Survive the Silly Season – Avoid the Weight Gain!

by Lauren Nugent on December 21, 2016

So we are well into the Christmas and New Year holiday season, with more social events filling up our dairies or maybe planned vacations to finally let your hair down you most likely will find yourself surrounded by MORE food and drinks and MORE often. Resist the temptation to over indulge and set back all your good nutrition and exercise efforts over 2016. Here are some hot tips to start 2017 ahead of the game.

1.    EXERCISE- One of the easiest ways to help keep your weight down is to counteract your energy in (food and drink) with your energy out (exercise). Try new things to keep active, organize family outdoor activities or games, go for a walk with friends rather than coffee and cake. Whatever it is, commit to one hour of physical activity every day (minimum 30minutes). Yes, even Christmas Day!

2.    Planning: Fail to prepare- prepare to fail.

2.1  Keep regular meal times: Just because you know there’s going to be extra food on offer at meals don’t skip meals in the lead up. This will likely leave you feeling hungry and overeating on unhealthy foods. Keeping regular meal and snack times will also prevent constant grazing. Really try to plan your meals around your daily schedule and any social events so you are adequately fuelled and also not starving finding yourself at the cheese platter.

2.2 Plan your shopping list will help you avoid stocking up on unhealthy treats just ‘because they were on sale’. If it is in your shopping basket or house then it is eventually in your stomach… and therefore stored as fat if not used up as energy!

3.    Choose foods wisely – At meal times fill up on fresh seasonal salads, vegetables and lean meats. Make use of the gorgeous summer fruits available. Limit stuffings, gravies and fatty cuts of meat. Pick your treat foods you really enjoy rather than nibbling on stale chips or cheap chocolates….hold out and enjoy that piece of Christmas pudding!!!!



4. What are you drinking? – Alcohol and sugary drinks can pack a punch with calories. Did you know that if you were to drink 10 standard glasses of wine (150ml each) you would be consuming over 3350kJ or 800 calories!! This is the same amount of energy as 7 ½ slices of meat lovers pizza!!  Watch your alcohol intake by switching in some non-calorific drinks such as soda water with fresh lemon or lime.  Not only will this keep your calorie count down for the day but will also help to keep you hydrated!

5. Relax and Enjoy – Eat slowly, enjoy and savour every mouthful of your favourite foods. Ditch the food guilt, don’t dwell on a bad meal and don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week. Take time out for yourself, relax and enjoy the time with family and friends. 

How to burn 100 calories quickly?  Just do:

  • 40 Jumping Jacks  + 30 Sit Ups + 20 Squats or Sit-to-Stands  and 10 Push Ups

▪    Riding a bike (Casual riding) for 25 minutes

▪    Swimming (moderate intensity) for 15 minutes

▪    Running at 10km/hr for 9 minutes

▪    Playing Frisbee for 30 minutes

▪    Mowing the lawn for 20 minutes

▪    Washing the car for 20 minutes

▪    Spend 20 minutes playing a dance video game

▪    Playing with children 23 minutes

▪    Shopping for 38 minutes

▪    Walking the dog 26 minutes

▪    Take the stairs- spend 14 minutes walking up stairs

▪    Easiest way to burn off 100 calories? Don’t eat them at all- skip the unnecessary lollies or chocolates on offer over the silly season

Challenge yourself to burn an extra 100 calories per day on top of your normal exercise regime this silly season!

From all of us at Eat Smart Nutrition we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!  We look forward to seeing you in 2017 to help you achieve your nutrition goals.

Written by our Eat Smart #sportsdietitians, Zara Nance.


Our Eat Smart Christmas Menu!

by Lauren Nugent on December 19, 2016

I love this time of year when I get to do the menu planning for Xmas Day.  This year I won’t be cooking on the day but have done up an Eat Smart menu that we all sampled at our Xmas party last week.  I was cooking for 10 Dietitians with a love of good food and healthy appetites and this fed us easily with some leftovers for my very happy family during the week.  I also made it Gluten Free as we have a Coeliac amongst our team.

I always start my planning getting inspiration from magazines  – so out came Donna Hays, delicious.   – Xmas editions both past and present.  I like to do my own twists but I will let you know where I got the ideas.

Our meal started at 4pm with drinks but I think the menu with a combination of hot and cold choices would suit a late lunch also.

