Naughty or nice? Other proteins

Cholesterol and eggs, farmed salmon and sustainability, spirulina - what's the real deal?

Are eggs so high in cholesterol that I have to limit how many I eat?

Naughty or nice? Other proteinsEggs are great to include in the diet because they are a good quality protein source; they provide iodine and selenium, which many of us don’t get enough of; and they contain two antioxidants which are particularly important for maintaining eye health. When US researchers compared a breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast to one of equal kilojoules of bagels, cream cheese and yoghurt, the egg breakfast had significantly higher satiety: people felt fuller and ate less at lunch. Other academics suggest because of eggs’ high satiety, they could play an important role in weight-loss and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Our verdict: Eat eggs – they’re a nutritious and filling food. The most important advice for people with high cholesterol is to limit saturated fat. But because the way they metabolise cholesterol may be different, they are advised to limit eggs to three a week. For everyone else, one egg a day is fine.

Is farmed salmon raised in unhealthy and unsustainable ways?

Overseas, concerns have been raised about unsustainable and unhealthy fish-farming practices. But we know salmon is one of the richest sources of long-chain omega-3, which has many health benefits. So should we be eating more salmon, or should we be worried about fish farms?
The fresh salmon we buy in New Zealand is farmed in the South Island. Fortunately, our fish-farming practices are a million miles away from the types of farms causing controversy. New Zealand King Salmon, who market the Regal Salmon brand, have five salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, and the salmon raised in these farms are completely disease-free. Antibiotics, vaccines and chemical treatments are never used.
Our verdict: Salmon farming in New Zealand is a sustainable way of providing a food which is beneficial to our diets (and tastes great, too). Eat it regularly – it’s more affordable than you think because you only need a small amount to get your omega-3, and it’s filling.

Is spirulina really a super food?

In the 1940s, the people of Chad were observed to collect and sun-dry these microscopic blue-green algae for food. In many parts of Africa protein sources are scarce and it was subsequently found spirulina was over 60% protein. In the intervening years, spirulina has somehow acquired the tag of a miracle food which will prevent and even reverse a wide range of diseases.
Our verdict: Spirulina contains a range of good nutrients. If you like the taste, enjoy it. But scientific evidence doesn’t support the claims of it being a ‘super food’.

The whole(some) story: Get the nutrients you need every day


Calcium, iron, fibre, healthy fat – just how do we get it all in a day without being attached to a nose bag?

The whole(some) story: Get the nutrients you need every dayFat

Why: Aids absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K; supplies essential fatty acids (EPA, DPA, DHA); a concentrated energy source; improves food flavour and texture.
Food sources: Olive, canola and peanut oils are rich in monounsaturated fats; sunflower, safflower and corn oils are rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats; canola oils and margarines, legumes, walnuts, some green leafy vegetables provide some omega-3 polyunsaturated fats; oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines are rich in long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. Red meat, the fat in poultry, coconut and palm oils, dairy products like milk, butter, cheese and cream contain less healthy saturated fats.
How: 2-3 serves of fish each week provides your entire week’s omega-3 fat requirements; 2 teaspoons of reduced-fat spread provides 5-9% of your daily fat needs; 10 almonds provide 8-15% of your fat needs.
Surprising fact: Canola and sunflower oils are more effective at lowering LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels than olive oil and they’re generally cheaper.


Why: A key fuel source.
Food sources: Whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, beans and vegetables.
How: A sliced banana on 1/2 cup of muesli or two pieces of whole grain toast provides 25% of daily needs; one cup of cooked brown rice provides 25%.
Surprising fact: Our brains live strictly on a diet of glucose, a form of carbohydrate. Studies show that low blood glucose levels make it harder for us to think and concentrate.


Why: Important structural and functional roles in body cells; an energy source.
Food sources: Meat, fish, poultry and beans. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, other dairy products, nuts, whole grains, vegetables and fruit also contribute.
How: Baked beans on two pieces of wholegrain toast and a pottle of yoghurt provides 50% of protein needs; one beef/lamb steak plus a glass of milk will give you 80%.
Surprising fact: Every protein in our body is made from the same set of 20 or so amino acids. In nature, milk and eggs have an amino acid compo­sition most similar to our bodies.

