My day on a plate – National Nutrition Week

It’s that time of the year again – National Nutrition Week is running all week from 16-22 October 2016. People who have been following my blog over the years know that I always get involved with this event! This year’s theme is ‘Try for 5’…. 5 serves of vegetables, that is.

  • The average Australian only eats around half of the recommended 5 daily serves of vegetables.
  • Less than 4% of Aussies actually eat enough vegetable serves each day.

So this year’s National Nutrition Week will focus on improving that statistic!

I was recently asked to write an article for work showing a typical mid-week work day and what I tend to eat. See the article I wrote below and notice some easy ways I snuck in serves of vegetables while still keeping my meals interesting, tasty and filling!

My day on a plate

Breakfast, 0645hrs

I like to change up my breakfast options to keep things interesting as it is my favourite meal of the day! Today I am enjoying rolled oats porridge cooked with low fat milk and topped with sliced banana and crushed nuts. This meal contains a good portion of fibre and warms me up while Melbourne mornings are still a bit too chilly for my liking.

On the way to work, 0745hrs

Most mornings I walk the 40 odd minutes from Flinders Street Station to work. Today is one of those mornings I need a coffee to wake me up (and warm my hands on the walk). I choose a skinny latte – the low fat milk provides me with a serve of protein and calcium, and it helps to fill my stomach so that I can concentrate throughout my morning.

Lunch, 1230hrs


I like to spend a few dollars every day on a coffee. And it’s public knowledge that I love to indulge on overpriced sweet brunch options most weekends. So during the week I try to save my money at lunchtime and instead bring food from home. Leftovers are my favourite because I feel like I am filling up on a hot meal but don’t go to any additional effort to get this.

Today is leftovers from last night’s vegetarian pesto pasta. I made high fibre fettuccine pasta with pesto paste and also mixed in some zucchini noodles, green peas, garlic, pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese.

While I am not vegetarian I think it’s important to get protein from non-animal sources every now and then (e.g beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, eggs or dairy products) as they can provide you with a range of nutrients that you may not necessarily get from animal proteins.

I also find this dish to be an easy one to sneak in a couple serves of vegetables. I am a big fan of enjoying my carbohydrates (i.e. pasta) but not at the expensive of missing out on my veggies. Here I can still eat the same sized meal as always, but now I am having half the amount of pasta I would usually eat as the other half is replaced with zucchini and green peas.

Afternoon tea, 1630hrs

It is 4:30 and I need something to stop me from getting home at 6:30 and invading the pantry. So while I sit at my desk and do my daily admin, I enjoy a tub of low fat yoghurt. Other days I may have a piece of seasonal fresh fruit.

Dinner, 1930hrs

By the time I get home I am starving! So I listen to some music to distract me as I prepare dinner for two (well, three if you include the serve of leftovers I will prepare for lunch tomorrow).

Dinner tonight is Moroccan fish fillets with an orange and greens salad. The salad contains cooked wholemeal couscous, a range of greens (rocket, steam asparagus and green beans), sliced fresh oranges, slivered almonds, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of remaining fresh juice from the orange. The white fish fillets are coated in Moroccan seasoning and a small amount of olive oil before grilled on a non-stick frying pan.

This recipe was adapted from the 2012 Healthy Food Guide recipe Moroccan fish fillets with orange and date salad.

Eating a combination of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables at main meals provides the perfect proportion of macronutrients and micronutrients. Try to aim for half of your dinner plate to contain vegetables or salad, a quarter to contain lean protein, and the last quarter to be a carbohydrate option such as my wholemeal couscous.

On the couch, 2100hrs

As I unwind on the couch while watching the latest episode of Australian Survivor, I enjoy a teddy bear biscuit with a cup of herbal tea. The herbal tea is caramel flavoured – so while I feel like I am having something sweet, the low-calorie drink curbs the craving without all of the added sugar a sweetened beverage or dessert would give me.

Bedtime, 2230hrs

I am already looking forward to my leftover Moroccan fish and salad in my lunch break tomorrow…


– Jenna


October update on life, adventures and food

October has been a pretty busy month, hence the lack of blog posts. So I thought I would share some photos and updates of what I have been up to.

