Food to help with Anxiety

I made this video to share with everyone during COVID-19 isolation. Food is the source of our nutrients and nutrients power our body systems including our neurotransmitters.

There are 21 times per week that you can do something to reduce your anxiety.

The foods I talk about in the video are easy to find, easy to cook and taste delicious. And I show you how.

Let me know how you go with your version of the Bliss Bowl featured in the second half of the video. My kids ate it for lunch and said it was so yummy they want to have it every day now!

That’s right…if you have three meals per day and eat 7 days a week – that’s 21 opportunities to make a ‘smart choice’ about food that will benefit your mental health.

Of course, please continue to see your psychologist or psychiatrist.

Please don’t use this nutrition advice to replace your medications or talking therapy – a healthy base of essential nutrients will support your whole body systems including your neurotransmitters – to work better.

Make these foods part of your ‘anti-anxiety diet’

You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.

Magnesium

Scientific research shows diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may, therefore, help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and silverbeet.

Other sources include:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains.

Zinc and B6

Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.

B6 helps with carbohydrate metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis – you will find it in legumes, nuts, eggplant, cucumber, meats, fish, quinoa and other grains.

Essential Fatty Acids

Other foods to consider, include fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. (This study used supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids). Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.

Probiotic Foods

A study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.

B-Complex vitamins

Think of foods rich in B vitamins, such as avocado and almonds. Animal foods are generally a rich source of B vitamins – I always include eggs in a diet plan if tolerated by the individual.

B vitamins work as a complex – they need each other – so a balanced diet is essential. Look for all the colours of the rainbow at every meal, protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Antioxidant rich foods

Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
  • Fruits: Apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious), prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
  • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric (containing the active ingredient curcumin) and ginger.

These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet.

While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is getting more and more attention.

Recipe: My best ever granola

High fibre, high protein, high in essential fatty acids

This recipe is anti-inflammatory, high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, high in essential fatty acids, high in minerals such as magnesium and zinc and amino acids (protein). Best of all it’s crunchy and delicious and virtually sugar-free.

Plus when you add dairy kefir and organic berries and/or kiwifruit (actually any seasonal fruit!) it is full of antioxidants, plant polyphenols and beneficial microbes to seed and feed your gut microbiome.

These are the reasons I recommend a breakfast like this to my patient who may need help balancing hormones, who have immune response issues such as allergies and especially for my gut health patients.

NOTE: This recipe may not be for you if you have digestive issues – until we do some restoration work. Due to the seeds which can be difficult to digest – which is why I ask you to crush them in this recipe!

Ingredients

2 cups of gluten-free oats
1 cup of steel cut oats
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of pepitas
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup crushed flax seeds (quickly blitz in a food processor)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon honey in 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons collagen peptides powder – see note
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
2 whole apples very thinly sliced and chopped to bite size pieces – the-thinner-the-better so they crisp up!

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a really big mixing bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients.
  4. Break up any big clumps, but smaller clumps are OK.
  5. Line 2 x baking trays with baking paper
  6. Pour out mix evenly about two to four centimeters deep, very loosely packed
  7. Set oven timer for 30 minutes, bake for 30 minutes then stir, it will still be soft, we’re just making sure it bakes evenly
  8. Set oven timer for another 30 minutes and repeat until golden toasted look achieved
  9. Remove from oven and set trays on a cooling rack
  10. Stir it again, it may still seem moist, but will dry out further when completely cooled.
  11. When completely cooled put in an airtight container.
Keep in an airtight container, it will last for two weeks – but it won’t if you catch my drift!

The secrets to a healthy lunch

Australian’s are pretty clued up when it comes to eating for good health. We have traditionally eaten a fresh food diet, it’s only in the past 50 years that so much processed food has made it into our homes. It’s this bad habit of grabbing convenience foods loaded with salt, preservatives, flavour additives and sugars that contributes to so many allergies, intolerances, metabolic issues and poor health leading to chronic disease.

