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Healthy eating habits

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Eating for Optimal Fertility

Wendy Fedele

How to use this guide


This guide is divided into two sections:
Preconception Nutrition: What's HOT!

  • This section describes some nutrition related factors that promote fertility or are critical for a healthy baby.

Preconception Nutrition: What's NOT!

  • This section describes nutrition related factors that have a negative impact on fertility.

To get the most out of this guide, click on the embedded links to external resources, which provide further information.

Preconception Nutrition: Why is it so important?


Within any given menstrual cycle, healthy couples only have a 25-30 % chance of conceiving, which is why it is critical that couples wishing to conceive ensure that they are doing everything they can to maximise their chances of conceiving. Our eating habits[1] are one of the few factors within our control that impact not only our chances of falling pregnant, but also affect the health of the baby. In general, a healthy diet for optimal fertility follows the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, which stems from the Australian Dietary Guidelines[2] , however there are a few key foods, nutrients and related factors that women who are wishing to fall pregnant should focus on.

Preconception Nutrition: What's HOT!

Maintaining a healthy body weight:
Maintaining a healthy body weight is critical for fertility
Having a healthy body weight and ensuring that food intake is balanced with your physical activity level is an important factor for fertility. Being both underweight and overweight can affect a woman's chance of conceiving and delivering a healthy, normal weight baby. Interestingly, both the male and female's body weight will affect fertility.

Being underweight can:

  • Reduce reproductive function and hormone production in women;
  • Decrease sperm production in males;
  • Increase the chances of having a low birthweight infant, which is associated with poorer health outcomes for the baby.

Being Overweight can:

  • Cause irregular menstrual cycles/ovulation problems in women;
  • Decrease sperm production in males. [3]
Consuming an adequate amount of Iron:
Iron is a mineral that is found in our red blood cells and helps to carry oxygen around the body. During pregnancy women need more iron as their blood volume increases and the baby's blood is being produced, so more blood means women need more iron to transport more oxygen around the body. Studies have found that infertility is less common in women who conceive an adequate amount of Iron. [4]

The best source of iron is animal flesh - meat, fish and poultry. Iron is also found in vegetarian sources, such as wholegrains, legumes and certain vegetables such as spinach, but it is not absorbed as well. The Queensland Government Resource on Iron provides a list of the best food sources of iron, and an example eating plan that shows how to ensure you're eating enough iron each day.[5]

Include enough antioxidant rich foods in your diet:
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to ensure you are getting enough antioxidants in your diet
Antioxidants protect us from something called oxidative stress, which results from normal bodily processes as well as external factors such as pollution and smoking. Oxidative stress has many negative affects on our body and has been linked to a number of diseases. It has also been associated with infertility as oxidative stress can damage sperm, making it more difficult for the sperm to fuse with the egg. It can also damage the DNA within the sperm, which can result in birth defects for the baby. In women, oxidative stress can damage the eggs and reproductive organs. Luckily, antioxidants can protect us from oxidative stress.

To ensure your diet is rich in antioxidants, make sure you are eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day. The Australian Dietary Guidelines, provides detailed information on how many serves of fruits and veggies you should be eating, and how big a serve is.

Ensure your diet includes an adequate amount of Folate/Folic acid PRIOR to conception:
Folate is a B vitamin that plays a critical role in the early development of the brain and spinal cord of babies growing in the womb. A strong link has been found between an insufficient folate intake by the mother, and defects of the brain and spinal cord in the infant, including the condition Spina bifida.. The key action of folate occurs in the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy, and because a large percentage of pregnancies are unplanned, many women won't know they are pregnant until it is too late. This is why it is recommended that women of reproductive age ensure they are consuming enough folate, regardless of whether they are attempting to fall pregnant. [6]

Good Sources of folate include:

  • Vegetables such as asparagus, spinach and broccoli; Fruits such as strawberries, oranges and bananas;
  • Commercially sold bread: In Australia, the government has made it mandatory for all commercial bread-flour to be fortified with folic acid, to assist in preventing birth defects in infants. Many other products such as breakfast cereals and juices also have folic acid added to them but always check the label first;
  • Folic acid supplements: Unlike many other vitamin supplements, folic acid is actually absorbed better by our bodies in supplement form.

For more information of Folate see the Australian Government's Better Health Channel's Folate for Women resource.

Preconception Nutrition: What's NOT!

Consuming alcohol:
It is well known that alcohol should not be consumed during pregnancy, but it is less well known that alcohol can decreased a woman's chance of falling pregnant.
  • 1-5 drinks per week is associated with a 39% decrease in conception
  • More than 10 drinks per week reduces a woman's chance of conceiving by up to 66%
Consuming large amounts of caffeine:
In moderation, caffeine should not affect fertility, but more than 2 cups of coffee per day has been found to delay the time it takes for a woman to fall pregnant. [3]

A diet for optimal fertility: The checklist:

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight
  1. Boosters, Health (10-04-24). "Health Boosters". Health Boosters. Retrieved 10-04-24. {{cite web}}: Check |archive-url= value (help); Check |author-link= value (help); Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help); External link in |author-link= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved 21/10/2013 from:
  3. a b c d Brown, J. (2011) Nutrition Through the Life Cycle (4th ed). Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA.
  4. Victorian Government - Better Health Channel, 2013. Nutrition - women's extra needs. Retrieved 21/10/2013 from:
  5. Queensland Government, 2011. Iron. Retrieved 21/10/2013 from: Iron
  6. Victorian Government - Better Health Channel, 2013. Nutrition - Folate for women. Retrieved 21/10/2013 from:

and ensure you are eating enough food to match your activity levels;

  1. Ensure you are consuming enough iron by choosing lean meat, fish and protein, as well as plant based sources such as wholegrains, legumes and vegetables;
  2. Consume a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to ensure a good intake of antioxidants as well as folate;
  3. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol;
  4. Ensure you are consuming enough folate before you attempt to fall pregnant. Choose foods naturally rich in folate as well as foods with added folate such as commercially sold bread, and consider a folate supplement if necessary.



Nutrition for Cycling: Eating well to optimise training

The following article provides a simple guide for the general public regarding nutrition and its role in optimising cycling training. For information about recovery and how this can further maximise training and performance see the Sports Dietitions of Australia website and the Australian Institute of Sport website.


The Importance of Diet


Eating well and allowing your body to recover during periods of training will allow you to work harder, stay mentally focused and get the most out of each session. During cycling energy requirements are increased, but it is not just extra carbohydrates and protein your body needs. Adequate vitamins and minerals from a well balanced diet are vital to maintaining health, supporting the immune system and preventing injury.

The Role of Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates are our main fuel source which supply us with energy. When digested, carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose which is then absorbed into our cells and converted to energy. Excess glucose which is not immediately needed will be stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. During exercise the body is able to convert glycogen back into glucose and use it for energy. The problem is our muscles and liver can only store a limited amount of glycogen, with an average of 375-475g in the muscle and up to 100g in the liver. Glycogen also gets depleted at a much faster rate than it is replenished. The longer and more intensely we train, the faster it is depleted leading to fatigue and reduced performance. While glycogen depletion is inevitable, it is possible to delay by supplying the body with adequate carbohydrates during training. This provides a direct source of energy which can be preferentially utilised.

Eating Before Training


Having a small snack or meal before training is important for topping up glycogen levels and ensuring you get the most out of your ride. Ideally meals should be eaten 2-3 hours before exercise to enable proper digestion. However this may not always be possible, as often a great deal of training is undertaken early in the morning. In these situations, it may be more suitable to have a light snack 30 minutes prior to heading out. Meals high in carbohydrates and low in fat are best as they are absorbed quickly and reduce stomach upset.

Pre-training snack ideas:

  • Toast with jam
  • Cereal with low fat milk
  • Banana
  • Up and Go breakfast drink

Nutrition requirements during training


What you eat during training will depend on the length of ride and intensity. For low intensity recovery rides less than 1 hour there is no need for any extra carbohydrates. However for longer rides greater than 90 minutes, it is recommended to have between 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour. Higher GI carbohydrates are a good choice as they are absorbed quicker, allowing for a quick energy supply to muscles.

Snacks containing 30g of carbohydrate

  • 1 sports gel
  • Medium size banana
  • 5-6 jelly lollies
  • 500ml of sports drink



Adequate fluid intake while riding is important to prevent dehydration. The duration and intensity of training as well as the weather will all influence how much fluid you need to consume. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, dizziness, lack of concentration and fatigue all leading to a reduced performance. It is recommended to drink 1 bottle per hour (750ml) but this will vary between individuals. It is important to be aware that hotter temperatures and increased sweating will cause greater fluid loss and increase the need for more fluids. Often in cycling it is hard to determine fluid loss, as sweat is easily evaporated in the wind. When in doubt a simple way to check your hydration level is from the colour of your urine. Aim for a pale yellow colour similar to straw. As you become more dehydrated your urine will become more concentrated and hence looks darker. If this is the case, then it is a good indication to drink more fluid.

Electrolytes and sports drinks


Sports drinks are ideal for longer harder rides as they contain both carbohydrates and electrolytes, therefore providing a fuel source along with fluid. Electrolytes are salts such as sodium and potassium. Sodium acts to enhance fluid intake by activating the thirst mechanism and increasing fluid absorption, while potassium aids in muscle contraction. It’s important to note that you should never dilute sports drinks as this will alter the concentration of carbohydrates and electrolytes rendering them ineffective. If using electrolyte mixes always follow the correct instructions.

Water or sports drink?


Sports drinks are great for longer rides (over 60 minutes) where they can assist in increasing performance and endurance, however for shorter less intensive rides water is best.

What about soft drinks and milk?


Soft drinks are high in carbohydrates and low in salts, therefore are better suited to refuelling but not great for rehydration. Milk is a great post ride option as it contains the same amount of electrolytes as sports drinks plus has the added benefits of protein, vitamins & minerals.

Useful resources


For more information on general sports nutriton as well as nutriton specific for recovery check out the Sports Dietitions of Australia website and the Australian Institute of Sport.

For other chapters in this book on sports nutriton see:


  1. Australian Institute of Sport. (2009). Nutrition: Competition and Training. Retrieved from
  2. Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (5th ed) Rowan Stewart. Australian Dietitian. Australia
  3. Sports Dietitions Australia. (2013). Fact sheets for the general public. Retrieved from
  4. Thomas, B., & Bishop, J. (2007). Manual of dietetic practice (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy food

Living in such a busy, on the go world things can often get forgotten, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating well. With so many temptations out there it often seems like the cheaper and easier option is to go for convenience or fast food. However this is of no benefit to health, and eating healthy while maintaining a budget really isn't as hard as you may think!

What is healthy eating?

Variety of grains

Healthy eating means consuming a well-rounded and adequate diet that meets your nutritional requirements as well as providing your body with energy to keep it going throughout the day. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating has developed specific guidelines about what and how much we should be eating of each of the main food groups, to ensure optimal health. The latest guidelines were released in February 2013 and split up each food group by gender and age group, so that it is easy to follow.



The grains food group includes items like breads, cereals, pasta, oats and rice. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that wholegrains should be the preferred choice and that both males and females between 19-50 years old should consume 6 serves from this food group per day.


Low-fat dairy food

The dairy food group includes milk, cheese, yoghurt as well as milk-alternatives such as soy milk or rice milk. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends choosing low-fat dairy options and that 2.5 serves of dairy should be consumed by males and females between 19-50 years old per day.


Variety of vegetables

The vegetable food group includes both fresh, frozen and canned vegetables as well as legumes and beans. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that a variety of different coloured vegetables are consumed so that many different vitamins and minerals can be obtained from them. 5 serves of this food group per day for women, and 6 for men aged 19-50 years old will ensure adequate vitamin, mineral and fibre intake.


Fruit salad

The fruit food group includes fresh, canned and dried fruit, as well as fruit juice. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that like with vegetables, a variety of different coloured fruit is eaten. Both males and females aged 19-50 years old are recommended to eat 2 serves from this food group per day.

Meats and poultry

Steak and vegetables

The meats and poultry food group includes red meat, chicken, fish, eggs as well as nuts, legumes and beans.The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that meats are trimmed from fat and that meat makes up approximately a quarter to a third of a meal. It is also recommended that 19-50 year old males consume 3 serves and females 2.5 serves from this food group per day.

'Sometimes' foods

'Sometimes' food

'Sometimes' foods include food items that are high in saturated fat, sugar or salt and can lead to negative health outcomes such as obesity or heart disease. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that these foods should be limited in the diet, and not consumed in excessive amounts.

How do I meet the Guidelines on a budget?


Although it may seem like there are a lot of food (and costs) associated with eating healthily, it really doesn't have to be expensive!

  • Simple things like eating breakfast can really make a difference so you don’t pick on things or are tempted to buy things during the day.
  • Adding chopped vegies to a stew or stir fry will increase your daily serves of vegetables and will also help increase the bulk of the meal and keep you fuller for longer.
  • Going for high fibre options such as wholegrains will boost your fibre intake as well as your cereals and grains daily serves, and will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. Instead of choosing your regular high sugar cereal or white toast, try wholemeal bread as it provides double the fibre content of white bread.
  • Making a smoothie out of frozen berries and yoghurt if you’re rushed for time will instantly increase your daily fruit and dairy intake. And frozen berries are usually much cheaper and last for much longer than the fresh variety, and still have the same amount of nutrients!
  • Adding nuts and seeds is a good way to get a nutritious kick to a breakfast or snack. They will increase your protein intake, as well as providing your body with the good fats that it needs.

Top 5 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

  1. Buy foods when they are on special or in season.
    If you can’t purchase fresh food in season, buy frozen fruits and vegetables to have ready to go in the freezer. Or if not on special, the generic or supermarket brands are often cheaper than the better known brands anyway, and the quality is almost identical.
  2. Buy fruits and vegetables from a green grocer or farmers market, not the supermarket.
    Supermarkets have a higher price on fresh produce compared to local green grocers and farmers markets, so it is worth looking around your area to find a good one.
  3. Buy items in bulk.
    It is often cheaper to buy something in a kg or L tub than in small serving sizes. This way it is cheaper, and will last longer too, especially if it is something you can freeze.
  4. Cook in large quantities and freeze food for later in the week.
    This way you can just grab it out of the freezer, re-heat and eat. And you know that it is healthy and much cheaper than calling your local take-away shop when you’ve come home and can’t be bothered cooking.
  5. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach.
    The shopping cart will soon fill up with unnecessary, and often unhealthy items that you just didn’t need.

Additional Resources



  • NHMRC, Department of Health and Ageing 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines. NHMRC: Canberra
  • NHMRC, Department of Health and Ageing 2013, Healthy Eating for Adults. NHMRC: Canberra. Retrieved from:
  • Whitney, E., Rolfes, SR, Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition: Australia and New Zealand Edition. South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.

Healthy Eating for Pregnancy

Examples of servings from the five food groups

This page provides education material on healthy eating for pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 50 years old.

During pregnancy it is essential to meet the nutrient requirements for health for you and your baby. The food choices you make during pregnancy directly affect the well being of your baby. The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide advice on what to eat for health and wellbeing and these recommendations are listed below.

Which foods should I eat and how much?


To meet the needs for you and your baby, you need to eat from the five food groups shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Number of serves needed from each food group during pregnancy.

Food Group Number of Serves
Vegetables & Legumes/beans 5
Fruit 2
Grains (cereal) foods 8.5
Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts & seeds, legumes/beans 3.5
Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives 2.5

What is a serve?


Vegetables & legumes/beans

  • 1/2 cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato


  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)

Or occasionally:

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fruit juice (with no added sugar)
  • 30g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves, 1.5 tablespoons of sultanas)
Bread and grains

Grain (cereal) foods

  • 1 slice (40g) bread
  • 1/2 medium (40g) roll or flat bread
  • 1/2 cup (75–120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
  • 1/2 cup (120g) cooked porridge
  • 2/3 cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes
  • 1/4 cup (30g) muesli
  • 3 (35g) crispbreads
  • 1 (60g) crumpet
  • 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone


Lean meats & poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts & seeds, legumes/beans

  • 65g cooked lean meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90–100g raw)*
  • 80g cooked lean poultry such as chicken or turkey (100g raw)
  • 100g cooked fish fillet (about 115g raw weight) or one small can of fish
  • 2 large (120g) eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) cooked or canned legumes/beans such as lentils, chick peas or split peas (preferably with no added salt)
  • 170g tofu
  • 30g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter or tahini or other nut or seed paste (no added salt)

Milk, yoghurt, cheese &/or alternatives

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) evaporated milk
  • 2 slices (40g) or 4 x 3 x 2cm cube (40g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar
  • 3/4 cup (200g) yoghurt
  • 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml


  • ~ 9 cups of fluid per day (1 cup= 250ml/ 2-2.5L per day)
  • Mainly water, diluted fruit juice, and other unsweetened beverages

What are my energy requirements during pregnancy?


During pregnancy you need more energy and more nutrients. To meet these extra needs it is important to eat from the five food groups mentioned above. Energy requirements differ at different stages of your pregnancy. During the 1st trimester minimal extra energy and therefore extra food is needed. During the second trimester an extra 1.4MJ/day (330 Calories) is needed. During the third trimester an extra 1.9MJ/day (450 Calories) is needed. These extra needs should be met from eating from the five food groups, specifically the lean meats and the grains groups as you have increased requirements of these groups during pregnancy. A good way to keep track of kilojoules (Calories) is by using the app EASY DIET DIARY by simply entering in the foods eaten or even searching for foods prior to eating them.

Eating for two?


As you have extra nutrient needs for you and your baby, it is important to eat healthily during pregnancy. However it is important not to over eat and also minimise foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt.

How much weight should I gain?


It is important that you gain weight during pregnancy to ensure proper growth of your baby. The amount of weight gain recommended depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Table 2 below shows recommendations on weight gain.

Table 2. Appropriate weight gain during pregnancy.

Pre-pregnancy weight status (BMI) Recommended weight gain
Underweight (<18.5kg/m2) 12.7-18.2kg
Normal weight (18.5-24.9kg/m2) 11.4-15.9kg
Overweight (25-29.9kg/m2) 6.8-11.4kg
Obese (20kg/m2 or higher) 5.0-9.1kg
Twin pregnancy 11.4-24.5kg

Source: Brown, J.E et al. (2011)


  • When increasing food intake, choose initially from the grains and the lean meats group as these foods provide the extra nutrients needed during pregnancy.
  • Weight gain is important during pregnancy however too much weight gain should be avoided.
  • Limit high fat/high sugar foods and enjoy a variety of foods from the five food groups.
  • Plan ahead to save time for meal preparation.

Where can I find more information?


About Pregnancy: [17]

The Australian Dietary Guidelines can be found here: [18]

Easy Diet Diary found here: [19]

Cooking tips for busy people: [20]

For tips on food safety and specific nutrient requirements: [21]



Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Health. (2013). Australian dietary guidelines. Retrieved from [22]

Brown, J. E., Isaacs, J.S., Krinke, U.B., Lechtenberg, E., Murtaugh, M.A., & Sharbaugh, C., et al. (2011). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle (4th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart

Healthy Eating


Healthy eating is a general term that usually refers to the consumption of foods that maintain or improve health. In Australia, a healthy diet should follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines[1] and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating,[2] consisting primarily of:

  • wholegrain and/or high fibre breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans
  • a variety of fruits
  • plenty of different coloured vegetables
  • reduced-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives
  • small amounts of unsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado
  • limit foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol

A Healthy Heart


A healthy heart refers to the absence of damage or disease in the heart and/or blood vessels. The heart and its vessels form the circulatory system, which transports nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other materials throughout the body allowing other organ systems to function [3]. Damage to the heart or its vessels usually has widespread effects and may result in a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or even death.[4]

Key Foods and Nutrients that Affect Heart Health


Probably the two most commonly discussed nutrients when talking about heart health are fat and sodium. However, there are many other nutrients and foods that can have an impact on heart health, and a few of the major ones will be discussed below.

Saturated Fat


Saturated fat tends to be solid at room temperature and is most commonly found in meat, dairy products, coconut and palm oils, and processed foods such as chips, chocolate and fast-food [5]. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that intake of saturated fat should be limited because research has shown that it increases the “bad” or LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is associated with increased risk of heart disease.[1][6] To reduce intake choose low-fat dairy products, trimmed meat and limit intake of processed and take-away foods.

Trans Fat


Trans fats have a similar chemical composition to saturated fats. There are small amounts of trans fats naturally occurring in animal products, however, the majority of trans fats in the diet come from unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils that are hydrogenated during processing[5]. Trans fats are found in fried foods, margarine, fast food products, shortening, commercial baked good and snack foods. Like saturated fats, trans fats increase LDL cholesterol, but have also been attributed to decreasing "good" or HDL cholesterol levels in the blood[4]. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend to limit the consumption of foods containing trans fats.

Roasted Almonds. Author:jules / stonesoup



Dietary cholesterol intake increases LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and the recommendations are to limit its intake; however, its effect on blood cholesterol is not as strong as that of saturated fat and trans fat. Foods that contain higher amounts of cholesterol include: egg yolk, prawns, liver, meat, and dairy products. It is also worth noting that whilst eggs are high in cholesterol, they are also a good source of protein and fat-soluble vitamins, and therefore consumption of approximately 6 eggs per week is considered to be beneficial.[6]

Unsaturated Fat


Unsaturated fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and are usually liquid at room temperature. Both of these unsaturated fats decrease LDL cholesterol when they replace saturated fat.[4] Unsaturated fats are found in:[6]

  • Oils: olive, canola, peanut, sesame and more
  • Nuts & Seeds: almonds, cashews, macadamias, pepitas and more
  • Avocado
Colourful Vegetables!

Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat that have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by preventing blood clots, maintaining a regular heartbeat and lowering blood pressure.[4][7] Omega-3's are found in:

  • Fatty Fish: herring, mackerel, tuna, sardines and salmon
  • Oils: flaxseed, canola and soybean
  • Nuts & Seeds: almonds, flaxseeds and walnuts



In our food, sodium is usually found in the form of salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride. It is recommended to limit intake of sodium as it has been shown to increase blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.[4] Sodium is found mainly in processed foods such as: chips, savoury and sweet biscuits, fast food, cereals, chocolate, processed meats and even bread.[6]

Fruits and Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables probably get the least amount of attention when it comes to heart disease; however, fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of components that act to combat the destructive actions of substances that cause damage to the heart and other parts of the body. Some of these beneficial properties/components include:[7]

  • Antioxidants: prevent damage occurring to blood vessel walls
  • Soluble fibre: binds to cholesterol in the intestines preventing its absorption
  • Anti-hypertensive components: reduce blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory components: reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing atherosclerosis


  1. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from
  3. Marieb, E. & Hoehn, K. (2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology (7th ed.), San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
  4. a b c d e Thomas, B. & Bishop, J. (2007). Manual of Dietetic Pracitce (4th ed.), Carlton, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing.
  5. a b Brown, A. (2011). Understanding Food: Principles & Preparation (4th ed.), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  6. a b c d Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
  7. a b Kotsirilos, V., Vitetta, L. & Sali, A. (2011). A Guide to Evidence-Based Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier, Australia.

Calcium in the diet



Calcium plays a role in many body functions. Firstly, it helps build and maintain bones; in fact 99% of the body’s calcium is found in bones. However, calcium is also involved in heart function, nerve transmission and blood clotting. Therefore, having an adequate calcium intake is important (Better Health Channel, 2013).

How To Improve Your Calcium Intake?


Easiest way is to eat more dairy/dairy substitutes.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating(AGTHE) can be used to check a person’s intake of milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives (MYCA) with the recommended amount (in number of serves) for their gender and age. The AGTHE also lists what 1 serve of each of these foods looks like e.g. 1 cup (250ml) of long life milk equals 1 serve. The AGTHE recommends that female uni students, aged between 19-50 years have 2 ½ serves of the MYCA group per day (NHMRC, 2013).

How to achieve 2 ½ serves of the MYCA group per day?

1 cup of milk=> 1 serve

¾ cup (or 200g) of yoghurt=> 1 serve

1 slice (or 20g) of hard cheese (e.g. cheddar)=>0.5 serve

=2 ½ serves per day


2 cups of milk=> 2 serves

¼ cup (60g) of soft cheese (e.g. ricotta) => 0.5 serve

= 2 ½ serves per day

Alternative Sources of Calcium


Non dairy foods that are good sources of calcium and how their calcium content compares to that of dairy foods.

Non-dairy foods Amount of calcium (mg) Dairy foods Amount of calcium (mg)
Almonds 1 cup (143g) 378mg Yoghurt 1 cup 450mg
Cooked turnip greens (1 cup boiled and drained) 249mg Milk (skim, low fat or whole) 1 cup 300mg
Soybeans 1 cup boiled 175mg Cottage cheese 1 cup 130mg
Sardines 1 cup drained (149g) 569mg
Broccoli 1 cup chopped (91g) 43mg

(Robb, 2013), (Health Aliciousness, 2013),(UCSF Medical Centre, 2013)

If eaten in the right amounts non-dairy foods can deliver similar quantities of calcium as dairy foods or in some cases even more (as is particularly the case with 1 cup of drained sardines which contains 569mg of calcium). Furthermore you can combine non-dairy foods to increase your calcium intake:

E.g. By combining 1 cup of broccoli (43mg of calcium) with 1 cup of drained soybeans 175mg (calcium)

43+175= calcium intake of 218mg=> therefore your calcium intake would be more than 1 cup of cottage cheese (130mg) yet less than 1 cup of skim, low fat or whole milk (300mg).

