Category Archives: Nutrition Tips

Q is for Quinoa

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Quinoa seems to have stolen the spotlight the past few years as a superfood. Although I’m not a big fan of saying a food is a ‘superfood’, quinoa does bring a lot to the table!

Firstly to begin with it’s a great option for coeliacs as it’s gluten free. You can add quinoa to salads as a swap for couscous or make porridge with quinoa flakes.

It’s also a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids (the ones you have to get through your dietary intake as your body can’t produce them). Although in saying that the protein content is very low (8g protein per 1 cup cooked) so I would recommend having other protein sources with your meal too (you can have a look at our previous blog on protein to find some ideas!).

Quinoa is also very high in fibre, which is great for your bowel health and soluble fibre has been found to reduce blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol. It also keeps you fuller for longer so plenty of fibre in your diet is good for weight loss. Per cup of cooked quinoa you get a massive 17-18g of fibre! Considering the RDI for women is 25g/day and for men is 30g/day, quinoa can really help you get your fibre intake up.

Check out our recipe on Wednesday with Quinoa as a main ingredient!

P is for Protein

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Protein: 1 of the 3 macronutrients of our diet along with carbohydrates and fats. It’s important to have an adequate intake in your diet to retain lean muscle mass and it’s important for your cells (skins, muscles, organs, hair, nails etc) as it maintains the structure, function and regulation.

Protein is also an important part of your meals as it’s helps to keep you fuller for longer, so if weight loss is a goal of yours, than having adequate protein in your diet is important. Sneak some egg in at breakfast, greek yoghurt as a morning snacks, some tinned tuna with crackers, chicken with your lunch meal, a small serving of nuts in the afternoon and a lean mince with your dinner – just some quick ideas of how to get that protein in! if you want some more individualised guidance come and see one of our dietitians!

So what foods contain protein?

  • Animal meats e.g. chicken, beef, turkey.
  • Fish & seafood.
  • Dairy products e.g. yoghurt, milk & cheese.
  • Nuts
  • Vegetarian options such as legumes and tofu.

Protein is particularly important post exercise to help your muscles recover so you don’t pull up as sore and are ready to work hard at the next session. Make sure you get your protein in within 30-45minutes post your session so protein synthesis can start your muscle recovery. If you do a lot of sport and/or exercise workouts and need some guidance around what to do for your recovery meals come and see us at Tree of Life Nutrition!

Melbourne Cup Day

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Well it’s a week today until one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar…Melbourne Cup. And for most of us it doesn’t quite involve much sport but more socialising with friends with food and drinks, placing bets on which horse will win and in the lead up organising our outfit to enter fashions on the field.

There’s often a part of the day that we don’t usually consider in the lead up and that is what will we be eating that day. There’s usually a few champagnes and canapés but what can you do to make sure you stay on track with your health and nutritional goals?

  1. Make sure you have a good quality breakfast. Think some low GI carbohydrates, protein and good fats. A good quality breakfast will keep you fuller for longer and prevent snacking on those not so healthy choices that might be available.
  1. Have a glass of water between alcoholic drinks (if you chose to drink). Not only will this slow down your alcohol intake during the day so you don’t have a huge intake of empty calories but it will also help you to stay hydrated so you wake up the next day without a huge headache!
  1. If you are going to an event have a look at the menu, so you have time to see what is available and chose a healthy option. If the event has canapés our suggestion is to get a small plate and put some canapés on there and eat from your plate – it is a lot easier to keep track of how much you are eating and portion control.

Most of all enjoy the day with family, friends or work colleagues. And good luck!

O is for Oils

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Oils, a very interesting topic of discussion the last few years. And boy can it get confusing. Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, sunflower oil, the list goes on and on so how do you know which oil to choose? I could go on all day about these but I’ll just cover the main 2 which people wonder about…coconut oil vs. olive oil.

Let me start with coconut oil, it’s been highlighted as the new ‘superfood’ by certain celebrity chefs, people preach that having a spoonful each day has helped them lose weight, although the thought of eating a tablespoon of oil in one mouthful makes me feel a bit unwell to be honest. And perhaps its not the coconut oil itself but the increase of some fat in a persons diet so they feel fuller for longer, therefore better controlling their portions and weight loss usually then occurs.

