scared of fat

Do you have a FAT Phobia?

From a very young age I remember my mum constantly buying Fat-Free Yoghurts and Low fat versions of everything and even to this day when she came to visit last month she went for the Fat-Free yoghurt in Woolies… “NO Mum”, I said “this is where you may be going wrong with your diet, You need fat in your diet and it can actually make you slimmer – Low fat and No-Fat foods are usually pumped full of processed ingredients. Salt and Sugar ”

Of course I am talking about ‘Good Fats’ such as the type of fat found in Nuts, Seeds, Oils, Meat. Fish, Seafood and avocados. This kind of Fat slows the rate at which sugar hits your bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar levels steady, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, stopping any hunger and cravings and leaving you energised.

Another bonus is that studies have shown that Essential Fatty Acids – found in oily fish actually help the body burn fat around your tummy!

Good fat also;

  • Helps your body absorb vitamins and mineral better
  • Is amazing for the Joints, cushioning them from wear and tear, especially for our mums that are exercising it really helps prevent injuries.
  • Boosts Concentration and energy levels
  • improves hair, skin and nails

Try and include ‘GOOD FAT’ into every meal you have; if you have some grapes, eat a few almonds at the same time, if you have a salad add some avocado or a dash of olive oil. Start introducing these fats and you will begin to feel great.

So don’t be scared by the FAT it is actually an angel with a bad name!



From the cereal you have for breakfast, the dressing on your salad and the ‘healthy’ low fat foods you turn to to be good.. May contain an addictive substance.. SUGAR!

Whether you are on a detox or you just want to cut back on your sugar intake to improve your overall health and nutririon, focusing on the benefits is the best way to keep you committed to your plan. Here are some of the ways cutting down on sugar can help you.


 Weight Loss

Cutting back on the sugar may help you slim down. Food and drinks that are high in sugar are usually high in calories and with very little to NO nutritional benefits.  Sugary foods also make you more hungrier quickly, due to the changes in blood glucose, instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or so called ‘healthy’ musli bar when youre hungry, focus on eating fibre, protein and low complex carbs to nourish your body and keep you feeling energised and full for longer.

Nice Strong, Healthy Teeth

Cutting back on sugar will help keep your pearly whites, bright, healthy and shiny. The bacteria in the mouth uses the sugar from the foods and drinks, and over time plaque will form which can eat away at the enamel, which can lead to cavaties and gum disease.

Clearer Skin

The increase and decrease of your blood sugar levels which occur when consuming sugar can create internal stress within the body, which can lead to breakouts on the skin. Sugar can dehydrate the skin, making the appearance of the skin look dull and puffy. So drink plenty of water and you will look fresh in no time!

Healthy Heart

High Levels of sugar intake can increase the risk of developing heart disease, as the sugar that doesnt get used by your body as energy will convert into a type of fatty acid that circulates in your bloodstream.

There are so many reasons to reduce your sugar intake, overall you will feel so much better both mentally and physically, you will no longer feel sluggish, and will wake up in the morning with more energy to face the day, Give it a try and wave bye bye to sugar and refuel your body with the nutrients it actually needs.


When I’m pregnant I often find myself trying to remember the recommendations surround seafood intake during pregnancy. There are obvious recommendations regarding avoiding raw seafood, however I struggle to remember the types of fish I should consume regularly vs having occasionally!

Raw and cold smoked seafood

This foods can potential contain listeria, parasites or bacteria, and therefore should be avoided during pregnancy. When these foods are cooked the bacteria and listeria are destroyed.

Oysters are the exception, and should be avoided even when they have been cooked.

Mercury content of fish

Mercury is often found in fish. Developing fetuses and young children are more vulnerable to the effects of mercury, which may cause developmental delays. Pregnant women are advised to be selective about the type and amount of fish they eat during pregnancy. Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include shark (flake), ray, swordfish, barramundi, gemfish, orange roughy, ling and southern bluefin tuna.

The simplest way to think about mercury in fish is… the bigger the fish, the more little fish it eats! Resulting in a higher mercury (as all the little fish have mercury, and it all adds up!)

Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include:

  • Shark
  • Ray
  • Swordfish
  • Barramundi
  • Gemfish
  • Orange roughy
  • Ling
  • Southern bluefin tuna.

Examples of fish that contain lower levels of mercury include:

  • Shellfish including prawns, lobsters and oysters
  • Salmon
  • Canned tuna.

It is suggested that pregnant women eat 2–3 serves of fish every week for the good health of themselves and their developing baby. However, pregnant women or women intending to become pregnant within the next six months should be careful about which fish they eat. Some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the developing fetus. Pregnant women should:

  • Limit to one serve (150g) per fortnight – billfish (swordfish, broadbill and marlin) and shark (flake), with no other fish eaten in that fortnight.
  • Limit to one serve (150g) per week – orange roughy (deep sea perch) or catfish, with no other fish eaten that week.
  • Eat 2–3 serves per week – of any other fish or seafood (for example, salmon or tuna).

Note: 150g is equivalent to approximately two frozen crumbed fish portions.

Source: Better Health Channel

Sally Muir – Dietitan & Persoanl Trainer

food diaryWhen you come to the self-realisation that you’re eating isn’t what you’d like it to be, most people don’t know where to start. Which is often why many individuals do nothing.

One of the first things I ask a client to do is to keep a food diary. Sounds scary, but it isn’t! All you have to do is write down everything that you put in your mouth for 3 days. The trick to doing this properly is being completely honest with yourself. If you eat a piece of chocolate, write it down. Even a sip of wine…

Without complete honestly, you will probably have a great food record at the end of the 3 days – showing what you think you should be eating. But without the accuracy and honesty of what you actually consumed.

Many individuals can look at 3 days of eating and recognise the ‘extra’ foods and drinks that are adding excess calories/energy without adding great nutritional benefit. These are the foods that need to cut out!!

Sometimes these small changes are enough to make a big difference to your overall eating. Depending on the nutritional goals you are trying to reach, whether it is weight loss, improved energy levels, increased variety you will have a much better chance of making good choices by revising what you are actually eating.

If you still have some questions about what you are eating, it might be worth contacting sally to book in a session to see her as a dietitan.


When an individual decides they would like to shift some weight, many will ponder the questions – should I use a protein shake to do this?

My answer ….No!

To explain, my philosophy on health is ‘Energy in = energy out’ with a focus on good nutrition, and regular exercise. So the theory of remove food from your diet that you enjoy, and replacing it with a protein shake doesn’t fit well with me.

What’s in a protein shake?Shake

Protein shakes consist of powered forms of protein, usually a combination of soy or whey proteins (which is a by-product of cheese making). Many shakes contain ~ 20g of protein, and when the current recommendations for women is approximately 46g of protein/day. You only need 2 of these shakes to almost reach this level.

In addition to the fibre, some flavouring is usually added to make it taste appealing, along with an array of vitamin and minerals. Many of the products added for nutritional benefit also contain fibre, so the end product is often very fibre rich. The end product ends up tasking something like a flavoured milkshake.

Why protein?

Protein intake in conjunction with resistance exercises has been proven to assist with increased muscle mass. A person with a higher muscle mass, will usually have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy that you burn at resting.

Some research has shown that a protein rich diet can assist with satisfying hunger levels, and help individuals suppress their appetite (ultimately avoiding snacking, and reducing total calorie intake).

Will I definitely lose weight?

To ensure that you do lose weight using these shakes, you need to ensure that you have replaced other meals with these shakes. Plus you need to ensure you are doing the regular resistance exercise to gain the benefits of the added protein.

Are they safe for breastfeeding mums?

There are some products on the market they claim to be safe during breastfeeding (there are also some, that are definitely NOT!).

My concern with any of these products, is they are designed to create large deficits in the amount of energy consumed. Our bodies use energy for everything we do, to walk around the house, climb stairs, etc. However more energy is consumed when we do activities like exercise, running, swimming etc. Breastfeeding falls into a category of using more energy.

If you starve your body of adequate energy (which is require to ultimately lose weight), then your body doesn’t have adequate energy to perform all the actions it needs to. So it either forgoes extra bodily functions, or it starts to access your fat stores as a source of energy. When the body starts to use fat stores as an energy source, your body has to work much harder. Often women will find if their body is utilising their fat stores for energy, a compromise is the quantity of milk they produce (particularly at the end of the day).

Ultimately this results in a grumpy, hungry baby. Which in my personal experience results in a grump, hungry mummy!!

So what do I suggest….

Balance, is very much the answer.

Mums need to realise that a balanced approach to their diet and exercise is imperative to a healthy recovery to their ideal weight. Ensuring a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Offset with regular exercise, that increases gradually with durations and intensity. You will see the results.

Turning to a quick fix for ‘fast easy’ weight loss, has a very high occurrence of bouncing back on once you resume your ‘usual’ eating patterns. So set yourself up for success, and make the right choices from the start!

Not only are you setting foundations that will serve you for life, but you are setting a fantastic example for your young baby.

Sally Muir – Dietitian

We’ve recently had many requests for ideas on healthy snacks for toddlers. So here it is!

Many of these ideas will be foods/snacks that you always use, however it may be that there is one or two that you hadn’t thought of – which I hope helps!

I haven’t listed all the obvious options, such as an apple, banana, strawberries, blueberries etc. I have listed options that are perhaps less obvious!

I also have listed every healthy snack you can bake or cook at home. This list is by no means exhausted, and I’m always happy to add foods to the list…

Curly wurley apples

My girls love their apples, but a special treat will be a ‘curly wurley apple’ as they have named it. It peels and cores the apple, and is a fun alternative to a cut up apple!Apple corer

Sultanas that don’t spill!

A regular snack at our house is a handful of sultanas. Little ones love them, as they can eat one at a time!

I love this container, as it stops them spilling everywhere!

Trap a snack

Snack container

Sweet corn or Mini corn

My girls love to snack on sweet corn or mini corns (both canned). The fact I always have them in my pantry, makes them very convenient. Plus by keeping then corn in its juice (from the tin), it will keep up to 7 days.

For little ones I use the Trap a snack, pictured above!

