What I Learned Growing Up Being The “Skinny Bitch”

Size is just a number. Health is priceless.

8 Surprising Things I Learned About Healthy Eating In Paris

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream” – Julia Child

Why Healthy People Are So Miserable

Turns out being skinny isn’t everything.

How Poor Parents Sabotage Their Kids’ Health

Junk food may come cheap, but the cost of your child’s health is steep.

5 Days of Healthy Snacks

Did you know that the more often you eat the more fat you’ll shed? Eating regular, small portions of  nutritious foods will help make you healthier and happier, not to mention your waistline will love you!

To get you started on your healthy journey, we’ve put together 5 days of healthy snacks that will curb your cravings and keep you fuller for longer.

RELATED: Beef and Mushroom Noodle Soup Recipe

Peanut butter banana and apple bites

Thick apple wedges topped with a dollop of peanut butter and banana slices are the perfect afternoon pick-me-ups to get you through your 3pm slump.

Apple chips

When you’ve got the nibbles and don’t fancy the guilt that comes from wiping out a whole bag of Doritos, homemade apple chips pack all the punch of pre-packaged goods minus the risk of the dreaded bloat.

All you need is two tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and four thinly sliced apples. Simply core and slice the apples, coat them thickly in the combined sugar and cinnamon, and bake in the oven for two hours.

Fruit salad

Whoever said you couldn’t make friends with salad clearly never indulged in a fresh bowl of juicy, fresh fruit. From potassium rich bananas to antioxidant rich blueberries, seasonally selected fruits hold a range of dietary benefits and will give you the perfect energy boost.

RELATED: Top Snack Hacks to Beat the 3pm Slump

Cottage cheese filled avocado

This fruit and dairy combo is a clear winner for when you’re craving something rich, creamy and a bit savoury. Remove the pit from half an avocado and fill the space with two-ounces of cottage cheese. This tasty snack will score you a good dose of protein and healthy fibre.

Canned tuna and whole-wheat crackers

There’s nothing fishy about this mouth-watering, wholesome combination. With plenty of omega-3 and lean protein this is a winner in our eyes.

Cut Your Calorie Intake With These Food Swaps

When it comes to weight loss cutting back can be difficult – but cutting out entirely can be impossible. But weight loss can be made easy if you can cut your calorie intake with these food swaps.

RELATED: How To Spot A Dodgy Diet Before It Spots You

Complete diet makeovers can be overwhelming and are hard to maintain in the long-term. Transitioning into a healthy eating plan is much more practical. Baby steps are always helpful, for example; swapping white bread for wholegrain bread or full cream milk, for skim milk. These small, barely noticeable changes can make a big difference in achieving your weight loss goals and improving your overall diet.

Here, we outline some of the easiest food swaps to cut your calorie intake and improve your wellbeing.

Swap your normal hamburger bun for an English muffin

This simple and still tasty alternative can save you up to 120 calories. A regular hamburger bun or your typical white bread roll delivers 236 empty calories – mostly from the white flour – without adding any form of nutrition. Choosing a whole-wheat muffin can give you an extra boost of fibre and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Swap cereal for oatmeal

A bowl of store brought cereal packs 200 plus calories, while a bowl of oatmeal only contains around 150 calories, plus the added benefit of less fat and sugar and extra fibre. Add some blueberries for natural sweetness and a boost of antioxidants for only an extra eight-calories.

Swap iceberg lettuce for spinach

Although it’s not really saving you any calories, iceberg lettuce doesn’t enhance your diet with any worthwhile nutrients. However, spinach is filled with iron, magnesium, folate, and Vitamins A and C that will all keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.

Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes

You can cut approximately 50-calories from your diet by swapping one medium sized potatoe for one medium sized sweet potatoe. The great thing about potatoes is they’re so diverse! You can have sweet potatoe fries, wedges, mashed sweet potatoe, or even roasted sweet potatoes.

Swap potatoe chips for kale chips

Kale is considered a superfood for good reason – it’s packed with essential nutrients that can boost your metabolism and keep your body functioning healthily. One-and-a-half-cups of kale chips will only set you back 84 calories, while the same amount of potatoe chips will stock you up with 200 calories. Not to mention a standard serve of kale fulfils your daily intake of Vitamins A and C, with a generous amount of calcium and folate.

RELATED: Top 5 Ways To Be A Greener Cook

Swap sour cream for Greek yoghurt

Sour cream can be addictive! Whether it’s on wedges or nachos, as dressings or in soup – but it’s also filled with unnecessary fats and calories. Jumping on the Greek yoghurt bandwagon can help you easily cut back on those calories without sacrificing taste. Greek yoghurt has half the calories, tastes very similar and is filled with probiotics that help support the healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

These simple food swaps can make sure you stay on the road to success without compromising on taste!

Image via Mamamia

What To Eat Before And After A Workout

To get the best results from your workout, it’s best to monitor what to eat before and after you hit the gym. Beforehand, you should try and eat at least 30 minutes before your planned workout.

RELATED: Post-Workout Dos And Dont’s

Eating before you workout is important in kick starting your metabolism, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Having said that, nobody wants to go jogging on a full stomach – so keep your pre-workout meal light and easily digestible.