While we are often told coconut oil is good for your cholesterol, and this is partly true. It mimics what olive oil does in improving your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. But a study found that coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol less than butter, but significantly more than unsaturated plant oils do (e.g. olive oil). This is not ideal as an increase in LDL cholesterol is atherogenic. So my suggestion…keep the coconut oil as a skin moisturiser or hair treatment!

At the end of the day trust extra virgin olive oil comes out on top. A good source of omega 3’s and the type of unsaturated fat in olive oil increases your good (HDL) cholesterol, which helps to keep your bad (LDL) cholesterol low.

Olive oil is a good option to use as a salad dressing base, to drizzle over your veggies before roasting them, use as a dipping sauce with dukkah & a grainy bread or to even just use in for Oily

N is for Nuts

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

A great snack idea, a crunchy addition to a salad, a great toast topping when made into a spread form (e.g. peanut butter or almond brazil & cashew butter). Such a versatile food that should be in your diet, unless of course you have an allergy!

What is it about nuts that are so great?

  • Packed full of omega 3’s à good for your brain health
  • Provide a source of protein
  • Provide a source of fibre
  • Provide some calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc & iron
  • Provide B vitamins including folate and Vitamin E
  • Provide antioxidant minerals including selenium & manganese

Each nut variety contains its own unique combination of nutrients and is generally rich in a few nutrients such as:

  • Almonds: protein, calcium and vitamin E
  • Brazil nuts: fibre and selenium: just two brazil nuts a day provides 100% RDI for selenium for an adult
  • Cashews: non haem (plant based) iron and a low GI rating
  • Chestnuts: low GI, fibre and vitamin C (although much vitamin C is lost during cooking)
  • Hazelnuts: fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E
  • Macadamias: highest in monounsaturated fats, thiamin and manganese
  • Pecans: fibre and antioxidants
  • Pine nuts: vitamin E and the arginine amino acid
  • Pistachios: protein, potassium, plant sterols and the antioxidant resveratrol
  • Walnuts: alpha linoleic acid: plant omega 3 and antioxidants


While they’re packed full of goodness you do need to be mindful of your serving sizes to maintain a healthy weight & size. Keep your serving to a small handful weighing around 30g!

M is for Mediterranean Diet

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Mediterranean Diet is different to other diets. instead of including restriction, elimination of food groups and health claims without evidence, the mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle and includes an abudance of delicious tasting and nutritious foods from all food groups and has solid evidence to back up it’s claims.

One month we are told to cut fat from our diet, the next sugar is the root of all evil. We have no doubt that there will continue to be unqualified individuals who decide to write a book about their ‘new amazing’ strategy for fast weight loss and make some quick cash for themselves to sweeten the deal. Different fad diets look at eliminating different groups of macronutrients – Carbohydrate, Protein and/or Fat. The problem is that cutting an entire food group is completely unsustainable for long term success and can have drastic health consequences over time. Studies have shown that a simple reduction in total calorie intake throughout the day (in conjunction with increased calorie expenditure due to exercise) is all that is needed to achieve weight loss goals. Weight loss through healthy eating doesn’t sound that trendy, and may not be great for marketing, however it has been researched, tested and reviewed for many years – and has been proven to work!

Our top 10 ground rules will ensure your confidence in implementing the Mediterranean eating plan long term:

1.Use extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of dietary fat. Include whole olives; Weight loss goals may temporarily require a reduction in your olive oil consumption. However, when your goal is weight maintenance, aim to consume approximately 40ml daily. As well, consume 1 – 2 serves of whole olives per week, 1 serve is 8 kalamata olives.

2.Eat at least 5 serves of vegetables each day;Load up on 200g (2 cups) of green leafy vegetables, and then pack some punch with 200g (2 cups) of other favourite vegetables throughout the day. Be sure to use onion, garlic and herbs for loads of flavour and nutritional benefit.

3. Consume 2 serves of dairy each day;Get your dairy from either 30g of reduced fat feta, 200g (¾ cup) of low fat natural Greek yoghurt and/or 250ml (1 cup) of low fat milk.

4. Have red meat no more than once a week and preferably choose grass fed meat. Consume up to 2 serves of poultry and up to 2 – 3 serves of eggs per week;Aim for lean cuts of red meat at 120g a serve. Avoid processed meats such as sausages and deli meats. White meat includes chicken, quail and turkey at 150g a serve. 2 eggs are equivalent to 1 serve of protein. N.B. For protein alternatives for people who follow a vegetarian diet include eggs as well as vegan choices such as legumes, lentils and nuts.

