Tag Archives: nutrients

Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or Frozen?

Let’s talk about FRUITS and VEGETABLES. You either love em or hate em! Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to “EAT YO FRUITS AND VEGGIES!” (although you should)

Due to my busy schedule (I shop once a week), budget and just out of convenience, I opt for frozen veggies and fruits (berries). I get asked a lot if frozen is good for you. So today we’re going to talk about that!

Fresh or Frozen?

We’ve always been told to eat fresh foods instead of frozen. That is true, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it can be a bit tricky.

Fresh may not always be best.

Research has shown that in many cases, frozen produce are just as nutritious as fresh produce and sometimes, they contain more nutrients! This is because nutrient levels gradually decrease over time (during transit from farm to supermarkets). This is the part where if left for too long, become brown/black, soft and rot!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, when they have the highest amount of nutrients. The process of freezing slows the ripening process, retains these nutrients and prevents them from breaking down (slows enzymatic reactions).

Of course, this does not apply to all frozen foods but it does give you more options when you don’t have time to buy fresh produce!

Keep in mind that the method of cooking also affects the nutrient levels in food. For example, water soluble vitamin Bs can be loss in the cooking water. Other vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive.

Another handy tip when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy whatever is in season! That way, you get to eat a wide variety each time and of course, cost efficient!

Personally, I find it stressful if I buy a heap of veggies that would not even last the week in my fridge! I end up throwing them away, which is such a waste. So for me, I mix fresh and frozen!

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

10 Foods that are High in Sugar

Following on from my Added Sugars post, I thought I’d point out 10 foods that are relatively high in sugar.

You’d be surprise to find out that some of these foods are assumed and/or claimed to be “healthy” and good for you.

As you’re reading this post, keep this in mind (for context):

1 tsp of sugar = 4g

1 can of coke (350mL) = 10 tsp of sugar


1. Low fat yoghurt

Yoghurts with the right strain and amount of probiotics are good for gut health. They are also a good source of protein and calcium.

With the low fat trend still trending, many are made without the fat.

BUT yoghurt without the fat would not taste as nice. And so manufacturers tend to add quite a bit of sugar to make up for it.

Low Fat Greek Natural Yoghurt344668_1

100g = 6.7g of sugar

1.7 tsp of sugar

A2 Protein Whole Milk Natural a2_1kg

100g = 4.1g of sugar

1 tsp of sugar

I know that it is not a MASSIVE difference but just so that you are AWARE. And this is just one example.

Also, check out this study about FULL fat and LOW fat dairy products.

Solution:

Go for all natural Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt. READ the LABELS and INGREDIENTS list. Sometimes, these natural plain versions have added sugar!

Ideally, you’d be looking at <15g of sugar per 100g.


2. Breakfast cereals

For many, breakfast cereals are a staple. It is a fuss free and quick breakfast option.

If you eat them every day, your choice of breakfast cereal is crucial. Most breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar (especially those that are marketed at children) and contain very little fibre, protein and other nutrients.

You’re basically having sugar for breakfast. A big NO-NO.

Kellogg’s Coco Pops

7442f090-bd1d-4498-afba-68a82a736907

1 cup = 14.4g of sugar

3.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Get up a little earlier and cook yourself a nutritious breakfast. Some eggs + avocado +/- toast will provide you with some protein, carbs and healthy fats to power you through your morning!

If you must have your cereal, choose those that are high in fibre, made from 100% wholegrains and with NO/least amount of added sugars.


3. Fruit juice

Whole fruit is good for you. Fruit juice contains fruit. So, it must be good?

I’d definitely think twice about that! Yes, fruit juice is made from fruit BUT without the fibre from a WHOLE fruit. It will still contain the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from the fruit but it also comes with a huge hit of SUGAR.

Just think about it: How many oranges would it take to make a glass of juice?

Easily more than 5 oranges. It is so easy to drink 1 glass of orange juice (made from over 5 oranges) than to actually EAT 5 oranges! That’s a lot of sugar in a tiny glass!

Without the benefits of eating a whole fruit, sugar from fruit juice is still sugar. The body processes it the same way. Shockingly, the sugars in fruit juice can be as high (or higher) as those found in a can of coke.

Love potion from Juice Labstatic1.squarespace.com400mL = 43.4g of sugar

10.9 tsp of sugar

And look, it is actually given “5 health stars”.

Solution:

EAT the whole fruit! If you MUST have your juice, please make sure that there are no added sugars. And if you order fruit juice from a stall, ALWAYS ASK FOR NO ADDED SUGAR. Most places add some form of syrup/sugar in them!


4. Smoothies

Like fruit juice, smoothies are always assumed to be “healthy”. Yes, they can be!