I want to show you it’s easy to break bad habits and make the most from your lunchtime – regardless of where you eat this important meal.

From fast-food restaurants, even the innocent corner cafe with the ‘home made’ muffins (read sugary cakes most likely cooked in a production kitchen somewhere else) and bakery pastries (read layers of bad fats) to supermarket shelves exploding with high-fat and high-sugar add-ons, lunchtime can be like running the gauntlet of temptation for those trying to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

But a healthy, delicious and enjoyable lunch can be done. And you will probably save money, energy and time with these simple tips.

When planning your meal, it should include lean protein – try a piece of wild salmon, poached or roasted chicken breast, nuts, cheeses, legumes – whole-grain carbohydrates, and fresh produce.

It doesn’t have to be raw vegetables with salad leaves either, get creative with some leftover (or meal prepped) roasted veggies, they make a delicious plant based salad. Or try adding some fruits such as thinly sliced pear or apple, even strawberries – I kid you not – they add a delicious dimension to savoury plates, try matching these fruits with cheeses. Blue vein and pear are a match made in heaven. Chicken, camembert and stone fruits are another great combination. This helps if you crave sweet things.

Roughly half of your plate should be vegetables; one-quarter should be lean protein and one-quarter should be whole grains, such as half a cup of brown rice, quinoa or some legumes (they are just the seeds of the plant after all) like lentils. You might include a small amount of healthy fat, such as a tablespoon of olive oil and cider vinegar or lemon juice to dress up your salad.

Be wary of salad-bar style salads, or packet salads from supermarkets. They sometimes contain unhealthy fats, hidden sugar, and salt — not to mention lots of kilojoules.

Follow these four steps to creating your own signature version of a satisfying, healthy lunch. The trick is building in flavour so it is satisfying and not turfed in the bin at work the moment someone suggests going to the pub for Parmie Tuesday. Or was that just 25 year old me who used to do that?!

Step 1: Build your vegetable base. Loading your plate with raw or blanched leafy greens and raw, grilled or roasted vegetables means you are already halfway to healthy right there – and is an excellent source of phytonutrients that you can’t help but eat with all the flavour you’ll pile on top in the next steps.

Step 2: Add your protein choice. You might try a few handfuls of chickpeas or kidney beans, perhaps if you have time some felafel for example. Beans are one of the best sources of fibre – and they’re filling –  so you’re going to be satisfied after your meal. Other good selections include grilled chicken, small amounts of cheese, and I love chopped boiled eggs and sliced plain egg omelette if I have the time. Be frugal with your cheeses, it only takes a sprinkle of strongly flavoured varieties like feta or Parmesan to deliver the flavour. Cheese also delivers a lot of kilojoules per weight, so keep this in mind when you are imagining dividing your plate into quarters as mentioned above.

Step 3: Add a small amount of healthy fat. Sprinkle on the nuts and seeds. They are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and healthy protein, give you a feeling of fullness, and help food stay in your stomach longer. Load up on avocado, it’s so good for you. You might also opt for a dash of quality olive oil.

Step 4: Whole grains and fruits make a flavourful addition to any creative salad. Look for whole grains like quinoa or teff to sprinkle on top. Or add a few slices of fruit. Try seaweed to add flavour and minerals.

My other favourite lunch is vegetable soup. I make a big batch on the weekend and freeze it into portions and defrost and reheat in a saucepan before I leave the house and put it into my single serve thermos which I purchased at Biome and is simply awesome – because you can make it hot (for soups) or cold for yoghurt and granola. I actually have two for this purpose if I know I’m going to be out all day.

Some great soup bases to get you going are:

  • miso
  • thermomix (or similar) homemade stock paste
  • teaspoon of curry paste and some coconut milk.