Recommended pre-workout meals:

After your workout is when you want to replenish your lost energy. Protein and carbohydrates are key during this time, in order to repair your worked muscles and restore your sugars. You should eat somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour after you finish exercising (don’t forget to stretch!). For the time-poor, try a protein shake or bar.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Smoked Trout Patties With Boiled Egg And Caper Salad

If you’re stuck for an easy dinner recipe and desperate to try something new, these smoked trout patties could be just what you’re looking for. Tasty and healthy, they’re a great winter alternative to that big bowl of pasta, and did we mention that they’re really, really easy to make? We’ve even provided a link to James Eaton’s boiled egg peeling how-to at the bottom of the page, just in case!

RELATED: Corn And Zucchini Fritters With Poached Eggs Recipe



8 eggs, 2 egg yolks for mix, 6 eggs for boiling

500g potatoes

400g boneless hot smoked trout fillets

¼ bunch chives, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup flour

1 cup breadcrumbs or panko crumb

Oil for frying


2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ red onion, finely diced

¼ bunch dill, chopped

1 tsp small capers

1 tsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peal and boil potatoes until cooked. Drain well and mash.
  2. Flake the smoked trout into the mash and season. Separate two eggs, adding the egg yolks and chives to the mash mix – keep the egg whites for crumbing.
  3. Mix well and form into eight patties.
  4. Roll patties in flour, lightly whisked egg whites and bread crumbs then set aside.
  5. Combine all salad ingredients, checking seasoning and adjusting if necessary.
  6. Soft boil the eggs, refresh under running water and peel. Cut eggs in half and set aside.
  7. Add oil to frying pan and heat. Gently fry patties on both sides.
  8. Place patties onto a plate, serving with boiled egg and garnish with cucumber salad.

Peel an egg in under 10 seconds here.

Good Habits Gone Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Have you ever noticed that healthy eating isn’t necessarily leading to weight loss? Some foods which are disguised as nutritious, sugar-free, and fat-free, could actually be containing other nasties which lead to imminent weight gain.

RELATED: The Hybrid Food Trend

Don’t believe us? SHESAID enlisted the help of Australia’s number one fitness guru, Guy Leech, to discuss the food trends that we should be avoiding for weight loss.


With so many “juice cleanses” on the market it’s hard not to think that drinking juice all day is good for you.  Guy points out, though, that even 100 per cent freshly pressed juice still contains a heap of sugar and hardly any fibre when compared to whole fruits.

“Try to keep your juice drinking to one cup per day,” he advises.  “Particularly when paired with fresh vegetables, juices are a great way to consume nutrients, however sipping on juice all day is a really easy way to stock up on the calories.”

Another thing to remember is that pre-packaged juices are nutritionally similar to soft drinks, so the best way to consume juice is by juicing your own fruit at home. That way you know exactly what’s in it.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads


If packed with the right stuff, smoothies can be a great way to consume a whole lot of nutrients in the one hit. However, smoothies can go from good to bad real fast warns the fitness guru. “Just like making your own muesli, it’s better if you whip up your own healthy smoothie from home,” he advises.  Many store bought smoothies contain ice-cream, high sugar yoghurt and even artificially flavoured syrups.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Raw food diets

“I’m all for eating food in its most natural state,” says Leech.  “Raw food diets are generally very fresh fruit and vegetable heavy and discourage the consumption of processed foods, which is excellent,” he adds.  Guy points out, however, that cooking food can be more nutritious and at times even safer.

“The lycopene in tomato and the beta-carotene in carrots are released during cooking,” he insists. “Furthermore, cooked foods can be easier to digest and cooking meat and fish kills certain bacteria that could otherwise result in an upset tummy or in extreme cases, food poisoning.”

When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Almond milk

Almonds are full of nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron and calcium and are reported to help lower cholesterol and improve digestive health, needless to say Leech is a huge fan of them. Likewise, he considers almond milk to be an excellent cow’s milk alternative, especially for using in smoothies and as an accompaniment to homemade muesli. He does, however, warn that there are a couple of drawbacks.

“Almond milk doesn’t have as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk,” he points out.  “Processed almond milk can also be packed with extra sugar and preservatives, so make sure you read the ingredients and nutrition panel carefully,” he advises.  Fresh is always best though, so Leech recommends buying a nut milk bag, blending up some fresh almonds and making your own nutritious almond milk from home.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads


Cleverly marketed to the health conscious crowd, muesli can be packed with goodness while also being chock full of fat and sugar. “Many people think they’re doing the right thing by swapping up their sugary cereals or fatty fried breakfasts for a portion of muesli in the mornings,” says Leech.

And, according to the health guru, the type of muesli on the shelves today provides a poor choice for those looking to shed fat and maintain a healthy weight. Instead of giving up muesli completely, Guy suggests making it yourself.

When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Images via Gimme Some Oven, Raw Food Lifestyle, Health Fitness Revolution

How To Clean Up A Dirty Diet

As the cold weather creeps back in, so does the diet that we try so hard to avoid over summer. Shorts are swapped for sweats, while salads are swapped for spaghetti as we stock up on warm, comfort food to try and survive through the chilly days and nights.