Calcium Absoprtion


Factors that Enhance Calcium Absoprtion:


Stomach acid

-Makes calcium soluble (able to be dissolved ) (Whitney, 2011)

-Breaks calcium down to facilitate its absorption in the small intestine (Arabia MSN, 2011)

Vitamin D

-Increases calcium absorption from the small intestine

-Decreases calcium loss through urine. (Norris, 2013)

Factors that Limit Calcium Absoprtion:



Korb mit Brötchen

-Found in nuts, seeds and grains

-Class of antinutrients that have a high affinity for calcium

-They easily bind to calcium therefore limiting its availability for absorption

-Try not to eat phytate-containing foods and dairy foods together (American Bone Health, 2006)



-Found in sweet potatoes, rhubarb, spinach and beetroot

-Very reactive molecules

-Bind to calcium therefore reducing its absorption

-Interfere with calcium storage in cells

-Don’t eliminate these food just be aware that they are not the best providers of calcium (Low Oxalate Diet, n.d.)


-Interferes with vitamin D activation by the liver and kidneys (WebMD, 2013)

-Inhibits vitamin D activating enzymes in the liver (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2013)

-It is a diuretic therefore it increases calcium excretion through urine (Weil, 2013)

-Increases Parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and therefore decreases calcium reserves in the body.

-Try to limit your alcohol intake (FIT Day, 2013)


A small cup of coffee

-In tea and coffee

-Drinking more than 3 cups of tea or coffee per day seems to decrease calcium absorption (National Osteoporosis Foundation, n.d.)

-It is believed that caffeine decreases calcium absorption by interfering with vitamin D absorption

-This area is still being researched

- Caffeine is also a diuretic therefore it increases calcium excretion in the urine

Further Reading


Effect of Vitamin D on Calcium

Extra examples of Non-Dairy sources of Calcium



American Bone Health. (2006). How do Phytates Impact Calcium Absorption? Retrieved from

Arabia MSN. (2011). Stomach Acid Essential for Calcium Absorption. Retrieved from

Better Health Channel. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from

FITDAY. (2013). Alcohol and Osteoporosis. Retrieved from

Health Alicioussness. (2013). Top 10 Foods Highest in Calcium. Retrieved from

Lindemann, K. (2013). Osteopenia: Osteopenia Treatments. Retrieved from

Low Oxalate Diet. (n.d.) Retrieved from

National Osteoporosis Foundation. (n.d.). Food and Your Bones: More Tips For Eating For Good Bone Health. Retrieved from

NHMRC. (2013). Healthy Eating For Adults: Eat For Health and Wellbeing. Retrieved from

Norris, J. (2013). Calcium and Vitamin D. Retrieved from

Office of dietary Supplements. (2013). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. Retrieved from

Robb, D. (2013). The Top 13 Non-Dairy Calcium Rich Foods. Retrieved from

UCSF Medical Centre. (2013). Calcium Content of Foods. Retrieved from

WebMD. (2013). Drinking Less for Strong Bones: How Does Alcohol Harm Your Bones? Retrieved from

Weil, A. (2013). Osteoporosis Treatment. Retrieved from

Whitney, E., Rolfes, S.R., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition. South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Osteoporosis and Diversifying Daily Calcium Intake

Timothy Neumann_1717 3294

This image illustrates the utilisation of various food sources to optimise nutrient intake, particularly calcium intake from sources other than simply milk and cheese

Sourced: tcneumann Timothy Charles Photography [1]

This image illustrates the concept of having fun with food. Utilising various food sources to enhance nutrient intake is essential for promoting optimum health, and prolonging dietary related disease

Sourced: tcneumann Timothy Charles Photography [2]

Calcium and Healthy Bones


Strong, Healthy Bones


The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare[3] defines a very common bone disease known as "Osteoporosis" as the onset of reduced bone strength. This may lead to the forming of pores or holes in the bone, making them very weak.[4] The reduced strength of 'porous' bones, may lead to a high chance of bone fracture. This is very common is older people resulting in a greater risk of falling, causing serious injury. [5]

Who is Most At Risk?

Who Does it Typically Effect?
This is a graph illustrated in "Arthritis and Osteoporosis in Australia 2008" presented by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. What the graph identifies is the prevalence of diagnosed Osteoporosis in Australia during 2007-2008 in both Males and Females.
It is known, that a change in bone regulation occurs during older age, compared to younger living people. In young adults the rate of bone formation and bone breakdown is much the same, so bones maintain their solid structure. This change takes places in older adults (55 years +) and particularly in menopausal women, where bone 'resorption' (loss of calcium from bones) takes place more faster than bone formation. [6]

This table by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows those people most affected by Osteoporosis in Australia during 2007-2008. [7]

Why is Osteoporosis Risk Affected by Age?
The mechanism for enhanced breakdown of bone structure or 'matrix' is due to reduced 'estrogen' hormone production that takes place during Postmenopause [8] females, which often occurs in women 55-65 years of age. [3]

Estrogen, plays an active role in calcium absorption from the diet as well as the uptake of calcium into the bones known as 'mineralization', required for strong healthy bone structure.
With a reduced production of the hormone following menopause, the female body experiences a reduced bone 'mineralization' and this results in reduced bone-calcium content. For this reason females particularly, over 55 years of age are at great risk of bone frailty [9] and therefore have higher risk of injury by bone fracture and fall. For this reason it is important to enhance and optimize calcium intake through the diet.

Dietary Calcium


Why is Calcium Important?


Calcium is a very essential mineral recommended in the diet, due to its important roles within the human body and the processes it is involved in. A scientific study investigating calcium and its role in the body throughout life describes the central roles that calcium play in bone and teeth structure (mineralization), promoting strong bones. [10]. It explains that calcium is also required for maintaining body cells, enzymes and hormone actions, all critical for life. Calcium plays a role in brain and nerve activity (transmission), is a component of muscle flexing and relaxing, this is known as 'contraction', and is vital for heart function. [11]

How much Calcium is Suggested?

How much Calcium is Suggested?

According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines most Australian residents consume only half of their recommended quantity of calcium intake [12]

The Eat for Health, Australian Dietary Guidelines prepared by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggests that 1300mg of calcium is the ideal dietary intake quantity to optimize health and prolong bone and neurological related disease. [10] The Australian Dietary Guidelines is a well- resourced body of evidence providing recommendations for the optimal intake of different of nutrients required to promote good health to Australians. The following table illustrates the increased calcium intake recommended for older males and females to promote strong healthy bones and support calcium-dependent processes. [10]

Men Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) Women Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
19-30 yr. 1000mg / day 19-30 yr. 1000mg / day.
31-51 yr. 1000mg / day 31-50 yr. 1000mg / day.
51-70 yr. 1000mg / day 51-70 yr. 1300mg / day.
> 70 yr. 1300mg / day > 70 yr. 1300mg / day.

(Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) Sourced from [10]

Dietary Calcium Requirements

What does 1300mg of Calcium look like?

The NHMRC highlights the need for an increased intake of Calcium during older age from a recommended dietary intake of 1000mg of calcium in middle aged adults (31-50 years) to 1300mg in the progression of older age (55 > 75 years+). [10]

How many Serves of Dairy is that?

The most commonly thought of calcium source that comes to mind when we’re asked to consider dietary calcium intake is dairy products, and the recommended intake can certainly be obtained in this way.

Serves of Dairy/ day required to obtain RDI
19-50 yrs. 51-70 yrs. >70 yrs.
Males 2 1/2 serves 2 1/2 serves 3 1/2 serves
Females 2 1/2 serves 4 serves 4 serves

However, the NHMRC supports and encourages the diversifying of dietary nutrient intake, utilizing quick, easy meal ideas, through efficient menu planning and meal preparation, particularly among older people. [13] This can be achieved by considering the dietary calcium sources of foods from the | NHMRC’s Australian Dietary Guidelines [12]

Where else can Dietary Calcium be found?

Where else can Dietary Calcium be found?

Calcium can be found not only in milk but also in hundreds of varieties of vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheeses and assorted fish varieties (with edible bones), some examples of which are listed below:

Food Source Calcium Content % RDI (1300mg)/ 100g
Per 100g Per Serving
Almonds 250mg/ 100g 75mg/ 30g 19% RDI/ 100g
Broccoli 33mg/ 100g 43mg/ 1 cup 2% RDI/ 100g
Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese 950mg/ 100g 269mg/ 28g 73% RDI 100g
Almond (Chocolate) Milk 251mg/ 100g 502mg/ 1 cup 19% RDI/ 100g
Yoghurt, Natural 244mg/ 100mL 488mg/ 200mL 18% RDI/ 100g
Pak Choy (Dark Leafy Green Veg) 123mg/ 100g 822mg/ 1 head (840g) 9% RDI/ 100g
Pink Salmon, Canned (with edible bones) 310mg/ 100g 310mg/ 1 tin (100g) 23% RDI/ 100g
Chia Seeds 631mg/ 100g 180mg/ 30g 49% RDI/ 100g
Sesame Seeds 975mg/ 100g 390mg/ 30g 75% RDI/ 100g
Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste) 426mg/ 100g 121mg/ 30g 32% RDI/ 100g
Soy Beans 277mg/ 100g 515mg/ 1 cup 21% RDI/ 100g
Fortified Soy Products e.g. Tofu 320mg/ 100g 48mg/ piece (13g) 24% RDI/ 100g
Rhubarb 26mg/ 100g 105mg/ cup (122g) 2% RDI/ 100g
Whey Powder 796mg/ 100g 64mg/ tbsp 61% RDI/ 100g
(Nutrient composition sourced from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) [14] and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) [15] )

For More Information


More information regarding the association between Vitamin D status and Calcium absorption and Bone Mineralisation is presented here in a 2013 edition of the Medical Journal of Australia by a team of Australian Research team [16]

General Bone Health, Nutritional and Lifestyle Information for Bone Disease prevention for Older People can be found at Osteoporosis Australia

Another chapter in this Healthy eating habits Wikibook, found under Calcium in the Diet prepared by another 4th Year Dietetics student outlines further material on Dietary Calcium Intake.


  3. a b Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2013). AIHW Authoritative information and statistics to promote better health and wellbeing. Retrieved from
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2008). Arthritis and Osteoporosis in Australia. p14. Retrieved from
  5. Marks R., Allegrante J. P., MacKenzie C. R. & Lane J. M. (2003). Hip fractures among the elderly: Causes, Consequences and Control. Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. vol. 2 (1) pp57-93. doi:10.1016/S1568-1637(02)00045-4.
  6. Brown J. P., Albert C, Nassar B. A., Adachi J. D., Cole D, Davison K. S., Dooley K. C., Don-Wauchope A, Douville P, Hanley D. A., Jamal S. A., Josse R., Kaiser S., Krahn J., Krause R., Kremer R., Lepage R., Letendre E., Morin S, Ooi D. S., Papaioaonnou A. & Ste-Marie L. G. (2009). Bone turnover markers in the management of osteoporosis. Clinical Biochemistry: 42 (10-11), pp929-942. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2009.04.001
  7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2011). A snapshot of osteoporosis in Australia 2011. Canberra AIHW, pp 1-31. Retrieved from
  8. WebMD. (2013). Your Health in Postmenopause. Retrieved from
  9. The Free Dictionary. (2000). Frailty. Retrieved from
  10. a b c d e National Health and Medical Research Council. (2006). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. NHMRC: pp155-163. Retrieved from
  11. Buppasiri P, Lumbiganon P, Thinkhamrop J, Ngamjarus C, Laopaiboon M. Calcium supplementation (other than for preventing or treating hypertension) for improving pregnancy and infant outcomes. Cochrane Collaboration Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 10, pp1-89. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007079.pub2.
  12. a b National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013, p4-24. Retrieved from
  13. NHMRC. (2013). Healthy Eating When You’re Older. NHMRC. Retrieved from’re-older.
  14. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. (2010). NUTTAB 2010 Online Searchable Database. Retrieved from
  15. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2013). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, Retrieved from
  16. Ebeling P.R., Daly R.M, Kerr D.A & Kimlin M.G. (2013). An evidence-informed strategy to prevent osteoporosis in Australia. The Medical Journal of Australia; 198 (2): 90-91. doi:10.5694/mja12.11363

Healthy Eating for Busy Adults

Busy People

Breakfast and Healthy Eating


On average, nearly 1 in 5 Australian adults skip breakfast at least 3 days per week.[1]. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day as it helps refuel your body for the day ahead.[2]

When you eat a healthy breakfast, you're more likely to:

  • Eat more vitamins and minerals.[2]
  • Eat less fat and Cholesterol:, which may reduce your risk of heart disease. [2]
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning.[2]
  • Control your weight. [2]
Spoonful of cereal

Simple tips to make sure you include breakfast

  • Prepare meals the night before.[3]
  • Prepare a breakfast to eat on the go or grab something quick such as fruit or cheese and crackers.[3]
  • Keep breakfast ingredients at work so you can eat when you arrive at work.[3]
  • Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier.[3]

Eating healthy when you are short on time

  • Cook in bulk on the weekend and keep meals in the freezer to use for during the week.[4]
  • Grab fruit when on the go.[4]
  • Use a microwave, it’s easier and faster to microwave foods than cook them in the oven or on the stove.[4]
  • Use small, thin pieces of food as it cooks quicker.[4]
  • Don’t throw out leftovers, keep them for a quick meal the next day.[4]
  • Prepare lunches the night before to avoid preparing in the morning.[4]

Why are vegetables important to include in the diet?


Many Australians only eat about half the recommended quantity of vegetables per day. [5] Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and many other nutrients naturally present in plants.[5] Most vegetables are low in energy compared to many other foods, and may help ‘fill us up’ to avoid excessive weight gain too.[5] Diets high in vegetables may help protect you from chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and some cancers.[5]

What is a serve of vegetables?[5]

  • ½ cup of cooked green or orange vegetables
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables
  • 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or salad
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils

How many serves of vegetables should I be eating a day?[5]

19-50 Years 51-70 Years 70+ Years
Men 6 5.5 5
Women 5 5 5

Making Fast Food Healthy


Takeaway can be a regular habit for busy people, so If you happen to be too busy to prepare meals and go for takeaway try and choose healthier choices.[6] Most restaurants and cafes now serve lower fat, healthier options, however a lot of take-away foods often contain hidden fats.[6]

Tips for choosing healthier takeaway foods

  • Try to avoid anything that is fried or battered
  • Avoid foods cooked in cream or butter such as butter chicken.[6]
  • Avoid high fat meats such as processed meats and sausages and choose leaner meats like turkey, ham, chicken and roast beef.[6]
  • Try to avoid meal combos which include fries and soft drinks and just get the burger
  • Share an entrée with a friend
  • Order from the child's menu
  • Order the lunch or appetizer version of your meal
  • Choose burgers with salad rather than ‘the lot’, and ask for no mayonnaise or margarine on the bun.[6]
  • Order souvlaki or kebabs with extra salad rather than lots of meat.[6]
  • Try thin crust pizza with lean meat or lean chicken with plenty of vegetarian toppings.[6]
  • Choose pasta with tomato-based sauces instead of cream based.[6]
  • Choose steamed rice over fried rice.[6]
  • Eat plenty of vegetables with stir-fry dishes.[6]
  • Drink low-fat smoothies, milkshakes and coffee or tea.[6]
  • Try to avoid ordering dessert, or try low-fat frozen yoghurt, ice creams or fruit.[6]
  • Put left overs into a doggie bag instead of trying to finish the meal
  • Try to avoid or limit dressings, sauces and gravies
  • Ask salad instead of chips
  • Choose lower fat dressings and sauces
  • Choose low-fat muffins instead of regular muffins, danishes or croissants
  • Ask for your bread without butter

Key Points

  • Try to eat breakfast every day
  • There are many ways you can include breakfast in your diet
  • Cooking healthy meals can be made quicker
  • Vegetables are important in the diet, try and meet your recommended serves per day
  • Choose healthier choices when eating take away

Further Reading



  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1995). National Nutrition Survey Selected Highlights Australia. Retrieved from$File/48020_1995.pdf.
  2. a b c d e Dietitians Association of Australia. (2013). Breakfast. Retrieved from
  3. a b c d Heart Foundation. (n.d). Breakfast. Retrieved from
  4. a b c d e f Nutrition Australia. (2012). Healthy Lunch Ideas for Busy Adults. Retrieved from
  5. a b c d e f National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines: Summary. Retrieved from
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l Nutrition Australia. (2012). Eating Out. Retrieved from

Nutrition & Quick Snack Ideas for Sport Performance

Why is nutrition important for sports performance?


Good nutrition is important for sports performance as it can assist with energy levels and recovery. A common issue reported in athletes is that energy requirements are not met by food [1].



It is important to fuel your body with energy from food (kilojoules) to meet the demands of exercise and help with recovery after physical activity. This is due to exercise increasing energy requirements, which varies depending on the type, duration and intensity of the exercise [2] [3]. The higher intensity and longer duration the exercise, the higher the energy requirements from food [4] [5]. The three main nutrients that supply the body with energy are:

  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates



Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, and are broken down into smaller sugars such as glucose. The body uses glucose as the main form of energy for our cells [3].

  • When there is more glucose than the body needs to use for energy, it converts it into glycogen (which is made up of many connected glucose molecules) and is stored in the liver or muscles [3].
  • Glycogen is the major source of energy for exercising muscle
  • When there are low glycogen levels (usually after 60 - 90 minutes) the body switches to using fat as energy, which can result in fatigue, tiredness and is commonly referred to as athletes 'hitting the wall' [3].
  • Important to eat foods high in carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores after exercise to improve recovery [3].
  • Foods rich in carbohydrates include cereals, breads, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, milk and yoghurt [5].



Protein is important to help your muscles recover, repair and rebuild after exercise and can be used as an energy source, when carbohydrate reserves are very low [5]. Protein rich foods include chicken, red meat such as beef, pork, fish, eggs, dairy foods and nuts [5].

Fat provides energy source for long duration, low to moderate intensity exercise such as marathons [2]. [5]

  • It is recommended to include moderate amounts of ‘healthy’ fats in your diet i.e. nuts, seeds, fish, reduced-fat dairy foods, lean meat and avocados [5]
  • Foods high in ‘unhealthy’ fat should be limited and include foods such as chocolate, pastries, chips and deep fried foods [5]

So why are snacks important?


Snacking in addition to regular planned meals, is essential to help meet energy and nutrient requirements (such as carbohydrate, protein and fats) to improve performance. An athlete's diet should typically consist of high carbohydrate, moderate protein and low fat foods [6].

Nutrition and snack ideas before exercise


Foods eaten before exercise need to be digested and absorbed to maximise the energy available from the foods during physical activity. Foods typically high in fat and protein take longer to digest and may result in stomach ache or upset during exercise [6]. Therefore, snacks should be eaten at least 1 to 2 hours prior to exercise, should be high in carbohydrates and low in fat to help with digestion and to avoid stomach discomfort. Above all, it is important to try and test snacks as results will vary for each individual [6].

A 'banana' is an example of a quick and easy high carbohydrate snack that can be eaten on toast with honey before exercise

Table 1.0 - Examples of easy snacks to eat and prepare before exercise, training or a tournament

Examples of high carbohydrate snacks before exercise
Cereal bars [6]
Banana and honey sandwich [6]
Fruit scone with jam [6]
English muffin with thick spread of topping [6]

Too nervous to eat?


If you are too nervous to eat before exercise, experiment with a routine that works and with foods that are safe and familiar. These could include snacks that are easier to eat and that are appetizing i.e. chocolate milk, cereal bars and some sports drinks [4]. Studies have shown that performance is improved when athletes are well-fuelled and hydrated before exercise [4].

Nutrition and snack ideas for post-exercise recovery


Why are snacks important to have after exercise?

  • To refuel and replenish glycogen in the liver and muscles [2]
  • To repair muscle tissue [2]

Therefore, recovery meals and snacks should contain carbohydrates and some protein and should be eaten 30 minutes after finishing training or a tournament [6].

Vegemite on toast with cheese is a good post exercise snack

Table 2.0 - Examples of quick and easy snacks to eat and prepare after training,exercise or a tournament

High carbohydrate, high protein snacks after exercise
Vegemite and cheese sandwich [6]
Salad sandwich with meat/chicken/tuna/cheese [6]
Soup in a cup + bread roll + slice of cheese [6]
Chocolate milk [6]

Preparation of snacks


Organisation and preparation of snacks is important to maintain good nutrition before and after exercise, so reliance on a sporting venue is minimal [4]. Preparing meals and snacks the night before is often a good idea, as sporting venues often have snacks and meals that are usually not ideal such as pies, hot chips and chocolates. These foods should only be eaten sometimes, and are not ideal foods for before or after exercise [4].

Further Reading


For more information on nutrition and sports performance, you can visit Sports Dietitians Australia and the Australian Institute of sport.


  1. Rodriguez, N. R., DiMarco, N. M., & Langley, S. (2009). Nutrition and athletic performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 41(3), 709-731
  2. a b c d Sports Dietitians Australia [SDA], (2009). Eating and Drinking before Sport - Fact Sheet. Available at:, Accessed: October, 2013 Invalid <ref> tag; name "SDA" defined multiple times with different content
  3. a b c d e Gollnick, P. D., & Matoba, H. (1984). Role of carbohydrate in exercise. Clinics in sports medicine, 3(3), 583-593 Invalid <ref> tag; name "SP" defined multiple times with different content
  4. a b c d e Australian Sports Commission (2009) Eating before exercise - Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved:, Accessed on: October, 2013
  5. a b c d e f g Dairy Australia (2009) Sports Nutrition - Good Health Fact Sheet. Retrieved from October, 2013
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l Sports Dietitians Australia [SDA]. Food for your sport - Basketball. Available at:, Accessed: October, 2013

Healthy Eating for Primary School Children

Healthy Eating for Primary School Children (Celia)


This Wiki page is designed as a guide for healthy eating for primary school aged children only. It is not for specific individualised care. If a nutrition issue is suspected please seek specific advice from a health care professional. An Accredited Practising Dietitian can be contacted through the Dietitian’s Association of Australia (DAA) webpage at

Recommendations for Healthy Eating for Primary School Aged Children


The Australian Dietary Guidelines (NHMRC, 2013) recommend that children eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day. Choosing fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy products and wholegrain cereal products are encouraged. Choosing and drinking tap water as the first choice is beneficial for general health and also dental health.

Providing nutritious foods for your children is important, as well as providing education to your children on the benefits of consuming these types of foods can lead to positive food choices as adults. As boys and girls grow their nutritional requirements vary. Boys generally have slightly higher nutrient recommendations than girls for quantities of food, but the quality remains important for both boys and girls.

Currently in Australia children are not eating enough fruit or vegetables, and are drinking fruit juice in place of eating actual fruit (Australian Government, 2007). Australians as a whole population are also eating more potatoes than what is needed, and often other types of vegetables are being left out because of this (Australian Government, 2007).

Children are encouraged to only choose foods and drinks from the ‘discretionary foods’ section occasionally and in small quantities. These should not be an everyday part of your child’s diet. These foods are high in sugar, fat and sodium, and are often considered to be quite tasty by children. Pre packaged foods and snacks are often considered quick, easy and convenient by parents, but there are often better choices for your children. A selection of fruit and nuts can be tasty and filling, as can a homemade milkshake with fresh fruit.

The following two tables show the recommended serves per day per gender and age group for each of the five food groups. These are to be used as a guide only and if children are significantly tall for their age or have higher energy requirements due to sporting or other commitments, then additional serves may be added in order to meet the increased requirements.

Fruit Vegetables Dairy Lean Meat Cereal Products
4-8yo boys 1.5 4.5 2 1.5 4
9-11yo boys 2 5 2.5 2.5 5
Fruit Vegetables Dairy Lean Meat Cereal Products
4-8yo girls 1.5 4.5 1.5 1.5 4
9-11yo girls 2 5 3 2.5 4

What can happen if my child does not eat the right amount of nutritious foods?


Children who do not eat a varied diet from the five food groups may miss out on some of the nutrients required to maintain good health and well being. They may suffer fatigue and reduced concentration levels. Adequate and appropriate nutrition is vital throughout childhood to ensure appropriate growth and development is being achieved into adolescence when their bodies undergo many vital changes (Brown et al., 2011). Inadequate nutrition can lead to cognitive impairment and faltering growth (Stewart, 2012). Providing a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups will assist in achieving ideal development.

What is at risk if my child consumes too many discretionary foods?


Children who consume more discretionary foods than recommended risk a high intake of saturated fat, sodium and sugars. These can all have an impact overall health, but may increase the risk of suffering from obesity, Type 2 Diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Obesity as a child is a leading cause of obesity as an adult, and obesity is a leading risk factor for both Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Twenty-three percent of Australian children are currently overweight or obese. Excessive sodium (salt) intake may put increased pressure on developing blood vessels and could lead to the onset of high blood pressure (hypertension) or kidney disease (Wahlqvist, 2011).

Tips for encouraging your child to eat nutritious foods


Provide nutritious foods for your child, including the foods in their school lunch box.

Provide a safe and calm environment for your child to eat in.

Model good eating patterns for your child.

Encourage nutritious foods for breakfast, and provide variety if it is a struggle.

Encourage your child to be involved in food planning and preparation as it can lead to increased interest in different flavours and textures.



