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Changing my plate – Increasing protein intake

This post is part of a regular series focusing on making small changes to improve our health. I shared my journey with changing my diet and moving to a clean eating approach which you can read here. I also had the lovely Katie Rainbird from Katie 180 undertake an analysis of my food intake for one day in that post, which was another step in the right direction.

Together we also offered the same opportunity to readers of Planning With Kids. We were blown away with the response and while I can’t guarantee will get to all of them this year, Katie has been busy working on many of the submissions already and we will publish as many as we can.

It is not possible for Katie to cover off everything in these posts. The aim is for her to find some small things you can change to what you are putting on your plate to help you achieve your current goal for your eating habits. You can read previous Changing my plate posts by clicking here.

Changing my plate – my day

image_katieKatie Rainbird (AKA Katie180) is a Sydney-based Nutritionist who is just as likely to be found jogging as she is baking. She is a mother to two, a keen home cook, prefers to get around in her workout gear and has a major passion for the written word. You can learn more at

Katie reviewed what the reader Nicki submitted that she ate in a 24 hour period. This is what Katie had to say about her day:

What is your current goal with your eating habits?
I have recently started exercising more and as I am slightly underweight, I would like to make sure I don’t lose any [weight]. I would like to know what proteins would be a good addition. I rely too much on dairy so would like to cut down on this but as we eat as a family I’m finding it tricky to do this. My kids like cheese with everything!

Ok so you need to ensure good quality, whole fats feature: coconut oil, coconut cream and milk, nuts, seeds, eggs and whole grains. Be mindful that muscle mass can appear “weight gain” on the scales, but it is the increase in muscle tissue, rather than fatty tissue. So hopefully as you tone from your exercise you will see “weight gain” on the scales but it will be more muscular tissue!

7:30am @ home:
Oats with semi-skim milk
Nut granola topping
Greek yoghurt with honey and a handful of blueberries

Switch to full cream milk or make a mix of half skimmed/half coconut milk. Add a 1/4 cup of mixed seeds to the yoghurt/berry mixture.

1:30pm lunch is always eaten at home. Leftovers of pasta with tomato/mushroom and cheese sauce (homemade). Sprinkling of Parmesan and garlic breadcrumbs on top.

Add an avocado, sliced and a handful of leafy greens.

6:30pm All meals are prepared at home by me
Mexican Rice Bowls – In order of volume:

  • white rice cooked in a spicy tomato sauce
  • spicy black beans
  • lettuce and rocket leaves
  • sweetcorn
  • tomato and sweet pepper
  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • salad onions
  • topped with grated cheddar and sour cream

Switch to brown rice, do this in half/half until you’re used to the taste and texture if you need to. Try cottage cheese in stead of sour cream.

Snack 1
Post workout about 10:30am – cup of tea and a cookie!”

Post workout you can afford more like: a banana sliced length ways and spread with nut butter. Or toast sourdough with avocado/ricotta/nut butter etc. and an accompanying fresh topping: fresh tomato, a drizzle of honey etc. Drink a tall glass of water before you have your tea.

Snack 2
Post dog walk about 4pm – erm…another cup of tea and cookie.

Have a piece of fruit instead of the cookie and if you still want the cookie, make them home made loaded with good flour (whole meal or spelt), seeds, toasted buckinis, dried fruit pieces and some good dark chocolate. Nix the caffeinated tea here and start on a herbal tea.

Snack 3
2 squares dark chocolate at 9pm.

You rebel! Enjoy them.

We don’t eat dessert

Who ARE you? Ha ha.

Nutritional supplements

  • x1 525mg capsule of cod liver oil. Just started taking this instead of flax oil
  • x1 vit B complex, RDA dose

Feel free to increase the cod liver oil to 2 per day. Flax seed oil, although an omega-3 is harder to convert to the longer chain omega-3s in the bloodstream, so you’re wise to switch to cod liver oil as it’s a more direct source.

Daily fluid intake

  • 1.5l filtered water – I’m not good at drinking water during the colder months (so here in the UK that is 9 months of the year at least!) Today, believe it or not was actually a pretty good day for me.
  • 100ml orange juice at breakfast
  • Other than the 2 teas mentioned I also had one at 7am, all with milk no sugar.
  • 125ml glass of red wine (which I have daily, naughty?)

Ok so let’s aim to drop one caffeinated tea per day and try night on/night off for the wine. I KNOW this makes you cranky at me but you can have two on Saturday night instead, deal?

Any further information you’d like to share or special dietary requirements to factor in?
I have always been vegetarian, but not for moral reasons hence the fish oil.

Katie’e summary

In summary: Increase proteins and fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, cream and milk, eggs if you’ll eat them. Try to sustain the 1.5L of water and see how you go decreasing tea x 1 each day and drinking wine only every other night.

Be mindful that you ought to eat within half an hour of working out, so take a few dried apricots or a banana or a protein shake along to the gym with you for that. Pop into a health food store for a vegetarian protein powder and make it with almond milk, sweeten with honey and add some chia seeds or flax oil to it. If you feel that you are losing weight, you may need to reduce your workouts.

Further reading


Katie is a qualified nutritionist (Adv. Dip. Nutr. Med.).

Any diet or lifestyle changes that you implement as a result of reading this blog are your own responsibility.

This blog does not provide medical advice, any particular health conditions must be managed by your own health professional.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.