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    20 Strategies to overcome your food cravings!

    [Image of food cravings, retrieved from Rewire Me]

    (Rewire Me) [image] of sugar cravings

    Do you wake up some days and think ‘That’s it, TODAY IS THE DAY! No more unhealthy food, I am a changed person.’ Then before you know it, you have gobbled down a whole chocolate bar and washed it down with an energy drink, ultimately feeling ashamed and disappointed in your lack of self-control.

    Why is that? How is it that you can be so determined one moment and completely give in to your cravings the next? Is it really that you have no self-control? Will this mind numbing battle continue on a daily basis?

    I have great news for you; it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s all about learning. Knowledge is Power, it’s time to learn how and why you’re feeling these urges, learn solutions and coping strategies too.

    It’s important to understand that cravings are both biochemical and psychological; meaning mind over matter can only go so far if your brain is subconsciously telling you to eat processed unhealthy foods!

    A Psychological View of Cravings:

    You’re upset, tired and moody – we have all been there at some point or another.  So we head to the cupboard to pull out the chocolate cookies or the freezer to binge on some ice-cream.  Emotional eating is a big part of our lives.  Food is not just to give energy. It is also comforting, social, and protective. Food can conveniently provide that big warm hug that will always be there when no one else is.

    Food has been working psychologically on you without you even realising it since the day you were born. Do you remember bonding with Mum by drinking her milk?  Nowadays we are completely bombarded with food advertising; magazines, Facebook, Instagram, television shows, movies, billboards – it's EVERYWHERE! The problem is the ones with the big advertising bucks are generally the long shelf life, unhealthy and highly processed foods.

    When we eat these high sugar or fat foods our body literally undergoes neurological stimulation of the pleasure and touch centres of the brain, predominantly synthesising the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the same rewards system that is excited with sex, social gatherings, cigarettes, hugs and cocaine.

    The desire of craving is closely linked to the prefrontal cortex of the brain which facilitates executive decision making e.g. self-control. When overstimulated or damaged this can cause behavioural disinhibition and failure to assess consequences of our actions.  
    (Lobera, 2012)

    (Dreamworks) [image] 

    Know the times when you might crave the most:

    • In a stressful or depressive state of mind
    • Positive associations linking back to a particular memory
    • Your environment e.g. social gatherings, movie nights, shopping centres
    • Watching television or boredom
    • A repetitive or restrictive diet
    • Previous episodes of binge eating
    • Malabsorption and dehydration
    • Insufficient nutrient intake
    • Depleted areas of the body requiring high amounts of nutrients
    • Imbalanced hormonal and blood glucose levels

     A brief anatomical view of hunger:

    Before we move on, you need a general idea of how intelligent your digestion system actually is. This might be new to you but nevertheless, will initiate some thought and appreciation of your body.

    Our bodies are controlled by an array of complex hormonal and neuronal signals influencing satiety and hunger. These are intricately designed biochemical systems that ensure our body refuels to maintain energy and nutrient levels. The gut, brain, microbiota, adipose tissue and nervous system all play a major role in regulating our food intake for homeostasis, (Crespo, 2014).

    Primarily, the hypothalamus is key in controlling food intake regulation. Hormones, eating patterns, climate, exercise and the levels of nutrients that are already present in your blood plasma, are all influenced by the hypothalamus. Within the hypothalamus lies appetite regulatory neurons; these neurons secrete neuropeptide Y (appetite stimulators) and neurons that secrete melanocortins (appetite suppressants) (Paternostro, 2016).