RELATED: Can Food Diaries Encourage Eating Disorders?

Comfort food often starts out innocently, with a bit more pasta, and a bit more rice turning into comfort snacks like chocolate and chips during the day, and late night desserts in the evening. During winter, our previously clean diet can turn very, very dirty, but instead of waiting until the end to clean it up, why not feel and look great all year round?

If your diet has started to get a little off track lately, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to start to clean up those eating habits and kick that sluggish feeling through winter.

Make simple swaps

Start to swap back your unhealthy choices for those that will benefit your body. You can switch your morning latte for a peppermint tea to warm you up before work, and/or change your rice for quinoa. Try to add more protein instead of carbohydrates and if you’re feeling cold, try some minestrone soup for comfort instead of a creamy chicken pie.

Another great tip is to switch the chips for a salad if you’re having a night out, to limit the amount of fried foods you’ll be having.

Relax sometimes

Just because you eat healthy, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat once in a while. The recommended 80 per cent healthy, 20 per cent cheat meals, means that you can have a couple of treats a week. However, try to stick to one day of the weekend to treat yourself to create a habit of eating well for most of the week. It will give you something to look forward to.

Get it out of the house

Get rid of the snacks that are lurking in your cupboard for when you get home from work. And I don’t mean get rid of them by eating them, though it’s not like I haven’t made that mistake before! You really have to control yourself at this point. If you have the strength, put them in a special cupboard, only to be consumed on your cheat day. Alternatively, throw them in the trash and treat yourself by going out for dinner, rather than wasting your special meal on snacks.

Baby Steps

It’s all about taking baby steps to get back to being healthy. Small but significant changes, like removing take away from your diet, to then remove chocolates, chips and unhealthy snacks, can make a big difference.

Check labels

If there’s one thing that is good for you, it’s checking the labels of the foods that you’re going to buy. Instead of taking the benefit of the doubt and assuming that if the label says ‘healthy’, it means it is, check out the nutritional information for yourself. Keeping added sugars and saturated fats to a minimum is ideal for cleaning up your diet.

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Nutrition For Commitment Phobes

Want to get fit and healthy but scared of committing? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The truth is, most of us wish there was a miracle pill that would melt away those unwanted kilos and give us the body of our dreams; but just like anything worth having in life, you’ve got to put in the hard yards if you want to reap the rewards.

RELATED: How To Snack Yourself Skinny

Check out these simple tips provided by nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box health editor, Melissa Fine for easy ways to turn your health around and commit to healthy habits once and for all.

Lock in your exercise

We’ve all heard that scheduling workouts a week in advance is key, but what about going as far as pre-booking or buying a class? Melissa says the best way to commit to a workout is to book your exercise classes in advance and pay upfront. “I’m much less likely to not exercise if I won’t get my money back for my pilates class,” she explains. “And I know that halfway through the class, I’ll be really glad I’m there.”

Find a workout you love

There’s nothing worse than feeling like a slave to your exercise routine, so to avoid this, inject some fun into your workouts by doing things you enjoy. “For my friends, it’s a run, kickboxing or spin; For me, it’s zumba…I look forward to it each week, not just because it’s great cardio, but because it feels like a party,” insists Melissa.

“The music and instructor are awesome and everyone gets really into it, without it being serious.”

Make your salad tasty

Turns out you can make friends with salad! Add different vegies such as grated carrot, sweet cherry tomatoes, leftover roast vegetables and quinoa or brown rice for multiple textures, flavours and colours, says Melissa.

Also, add some protein in the form of a BBQ chicken, smoked salmon or a boiled egg to mix it up. “Dress this with a tablespoon of pure tahini and a big squeeze of lemon juice and your salad will be transformed!”

Don’t keep it in the house

Out of sight out of mind, right? Melissa says that having your favourite dessert on hand means you’re more likely to make an unhealthy habit of having it every night after dinner. Instead, have some fruit or herbal tea and save that triple chocolate pudding for special occasions, or when you’re out to dinner. “It will taste better too if it’s a once-in-a-while thing,” insists Melissa.

Find fun, healthy substitutes

Nowadays, you can easily whip up a healthy alternative to those sugary, fatty foods you crave. “Things like banana ‘ice-cream’ – just frozen, blended banana flesh – makes a great ice cream substitute,” says Melissa, and if you’re more of a savoury person, try “baked potato or sweet potato wedges with a little sea salt” – it’s the perfect alternative to deep fried foods.

Get some zzz

It’s no secret that the amount of sleep we get impacts our health, but according to Melissa it can also influence eating patterns. “When I get less than seven or eight hours sleep, the number of coffees and snacks I have the following day tends to increase, as do my cravings for something sweet post lunch and dinner,” she reveals.

This is generally caused by our hormones, as “inadequate sleep can increase the level of our hunger hormone, ghrelin.”

Ditch the ‘all or nothing’ approach

How many times have you eaten a chocolate bar or piece of cake, only to convince yourself afterwards that you’ve ‘ruined’ your diet for the day? Being on a healthy eating plan doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without – “a ‘perfect’ diet isn’t realistic,” urges Melissa. “It fails to consider life, or that wedding or party next weekend, which just isn’t as fun if you skimp on the cake, some buttery bread or a good glass of wine.”

