5 dietitian-approved winter warming breakfasts with 400 calories or less

5 dietitian-approved winter warming breakfasts with 400 calories or less

Dietitian Melissa Meier shares her go-to winter warmers for the AM.

On freezing cold winter mornings, summer smoothies and muesli bowls just don’t cut it.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to fall off the healthy eating bandwagon – you can easily stay on track with healthy, hearty breakfasts that warm you up from the inside out. Case in point: the following five hot brekkies that contain less than 400 calories per serve. You’re welcome.

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Berry porridge: 368 calories per serve

Combine half a cup of rolled oats with two thirds of a cup of milk and a pinch of cinnamon and cook on the stove.

Top with ten chopped almonds and a handful of blueberries and voila – you’ve got a super healthy, piping hot brekkie on your hands. The rolled oats provide long-lasting energy and plenty of fibre to keep you feeling full well into the morning, while the nuts add good-for-you fats for a healthy, happy ticker.

Veggie omelette: 361 calories per serve

I’m a big fan of veggies at breakfast. You’re recommended to eat at least five to six serves of veggies each and every day – and that’s really hard to do if you leave it all till dinner time. So, a veggie-packed omelette for the first meal of the day is a wise idea.

Simply cook a handful each of cherry tomatoes and mushrooms in a pan with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO, for short), then pour in two whisked eggs and continue cooking until the eggs are set on both sides. Serve with a slice of toast topped with a quarter of an avocado to round out the meal with some good quality carbs and healthy fats. #Winning.

Ricotta and tomato on toast: 392 calories per serve

Another option that provides all-important veggies along with a serve of dairy for bone-strengthening calcium, this delicious recipe is on high rotation in my household. Start with a base of dark, grainy toast for low-GI carbs, then top with half a cup of reduced-fat ricotta cheese and one sliced tomato.

Finish it off with a tiny drizzle of balsamic glaze and EVOO for a little boost of flavour. Not only is this brekkie oh-so-tasty, it’s ready in less than five minutes. What’s not to love?

Shakshuka: 395 calories per serve

On weekends when you’ve got a little more time up your sleeve, shakshuka is a real winner. Start by sautéing half an onion and half a capsicum in two teaspoons of EVOO over a low heat and once soft, add half a tin of cherry tomatoes. Cook for a further few minutes and then, using the back of a spoon, create a well to crack in a couple of eggs.

Finish off the eggs in the oven and serve with 40 grams of feta cheese sprinkled over the top. Veggies – tick. Protein – tick. Tasty – you bet ‘cha.

Healthy pancakes: 380 calories per serve

That’s right – even pancakes make the cut! My version involves one tablespoon of chia seeds and two tablespoons of almond meal for heart-healthy fats, combined with a mashed ripe banana for a little sweetness and an egg to bind it all together.

This mixture forms three pancakes that, once cooked, are perfect topped with a couple of tablespoons of reduced-fat Greek yoghurt, frozen mixed berries and a teaspoon each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. With over ten grams of fibre in a single serve, these healthy pancakes are a gut-loving twist on an old favourite.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

How to deal when your ‘mental bandwidth’ is totally maxed out

How to deal when your ‘mental bandwidth’ is totally maxed out

Co-founder of resilience platform Springfox, Peta Sigley shares her tips to stop overloading your brain.

Did you know that like the internet, your brain is constantly processing things at crazy speeds and that it does in fact have limits?

So yes, when you’re driving the kids to school, on the handsfree to your mum organising weekend plans but really thinking about what on earth you’re going to make for dinner – you’re doing too much.

The stress you feel is your brain’s way of telling you that it’s being overloaded. Think of it like the spinning wheel of death on your Mac.

Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, co-founder of resilience platform Springfox, Peta Sigley (who is also completing a PhD in Psychology), says that the idea of ‘mental bandwidth’ is a concept people really like and latch on to – because it’s so relatable.

“The brain processes about 11 billion bits per second. So that’s a lot. Yet in the conscious state, it’s about one hundred bits per second. And we know that having a one on one conversation requires about sixty four bits of processing capacity,” she tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode Manage your mental bandwidth like a boss.

She adds that COVID-19 has ‘slammed’ into our bandwidth and is really having an impact on the amount we can take on.

“COVID has really ratcheted up the gear. In terms of bandwidth, we’re finding people are procrastinating. They’re worrying about making decisions…they’re not as accurate. They’re slower. There’s a whole heap of stuff going on and that’s literally just to skim the surface of the reality,” she says.