They all give amazing soupy flavour when you add boiling water at lunchtime. Just add finely sliced vegies – you can thank me later…

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer EVERYONE is to eat a good lunch. It should be the largest meal of the day with balanced portions of carbs, protein and fats to give you the fuel to get through the afternoon and then enjoy a smaller meal in the evening while you are winding down for a restful and rejuvenating sleep. A great lunch makes you a better human being. If you want to learn about other effective strategies for healthy eating, talk to me about booking a free initial consultation for my health coaching service. I love to help people realise they are the ones in control of their health and actualise a healthy and long life for themselves and their families.

Supercharge your goals and productivity with a morning ritual

Are you a morning person? Did you know that every single morning that you are here on this earth you have a choice to make today a better day? So get ready (and get up), I’m going to talk you through how to design your own Morning Ritual that will supercharge your day.

Simply put, a morning ritual is a set of actions you do immediately upon waking up to prepare and optimise yourself for a more productive and laser-focused day. As a person who wants to reach goals, this is really important, so listen up.

Most people get into habits, and the morning habits seem to be the hardest to break. Take breakfast for example, do you have the same style of meal every day? Most people do and it’s the reason hotel buffets cater for a broad variety of tastes – we don’t like to change much – even on holidays.

Then of course there’s the habit of waking up late. It leads to rushing out the door, grabbing coffee and breakfast on the run and feeling frazzled. Over time this habit leads to a routine that sets a ‘tone’ for the rest of your day. It’s not enjoyable to be rushing around, it makes you swear at red lights and causes your sympathetic nervous system to kick in leading to high blood pressure and digestive issues.

It’s all common sense.

What if I told you there is a better way? No, I’m not about to quote a bunch of human psychological studies – although the scientific evidence is out there – I’m going to talk common sense. Scientific evidence shouldn’t be the only motivational factor here.

Let’s look at two scenarios to starting your day:

Option #1

You wake, immediately grab your smart phone, and scowl because you are blinding yourself by the bright blue light hitting your still sleepy eyes. You notice 12 notifications between various apps, social networks, emails and text messages (likely some urgent and some not so urgent things to deal with). You turn on the TV while you’re getting ready and watch the morning news (it’s all crime, heavy traffic, maybe some rain). You’re running late for a meeting so you head out the door without breakfast and rush to your first meeting to start your day.

Option #2

You wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal and immediately spend several minutes in silence, appreciating the stillness before you start your day. You sit up in bed, close your eyes again and spend the next few minutes meditating, just focusing on your belly breathing and practice controlling your thoughts. In your own time, fix yourself a fresh fruit smoothie. While you’re taking the time to enjoy breakfast (allowing digestive system to do its job), you write down your goals for the day. The most important one first, followed by the rest, less important goals. Finally you pick up your smartphone to check notifications from the night and adjust your goals and priorities accordingly. With some time to spare before your first meeting, you take the walk that crosses through the park.

It’s not rocket science to make an estimate as to which scenario leads to a better day. But which is closer to your real-life situation?

These two morning options might sound like they are worlds apart, but really it is only a few small choices that make all the difference. Even if you are closer to #2, I’m sure there is room for improvement.

Why starting the day right is so important

You wake up and morning happens every. single. day. So why not spend time to make it work for you? Make it work to create an even better, more productive day – everyday.

Because you can’t borrow tomorrow, today is all you have to work with.

Ask yourself, is it possible that you can feel better each day? Is it possible you can work harder? Is it possible you can be more alert, focused on your goals and relaxed if you changed a few fundamental things on starting your day? Is it possible?

A logical person would likely say yes.

Four examples of what a morning ritual looks like

1. Wake up 10 minutes early

  • Meditate for 10 minutes.
  • I use an App called Smiling Mind – it’s free – so no excuses. There are also loads of meditation workshops available to learn to do it yourself without an audio guide. See Soho Yoga who often run workshops and also The Nourished Soul.

2. Wake 30 minutes early

  • Hop out of bed (the hopping is optional) and stretch for 10 minutes
  • Write down your goals for the day – it’s important to write, oldschool, not type. Make sure you write them in order of importance!

