Top nutrition and fitness questions

Caitlin Reid
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Accredited practising dietitian and accredited exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid answers your nutrition and exercise questions.

What's the common mistake people make when trying to eat more healthily?
Generally people know which foods are healthier choices but they make the mistake of eating too much. Over the last few decades, portion sizes of foods eaten away from home have grown, and subsequently we perceive these portion sizes to be the norm. This leads to overconsumption, which makes shape management more difficult.

How do people best avoid eating too much?
With your evening meal, fill a quarter of your plate with carbohydrate-based food (pasta, rice, breads, potatoes or noodles), another quarter with protein-based food (lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, egg or legumes) and the final half with vegetables or salad. Eating off smaller plates and bowls can help you reduce portion sizes. Finally, concentrate on your meal and hunger levels by switching off the television and sitting at the table when eating.

How do you enjoy your favourite foods and manage your weight?
I eat my favourite foods whenever I like, but I watch the portion sizes. The worse thing we can do is label foods as "good" or "bad", "okay" or "forbidden". When we deprive ourselves of the foods we love, we have an increased desire for these foods, which ultimately leads to overconsumption on the very foods we were trying to avoid. The key is moderation; small portions, occasionally.

What are your favourite quick meals for winter?
Vegetable soup is a quick and nutritious meal for keeping you warm throughout winter. Simply heat oil in a saucepan and add onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, celery and zucchini and cook until vegetables soften. Add tinned tomatoes and reduced-salt vegetable stock and bring to boil. Lastly add tinned lentils and cook until heated through. Quiche Lorraine with salad and steak with mash potato and steamed vegetables are also favourites.

How do you stay motivated to stick to your exercise routine?
I was brought up in a really active family where both my brothers and I played a number of sports each week. So I keep active now by playing team sports such as netball, touch and oz tag. I'm also a regular gym goer and love running and yoga. Having the flexibility to work out inside or outside is a great way to overcome any poor weather conditions that may otherwise get in the way of my training program.

What's your advice for helping people stay motivated to exercise regularly?
Participate in activities that you enjoy. If you hate running, but love swimming and cycling make these activities part of your training program. There's no point in doing something that you dislike. Playing a team sport or training with a friend is great way to ensure you'll keep active; you'll let the team or your training partner down if you don't show up. Finally, register for a fun run, swim or triathlon for later in the year. This will motivate you to train regularly, as you won't want to enter the race unprepared.

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