Body Fusion are dietitian specialists based in Sydney providing the best nutrition and diet advice. Body Fusion is a private Sydney based Nutrition and Dietetic practice run by Ashleigh Brunner. Ashleigh is an Accredited Practising Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist who specialises in assisting in a wide spectrum of diet related issues for all ages, from children through to adults.
Back to back intense meetings, extended work hours, skipping meals whilst adding copious amounts of caffeine – sound familiar? What if nutrition could be quick, tasty and practical to make everything easier? Well it CAN and not only will this reduce your risk of chronic health disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but also help improve body function and increase energy.
The stats: Lettuce tell you
Did you know that in 2014-15 that only 7% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended intake vegetables?
Similarly, in a recent survey conducted in a leading Australian bank by our business Body Fusion, 85.5% of employees were not meeting their recommended serving.
Fact: Healthy employees have been found to be three times as productive than unhealthy employees!
So what are these “guidelines” ?
Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster
The implications: Lettuce tell you more
Not meeting your brightly coloured intake of rainbow veggies means:
· Less fibre, negatively influencing digestion and increasing risk of colon cancer
· Decreased satiety = hungry worker = impacted mood and interaction with team plus reduced ability to concentrate
· Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, which support body function. For example vegetables are an excellent source of potassium which aids in electrolyte balance, regulation of blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function (including the heart!)
· Compromised immunity, which influences energy, enjoyment of work and sick days needed
Help me solve this creatively and simply: Now!
1. Be organised
This means from the get go on a Monday and yes a shop is crucial over the weekend! We suggest bringing healthy snacks to work that include vegetables: veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, red capsicum) and hummus, savoury muffins or a small snap lock bag of cherry tomatoes.
2. ALWAYS make sure there are vegetables in your lunch
What’s the easiest way to do this? Take food from home that has been cooked in advance. A huge vegetable frittata, vegetable lasagna or spinach and ricotta pie at home will make multiple serves. Salads are also always a winner!
Like to purchase on the run? Alternatively look to add veggies to your lunch in other quick ways. How about you match a veggie-based juice (carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger and apple) with your grainy ham and cheese toastie?
3. Use tools and cues as reminders to eat
When things get busy, eating goes to the end of the priority list. Putting your snacks or lunch near your keyboard, setting a phone alarm or having another healthy buddy in the office to keep accountable will all work.
Another option is the new amazing App VegEze app by Hort Innovation https://horticulture.com.au/ which gives your hot tips and reminders to encourage you to get to your goal of 5 serves in the day.
So there you have it: Get started today by doing a big healthy grocery shop or better yet check in with a Dietitian to help guide you on your own personalised journey!
As summer is nearing an end, the weather doesn't show any signs of cooling down. This heat calls for a refreshing dish full of vibrant colour and flavour. I love this dish as it is super simple and a great way to use up any excess vegetables sitting in the fridge.
Image Credit: Australian healthy food guide
500g chicken breast fillets
1 teaspoon honey
2 cup brown rice (cooked)
150g snow peas, thinly sliced
2 beetroot grated
2 carrots grated
120g mixed leaves
1 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons olive oil
Step 1 Combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a glass jar and mix. Use half to cover the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Save the other half and mix with 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of hot water, mix and set aside for later.
Step 2 Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 3–4 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover with a sheet of foil and set aside for 2–3 minutes. Thickly slice.
Step 3 Blanch the snow peas for 30 seconds; refresh under cold running water. Drain well.
Step 4 To serve, divide the brown rice, snow peas, beetroot, carrot, salad leaves and chicken between 4 bowls; then drizzle each with the reserved tahini dressing.
Discovered this one from my amazing and talented cousin Ben at Christmas time! We loved it so much that leftovers didn't even last long. An excellent salad that also provides some sustaining low GI carbohydrates to keep your energy optimal. It also keeps really well!
1 cup pearl barley (you can buy it in the soup section of the supermarket
6 spring onions - chopped
1 red capsicum - chopped
1/3 cup currants
100g roasted cashews
100g sunflower seeds
1 handful chopped parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2.5 cm ginger - grated
1 clove garlic - chopped finely
Soak pearl barley overnight for 6-8 hours
Bring to the boil with 3 cups of water and then leave to simmer for ~25 mins. Make sure all water has evaporated. Wait to cool
Add all salad ingredients with pearl barley in a bowl
Add all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake well
Add dressing to salad
Devour with you choice of protein ie. honey/soy/ginger/garlic/sesame marinated chicken
Cooking is a great way to facilitate a healthy relationship with food and transform your connection into a positive experience - get creating!!
Time to embrace the sunshine and glow from the inside out! Here are our teams top tips to keep you feeling energised, body positive and celebrating summer with delicious and nutritious food.
1. Dive into some summer fruits:
Summer is a great way to enjoy a variety of fresh seasonal fruits. It’s a good idea to change things up at this time of year because it gives your body a different composition of vitamins and minerals. Eating in season fruits usually means they are fresher and higher in their nutrients too. Before you think it, fruit is healthy for us and not ‘too high in sugar’. Fruit contains natural sugars and fibre, which the body processes pretty slowly.