Mini corn

Grated cheese

Another easy snack that is always in the fridge, I will often put this in the Trap a snack container!

Grated cheese

Baby boccincini

My girls love snack on bocincini, its such a easy snack. We’ve found the branks stocked in the green grocer to be much softer (and yummier) than those stocked in the supermarket.


Cheese sticks

A super convenient snack, I always encourage mums to ‘real’ cheese rather than the more processed ‘plastic cheese’ (if they can!!)

Cheese stcik

Dried fruit

Any array of dried fruit is a great snack for growing bodies. Whether its apricots, apples, cranberries, dates etc….

Dried fruit

Carrot, celery or snow peas and hommus

Choosing a container that you can hve your chopped up pieces, as well as your dip is a great way for kids to enjoy their vegies.

Carrot and dip

Cherry Tomatoes

We go through ~3-4 punnets of cherry tomatoes a week in our house. My girls snack on tomatoes like they are grapes! We are all particularly fond of the ‘Perino’ variety that Coles stock, not only are they sweet. But their skins aren’t too think (which for little ones can be a gagging problem).



Once littles ones are able to manage pop corn, it’s a great snack to be include. Just ensure its not smothered in sugar, salt, cheese flavouring or butter!!



I promised myself I wouldn’t be a mum that let my kids have the squeezy packs. But I find they are very handy as a snack, when I have my hands full and they girls are hungry.

Just make sure you choose a low sugar variety of variety, I tend to opt for the Valiaa option (the only downside is they are very big!)

Plus they now have a lactose free option, which is great for those little tummies that don’t tolerate lactose



A great home snack, is a smooth with any variety of fruit, yoghurt and milk. Whatever your little one fancies!



My girls LOVE these. We enjoy them as a family (obviously minus the salt for the girls).

The girls often also enjoy these as part of their dinner, as one of their vegies (instead of peas)



I realise that this is a strange title, however it really is my philosophy on eating.

keep-calm-and-don-t-diet-10If you have to go on a super strict diet to lose weight, than the chances are it won’t stay off. The human body is designed to stabilise at a weight. So what does this mean? It means if you want your body to sit at a different weight (higher or lower), you need to make a complete lifestyle change to achieve this.

To achieve a lower weight you will consistently need to exercise more than you currently do, and eat meals that are either less energy dense or smaller in size!

The opposite is true for individuals that are trying to gain weight, however they specifically need to increase the amount of protein energy rich foods in their meals, and ensure that their exercise is balanced with a strength components (and not too much cardio).

In this piece I’ll be focusing on the majority of the population that are looking for a change in their weight, and this is the group that want to lose weight.

Research has consistently told us that ‘yo-yo’ dieting is dangerous. What I mean by this, is losing 10kg, and then gaining 8-12kg back, then losing 4kg, and gaining 3kg back, etc etc. Over time research has demonstrated that individuals that are losing and gaining the weight back on tend to find themselves at a weight higher than what they initially started at. In conjunction with this, we know that individuals that do have up and down weight changes, are more at risk for several serious health risks. These include cancers (particularly breast cancer in women), diabetes and heart disease. Some of these health issues are related to the changes in hormones (particularly oestrogen for breast cancer), however others are linked to the end weight that individuals reside at long term.

I understand that it is not easy to lose weight. But thinking that there is an easy option, unfortunately I’m the bearer of bad news. And there isn’t. To lose weight, and keep the weight off for life – you need to make changes to your whole lifestyle (and possible your partners and families) to ensure it stays for life.

Sally Muir – Dietitian

As a trainer and PT I am asked this all the time! And I want to start by saying there is no rule for everyone, as we are all different, gained different amounts during pregnancy and have very different tendencies to hold on to weight or lose weight in the months/years that follow the birth of your baby.

Will I ever be the same? I’m going to start with the bad news! Due to the changes in hormones, and stress on the body during pregnancy it is unlikely that you will ever have the body you had prior to conceiving. During pregnancy you unfortunately lose muscle tone in particular areas of your body (arms, glutes, core and back – to name a few!) Even if you quickly lose the weight that you gained during pregnancy, your body is unlikely to have the muscle tone (or strength) you previously did. Over the months and years following the birth of your baby, it can take a lot of time to rebuild the muscles mass and strength that you had previously built up over life. These changes in muscle mass, combined with the changes to your hips and breasts (due to hormones) can result in your body never being exactly the same as prior to conceiving. A small price to pay, for the miracle you give birth to!

But when can I expect to be at my pre-baby weight? This varies for all women. I like to encourage mums to have a balanced view when trying to regain their pre-baby body, and achieving a healthy weight. The ultimate goal is for your weight to come back to a healthy weight range. What does this mean? Most health professionals will use the crude tool of BMI to determine your range. It is really important to remember that this tool DOES NOT take into account that muscle is denser than fat. So for individuals that naturally carry a lot of muscle, they can have a higher BMI (anyway, I’m getting off the topic!!). The healthy BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9. To determine you’re BMI:

Weight in kg              = BMI                                         62kg
(Height in metres )2                                                   (1.7m2)                   = 21.4

The Heart Foundation have an online tool you can use at

1st birthdayMy general advice to mums is to aim to be at their pre-baby weight (or ideal body weight) at their babies first birthday. This allows mums to ensure that their providing adequate nutrition whilst breastfeeding, and allow the weight to come off through healthy eating and regular exercise. Some mums find it difficult to achieve this goal in the first twelve months, however my reasoning behind this goal is that women are at increased health risks if they do not resume their ideal body weight prior to falling pregnant in subsequent pregnancies. Women who are not at their ideal body weight (or pre-pregnancy weight) when conceiving are at increased risk of gestational diabetes. An addition, women who do not reach a healthy weight following the birth of their children are at increased risk of diabetes, cancers and heart disease in the years to follow. Additional associations have been made between women who do not lose their baby weight and post-natal depression, due to poor self-esteem and body image. With all of these in mind, it is important to prioritise your health and wellbeing, which includes resuming a healthy weight following the birth of your baby.

How to achieve a healthy body weight? There is no secret recipe for achieving your healthy body weight following the birth of your baby. It definitely does not include fad diets, crash diets or shakes (but I will save that for another day!!) Here are my tips:

  • Patience! Don’t be in a hurry to drop the weight. Despite the pressure females feel from the media (family, friends and themselves) due to high profile celebrities dropping the baby-weight within days and weeks. This IS NOT NORMAL. They have chefs, nanny’s, personal trainer and personal assistants to help them with everything they do! Plus some of the techniques used are very questionable (in my opinion).
  • Don’t crash diet. The first reaction of your body if it receives reduced calorie intake is the shutdown of additional bodily functions. The first to be compromised will be your milk production for your baby.
  • Increase exercise slowly It is important to increase the intensity and duration of exercise slowly. Don’t head out for a 10km run when your baby is only 6 weeks old! Your body initially needs to recover, and then you need to rebuild your fitness and strength.
  • Balance Ensure you balance the numerous demands on your body. From breastfeeding, sleep, nutrition, exercise and ‘me time’. For many, time exercising is also ‘me time’ which is a great way to do two of these things at the same time.
  • Smart snacking When you are breastfeeding many mums find that they are constantly hungry, and looking for snacks. It is really important to surround yourself with lots of easy healthy snack foods so that you aren’t tempted by empty calories (junk food). Make sure you have plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand (cut these up and seal them in an airtight container, so they are even easier to snack on), dried fruit and nuts, and low-fat dairy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids The body often mistakes thirst for hunger. Whilst you are breastfeeding you fluid requirements at very high, particularly if you are also exercising. It is important to drink plenty of water.
  • Set realistic goals Aiming for a milestone at a point in time is a great way to keep you on track. It is really important that it is realistic, or it will become an added STRESS point. Rather than having a number on the scales, I always suggest having an outfit that you’d like to feel good in by a point in time.
  • Stop to smell the roses! Don’t let weight loss control your life. Having a baby is a very special time in your life, and it is important to cherish this time. Don’t let weight loss become more important than enjoying life!

For more personal details on an approach to losing the extra baby weight, contact Vicky to organise a time to discuss further – Vicky Anderson

Once you have decided it’s time to start to introduce some solids to your little ones diet. Mums start to do some reading on what the best approach to this is. Many mother’s groups come up against the conversation topic of ‘Purees vs Baby-led weaning.’ With everyone trying it for the first time, no one has first-hand experience of what the correct approach is to introduce solids to your baby. So let’s start at the beginning…
What is pureed diet?

pureeThis approach is the ‘original’ method to introducing solids that most (if not all!) of our parents used with us. Initially parents are encouraged to introduce single food purees that resemble a texture of somewhere between yoghurt and milk. Most babies will start with pureed vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, carrot and pureed fruits such as apple and pear. Before moving on to combinations of these. In addition to this, it is also suggested that by 6 months babies are also being offered baby-rice cereals and pureed meats/chicken/fish. The rational behind introducing the baby-rice cereals is that these are fortified with iron, which babies require at this stage of their development. Many parents will combine breast milk/formula with the rice-cereal and some pureed fruit/vegetable to make the taste more appealing to the baby (mind-you, some babies love it just as it comes!!!)

Due to the nature of needing to cook and pureed meals, many parents will adopt the approach of pureeing large batches of fruits and vegetables, and freezing them in ice-trays or specially designed baby-food containers for the freezer. This can save hours in food preparation and ensure that you always have food available for your baby.

Progressing past purees, thicker and lumpier meals are then offered to babies progressing to soft and lumpy foods such as pastas, soft fruits and vegetables (pear, nectarine, peaches, strawberries, avocadoes etc) etc. Gradually you introduce more and more variety to the babies diet, until they are consuming a well-rounded diet similar to the parents (minus the salt and sugar!)

What is baby-led weaning?

BLWBaby Led Weaning (BLW) is an approach to baby eating that allows your baby to take the lead in the weaning process. Instead of spoon feeding your baby puréed food, you give them only finger foods and let them feed themselves from the start. It is thought that by using this approach your baby can choose what they want to eat, and eat as much or little as they wish. This approach is ideally suited to babies starting solids around the age of 6 months. As it relies on them holding the food in their hands, and moving it to their mouth. The approach suggests that ‘Ideally your baby would sit at the table during your family meal and just have a bit of whatever you’re having (as long as it has no added salt and isn’t too sweet).’ Ideal first foods to start your baby on are anything that can be cut into a stick shape, long enough for your baby to hold in his fist, with some sticking out the top that he can get into his mouth. Food should also be soft enough for them to be able to bite bits off with their gums, but not too soft or it will just turn to mush when they squeeze it. Steamed vegetables and soft fruits are good first foods to try. Due to the nature of this type of eating, many babies do not achieve adequate solid nutrition until 9-10 months. This approach allows your baby to play and explore with the good at the beginning, and slowly they will eat more food as their coordination and interest develops.

What is better for my baby?

There are arguments for both! And I am not about to tell you which one to do, and there is no strong evidence to say one is better than the other.

It is really important to look at both approaches from a holistic point of you, rather than simply a nutritional point of you. Below is a table of some of the pros and cons for each style. In the below table I haven’t included points such as ‘Less stressful’, ‘Babies enjoy it’, ‘Its natural’ as I feel these are very ambiguous and could apply to both arguments.

Pros Cons
Puree progression
  • Easier to see what your baby has ingested
  • More nutrition ingested during early months
  • Pre-prepare large number of meals, and freeze ahead of time
  • Less planning required
  • Less messy
  • Parent and baby interacting
  • Babies enjoy interaction
  • Less food waste
  • Convenience of feeding anytime/anywhere
  • Large variety of foods, due to being able to pureed combinations
  • Time required to spoon meals in
  • Puree preparation time
  • Transition from pureed to lumpy foods
Baby-led weaning ·       No baby purées to make
·       No need to spoon feed your baby
·       Babies enjoy it due to having choice
·       No transition to lumpy food
·       Easy to go out
·       They learn through family meals
·       Aids physical development
·       A lot of food waste
·        It’s messy
·       Baby eats less solid food
·       Can take some planning
·       You might miss some of your favourite foods
·       Need to eat meals at certain times
·       Can require a lot of preparation

How do I decide what to do?

20131122_184307From working with large numbers of mums, I can honestly say that neither approach will suit every baby or family. Some mums HATE mess, and therefore cannot stand the thought of BLW due to the nature of the mess involved. Other mums HATE having to sit and spoon feed their baby, therefore pureed meals end up being dreaded.

My honest opinion is that a combination of both is a great model. This way you get the benefits from both approaches, and can make choices for when you can mentally and emotionally deal with the mess vs when you would prefer to simply spoon in a pureed meal. This option also ensures that your baby is receiving adequate nutrition, and a large variety of all foods.

My personal message to mums is, don’t feel pressured into either approach. Do what is best for you and your baby, and adopt either approach to suit your lifestyle.

Sally Muir – Dietitian, Mum and Personal Trainer!

As your baby approaches four months of age you will start to be asked ‘Have you started solids yet?’  Most mums are just finding their fit with some sort of routine with feeds and sleeps at this stage, and then you have to think about introducing meal times as well!

When do I introduce solids?

Depending which year you have your baby (and what the current guidelines state!), it is recommended by most health bodies that between 4-6 months of age. Most recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend around 6 months.  However the Australian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) has recommended between 4-6 months of age, for allergy prevention in babies and children. CONFUSING!!

What we all know as mums is that there is no perfect age, every child won’t be ready for solids at 4 months exactly! Likewise, waiting until 6 months can see some babies grabbing at foods around them in an attempt to try foods!

My general advice to mums (as a dietitian and a mum), is to follow you instinct. NOT before 4 months of age, and generally not after 6 months of age (read below ‘Why do I need to introduce solids?’). By watching your baby around food you will see the signs of readiness. A checklist for when your baby is ready are:

  • Good head control (they need to be able to sit up, not lying flat for solids!)
  • Watching others eat with interest
  • Reaching out for food around them (perhaps while sitting on mums lap while she eats her breakfast)
  • Opens their mouth when you offer them food on a spoon.
  • Potentially a very settled baby will suddenly become unsettled, and waking for feeds previously missed.

When these occur for your baby will vary, we all know that our babies won’t sit, crawl or walk at the same age. Likewise they won’t all be ready for solids at exactly the same age. So it’s watching your baby for when they are ready, and starting when it’s appropriate for you.

Why do I need to introduce solids?

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding initially provides 100% of the nutrition and hydration that your baby needs. Up until 4-6 months of age your baby has relied on iron stored in their body from the time spent in the uterus combined with the small amounts of iron provided by breastmilk and/or infant formula. However, around this point in time the stored iron in the body reduces. This means that your baby needs to find iron from an additional source of nutrition – FOOD!

As the months progress, it’s not only iron that your baby benefits from the addition of foods. Thus it is important to introduce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, followed by meats, fish and chicken (or meat alternatives should you choose to follow a vegetarian diet for your baby) to ensure adequate nutrition for your growing baby.

How to introduce solids?

Initially when you introduce solids to your baby, it is best to choose a time of days that suits you both! Try a time when your baby is alert, and you are both relaxed. Not a time when they are obviously unsettled, and you are trying to rush out the door!

Initially it is best to trial solids after your baby has had a breastfeed or bottle. This is a great routine to set up in the initial period, as it ensures that your baby receives adequate nutrition and hydration from breastmilk/infant formula prior to tiring of solids (and not receiving adequate nutrition).

Overtime you will start to notice your baby communicating with you about food. Some of the signs to look out for include:

Signs of hunger:

  • getting excited when your baby sees you preparing their meal or being put in their highchair
  • leaning towards you when they are sitting in their highchair
  • opening their mouth as you’re about to feed them in anticipation

 Signs your baby has had adequate or is no longer interested:

  • turning their head away
  • losing interest or getting distracted easily
  • pushing the spoon away
  • closing their mouth shut
  • waving their hands in front of them (in a movement to say – ‘No more!’)



I recently explained this concept to a mum I was chatting to, with two little ones. I think this is a great and basic way to ensure that your child (and you!) consume adequate vitamins and nutrients from a variety of foods.

This can become a game for older children – ask your toddler ‘to name a fruit/vegetable every colour of the rainbow that they like to eat’. If your child can only name ‘White’ foods, then it’s time to start introducing a greater variety of foods to their diet.

As a mum it’s a great tool to use as your plan your childs meals for the day, and week. I am not suggesting that you serve every colour with every meal (however if you want to – go for it!!). But it’s a good check-list when you are planning the family meals, to know that they are getting a great variety of nutrients from all the foods.

Nutritional value of your colours:

RainbowRed – Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

Orange/Yellow – Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

Green – Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.

Blue/Purple – The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

White/brown – White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.


Red Purple/Blue Orange/Yellow Green Brown/White

Red capsicum





Red grapes



Red apples


Red cabbage






Purple grapes





Sweet potato
















Green apples

Green grapes



Green beans





Green capsicum


Brown pears


White peaches










Source: Nutrition Australia

One of my goals as a mum is to set the best example to my little ones. This has become more important to me having two beautiful little girls, I have witnessed firsthand (seeing girlfriends encounter eating disorders) the affect that positive body image can have on young girls and woman and their perspective on their own body image.

Mum body exampleWhilst relaxing over the summer at the beach, I was reading a Marie Claire magazine and came across a photo that summed this up. The magazine had asked advertising agencies to put together an advertisement for positive body image. There were several different approaches; however this one hit home for me. I think it says it all.

From this, it inspired me to make a list of the attributes I’d like my daughters to take from the example my husband and I set for them. I thought I’d share it, in the hope it might encourage other mums to reflect on their own practices!

Always be positive about my body image in front of my girls (I still have my moments where I don’t like what I see, but ensure that these are away from view!!!)

  • Include regular exercise as part of our lives forever. I love that Abi already gets her handbag and walks to the door and says ‘Bye Mummy, I’m going to the gym/for a run!’

Research has proven that when children witness their parents leading a healthy lifestyle (eating correctly and exercising regularly), they are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle (McMurray 1993, Gottlieb 1985, Gottileb 1986). This positive influence on children’s overall health has led to a decreased incidence in childhood obesity.

  • Consume a balanced eating. This is not to say demonstrate to your children how to ‘diet,’ this is teaching my example how to enjoy food on a daily occurrence. Demonstrate to your children how to enjoy ‘sometimes’ food as part of a balance eating habit.
  • Show them that life can be fun without alcohol! However if they choose to drink (when legal!) how to be mature, and drink with balance and understanding of those around them.

Another advertisement from the collection:

mums and bubs fitness










Sally Muir – Dietitian & Personal Trainer

Mums often ask me what my most basic tips to maintaining a healthy weight is, and often I come back with ‘Energy in = Energy out’ as this is what we follow in my household! However as a dietitian, I realise that I have the knowledge to understand which foods to choose. I also have a secret weapon! During my rowing career I rowed lightweight, throughout this period of my life I was training at least 2 times/day whilst severely limiting my calorie intake to ensure that my body weight reached the magic weight for race day. This sounds easy, however you are have to balance achieving the ideal strength and cardio fitness, with your energy consumptions and weight. Anyway… what this taught me was how to appreciate food. This brings me to mindful eating…
I first became aware of this approach for eating disorder clients back at university. But I recently became aware of this approach to optimising your body image, and achieving your goal weight. I think that some of the tools from this approach, combined with healthy eating and regular exercise are key to achieving a ‘Happy you’. I hate all the FAD diets (no-carb/low-carb diets, Atkins, etc) . My philosophy is that your diet and exercise need to be lifestyle habits – which you don’t do for 1-6months; you stick to it for LIFE!!!

Mindful eating – what is it?

Mindful eating is not a diet. There are no menus or recipes. It is being more aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat, and the thoughts and emotions that you have about food. It is more about how you eat than what you eat.

Why would it work for?

I think most of us could be more mindful with our eating habits, but if you are seeking some help – and you can tick any of the following – then I think this might be for you!

