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Hello [name],

This month we share healthy lunch ideas, how to create your own sandwich bar at home, the new FoodSwitch app, why you should eat watermelon and a perfect cooking workshop so you can fight chronic disease.  Happy reading and happy Easter holidays!

Healthy Lunches – What Should You Pack?

Looking for a quick and healthy lunch that’s easy to prepare and in line with your health goals?  With sandwiches still the most popular luncheon choice among Australians, it’s time to reinvent this old favourite to save on your waistline as well as your wallet!

Recent research commissioned by 7-Eleven into the spending habits of consumers has found a mere 20 % of Australians prepare their lunch fresh from home with the majority of people relying heavily on take-away sandwiches.  The Australasian Sandwich Association estimates that 26 sandwiches are purchased every second in Australia!

The Problem with Pre-made Sangers

Pre-made sandwiches from sandwich bars and convenience stores are often loaded with unwanted fats – think yellow spreads, cheese, mayonnaise and dressings as well as processed meats.  Many are also made with a white bread or wrap base, which can be high in glycaemic index (GI) and contribute to unwanted fluctuations in your blood sugar levels while leaving you hungry shortly afterwards.  What’s more, many salad and sandwich bars soak fresh salad ingredients like lettuce, carrot and tomato in water loaded with sugar in order to enhance the vegetable colour - this may come as a surprise to some people.

Why Fresh is Best

Unlike take-away sandwiches and other convenience foods, preparing your sandwiches at home from fresh ingredients means you have complete control over what you are feeding yourself and your family while taking advantage of a variety of fillings according to seasonality.  Bringing your lunch from home can also save you dollars. The average take-away sandwich costs anywhere between $5 - $15, which can add up to more than $3000 per year for something you could easily do yourself or with the whole family!  How else could you be spending the 3K?  

Creating the Perfect Sandwich for You

There are loads of different sandwich ideas to tempt even the fussiest eater, all requiring minimal time and preparation.  Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

1.  First, pick a good bread – that’s key to keeping your blood sugar levels from misbehaving and for you to experience sustained energy throughout the afternoon.  Best breads include multigrain, oatbran and honey, soy and linseed, dark rye, pumpernickel, mountain bread, wholemeal or grain wraps and wholegrain English muffins.  Or, if you have an allergy or food intolerance, Dovedale rye and chia bread (wheat free) and Country Life multigrain gluten free bread, for example.

2.  Moisten with a healthy spread.  With many different types of spreads to choose from these days, why not give butter and margarine a miss and try some new spreads such as fresh avocado, hommus, babaganoush, tzatziki, sun-dried tomato spread or bring out the old favourites like chutney, mustard or creamed low fat cottage cheese?

3.  Choose a protein filling.  There are plenty of options to suit all types of diets.  If you’re trying to cut down on meat for health and longevity reasons, go ahead and try a lentil pattie or other fillings like falafel balls, baked beans, 4-bean mix, marinated tofu, natural peanut butter, vegetarian sausage, tinned tuna or salmon, boiled egg and BBQ chicken pieces without the skin.  When you crave red meat, use up any leftover fresh meat you have cooked from scratch - this is much healthier than processed meat you can buy like lean ham or corned beef, now strongly linked with bowel cancer and other conditions.

4.  Create bulk and add colour with vegetables.  Mix and match your favourite salad vegetables such as rocket, baby spinach, baby cos, green oak and red oak lettuce, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, Lebanese cucumber, snowpeas, alfa alfa and onion sprouts, fresh mushrooms, celery, grated beetroot, capsicum, cabbage, carrot or snowpeas.  For something a bit fancy why not try grilling some eggplant, sweet potato, zucchini or pumpkin slices, artichokes, capsicum, or add in taboulleh?  Snip some fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander, basil and dill for that final lift of flavour!

5 Super Sandwich Ideas

 ✔ Create some Mediterranean magic on mountain bread with a spread of hommus topped with grilled eggplant and sweet potato slices, roasted yellow capsicum and semi-dried tomato and roll up

 ✔Stir crushed walnuts and chopped chives into a generous dollop of low fat mayonnaise and add to a shredded chicken and wholemeal salad wrap

 ✔Sultanas, grated carrot and walnuts make a perfect combination with cottage or ricotta cheese on rye bread

 ✔Combine leftover lean roast meat with mustard, Spanish onion rings, baby spinach, cucumber and tomato and enjoy on soy and linseed bread

 ✔Enhance the colour and nutrition power of an oven roasted turkey and pesto wholegrain sandwich by adding beetroot and tabbouleh

Set Up Your Own Sandwich Bar

Can’t find the time to make healthy lunches everyday?  Check out our tips below and create your own sandwich bar at home on the week-end – ready for quick access during your busy week!

Health Quote

“Life is like a sandwich - the more you add to it, the better it becomes.”- Anon

Cooking Workshop – Smart Foods to Drop Your Cholesterol & Sugar – Naturally!

Do you want to get off cholesterol lowering and diabetes medication or impress your doctor enough to lower your dose?  Do you cringe at the thought of needing to take lifelong pills?

See how you can use certain foods as medicine to drop your blood sugar and cholesterol naturally – without nasty side effects!  The good side effects we can promise you are body fat loss, better laxation and more energy!

A diet focused on a portfolio of nature’s superfoods has been clinically proven to lower your cholesterol by up to 30%!  The same foods also work to better regulate your blood glucose levels.

Taste delicious and easy-to-make dishes ranging from edamame (sweet, fresh green soybeans you can nibble anytime), a superb fresh fennel salad with walnuts, an amazing pasta sauce with the delicate flavour of eggplant and a light strawberry and banana mousse you can indulge in knowing it’s doing you good!  You will just love this menu!

