All posts by Tree of Life Nutrition

What is the Most Nutritious Diet Plan?

By | Education | No Comments

Diet. It’s that one word many people from all around the world are all too familiar with. You may have either partaken in a diet, (often many times over) know someone who has “tried and failed”, or are exploring options for it. Most of us acknowledge that looking good is a sure way to boost confidence; however, when considering a diet, feeling good is the most essential aspect you should be looking for. This is why a long-term and nutritious diet is the best choice. So what is the most nutritious diet plan? We explore some of the schools of thought and look at what you can do to find a nutrition plan that will not only help you look good in time, but also feel better too.

Recognising a good diet

With so many diets to choose from, it can be hard to identify one that fits in with your lifestyle, is easy to follow, and can be maintained. Endocrinologist at The University of Adelaide, Professor Gary Wittert says that focusing on healthy habits is most important.

“People should not focus on weight, people should focus on health. Then you don’t engage in these diets where you restrict your nutrients, and where people get depressed because they regain weight, which is almost an inevitability,” he told ABC news.

A non-diet approach

When asking a Dietitian or Nutritionist what the best way to approach dieting it is, most will agree that the vast majority of diets do not lead to a high result of long-term and sustained weight loss. The reason is that diets are viewed as “fads” and the best methodology for prolonged success is by viewing your diet as a lifestyle change. Once someone adapts their attitude positively towards food and exercise, a non-diet approach will always appear to be most effective.

Some key methods of a non-diet approach may include (but not limited to):

  • Nourish your body with as many organic and whole foods as possible (the closer to the earth food comes from, the better it is for you)
  • “Love the skin you’re in” – your body shape is something you can’t change (nor are your genes) so embrace the body you have
  • Do not deprive yourself of food that you enjoy. Be mindful that everything should be consumed in moderation and monitor your portion sizes as to not overindulge
  • Trust your body signals when it comes to thirst, hunger and fullness
  • Incorporate exercise that is enjoyable and invigorating into your weekly routine
  • Always set realistic goals when it comes to health and fitness by taking into account your lifestyle and time constraints
  • Plan, plan, plan. Preparation can save you not only time but money as well
  • Celebrate your successes, no matter how small

Inclusive plan for the whole family

An article in the 2014 April edition of “Today’s Dietician”, suggests that “evidence shows long-term, healthy behaviour changes are most successful when the entire family is involved”. Most people when they think back to a time when they have tried to make a positive change in their life could most likely attest to this statement. After all, there is strength in numbers.

Some of the considerations when trying to incorporate a new diet into a family household could be:

  • Accounting for, and customising a plan based on everyone’s varied tastes and (where applicable) allergies
  • Ensuring enough time for planning and preparation (let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world where time is of the essence)
  • Tailoring a plan to the household budget. Researching where to find the freshest yet still affordable produce is a great idea
  • Keeping each other accountable and motivated/excited about the shared journey
  • Setting realistic goals about what you all want to achieve and supporting each other to achieve these as a team. It is all about setting yourself and your family up for success

So what is the most nutritious diet plan that is easy to follow?

When asking what is the most nutritious diet plan, a large body of evidence shows that the Mediterranean diet is a good choice. There have been many studies since the 1970’s on its benefits. It focuses on seasonality, local produce and meals that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is highly beneficial for nutrition and long-term health. Researchers have concluded that the Mediterranean Diet can aid in weight loss and assist in the prevention of heart attacks, reverse the effects of type two diabetes, strokes and metabolic syndrome.

A US News & World Report recently ranked The Mediterranean Diet as #1 Best Diet Overall (a tie with the DASH Diet out of 35 measured diets). This way of eating could be a winner in your household, especially if health reasons are motivating you to give “dieting” a try.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid

Signature foods in the Mediterranean Diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil. Moderate consumption of fish, poultry and red wine are also included. Red meat, sugar and salt intake are reduced.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid is supported by entities such as The International Union of Nutritional Sciences. It is also supported by the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food, and Nutrition and The Hebrew University (to name a few). This is an easy-to-read Pyramid. It is designed to assist busy families to understand which foods to include in the diet, as well as a guideline for physical activity.

