banana (13g protein, 33g carbohydrate)
  • Peanut butter on 4 Vita Weats  

Is there a need for protein supplements?

The use of a liquid protein shake after a work-out is a great, convenient option to ensure adequate protein intake post work-out. But remember, you can get your recommended protein intake using real foods. It is really up to you. Some people who find it difficult to consume a meal or snack post work-out may benefit from drinking a liquid protein shake.

What protein shake is best?

The best protein shake is a whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) shake. This type of protein is the most readily digested and absorbed, but can also be the most pricey.
  • Whey protein - is a 'total' protein, meaning it contains all necessary amino acids. It is particularly high in the branch chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine, an amino acid that stimulates muscle gain.
    • WPC (whey protein concentrate) is derived from the first filtering step in the production of WPI. 70-80% protein by weight.
    • WPI (whey protein isolate) is further filtered, 90% protein by weight.
    • WPH (whey protein hydrolysate) is even more rapidly digested and absorbed.
  • Casein protein - casein is slower to digest as it clots in the acidic environment of the stomach.
  • Soy protein - is also a complete protein and is rapidly digested. Available as both soy concentrate and isolate, soy isolate being a higher % protein by weight. Soy protein is a useful alternative for vegetarians or those allergic to milk protein.
Some protein shakes are chock full of sugar, artificial flavours, sweeteners, carbohydrates and fat. Make sure you look at the ingredients and remember the 'rule of 3'. Choose a protein supplement which doesn't have 'sugar' as one of the first 3 ingredients.

Remember, protein works best when taken with carbohydrate. If your protein shake is low carbohydrate, be sure to eat something containing carbohydrate, such as fruit with it.. or make it on low fat milk!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What's making news in nutrition this month?

Berries may cut heart attack risk in women

The Journal of American Heart Association reported women who ate a minimum of 3 servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had 1/3 of the heart attacks, compared to those who ate berries once a month or less. The results were gathered from food questionnaires and adjusted for other risk factors for heart attacks such as age, blood pressure, family history, weight, smoking, exercise and alcohol intake.

The reason is likely due to the high flavonoid (antioxidant) content of blueberries and strawberries. This research supports the Australia Dietary Guidelines to include 2 serves of fruit each day. Why not try making one of these serves of fruit blueberries or strawberries?

Australia's Healthy Weight Week

20-27 Jan was Australia's Healthy Weight Week, run by the Dietitians Association of Australia, to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This years event focused on fad free diets. Steer away from diets that promise rapid weight loss. A realistic and healthy weight loss goal is 0.5-1kg per week.

Fad free diets encourage starting the day with breakfast, including all five food groups and filling up on low kilojoule/ high nutrient foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts and low fat dairy.

What is the DASH diet?

The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The US News & World Report recently ranked the DASH diet as the number 1 diet. Although the diet is designed to lower blood pressure; it is also a well balanced diet for people in general. The principles of the DASH diet are to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, low fat dairy foods, as well as chicken, fish, nuts and beans. Foods kept to a minimum include red meat, processed foods, sugar laden drinks and foods. It is low in salt and high in magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Aged Garlic Extract lowers Blood Pressure 

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed aged garlic extract as an effective way to lower blood pressure in individuals on blood pressure medication. The response was seen in participants who took two capsules of aged garlic extract a day. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by about 12mmHg in the study.

The same results are not seen from using garlic cloves in cooking, as there is a different active ingredient in the aged garlic extract. Garlic does have many health benefits though including anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory!