Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Crunchy Coating

Looking for a starchy vegetable to satisfy your veggie quota for the day? Then you don’t need to look any further.  We’ve found a delicious recipe using sweet potatoes (the healthy alternative to using the good ol’ potato). So try this recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Crunchy Coating, that’s not only delicious but good for you (in moderation of course!)

This recipe is from Paleo queens and bloggers, the Merrymaker Sisters so enjoy!

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Ingredients

200 g sweet potato, peel and cut into chip wedges.

2 tablespoons macadamia oil.

1/3 cup coconut flour.

1 tablespoon paprika.

1 tablespoon arrowroot (tapioca) flour.

salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Toss the sweet potato with the macadamia oil in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut flour, paprika, arrowroot, salt and pepper until combined.
  4. Roll each chip in a thin layer or the dry coating mix and place onto a lined baking tray in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the chips and bake for a further 20 minutes.
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Kicking the sugar habit

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This is the time of year that can be particularly difficult if you’re on a diet or a recovering sugar-holic. With Halloween around the corner and the festive season not too far away, it’s virtually impossible to avoid sweet treats so I thought I’d look at ways to fend off sugar cravings. But before I begin talking about ways to stop you from giving into your sweet tooth, I must admit that sugar is my weakness when it comes to food so I understand firsthand how hard it can be to give up this sweet addiction. I say addiction because scientists have acknowledged that sugar has addictive properties which can make it extremely difficult to give up.

While there’s nothing wrong with having something sweet on the odd occasion, making it a regular habit isn’t great for your waistline or your health. There’s no sugar-coating it, over indulging in sugary treats can contribute to obesity and tooth decay and as you may be aware, refined sugar is high in calories and has absolutely NO nutritional value (yep, none whatsoever!). So next time you reach for that chocolate bar, remember there’s no real benefit in getting that sugar-fix other than a temporary ‘high’ which will soon fade, leaving you feeling pretty crappy. So as someone who is trying to wean themselves off sugar, I have found some ways to help you kick sugar-cravings to the curb:

Eat regularly: Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.

Prepare for withdrawal symptoms: I know this sounds crazy but sugar addictions are real and if you have become sugar dependent, you may possibly experience withdrawal symptoms (no, I’m not joking). Research has shown that sugar affects the brain the same way that morphine and other opioids do, and quitting cold turkey may lead to symptoms such as anxiety.

Understand your cravings: When you have a sugar craving your body might be trying to tell you something. You might just be hungry, tired or lacking an important nutrient (just to name a few) so listen to your body.

Know your emotional triggers: I don’t know about you but when I’m stressed, I’m more likely to chew on a Mars bar than when I’m not. Knowing your emotional triggers is important so you can address the reasons behind your cravings and find alternative ways to cope.  Tip:  Instead of reaching into the cookie jar, grab a handful of raw nuts or fresh berries to munch on to see if this satisfies your sweet tooth.

Go for a walk: If eating a sweet treat has become part of your daily routine, then try going for a 10 minute walk when you feel the urge to indulge. I can almost guarantee that you won’t feel like that cupcake/cookie/chocolate bar when you get back.

Why you should rethink your drink:

Would you consume 16 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting? Most of us would answer this question with a flat out ‘NO’ but we wouldn’t hesitate to guzzle down an iced cold bottle of soft drink on a hot summer day. Well, 16 TEASPOONS is the amount of sugar in a regular bottle of soft drink (Yes, you read that right). I have to admit that I was once a soft-drink addict and while I knew soft drinks were bad, I would never have imagined that one bottle contained SO MUCH sugar.

This is where many of us go wrong. While we focus on eating healthier, we tend to forget to keep track of the amount of sugar we consume through the beverages we drink on a regular basis. Even the drinks that many of us consider “healthier” options like flavoured water, sports drinks and fruit juices (yep, even freshly squeezed) contain high amounts of sugar.

So if you want to drink yourself fat, then sugary drinks are definitely the way to go. They lack nutritional value, are full of empty calories and don’t really quench your thirst (which drinking is essentially about, right?). What’s more concerning is that overconsumption of sugary drinks can lead to obesity, and increases your risks of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Consuming sugary soft-drinks has also been linked to tooth decay and erosion, as well as premature ageing. Alarmingly, Australians are one of the biggest consumers of sweetened beverages and in 2006, Australia was among the top 10 countries for per capita consumption of soft drinks.

So if you have a weakness for sweetened beverages, I’d say now is the right time to give up your sweet poison. Remember that consuming excessive amounts of sugar in any form can wreak havoc for your health and if you are looking to quench your thirst, water is best.

TIP: If you can’t resist the urge to drink sweetened beverages, try mixing a splash of 100%fruit juice with sparkling water. That way you can significantly reduce the amount of sugar in your drink and keep the calorie count low.

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Confused about diet and nutrition?

