Dietician-tips

Top 5 Weightloss Superfoods You Need Right Now

Are you determined to get fit and trim this year, in manner of a superhero? Look no further than your fridge, girlfriend, for you’re going to need some superfoods.

RELATED: Make 2015 A Fresh Start

Leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell says rather than spend your hard-earned on expensive detox programs to lose weight, it might be high time for a diet overhaul.

This means investing in your health the easy way: by focusing on nutrient-rich, low-calorie superfoods which make for super-healthy snacks. Susie, (pictured) who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, lists her favourite superfoods as: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli (or broccolini).

“Superfoods are foods that are chock-full of nutrition and, in a world where many of us do not burn as many calories as we would like to eat, in order to maximise our nutrition, targeting superfoods on a daily basis is a good way to help improve our overall nutritional intake,” she says.

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And while overhauling your diet isn’t always inexpensive, as good-quality food can be relatively costly, especially if not in season, Susie advises we counter this by making smart choices. “Targeting a few key superfoods, in a budget-conscious way, is a good way to improve your daily nutritional intake,” she says.

“Adding in green tea, tinned salmon and frozen berries for example, won’t break the bank, but will instantly improve your intake of omega-3 fat and antioxidants.”

Let’s examine the goodness in Susie’s top picks: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli.

Berries: Any berries are great for you, and taste amazing, but Susie says blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, while also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. You can enjoy them as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices; or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts. Yum! Another good option is strawberries.

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Beetroot: This pretty purple-crimson veggie is of exceptional nutritional value; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. And, did you know? The greens should not be overlooked; they can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach. Handy tip: If your hands become stained during preparation and cooking beetroot, rub some lemon juice over them to help remove the colour.

Salmon: This yummy superfood – or should that be superfish – is packed with healthy fats and high-quality protein, plus lots of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. Of all the different types of fish, salmon has received the most praise for being a nutritional marvel and is said to be perfect “brain food”. Above all, it is salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids content which makes it particularly nutritious – health experts advise us to eat such oily fish (tuna is another) at least three times a week. It also makes for a versatile dish. Sold!

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Walnuts: These delicious, brain-shaped little pocket rockets are often called the King of Nuts for their health-boosting properties. Just ten walnuts provides a massive dose of long-chain polyunsaturated fats known to optimise the composition of the cell wall, which can allow our fat-burning hormones to work better. Cool! What’s more, they also contain cancer-fighting properties and boost both your heart and brain health. The unsalted, raw kind are obviously preferable.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a popular green veggie. And, it’s so nutritious, a slightly health-obsessed former personal trainer of mine used to advise me to eat it raw and often to ward off cold and flues. It’s said to lower cholesterol, particularly when steamed, and contain cancer-fighting properties and a wide range of phytochemicals which protect against many chronic diseases. Broccoli is also a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and fibre. Broccolini, if you prefer, is also similarly nutritious and is smaller, milder and sweeter.

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now. Visit www.shapeme.com.au or www.susieburrell.com.au.

Images, in order, via en.paperblog.com; supplied; www.livingfoodslifestyle.co.nz; and www.thankgodimnatural.com.

February 9, 2015

Celebrity Diets: Making Sense of the Latest Weight Loss Trends

Quit sugar. Go gluten-free. Banish carbs. Eat organic. Shun dairy. Only eat raw. Stock up on superfoods. Have plenty of fibre. Give red meat the flick…is your head spinning yet?

One week it’s “stop eating X” and the next it’s “only eat Y”, so if you’re more than a little confused about what you should be eating, then don’t worry because you’re not alone. Celebrities are spruiking diets and cookbooks more than ever now, and with most providing real evidence of the benefits they can seem very compelling. But how can all of them be right? If someone was to follow all the different advice what’s left to eat? Air?

Obviously it’s not possible to carry out all these varied diets at once without starving and putting your health at risk (especially when they’re not short-term fad diets but ones for life – like Gwyneth Paltrow and her gluten-free gospel). So if you don’t have any food intolerances or medical conditions, and are simply looking to improve your general health and wellbeing, then which diet is the best to sink your teeth into?

According to Lauren McGuckin, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the Dieticians Association of Australia, there is no ‘magic bullet’ solution because our dietary needs are as unique as we are, and diets which point the finger at one particular food group or dietary component (such as carbs, sugar or gluten) simply cause confusion.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Blaming one particular dietary element as the cause for weight gain or other health issues is often not the answer and eliminating whole food groups can lead to nutritional shortfalls,” says Lauren.

“For the general population these often-drastic measures are also of little to no benefit, and because of their restrictiveness and the effort required to stick to the plan, they often aren’t sustainable.”

It appears many of these celebrity diets are also misleading in their portrayal, such as the gluten-free diet (which is really a low-carb diet in disguise), and going sugar-free.

“You don’t see results from the ‘no sugar’ diet specifically because you cut out sugar; it’s the act of eating less processed, sugar-containing foods and replacing them with lower calorie wholefoods that has the effect,” says Lauren. “Sugary processed foods and drinks, such as soft-drinks and lollies, are often also high in saturated fat and energy and are a major contribution to weight gain; so limiting these has always been a core dietary recommendation.”

So what do we do then? What should we be eating? According to the experts, there is no sexy solution and the answer is what most of us already know – forget the hype and get back to basics.

Here are some of Lauren’s top tips for eating well for life:

1. Follow Australian Dietary Guidelines
Eat plenty of fruit and veg; lean meat, poultry and seafood; low-fat diary; wholegrain/high fibre breads and cereals; drink plenty of water; and limit alcohol and foods high in saturated fat, added sugars and added salt.

2. Be individual and realistic
Tailor eating to your nutritional and health needs, and to fit with your lifestyle so you can maintain the diet for life.

3. Don’t cut out carbs
They’re a major source of fibre and other important vitamins and minerals. If you want to shed excess weight though, try halving your carbohydrate servings (e.g. cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes).

4. Cook meals from scratch
You’ll reduce salt and sugar content, lessen the chances of additives/preservatives, be able to control the fat content, and improve your food quality by using fresh, top notch ingredients.

5. Eat fresh and unprocessed when you can
Less chemicals, additives and preservatives; and more satisfying as the stomach has to work more to digest wholefoods.

6. Be smart about fat – limit total fat intake for a slimmer waistline, but ensure you include vegetable-based fat sources for a healthy heart (e.g. nuts, avocado and olive oil).

7. Reduce your sugar intake
Limit the amount of sugary foods and added sugar you eat, particularly if you’re diabetic or watching your weight.

8. Eat the rainbow
No need to search for strange superfoods: there are cheaper ones already in your kitchen or garden. Eat foods with different (natural) colours to broaden the types of antioxidants you’re getting.

If your diet could do with a ‘tune-up’ or you suspect you might have a food intolerance, visit the Dieticians Association of Australia or see your GP.

Susan Taylor muses about life at One Woman Circus.

October 10, 2013