Tuesday, 15 August 2017

We have a new blog!

Thanks for dropping by to read our blog!
We have moved our blog to a new home (our shiny new website!) and have new posts added already!
Check out our new blog www.newtownnutrition.com.au/blog - drop by, and say Hi!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Lunch Box Ideas: Steamed Dumplings recipe

Serves: 4-6 people approx.
Serve size: 6 dumplings


Dumpling Filling:

1 large carrot, roughly chopped
3 cups roughly chopped vegetables e.g. Bok Choy or Choy Sum or Chinese broccoli or string green beans or cabbage or cauliflower
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
300g pork mince
2cm cube ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb sesame oil
1 Tb rice vinegar
2 Tb gluten free soy sauce
Cracked pepper to taste


2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup boiled water


Rice paper

Dipping sauce:

50mls gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
20mls boiled water

Shallots for garnish


Food processor, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, baking paper, 3 large bamboo steamer baskets, large pan, rolling pin


Vegetable and pork filling
  1. In a food processor, finely chop the carrot, vegetables, leek and shallot 
  2. In a large bowl, combine pork mince, vegetables, ginger, garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, gluten free soy sauce and cracked pepper. 
  3. Set aside 


  1. Place plain flour in a bowl 
  2. Add boiling water gradually as you combine with a wooden spoon 
  3. Bring the dough together and kneed gently
  4. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for 15mins 


  1. Line the steamer basket with wet scrunched up baking paper. 
  2. Place about 500ml or more of water to a large pan, bring to the boil and then set aside 
  3. Roll out the dough thinly into small circles approx. 6 cm diameter using extra dusting flour sparingly to your working surface 
  4. Place about 1 Tb of the filling into the centre rolled out dough 
  5. Fold the dough to bring the edges together and press gently closed 
  6. Place dumplings into steamer basket. 
  7. Once the basket is filled, bring the pan with water back to simmering and place the steamer basket into the water. Ensure the water is not touching the dumplings. 
  8. Steam for 12 to 18 minutes depending on the size of your dumplings 

Dipping sauce
Combine gluten free soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup and water

Monday, 1 May 2017

School lunches

Why use the Australian Dietary Guidelines

By Ines Astudillo, Paediatric Dietitian APD

Did you know that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) retrieved over 55,000 scientific journal articles for the development of the Australian Dietary Guidelines to ensure advice is based on the best available evidence? These guidelines take into account nutrient reference values, public consultation, expert opinion and scientific literature (including extensive infant literature reviews) which essentially gives Australians best practice, gold standard nutrition and health information. You can read more here on how the Australian Dietary Guidelines were developed.

Guideline 2 of the Australian Dietary Guidelines states to 'Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups everyday'. 

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating forms the ‘Five Food Groups’, a model that can be a simple and useful tool to ensure an adequate intake of nutrients, necessary for the normal functioning of our bodies. Foods are grouped based on their nutrient profile. And so if for any reason a person does not eat a food group, the model can be used to look for alternative food sources of these important nutrients. Omitting whole food groups may lead nutrient deficiencies and health problems. Variety is key as it ensures a wide range of essential nutrients and reduces the chance of one food overpowering the diet.

Using the five food groups helps you create lunch boxes that are simple yet interesting. Instead of running out of lunch ideas, you will have a fantastic range of nutritious foods all year!

What are the Five Food Groups?

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced 

  • Pack at least 5 different foods from each of the five food groups. 

    For example:

  • Vegetables: Carrot, snow peas, cucumber, lentils, hummus 
  • Fruit: Mango, apple
  • Grain: Wholegrain crackers 
  • Lean protein: Tuna, lentils hummus
  • Dairy: Cheese

  • This sample  lunch box was sent to school for my 4.5yo and 6yo boys. You may be wondering 'did they really eat all of that?'. My message to them is to eat what their tummies want and until their tummies are happy. This lunch box is catered to my boys. I can assist you with developing lunch boxes that cater to your child and your family, even if your child is fussy, picky or particular about their foods. I invite you to connect with me to get started.

    Friday, 21 April 2017

    School lunches

    Approaching School Lunches, Keeping it Real 

    By Ines Astudillo, Paediatric Dietitian APD

    Dear parents, with school holidays over and school lunches back on the to-do-list, I’d like to share with you my 5 tips for how to approach school lunches:

    1.      Variety: Guideline 2 of the Australian Dietary Guidelines states to 'Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups everyday'. The ‘Five Food Groups’ model can be a simple and useful tool to ensure an adequate intake of nutrients that are necessary for the normal functioning of our bodies. Foods are grouped based on their nutrient profile. And so if for any reason a person does not eat a food group, the model can be used to look for alternative food sources of these important nutrients! Omitting whole food groups may lead nutrient deficiencies and health problems. Variety is key as it ensures that no one food is overpowering the diet and less likely to cause any problems arising from excessive intake. My suggestion is to pack at least one food from each food group.

    2.      Do it your way: Keep it as simple or as complicated as you like. It really only needs to suit you and your child. There are so many ways to make this work for you, whether it be to cook fresh or use leftovers, work from a carefully planned menu or whatever is in the fridge. I'd be happy to sit with you to work out what approach suits you best whilst ensuring adequate nutrition.

    3.      Packaging: Pack it in a way that will transport the food safely, retain its form so that is still edible and that your child can open! Include a cold ice block to keep cold foods that need refrigeration. Use a thermos to keep hot foods hot. 

    4.      Exercising your child’s choice: Get your child involved in preparing lunches and/or making choices from nutritious options that you offer. The more they practice making choices, the better they will get at it. And they are much more likely to eat the foods they are taking to school. When I suggest to get them involved, this does not mean the impossible task of trying to get their cooperation to make school lunches in the morning every day! Yikes! It might mean trialing making a lunch on a Sunday or helping you put the lids on the containers of a lunch they chose.

    5.      Keep it positive and evaluate: this one is about creating an opportunity to gently discuss how the lunch meal went so that you don't get stuck in a situation that isn't working. A few days a week, encourage your child to help you sort through any uneaten food for disposal either in the rubbish, recycle or compost. You can ask what they think worked well or what might need to change to make it work well for them within healthy principles.

    If you love doing this task of making school lunches, I'd love to hear about how you do it! If you dread this task, I'd love to see how I can support you to make it a little less painful.  

    Here's a peek at what I send to school for my 4.5 yo and 6yo boys' lunches: 

     Strawberries, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, black olives, cucumber, carrot, cheese. Avocado sandwich 

    Left: Kiwi fruit, pot set Greek yoghurt with honey
    Right: snow peas, grape tomatoes, beef and lentils rissoles, pickles, tomato sauce

    Left: cut up apple, carrot, snow peas, homemade hummus, cheese, mango
    Right: tuna, brown lentils and cucumber salad with lemon juice olive oil and pepper dressing

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017

    When it comes to the crunch! Why you should tune in to food textures

    by Claire Marnane

    When was the last time you noticed the texture of the foods you eat?  Are you aware of what sort of textures you enjoy, or is this something that passes unnoticed as you eat your food?  Do you pay much attention at all to what you eat… or do you multi-task while eating?  Maybe you do the odd social media check, answer a few quick emails, or watch some TV while the food goes down largely untasted and unnoticed?

    Texture is often unfairly overlooked in the face its brighter, bolder sibling: Flavour.  Yet tuning in to both the taste and texture of foods is a key aspect of eating mindfully. 

    Mindful eating is rightly getting more attention these days as being a practise which:
    ·      helps people stop overeating
    ·      helps people distinguish between food choices driven by emotional eating versus true taste preferences, and
    ·      for those with a long history of dieting, it’s an important tool to help you re-learn what foods you actually like to eat, if you want to stop dieting and learn to eat intuitively

    The other day I was talking to a colleague about how I am a huge hot cross bun fan.  (Yes, dietitians can eat hot cross buns, and I personally have a real love for these aromatically spiced delights.)

    It turned out she also enjoyed hot cross buns, and we avidly embarked on a discussion of how best to prepare them.  Certainly, we both said, they must be served hot to enhance the smells and flavours of the cinnamon and nutmeg… but here’s where she said something shocking to me: she only ever microwaves the buns to keep the 'ideal chewy texture'. 