References: AIHW (2012) A picture of Australia’s children. Retrieved from:

AIHW (2008) Risk factors for CVD, Type 2 Diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Retrieved from:

Australian Government (2007) Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Retrieved from:$File/childrens-nut-phys-survey.pdf

Brown, J. et al. (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning

NHMRC (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from:

Stewart, R. (Ed.), (2012). Paediatric nutrition and dietetics. Brisbane, QLD: Australian Publishing

Wahlquist, M., (2011). Food and Nutrition: Food and health systems in Australia and New Zealand. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin

Healthy Eating for 12-13 Year Old Female Adolescents

The best way to succeed at healthy eating is through choosing a range of different foods from the five food groups every day. You may have seen the food groups on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating poster. The foods are grouped together that have similar nutrients, so eating a variety of foods means your body will receive all the different nutrients it needs to be healthy. The Australian Dietary Guidelines tells you the amount of each food group you should have depending on age, sex and activity level. This is because your body needs different amounts of each food group at different times of your life and at different exercise levels.

Daily Recommendations:


5 Servings of Vegetables and Legumes/Beans

Vegetables and fruits

Why eat vegetables?

Vegetables are low in energy, and high in fiber for a healthy digestive system and full of nutrients that will help your body to function well. Eating many different colored vegetables means getting a wide variety of nutrients.

What is 1 serving?


Avoid Yogurts with more than 30grams of sugar.

½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrot, pumpkin).
½ cup beans, peas, lentils (no canned foods w/ more than 10 grams of sodium).
1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables.
½ cup corn.
½ medium potato, sweet potato, taro, cassava.
1 tomato (medium-size).
2 cucumbers

2 Servings of Fruit

Kiwi fruits

Why eat fruits?

Fruits are high in fibre, high in water and most are low in energy. Eating whole fruits rather than dried fruits or drinking fruit juice is best for your teeth and body. Eating whole fruit means your body won't miss out on any nutrients that are lost in the food processing.

What is 1 serving?

1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear.
2 small apricots, kiwi fruits, plums, mangos.
Eat occasionally:
8-10 glasses of water daily
(cut back on juices unless you make your own without sugar)
30g dried fruit (eg. 4 dried apricot halves, 1 ½ tablespoons sultanas).

5 Serves of Grain/Cereal Foods

Wholemeal bread with seeds

Why eat grains?

Grain foods contain carbohydrates for energy, protein which makes up our muscles and skin, fibre, and many other nutrients for a healthy body. Eat mostly whole grains (wholemeal, and grain varieties) for a healthy digestive system.
Though, keep in mind that some wheat breads like Wonder brand may use wheats but also use added preservatives to trick buyers so their bread tastes satisfactory.

What is 1 serving?

1 slice of bread (40g).
½ medium bread roll/flat bread (40g).
½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur, quinoa.
½ cup (120g) cooked porridge.
⅔ (30g) wheat cereal flakes.
¼ cup (30g) muesli.
3 (35g) crispbreads.
1 (60g) crumpet.
1 small (35g) English muffin or scone.

2 ½ Serves of Lean Meats, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Tofu, Nuts, Seeds and Legumes/Beans


Why eat meats and alternatives?

Meats and alternatives are a great source of protein and many other nutrients like iron. Iron is important for growing bodies, athletes and women who are menstruating.
Different types of lentils

What is 1 serve?

65g cooked lean meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat, kangaroo from 90-100g raw) [Less than 455g per week to reduce risk of getting some types of cancer].
80g cooked lean poultry (chicken or turkey from 100g raw).
100g cooked fish fillet (from 115g raw) or one small can of fish (100g).
2 large (120g eggs).
1 cup (150g) cooked/canned legumes/beans (eg. lentils, chick peas or split peas with no added salt).
170g tofu.
30g nuts, seeds, nut/seed paste eg. peanut or almond butter or tahini (no added salt).

3 ½ Serves of Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese and/or Alternatives


Why eat dairy and alternatives?

This food group is high in protein and full of nutrients such as calcium. Calcium is important for healthy growing bones.

What is 1 serve?

1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk.
½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk.
2 slices/ 4x3x2cm cube (40g) hard cheese eg. cheddar.
½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese.
¾ cup (200g) yoghurt.
1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml.

What about all the other foods?

Half a chocolate bar is 1 serve
You will notice that a lot of foods that we consume are not part of the five food groups, like chocolates, jam, sausages, and hot potato chips. This is because they are part of a different category called "discretionary choices", which the body does not need to be healthy. These foods are often high in fat, sugar, salt or alcohol and low in fibre. They can be considered "extra foods" and girls aged 12-13 years are recommended to take 0-2 ½ serves per day. This could be tricky when the serve sizes can be quite small, like ½ of a chocolate bar, one tablespoon of jam, two thin sausages and 12 hot potato chips.

What about nuts?

Girls 12-13 years old are also allowed 1 ½ serves of unsaturated spreads or oils and nuts or seeds as part of a daily healthy diet on top of the five food group serves. Although they are high in fat, so you might think they could be part of the discretionary choices, the fats from nuts and seeds are healthy for your body. This includes oils like olive oil or olive-based margarines, and nuts and seeds like peanuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. One serve is about ten almonds and 7g of oil or 10g of peanut butter. Like the discretionary choices, the serving sizes are small because these foods are high in energy so it's easy to eat more than you need.

What if I am tall or very active?

Adolescents who are taller or more active will also have greater energy needs and are allowed extra serves from the five food groups or discretionary choices.

More information

For further information and activities see


  1. Brown, J. E., Isaacs, J. S., Krinke, B., Lechtenberg, E., Murtaugh, M. A., Sharbaugh, C., Splett, P. L., Stang, J., & Woolridge, N. H. (2011). (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council. (n.d.a.). Australian dietary guidelines summary [Brochure]. Retrieved from
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council. (n.d.b.). The five food groups. Retrieved from
  4. Wahlqvist, M. L. (Ed.). (2011). Food and nutrition. Food and health systems in Australia and New Zealand (3rd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Healthy Eating for Healthy Living (elderly/basic literacy level)

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight for over 50’s

Basic Food Guide

Use this healthy eating guide to kick start healthy eating that helps you achieve a healthy weight.

Body Weight

Healthy Eating

The Different Food Elements

How many serves of each food group am I getting per day?

Use the 'Helping Hands' seen below as a guide to work out how many servings of each food group you are having per day. Compare how much you are having to the recommended number of servings below (choose the recommendation that matches your age and gender). Are you getting enough of each food group per day?

How many serves of each food group should I be having every day?

Select the image below that matches your age and gender. This shows you how many serves of each food group you should be having a day.

Tips to get started

For more easy to understand information, visit:[1][2]




4. ConAgra Inc. (2013). Helping Hands [Image]. Retrieved from
5. Healthxchange. (2013). Heart Disease.[Image]. Retrieved from
6. NHMRC. (2013). Healthy Eating Guide [Image]. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Retrieved from
7. Sweet Clip Art. (2013). Scales [Image]. Retrieved from
8. WebMD. (2011). Waist Circumference [Image].. Retrieved from

Researching Nutritional Information & Australian Serving Sizes

Nutritional Information


Nutritional information is expanding every day and is being more readily accessed as technology is advancing. There are a variety of internet sources and more recently mobile "apps" that provide nutritional material to the general public. However some sources of nutritional information can contain material that may or may not be reliable and accurate.


On The Internet

There are many websites that present nutritional information however there are only some which contain credible sources of information. A credible source of information is evidence-based, validated, and up to date [1] [2]. It’s important to check that the web page has:

  • a credible author (origin of work, qualification, credentials)
  • trustworthy references and citations
  • a date of publication
  • site functionality (ease of use, current and functional links)
  • domain on the web address

These are three examples of the domains of websites that are considered more reliable [2] [3] (The domains of websites are found on the website links eg.

  • .edu websites – educational institution
  • .gov websites – government agency
  • .org websites* – non-profit organization

These types of domains are frequently used by health professionals in hospitals, universities and government agencies to gather and provide information to the public. These websites contain accurate science based material which ensure the reliability of the nutritional information.

Note: Validating sources of information to ensure correct material is an important skill. Although websites may contain the .org, .edu and .gov domains there may still be incorrect information and verifying this information with other credible websites is important.

Google Play badge
App Store badge

Apps on mobile devices

Apps, which is short for applications, are small downloadable programs on mobile devices that can be used for entertainment, educational or for social purposes. Many nutrition apps exist and are used frequently in the present time. Validating the database and source of nutritional information on the app helps to determine the accuracy of the nutritional information. These are a few examples of apps that are efficient and reliable for use:

  • Food Switch - (made by Bupa and the data has been collated from The George Institute[4]). The app provides easy-to-understand nutritional information about packaged foods and provides the user with healthier food alternatives, gluten free alternatives and healthier salt alternatives. This app allows you to scan barcodes on food products and make informed choices when purchasing foods.
  • Better Health Channel App (provided by the Better Health Channel and the Victorian government) [5]. This app provides general health advice, health service options, treatments and healthy living suggestions.
  • Foodle - Nutrition Facts (provided by the USDA National Nutrient Database [6]) lets users discover the micronutrient and macronutrient content in various types of foods.
  • 8700 (produced by the NSW Food Authority [7] [8]) is an app that provides fun facts about nutrition and calculates total daily energy requirements. It also provides information about kilojoules (KJ), the amount of energy exerted while performing activities and nutrition information about fast foods outlets in Australia.

Australian Serving Sizes


The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide up-to-date information about the recommended types of foods that need to be consumed for health and well-being. [9]. The food types reflect everyday foods consumed by Australians and this helps to ensure that the serving sizes supply sufficient nutrients to our diets. To help understand how serving sizes and nutrient reference values (daily nutrient requirements) [10] provide adequate micro and macronutrients, view the video of Calcium Man as a guide.

1 medium tomato = 1 serve 1 cup of salad vegetables = 1 serve 1/2 cup of orange and green vegetables = 1 serve
1 medium orange = 1 serve of fruit1 medium apple = 1 serve of fruit1 medium banana = 1 serve of fruit
1 (65g) cooked steak = 1 serve2 large eggs (120g total) = 1 serve
1 (40g) slice of bread = 1 serves of grains & cereals1/2 cup rice = 1 serves of grains & cereals
Milk glass

Recommended Daily Serves [11]
A 'serve' is a fixed food amount set by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Below are the serve recommendations for adult male and females.

Adult Male Adult Female
Vegetables 6 5
Fruit 2 2
Meat 3 2.5
Cereal/Grains 6 6
Dairy 2.5 2.5

Serving Sizes[11]
Below are standard serving sizes for each food group.

One Vegetable Serve (75g) (100-350KJ) One Fruit Serve (150g) (350KJ) One Meat Serve (500-600KJ) One Cereal/Grain Serve (500KJ) One Dairy Serve (500-600KJ)
1/2 cup of green or orange vegetables 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear 65g cooked lean red meat 1 slice(40g) slice bread 1 cup (250ml) fresh/UHT long life/reconstituted powdered/butter milk
1/2 cup cooked/dried/canned/ beans, peas, corn or lentils 2 small fruits (apricots, kiwi, plums) 80g cooked lean poultry 1/2 medium(40g) roll or flat bread 1/2 cup (120ml) evaporated milk
1 cup green leafy or salad vegetables 1 cup diced/canned fruit 100g cooked fish fillet 1/2 cup (75-120g)cooked rice, pasta, noodles or grain 2 slices (40g) hard cheese (cheddar)
1 medium tomato Or occasionally 2 large (120g total) eggs 1/2 cup(120g) cooked porridge 1/2 cup (120g) ricotta
1/2 medium starchy vegetable (potatoes) 125ml (1/2 cup) fruit juice 1 cup cooked/canned beans, legumes or beans (peas, chickpeas, lentils) 2/3 cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes 3/4 cup (200g) yoghurt
30g dried fruit 170g tofu 1/4 cup (30g) muesli 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with minimum 100mg of added calcium/100g
30g nuts, seeds or nut/seed paste 3(35g) crispbreads
1(60g) crumpet
1 small(35g) english muffin or scone

Further Reading & Notes



  1. University of Maryland University Libraries. (2013). Evaluating web sites. Retrieved from
  2. a b UNC Asheville Ramsey Library . (2013). Evaluating web information. Retrieved from
  3. Univeristy of Illinois at Urban-Champaign University Library . (2012). Evaluating internet sources. Retrieved from
  4. Bupa. (2013). Foodswitch. Retrieved from
  5. Better Health Channel. (2012). Better health channel iphone and ipad app. Retrieved from
  6. Pomegranate Apps. (2013). Foodle. Retrieved from
  7. NSW Government. (2012). 8700 find your ideal figure. Retrieved from
  8. NSW Food Authority. (2012). 8700kJ app proving popular with consumers. Retrieved from
  9. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). The guidelines. Retrieved from
  10. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Nutrient Reference Values. Retrieved from
  11. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2013). Eat for health Australian dietary guidelines summary. Retrieved from:

Creating Quick and Easy Meals using Common Pantry Items

Example of a Pantry List, Healthier Alternatives and Guidelines for Storage


Summarized Table

Pantry list Healthier Alternatives Guidelines for Storage
Oil Olive oil, Avocado oil Unopened: well-sealed tin or dark bottle. [1]
Garlic, Onions & Potatoes Store in individual breathable wire meshes baskets.[2][3]
Stock –Broth/ Cubes Low salt, low-fat and low calorie varieties Store liquid broth and solid stock cubes away from heat, moisture, sunlight, and at constant temperature. Once opened: broth must be stored in a sealed container and refrigerated. [4]
Spaghetti sauce Low salt, low-fat varieties

Pick tomato-based sauce over cream (i.e. Alfredo) and pesto sauce varieties.

Once opened: Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.[3][5]
Dry pasta Whole-wheat pasta Store in original packaging.Once opened: store in a tightly closed container. [6]
Dry Beans Store in original packaging. Once opened: place in an airtight container. [7]
Rice Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley Store unopened rice in its original packaging. Once opened: store in a clean, airtight container. [7]
Canned items (i.e. tuna/ tomatoes) Tomatoes- no salt/ less sodium varieties.Tuna- water-packed options; eat in moderation to avoid too much mercury intake. For a better explanation why mercury is present in tuna click here. Discard if unopened cans are leaking, rusting, bulging or severely dented. Once opened: place food in a clean covered plastic or glass container, store in the refrigerator.[3][4]
Bread Brown, wholemeal Store freshly baked bread in a paper bag and sliced bread in original plastic bag [8].
Peanut Butter Low salt, less sweet options Once opened: is fine on the shelf but can be kept in the refrigerator to extend shelf life.[9]
Milk Low fat, skim milk Long life milk can be stored out of the fridge, unopened for 6 months. Once opened: store like you would fresh milk in the refrigerator.[10]
Eggs Egg whites When purchasing: Check eggs before purchase: avoid cracked & dirty looking eggs. Store in their carton in the pantry or toward the back of the fridge where it is coldest.[1]
Meat Lean options, trim off fat. Look for products with the heart foundation tick of aproval. Purchase the product before date of expiry. Refrigerate promptly after purchase.[1]
Cheese Low fat and reduced salt options. Choose hard cheese over cream cheese. If consuming cream cheese, choose fat-free or low fat options. Place in original wrapper where possible and refrigerate. To maintain flavour, store fresh cheese in a covered container to protect from strong odors. Harmless mould may develop on hard cheese (i.e. cheddar) and can simply be cut off along with 2cm of cheese around the mould. However, if the mould is orange or black in color, cheese should be discarded.[11]

Benefits of proper food storage


It can help you:

Pantry 1
The is another picture of a pantry, organized and ordered. All items are faced forward and items in containers are labeled clearly

General guidelines and tips



  • Storage conditions should be dry, cool and dark
  • Always store foods in the coolest cabinets away from the oven, water heater, dishwasher or any hot pipes
  • Despite long shelf life and advertised special prices, buy only what you expect to use within the recommended storage times. Excess foods may become waste
  • To prevent deterioration of foods that are removed from their original packaging, store in appropriate metal, glass or plastic containers
  • Check the expiration date of foods. Always throw out damaged cans, without tasting the food first
  • Keep containers and can foods clean and free of dust
  • Treat storage areas for pests and clean the pantry periodically to remove food particles
  • Follow the "first in, first out" policy, meaning that you rotate items so that older items are used first


  • Always store meats, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products in the coldest section
  • Do not overload the refrigerator
  • Clean the refrigerator to remove spills and spoilt food
  • Store foods in airtight wraps or containers to prevent food from drying out and maintain quality
  • Avoid using containers and plastic bags not made for storage
  • Do not reuse plastic bags originally contaminated with raw meats, poultry or fish
  • When storing raw meats, wrap securely and place on a plate to prevent juices from dripping and contaminating other food
  • Always rotate frozen foods; use the oldest first for best flavour and quality
  • More refrigerator information, click here

Benefits of cooking your own meals & choosing healthier alternatives

Flow chart of meal ideas

Examples of meals and snacks (using the pantry list)


Meal ideas

  • Pasta Bolognese
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Pizza bread
  • Tuna rice bake
  • Lentil soup (with pasta)

Snack ideas

  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Omelet



Use the internet for recipe ideas


Type the words “Quick and easy meals using common pantry staples” in the search engine. Or visit to find recipes by ingredients that you have at home.

Prepare a large batch of your favorite/ chosen recipe (e.g. double/ triple the recipe). Refrigerate or freeze foods in covered shallow (less than 3 inch deep) containers. Label food storage container with the date so that foods can be used within a safe time frame.

Get creative


Make a second meal/ side dish using left overs by adding items you already have at home, and by doing so, stretch your dollar. For example, use leftover pasta Bolognese sauce to create shepherd’s pie or pizza bread; and use left over pasta to add a delicious body to soup.

Reference List

  1. a b c CSIRO. Refrigerated storage of perishable foods. Retrieved from,
  2. Jewel Pie. 18 storage ideas for potatoes, onions and garlic. Retrieved from,
  3. a b c Home and life style network (2013). Healthy Pantry Staples Checklist. Retrieved from,
  4. a b Gim, S. J. (2006). Spring cleaning: Shelf life of common pantry items. Retrieved from,
  5. Eat by date. Shelf life of spaghetti sauce. Retrieved from,
  6. Eat by date. Shelf life of pasta. Retrieved from,
  7. a b Sennebogen, E. (2013).10 must have pantry Staples. Retrieved from,
  8. Keeping bread fresh. Retrievedfrom,
  9. Still Tasty. How long can you keep peanut butter. Retrieved from,
  10. Eat by date. Shelf life of milk. Retrieved from,
  11. Eat by date. Shelf life of cheese. Retrieved from,

Sports drinks: are they really doing us good?

Sports Drinks



The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating (AGHE) gives the public an outline on the quantity and quality of foods and beverages which should be consumed to maintain a healthy weight and optimal health. These guidelines are structured in a way that promotes the consumption of foods high in nutrients necessary to maintain health and wellbeing. The AGHE places sports drinks on the bottom right corner, amongst other food and beverages which are termed ‘discretionary’ implying that they should only be consumed in limited amounts[1].

Basic Exercise Physiology


Fluid Balance


The human body is made up of 60-70% water[2]. That means that a male that weighs 70 kg would contain at least 42 litres of water. Out of these 42 litres, 28 litres would be found inside cells, 11 litres would be surrounding cells and blood vessels (interstitial fluid), and only 3 litres would be found in the blood as plasma (the blood without the red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cells)[2]. A simpler way to put it is to say that water is found in either vascular (blood) space or tissue space. Males generally contain more water than females, because fat repels water and thus a body that is higher in fat tissue would result in a lower percentage of water[2]. The opposite goes for lean muscle tissue, which holds water well.

Loss of fluid

Fluid is lost from the body via urine, faeces, sweat, evaporation, and breathing[2]. The main cause of dehydration is when we lose fluid through sweat[2]. Although we lose a lot of fluid through urine, it is greatly controlled and regulated to prevent the body from dehydration[2]. The amount of sweat varies greatly between individuals, but also within individuals as it depends on activity level and surrounding climate. The fluid that makes up sweat comes from blood plasma (blood space) and it is passed on from the blood when it circulates past sweat glands[2]. This loss in fluids from the blood needs to be replaced as it directly affects the blood pressure and strains the heart[2].


Sweat is needed to cool the skin down when the body temperature rises[3]. It is produced from sweat glands that gain its fluid from the blood passing by[2]. Sweating depends on the body temperature that is affected by surrounding climate and exercise[2]. If fluids are not restored it will lead to dehydration[2].

Energy is released mainly as heat during exercise
Exercise and fluids

During exercise our muscles create energy[4]. Out of this energy 75% is released as heat energy, and the other 25% is in the form of ATP, which is a stored form of chemical energy. As it is mostly heat that is released from our muscles, it is important that it is removed from the muscle or the muscle would overheat. Therefore the heat energy is transferred to the blood. The heated blood stimulates our sweat glands to produce sweat, and when the sweat evaporates from the skin it cools the body down.


It is therefore very important to stay hydrated during exercise. During dehydration the blood runs more slowly through the body, which prevents the blood from efficiently removing heat that has been produced from the exercise[5]. If heat is not being removed from the muscles it would eventually lead to increased core body temperature. An increase of just 2 degrees (from 37°C to 39°C) would create a state called hyperthermia (hyper = above normal, thermia = temperature). People that are dehydrated do not tolerate this state of increased body temperature very well and would fatigue or even collapse at temperatures between 38.5°C -39.5°C.

Dehydration will result in dizziness, early fatigue and headaches[4]. Dehydration will also prevent optimal muscle function and can reduce pleasure and performance, especially in hot climates, such as the Australian summer[4].

Fluid losses of about 2% of your body weight (which would be about 1.2 litres for a 60 kg woman) would be enough to notice a decrease in performance and if the losses were more than 2% it would increase the risk of dizziness, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and further gastrointestinal problems both during and after exercise[2]. When dehydrated we also don't take up fluid as well from our intestines, making it even harder to restore fluid balance[2].

Drinking plan

Dehydration is common after exercise because we often sweat more than what we can replace during the training[4]. People are often also unaware of how much they actually sweat, and therefore they don’t know how much fluid to drink to replace those water losses. A simple way to find out how much fluid is lost from exercise is to document the weight before and after a session and subtract the post weight from the pre exercise weight[4]. It is recommended to have a drinking plan if exercising at higher intensities or in hot and humid climates, which would contain directions on how much to drink before, during and after exercise[4].

Drinking too much

It is also possible to drink too much fluid. If someone is exercising for long periods of time the losses of salt and other electrolytes through sweat in the combination of drinking only water could lead to dilution of remaining electrolytes. Electrolytes refer to the main minerals present in the body fluid: sodium (Na), potassium (K), chloride (Cl), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca)[2]. Sodium is the most abundant of them[2]. If sodium levels become too low it could give symptoms of headache and nausea. In extreme cases the low levels of sodium could cause fluid to move into the brain that would result in a swelling that would cause a state of feeling strange and mental confusion, and further cause general weakness, and then collapse, seizure, coma, and eventually death[2]. The intake of fluids during exercise should aim to match the fluid lost from exercise[4]. A good rule of thumb is to consume 150-200 ml of fluid every 15 minutes during exercise, and in sessions that lasts 60 minutes or less the best thing to drink is water[4].

Fuel for energy


Water is not the only thing you need to perform well. You also need fuel for the energy needed for muscle contractions[2]. The main fuel is glucose that is also known as “blood sugar”[2]. Glucose comes from the carbohydrate that we consume in the diet[4]. During exercise glucose comes from a stored form of glucose called glycogen[2][4]. Glycogen can be found in the liver and within muscles[2]. When glycogen reserves are used up we solely depend on the sugar in the blood[2]. When exercising within 60 minutes the glycogen is generally sufficient as an energy source and we don’t need any additional glucose from fast acting carbohydrate food[4]. The main nutritional focus for exercise lasting less than 60 minutes is to have a good fluid balance[4].

Ingredients in sports drinks




Most sports drinks contain 6-8% (i.e. 6-8 grams per 100 grams) of sugar, also known as carbohydrates. Research shows that this amount is beneficial during exercise. Sports drinks that contain more than 8% of carbohydrates will result in slower absorption of the sugar[6]. This means it will take longer to reach the working muscles and may potentially remain in the stomach when needed the most – when muscle glycogen stores are depleted. Sports drinks containing less than 6% sugar are unlikely to provide muscles with adequate fuel.





Sodium in sports drinks is beneficial in a number of ways. Most importantly, it acts to replace the salts that we lose when we sweat. As mentioned above, the amount we sweat varies greatly between individuals. However, most people don’t realize how much they actually sweat. This is because it quickly evaporates from the skin’s surface during exercise in non-humid conditions. Sodium also enhances fluid absorption from the stomach, making it available to the body as quickly as possible. Sodium makes us want to drink more because it drives our thirst mechanism. This also happens when we eat foods containing high amounts of salt such as salted nuts. The physiological response to consuming large amounts of salt is to drink more. This is beneficial when we exercise to keep us well hydrated.



Potassium is another electrolyte that we lose through sweat and is also important to replace since low potassium concentration may result in muscle weakness and mental confusion.

Other ingredients


Sports drinks can contain other ingredients like protein, and certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and vitamin C. Further research is needed to clarify whether or not these nutrients are beneficial during exercise.

Examples of sports drinks


Ingredients in common sports drinks

Product (250ml) Carbohydrate (g/100ml) Protein (g/100ml) Sodium (mmol/L) Potassium (mg/L) Other ingredients
Gatorade 6 0 21 230
Gatorade Endurance* 6 0 36 150
Accelarade 6 1.5 21 66 Calcium, Iron, Vitamin E
Powerade Isotonic 7.6 0 12 141
Squincher 7.4 0 10 180 Calcium, Magnesium
Powerade Recovery 7.3 1.7 13 140
Staminade 7.2 0 12 160 Magnesium
PB Sports Electrolyte Drink 6.8 0 20 180
Mizone Rapid 3.9 0 10 0 B group vitamins, Vitamin C
Hydrosport 6.7 0 24.6
Lucozade Sport 6.4 0 21.7
  • Gatorade Endurance contains more sodium than other sports drinks as it was made specifically for very long endurance sessions (4-8 hours in length).



Why are sports drinks beneficial?


During exercise


Sports drinks provide carbohydrates to the working muscles. They are then converted into energy to enable the muscles to continue to work. Sports Dietitians Australia recommend people consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour of exercise, to help delay fatigue. This however, is only applicable to those who exercise for longer than 60 minutes, or those who exercise in extreme heat. People who exercise less than 60 minutes, generally do not need to consume carbohydrates during their session, since the body’s carbohydrate stores are usually adequate to fuel this amount of exercise.

Following exercise


Sports drinks consumed after exercise will aid in full rehydration. This will not occur until all sodium losses have been replaced. Following exercise, they can be beneficial for people who can’t tolerate solid foods straight after training. Any food or drink that contains carbohydrate is recommended, as it will assist in refueling carbohydrate stores in the body. This will help in recovery and stop you from feeling tired and lethargic after exercise.

Who will benefit from sports drinks?

  • Recreational athletes: those who perform continuous aerobic activity for more than 60 minutes
  • Elite and endurance athletes: those who train for more than 2 hours per day
  • High-intensity training athletes: eg. sprinters will benefit from a sports drink after only 30 minutes of training
  • Tired athletes: are likely to have depleted carbohydrate stores
  • Athletes exercising in the heat: will lose more fluid and electrolytes, and will burn carbohydrate at a faster rate
  • Cramping athletes: there is some evidence suggesting that cramping may be caused by dehydration and large losses of salt [7].

Negative aspects of sports drinks


The main ingredient in sports drinks is sugar. By comparison to a regular soft drink, the sugar content does not differ greatly. When sugar is consumed in excess, the body will store it as fat. If an exercising program lasts 60 minutes or less, there is no need to consume a sports drink. If this is done over long periods, this may result in a person gaining weight. The sugar in sports drinks may also contribute to dental caries. This problem is exacerbated by the acidity in sports drinks. If consumed over prolonged periods, this will contribute to the erosion of the enamel which cannot be replaced. From an economical perspective, sports drinks cost more than filling a water bottle up at the gym. The cost of a 600ml bottle of sports drink varies between $2.50 to $4.50.

Green Smoothie

Alternatives to sports drinks


For any exercise session no longer than 60 minutes, water is recommended as the fluid of choice. Some may find water bland so to enhance the taste, some lemon or lime may be added to give the water some flavor. This low sugar alternative does not increase an individual’s total energy intake. It is cheaper than buying a sports drink or bottled water from the gym and is environmentally friendly as a new plastic bottle is not purchased every second day. For a pre workout snack, foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat are recommended. This could be slice of toast with jam/honey or a smoothie or a glass of juice. Having a snack about 30 minutes before an exercise session can help the individual improve their exercise session as well as prevent a person from feeling ‘weak’ or ‘dizzy’ during their exercise session. During an exercise session, which last 60 minutes or shorter, water is recommended. It is essential to keep hydrated throughout the session as most individuals lose more fluid through sweat than they consume during the exercise session. After exercising, the aim is to consume foods which aid in refueling and rehydration. The two most important macronutrients required after exercise are carbohydrates and protein. A quick snack right after an exercise session could be a muesli bar or a few salted almonds[8]. These options are high in protein which provides satiety and the salted nuts will provide some sodium to aid in electrolyte rebalance. It is essential to consume water which rehydrates the body[9].

Further reading


Visit Sports Dietitians Australia for more information on sports drinks.


  1. Australian Guide To Healthy Eating (AGHE). (2013). Eat For Health. Retrieved from
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Eric P. Widmaier, et al., Vander’s Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013).
  3. Gergeron, M. F., Waller, J. L., & Marinik, E. L. (2006). Voluntary fluid intake and core temperature responses in adolescent tennis players: sports beverage versus water. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40, 406-410. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2005.023333
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2013). Fact sheet: Fluids in sport (110517). Retrieved from
  5. Coyle, E. F. (2004). Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences 22, 39-55. doi:10.1080/0264041031000140545
  6. Cardwell, G. (2006). Gold Medal Nutrition. 4th edition. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL.
  7. Bergeron, M. F. (1996). Heat cramps during tennis: A case report. International Journal of Sport Nutrition 6:62-68.
  8. Clark., N. (2000). Sport Nutrition: Energy Bars: Better Than A Banana. Palaestra,16(3)58
  9. Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). (2013). Fact sheet: Eating and Drinking Before sport. Retrieved

Effective Eating for Exams

Healthy eating during exam periods may seem like an impossible and difficult task to manage. With these quick and easy tips you can forget about making poor food choices and enjoy the benefits of healthy and tasty foods.

Eating healthy throughout exams means:

  • You will not have to waste holiday time in bed with a cold
  • Avoid unnecessary weight gain/loss
  • Have your skin looking fresh and glowing
  • Perform better in exams

Time Saving Tips

Spoonful of cereal

Have breakfast everyday

Spending just 10 minutes preparing a good breakfast will help you study more effectively than if you skipped breakfast all together.

It also lowers the chances of overeating later in the day and snacking on un-needed extra foods [1]

Cook in large quantities

Separate what you do not eat into meal size portions and freeze them for later meals

Plan ahead

Spend some time deciding on what you want to eat and what you need to buy for the entire week. Do all your shopping in one go to save yourself from making multiple trips to the supermarket.

Use pre-cut vegetables

Buying pre-cut vegetables from the supermarket for a quick salad or sandwich filling will save you time from chopping them up yourself.

Choose recipes wisely

Choose recipes that are simple, quick and easy to make. This way you can use cooking as a quick break from study.

Use leftovers for new meals

Use left overs from dinner such as chicken or vegetables for a sandwich filling the next day.

Clean as you go

Use the minimum amount of dishes and utensils needed for cooking and clean as you go to save time from doing it later. Why not go over some study material while you wash away?

Exams and Your Immune System


Exams are stressful and stress can lead to a lowered immune system, which can result in you catching a cold. [2] Once you are sick not only do you feel unwell but its much more difficult to study productively.

Having nutrient deficiencies can further lower your immune system.[3] It's difficult enough meeting your nutrient needs on a typical day; if you are replacing your regular diet with processed or packaged foods that are low in nutrients it makes it even harder.

Foods that are particularly beneficial for your immune system include:


  • Beef, lamb, milk, and nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are sources of zinc.[4] Low levels of zinc have been shown to reduce immunity and memory.[5]
  • Berries are full of antioxidants to help boost your immune function.[6] Try adding them to a bowl of porridge, a tub of plain yoghurt or snack on fresh berries while you study.
  • It’s the probiotics in yoghurt that do the trick.[7] Instead of a chocolate bar or packet of chips have a tub of yoghurt. It is also a source of zinc, so you can’t go wrong.[4] Be sure to read the nutrition label at the back and choose the yoghurt with the lowest sugar content.
  • Foods rich in omega-3 such as canned salmon, mackerel, eggs, flax seeds and avocado[4] reduce inflammation and protect you from getting sick.[8] Why not use a can of salmon in your sandwich, have it on crackers as a snack or use it in a salad?
Sweet potatoes
  • Replace potato chips by making your own baked sweet potato chips. Sweet potato contains vitamin A and beta carotene which are not only immune boosting but great for your skin too. [9] Other sources vitamin A include eggs and skim milk[4].
Don't have time to whip up a quick meal?
Try downloading the ‘Food Switch’ App on your smartphone or IPhone to help you choose healthy alternatives while at the supermarket.

Eating When Stressed


Stress can often lead to overeating on foods that are high in energy, sugar and bad fats.[10]

To avoid over-indulging:

  • Listen to your hunger cues. If you feel yourself reaching for that tub of ice cream, sit down for a minute and decide if you are hungry or just stressed. If you are stressed it may be a better idea to save the ice cream for later. If you really do need something to munch on, a handful of mixed nuts, vegetable sticks with hummus or unsalted popcorn are great healthy options.
  • When preparing a snack to eat while studying only put in the amount you want to eat. Filling a bowl to the top may lead you to finishing the entire bowl without even realising.
  • When planning your study schedule do not forget to add in time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including preparation time. Skipping meals can also lead to overindulging later on.

Sweet Potato Fries:

Baked Tortilla Chips:

Sesame Chickpea Dip:

Baked Oatmeal Bars:

Smoked Salmon Pizza:

Banana Pikelets:

Soft boiled egg with ricotta fingers:

Tuna & salad pinwheels:,healthy-lunch+recipes

Pomegranate tabouli:,low-fat

Strawberry-Cucumber Juice:

Homemade tortilla chips
Recipe Preparation time Ready in No. of ingredients Serves
Sweet potato fries 15 mins 45 mins 6 4
Baked tortilla chips 10 mins 25 mins 6 6
Sesame chickpea dip 10 mins 2 hrs (Refrigeration time) 7 4
Baked oatmeal bars 10 mins 1 hr 9 9
Smoked salmon pizza 15 mins 30 mins 8 6
Banana pikelets 10 mins 15 mins 8 4
Soft boiled egg with ricotta fingers 10 mins 5 mins 5 2
Tuna & salad pinwheels 20 mins 20 mins 7 4
Pomegranate tabouli 20 mins 30 mins 8 4
Strawberry-Cucumber Juice 15 mins 15 mins 4 2


  1. Wesnes, K. A., Pincock, C., Richardson, D., Helm, G., & Hails, S. (2003). Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite, 41(3), 329-331.
  2. Chandra, R. K. (1997). Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 66(2), 460S-463S.
  3. Gross, R., & Newberne, P. (1980). Role of nutrition in immunologic function. Physiological reviews, 60(1), 188-302.
  4. a b c d Blazos-Kouris, A. (2012). Food Sources of Nutrients: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Phytonutrients and Chemicals: Antigone Kouris-Blazos
  5. Shankar, A. H., & Prasad, A. S. (1998). Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 68(2), 447S-463S.
  6. Battino, M., Beekwilder, J., Denoyes‐Rothan, B., Laimer, M., McDougall, G. J., & Mezzetti, B. (2009). Bioactive compounds in berries relevant to human health. Nutrition reviews, 67(s1), S145-S150.
  7. Borchers, A. T., Selmi, C., Meyers, F. J., Keen, C. L., & Gershwin, M. E. (2009). Probiotics and immunity. Journal of gastroenterology, 44(1), 26-46.
  8. Calder, P. C., & Grimble, R. F. (2002). Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. European journal of clinical nutrition, 56, S14-9.
  9. Kidmose, U., Christensen, L. P., Agili, S. M., & Thilsted, S. H. (2007). Effect of home preparation practices on the content of provitamin A carotenoids in coloured sweet potato varieties. Innovative food science & emerging technologies, 8(3), 399-406.
  10. Torres, S. J., & Nowson, C. A. (2007). Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition, 23(11), 887-894.

Superfoods For College Students

What is a Superfood?


Currently there is not an official definition for Superfoods, or functional foods as they are sometimes referred. However, the term usually refers to foods that provide additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition; they promote optimal health and/or reduce disease risk. [1] Generally they contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fats, they are high in dietary fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals and are a rich source of antioxidants. They also tend to be very low in unhealthy substances such as saturated fats, trans fats and refined sugars[1].



The body undergoes oxidation reactions as a part of its normal functioning, however, these reactions can produce free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that can cause damage to cellular proteins, DNA, lipids and other cells. The body has an in-built mechanism that enables it to cope with free radicals, but over time this mechanism becomes less efficient.

The build up of free radicals can cause irreversible damage to the body’s DNA and can contribute to the development of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, liver disease, arthritis and some cancers. [2] This process can be accelerated by stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and ultraviolet radiation.

Antioxidants can prevent the damage caused by free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending the chain reaction. [3] Antioxidants are found in many foods in nutrient (vitamins A, C, and E and minerals copper, zinc and selenium) and non-nutrient forms (phytochemicals and zoochemicals).

Phytochemicals and zoochemicals have very potent antioxidant properties and are believed to have greater beneficial effects than individual vitamins or minerals. [4]



Phytochemicals are chemicals that occur naturally within plants; they provide the plant with its own protection against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They are found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, cereals and beans. [4]



Zoochemicals are chemicals that occur naturally within some animal products; they that provide the animal with protection against disease. [5] When foods that contain phytochemicals or zoochemicals are consumed the benefit from their disease preventing properties are also received.

5 Superfoods for College Students


The following is a description of 5 'Superfoods' that are great snack options for university students, especially those living at a residential college. For example, blueberries, chia seeds, crushed walnuts and yoghurt can all be mixed together to create a delicious healthy snack.

1. Blueberries


Blueberries are rich in all types of antioxidants including phytochemicals, flavenoids, anthocyans, lutein, vitamins E & C, beta-carotene, B-vitamins such as folate (which helps prevent birth defects in babies) and niacin (which releases energy from food), and numerous essential minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. They actually have one of the highest total antioxidant capacities of any food. The major antioxidants in blueberries are anthocyanins, they give blueberries their characteristic blue-red colour. Anthocyanins are believed to boost memory and brain function and to protect the eyes from cataracts and glaucoma. In spite of their sweet flavour, blueberries are low in calories, high in dietary fibre and they have a low glycaemic index so they make you feel fuller for longer.[5]

2. Yoghurt


Yoghurt is much more nutritious than people tend to realise. It is not only a good source of calcium, it is easy for the body to digest even for people who are lactose intolerant. Unlike milk, the live cultures in yoghurt create lactase, the enzyme that lactose intolerant people lack. Therefore people with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate a small amount of yoghurt without experiencing any symptoms. In addition, it is a nutrient dense low glycaemic snack that is a good source of protein, B-vitamins (especially riboflavin which is needed for healthy skin and eyes) and is full of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that suppress harmful bacteria and keep the intestines healthy. As well as this, research shows consuming 3 serves of dairy every day may help the body to burn fat and lose weight more effectively than just reducing caloric intake. [5]

3. Walnuts


Walnuts are extremely nutrient dense and have the highest antioxidant activity of all nuts. They are a rich source of several B-group vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals zinc, potassium, magnesium, copper and selenium. They are also a rich source of phytochemicals, mainly flavonoid and resveratrol. Walnuts have the highest percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.[6] These are health promoting fats that have been shown to help regulate blood cholesterol. In addition, walnuts contain high amounts of plant sterols and fibre which help to reduce the amount of cholesterol reabsorption from the gut. Particularly relevant to College students is the fact that they have been shown to increase serotonin levels and are thus considered mood boosters. [7]

4. Green Tea

Cup of green tea

Green tea is very high in flavonoids which has been associated with a reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease. It contains polyphenols, specifically catechins, which may reduce heart disease by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol; it is also thought to reduce the risk of cancer and stroke. The reduced cancer risk is thought to be a result of the catechins potent antioxidant activity. [8] Green tea also supports brain health and memory, likely due to a key compound in green tea called EGCG, a flavonoid. EGCG is thought to boost the immune system and prevent tumours. [9] Therefore, it is an ideal nutrient dense drink to sip on whilst studying.

5. Chia seeds

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are very high in protein, dietary fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin C, antioxidants and importantly, they are very high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid necessary for maintaining a healthy body that is not produced by the body. Chia seeds contain the highest amount of ALA per serving than any other food source. Studies have shown that ALA may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow down the hardening of arteries. In addition, research suggests that consumption of plant derived ALA may reduce symptoms of depression.[10]

Some More 52 of the Healthiest Superfoods You Need in Your Diet


1. Eggs - Each egg has 6 grams of protein but just 72 calories. No wonder researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, found that eating eggs for breakfast (as part of a low-cal diet) helps you slim down.

2. Tomato Sauce - It's loaded with lycopene, which makes your skin look younger and keeps your heart healthy. In fact, a Harvard study found that women with the most lycopene in their blood reduced their risk of a heart attack by 34%.

Further Reading


Healthy eating for tertiary students

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

Australian Food and Grocery Council: Functional Foods

Dietetics Association of Australia: Functional Foods


  1. a b [1], Berner, C. 2011. American Fitness, 29(5), 66. Retrieved from
  2. Deakin University: Better Health Channel. (2013). Antioxidants. Retrieved from
  3. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S. R., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh. (2008) Understanding Nutrition, South Melbourne: Cengage learning Australia
  4. a b Stanford Medicine. (2013) Phytochemicals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Retrieved from
  5. a b c Calvi, K. (2013). Dietetic Care Services: Summer Superfoods. Retrieved from
  6. Vinson, J. A. & Cai, Y. (2011). Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits, Food & Function, 3 (2), 134-140. doi: 10/1039C2FO10152A
  7. Nutrition Australia, (2013). Nuts and health, Retrieved from
  8. Better Health Channel. (2011). Tea leaves and health. Retrieved from
  9. Kim, Y. H. (2008). Health Benefits of Tea, Alternative Therapies in Women’s Health, 10, 9-12. Retrieved from
  10. Holmgren, B. (2012). Chia Seeds. Natural Solutions, 141, 35-36. Retrieved from

The Low Carbohydrate Diet: Risks, Alternatives and Monitoring intake

What is a Low Carbohydrate Diet?


Diets that replace carbohydrates with foods containing a higher percentage of fat or protein are referred to as Low-Carbohydrate Diets. An example of this is the Atkins diet. The Nutrient Reference Values adapted by the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that carbohydrates should contribute between 45-65% of total energy for the day [1]. Low carbohydrate diets reduce this to approximately 20% [2]. The rationale behind the Low-Carbohydrate Diet is that once carbohydrate restriction has commenced and carbohydrate stores are exhausted, the body switches to fat metabolism to make energy. One of the products of fat metabolism is ketones, and an accumulation of ketones puts the body into a state of ketosis. This leads to a reduction in appetite and an overall effect of weight loss [3].

Risks of long-term low-carbohydrate dieting


Long-term carbohydrate restriction of between 20-60g/day can be detrimental to health [4]. Risks include:

  • A 12% reduction in thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control metabolism. A reduced metabolism results in rapid weight re-gain once carbohydrates are re-introduced [4].
  • Mood swings associated with a decreased availability of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for elevating mood [5].
  • Feelings of light-headedness, and decreased concentration due to low blood sugar levels [6].
  • Bad breath due to ketone production [6].
  • Vitamin, mineral (e.g. calcium and iron) and fibre deficiencies. This may lead to constipation, fatigue, headaches and other health outcomes [7].
  • A higher risk of heart disease due to a higher saturated fat intake [8].

Why do we need carbohydrates?


In order for the cells of the body to produce energy to sustain life, glucose is needed. The main source of glucose is carbohydrate foods (breads, cereals, rice). Fat and protein are much less efficient energy sources because they must firstly be broken down into their various components before they can enter the energy production pathway [9].

Carbohydrates are important for:

  • Brain function. The brain requires 25% of the body’s glucose to function; therefore regular consumption of carbohydrates supports this and enables concentration to be maintained, which is important for studying [3].
  • Fibre content. Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods (e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice, oats) are high in fibre and therefore prevent constipation [10].
  • Weight stabilization. Low GI foods keep you feeling full for longer so appetite is regulated and snacking is reduced [11].
  • Improving performance during exercise. Having a light carbohydrate-based snack before exercising (e.g. a piece of toast with jam) can improve performance because glucose is the number one fuel during exercise [6].

What types of carbohydrates should we eat?


There are two types of carbohydrates: simple, and complex.

Simple carbohydrates


Of the three types of simple carbohydrates, also referred to as sugars, glucose is the most important. Both natural (fruits and vegetables) and processed foods (candy, chocolate, soft drink) contain simple carbohydrates. Processed foods containing added sugars without any other nutritional benefits are referred to as ‘empty calories’. These foods may also be ‘High GI' as they provide a quick burst of energy.[10].The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends consuming these foods in small quantities and infrequently [12].

Complex carbohydrates


Complex carbohydrates come from foods including unrefined/unprocessed breads and cereals, as well as brown rice and quinoa. These foods contain long chains of glucose molecules, known as starch. They require more work by the body to digest. These foods are often 'Low GI' because they provide a more sustained release of energy, keeping you fuller for longer as well as containing essential nutrients such as fibre and B group vitamins including folate [13].

For more information regarding healthy carbohydrate product choices as well as information about other food groups, please visit: []

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD)[14]

File:Image 1.1. Sample meal plan.png
Image 1.1. Sample meal plan with moderate level of carbohydrate

The associated risks of a low carbohydrate intake can be avoided if a moderate amount of carbohydrate is consumed. The TWD has been formulated to include 115g of carbohydrate per day Invalid parameter in <ref> tag. This is less than the 250-300g suggested by the NRVs, but is more likely to be followed in the long term than the 20-60g recommended in low-carbohydrate diets [1]. The TWD suggests eating Low GI carbohydrate containing foods equal to:

  • 1 cup of cereal and
  • 2 pieces of wholemeal bread each day.

For more information on the TWD, including ‘Free Foods’ that can be used as snack items (i.e. negligible carbohydrate content), visit:

[ ]

Counting carbs – How to?


The EasyDietDiary is a mobile phone application that allows you to track how much carbohydrate you are eating, and can help you stay within the limits of total carbohydrate intake for the as day specified by the TWD. There is the choice of over 45000 different foods as well as a function to create your own recipes.

For more information regarding carbohydrate tracking, please visit: [ ]


  1. a b Stewart R. (2012). "Griffith Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics", Griffith University, School of Public Health: Australian Publishing
  2. [2], O’Neill M. (2006). "CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Review". Retrieved from
  3. a b Silverthorn DU. (2010). "Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach", Pearson Benjamin Cummings
  4. a b [3], Sears B. (2012). "Harvard explains why people regain weight with the Atkins diet". Retrieved from
  5. [4], Benton D. (2002). Carbohydrate ingestion, blood glucose and mood. "Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews". "26", 293-308. Retrieved from
  6. a b c [5], Crowe TC. (2003). Low Carb Diets: Potential Short and Long-term Health Implications. "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition". "12", 397-403. Retrieved from
  7. [6], Mooney E, Farley H, & Strugnell C. (2004). Dieting among adolescent females – some emerging trends. "International Journal of Consumer Studies", "28", 347-354. Retrieved from
  8. [7], Hosmer C. Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets. "Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Commentaries on Health". Retrieved from
  9. Sadava D., Heller C., Orians G., Purves W., & Hillis D. (2008)"Life: The Science of Biology". Sinauer Associates
  10. a b Whitney, E., Rolfes, S. R., Crowe, T, Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh. (2008) Understanding Nutrition, South Melbourne: Cengage learning Australia Invalid <ref> tag; name "understanding nutrition" defined multiple times with different content
  11. [8], Flatt JP. (2009). Importance of nutrient balance in body weight regulation. "Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews", "4", 571-581. Retrieved from
  12. [9] NHMRC. (2013). Eat For Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines. Summary. Retrieved from
  13. Longe J. (2008). Carbohydrates. The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition. Cengage Learning Australia.
  14. admin (2023-04-15). "Low Carb Diet Plan 1 - BodyBriks". BodyBriks. Retrieved 2023-04-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Healthy Eating for Healthy Bones

Healthy Bones


Why does it matter?

Osteoporosis Prevalence 2007-2008
  • Our bones change as we age.

Bone is a living tissue and is always in a process of removing mature bone tissue and forming new bone tissue. Before maximum bone density is reached around our mid-20s to late 30s, this process is balanced in favour of bone growth and bone breakdown is much slower. This allows us to grow taller, stronger bones for support and structure throughout the lifespan. However, after we reach peak bone mass, the balance starts to shift and bone degradation begins to occur at a faster rate than bone formation. It is an inevitable part of ageing. As our bones age and change, our focus should be on maintaining the bone we have. The most important reason to maintain our bone health is to protect against bone diseases such as osteoporosis and to prevent fractures.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

  • Gender – Oestrogen is essential for bone retention, as women go through menopause and oestrogen declines, bone loss is accelerated. Therefore, women are at greater risk of osteoporosis than men, especially once they reach 54 years (see Figure 1).
  • Age – The older you are the greater your risk. Once your peak bone mass is reached, turnover increases but bone is not replaced at the same rate as it is being lost, thus leading to a decline in bone mass.
  • Race – Caucasian and Asian ethnicities are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
  • Genetics – Family history may indicate low bone densities being an inherited trait. Genetics may also determine someone’s bone structure and body weight. Thin, petite women are at greater risk of poor bone health as they have less to lose in the first place.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – Sedentary behaviour increases likelihood of osteoporosis as exercise stimulates bone formation, calcium retention and responds well to physical activity that puts stress on the bone such as running or dancing.
  • Stressful Lifestyle - A stressful lifestyle and/or inadequate sleep can exacerbate bone loss as the body releases a stress hormone (cortisol) which promotes further bone breakdown. Not getting enough sleep is a problem when the body does not have time to relax and return cortisol levels back to normal because if they stay elevated, bone loss will increase.
  • Alcohol Intake - Drinking more than the recommended servings of alcohol (see Alcohol Recommendations)

Healthy Eating for Healthy Bones


A healthy diet can be achieved when eating a variety of foods from the five food groups. A varied diet as recommended in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, will provide the necessary foods to reduce risk of osteoporosis.

For more information on healthy eating and how to maintain a balanced diet visit Eat for Health

Bone Healthy Nutrients


Many nutrients contribute to build healthy, strong bones. These nutrients include calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A, fluoride, vitamin K and protein. However, more of one vitamin does not substitute for less of another.



Calcium is probably the most well known mineral required for healthy bones as it is a major mineral that makes up our bone tissue. Once calcium is absorbed into the bloodstream it is carried into the bone cells and deposits calcium as necessary.

