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How I Stay Healthy? Nutrition Experts Tell


Have your ever wondered how the nutrition professionals take care of themselves? Here, they share their tips and insights with Sarah Marinos.



Professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, NSW.

Have you changed your diet over the years?

As you get older your energy requirements reduce in line with metabolism changes. I eat more variety within the vegetarian food group, even though I’mnot vegetarian. I’ve consciously increased the variety of vegetables and fruits I eat.

How do you maintain a healthy weight?


I monitor my weight and if it increases by a couple of kilos I jump on that while the gain is still small. I self-monitor how many kilojoules I’m having to see where the extra might be coming from. I like the Easy Diet Diary smartphone app as it is an Australian food and nutrient database.

What’s your favourite drink?

Tea evokes happy family memories asmy dad, who died two-and-ahalf years ago, and I liked sharing a cup of tea. I like plain black tea, not herbal.

If you’re going to have a treat, what would it be?

I keep discretionary foods to a minimum. So I enjoy chocolate but I am happy to have just a couple of squares. Discretionary foods – extras that are not necessary in a healthy diet – are often high in saturated fat, salt or sugar and it’s recommended that they are only eaten sometimes and in small amounts. But the National Health Survey found that around a third of our daily total energy intake comes from these kinds of foods.

Handy tip?

Add finely diced or grated carrot, cauliflower or zucchini to a bolognaise sauce or a casserole. You are adding nutrients and fibre and lowering the overall kilojoule intake.



Nutritionist and author of Falling in Love with Food: a Cookbook and a Love Story.

What do you eat for instant energy?

Quick ideas for an energy boost are smoothies with yoghurt, milk, fresh fruit and flaxseeds for brain power. My other favourites are natural yoghurt with muesli and fruit, brown rice crackers with beetroot or hummus dip, and a slice of sourdough or multi-grain toast with avocado and feta cheese.

If you’re having a drink, what will it be?

I have a fruit and veggie juice every day – carrot and beetroot with tomato, cucumber, oranges and some ginger. In winter I love a hot chocolate made with full-cream organic milk and some turmeric. And I love a glass of pinot noir.

What do you eat for a mood lift?

When your diet isn’t adequate it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Foods can also impact blood sugar levels, which has a direct effect on mood. So I eat turkey, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken and fish. Slow-release wholegrains and carbohydrates, such as brown rice, quinoa, soy/linseed bread and sweet potato assist with blood sugar regulation. Zinc deficiency has been associated with low mood so I eat seafood, miso, red meat and mushrooms.

How do you look after your health?

I move as much as I can and workmy exercise intomy lifestyle – I walk to a park and once a week I have a session with a personal trainer at the gym. I like to read and meditate, too.

Handy tip?

If you make breakfast and don’t finish it, save the leftovers for a mid-morning snack. And keep that little extra at lunch for mid-afternoon.



Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

What’s your favourite healthy snack?

My favourite snack at the moment is homemade sugar-free apple and cinnamon bread. I also like nuts, dates and cherry tomatoes, and a good coffee!

If you’re having a drink, what will it be?

You can’t go past H2O! Throw in chopped mint, lemon, orange and ginger. Heavenly!

What’s a typical meal for you?

My husband makes a wicked seafood paella and I love a hot chicken curry with vegetables. I never serve a meal without something green on the plate or on the side.

How do you look after your?

health? Sleep is the key – seven hours is my minimum. I also love fresh air and the early morning sun on my skin. A good slow jog helps me wake up and I take what time I can get – if I only have 15 minutes to run, I’ll take it. I enjoy yoga and love to get out of my comfort zone. My motto is ‘do something every day that scares you’.

Handy tip?

Never be shy to use frozen vegetables as their nutrient value is excellent. It reduces the pressure of shopping for fresh produce each day when you are time-poor.



Nutritionist and author of Seasons To Share.

Your nutrition business is called The Brown Paper Bag – if you’re taking lunch with you on a day out, what would be in your brown paper bag?

I’d take one ofmy ‘nourish’bowls which combinesmy favourite salad vegetables – corn and quinoa, cauliflower, turmeric, rice, herbs and pomegranate, roast pumpkin, red cabbage and walnuts with a couple of poached eggs on top. Heaven! For something simpler I’d take carrot, capsicum, and sesame seed snaps.

What do you like to eat just before or after a workout?

I’m a smoothie gal pre-workout and I have eggs post-workout. And my banana omelette is a bit of a winner for a training-day breakfast. Mash half to one banana, whisk it with two eggs and a dash of vanilla and fry it in the pan like an omelette. Eat it with a dollop of coconut yoghurt or Greek yoghurt – absolutely delish!

How do you look after your health?

I drink plenty of water and limit caffeine, and I eat delicious nourishing foods with gratitude. I move my body every day too – I run, walk, swim and do yoga and weights. And I have plenty of cuddles with my little man – my son, Jet.

How do you stay emotionally healthy?

I make time to meditate every day and I also check my breathing throughout the day. Calm, deep breathing is the easiest, cheapest and most natural form of mental, emotional and physical therapy around – too few of us remember that.

Handy tip?

Get sorted on Sunday. That’s when I make bread, blanch and roast vegetables, poach chicken and boil eggs so they’re ready in the fridge to make quick meals during theweek.



Dietitian and author of The Live Well Plan.

What’s your favourite healthy snack?

I eat fruit – oranges, apples, kiwi fruit, nectarines, peaches or grapes. And to mix things up a little I have veggies in my fruit bowl to nibble on as well, such as cherry tomatoes, snow peas and button mushrooms. Quick and easy!

We’re surrounded by fast food 24/7. How do you stick to a healthy eating plan?

I think our attitude to food has a big impact on our food choices, so I focus on enjoying and being grateful for the wonderful fresh produce we have in Australia. When I think of food in that way, takeaway food doesn’t seem as tempting.

What’s your favourite healthy comfort food?

For me comfort food is associated with feeling a bit run-down – so I think of soup. I was always given soup when I was unwell as a little girl. I love pumpkin soup! Roast some butternut pumpkin, some potato, an onion and some garlic. Mix it all in a blender with some nutmeg, chickpeas, olive oil and a little milk, and enjoy.

What’s a typical nutritious meal?

I stir-fry chicken, carrots, snow peas, bok choy, baby corn, mung beans or bean sprouts and broccoli. I add sweet chilli sauce and olive oil, with a squeeze of lemon and coriander from my garden.

Handy tip?

I keep fresh herbs in my garden so I can add freshly picked ones to my meals.



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