  • My best friend had a baby! She lives in Sydney so I have to wait another whole month to meet baby Braxton.
  • Last week I presented at the ‘How To Get That Job (or promotion)’ workshop that was run by Dietitian Connection. The two that ran the show were Maree Ferguson AdvAPD and Rhiannon Barnes APD and I was lucky enough to present on my experience as a new grad in this tough job market.
  • I recently went camping to Wilson’s Prom (like we do every year) and it was a great weekend of hiking, cooking with the camping stovetop and playing cards while the wombats walk around us. Here are a couple of photos:





In other news, I have tried a couple of other things for the first time recently too…

  1. A matcha latte (from Organica Cafe & Foodstore in Prahran). It was an interesting experience. It was like a creamy, potent green tea with milk (and added honey). It gave me a caffeine hit and everytime I had a sip I was surprised with it’s flavour. I’m not sure how regularly I will be ordering a matcha latte, but if you haven’t tried one yet I recommend you do it at least once!

FullSizeRender (2)

2. A Chatime iced tea. I can’t really call myself a Melbournian without sipping on one of these in the heart of the city while smelling the La Petite Crêperie stall on Swanston St and listening to buskers.

3. The third thing I tried recently was the food trucks at Welcome To Thornbury. I went for the first time last night and it was a great atmosphere being a warm and still Friday evening in Melbourne’s inner north. A must-go this Summer and one visit isn’t enough as they rotate their food trucks quite regularly. So chances are if you go a couple of times, you will have different food and desserts to choose from.

Well that’s what I’ve been up to this month! Hope everyone is well x

– Jenna

The great debate: olive oil vs coconut oil

Coconut oil: Most commonly used as the binding ingredient in my quinoa chocolate crackles recipe. Also used as a hair treatment. 

But how does it rate in terms of  our health?

Last week I attended a Heart Health and Diabetes Update day hosted by the Dietitian’s Association of Australia where a range of medical and nutrition experts presented the latest evidence on all things chronic-disease-friendly (and not so friendly).

A very enjoyable, yet still scientific, session was the debate between olive oil and coconut oil.

In one corner of the ring was Catherine Itsiopoulos who debated the case for olive oil. Catherine has conducted extensive research in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil being such a major component of this lifestyle.

The ‘Skeptical Nutritionist’ Bill Shrapnel was in the other corner and was debating the case for coconut oil. His “thing” so to speak is looking at dietary fats and carbohydrates, and analysing their impact on the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

So how did the debate turn out?

OLIVE OIL (predominantly non-saturated fat)

Well Catherine argued a superb case for olive oil with solid evidence to back it up.

  • Research shows that people have seen improved health benefits from following a diet with monounsaturated fats. Less benefits are evident for those who follow a diet with saturated fats.
  • The Mediterranean diet, which includes approximately 4 tablespoons of olive oil throughout the day, has shown through research to reduce inflammatory biomarkers and blood pressure.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) contains a good amount of polyphenols, which has shown to significantly improve HDL cholesterol – more so than the lower polyphenol olive oils (e.g. light olive oil).

COCONUT OIL (predominantly saturated fat)

Bill discussed a vast range of high quality evidence that has been conducted on fats and carbohydrates on the outcome of heart disease over time.

What the evidence tends to lead to is that:

Carbohydrates and saturated fats have very little effect on heart function. However, mono and poly unsaturated fats have clear beneficial effects on heart health.  the Total/HDL cholesterol ratio and reduces risk of coronary heart disease.

After a thorough assessment of the evidence, the Skeptical Nutritionist conceded his argument and stated that there is no case for recommending coconut oil in modern diets.

The bottom line:

Coconut oil is not bad for us. But when there are so many other oils on the market that have evidence of providing health benefits, why wouldn’t you choose one of those instead?

– Jenna

For more information:

My take on That Sugar Film

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) added a guideline for sugar intake in adults and children. The guideline recommends we reduce our daily intake of free sugars to no more than 10% of our total energy intake. WHO have also noted that a further reduction to below 5% each day would provide us with additional health benefits.

Free sugars are basically referred to as any sugars that are added to food products. So the sugar we find in our fresh fruit is exempt from this guideline. However, the sugar added to a bottle of orange juice is considered a free sugar.

5% of our total daily energy intake would equate to approximately 25 grams which is about 6 teaspoons of sugar. Eating less than 6 teaspoons of sugar seems pretty do-able, doesn’t it?

It does. But we also need to be very aware of all of the sugars that secretly sneak their way into the food products we eat each day.

Which leads me to That Sugar Film.

Last night I attended a viewing of That Sugar Film. Before watching the movie I made sure not to have an opinion on the film.

(It seems that I am quite critical of those who demonize sugar, or any particular food group or nutrient for that matter. With many people religiously following fad diets or going through programs that see specific nutrients as the bad guy, I feel that it’s just not a positive approach to take towards food).

So walking in to the movie with a punnet of fresh strawberries (natural sugar) in one hand and a salted caramel choc top (containing free sugars) in my other hand, I decided to enjoy both forms of sugar and watch the movie in it’s entirety before forming an opinion.

What information did I get from watching the movie?

Well other than being very cautious to listen to the medical and nutrition advice provided from the lawyer and the “Wellness Leader”, which are careers that are not medically driven, I did learn some things based on the clear evidence brought up in the documentary…

Many low fat food options are replaced with sugars

Yes many food products that claim to be low in fat can be supplemented with sugar instead. I’m sure many of us are aware of this. Unfortunately manufacturers still want their products to taste good, so they replace the extracted fat with sugar. However this is not the case for all low fat food products.

Take yoghurt for example. In the film, Damon chose a yoghurt that was low in fat yet high in sugar, however there are products out there that can be low in both.

Jalna Natural Greek full fat yoghurt contains 10g of fat per 100g serve and 4.8g of sugar. Whereas a fat free alternative such as Chobani Fat Free Plain contains 0g of fat and still only 3.8g of sugar. Also, the Jalna Fat Free option contains quite low amounts of sugar too!

So low fat does not mean high sugar in all instances. Read the ingredients list and Nutrition Information Panel when choosing food products in the supermarket.

Sugar is sugar is sugar

In the documentary, Damon and others discuss the different ways sugar is classified in the ingredients section of common food products.

Sugar, raw sugar, agave, cane juice, honey, coconut sugar, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, etc. It is all sugar at the end of the day.

The bigger thing we need to look at when consuming sugar is whether it is a processed form added to foods (ie. free sugars) or whether it is naturally found in the food (e.g. fresh fruit). As shown in the movie, it is very easy to drink the juice of 4 apples in one sitting. That is because the juice is basically just the water, the sugar and some vitamins from the fresh juice that don’t really fill you up. But when it comes to eating an actual fresh apple, we would probably have to stop after one or two due to being full. This is because of the high fibre content that we consume in fresh fruit that we do not experience when fruit is juiced.

Sugar is bad for our teeth

If you have seen the movie then you know what I am referring to.

Unfortunately tooth decay/dental caries is a major issue in Australia for children (and adults) who have high intakes of sugary foods and drinks.

So parents: please watch the amount of sticky or sweet foods provided to kids in their lunchboxes.

penny university cronut

Basically we should eat as per the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

A diet low in discretionary foods. Low in sugary drinks and food products. Low in processed foods. Low in saturated fats and high in good, unsaturated fats. Full of whole, fresh, high fibre, low sugar options. With water as a main drink and physical activity a regular occurrence in our lifestyles.

All of these recommendations are what makes up the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. A resource that is free to all Australians. It recommends the types of foods we should be eating more of and makes mention of the food we should be keeping to an absolute minimum; the discretionary foods. Go to the Eat For Health website for more.

Evidence Evidence Evidence

That Sugar Film is what researchers refer to as a “case study” – that is the results of one specific case is analysed. The film follows the life and dietary intake of one individual and then conclusions based on health outcomes are made depending on the results of the case study.

The highest quality evidence out there, however, is not a case study. The highest quality evidence is what we call a “randomized control trial” (RCT). That is when a randomly selected group of research participants (representative of the wider population) are randomly assigned to one of two groups (an experimental or a control group). A good quality RCT is highly controlled and an even better RCT is one with a high number of participants, rather than just one participant that is found in a case study.

Therefore, That Sugar Film is a great way to analyse the effect of a high sugar diet on one specific person. But a study that looks at this in multiple people and compared the results to a control group would make it a better form of evidence.

The bottom line

So the movie was a great way to open up our eyes to the issue of over-consumption of discretionary foods and the ease of purchasing such foods in the Western food supply.

But at the end of the movie, Damon concluded that while sugar contributes to the issue of obesity, it is not the sole cause.

Perhaps the sole cause is a mixture of all less-than-healthy behaviours, including but not limited to high sugar intake.

Perhaps it is as simple as eating a well-balanced diet full of natural and wholesome foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, unsaturated fats, lean protein and dairy, with very minimal amounts of energy-dense foods that are high in free/added sugars and saturated fats.

Perhaps it is as simple as that.

Want more info?

If you want to achieve that simple yet complex well-balanced diet, please see an Accredited Practising Dietitian to help you achieve your weight and health goals. Dietitians have university qualified degrees in human nutrition and dietetics with major fields of study in nutrition across the lifespan, medical nutrition therapies, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, food science, epidemiology, public health, health psychology and research.

For some quick hits, see:

– Jenna

Golden finds in the goldfields region of Victoria

So my new job sees me being a rural clinical dietitian on weekdays in a gorgeous town within the goldfields region of Victoria. The food scene in this region is definitely one to boast about as it is growing and growing with many fresh food markets sourcing local produce, a great cafe scene with exceptional coffee and food, and the organic food movement being pretty popular with some of the locals here. While I have only just scratched the surface, I thought I would make a post about some of the golden food and exercise spots in the area.


In my down time I have managed to explore the area somewhat. Day 1 in my new location saw me whip out my selfie stick and to get a photo with the “Welcome to Castlemaine” street art at the local servo. But after an embarrassing encounter involving some bystanders, I resumed taking photos of food only!

The Governor’s Cafe

Located at the Old Castlemaine Gaol, The Governor’s Cafe has the best view in Castlemaine. On top of the hill with a great vibe, tasty food and good coffee, the outdoor seating is perfect for a sunny day. Note: 99% of my days so far in Castlemaine have been sunny. Winning.

The menu is very small with a few naughty options and a few nice options, all of which are very reasonably priced. Despite the small amount of menu options, there is something to please every food mood.

Castlemaine Botanical Gardens

The walking track loop through the gardens is only 1.8km long, but when going for a jog you want to go around again  and again because the walk itself is spectacular!



Cafe Maldon

This cafe in the small town of Maldon has a breakfast and lunch menu with many sweet and savoury options. But the thing that drew my attention was the window at the counter with the cakes, slices and pastries. The nutella cheesecake slice with a dollop of cream and a skinny cappuccino was the perfect indulgent snack.


The Green Grocer

This small shop in Maldon is home to lots of fresh produce and a plethora of organic, gluten free or alternative packaged products. But what I fell in love with was the dark emerald colour of the front door!

And the amazing fresh produce stacked in pretty wooden shelves, of course.

And one for the non-Foodies. Or those that appreciate gorgeous buildings. This region of central Victoria is filled with amazing old buildings that I love to eyeball. Below is the Maldon Hotel.

There are many more places on my list to check out – not only in Castlemaine and Maldon but in other towns of this region too. So keep an eye out for another goldfields appreciation post.

And please let me know your recommendations if you have any!

– Jenna

An update on my food, my adventures and my life.

So my latest couple of blog posts have been about the berry saga and providing nutrition through a tube.

But they didn’t give me a chance to talk about myself and what I’ve been up to. So read on if you’re interested.

I recently cut my hair…

(Don’t mind me, just slowly approaching my quarter life crisis)

I’ve gone back to school…

After 13 years of school and then 5.5 years of full time university study I am somehow wanting to fill my brain with more knowledge and assignment deadlines.

I am completing a single online unit with the University of Tasmania where I will be looking at the effectiveness of technology (such as the Lorna Jane running app or my handy-dandy FitBit) on healthy behaviour change.

I feel like it is a topic that needs to be researched. I always wear my FitBit and connect up to my health monitoring apps on a regular basis. But does it actually result in a healthy behaviour? Do we actually achieve our goals with it or is it just a fun way to measure how little we actually get moving throughout the day? … or how much we get moving on a good day!

I guess I’ll be finding out over the course of the semester.

My latest creations in the kitchen are…

Summer means making icypoles! Recently I tried a layered lemon juice and coconut water one. Very refreshing!

Summer means making icypoles! Recently I tried a layered lemon juice and coconut water one. Very refreshing!