Food Sources

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Fish with edible bones, remember to eat the bones
  • Almonds
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale

Vitamin D


Vitamin D directs the mineralisation of bones. Basically, it tells calcium what to do and where to go in the body. Without enough vitamin D, it is not possible to absorb enough calcium, regardless of the amount consumed. Adequate sun exposure can ensure adequate vitamin D levels which is necessary for calcium absorption. As we age, our skin’s ability to convert sunlight to vitamin D reduces so it is necessary to get more sunlight. Whilst our main source of Vitamin D is gained from sunlight absorbed through the skin, there are small amounts in some foods.

Food Sources

  • Fortified foods such as dairy products, juices and cereals
  • Egg yolks
  • Oily fish such as salmon, herring and sardines



Phosphorous is a major mineral deposited in the bone structure to develop the bone's density and overall strength.

Food Sources

  • Fish
  • Dairy Products (milk, yoghurt and cheese)
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs



Magnesium is another mineral that is deposited in the bone mineralisation process.

Food Sources

  • Nuts - cashews, almonds and walnuts
  • Seeds - pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds
  • Wholegrains - quinoa, bran cereal, wholemeal bread and brown rice
  • Legumes - chickpeas
  • Dark Chocolate/Cocoa

Vitamin A


Vitamin A assists in making bone proteins that contribute to bone mineralisation.

Food Sources of Vitamin A

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Dairy Foods - Milk (fortified), butter, cream and cheese

Food Sources of Beta Carotene

  • Orange fruits and vegetables - carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, capsicum, tomato, mango, pawpaw, peaches and oranges.
  • Green vegetables - spinach, broccoli, peas and green beans.



Fluoride plays a role in hardening the bone to stabilise it and maintain its strength and integrity.

Food Sources

  • Fluoridated water
  • Tea
  • Seafood

Vitamin K


Vitamin K assists in making bone proteins that contribute to bone mineralisation.

Food Sources

  • Dark leafy greens - kale, seaweed, Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce.
  • Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.



Protein is a valuable nutrient for maintaining muscle mass and helping repair joints after injury. Muscle tissue helps to support the skeleton, maintain stability/balance and prevent falls.

Food Sources

  • Animal foods - beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, yoghurt and milk.
  • Tofu
  • Legumes - chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, soy beans and baked beans.
  • Nuts and seeds - almonds, cashews, walnuts, linseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Osteoporosis Australia


For more information about bone health, head to Osteoporosis Australia



Kouris, A. (2011). Food sources of nutrients: A ready reckoner of macronutrients, micronutrients and phytonutrients.

Osteoporosis Australia. (2013). Risk factors for osteoporosis. Retrieved from

Calcium and Bone Health for Women

The dangers of bones becoming weak. LEFT: Healthy bones. RIGHT: Osteoporosis: bones have become porous and weak due to loss of calcium.

It is essential that we take good care of our bones.

Our bones are important for carrying our weight, holding our body upright, storing essential minerals and producing blood cells. Without paying special attention to our bone health, our bones can become very weak which can lead to dangerous health problems such as osteoporosis (a condition where bones become porous and weak due to loss of essential minerals such as calcium) [1]. We are also more likely to fall if our bones become weak.

Females in particular need pay special attention to their bone health because bones weaken more in females than males. To make matters worse for females, bones weaken even more during and after menopause.

What is Calcium?

A glass of milk. A fantastic source of the mineral calcium.

Calcium is a mineral nutrient needed for strong bones and teeth, muscle functioning and preventing osteoporosis. There is more calcium than any other mineral in the body. [2]

Calcium is mainly found in dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt. Calcium is also found in some vegetables (such as broccoli and spinach), fruits (such as dried figs and oranges) and some wholegrain breads and cereals.

Calcium has many important roles in the body, however is most important for bone health. [3]

Why is Calcium Important for Bones?


Calcium plays an essential role in bone structure and maintenance, which is incredibly important as our bones provide the framework for our bodies. Around 99 per cent of the body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth, and the remaining 1 per cent can be found circulating in the blood or in cells.

Our bones provide quick access to calcium when the body is in need. If calcium levels in the blood drop, the blood will borrow calcium from the bones to restore it to a healthy level. If calcium levels in the blood rise, the blood will return any extra calcium back to the bones.

Calcium bone stores can become depleted if calcium intake in the diet is poor. This can result in weaker bones which are susceptible to osteoporosis.

For this reason, it is extremely important to consume adequate amounts of calcium-containing foods to ensure strong and healthy bones.

What are Good Dietary Sources of Calcium?


Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are excellent sources of calcium. Dairy is an easy way to get your daily calcium needs. Additionally, dairy not only provides calcium, however also provides vitamin D, phosphorus and protein, all of which are important for building strong bones, teeth and muscles.

There are also many non-dairy sources of calcium, some of which include tofu, green leafy vegetables and canned salmon with the bones.

To assist the population with meeting its recommended daily calcium intake, the National Health and Medical Research Council (2006) have developed specific dietary guidelines for the consumption of milk, cheese yoghurt and alternatives. These guidelines explain what a serve is, and how many serves are recommended each day in order for Australians to maintain healthy bones (see Australian Dietary Guidelines outlined below.

What Constitutes a Serve of Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese or Alternative?

Dairy Food. Dairy food is an easy way to get your daily calcium needs.

Dairy sources and non-dairy milks


According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013[4] a serve of milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternative is equal to:

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk
  • ½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk
  • 2 slices (40g) hard cheese e.g. cheddar
  • ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt
  • 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink containing at least 100mg added calcium per serve.

It is important to note that consuming low-fat dairy products are recommended when possible. The calcium content does not vary between full-fat and low-fat products, it is only the fat content that varies. [5]

Canned Sardines. 60g of canned sardines contain around the same amount of calcium as the dairy sources.

Non-dairy sources


The following foods contain around the same amount of calcium as the above sources: [6] [7]

  • 100g almonds (with skin on)
  • 60g sardines, canned in water
  • ½ cup (100g) canned pink salmon with bones
  • 100g firm tofu (check label as calcium content may vary).

It is important to note that most of the calcium in canned pink salmon and sardines comes from the bones. Therefore the bones should be eaten. They can be mashed into the salmon or sardines to make them more palatable.

How Many Serves of Dairy or Alternatives Should I Be Having Each Day?



Age Number of Serves Per Day
19 - 50 Years 2 ½
51+ Years 4

Adapted from the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) [8] [9]

Post-menopausal Women


Calcium absorption decreases with age, as well as before and after menopause. Furthermore, more calcium is excreted in the urine after menopause, which means more calcium is lost from the body. For this reason, it is extremely important that post-menopausal women increase their daily calcium intake to compensate for these losses. [10]

Green Leafy Vegetables and Calcium Fortified Products

Broccoli. A vegetable source of calcium.

Green leafy vegetables


Green leafy vegetables provide a good source of calcium, although they are not as calcium-rich as dairy products or canned fish with bones. Nonetheless, they are still an extremely important component of the diet, and can be easily included into dishes or eaten on their own. [11] Some of these include:

  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Watercress.

Calcium fortified products


Calcium fortified products are another excellent source of calcium which can easily be included into the diet. Such products include fortified fruit and vegetable juices and fortified cereals and breads. These can generally be purchased from the supermarket. [12]

Tips For Increasing Calcium Intake

  • Try adding an extra serve of milk, yoghurt or cheese each day
  • Homemade fruit smoothies are a great way to increase intake
  • Include cheese in sandwiches
  • Add yoghurt to soups or salads
  • Add yoghurt to cereal
  • Add milk or milk powder to soups or casseroles
  • Enjoy a glass of warm milk before bed
  • Include a variety of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale or bok choy
  • Add shaved/ grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese to pasta
  • Choose calcium fortified products such as fortified tofu, milk, cereals or juices. [13]

Other Factors To Consider

A Glass of Wine. Excessive amounts of alcohol can increase the amount of calcium that is lost from the body. Wine should therefore not be consumed in excessive amounts.

It is possible to protect bones with lifestyle. This involves spending some time in the sun and being physically active wherever possible.

Sun exposure


Spending some time in the sun is important for our skins to make vitamin D. To increase vitamin D absorption, aim for 10-15 minutes of sunlight everyday (if possible).

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps calcium get absorbed. Since many Australian women are Vitamin D deficient, taking a Vitamin D supplement may be necessary. It is recommended that a GP or dietitian is first seen prior to commencing supplementation.

Foods that increase calcium excretion


Excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, soft drink and salt increase calcium excretion, which means that more calcium than normal is lost from the body through urine. Caffeine, alcohol, soft drink and salt should not be consumed in excessive amounts.

Physical activity


Regular physical activity will help. Weight-bearing exercise, walking, jogging, playing tennis, yoga, gardening and vacumming are examples of activities that can be important for bone health.

Additional Resources



  1. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  2. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  3. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  4. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from
  5. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from
  6. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from
  7. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2008). Australian Guide to Health Eating. Retrieved from
  8. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from
  9. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2008). Australian Guide to Health Eating. Retrieved from
  10. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2006). Nutrient Reference Values - Calcium. Retrieved from
  11. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  12. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  13. Osteoporosis Australia. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from

Hospitality Workers Nutritional Education



Hospitality is as defined the generous reception and entertainment of strangers, visitors and guests (Collins English Dictionary, 2013). Examples of people in hospitality are those who work in a cafe, restaurant, motel, hotel or bed and breakfast. Hospitality workers can vary in trade. Job examples of hospitality workers are receptionists, waiters, cooks, chefs, barristers, bar staff, motel cleaners, managers and more. The majority of hospitality workers are aged 15-34 years old (Timo & Davidson, 2005). For 35.1% of hospitality workers, the highest level of education attained is secondary school (Timo & Davidson, 2005). This nutritional education is aimed at hospitality workers aged 20-35 years, in a variety of trades, for all educational levels.

Food Recommendations


The amount of serves a day for every food group depends on age, physical activity levels, weight, height and gender.

Recommended Daily Serves

For Adults aged 20-35 (note this is a minimum)

Food Group Male Female Comment
Vegetables 6 5 A serve of Vegetables is a cup of salad, a baked potato or half a cup of cooked vegetables
Fruit 2 2 A serve of fruit is one medium fruit, such as an apple or a small banana or two small fruits such as kiwi fruit
Grains/Cereals 6 6 A grain/cereal can be bread, rice and pasta. A serve is a slice of bread, half a cup of oats or half a cup of cooked pasta
Meat/vegetarian alternative 3 2.5 A serve of meat is 65grams of red meat, 85grams of poultry or 175grams of tofu.
Dairy 2.5 2.5 A serve of dairy is a cup of milk, 2 slices of cheese or 200grams of yoghurt

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating's Guidelines


Everyone, including hospitality workers, should follow the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) because it promotes health and wellbeing for all Australians (NHMRC, 2013). It is the basis for health and nutrition. The AGHE have the 5 following guidelines:

  • Guideline 1: To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, to be physically active, and choose nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  • Guideline 2: To enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from all 5 food groups everyday. Enjoy eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain, lean meats and dairy (see above for recommended amounts of each). Also drink plenty of water.
  • Guideline 3: Limit foods that contain added salt and sugars. Limit alcohol and saturated fats
  • Guideline 4: Encourage breast feeding
  • Guideline 5: Prepare food and store it safely. (NHMRC, 2013)
  • See this website for more information [23]

Ways to Increase Fruit and Vegetables consumption


Many may be worried they do not consume enough fruit and vegetables to meet the recommendations. Here are some easy tips to increase your fruit and vegetable intake that can be incorporated in the busy work schedule of hospitality workers:

  • Add berries or banana to breakfast cereal
  • Cut up carrots, capsicum, cucumber, celery or other vegetables and pack it as a snack
  • Add salad to sandwiches
  • Ask for salad instead of fries when eating at work or when out for lunch
  • Grate vegetables such as carrot, zucchini or celery into sauces, such as marinara
  • Dip some fruit into your favourite yoghurt
  • Buy fruit smoothies instead of milkshakes

Quick and Easy Snacks


We all live busy lives, but hospitality workers may have a different roster compared to 9-5 office workers. Sometimes people on shift work need something quick to eat. Snacks are part of an everyday, healthy diet. They help bridge nutritional gaps and increase feelings of satiety and sustained energy release to keep up with busy schedules. Quick snacks don't have to be unhealthy. Here are some ideas on quick, easy and nutritious snacks.

  • Dip and vegetables
  • Wholegrain crackers and low fat cheese
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • Low fat muffins, such as bran. Home made is best
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Fruit. Can be fresh, canned or dried
  • Nuts and seeds. Note only in small portions.
  • Low fat smoothies, with yoghurt and fresh fruit



Hospitality. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved:

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines 1-5. Retrieved from:

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013.) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from:

Timo, N., & Davidson, M. (2005). A survey of employee relations practices and demographics of MNC chain and domestic luxury hotels in Australia. Employee Relations, 27(2), 175-192

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Post Menopause: Staying Healthy Through Good Nutrition

Post Menopause: Staying Healthy Through Good Nutrition


Post Menopause and Nutrition




Menopause refers to the permanent end to a women’s menstrual cycle. A women is considered to reach menopause when she has not experienced a period for 12 months, at 12 months and 1 day, she is then considered to be post-menopausal. The time leading up to menopause is referred to as peri-menopause and this is when women experience most of the typical symptoms of menopause. The symptoms of menopause are caused by a gradual decline in the hormone oestrogen. [5]

How Does Menopause Effect a Women’s Health?


The health consequences of menopause are mostly due to the loss of oestrogen, hormonal imbalances and changes in body composition. These changes lead to alterations in energy levels, memory, bone health, hormones, urinary and heart health. [6] As a result, post menopausal women are at an increased risk of a number of diseases/conditions. Osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and being overweight are of particular concern for women at this stage of their life. [7]

Why is Nutrition Important?


Some risk factors for diseases and conditions cannot be reduced, for example a family history of disease cannot be changed. However a healthy diet along with physical activity is the easiest and most effective way to reduce some risk factors that can have a significant impact on health, including high blood pressure, overweight, obesity and high waist circumference, high blood glucose levels and poor bone density. Healthy eating and exercise have been shown to significantly improve how women feel and aids them in achieving overall good health. [6]

What Does a Healthy Diet Look Like

Photograph of components of a healthy diet

All Australians, including those in post menopause, are encouraged to follow the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating which can be found at The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide the most up to date evidence based advice around the types and amounts of foods that should be eaten for optimal health and wellbeing. [8] Within these guidelines are gender and age based dietary recommendations based on the 5 food groups:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt cheese and/or alternatives

For women:

Recommended Serves Per Day for Women
19-50 yrs. 51-70 yrs. >70 yrs.
Vegetables & Legumes 5 5 5
Fruit 2 2 2
Grain (cereal foods) 6 4 3
Meat, fish & alternatives 2.5 2 2
Dairy & alternatives 2.5 4 4

Adapted from the NHMRC's Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (2013)[8]

NOTE: Once a women moves into the years of menopause (~50 years +), there is a decrease in the number of recommended serves of grain foods and meat and alternatives and an increase in the recommended serves of dairy and alternatives.

Nutrition and Bone Health

Photograph of calcium souces

After menopause, women experience greater bone loss due to reduced oestrogen levels and there is a decrease in their bodies ability to absorb calcium. [7] This puts post-menopausal women at greater risk of osteoporosis. As a result of this, calcium requirement increases from 1000mg to 1300mg and the recommended number of serves per day of dairy and alternatives increases from 2.5 to 4. This recommendation is poorly met by Australian women, 90% of women over 50 do not meet the recommendation for calcium and the average intake is less than 1 serve of dairy per day.

Sources of calcium to meet the requirement: [9]

  • Reduced fat dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese)
  • Fortified soy products (eg: milk, tofu)
  • Fish with edible bones (eg: sardines, salmon)
  • Fortified cereals
  • Leafy greens
  • Almonds

Nutrition and Heart Health


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death in not only post menopausal women but in Australia nationally. In 2011, 31% of all deaths in Australia were attributed to cardiovascular diseases. [10] Oestrogen plays an important role in keeping arteries healthy. The drop in oestrogen during menopause therefore decreases this protection. In addition, as we age LDL cholesterol and triglycerides naturally increase (LDL cholesterol and triglycerides increase CVD risk). As a result of these changes, post menopausal women are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart health is particularly important.[7]

Tips to improve your heart health through nutrition [10]

  • Make plant based foods the main part of each meal (vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals, wholegrain bread, pasta and rice) - these foods contain soluble fiber which has been shown to lower cholesterol
  • Limit salt in processed foods and in cooking and at the table
  • Eat foods containing unsaturated fats (reduce LDL cholesterol) and reduce intake of foods containing saturated fat (increase LDL cholesterol)

Unsaturated fat sources: Oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, mackerel), plant based oils (e.g. olive oil), avocado, nuts and seeds.

Saturated fat sources: Red meat (untrimmed or highly marbled), full fat dairy, baked/fried products (e.g. cakes, pastries & other snack foods), butter.

Nutrition and Weight Maintenance


Naturally as we age we gradually lose muscle mass, this means we require less energy to fuel our bodies [7] . So for a women moving through menopause her energy requirement is decreasing, but it is common for women to be unaware of this and continue on eating as normal, or possibly in excess, therefore gaining weight. In general, women post menopause tend to gain weight around the abdomen, more so than their thighs or hips. This is of particular concern in regards to increasing risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Tips for weight maintenance [7]

  • Follow the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
  • Choose wholegrain/high fibre varieties of cereals and breads to increase feelings of fullness
  • Opt for low fat dairy products
  • Control portion sizes
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Grill, steam, poach, stir fry, bake and roast over frying in oil or butter

A Printable Pocket Nutrition Guide For Post Menopausal Women



For More Information



  1. Hospitality. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved:
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines 1-5. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013.) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from:
  4. Timo, N., & Davidson, M. (2005). A survey of employee relations practices and demographics of MNC chain and domestic luxury hotels in Australia. Employee Relations, 27(2), 175-192.
  5. Women to Women. (2011). Understanding what menopause is. Retrieved from
  6. a b Women's Health Concern. (2009).Focus on… Diet, nutrition and the menopause. Retrieved from
  7. a b c d e Jean Hailes for Women's Health. (2012). Understanding what menopause is. Retrieved from
  8. a b National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. Retrieved from Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing :
  9. Healthy Bones Australia. (2012). Calcium. Retrieved from
  10. a b The Heart Foundation. (2012). Data and Statistics. Retrieved from Invalid <ref> tag; name "The Heart Foundation" defined multiple times with different content

Getting to know your labels

Figure 1: NIP panel example with a brief description of where to find the servings per package, serving size, per serving and per 100g

How to interpret a food label: Key things to look out for in healthy adult eating


By Deevya Gupta

Nutrition information panels (NIP) are found on most foods with the exception of some fresh foods, herbs, spices and foods in small packets.

What do parts of the NIP mean? (See Figure 1 for a detailed explanation)

  • Servings per package
  • Serving size
  • Per serving (nutrient)
  • Per 100g (nutrient)

Note: Serving sizes are determined by the manufacturer and unless you eat these serving sizes then may be of little help.

Figure 2: RDI %, an example of the label seen in front of many food products to indicate what percentage a serving makes up of the daily recommended intake (8700kJ intake average)

Most foods now come with the RDI panel (shown in Figure 2) at the front of the packaging to show approximately how much a serve of the product with contribute towards the % RDI for certain nutrients. These values are based on an average adult intake of 8700kJ. Your needs may be more or less than this.

An approximate energy intake value can be calculated at:



There are five main nutrients to look out for when shopping for foods:

  • Energy (Kilojoules kJ)
  • Fats (total, saturated and trans)
  • Sodium (salt)
  • Carbohydrates (sugars)
  • Fibre



Energy needs vary from person to person, try and stick to two snacks a day. The average intake on food packaging is rounded to 8700kJ.

(Baker IDI, 2011)

Aim for foods with <10g/100g total fat and less than 2g/100g saturated fat. Trans fats should be as close to zero as possible. There may be some exceptions to total fat for example: milk, yoghurt, cottage/ricotta cheese, other cheeses, margarine and nuts and oils. Choose a food product that has the least amount of total, trans and saturated fat. Low fat products contain less than 3g/100g fat in the food.

Figure 3: Heart foundation approval tick
Figure 4: Low GI certified symbol
Figure 5: Vegan friendly symbol

Carbohydrates (Sugars)


(Baker IDI, 2011)

Aim for <15g/100g of sugar in your selected food product. Exceptions may be products such as foods containing dried fruit which have naturally occurring sugar.

Sodium (salt)


Aim for low sodium foods <120mg/100g (Heart Foundation 2013). Exceptions may be products such as stock which may have up to 400mg/100g. For foods that already have a high amount of sodium, avoid adding any extra salt (Baker IDI, 2011).



Aim for 7.5g/100g or more (Baker IDI, 2011). Adults should aim for a total of 25-30g of fibre per day (Heart Foundation, 2013). Exceptions may be foods that do not contain fibre such as dairy foods.

Note: Ingredients used to make up fat, sugar or sodium may be listed as different names on the label.

Nutrition claims


Take note of any nutrition claims made on packaging and make sure they are supported. Ensure that you look at the overall picture and do not get drawn in by one claim (e.g. lollies that are 99% fat free, does not mean it is good for you!)

Symbols on packaging


Depending on your specific dietary requirements, you may like to be on the lookout for certain symbols (shown in photos beside) on packaging such as:

  • Heart Foundation tick (Figure 3)
  • Low GI-Certified (Figure 4)
  • Vegan/vegetarian friendly (Figure 5)
  • Other components of foods (Figure 6) e.g. Lactose-free, Gluten-free

Food allergies


These are clearly listed on the packaging in bold.

Additional useful resources:


* Printable NIP wallet card

* More information on label reading

* Calculate your approximate energy needs

* Find your nearest Accredited Practising Dietitian for specific dietary advice

References used:

Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute (2011). Label Reading. Retrieved 1st September 2013,


Heart Foundation (2013). Food Labels. Retrieved 1st September 2013,


How can I eat well on a student budget?

Grocery bag of healthy foods

Healthy eating doesn't need to be confusing!


With so many different messages out there, it can be confusing to understand what we should be eating. The Australian dietary guidelines and the Australian guide to healthy eating are developed from the latest scientific evidence and they are a basis for what an everyday diet should look like.

Defining healthy eating


Eating healthy simply means choosing the food and nutrients that give you the best overall health status possible. Your diet should be one that maintains physical health through preventing any nutrient deficiencies or excesses. Both of which can lead to illness or chronic diseases. You can achieve this by modelling your daily diet on the AGHE and getting the required number of serves from each of the five food groups that is specific for your size and activity levels [24].

What should I eat?


Evidence suggests Australians need to eat more:



Include a variety of coloured vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, capsicum, carrot, spinach, eggplant and pumpkin.The more types of coloured veggies on your plate the more nutrients you will receive, such as fiber and various vitamins and minerals.Legumes and beans include foods such as lentils, baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans. Guidelines recommend 6 serves for men and 5 serves for women aged 19-50 years.Most of our energy needs should come from this food group and the grains group (see below). Try to fill half of your plate with these foods.


Fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, apricots, oranges, various berries, canned fruit and dried fruit can be great options. Fruit juice should be consumed only occasionally and in small amounts. AGHE guidelines recommend 2 serves for both males and females 19-50 years.


This group includes various carbohydrates such as breads, rice, pasta, noodles, oats and muesli. Eat mostly whole and high fiber grains. Current recommendations for both males and females are 6 serves daily. Most of our energy should come from this group and the vegetable/legumes group (see above). Try to fill a quarter of your plate with grain foods.


Choose more lean meats such as beef, lamb or kangaroo. Chicken and turkey are great poultry options and fish is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats for heart health. Nuts, legumes and beans are also part of this group. Foods in this group are good sources of iron, zinc and protein. Three serves per day are recommended for males aged 19-50 years, and 2.5 serves for females. Try to fill a quarter of your plate with these foods.


It is important to include low fat dairy options such as milk,yoghurt, cheese or soy or rice alternatives. Both men and women, 19-50 years are recommended to consume 2.5 serves daily.

What shouldn't I eat?


The guidelines don't recommend any thing you shouldn't eat, the important message is moderation. Be aware of what you eat and how often.

Evidence suggests Australians need to eat less:

Starchy vegetables, high and medium fat dairy products, red meat for men, refined cereals/grains such as white bread and foods from the discretionary foods group' such as soft drinks, pies, pizza, chips and alcoholic drinks. These discretionary foods or sometimes foods have lots of extra energy in the form of sugars and fats but have little or no nutrients.

Some unhealthy foods

Try to choose foods mostly from the food groups outlined above and moderate choices from the 'sometimes foods'. Depending on your size and activity levels there is an allowance of 0-2.5 serves from this group.

Can eating healthy really be cost effective?


Quick price check!

1 serve potatoes (150g) 1 serve B/F cereals (40g) 1 serve poultry (65-100g)
Raw potatoes $0.25 Rolled oats $0.10 Frozen whole chicken $0.35
Frozen chips $0.50 Cornflakes $0.25 Raw whole chicken $0.50
Crips/chips $3.00 Breakfast bars $0.95 Pre made chicken kebabs $1.80

For more information on the real cost of healthy foods, check out this link: [25].

