Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

Putting Spring back into your step with Australian Bananas

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

For many of us the warmer temperatures cannot come soon enough, and if you have been struggling to muster energy at the moment you are not alone. The good news is that longer days and warmer weather often help us find motivation to get back on track with healthy lifestyle choices. So, if you know that your diet could use a little work, here are some easy ways to get things started.

1. Supercharge your fresh food intake

There is a growing body of research that shows aiming to include at least 30 different plant foods in our diet each week is a significant step towards optimal health. It appears that exposing the body and gut to a range of different nutrients helps to support immunity by nourishing the gut in different ways. On a daily basis this means that you look for opportunities to add more fresh foods into your day – think adding chopped fresh fruit such as banana or berries to your morning cereal, snacking on a range of different fruits, vegies, nuts and seeds and making sure at least two of your meals include at least 2-3 different sorts of vegies or salad.

2. Conduct a fibre audit

Adults need at least 30g of dietary fibre each day for gut health, ideally foods such as un-ripened bananas, artichokes and garlic which offer the prebiotic fibres which feed the good bacteria in the gut and keep it healthy. To get 30g of dietary fibre each day, the average adult will need 2 pieces of fruit, 2-3 cups of vegies or salad as well as wholegrain breads and cereals.

3. Get your timing right

From a metabolic perspective, the earlier in the day you eat your meals the better it will be for metabolism. This means eating your first meal by 8 or 9 at the latest and your final meal of the day by 7 or 8pm so you have at least 12 hours overnight without food. This extended fast overnight helps to keep the hormones that control fat metabolism well regulated.

4. Go light at night

Often, we start the day with a light meal or coffee, grab lunch on the go before settling in each night to a heavy meal, treats, alcohol, and extra snacks. The issue with this is that you are not only likely to be overconsuming calories in the second half of the day, but you are also less likely to wake the next morning hungry for breakfast. Sticking to light meals like grills, salads, soups and vegetable based dishes will help to support calorie and weight control.

5. Know your low-cal sweet treats

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a treat at night, but high fat, high calorie foods such as chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits, and snack foods are easy to overeat and can contain as many calories as a meal. An easy way to strike a balance between night-time snacks and sweet treats is to know a handful of low calorie, nutrient rich and tasty options. Choc dipped frozen bananas, frozen grapes, Greek yoghurt, and homemade protein balls (see recipe below) are all good options.

Spring Recipe: Kid-Friendly Banana Bites

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas large mashed
  • 1 cup rolled oats raw
  • 1 cup pitted dates chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Method

  1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates in a blender for 1 minute.
  2. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  3. Roll the mixture into small-sized balls in your hands.
  4. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge.