Nutritionist Susie Burrell’s Top Spring Diet Dos and Don’ts

Do the words “bikini season” strike fear and angst into your heart? It doesn’t have to be that way, says Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell.

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Susie (pictured), who’s pregnant with twins due in early 2016, says you can develop better body confidence via a healthy spring diet plan which will not only see you look and feel better, but you’ll lose kilos fast in the process.  And if, like me, you’re looking at dropping winter weight in the lead-up to Christmas, Susie says you can do it simply and effectively. The secret? Delicious and nutritious salads are your summer diet go-to.

Susie has just released a new Shape Me Salads e-book via her new program, Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, via shapeme.com.au which now includes a new free trial offer. Here, Susie dispenses her usual wise and pragmatic diet and weight-loss advice as the warmer weather approaches.


What are your top spring diet and weight loss tips?

The key is to pace yourself, there is still plenty of time to lose 5-10kg before Christmas – but you must do it the right way without resorting to unrealistic fads and extreme diets. The first rule of thumb is to look for diet options which are sustainable. This way, you will not waste your time and money on short-term programs and options. Next, look for options you like – if you do not like the food, you will not continue it. Finally, simply focus on eating less and more vegetables: smaller dinners, more salad and vegetables at lunch and dinner and exercise most days, it really is that simple.

What are some quick and easy food hacks to lose a few winter kilos?

Have an early protein-rich breakfast, for example: an omelette, Greek yogurt, protein shake by 8am. Next, have a salad-based lunch by 1pm. Then, schedule a protein-rich afternoon snack of nuts or cheese and crackers mid afternoon and then a light early dinner. Simply leaving 12 hours without food overnight is often all we need to reset our appetite and wake up hungry, so we end up eating more during the day and less at night.

What salad pitfalls do people fall prey to?

It’s usually going too strict too early and then feel hungry and deprived and falling off the rails. A lot of people mistakenly eliminate whole food groups such as dairy or carbs and then crave them. Other common mistakes include people eating well for two-to-three days then binging all weekend, or not eating enough during the day and then overeating at night.

What are the best spring salads or meals to eat?

The perfect salad balance will include one carb, one source of protein, two-to-three cups of salad or vegetables and one source of good fat, such as olive oil or avocado. Chicken quinoa salad with avocado is a perfect mix, but just make sure your salad base is always 2-3 cups of salad/vegetables.

spring diet, healthy diet, spring salads, Susie Burrell

Is the warmer weather a prime time to cut out heavy carbs?

One cup of cooked rice or pasta is equal to three slices of bread, so an easy way to reduce your fuel load at night is to stick to a hand-size serve of protein and plenty of vegetables.

What are your golden rules of spring eating?

  • Focus on light meals of fish, salad and vegetables.
  • Make the most of warmer temperatures and longer days and commit to regular training, especially if you can prepare for an upcoming event.
  • Limit alcohol to two glasses per week.
  • Drink more water – at least 1.5-2litres in total each day.
  • Use the next three months to get your body in great shape by committing to healthy eating and plenty of exercise so you can enjoy the summer and feel great, both mentally and physically.

Images via Cleo, walesonline.co.uk

The Raw Till 4 Diet: Would You Try It?

Have you ever heard of a diet which allows you to each endless amount of fresh fruit, and requires little to no exercise? These are some of the main objectives of the Raw Till 4 Diet.

Created by controversial YouTuber Freelee The Banana Girl, the concept is quite simple; a mainly vegan eating plan which encourages the consumption of raw fruit, vegetables, but with absolutely no animal fat.

But how does this diet actually work, and are there any long-term risks associated to it?

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What does Raw Till 4 mean?

The controversial diet involves eating as much (or as little) raw fruits and vegetables as you can until 4pm. Once 4pm hits, you can then continue cooking healthy foods such as gluten-free pasta, healthy grains, and also vegetables.

Are there any side effects?

If you’re coming from a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet which has also relied on refined sugar for an extended period of time, then of course the transition will be difficult for you – at first! As with any diet, you must be familiar with what is permitted in the eating plan, and nourish your body with raw fruit and vegetables instead.

Some side effects can include mood swings, general fatigue such as headaches and migraines (from coming off the refined sugar). It should be treated as a detox – your body is riding itself from high levels of sugar and other nasties such as processed fats. If you are experiencing anything severe, consult your general practitioner.