    What?!  Eat a chewy hot cross bun?!  NEVER!  I go to great lengths to achieve maximum CRUNCH, and frankly find any alternative to be completely unappetising.  It got me thinking about food textures; here I am saying I wouldn’t like the same food prepared in a way that would make it chewy.  The change in texture alone determines whether I love it, or dislike it!  Now I stop and think about it, I infinitely prefer well-toasted bread over untoasted, raw carrot sticks over cooked, and I love to sprinkle nuts and bean sprouts over a laksa to give pops of satisfying crunch when I eat it.

    Yet, how many people pay attention to food textures while eating?  Chefs do, they structure their meals around textural items, but does the person eating it notice this?  Well, they would if they ate mindfully, making the meal more satisfying and enjoyable!

    Why not take the time now to give food textures the spotlight?  It’s a good opportunity to practise your mindful eating skills.  Here are some suggestions:

    ·      raw carrot sticks vs steamed carrots
    ·      smooth peanut butter (or any nut paste of your preference) vs crunchy
    ·      yoghurt with stewed fruit vs yoghurt with diced raw fruit
    ·      … and of course, feel free to try hot cross buns (or fruit loaf) toasted vs microwaved, or even just room temperature.

    It only takes a few minutes out of your day, but make sure you have no other distractions and can give the food your full attention as you do this.  Before you take a bite, observe the food and notice the texture of it upon your hands.  Now smell the food.  Now - and this is where I’m veering away from some other mindful eating practises - take a little bite and munch slowly and mindfully.  (Usually the advice is to leave the food in your mouth without chewing, all the better to observe the taste.  Here, we want the texture to shine, and that means you need to chew straight away because a crunchy hot cross bun will simply turn to mush left unchewed in your mouth!)

    Here are some questions to ask yourself as you try these foods:
    ·      Does one texture appeal to you more than another?
    ·      Does the taste of the food alter between the two options?
    o   If so, how does it change?  What word would you use to describe the difference? 
    ·      Does one option have a more intense aroma?
    ·      Have you ever noticed these changes in foods before? 

    Reflecting back on what you’ve just done, do you think you regularly eat in a mindful, or a mindless way?  Remember, mindful eating and really experiencing the foods you eat is an important step in developing a healthy relationship with food and appetite.

    Saturday, 25 March 2017

    Healthy Shopping Tips

    One of the pitfalls of eating healthy is actually getting prepped to have the right food at your disposal. Cue…the supermarket! A place full of wonder and possibility, but if you're not careful, it can be the biggest saboteur of your healthy habits.

    The strategies you put into place when you do your grocery shop can make or break what you do for the rest of the week. Here’s our top tips to help making healthier choices that bit easier.

    Don’t go to the supermarket hungry. You’ll be drawn to buying energy dense, nutrient poor foods that can give you a quick boost of energy and not much else! Aim to go straight after a meal so your less inclined to make rogue choices.

    • Have a shopping plan BEFORE you go. Sit down on the weekend and get some recipes together for lunches and dinners, or plan out some batch-cooked items that you can use in multiple ways throughout the week. If you go without a plan, you’ll be more likely to forget key items or need to go back multiple times during the week and research has shown that you’ll save money doing one big shop a week rather than multiple small shops. 
    • Shop the perimeter. Stock up on vegetables and fruit first (these should make up at least 1/2-1/3 of your shopping trolley), meats, breads, dairy and eggs. You will find that the perimeter has less processed foods and these are what we want to avoid consuming if we are aiming to improve our health. Only go up the aisles you need to for the non-negotiable things like toiletries, cleaning goods, legumes, wholegrain rices and pastas, tinned and frozen goods. 
    • Buy in bulk to get better deals.  It might be a larger cost to outlay, but buying perishables or freezable items in large amounts will end up saving you big. Think meats and dried legumes/rices/pastas/cereals. If you’re money conscious - go for the generic brands. They are often the similar quality for only a fraction of the price
    • Buying from farmers markets and co-ops  takes out the middle man that can lead to price hikes at supermarkets. They are more likely to stock seasonal, local produce, meats, eggs and dairy and are more likely to be better quality.