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Changing my plate – curbing the snacking

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 a reader submitted that she ate in a 24 hour period. The reader would like to remain anonymous, so we will call her Pearl! This is what Katie had to say about her day:

What is your current goal with your eating habits?
Eating better snacks or less snacks. Fuelling better for exercise while maintaining weight (or losing 2-3 kilos). This is a not so bad day, but it could do without the SAOs and butter in the afternoon – sometimes I just get sucked into an eating spiral late afternoon and eat anything I can find – kids cheese sticks, rice crackers, toast – perhaps I’m not eating properly earlier in the day? I feel I rely on carbs too much.

7.30 am – at home. 30g rolled oats and 5g chia seeds soaked overnight in 1/4 cup skim milk and 100g fat free Greek yoghurt. Then mixed with 1/2 grated pear, 1/2 chopped banana and 1 tsp almond butter. 2 cups filtered coffee w dash of skim milk – no sugar.

Ok, you’re obviously paying keen attention to your diet! How much is 30g of oats? A quarter of a cup? That’s no a lot for someone who works out 6/7 and breastfeeds. How do you feel about increasing this by double: a bigger breakfast full of good, whole fuel might just set you up for a better transition from meal to meal throughout the day. Increase everything: more fruit, more seeds – these are good foods!

Salad of cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot and red onion with small tin chick peas, 40g low fat feta with olive oil, balsamic & mustard dressing. 4 x 9-grain vita-weat crackers.

At home. Almost always eat lunch at home or take it to work. Usually salad/boiled eggs & veg sticks or some form of leftovers.

Tea and date & almond energy ball

Lunch is good but instead of crackers try cooking a 1/4 cup of: brown rice, quinoa, pearled barley or wholegrain pasta and tossing this through the salad. You can increase the satiety of the meal further by adding a portion of chicken, a lamb chop or the like. Avoid tea straight after lunch, save it for later on when you feel you need a pick me up, opt for a peppermint, green, white or other herbal tea here instead.

Beef stir fry – lean rump steak, carrot, capsicum,, broccoli, oyster sauce. Brown rice (100g). All made fresh at home.
Dinner is good, perhaps add some sprouts to your stir fry or an egg mixed through before serving.

Snack 1
Mid morning. Burgen rye toast with 2-3tsp peanut butter and 1/2 tsp jam. Coffee.

If I was you, I’d keep this coffee but take one away from breakfast. Your snack is OK as your breakfast is quite measured, but if you increase breakfast you might find one piece of toast suffices. Or eat some fresh whole fruit here instead.

Snack 2
Afternoon. 2 corn thins topped with tomato relish & vintage cheese

This is OK. Perhaps sometimes you could use a whole fresh tomato rather or some sliced cucumber. Something fresh instead of relish.

Snack 3
Late afternoon 4x SAOs with butter and vegemite.
Well you’ve already identifed that this wasn’t the best snack you could have chosen! I wonder how hungry you’d feel if you drank more water? Here is room for another piece of fresh fruit, or a portion of yoghurt with nuts and seeds, perhaps smoothie made with frozen banana, almond milk and some honey.

Small homemade banana & apple oat muffin (made with wholemeal flour, oats, egg, fruit and v small of brown sugar and oil). 3 squares organic milk chocolate. Tea. Always need something sweet with a cup of tea after dinner!

Just try a non caffeinated tea here.

Nutritional supplements

  • Iron tablet – fab iron 100 mg + vitamin b
  • Blackmores pregnancy & breastfeeding multi x 2

Cool. I’d like to see an essential fatty acid in here too. You’re breastfeeding, so your child still takes from your stores and you’re training for a long run, so the anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties will be great for you. Over the counter, I like the new Blackmores eco range or the Ethical Nutrients high potency.

Daily fluid intake

  • 3 x coffee
  • 2 x tea
  • 3-4 x water

I’d like to see this 1 x coffee and 2 x tea maximum! And 6 – 8 x water. Start off with increasing water first then when you’re ready, reduce one coffee and as soon after as you can, reduce another. Avoid caffeinated tea after dinner, keep your last no later than late afternoon. Try a bedtime blend instead. Caffeine stimulates as well as interferes with absorption of certain nutrients.

Any further information you’d like to share or special dietary requirements to factor in?
Currently exercising 6x a week – 3 runs for half marathon training plus 2 boot camp sessions and one gym weight session. Exercise happens at different times depending on day – boot camp is 11am so between breakfast and lunch. One short run and the gym session are after work on my 2 work days, 2 longer runs are before breakfast so need to think about when/ how to fuel and refuel. Still breastfeeding an almost 2-year-old once or twice a day so need to consider this.

Katie’e summary

Firstly please accept my congratulations and support that you are breastfeeding a nearly two year old! I myself am a “full term” breastfeeding mother and I know how much give and take this relationship between you and your child involves. There’s no reason you can’t train for and complete long runs whilst breastfeeding, especially with the sporadic nature of the feeds, it’s not like you’ve got big, full newborn baby milky boobs! But keeping an eye on your nutrient intake is paramount as you will be utilising them in a more efficient manner.

My summary for you is: Increase water, decrease tea and coffee, replace processed grain foods (crackers) with a variety of whole grains and increase protein from sources such as nuts, seeds, lean meat and eggs. Also add an omega-3 supplement to your current protocol.

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.