Vitamin A and carotenoids

Why: For immunity, reproduction and vision.
Food sources: Preformed vitamin A is found in milk, cheese, eggs, liver and oily fish. Pro-vitamin A compounds (which our body converts to vitamin A) are found in red, orange, yellow and green vegetables and fruit like capsicums, carrots, and plums.
How: Eating 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables each day provides 50% or more of your vitamin A needs – one serving is 1/2 cup of cooked/salad vegetables or stewed fruit; 1 medium apple or orange; 2 small apricots or plums. Margarine and dairy products also contribute.
Surprising fact: One carrot provides over 100% of your daily vitamin A requirements; a tablespoon of that cod liver oil your granny raved about contains three times your daily vitamin A needs.

Vitamin E

Why: Antioxidant that protects our cell walls and LDL cholesterol from free radical damage; involved in anti-inflammatory and immune systems, and making DNA.
Food sources: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, soy beans, vegetable oils, avocado, kiwifruit, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables and peas.
How: One tablespoon of sunflower oil provides nearly 100% of your vitamin E, and a small handful of nuts provides 50%. Other good sources are kiwifruit (one kiwifruit gives you 25% of needs), avocado and reduced-fat spread.
Surprising fact: If we don’t have enough vitamin E to protect our cells, the walls can become damaged by free radicals and they literally start leaking!

Vitamin C

Why: Needed for collagen synthesis, transport of fatty acids into our cells and as an antioxidant.
Food sources: Fruits, vegetables and tubers. Rich sources include kiwifruit, blackcurrants, citrus fruit, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, capsicums, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach and watercress. Kumara and potatoes contain smaller amounts, especially in and right under the skins.
How: 1/2 cup of stir-fried veges provides over 80% of needs; one kiwifruit provides double our vitamin C needs and 1.5 times more vitamin C than an orange.
Surprising fact: Between the years 1500 and 1800, scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) was the leading cause of naval death, killing more sailors than all other diseases, disasters and battles combined.


Why: Assists building of amino acids (for protein) and nucleic acids (for DNA). Low levels during pregnancy increase foetal neural tube defect risk.
Food sources: Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, salad greens, citrus fruits, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals. Chickpeas, nuts, dried beans and peas are good sources, too.
How: Check the nutrition labels on breads and breakfast cereals: a slice of grainy bread or cup of fortified breakfast cereal provides 25% of folate needs; 1/2 cup of spinach provides over 25%.
Surprising fact: Mandatory folate fortification of our breads in late 2009 will increase New Zealand women’s folate intake to around 30% of our daily needs.


Why: Essential to kick-start important chemical reactions in over 100 of the body’s enzymes; important structural role in some proteins and cell membranes; involved in controlling how information from our genes is used.
Food sources: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and some seafood, peanuts, cashew nuts and sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables.
How: A beef sirloin steak provides over 100% of needs; a lamb/pork steak 80%; a small handful of peanuts provides 20%.
Surprising fact: Absorption of zinc from the diet can be impeded by high intakes of iron from dietary supplements.


Why: Inside body cells, it works with sodium to create the electrochemical environment needed for transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and heart function.
Food sources: Bananas, citrus fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk, yoghurt.
How: A fruit smoothie containing a banana, berries, yoghurt, milk and rolled oats will give you 50% of your potassium needs.
Surprising fact: A diet low in potassium may increase the risk of high blood pressure as much as a diet high in sodium!

Vitamin K

Why: Essential component of blood clotting process; and has an important role in bone health.
Food sources: Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage; fermented foods like cheese and yoghurt.
How: 1/2 cup of cabbage provides over 100% of daily needs; 1/2 cup of spinach provides 8 x our daily requirements.
Surprising fact: Vitamin K doesn’t cross the placenta between mother and developing baby, and babies’ guts don’t have bacteria to produce vitamin K, so when they’re born babies have very little vitamin K – hence the routine jab of vitamin K at birth.


Why: Stored in skeletons and teeth, contributing to their hardness; needed for conduction of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
Food sources: Milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, nuts, legumes, breakfast cereals, small fish and tinned fish with bones.
How: A glass of trim milk and a pottle of yoghurt provides 75% of calcium needs, or 40g of cheese and two scoops of ice cream! Add a calcium-fortified breakfast cereal and you’re done.
Surprising facts: Every 2300mg of sodium excreted by our kidneys takes 40mg of calcium with it. If sodium is consumed excessively our precious calcium stores will be excreted with it.