    20 Strategies to help overcome food cravings:

    1. Build a support network, get involved with your friends and family to cook and swap healthy meals, plan to go to a health-food café for lunch – visit us at Wholesomeness - Click here to view menu.
    2. Plan ahead – this is always they key to huge success, get in control! Don’t let yourself drown in takeaway or convenience shop Try our super healthy home delivered meals here.
    3. Pack your own snacks; ensure that your snacks and meals have healthy fats, carbs and proteins to lower insulin spikes and provide satiety. What goes up must come down which will only leave you wanting more bad stuff!
    4. Try to cut down the processed foods, the more that you continue eating them, the more you will crave. Make realistic weekly goals – eventually, you will make new healthy habits.
    5. Fill yourself up on lots of nourishing vegetables; you won’t have room for the bad. Eat your greens! Try a salad before the main meal. Greens in particular are super packed with nutrients that will help fill the void – try this nourishing superfood pond water available here.
    6. Stop dieting. It’s so 1980’s. Don’t deny yourself the foods you enjoy, limit them. Enjoy ALL foods in moderation, so you’re not thinking about it every moment of every day. We don’t recommend eating the same foods everyday either. Variety is the spice of life.
    7. Buy a smaller plate this will help regulate your consumption, subsequently reducing stretch receptors in your gut, eventually, you won’t need to binge for satiety.
    8. Try a food diary, when do you crave? What emotions do you feel? How often do they occur? What types of foods? Are they similar? How often do you give in? It’s also a great way to start regulating and being mindful of your daily intakes.
    9. Try watching interesting health documentaries at night to keep you inspired and motivated after a long day.
    10. Try mindful eating – allow yourself to sit for at least 1 meal per day, enjoy your food, eat slowly and chew properly, it takes around 20 minutes for your body to feel full.
    11. Get moving! Exercise releases endorphins stimulating the pleasure centres of the brain, so instead of ice cream after dinner – drop and give yourself 20! Or simply go for a walk. After that you may not feel like you need to snack, potentially you may be motivated to do even more.
    12. Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water – you might be craving or overeating simply because you are thirsty.
    13. Don’t starve yourself, this is one of the worst things you can do! You will be low on energy and weakened to the point of caving in and making poor choices when you actually do eat food.
    14. Endeavour to reduce stress – mindfulness, meditation, yoga, running, whatever it is that helps you cope. Do that.
    15. Sleeeeeeep! Glorious sleep! Statistics show that sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal fluctuations and cravings.
    16. Reset your body and detoxify – Wholesomeness have an incredible health plan that supplies you with 14 or 30 days of breakfast, lunch & dinner + snacks, no self-control needed! Your saving grace is here. It’s the perfect way to teach your body what it needs and makes a wonderful short term solution to set you on the pathway to perfect health.
    17. Ask for help – you are not alone. Wholesomeness is here to support you 100% and will be launching an inspiring 6-Week Ultimate Health Plan to get you there. Enquire now!
    18. Do a cupboard cleanout; get rid of your trigger foods to avoid temptation.
    19. Always be mindful and listen to your body. Stop, listen to your body try to understand what that craving is all about.
    20. Remember no-one is perfect (in fact that’s a whole other blog topic), you will have birthday cake one of these days and that’s ok. Get right back up and don’t dwell on it.

    Being healthy and becoming the best possible version of you is a journey. It certainly won’t happen overnight but it’s your journey. You have the power to change your life; you have the power to get control back. No-one else can make the decision for you, so get inspired and never give up!

    If you have any questions please contact Wholesomeness here, we would love to hear from you.

    If you think this post could help someone you know, don’t forget to like and share to inspire others!

     

    Bibliography

    Crespo, S. C. (2014, April 24). Peptides and food intake. PubMed. doi:doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00058.

    Inutsuka, A. a. (2013, March 06). The physiological role of orexin/hypocretin neurons in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness and neuroendocrine functions. Frontiers in Endocrinology. doi:2013.00018

    Lobera, I. J. (2012, October 3). Neurophysiological Basis of Food Craving. InTech. doi:DOI: 10.5772/48717

    MedScape. [image] of appetite control circuitory system. Unknown. Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/581204

    Nakayama, S. (2011). Orexins stimulate the ‘appetite’ of the gut. PubMed. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.220962

    Paternostro, M. A. (2016). Energy Balance. Lesson 5 - Anatomy & Physiology 3. West Virginia, USA. Retrieved 23 07, 2016

    [image] of sugar cravings. Rewire Me. Retrieved August, 26 from: https://www.rewireme.com/wellness/surprising-way-stop-food-cravings/

    [image]. Dreamworks. Retrieved August, 26 from:https://au.pinterest.com/alltimemusic15/dreamworks/

    10 Ways To Nourish Your Fatigued Body

    Are you coming home from work totally exhausted? Waking up more exhausted than the day before? We have all had that feeling where we think it is impossible to keep going; knowing that we need to go home, cook dinner, clean, get the kids ready for bed, oh and somewhere in-between have a life!

