Christmas Infused Waters

Infused waters can be a refreshing way to drink water when you’ve had enough water.  Those people in hot weather know exactly what I mean.  Infused waters have minimal sugar so are an alternative drink for people with diabetes.  This photo is an example of some Christmas colour infused drinks.

  1. Cucumber slices, mint leaves and sliced chilli – this was quite refreshing.
  2. Cherry, lemon slices and mint – my favourite for colour and taste.
  3. Peach slices, lemon slices and ginger – not a strong flavour, so next time I’ll be adding more ginger and peach.

There are plenty of websites with recipes and suggestions for infused waters.  I’d love to hear any favourite recipes that you have.


Wishing you all a happy and healthy festive season and a fantastic 2021.  Cathie

It’s National Nutrition Week – Try for 5 Challenge

Happy Monday Everyone,

canstockphoto0184679It’s feeling like summer in Queensland which is when I start looking for salads.  Which is one way of boosting vegetables if you aren’t getting your 5 vegetables a day.  Have a look at the link below for recipe ideas for vegetables.

The Asparagus Crumbed with Parmesan on Bocconcini Salad is a different way to eat asparagus which is in season now.  The Rice Paper Rolls are a great way to boost vegetables and these could be used at a party with the dipping sauce for a different snack. Continuing on with the Asian influence the Asian Salad with Snow Peas and Cashews is a refreshing crunchy salad.

And finally a link to a website to help get ideas for how to encourage children to eat more vegetables….

Hope you take on the 5 Vegetable a Day challenge this week.

Regards Cathie.

Sleep is Really, Really Important!

canstockphoto15729484In a new journal article Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy Nelson look at how poor sleep quality and quantity affect the human drive to eat.

The take home message is if you don’t sleep well – try to get help as is has a big impact on your food choices in many ways.

Biologically, researchers have found that disrupted sleep can lead to a 20% increase in the amount of calories people eat and that portion sizes are bigger.  It appears that 2 hormones control most of this higher drive for food.  Lower levels of Leptin (tells our brain we how  satisfied we are with what we’ve eating) are found in stressed adults with disrupted sleep and higher levels of Grehlin (tells our brain we are hungry) occur.  This makes people look for more foods that are sweet, salty or starchy.  Researchers have found other hormones also are changed with poor sleep including cortisol, insulin, glucocorticoids and these also make us change our food choices.

If we don’t sleep well, our ability to think is reduced in several ways and can lead to adults and children eating more foods and for children looking for higher calorie snacks.  Poor sleep affects a part of the brain that helps us with goal directed behaviours and being able to moderate our impulses and emotions.  So it is harder to talk yourself into doing healthy goals like going for a walk, eating more vegetables and harder to say no to tempting higher calorie foods.  Another part of our brain is disturbed with poor sleep, making the brain want more rewards to pleasurable stimuli – so we want that pleasurable sensation from tasting of sweet or  fatty foods more than usual.

Poor sleep affects our emotions.  You are more likely to notice negative events and negative emotions and be emotionally distressed when you have slept poorly. I don’t think it would be a surprise to many people that when feeling negative emotions, adults and children tend to eat more foods. The changes in eating patterns are eating less fruit, vegetables and breakfast cereals and eating  more sugary or high fat foods.

The way humans behave is changed when sleep quality or quantity is poor.  Adults and children are more likely to behave impulsively and plan less when they are tired. So when you are tired it is harder to resist tempting foods if you have an impulsive personality and you will tend to eat more food then you may have wanted or planned to.

So if you are trying to make healthy eating or lifestyle changes, try to get enough undisturbed sleep so that you won’t have extra hormonal, thinking, behavioural and emotional challenges.

Regards and best wishes from sunny Brisbane,  Cathie Lowe Accredited Practising Dietitian

Journal Referance:

Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy D Nelson

Journal of Health Psychology June 2015 Vol 20 6 794-805

Mothers Day Breakfast

This blog was written by Danielle Voller APD who is working part-time with Dietitian Services Qld.

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, so why not treat mum to a healthy, delicious breakfast in bed!  We have come up with some yummy brekky ideas that are sure to give your mum a great start to the day, and are also healthy, which she will love!

Porridge with sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Grilled ham, cheese and tomato on wholegrain toast

Poached egg, grilled shortcut bacon on wholegrain toast

Fruit salad with low fat yoghurt

Vegetarian breakfast – poached egg, grilled tomato, mushrooms, feta cheese and spinach on wholegrain toast

Poached egg with avocado and tomato on toast

If you need recipes, check out as this website had great recipes for:

Healthy breakfast slice

Ham and avocado omelette

Apple and spice porridge

Wishing all the mums a lovely day on Sunday.