What are the summer fruits available here in Australia?
• In your salad: mango with spinach & avocado OR blueberries with kale & almonds
• Stewed or grilled with home made muesli or with overnight oats for breakfast
2. Eat well balanced tasty salads
Crisp, cold salads are a great way to get a good couple of serves of crunchy vegetables in your day! If you want to glow from the inside then eating a rainbow of colourful veggies will help you do that by delivering antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin E and C, helpful for clear skin, immunity and shiny hair and nails. We aim for half of each main meal to be veggie based (approx. 1-2 cups) and then using some sneaky vegetables at breakfast or on dip plates when entertaining.
Following this guide means you’re able to get your recommended 5 serves of veggies per day!
One serve = ½ cup of cooked veggies or 1 cup of salad vegetables Our Favourite Salads:
• Kat enjoys adding leftover roasted vegetables to salad leaves, her current favourite is: Baby spinach, roasted turmeric cauliflower, grilled red capsicum & eggplant, chickpeas, tahini and lime dressing
• Michelle’s loves using Mediterranean flavours like rocket, pear, walnut, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese with balsamic dressing & olive oil.
• Ash is all about the rainbow often using shredded purple cabbage, cucumber, kale, red and yellow capsicum, kale (de-stemmed and rubbed with lemon) + couscous or quinoa with a protein (tofu/legumes/oily fish/chicken or lean cooked beef) finished with a handful of roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds and fresh lemon/sesame oil.
3. Eat well whilst out and about OR pre plan your snacks and meals
If we aren’t a little focussed or organised there are high chances that hot chips on the beach or a greasy kebab could end up miraculously in our hands! We like to check in and ask ourselves if I eat this, how will my body feel at the end? Take a moment to think and make a conscious choice about what you want to order.
We always suggest to our clients that they go prepared for their day with smart snacks – we do the same! Remember if its hot and your don’t have a cooler bag most likely it will have to be non perishable items.
Some snack suggestions are things like nuts, chickpea snacks, a piece of fruit, healthy oat based muesli bar (sugars <10g/100g and fibre of 3g/bar) or popcorn.
If you do end up out for longer than planned and are with a group/family it’s easy to get drawn into group mentality of having ‘all of nothing’. Life is all about enjoyment, but instead of having none and feeling restricted or tossing in the towel and thinking ‘stuff it’, choose the middle road. What does this mean? How about 1 scoop of delicious ice cream – not two? ;)
To be honest we have so many healthy options available now, it may just mean you need to do your homework before you leave the house! Google has it covered.
We often spend a lot of time in Manly & Cronulla. Nearby there are MANY healthy salad shops, opportunity for fresh poke bowls, sushi/sashimi, fresh Smoothies, take away grilled fish and salad or a Mexican burrito bowl. Just take a moment to LOOK.
4. Stay hydrated
Did you know cold water is absorbed more effectively than room temperature. How about freezing half your drink bottle before you head out?
Remember sugary drinks will only take your blood sugars on a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Bored of water? How about you try some kombucha? Not too high in energy and perfect for colonising healthy gut bacteria. Otherwise some nice bubbly soda or mineral water does the trick too.
Need a coffee hit? Iced coffees can be loaded with ice cream and sugar, instead ask for a cold brew with a dash of milk.
5. Enjoy being active outdoors
Sunshine offers the perfect excuse to celebrate outdoor activities or moving incidentally. Riding a bike is a great way to get around and explore. If you live near the water – even better! How about some ocean swimming, learn to surf, snorkelling or a beach run at early light or sunset?
Hoping you all have a wonderful summer! Ash, Kat and Michelle ☺
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
1. Place the chickpeas, lentils, garlic, coriander, cumin and turmeric in a food processor and blend until a smooth consistency.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Mix in the onion, capsicum and carrot. Add in the oat bran, adding a small amount at a time until the correct consistency for moulding into patties.
3. Divide into 6 equal portions and shape into thick patties with your hands.
4. Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Place 3 patties in at a time and cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining patties.
5. Place patties in lettuce cup and top with mango salsa.
For a quick dinner – make an extra serve of patties and freeze for another time. Simply individually wrap and place in the freezer for up to a month.
The daily corporate grind: sometimes with the inclusion of early mornings, late nights, necessary transit, back-to-back meetings and client functions. We get it – keeping on top of your nutrition isn’t always easy – especially with a busy schedule! But what if you could just focus on three small things to keep you smooth sailing and make what you were doing more effective so you could leave work earlier? Well now you’re listening!
1) Always have a balanced breakfast: Good quality protein, low glycaemic index carbohydrates and either some fruit or veggies to up your fibre intake.
Protein, a sustaining carbohydrate and dietary fibre is going to fill you up and keep your blood sugars stable.