3. Wake up 1 hour early

  • Read or meditate for 20 minutes.
  • Write down some ideas you have – a new business idea, poetry, plan a dinner party – it doesn’t matter – it’s all about getting the creative juices flowing.
  • Make a green smoothie – Blend: avocado, kale, cucumber, lemon juice and two dates
  • Drink it while you write your list of goals for the day
  • Start work on the most important task of the day

4. Wake at 5.00 am everyday.

This isn’t hard in Queensland, it’s the best time of the day. You need to go to bed by 10.00pm the night before.

  • Meditate for 10 minutes.
  • Drink two tall glasses of water
  • Exercise for 10 minutes – I prefer yoga (and I have an App for that too – Yoga Studio) – but you can do body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, jacks or jogging
  • Define your tasks and goals for the day
  • Begin your day

Extra bonus round…

If you have children – wake up an hour before they do (OK if your toddler is still waking at 4am you have my blessing to sit this one out and just take him back to bed with you for doona cuddles until a more appropriate hour).

Do any of the above morning rituals, shower and get dressed before they wake.

They will think the world of you and the awesome example you set, you scrumptious Mummy!

Put your stamp on it! It doesn’t have to be yet another set of rules you’re gonna hate. It can be as simple as you like. The idea is to focus on the things you want that will give the greatest benefit to your day. Do you want to feel more relaxed, happier, more in control of cravings? Ask yourself what really matters.

It can take 30 days for a habit to form, so be patient with this. Test different elements and over time what feels right will feel really wrong if you miss it for a day – like not brushing your teeth.

The elements to create a morning ritual

We are all individuals. It may be 15 minutes of drawing that creates space in your day to manifest greatness, or perhaps it’s talking to the plants (or the chickens), you might like to do a full hour of yoga…play with the dog…whatever it is the idea is that it will put you in a good state of mind for the rest of the day.

Here are a few popular elements to get you started:

Water – hydrotherapy is key to many ancient healing philosophies. It’s a simple way to start your brain and digestion.

Breakfast – all bodies are different. So whether it’s a heavy breakfast of eggs, salmon, potato hash and spinach or a lighter one of yoghurt topped with nutty granola and fresh fruit take your time with the eating part! Try experimenting with what makes you feel best. You might be surprised at how different a different food can give you more clarity and more energy throughout the day.

Just be wary of sugar at breakfast. What goes up must come down, this goes for caffeine too. Also, avoid caffeine with a meal – it can deplete nutrient uptake – particularly in pregnancy.

Exercise – no need to go too nuts here – save that for the gym or your 5km run. In a morning ritual the goal is simply to get moving. Stretching out your muscles and doing a few gentle twists or back bends will keep your spine more youthful, it will warm you up and with a few empowering yoga poses you will be ready to face whatever the day has to throw at you.

Family – whether you are a work from home entrepreneur or a commuter, we spend too much time at work. It’s no longer 9am to 5pm more like 7am to 11pm! Create the space for family in the morning and you have already started your day with the most important people in the world. This one isn’t only for you – it’s for them too.

Reading – it expands your mind, challenges your thoughts and opinions. What’s not to love about reading? Make it a book, as in paper and ink. Remember, the goal is to set the tone for the day so you should stick to positive books.

Writing – There are so many benefits to writing. It helps you better form thoughts and flush out ideas that are stuck in your head. This doesn’t mean you need to write a book, a blog post or even a journal. Just a few ideas can be extremely beneficial and help spark your day.

Silence – I sleep with Airplane mode on my phone, so there are no beeps or pings (or WiFi signal) and it doesn’t switch back on until 7am. A few moments of pure unadulterated silence first thing in the morning, except for the birds and distant traffic noises, can be an excellent way to make your day pure gold.

Meditation – the brain is amazing and giving it a little treat is a brilliant way to start the day. My three- and five-year olds tells me “that was soooooo good” each time we meditate together (which is every day).

Meditation can be really as simple as silence+focus. Do you think that some silence and focus can help you? It’s pretty hard to argue against a bit of silence and focus in your life.