But many commercial smoothies (bottled or from smoothie bars) are sweetened with fruit juice (apple juice, orange juice), flavoured yoghurts, sorbets, ice cream, honey or some other sweetener (natural/artificial).

Boost Juice Passion Mangoboost1

Med size (450mL) = 61.3g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

 Solution:

Make your own smoothie at home! 1 cup of Strawberries + 1 Banana + Cacao powder + Milk/Yoghurt + Ice (optional) = YUM!

If you’re going for a commercial smoothie, check the labels and ask what’s in them! And a reminder to watch portion sizes.


5. Granola

Granola is made from rolled oats and combined with other foods like dried fruit, nuts, seeds and sweetened with either honey or other sweeteners.

With the right ingredients, granolas can be a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, iron, fibre and protein. But most commercial granolas are filled with sugar.

Five:am Apple Crumble Granola7807531 cup = 18.4g of sugar

4.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Check that there are no added sugars apart from the sugars found in dried fruit. Opt for the ones with the least amount of sugar per 100g. I’d also avoid those with some form of “vegetable oil” added to them.

As granola is more dense than cereal, use it as a topping (instead of having a whole bowl) on your yoghurt, fruit or even in your smoothie!

Alternatively, you can make your own!


6. Protein bars

With the word “protein” attached to these bars, surely they’re a healthy option?

Most of these bars are just candy/chocolate bars in disguise. They are usually loaded with sugar, low in fibre and with some protein.

Power Bar Peanut Butter Caramel Protein BarProteinSnack_Peanut-Butter-Caramel1 bar = 12g of sugar

3 tsp of sugar

Just for comparison, 2 large eggs contain around 25-30g of protein! Now, THAT is a high protein snack!

Plus, just look at the ingredients in this bar:

CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COATING (SUGAR, FRACTIONATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, WHEY POWDER, NONFAT MILK , SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA FLAVOR),CARAMEL FILLING (CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, CREAM, FRUCTOSE, PALM OIL, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR), MALTITOL SYRUP, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, PEANUTS, SOY CRISPS (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, SALT),OATS, OLIGOFRUCTOSE (FROM CHICORY ROOT) , PEANUT BUTTER, WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, FRUCTOSE SYRUP, CANE INVERT SYRUP, CALCIUM CASEINATE, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: PEANUT OIL, NONFAT MILK, SOY LECITHIN, WATER, SUGAR, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, SUNFLOWER OIL.

Look at all the different forms of sugar!

Solution:

Have some good ol’ hard boiled eggs for a snack. They are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, choline (in the YOLK) and carotenoids (in the YOLK) without the excess “junk”.


7. Sauces

Sauces, especially savoury ones, are probably the last place you would think of that would be high in sugar. Check out the sauces below!

Hoisin Saucemed105801_0710_hoisin_sauce_vert1 tbsp = 7.2g of sugar

Tomato Sauce

Ketchup1 tbsp = 5.2g of sugar

BBQ Saucethumbs_bbq_sauce

1 tbsp = 11.4g of sugar

Oyster Saucezhzhenka4-300x3001 tbsp = 4.8g of sugar

If you’re a sauc-y person, it is easy to consume a lot of sugar in one meal!

Solution:

Read the labels. Go for the ones that have no added sugar/least amount of sugar. Also, be mindful of HOW MUCH you’re having!

Try seasoning your food with herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon and vinegar. SO GOOD!


8. Sports drinks

Another question that I often get is “which is the best sports drink?” or “do I need sports drinks?”.

My standard answer would be: unless you’re an elite athlete training at high intensity levels every day (+/- under the sun), you don’t need a sports drink.

Sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel during/after intense and prolonged bouts of exercise. As such, most have a lot of sugar that can be easily absorbed and used for fuel.

If you are consuming them outside of this context, you’re just drinking unwanted sugar. Sports drinks are just another form of sweetened beverage and have been linked with obesity [1].

Gatorade81oG+Clh3nL._SY450_

600mL = 36g of sugar

9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

WATER! If you find it hard to drink plain water, squeeze some lemon and add some ice. Alternatively, have some fresh coconut water!


9. Flavoured milk

Milk on its own is highly nutritious and a good source of protein and calcium. Flavoured milk… not so much.

Along with the good stuff, flavoured milk comes packed with added sugars!

Oak Chocolate Milk 20160713055518OAK_Chocolate_600ml_3D

600mL = 63.6g of sugar

15.9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Plain milk.


 

10. Iced blended coffees

Just look at the numbers…

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino665e04ca364a4253a5b2c1fb9b514917Grande (16oz) = 61g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Stick to the usuals: black coffee, latte, cappuccino etc. They are also a lot cheaper. 😉


I hope this was helpful!

Please note that I have NOTHING against these brands listed. Just providing some examples.