At Eat Smart we believe in the philosophy of enjoyment of our meals, sure we like healthy choices but the taste and balance of the meals are as important and special occasions are just that – they are meant to be enjoyed.  We also love fresh produce and quality food they make it all taste that bit better.

I hope you enjoy the menu as much as we did.  To make it easy for you I have included my shopping list, run sheet for the day and night before and recipes for all the foods.


Starters with drinks

Dips –

Tuna dip with Dukkah or served on cucumber round

Minted Spinach Dip with Yoghurt


Entrée –

Fresh oysters – natural

Prawns with lime aoli (store bought)

Spinach Quiche – we purchased this


Main Course –

Poached Turkey Breast with Lemon Thyme

Brined Pork Belly with Plum Sauce


Sides –

Spiced Maple Pumpkin with Coconut Yoghurt

Mango, avocado and black lentil salad

Potato salad with Bacon and Buttermilk dressing



Dessert - 

Frozen Christmas Pudding Cake


With coffee –

Gluten Free Florentines

Handy Tips:

You will probably need to start now, ordering the prawns, turkey and pork to pick up on Xmas Eve.  I picked up the groceries the day before (after cleaning out the refrigerator to make sure there was plenty of space for all the food) but that is something that you can do early in the week. I was able to do the green groceries on the day but you will need to do them the day before.  I would suggest early in the morning so that you can do meal preparation in the afternoon making sure that you don’t get have a lot to do on Xmas Eve.  Then on the day start the Xmas music,  put the recipes together, set the table (or for the very organised do this the night before), cook the meats and have a great day!


Tuna Dip – adapted from Donna Hay

1 x 185g can tuna in chilli oil, drained, oil reserved

3 x anchovy fillets

250g light cream cheese, chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and cracked black pepper


  1. Place the tuna, anchovy, cream cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process, scraping down sides of the bowl for 3-4 minutes or until smooth.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or make a day ahead.
  2.  Spoon the dip into a serving dish and drizzle with reserved oil or serve on cucumber rounds.


Minted Spinach Dip with Yoghurt - extracted from Donna Hay


500g baby spinach leaves

½ cup natural almonds, toasted

3 cups mint leaves

1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind

1 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 cup reduced fat Greek style yoghurt, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp extra virgin oliveoil


  1. Blanch the spinach, in a large saucepan for 30 seconds – 1 minute or until wilted, refresh in iced water and drain well.
  2. Place almonds in food processor and process until fine.
  3. Add the spinach, mint, lemon rind, juice, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
  4. Add the yoghurt and oil and process to combine.
  5. Refrigerate until cold, serve with extra yoghurt.


Poached Turkey Breast with Lemon Thyme - extracted from Donna Hay

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 x 2.5kg turkey breast fillet, skin on

sea salt and cracked black pepper

6 eschalots, peeled and halved

5 cups chicken stock

12 sprigs lemon thyme

Shredded lemon zest from 1 lemon

1 tsp black peppercorns

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper and add to the pan , skin side down, with the eschalots.  Cook the turkey for 5-7 minutes or until golden, turn and cook for a further 7 mins or until golden.
  2. Add the chicken stock, lemon thyme, lemon zest and peppercorns and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 40 mins or until cooked through.
  3. Remove turkey breast from poaching liquid, cover with foil and set aside to keep warm.
  4. You can strain the poaching liquid, discarding the solids and use to make gravy.


Brined Pork Belly with Plum Sauce

1.5-2kg piece of boneless pork belly , skin scored at 1 cm intervals

olive oil to drizzle


Pork Brine

¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup sea salt

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

2 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme


Plum Sauce

3 plums, halved, stones removed, chopped

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup red wine

½ cup chicken stock

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the brine

  1. Place the sugar, salt, garlic, peppercorns, cloves, bay , thyme and 1.5l water in a saucepan over high heat.  Cook, stirring for 4 minutes or until sugar and salt have dissolved.  Transfer to a bowl and chill until cooled to room temperature.
  2. Pour the brine into a plastic container and carefully place the port in the brine, to cover meat but not skin.  Chill overnight leaving the skin exposed to dry out.
  3. The next day , preheat the over to 220 C.  Remove the pork from brine, discarding brine.  Rub skin with oil and season with salt.  Place pork , skin side up on a greased wire rack set in a roasting pan.  Roast for 30 mins or until the skin starts to bubble and crisp slightly .  reduce oven to 150 C and roast for a further 1 hr 10 mins , then increase oven to 200 c and cook for a further 20 ins or until meat is cooked through and crackling is crisp and golden.  Rest  the pork. Loosely covered with foil , for 30 mins.

