Acai bowls, evening runs and nourish bowls - If you're a regular reader of my blog or Insta, you may have noticed that I'm pretty interested (read: obsessed!) with health and nutrition. No matter how up to date you are with what's new in the health world however, there are always plenty of unanswered questions and conflicting advice. So I was pretty thrilled to be able to ask respected Dietitian Rebecca Gawthorne (@nourish_naturally) all my unanswered health and nutrition questions. Having recently collaborated with Sumo Salad and their new customisable, nourishing menu, Rebecca is certainly one of the best nutritionists around to ask for advice on the perfect mid-week lunch! From juice cleanses to protein powder, Rebecca has spelt it all out for me - read on to find out more.
What is a good bite to eat with minimal prep for early pre-gym starts?
A pre-workout snack needs to provide your muscles with ready to use energy, so when it comes to gearing up for a workout, carbs are your best friend! Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your muscles, so in order to maximise your workout and give your body the fuel it needs, you need to eat a carbohydrate based snack about 30-60 minutes before you train. Aim to keep your snack relatively small so you don’t have too much in your stomach. A great quick & easy pre-workout snack that requires no prep and contains natural carbs & B vitamins to help release energy is the humble banana. It's portable and delicious with the perfect form of easily digestible carbohydrates, bananas are an excellent pre-workout snack. If you need a bit more of an energy hit, another perfect option is one of the delicious breakfast bowls from Sumo Salad’s Green Label. They are perfect to pick up & munch on on your way to the gym and can also work as the perfect post-workout snack too!
What is your favourite lunch that is easy to prepare to take to work/uni?
If I’m preparing my lunch at home, I love a Creamy Avocado Tuna & Bean Salad - this salad is so quick & easy and ticks all the nutrition boxes! Otherwise, if I’m out and about, a fresh Sumo Salad is always a winner. I love having the freedom to customize the salad I order from Sumo depending on what I have on for the day work and training wise, or what the weather is like.
What is your favourite filling snack when you are too hungry to wait for dinner?
I love sipping on a veggie juice while I wait for dinner. Sumo Salad have a great range of Cold Pressed Juices that I really enjoy! They are so tasty & nutritious! I’ll often pick one up after work and drink it while drive home.
Are carbs at night a good idea or should they be minimised?
Depends on the type of carb. There is nothing wrong with some healthy carbs at night like sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice or ancient grains like the ones I included in my signature Sumo Salad. These type of carbohydrates are actually good to include at dinner in small amounts & can help combat snacking after dinner. You should however minimise highly refined carbs, especially at night, like white rice, white bread & white pasta as they will spike your sugar levels & give you a hit energy before bed.
Juice cleanses - a good idea or not necessary?
Juice cleanses are not a great idea but can used in part as a good vitamin hit. What I mean by this is, a full juice cleanse, which is where juice replace all meals for 3-7days, is not healthy & can cause hypoglycaemia (where blood sugar levels drop dangerously low), headaches & other problems. If you want to try a juice cleanse, a better approach would be to replace one meal or snack with a Cold Pressed Juice like the ones from Sumo Salad. You can also enjoy a Cold Pressed Juice during the during the day. This will give you a good hit if nutrients, without causing drops in energy & sugar levels.
What are your thoughts on adding protein powders to morning smoothies? Necessary?
Adding some protein powder to your morning smoothie is not necessary but can be beneficial for some. If you are making your smoothie on milk/soy milk & adding some yoghurt or seeds (like chia/flaxseeds), then it will already contain protein & most people won't require any extra. Having food sources of the protein like the milk, chia & flax also has other health benefits too, like calcium, iron, fibre and omega 3s. However protein powders can be very convenient (think quickly downing a protein shake after training) & are beneficial for those who have a very high muscle mass or need extra protein.
I've heard a lot about preferred sugar alternatives being low fructose. What are your thoughts?
Fructose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate, specifically a monosacharride. Other monosaccharides include glucose and galactose. When you eat foods containing fructose, it gets absorbed & metabolised by the liver. If you consume too much fructose from refined foods (i.e. not fructose in fruit) it can be stored as fat as it’s metabolism favours lipogenesis (the creation of fat). For this reason, low fructose sugar alternatives, such as Stevia (a plant based sweetener), can be a good idea.
It is important to note though, that even if a sugar alternative, such as Rice Malt Syrup, is low in fructose, it is still a sugar & their nutritional value is very similar to sugar. Sugar is sugar & gram for gram, all have the approx the same kilojoules content of 68 (or 16 Calories). Sugar, including white, raw, honey & maple syrup are all sources, or combinations of sucrose, glucose or fructose & all contain little negligible vitamins, minerals & antioxidants; they are basically empty calories.