Set your goals for the day – If you are like me, you likely have hundreds of tasks on your list. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose focus on your goals for the day.

Try writing down the three most important things you want to achieve and do them before 11am. The trick is not to write down unachievable goals like ‘write the novel’, but something like 1) write the new 100 word product description, 2) prepare a powerpoint presentation and 3) pick up stationery order, are all achievable with a start and a finish that can be ticked off as you complete them.

Recipe for success

  1. Pick your anchor item – what will give the most impact to your day? Can be as simple as waking up earlier.
  2. Add elements as desired – don’t make it too hard on yourself – don’t overburden your morning or overcommit. This is supposed to be adding benefits.
  3. Switch things up and change it around. I like to think of this optimising my productivity – so if an element isn’t serving you, toss it out.
  4. Stick to it – it takes 30 days to create a habit – and that is basically what we’re going for here. Great habits to replace bad ones, like sleeping too late and being a grouch because the lights were red all the way to work.

You got this.

The take home

Your morning without doubt will set the tone of your entire day. So make it work for you! Do this by making sure that every morning YOU are in charge of the decisions that start your day. Appreciate the little things like a good whole body stretch and a few moments of meditation.

A morning ritual will take time to establish, but it will be worth it. With a whole lot of mornings ahead of you there is no reason not to make these small changes to upgrade your life and take yourself to the next level.

What is your morning ritual?

What morning rituals have you developed? What have you found, that above all else, supercharges your day and helps you take your focus, clarity and productivity to the next level? Let me know in the comments.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


If you’re struggling with changing your diet and lifestyle, you may want to consider seeing a naturopath or hiring a health coach. The idea is pretty simple – you want to make the changes necessary to be your best – but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. A health coach can help you listen to your body first and use that information to best work for you.

Recipe: Mushroom and Chickpea Stew

This could become your signature dish…

My husband has been growing Oyster Mushrooms at home – they were a gift from my sister for Christmas.  We’ve had fun adding mushrooms to every meal.

(Start recipe 24 hours before to soak your chickpeas in clean water, changing the water twice – then cook for 30 minutes or until when you put one in your mouth you can crush it with you tongue and roof of the mouth)

Time: about an hour
Serves: 6 with a side of mashed potato and a leafy green salad

Ingredients

  • 500 g dried chickpeas (soaked, and cooked see above)
  • 800 g mixed mushrooms – try for as many varieties as you can get
  • 6 shallots (the little red onions), leave whole if small or in half if larger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped in half
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • Pinky finger sized piece of peeled and grated turmeric
  • 1 – 2 tsp dried cumin
  • Sprinkle each of Celtic sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

In a tagine or heavy based saucepan (with a lid), warm up the olive oil and add the onions and garlic turning up the heat now to get a nice ‘caramel’ (quite brown) on the outside. Then remove to a large bowl and set aside – with a plate or a lid to keep moisture in.

Continue with the carrots and celery, cooking until some colour on the outside, remove to the large bowl.

Next do the same for the softer vegetables – mushrooms in two batches, zucchini and cherry tomatoes – until all batch cooked and golden brown – it doesn’t matter at this stage if cooked through, we just want the flavour from the caramelisation.

Next, turn the heat down to around 3 and add all ingredients and the juices back into the saucepan or tagine.

Add half the herbs roughly chopped, the spices – including the turmeric. Stir gently until combined, Then add the chickpeas and cook for around an hour either on the stove top or in the oven depending on your pan. I usually do this dish in a tagine on the stove.

Serve with the remaining herbs scattered over the top and a wedge of lemon and a good glug of best quality fruity olive oil.

My story

How I changed my life with healthy choices.

From my teenage years I had always suffered from acne. By 30 I was kinda like ‘ok, body…the jokes over…acne AND wrinkles?’.

We all know that our skin is the red flag to what is going on within. I knew deep down that my lifestyle, stressful job and poor diet (which included a few drinkies) played a crucial role in my health and well being. But I wasn’t quite ready to change anything. I tried medications and dermatological creams that made me so photosensitive I burned within minutes of sun exposure, all of which seemed only to exacerbate my problems.