B vitamins: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin)

Why: All three work with enzymes to convert food into fuel our body cells can use.
Food sources: B1 is found in grainy breads, unrefined cereals, potatoes, kumara, nuts, seeds, legumes; B2 in milk, yoghurt, ice cream, red meat, poultry, fish; B3 in meat and some cereals.
How: One sirloin steak provides 25% of thiamin and riboflavin, plus 100% of niacin needs. One glass of trim milk provides over 60% of riboflavin and 30% of niacin needs. Two Weet-bix and 1/2 cup trim milk provide 50% of thiamine, 70% of riboflavin, 25% of niacin needs.
Surprising fact: Marmite really is mighty! One teaspoon of Marmite provides 70% of your B1 and 50% of B2 and 25% of B3 daily requirements.
Diagnosing deficiency
If you’re concerned you might have a deficiency, the best thing to do is to see your doctor and have blood tests done. Iridology, reflexology and hair analysis are not proven or accurate methods of finding out if you have a deficiency.     Sumber :


Ask the experts: Protein bars vs muesli bars

Ask the experts: Protein bars vs muesli bars

Post-pat-on-the-back workout, you want to eat the right food to give your body what it needs.
Question iconIs a protein bar better for me than a muesli bar? Will it help me build muscle?

Answer iconMost athletes and everyday exercisers get plenty of protein from their everyday food, so the addition of protein bars or shakes is unnecessary. Good sources of protein include lean meat, chicken, fresh and canned fish, lean dairy products, eggs, nuts and pulses.
To build muscle you need enough protein and carbohydrate in your diet, and you need to use your muscles in strength training and exercise. After resistance training, carbohydrate and protein can help build muscle, but excess protein will simply be used as an energy source. If you’re not having a meal for an hour or more after training, a snack will help replenish carbohydrate stores and repair or build muscle. Try a pottle of low-fat yoghurt, a glass of milk, a fruit smoothie, or a small tuna or chicken sandwich. A protein bar may be more convenient, but be aware of the energy content. Many bars are around 900-1000kJ. Muesli bars provide carbohydrate but little protein and are generally lower in energy.

How to choose: Breakfast cereals for kids

How to choose: Breakfast cereals for kids
Cereal For Kids
There are so many cereals to choose from! Here are some label-reading tips to help us make good decisions for our kids.

What makes a healthy breakfast cereal for kids?

Breakfast is an essential start to the day; it refuels children’s brains as well as their bodies. Cereals with milk provide carbohydrate, some protein, B vitamins, fibre and calcium. Add fruit to that and there’s more fibre plus a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
It's unlikely you'll need added vitamins and minerals in a cereal if you're eating a balanced diet which includes fruit, vegetables and cereals as well as meat or other protein foods, as they will provide vitamins and minerals in a form more readily absorbed by the body.


Earlier this year, Consumer magazine compared 26 breakfast cereals specifically aimed at children and found that over half of them were at least 1/3 sugar.
Often the excuse is that people are just going to add sugar at home anyway, but that’s really no excuse at all; we should be given the choice. High amounts of sugar in the diet are related to tooth decay as well as overweight and obesity, which is on the increase amongst our children.
Look for products with less than 15g of sugar per 100g, or if they contain dried fruit up to 25g per 100g.


It’s best not to give children foods with high amounts of sugar or sodium as ‘everyday foods’ as they’ll become accustomed to these tastes. For children (and adults other than those on a low-sodium diet) look for a moderate sodium content of up to 400mg per 100g.


For adults, breakfast cereals are often an opportunity to increase a low fibre intake, but kids don’t need as much fibre in their diet. Look for a cereal with more than 5g of fibre per 100g but no more than 15g.
In the past a rule of thumb for kids fibre needs (in grams) was to use their age and add five, but with the latest dietary recommendations you’ll need to add ten to the child’s age.

No matter what they choose, the most important thing to remember about breakfast for children is to ensure they have it.

Extreme makeover: Big breakfast

Extreme makeover: Big breakfast
Big breakfast

It’s a favourite weekend meal. But do you know how much energy and fat is hiding in it?
Try these tips to make your weekend brunch that bit healthier:
  • Streaky bacon can be up to 1/4 fat. Use Dansk, middle or eye bacon; it has much less fat and kilojoules. It needs careful cooking – don’t over-cook or it’ll be leathery. But the taste is just as good.
  • Pre-made hash browns have 530kJ and 5.7g of fat per serving. And it pays to check the pack: on some a serving is only one hash brown!
  • Instead try oven-baked cubed potatoes: cut a potato into 1cm cubes and bake with a light spray of oil in a hot oven. Just as quick as hash browns and much healthier, with barely any fat.
  • If you fry your eggs and use butter or oil, you’ll add still more fat. Opt for microwave eggs: scramble or poach eggs in the microwave and you don’t have to add any fat at all. For scrambled, just cook beaten egg in a bowl for around 2 minutes on medium, then break up with a fork. We hear this is how some restaurants do it!
  • Add some oven-roasted tomatoes for a vege boost: add these to the dish when you cook the potatoes and they’ll be collapsing and sweet by the time they come out.