  • Eating until you are too full and then feeling guilty
  • Emotional eating – eating when you are bored, stressed or anxious rather than hungry
  • Grazing on food without really tasting it
  • Eating on the run, because you are too busy tending to babies and children
  • Mindlessly munching on snacks while zoned out in front of the TV
  • Eating a meal at the same time each day whether you are hungry or not
  • Skipping meals, not paying attention to your hunger signals

Some basic tips, to help you on the correct path…  I want to be clear that I am not endorsing this entire approach to managing weight! There are some tips that Mindful eating experts give that don’t sit so well with me, however below I share some that I think can be really useful:

  1. Sit down – avoid eating on the run, don’t stand up or walk around while you are eating. You often won’t even register what you have eaten, and whether you are full when you eat on the run.
  2. Don’t multi-task. Hmmm, I think we are all guilty of this – what mum isn’t! When you eat whilst doing something else, you are less likely to think about what you are eating!
  3. Turn off the TV – this way you can focus on what you are eating, and realise when you are satisfied
  4. Don’t confuse being thirsty, with being hungry – this is very common (particularly for our breastfeeding mums!). Many of us find it difficult to differentiate between thirst and hunger. We often reach for a snack, when a glass of water is what our body really needs.
  5. Rate your hunger before you serve a meal. Take a moment to think about how hungry you are before you serve yourself a standard serve. If you reflect on your level of hunger, you are more inclined to serve an appropriate serving.
  6. Don’t wait until you are starving! You will always overeat if you are extremely hungry, so its important to try and avoid this!
  7. Plan your meals. If you always have to put a meal together at the last moment, you are more inclined to eat anything you can think of. Whereas, if you plan your meals you can make healthy meal plans that will tick all the boxes.
  8. Think whilst eating. Sounds simple, but all you need to do is pay attention to when you feel satisfied during a meal – rather than eating everything on your plate!
  9. Beware of emotional eating. Many of us have done it (I know I have!), and the first step is recognising if you do it. Once you know this is a problem for you, it is important to try and deal with the emotions in an alternate approach. Maybe focus these emotions into physical exercise!!! (haha, I know – I can’t help myself)
  10. Focus on nourishing foods. I think is an obvious point, but I‘ll include it anyway. Making smart food choices are always going to be important, no matter what approach you have to eating!

Once you become a mum, you find yourself reading food labels on all sorts of foods – much more than you ever have previously. So I thought I’d put some hints together for what to look for, and what some of the lingo actually means!!

Food labels explain a lot about the content of the food contained in the package, and are designed to Food-Labelhelp make food choices. Often people become so confused with the food labels, and become influenced by other sections of the contents packaging which is actually ‘marketing!!’ So it is important to understand what parts of a food label are important, and what it means.

Labels will list additives, ingredients and nutrition information such as fat and protein content. A food label should list the country of origin of the food product, but this statement is not always easy to interpret.

Difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’

Foods with a shelf life of less than two years must have a ‘best before’ or ‘use-by’ date.

  • ‘Best before’ date –  refers to the quality of the food – food stored in the recommended way will remain of good quality until that date. It may still be safe to eat certain foods after the ‘best before’ date, but they may have lost quality and some nutritional value.
  • ‘Use-by’ date – refers to foods that should not be consumed after a certain date for health and safety reasons must have a ‘use-by’ date and cannot be sold after that date. You will find ‘use-by’ dates on perishables such as meat, fish and dairy products.

List of ingredients

All ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight, including added water. So:

  • The ingredient listed first is present in the largest amount.
  • The ingredient listed last is present in the least amount.

If an ingredient makes up less than five per cent of the food, it does not have to be listed. Where there are very small amounts of multi-component ingredients (less than five per cent), it is permitted to list ‘composite’ ingredients only.

The length of the ingredients list and type of words used can be an indicator of how healthy a product is. Foods with long lists of scientific words are highly processed foods.


Nutrition Information panel (NIP)

This is the table on food label that gives you information on the amounts of nutrients in foods such as energy, fat and protein. The amounts are given on a:

  • Per serve basis – this can vary from brand to brand, so this shouldn’t be used when comparing products
  • Per 100g basis – this is ideal for comparing products, as all foods must contain this.

Examples of large amounts of nutrient contents/100g

  • 30 g of sugars
  • 20 g of fat
  • 3 g of fibre
  • 600 mg of sodium.

Examples of small amounts of nutrient contents/100g

  • 2 g of sugars
  • 3 g of fat
  • 0.5 g of fibre
  • 20 mg sodium.


If sugar is listed within the first 3-4 ingredients on the ingredients list, this indicates that the food is likely to contains large amounts of sugar. Other words can be used to describe different forms of sugar these include; sucrose, dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, glucose, honey, corn syrup, golden syrup and maple syrup.

No added sugar’ – this doesn’t mean that the food doesn’t contain sugar. It simple means no sugar has been added in making the product. So for something like fruit juice, which contains a large amount of sugar – they can claim ‘No added sugar.’


This is a complicated area, but for information on the different between good fats and bad fats check-out an earlier post ‘Good fats vs Bad fats’ .

In the list of ingredients, fat is very rarely listed as an ingredient! Instead it will usually be listed as; oil, butter, copha, cream, animal fat, margarine, lard, dripping and suet.

Low fat – for a food label to contain this wording it must contain less than 3g of fat per 100g.

Reduced fat – for a food label to contain this wording it must contain less fat than the regular product.

Fat free – for a food label to contain this wording it must contain less than 0.15g per 100g of product

Lite or Light – this doesn’t have any relation to the fat content, this can be in reference to the colour, taste, or texture of the product.


It is recommended that we consumed 25-30g of fibre each day. So when choosing something like a breakfast cereal it is important to choose a cereal that contains the highest content of fibre per 100g. Aim for foods that have more than 6g of fibre per serve, or have the label ‘Very high fibre’.


Choosing a low salt diet is important for the defence against heart disease and high blood pressure.  Salt can be listed in the ingredients as; sodium, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, sea salt and chicken salt.

No added salt – simply means no salt has been added through the cooking process

Low salt – means that the food contains less than 120mg of sodium per 100g.

Nutritional Claims

Don’t be misled by the marketing of foods and drinks, designers of labels are very clever and often try to mislead the consumer by using labelling tricks and traps. The terms used are often misleading. For example:

  • The term ‘light’ or ‘lite’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is low in fat or energy. The term ‘light’ may refer to the texture, colour or taste of the product. The characteristic that makes the food ‘light’ must be stated on the label.
  • The claims ‘no cholesterol’, ‘low cholesterol’ or ‘cholesterol free’ on foods derived from plants, like margarine and oil, are meaningless because all plant foods contain virtually no cholesterol. However, some can be high in fat and can contribute to weight gain if used too generously.
  • If an item claims to be 93 per cent fat free, it actually contains 7 per cent fat, but it looks so much better the other way.
  • All natural: Generally indicates no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives have been added to the product. It may still be high in fat, sugar and/or salt.
  • ‘Baked not fried’ sounds healthier, but it may still have just as much fat – check the nutrition information panel to be sure.
  • ‘Fresh as’ actually means the product hasn’t been preserved by freezing, canning, high-temperature or chemical treatment. However, it may have been refrigerated and spent time in processing and transport.

Sources: Better Health Chanel, DAA, NEMO

Sally Muir – Dietitian

I wish I had an easy recipe for how to get flat abs! If it was as easy as a following a simple diet, I would definitely tell you!

There are some basics for how to be at your best for the warmer months when you want to wear less clothing (eg. Bathers!) As a new mum, the thought of getting into your swim suit is often enough for many to decide they will never go swimming again! This needn’t be the case. We have three long months until summer, plenty of time to get on track and feel great about yourself.

Most of you will read these simply tips, and think – that’s nothing new! To be honest, it’s not – you will have most likely heard it all before. But as I often say to people, ‘You have a choice.’ If you decide to embark on feeling fantastic this summer – than jump on board and commit to a health and fitness goal.

  1. Commit, commit, commit! This is the easy part, decide what it is that your goal will be and commit to it. It might be to feel fantastic, it might be to lose XXkg, it might be to be able to run 5km (without stopping to walk). Once you have decided, tell your trainers (or a loved one) so we can keep an eye on your progress and check in to see how it is tracking!
  2. Get rid of the junk. Make it easy for yourself, and remove all junk, sugary drinks and foods, highly processed foods from your cupboards and fridge. No one needs all of this and you will feel better without it. Without it in your cupboard, it’s not easily accessible so you can’t just nibble on it throughout the day!
  3. Plan your week. If you have a plan of what exercise you are going to do each day, and when you will fit it in, you are more likely to achieve it! If you happen to miss a day, it will also make you prioritise getting your exercise on the subsequent days of the week!
  4. Plan your eating. Some people can only plan for today, others (like me) plan for what we will eat for the week ahead. Not only does this save trips to the supermarket, but it ensures that you have thought about what you will eat and you can plan for healthy meals, rather than ‘convenience’ only!!
  5. Give yourself a prize!! Think of something you want, or want to do and let it be a prize for achieving your health and fitness goal. It might be a piece of gym clothing (which will also inspire you to keep exercising!), a dinner out to your favourite restaurant, a weekend away – or if you really want to go all out ask your partner to buy you a new car if you achieve your goal!!! (I WISH!!)

I hear this question regularly, and don’t worry I also think it too!! As I am currently in the same boat as many of our Shape Up Mums. Milly is now 4 months, and I would love to have my pre-baby body back – but I am still breastfeeding!
So where do you start!!

First and foremost – NO CRASH DIETING!!! If you cut your energy intake the first thing to be compromised will be your milk production! So if you decided to go on a strict diet, not only will you be feeling fatigued (as you have less energy) – your baby will probably be unsettled as you are starving them!!!!! Choosing to focus on a ‘healthy balance diet’ is the most importance thing.

Introduce exercise slowly. Don’t decide you want to lose weight, and go for a 10km run straight away. You will find that your milk supply over the 24-48 hours will be compromised, unless you eat and drink adequately to replace the energy you are utilising for your exercise. Build up your exercise in duration and intensity, that way your body can adjust slowly to the increased demands on it.