Eight great shopping tips

Shopping tips
  1. Only buy what you need.
  2. Plan weekly meals and snacks.
  3. Don't shop on a empty stomach
  4. Spend most of your money on the 5 core food groups.
  5. Check online and catalogues for specials.
  6. When buying extra foods choose one item for example ice cream or chocolate. Have it in small amounts and savour for long as possible.
  7. Stock up on basics: Includes frozen and canned veggies, fruit, fish, dried legumes (lentils, chickpeas, baked beans and 4 bean mix), long life milk, dry pasta, noodles, rice and other grains.
  8. Buy things you can freeze such as wholegrain breads and lean cuts of meats and fish.

Getting the most nutritious foods from your budget


Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season

Apples (autumn, winter) Banana, cauliflower, broccoli (all year). For more information, go to this handy link [26]

Go to fresh food & local markets

Kingsbury/ La Trobe University market every Sunday. Bundoora park farmers market 1st Saturday of each month. Preston markets. For more information head to: [27]

Bulk up your meat dishes with... canned legumes, extra vegetables & different whole-grains like quinoa, polenta and couscous.

Make your own desserts based on low fat milk, yoghurt or fruits- Make sure to limit added sugars.

Drink more water- this is great because it is free! Cut back on soft drinks, cordials and extra added sugars fruit juice and swap to this. Add a slice of lemon or orange for added flavour!



1. Australian guide to healthy eating. (2013). Retrieved from

2. Healthy eating tips. (2013). Retrieved from

3. Melbourne and Victoria seasonal food guide.(2010). Retrieved from

4. Victoria farmers market association. (2011). Retrieved from

Quick and healthy breakfast options

Wholemeal pancakes

Why is breakfast important?

Delicious smoothie!

Breakfast is the first meal eaten for the day, generally before midday. It is vital to consume breakfast, due to its broad benefits such as [1] [2]
⋅Boosting metabolism
⋅Kick starting your energy levels
⋅Preventing obesity
⋅Aiding mental performance, such as learning
⋅Curing hunger, thereby reducing caloric intake later in the day
⋅Reducing fatigue, and
⋅Decreasing unhealthy food choices throughout the day

It has also been recognised that those who skip breakfast may lack fibre and have vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B12, folate, iron and calcium. [1]

Food groups


For a quick and healthy breakfast, it is encouraged to include, but not limited to 3 food groups; Dairy, Fruits and Grains. This may help to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Although, if the Australian Guidelines of Healthy Eating's recommendations for food groups servings are not met throughout the day, then deficiencies are likely.

Grain (cereal) foods


Grains are vital for a good source of carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre and a handful of vitamins and minerals!
Grain (cereal) foods, include wholegrain cereals like wholemeal breads, wholegrain/high fibre breakfast cereals, oats, wholegrain rice and pasta.
Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ of the grain. It removes the dietary fiber, iron and many B vitamins, although it improves their shelf life [3]. Some examples are white bread, white flour, white pasta and white rice.

Vegetables and legumes/beans


Vegetables are essential for keeping your heart healthy and preventing cardiovascular disease. Due to the copious amount of vitamins and minerals in this food group, regular consumption of vegetables, legumes and/or beans can protect against certain cancers [4] and keep your body strong to fight off any diseases. This food group includes, broccoli, bok choy, snow peas, spinach, chick peas, tofu, carrots and sweet potato just to name a few!



The increasing evidence between eating whole fruit and the reducing the risk of cancer is expanding daily! Which can only mean one thing, FRUIT IS GREAT FOR YOU! Most fruits are low in kilojoules but jam-packed with vitamins and minerals! Some fruits include apple, bananas, berries, mangoes, pears and oranges.



Dairy foods are where we get the bulk of our calcium intake. Calcium is detrimental in making bones and our teeth strong, and it also helps with nerve transmission. [5] Not only does this food group provide calcium, it also provides protein, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and zinc! Dairy foods include milk, cheese and yoghurt. Make sure you choose a low-fat option to keep your saturated fat levels down!



This groups is a high protein group! It can include fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legume/beans. This groups provides great sources of iron, essential fatty acids and micronutrients needed for normal bodily functions.

Examples of a quick and healthy breakfast


Here comes the fun part!
Quick and healthy breakfasts are not hard to come by! Everyone probably thinks that they don't have time! NO! You're wrong, you just need to know how to efficiently USE that time!!
Below are a few examples, which can be altered to your own preference!

porridge with low fat milk and berries
avocado on toast
Fruit salad with greek yoghurt
Weetbix with chia seed
Wholegrain toast with cottage cheese and avocado

Fruit salad with greek yoghurt
Freshly cut up fruit with a dollop of greek yoghurt. Chia seeds can be added for an extra antioxidant hit! And, seriously, how long will it take to cut up a few fruits! Mind you this breakfast option is so fresh and delicious you'll be cutting up more and more!

Weetbix with chia seed
You know that wholegrain cereal group I mentioned? Here's a perfect example of wholegrain cereal (the good kind), you can get multi grain weet-bix that taste absolutely delicious with some low fat milk, honey and some chia seeds! Other wholegrain cereals include, multigrain flakes, oatbrits, all bran etc...

Wholegrain toast with cottage cheese and avocado
Are you getting sick of toast with mediocre topping like butter and vegemite? Change to some different! Like cottage cheese and avocado, this option is healthy, keeps you fuller for longer AND has healthy fats you need to keep you focused throughout the day! Other toppings may include smashed avocado and a squeeze of lemon, cottage cheese and salmon, banana and milo, the options are limitless!

Banana smoothie with weetbix
This scrumptious treat is one of the most versatile breakfast recipes you can come across. Simply add a fruit, low fat milk, greek yoghurt, honey (to sweeten things up) and a whole grain (weet bix or oats, anything you fancy)! Frozen fruit work just as well in this simple breakfast treat!

Wholemeal pancakes with flavoured greek yoghurt and fruit
'Yummm!' do I hear you say?, that's absolutely correct, this quick and easy recipe will take close to 5 mins to prepare, another 5 to eat! But well worth it! Add whatever garnish you wish, such as honey, or berries, or bananas, completely to your discretion!

Yoghurt and muesli
This beauty is great for on the run! Pack 2 separate containers, one with muesli (however much you like) and the other with some high protein, low sugar yoghurt! When ready to eat mix the two in one container and voila. Fruits, such as berries can be added. Low fat milk maybe added to your yoghurt if you don't enjoy a dry muesli, and if you're not a huge fan of dairy, freshly squeezed orange juice works a treat with muesli!



  1. a b [10], Better Health Channel. (2011). Breakfast. Retrieved from
  2. [11], Daniels, S. R. (2011). Breakfast is important. The Journal of Pediatrics, 161(5) pp. 871
  3. [12], United States Department of Agriculture. (2010). What are Grains? Retrieved from
  4. [13] National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Vegetables and Legumes/Beans. Retrieved from
  5. Buppasiri, P., Lumbigano, P., Thinkhamrop, J., Ngamjarus, C. & Laopaiboon, M. Calcium supplementation (other than for preventing or treating hypertension) for improving pregnancy and infant outcomes. Cochrane Collaboration Database of Systematic Reviews 20 Issue 1, 10, pp1-89. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007079.pub2.

Menopause: The Importance of Calcium

Leora Sifris

Every woman will at some point in her life reach menopause, the cessation of the menstrual cycle. During menopause there is a gradual decline in the hormone oestrogen, which results in changes in body composition. It is particularly important to maintain your bone health as your body begins to change. During menopause, what you eat influences how your body manages the changes experienced during and post menopause. It is therefore important to understand role good nutrition plays during this stage of the lifespan, in particular the role of calcium in maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Milk – The most common source of calcium in Australia

What is calcium and why is it so important?


Calcium is a mineral found in many foods, in particular dairy products. Almost all of the calcium we consume is stored in our bones and teeth. Calcium plays many important roles in the body. Calcium is needed by the body to strengthen bones and teeth. It is also important in regulating muscle function, regulating heart function and helps nerves to carry messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

Who needs calcium?


Calcium is not only important for growing children, but also essential for teenagers and especially older females.

Menopausal women


As we age, calcium absorption decreases and our bones begin to lose calcium. Women in particular lose more calcium from their bones during the 5-10 years around menopause. Postmenopausal women have a reduced ability to absorb calcium. The hormone oestrogen is responsible for the absorption of calcium. Following menopause there is reduction in oestrogen, which results in reduced bone mineralisation – reduced calcium stored in the bones. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse losses of calcium. However, sufficient intake of calcium in the diet may slow the weakening of bones.

Where is calcium found?

Green leafy vegetables

There are many dietary sources of calcium. The main source of calcium among Australians is dairy products. Other good sources of calcium include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish
  • Calcium fortified foods

Food sources of calcium


Dairy sources

  • Milk and milk products
  • Yoghut
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Custard

Green leafy vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Bok choy
  • Kale
  • Cabbage

Canned Fish

  • Salmon
  • Sardines

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts

How much calcium do I need?

See table below 


Age (years) Serves per day
19-50 2.5
51+ 4

What is a serve of calcium?


According to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating one serve of calcium is equivalent to:

Dairy products

  • 1 cup (250ml) of milk (includes ready to drink, UHT long life, soy and rice milk)
  • 3/4 cup (200g) of yoghurt
  • 2 slices (40g) of hard cheese e.g. cheddar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) of ricotta cheese

It is important to remember to choose low fat dairy products whenever possible. The calcium content does not change, however the fat and total energy (kilojoule/calorie) intake does. Other dairy products such as custard and ice cream are a good source of calcium, but they are higher in saturated fat and added sugar and therefore classified as 'sometimes' food choices.

Non dairy sources of calcium

Green leafy vegetables

  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 6+ cups of spinach

Although spinach contains high amounts of calcium, only approximately 5% is absorbed. This does not occur with broccoli and other green leafy vegetables. Although green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium, they are not as calcium rich as dairy products and fish with bones.


  • 75-80g of salmon (canned with bones eaten)
  • 45g of sardines (canned in water)

Remember to consume the bones, as this is where the calcium is stored


  • 1/2 cup (100g) of almonds

What happens if I don't have enough calcium?


If there is not enough calcium in the blood, your body will take calcium from your bones. If calcium intake is consistently inadequate, the calcium stores in the bones become depleted. This causes bones to become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Eating plenty of calcium rich foods and exercising regularly helps to delay the weakening of bones.

I have heard there are some foods that increase calcium excretion. Is this true?


Yes. Excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine, salt, soft drinks and smoking may increase the amount of calcium lost from the body in urine.

Additional Resources


Osteoporosis Australia

Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

Dairy Australia



1. Better Health Channel. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from

2. Brown, A. (2011). Understanding Food: Principles & Preparation (4th ed.), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

3. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from

4. National Osteoporosis Foundation. (n.d.). Food and Your Bones: More Tips For Eating For Good Bone Health. Retrieved from

5. Osteoporosis Australia. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from

6. Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.

Optimising Iron intake and Energy for Women

Low energy levels

Do you often feel tired, lethargic, or run down? Is it hard to concentrate? Are you experiencing shortness of breath? You may be suffering from iron-deficiency, a condition that affects about one in five women of reproductive age. [1]Along with getting enough iron, to give you energy for everyday living and stay healthy, it is important to eat a healthy, well balanced diet [2]. On this page you will find some practical and easy ways to meet your daily iron needs and increase your energy levels.

What is Iron deficiency


Iron deficiency is the state of having iron depleted stores, that is your body does not have enough iron. It is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world.

Symptoms - how you feel when you have low iron in your body - includes feeling tired, feeling out of breath and not being able to concentrate. [1]

High risk groups



Female athlete

Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in women. Women during their childbearing years need more iron than men as women lose blood each month through menstruating. [3]



Physically active women, especially those who engage in endurance activities such as running, or high intensity team sports such as netball, are prone to iron deficiency. High iron loses through menstruation, in combination with the high demand on the muscle protein myoglobin, can cause iron deficiency in physically active women. [3]



Getting enough iron can be a problem even for meat eater, and those who do not eat meat must pay special attention to their iron intake. The iron in plant based foods is called non-haem iron and isn't absorbed as well as haem iron, which is found in animal products.[3] (See section 5)

The role of iron in the body


Oxygen transport


Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, which is a protein that transports oxygen in the blood to tissues all around the body, including your brain. Iron is a major component of haemoglobin. If we don’t have sufficient iron stores to make up the haemoglobin, we wont be able to enough oxygen to our tissues, and this is why we start to become fatigued. [4]



Myoglobin, has a very similar role to haemoglobin, however, instead of binding an transporting oxygen in the body, it is the oxygen carrying protein in our muscles. If your Iron stores are low, there is a decreased ability to bind and transport oxygen around your muscles, causing your muscles to fatigue faster, therefore you can't train as hard or be able to perform as well. [4]

Immune system


You need appropriate levels of iron to strengthen your immune system. If you are not consuming enough iron you become more susceptible to getting sick and run down.[4]

For a more detailed explanation on the role of iron in the body, you can look at The role of haemoglobin and myoglobin

How much Iron do I need?


Recommended Daily Intake[1]

  • Women aged 19–50 years 18 mg
  • Pregnant women 27 mg
  • Lactating women 9 mg

Types of Iron: Haem Vs Non Haem

Red meat
Broccoli (Green vegetables)

Haem is the iron-holding part of the haemoglobin and myoglobin proteins. Iron absorption depends on the dietary source it comes from.

Iron occurs in two forms in foods.

Haem Iron


Haem iron is only found in foods derived from the flesh of animals. This includes red meat, poultry and fish.

About 25% of haem iron is absorbed. [4]

Top Haem food sources per 100g [5]

Food Iron per 100g
Oysters 28mg
Liver/ Offal 23mg
Beef/ Lamb 3.7mg
Shrimp/ Prawns 3.1mg
Tuna 1mg

Non Haem Iron


Non haem iron is found in foods that come from plants and animals. Plant based food sources that are high in iron include green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli) iron fortified cereals, nuts, legumes and egg. Only about 17% of non haem iron is absorbed.[4]

Top Non-Haem food sources per 100g [5]

Food Iron per 100g
Pumpkin seeds 10mg
Cashews 5mg
Dark chocolate 4mg
Spinach 3.5mg
Tofu 2.7mg

More food sources of Haem and Non Haem Iron

Iron rich Snack ideas

Citrus fruits

If you are feeling tired and low in energy, try to snack on iron rich foods throughout the day to maintain your energy levels and increase your iron intake.

Here are some quick and easy snack ideas: [6]

  • Dried fruit mix (particularly apricot and raisins)
  • Trail mix (mixture of nuts and seeds)
  • Wholemeal crackers with liver pâté
  • Hummus dip with carrots and celery

Vitamin C and Iron


There are many factors that can affect the absorption of iron. Some nutrients can aid the absorption of iron and some nutrients can actually hinder it. Vitamin C helps aid the absorption of iron. [4]

Vitamin C food sources


Vitamin C is found in Fruits and Vegetables. Citrus fruits, and red and green vegetables contain high amounts of Vitamin C. Examples of high sources of Vitamin C include oranges, carrots, capsicum, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi fruit and brussel sprouts.[4]

Click here for an extensive list of foods containing Vitamin C Food List

Iron-fortified cereal with berries

Ways to add Vitamin C to your meals

  • Add some fruit (strawberries, oranges, peaches) to your iron-fortified cereal a breakfast;
  • Add lots of green vegetables into your meat stir fry (broccoli, asparagus, capsicum, spinach, green beans);
  • Try making a tuna salad with spinach leaves and cherry tomatos;
  • When having a salad or sandwich try to incorporate a meat (chicken, lamb, tuna), or alternatively add a hard boiled egg or some beans or legumes and add some carrot and red or yellow capsicum. [7]

Here are some more great ideas with Recipes

Get checked out today!


If you think you might be Iron deficient, all that is required is a blood test which you can get at your local GP.

Or for expert nutrition and dietary advice contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) in your local area by visiting ‘Find an APD’ at or call 1800 812 942.

Reference List

  1. a b c Better Health Channel (2012). Iron Deficiency - Adults. Retrieved from
  2. NHMRC. (2013). Eat For Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines. Summary. Retrieved from
  3. a b c Brown, J. E., Isaacs, J. S., Krinke, B., Lechtenberg, E., Murtaugh, M. A., Sharbaugh, C., Splett, P. L., Stang, J., & Woolridge, N. H. (2011). (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
  4. a b c d e f g Whitney, E., Rolfes, SR, Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition: Australia and New Zealand Edition. South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.
  5. a b Healthaliciousness (2013). Top 10 foods highest in Iron. Retrieved from Invalid <ref> tag; name "iron content" defined multiple times with different content
  6. Nutrition Australia (2013). Recipes. Retrieved from
  7. Dieticians Association of Australia (2009). Are you getting enough Iron? Retrieved from

Hydration for Adolescent Athletes

Why it is important to stay hydrated for sport performance?


Hydration is important in sports performance. Dehydration is when the body loses an excess of body fluids. This can have many negative effects on performance. It has been shown that as little as a 2% fluid loss can negatively affect strength, endurance and stamina. It is important to develop a hydration plan (before, during and after) in order to maintain hydration and so athletes can perform better.

Signs of dehydration

Dry mouth
Muscle cramps
Impaired memory and concentration

The above is a list of signs of dehydration. Another indicator is dark yellow urine. If the colour of urine is dark prior to training it can greatly affect the ability to perform well.

How much water does an adolescent need?

How much water is needed per day?
Age Males Females
9-13 1.6L/day = 8 glasses 1.4L/day = 7 glasses
14-18 1.9L/day = 9.5 glasses 1.6Lday = 8 glasses

1 glass = 200ml

There is no one prescription when it comes to meeting fluid needs during exercise. Athletes are able to estimate their own fluid needs by weighing themselves before and after exercise. For every kilogram lost this equals 1 litre of fluid loss. This amount will vary for each individual based on body size, genetics and environment. It is important to know an athletes sweat rate as a hydration plan can be prepared. Athletes need to practice how much fluid they can tolerate during games and training, the Australian Institute of Sport suggest 200-300ml every 15-20 minutes.

Ideal drink choices




Water is always the best choice to maintain hydration throughout the day. Checking urine colour is a good indication as to whether an athlete needs to drink more water. Water is also inexpensive and does not contain extra energy that can cause weight gain. It is suggested to drink water if activity levels are less than 1 hour in duration.

Sports drinks


Sports drinks are also a good choice if a sporting event e.g. a basketball game is greater than 1 hour or if it is a hot humid day. Sports drinks provide water and electrolytes as well as glucose. The Australian Institute of Sport recommends that sport drinks contain 4-8% carbohydrate and 10-20 mmol/L sodium. It is important to consider that sports drinks do contain sugar so excessive amounts can increase the risk of dental caries.

Chocolate milk


Chocolate milk is a relatively new suggestion as an alternative to sports drinks. It contains water as well as glucose to help replenish muscle glycogen. It also has a similar electrolyte profile to sports drinks and also contains calcium which can be of benefit for growing adolescents. It may not be ideal to drink chocolate milk during games, however as a post game drink it can be a good alternative.



Other drinks such as cordials, fruit juices and vitamin waters are not ideal drinks for hydration. This is because they usually contain more than 10% carbohydrate.

Hydration strategies for sports performance

  1. Ensure that you are well hydrated BEFORE starting training/playing a game.
  2. Continue to drink during training/playing a game at 200-300ml every 10-20 minutes.
  3. Have a clear water bottle with 100ml markings so athletes can monitor their fluid intakes during sport.
  4. Know your sweat rate.
  5. Include a sports drink/chocolate milk AFTER training to replace glycogen and electrolyte losses if activity has been > 60 minutes, activity is intense or it is a hot day.



1. Sports Dietitians Australia [SDA], (2009). Eating and Drinking before Sport - Fact Sheet. Available at:, Accessed: October, 2013

2. Sports Dietitians Australia [SDA]. Fluids in sport. Available at:, Accessed: October, 2013

3. Australian Sports Commission (2009) Fluid, Who needs it? - Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved:, Accessed on: October, 2013

4. Australian Sports Commission (2009) Fluid Facts for Basketball - Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved:, Accessed on: October, 2013

Preparation for Game Day Eating

This advice article is designed for people wanting to achieve effective eating habits in the days leading up to a sporting competition. For simplicity this article will target amateur AFL football players in their 20s, who have just moved out of home and are interested in improving their general eating habits as well. Though this advice can be stretched to many other similar sports at a range of ages. The difference between general healthy eating and sport nutrition practices will be explained. The target population for this education material highlighted that they would like some specific tips on how to eat healthy on a budget; lentils and beans were of specific interest.

This timeline is an overview of when to begin eating preparation for game day. This is a common week for an AFL football player at a range of divisions. Ideally there would be more than one rest day before game day to allow for maximal carbohydrate stores (glycogen) entering the muscle to be used as energy.

As per the diagram to the right, this article will use the example of a team that trains Tuesday and Thursday evenings and plays in a competitive competition on Saturday afternoons.

Carbohydrate loading basics


Carbohydrate loading is the increase in consumption of carbohydrate for a limited period of time leading up to a sporting competition. It is most optimally achieved by starting 2 days before game day, setting aside meal times that are dedicated to 'carb-loading', which means eating a meal that is mostly made up of carbohydrate foods. These types of foods can include bread, rice, pasta, muesli, cereal and dry wheat biscuits.

Why carb-load?

Glycogen structure

See that big spider looking thing over to the right? That's how energy is stored in you muscles, each little dot represents a piece of glucose (a sugar used for energy) that is broken off when your body's energy stores are running low which happens during exercise. The whole structure is called glycogen, the dangly legs of the glycogen can grow longer and longer when a person is carb-loading. This can provide plentiful stores of energy and will stop you feeling tired too soon. It is the one source of energy and fuel that we can effectively manipulate, through food, to perform at our best on sporting days.

During these 'carb-loading' days, there are a few things to consider

  • Usually it consists of a pasta or rice based dish with any vegetables, herbs and spices for flavour. (Tip: Keep it to a tomato or vegetable based sauce rather than a creamy carbonara type of sauce)
  • Keep a good amount of time, at least 2 hours, before you start any exercise to allow for complete emptying of the stomach.
  • Keeping meals during carb loads: low fat, low protein and low fibre to aid digestion and to avoid feeling full prematurely.
  • Keeping Friday as a rest day, with little exercise to avoid using up the stores of muscle energy (glycogen) before the game day



Protein is important to consider for muscle maintenance in sports nutrition. Eating low amounts or poor sources of protein will not help maintain muscle and may even lead to the reduction of muscle bulk also known as 'muscle wasting'.


  • You should only increase your protein consumption to match your increased need once muscle has been gained.
  • Be sure to include protein alongside carbs within 30 minutes after a game, this will help to avoid muscle wasting, when your body has no energy stores left your body might start using the protein from you muscle bulk instead!

How is general healthy eating different to game day preparation?


When preparing for game day it is recommended to choose food options that are low fat, low fibre and low protein; which you might recognise, goes against the grain of regular healthy eating advice. So of course, from Sunday through to Thursday afternoon before training these do not apply. During these days try and aim for the day’s worth of food diagram (‘Do you have room for all of this?’) which displays the minimum amounts of food required for one day.



For those who are on a budget, lentils cross over into both vegetable and protein food groups, so there’s more bang for your buck! Examples include: chickpeas, red/green/black lentils, split peas, kidney beans and many more.


  • Lentils are very versatile and cheap, providing a source of fibre and protein.
  • However they are not appropriate during a ‘carb load’ as its high fibre content can cause satiety (feeling satisfied and full from your meal).
  • As a result, they can also cause uncomfortable bowel movements, if not met with adequate water consumption.

Some great resources:

Healthy Eating with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating 2013

Adapted from the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, 2013

The Australian Dietary Guidelines Simplified


The new Australian Guide to Healthy Eating was released this year (2013) and there are five major recommendations:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, and choose nutritious foods to meet your energy needs;
  • Enjoy a wide range of nutritious foods from the five food groups;
  • Limit foods high in saturated fat, salt, sugar and alcohol;
  • Encourage and support breastfeeding;
  • Follow food safety recommendations.

This simplified tool focuses on the first two recommendations and is aimed to help you meet the new Healthy Eating Guidelines for Australian adults.

How many serves should I be having?

Vegetables 0006
Recommended Number of Serves for Australian Adults

Food Group Male (19-50yo) Female (19-50yo)
Vegetables 6 5
Fruit 2 2
Meat and Other Protein Sources 3 2.5
Cereals and Grains 6 6
Dairy 2.5 2.5
Information sourced from [1]

Healthy Eating and the 5 Food Groups

Table to help adults calculate how many serves of each food groups is recommended
Healthy Eating and the 5 food groups

Use the table below to fill in your recommended number of serves based on your age and gender and use the serving size references to help you with portion control. You can also use the Daily Tally column to monitor your own intake and achieve your optimum intake from the 5 food groups.

Food Group What is a Serve? My recommended Number of Serves My Daily Tally of Serves
Vegetables ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables,

½ cup cooked beans lentils or peas, 1 cup of salad, ½ medium potato, 1 medium tomato.

Fruit 1 medium banana, apple, orange or pear

2 small kiwis, apricots or plums, 1 cup canned fruit (no added sugar).

Meat and Protein Sources 65g cooked lean meat (beef, lamb, pork, kangaroo),

80g cooked lean poultry, 100g cooked fish fillet, 2 large eggs, 1 cup cooked legumes, lentils or peas, 170g tofu.

Breads and Cereals 1 slice of bread,

½ cup cooked pasta, noodles, rice or quinoa, 2/3 cup cereal (e.g. flaked cereal), ½ cup cooked porridge, ¼ cup muesli.

Dairy 1 cup milk or milk substitute with 100mg calcium per 100ml,

2 slices of firm/hard cheese (e.g. Colby, Cheddar), ½ cup soft cheese (eg. ricotta), ¾ cup yoghurt.

Sourced from [2]

Where Can I Get More Information?