    Is it just the way life is? Busy days, little sleep and no time for ourselves to relax? No! There needs to be balance and you truly can make a huge difference with good nutrition and easy tricks to get you there.  

    (Beyond Good Health Clinics) [image] of chronic fatigue

    What are signs and symptoms of fatigue?

    • Constant feeling of tiredness
    • Shortness of breath or muscle weakness
    • Lack of motivation
    • Concentration and memory recall difficulties

      (Wedro, 2015)

    Why does your body feel so depleted?

    Our bodies can be feeling exhausted for many various reasons, you may have a serious or chronic current health issue, a newborn baby or going through a really stressful time at the moment. Whatever it may be, good nutrition will always optimize health by nourishing and supporting the fundamental biochemical pathways that lead us to be the marvelous walking, talking, living, breathing organism we are!

    These pathways require sufficient nutrient intake to ensure synthesis and balance of enzymes, proteins, hormones, neurons, cells, EVERYTHING!  Without adequate intakes, you can be tipping over a domino and starting a destructive cascade of physiological events inside your body without even realizing. Every single thing in your body will be rebuilt by what you eat.

    If you’re eating unhealthy foods, not getting enough exercise, sleep or relaxation your health will eventually mentally and physically suffer, acutely or chronically - period.

    We have over 100 trillion cells working fiercely to keep us going, even more amazing you can times that number by 10 and you get the amount of live bacteria in the human body (Rettener, 2016) – pretty amazing right? You have to give them nourishment to thrive and do their jobs effectively – they will do everything in their power to make sure you, the host, can survive. 

    Watch this amazing video on immune cells in action –

     (Healing, 2014)

    Potential causes of fatigue:

    • Prolonged sympathetic nervous system stimulation (stress and anxiety) subsequently causing insufficient absorption and digestion of food increasing malnutrition
    • Excessive amounts of high carb and sugar foods
    • Damage to GIT and dysbiosis of the microbiome
    • Nutritional deficiencies including insufficient water intake
    • Toxic build-up in your body (see article here on how to detoxify naturally)
    • Insufficient sleep (recommended 6 – 8 hours)
    • Side effects from medications

    Here’s the exciting part! You can change your life for the better! Don’t let this overwhelm you, let it inspire you; let it take your breath away at just how wonderful, intricate and purely amazing your body is.  Believe in yourself enough that you deserve to be healthy; you deserve to love your body and nourish it and feel good again!

    Top 10 Ways To Boost Your Energy!