Drink plenty of fluids. On days that you do exercise you will need to drink 3-4L of water to ensure that you are rehydrating from the sweat you have lost during exercise, providing adequate fluids for the breast milk you will produce, PLUS – supply adequate fluids to your body so that it can function!!!

Don’t snack on empty calories. Make every mouthful count, by eating wholesome nutritious foods. Choosing snacks, such as those listed in out ‘Easy snacks for breastfeeding (and non-breastfeeding) Mums!’ will ensure you are making sensible decisions.

Don’t drink empty calories. Ensure that water is your first choice of drink, drinking soft-drink or juice adds extra kilojoules to your daily intake that your body doesn’t benefit from.

Adequate protein. Ensure that you have a good source of protein at each meal, so that you are able to provide adequately for your baby. Lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products are great sources of protein.

Adequate calcium. As you produce milk, your body needs to find calcium for the breast milk you are producing. To ensure that you maintain your bone health, and have adequate calcium for your baby – including regular sources of dairy will assist in this process.

Balance is the key!!! Balancing good nutrition, with regular exercise will ensure that the extra kilograms gained during pregnancy will slowly fall off. Plus you will be able to breastfeed for as long as you and your baby desire. Too much or too little of either of these things, will either compromise your weight gain/loss or your babies ability to breastfeed adequately.

The weight loss after having a baby should not be instant! Despite what we regularly see in celebrity magazines, it is not wise to strip the weight off. My advice to mums is to aim for your babies first birthday! If you can be back at your pre-baby weight at your little ones first birthday – you have done an amazing job!!

Sally Muir – Dietitian and Personal Trainer

As we approach the warmer months, (and my upcoming QLD holiday!) I am reminded that soon I will be taking the endless layers off to get in my bathers! As I’m still breastfeeding regularly, I need to ensure that I am eating really well so that poor Milly doesn’t suffer!
Towards the end of June I realised that I was eating at least a block of Top Deck chocolate a week. To some that will sounds like a large amount, to our chocoholic mums they will say ‘a week it took you to eat the block, why not a day!!’

So I decided it was time to try and change something – and I had an idea! Why not go without chocolate next month – and I realised that just isn’t realistic. For a breatfeeding mum (that is always hungry!) how would I go completely without something I love!! So I did a switch, I cut all milk chocolate out of my diet and have been enjoying 1-2 pieces a day of dark chocolate. We all know the health benefits of dark chocolate, plus the lower sugar content, and I have pleasingly found that 1-2 piece of dark chocolate takes me much longer to eat and it much more satisfying.

I am really pleased to say that for the full month of July I didn’t eat any milk chocolate, and it really was easy! So here I am throwing it out to our mums – if you are trying to break a habit to help you lose 1-2 kilograms that have been difficult to shift. Why not make a switch:

–          Instead of having ice-cream à have a bowl of yoghurt and strawberries

–          Instead of having sugar in your coffee à cut it by ½ or try an artificial sweetener

–          Instead of having a glass of fruit juice à have a piece of fruit!

–          Instead of having full cream dairy à have low fat dairy

–          Instead of having the same size meal as your partner à ensure you serves are at least ¼ smaller

–          Instead of snacking on biscuits/chips à carry dried fruit and nuts with you, so you choose to snack on those

To help make it a success – tell someone you are doing it, so they can keep you accountable for the whole month!!!

I can honestly say it has not been difficult to make the switch, and I’m pleased to say it has resulted in a decrease on the scales!!

Sally Muir – Dietitian and Personal Trainer

It is commonly known that whilst pregnant you must take a Folate and Iodine supplement, to ensure your body has adequate levels for you and your unborn baby. Many doctors will also suggest taking a pregnancy multivitamin to assist with covering all vitamins and minerals. This is one thing that made me feel better (mentally) – particularly in the first trimester when my diet was limited. Due to morning sickness, my food preferences and food aversions resulted in a limited intake in regards to variety. So my multivitamin was an important part of what I consumed each day!!

This pregnancy, as with my last pregnancy – one of my lasting food aversions has been steak! I will happily have red meat in other dishes, but the thought of eating a steak (well let’s say, I can see how vegetarians feel!!). Given that I have still be consuming red meat at least 3 nights/week (given my husband’s love for meat!) – I was very surprised when my obstetrician called me to tell me my Iron was low, and I needed to take a supplement.

Iron in the body

Iron is vital in the body, as it carries oxygen around the body. In the body it is referred to as haemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells.

During pregnancy your body needs to make more blood due to the growth of your body to accommodate the baby, and the baby. To make the increased blood volume, your body needs more iron consumed.

If you’re found to be low in iron, some symptoms include tiredness, poor concentration and an increased risk of infection. If your levels rich very low, this can impact on your baby’s growth – hence we want to avoid this.

Iron in food

Iron is found in food in two forms; iron from animals = haem iron, and iron from plant foods = non-haem iron. Haem iron is absorbed by the body ~ 10 times more than non-haem iron.

Red meat is very high in haem iron, the redder the meat – the higher the iron content! Beef and lamb are higher in iron than pork, chicken and fish. Coloured flesh fish is higher in iron than, such as tuna us higher than fish such as barramundi.

Your body absorbs maximum amounts of iron from food in the presence of Vitamin C. You will often be recommended by a dietitian or doctor to have your red meat with a glass of orange juice – to optimise the absorption of the iron!!

In contrast, tea, coffee, unprocessed bran, and various mineral and herbal medications have been found to block the absorption of iron by the body.

Iron supplements

An iron supplement should only be taken if a blood test has confirmed you are low in iron. If this is the case it is worth discussing with your doctor the type of iron supplement you require (this can be confusing!)

An unfortunate side effect of iron supplements, is that they can cause constipation. Which for pregnant ladies is often an issue before taking an iron supplement. It is important to ensure you drink adequate water, and consume a high fibre diet, and undertake regular exercise to try and manage any concerns with constipation.

However when ladies are pregnant, you can tick all the required boxes to manage constipation – and still have problems managing it. Hence if you are required to take an iron supplement (and suffer constipation), it is worth considering a liquid version. Compound pharmacies often have a liquid iron supplement available, this is one great option as it won’t cause constipation. I recently became aware of the widely available (but expensive) liquid iron supplement called Spatone. If you choose to take a liquid iron supplement, please discuss the quantity with your doctor to ensure you take adequate amounts (you will usually require more than a standard dose, due to the increased needs during pregnancy).

As many of you may be aware, the new Australia Dietary Guidelines were released in mid-February 2013. In all Australians, nutrition contributes significantly to healthy weight, quality of life and wellbeing, resistance to infection, and protection against chronic disease and premature death. As the quality and quantity of foods and drinks consumed has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, society and the environment, better nutrition has huge potential to improve individual and public health and decrease healthcare costs.

Optimum nutrition is essential for the normal growth and physical and cognitive development of infants and children. Suboptimal nutrition is associated with ill health. Many diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer are major causes of death and disability among Australians.

Below is the summarised version of the guidelines:

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Guideline 1 To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and   choose amounts of

nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs.

  • Children   and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally.   They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked   regularly.
  • Older   people should eat nutritious foods and keep physically active to help   maintain muscle strength and a healthy weight..
Guideline 2 Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every   day:

  • Plenty   of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain   (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as   breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and   barley
  • Lean   meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk,   yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks   are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years)
  • And   drink plenty of water.
Guideline 3 Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added   sugars and alcohol.

a)      Limit   intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries,   pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps   and other savoury snacks.

  •   Replace high fat foods which contain   predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine,   coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated   and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and   avocado.
  •   Low fat diets are not suitable for children   under the age of 2 years.

b)      Limit   intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.

  •   Read labels to choose lower sodium options   among similar foods.
  •   Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the   table.

c)       Limit   intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary,

sugar-sweetened soft drinks   and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and

sports drinks.

d)      If   you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant,   planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest   option.

Guideline 4 Encourage,   support and promote breastfeeding
Guideline 5 Care for   your food; prepare and store it safely.


To read the full version, with the evidence listed you can access it from –

So what do the new guidelines mean for you and your family?

The new guidelines are encouraging people to think in terms of energy balance, rather than from food and drink. The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) encourages people to monitor the food they east, as well as paying attention to their exercise.

Since the release of the guidelines the main source of controversy has been in regards to the addition of the advice to ‘limit added sugar.’ The Australian Food and Grocery Council have fiercely opposed the inclusion of this statement. The evidence over the past decade has support this inclusion of the statement, particularly in concerns to drinks. It is well recognised that drinks containing added sugar can contribute large amounts of energy to an individual’s daily intake. We often refer to this type of drink/food as ‘empty calories’ as there is no/little nutritional benefit from consuming the food only the calories.

Sally Muir – Dietitian

We have all thought about what we would like to achieve in 2013, and some of us will have made the decision to make a ‘New Year’s resolution’ for the year. So how do you keep on track to achieve these goals, and what can you do along the way to ensure that you are successful.
1. Make a SMART resolution! Make you resolution or goal for 2013;

Specific – be very clear about what your goal is, try to limit the resolution/goal to only 1 thing!

Measurable – be able to measure whether you are successful or not.

Achievable – don’t try and set yourself a goal to exercise everyday for the year, if you realistically only normally exercise once/fortnight!            You want to set yourself up to achieve your goal.

Realistic – Set a realistic goal, that you can realistically achieve. Be realistic about what you can do on an ongoing basis, not just this week or the month of January.

Timely – give yourself a timeframe for achieving the goal/resolution. It may be for the whole year, or it may be for an event/special occasion you have coming up.

By setting a goal that ticks all of these boxes, you are setting yourself a goal that realistically be achieved!

2. Tell friends and family your resolution/goal. Sounds like an easy thing to do, but this really does make a difference for many people. Tell your friends and family what you would like to achieve, that way they can check-up with you at the end of the week.