Tasty Food Abundance in Healthy Europe

You can find more information about healthy eating at the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating website.


  1. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. (2010). NUTTAB 2010 Online Searchable Database. Retrieved from
  2. [National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. Retrieved 30 October, 2013, from]

3. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. Retrieved 30 October, 2013, from

4. National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Healthy Eating for Adults. Retrieved 30 October, 2013, from

Eating for Bone Health

A guide to optimising bone strength and preventing osteoporosis for young women.

Why is bone health important?




Why worry about bone health at your age? Isn’t it just old women who become hunched over and frail? Osteoporosis is a condition of the musculoskeletal system in which a person's bones become fragile and brittle, leading to an increased risk of fractures. These fractures can lead to chronic pain, disability and a loss of independence.[1] To help prevent osteoporosis, we need to exercise and nourish our bones throughout our lives.[2] Osteoporosis is a major health problem in Australia; with 1 in 5 women over 65 years developing osteoporosis.[3]

Changes in Bone Mass – Peak Bone Mass

woman running

Our bone strength develops until the age of 25-30 years; we deposit minerals such as calcium into our bones making them dense and strong, this is called our peak bone mass.[1] From the age of approximately 30 years we experience a slow decline in our bone density/strength, this bone loss accelerates after menopause when hormonal changes result in more rapid losses.[4] Osteoporosis occurs if our bones lose too much density, so now is the time to build your bones. After you reach your peak bone mass you can only maintain or slow the loss of bone, so start your life with a big ‘bank’ to reduce your risk of developing this crippling disease.

How can we build and maintain strong bones?


What nutrients do we need for strong bones?


Calcium and Phosphorus play a major role in bone strength, and are of prime importance in the prevention of osteoporosis. These minerals along with Magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and others all play a role in building up strong bones.[1] [5] Consuming adequate amounts of these minerals along with regular weight bearing exercise such as jogging, skipping and aerobics helps us to optimise our bone strength until the age of 30 and then helps to slow the loss of bone density with age.[4] [2] [5]

How much calcium are we getting?


The average daily calcium intake of 19-24 year old women falls short of the recommended daily amount by 250mg/day; this is equivalent to the amount of calcium found in approximately 1 cup of milk.[6] [7]

How can we get enough calcium in our diet?


Calcium is found predominantly in milk and other dairy foods.[7] Other sources include bony fish, legumes and certain nuts, fortified soy and other milk alternatives, and fortified breakfast cereals.[7] It is recommended that we consume 2.5 serves of dairy/alternatives each day to meet our requirements.[8]

1 serve is equivalent to:

  • 1 cup of milk (250ml);
  • 2 slices (40g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar;
  • ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese;
  • ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt;
  • 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml.

[7] [8]

Tips to optimise calcium absorption

  • Spread your consumption of calcium containing foods out across the day.
  • The sugar (lactose) and protein in milk promote calcium absorption; therefore dairy is a great source.
  • Absorption is promoted by vitamin D, which is also found in dairy foods.
  • Choose calcium fortified products such as cereals, juices and tofu.
  • Add in an extra serve of dairy in you day; yoghurt as a snack or a fruit smoothie made with milk are great options.
  • Ensure you eat green leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale or broccoli each day.
  • Eating a small handful of almonds and dried figs as a snack will add to your calcium intake.

[1] [4] [5]

Foods that reduce calcium absorption


Avoid eating these foods at the same time as your calcium containing foods:

  • Phytic acid containing foods such as cereals and legumes;
  • Oxalic acid containing foods such as in spinach, rhubarb, beetroot and tea;[1]
  • Caffeine, alcohol and salt increase the amount of calcium lost through urine, therefore limit your consumption of these.

Milk alternatives: differences and benefits


There is an extensive variety of milk and milk alternatives on the market and it can become confusing to know what the best option is. All dairy milk alternatives need fortifying to match the nutritional content offered in cow’s milk. So whatever type of milk you consume; it is important to look for one which is fortified with calcium.[8] You can check this by looking at the nutrition information panel on the back of the package and ensuring there is at least 100mg of calcium per 100mls.[8] It is also important in non-dairy varieties to be aware of added sugar and salt. It is best to choose unsweetened options with under 120mg sodium per 100mls. However alternatives to dairy milk do offer benefits such as being lactose and dairy free for those who are intolerant or vegetarian, milks which come from nuts have the added benefit of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Further Information



  1. a b c d e Wahlqvist, M. L. (2011). Food and nutrition : food and health systems in Australia and New Zealand (3rd Edition ed.). Crows Nest, NSW, Austrlia: Allen and Unwin.
  2. a b Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition – Australia and New Zealand Edition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
  3. Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12. (2012). Canberra, ACT: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from
  4. a b c Brown, J. E., & Isaacs, J. S. (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th Edition ed.). Belmont, California, USA: Cengage Learning.
  5. a b c Osteoporosis Australia. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from
  6. ABS. (1998). National Nutrition Survey: Nutrient Intakes and Physical Measurements. Retrieved from ABS:$File/48050_1995.pdf
  7. a b c d Kouris, A. (2012). Food Sources of Nutrients: A Ready Reckoner of Macronutrients, Micronutrients and Phytonutrients. Dr Antigone Kouris-Blazos.
  8. a b c d National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. Retrieved from Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing :

Breastfeeding and alcohol

For women who are breastfeeding - What you need to know about consuming alcohol.

Siany Hodgins 17164450


Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?


For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option because:

  • There are concerns that alcohol passed through breast milk may have adverse effects on the infant;[1]
  • Larger amounts of alcohol in the breast milk can cause problems with breast milk let-down.[1]
  • You CAN enjoy an alcohol drink.
  • The key is to plan ahead.

How much of the alcohol I drink gets into my breast milk?


The short answer is 100%....


The amount of alcohol in your milk is equal to the amount of alcohol in your blood.[2]

How does this happen?.....


Alcohol can move freely from your blood in and out of your breast-milk, so if you have any alcohol in your blood, the same amount of alcohol be present in your breast milk.[2] Once the alcohol has passed through your system, your breast milk will be alcohol free – alcohol is not ‘stored’ in your milk.[3] The amount of alcohol in your blood can be affected by:

  • the total alcohol content of your drink;
  • the type and quantity of foods eaten;
  • your weight;
  • how quickly you are drinking.[3]

2 hours

How long does it take for the alcohol to clear from my breast milk?


2 hours


As a general rule, it takes 2 hours for an average woman to get rid of the alcohol from 1 standard alcoholic drink.[3] therefore 4 hours for 2 drinks, 6 hours for 3 drinks and so on.

Alcohol will be in your breast-milk 30–60 minutes after you start drinking. This is included in the 2 hours, which is taken from the time you start of drinking.[3]

But ………


It is important to remember that many factors can change how alcohol affects you including:

  • age;
  • body composition (weight, how much muscle and fat you have);
  • mental health status;
  • drug use;
  • existing medical conditions.[3]

How can I get rid of alcohol out of my milk faster?....


You can’t!


While expressing your milk is important for your comfort and to maintain milk production, it will not get rid of the alcohol any quicker.[4]

Can I drink alcohol straight away?...


It is strongly recommended that you do not consume alcohol until your baby is at least one month old.[3]

Australian standard alcoholic drink
Standard wine - 100mL
standard beer/cider - 285mL
Standard Spirit - 30mL

What is a standard drink?


In Australia, a standard alcoholic drink contains 10g of alcohol, which is equal to:


100ml wine[4]


285ml full strength beer/cider[4]


60ml port or sherry[4]


30ml spirits[4]


REMEMBER, you may not always be served, or serve yourself a standard drink

  • for example, an average bottle of beer/ cider contains around 1.4-1.6 standard drinks – if you drink one of these bottles it will take around 3 hours for the alcohol to clear from your breast milk.

How can I manage breastfeeding when I am planning to drink alcohol?


It is important to have a plan when consuming alcohol, you can be prepared by:

  • Timing your alcohol consumption with your baby's feeding and sleeping patterns;[3]
  • Eat before and while you are drinking alcohol;[3]
  • Express some milk for your baby ahead of time (breast milk can be frozen for up to 3 months.[3]

The current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends that women consume no more than 2 standard drinks on any day.[5]

Australian Breastfeeding Association is Australia's largest breastfeeding information and support service and is recognised worldwide as an authority on breastfeeding management. You will find a wealth of information for both parents and for health professionals on their website.


Further reading


Siany Hodgins 17164450



  1. a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003). 4810.0.55.001 - Breastfeeding in Australia. Viewed at
  2. a b Brown, J. E. et al. (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th Edition). Belmont, CA, Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning
  3. a b c d e f g h i Australian Breastfeeding Association (2013). Alcohol and breastfeeding. Viewed at
  4. a b c d e Department of Health (2012). The Australian Standard Drink. Viewed at
  5. NHMRC (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines – providing the scientific evidence for healthier Australian diets. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from

Healthy Eating for Young Adults Studying or Working Full-time

Vegetables and fruit

This page is aimed at educating young adults aged 18-30 years old who are studying or working full-time about eating a balanced diet and making quick and healthy food choices. Recommendations for Australian adults can be viewed on the Australian Guidelines to Healthy Eating 2013 page and are discussed below.

Why is eating a healthy balanced diet important?[1][2]

  • Helps maintain or reach healthy weight
  • Eating a regular balanced diet can help limit the amount of energy dense foods consumed
    • Unplanned/irregular eating habits are more likely to increase poor food choices and may lead to higher consumption of fat, sugar and salt.
  • Helps increase the consumption of essential vitamins and minerals needed for the body to function
  • Helps prevent risks associated with diet related diseases
    • E.g. Obesity, CVD, Type 2 Diabetes

Food Group Guidelines[3]

Vegetables Fruit Grain Foods Meat and Alternatives Dairy Foods
Males 6 2 6 3 2 1/2
Females 5 2 6 3 1/2 2 1/2
Examples of on serve
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup salad
  • ½ medium potato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 apple, banana or orange
  • 2 small plums or apricots
  • 1 cup diced fruit
  • 1 slice of multigrain bread
  • ½ cup cooked rice or pasta
  • ½ cup cooked porridge
  • ¼ cup muesli
  • 65g cooked lean beef, lamb or veal
  • 80g cooked lean chicken
  • 100g cooked fish
  • 1 small can fish
  • 1 cup cooked legumes
  • 170g tofu
  • 1 cup milk (includes calcium fortified soy or other cereal drink)
  • 40g (2 slices) hard cheese
  • 200g yoghurt

Choosing Healthier Food Products Quickly


There are so many products in supermarkets that claim to be healthier than others. It is difficult to distinguish which are really healthier options out there with so many claims. As there are many different options and claims out there it can become overwhelming to actually know which product is really best. Learning how to read nutritional labels may help.

Reading Nutritional Labels[4]


Reading nutrition labels can be a little daunting if you do not know where to start, however with these simple and easy steps you can start choosing healthier food choices in no time.

  • As many food products have different serving sizes, it is best to compare products using the 100 g column of the nutritional panel – this helps avoid doing unnecessary calculations.
  • It is important to avoid high-sugar products. Look for products containing less than 15 g of sugar per 100 g.
  • Many products can contain large amounts of salt, even those you may not suspect. Products considered to have a low amount of salt are those with less than 120 mg of sodium per 100 g, and medium salt containing products are 120–400 mg per 100 g. High salt containing foods are those with more than 400 mg per 100 g, and it is important to avoid these.
  • Choose food products with less than 10 g of total fat per 100 g and less than 3 g of saturated fat per 100 g.
  • The ingredients are listed from highest content to lowest. Check the first three items in the ingredients list (try to avoid products that list sugar in the first three items).

Using a Mobile Application


If you don’t have time to read nutritional panels, then don’t fret, a mobile application, called FoodSwitch, was designed to help individuals choose healthier options quickly and easily using your mobile. For more information visit the FoodSwitch website.

Variety of Foods

Healthy Quick Tips[2][3]

  • Plan your meals ahead of time
  • Choose a wide variety of vegetables in a range of colours
  • Choose low fat dairy options
  • Choose low GI carbohydrate options (e.g. multi-grain bread rather than white or wholemeal bread)
  • Have plenty of water instead of soft drinks and juices
  • Choose steamed/grilled food options when eating out
  • Limit salt added at cooking and at the table
  • Don’t skip breakfast
  • Eat regularly
  • Try having discretionary foods only sometimes and in small amounts (e.g. pies, ice cream, processed meats, chips, burgers etc)


  1. Brown, J. E. et al. (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th Edition). Belmont, CA, Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning.
  2. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (n.d.). Tips for eating well. Retrieved from:
  3. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (2013). Healthy eating for adults. Retrieved from:
  4. National Health and Medical Council (n.d.). How to understand food labels. Retireved from:

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and Kilojoule Consumption

Why eat a wide variety of healthy foods?

Wide variety of fruits

Enjoying and eating a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains is important and beneficial for many reasons. Eating nutritiously encourages healthy aging and higher energy levels, as well as lowering the risk for chronic diseases and some cancers. To be specific, there is evidence that consumption of high amounts of ‘colourful’ vegetables and fruits lowers the risk of arthritis, CVD, asthma and chronic bronchitis. The reasons for this association is due to fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes being highly concentrated with organic compounds such as antioxidants, dietary fibre and phytoestrogens.



Antioxidants are compounds which protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are produced during the break down of food and exposure to environmental pathogens, such as radiation and tobacco smoke. Antioxidants help reduce the risk of chronic diseases by neutralising these free radicals which can damage healthy cells, increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Antioxidant substances found in fruits and vegetables include: Vitamin B, Vitamin E and Vitamin C [1].

Variety of food

Dietary Fibre


Dietary Fibre is an indigestible portion of plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Its role in healthy living is that it supports healthy digestion within the intestinal tract and it binds to and extracts carcinogens, bile acid, excess hormones and toxins from the body through digestion.[1].



Phytoestrogens are a phytonutrients which are found in plant foods. Phytoestrogens, such as isoflavones and lignans have been associated with the reduced risk of cancers, such as breast cancer as isoflavones modulate hormonal activity to reduce possible damaging effects.[1].

Food energy/Kilojoules


We eat food to fuel our bodies for energy, growth and repair. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are broken down by the digestive system into their simplest components: simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel, although proteins and fats can also be converted into energy. Food energy is measured in kilojoules (kJ).

A kilojoule is a unit of energy. It also refers to the energy value of food and the amount of energy our bodies burn. The alternative measurement of energy is a calorie. The difference between a calorie and a kilojoule is the 1 calorie is equal to 4.184 kilojoules.[2]

How many kilojoules show I be consuming?

Pregnant Women
Child eating

According to the Australian New Zealand Standards Code a balanced diet of an average adult should contain approx. 8700 kilojoules per day. However, each individuals food energy need varies based on their activity levels and stages of life.[2]

Examples: - Individuals who are highly active during the day in comparison to less active individuals require higher amounts of energy.

- Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more energy during certain stages of their reproductive lives. Approximately an increase of 1,800kJ during pregnancy and 2,000kJ during breast feeding.

- Young children and adolescents require higher amounts of energy to ensure healthy growth and development.

- Men tend to have higher energy requirements than women due to having more muscle tissue; the more muscle tissue the more kilojoules are burned.

- The elderly tend to have lower energy requirements due to reduced activity levels and muscle tissue loss. [2]

Kilojoules per gram

Food Component Amount of kJ p/gam
Fat 37kJ/gram
Alcohol 29kJ/gram
Protein 16kJ/gram
Dietary Fibre 13kJ/gram
Water 0kJ/gram


The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating


The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating: is a present-day food guide the visually represents the proportion and amount of serving sizes within the five food groups recommended for consumption each day.[3]

What/who is it for?


In conjunction with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the aim of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is to help everyday Australians make healthy food choices and as well as - Promote health and wellbeing; - Reduce the risk of diet-related conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity; and - Reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers.[3]

Food Groups

Eatwell Plate

There are 5 food groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. These are: Vegetables/Legumes and Beans, Fruits, Breads and Cereals, Dairy, Meat, Fish, Poultry and Tofu[3]

The five food groups are grouped together based on what type of foods they are and what nutrients they contain. It is encouraged to eat a variety of foods from each food group to help protect our bodies from early ageing and disease.

Food Group Recommended serves p/day 1 serving size examples
Vegetables and Legumes 5 serves 1/2 a cup of cooked orange vegetables
Fruit 2 serves 1 medium sized fruit e.g. and apple or a banana
Breads and Cereals 5 - 6 serves 1 slice of multigrain bread
Dairy 2-3 serves 250ml (1 cup) of milk
Meat and other Proteins 2.5 - 3 serves 65g of cooked red meat, 2 large eggs or 80g of cooked poultry


For More Information


For information and guides on daily energy intake visit the Daily Intake Guide: Healthy Eating Made Easy: website

For more information on The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating: visit


  1. a b c The George Mateljan Foundation. (2013). Eating a wide range of healthy foods. Retrieved from
  2. a b c d State Government Victoria. (2013). Kilojoules and Calories. Retrieved from
  3. a b c National Health and Medical Research Council Australia (2013). Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Retrieved from
  4. National Health and Medical Research Council Australia (2013). Serves Sizes. Retrieved from

Healthy Snacking on a Budget

Healthy Eating


Importance of Snacking

Healthy Snacking

Snacking regularly during the day can stop us from overeating during mealtimes and gives us energy to concentrate on study[1]. When energy and blood sugar levels drop, cravings for foods which are high in sugar and fat increase and that’s when mindless consumption of chocolate bars, chips or any other discretionary food choices occurs [2].

It is fine to eat some less than healthy snacks once in a while, but it shouldn’t become a habit. An increased consumption of foods which are high in energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium are associated with the risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes[2].

This is why it is important to be prepared when planning meals and snacks for the day. Healthy snacking is an effective way of adding more nutrients to your diet [1]. It is fine to treat yourself every once in a while; however it is recommended to consume snacks which can help you meet your intake of the five food groups. These are listed in Table 1.

Snack regularly during the day to maintain energy levels and avoid feeling hungry

Table 1: The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) daily serve recommendations for Males and Females 19-50 year olds [3]

Food Group Recommendations
Breads and Cereals 6 serves
Fruit 2 serves
Vegetables and Legumes 5 - 6 serves
Dairy 2.5 serves
Meat and other Proteins 2.5 - 3 serves

What is a serve?


Serving sizes can be confusing. Everyone has their own idea of what a serve of bread, pasta or salad may be. It is important to be aware of serving sizes, and what is appropriate for your age and gender. Table 2 shows examples of serving sizes for each of the food groups, including discretionary choices (chocolate, ice-cream, chips etc.).

Table 2: The AGHE Serving Sizes for Food Groups[3]

Food Group Serving Sizes
Breads & Cereals 1 slice bread

½ medium roll or flat bread (pita)

½ cup cooked:

Rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, quinoa or porridge

2/3 cup wheat cereal flakes

¼ cup muesli

3 crispbreads

1 crumpet

1 small English Muffin

Fruit (~ a standard serve is 150g)

1 medium:

Apple, banana, orange or pear

2 small:

Apricots, kiwi fruits or plums

1 cup:

Diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)

Only occasionally:

½ cup fruit juice (with no added sugar) or

30g of dried fruit (eg. 4 dried apricot halves)

Vegetables and Legumes (a standard serve is ~75g)

½ cup cooked:

Orange vegetables (carrots or pumpkin)

Green vegetables (broccoli or spinach)

½ cup cooked/dried/canned:

Beans, peas or lentils

1 cup of green leafy or salad vegetables

½ cup sweet corn

½ medium potato or other starchy veg (sweet potato)

1 medium tomato


1 cup:

Fresh milk, UHT long life milk, reconstituted-powdered milk, buttermilk, soy milk· or rice milk·

½ cup:

Evaporated milk or ricotta cheese

2 slices of hard cheese (eg. cheddar)

¾ cup yoghurt

· needs to contain at least 100mg of added calcium per 100mL

Meat and Other Proteins 65g cooked lean meats:

Beef, lamb, veal, pork or kangaroo

(about 90-100g raw)

80g cooked lean poultry:

Chicken or turkey (about 100g raw)

100g cooked fish fillet (115g raw)

One small can of fish

2 large eggs

1 cup of cooked or canned legumes/beans:

Lentils, chickpeas or split peas

170g tofu

30g portion of nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter (no added salt)


2 scoops of ice cream

~2 slices of processed meats

1 ½ thick or 2 thinner higher fat/salt sausages

30g salty crackers (a small individual serve packet)

2-3 sweet biscuits

1 doughnut

1 slice plain cake or small cake-type muffin

5-6 small lollies

2 Tb jam/honey

½ small bar chocolate

2 Tb cream

1 Tb butter or hard margarine

1 glass of wine (approx. 2 standard drinks)

60mL spirits (2 standard drinks)

400mL regular beer (1½ standard drinks)

1 can soft drink

1/3 commercial meat pie or pastie

12 fried hot chips

Healthy Swap Ideas

Home prepared yoghurt and muesli

Ditch the packaged convenience foods from university and choose foods that you’ve got sitting in your pantry and fridge.


Swap a sushi roll from Uni → Can of tuna or 4 bean-mix from home

Yoghurt with berries & muesli from Uni café → Tub of yoghurt mixed with berries and muesli from home

Muffin from Uni café → Banana from home

Packet of chips from Uni convenience store → Homemade pita crisps

Trail Mix

Healthy Snack Ideas


Table 3 and 4 provide interesting snack ideas for every taste. The AGHE serving sizes are included.

Table 3. Healthy Snacks for the sweet tooth[3]

Snack Idea Serving Sizes
Homemade Fruit & Nut mix (inc. almonds,

cashews, linseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds,

dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, apple))

30g nuts = 1 serve of protein

30g dried fruit = 1 serve of fruit

Thinly sliced apple topped with ricotta

cheese, crushed walnuts and honey

OR with peanut butter and muesli

1 medium apple = 1 serve of fruit

½ cup ricotta cheese = 1 serve of dairy

15g walnuts = ½ serve of protein

30g peanut butter = 1 serve of protein

30g muesli = 1 serve of grains

Rye crispbreads topped with apricot jam,

cottage cheese and a sprinkle of LSA

(linseed, sunflower & almond)

3 crispbreads = 1 serve grains

½ cup cottage cheese = 1 serve of dairy

Apple and Ricotta Bites
Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter

Table 4. Savoury Healthy Snacks [3]

Snack Idea Serving Sizes
Carrot and celery sticks with tahini,

peanut butter or hommus

½ cup of carrot or celery = 1 serve of vegetable

30g peanut butter = 1 serve of protein

Canned tuna/salmon mixed with corn

spread on wholemeal crispbreads

3 crispbreads = 1 serve of grains

1 can of tuna/salmon = 1 serve of protein

½ cup corn = 1 serve vegetables

Wholemeal crispbreads topped with

avocado, tomato and feta cheese

3 crispbreads = 1 serve of grains

1 medium tomato = 1 serve of vegetables

40g feta cheese = 1 serve of dairy

Wholemeal crispbreads spread with

vegemite and avocado

3 crispbreads = 1 serve of grains



For many university students finding time and money to prepare and purchase foods can be challenging. Purchasing fast foods and take away options from university food vendors seems convenient but often these foods are costly, pre-packaged, and lower in nutritional value. The following tables (Table 5 and Table 6) compare prices and quantities of common snacks bought from the supermarket and university. It is much cheaper to purchase snacks from the supermarket as opposed to packaged convenience foods from university.

Table 5. Prices and quantities of common snack foods bought from the supermarket. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Snack Foods Supermarket Quantity and Price Serves
Tuna in spring water (Portview) ALDI 6 cans = $4.74 1 can = 1 serve of protein
Seaweed rice crackers (Damora) ALDI 1 pack (100g) = $0.95 10 crackers ~ 1 serve of grains
Cashews unsalted (Coles brand) Coles 1 bag (150g) = $3.00 30g = 1 serve of protein
Greek yogurt (Danone) ALDI 4 pack = $3.49 1 tub (125g) = ~ ½ serve of dairy
Bananas Coles 1 kg (6 medium bananas) = $2.00 1 medium banana = 1 serve of fruit
Carrots Woolworths 1 kg (~9 carrots) = $1.18 1 medium carrot = 1 serve of vegetable
Rolled oats (Woolworths brand) Woolworths 150g = $0.24 ¼ cup (30g) = 1 serve of grains
Frozen Mixed Berries (Coles brand) Coles 250g = $2.50 150g = 1 serve of fruit
Total cost = $18.10

Table 6. Prices and quantities of common snack foods bought from Universities. [7]

Snack Foods Place Quantity and Price
Yoghurt with fruit and muesli La Trobe 1 tub = $5.00
Blueberry Muffin La Trobe 1 mega muffin = $4.00
Sushi roll La Trobe 2 hand rolls = $5.00
Cappuccino La Trobe x 2 small cups = $7.00
Total cost = $21.00

Money Saving Storage Tips

  • Most fruits and vegetables should be stored in the crisper or produce drawer. Do not overload the crisper. It is best to buy only the amount of produce you will use within a few days [8].
  • Do not keep bananas in plastic bags. This was lock in the moisture and speed up the ripening process [9]. If bananas are over-ripened, they can be peeled, frozen, and used.
  • Keep nuts and crackers in airtight containers or sealable snack bags.
  • Cut up carrot and celery sticks and store in sealable container in fridge until use. These can be stored raw for up to 2 weeks [10].
  • Yoghurt can be kept out of the fridge for up to 2 hours [9].
  • Buy in bulk if prices are lower than usual. Non-perishable items like cans of tuna, beans, corn can be kept in the pantry for months but be sure to identify with the expiry date for each product as these will vary across brands.
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables may be costly so choose frozen varieties like peas, corn, broccoli, or berries. Not only are they more convenient to store but also provide the same nutritional goodness as the raw varieties [11].
  • Keep an eye out for sales and specials. You can access the supermarkets catalogue online for weekly specials and savings.

