How to Eat Healthy While on Holiday

The holiday season is upon us and many may be planning trips away over the Christmas/New Year season. It's easy to start dreaming of all the food and drink 'must haves' in the holiday location and forget about maintaining good eating habits. I will be going away to Taiwan and Hong Kong and I am already searching up all the famous food stalls and restaurants I will be visiting! A day or two of this may be harmless  but mindlessly eating my way through Taiwan and Hong Kong can mean coming back 5kg heavier! With the summer weather in Australia, I can imagine how coming back heavier from a holiday may not be ideal for most! Here at 6 tips on how to keep on top of weight gain during a holiday:

1. Plan!  
Plan your food and exercise like you would the locations you're visiting! Although many elements will be out of your control there will always be things you can plan for. For example if you are going on a tour ask the travel agency for the list of hotels and restaurants you'll be visiting. This way you can see if the hotels have a gym or a swimming pool and what the specialties are at the restaurants. If you're planning your own holiday make sure to factor in when and where you are eating so you don't end up starving on one leg of the trip and overeating when you find the nearest store selling food. Setting some rules during the planning stage is important as you'll most likely be blinded by all the delicious food when you're there. This can be simple things like "I will always take the stairs when possible" or "I will only have dessert every second day rather than every meal of every day." 

2. Share your food to portion control
If you're like me, I will search high and low for where to eat the best local food. In fact I have gone through all the night markets I am visiting in Taiwan and taken screen shots of blog posts featuring stores I want to visit so I won't forget which foods I must try! The problem though is most foods may be quite energy dense! If you're travelling with others this is the time to share. Sharing is caring! Like I've mentioned before, I think we eat food not just for the nutrients but also for enjoyment and there's no greater enjoyment than being able to share good tasting food with others! 

3. Only have what you can't get at home 
When I'm on holiday I choose my food based on this mantra. For example if the place is known for their fresh seafood, it's probably unnecessary to have a side of chips and soft drink with my fish.  

 Egg tarts at KFC in Fu Zhou count as food we can't get here =P! 

Peking duck in Beijing! 

4. Stick to water most of the time 
Liquid kilojoules is something I normally restrict even when not on holiday. It's so easy to consume a meal's worth of kilojoules in one beverage without feeling even the slightest bit full. I will choose water 90% of the time and the remaining 10% will be for drinks I can't get in Australia or celebrations involving alcohol ;)    

5. Exercise as much as possible. 
I probably get in more exercise when I'm on holiday than when I'm at home... This is because I make an effort to walk everywhere. I believe walking or cycling through a city is a better experience than being stuck in a car or bus. I've made hiking, swimming, snorkeling, cycling and jogging part of my plans. I prefer to do my exercises outside but if there's really no way to do those things a hotel swimming pool or gym does the trick too. I'm also quite a fast walker (or so I'm told) and tend to walk at a pace where my heart rate is elevated. I'd like to thank all those years rushing for the train to school and uni! 


These stairs were a killer but the view at the top was amazing!

That's my cousin! We climbed all the way to the top of that tower in this pic! It was -12 degrees in Beijing that day but we braved it to climb a tiny section of the great wall! 

6. Eat your veggies
5 serves of veggies! No exceptions! I try and stick with this even when I'm away as it is a simple thing to do. As I'll be having buffet breakfast every morning I'll be squeezing in my veggie serves first thing in the morning! Mmmmmm roast mushrooms....

Also sticking to the plate model of half a plate full of veggies, 1/4 protein source and 1/4 carbohydrate source is also another way to ensure you're eating a balanced diet. 

Bonus 7! 
Don't feel guilty. A holiday is meant to be enjoyed and I think for most, eating a bit extra is the norm. Despite planning, many factors can still be out of your control. Many people will find themselves putting on a kilo or two during the festive season and this is OK to acknowledge and move on. If your new years resolution is to lose 5kg yet your holiday made you put on 2kg it's easy to feel discouraged, feel it's unachievable and ditch weight loss altogether. But DON'T! Strength is when you persevere despite the set backs!    

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season! I'll be back with lots of photos of yummy food from Taiwan and Hong Kong soon!

Ultimate Meat Dish: Chicken and Chorizo Paella

So I promised a meatier dish and here it is!

Chicken and Chorizo Paella.

This has got to be my favourite one pan dish. It's super fragrant, delicious, full of vegetables and loved by everyone.

I have to say it probably isn't the most authentic paella but if you want to impress, this is an easy dish to win anyone over. Except my parents; they're not paprika fans....

I recently made it at my birthday party and it was enjoyed both fresh from the pan and reheated at 1am in the morning! 

When I say this is a 30minute dish.... it may be pushing it a bit. You know how Jamie Oliver has those 15min and 30min meals where you're suppose to have done half the prep? Well this is that kind of 30min dish

Don't be scared off by the long ingredients list, they're all simple things you can keep in your pantry or use for other things. 

30 Minute Chicken and Chorizo Paella
Adapted from: Healthy Delicious 
Serves: 6

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 link chorizo, cut into 2cm slices
  • Half dozen prawns (reserve the heads)
  • 1 onion,diced
  • 1 medium sized carrot, diced
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice (Or if you can find the authentic bomba rice)
  • 3 cups reduced salt chicken stock
  • 1 tomato diced or half a can diced tomato
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads
  • Handful mushrooms chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the chicken with the olive oil and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through – about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the sausage, onion, capsicum, and garlic to the pan. Cook until sausage has browned and vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stock, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot and saffron. Throw in the prawn heads too.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir in the cooked chicken and prawns. 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper (It doesn't really need salt in my opinion!). Let stand for another minute or two before serving.

I've added some wilted spinach leaves into the last one and used scallops instead of prawns. Adding the prawn heads to the dish really gives it a great seafood flavour but I guess scallops are a little bit more no fuss!

I think the great thing about this dish is how much vegetables you can put in it while still being able to satisfy meat hungry individuals. I used mostly vegetables that are firmer so they can keep their shape after cooking. After cooking for 20mins the vegetables soaked up all that meaty chorizo taste so my siblings didn't even blink an eye at the mushrooms (their least favourite vegetable!).

You can see from my photos that the things I've added can vary. Other vegetables that could be added include peas, pumpkin, corn, cauliflower, beans and rocket. This dish can handle anything your fridge has or doesnt have. I do feel the essentials are paprika, saffron, arborio rice, onion, garlic and stock. Everything else you can vary so whether you like your seafood, chicken or snails (apparently in an authentic paella!) paella it's up to you!    

What's your favourite one pan dish?

Birthday Cakes Part 2!

I was going to post a recipe tonight but seeing as it's Wednesday, the most unmotivating day of the week (to me), I think we need to look at cake pictures.

In my family, we celebrate a birthday each month from August onwards and I use it as an excuse to make something more decadent. I take off my dietitian hat and choose a cake based on how pretty it looks. I know... so superficial... but we eat with our eyes as well as our mouth!

This year for my sister's birthday I made her a big white cake. You might remember last year I made her a Strawberry and Cream Cake.

This cake has a lot of frosting.... You can see a few flecks of crumbs from the cake because I just refused to put on any more extra icing! I must say I cheat a bit and used store bought frosting as I was exhausted after doing the layers! The best part of the cake though was inside....

It's a Rainbow Cake! 

I used the Martha Stewart recipe (minus the ridiculous amount of frosting) and this cake took me HOURS! I only had one lone cake tin so had to bake each individual layer separately.

It was worth it though. Seeing the faces of my family in amazement at the colours! This is by no means the best rainbow cake ever, in fact if you google rainbow cake you'll find a trove of amazingly decorated rainbow cake and this 28 layer one.... but I was so proud of it!

To be honest the cake tasted like an average sponge cake so tastewise it wasn't anything spectacular however the colours made everyone feel like they were eating a rainbow!

The second big birthday cake I made was for a dear friend who loved pink and wanted both vanilla and chocolate flvoured cake! I was really into trying to make an ombre cake and only semi succeeded. I was in a mad panic the night before after having to rebake a layer then wrecking the home made frosting! I had a small tub of store bought frosting left and quickly made a crumb coat before refrigerating. By the morning I was in a mad dash to buy more frosting, get to my friend's house and frost the whole cake as well! This is the end result:

Pink Ombre Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

Oh yeh I forgot my icing pens so just used the piping bag... As you can see it's not quite the perfect ombre effect but I didn't want to add more frosting to the cake and my time was running out! Luckily the birthday girl loved the cake (or so she tells me)!

The inside:

Recipe here.

The third (and fourth) cake I made this year was a

Chiffon Cake

This is an orange chiffon cake I made but for my mum, dad and aunty I made the pandan version. I LOVE chiffon cake! They are super light, fluffy, soft and did I mention fluffy? The problem though is because they feel so light I can probably eat the whole cake by myself without a problem... If I squished the cake down it'll probably fit into the palm of my hands!

The has to be my standout cake. My dad told me I should just make 2 every time because we went through this so quickly! Best. Cake. Ever.

And I think we should end with the best cake ever. 

Is Frozen Yoghurt Good for You?

The frozen yoghurt craze has really swept across Sydney with stores popping up everywhere. In fact I can think of half a dozen stores off the top of my head! Some are self serve while others are priced according to size but all are marketed as a healthy dessert. But is it really?

Low fat?
Yes, as most frozen yoghurt places advertise, frozen yoghurt is low in fat. This is because the product is made with yoghurt (often with low fat milk) rather than cream so naturally it becomes lower in fat. However the two things that add taste and texture to food is fat and sugar. If the fat component is gone something else has to be added in to replace it; usually sugar. This means that most frozen yoghurt has about as much sugar or more as ice cream and this is before any toppings are added. To mimic the creamy texture that fat would give, emulsifiers, binders and thickeners are often added.

How about the probiotics?   
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria found in probiotic drinks, pills, yoghurt and newly in fruit juice. More and more research is going into probiotics now as its effects seem to reach beyond gut health. Gut microbiota (or the colony of bacteria in your gut) is thought to have a role in immune function. 

Something that will probably stay with me forever was a lecture I had at university on gut microbiota. The lecturer showed us a video of a faecal transplant... A patient had a faecal transplant done (faecal matter fed through a tube down their nose after it was filtered with coffee filters) to save their life from a life threatening bacterial infection. It worked a charm in resetting their immune function! Yep amazing stuff! It wasn't the easiest thing to digest in the morning but it was very intriguing.

Sorry to talk about human waste in the middle of a post about yoghurt......

When I started researching what types of probiotic strains are used for frozen yoghurt I came up empty. Most places had no information on the type or amount of beneficial bacteria in their product. This is important to know as you want strains that have good evidence backing up its health benefits and you want enoughbacteria that some reach your gut where it's needed. Also important is how the yoghurt is made. If excessive heat is used in the processing of the product much of that good bacteria is destroyed before freezing.

How many calories?