It makes sense, given the continuing uncertainty we face about our future – even in Australia where COVID rates are very low. Outbreaks and lockdowns are constantly changing the game.

“Am I going to work or am I not going to work? What does that mean for my job security? What does that mean for my financial security? Am I going to have to home school children again? Where am I wearing a mask where I’m not wearing a mask?…Add to that feeling isolated, feeling lonely, even in a really busy house, losing that sense of self…when we work with people, that’s what we’re hearing all the time.”

Sigley says that when we get repeatedly overloaded we can get into a pattern of rumination and agitation.

“We do start to become hyper vigilant, which will drive things like stress levels that will drive things like anxiety, self-doubt, and being highly self-critical. We know that it impacts us not just cognitively, but we also start to see the emotional impacts and the physical impacts,” she explains.

One of the biggest things we can do to break the cycle of being overloaded is learning to say ‘no’.

Sigley says that we struggle with ‘the disease to please’ (women in particular). We don’t want to be seen as uncaring or unlikable, so we make ourselves amenable to people whenever we can.

“It’s OK to say ‘No!’. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is about ensuring I’m there not only for myself, but for all the people that I’m saying yes to on an ongoing basis,” she says.

The boundaries we set to give ourselves time for self-care are important; to preserve our bandwidth for the things and people that do really matter in our lives.

Sigley’s tips for creating boundaries

1. Find Balance

Make sure that you have time to exercise, to connect, but also to recover and clear your mind of the mental loads we’re so often carrying on a daily basis.

2. Self-reflection

“We want that positive adaptation, that positive growth, and that requires a level of self-reflection,” she says.

Ask yourself questions about what’s working, what isn’t, what’s important and what else you’d like to be able to do in your life.

3. Segment your day

“We have to put up some constraints and understand where we are spending time and what we can do. I really strongly say you need to be starting to segment your day and setting a time for yourself,” Sigley adds.

4. Progress not perfection

“As soon as we start getting to that perfectionist line of thinking, I should do this. I must do that, we set ourselves up for failure. We know we’re not going to get it right every time,” she says.

We need to know we’re going to make mistakes, get things wrong – and it’s these lessons that keep us going.

Basically, don’t use up your remaining, precious bandwidth with worrying about getting everything right.

Sounds like pretty sage advice to us.

Peta Sigley is the co-founder of online resilience platform, Springfox, and joins host Felicity Harley. She’s also studying a PhD in Psychology.

You can find out more about Peta and Springfox, here.

Exactly how KAAIAA founder Leah Simmons stays healthy and well

Exactly how KAAIAA founder Leah Simmons stays healthy and well

The founder of KAAIAA, Leah Simmons tells Body+Soul all of the health rituals that help her stay well.

In our editorial series My Healthy Habits, we chat to inspiring individuals about their health and wellness routines, where they share everything from their fitness routines to their beauty go-to’s and midweek meals. Jennifer Hawkins‘ shares how her life has changed since becoming a mum, Bec Judd swears by ‘magic’ supplements, Sjarna Elise Earp looks to meditation and medicinal mushrooms ,Nagnata co-founder Laura May Gibbs turns to baths to deal with burnout and Jessica Sepel has some relatable wellness rituals you can actually follow.

Leah Simmons is the founder of KAAIAA, a transformational workout that trains four pillars of health: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual via a combination of breath work, body work, meditation and integration. Simmons is also a PT, Pilates instructor and Kundalini yoga teacher. Here, Simmons shares all the ways she stays well.

Outline your morning ritual for us….

Most mornings I wake up at 4:45am as I have to be at the studio by 5:30am to prepare the space for my 6am class so I start my mornings in the dark! It’s a magical time of day – everything is quiet. You can almost hear the earth humming. Once I arrive at the studio I set my intentions for the day with a short meditation and cleansing ritual and then open the doors to greet my early bird students.

Outline your night ritual for us…

I wish I could say that I have a ‘set-in-stone’ night time ritual but the truth is, with two kids, my erratic work schedule and early mornings, we are all just going with the flow right now. We are a very adaptable family and we love being in the moment so even if it’s just ONE night that we all manage to be off our tech, eat dinner together, read or watch a movie then seamlessly drift off to bed then we celebrate that. One thing I will say that is ritualistic for us is that we always take the time to be grateful for each other. We say it out loud, every single day.