Instead, opt for an 80:20 approach – “think real food like fresh produce, legumes, fish, meat and wholegrains 80 per cent of the time, and have some leeway for the remaining 20 per cent. It’s all about balance.”

Image via the Huffington Post

Are You Addicted To These Fatty Foods?

Got a sweet tooth and/or a passion for savoury, fatty foods? Easy tiger, you may be addicted to these super-sugary and high-carb treats.

RELATED: Top 5 Weightloss Superfoods You Need Right Now

Leading Sydney dietician and nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured) says highly-processed, fatty, sugary foods like pizza; sweet, baked cookies; cake, ice-cream and chocolate are the most common food addictions.

food addictions, healthy eating, healthy diet
Susie, who recently launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, says new research shows food addictions are becoming both increasingly common and problematic. “There is new research to show that foods that contain a mix of flavours, and ones that are high in processed carbs, can stimulate the brain in different ways and hence have a more addictive quality than other foods,” she says.

“We know obese individuals tend to need more stimulation from certain types of foods to get their satisfaction and we also know that habits and programming, for example, the types of foods we choose to eat regularly, heavily programs our food preferences.”

food addictions, healthy eating, healthy diet
So, how do we learn to put down that yummy muffin or pizza slice and pick up a carrot stick instead? I, erm, had a danish myself just this morning, eek! Susie advises these handy tips to help us battle our food addictions:

  • Be aware that certain foods will prime your brain to seek out more.
  • Choose plain foods where possible, for example: plain vanilla ice-cream over one with confectionery.
  • Always purchase portion-controlled treat sizes of desirable foods.
  • Do not buy it if you do not want to eat it!
  • Own the issue and actively manage it rather than letting it manage you.

food addictions, healthy eating, healthy diet

Top 5 most addictive foods

  1. Pizza
  2. Chocolate
  3. Chips
  4. Cookies
  5. Ice-cream

Top 5 least addictive foods

  1. Cucumbers
  2. Carrots
  3. Beans
  4. Apples
  5. Brown Rice

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now.

Images via Pixabay

Healthy Chicken, Feta and Almond Salad Recipe

This chicken feta and almond salad is served with a raspberry vinaigrette, so it’s a great recipe to whip up in the warmer months. With a variety of fresh herbs and spices, it’s a healthy and versatile meal that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.

RELATED: Easy Lamb Roulade Recipe



5 peppercorns

1 cardamom pod

½ tsp fennel seed

1 tsp sea salt

Zest of 1 lemon

4 free range chicken breasts

Olive oil, for cooking

30g butter

100ml Minchinbury Blush (Rosé)


⅓ punnet fresh raspberries

50 ml red wine vinegar

Pinch of sugar

150ml olive oil

Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste


100g freekah (or cracked wheat), cooked

100g mixed greens

100g rocket leaves

½ bunch flat parsley, leaves picked

½ bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and torn

⅔ punnet fresh raspberries

150g persian feta

50g toasted almonds


  1. In a small frying pan, lightly toast the peppercorns, cardamom and fennel until aromatic. Grind in a mortar and pestle with salt.
  2. Trim any excess fat from chicken breast. Pat skin dry and season well with spice mix and lemon zest.
  3. In a frying pan over medium heat, seal the chicken skin side down in a little olive oil and butter until golden. Flip over and finish cooking the chicken. When almost cooked add a splash of Minchinbury Blush to deglaze the pan juices. Rest the chicken.
  4. For the dressing, combine all ingredients into a glass jar, secure the lid and shake well to infuse.
  5. In a large bowl, add freekah, lettuce, rocket, herbs and raspberries. Add raspberry dressing and gently turn to coat the leaves. Arrange on a serving platter.
  6. Dice the cooked chicken and place onto the salad. Top with feta, almonds and a few more raspberries.

Top 5 Dieting Myths Dispelled

Is your head swarming with conflicting healthy eating and nutritional advice from your GP, personal trainer, friendship circle and more? It can be very hard to ascertain what’s right and complete bunkum when it comes to food, glorious food.

RELATED: Kickstart A New You With A 30-Day Dietitian Plan

Never fear, dear reader: here, leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell, who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, sorts fact from fiction when it comes to what we should – and should not – be putting in our mouths as we embark on a healthier, happier 2015.

Myth 1: Is eating bread really the antichrist? What if I’m trying to lose weight?

It’s not the bread, but which type and what we have it with that’s the problem. For example, thick Turkish toast with butter, or massive sandwiches and large wraps which can be equivalent to four slices of regular bread. You can easily lose weight with two small slices of Burgen Soy-Lin or lower carb bread each day.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 2: Am I failing at life if, like celebrity Sarah Wilson, I can’t give up sugar?

The thing with Wilson’s “quitting sugar” campaign is that it is based on a random set of rules and beliefs which mean you don’t quit sugar at all, but rather restrict a number of key foods that reduce carbs and calories significantly. And severe restriction always leads to deprivation and binging. A more sustainable and healthy approach is to simply cut out processed foods.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 3: Celebrity chef Pete Evans has his own TV show advocating the paleo diet. Is this now the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight?

