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Changing my plate – increased energy, reduced weight

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 – Cat’s 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 Cat 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 want to have more energy & lose a bit of weight which is slowly creeping up now I am doing a desk job again

NOT skipping meals is going to help with all three of these goals!

Espresso Coffee – white with 1 sugar, prepared by el Husbando at 7am at home …. I really struggle without a coffee and am not a breakfast person…I especially skip it when not at work. BAD ME!

Get a half teaspoon measure to use for the sugar in your coffee, and try to switch to dark brown or coconut sugar IF you can. Otherwise, just reducing by half is fine for now. Once you are accustomed to the sweetness of half a teaspoon, take a quarter teaspoon measure and repeat this process until you can have NONE! As for food, well you’ve gotta “train” yourself to eat in the morning also. It’s hard to do when you’re used to not eating before you leave the house so start small: 2 dates each stuffed with a Brazil nut. Eat these whilst you drink your coffee. Add some oats, granola or seeds to your yoghurt.

I work 3 days a week and am at home with Mr 2, two weekdays and Sat/Sun home with Mr 2, Mr 5 & El Husbando.

12.30pm Homemade veggie rolls: two small kale, ricotta and silver beet sausage rolls in home made puff pastry, 1 x small apple.

I’ve seen your veggie rolls on Instagram! You do make delicious and very healthy food – you just have to remember to EAT it. You aversion to red meat prompts me to remind you to eat plant protein and plant iron: eat generously from the legume, bean, nut, seed, dark green leafy veg, sea vegetables (add some finely diced nori to sandwiches or home made savoury pastries and also to soups – as a seasoning), try a pesto made with parsley, as parsley is a great source of iron and vitamin C. When in doubt: add baby spinach, ha! That’s what I do. Sprouts too, and these might be a fun activity to do with your boys: a jar with some beans and water.

Home made “Nachos” using Lebanese bread (bought) crisped in oven and home made chilli – beef mince (done by me) and LOADS of veggies…onion, garlic, pumpkin, cauliflower, zucchini, green capsicum, carrot, tomato…and red kidney beans + a little grated cheddar w sour cream

I’m not mad about red meat but when we do have it it’s usually minced in some way and I try to home make it.


Snack 1
Around 11am – Beetroot, cacao and chia seed muffin – made at home using Amy’s recipe
1 x cup rose tea


Snack 2
Small bowl of cashews and peanuts at 3pm

Perhaps add some dried figs, apricots and prunes to such snacks: also sources of iron and fibre to hopefully assist with bowel clearance and relieve bloating.

Snack 3
2 small chocolate Easter eggs stolen from my children at 4pm

And you deserved those eggs!

Snack 4

Nothing tonight – I do often have a row of chocolate…or two…and we bake a cake once a week

I’m quite partial to some chocolate with a cup of tea after dinner also, ensure it’s good quality chocolate and portion your serves out so that you don’t incidentally over indulge. If you fancy a chocolate hit you might consider making a hot chocolate on nut milk as this can be quite filling, use raw cocoa and sweeten only to taste.

Nutritional supplements
I’d like to suggest you have your iron studies done so that you know where you are with them, and maybe fasting glucose too. If you’re OK to get in touch with me when you’ve done this then I can make recommendations accordingly.

Daily fluid intake
1 x coffee
2 litres water
1 x cup rose tea

Good water intake, nothing to change here.

Any further information you’d like to share or special dietary requirements to factor in?
We eat vegetarian meals 3-4 times a week. I regularly skip meals when I’m at home – I know it’s naughty but I am being honest. Work meetings during the day can impact on snacks. I really like cooking things up for lunches and putting them in the freezer to cut down on prep time for lunches. I’m increasingly getting a bloated, sore belly after dinner and feel nauseous when I’m hungry though not all the time.

If you are feeding your kids when you’re home: feed yourself! You do seem to have quite the knack in the kitchen so make sure you sit down and take ten minutes out of your day to nourish yourself. As for work snacks: prepare ahead with bulk nuts, seeds, dried fruit, squares of chocolate, toasted muesli clusters that are portioned into snap lock snack sized bags or little storage tubs. Make snacks such as muesli bars, protein balls, friands, banana bread etc which keep well for a few days and keep them individually wrapped in your desk drawer. Buy a large storage tub that you can keep in the work fridge and stock it with humus, cottage cheese, Nimbin pre cut tasty cheese slices, carrots, sugar snap peas etc (things that keep well for the time that you’re there) and then in a pinch you have some fresh, healthy and protein-y snacks.

Rather than opt for only mince when you eat red meat: how do you feel about slow cooked lamb shanks or chuck steak? These are more nourishing with the fats and cartilage cooking into the stock and are easy to mash into a fine texture. Opt for protein rich grains such as quinoa, pearled barley, brown rice, lentils and beans alongside your vegetables.

Katie’s Summary
Three things to focus on: 1. reducing sugar in coffee and eating something light just to get the motor running (blood glucose supply); 2. eating lunch when you’re at home and focusing on protein and green leafy and 3. preparing snacks for when you’re at work.

Further reading and recipes


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.