Yogurberry and Twisted both have nutrition information on their website. 100g of frozen yoghurt have around 400-500kJ (95-120Cal). This can be higher in the flavoured varieties and I have noticed that some places put a little disclaimer to the low calorie or fat claim that states only the original yoghurt are low in calories or fat. 400-500kJ is actually a good size for a snack however the problem is that often the serving sizes can be huge! You wouldn't see a bowl that big at ice cream places! Frozen yoghurt places that are self serve often don't even give you the option of a smaller bowl and even I find myself paying for 300g at the checkout.

Research by a leader in consumer behaviour, Brian Wansink, has shown that bigger serving plates lead to mindless over eating. This paper shows that even nutrition experts, given a bigger bowl, will serve themselves 31% more ice cream than those with a smaller bowl. Of course the other problem with self serve places is that I end up wanting a little bit of everything which ends up being a lot of everything...

The toppings can also add in a fair few calories. I always get overwhelmed with the choices available as they can range from fruits to lollies, cereals and biscuits. While a few pieces of strawberry won't make much of a difference, if you add just 1 Oreo biscuit you are adding 200kJ and about 5 pieces of mochi can be 150kJ. Just half a tablespoon of shredded coconut can add 350kJ! It's easy to see how the energy content of the frozen yoghurt can climb up quickly and drift away from a healthy snack.

Top tips when having frozen yoghurt
1. Pick the smallest size bowl. It's big enough, really.
2. If it's self serve, survey the flavours available and pick 1-2 yoghurt flavours only.
3.Make sure the toppings are mostly fruit based.

I'm a big ice cream and frozen yoghurt fan but I find I often over-indulge with frozen yoghurt because of the healthier halo it carries and the amount of choices I'm presented with (yes even I'm not immune sometimes!). Sometimes a scoop of ice cream can actually be the healthier option. Remember frozen yoghurt is only as healthy as how much you have and what you put into it!   

Update: I've just read an interesting study that may suggest eating foods that appear "guilt free" actually doesn't give our body the same satisfaction as foods perceived to be indulgent. What this means is that if you have that froyo thinking it's good for you, your body won't register the same sense of fullness as, if you had an indulgent snack that you think is bad for you. Therefore it may just be better to have that indulgent snack and feel satisfied!  

Recipe: Beef Spaghetti Tossed in a Guacamole Sauce

I had grand plans to post up a meaty dish but instead this dish took my fancy so meatier dish will have to wait.

This was something I came up with in less than 30mins. If I was smarter and didn't forget to cook pasta for a pasta dish... it probably would have taken a shorter amount of time...

I have recently worked with Australian Avocados and felt inspired to put avocados in everything... This was one of the successes. If you like guacamole dip then you will love this dish!

Beef Spaghetti Tossed in a Guacamole Sauce

Serves: 1
Preparation and Cooking Time: <30mins


  • Enough fettucine for one 
  • 6 button mushrooms 
  • 6 snow peas in pods
  • 1/4 of a carrot
  • Palm size piece of lean beef
  • 1/2 a large avocado
  • 1.5 tablespoon of salsa dip
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey wholegrain mustard
  • Optional: jalapeno
  1. Bring some water to the boil and add fettucine (follow packet instructions to see how long you should cook it for. Don't overcook!)
  2. Prepare the ingredients that need to be cooked: quarter the mushrooms and cut each snow pea into 3 segments. Slice the beef into thin strips
  3. Scoop out 1/2 an avocado into a mixing bowl and mash it up so there aren't any big chunks.
  4. Add the salsa dip, chopped coriander, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard and jalapeno to the mashed avocado and mix
  5. Place the mushrooms, snow peas and beef into a non stick pan and stir fry for 5 minutes or until cooked. 
  6. Hopefully your pasta is done by now so strain it and place the pasta into the mixing bowl with the guacamole sauce. Mix so that the sauce coats the pasta well.
  7. Transfer the cooked mushrooms, snow peas and beef into the mixing bowl as well. 
  8. Grate some carrot into that mixing bowl as well. 
  9. Toss everything together in the mixing bowl with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste!
  10. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy or if you're lazy like me and sitting at home by yourself it's totally acceptable to just eat from a stainless steel mixing bowl.... Don't judge me...  

Because there's elements of cooked and raw ingredients in this dish, it's only mildly warm when ready to eat. This means it's fantastic in summer!

What's also good is the abundance of good fat in this dish. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat which actually helps lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) in the blood. You can say monounsaturated fat is often misunderstood as a bad thing just because it's associated with the word fat! Fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E and K are also found in fat so avocados are a good source of these vitamins.

What's also suprising is that half an avocado actually has 5g of fibre (almost 17% of our recommended daily requirements for fibre!) despite it tasting soft and creamy!

Avocados have a million other health benefits but I think what everyone wants to know is that this dish rocks. It's creamy without the cream, tart and tangy from the lemon and salsa and keeps you feeling full for a long time! For those that have never used avocados I've included some tips on how to choose and ripen an avocado below:

Ripening and Storing Avocados
The best way to ripen avocados is in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple.  I normally buy 1-2 already ripe Hass avocados (they are purple-brown when ripe) and the rest I buy green unripe avocados to keep for longer in the fridge.

If you've got an avocado cut open, put a few drops of lemon juice or white vinegar on the flesh and wrap up to pop in the fridge. This stops it from browning.  

Quick Summer Breakfast Ideas

Today was hot in Sydney. It's funny how 33 degrees feels soooo hot after winter but it'll soon feel normal once summer sets in. One of my biggest dilemmas during summer is what to have for breakfast (I'm sure this isn't most people's biggest concern but my life kinda just revolves around food....)