½ cup of traditional oats (low GI and high in fibre), 1xcup of milk (excellent source of protein and added bonus of calcium), 1xserve of fruit (high in fibre and antioxidants) + sprinkle of your favourite nuts/seeds for some extra crunch. Oh and we don't mind a drizzle of honey if you've got a little extra sweet tooth ;) (We said a drizzle! = 1 tsp)
2) Time your meals SMARTLY
Because skipping meals or snacks can result in wrong food choices or overeating. This consequently influences cognition, memory, attention and productivity.
Aim to eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks throughout your day. Eating every 3-4 hours will help you achieve this.
3) Drink water
Because all the beautiful neural connections which transmit information in your brain need water to function at optimal firing rates.
How to increase or maintain an adequate intake?
Include a glass of water with every meal
Drink tea throughout the day: Black or herbal!
Drink soda water to make things interesting
Make a bright attractive drink bottle part of your desk scenery
And there you have it. Just keep it simple! And remember if you want your work team to learn more about Corporate Nutrition we offer engaging workshops. Otherwise you can drop in and book an individual consultation to focus especially on YOU and your goals!
Now that Spring has well and truely sprung, it is that time of year again when the weather is warmer, the days are getting longer and plenty of delicious and nutritious vegetables are back in season!
Make the most of the amazing and abundant produce this Spring with Kat's favourite Spring Couscous Salad.
Why we love this recipe:
Asparagus, beans & spinach: Super high in prebiotic fibre, which comes from plants that feed the healthy bacteria in our gut. Healthy gut bacteria will fight off sickness and improve your mood! (Who doesn’t want to be happier?!)
Chickpeas: Not only will these give you a good dose of plant based protein, but legumes have also been shown to slow down ageing and increase longevity. Chickpeas especially are also high in zinc, helpful in recovering from stress (sickness or exercise induced).
Pearl couscous: Also known as Israeli couscous, these low GI grains give the body and brain sustained energy. Not only are they a top fuel for exercise but help decrease sugar cravings by nourishing the brain.
Recipe: Spring Couscous Salad
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
· 1 cup pearl couscous (dry)
· 1 red capsicum
· 1 yellow capsicum
· 2 cups green beans, chopped
· 1 bunch asparagus
· 1 red onion, diced
· 1 lemon, juiced
· 2 tbls olive oil
· 2 tsp Moroccan seasoning
· 2 tbls chopped flat-leaf parsley
· 2 x tins chickpeas
· 40g feta cheese
· 100g green olives, pitted, chopped
· 4 cups spinach leaves
1. Place couscous into a large bowl and pour over 2 cups of boiling water.
2. Leave in the bowl for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff through with a fork once cooked.
3. Transfer into a large mixing bowl, set aside to cool.
4. While you are waiting, sauté the red onion in a frying pan on medium heat for 2 minutes.
5. Quickly stir through all other vegetables for 5 minutes.
6. Mix juice, oil, seasoning and parsley and pour over couscous.
7. Stir through drained chickpeas, vegetables, spinach leaves and olives.
8. Crumble feta over the top and serve!
· GLUTEN FREE - Replace couscous with quinoa
· DAIRY FREE - Replace feta cheese with sprinkling of pepita seeds
This delicious winter warming vegetable lasagna was developed with my flat mate Anna-Louise Moule from Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic, http://www.bblifestyleclinic.com.au/ Its mouthwatering success has meant that its been repeated many times.
- Packed with ripe tomatoes, super high in lycopene, an anti cancer compound and vitamin C
- Source of plant protein (chickpeas and almond meal) which are also consequently high in fibre-
- Source of calcium
Serves 8 People
3 x 400g eggplants, cut lengthways into 5mm thickness slices
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (100g) almond meal
3 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
650g roma tomatoes
250g fresh buffalo mozzarella, shredded
2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
Chunky Tomato Sauce:
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced finely
1 tbs capers, rinsed, drained, chopped
650g roma tomatoes, chopped
3 tsp dried oregano
1/2 bunch fresh basil
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease 3 baking trays and line with baking paper. Arrange eggplant in single layers across prepared trays. Combine oil and oregano in a bowl and burst over eggplant. Cover each tray of eggplant with a sheet of baking paper and roast for 40mins or until just cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. For the chunky tomato sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and capers, and cook, stirring for 3-4mins or until garlic and onion are light and golden. Add tomato and bring to the boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20mins or until tomato has broken down slight and sauce has reduced. Add fresh basil and stir.
3. Place almond meal in a shallow dish. Brush eggplant slices with a little of the chunky tomato sauce, then gently dip in almond meal.
4. To assemble lasagne, grease a 35cm, 1.5L ovenproof dish. Pour half the chickpeas over the base of the dish and then spread half the remaining tomato sauce into the prepared dish, then cover with half the zucchini and eggplant. Cover the zucchini and eggplant with the mozzarella cheese and spread over remaining tomato sauce. Top with remaining chickpeas, then layer zucchini and eggplant over.
5. Place a sheet of baking paper over lasagne, then enclose dish in foil. Bake for 45-60mins or until bubbling and tender when pierced with a knife. Increase oven to 220 degrees Celsius and remove foil and baking paper.
Serve with a healthy garden salad! ENJOY :)
Ash and Anna xx
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