What can you eat?

Since this is not a very flexible eating plan (from a beginners perspective), there are some very clear rules about what you can, and cannot incorporate into your diet. Since men require 3000 calories, and women about 2500, this means that you’re constantly filling your body with raw fruits and vegetables.

No animal products, no fruit after dinner, unlimited calories at every meal, and remember to have at least 4L of water each day to flush any toxins out of your system.

Where is my protein coming from?

Since this is a mostly raw vegan diet, the consumption of any type of animal products are strictly prohibited. You can however, receive your protein intake from vegetables such as spinach which contain high quantities from just one cup. Bananas, watermelons and other vegetables are also a great source of protein which won’t weight your body down.

Would you try the Raw Till 4 diet?

Image via Altervista

A Beginner’s Guide To IIFYM Diet

Ever wanted to create a stable eating plan which gives you a smoking-hot body, where you can have your cake and eat it too?

If It Fits Your Macros or (IIFYM) is simply just a diet which is altered to your body (and your body only). The entire eating plan is structured around macronutrients which are mostly proteins, carbohydrates, and fats which each play a role in a balanced, healthy diet.

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What does it mean?

IIFYM is a diet which is tailored to you and your lifestyle – this is not a one size fits all approach. Rather than a strict ‘clean eating’ regime, the idea of IIFYM is fairly straightforward, and won’t have you starving between meals. You can essentially eat whatever you like, as long as it contains protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

How can I lose weight this way?

Most diets teach you that it’s all about portion control, rather than sticking to a strict eating plan in the first place. If you fulfil your daily requirements of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, your body will be able to feel nourished regardless of what you eat afterwards. It’s all about finding a happy medium, and making sure that there is a balance of good meals such as chicken and veggies, but also something else which you can indulge in every now and then during the week.

Does this mean I have to count calories?

Not exactly. Only you will be able to understand whether you body feels nourished, but this doesn’t really mean you should stick to a strict calorie intake per-day. Balance out your meals by choosing a healthier alternative which won’t make your body feel bloated and sick afterwards. If you want to indulge in a burger and fries, choose a bun-less burger, or simply one with lettuce instead of white bread.

What will an average day look like?

A classic IIFYM eating plan can vary for each individual, but it’s important to keep your body nourished by eating lots of protein for your main meals. Chicken breast, eggs, Greek yoghurt, beef, salmon, and broccoli are all examples of what you can expect in this diet.

As with any other diet or eating plan, it’s more about exploring what is beneficial for your body, rather than sticking to a strict ‘raw food’ regime. Make sure to stay fit and exercise weekly, give your body a break when it needs it, and you will watch the kilograms drop off within just a few months.

Image via Dessert For Two

Low-Calorie Weekly Meal Plan

Did your new year start off with fantastic plans for a healthier and trimmer you only to dissolve into old habits returning and dietary plans being discarded? Well, it’s never too late to get back on track. If you can follow a new lower calorie plan for 7 nights, chances are you will be on your way to reclaiming your commitment to a healthier and happier you.

1. Stir fry chicken and fresh veggies

Begin by cutting 3 skinless chicken breasts into cubes. Season with pepper and cook with a tablespoon chili oil until juices run clear. Add your veggies beginning with the hardest vegetables first. Add broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, celery, onion, and then mushrooms. When vegetables begin to lose some of their crispness, you are almost done cooking (about 3- 5 minutes after adding the last vegetable). Add 2 tablespoons light and/or reduced sodium soy sauce to pan. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. If available, grate a few shavings of fresh ginger on top. Serve with white rice and add cashews to top.

2. Open face lean burger and baked potato

Purchase a pound of lean turkey mince at grocer or butcher. Fashion into 4 hamburger patties. Season well and grill. When finished cooking, arrange on plate atop 2 large lettuce leaves, one large slice of red onion, and a dollop of ketchup. Bake your potatoes (baking makes for a crunchier and more satisfying skin). Add a dollop of fat-free sour cream and an even larger dollop of your favorite salsa. Enjoy!

3. Tuna and rice

This meal is as delicious as it is unexpected! Cook one package of yellow rice per directions. On top of hot rice, add one large can of albacore tuna and mix in with rice. Now sprinkle with peanuts for crunch and enjoy! This meal also heats well the next day and is a perfect take to work lunch.

4. Spicy chicken tacos

Bake or boil 3 lean and trimmed skinless chicken breasts. Use cutting board to shred the chicken. Add chicken to a large skillet coated with a product like Pam and brown while adding garlic, salt and pepper. Meanwhile prepare toppings for the taco as you like; lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes and slices of avocado. Lay out tacos shells or tortillas and fill with chicken mixture and top with your ingredients. To save more calories, skip the tortilla and add the chicken mixture and toppings to any green salad. Use salsa as a dressing and enjoy!

5. Cheatin’ lasagna

Prepare lasagna as you would for any typical lasagna recipe. However, here switch out the higher fat and higher calorie ingredients with these “fakes”. For ricotta cheese; use non-fat cottage cheese. For meat; add cooked vegetables. For provolone cheese; cut the amount to half of what the recipe calls for and use a low fat mozzarella. Bake until bubbly!

6. Summer vegetable lentil soup

Cook dry lentils according to package instructions. When tender, add cut carrots, sliced onion, garlic, and a bag of frozen spinach. Add a teaspoon of chili powder, pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for at least one hour. Enjoy this hearty and low, low calorie soup.

7. Filling tuna salad on mixed greens

Begin by emptying one large can of Albacore tuna in a bowl. Add the chopped egg whites of two hard boiled eggs. Chop lots of celery and onion (to taste and preference) and add to bowl. Add one tablespoon lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons fat free mayo of your choice. Add a sprinkle of Lawry’s season salt and several shakes of pepper. Stir well and refrigerate. Make whatever type of green salad you prefer (spinach is a great choice). Top with two mounds of tuna salad. Top with cashews.

5 Ways To Make Healthy Eating Easier With A Diet Plan

Think eating vegetables is the key to weight loss and healthy eating? Think again. One of the best ways to eat healthier is through menu planning.

All your good intentions for healthy eating quickly go out the door when you get home and have no food in the house, or what you do have is just going to take too long. It’s just so much easier to order a pizza.

Most women think healthy eating is only about the food. But here’s a secret. It’s just as much about the menu planning. In fact, menu planning may even be more important than how many salads you eat each week. Why? Because most diet plans fail when women don’t have healthy food within easy reach. You need to have a plan.

Menu planning takes some time to do, but it saves you hours in the long run. And it takes the guess work out of how to stick with your diet plan—after all, you’ve already decided what food you’re going to have on hand all week. These five steps will help you plan your weekly food.

1. Figure out where your willpower usually falls apart. Do you eat lunch out every day? Do you grab takeaway or eat frozen meals for dinner because you’re too tired to cook? Do you eat the kids’ leftover chicken nuggets? Whatever your weakest meal is, start there.

2. Gather your favourite recipes and group by ingredient. You probably have certain meals you love or things you always want to make. List them, then group them together by common ingredients. When you group by common ingredients, meal preparation is easier; you’ll shop for everything as once and nothing will go to waste. Decide what group or two you want to cook from for the next week, and prepare to shop.

3. Gather your ingredient list and hit the store. Make a list of your ingredients then choose a day or time when you know you can go to the store and come home and do all of your prep work. Sort your menu list by staples and perishables — you can stock up on the staples to make future shopping trips easier. Then go shopping! Note any special ingredients you’ll want to buy the day of, such as fresh fish, and make a plan for when you’ll pick that up.

4. Prepare your food for the week. When you get home, you can make your life easier by prepping food ahead of time. Wash your veggies, parcel out your snacks in snack baggies, cook your rice and beans (yep, they’ll last in the refrigerator for a week), chop your protein (meat, fish or tofu) and wrap it up. The idea is to do as much as you can now so that meal time is a breeze.

5. Make extra food to freeze. Many dishes freeze well, so why not make your own frozen dinners? Spend a Sunday afternoon cooking a protein with heaps of vegetables – think bolognese ragu, or curry – and freezing in individual freezer bags or tubs. If healthy eating is part of your diet plan, making your own frozen meals is a good idea—part of menu planning is preparing for those days when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook.

With menu planning your diet plan has a much better chance of success. You’ll even find that when you plan out your meals, you actually save time. Imagine all the healthy things you can do with that time you’ve saved!