Category Archives: Nutrition

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5 Steps to Increase Your Awareness of Sugar Content in Packaged Food

The average Australian consumes around 14 teaspoons or 60 grams of free sugars per day. Recently the World Health Organization recommended that for optimal health we should restrict our added ‘free sugar’ intake to less than half of that, at just 6 teaspoons.

But what is ‘free sugar’? Where is it found? And, how can you work to reduce your intake? This article helps you start that journey.

What is ‘free sugar’?

Basically, there two types of sugars: simple (or natural) sugars, and free sugars. Simple sugars occur naturally in things such as fruits, vegetables and these are all ok. Then there are the double sugars that are removed from their original source, processed chemically and then added back into our foods. These are the ones to worry about, and they are called ‘free sugars’.

Which foods have which sugars?

Starting with the good natural or ‘simple sugars’, they come from carbohydrates in natural foods. There are three names of simple sugars: glucose, fructose and galactose.


Free sugars are found in a lot of packaged foods, from lollies, to bread, to tomato sauce. Some of the different names you’ll hear these free sugars called include: sucrose (glucose + fructose) lactose (glucose + galactose) and maltose (glucose + glucose). They’re also in your morning coffee or cup of tea, if you choose to add a little sweetness the traditional way, or even just milk. Here’s a list of different fancy names you’ll find for free sugars out there…

60 Sugar names pic.png

Reducing Your Intake

Start by choosing alternative natural sugars and low sugar foods. Slowly, but surely, work towards getting your intake to 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of natural sugars a day. Depending on what level of sugar you have daily at present this will depend on what journey you are on.

By Australian law, all packaged foods are required to disclose values for energy and nutrients like fats, protein, carbs and sodium, as well as a list of ingredients. So, knowing that, here are 5 steps toward figuring out how much sugar is in what, and working to make the shift to healthier options.

1. Understanding the total sugar amount in a product

  • Sugar is a simple carbohydrate; the amount of sugar has to be identified on a nutrition panel.
  • The sugar value is the total amount of natural and added sugars.
  • The amount of sugar in a serve, and per 100 grams of food or 100 ml of liquid must be declared.
  • Under 5g of sugar per 100g is considered low in sugar.
  • A general tip is to stay away from any items with over 10g of sugar per 100g.

2. Be aware if sugar has been added to the product.

  • Be aware of the ingredients listed as ‘sugar’.
  • While there are over 60 names as per the list above, here is a list of the most common ones to look out for:

- Words ending in “-ose” (like fructose, dextrose, sucrose)
- Syrups
- Agave
- Nectar

  • Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. So ingredients that are first on the list make up more of the product.
  • Stay away of products where sugar appears in the first half of the ingredients list.

3. Remember, it is ok to have natural sugars 

  • Natural sugars are found in nutritious whole foods such as fruit and vegetables. Therefore a lot of products will contain some natural sugars.
  • Check the ingredients list to see where these items sit, hopefully, they make up the majority of the product.
  • Lactose is the natural sugar in dairy and accounts for roughly 5g of the sugar per 100g of dairy product. Therefore, we must determine if and how much sugar may have been added.
  • Stay away from products where added sugars are higher on the list than fruit, vegetarian and dairy.

4. Be mindful of suggested serving sizes

  • The manufacturer must declare what they consider a reasonable serving size, but this can vary greatly between manufacturers.
  • If the suggested serving size is smaller than what is generally considered a serve, the amount of sugar per serve will be deceptively less. For example a cereal with a suggested serving size of 45g (½ cup) contains 12g sugar, however, most people will serve ¾ cup, and 6g more sugar.
  • When comparing sugar content between similar products, always look at the amount per 100g.

5. Preparation and awareness at the supermarket.

  • Ensure that you are not hungry when you head into the supermarket.
  • Don’t fall for marketing and advertising or specials and ‘new’ product, even in the health aisle.
  • Aim to get all you need from only 20% of the store. Don’t go down the ‘sugar aisles’, like the chip and chocolate aisle, if you see it you will want it, so don’t look for it.

That’s it. Of course, it takes practice and time to get your head around looking for sugars. However, it’s worth it for you (and your family’s) health. I hope that this will increase your awareness of hidden sugar in your diet and will more empower you to check out that next product you pick up. Just take things step by step and you’ll get to being a healthier you, while still enjoying the things you eat.


Recipe: Creamy Broccoli Soup (Dairy Free)

When the weather cools down, often the health consciousness of what we eat falters. But staying warm with food doesn’t have to be fried chicken or hot chips.

Soups are a great option to sooth the chill and are a perfect mood-boosting food during the colder months.  So, it’s always nice to have a delicious and quick soup recipe on hand to whizz up in your blender for dinner and take to work!