3. Give yourself rewards! Everyone needs to feel like they are being rewarded, not just our little ones! So set yourself some smaller milestones along the way, and reward yourself if you are able to successfully meet them. If you are trying to lose ‘X’ kilos by the end of the year, break it down into monthly targets – when you reach them, you get rewarded. Buy yourself some new training clothes or a new top to wear out. If you are trying forgo sometime (maybe chocolate!) then reward yourself with something else at the end of each month you are successful!

4.  Tell you Shape Up Mums trainer. We love to know what you are working towards so we can help you – that’s what we are all there to do! If you have set yourself a resolution or goal that is relevant in any way to exercise or nutrition, we want to help. Our trainers are more than happy to discuss how you can meet an exercise goal, and our dietitian Sally is more than happy to help you achieve any nutrition or weight loss goals you have for 2013.

Sally Muir – Personal trainer and dietitian



So you’ve worked hard over the past months to improve your health and fitness, to feel good for summer. And then summer is upon us, which means the festive season. It is a difficult time of year to find time for both exercise and eating well. It is just so easy to indulge at all those Christmas parties, and not feel up to exercising the next day! So here are some tips to survive the silly season:

  • Plan each week; know when you are busy and when you can fit in some exercise. This might be walking to the shops/work, or set aside time for a Shape Up Mums session/swim/run/etc.
  • Don’t attend a cocktail party on an empty stomach! If you ensure that you have eaten yoghurt or some fruit prior to attending a party, you will curb your hunger and will help you ‘think before you eat!!’
  • Don’t, don’t, don’t have seconds!! When attending a lunch or dinner, simply eat your serve but don’t go back for seconds. By the time you have nibbles, entrée, main and dessert you will have eaten enough food to last you for the day!
  • Remember alcohol counts! It is so easy at this time of year to enjoy a few drinks, which also increases your chance of overeating! It is important to remember that alcohol is high in calories and definitely counts at the end of the day!!
  • Pace yourself. All that yummy food makes it very tempting to go crazy, but try and pace yourself. Perhaps alternate between something from the antipasto platter and a carrot/celery stick just to slow you down!
  • If you are catering yourself for a function, ensure you have some healthy options. Carrot and celery sticks with some low-fat tzatziki or hummus is a great nibble, that everyone will enjoy. At this time of year, a beautiful fresh fruit platter with some yoghurt is a great alternative for dessert.

When someone tells you a food is high in fat, individuals trying to following a healthy diet commonly think – ‘I shouldn’t eat any of that!’ However not all fats are created equal! So I thought I would explain the difference between ‘Good fats’ and ‘Bad fats’ and how much of each type is ok, as part of a balanced diet.

It is important to initially understand that all fats have the same energy (kilojoules), so it may still be necessary to limit quantities of “good fats”.  Eating too much fat can lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol, heart disease and poor diabetes control.

Unsaturated Fats = Good fats

Our good fats are called unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), these fats have a positive effect on the body and actually help to lower blood cholesterol. Unsaturated fats include the commonly discussed omega-3 fatty acids which are found in concentrated amounts in fish. These are a fantastic type of unsaturated fats, and are particularly important during pregnancy due to the role in foetal development.

Unsaturated fats can be found in:

Polyunsaturated fats

  • Oily Fish
  • Walnuts, Hazelnuts & Brazil Nuts Linseeds
  • Omega 3 Enriched Eggs
  • Plant seeds

Monounsaturated fats

  • Olive Oil & Olives
  • Canola Oil & Margarine
  • Peanut Oil & Peanuts
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Plant Seeds

Saturated Fats = Bad Fats

Our bad fats are called saturated fats, these fats have no positive effect on the body, and increase the bodies bad cholesterol.

Saturated fat is found in:

  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Lard, Dripping, Copha
  • Palm Oil (common in processed foods)
  • Fat on Meat
  • Skin on Chicken
  • Salami & Sausages
  • Processed Deli Meats
  • Full Fat Cheese, Milk and Yoghurt, Cream
  • Deep Fried Foods
  • Pastry, Doughnuts
  • Chocolate, Cake, Biscuits, Crisps
  • Coconut Cream & Milk

So how do I reduce my fat intake??

The Australian recommendations for fat state, that the percentage of our diet that should come from fat should be 20-35%. However I would always recommend aiming for the lower end of that range. The Heart Foundation recommends keeping the saturated fat component of your diet to less that 7% of total energy intake.

Some easy ways to reduce the amount of fat in your diet include:

Meat, Chicken and Seafood

  • Include fish or seafood (particularly salmon, tuna, sardines) 2 – 3 times per week
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and trim all visible fat before cooking
  • Choose skinless chicken or remove skin before cooking
  • Limit processed meats such as salami, sausage, strass, kabana etc

Cooking Methods

  • Grill, dry roast, boil, steam, microwave or barbeque instead of frying in fats and oils
  • Use a non stick fry pan for frying
  • Consider a spray oil, or use a brush to provide an even coating with a minimum of oil
  • Replace butter with a mono or polyunsaturated oil
  • Avoid adding fats to cooked food such as adding butter, margarine, meat gravy or cream sauces to meals.
  • Try low fat evaporated milk as an alternative to cream in sauces or coconut milk in curries. Light and Creamy have an evaporated milk with coconut essence added, which can easily be used instead of coconut milk.

Dairy Foods

  • Always choose low fat or skim milk, yoghurt and cheese

Dressings & Condiments

  • Replace cream or oil salad dressings with low fat or fat free varieties, lemon juice or vinegar
  • Scrape margarine or a thin spread of avocado on bread instead of butter

Extra Foods & Take Away Foods

  • Limit cake, biscuits, chocolate, crisps, doughnuts, croissants, muffins, pies, sausage rolls, pasties and quiches
  • Limit take-away foods, especially those deep fried


Written by Sally Muir – Dietitian

When you find out that you are pregnant your emotions are back flipping off walls! This is due to a combination of excitement, fear of the unknown and most of all – the increased hormones racing around your body. Once you come back down to earth (if you do, during your pregnancy) – you will find yourself coming to the question of what should I or shouldn’t I eat?

I thought I’d summarise the Do’s and the Don’ts of eating while pregnant, to try and make it as simple as possible!

What to eat – the do’s

  • Follow a healthy diet – sounds simple, and yes it is. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of low-fat dairy and lean protein, and enough carbohydrate foods to ensure you have the energy to carry out your normal lifestyle (continue to have the same amount of carbohydrate foods as you always have!)
  • Fish. It is important to eat fish when you are pregnant but you need to be careful about the fish you choose. Some fish may accumulate mercury which may be harmful to your baby’s developing nervous system. Food Standards Australia New Zealand has set the following safe guidelines for fish intake.

1 serve per fortnight of shark (flake) or billfish   (swordfish/broadbill and marlin) and NO other fish that fortnight


1serve per week of Orange Roughy (Deep Sea Perch) or   catfish and NO other fish that week


2-3serves per week of any other fish and seafood not listed   above


  • Folate: A good intake of folate reduces the risks of your baby being born with spina bifida. Dietary sources high in folate include green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and salad greens, some fruits and fortified cereals. It is recommended that during the month prior to falling pregnancy and during pregnancy women take a folate supplement of at least 400ug/day
  • Iodine: Adequate iodine in pregnancy is essential for your baby’s growth and brain development. It is now recommended that all pregnant women should take a supplement containing 150 micrograms of iodine. You still need to consume good food sources of iodine in addition to this supplement. These food sources include:
    • Seafood,
    • Iodised salt (look for the green label),
    • Bread with added iodine
    • Eggs,
    • Fortified margarine
    • Vitamin D:  It is important that woman have adequate Vitamin D levels in their body during pregnancy. Woman’s bloods are checked early in pregnancy, and vitamin D is always checked due to the increased requirements during pregnancy. If you are low n vitamin D is is often recommended you take a Vitamin D supplement.
    • Iron: Iron is needed to form the red blood cells for you and your baby. It helps carry oxygen in your blood and is needed for your baby to grow. During pregnancy you need a lot more iron than when you are not pregnant. It is best to get the iron you need from your diet. Iron from animal food sources is absorbed more easily than iron from plant foods. The best sources of iron are lean meats (especially red meat), some vegetables (especially green leafy ones), legumes, and fortified cereals.
      • What you eat or drink can stop your body using iron from your diet. You should limit your intake of these. They include:
        • Drinking tea or coffee with meals
        • Taking your iron supplement with a meal that includes milk, cheese or yoghurt
        • Eating more than 2 tablespoons of unprocessed bran
  • You can help your body get iron from the food you eat or drink by:
    • Including vitamin C with meals (e.g. citrus foods, tomato, capsicum)
    • Including animal protein with green leafy vegetables at a meal
    • Using antacids sparingly
    • Fluid – 6-8 glasses of water, assist with constipation
    • If you are overweight try to limit your weight gain. Unfortunately being overweight during pregnancy places you at an increased risk of the following; high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, a large baby, caesarean section, birth defects and difficulty losing weight after your baby is born.

What not to eat – the don’ts

    • Don’t eat for 2! Everyone will tell you can, but you can’t!!! Your body doesn’t need double the energy intake to build a baby, it only needs a small increase. You will find that your body will naturally ask for a little more food, try and feed eat healthy options when it wants more!
    • Listeria. Listeria is a bacteria found in some foods which can cause an infection called listeriosis. If passed on to your unborn baby it can cause premature birth, miscarriage or damage. The risk is the same through your whole pregnancy.
      • Always keep your food ‘safe’ by:
        • Choose freshly cooked and freshly prepared food.
        • Thawing food in the fridge or defrosting food in the microwave.
        • Cooling left over food in the fridge rather than the bench.
        • Wash your hands, chopping boards and knives after handling raw foods.
        • Make sure hot foods are hot (above 60 degrees Celsius) and cold foods are cold. (below 5 degrees Celsius), both at home and when eating out.
        • Make sure all food is fresh, used within the used-by date,
        • Eat left overs within 24 hours and reheat foods to steaming hot.
        • Heat leftovers to above 74 degrees for over 2 minutes
        • Cook all meat, chicken, fish, and eggs thoroughly.
        • Never re-freeze food once it has been thawed.
  • Foods that might contain Listeria and should be avoided include:
    • Unpasteurised dairy products
    • Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta, and fresh fetta, unless they are cooked (Yellow, hard cheese, and processed packaged cheese are safe)
    • Soft serve ice cream and thick shakes
    • All paté and ready to eat cold meats, including deli and packaged meats (eg. ham, salami, cooked chicken)
    • Ready-to-eat salads (from salad bars, buffets, supermarkets etc)
    • Raw or smoked seafood (including oysters, salmon, sashimi and sushi)
    • Home prepared meats are normally free of Listeria, if used within 24 hours or if they have been frozen.
  • Fish to avoid – shark, mackerel, tilefish, swordfish
  • Don’t start a diet while pregnant. This is not the time to lose weight intentionally, so don’t restrict your body – or your baby will be the first to go without nutrition.
  • Alcohol – don’t binge! Limit to 1 alcoholic beverage/day if you choose to drink.
  • Caffeine in moderation – less than 200mg/day (2 cups of coffee)

Sally Muir – Dietitian.