Eating healthy can be confusing. There are a million and one diets out there and there is a new study on diet and health released nearly every day.  Not to mention, everyone you ask seems to have a different opinion on what foods are healthy or not. With so much conflicting information out there, it’s no wonder a lot of us are perplexed about what to eat for better health. So if you’re confused about food and nutrition, then I highly recommend that you watch a recent Tedx talk given by health guru and nutritionist, Dr Joanna McMillan, who clears up a few common diet myths.

Let me know your thoughts!

How to eat healthy without breaking the bank

grocery meme

There is a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive. Take away is considered cheap and fast food outlets are literally around every street corner so it’s no surprise that Australia is fast becoming one of the fattest nations in the world. Research shows that the average Australian eats out four times a month with 55.1 million visits to fast food restaurants recorded every month. Common sense tells you that a greasy burger with a side of chips is no substitute for a healthy home-cooked meal yet we still give in to the temptation and convenience of fast food. While eating fast-food may seem affordable in the short-term, a poor diet can have serious implications for your health in the long run.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and it definitely doesn’t have to be expensive so here are some ways you can save money at the check-out and reap the rewards of healthy eating:

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it

Planning ahead is the number one rule. Make sure you have a meal plan set out for the week ahead and buy ingredients accordingly. Jotting down what you need on a piece of paper is a good way to ensure that you don’t deviate from your meal plan and saves you from making unhealthy food choices in a rush. However, if you still think temptation will get the better of you while shopping for your groceries then steer clear of the junk food aisles altogether!

2. Never shop on an empty stomach

Okay, so we’re all guilty of this: you’re strolling through the supermarket and shoving everything in sight into the trolley because you haven’t eaten all day. At this point your judgment is impaired by this overwhelming urge to satisfy your hunger and everything seems like a necessity (especially anything that is deep-fried or drenched in sugar). Remember that shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Ever.

3. Buy in bulk

No, I don’t mean junk food. Have you ever wondered why junk food is always on sale? Well, because it’s mass produced, lacking nutrients and full of nasty stuff (preservatives, additives and colourings) that your body just doesn’t need. When I say ‘buy in bulk’- I mean seasonal fruit and veggies that are on sale. Seasonal produce is usually plentiful and less expensive than produce that isn’t in season. Try to stay away from pre-sliced, pre-prepared fruits and veggies because while they may offer convenience, they are usually more expensive.

4. Prepare your meals in advance

If you’re really short on time then cooking your meals in advance is a great option. Consider setting aside one day on the weekend to cook your meals for the week ahead. That way you can store individual portions in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will ensure that you’ll have plenty of healthy meals waiting in the fridge and help you save time on cooking during the weekdays.

While buying fresh produce and preparing nutritious meals can seem time consuming and costly, there are countless benefits of eating healthy that your body will thank you for later.

Do you have any tips on how you eat healthy without hurting the hip pocket? If so, please share!

Do you have a grabbable gut?

You don’t need a doctor to tell you that being overweight is unhealthy. But rather than focusing on the numbers on the scale, it is important to consider WHERE fat is located on your body when it comes to assessing your health risks. Over the past couple of years, the Heart Foundation has been running graphic ad campaigns around Australia trying to raise awareness about ‘grabbable guts’ or excess weight around the waist. These ads show that even if you are not overweight, having a ‘grabbable gut’ can be dangerous. Research shows that people with high amounts of fat around their abdomens- compared to other parts of the body- have a higher risk of developing health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This is because the amount of fat stored around your abdomen is usually indicative of fat surrounding your internal organs. Surprisingly, belly fat is a better indicator of your chances of developing T2 diabetes than your BMI (body mass index)- the ratio of weight to height. If you do have a grabbable gut don’t despair as there are simple things you can do to rid yourself of any excess baggage around your waist and improve your health in the long term.

What you can do:

Improve your diet: Losing weight around your mid-section is a great start to get your health back on track. The less fat you have around your waist, the lower your risks are of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You can start by avoiding sugary drinks, watching the types of fats that you eat and reducing your portion sizes. Eating the wrong foods puts unneeded calories into your body, which is then stored as fat.

Get some exercise: I say some because I know how hard it can be to get started and I think some exercise is better than none at all. Along with a healthy diet, exercise assists you in losing weight, improves mood, boosts energy and combats disease. The health benefits of physical activity are numerous and should not be underestimated. Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and simple modifications to your lifestyle can make a HUGE difference to your overall health!

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!

Working with Dietitians and Diabetes

Bittersweet Diagnosis

As someone living with diabetes and being on social media, I hear many stories from other people living with diabetes. The kind of stories that only people with diabetes will ‘get’. We share the laughter and humour or irony, but more often than not, we shake our heads at the things we see or hear. Spending much of our time with specialists and our diabetes healthcare team, it’s unsurprising to hear stories around their diabetes healthcare professionals that just don’t get it. Being a dietitian specialising in diabetes myself and having gone through the training and study that other dietitians would have been required to undergo, this disappoints me more than people think. I think part of this breakdown is due to varied expectations from both people with diabetes and healthcare professionals. So I’ll try to share some advice from my experiences living on both sides of the fence.

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