This Healthy Broccoli Soup is creamy, yummy and has an added bonus of being loaded with green nutrients. Broccoli is one of nature’s most nutrient-dense vegetables, packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which strengthen the immune system during flu season.

Give this a go and let me know what you think…


1 large onion, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp coconut oil (30gm)1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (option)

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

2 heads of broccoli (400-600gms)

800 litres water

1 x 400ml can coconut milkSalt n Pepper to taste


Finely chop the onion and garlic.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and sauté the onions for 5 minutes until golden.

Add the garlic and chilli flakes and sautée for 2 minutes.

While this is cooking, chop up the broccoli  as small florets and slice the stalk. Then place it in with the onion mix. Stir for 30 seconds.

Then pour in the water and simmer for  20 minutes.

Discard 3/4 of the water.

Add coconut milk and use a blender until smooth. If the soup is too think add a little of the discarded cooking water.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Thermomix Method

Blend the onion and garlic 5 seconds/5 speed.

Add the chilli flakes and cook 100′C, 4 mins/2 speed.

Add broccoli as small florets and slice the stalk.

Add 800 Litre of water and cook 100′C, 15mins/1 speed.

Discard 3/4 of the water.

Add coconut milk and blender 20 seconds/8 speed.

If the soup is too think add a little of the discarded cooking water.

Salt and Pepper to taste.


Recipe: Healthy Lemon Bliss Balls (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

Have you been looking for a healthy treat that doesn’t include chocolate or cacao and is nut free? A healthy and delicious option is Lemon Bliss Balls.

With flavoured tangy lemon, tropical coconut and a hint of vanilla is a favourite treat of mine.

These are quick and easy to make with only a few ingredients. It’s a great refreshing option for an evening treat too as an alternative to many fruit or nut bases bliss balls, which often include cacao.

Healthy Lemon Bliss Balls

1 x cup raw cashews (150gm) [can replace with sunflower and pumpkin seeds for nut free option]

1 x cup desiccated coconut (90gm)

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract

2 x tbsp raw honey

1 x pinch salt extra desiccated coconut for rolling in


1. Place the ingredients into your processor and blend until the mixture resembles a sticky crumble.

2. Use your hands to separate the mixture into balls to the size of your choice.

3. Roll the balls in the extra coconut and place in the fridge to set.

4. Serve. Eat. Enjoy before they disappear!

Vegetarian (1)

Recipe: Vegetarian Sausage Rolls (Dairy Free)

This is a great recipe for those wanting to make sausage rolls without meat. I guess that makes them non-sausage rolls then !? Sausage rolls are a favourite for many and are often used as a celebratory snack at birthday party and events.

For Vegetarians we can still enjoy this snack the meat-free way. With walnuts and oats as an alternative to give that meaty texture, mixed with herbs and cooked in spelt wraps, they never last long at our house :)

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

1 large onion

2 tbsp mixed herbs of choice

100g (2/3 cup) walnuts

100g (1 cup) organic spelt oats (or oats of choice)

4 eggs (plus 1 egg for the pastry)

3-4tbsp nutritional yeast & 1/8 cup almond/nut milk (or 150g feta cheese if you prefer dairy)

2 tbsp organic tamari

80g (3/4 cup) almond meal

1 packet Spelt Mountain Bread Wraps (or you can opt to use Puff Pastry instead)

Sesame seeds  

(optional addition: 1-2 grated vegetables like carrots)


Preheat oven @ 180’C

Chop onion and herbs in Thermomix (or Blender) for 3 sec on speed 6

Add walnuts, oats and chop for 6 sec on speed 6, scrape down sides and blend again if needed to ensure smooth

Add eggs, nutritional yeast/feta cheese, tamari and almond meal. Mix speed 5 for 20 secs. Scrape down sides and blend again if needed until smooth.

Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and then brush the egg lightly between two spelt wraps to bind.

Cut the binded spelt wraps in half horizontally on working bench

Place small amount of mixture onto the long edge of the pastry and roll. Brush the edges and cut into four equal portions. Brush the tops and sprinkle with sesame seed.

Place sausage rolls onto lined baking tray and bake for approx. 20mins or until crisp and golden



5 Tips to Achieve a Balanced, Healthy Lifestyle

Welcome to a new year. You have probably set some resolutions for yourself, whether that’s written down, or just sitting in your head. Most people manage to keep those resolutions for only a couple of weeks. I want to share some ways to make those resolutions stick, by doing small things consistently.

As a Health and Wellness Coach, I am here to help you figure out ways to remove the habits that aren’t enriching your life, and then replacing them with better routines that keep you healthy, energetic and happy.