How they compare

Traditional fry-up:3 rashers streaky bacon, 2 hash browns, 2 eggs, 1 tomato
Total kJ per serve = 2,400
Total fat per serve = 47g (22g saturated)

HFG breakfast:
3 rashers Dansk bacon, 2 scrambled eggs, 1 roasted tomato, 1 cubed potato
Total kJ per serve = 1,515
Total fat per serve = 16.1g (4g saturated)

Keep the heart ticking with a whole grain breakfast

Keep the heart ticking with a whole grain breakfast 
Research presented at the American Heart Association’s 47th Annual Conference adds to an already strong body of evidence that whole grain cereals are associated with better heart health.
In this study the diet and health of over 21,000 people in the US has been followed since 1982 and the researchers looked at the 10,469 who regularly ate breakfast cereal.
The researchers found that men who consumed whole grain breakfast cereals (defined in this case as containing 25% oat or bran) each day were 26% less likely to have an incident of heart failure compared to men who preferred refined cereals.
While more frequent consumption of whole grains decreased the risk, even consuming a breakfast of whole grain cereals once a week was found to lower the risk by 14%.
If you can’t face a bowl full of whole grains, try adding some bran or oats to your favourite cereal, for the good of your heart.

Everyday shopping: Breakfast cereals

Everyday shopping: Breakfast cereals We take the confusion out of cereal shopping.
Cereal is perfect for breakfast when time is tight on busy mornings. But the supermarket cereal aisle can be confusing. Which cereals cater best for you and your family’s tastes and needs? Here’s a guide to what to look for on the packaging.

Tips and traps


A high-fibre breakfast cereal is a great way to start the day.
Quick tips
  • Most of us don’t get enough fibre in our diets, so the more fibre in your cereal, the better. For adults, over 6g fibre per 100g is good, and over 10g fibre per 100g is better.
  • Children don’t need as much fibre as adults, so keep their intake between 5-15g fibre per 100g.
  • Go for whole grains, which retain the nutrients and fibre lost in refined grains. Look for the word ‘whole grain’ in the ingredients list.


Be aware of the possible high salt (sodium chloride) content.
Quick tips
  • Look for cereals with less than 400mg sodium per 100g. The less sodium, the better.
  • Cereals with no added salt are best. These will usually have less than 20mg sodium per 100g.


Given the opportunity, children would probably choose cereal by the colours, characters and illustrations on the packaging. Some cereals aimed at children are a third or half sugar – or even more! So the cereal aisle is a good place to start talking to your kids about what healthy foods are, to help them develop healthy habits.
Quick tips
  • Compare products by checking the ‘per 100g’ column in the nutrition information panel. As a guide, aim for less than 15g sugar per 100g. Less is better.
  • If the product contains dried fruit, the sugar level will be higher. In this case, aim for less than 25g per 100g.
  • Both kid- and adult-targeted cereals can be sugar traps. Check labels on all cereal varieties.


A healthy diet gives you all the nutrients you need for the day, so you don’t have to choose cereal based on added vitamins and minerals. It’s also worth noting that cereals with iron have non-haem iron (which isn’t absorbed by the body) as well as haem iron (which is found in meat).

Breakfast cereal checklist

Choose cereal with...
  • More fibre: aim for more than 10g per 100g. More fibre is good for adults, but for children no more than 15g per 100g.
  • Less sodium: aim for less than 400mg per 100g. Even better, choose a cereal with no added salt.
  • Less sugar: aim for less than 15g sugar per 100g; for cereals with dried fruit, aim for less than 25g per 100g.
  • Whole grains: these cereals are higher in vitamins and fibre.

HFG guide to: Cereal

HFG guide to: Cereal We put breakfast cereals in the spotlight and find star performers. What could be more important after a 12-hour fast than something to kick-start our metabolism? In fact, breakfast is so important, much research has been done to investigate its effects.

