Eating for Easter

Michelle’s top tips for healthy eating at Easter

  1. Enjoy your favourite chocolates; it IS Easter after all! All foods can be enjoyed without guilt, particularly for special occasions. 
  2. While enjoying Easter eggs and hot cross buns, be mindful about how many "treat foods" you are having. To help with portion control, avoid bulk buying (indulge in your absolute favourite luxury Easter eggs instead!), go for small or hollow Easter eggs rather than big Easter chocolate bunnies, and serve out the amount you will have in one sitting so you can clearly see how much you're having. By putting the rest away where you can't see them, you're less likely to overeat simply because a food is there. 
  3. Remember to stock the fridge with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (aim for 2&5...2 serves fruit and 5 serves veggies a day) and still have a healthy balance of your core food groups (grains, meat and alternatives, dairy and alternatives, fruits and vegetables) through your day. 
  4. Make the most of the long weekend by doing some exercise. Half an hour a day of movement you enjoy on most days of the week keeps us fit- and helps to balance out some of the extra energy we might be consuming over Easter!

For extra tips and information, check this page out! 

By Michelle Lin 

Posted in Wellbeing, Diet, Exercise, General


Nutrition in Preparation for Triathlons

It is important for triathletes to ensure meals and snacks are based around nutritious carbohydrate foods to meet daily fuel and nutrient demands. Persistent fatigue, poor recovery, illness, and unwanted weight loss are common symptoms amongst triathletes who don’t adequately meet their daily energy and nutrient requirements.

Timing of Meals and Snacks

As triathletes are required to train 2-3 times daily, recovery from one training session to the next is crucial. Planning their daily food intake is vital to ensure regular snacks and meals are consumed around training sessions. It’s important to have nutritious carbohydrate snacks on hand immediately after training to initiate the refuelling process. Many nutritious carbohydrate foods contain a small amount of protein which aides in the repair of regenerating proteins used in fuel metabolism and muscle damage incurred during exercise.

Carbohydrate Loading

The concept of carbohydrate loading is popular amongst triathletes prior to competition. Carbohydrate loading is more than simply eating pasta for dinner the night before competition and certainly doesn't mean gorging yourself with food for the entire week leading into a race. As training decreases leading into a race, energy (kilojoule) and carbohydrate requirements also decrease. During an easy week prior to competition it is important for athletes to taper food intake accordingly to avoid unwanted weight gain immediately prior to racing. To adequately fill muscle glycogen stores (carbohydrate stored in the muscle), athletes need to consume between 7-12g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight for 24-48 hours prior to competition.  

For sprint and Olympic distance competitors the taper in training leading into the race in conjunction with 7-8 g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight for 24 hours before competition is adequate to increase muscle glycogen stores. However, athletes competing in half ironman, long course and ironman races should increase their carbohydrate intake to 10-12 g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight for 48-72 hours before race start. For further details refer to the Carbohydrate Loading fact sheet under the ‘Competition and Training’ section

Pre-Race Eating

The majority of triathlons start early in the morning so there is the temptation to miss breakfast before race start. It’s crucial to eat a pre-race meal in order to top up muscle and liver glycogen stores. A pre-race meal containing roughly 1-2 g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight should be consumed about 1-4 hours before racing. The meal should contain familiar carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids that are low in fat and fibre. For instance two English muffins, 1½ tablespoons jam, 1 teaspoon Vegemite and 750 ml sports drink provides 2500 kJ, 125 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 14 g protein and only 4 g fibre. Foods like liquid meal supplements, sports bars, bananas and juice are also popular pre-race meal choices.

Eating During Training and Competition

Eating food during long training rides is essential for triathletes to help provide carbohydrate to the working muscles, meet daily energy and nutrient requirements and keep hunger at bay. Most ironman triathletes complete "brick" sessions during their preparation for an ironman triathlon. Brick sessions may consist of a 5-6 hour cycle immediately followed by 1-2 hours of running. Eating during brick sessions is not only beneficial, but essential.

During sprint and Olympic distance triathlons it is not necessary and certainly not practical to eat foods while racing. Due to the high intensity of racing, athletes competing in these events usually rely exclusively on sports drinks and sports gels to meet fuel and fluid losses. However, during ironman races where athletes are competing over several hours and consequently miss regular meals, eating food plays an important role in meeting their hourly carbohydrate requirements.

For shorter triathlon events, athletes should aim to consume 30-60g of carbohydrate an hour, whereas athletes contesting Ironman events should aim to consume 1-1½ grams of carbohydrate per kg body weight per hour.  For example, a 70kg male athlete contesting an Ironman event should aim to consume roughly 70-100g of carbohydrate an hour.  The athlete’s tolerance will ultimately dictate how much carbohydrate is consumed and should be considered when deciding on a race nutrition plan.

The cycle leg provides the best opportunity to consume adequate food and fluid, compared to the run and swim. Athletes are better able to tolerate food and fluid during the cycle compared to the run.  Athletes should take a variety of food on the bike to ensure they maintain interest in what they are eating. Sandwiches, fruit bars, sports bars, bananas, sweet biscuits, dried fruit and sports gels are all examples of foods commonly eaten by triathletes while cycling. It is good practice to have a combination of regular food items and sports foods.

