Zak Sztor Nutritionist Randwick
“Up Grade Your Diet”-
Article In Woman’s Day Magazine
Randwick Nutritionist Zak Sztor
So you think that your eating really healthily, Right?
There are so many diets and conflicting information in regard to ‘healthy eating/diets’ from TV, magazines or even your friends that I am not surprised that we have lost sight and perspective on what it actually means to be eating a healthy diet.
The article above features my comments on how to upgrade your diet, whether you’re new to healthy eating or a seasoned pro, choose your food personality and then try my simple ideas to boost your health even further.
Below I have listed 4 small changes to your diet that will have a massive impact on your health.
1.Swopping vegetable oil to coconut, olive oil or healthier alternatives
Start by swopping your cooking oils from vegetable oil to coconut oil or olive oil and here’s why.
In brief there are two 2 types of fatty acids, that you body requires, but cant produce on its own, so they are referred to as essential fatty acids- Omega 3 and Omega 6.
It is really important that your body gets these fatty acids from your diet, however it is also important that the balance is correct.
Too much of omega 6 in your diet, coming from vegetables oil can alter the structural changes on a cellular level within your body that can cause an inflammatory process and a builds up of damaging free radicals, causing oxidative stress on the body and its functions.
It is now common knowledge that vegetable oils contain proportion of trans fats, which are highly toxic, and are linked to numerous diseases including heart disease, cancer etc.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be broken down into 3 basic types –
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA),
And Alpha-linolenic (ALA)
EPA & DHA are found in seafood, olive oil, and coconut oil
Examples of vegetable oil substitutes are:
- Avocado oil
- Flax seed oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
ALA, is found in high fat plant foods:
- Soybeans, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed
To date omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most researched nutrients in regard to health, and here is why:
- They can lower blood triglycerides
- Some research confirms consuming foods high in omega 3 are linked with a reduced risk of some cancers
- Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Reduced inflammation and pain with conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis (RA ) suffers.
2.Ditching sugar cereals for breakfast
The healthy newbie in my opinion should start of the day with a super charged breakfast, but reaching for the quick and convenient cereal box option isn’t the answer! No matter how convenient and tempting they are – here is why….
Most breakfast cereals a loaded with sugar, and refined grains. High sugar consumption can have harmful effects and may increase the risk of some disease.
Don’t believe the health claims found on cereal boxes. If a food is actually healthy, then it doesn’t need to make health claims.
Many of the popular cereals sold in supermarket isles are really low in fibre. Any newbie healthy eater should look to include high amounts of fibre (25-30g per day) in their balanced diet.
Soluble fibre, like that found in blueberries, psyllium husk or even nuts and seeds when digested, dissolve into a gel like texture, and help to slow down the process of digestion. This helps you feel fuller for longer, one the reasons why fibre is promoted as assisting with weight control.
Most popular cereals have a lack of protein in them. We traditionally have tended to eat more protein foods for lunch or dinner. Its common knowledge now that having protein in your diet is essential for developing and maintaining lean muscle, however eating more protein in your diet will help you feel full for longer too- so why not start with breakfast?!
As a Nutritionist my breakfast is always a green smoothie, filled with nuts, seeds, oats psyllium husk, and banana and topped up with a handful of green spinach and milk.
Alternatives for cereals:
- Green protein smoothie
- Scrabbled eggs with salmon, avocado, rocket and tomatoes
- Homemade porridge: oats, walnuts, blueberries, unsweetened almond milk
3. For a sweet treat instead of chocolate, what could you try and why?
I’m a big believer of ‘out of sight or out of mind’, however we all have that moment of weakness, when we are craving for something sweet.
We all know that ‘shop bought’ treats are loaded with sugar, and we should try to avoid them as much as we can, however when we are busy trying to meet deadlines, or are late for work and meetings etc. We tend to grab the most convenient option- processed sugar and salt filled snacks.
If you’re trying to opt for a healthier ‘sweet treat’ or dessert, consider making your own from scratch and have them on hand in the fridge or freezer, making your own convenience foods, filled with goodness.
I frequently make delicious protein balls that are made from completely natural ingredients and free from processed sugars preservatives- even the kids love them and think they are a special treat!
My snacks tend to be full of antioxidants, rich in minerals and taste fresher than any shop bought equivalent.
A favorite is my energy balls which are packed with nuts, seeds, good quality cacao and deliver slow releasing energy which can get your past that 3pm hurdle!
If you have to go for the chocolate option choose just a couple of squares of high quality dark chocolate 70-80% for your chocolate fix.
Randwick Nutrtitionist Alternatives for processed sweets are:
- Homemade: protein balls
- Homemade energy balls
- Homemade: muesli bars
- Natural pieces of fruit – banana, grapes, apple.
- Nuts and seeds, make a mixture with dried fruits and have them in snack packs ready to go.
4.What are the benefits of swapping regular pasta for spelt/wholegrain pasta?
Pasta has taken a lot of fire over the last few years, and in my opinion it should be considered as a ‘sometimes food’ and here is why….
During the milling process, white flour is stripped down to remove the grain’s bran and germ and with them fibre, protein iron and b vitamins are all removed.
Consider changing standard pasta to whole meal pasta, spelt or better still use zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash, which has a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Spaghetti squash (mentioned above)
- Zucchini ribbons
- Brown rice pasta
- Whole meal pasta
Randwick Nutritionist:We tend to eat the same foods over and over again,creating a habit. Sometimes those habits are good and sometimes they are not so good.
Start by incorporating my simple tips above to your diet to improve your overall health.