Breakfast benefits

If you eat breakfast every day, you will perform better, your diet is more likely to provide all the nutrients you need, and breakfast is good for weight control.
Researchers have shown that for adults and children, a good breakfast helps memory and concentration, which translates to better performance at work and school. People who regularly eat breakfast have been consistently shown to have better overall diets than those who don’t. In general, they eat less fat, more fibre, and have higher intakes of vitamins and minerals – in particular iron, calcium and magnesium. And while many believe skipping breakfast will help lose weight, evidence shows the opposite. People who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to overeat later, often choosing foods higher in fat and with fewer essential nutrients.

Whole grains

American researchers found that men who regularly consumed a whole grain cereal breakfast had a 17% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other causes, whereas eating refined-grain cereals did not reduce the risk. They believe this is explained by the lower amounts of many potentially beneficial micronutrients, antioxidants, minerals, phytochemicals,and fibre in refined cereals.

What to look for

Our criteria for the perfect breakfast cereal is one with whole grains, high in fibre, and low in sugar (see checklist). Cereals are a great base for a wholesome breakfast with added milk or yoghurt as well as fruit: providing carbohydrate, protein, fibre, a little fat, and a range of vitamins and minerals – calcium from the dairy, plus phytonutrients from the fruit.
It’s best to choose a cereal which fills you up and maximises energy levels throughout the morning.
A high-sugar start may give an immediate boost, but blood glucose levels will also drop quickly leaving you (and the kids) hungry. Look for cereal with whole grains, more fibre, and less added sugar.
A lot of cereals are made with highly refined grains. These cereals retain few nutrients and have little fibre, and they are loaded with sugar. But there are also lots of tasty cereals which do meet our criteria.

How to super-charge your breakfast

How to super-charge your breakfast
What can the most important meal of the day do for you? We have expert advice on the most tasty and nutritious breakfasts.
Nutritionists believe there is great logic in the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper”, because the best way to kick-start your body in the morning is to give it the right fuel.
The word ‘breakfast’ literally means to 'break the fast' from the eight or 12 hours since your last meal the night before. By morning, your brain and muscles are crying out for starter fuel to spring them into action and face the day ahead.

Why is breakfast so important?

Eating breakfast has been identified as one of seven healthy habits that promote long life and good health.
Three keys reasons not to skip breakfast:

. It boosts your nutrient intake

Studies in the USA and UK dating back as far as the early 1960s consistently show that breakfast eaters have better overall diets. Breakfast eaters have been shown to have a lower fat intake, a higher fibre intake, plus significantly higher intakes of almost all vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, iron and magnesium.

2. It improves memory and concentration

Nutrition researchers have found that people who eat a balanced breakfast can concentrate better and are more efficient at their work than those who skip it. For kids, there’s no doubt that breakfast is a must. Studies show that children who miss breakfast are less alert during the late morning hours and find it hard to concentrate on tasks that require prolonged mental effort.
Factory workers who skip breakfast have been found to be more prone to accidents and have a lower production output compared to those who have something to eat in the morning.

3. It helps prevent binge eating

Contrary to the beliefs of those who skip breakfast in the hope of losing weight, breakfast is a good friend. Skipping it means we are more likely to over-eat later in the day, usually something that’s quick to hand or a non-nutritious, high-fat fast food.

Breakfast nutrition

Unless you have a physically demanding job or play a lot of sport, a light cereal-and-toast style of breakfast is perfectly adequate and will meet all your nutrition needs. Comparisons with other breakfasts like egg and bacon, scrambled eggs, croissants, cheese on toast and banana smoothies show that cereal-based breakfasts are nutritionally superior, being lower in fat, cholesterol and kilojoules and higher in fibre and essential nutrients.
Here’s a checklist of healthy breakfast options:


Eaten whole or sliced over cereal. To save time, prepare a plate of sliced fruit the night before and leave in the refrigerator. Melon slices, kiwifruit, berries, grapefruit segments, papaya or oranges in quarters are all good choices.
Fruit juice is a quick alternative with the same valuable vitamin C, but has little fibre. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron from cereals. Prunes, sultanas and other dried fruit add fibre and the mineral potassium.