So, here are 5 tips  to keep those positive routines flowing:

Tip 1

Write down your goals for 2018. Don’t just think about, actually write them down. Set only three for the year, no more and no less! If you write down less than 3 goals, you will just ignore them. And if you set more than 3 goals, it’s too much, and seems unachievable. So please stick to just 3 goals. They can be big goals or small goals – a goal is a goal. It may be to travel overseas for the first time, or it could be cutting out sugar in your diet. Then, write underneath, what success looks like so you have a clear vision of life as a more balanced, healthy, happy you. Underneath that, write what failure looks like. Research shows that having that contrast really helps motivation for moving away from the unhealthy, unbalanced life into better, healthy habits. Then, stick those goals up on the inside of your toilet door, or your bathroom mirror, or somewhere else you’ll see them daily. A constant reminder of where you want to be, will help you to get there.

Tip 2

Take an old, unhealthy habit and replace it with a new one. This is really important. You need to fill that hole with something beneficial. For example; if you drink too much coffee, start your day with some water and fresh-squeezed lemon before you have your first coffee. Having some lemon water will improve your digestion as well as energizing you. It gives you a shot of antioxidants and Vitamin C which is great for your immune system. Then save your first coffee of the day for about 11am, when you actually need a bit of perking up. Or, instead of having your first alcoholic drink for the day at 6pm, have a 30-minute stretch instead. That’s one less beer or one less glass of wine that you will have for the night, and you will have a lot more flexibility in your body too.

Tip 3

Right now is the perfect time to create a new habit. Research shows that if you can do it for 10 days in a row at the same time every day you’re more likely to keep it up. Set a routine and do everything you can, to make it happen for 10 days straight.

I suggest to set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than you usually do and also start your morning with 10 sun salutes. I call this the 10 x 10 x 10 challenge! It make your life 1000 times better.

Tip 4

Sort out a support team. Life is so much better with a partner, and it’s so much easier to do something new if you have someone at your side. Even if it’s them kicking you out of bed on those days you can’t be bothered. Don’t worry. On the days that THEY can’t be bothered, you can do the kicking too. It could be your wife, your husband, or a friend, or your neighbor. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as you know they’ll be willing to support you, just like you’re willing to support them.

Tip 5

Tell more people about your goals – your family, your friends, just share! They will keep you honest by asking how things are going. You should be proud of yourself, believe in it. When its accountable its more likely to actually happen and become a reality rather than a dream. For example, you want to go to New York. Share this goal with your friends, talk about and get excited together. Then it’s more likely to happen.

If you REALLY want to get some extra motivation to make it happen, then you can use an anti-charity. For example, your aim is to do yoga three times a week for the whole year. Then, give $100 cash to a friend and tell them to put it in a safe place. At the end of the year, if you’ve managed to stay in routine and do yoga three times a week for the whole year, then that money is spent on a fun night out together as a reward. If you haven’t done it, your friend has to put the money in an envelope and send it to a cause you hate, like the Australian Tobacco Lobby, or something else that you feel is just as evil. Studies show that with getting motivation for resolutions, people would rather not lose something than gain something. For the anti-charity to work and help you, the issue can’t be something that you feel luke warm about. It really has to be something that you despise and would absolutely hate to get your money.

So there are my five tips. But the biggest tip I have to give you is  to stop EVERYDAY and take a moment to be grateful to be alive. Then ask yourself if you’re living the life you really want to live. If you’re not, then it’s time to make a change.


Recipe:- Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)

Sometimes we can have a treat as a snack that is still healthy and yummy! 

This easy Banana Bread is Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Paleo. It’s delicious served lightly warm and toasted with some butter. 

The best thing is that bananas are an energy food and are a great source of potassium, which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Their moisture and sweetness means you can reduce the amount of sweetener and oil considerably. In addition, protein-packed almonds are also full of healthy fats that are kind to your arteries and can help lower cholesterol as well as keep blood sugars stable. This makes a nice change from ‘store bought’ banana breads that are generally high in refined white flour, sugar and saturated fats.


  • 300gm (3-4 medium) ripe bananas 
  • 200gm (2 cups) almond meal
  • 25gm (1/4 cups) ground flaxseed (linseed)
  • 50gm raw honey or organic maple syrup 
  • 50gm (1/4 cup) macadamia nut oil
  • free range / organic eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb soda)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (alumimun-free)
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat  your oven at 160 C – fan forced
  2. Combine smashed banana, honey, oil, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, baking powder and lemon. Use a blender like a Vitamix or Thermomix or you can do this by hand in a large bowl.
  3. Add the almond meal and flaxseed and mix well.
  4. Spoon batter into a loaf tin. The size I use is 14cm wide x 25cm long.
  5. Bake for 45minutes to 1 hour (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry).
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
  7. Keeps in the fridge covered for up to 1 week.

Courtesy to Teresa Cutter from book Purely Delicious. This recipe has been been slightly altered to suit. While this is a very healthy option, I still advise eating these kinds of sweet foods as occasional treats only. Cut the sweetener down even more if you can, to keep things even better for your wellbeing. 

Happy Baking :)