Changing my plate – less sugar + follow up

changing my plate.jpgThis 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 Cyan 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?
To eat more fresh and whole foods. To eat less sugar.

I always start the day with a coffee, usually an Italian percolated one with milk and 1 1/2 sugars. Breakfast is either two slices of GF toast with butter and mighty might or peanut butter (low salt) or GF muesli with Greek yoghurt. I generally eat these around 7.30 at home.

Can you switch from sugar to honey? If not then reduce sugar by 1/2 teaspoon and work toward reducing it until there is NO sugar at all. This may take weeks or even months, that’s OK just keep tweaking it until you’re not adding any. Check your peanut butter for sugar, it it’s got sugar in it then switch to a natural variety with no added anything: just crushed peanuts. Also why not try some other nut butters: cashew, almond etc? Add some raw seeds: chia, pumpkin, sunflower or linseed to your muesli (about 2 tablespoons total) to increase the protein and fibre content for satiety.

Rice cakes with cheese and tomato or salads with tuna, all home made.

Switch up your cheese from regular tasty to a variety: goat’s curd or feta, regular feta, cottage cheese, ricotta. You could finely chop some semi dried tomatoes and mxi them into cottage cheese or ricotta then add some freshly chopped leafy greens: rocket, baby spinach, perhaps basil? Whatever the base of your salads aim for a protein hit: boiled or poached eggs, grilled lean meat, tinned legumes, sprouts, seeds for garnish.

Salmon, rice noodles and stir fry veg or a salad with meat or chicken. We eat around 5.30pm and prepare the food fresh ourselves.


Snack 1
An apple, a biscuit, a coffee or dried fruit and nuts, mid morning.

I’m assuming this is a store bought GF biscuit? Often these can be just as loaded with sugar and other icky bits as non GF varieties. The ‘GF’ labelling misleads us to believe that just because it’s free of gluten that it’s healthy! How about some home baking using almond meal or other GF flours? Start with something simple such as a muesli cookie, reduce the sugar by half of what the recipe calls for and add extra seeds.

Snack 2
An apple or a piece of cake for afternoon tea.

Is cake every day? If it is then reduce that to every other day and rather try something like 2 pieces of GF toast with vanilla creamed ricotta (just mix vanilla extract or paste into ricotta) with fresh sliced banana and a little drizzle of honey. Mmm! Almost a cake

Chocolate, a piece of cake, sometimes rice crackers and cheese. I almost always eat something after dinner but it can be as late at 9pm.

Ok we need to do something about your GF snack options! Rice crackers can be loaded with vegetable oil and flavorings etc. and there’s lots of cake for one day! How about a nice hot cup of chocolate made using sugar free cocoa and honey over say, almond or hazelnut milk and a couple of dates chewed very slowly. Still a sweet chocolate hit but in a less cake-y way!

Nutritional supplements
I take a vitamin B supplement.

I can’t really recommend supplements without a consultation but I DO think we all ought to supplement with omega-3s and I think some chromium would be useful to you whilst you battle sugar cravings. Pay a visit to a good health food store (not a pharmacy or disount vitamins place!) and ask for their onsite nutritionist or naturopath to make sound recommendations for you.

Daily fluid intake
2 coffees, 2 litres of water and 2 glasses of wine.

Ok, excellent, is it 2 wines every night? If so try cutting down to 1 Sun through Thurs.

Any further information you’d like to share or special dietary requirements to factor in?
I am a coeliac.

I think some snack options are paramount here: mixed fresh vegetables cut into sticks to dip with humus, salsa, tzatziki etc. experiement with GF flours to make your own crackers rather than always turning to packaged rice crackers, likewise dedicate a day of the week to some baking of GF treats: cookies, cake, muffins etc. and load them up with wholesome seeds, dried fruits, use healthier fats such as coconut oil, nut milk and yoghurt in place of butter and milk and vegetable oil where you can.

Make your own GF muesli mix packed with nuts, seeds, buckinis, dried fruits and enjoy a portion of this with some dark chocolate pieces as a trail mix or serve with yoghurt for an afternoon treat in place of cake. Perhaps introduce a smoothie made using diced frozen banana pieces with an egg, milk, some flaxseed oil and vanilla or honey to sweeten.

Lately I have been into making stewed fruit to go atop my morning porridge and I barely sweeten it as the honey I add to my porridge is enough. I use things like rhubarb, pears, apples, strawberries and they are gently bubbled down into a lovely thick jammy mess with just a tablespoon of raw sugar and some vanilla or cinnamon to taste. Great for porridge, muesli, pancakes, toast or even with a dollop of thick yoghurt. There are so many alternatives to cake but I’m not saying don’t eat cake at all… Just find some other ways to get your sweets cravings sorted.

Further reading

Follow up – Nicole Avery

It has been over two months since Katie made some recommendations to help me change my plate. So below I have provided an update on some of Katie’s key recommendations:


You’re eating at least two cups of nuts here, which is a lot of nuts (and nut fat, although it IS good fat!) but with your exercise regime you can probably rip through it rather than store it. If you weren’t so active I’d suggest reducing this quantity however.

Immediately after Katie’s feedback I reduced my nut intake by half. In June I started a RESET challenge and I have eliminated any nuts other than those used for garnish. I do feel much better for this too. I often felt a bit bloated after eating so many and this has gone away. I also came across this post on facebook which explains why when it comes to nuts, you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Apart from the frozen banana and gogi berries, there is no fruit. Is there a reason for this? If not then we know that fruit affords vitamins and antioxidants, which are protective against infection and disease. You can comfortably introduce 1 – 2 additional pieces of fruit into your diet. Great post workout natural sugar hit!

I have increased my fruit intake. I will sit down with the kids after school and eat with them. I generally make them a fruit platter, so I make sure there is enough for me. So the variety of fruit I am eating has increased – pineapple, melon, kiwi fruit, berries etc

WHERE are your carbohydrates Nicole? There’s 2 cups of rice, some sweet potato and a bit of carrot. Add oats to your smoothie, bake a clean eating muesli and seed slice and eat this for morning or afternoon tea, add more vegetables and legumes to your dinner, you are training and you need glucose from ready sources: carbohydrates. Protein and fats come into play after carbohydrates as fuel sources which is why they are successful when the focus of weight loss diets, but you’re not needing weight loss ~ you’re needing fuel. (Definitely need to up my carb/veggie intake on training days and will test out some new slice recipes.)

I have been working on increasing carbs and the variety I intake. I have made the following new recipes:

I am also making sure that I have a greater variety of colours on my plate – need to make sure I always have some greens too.

For me I think I get in a rut with what I eat and often go to eating the same things because it is easier. I am working on increasing my repertoire of easier meals so I have greater variety of veggies with my meals.


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.