Talk us through your supplement intake…

I don’t eat before I teach so when I get home I make a big smoothie full of goodness. I love the Nuzest Good Green Vitality and I then fill it with things like frozen banana, hemp seeds, LSA, MCT oil, berries etc. I usually only take supplements if I feel like I’m deficient in something. I generally like to get my nutrients from wholefoods first and supplements second.

I also believe that water is one of the best supplements we can take and most of us don’t get enough of it. Fantastic for your skin and overall health. Having said that, I do love making a hot cacao with reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and a bit of oat milk and honey.

What is your weeknight dinner philosophy – what’s a normal meal look like?

While our eating philosophy on the whole is centred around health, there is no ‘normal’ in our house. And I know this may seem shocking to you, reader, but I actually do not like cooking. I’m definitely conscious of what I eat and of course what I feed my family but I’m not not a “foodie” so it’s either my husband making something or me (begrudgingly) doing something super simple. That can range from egg on toast to a ‘hidden veg’ soup to last night’s leftovers. I’m lucky that both of my kids eat raw veggies because I know I can throw that in front of them at any time and they will get eaten. The only normal (or regular I suppose) thing we do is have dinner at my parents house every Monday night. Like clockwork. That meal is an extravaganza and basically keeps us going for the next two days.

What treatment is a regular for you and why?

I swear by infrared saunas and ice baths. When we lived in Bali it was a daily practice for us. Alternating between hot and cold therapies has been shown to not only boost recovery, it builds physical and mental resistance. Finding comfort in your discomfort is exactly the practice of KAAIAA and the heat/cold combo is great for your circulation, rejuvenating your muscles, teaching you to regulate your breathing and heart rate and increase your mental function. My go-to place is The Slow House in Bondi.

Do you practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness for me is all about being present. It’s about slowing down and taking the time to appreciate things in the here and now. That may be acknowledging your meal and where it came from. It could be looking at and improving how we communicate with each other. It might be standing barefoot on the earth and feeling grounded. The more we are taken out of the present (through our phones, email, social media and other distractions) the less we are connected to the magic of what is in front of us. We all talk about how busy we are but time slows right down if you can exist in the moment.

Do you practice meditation?

As meditation has grown in popularity, I’ve noticed a stigma begin to form around exactly what it is and how to do it. Many people I’ve had conversations with are too afraid to even try it for fear of doing it wrong. They have preconceived ideas that in order to meditate they need to sit still and clear their mind of every and all thoughts (which is nigh on impossible). Know this. There is no ‘bad’ meditation. There is only you and your experience. And like anything, practice makes perfect and consistency is key. But for me, meditation is any practice that requires focused observation for an amount of time. It could be sitting quietly for a moment and feeling into your body. It could be tuning into your breath and observing your thoughts as they come. It could be walking along the sand being mindful and present with each step. For some people running it’s running, for others, surfing. Whatever it is should be enjoyable.

What’s your approach to more alternative forms of beauty and wellness practises?

Ahhhh… to sage or not to sage? That is a hot topic at the moment but the REAL question I suppose is do I subscribe to the healing powers of these alternative therapies? The short answer is YES however that is due to the intention that I set before I perform the ritual or ceremony for whatever it is I am doing. I have the utmost respect for the indigenous cultures from which these ancient traditions have come and I ensure that all of my tools are ethically and sustainably sourced. Whether it’s a stick of palo santo, a crystal or a hand carved incense holder, I personally love peppering my spaces with objects that hold meaning for me. My dear friend Jae (owner and curator of my favourite store, Circa BC where you will find all of these treasures), gave me a beautiful perspective on how and why people are drawn to these earthly talismans. She calls them “Divine Reminders” and believes they serve as symbols of commitment that you can look at, reflect upon and surround yourself with, that can assist in keeping you on your path (whatever that may be).

What do you do to help your body recover after a workout/hectic week?

Sauna, ice bath, sleep. In that order.

Talk us through your fitness approach…

My fitness approach is holistic. I believe that just being fit physically doesn’t make you truly fit. So my fitness regime incorporates training my mental health, my emotional stability and the deep connection to myself as well as my body (KAAIAA, basically) but in terms of my physical fitness, I am teaching between 10 – 12 classes per week at the moment plus doing private events so that is pretty well covered. And yes I listen to my body – it tells me when to pull back, when I need to rest, when I need to stretch, when I need to breathe more and when I need to come back into the present moment. Conversely, it also tells me when I need to take it up a notch.

Do you regularly listen to any wellness podcasts?