 

mediterranean food pyramid

The Mediterranean way of eating is not ‘prescriptive’ in nature and allows for flexibility suited to your family’s needs. It encourages enjoyment of food and good company. What’s not to love about that? It is this flexibility that makes it one of the best ‘diets’ that you can maintain long-term. It provides you with nutritious options and gives you the energy you need each day.

Understand more about the Mediterranean Diet

We are always available to chat with you about how to implement Mediterranean eating into your life. Why not book a one on one consult to see how we can help? We will also be at the Paniyiri Greek Festival in Brisbane this weekend (19 and 20 May) as Two Greek Girls Cooking. We will be making a Hellenic Salad in the cooking demo area. Come down and say hello this Sunday at 11:30 am!

mediterranean diet tomatoesMediterranean Health Expo

On Sunday 21 October, we will be bringing you a world-first Mediterranean Health Expo in Brisbane. This will be an exciting day which comprehensively covers the health and lifestyle benefits of Mediterranean Eating. We will celebrate Mediterranean culture, food and nutrition. It will be a day not to miss if you are at all curious about this way of life.

Tickets are on sale now, so grab an Early Bird Ticket while you can and we’ll see you there!

EXPO TICKETS

You can also subscribe to our mailing list for updates!

two greek girls cooking demo

Winter Warmers Cooking Demo with Two Greek Girls Cooking

By | Events | No Comments

Do you struggle to stay on a healthy eating plan over the winter period? Reach for the comfort food a little too often? Winter is a bit like that sometimes. But Two Greek Girls have you covered. In our Winter Warmers Cooking demo, we’ve put together a special selection of delicious and nutritious meal ideas to help you survive the winter months with your health intact.

 

What kind of healthy meals can we learn to cook?

We will show you some great one-pot recipes, delicious soups and stews which will keep you and your family warm as we begin to approach those winter months. They’re filling yet nutritious and have that comfort factor you’re often looking for when the weather turns cold. Plus, we always ensure we show you meals which are easy to prepare and fit in with your lifestyle.

Here’s a sneak peek…

Whole meal soups and those little extra fillers without affecting your weight! With vegetarian options and our famous Greek Avgolemono Soup (Chicken Soup).

PLUS! Learn how to modify your favourite recipes to maintain optimal nutrition without losing the flavour!

winter warmers cooking demo

Winter Warmers Cooking Demo Details

When: Monday 23rd April

Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm (5.15pm arrival)

Where: Golden Pig Food and Wine School, 38 Ross Street, Newstead

Cost: $95 Per Person

How to Secure a Spot

Simply give us a call (07) 3891 6199 or email info@twogreekgirls.com

It’s going to be a fun evening and we can’t wait to see you there!

Desi and Lisa – Two Greek Girls Cooking | Tree of Life Nutrition

 

healthy mini muffins

Banana Blueberry Oat Mini-Muffins

By | Healthy snacks | No Comments

Prepping for the day ahead can be difficult, especially if your household is a busy one. Sure, you can and should, always throw in some fruit and maybe some diced vegetables to your children’s lunchboxes (or yours!). But it is great to have a few snacks on hand to go into the lunchbox which feels a little more like ‘treat food.’ Here’s a beautiful and quick recipe for banana and blueberry mini muffins perfect for little hands.

We love both bananas and blueberries for their nutritional benefits. Bananas are the gold standard for filling up hungry little tummies and curbing blood sugar levels and have a huge number of nutrients in every sunny bunch. Whilst blueberries are high in antioxidants and support digestion, brain and heart health.

A point of view on cakes, slices and biscuits

When it comes to finding healthy snacks to add to lunchboxes, buying pre-packaged can be a minefield. There can be many claims on the health benefits of the item on the front of the packaging. But when we get to the ingredients and contents list, that’s where the real story is told. High sugar, high saturated fat, and not to mention a long list of unpronounceable and unadvisable additives can turn a so-called ‘healthy treat’ into a bad one.

Nevertheless, cakes, bars and slices are a much-anticipated part of a busy child’s day. They’re always the thing they eat above all else, and providing a healthy option often avoids the old ‘swap-e-roo’ at lunchtime. If you make them yourself, you always know what went into them.

So here’s our favourite recipe for muffins. We keep a batch in the freezer and add them in frozen to the lunchbox. They turn out perfectly defrosted by little lunch. Enjoy!