Add to the bad skin a significant weight gain in my late 20s and I was finally ready to take matters into my own hands and clean up my diet and lifestyle. I felt that if medicine couldn’t help me, perhaps the internet could?

Absolutely desperate, I started blindly with a full detox, eliminating all the ‘fun’ stuff, i.e. no dairy, gluten, sugar, vegetable oils or meats. It felt like I was dying – like the worst hangover I had ever had – for three days!! Then, by day four I felt the best I had ever felt in my whole life! I got back into exercising too. After 30 days I felt great, so I slowly added foods back in until I found the culprits – for me it is unfermented dairy, sugar and gluten.

I certainly don’t advocate these drastic measures, as I said, I was desperate – and it’s not something that one can maintain over the long term. But it helped me realise what an impact diet and lifestyle play on our longevity, happiness and outward appearance – let alone the inflammation that must have been occurring within.

This led me to formal education in integrated nutrition, which opened my eyes and my mind to how powerful food is. A little of a food can be the cure – too much, a poison. So, armed with an education in nutritional biochemistry, and a passion for research, I honing my counselling skills to teach others how to listen to their body, to see the signs and know how to make the changes needed to live a long and healthy life.

For over 12 years I have found success in crowding out the bad choices with good and the biggest improvements I have made have been dietary.

Thank you for reading, my one piece of advice for a happy life…just eat real food, plenty of fibre, lots of water and not too much of any one thing. Variety is the spice of life!

In health and happiness

Georgia Limmer

Seven Healthy Snack Ideas to Improve Productivity – and a recipe!

Before you reach for the chippies, chocolates or energy drinks try these energy boosting snack ideas that will keep you going to the next main meal.

Steering clear of simple carbohydrates is the key to healthy snacking. Low fibre, easily digested carbs found in refined grains (biscuits, breakfast cereals and breads) tend to raise your blood sugar, which can leave you hungry again in a few hours.

I have to admit, I used to be a big snacker…in fact I would happily graze all day missing lunch completely before I got organised and serious about good nutrition, by taking control of my main meals and overall diet. I am amazed at how much more energy I have now. Besides, flaking out at 4.00pm is simply not an option now that I have small children!

The trick to healthy snacking is to ensure it’s not too much food to interfere with your appetite for that next main meal. Digestion is a four-hour process and if you’re not getting hungry in between meals your gastro intestinal system is not going to turn on the right hormones to process the food you are eating, leading to digestive issues and weight gain.

So if you have lunch at 12.00pm but are planning dinner with friends at 7.00 or 8.00pm, you might need a snack to get you through at about 4.00pm.

There are endless choices for snacks – and most packaged ones should be avoided. They usually contain vegetable oils, sugar (in all it’s many forms) and salt. A much wiser choice would be something fresh like fruit, vegetable sticks or whole foods with little processing, and look for a balance of the healthiest sources of fats, carbs, and protein. For example:

  1. Natural or Greek-style yoghurt with a sprinkling of grain-free granola – or just fresh berries and nuts
  2. 35g of a home made trail mix, I add my favourite nuts like cashews, pecans, walnuts and almonds, a small amount of dried fruit like goji berries, apricots, dates and cherries, flaked coconut and pepitas – you can even add a piece of low sugar dark chocolate (see Pana Chocolate brand)
  3. A small portion of hummus or home made pesto dip – about 1/4 cup is enough for a snack – and have with it broccoli florets, baby carrots and cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
  4. An apple sliced, served on a small plate with 1 Tbsp almond butter slathered on the edges
  5. A banana sliced length ways with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter spread on and sandwiched back together
  6. Your choice of cheese (just a small wedge), a piece of pear and some raisins (like a mini cheese platter for one – this is my personal all time favourite snack
  7. A small fruit with a sprinkling of grain-free granola or a garden salad (think a cup full or 250ml), shaved Parmesan and a dash of good quality olive oil will definitely keep you going until that 8.00pm dinner scenario.