Many people get most of their fibre for the day at breakfast so it pays to maximise your fibre intake at this meal. Aim for a mix of soluble fibre such as oats, for a healthy heart, and insoluble fibre such as wheat bran for regularity and bowel health.
Choose a non-sugary whole grain or bran type cereal, or else go for muesli or rolled oats (porridge) in winter. There’s no shortage of choice at the supermarket. Sprinkling some wheatgerm, rice bran or oat bran over a plainer puffed or flaked cereal will boost your nutrition. Many cereals are now fortified with B vitamins and iron which, along with the milk that is consumed with them, makes them a nutritious food.
If you prefer toast or muffins to cereal, make these wholemeal, mixed grain or white high-fibre if your kids hate 'brown bread'.

Milk, yoghurt or cheese

These offer calcium for strong bones and protein as well as the B vitamin riboflavin. Many children are happy to drink a glass of milk (or hot milk with malt chocolate powder in winter) with breakfast. Cottage cheese and ricotta team nicely with raisin toast and make a good low-fat option, but are not as rich in calcium as cheddar cheese or yoghurt.

Eggs (boiled, poached, microwaved or lightly scrambled), or baked beans

These are ideal if you’re super hungry or want a hearty Sunday brunch. Add mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach for more bulk.

Breakfasts to suit different lifestyles

Ideas for breakfast-on-the-run

Scale up the servings to suit your activity and lifestyle. If you exercise regularly or have a physically demanding job, you will need larger portions, or a cooked breakfast to refuel your body, than if you don’t get to exercise much or are trying to lose weight.

No time to eat in the mornings?

Try our quick and easy ideas:
Breakfast at home
  • Try a liquid meal. Pour one cup of milk into a blender or food processor with any cut fruit (banana, strawberries, pear), 3-4 tablespoons of yoghurt and a pinch of nutmeg. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth and frothy. For a high-fibre shake, add 1-2 tablespoons of bran cereal or wheatgerm. Drink and run.
  • A bowl of muesli or bran cereal with low-fat milk and sliced banana.
  • Bircher muesli: start this famous oat breakfast the night before: Soak 1 cup of rolled oats and 2 tablespoons sultanas in 3/4 cup low-fat milk and leave covered in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, peel and grate an apple (with the skin) into the oats with a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of yoghurt and a sliced banana if you’re ravenous.
    Serves 3-4.
  • An orange or half a grapefruit.
  • Half a grain muffin, toasted and topped with cottage cheese or a slice of cheddar cheese.
  • Muffin with grilled cheese.

In the car, train or bus

Bolt out the door with
  • A sandwich you’ve made the night before plus a carton of flavoured milk.
  • A breakfast bar or muesli bar and a drinking yoghurt.
  • Throw a handful of Mini-Wheats, dried fruit and nuts into a plastic bag or container. Munch on the way to school with a carton of milk.
Gluten-free or wheat-free options
  • Avoiding wheat, oats and barley at breakfast is not easy! Look for cereals based on rice or corn (maize).
  • Fresh fruit salad with a bowl of Rice Bubbles or Corn Flakes (check for malt if you need to avoid it). Add cows’ milk or soy milk.
  • Rice cakes or rice crackers spread with margarine can replace toast. Add peanut butter, jam or marmalade as required. Tea, coffee or milk.
  • Eggs with tomato on gluten-free toast.

Breakfast out before work

Try these healthy café options
  • Thick fruit loaf toasted and topped with ricotta or cottage cheese. Cappuccino, flat white or latte with trim milk.
  • Grilled cheese and tomato on grainy toast. English breakfast tea.
  • Poached or scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with mushrooms and grilled tomato. Glass of fresh juice.
  • Fresh strawberries or diced melon tossed in a bowl with passionfruit pulp. Top with thick Greek yoghurt and  crunchy muesli.
  • Wholemeal muffin topped with grilled mushrooms or sliced tomato and a large glass of reduced-fat milk.
  • Milky coffee (latte, flat white) with bran and raisin muffin.

Breakfast and kids

Children need to start the day with a good breakfast. Breakfast functions as 'brain food', re-fuelling children’s brains as well as their bodies. Deprive children of breakfast and you may be depriving them of their ability to learn. Study after study shows that children who skip breakfast report tiredness and lethargy, have trouble concentrating on the morning’s lessons, and find complex mental tasks difficult.
Breakfast enhances
  • working memory
  • problem-solving abilities
  • accuracy in maths and other complex tasks (which teachers often schedule for the morning)
  • creative thinking
Breakfast makes a significant contribution to children’s overall nutrient intakes, according to the many studies on breakfast eating patterns. Children who eat breakfast tend to have a much healthier diet and are more likely to be consuming their recommended intakes of key nutrients such as iron, calcium, B vitamins and fibre. Children who skip breakfast do not make up the differences in dietary intake at other meals. A higher percentage of skippers do not meet two-thirds of the recommended intake for vitamins and minerals compared to those who eat breakfast.
Most children miss breakfast for two or three reasons: lack of time, being too tired, or not feeling like eating in the morning. If this sounds like your child, offer something light like fruit or a bowl of flake cereal with milk. Eating breakfast often helps them to wake up!
If he or she wants to rush off to school without eating, give them a breakfast bar to munch on the way to school or even a glass of milk, so at least they have something to see them through the morning. This combination is preferable to arriving at school with nothing to eat – it will still provide carbohydrate, some protein, B vitamins and fibre, depending on the cereal.