Banana blueberry oat mini-muffins

banana-blueberry-oat-mini-muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe Cavendish bananas
  • 1 cup (225 g) plain Greek yogurt (we like Olympus Greek Yoghurt or Chobani Greek Yoghurt)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup honey (local if you can source it)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup of blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C and spray mini-muffin tin with cooking oil spray, brush with oil of choice or use muffin liners.
  2. Blend banana, yoghurt, eggs, oats, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder in a food processor or Thermomix on medium-high speed until a smooth texture is achieved.
  3. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean – they’re ready.
  6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before resting on a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container for the week, or freeze them to use within 3 months…if they last that long!

Variations

You can replace the blueberries with raspberries, walnuts, or raisins in step 3 if you prefer!

We hope your children love this recipe as much as ours do.

Could your school benefit from nutritional education?

If you are interested in learning more about promoting great nutrition in schools, we also run seminars for schools, parents and carers of both primary school and high school-aged children.

For more information, head to our School Seminars page.

healthy-indulgent-valentines-day-meal-ideas

5 Healthy Yet Indulgent Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

By | Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Treating your loved one doesn’t have to mean sending them to an early grave! As Dietitians we often get asked about healthy meal ideas for special occasions. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s all about romantic food. So we have rounded up some nutritious, delicious and amorous foods which will fuel the flame. Here are our top 5 ideas for a decadent feast to make at home for your special someone this Valentine’s Day.

1. Love potion

For Valentine’s Day, it’s important to pick your drink and stick with it. Try not to mix drinks and avoid cocktails, as the mixers generally used for this are quite sugary. We recommend sipping on a high-quality red wine over a white/bubbly wine. Red Wine is relatively low in sugar and calories and has antioxidants and other nutrients that actually can improve your health if drunk in moderation. Red Wine not to yours or your partner’s taste? That’s fine, pick your favourite and just remember to pace yourself to keep the romance from turning into a snooze fest later.

2. Enter the Entree

This Valentine’s Day, we recommend starting your meal with some Oysters! Yum! Not only are Oysters delicious but they have a large range of health benefits due to their minerals, vitamins and organic compounds. Oysters are a well-renowned aphrodisiac meaning that they can boost sexual performance and libido. If that isn’t reason enough to try Oysters this Valentine’s Day, we should also mention that they can strengthen your immune system, protects you from osteoporosis, they are beneficial for healing wounds, promotes blood circulation in the body and helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases… no not a broken heart! Season them with a little bit of natural lemon and ta-da, you’re all done.

3. Main meal for your main squeeze

Sexy is not about filling up to the point where you can’t move. Choose a meal which is vibrant, tasty and light. The very meal which will leave you wanting more… Try our delicious Salmon with herb, walnut & chilli salsa.

Salmon is delicious and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, high in Vitamin B and a great source of high-quality protein and potassium, helping you feel fuller for longer. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you could also bake chicken breasts in the same way. Just keep testing to ensure it is cooked through well before serving.

4. Salad is sexy too

Salad can be super-special when you add watermelon. Vibrant and pretty with the pinks (and very on-theme for Valentine’s Day might we add), this is the perfect addition to add to any table. Watermelon is high in citrulline which promotes blood flow and circulation, good for getting the blood flowing to the heart and other organs! It also contains lycopene which supports heart and prostate health.

 

healthy-valentines-day-food-watermelon=hearts

For a refreshing side dish or one to cleanse the palate before dessert, we recommend creating the Watermelon, feta and mint salad. Simply chop 1 kg of watermelon, 1 cucumber, 200g fetta, mix it all together before adding 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 cup of loosely chopped mint and cracked black pepper to taste. Keep it Simple Sexy.

5 Treat yo’ self

Yes, it is ok to treat yourself every once in a while, and what kind of treat would this Valentine’s Day dinner be without dessert? It’s time to get figgy with it! Tempt the taste buds with this delicious fig dessert. Figs are in season now, and have been long prized as a sensual food. We recommend preparing yours drizzled with honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a generous dollop of yoghurt. The sweetness of the honey will taste delightful with the tang of the yoghurt – oh and did we mention that honey and cinnamon are aphrodisiacs too!

Now that your meal is sorted the rest is up to you… Happy Valentine’s Day lovers!

 Stay in good health!

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