Like I've said before, I often value my sleep more than breakfast making so I'm often having breakfast on the go. Normally it includes a piece of toast or some eggs but as the weather warms up I'm getting turned off hot breakfasts. Now I'll always be a tea drinking hot breakfast kind of girl, but I needed to spruce up my breakfast routine during warmer days! I'm not a cereal or muesli and milk type of person so I needed other ideas!

Now hopefully I don't have to tell you all how important it is to have breakfast especially since I recently saw this article in the newspaper. It highlights how skipping breakfast actually primes your brain into seeking out higher calorie unhealthy foods which is why it makes sense that dieters who eat breakfast are often more successful in the long term at keeping weight off.   

So the following will be my top 10 breakfast ideas during summer to start you off feeling cool and ready for the day.

 1. Fruit smoothie
Slurping down on a homemade smoothie always has me feeling alive on a hot day (but the blender is my least favourite thing to clean up....) My absolute favourite is a blueberry smoothie. All it requires is some frozen blueberries, low fat yoghurt and milk and some ice. Sometimes I like to add a teaspoon of honey but often the fruits are sweet enough. I probably get more calcium into my system during the warmer months as otherwise I love a hot cup of green tea. Be wary of cafe smoothies as often they can be quite large, heavy on the ice cream and full fat dairy. I prefer making my own anyway.

 The blueberry smoothie is the purple drink in the background!

2. Yoghurt and Cereal
My second favourite cooling breakfast has to be a nice bowl of yoghurt with some broken up weet-bix and some frozen blueberries. I go through frozen blueberries very quickly during summer and there's always a box in my freezer. I think they are essential! Any type of natural or greek yoghurt goes really well with any type of crunchy cereal.


3. Fruit salad 
If you have time chop up some fruit or even do it the night before. It'll be super cool and refreshing and you can even add a dollop of yoghurt on top. If you have more time you can make a fruit and yoghurt parfait just to be a little bit fancy.


4. Eggs 
Boil up some eggs the night before and leave it in the fridge. In the morning peel and eat! The sulfur smell may stink up your car or the train but everyone's just jealous that you had breakfast while they didn't ;) If you have time the night before make some frittatas and eat cold the next day. Vegetable frittata's are good as they give you a dose of vegetables before the day's even started.

5. Breakfast muffins 
Now I'm not talking those BIG muffins you can get with your coffee! If you have time over the weekend make up a batch of wholemeal or oat muffins. Keep in the fridge and grab on your way out in the morning. These blueberry and white chocolate ones are pretty tasty! Also shown are some orange and chia seed ones (recipe coming sooooon)

6. Think wholegrain breads 
Instead of toasting my bread I just put some organic peanut butter on it and it's nice and soft rather than crunchy. Also good are wholemeal english muffins or mountain bread wraps. Put an egg with some salad leaves and cheese in a wrap and you've got something neatly packed for one handed eating!

7. Can of baked beans 
This is probably one of my brother's favourite. Nice cold can of baked beans on the weekend with some toast. During winter I like to pour the baked beans into a pan with some herbs and let it simmer. Mmmmmm (See I'm already back to winter breakfasts!)

8. Corn on the cob 
My mum is kind enough to sometimes boil some corn for me in the morning but often it is too hot and it gets left till the next day. So i get a nice cold cob of corn! Delish on their own, high in fibre and of course, a serve of veg!

9. Drink ideas: Cold Milo or Juice 
As I said I'm a hot tea type of person. I drink a LOT of green tea throughout the day. Not just because of the health benefits but because it's so delicious and just warms me up and gets me ready to face anything! However during summer my tea drinking habits make way for cooler drinks. I love a cold glass of low fat milk with a spoonful or milo and other times a small glass of orange juice is also good. I'm not a big proponent of juice as I feel the real fruit is ALWAYS best but somedays it's a nice cold drink to wash down breakfast. Remember though I'm talking a small glass, around 200ml rather than the big Boost juices.

This is a new juice that's out from Golden Circle. Pleasant taste with the goodness of probiotics for bowel health.

10. I'm Reeeeeeally in a rush!! 
 If you're looking for packaged foods a cold Up and Go, Belvita biscuits or muesli/nut bar isn't too bad of an option. Of course I always advocate for minimally processed foods but if it's a toss up between nothing and something for breakfast, the something always wins.

As you can see from the list there's a slight trend in terms of what to look out for for breakfast. I always try and add fruits, vegetables, dairy and wholegrains to all my meals, especially breakfast. Look for breakfasts with lots of fibre, protein or both to ensure you feel full for longer. Always choose low GI options for the same reason. You can always mix and match the suggestions I've made. Eg. A cup of milo with a boiled egg and a piece of fruit ensures a good source of protein and fibre but also meets 1 serve of your dairy and fruit requirements for the day!

Let me know below what kind of breakfast you're having! I'll love to have more ideas on what I can make!

Meatless Monday: Pumpkin, Chickpea and Spinach Satay

I know, I know.... Another meatless post!?

But veggies are awesome! 

Before you click the close button and think "Urgh Wendy's gone vegetarian; I guess we can't be friends anymore" hear me out!

This dish LOOKS like a meat dish! =D?

See!? Okay this may be a bad angle for meat imitation. But it COULD look like some chunks of meat!

It fooled my brother. Multiple times. Before he asked me "what kind of satay is this?? I can't find any meat!"

I know though, that there are people that hate deceiving dishes... it's like your eyes promising your tastebuds some meat and it never gets any... And I'm not going to be one of those people who say "It totally tastes like meat! You won't even miss it!" So if you need some meat you can always add some in. I think chicken will go nicely.

So what's with the infux of veggie dishes?