Dairy, in particular milk is a confusing topic for Mums. Our babies initially survive purely on breast milk or formula; we then slowly introduce solid foods whilst they still receive a large proportion of their nutrition from their milk/formula intake. Once they reach 12 month, most children are eating adequate amounts of a varied diet, so they don’t depend on milk for as much nutrition. So how much milk should I be feeding my toddler? Is too much milk a bad thing? What type of milk should I give my toddler? Hopefully we will answer these questions below:

How much milk does my toddler need?

The Australian dietary guidelines suggest that children aged between 4-8 years consume 600ml of milk/day and less if they are younger. So what does that mean for my 2 year old?

If we look at the amount of calcium a toddler needs for growth, the recommended daily allowance (RDI) for children aged 1-3 years is 500mg. Just 2 cups of milk (500ml milk) provides 590mg of calcium, slight exceeding the RDI. However many other foods our children eat contain calcium; 200g yoghurt (324mg calcium), 30g cheese (255mg calcium), 50g tin of salmon (155mg salmon) are just a few examples.

Most toddlers need a maximum of 2 glasses of milk/day – as a general rule. And if they receive less, and consume a more varied diet – even better!

Is too much milk a bad thing?

Unfortunately the answer here is, YES! Milk is a food that has great satiety (satisfies the tummy for long periods). Following the consumption of just a small glass of milk, your toddler might not feel hungry and therefore turn away other foods. Long term this can lead to deficiencies, if your child always has milk instead of a balanced and nutritious diet.

Too much milk can also have other negative effects on the body. Too much calcium can interfere with ion absorption, which has been linked to fussy eating. Sipping on milk can also lead to increased risk of tooth decay. So give you toddlers a glass of milk, rather than a bottle that they sip on over a longer period of time.

An interesting point, if a toddler consumes a 300ml glass of milk – they have consumed 20% of the energy they need for the day!

What milk should I choose for my toddler?

We recently discussed this in another post, but this is a topic Mums often ask about.

From 12 months of age children are recommended to have Full Cream Milk. Other dairy foods such as full cream cheese and yoghurt can be introduced from 6 months. Once a child reaches the age of 2 it is recommended by the National Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents that they consume reduced-fat milk.

For information about choosing the right milk for your family checkout ‘Whick milk to choose for my family.’

Sally Muir – dietitian

With the increased occurrence of allergic disease, I thought it might be useful to review the current advice regarding allergies and introducing solids to babies and children. Over the recent years, the occurrence of allergic disease has increased at the same time as many societal and lifestyle changes. It is apparent that these environmental changes must be responsible for the increases we have witnessed in allergic disease. There is on-going research into the exact reasons for the increased number. However as Mums we seek to be able to prevent these allergies occurring in our children. Unfortunately at this stage, most allergy prevention strategies are relatively crude with small or unconfirmed effects, and newer strategies are still in experimental stages. This Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) position statement reviews current evidence and generates revised national guidelines for primary allergy prevention.

I have summarised some of the key points of this position paper, to help navigate this complex area:

Identifying infants at risk of   allergic disease A family history of allergy and   asthma can be used to identify children at increased risk of allergic disease
Allergen avoidance in pregnancy Dietary restrictions in pregnancy   are not recommended.Aeroallergen (dust mites)   avoidance in pregnancy has not been shown to reduce allergic disease, and is   not recommended.
Breastfeeding Breastfeeding should be   recommended because of other beneficial effects.Maternal dietary restrictions   during breastfeeding are not recommended.
Infant formulae In high risk infants only, If breast feeding is not possible a hydrolysed formulae   is recommended (rather than conventional cows milk based formulae). Partially   hydrolysed formula is available in Australia without prescription.   Extensively hydrolyzed formula is more expensive, only available on   prescription, and only subsidised for treatment of combined cow’s milk and   soy allergic infants.Soy formulae and other formulae   (eg. Goat’s milk) are not recommended for the reduction of food allergy risk.
Infant diet Complementary foods (including   normal cows milk formulae) should be delayed for at least 4-6 monthsThis preventive effect has only   been demonstrated in high-risk infants

There is no evidence that an   elimination diet after the age of 4-6 months provides a protective effect,   though this needs additional investigation

Avoidance of peanut, tree nuts,   and shellfish may be recommended in high risk children during the first years   of life pending further study as this is unlikely to cause harm, however it   must be emphasised that there is no evidence to support this recommendation.

Sally Muir – Dietitian

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this question, I’d be very rich!! The last 2-5kg is always the hardest to shift. The best way I can explain this is that if you weigh ~150kg, exercises such as walking are going to burn a lot of energy (due to the sheer weight that you have to carry, whilst you are walking). So your body works harder to do this simple exercise. In addition to this, when you start exercising and eating correctly – your body has a big wakeup call and hence the weight shifts more quickly. As your body adjusts to its new way of life, exercising regularly and eating regular healthy meals – it is common to experience a plateau in the weight reduction.

So what can you do to lose those pesty last couple of kgs?

  • Mix things up nutritionally! Sounds interesting, but it’s about changing what your body has been comfortable with over the last couple of months. If you always have toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and meat and three veg for dinner – change it up! Try having a fruit salad or bircher muesli for breakfast, a bowl of soup or salad for lunch and a tuna/chicken salad for dinner.
  • Incidental exercise. Any trips to the shops or to pick up the kids, try walking. Even if it’s just one extra walk a week, this helps. Incidental exercise can make a big difference to our overall energy expenditure. Taking the stairs whenever possible is another simply and easy way to increase your energy expenditure.
  • Mix things up physically!! If you run twice a week and walk the other days, try adding in some different exercise options. Your body becomes very efficient at doing the activities that it always does. This is one of the reasons we try and keep our sessions varied, to help ensure the body always has to adapt to new skills and exercises.
  • Commit to someone else. Sounds like an easy thing to do, but this really does make a difference for many people. Either tell a friend or partner that you are going to exercise every day this week, and that way they can check-up with you at the end of the week. Otherwise, why not organise with some other Mums to go for a walk – instead of a coffee, and talk while you walk.
  • Have a goal. Set a serious goal with yourself, and set your mind to achieve it. Make you goal a SMART one (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) so that it is something you can realistically work towards. Pick an upcoming wedding or dinner that you want to feel great for. A big caution don’t let everything go after the event/dinner, you will need to keep exercising and eating well to ensure that the great changes are achieved!!

If you feel like you just can’t make these changes by yourself, have a chat with us. As a dietitian, I am more than happy to sit down and go over your current diet and make any suggestions to help. And all out PTs, are more than happy to help you out with ideas on how to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule.

Written by Sally Muir, dietitian and personal trainer.

Mums often ask me, for ideas of foods that they can snack on whilst they are breastfeeding. Many of the ideas listed below I have chosen so that you can eat while you a breastfeeding. This is one time that you will be sitting still (hopefully!) and a great opportunity to grab a nutritious snack!! For this reason I have tried to think of foods that are easy to eat one-handed!!!

  • Reduced fat yoghurt. Even try the kid’s yoghurts (Vaalia have a few yummy flavours) or the Sanitarium Up & Go breakfast yoghurt; both come in the squeeze packet, no need for a spoon, to make it a suitable option whilst you are breastfeeding!
  • Reduced fat milk and Milo/  Reduced fat flavoured milk. Nippy’s have reduced-fat chocolate and coffee milk, that are long-life. I lived on these whilst I was breastfeeding, as I could always have spares in the house!!
  • Reduced fat cheese and wholegrain biscuits. Mainland even has a pack of sliced cheese and biscuits, easy to grab on the run.
  • Fruit. Anything in season, apples, pears, mandarins are all easy to eat one handed. If you love melon, chop some melon up at the start of the week and store in the fridge. If it is already chopped you are more likely to grab some as a snack.
  • Dried fruit and nuts. Have a jar with your favourite nuts and dried fruit sitting on the bench. If this is visual, you are more inclined to grab a handful of dried fruit and nuts before you go to the pantry for that Tim Tam!!
  • Raisin Toast. A great source of energy and low in fat (as long as you don’t go overboard with the butter/margarine). You can always have this in the freezer for those snack times.
  • Muesli bars. I’m not a big fan of these; however they definitely have their place!! Choose a bar that has lots of wholegrains, fruit, seeds and nuts. These will be higher in fat on the label, but this is ‘good fat’ from the seeds and nuts. The bottom line with these is to not overdo them, they are high in energy and good fats so try and limit them to one per day. Sanatarium have a bar called ‘One square meal’ and they are a great source of whole grains and energy.
  • Avocado or cheese on toast. Choose wholegrain bread, and both of these options provide a good source of protein and energy.
  • Carrot and celery with low-fat dip. Chop some carrot and celery up at the start of the week, that way it is easy to grab these. Choose some low-fat dips, some good ones are low-fat taztziki, French onion, sun-dried tomato, and capsicum.
  • Hard-boiled egg. You can boil a couple of eggs and have them in the fridge, already pealed and ready to snack on.
  • Rice cakes with vegemite. Easy and accessible snack.
  • Celery with reduced fat peanut butter. This is one of my weaknesses! It’s one not to overdo, as the peanut butter is higher in fat. However a piece of celery with peanut butter is a very satisfying snack, due to the protein content of the nuts.
  • Fruit smoothie. You can even make this up at the start of the day, and pour yourself a glass at each breastfeed. You are not only giving yourself a great nutritious snack, but you are also providing that much needed fluid!!
  • Popcorn. Everyone is probably thinking I have lost the plot!! Popcorn is a really healthy snack, it’s what we add to it that makes it unhealthy. So cook it from scratch and store in an airtight container. This way you know it is not drenched in butter and salt.
  • Belvita breakfast biscuits. There is a range of different flavours (milk & cereal, fruit and fibre or crunchy oats), these provide a great low GI, wholegrain fibre and energy source.