Out of all of these questions this is the one I wish I had a better answer for. No, I don’t. I’m rarely in the car to listen to anything and if I’m not teaching, working or spending time with the family then I’m sleeping (I hope). Any suggestions would be welcome!

What I do love to listen to is music (must be the ex-DJ in me). Any sort of shamanistic, acoustic, tribal, live music or sound healing, binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies – that’s me. That’s on in the background most days.

Do you use any wellness technology you use or Apps to monitor your health?

No. It’s a shame as I know these pieces of technology are designed to provide us with an insight into the way our bodies function, but I see so many people in class with their wearables constantly being taken out of their experience because of dings and pings. Perhaps knowledge is power, but so is being able to intuitively connect to yourself. The more we are removed from this equation with the information just handed to us, the less we are able to feel and sense where we are at for ourselves. Our own intuition is our deepest connection to ourselves. We should commit to understanding the rhythms, signs and signals of our greatest wearable is our own body.

What’s your trick to making it through the 3pm slump?

KAAIAA! There is no 3pm slump if you are training across the four Pillars Of Health. The only reason a slump exists is because of low energy. And this can be due to mental fatigue, physical needs not being met (e.g. not enough sleep) or emotional instability (being worried about something happening in your life e.g. relationships/work/self-esteem etc). These are what we call ‘energy leaks’. They take you out of the present moment (where you cultivate energy) and send you down a spiral of anxiety and worry – both of which drain a lot of energy. If you are supporting your health through training the four Pillars then your capacity increases, your energy levels rise and you can wave goodbye to that afternoon crash.

An average Sunday night looks like…

Right now it’s all about the open fire with a glass of red wine in hand. Bliss.

Who do you look up to in the wellness world and why?

I am inspired by anyone doing the (sometimes hard) work on themselves that will help them to grow and expand as a person. This qualifies their voice (in my eyes), and allows them to share their views from a connected place. It means what they say will resonate with their audience and this is what I admire. Stepping into the dark places to find the light, learning from their experiences and sharing that with the world. Anyone operating from a common-good model where sustainability, the health of the planet and looking after the people is given the same attention (if not more) as profit.

Companies are becoming much more conscious of their imprint on the world which is amazing to see. Ardor Athletic, Who Gives A Crap and 4ocean are just a few that spring to mind and then initiatives like The 440 Run Club and Runday where their sole mission is to just get people moving are all trailblazers in my eyes.

What was your 2021 health or wellness resolution?

I launched KAAIAA at the end of January this year. I felt like with everything that had happened with COVID it was the perfect time to offer people a simple way to support their mental, physical and emotional health. So the rest of this year and beyond will be focused on that. Sharing, expanding, teaching and growing KAAIAA.

All products featured in this article are selected by our guests and editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale.

Is this the world’s best natural deodorant? It’s even military-approved

Is this the world’s best natural deodorant? It’s even military-approved

This natural deodorant made for soviet soldiers is a game-changer.

There are few better people to road test a deodorant’s effectiveness than a soldier in active combat. With the threat of attack, nil laundry facilities and limited access to showers, building up a pretty ripe stink is a guaranteed hazard of the job.

So when a friend suggested I try Lavilin, a natural deodorant which had been developed during World War II for the soviet army, my interest was piqued.

Now I consider myself somewhat of a natural deodorant connoisseur. I’ve tried dozens of pit pastes, crystal roll-ons and sprays in my search for the most tenacious deodoriser on the market. I wouldn’t consider my body odour to be particularly offensive, but if I’m going to invest in a natural deodorant, I want to be sure I won’t clear a room if I decide to sport a polyester-blend in January.

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And while many brands claim to keep the stink away for up to two days, none had been bold enough to boast their deodorant could still be effective seven days after initial application.

Founded by biochemist Ziska Hlavin and commercialised in 1974, the Israeli deodorant brand has garnered a cult following in the US, Russia and Europe.

Since launching in Australia in 2017 to little fanfare, the products – which are aluminium, paraben and phthalate-free – have quietly been attracting a very solid fanbase. The brand’s local website now has hundreds of four and five-star reviews, with customers raving about the product’s tenacity. The website also cites a study by the Institute of Skin Research in Tel Aviv, backing up its effectiveness. “A single application of Lavilin 002 is effective for 6.28 days on average,” the website states.

So with a slight degree of scepticism, I tried two sample packs given to me by a girlfriend (who is a complete convert).