I hate cooking with meat. It just feels slimey, and smelly and HARD to do! Yeh you'll probably never hear "I just can't be bothered to cook meat" from a vegetarian....But I promise the next recipe post will be a meat dish! In the meantime if anyone wants to make me a nice piece of lean steak (or even better take me to have some!) I'm always up for it ;) Don't lose hope in me though! I will have a meatier post soon! 

I found this recipe from the dozen or so mini recipe books I got at the recent conference (I'm really working up a collection!) I actually picked up this booklet not knowing it was all vegetarian recipes until quite a few pages in. The dishes looked so good, I was salivating anyway.

The recipe book is produced by Sanitarium, a company owned by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church so all it's products are vegetarian, in accordance to its teachings. You can actually order the book online for free and it has amazing photos that will make you drool, vegetarian or not!

Onto the recipe! I couldn't help myself and did make a few changes though.  The ingredient list may seem long but don't be scared! There's no weird ingredients that you only use for this dish and leave rotting in your fridge. Also it's a pretty simple one saucepan dish.

Pumpkin Chickpea and Spinach Satay
Adapted from: Sanitarium Food for Health and Happiness Cookbook

Serves: 4-5
Preparation and cooking time: 30mins


  • 2 tsp olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • Small piece of ginger the size of your pinky 
  • 700g pumpkin
  • 200ml Carnations light and creamy coconut flavour evaporated milk 
  • 1/2 cup salt reduced vegetable stock 
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets 
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/3 cup crunchy organic peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 400g can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander 
  • 60g baby spinach
  • Boiled rice to serve  
  • Chilli (optional)
  1. Make some rice if you don't have any leftovers like me. 
  2. Prep all the veggies: Dice the onion, pumpkin and carrot. Chop up the garlic, ginger and coriander finely. Cut the caulifower into small florets.  
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions for 2mins until soft. 
  4. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli if you're using it and give it a stir to mix. 
  5. Add in pumpkin followed by coconut flavoured evaporated milk and stock. 
  6. Bring everything to the boil, cover and simmer for 5-8mins.
  7. Add the cauliflower and carrots followed by the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and chickpeas. Stir to combine, cover and simmer until cauliflower is cooked (About another 5mins)
  8. Turn off the heat and stir in coriander and spinach leaves.
  9. Serve with rice.
Per serve: Energy: 1840kJ (440kcal), Carbohydrates 27g, Fibre 10g, Fat 26g, Saturated fat 6g, Protein 20g, Sodium 515mg, Potassium 1245mg, Calcium 115mg, Iron 3.6mg (These values are based on the original recipe and although not stated, I believe it is without rice)

The recipe book is at the back. My dish looks better right? =D 



I don't usually cook with coconut milk due to it's saturated fat content so to me using flavoured evaporated milk still gave it a nice coconut taste (Don't kill me if you think it doesn't taste 'authentic!') You could also use evaporated milk and add your own coconut flavouring. I had a look at some reduced fat coconut milk, which is where they use coconut extract and water, and some had less kilojoules per 100ml than the flavoured evaporated milk. However the saturated fat content was still higher.

Eg. per 100ml:
Carnations coconut flavoured evaporated milk: 1.1g sat fat
Amoy regular coconut milk: 21.6g sat fat
Amoy light coconut milk (44% less fat): 12g sat fat

How much fat you should have per day depends on your energy needs but I usually recommend 20-35% of your energy should be from fat in accordance with the NHMRC. Also <20g of saturated fat/day, as recommended by the National Heart Foundation Australia. You can see how easy this is to go over when having these products and we havent even gotten into coconut cream!  

Anyway back to the food! The original recipe actually asked for longer cooking times but I found my veggies got too soft and mushy especially when I stirred in the sticky peanut butter. So don't overcook!  My parents tried it without rice and weren't a big fan as it was too mushy but there won't be any problems if you don't overcook it =)

If you want to add meat, lightly stir fry it until cooked and put it aside then toss it back in with the cauliflower. 

As always this will be delicious: I guarantee it! (I should design a Wendy stamp of approval...) All that fibre and protein will keep you full and your body will thank you for feeding it vegetables!

I've got a little bit of leftover coconut flavoured evaporated milk so anyone have suggestions on what to make with it? 

What do Dietitians Eat?

When I tell people I'm a dietitian one of the most common things they ask me is "What do you eat?" Or sometimes it's statements like "You must eat real healthy" or "Are you a vegan or vegetarian?"

I always find it very difficult to answer this question as my diet is often quite varied and there's no specific thing I eat that would be different from anyone else; I don't have access to some miracle diet pill or secret diet book!

Often times these conversations occur when I'm eating and almost everyone has the immediate impulse to look at my food and judge me! If I have something society deems to be "unhealthy" I often get the "I can't believe you're eating THAT!"

This even happens with my mum. There's been a time where I've bought ice cream and sat outside my own house and eaten it in the car before going in because I didn't want to get judged by my mum. (and also so my siblings didn't steal any!) It's like we're all to have perfect diets and we wouldn't dream of having anything "unhealthy" on our plate. Thing is, I don't think foods can be simply classified as "good" and "bad." Like many things in life, it's all fifty shades of grey. Nutrition is such a complex field that it's difficult to decide how to rate the healthfulness of food.  

What I also think people forget though, and I think I'm speaking for a majority of dietitians here, is:  
We love food!

Why else would we do a degree on nutrition and spend all day talking about it!?

There are so many dietitians I know who would also call themselves foodies and many more who like a bit of dessert (like me!). And yet many look at us like we're food's worst enemy!