When: Tuesday 8th May 2012

Time: 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol, are overweight or aware of any family history of heart attack or stroke, this cookshop is perfect for you!

Learn more about this cookshop.        

Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place.  Bring your partner!

New Product – FoodSwitch iPhone App

Ever wondered if the foods you are buying are the best choice?  The new free Foodswitch app available from the iTunes store can help you find out. Brought to you by Bupa and the George Institute for Global Health, this app was developed as part of the Healthy Foods Initiative to help Australians understand more about the nutritional value of commonly consumed foods and to empower you to make healthier food choices where possible.

How does it work?  Simply scan the barcode of packaged foods with your iphone or iPad2 camera to retrieve the nutritional information for over 20,000 common household foods.  Note – the app doesn’t provide information for every single product on the market but its database is large and constantly building. 

This app also provides easy to interpret colour codes for 4 key food components (total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt), with red indicating a less healthy choice, amber an okay choice and green being a healthier choice.  Consider traffic lights!  You can also save a list of your healthy food swaps to your phone to make your next shopping trip easier or email to a friend!  Some schools are recommending the app as part of their curriculum. Version 2 is now available and there are plans to release tailored versions for high blood pressure, diabetes and gluten free. Learn more about FoodSwitch

What’s Fresh – Watermelon

Did you know there are over 100 different types of watermelon?  Although Red Tiger watermelons, aptly named due to their striped dark green skin, are the most common type grown in Australia, other popular local varieties include the Viking, Allsweet, Sugar Baby and Champagne, all differing slightly in terms of appearance and flavour.

In Australia, watermelons can be produced anywhere but need a long warm to hot growing season.  Related to pumpkins, watermelons are grown on trailing vines on the ground, which have separate male and female flowers that are pollinated by honeybees.  Go honeybees!  Many watermelons have dark brown seeds, but in recent years seedless watermelons have become extremely common in Australia.

In addition to being a great thirst quencher in the warmer months, watermelons can provide numerous benefits for the heart and blood vessels as they contain the highest levels of the antioxidant lycopene per serve compared to any other fruit or vegetable including tomatoes.  This antioxidant has also been linked in multiple studies with a reduced risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer – one good reason for men to get stuck into these melons instead of other nibbles after dinner!  Watermelons are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are also a source of potassium and vitamin B6.  And they can be a healthy food enthusiasts dream dessert, as they contain no fat or cholesterol as well as being a source of fibre.

Watermelons are available all year round in Australia, peaking in summer from December to May.  Once cut, your watermelon will remain fresh for 3 to 4 days when refrigerated.  Cover cut surfaces to prevent them from drying out or deteriorating.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Japanese are growing square watermelons?  By using square, tempered glass containers, as the watermelons grow they become moulded and take on the shape of the container. Although great for saving space in the fridge, these are very expensive and not yet available in Australia.

3 ways with watermelon:

  1. Cube some watermelon and toss through a Greek salad for a summer twist.
  2. Add leftover watermelon chunks to a frappe for a refreshing summer drink.
  3. Try a simple peasant Mediterranean meal of chilled watermelon slices with crusty sourdough bread!

Food InFocus with Sue Radd

Did you catch Sue Radd's latest TV segments full of useful nutrition facts?  Watch them easily now through Vimeo:

The dangers of ‘energy drinks’

The Intriguing Topic of Natures Laxative

Clinic News – Monica is Preggers!

If you’ve visited our clinic over the years you may have met our delightful senior dietitian, Monica Kubizniak.  As all good things come to those who wait, we are excited to announce that Monica is expecting her first baby.  As an existing client you will still be able to book in with Monica up until the end of May, after which time she will take a short maternity break and be fully back on board early October.  If you’ve let your follow up appointment with Monica lapse, call NOW to ensure you get in before she takes leave.  All new clients referred to Monica during her confinement will be cared for by our team of excellent dietitians.

Kitchen Tips – DIY Sandwich Bar

Want to put a fresh, healthy spin on your everyday sandwiches but don’t know where to start?  Why not set up your own home sandwich bar? The key is to get organised on the week-end - maybe do a little shopping - and your working week will be a breeze!

1.   Start with your spreads.  Purchase or create a few low saturated fat options so you can alternate these over the week days.  Popular spreads such as avocado and baba ganoush (eggplant spread) can be easily made or bought ahead of time.  To create your own avocado spread, simple remove the skin and pip from 3-4 avocados and blend using a food processor or hand held mixer until smooth.  Mix in 1 TBSP of lemon juice to help retain that bright green colour.  To make a delicious babaganoush check out our easy video recipe.

2.   Organise your salad options.  Use a food processor to quickly slice basics such as carrot, cucumber and tomato.  For something different, lightly spray some cooking oil on favourites such as eggplant or zucchini strips; capsicum or sweet potato slices and then oven bake until softened.  

3.   Ensure you have a few protein options ‘to go’.  This is easily achieved by boiling up some eggs or buying canned 4-bean mix.  Alternatively, you can purchase a BBQ chicken, remove the skin and shred into smaller portions or grab some pre-made lentil burgers from the supermarket.

Be sure to store all your spreads, salad items and protein options in separate glass containers in the fridge.

All you need now is to ensure you have some good bread on hand (we buy ours ahead and store in the freezer for a longer shelf life) and you’re ready to go, equipped with your own sandwich bar at home!  

Having all these pre-prepared options on hand will also assist you at dinner time where you can easily throw together a simple side salad or enjoy it as a guilt free snack!

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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2012.

Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.sueradd.com

We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.

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