Seasons Change And So Should Your Diet

seasonal eating

As summer creeps closer, we brace for change. We brave bare legs, prepare for the silly season and brainstorm ways to amuse the family over the Christmas break. But despite all this change, we often maintain the same diet routine. Here’s why you might want to rethink your eating habits.

The rise of all-year-round foods

In the 1950s, mass food shipping and large-scale supermarkets saw food traveling around the world. Being able to chomp down on summer fruits in winter became a modern day marvel. However, there are several reasons why seasonal eating is better for you and the planet.

eat in season

  1. Nutrition gets lost in transit

If your food has journeyed from afar to your plate, you’ll be missing out on much-needed nutrients (not to mention flavour). In order to stop fruit, veggies and meat rotting in transit, the produce is either picked prematurely or injected with artificial preserving agents. A review in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture revealed that food nutrition drops significantly in the days following harvesting. For example, spinach loses 75% percent of its vitamin C when stored for seven days; and carrots lose 10%. On top of this, fruit and veggies undergo refrigeration during transportation, followed by artificial ripening through a ‘hot house’ – both of which quash their delicious flavour.

  1. Budget friendly

Healthy eating is often thought to pinch your budget. But eating seasonally is actually cheaper. This is because in-supply food costs farmers less to harvest; and transportation companies less to distribute. Therefore, this is reflected in the consumer cost.

 3. Seasonal is sustainable

Eating with the season helps to promotes a more resilient, sustainable food system. This is because transporting food over large distances requires a lot of energy, which produces harmful greenhouse gases. Then there’s the extra refrigeration, packaging and storing of unseasonal produce that leaves a greater environmental footprint.

  1. Harvest time is the right time

Nature seems to know with what our bodies need. In autumn, antioxidant-rich strawberries are at their peak, and citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins and lemons come alive – providing immune-boosting vitamin C to help us ward off colds and flus. Come spring and summer, tropical fruits like melons, nectarines and peaches ripen. These are full of beta-carotenes and carotenoids, which help to protect against sun damage. So follow what’s in season, and you’ll get the essential nutrients all year long.

  1. Seasonal supports local

Choosing peak-season produce is a simple way to support local Aussie farmers. Plus, there’s no guarantee that mainstream supermarkets haven’t kept food in storage until it’s ready to be sold. So, consider swapping your big grocer for your local farmers market, and you’re certain to get the best in fresh, organic, sustainable food.

  1. Fresh is a food exploration

Eating with the season is a sure way to broaden the variety of foods in your diet. Allow yourself to be exposed to new flavours, and with it you’ll adopt a healthier, more well-rounded diet.

What’s your favourite seasonal fruit or veg?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Instant Mood Boosters

upbeat music

Do you ever wake up and just know it’s going to be one of those days? You’re feeling flat, anti-social or possibly want to have a tantrum like one of your kids.

…We’ve all been there.

A grumpy mood is common place. But when you’re a mum, hiding under the sheets isn’t an option. But before your next mini meltdown strikes, try these natural pick-me-ups. They work for me.

Music to my ears. When was the last time you updated your playlist? Music is a powerful tool to influence mood. Download your ultimate ‘feel-good’ playlist and feel that foul mood melt away.

Laughter is no doubt the best medicine. That’s because a good chuckle decreases stress hormones, improves your resistance to infections, and triggers the release of endorphins (just like exercise), which bolsters the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. According to Kids Health, laughing together as a family is a way to connect, and a good sense of humor also can make kids smarter, healthier, and better able to cope with challenges. Look back on old photos or put on a silly hat and chase your toddler around the house.

Get a move on. Tiredness can easily creep up on busy mums, but that’s no excuse to throw in the fitness towel. Even if it’s just a 20 minute mind-freeing walk around the block, that’s enough to alleviate some of the tension, spark alertness and productivity.

Keep it neat. Is your house a minefield of laundry, dishes, homework and toys? It might put your mind at ease to get things in order. Achieving a sense of tidiness (and control) can be as simple as making your bed every morning, rehanging clothes, or most importantly, finding a home for everything in the house. When everything you own has a home, it takes minutes to pick things up and put them away, not to mention locate them when you need them in a flash.

Count your blessings. As a mum, it’s easy to let one frustration or ‘failure’ put you down. Rather than concentrate on what is lacking and wrong in your life, reflect on all that is right and be thankful for all you have. In an article  ‘6 Drug-Free Ways to Boost Your Mood” by Dr Susan Biala M.D. suggests replaying “what went well” to create a sunny disposition, helping you shift to a more positive thinking pattern and state of mind. In other words, establish a regular practice of gratitude.

What mood are you in now?

Why Am I So Hangry?

hangry

Have you ever noticed you’re a little ‘on edge’ between meals? Do your hunger pains slowly morph into an unexplainable agitation or anger? You’re not imagining things. Rather, you’re experiencing the phenomenon of hangry.

What is hangry?

Hangry is a made-up term that defines being hungry and angry at the same time. (Hungry + angry = hangry.) You could put it down to being food-impatient or a simple dislike of hunger pains. But according to science, there’s more going on behind the scenes.

Your glucose-greedy brain utilises roughly 70% of the glucose used by your body, which is a simple sugar converted from food. If your blood sugar level gets too low, your brain literally turns to mush – leaving you unable to concentrate, think rationally or regulate your emotions.

Based on this, many people blame low blood sugar as the sole cause for hanger. However research has shown that the brain, when deprived of sugar, triggers the release of glucose-leveling hormones – namely cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are classified as stress hormones, as they’re released in times of “fight or flight”. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s our primitive response to danger that sees us “fight” (stand our ground) or “flight” (run for the hills).