I thought to give an idea of what dietitians eat I'll share some photos from the International Congress of Dietetics held last week in Sydney. This was a large 3 day event of workshops and lectures that over 2000 dietitians attended from all over the world and lunch was provided.

Day 1: Clockwise from top: Falafel wrap, carrot cake, wild rice mix salad, egg sandwich on multigrain, green beans and cannelini beans, hainan chicken salad (in the middle)

Day 2: Corned beef, cheese and lettuce grain roll, pumpkin and fetta and strawberries (I think this was my favourite lunch)

Day 3: Chickpea and cous cous salad, chicken and egg wrap, mini eggplant burger, roast beef with tzatziki sauce and potato salad.

Sadly I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the vegetarian options.

Morning and afternoon tea wasn't really provided but as there was an exhibition on as well, free samples were given out. Available everyday was: Chobani and Jalna yoghurt, nuts, fresh fruit, Yakult.

As well as these many stalls had bags of goodies to give away, it was like the Easter show! Other foods of note include: a new Pepsi (coming soon), Grain Waves, meal replacement cookies,Quaker Oat cookies, Sanitarium One Square meal, Optifast, beans and corn mix, Heinze squeeze soup, chocolate paddle pops and much more.

Look at all these things to try!

Although I would eat practically anything, there are a few rules I follow with my day to day eating. 1.

  1. Eat breakfast. Breakfast is often my favourite meal on the weekends but during the weekdays I often value my sleep more than a sit down breakfast. However I always make sure I bring something with me before I head out the door as I know skipping breakfast always leads to poor food choices later on in the day. This can be an Up and Go, toast, fruit or yoghurt. 
  2. Have 2-3 snacks/day. I always bring my own snacks with me. My body is like clockwork when it comes to eating. I like to eat every 3 hours and sometimes there isn't always food around which is why I bring my own snacks. If I know there will be a fridge I bring some yoghurt but otherwise it'll be fruit, nut bars, nuts, or a homemade cupcake. Eating regularly also stops me from getting ravenously hungry and ending up at a fast food joint simply because it was the closest food avilable.
  3. Never eat infront of the TV. Studies have shown those who eat in front of the TV are more likely to be overweight or obese. In my family, dinner is the only meal when we all sit together so the television is always off and we share in conversation. I believe meals should be enjoyed with family and friends rather than with the television. You're more likely to appreciate the meal, eat mindfully and know when you're full. 
  4. Be mindful about your food choices. I think food goes beyond calories and nutrients. Food is often associated with emotions and I believe in eating for enjoyment rather than to count calories. We eat foods, not nutrients. I always try to be mindful about my food choices and know that when I choose an indulgent food it is a conscious choice and not something I eat just because it's there. This way I don't end up in a vicious cycle of emotional eating-guilt-more emotional eating.
  5. Eat slowly. I'm probably known as one of the slowest eaters amongst my friends. I like to savour my food and chew it properly. At the recent dietetic congress a Japanese study found that fast eating was linked to decrease in diet induced thermogenesis (DIT) (amount of energy needed to process food; low DIT is linked to obesity). Also it takes the body around 20mins before it begins to feel full so if you rush through your meal you're more likely to overeat. I find with slow eating you get more time to appreciate your meal and notice the different flavours, textures, smells more than if you rushed through it.
I take a lot of food photos and post it on my Instagram so if you're curious for more check out my Instagram at nutritionwwendy for more food ideas. And while we're at it, my twitter (@NutritionwWendy) also has a lot of nutrition goodness (incl. latest nutrition research from the congress!). If there's any foods I've made on my Instagram that you'll like the recipe to, let me know via Twitter or Instagram =)    

Meatless Monday: 8 Minute Corn Salad

Last week it was my mum's birthday. I have no idea how old she turned this year as she only let us put three candles on the cake.... Over the years I had run out of gift ideas so this year I decided taking the stress from cooking meals everyday off my mum for that one night was the best gift idea.

I'd set out a grand plan of roast chicken, pork belly, salads and vegetables in my head before my mum reminded me that she needed to take my siblings to piano classes at 6pm which left me only 2hrs to prepare everything!

I sent my mum off to get a massage to help her relax while I did some last minute ingredient shopping. I had this grill roasted corn salad in mind but Woolworths had run out of fresh corn that day (amongst a bunch of other things that I needed to make the birthday cake!) and I was running out of time! Instead I grabbed some canned corn and shortened my cooking time!  This salad is the result.

I managed to plate up this salad, beef, mushroom and onion stir fry, roast pumpkin and sweet potato and stir fry bok choy by dinner time. The chicken wasn't ready until an hour afterwards.... Everyone was starving so I didn't manage to take a picture of all the food but I did take a picture of this corn salad before it was gobbled up. Trust me it takes like 5 minutes! I only said 8 minutes to cover myself. And it's delicious. If there's any doubt I'm willing to hold live demos at my house where you can watch me whip it up in 5minutes then proceed to eat it and tell you it's delicious.

8 Minute Corn Salad
Adapted from: The Healthy Foodie 

Serves: 2-4
Preparation and cooking time: 5-8mins

  • 1 can of corn
  • 1/2 capsicum, chopped
  • 1 cupgreen beans cut into 1" (2cm) pieces
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Fetta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach and rocket
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Drain the can of corn
  2. Place corn, capsicum and green beans in a pan and stir fry for 2 minutes (You can skip this step too since it's not really necessary to cook these ingredients anyway
  3. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss before serving
Per serve (443g): Energy: 1787kJ (427kCal), Carbohydrates 66.5g, Fibre 11.2g, Fat 15.4g, Saturated fat 3.5g, Protein 16.8g, Sodium 532mg (These values are based on the original recipe from the link)

See easy right? This salad didn't store well overnight in the fridge (the beans went a bit brown) so eat it all up on the same day!