    1. I really am a huge advocate of thistry your best to cut out the processed foods. Anything that comes in a packet, stay clear. Aim to fill your fridge with a rainbow of local fresh fruit, veg, nuts and meats. Nature has us covered, every whole-food contains an array of nourishing vitamins and minerals that you need to thrive on, aiming to help all of those beautiful pathways work at optimum levels. Don’t have time to cook? Check out our AMAZING healthy meals here.
    2. Aim to eat foods high in your B-Vitamins; they all play an integral part in energy synthesis and metabolism. Great food sources include eggs, salmon, nuts, seeds, dark-leafy greens and organic well-sourced animal liver. (Whitney, 2014) If you are really struggling it might be beneficial to opt for a well-sourced B-vitamin complex.
    3. Increase your magnesium (Mg+) intake; most of us are deficient in Mg+. (Here’s a tester-poke out your tongue in a mirror, if it is shaking chances are you may be Mg+ deficient). Mg+ is Crucial for energy, heart, lung, and immune functionality along with being essential for synthesizing glucose, proteins, fats and structures. It is also vital for neural communication. High in seeds, grains and green-leafy veg.
    4. Antioxidants help detoxify harmful substances, repair and nourish your cells along with promoting damaged cell apoptosis (cell death). Great sources of antioxidants: fresh berries, green tea, turmeric, raw organic cacao and nuts. (Mercola, 2016)
    5. Choose complex carbohydrates and lower your sugars, this includes overindulging in fruits – aim for no more than 2 – 3 serves per day max. Complex carbs are sourced from whole fruits, whole grains, green and starchy vegetables e.g. sweet potato, pumpkin and beetroot. Eat them with a bit of protein and good fats to increase satiety and avoid a high spike in blood glucose.
    6. Cut back on stimulants; caffeine, alcohol, black teas and cigarettes. Over-stimulation of the nervous system can eventually cause our body to burn out. Try an alternative dandelion root coffee, mix it up with herbal teas and if you’re a huge coffee and chocolate person aim for a new goal each week to slowly reduce your intake.
    7. Ensure you are getting enough iron (Fe+) in your diet. Fe+ is essential for transporting oxygen around your body through your blood and absolutely vital for many catalyst enzymatic reactions.  Nuts, green-leafy vegetables and red meat are all high in Fe+.
    8. Try our amazing PondWater Mix – I am officially in LOVE with this mix! It has all organic ingredients; chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, aloe vera and spelt grass. Perfect for alkalizing the body, high in glutathione for repairing gut endothelial lining, rich in nutrients and a great 3 o’clock pick me up.
    9. Probiotic rich foods: Once you have started to take a more clean eating approach it’s time to look into probiotic-rich foods or even a supplement. These gut microbes play an integral role in our body and the immune system, it is absolutely essential we have the right bacteria. Try adding sauerkraut, kimchi, miso or low sugar Kombucha into your diet once daily.
    10. Sleep, rest and relaxation: yes, you know this one – we all do, just DO IT! Find a way to take 10 – 20 minutes each day to just be, ground yourself and appreciate your life. What’s the point of working so hard for it to ruin you? There’s no point. I love deep breathing in the car, shower or right now while I am typing. You are just too important to let stress control you. P.S. if you haven’t already, give meditation a go – it’s a win. 

    Coconut turmeric chicken with vegetable stir-fry – check it out here

     

     

    References

    Asif, M. (2014, February 21). The prevention and control the type-2 diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary pattern. PubMed. doi:10.4103/2277-9531.127541

    Beyond Good Health Clinics. (n.d.). [image] of chronic fatigue. Retrieved August 03, 2016, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=fatigue&biw=1366&bih=667&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCl4Cv8aTOAhUJFZQKHaAxCKAQ_AUICCgB#imgrc=eHYfnUSvUhJwVM%3A

    Food Standards, Australian and New Zealand. (2010). Retrieved from NUTTAB: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/nutrientables/nuttab/Pages/default.aspx

    Healing, S. C. (Director). (2014). Your Immune System under a microscope. [Motion Picture]. Retrieved August 03, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPIzIznmAO0

    Mercola, D. (2016). The Ultimate Guide to Antioxidants. Retrieved August 3, 2016, from http://articles.mercola.com/antioxidants.aspx

    Rettener, R. (2016, March 10). The Human Body: Anatomy, Facts & Functions. Live Science. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/37009-human-body.html

    Wedro, B. M. (2015, March 02). Fatigue. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from http://www.medicinenet.com/fatigue/article.htm

    Whitney, E. R.-S. (2014). Understanding Nutrition, Australian and New Zealand, 2nd Edition. South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3205: CENGAGE Learning.

     

    How To Detoxify Your Body Naturally

    Ok, so we have all heard about detoxification and how great it is, but why is it so important? Does it really help our bodies or is it just another master scheme to get us to spend money? The answer is, yes, detoxification is a crucial component to achieving optimum health and should be done on a regular or quarterly basis. (1)

    Why should we detoxify?

    What goes in – must come out and our liver is working around the clock to remove that morning coffee, last night's’ wine and that delicious little muffin you just ate. Everything goes through the liver. Detoxification is compiled of many intricate and wondrous biochemical reactions to help rid your body of nasty toxin build up. Did you know that we are consistently detoxifying? Every bit of air we breathe, food we drink, meals we eat must be digested, put to good use or detoxified.