I finally got around to baking a ginger slice, just like the ones I saw in cafe's and bakeries around New Zealand last month.

I finally got around to baking a ginger slice, just like the ones I saw in cafes and bakeries around New Zealand last month.

My tofu & brown rice bowl has been made a few times recently. Check out my recipe here.

My tofu & brown rice bowl has been made a few times recently. See the recipe here.

Brunching and indulging on the peninsula…

Brunch at Dees Kitchen in Dromana: Broccoli and feta fritters with toasted pepitas, natural labne and a poached egg.

Brunch at Dee’s Kitchen in Dromana: Broccoli and feta fritters with toasted pepitas, natural labne and a poached egg.

Afternoon tea at A Mini Kitchen in Rye: This slice of cake and this amazing cafe across from the beach is just too cute to handle. WARNING: Cake description may make your mouth water. Banana and walnut layer cake with peanut butter buttercream, ganache and salted caramel popcorn.

Afternoon tea at A Mini Kitchen in Rye: This cafe across from the beach is just too cute to handle. WARNING: Cake description may make your mouth water. Banana and walnut layer cake with peanut butter buttercream, chocolate ganache and salted caramel popcorn.

And food product of the week goes to….


Chobani have a new product range out. Perfect when you need to have breakfast or a snack on the go.

Chobani have a new product range out.

The new Chobani Oats come in  4 different flavours including Banana Maple, Apple Cinnamon, Coconut and Cranberry.

Chobani Oats are:

  • Perfect when you need to have breakfast or a snack on the go
  • Great tasting
  • High in protein (more than 10g per serve)
  • A source of fibre (more than 2g per serve)
  • Made with real, wholesome, steel-cut oats.

Hope everyone is enjoying their last few days of Summer!

– Jenna

What we can learn from the berry saga

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or in your freezer) you are probably well aware of the Hep A berry saga.

The news first broke on Valentines Day, when many lovers might have been baking berry crumbles or decadent desserts with a berry compote for their significant other.

Then all of a sudden Nanna’s frozen berries were recalled due to cases of Hepatitis A reported in those eating the berries.

Since last weekend, we have all ran to our kitchens to check the bag of frozen berries at the back of our freezer. While most of us are safe and hep A-free, there is definitely something to consider with this whole mess…


If you were listening to my radio interview on MAIN fm’s ‘Word on the Street’ segment on Wednesday you would’ve heard me talk all about the importance of buying locally.

Fresh produce doesn’t have to travel as far as international produce. The risk increases when the distance from paddock to plate increases. So when buying fresh and local produce, there is definitely less risk of contamination at the picking, washing, packaging and distribution stages compared to those products that have a long way to travel.

While poor old Nanna picked her berries in China, Aussie berry growers are saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the amazing berries grown here down under. So support local growers where you can! Why not buy them fresh and freeze them yourself?

Last year during fig season. Playing fetch with my dog Toby while helping myself to fresh produce off the fig trees!

Last year during fig season at my parents home. Playing fetch with my dog Toby while helping myself to fresh produce off the fruit trees. No Hepatitis A in that batch!

But what about nutrition?

Well I have to say, frozen produce can be just as nutritious as fresh produce. In fact, a bag of frozen berries can be more nutritious than that 5 day old punnet of blueberries sitting in your fridge. Same with that wilted buk choy in the vegetable compartment of your fridge. When fresh fruit or vegetables wilt or go wrinkly, they are slowly losing their water and nutrient content. So of course fresh and ripe is best, however frozen produce can be equally as nutritious.

I do tend to store frozen vegetables and fruit in my freezer and they definitely come in handy when I don’t have fresh produce in my fruit bowl.

But maybe when purchasing frozen produce, let us consider where exactly the food is coming from and let’s try and make sure it’s from Australian growers. To reduce that whole paddock to plate time I mentioned earlier.

These were Hep A-free frozen berries

These were Hep A-free frozen berries

So eat locally grown products where possible. If you have the time and access, shop at farmers markets or grow your own fruit and vegetables at home in the backyard.

But when that’s not possible and a bag of frozen fruit or veggies is necessary, always ask yourself, “where is my food coming from?”

– Jenna

3 products I’m stocking this week

As a dietitian (and obvious lover of all things food), I regularly get asked what food products I keep in my pantry, fridge, freezer and even in my desk drawers at work!