Choose a good cereal

“It’s better to eat the cardboard box than the cereal” is often chuckled over when buying cereals. But the truth is that even the sugary kids’ packet cereals today make a contribution to nutrition (especially with milk) and are better than having nothing to eat for the morning. Certainly they aren’t ideal in terms of fibre and whole grain content but they are inexpensive, low in fat, fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals and can be eaten as a snack any time of the day.

That said, how do you pick a good cereal?

More than 6g per 100g minimum
Preferably more than 10g/100g or more
Less than 15g per 100g
Less than 25g per 100g if from dried fruit
For a low-sodium diet, look for less than 400mg per 100g
High fibre
Look for a minimum of 6g fibre per 100g, but preferably about 10g. Check the list of ingredients for wheat bran, whole wheat, whole barley, oats, brown rice. Oats and corn are always whole grain but what, rice and barley are often refined. Bran cereals (All-Bran, Sultana Bran) have 6-9g per serve, while Corn Flakes and Rice Bubbles are down at 1g.
NZ adults should aim for 25-30g fibre each day,but man get a lot less. An easy way to increase your fibre is to choose a high-fibre cereal like All-Bran and start the day with over a third of your requirement.
Low sugar
Look for less than 15g added sugar per 100g serving. When a cereal has dried fruit, you can't tell from the nutrition panel how much is coming from the fruit and the added sugar, so you can allow a higher sugar level (up to 25g per 100g). The dried fruit adds fibre and vitamins.
Sodium (salt)
If you are watching your sodium intake for health reasons, look for a cereal with under 400mg per 100g.
Serving size
The standard serve of cereal used to be 30g, which means one cup of bubbles or flakes or two breakfast biscuits. Some manufacturers have decided to say a serve is 40g in an effort to claim the 'highest fibre content' or the 'most vitamins'. So to get a true comparison, it’s best to use the 100g column when you’re looking at similar products.
For those who burn up lots of kilojoules with a physically demanding job or are into sports in a big way, here are two hunger-buster breakfasts:
  • Fresh fruit salad; cheese omelette with wholemeal toast; tea, coffee, milk or juice.
  • Bowl of whole grain cereal with sliced banana and low-fat milk; crumpet, toasted and covered with a slice of cheese and grilled until melted; tea, coffee, milk or juice.
There are good reasons not to skip breakfast if you’re exercising but trying to lose body fat. Skipping breakfast reduces the quality of your training session due to lower blood glucose levels. It also makes you hungry and invariably leads to impulsive snacking and increased kilojoule intake later in the day.

How good is the liquid breakfast?

They taste good and they’re quick – grab one from the fridge and drink it in the car or bus – and Sanitarium’s Up&Go® claims to contain the goodness and fibre of two Weet-Bix with milk, although a quick glance at the ingredients list will tell you that it is not a liquefied version of that.
The fibre is from chicory inulin, which acts like soluble fibre. This is fermented in the gut. Soluble fibre from oats has been shown to be good for heart health.  Insoluble fibre, found in whole grains, is good for your bowels.
Nutritionists are cautious about comparing the fibre from inulin with the fibre from cereals, which have been well researched over many years. While there is good evidence so far that inulin has a positive effect on health, there is still a lot of research to be done to fully understand whether it is as good. Plant foods contain other nutrients, and fibre is not the whole story as to why whole grain cereals are so good for us.
Our advice
They’re a handy alternative when you’re in a rush, but plan to include insoluble fibres from whole grains and brans in your breakfast on most days. And be aware that they’re high in sugar: one Up&Go® has 18.5g, one CalciTrim Liquid Breakfast has 19.5g – both are more than 4 teaspoons – of sugar.