Any diet will work if people stick to it and a couple of issues with the paleo diet is the cutting out of key food groups which can mean some nutrient groups like calcium and our B group vitamins suffer and for most people it is very difficult to sustain. I would argue, based on research, that a Mediterranean approach with lots and lots of vegetables is the healthiest way to lose weight.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 4: My GP says I should eat three big meals a day and nothing more. Is this the best way to keep the weight off?

Healthy eating is about finding out whatever works best for you, but less snacking with three-to-four meals and nothing in between is a good way to control calories and reduce the intake of little extras through the day.

snacking, healthy, weight loss, protein

Myth 5: Are treat days a slippery slope to obesity? Are treats only for toddlers, not adults?

Have treat meals, not treat days! Treat meals can include one-to-two a week and one extra – not a binge! Treat meals don’t have to spell dieting disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can help you overcome weight-loss plateaus. And, most importantly, remember it is a cheat meal, not a cheat day or a binge!

The Ultimate Chocolate Muffin Dessert

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is packed full of info and advice on finding and keeping your motivation, getting psychologically ready to take control of your weight and more. Visit Visit

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How To Help Your Kids Eat Healthier

Making sure that our kids have a healthy diet can not only reduce health and behaviour problems now, but it will set them up for a healthier future. While today’s lifestyle of fast food, aggressive advertising and constant exposure to temptations doesn’t help, good food habits still start at home and here are just few things you can do to help your kids eat healthier.

RELATED: 10 Sneaky Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Veggies

Be a role model

Your children learn from watching and copying you. A recent study by Ray Morgan research found that only 2% of Australians aged 14 and over eat the recommended 5 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit daily. Then is it a surprise than our children’s diets are less than ideal?

Don’t force it, but offer healthy food again and again

It can take children up to 15 tries of a certain food before they become familiar with it and start liking it, so don’t be discouraged by initial rejection. Recently I started making green smoothies every morning and all of my children will request to try what I’ve made. So far none of them found my green smoothies appealing enough to take more than a couple of sips, but even a couple of sips are better than nothing and I’m still hoping that they’ll come to the party soon.

Only have healthy food at home

It’s too hard to convince a child to eat a healthy meal prepared with love if they’re surrounded by temptations in the form of colourful packets, sweets, chips and party snacks. Only keep healthy food at home and your child will have to choose from what is available.

Talk about how different foods affect their body

My children love learning about why we eat certain foods. It fascinates them that an apple keeps them healthier, cheese makes their bones stronger and grains give them energy so that they can play longer. They often start a guessing game at the table, which makes me wish that I knew a whole lot more about food, so that I can tell them about it. You can sometimes even see me doing research between meals.

Get children involved in cooking

Kids in the kitchen are messy and will slow you down, but cooking together can be fun and the children will usually have more appreciation for a meal that they’ve helped prepare.


Sometimes you might find yourself too busy to do the shopping and opt for a take-away dinner instead. Or you might get so tired of your toddler’s winging that you give in to her request of a treat. Don’t be discouraged by temporary setbacks, they happen to all of us. Remind yourself why you’re doing it and return to your healthy diet efforts as soon as you can. Build your healthy lifestyle one tiny step at a time and after a while you will see that all those steps add up.

Image by vikvarga via

Worst Christmas Classics For Your Waistline

The number of Australians trying to lose weight is at a record high, and as a country we are spending an unbelievable $1 million a day on dieting. Despite the colossal amount of money we are putting into being healthy, research shows last year the nation gained a whopping 35 million kilos over the festive season.

RELATED: Raw Food Recipes To Replace Silly Season Sausage Rolls

So how can such a weight conscious nation stack on this much weight over such a short period of time?

According to Sheila Zhou, expert scientist at USANA, leading producer of high quality nutritional supplements, many of us don’t realise how calorie laden our Christmas classics are. “Many of the traditional foods associated with Christmas are loaded with saturated fat, high-GI sugar and carbohydrates, which can make the festival period difficult to maintain a balanced diet. Luckily there are healthy alternatives, and supplements, that can help keep your health in check without sacrificing celebrations.”

Ms. Zhou reveals the absolute worst Christmas classics for your diet:

1. Pull the other leg.  A single Turkey leg has over 400 calories, which is more than a cheeseburger! Although the meat is a great source of iron, the skin is extremely fatty and is packed full of sodium, so even a small portion can quickly turn into a calorie filled option.

The good news though? Roast chicken is a delicious, and healthier, alternative. The same sized portion of chicken contains half the amount of calories, making it a simple substitute for any social festivity.

2. Say cheese. Everyone loves mash potato, but is it really worth 275 calories? Although the main ingredient in this classic side is a vegetable, it’s high GI levels and starch makes it a calorie dense option.

Luckily there is a delicious and easy to make alternative, cheesy cauliflower mash. At only 104 calories per serving it has the same consistency as mash potato, with less than half the calories.

3. Stuff it. Stuffing is a staple in many meats at Christmas, and many of us don’t even think about the extra energy we are consuming as a result, but we should. Just one serve of stuffing has a staggering 439 calories. When you consider the main ingredients are bread and butter, it’s not that surprising, but is it really worth 20% of the average person’s calorie intake?

