Julie White, Weigh It Up's food consultant, is a pioneer of low-fat, low-GI, healthy high-flavour gourmet meals and snacks and she has these tips for avoiding the most common weight problems.
How do you combat afternoon bloating?
“Bloating” can refer to two different things.
The first is when you feel puffy with fluid retention caused by consuming too much salt, alcohol or carbohydrates. In this instance you simply reduce your intake of them and the bloating will go.
The second is when your body actually reacts to certain foods and causes bloating of the stomach and bowel. This occurs when certain sugars aren’t digested properly in the small intestine and travel to the large intestine where they ferment and give off gas causing wind, flatulence and general discomfort. Not pleasant at all.
In this instance you need to see a dietitian to determine which foods are the culprits.
What is your favourite low fat breakfast meal?
At the moment in this chilly weather it would be baked beans. In fact my daughter and I always seem to order them when we eat out for breakfast and we both agree that so far none have come anywhere near the ones we make with butter beans, smoked paprika and feta.
The recipe ‘Smoked Paprika Beans’ is in our Winter Warmers recipe book. It’s a great breakfast, low in fat and high in protein, fibre and the anti oxidant- lycopene (anti -cancer, particularly bowel) along with the good carbs for sustained energy to get you through the morning.
If you want to have an alcoholic drink, which is best?
Wine is good, particularly red wine with high anti oxidant levels said to have anti- aging properties and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
Many people find beer and champagne tend to be bloating.
Certainly stay away from mixed drinks with high sugar soft drinks or fruit juice.
At the end of the day, the issue is more with the amount consumed not the type.
You still need to take into account the calories you are consuming whilst drinking. It's very easy to ignore them and often they can be the difference between losing, maintaining and gaining weight.
Alcohol is nutritionally empty calories made up of carbohydrates and for every gram of carbohydrate you store, you store 3-4 grams of water which results in bloating.
I know for me personally, when a few kilos creep on, alcohol is the first thing to be eliminated to drop some weight.
The other issue with too much alcohol is after a couple of drinks we stop saying “NO” to the high fat snacks and add even more calories and kilos to our waistlines.
I’m not saying don’t drink, but take into consideration the amount you are having if you aren’t losing weight.
Sparkling mineral water added to wine makes a great drink and reduces the calories.
What are some good, healthy snacks for work?
Healthy snacks are really important between meals.
My favourite would be ½ cup of low fat Greek style yoghurt with ½ cup frozen mixed berries and topped with ALPS Blend (our mix of almonds, linseeds, flax seeds, pumpkin, poppy, sunflower, sesame and chi seeds - see recipe in the book) or toasted nuts.
• Low fat dip with a selection of raw vegetables eg cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumber, broccoli, zucchini, beans, carrots, celery
• Vegetable soup – see our quick cook Lazy Minestrone recipe or a ‘Cup of Soup’ on the website
• Wholegrain muffin with low fat cream cheese and avocado, ricotta with low sugar jam or a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
• Wholegrain fruit bread with low fat cream cheese
• Fresh fruit and small handful of nuts
• Better still make up some of our healthy snacks, Choc Cherry & Pear muffins, Date, Walnut & Dark Chocolate slice, Refuel Bar, Swisse Balls or Powerful Cookies on the weekend and freeze them to take to work
What should I eat before I go to the gym?
Something very light.
You don’t want a belly full of food that’s trying to be digested whilst you’re working out.
I like a piece of fruit half an hour before to give me some energy.
If it’s in the morning I usually have half an orange or a mandarin.
Latest research says you burn more fat as your fuel source when you have Vitamin C present, so orange it is.
Is it okay to eat carbs at night?
You can, just make sure they are the healthy low Human Interference (HI) ones with as little processing as possible and have them in moderation.
As for alcohol, you store water when you store excess carbohydrates so if you consume to many you will feel ‘puffy’.
Personally, when I want to drop weight I keep my carb intake to during the day when I need the energy to get me through the day and burn them off.
What foods are absolute no nos?
Deep fried foods, anything cooked with cream and lots of butter and processed, nutritionally-depleted junk food.
Its amazing once you get these foods out of your diet you find in no time at all you lose the taste for them and avoiding them is no longer an issue.
You actually look for healthier foods because of how they make you feel after you’ve eaten them.
Do you still believe in 8 glasses of water a day?
There is a lot of evidence now saying you don’t need that much.
I would recommend 6 and that can include some tea and coffee, and remember fruit and vegetables contain a lot of water too.
Are tea and coffee really that bad for us?
Not at all.
Many studies show that all teas; green, black and white with high anti oxidants have many nutritional benefits.
And new evidence supports caffeine in coffee, in moderation, as being particularly beneficial for heart health.
The problem lies with how we have them, with high fat milk and sugar and often with a high fat high sugar snack.
So keep to skim milk, get rid of the sugar, ditch the calorie laden snack and make one of our healthy ones.
Do you believe in superfoods?
All natural unprocessed foods are superfoods as far as I’m concerned.
The ‘list’ changes regularly, so I think we should just include all fresh natural foods in our diet to obtain the array of nutrients
I must admit, my favourites though are the often forgotten heroes - herbs and spices.
They are highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
What is your number one tip for staying healthy?
Moderation in everything and finding a balance between healthy eating and exercise.
Weigh it Up Australia’s first ever recipe book “Winter Warmers”, has an exciting array of new and classic seasonal dishes with a very healthy twist. For more info visit www.weighitup.com.au.