Isn't it so colourful? And I promise it's good for you ;)

Meatless Monday: Warm Quinoa, Potato and Orange Salad Recipe

I made this salad last night as part of dinner from bits and pieces I found in the fridge and pantry. It's not only vegetarian but vegan too!

Years ago, when I first started setting foot in a kitchen, I made mainly baked goods. To be more specific, those cake mixes you can buy at the supermarket. I started with these because I never had to worry about main meals (thanks mum!) and I thought they would be the easiest. Sadly I could not even make cake from the packet. I know......

Now I realise it's because I always over beat the batter and my mum would buy the cheapest cake mixes that always looked good when fresh out of the oven but were hard as a rock after a day. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why I didn't just give up then and step away from the oven!

I persisted and eventually I was starting to search up easy recipes online I could use. I stuck firmly to the recipes I had, believing that if I even turned the oven one degrees more than specified, my cakes would be ruined! Baked goods are unpredictable that way; they never look like the ingredients they started as. And that makes baking so magical to me. Nevertheless, I bought many ingredients I had to throw out in the end as I had no other use for them.

It took me YEARS to feel comfortable enough to start omitting and replacing ingredients in recipes! First it was with savoury dishes then with the sweets and now I'm finally feeling a little bit more comfortable writing up my own recipes. This is where this recipe came in. I'd only heard about quinoa a year or so ago and I hadn't made anything with quinoa in it for a while (despite my last post also being a quinoa recipe!) so I decided to make a salad. I had a browse online for some recipes and found most recipes had ingredients I did not have. I had no salad greens, no lemon, no meat. Yeh my fridge was quite barren..... The idea of a quinoa salad was already in my mind and I knew I could not let it go so I did what I could with what little I had. And it turned out great!

Maybe you've never heard of quinoa, maybe you're ready to try your first quinoa recipe or maybe you've made quinoa a million times. Whatever your quinoa knowledge may be, go look in the fridge and pantry and put whatever looks good in this salad with some quinoa. The more colourful and vibrant it is the better!         

For those that still want a recipe as a guideline continue reading =)

Warm Quinoa, Potato and Orange Salad 
Serves: 2 large serves
Preparation and Cooking Time: 25 minutes


1 cup quinoa
3 cups water or stock
Half a medium sweet potato
1 medium sized potato
1 small carrot
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 1/2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
Half a small avocado
Half an orange

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon oil from sundried tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 170degrees celcius
2. Dice up sweet potato, potato and carrot and place them on a baking tray with foil. Give them a light spray with olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Put in the oven for 10-15mins or until light brown
3. Place 1 cup of quinoa in 3 cups of stock/water in a saucepan (I used vegetable stock as it gives the quinoa more flavour. Quinoa is very good at soaking up the flavour of stock!) Bring it to the boil then lower the heat so it just simmers for 15minutes or until the quinoa turns opaque and splits. Look at the picture. Most if not all the water should be absorbed. I don't think you can overcook quinoa anyway.... 
4. Dice half an avocado
5. Cut an orange in half and peel half then dice into segments. Cut the other half of the orange into segments and eat while waiting for the quinoa and roast veg to be ready!
6. Once the quinoa and vegetables are ready place them on a plate. Add the chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, avocado and orange.
7. Place the vinegar and oil in the salad and lightly toss the salad with a spoon. (You could toss in a bowl then place on a plate but I'm lazy and less washing up!) If you used stock for the quinoa there's not much need to add salt but flavour with salt and pepper as desired. 
8. Eat slowly. It's delicious, I promise!

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Corn Fritters

I saw the recipe for quinoa corn fritters on one of my favourite blogs Apples Under My Bed and luckily I wasn't scared off by the long recipe! These are actually quite simple to make and make a delicious snack. My mum had bought several husks of corn and this recipe came at just the right time! I made very small modifications due more to the lack of ingredients in my fridge than anything else.

This is the 3rd quinoa recipe I have posted. See another Meatless Monday post and a dessert one too. Lets see who makes all 3 recipes in one day ;)?

Quinoa Corn Fritters
Adapted from Apples Under My Bed

Serves: 5 fritters
Preparation and Cooking Time: 45min

1/4 cup dry Quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 large corn cob
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 egg
1.5 heaped tablespoons (38g) Wholemeal Plain Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
A pinch of Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper

  1. Rinse the dry quinoa under cold water and then put it in a pot with water. 
  2. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the germ turns opaque and splits from the seed- see picture 
  3. Shave the corn kernels from the corn cob. 
  4. Place corn kernels in a pan with the crushed garlic on high heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it smells heavenly and a pretty yellow. 
  5. Transfer corn to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, beaten egg, flour, baking powder, cumin, Worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl with the corn. Stir ingredients together until a wet mixture is formed (See picture below)
  7. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over low-medium heat. 
  8. Form small round balls by spooning up 1 tablespoon of mixture and roughly forming it in your hand. 
  9. Put the balls on the pan and after 1minute push the pattie flat with the back of a spoon. The mixture is very wet but it will hold if you treat it with care! 
  10. Cook for another 5minutes then flip to cook for another 5 minutes until it is nice and brown.
  11. Serving suggestions: alongside poached eggs and bacon at breakfast, as part of a salad at lunch, as an appetiser with some sweet chilli dipping sauce or alongside grilled meat or chicken and a big salad at dinner.Or just eat them on their own ;) 
Per fritter: Energy: 551kJ, protein: 5g, Fat: 4.5g, Saturated fat: 0.8g, Carbohydrate: 15.9g, Sodium: 60mg 

This is what the mixture should look like. It looks pretty wet!