    What our liver detoxifies each day:

    • Metabolic end-waste
    • Perfume and personal care products
    • Washing detergents
    • Food Pesticides and added hormones
    • Pollutants and heavy metals
    • Alcohol and Medications
    • Food preservatives
    • Paints and cleaning products

    Who would have thought – we’re surrounded! These nasty substances can build up and guess where they are stored – your fat cells! Yikes!                          

    Signs & Symptoms of Toxicity:

    • Dry skin, eczema or acne
    • Sinus congestion, irritated eyes or a runny nose
    • Headaches, neck pain, joint or back pain
    • Constipation, bloating or flatulence
    • Inability to lose weight
    • Insomnia, fatigue, depression, and irritability
    • Frequent infections or allergic reactions
    • Bad breath or body odour

    How does it work?

    Put simply, the liver has a 2 phase protocol:

    Phase 1: Our body stimulates a variety of biochemical reactions to reduce the toxic compound into a less harmful and more soluble molecule. Free radicals are synthesised during these processes and must be excreted to avoid further damage in the body, which is why phase 2 is crucial.

    Phase 2: The toxic chemicals bind with another substance allowing excretion to occur.

    Top 10 Ways To Detoxify The Body:

    1. Eliminate all processed foods
    2. Eat all the colours of the rainbow with fresh organic fruit, vegetables and meats (this is why we are so passionate about nourishing food, so much goodness!
    3. Drink plenty of filtered water or herbal teas (I recommend something containing green tea, dandelion root and St. Mary’s thistle)
    4. Antioxidant rich foods such as berries and green leafy vegetables – I am in love with our GoodMix PondWater, which has amazing detoxification benefits (seriously!)
    5. Consuming raw juices and bone broths to obtain nutrients – Try our homemade broths
    6. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and other non-essential drugs
    7. Avoid inflammatory compounds in foods such as dairy, wheat, legumes and soy
    8. Endeavour to obtain 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, without sufficient sleep the body reduces repair and detox time
    9. Reduce stress, implement at least 10 - 20 minutes of meditation, affirmations or relaxation techniques daily
    10. Exercise! Yep, we all know this one – so find something you love! Without sufficient exercise in our lives, we are depriving ourselves of sweating out toxins, circulating the blood, building/ repair/maintenance of bones and muscle, the release of natural endorphins along with optimising our energy levels.

    Try our nourishing Chicken and Wild Rice Bone Broth Soup

    What you receive with the Wholesomeness 30 and 14 Day Reset Plans:

    • $100 FREE gift card to use with Brisbane Natural Health
    • FREE personal training session with Training Spot
    • 1 whole week FREE classes with Training Spot
    • FREE support guru to help you through your detox
    • 14 or 30 days of prepared meals and snacks
    • Eating only organic, pastured meats and fresh locally sourced vegetables
    • Elimination of sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and preservatives
    • Delivered 3 times per week fresh to your door – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
    • Choose Pickup or delivery to Brisbane
    • Two Free Days if you book 30 Days

    Please note: It is important that if you are pregnant and elderly detoxification is a big no-no, if you are suffering from a current health situation, discuss a program with your health professional prior to any detoxification implementations.

    Image 1: Reference http://www.positiveandhealthy.com/2016/03/21/symptoms-shows-body-full-toxins/ Retrieved 21/07/16

    (1) http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030314p34.shtml, date retrieved 21/07/2016

    Seven Healthy Snack Ideas to Improve Productivity - and a recipe!

    Before you reach for the chippies, chocolates or energy drinks try these energy boosting snack ideas that will keep you going to the next main meal.

    Steering clear of simple carbohydrates is the key to healthy snacking. Low fibre, easily digested carbs found in refined grains tend to raise your blood sugar, which can leave you hungry again in a few hours.

    I have to admit, I used to be a big snacker...in fact I would happily graze all day missing lunch completely before I got organised and serious about good nutrition, by taking control of my main meals and overall diet. I am amazed at how much more energy I have now. Besides, flaking out at 4.00pm is simply not an option now that I have small children!