Written by Sally – ShapeUp Mums trainer and resident dietitian.

Mums often ask me, what types of foods they should be eating whilst they are breastfeeding. There are some general guidelines that all Mums that are breastfeeding can follow, these have been summarised into 10 helpful tips!!

  1. Eat a varied and balanced diet. Think back to the ‘healthy food pyramid’ at school! Lots of wholegrain breads and cereals, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables; moderate amounts of lean red meat, chicken and fish and reduced fat dairy.
  2. Include more protein-rich foods in your diet. Ensure you include protein-rich foods, this includes red-meat, chicken, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds and reduced fat dairy.
  3. Eat foods containing calcium.  The obvious foods that are high in calcium are all reduced fat dairy products. Some alternatives include calcium enriched soy based yoghurts and milk, and tinned fish with bones (salmon and sardines). If none of these foods are part of your normal diet then you should consider taking a calcium supplement. A lack of calcium while pregnant and breastfeeding can be detrimental to the mother’s health.
  4. Take a ‘breastfeeding’ supplement or an iodine supplement. A pregnancy/breastfeeding supplement is a great way to know that you are getting adequate amounts of all vitamins and minerals for your baby. Health authorities have recently recommended that all breastfeeding women take an iodine supplement (150micrograms) each day. This is usually part of most breastfeeding supplements.
  5. Snack smartly throughout the day. Try to have healthy snacks on hand all the time. It is easy to reach for unhealthy snacks foods; however these often don’t satisfy hunger. Try snacking on fruit, reduced-fat yoghurt, reduced-fat flavoured milk, wholegrain crackers with low fat cheese, raisin toast, dried fruit and nits or a boiled egg.
  6. Make sure you drink lots of water. Breastfeeding mums need to drink plenty of water to ensure they produce adequate milk and remain hydrated. If you are exercising as well, this is even more important. You will need to drink approximately 3-4L of water per day. Check the colour of your urine it should be pale in colour.
  7. Avoid empty calories!! It can be so easy and tempting to just have one more…. However these foods provide lots of energy, but minimal nutritional value. Try not to deprive yourself completely, but only treat yourself every now and then with a very small treat!!
  8. Avoid all ‘fad’ diets. This are not safe for breastfeeding Mums. Fad diets are not suggested anytime, least of all when you are breastfeeding. These diets are often not balanced in what they provide nutritional. While you are breastfeeding you really need to include a very balanced diet.
  9. If you choose to drink alcohol while you are breastfeeding, limit and time your intake.  This is a very personal choice, and I’m not about to tell you one way or the other. But my message is to be smart, if you do choose to drink. Ideally breastfeed before you have a drink, and remember that a standard drink will take approximately 2 hours to clear from your body.
  10. Prioritise good nutrition. Make it a priority each day to plan good nutrition. It is so easy to skip meals and then find yourself snacking on ‘empty calories’!! Don’t worry, we’ve all done it! Try to make time for yourself, and prepare balanced, varied, healthy nutritional foods (I know easier said than done, but all I ask is that you try!!)

Written by Sally – ShapeUp Mums trainer and resident dietitian.

With a large number of milks on the market it is easy to become confused as to which is best for your family. So I thought I’d explain a few important facts about milk!

Why do we need to drink it?

Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium. With the high levels of calcium, milk is recognised for its important role in bone health. Doctors and Dietitians recommend that milk and other dairy products be consumed daily as part of a balanced diet.

Milk is a great source of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, Calcium, Riboflavin, Phosporous, Vitamins A, D and B12 and Panthothenic acid. These nutrients are particularly important to toddlers and young children for the optimal development of healthy bones.

What do the different types mean?

There are four main types of milk:

  • Full-fat (4% fat or 10 grams of fat per 250ml glass)
  • Reduced-fat (2% fat or 4 grams of fat per glass)
  • Low-fat (less than 1.5% fat or less than 2 gram of fat per glass)
  • Skim/No fat (less than 0.15% or less than 1 gram of fat per glass)

When choosing which milk to drink we need to consider the amount of fat that each product will provide in a day. The following table demonstrates the amount of fat in Full Cream dairy products versus low fat dairy products

  Full Cream Dairy Grams (g) fat Low-fat Dairy Grams (g) Fat
Breakfast 250ml of milk and cereal 10 250ml of skim milk and cereal 0.2
Morning Tea 300ml Cappuccino 12 300ml Skinny Cappuccino 0.2
Lunch Toasted sandwich w Chicken, cheese and avocado 17.5 Toasted sandwich w Chicken, low-fat cheese and avocado 1.5
Afternoon Tea Yoghurt and fruit 6 Low fat Yoghurt and fruit 2.6
Dinner Carbonara pasta (made with cream) 12 Carbonara pasta (made with skim milk) 0.2
Dessert Ice-cream 12 Low-fat ice-cream 3
Total 69.5g   7.7g


What should I (Mum/Dad) be drinking?

I think the answer to this question should be starting to become a little clearer!!! Australian adults should be choosing reduced fat dairy products. Especially for those trying to lose weight, the choice should always be low-fat/no-fat dairy products. The health benefits of reducing fat from dairy are well recognised. This is due to the majority of fat in dairy being ‘saturated fat.’ Without going into too much detail (maybe this should be a future topic!) fat comes in 2 different forms: Saturated and Unsaturated (let’s just ignore trans-fats at the moment). Saturated fats are the ‘bad’ fats, these are derived from animal sources or take-away foods. Un-saturated fats are the ‘good’ fats that are plant based fats like olive oil and avocado. Well the bottom line is, fat from milk is the ‘bad’ fats.

What should I be giving my children?

From 12 months of age children are recommended to have Full Cream Milk. Other dairy foods such as full cream cheese and yoghurt can be introduced from 6 months. Once a child reaches the age of 2 it is recommended by the National Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents that they consume reduced-fat milk.

The potential benefit of swapping a child’s milk over when they are young is that they become used to it before knowing any different and there is no problem swapping it over. We all know how difficult it is to change kids’ food once they reach school age! Low-fat varieties of milk tend to be a little on the light side for children unless weight is a problem.

Is flavoured milk a ‘No No’?

A recent study has found that children in the US who avoid milk tend to be more overweight than children who do drink milk. It is thought that this is due to children who do not drink milk replacing it with high energy drinks such as fruit juice and soft drinks. Children and adolescence require a large volume of calcium for growing bones. It can be often difficult to get this age group to drink adequate amounts of milk. Milk is a much healthier choice than sugary drinks, and therefore making a reduced fat (for children over 2 years) flavoured milk drinks a better choice for your children.


Milk allergies are more common in very young children and most tend to grow out of them or build up a tolerance to milk.

Lactose intolerance is a condition where an individual doesn’t product enough lactase. This results in undigested lactose being broken up by the bacteria in the large intestines causing gas, bloating, pain and sometimes diarrhoea. Lactase if an enzyme in the small intestine that breaks down the lactose found in milk so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Lactose is the type of carbohydrate that is naturally occurring and found in any time of milk made from an animal.

Avoiding all dairy is not necessary for individuals with lactose intolerance. Most people can have small amounts of dairy products. Individuals can still consume milk in moderate quantities and also have the option of buying lactose-free milk. Some dairy foods contain minimal amounts of lactose, which means that people with lactose intolerance can consume these foods. Foods that contain less lactose include some yoghurts, mature cheeses (like cheddar cheese, fetta and mozzarella), butter, and evaporated milk.

Written by Sally – ShapeUp Mums trainer and resident dietitian.

When I suggest athletes follow a particular diet before and after training, this is usually due to the extremely large volume and the intensity of exercise that they will be doing. A specialised diet will help their body prepare and recovery from each training session, ultimately ensuring that they can compete at their best potential.

When Mums ask me about what to eat before and after training, we need to look at the scenario a little differently. We need to look at some personal questions, Are you breastfeeding? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to maintain weight? Are you trying to fall pregnant? Or are you already pregnant? All of these questions will influence my answer to the initial question!!

The most basic advice I can give for what to east before training follows the general rule are carbohydrate rich foods, low in fat and moderate protein content. This is really aiming to provide the body a good source of energy and minimise stomach upset during training!! It is also best not to eat just as you are pulling up to training!

In regards to eating after training, the general advice I recommend is plenty of fluids (preferably water) to ensure you rehydrate, rich source of carbohydrate and a moderate source of protein. Again we want to limit the fat content and it is always a good idea to avoid alcohol straight after training!!

So you ask, what sorts of food would I suggest? Most of these suggestions are aimed at breakfast being the ‘Pre-training snack’ and morning tea/lunch being the post training snack.

Pre training snack ideas Post training snack ideas
Cereal and low fat milk (if you can exercise on milk) Low fat yoghurt and fruit
Smoothie (made with low fat yoghurt, low fat milk and   fruit) Fruit toast and a milk coffee
Fruit salad and low fat yoghurt Toast with 1 poached egg
Wholemeal/multigrain toast and low fat cheese Cheese and tomato/ham toasted sandwich
  Muesli bar (low fat)

If you did answer one of the earlier personal question with a ‘Yes’ then you may need to add more/less of particular nutrients to these snacks. If you would like further information, have a chat with me and I can provide some advice.


Written by Sally – ShapeUp Mums trainer and resident dietitian.