The run presents many more challenges than the bike in meeting carbohydrate requirements. Most triathletes use fluids such as sports drinks and soft drink to simultaneously meet fluid and carbohydrate requirements during the run. During ironman events athletes will also use sports gels as these are far more practical to consume than food while running.

Meeting Fluid Requirements during Competition

During competition, it’s not as simple as drinking as much as tolerated or possible. Recent reports in the scientific literature have shown that some Ironman triathletes may drink in excess of hourly fluid requirements during an event.  Drinking in excess of hourly sweat losses may result in hyponatremia or low plasma sodium.  Slower athletes, particularly females contesting events in cooler conditions are most at risk of drinking in excess of hourly fluid requirements.  So how do you know how much to drink?  You need to monitor your individual fluid balance during training and competition sessions to develop a plan for subsequent exercise sessions.


By Jana Mellor
Senior Dietitan

Source:  AIS Sports Nutrition, last updated April 2009. © Australian Sports Commission.

Posted in Wellbeing, Diet, Exercise, General


Why you should love your dairy

Milk bottles


It seems dairy has gotten a bad rap lately. It could be due to the paleo hype going around at the moment (which excludes dairy from the diet)…I guess they have their reasons.

I have two big reasons for loving my dairy…

1. It’s high in calcium and is a great source of protein. Calcium is vital for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth and is also required for normal neuromuscular and cardiac function; where protein is important for the growth and maintenance of our muscles. Which makes sense because our bones and muscles work hand in hand - whether we’re going about our days or pumping out some exercise.

2. The second reason I’m a massive supporter of dairy, particularly for women, is because once we hit menopause our bone density decreases 2-3% per year which increases our chance of developing osteoporosis. By the time we’re 30, our bone density physically cannot increase more than it is already is, which is why it’s so important to maintain whatever our density is at that stage, for later in life.

Let’s veer away from dairy as a whole and look more closely at yoghurt (my fave - yum). This beautiful food is my savior for all things ‘gut-focused’. I recently had to take a dose of antibiotics that would apparently strip my gut of both good and bad bacteria and I was recommended to take Inner Health Plus for 1 WHOLE MONTH. While I’ve got nothing wrong with Inner Health Plus (by all means there are some people out there that do need it), I’m a young, healthy and fit person and strongly believed that my immune system would do just fine if feeding it the right food.

The reason yoghurt comes into this is because it’s full of probiotics - friendly little bacteria that are superb for our digestive system. There’s been so much new research coming out recently that suggests that an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria may strongly influence food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and obesity.

My tips for keeping your digestive system happy and healthy:

  • Have at least 200g yoghurt per day!
  • Have lots of high fibre foods which improve your balance of good bacteria (lentils, beans, bran, nuts & wholegrains etc)
  • Avoid overusing antibiotics!!! A US study looking at antibiotic use in children under three found that those who’d had three or more courses of antibiotics were twice as likely to develop a food allergy because of the change in gut microbiota. Not to mention that our bodies are incredibly adaptive - the more drugs to give it, the more immune it becomes.


By Sophie Aardoom

Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition & Dietetics), Provisional Accredited Practicing Dietician, Accredited Nutritionist


Posted in Wellbeing, Diet, General


Save yourself from the Winter Chill!

It is that time of the year again where the season changes from hot to cold, at this time many of us are prone to colds and or flu due to the sudden change and our body’s inability to cope with it.  So why not beat the change in season this year and get your body’s immune system ready with just a few simple tips!


  •  Respect the change in temperature and wear appropriate clothing and footwear.  If your feet, stomach or back are cold the rest of your body will soon follow.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin C as it can boost your immune system function and increase the level of antibodies within your system.  At this change of season it is recommended that you receive 200mg of Vitamin C a day in your diet, with a higher dose needed if you manage to get a cold.  This can be done very easily through your diet; as well as the usual citrus fruits - think about adding garlic and paprika to your cooking as well as extra helpings of broccoli.
  • Consume warmer foods and drinks, especially if it is cold outside.  This will keep your internal body temperature at the appropriate level despite the outside cold trying to invade.  A good tip from Chinese Medicine is to include ginger and or cinnamon in your diet, especially in the morning.   Try this in a tea, not only is it very warming and good for your immune system it can be very comforting on those cold mornings.
  • After exercise change out of your sweaty clothes and dry your hair before going outside into the cold.  Also try to avoid the air-conditioning or fans while sweaty as this can not only result in cold invading your body resulting in illness, but can also allow your muscles to stiffen up giving you a stiff neck etc.
  • Of course outside of these simple things you can incorporate into your daily life you can also prepare yourself for the change of season through the use of acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation.  For advice on any of these things please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check out some beautiful healthy Winter recipes recommended by our dietician Sophie by clicking HERE. More to come! :)


By Simon Strudwick

Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture)

Posted in Wellbeing, Diet, Acupuncture, General