You can buy a trial sachet for $4, which will give you two applications (or 14 days of sweet-smelling underarms) while a tub – which the website claims will last you a whole year – will set you back $34.95. The formulation contains a probiotic as well as zinc oxide, arnica, calendula and chamomile. It does contain talc, an ingredient which I usually avoid, however much of the controversy around talc has been associated with damage to lungs from inhaling particles.

Considering the product is a cream and confined to the underarms, I’m willing to make an exception on this occasion.

The directions are very specific – if possible, spend the weekend deo-free (and for the sake of others, stay home). This allows any other products which have built up to be completely gone prior to applying.

On Sunday night, apply a raindrop-sized amount to the centre of each underarm after a warm shower, and spend the next week enjoying fresh smelling ‘pits.

The first time I applied the deodorant, I didn’t notice any B.O until about day three. And while I hardly came near to recreating the conditions of direct combat, I did take a few long, brisk walks which broke a slight sweat.

The second time I applied it, though, on Thursday, I stuck it out for six days, each day asking my four-year-old son – without doubt my toughest and most honest critic – if mummy smelled yucky. It wasn’t until the morning of day five, when my question was met with a scrunched-up face, that I decided it was time to reapply.

By the time I’d made my way through the second sample pack I was remaining deo-free for six days without issue.

I’ll admit the desire to slather something under my arms every morning was hard to resist, and if you’re used to wearing an aluminium-containing anti-perspirant it might take a while to get used to.

While the only wars I’m in these days centre around things like whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, knowing that I’ve got one less task in the morning feels like a victory.

You can find the deodorant here.

These are the ground rules for healthy pizza consumption

These are the ground rules for healthy pizza consumption

Melissa Meier is the dietitian who will finally tell you that yes, pizza can be a part of an overall healthy diet (if you follow these parameters).

Nothing beats a slice (or two or three or four…) of a delicious pizza.

Carbs covered in oozy gooey cheese – what more could you want on a Friday night?! Often packed with saturated fat and sodium, however, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that takeaway pizza is definitely classed as a treat food in my books.

Nonetheless, some choices are a little healthier than others. Here’s what you need to know.

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What are the healthiest pizza toppings?

Ham, salami, prosciutto… these deli meats are toppings on the vast majority of pizzas – and I’m sorry to say that if you’re a big fan, I’ve got some bad news.

Processed meats are chock-full of sodium and saturated fat, both of which are bad news for heart health, so they shouldn’t be consumed on the reg. In fact, processed meats are linked to bowel cancer, so ideally should be avoided altogether.

On the healthier end of the spectrum are veggie and seafood pizzas (think: prawns, mushroom, capsicum), which tend to contain less sodium and saturated fat than their meaty counterparts.

Of course, cheese is part and parcel of any pizza – and while cheese can easily be a part of a healthy diet, eating too much of it can really ramp up your total kilojoule and sodium intake, so it’ll pay to take it easy on the cheese front.

Thick vs thin vs stuffed crusts: what’s the difference?

As a general rule of thumb, thin crusts are a healthier option than thick, but there is a lot of variation between outlets, so it’ll pay to read up on the nutrition information.

What is a sure thing, however, is that stuffed crusts are at the bottom of the pecking order. Usually filled with cheese, stuffed crusts ramp up the kilojoule content of an already kilojoule-packed meal, so I’d suggest skipping it, at least most of the time.

How much pizza is ok to eat in one sitting?

A whole pizza can add a whole lot of unnecessary kilojoules, sodium and saturated fat to your diet, even if you’re choosing a healthier choice (like a veggie pizza on a thin crust), so I’d advise against the whole pie.

The other thing worth considering is that pizza on its own is rarely a balanced meal, so I’d suggest balancing it out with extra veggies on the side, like a big side salad. For the average Joe, that means two or three slices of pizza along with veggies on the side is a good place to start.

If you’re out, an easy way to do it is to split a pizza between two or three dinner buddies and order some fresh sides to go with it. If you’re at home with takeaway, I’d suggest serving yourself your slices on a plate rather than eating from the box, to help avoid overdoing it.

The verdict on pizza: how much is too much?

You might be surprised to hear this from a dietitian, but if pizza is your absolute favourite meal, I think eating it once a week is perfectly fine, especially if you stick to the above parameters.

A healthy diet isn’t about perfection – but instead, eating healthy wholefoods the majority of the time and balancing it out with your favourite treat foods to fill up your happy cup every once in a while. If that means a week of whole grains and tonnes of veggies is complimented with a few slices of pizza on the weekend, then that’s fine by me.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.