Fear not, there is a simple alternative that won’t compromise on flavour. Just by swapping the bread for apple and raisins, and replacing the butter for oil, the counter comes down to 207 calories.

4. The calories are in the pudding. So you’ve made it through the entree and main meal without blowing your calorie intake, but beware of the dreaded dessert. Christmas pudding has a staggering 320 calories, in just two tablespoons! Made with a high level of preservatives, sugar and butter, this dessert is definitely one to be wary of.

Rather, pavlova with fruit and cream is a great alternative. This fresh Aussie favourite will hit the sweet spot, and with only 240 calories in an entire slice, it’s a healthier option and the fresh fruit is a great source of natural sweeteners and nutrients.

5. Stop sucking. Even snacking over the Christmas period can be a minefield. There is no doubt the ultimate Christmas classic is the candy cane, but at 60 calories a pop these sugary snacks quickly add up.

But giving up the candy canes doesn’t mean missing out on sugary festive treats. The perfect solution to watch your waistline is an advent calendar. With only 30 calories for two pieces of chocolate it not only has less calories, but also means you don’t need to miss out on sweets.

Healthy dessert alternatives

Every girl needs her chance to indulge, right? Unfortunately, most of us don’t want to suffer the expanded waistlines that come as a result of such free-feeding. Cater to your sweet tooth (without the extra calories) with these healthy dessert alternatives.

RELATED: A Busy Girl’s Guide to Staying Healthy

Mixed Berry Yogurt Panna Cotta

berry yogurt panna cotta

This panna cotta is based on yogurt (as opposed to cream) and is packed full of delicious berries. Summer berries – such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – are full of antioxidants and polyphenols, which help fight cancer and heart disease!

Quinoa cake recipe

quinoa cake

Unlike many flour-based cakes, this quinoa cake is low GI – meaning, it releases energy slowly throughout the day, keeping you full for longer. It has all the benefits of quinoa, including high protein and riboflavin, which can help migraine sufferers! This one is also a winner for the gluten intolerant!

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

cranberry oatmeal bars

Pre-packaged muesli or granola bars from the supermarket are often full of sugar, preservatives and hidden sweeteners and additives that aren’t so great for you or your kids. These homemade oatmeal bars make a great snack and can help you monitor your child’s sugar intake.

Easy Watermelon Sorbet

watermelon sorbet

Sorbet is a great alternative to ice cream or gelato, as it is fruit-based and doesn’t include any fatty creams. While there is still quite a bit of sugar, this fruity delight retains some of the goodness of the fresh fruit you put into it.

Organic Raw Chocolate Balls

organic raw chocolate date balls

This snack is full of energy – make it a great afternoon snack to get you through the work day – without any added sugar! They are made from cocoa which is better than artificial chocolates and is a healthy antioxidant. Despite the lack of sugar, these raw chocolate balls will still appease your sweet cravings with yummy dates and honey.

Carrot and Coriander Soup Recipe

Did your parents ever tell you to eat your carrots because they will improve your eyesight? This happens to be true! Just one carrot has nearly double the required daily intake of Vitamin A, which is highly beneficial for your eyesight and immune system. Beta-Carotene, a type of Vitamin A found in carrots, is also high in antioxidants and is good for your heart. This carrot and coriander soup is a great way enjoy these amazing nutrients and delicious flavor of these veggies.

RELATED: Kale, Chickpea and Chicken Soup 


1 1/2 oz butter

1 brown onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 tsp ground coriander

2 sticks celery, finely sliced

1 lb carrots, peeled and finely sliced

1 3/4 pts vegetable or chicken stock

Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped plus sprigs to garnish

2 tbsp honey

4 tbsp sour cream


  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over a low heat, then fry the onion until softened. Add the ground coriander and cook for one minute, and then add the chopped celery and carrot. Continue to cook, covered, over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  3. Set soup aside and allow to cool. Then pour it into a blender and add coriander leaves and honey. Blend until smooth.
  4. Return to soup to the saucepan to reheat.  Season to taste and serve in bowls garnished with a swirl of sour cream and a some coriander leaves.

Tips For A Top Morning

There’s no getting around the fact that starting your day with a nutritious breakfast is one of the best health decisions that you can make. Here’s some extremely important reasons why you should not avoid it:

Energise: Breakfast literally means ‘breaking your overnight fast’. By the time you wake up your body hasn’t had food for up to 10 hours, so it is important to refuel your body for another day. Only breakfast can provide you with the energy to kick start the day!

RELATED: Low-Calorie Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Perform better at work/school: Enjoying breakfast can help lift your mood and has been shown to help with improving concentration levels, behaviour and learning abilities in school children.

Keep on track with weight loss maintenance: Although many people skip breakfast in an effort to reduce their food intake and lose weight, research shows that enjoying a high fibre breakfast, may lead to eating less food later in the day.This is probably because, high fibre meals can be quite filling so you are less likely to snack on high fat and sugary foods mid-morning. In fact, eating breakfast is strongly associated with successful, well-maintained weight loss maintenance.

Get your essential nutrients first thing in the morning: People who skip breakfast generally find it difficult to achieve their daily nutrition requirements so it really is best to start packing in those nutrients early!