With cortisol and adrenalin running through your body, you’re prone to being more reactive and erring on the side of moody – just as you’re more likely to lose your cool in stressful situations or turn into a ninja if someone threatens you.

In the words of Dr. Amanda Salis, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, “Getting aggressive in times of hunger is a survival mechanism.”

Taming your hanger

So you might be thinking “Hangry is a natural state that’s out of my control”, but there are a few ways to stop ravenous becoming rage.

Get a decent sugar hit. No, I’m not suggesting reaching for the Tim Tam’s. Instead opt for quality sources of carbs, such as berries, veggies and wholegrain crackers with avocado or hummus, for a steady supply of brain fuel that keeps your blood sugar levels on an even keel .

Too busy for breaky? Too lazy for lunch? These are prime ways to let your sugar levels levels slip. If you’re not feeding your body regularly you’ll trigger that “fight or flight” state known to bring on hangry moods. As a general rule, don’t go more than four to five hours between meals.

Prepare power meals. If your meals and snacks only contain one food group, you’re not optimising brain power. Blend nutrients such as wholegrain carbs, which keep your blood sugar levels happy; and proteins, which are digested slowly. This way you’re giving your brain the perfect cocktail or slow-burning fuel.

Fast Fixes For Food Cravings

food cravings

Just can’t stop at two squares of chocolate or devouring the entire packet of salt and vinegar chips? Crush cravings with these fast food fixes.

The sweet craving

If visions of ice cream, chocolates or banana bread dance in your head, what you may be craving more than the sugar in these foods is the fat that provides their texture, taste and aroma. Several studies have shown that fat and sugar may release endorphins into the brain (neurotransmitters that can produce a feeling of pleasure or euphoria).

Beat it by

Guess what? Good old-fashioned exercise also boosts levels of endorphins. So next time you feel like biting into a chocolate brownie, lace up those walking shoes. You’ll get the same pleasing feeling and the benefits of doing something good for your body. If youre on the job or unable to get immediate fitness gratification, you can still get the creamy taste and texture you yearn for from yoghurt or nut butters with fruit.

The salty craving

Unfortunately, cravings for salt often result in the consumption of foods that are also heavy in fat (think chips, French fries, pizza), and sometimes the desire for salty foods, such as chips or pretzels, may have more to do with the wish to crunch than the actual salt.

Beat it by

Get Spicy. Experiment with spices other than salt for flavouring meals and dishes. Pepper, curry, paprika, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary all give dishes not wonderful flavour, but has nutritional benefits, too. Need to crunch? Reach for crisp, fresh, munch-able foods, like baby carrots with hummus or low-fat dip – they make great stand-ins for chicken flavoured chip or pretzels.

Craving carbs

Cravings for refined carbohydrates are most frequently associated with times of stress. The explanation behind this relationship? Heavily refined carbohydrates found in such foods as rice crackers, baked goods, biscuits, cakes, and white bread have been shown to help boost levels of the serotonin (a mood-enhancing brain chemical), shown to produce a feeling of calm and well-being.

Beat it by

Anything that relieves stress can help to inhibit these cravings. Try deep breathing techniques, yoga or simple exercise instead of resorting to the refrigerator. When you feel the need to feed, go for snacks that have a combo of low GI carbohydrates and protein. Think yoghurt, wholegrain crackers or veg with and hummus, smoothies, trail mix, or nut butters with fruit.

 

The Healthiest Way To Pretty Up Your Pantry

TRB pantry essentials

Your pantry says a lot about you. Is it bare and basic? Bursting with temptations? Are there items that expired yesteryear? Or is it packed and labeled to perfection?

More often than not, having a well-stocked pantry (along with fridge and freezer) becomes a no-brainer when it comes to preparing healthy meals quickly and easily. These foolproof steps will give your pantry a healthy makeover in  no time.

Rearrange. Peering into the depths of your cupboard can be scary. There are probably items in there that you haven’t touched in months. Be ruthless and start chucking. If you can’t bring yourself to ditch just yet, rearrange any temptations – chocolate, chips or biscuits – that can throw off your diet. Out of sight, out of mind!

Build better foundations. Restock your pantry with the nourishing staples so you make less room for junk. Think dried legumes, wholegrains, canned tomatoes, heart healthy oils, nuts, nu butters, seeds, spices, rolled oats, wholegrain flours and crackers. If you’re not much of a chef or juggle a busy life, stock up on healthy ‘fast food’ like canned fish, beans or microwave-ready meals, such as brown rice or quinoa. Stock your pantry with these key staples and you’ll always have what you need for a quick, healthy meal.

Lose unhealthy liquids. If your kitchen is home to soft drinks, sport drinks or fruit juices, then it’s time to make a switch. Sipping on these liquids is an easy way to consume empty calories and load up on sugar. Swap them for bottled or fruit-infused water.

Smart snack stash. We all have those cravings that leave us rummaging for food. So prep your pantry with healthy snacks. The only limit is your imagination – cut up fruit, make raw nut slices, combine nuts and dried fruit, or whip up a tasty hummus or bean dip made with canned legumes and enjoy with chopped veg sticks or crackers. As long as you’re prepared, there will be no cookie jars to tempt you.

Get organised. A little structure goes a long way. Group your pantry into an organised ecosystem that makes things easy to find (and stay on top of). Categorise things like snacks, cereals, lunch box fillers, spices, baking goods, and grains (rice, pasta, quinoa, noodles). Don’t be afraid to tip food into jars, snap-lock bags or tupperware and label clearly to gain a little more order.

Say good bye to plastics. A truly detoxed pantry is one free from plastics. A lot of food packaging still contains Bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical used to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life. Although small amounts of BPA are safe, too much exposure has been linked to harmful health effects. So err on the safe side by re-packing your food in glass containers.