    The trick to healthy snacking is to ensure it's not too much food to interfere with your appetite for that next main meal. Digestion is a four hour process and if you're not getting hungry in between meals your gastro intestinal system is not going to turn on the right hormones to process the food you are eating, leading to digestive issues and weight gain.

    So if you have lunch at 12.00pm but are planning dinner with friends at 7.00 or 8.00pm, you might need a snack to get you through at about 4.00pm.

    There are endless choices for snacks - and most packaged ones should be avoided. They usually contain vegetable oils, sugar (in all it's many forms) and salt. A much wiser choice would be something fresh like fruit, vegetable sticks or whole foods with little processing, and look for a balance of the healthiest sources of fats, carbs, and protein. For example:

    1. Natural or Greek-style yoghurt with a sprinkling of grain-free granola (see our new range of Good Mix products in the online menu like Neo-Blend here)
    2. 35g of a home made trail mix, we add our favourite nuts like cashews, pecans, walnuts and almonds, a small amount of dried fruit like goji berries, apricots, dates and cherries, flaked coconut and pepitas - you can even add a piece of low sugar dark chocolate (see our other new offering, Pana Chocolate here)
    3. A small portion of hummus or home made pesto dip - about 1/4 cup is enough for a snack - and have with it broccoli florrets, baby carrots and cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
    4. An apple sliced, served on a small plate with 1 Tbsp almond butter slathered on the edges
    5. A banana sliced lengthways with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter spread on and sandwiched back together
    6. Your choice of cheese (just a small wedge), a piece of pear and some raisins (like a mini cheese platter for one - this is my personal all time favourite snack)
    7. A small fruit with a sprinkling of grain-free granola or a garden salad (think a cup full or 250ml), shaved parmesan and a dash of good quality olive oil will definitely keep you going until that 8.00pm dinner scenario.

    There is no need to deny yourself a little snack here and there. But if you find yourself zombified at 3.30pm everyday, it might be time to reassess what you are eating for breakfast and lunch on a regular basis. Is there a good balance of carbs, protein and fats for your body and brain? You are an individual, only you will know what is right for you.

                                                                                                                                                

    Basil Pesto Dip Recipe

    1. Place a bunch of basil (leaves and small stems only),
      1/4 cup pine nuts,
      1/4 cup cashews,
      30g parmesan (cut into small pieces),
      30ml good quality extra virgin olive oil and
      1 small clove of garlic
      in a food processor and process until combined.
    2. Place dip in a bowl and serve with broccoli florrets, sliced capsicum 'scoops' baby carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes

                                                                                                                                                

    What are your favourite snacks?

    Don't miss out on the things you love - that's no fun! Take a step back (when you're not starving at 3.00pm and dreaming of chocolate cake) and see if you can 'healthify' your favourite snack food. Let me know in the comments below what you crave and I'll answer with some ideas on how to make it more healthy for you.

    .............................................................................................................................................

    If you’re struggling with changing your diet and lifestyle, you may want to consider hiring a health coach, the idea is pretty simple – you want to make the changes necessary to be your best – but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. A coach can help you listen to your body first and use the information that best works for you.

    As a Nutrition Consultant and Certified Health Coach I'd love to talk to you about a free introduction to Health Coaching. To make a one-on-one appointment contact me today on george@wholesomeness.com.au

    Let's do lunch! The healthy way.

    I think Australian's are pretty clued up when it comes to eating for good health. We have traditionally eaten a fresh food diet, it's only in the past 50 years that so much processed food has made it into our homes. It's this bad habit of grabbing convenience foods loaded with salt, preservatives, flavour additives and sugars that contributes to so many allergies, intolerances, metabolic issues and poor health leading to chronic disease. I want to show you it's easy to break the habit and make the most from your lunchtime - regardless of where you actually eat this important meal.

    From fast-food restaurants, even the innocent corner cafe with 'home made' muffins (read sugary cakes most likely cooked in a production kitchen somewhere else) and bakery pastries (read layers of bad fats) to supermarket shelves exploding with high-fat and high-sugar add-ons, lunchtime can be like running the gauntlet of temptation for those trying to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

    But a healthy, delicious and enjoyable lunch can be done. And you will probably save money, energy and time with these simple tips.