There is no need to deny yourself a little snack here and there. But if you find yourself zombified at 3.30pm everyday, it might be time to reassess what you are eating for breakfast and lunch on a regular basis. Is there a good balance of carbs, protein and fats for your body and brain? You are an individual, only you will know what is right for you.                                                                                                                                         

Basil Pesto Dip Recipe

Place a bunch of basil (leaves and small stems only),

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts,
  • 1/4 cup cashews,
  • 30g Parmesan cheese (cut into small pieces),
  • 30ml good quality extra virgin olive oil and
  • 1 small clove of garlic

In a food processor and process until combined.

Place dip in a bowl and serve with broccoli florets, sliced capsicum ‘scoops’ baby carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes                                                                                                                                        

What are your favourite snacks? Don’t miss out on the things you love – that’s no fun! Take a step back (when you’re not starving at 3.00pm and dreaming of chocolate cake) and see if you can ‘healthify’ your favourite snack food. Let me know in the comments below what you crave, and I’ll answer with some ideas on how to make it healthier for you.

Five tips to create a nourishing diet that you can enjoy

It’s all about teaching yourself to think about food in a new way. Years ago, meat and three veg was the Australian staple. Now we know that more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best for our health.

Food is intrinsic in our everyday lives, not to mention our celebrations! From – “hey, it’s your birthday, here’s some cake” to –“it’s Friday lunch, let’s take the team to the pub”.

Make it exciting by experimenting with new recipes and meal plans. Be creative and take chances. Instead of dreading your new food lifestyle, have fun with it.

Don’t be in a rush. Change slowly. By the time you are 40, you’ll have eaten some 40,000 meals — and lots of snacks besides. Give yourself time to change, targeting one item a week.

  1. Start with breakfast, switching from processed cereals and breads to eggs, spinach and a little bacon, or try oatmeal with walnuts and fruit. If you just can’t spare 10 minutes for a sit-down breakfast, whiz some greens with a banana and protein powder for a quick smoothie on the run.
  2. For lunch, try out salads loaded with a protein hit such as cheese, tuna or leftover roast chicken. If you crave sweetness after a meal, try a piece of fruit here – or indulge in sweet vegetables like carrots and sweet potato.
  3. Snack on unsalted nuts, trail mix, fruit, a ‘rainbow’ of raw veggies with hummus. I like capsicum, cucumber, celery, carrots – anything with crunch.
  4. For dinner, experiment with fish, poultry, beans and lentils, roasted vegies (so easy), quinoa, brown rice, and, of course, more salads and veggies. In fact, try making your meal plant based with a little added protein like a fist-sized piece of chicken or red meat. Then any leftovers make a great salad the next day.
  5. Fresh fruit and frozen fruit desserts are examples of suitable after-dinner treats. And there’s nothing wrong with the occasional cake, pie, or chocolate if portions are moderate and it’s more of a once a week type habit – not every night!

Most of all, just relax about your diet. There is no such thing as the perfect food. Not everything on your plate needs to have a higher purpose. Take your tastes and preferences into account. If Spaghetti Bolognese is your favourite food, it is perfectly okay to eat it — but try to make it a Sunday treat instead of a daily staple. The better choices you make in your overall diet, the more “wiggle room” you’ll have to spoil yourself.

Remember, take a long-term outlook. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up or “cheat” from time to time.  We have 21 meals in a week. It’s not about being faultless every single meal, much less every mouthful. It is all about balance. Your nutritional peaks and valleys will even out if your overall dietary pattern is sound.

For more delicious healthy recipes, try a cooking class. We can tailor them specifically to your needs.

If you’re struggling with changing your diet and lifestyle, you may want to consider hiring me as your health coach, the idea is pretty simple – you ‘want’ to make the changes necessary to be your best – but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. A health coach can help you listen to your body first and use the information that best works for you. Because bio-individuality is the key to nutrition.