Sizzling away in the pan...

Tada done!!

Nutritionally speaking......
These fritters are a good snack and can be part of a great meal too! They're not too energy dense if you're only having 1-2 and have a good protein content, low saturated fat and low sodium (depending on how much salt you decide to add!) They're also going to be quite high in fibre from the corn and quinoa (although not calcuated) so will keep you full for longer than expected. Plus another fun way to cook quinoa right?  

I must admit my siblings did not enjoy this but I think it was because of the cumin and Worchestershire taste so feel free to substitute this for any other kind of flavouring

Let me know how you cook quinoa or what vegetarian recipes you are trying this week.

What to Eat When You're on a Budget

Well it's more like what to eat when you have limited cooking facilities and limited food available as well!

I used to be able to travel to various locations for a week at a time for work. I would always have to be prepared to make very fast simple meals as I would often be tired from work and cooking facilities can vary. It actually became quite an exciting challenge to come up with what to cook every night! I know how daunting it is to cook a meal after a long day and how easy it is to just grab take away but trust me the following will work even for the most lazy, unmotivated and unskilled! I thought I'll share with everyone some of the tips for cooking meals that are both healthy, quick, simple and cheap (I once only spent $25 for a week's supply of food for myself).

Always be prepared
Write a shopping list! Write what meals you plan to make! Think of ingredients you can use multiple times in different ways for different meals. This will ensure no food is wasted as well.

This is one of the shopping lists I made before going to the supermarket.

Breakfast Ideas
When I had access to a stove I made eggs every morning. This varied from a fried egg to scrambled eggs with tomato and spinach. I also had some toast with peanut butter.

One of the places I was at only provided a kettle and a microwave. This is where I had to get creative.... (PS we also had no cutlery at times...)

This is something a friend recommended. It's scrambled eggs cooked in the microwave! It's very very simple to make, seriously. Crack an egg into a bowl (Or takeaway container in my case), put a tablespoon of milk into it and then whisk it slightly. Put it in the microwave and watch the magic. You might want to take it out and give it a stir 30seconds in. I would also have the eggs with some instant oats that I heated up in the microwave or a piece of toast. Cereal also works well.

What's really important at breakfast time is having something with protein and fibre. These two things will keep you full and satisfied. In the breakfasts I had, the protein came from the eggs, porridge and the peanut butter. The sources of fibre were the bread, porridge and vegetables I added to the eggs.     

Lunch Ideas
Lunch always had to be something simple and could easily pack into my bag. This usually meant sandwiches and salads.

One of the sandwiches I had. One of the weeks I survived on a tuna sandwich every single day because tuna was on sale.... I always made sure I loaded it with some vegetables such as red onion, spinach, tomato and mushrooms so I wasn't leaving the task of consuming 5 serves of vegetables all at dinner.

This is one of the salads I made. You might recognise this from a previous blog post! Yes I was still obsessed with fruit in salad at that time (and I've had more chances to experiment so look out for them in future posts). This one has some added shredded chicken from the night before and instead of a vinaigrette I just used some olive oil.

A snack after lunch was always fruit to ensure I got my serves of fruit as well.

Dinner Ideas

One of the first days I really couldn't be bothered cooking and it was already an effort to go shopping so I made sure I bought a frozen meal for these kind of days. Instead of eating out of a plastic plate or bowl I made the effort to plate it up and it made all the difference. I often have one or two frozen meals stored in my freezer at home for really lazy days or when there is just nothing in the fridge. Frozen meals can be quite small sometimes so an extra salad or serve of vegetables on the side can bulk up the meal.

The second picture is of a very simple meat and veg meal. I bought a BBQ chicken and took off the drumstick, microwaved some frozen vegetables and had it with a piece of bread. No cooking required! I shredded the rest of the chicken for sandwiches and salads at lunch and to go with pasta for the next night's dinner.     

Pasta is my number one go to dinner on these work trips. I buy a can of low salt tomato based pasta sauce, add in some frozen and fresh vegetables, a source of protein and voila meal done!

How I cooked the above pasta dish on the left... As I said before, one of the facilities only had a kettle and microwave. I was determined to not just live on frozen meals for a week and took inspiration from a video I'd seen on cooking in a hotel room. I filled the kettle with water and added pasta and boiled it with the lid open so it will continue to boil. Lots of stirring in between and there you go cooked pasta! I put some pasta sauce on it, some already microwaved frozen vegetables and some shredded chicken and into the microwave it went. It wasn't as delicious as home made pasta sauce but it was still a comforting meal after a long day and that's all it needed to be.

I also tried cooking lentils and pork fillets in the kettle but they didn't work out so well.....and never try to cook pork fillets in the microwave....

Lentils and any form of canned beans are very cheap to buy and easy to cook. They're a great substitute for meat or simply to add more bulk to a meal. You can never speak ill about beans (maybe the gas...)!

There were still some days when I did end up eating out and I didn't want these photos to sit in my phone neglected while my kettle of pasta got some screen time... You can always go back to my post on tips for eating out.

Looking at that salad is making me drool already....

I hope this post comes back on nights when you're feeling uninspired and unable to get off the couch. These meals are definitely cheaper than some take aways and this is more my definition of fast food. If you think about it, in the time you take to call up a pizza place and have it delivered, you could have had a nice home made meal! 

Feel free to share any quick meals, cooking tips and what you like to eat when you're in a rush in the comments below!

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The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.