So I thought I would make mention of three food products I am loving and stocking this week.

1. Goodness Superfoods cereal range

Goodness Superfoods have a great range of cereal products, including wholegrains, wraps, breakfast cereals and cereal bars.


I have always been a fan of the Digestive 1st breakfast cereal, however this week I am also keeping a stash of their wild berries & yoghurt cereal bars on my desk at work – for that 4pm hunger strike. Goodness Superfoods products contain the high fibre and low GI BARLEYmax as well as a whole heap of other nutritious ingredients in their products. They also make a line of bread wraps so if you are interested in making a healthy wrap for lunch or dinner, why not check out fellow dietitian Emily Orchard’s blog for some wrapping inspiration.

2. Danone Ultimate Greek Style Yoghurt – Burnt Fig & Salted Caramel

While my heart will always belong to Chobani yoghurt for their fantastic nutritional profile and great range of flavours, I can’t go past this amazing flavour combo of burnt fig and salted caramel. By now you should know that salted caramel (or caramel in general) is my all-time favourite flavour. So I really can’t recommend this yoghurt enough for a healthier dessert option, a mid-morning snack or just as an extra serve of calcium throughout the day.


3. Bonne Maman Caramel Spread

Now for my not-so-healthy product.

Salted caramel, caramel, dulce de leche, butterscotch, toffee, honeycomb. You get the gist. Always a winner in my eyes.

I have been trying to source this caramel spread for a little while now ever since a client told me about it and BINGO! it has been found.

While the traditional dulce de leche flavour is quite well-known to many south American countries, there are variations of the flavour all over the world. And well, the French do it pretty darn well.

I have always been keen to try out the different caramel or dulce de leche products out there – a favourite ice cream flavour is the dulce de leche flavour I recently tried at Patagonia Chocolates in New Zealand. I also loved a dulce de leche spread I found at an Italian grocer a few months back. But for a small jar, that set me back $10. Now that I have found the Bonne Maman spread with double the content for only $5, I am a much happier shopper.

Enjoy a small amount with vanilla ice cream, on a warm piece of fruit toast, or have it as I have been recently; on top of a hot piece of toast with a sliced banana.

What have you been stocking in your kitchen lately?

– Jenna

Dairy, calcium and that big word bioavailability

Some might say yesterday was legendairy.

Yesterday I attended a scientific symposium on the drivers and unintended consequences of dairy and wheat avoidance. It was a day full of learning and building my knowledge-base as a dietitian in the areas of dairy, calcium, wheat, food intolerances and food avoidances.

There was also great company and tasty food. Winning.

Speakers included Professor Connie Weaver from Purdue University in the USA, Professor Philip Mohr from the University of Adelaide, Gastroenterologist Dr Evan Newnham, and the allergy-nut and very experienced clinical dietitian Dr Anne Swain from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit. Cue fan-girl squeal. 

Professor Connie Weaver and myself at the Legendairy event

Professor Connie Weaver and myself at the Dairy Australia Scientific Symposium

What did we learn at the event?

While I learnt a great deal about dairy, calcium, wheat, gluten-sensitivity and how to apply all of this knowledge into my dietetics practice, there are a few messages that I want to share with my readers…

1. Dairy makes up part of a healthy diet and contributes to a healthy body weight.

Research suggests that those people who consume yoghurt and milk as part of their regular diet tend to have a better quality diet overall. Yoghurt and milk contain a range of essential nutrients for the human body and it has actually been found that diets that are low in dairy products tend to be poor in calcium, potassium, vitamin D and many more nutrients.

To those who count your calories, you should know that dairy is a pretty good group of foods to include in your diet when you calculate the array of nutrients it provides in relation to number of calories consumed.

Gorgeous cheese platter designed by The Dairy Kitchen

Also, contrary to popular belief you won’t gain weight if you include dairy products in your diet.

Clinical studies show that in those following a calorie-restricted weight-loss diet that includes milk, cheese and yoghurt, they had greater weight loss than in those who followed a calorie-restricted weight-loss diet consisting of less dairy products.

80% of Australians are not meeting their recommended serves of dairy products each day. So get on it people! 

2. The lactose intolerant can still enjoy dairy products

Well this is true to a certain degree.