    When planning your meal, it should include lean protein - try a piece of wild salmon, poached or roasted chicken breast, nuts, cheeses, legumes - whole-grain carbohydrates, and fresh produce.

    It doesn't have to be raw vegetables with salad leaves either, get creative with some leftover roasted vegies, they make a delicious plant based salad. Or try adding some fruits such as thinly sliced pear or apple, even strawberries - I kid you not - they add a delicious dimension to savoury plates, try matching these fruits with cheeses. Blue vein and pear are a match made in heaven. Chicken, camembert and stone fruits are another great combination.

    Roughly half of your plate should be vegetables; one-quarter should be lean protein and one-quarter should be whole grains, such as half a cup of brown rice, quinoa or some legumes (they are just the seeds of the plant after all) like lentils. You might include a small amount of healthy fat, such as a tablespoon of olive oil and cider vinegar or lemon juice to dress up your salad.

    Be wary of salad-bar style salads, or packet salads from supermarkets. They sometimes contain unhealthy fats, hidden sugar, and salt — not to mention lots of kilojoules.

    Follow these four steps to creating your own signature version of a satisfying, healthy lunch. The trick is building in flavour so it is satisfying and not turfed in the bin at work the moment someone suggests going to the pub for Parmie Tuesday. Or was that just 27 year old me who used to do that?!

    Step 1: Build your vegetable base. Loading your plate with raw or blanched leafy greens and raw, grilled or roasted vegetables means you are already halfway to healthy right there - and is an excellent source of phytonutrients that you can't help but eat with all the flavour you'll pile on top in the next steps. 

    Step 2: Add your protein choice. You might try a few handfuls of chickpeas or kidney beans, perhaps if you have time some felafel for example. Beans are one of the best sources of fibre - and they're filling -  so you're going to be satisfied after your meal. Other good selections include grilled chicken, small amounts of cheese, and I love chopped boiled eggs and sliced plain egg omelette if I have the time. Be frugal with your cheeses, it only takes a sprinkle of strongly flavoured varieties like feta or Parmesan to deliver the flavour. Cheese also delivers a lot of kilojoules per weight, so keep this in mind when you are imagining dividing your plate into quarters as mentioned above.

    Step 3: Add a small amount of healthy fat. Sprinkle on the nuts and seeds. They are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and healthy protein, give you a feeling of fullness, and help food stay in your stomach longer. Load up on avocado, it's so good for you. You might also opt for a dash of quality olive oil.

    Step 4: Whole grains and fruits make a flavourful addition to any creative salad. Look for whole grains like quinoa or teff to sprinkle on top. Or add a few slices of fruit. Try seaweed to add flavour and minerals.

    My other favourite lunch ideas are vegetable soup. I make a big batch on the weekend and freeze it into portions and defrost before I leave the house and put it into my single serve thermos which I purchased at Biome and is simply awesome - because you can make it hot (for soups) or cold for yoghurt and granola. I actually have two for this purpose if I know I'm going to be out all day.

    And check out this video for some pre-made portable 'jar' lunch ideas - only if you have a fridge to store it in - until lunchtime rolls around. Sometimes I do this when I make kids lunches and just put it in my fridge until I am ready to eat - then I don't have to think about it while I'm working from home and they are at school and I'm counting down the hours wondering how I'm going to fit everything in until I have to go do the pick-up run!! Some great soup bases to get these jars going are: miso, thermomix (or similar) homemade stock paste, teaspoon of curry paste and some coconut milk. They all give amazing soupy flavour when you add boiling water at lunchtime.

    One of the best pieces of advice I can offer EVERYONE is to eat a good lunch. It should be the largest meal of the day with balanced portions of carbs, protein and fats to give you the fuel to get through the afternoon and then enjoy a smaller meal in the evening while you are winding down for a restful and rejuvenating sleep. A great lunch makes you a better human being.

    If you want to learn about other effective strategies for healthy eating, talk to me about booking a free initial consultation for my health coaching service. I love to help people realise they are the ones in control of their health and actualise a healthy and long life for themselves and their families.