Visit the following sites for more information: [4] [5] [6]

Reference List

  1. a b Garden-Robinson, J. & Medenwald, S. (2011) Eat Smart: Enjoy Healthier Snacks at Work. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from .
  2. a b Piernas, C. & Popkin, B.M. (2010) Snacking Increased among U.S. Adults between 1977 and 2006. The Journal of Nutrition 140(2), 325-322.
  3. a b c d e National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from .
  4. a b Coles. (2013) Shop Online. Retrieved 28th October, 2013, from
  5. a b Woolworths. (2013) Woolworths Online. Retrieved 28th October, 2013 from Invalid <ref> tag; name "Woolworths Online" defined multiple times with different content
  6. a b ALDI. (2013) Smarter Shopping. Retrieved 28th October, 2013, from
  7. Lost on Campus. (2013) Food. Retrieved 28th October 2013, from
  8. Van Laanen, P., and Scott. A. (1914). Safe Handling of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from
  9. a b U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2013, August). Raw Produce: Selecting and Serving it Safely. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from
  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2000, October). To Your Health! Food Safety for Seniors. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from
  11. Deakin University Australia. (2013) Food processing and nutrition. Retrieved 28th October, 2013, from

Alcohol and Healthy Eating

Alcohol can have a place in a healthy diet. But where is that place, and what effects does alcohol have on good nutrition and healthy eating?

Food and wine

Background Information


The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating (AGHE) is a helpful picture guide relating to the amounts of each of the 5 food groups you should eat every day. The food groups are fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat (or meat substitutes for vegetarians).

Grocery bag of healthy foods

The AGHE also shows a few important things to consider that fall outside the 5 food groups, like water, fats and oils, and discretionary choices. Discretionary choices are things that are high in fat, salt or sugar, as well as alcohol. The AGHE summarises the Australian Dietary Guidelines[1].

Australian Dietary Guidelines


The Australian Dietary Guidelines have been built around scientific evidence that shows how much of different types of food should be eaten every day in order to achieve a balanced diet that gives you all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its best. They also consider what you need in order to reduce your risk of developing certain diseases, like heart disease[2].

Australian Dietary Guideline 3 - Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol


Alcohol is a part of an enjoyable life for many people. There are some specific guidelines surrounding alcohol consumption that focus on risk reduction. The guidelines suggest no more than 2 drinks a day to reduce the chance of alcohol related disease and injury. They also say that it is advisable to stay below 4 drinks per drinking session [3].

One drinking session is defined as the period of time from when your blood alcohol goes up from zero, to the time it goes back down to zero [3]. This could well be Friday to Monday on occasion, and four drinks does not go that far!

The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Healthy Eating


Sometimes we drink more alcohol than we should. What impact does this have?

It’s easy to forget that alcohol contributes to your daily energy requirements. Keep in mind here that energy means kilojoules. The reason that this matters comes back to the reason the dietary guidelines were developed. Remember – the guidelines are there give you a reminder of how to get the right balance of nutrients through your diet.

Beer and edamame (boiled green soybeans)

What happens when some of your daily energy requirements are provided by alcohol?


Considering the AGHE guidelines, many of us may fall short on intake of certain food groups at the best of times. When alcohol is added to the equation, your energy intake will generally either rise or stay the same.

  • If your overall energy intake stays the same as when you're not drinking alcohol, then you're most likely not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its best.

  • If it rises, you may be getting all the nutrients you require, but as your overall energy intake has increased this may lead to weight gain. Alcohol also has an effect on how your body can use vitamins and minerals. This means that even though your diet seems adequate, you may still not be getting enough for optimum health.

  • Alcohol affects many different areas of your body in ways you may not have thought of, such as changing the balance of some hormones.

  • Alcohol may also lead you to choose to eat less healthy foods such as those that are high in energy, fat and salt.
Alcohol can cloud your judgement. This may lead to poor food choices.

Impact on how much you eat -


Alcohol may be made from grains or fruits, but apart from energy, it doesn’t contribute anything useful to your diet. Alcohol in large doses may reduce your appetite, making it even harder to eat the right foods. When smokers also combine this with the appetite suppressing properties of nicotine, it is making it very hard for you to get all the nutrition you require [4].

Impact on how well your body uses nutrients -


Alcohol reduces your body's ability to digest, absorb and use some vitamins and minerals. These include B12, Folate, Vitamin A and calcium. This means that on top of possibly not getting enough through your diet, what you are getting can’t be properly utilised [5].

Impact on the way your body works -


Alcohol can have an effect on blood sugar levels, as it can change the way your body responds to insulin. Dehydration can be a problem; it’s well known that alcohol increases the frequency of visits to the toilet. This is not only due to the volume of liquid that you've had to drink, but also due to alcohol reducing the release of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone [4].

Further Information


Standard drinks guide -

More about Nutrient absorption -

More about the guidelines regarding alcohol-


  1. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from
  3. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (2009) Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Alcohol. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from
  4. a b Watson, R. R., & Preedy, V. R. (2004). Nutrition and Alcohol : Linking Nutrient Interactions and Dietary Intake. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Retrieved from
  5. NIAAA (2000). Alcohol and Nutrition. Rockville, MD:NIAAA. Retrieved from

Healthy Eating for Honours Students

Healthy Eating


With so many different healthy eating messages out there it can be hard to know where to start. Healthy eating is defined as an adequate intake of food and nutrients helping to maintain an optimal health status[1] . When studying full-time, which for many students also means working part-time, healthy eating can be put to the side. However, a few simple steps towards healthy eating can help to maintain a healthy weight, assist your immune system, improve energy levels, help prevent diet related disease (eg: Type 2 diabetes) and assist in focus during study[2][1].

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating[3]


The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides information about the amounts and types of foods to include in a healthy diet for people of different ages, genders and eating styles. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating contains 5 major guidelines;

  1. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
Three running women
  • For adults, 30 minutes of physical activity/exercise is recommended daily
  • When eating, eat slowly and stop when you are full
  1. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five groups every day
  • Ensure you are eating foods from all five food groups;
  1. Fruit
  2. Vegetables
  3. Grains
  4. Lean meats and poultry and alternatives
  5. Dairy and alternatives
  • Drink plenty of water
  1. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fats, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
  • These foods are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Try swapping foods high in these components for similar alternatives:
  • Swap a side of chips with a side of salad
  • Swap sour cream for yoghurt in a recipe
  • Stir-fry, grill, bake or steam. Don’t deep fry
  • Limit 'sometimes' foods such as ice-creams, pastries and chocolates
  1. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding
  2. Care for your food; prepare and store it safely
  • If you are taking food to University with you, does it need to be refrigerated?

Of these 5 guidelines, 1,2,3 and 5 become key when studying at University to optimize health.

What is a serve?[3]

Fruit Vegetables Grains Lean Meat and Poultry Dairy and Alternatives
Daily recommended serves for men aged 19-50 2 6 6 3 2 1/2
Daily recommended serves for women aged 19-50 2 5 6 2 1/2 2 1/2
What makes a serve
  • 1 banana, apple or orange
  • 2 apricots, kiwifruits or plums
  • 1 cup of diced or canned fruit
  • 30g of dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli, spinach, carrot or pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup of cooked, dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup of green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • 1/2 medium potato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, quinoa or porridge
  • 2/3 cup cereal
  • 1/4 cup meusli
  • 1 small English muffin or scone
  • 65g of beef, lamb, veal or pork
  • 80g of chicken or turkey
  • 100g of fish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of legumes/beans
  • 170g of tofu
  • 30g of nuts or seeds
  • 1 cup of milk, soy milk or rice milk
  • 2 slices or 40g of hard cheese such as cheddar
  • 1/2 cup or 120g of soft cheese such as ricotta
  • 3/4 cup or 200g yoghurt

Food at University


Tips on how to buy healthy

  • Avoid deep fried and pastry options, instead go for bread based options
  • Try for smaller more regular portions that include some salad or vegetables
  • Limit high fat, high salt sauces/toppings
  • Plan your meals ahead of time
20111012-FNCS-LSC-0225 - Flickr - USDAgov

Tips on taking food

  • Pack a small frozen bottle of water with your food to keep refrigerated food cold until you eat it.
  • Plan ahead. Prepare your lunch the night before. Without planning, you are more likely to pick up unhealthy snacks, such as a bag of chips, on your wy out the door.
  • Cook in batches ahead of time. This will allow you to take meals, such as pasta, as they will already be packaged in the fridge, convenient to grab on your way out.
  • Keep some meals that can be grabbed on the run in the pantry. This way, if you are caught off guard, there is a quick alternative to packaged items such as chips.
  • Tinned tuna with tomato and toast
  • Small containers of mixed nuts

For more information on the guidelines and tips on how to follow them


Dietitians Association Australia


  1. a b Dietitians Association of Australia (2013) Healthy Eating. Retrieved from
  2. Department of Health (2011) Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Retrieved from
  3. a b National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from

Increasing calcium and Vitamin D intake in office workers

Calcium is one of the most essential minerals recommended for the diet as it is involved various roles and processes within the human body. As well as the imperative role that calcium holds in bone and teeth mineralization, promoting strong and prosperous bones, calcium is also required for the maintenance of cell membranes, enzyme systems and hormone actions. Also, due to its role in nerve function activity and transmission, calcium is a responsible component of muscle contraction, such as that of the heart.

Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone that works in tandem with calcium in the body performing similar functions. For calcium to function correctly it needs Vitamin D and vice versa. Vitamin D is involved in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and other micronutrients. Like Calcium, Vitamin D helps with bone and teeth formation and helps to maintain a stable nervous system and healthy heart. It also functions in immunity and regulating blood pressure.

A glass of Milk

The Role of Calcium


Calcium plays an essential role in bone structure and maintenance, providing the body with its framework. Around 99 per cent of the body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth and the remaining 1 per cent can be found circulating in the blood and in cells. The calcium existing in the blood is tightly controlled and the bones provide a readily available source of calcium when body is in need. This means that when blood-calcium levels drop, the blood ‘borrows’ calcium from the bones to restore it to an appropriate level. When blood-calcium levels increase, the blood will ‘return’ any excess calcium back to the bones. Therefore, when calcium intake is consistently inadequate, calcium stores in the bone become depleted. This results in weaker bones which are susceptible to [Osteoporosis]. It is extremely important to consume adequate amounts of calcium-containing foods to ensure strong and healthy bones.

What Constitutes A Serve?


The Australian Guide to Healthy eating recommendations (AGHE) 2 1/2 serves of dairy like milk, yogurt and cheese (mostly reduced fat alternatives) every day for people aged 19-50 years old and this is the same for both males and females. This equates to 1000mg of calcium per day.

Calcium Serve


Sources of calcium can be either dairy or non-diary, so even a vegan or someone who just doesn't like dairy products can ensure they meet their daily requirements.

Dairy Sources

  • 80g of cheese (2 slices) - Cheddar, Swiss or ricotta
  • 1 cup of Milk
  • 3/4 cup of yogurt

Non-Dairy Sources

  • 1 cup of green leafy vegetables e.g. kale, bok choy, spinach or silverbeet.
  • 15g of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of almonds

Vitamin D Serve


The best source of Vitamin D is of course, the sun! To ensure adequate Vitamin D intake each day it is good to spend at least 20-30 minutes in the sun each day.

The Sun

Foods rich in Vitamin D include:

  • 90g of cooked salmon
  • 90 of sardines (including bones)
  • 1 egg

Tips For Extra Vitamin D

People eating outside)
  • Coming into work earlier or staying back a little later to walk around the block if the sun is out
  • Walk around the office block during the lunch break
  • Eat lunch outside

Interactions and Interferences


Some nutrients aren’t absorbed as well if taken with calcium. Calcium can reduce iron absorption by as much as 50 percent. However, calcium only interferes with non-heme iron, which comes from plant-based foods, not with heme iron, found in meat.

When it comes to calcium, fibre also binds to the mineral, reducing its absorption. Studies have found that wheat fibre reduces calcium absorption by about half. If you are the type of person who aims to get a jump-start on fulfilling their recommended daily intake of fibre and calcium with your bowl of breakfast cereal, choose cereals primarily oats or other grains since they do not seem to block the absorption calcium.

Supplementation & fortification


Sometimes, depending on the levels of calcium and Vitamin D in the body, it may be necessary take a supplement. Before using any supplementation it is important to refer to a doctor first.

Reference List

  • Kouris, A. (2012). Food Sources of Nutrients: A Ready Reckoner of Macronutrients, Micronutrients and Phytonutrients. Dr Antigone Kouris-Blazos.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013, p4-24
  • National Health and Medical Research Council. (2006). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. NHMRC
  • Osteoporosis Australia. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from
  • Wahlqvist, M. L. (2011). Food and nutrition : food and health systems in Australia and New Zealand (3rd Edition ed.). Crows Nest, NSW, Austrlia: Allen and Unwin.

Reading Food Labels to Make Healthy Food Choices

Food labels can be difficult to understand, with a great detail of information often included on labels. This guide can help you with reading and understanding food labels so you can make healthier shopping choices.

Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)


Most packaged foods will have a nutrition information panel except for small packages such as spices, herbs, tea, coffee, and foods made and packaged at the point of sale e.g. sandwiches made to order[1].

Key Nutrients

Figure 1: A sample nutrition information panel and a guide on areas to look at, when comparing similar products to make healthy food choices.

Look for the following nutrients when comparing similar food products:

(See Figure 1 for a detailed guide on how to read a Nutrition Information Panel)

  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugar (includes a total of added and natural sugars)
  • Sodium
  • Dietary fibre [2]

Nutritional Effect on Health

  • Choosing foods low in saturated fat and sodium can help you in lowering blood pressure and reduce the amount of ‘bad’ fats building up along the walls of blood vessels. This decreases your risk of having heart diseases [3].
  • Added sugars in packaged foods such as spreads, cereals or biscuits, offer little nutrient value except for being high in energy. Choosing foods low in sugar can help you with weight control and preventing tooth decay [4].
  • Dietary fibre found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals, help with keeping your digestive system healthy. It can also help with controlling diabetes, heart health and weight [3].

Comparing Similar Food Products

Figure 2: Reading food labels - A nutrition guide to help with making healthier food choices.
  1. Use the quantity per 100g column to compare nutrient values.
  2. Choose the food that is lower in total fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium. Use the ‘Nutrition Guide’ (Figure 2) and aim to buy foods within the healthiest (green) or fairly healthy options (amber). Limit or avoid eating food products with nutrients in the least healthy column (red), as they are in very high amounts and do not provide nutritional benefits.
  3. If dietary fibre is listed in the NIP, while keeping in mind the content of the other four key nutrients, aim for the product with the highest dietary fibre content per serve. Try to select foods that have 3g or more dietary fibre per serve [2][5].



Ingredients are listed in order from highest to lowest weight in the food product.

Percentage Labelling


This means the percent of characteristic ingredient(s) within the food. For example, if peach (6%) was listed in the ingredients of peach yoghurt, this means the peach yoghurt is made up of 6% of peaches[6].

Limit Intake of Added Fats, Sugars and Salt


Limit buying foods if fat, sugar, or salt is listed in the top three ingredients, as often they will be in high amounts in the food. This can be confirmed by looking at the nutrition information panel (See Figure 3).

Figure 3: A sample ingredients list (taken from Figure 1) showing a product with high amounts of sugar as it is listed in the top three ingredients.

Other names in which fats, sugars, and salts, may be listed in the ingredients include [1][7]:

FAT Animal fats/oil, Butter, Coconut, Coconut oil, Copha, Cream, Lard, Mayonnaise, Milk solids, Mono-, di- or triglycerides, Palm oil, Shortening, Vegetable oil and fats.
SUGAR Corn syrup, Dextrose, Disaccharides, Fructose,Glucose, Glucose syrup, Honey, Lactose, Maltose, Mannitol, Molasses, Sorbitol, Sucrose, Xylitol.
SALT Baking powder, Monosodium glutamate or MSG, Sodium, Sodium ascorbate, Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium nitrate/nitrite, Yeast extract, Vegetable salt.

Nutritional Claims


Nutritional claims may be included on food labels. These claims may have some nutritional benefit for the individual.

Important: Check the nutrition information panel on the package because a food that may claim to be low in a particular nutrient may be higher in another. For example, a food may be ‘low fat’, yet still contain a high amounts of salt.

File:Nutritional Claims.jpg
Figure 4: Example nutritional claims found on a food product.

Examples of common nutritional claims include [1][7]:

Low fat No more than 3g of fat per 100g in the food product.
Reduced fat or salt 25% less fat or salt than the original food product of the same brand. Be sure to check the nutrition information panel, as the product may still be high in fat or salt.
% fat free A claim such as 95% fat free means for every 100g of a food product, there is 5g of fat. Or 99% fat free is the same as 1% fat, or 1g of fat per 100g of the food.
No added sugar There are no added refined sugars, but the product may still contain natural sugars, such as fruit juices.
‘Light’ or ‘lite’ This does not always mean low fat or lower in energy. These claims may mean the food is light in taste, colour or texture.
Diet Often this claim means the food has added artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, which makes the product lower in energy (kilojoules) e.g. diet soft drinks.
High fibre For every 100g of the food product, there is at least 3g of fibre.

For More Information


Visit these websites to learn about other information found on a food label:


  1. a b c Better Health Channel. (2013). Food Labels. Retrieved from
  2. a b Eat For Health. (2013). How To Understand Food Labels. Retrieved from
  3. a b Whitney, E., Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D., & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
  4. NSW Food Authority. (2013). Nutrition Labelling. Retrieved from
  5. Cancer Council QLD. (2013). Nutrition and Physical Activity. Retrieved from
  6. Diabetes Australia. (2012). Reading Food Labels. Retrieved from
  7. a b Queensland Government. (2009). Guideline for Reading Food Labels [fact sheet]. Retrieved from

Gluten Free Cooking for chefs

Wheat ear

Information on this page


This page is intended to give some basic information on gluten including what it is, who it can affect, the effects on the body, some sources of gluten and ideas on preventing cross-contamination. The information is directed at professional and amateur chefs or anyone interested in aspects of gluten .

What is Gluten?


Gluten is a complex molecule made up to two separate proteins – glutenin and gliadin , each make up half of the total gluten molecule.



Gliadin proteins are what makes bread dough’s thick, viscous and harder to work and move around. The longer you work a dough the tougher it will get as this protein will attach to starch and other components in the dough.



The glutenin proteins are the part that holds all the components of the flour together like the starch, fat and from any ingredients placed in such as milk or eggs for example. These proteins are also responsible for giving the dough strength and elastic properties.

Who does this affect and what does it do to the body?

The path of digestion

This can affect people suffering from coeliac disease. This disease affects around 1 in 80 males and 1 in 60 females in Australia.

Coeliac disease occurs when the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten which causes damage to the little hair like projections in the small intestine called villi that allow people to absorb nutrients. When the gluten protein comes into contact with these villi they become inflamed and flatten out which can cause intestinal symptoms in some people with coeliac disease, but this is not true for all sufferers. Some people that have coeliac disease but remain undiagnosed can continue to eat gluten with no symptoms at all but will still cause damage to the villi in the small intestine.

In terms of cross contamination all it can take to start this inflammation process is as little as 100th of a bread slice which is about the size of a finger nail or 1/3 of a teaspoon.

Foods that contain Gluten


The usual suspects

Gluten Sources -Top: High-gluten wheat flour. Right: European spelt. Bottom: Barley. Left: Rolled rye flakes.

Easy to spot grains that contain gluten can include:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Any products that use these like pastas, breads, cakes, pastries and muffins.

The not so obvious


Then there's other grains that are not recognized as easily that may be encountered in the kitchen, these include:

  • Triticale - A hybrid grain with a cross of wheat and rye using properties of both and looking very similar.
  • Khorasan wheat - Also known as oriental wheat and grows in the Middle east area around Afghanistan and Iran. This grain has less gluten in it than the others but still contains enough to cause damage.
    Khorasan wheat
  • Oats - there is some evidence to say that 4/5 people with coeliac disease can tolerate uncontaminated oats without any damage or symptoms to the small intestine. But since there is no test to determine who can tolerate the grain it's recommended that it be excluded from a gluten free diet.
  • Couscous - is made up of semolina which are little granules of durum wheat which can be cooked by steaming.

Gluten Free grains


Other grains that can be included in a gluten free diet are quinoa, buckwheat as well as rice products.

Preventing cross contamination



  • When using oil to fry food remember to replace the oil after cooking food that contains gluten as there may be crumbs left over, or alternatively fry the gluten free food first.
  • Use separate water in a clean pot to boil gluten free pasta and use a separate strainer, or like the oil cook gluten free pasta first then all other pasta.
  • Icing sugar mixtures can contain gluten, try replacing these with gluten free alternatives such as CSR icing sugar and Bundaberg Icing products.


  • Storing butter, margarine and other condiments separately and clearly labeled containers so others are aware they are for gluten free use.
  • Clear labeling of food that has been removed from original packaging in cool rooms and refrigerators.


  • Bread boards, knives and other cooking utensils that are used in food preparation need to be cleaned in a water temperature above 75 degrees Celsius.
  • Ensuring all appliances that come into contact with all types of bread and bread products such as toasters, sandwich makers and grills are thoroughly cleaned before using, alternatively using a separate toaster or grill that is for gluten free cooking only.

Designate Gluten-Free Zones

  • Establish specific areas in the kitchen as gluten-free zones. This includes countertops, cutting boards, and cooking utensils.
  • Use color-coded kitchen tools (e.g., cutting boards, knives, and toasters) to easily differentiate between those used for gluten-containing and gluten-free foods.

Checklist of knowledge

  • Gluten is made up of two smaller proteins that have unique properties.
  • People affected most by gluten are people with Coeliac Disease.
  • List of foods that have gluten in them and food that do not contain gluten.
Gluten Gluten Free
Triticale Quinoa
Khorasan wheat Buckwheat
Oats Rice
  • Using clean oil or water when cooking gluten free foods.
  • Storing and labeling food clearly.
  • Clean all cooking appliances and utensils with water over 75 degrees Celsius.

Additional Resources



  • Coeliac Australia (2013),"The Gluten Free Diet". Retrieved from Gluten Free on the 22/09/2014
  • Coeliac Queensland (2013),"Gluten Free Catering Guide". Retrieved from [28] on the 22/09/2014
  • Kumar, V., Abbas, AK., Fausto, N., Mitchell, R. (2007). Chapter 15- The Oral Cavity and the Gastrointestinal Tract. Robbins Basic Pathology (8th ed.).pg 610-11. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Saunders (Imprint of Elsevier Inc).

Pre Schooler Nutrition. Know your A, B, C's and 1, 2, 3's

United States children eating at day care

Childhood is an important time where parents can help their children develop life long, healthy eating habits. This page is designed to provide practical information for parents of young children to make healthy food choices.

What do children need?


Adequacy – The Australian Dietary Guidelines [29] provides current advice for families about the types of foods and the amounts that children need to eat for health and growth. Inadequate nutrition may result in failure to thrive and learning difficulties. Changes in appetite are normal and generally a decrease in appetite correlates with a slowing down of the growth rate.

Balance - Food provides energy and nutrients required for growth and development. A balanced diet ensures their bodies function at optimal performance.

Consistency and Continuity – Children can be fussy eaters. The early years of life are a time when young children establish life long eating patterns and food preferences. A child’s hunger is a parents’ best friend when introducing a new food. Gradual repeated exposures to new foods might assist with food acceptance. Serve new foods in small amounts with familiar and readily accepted foods. It may take 10 or more experiences before a child will accept the food.

Healthy Eating Habits

Kids ‘n Fiber (6121371164)

1. It’s important to let the child eat in response to appetite and to have healthy, nourishing food available. We are born with an incredible ability to respond to our own hunger and fullness. We recommended that parents provide the food to eat and children then decide, whether to eat and how much they want to eat.

2. Eating breakfast and family meal times. Young children’s behaviours are inquisitive in nature, they enjoy imitating others behaviours. Shared meal times are key opportunities to allow independence with feeding and food choices whilst encouraging new foods.

3. General recommendation: 1 tablespoon of food per year of age, more if the child asks for more.

Notable Nutrients




Important for growing bodies, muscle and bone development. Protein can be found in foods such as milk, lean meat, eggs, yoghurt, cheese.



Essential for optimal growth, brain development, the delivery of oxygen around our body and helps to fight off infections. Not enough iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition where the body is unable to produce enough red blood cells for normal functioning. Sources include lean meat, poultry, nuts and legumes.

ARS - Foods high in zinc



Supports growth and development, helps fight off infections, healthy skin, appetite. Meat, eggs, dairy, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds.



Crucial for bone strength, development and muscle function. Aim to include dairy at meals and snacks. Easy ideas include milk with breakfast or in a smoothie, yoghurt as a snack and cheese in a sandwich.



Helps to keep us full and can protect against constipation, bowel cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Enjoy a range of fruits, Vegetables, Wholegrain breads and cereals.

Omega 3 fatty acids


Protect against heart disease and stroke and are important for healthy brains and nerves. Great sources of omega 3’s include fish such as tuna and salmon, red meat, canola oil and walnuts.

Practical advice


Brillant Breakfasts

Boiled eggs

Weetbix/Weeties + milk + fruit

Boiled or scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast

Porridge with banana and honey

Untoasted muesli with berries and yoghurt.