Foods for Healthy Kidneys

Kidneys are the most important organs located in the lower body part. They play a key role in excretion, that is filtration of waste and formation of urine. If your kidneys do not function properly, you may suffer from pain, difficulty in urination, burning sensation etc. Various factors may trigger kidney diseases, diet is the most prominent one. Let us know about the foods for healthy kidneys. 

Foods for Healthy Kidneys:
Foods containing high water content (oranges, grapes, berries) are some best foods to incorporate in the healthy diet for kidneys. These type of foods help to eliminate wastes and toxins from your body. Next, phytochemicals found in certain foods such as cabbage prevents cabbage and helps to maintain kidney health and cardiovascular health. Certain fishes contain omega-3 fatty acids which are useful to maintain blood pressure and good cholesterol level. Fishes such as mackerel, salmon, etc are included in foods list which are beneficial to prevent kidney disorders. Also, olive oil contains mono saturated fats, antioxidants and poly phenols that are good for kidneys. You must choose extra virgin olive oil for healthy kidneys. Following are the list of foods for healthy kidneys:
  • Asparagus
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Fish
  • Apple cider
  • Olive oil
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Red bell peppers
All the above foods for healthy kidneys must be included in the diet to prevent kidney stones. You must remember that almost all fruits and vegetables are safe to consume because they do not trigger any kidney disease. Contrarily, fried and processed foods, ready-to-eat/cook foods may indirectly put pressure on kidneys, that lead to kidney diseases. It should be made a point that mineral supplements and over the counter medications result in kidney disorders and thus, they must be avoided.

Bread – A Controversial Staple Food

America eats a lot of bread, whether as a cheese or a BLT sandwich, to make PB & J or the Challah. This baked food is definitely a staple food but on the other hand many people see it as a source for digestive problems and start to avoid it with the argument that it makes one fat.
The variety of this food doesn’t make it any easier whether this staple food is healthy or not. Some people say that pumpernickel is better, some eat only sourdough buns and others eat just crispbread. You can easily miss the wood for the trees in these arguments clutter about which type is healthy, which one makes you fat and which are the benefits of eating this. Here are the facts about this controversial staple food!

Does it make You Fat and cause Constipation?
Primarily, the carbohydrates in this staple food make you feel full for a long time. Only if you eat too much of it, it makes you fat. Nutritionists recommend usually no more than four to six slices of this food. So, a person who eats plenty of potatoes, pasta or cereals throughout a day shouldn’t eat much of this product.
But the white sort bears its reputation as a grease maker rightly since it saturates you for less time compared to the ones with whole grain due to the low amount of fiber in white flour.
And those who eat lot of white flour products and don’t drink enough water can definitely provoke a jam in the intestine that results in constipation. If a person already suffers only a mild form of celiac disease, this can cause indigestion. People who suffer this food intolerance are sensitive to the gluten in many grains. If this allergy is severe, it has not only constipation as a symptom but also diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia and fatigue. 

Does Crispbread make you Slim?
Crispbread contains practically no water, so it is just pure whole grain. Thus, it provides you 300 calories with only 100 grams. The same amount of the rye bread has only 210 calories. But since crispbread is very light, you would need to eat twelve slices to eat 100 grams. And how many people would eat that many slices? Probably not many and there we have the slim effect. 

As Darker as Healthier?
If it is dark because of containing flour with little grind and a high proportion of bran and husk, you can say that the darker types are healthier since it contains a lot of minerals and fiber. But most of the sorts are only dark because of added roasted malt to the white flour to get a better taste. This doesn’t help your health at all, so do not buy buns with just a few sunflower or pumpkin seeds on the surface.
While grains in whole wheat products contain many vitamins and minerals, they are at the same time difficult for many people because of causing digestive problems, since fibers cause unpleasant flatulence. You can avoid this negative side effect by consuming bread with only finely ground whole wheat. It is easily digestible and still contains a high proportion of healthy vitamins and minerals.

Do You Love Toppings?
Let’s rethink how you ate your sandwich the last time. Most people eat it with toppings like cheese, mayonnaise, bacon or ham. And exactly these contain a lot of hidden fats. So why not try a sub with vegetables the next time, lean chicken and pesto, which contains healthy olive oil and herbs?
So whether you prefer dark, white, sourdough or crispbread, you will definitely get health benefits of it as long as you eat en masse. All sorts of this staple food contain a lot of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron and protein, it doesn’t matter whether it contains whole grain or not.
But in general, you can say that the more whole grain, the healthier.