Here are some easy ideas to help you start your day the right way:

Breakfast ideas for those on-the-go:

  • Peanut butter and banana on wholegrain toast or crispbread
  • Low fat yoghurt sprinkled with natural muesli – you can make these the night before and store in airtight containers in the fridge and then have them on the move when needed
  • A chilled liquid breakfast– try Sanitarium UP&GO Oats2Go, it is the only one on the market with a source of real wholegrain oats and it provides the protein, energy and dietary fibre of a bowl of oats and milk, is low in fat and low GI. A pack of three is available for $4.99 – if you break it down, that’s just $1.66 for one serving, substantially cheaper than a cup of coffee. Munch on a piece of fruit or some nuts when you get the chance too and you’ll be doing well!
  • Fruit smoothie with low fat yoghurt and/or milk – again, you can make this in advance and simply pull one out of the fridge when you’re ready to leave.

For those with a bit more time in the morning:

  • Baked beans on wholegrain toast
  • Toasted wholegrain English muffin topped with ricotta cheese and sliced tomato or some chopped up fruit (a bit of apple with a dusting of cinnamon is nice)
  • Weet-Bix or porridge topped with sliced banana and a little honey

Top tips thanks to Michelle Reid, accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist at Sanitarium.

Cacao Breakfast Crunch With Raspberries

This is a virtually awesome, absolutely delicious breakfast idea from Luke Hines and Scott Gooding’s new book Clean Living Quick & Easy. It contains high-protein nuts, chocolatey goodness from cacao, and tart raspberries, topped with creamy whipped coconut cream.

Makes 12


4 cups coconut flakes

1 cup roughly chopped blanched almonds

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1 cup roughly chopped cashews

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup cacao nibs

coconut cream, to serve

50g fresh raspberries, to serve


  1. To prepare the cacao granola, preheat your oven to 110ºC and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the coconut flakes, almonds, walnuts, cashews, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut oil, cacao powder and cacao nibs well, then spread evenly on the tray.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, giving the mix a bit of a shake-up halfway through the cooking time.
  4. When it’s golden brown and crunchy, take it out of the oven and set aside to cool on the tray.
  5. To serve, top the granola with some coconut cream and fresh raspberries.

Courtesy of Luke and Scott Clean Living Quick & Easy

Should Daycare Workers And Teachers Act As Food Police?

Breaking news, parents: packets of chips, lollies, soft drinks and – gasp – even beer should not be on the menu for your child’s school lunch this summer. Shocking, I know!

And while I jest, the healthy eating message is obviously still getting lost with recent reports of a Sydney school declaring war on junk food and my child’s daycare centre issuing repeated parental reminders to pack fruit – not chips and chocolates – in every child’s lunch box.

Related: Check out top tips on how to Fight Childhood Obesity With Good Nutrition For Kids

And while the above healthy food advice seems a bit captain obvious, I know, not so for the parents of North Sydney Demonstration School, where teachers must now also act as food cops, confronting parents if they find junk food in a student’s lunchbox.

School principal Myra Wearne recently defended the introduction of “food police”, saying curbing unhealthy eating ensured students reached their full learning potential, as sugary foods impacted kids’ concentration levels.

Ms Wearne, I salute you! While the occasional kiddie treat isn’t the antichrist, it’s imperative parents teach their kids about healthy eating and that this goes hand-in-hand with regular exercise. It takes a community to raise a child, so they say, and it’s in everyone’s best interests that kids are snacking down on fruit, rather than lollies. So, I say bring on the food nazis!

And while not many parents would put beer in their kids’ school lunch boxes these days, surely – my husband actually encountered this growing up in multicultural Melbourne, when one of his little primary school mates was caught with a stubbie of beer in his lunch box – in grade three!?

After much tut-tutting from teachers, his little mate’s Eastern European parents were hauled in with a “please explain” and hopefully some helpful healthy eating guidelines for their poor, little tucker. Of course, each state’s Department of Education requires all public school canteens to categorise their menus into red, green and amber food groups, where red means “occasionally”, amber is “select carefully” and green is “have plenty, or “fill the menu”. But of course no such categorisations exist for food brought from home.

So, poor, overworked parents, as school holidays draw to a close and you start preparing for back-to-school lunchbox duties, help is at hand thanks to Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell.

On Susie’s hit list includes packaged snacks such as cheese and dip snack packs, muesli bars, fruit twists and straps, potato chips and biscuit dippers, which are usually full of fat and highly processed carbohydrates, but offer little nutrition. So, what is good lunchbox nutrition?

“A nutritionally balanced lunchbox can be divided into four core sections: low glycaemic index carbohydrates for energy, proteins for nutrition and fullness, fruit for fibre and vitamins and a snack food that has some nutritional benefit,” she says.

“Most importantly, busy children need plenty of water for optimal hydration, particularly in the warmer months when small children are at high risk of dehydration.”

school lunch boxes, kids healthy eating, food police

Good options include wholegrain carbohydrates for energy; protein-rich sandwich fillings including  tuna, lean ham, chicken or turkey or hard boiled eggs; fresh fruit; protein-rich foods including low-fat dairy such as cheese sticks, yogurt tubes and flavoured milk poppers and lots and lots of water, which should always be the drink of choice for children over sugar-laden fruit juices and soft drinks.