Healthy Pantry

Healthy Pantry

How healthy is your pantry?  People often tell me that as soon as they try to buy foods that are healthy they find there is more sugar or salt.  I’ve done up a list of pantry items that are healthy – compare this list to the foods in your pantry.  I’m always happy to read your comments or suggestions so feel free to post them.

Lower sodium (salt) foods are the hardest to find but they do exist.  ‘Low salt’ has less than 120mg of sodium per 100g of food.  Try to get products wit h lowest sodium level, you can always add a little bit of salt later when cooking.

Oils, Vinegars, Condiments
Oils: extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil or rice bran oil or sunflower oil, sesame oil
Vinegars: White, red-wine, balsamic, rice
Dijon mustard
No added salt tomato sauce
Barbeque sauce (look for lower sodium levels)
Reduced salt soy sauce
Reduced salt mayonnaise made with mono or poly oils such as canola or soya bean
No added salt chilli sauce

Canned Goods and Bottled Items
No added salt canned tomatoes
No added salt tomato paste
Canned corn
Canned beetroot
Other canned vegetables (eg canned bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, peas)
Reduced salt chicken broth
Canned beans: no added salt baked beans, kidney beans, chick peas
Canned tuna in springwater
No added salt canned salmon
No added sugar canned fruit: canned apples, canned pears or apricots, canned pineapple
Canned lite coconut milk or canned coconut flavoured low fat evaporated milk
Canned low fat evaporated milk
Canned soup: salt reduced tomato soup, wholegrain vegetable soups

Iodised salt (small container)
Black pepper
Dried herbs and spices: ground cumin, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, rosemary, thyme, oregano or basil, dill, cinnamon, ground ginger, coriander, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, turmeric, low salt curry powder
Vanilla extract
Grains and Legumes
Assorted wholemeal pasta
Rice: basmati (regular and microwaveable) or doongarra, arborrio, brown rice
Wholewheat cous cous
Rolled oats (traditional)
Breakfast cereals: weet-bix or Vita Brits or untoasted muesli or Just Right
Crackers: vitawheat, ryvita, corn thins
Tortillas or long life wholemeal mountain breads
Dried lentils
Popping corn (not packaged, to be used in air popper)

Baking Products
Plain white flour
Plain wholemeal flour
Baking powder
Plain baking cocoa (unsweetened)
Baking soda
Unprocessed wheat bran
Yeast (optional)
Pure corn flour
Sugars: brown, white (small bag)
Artificial sweetener: Splenda, Equal, Hermesetas (optional)
Honey, pure maple syrup
Jam – no added sugar or home made or jam with at least 50% fruit

Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit
Raw nuts: walnuts, almonds
Dried Fruit: dried apricots, dates, sultanas
No added salt peanut butter

Herbal teas
Teas: black or green
Coffee: instant or beans
Soda water or mineral water (optional)

Lamb Shank and Vegetables

Lamb Shank and Vegetable Recipe

Nice hot filling meal for cold winter weather – enjoy.  Serve with steamed vegetables such as pumpkin, broccoli, beans and peas.
Serves 2

2 lamb shanks
440g can salt reduced tomato soup
440g no added salt canned tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, halved and finely sliced
3 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 tspn dried basil
pepper to taste

In a slow cooker or large casserole dish, place all the ingredients.  If slow cooking, place in cooker and follow instructions.  If baking in the casserole dish, bake in the oven at medium heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours until lamb is tender and ready to fall from the bone. 
Nutrition Analysis: 
Energy 2000kJ, protein 53g, fat 17g, carbohydrate 28g, fibre 9g, sodium 630mg.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup Recipe


Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Spray oil or 2 tspn olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 medium onion, diced
500g sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups of water
¼ tspn ground nutmeg
ground pepper to taste

Spray or coat a saucepan with oil and add chopped onion, garlic and ginger.  Cook until soft.
Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer.  Cover with a lid and cook for 20 – 30 minutes.
Blend until smooth.
Serve with a swirl of low fat natural yoghurt.
Serves 4.

Nutrition information – per serve – 490kJ, 3g protein, 2g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 4g fibre

Glycaemic Index of Sweet Potato Has Changed

Glycaemic index is a measure to see how slow or quick a food is digested and ends up as blood sugar.  The lower GI foods are used on a day-to-day basis for people with diabetes to help keep blood sugars stable.

Sweet potato when tested in research laboratories overseas came back with low GI (slow release) values.  Research in Australia indicates that the sweet potato available here has GI levels between 61 to 77, which is moderate GI.    To look up the values go to the Australian data base at

The values vary depending on the variety, different skin types and flesh colours.  This is the same with nutrients.  Beta carotene is high in sweet potato with orange coloured flesh and Vitamin C levels are higher in other varieties.