For the plum sauce

  1. Transfer cooking juices for the pork to a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Add the plums and maple syrup, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until plums have softened.  Increase heat to high, add the wine and stock and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.  Strain through a fine sieve into a heat proof jug, discard solids and stir through vinegar.
  2. Serve with carved pork


Spiced Maple Syrup Pumpkin with Coconut Yoghurt and Lime – extracted from Delicious magazine

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 ½ kg Jap pumpkin, cut into wedges

Coconut Yoghurt, lime wedges and coriander leaves to serve


Maple and Cinnamon Dressing

1 tbsp tamarind paste

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp light soy sauce(gluten free)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

juice of 1 lime

¼ cup olive oil


  1. Pre heat  oven to 220 C.  Grease and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Whisk oil and cinnamon a small bowl, season, then rub all over the pumpkin to coat.  Place the pumpkin wedges upright on tray so skin is in contact with tray.  Roast for 40 mins or until tender and edges are slightly charred.
  3. Meanwhile , for the dressing , combine tamarind, maple syrup , soy, cinnamon and lime juice in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in oil or place all ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  4. Place the pumpkin on a large platter, drizzle over dressing and serve with yoghurt, lime and coriander.


Mango, Avocado and Black Lentil Salad - extracted from Delicious magazine


2 cans black lentils or Puy style lentils

Juice of 2 limes

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp salted caper, rinsed and drained

2 x 200g rocket leaves

2 mango, sliced

2 avocados, sliced

¾ cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Rinse the lentils
  2. To make dressing place lime juice, oil and capers in a jar, shake well
  3. To serve plate rocket, mango and avocado on a serving platter, spoon over the lentils and scatter over the walnuts.  Drizzle with dressing to serve.


Potato salad with bacon and buttermilk dressing- extracted from Delicious magazine

1.5kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed

6 rashers of short cut bacon

1 ½ tbsp. salted capers, rinsed

3 celery stalks, shredded

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

3 spring onion, shredded


Buttermilk dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp wholegrain mustard


1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and add enough water to just cover.  Place over high heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

Remove pan from heat and add a large pinch of salt.  Set the potatoes aside in the salted water for 5 mins to steep, then drain well.  Cool to room temperature, then cut in half lengthways.


  1. Heat a non stick pan over high heat.  Add the bacon and cook for 2 mins each side or until golden.  Drain on paper towel.
  2. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid and shake until combined
  3. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat
  4. To plate place potatoes on a serving platter and layer with capers, celery, parsley, bacon and spring onion.


Blanched Asparagus

4 bunches asparagus

  1. Place a large frying pan on stove with water, bring to boil
  2. Trim asparagus
  3. Place in boiling water, cook until just colored
  4. Remove from water and refresh in iced water
  5. Refrigerate until serving


Frozen Christmas Pudding

500g Christmas pudding, crumbled

3 litre vanilla ice cream, softened

1 can cherries in syrup, drained and chopped plus 1/3 cup syrup

½ cup flavoured liqueur

  1. Grease and line individual dariole moulds
  2. Press crumbled pudding into base, spread over  1/3 softened ice cream .  Press to flatten , freeze for 2 hours to firm
  3. Fold the cherries,  syrup andliqueur through remaining ice cream.  Transfer to a container, cover and freeze.
  4. Spread cherry ice cream over the puddings and freeze overnight.
  5. To serve unmould and serve with chocolate shards  and fresh cherries.


Shopping list


Unslated butter

Olive oil

Sea salt

Chicken stock

Plain flour


1 x 185g can tuna in chilli oil

natural almonds

salted caper – 1 jar


250g light cream cheese

1 kg reduced fat greek style yoghurt

crackers to serve with dips

coconut yoghurt

ice cream – 3 litres

sunflower oil

6 rasher bacon

2 x 400g cans black lentils

tamarind paste


Green groceries

6 eschallots

2 lemons

1 bunch mint

500g baby spinach

limes – 6


2 x mango

2 x avocado

3kg jap pumpkin

1 ½ kg kipfler potaotes

½ bunch celery


small bunch spring onions


Written by our Eat Smart Sports Dietitian & Director, Kerry Leech.


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