Main image via and secondary image via

A Busy Girl’s Guide To Staying Healthy

A full schedule can really push your diet and exercise routine to the bottom of the list. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little discipline, you can combine a healthy lifestyle with a busy one. Here’s how:

1. Set an alarm
Getting up early is highly praised habit of healthy and happy people. Don’t wake up with only enough time to put on your clothes and brush your teeth before you’re out the door. Use your mornings efficiently to prepare for the rest of the day. Think of all the things you can achieve with an extra hour in the morning! Exercise, prepare your lunch, or just sit and read to clear your mind before the day ahead.

RELATED: Are we sitting ourselves to death?

2. Eat a good breakfast
I know you have heard this before, but eating a large, healthy breakfast really is the best way to start your day. It kickstarts your metabolism and gives you the energy to make it through the morning until lunch. Optimize your breakfast by eating carbs and low GI foods.

3. Choose lunch carefully
While it’s often healthier and certainly more economical to pack your own lunch, we understand that busy girls don’t always have the time for this. Therefore, when it comes to lunch, try selecting the healthiest option. Don’t go for the burrito today – eat a sandwich instead. Swap those noodles for some sushi or get the turkey sub instead of meatballs! Whatever you do – stay away from the fast food!

4. You only need 30 minutes of exercise a day
I really envy those people who love exercise (come on, do you really?), but most of us struggle to find the motivation. Just remember that doing something is better than nothing, and it only takes 30 minutes to get a decent workout. Walk, run, skip, stretch, do pilates – just do something! A great way to sneak some exercise into the daily grind is simply to walk. Walk to the train station or bus stop instead of driving, don’t get a cab two blocks, don’t eat lunch at the closest cafeteria – try the one five minutes down the road. Especially those of you working at a desk – use those breaks to stretch your legs and get your blood pumping.

5. Download a meditation app
A healthy mind is key to your wellbeing. You only need five or ten minutes to sit-down, relax and center yourself, and it could turn your whole day around. Try these on for size.

6.  Prepare
Take an hour or two out of your weekend to cut up vegetables to snack on  during the week. Make a meal plan and do your grocery shopping. Cook a large soup, curry or pasta dish that will provide leftovers for a few more meals. Incorporating healthy-eating into a busy schedule is all about using your time efficiently!

7. Swap coffee for herbal tea
Even the best of us sometimes need a coffee in the morning. But for those of you having more than one or two every day – make one of those a green tea. Herbal teas are full of antioxidants that cleanse your body, and will also keep you more hydrated than coffee.

Lose Weight And Keep It Off – Permanently

Many years ago, I weighed 160 kg. That’s not a typo, that’s the actual number! I managed to drop half my body weight and to keep most of it off, for almost 2 decades. Now, your probably asking yourself, how, right? It was actually pretty easy. I changed my relationship with food. Instead of it being my enemy, it became a life long friend.

I concentrated on 4 basic things; water, eating often, low fat, high fibre food and exercise. That’s it. It’s not hard. The only thing is; it’s for life. Initially, you will need to monitor yourself. As time passes you’ll forget about the habits of the past and so will your body. If you have a bad day or week, it’s not going to go straight to your hips.

So, lets start with the water. When I began, I drank no less than 3-4 litres a day. Someone once asked were the weight disappeared to and I’m sure it literally went down the toilet! Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also captures fat on it’s way through your body. 

Second, is eating regularly. To kick start your metabolism, you need to keep a constant flow of food coming in. If you don’t eat breakfast; start. If you can’t stomach food in the morning; grab a diet shake or milk based drink. You will be surprised, how starting the day with something in your stomach, will encourage you to be more hungry. Hunger isn’t your enemy; it’s your friend. It’s much harder to eat when you aren’t hungry, than when you are.

Now for the food. Low fat, high fibre foods are what you need. Remember the food pyramid? Following this, is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. If you love bread, cereal, rice and pastas; go for it! I swear, I lost my weight by living on carbs, fruit and veggies! Limit the amount of sugar, fat and salt in your diet and you can’t go wrong. The longer you do everything on the following list, the easier it will get. Remember, you need to aim at life long changes to lose the weight and keep it off. A fad diet isn’t going to cut it!

Here’s a few basic tips:

  • Don’t ever shop on an empty stomach
  • If you shouldn’t eat it; you shouldn’t buy it
  • Get rid of everything which will temp you, from you home
  • Designate a specific place to eat.
  • Substitute everything high in sugar, fat and salt, to low varieties
  • Buy and use non-stick cookware. You won’t need to add fats because the food won’t stick
  • Use herbs, spices or powdered stock to flavour food instead of salt, fats or sugar
  • Don’t keep treats for you or the family in your home
  • If you want a treat, don’t deny yourself. Buy it, eat it, and enjoy it. Avoid guilt and move forward

Lastly, exercise is anything which gets you moving and keeps your heart rate up. If you hate exercise, (like I do!) find ways to make this happen in your everyday life. This can include housework, gardening, parking the car further from the shop front or school, take less shopping inside and make more trips or if you have stairs; use them. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something.

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By Kim Chartres

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Win a holiday to Bali