Did you know that with each passing day the lactose content of yoghurt decreases because the natural bacteria in the yoghurt actually feeds off the lactose for energy?

Also, some cheeses contain zero (or close to it!) amounts of lactose. So it’s not all bad news for you lactose intolerant dairy-lovers.


3. Calcium bioavailability varies between foods

Well we know that our dairy products like cow’s milk, cheese and yoghurt all contain really good amounts of calcium. And I hope that by now we are all aware that we need to be having our 3 serves of dairy (or suitable alternatives) each day in order to meet our calcium requirements.

But calcium is found in many food sources other than dairy products. And what you may not know is that the amount of calcium absorbed by the body differs in all the different food products.

The amount of calcium (or any nutrient) that is absorbed from a food and then used by the body is known as the bioavailability.

Calcium absorption (or bioavailability) of spinach is much lower than that of milk. This means that you getter better bang for your buck when consuming milk over spinach if you are after a good serve of calcium.

But did you know that the bioavailability of broccoli, bok choy & kale are actually better than cow’s milk? This means that the percentage of calcium absorbed by the body in these green veggies is actually better than in milk.

But before you go and replace your morning cereal and milk with that kale smoothie, it is important to understand that much much much much more broccoli, bok choy or kale would be needed than milk to meet your calcium requirements. This is because the calcium content in vegetables is already much lower than in dairy products.

So while you absorb a smaller percentage of calcium in milk and dairy products, there is much more calcium already there in the food. Therefore, you are still better off enjoying your milk for a serve of calcium.

FYI there is calcium in almonds too. But there is a lot less calcium in almonds than cow’s milk. Also the bioavailability of calcium in almonds is lower at 21%, compared to cow’s milk being 32%.


So yesterday was legendairy.

I learnt a lot about the latest evidence on dairy and wheat, and it was a fantastic chance to catch up with other dietitians.

A big thank you to Dairy Australia for hosting such an informative event, the amazing speakers for sharing your knowledge and also to the always fabulous Emma Stirling from Scoop Nutrition for organising a great prelude to the main event; the Dietitian Bloggers Briefing.

But the highlight of the day? Well that was of course the yoghurt bar…

– Jenna

Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne

Well Good Food Month is in full swing!

Re-vamped St Ali North (now known as Green Park Dining) in Carlton North are hosting a dessert extravaganza every Wednesday night – get on it!

Taste of Melbourne has now been and gone.

There are breakfast specials all over Victoria to celebrate Good Food Month.

And my favourite of the festivities? The Night Noodle Markets.

Over at Birrarung Marr near Federation Square, the Night Noodle Markets are on every evening from 5pm on weeknights and 4pm on weekends until the end of November. There is a ridiculous amount of food and cuisines on offer – which makes deciding on what to eat extremely difficult.

Make sure you go there hungry people!

What did I enjoy?

Well luckily I went with a friend of mine who was very willing to share foods so that we could maximise our tastings, but minimise the caloric ingestion (AKA: eat lots without the weight gain).

The Brulee Cart

With four types of creme brulees on offer, we enjoyed the Dulce De Loco – a rich salted caramel creme with cardamom poached pear and caramel popcorn.


Roti Road

You can’t go wrong with satay chicken skewers, especially when shared with good company….


Ayam Chef

There will always be a special place in my heart for curry laksa. While my favourite laksa dishes are the vegetarian laksa from Laksa King in Flemington and the squid laksa from the markets in Darwin, this one one from the Night Noodle Markets rated pretty well also.

A Jenna with laksa is a very happy Jenna

A Jenna with laksa is a very happy Jenna 

After unsuccessfully attempting to finish the laksa, we enjoyed the atmosphere of the Night Noodle Markets. It was a great place to be on a warm Melbourne evening with plenty of entertainment around us!


Gelato Messina

Dessert was by far the highlight of the night. Amazing combinations to choose from made the decision making oh-so-difficult.

But I was happy with my choice of rambutan and coconut gelato with an Asian spiced cookie and other greatness. Finding the cinnamon scroll hiding underneath the ice cream was a very pleasant surprise to top off a fantastic night.

This ice cream was named “Phuc-Khing Tasty”… Don’t say that one too fast.

It was a lovely night filled with scrumptious food in the best city in the world.

– Jenna