I am not saying that these foods do not have a place in your diet or that you should avoid them at all cause. BUT I do want you to be AWARE of foods that have hidden sugars.

Most people say that they do not have a sweet tooth or eat desserts, yet wonder why they struggle to lose fat. Well, you may very well be eating these foods that could have the same amount of sugar in desserts!

Also, be careful of “health claims”. As you can see, some of the foods listed above are sold as health foods.

I always say FRESH IS BEST! But if you are buying packaged foods, ALWAYS check the nutrition label and the INGREDIENTS list!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Nutrient Rich vs Energy Rich

When reading food labels, calorie content is usually the first thing that we look at. Yes, calories in food are important if we’re trying to lose weight. The weight loss equation is simple (or is it?) –

energy in < energy out

Image result for energy in and out

Image Source

Technically speaking, ANY diet that creates an energy deficit will result in weight loss**. You can eat Maccas all day errrrday AND still lose weight if you are burning more than you consume. *I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD DO THAT! LOL!*

**This is a very generalised statement which does not consider long term sustainability, health effects, metabolism and hormone levels. ALL of which WILL affect your weight… eventually**

BUT! (there’s always a BUT :P)

There are also other important things that we should look at, ie: NUTRIENT content and the overall QUALITY of the diet.


High in Nutrients

We should aim to eat foods that are high in NUTRIENTS. Whole fresh foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, legumes, whole grains, dairy, nuts and seeds are all rich in many different nutrients that are SUPER good for you. Nuts and seeds may be HIGH in energy (calories) but they provide the body with healthy fats and a unique mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I love munching on fruits and vegetables. They are rich in fiber and water content, making you feel fuller for longer. This means that you are less likely to reach for sugar loaded snacks.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

What you eat also affects your hormones. And that could affect how your body stores fat, mood and the development of chronic diseases. It is NOT as simple as simply looking at “calories”.


High in Energy

It is difficult to grasp WHAT exactly is “energy rich”. A simple concept would be to look at the caloric density. This takes into account the weight of the food. When comparing between foods, those that are higher in energy per 100g are considered more energy dense.

Image result for nutrient dense vs energy dense

This image PERFECTLY depicts HIGH energy nutrient POOR foods vs LOW energy nutrient RICH foods.

Let’s say the total energy you need in a day is 1600Kcal. You can eat either the left or the right AND still lose weight. But of course, the right would provide SO MUCH MORE nutrients and you can eat A LOT more in terms of amount. On the left, you’re basically consuming empty calories and would probably need another meal to feel full! Also, what you eat can affect your hormones and how you feel.

IMG_8349


Empty Calories

We’ve all heard of the term “empty calories”. What does this actually mean?

Empty calories refer to a food offering ENERGY with LITTLE to ZERO nutrient value.

Examples: fried foods (chips, fries), sugary drinks and foods (chocs, lollies, jelly), alcohol, high fat foods (cakes, muffins, baked goods, biscuits, ice cream, processed meats) etc.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Not only are these foods nutrient poor, they are also usually highly processed. This could lead to inflammation and are usually associated with chronic diseases (heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, obesity).


Ultimate Balance

We all need ENERGY and NUTRIENTS to survive. Energy fuels the body and nutrients provide the body with the materials needed to maintain and regulate body processes.

We are all at different stages of life (childhood, youth, adults, elderly, sick, pregnant, athlete etc), plus the fact that we are all genetically unique, we have very different  nutrient requirements.

Related image

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

There is NO one-size fits all. To ensure that we are meeting the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for nutrients, aim to eat a wide variety of foods from the 5 food groups:

-Fruits: Vit C, potassium, vit A, fibre, folate, antioxidants etc

-Vegetables: Fibre, Vit A, C, potassium, iron, magnesium etc

-Grains: Carbs, protein, vit B1, iron, folate, fibre, iodine etc

-Lean meats and alternatives, legumes, nuts and seeds: Protein, iron, zinc, phosphate, copper, vitB12, vit E, omega 3 etc

-Dairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cheese: Protein, calcium, magnesium, vitB12, vit D, niacin, ribo, fats, potassium etc

Just remember, WHOLE FOODS over PROCESSED FOODS. And of course, a little treat here and there WILL NOT HURT! As long as you’re eating well MOST of the time. 🙂IMG_2705


The NEXT time you decide to try a new “diet”, think of these points:

-Am I cutting out FOOD GROUPS?

-Am I getting ALL of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function OPTIMALLY?

-Do I feel better?

-Will it provide enough ENERGY, PROTEIN and FATS?

-Will it be sustainable? What is the point if it isn’t?

-Will I be HAPPY?


  I hope you’re a little more informed and EMPOWERED to make YOUR own decisions about WHAT to EAT!

Image result for empowering quotes tumblr

Love Ya’ll! <3