5. Include at least 3 legume-based meals each week; ½ cup of dried legumes or 1 cup of cooked legumes is equivalent to 1 serve.

6. Eat at least 4 serves of fish and up to 1 serve of other seafood once a week;Prioritise oily fish (rich in omega 3) such as salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, sardines (fresh and/or tinned), tinned salmon, barramundi and bream with a serving size of 150g. In addition to this, enjoy the same portion of seafood (octopus, oysters, prawns, squid and cuttlefish) once a week. N.B. Protein serves per day: Consume 1½ – 2 serves of protein per day of fish, chicken, eggs, lean meat and/or legumes.

7. Get a variety of fresh and dried fruit each week aiming for 2 serves daily;Choose 40g of dried figs, prunes and dates as your dried fruit choice or 1 medium-sized piece of fruit, citrus or ½ cup blueberries. Be sure to add 100g (½ cup) tomatoes throughout the day.

8. Choose wholegrain breads and cereals with meals. Include up to one serve starchy vegetable, 3 times a week;Depending on activity levels choose 3 – 8 serves daily. A serving size is roughly 1 slice of bread or ½ cup of cooked grains or 1 medium (½ cup cooked) potato.

9. Have 1 serve of nuts each day; A handful (30g) of mixed unsalted almonds, walnuts and/or pistachios each day. 1 serve of nuts equates to 12 – 15 almonds, 7 – 8 walnuts or 20 pistachios each d a y

10. Adults: Drink wine in moderation; Consuming no more than 1 standard drink each day, and preferably red wine (150ml).

*Drink plenty of water and stay active (try walking at least 3 – 4 hours per week)

Purchase a copy of Lisa & Desi’s Mediterranean Cookbook for just $39.95 today! Contact reception on 3891 6199 or

L is for Label reading

By | Education, Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Fat free, sugar free, superfood, nutrient extractor – you’ve got to hand it to the marketing guru’s, they know how to catch your eye when choosing a food product!

What they don’t often tell you is the other important parts of the food and what it’s made up of. That’s where label reading is an important tool so you can choose the best option possible. I know there are people who say you shouldn’t need to know how to label read as everything you eat shouldn’t be packaged and therefore not require a nutrition label, but lets be realistic here, there are always items you want to purchase that come in a packet or can!

So what should you be looking out for when reading a nutrition label. The key 5 things are the total fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and fibre content of foods. It’s also important to check the ingredient list – the ingredients listed first have the highest content in the food, so if sugar is the first ingredient then you can safely assume the food isn’t going to provide you with much nutritionally.

Use these guidelines when reading your nutrition label, and remember to use the per 100g column, especially when comparing products as serving sizes can be different amounts!

Total fat: ideally less than 10g per 100g.

Saturated fat: ideally less than 3g per 100g is ideal!

Sugar: try to keep it below 15g sugar per 100g and check where sugar is on the list of ingredients

Sodium: less than 400mg per 100g is good but less than 120mg per 100g is best!

Fibre: try to find a product with more than 3g per serve (not per 100g)


K is for Kickstarting your spring regime

By | Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Can anyone believe its already September, this year is just flying by! And since Spring has now arrived on our doorstep what better time to start changing your routine up to get you ready for the warmer months.

  1. The weather is warmer so it’s easier to get out of bed early and go for that morning jog or walk, head to the gym for your body pump class or hit up the yoga studio. Whatever exercise it is that you enjoy, make sure you incorporate it into your routine on a daily basis.
  1. With the chilly nights behind us we don’t tend to crave those warm comfort meals as much. Start making more salads with lean protein for dinner, and they don’t have to be boring, add in roast vegetables, seeds, nuts, avocado etc
  1. Get outside, enjoy the sunshine, a great source of Vitamin D.
  1. Sunday afternoon BQQ’s are the real winner as the weather warms up, invite your family and friends over, chuck around the footy or play some backyard cricket (being active) and show them your cooking skills with lean BBQ meats, skewers, colourful crunchy salads and fruit salad desserts.
  1. Increase your water intake, which is a lot easier to do in the warmer months. Add some fresh fruit or squeezed lime into your water to add some fresh flavour. You’ll notice a difference in your concentration and productivity and an improvement in your energy levels.
Stay up to date with Tree of Life Nutrition JOIN