Meet the Expert – Casey Dick, founder of The Nutrition Clinician

Meet the Expert is all about seeking out insightful and helpful advice from experts in different fields and then sharing that with you. This week I caught up with Casey Dick, a clinical nutritionist based in Brisbane, and chatted about ways in which mums and dads can keep happy and healthy and be better parents. Of course some party related conversation happened too, so I also have some great party food ideas to share with you..

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What are your tips for busy parents to enhance their energy during the day?

Breakfast: A well-balanced satisfying breakfast is a critical start to the day – make sure breakfast contains a serve of whole-grain carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. My favourite go to is sourdough toast topped with sliced avocado and 1-2 boiled/poached eggs – a handful of spinach on the side doesn’t go a-stray either!

Protein: Make sure you include protein at each meal, protein helps keep blood sugar levels stable helping us achieve a steady stream of energy to keep powering on! Try boiled eggs as a snack or a spoonful of protein powder in yoghurt.

Fill up on fibre: similar to protein, fibre slows the release of sugar and keeps our blood sugar on an even keel. Good sources of fibre include, apples, pears, whole-grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. Try snacking on yoghurt with grated pear and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds.

Keep hydrated: even mild dehydration is known to cause dips in energy and impaired thinking. If water is not your beverage of choice try sipping on mineral water with a fresh squeeze of lime or opt for a non-caffeinated herbal tea.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is used by our adrenal glands, which control feelings of stress and in turn impact energy. To give your adrenals a boost try snacking on vitamin C rich foods such as chopped capsicum, cherry tomatoes, fresh-orange juice and kiwi fruit.

What are your favourite healthy ‘on the go’ snacks?

My top snacks which are equally nourishing, yum and easy to pack on the go are trail mix (goji berries, coconut flakes and prunes), home-made bliss balls (nuts, seeds, dates and oats), natural yoghurt with fresh fruit or sweet quinoa salad (cooked quinoa tossed with goji berries and diced dates).

Do you have any tips to help improve sleep (for adults and children)?

A healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with promoting optimal sleep; here are a few stand out diet tips for both parents and kids to ensure no midnight movements!

 Calcium: Calcium is critical for neurotransmitter synthesis allowing a healthy nights sleep. Research has shown that calcium levels in the body surge during our deepest sleep stages and low calcium levels are associated with disturbed sleep. Thankfully, kids love foods rich in calcium such as milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, tahini, dried figs and even leafy greens!

Magnesium: Magnesium assists to calm the nervous system and is used alongside calcium to promote sound sleep. To ensure your levels are topped up supplement with magnesium powder or boost the content of nuts, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables and legumes in your diet.

Don’t go to bed hungry: going to bed hungry may cause blood sugar levels to dip too low during the night causing us to wake and disrupt sleep. Make sure dinner isn’t too close or too far from sleep and is satisfying. Allow for a simple snack such as yoghurt before bed if the munchies hit.

Eat adequate protein: protein is a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid required as part of our sleep cycle. Making sure dinner includes a source of tryptophan such as turkey and cottage cheese will help with our sleep cycle run smooth.

What tips do you have for time poor parents who want to keep active?

I have a few suggestions for this; set your alarm 30mins earlier (if you can manage!) and use this as your time to start the day with some exercise, park a little further away or take the stairs instead of the lift, try using a stand-up desk at work and make sure you allocate time on the weekend for some active activities with the family such as bike riding, swimming or walks.

What FUN ways can we be more active with our children?

Why not explore a new part of your city by foot on the weekends? Visit the farmers markets and spend time walking around picking out fresh produce for the week. Maybe even set up a garden patch or pot some herbs because picking from and maintaining the garden is a healthy outdoor activity kids will be sure to enjoy!

Do you have any suggestions for healthy party food for kids?

I think incorporating fruit and vegetables into party food is also a winner! My favourites are;

Pinwheels using wholegrain or spelt wraps topped with mashed banana, tahini and a little honey, then rolled up and cut into pinwheels

Frozen Yoghurt Fruit – Dip sliced banana and strawberries into yoghurt and freeze until set serve on tooth pick

Ice-blocks made from blended yoghurt and fruit – use frozen berries for a vibrant colour

Chocolate crackles using puffed quinoa, cocoa powder, honey and coconut oil to bind

Party parfait in pretty glasses layering yoghurt, muesli and colourful fruit

Pancakes made using mashed banana, egg and quinoa flakes – topped with yoghurt and fresh fruit

Scones with fruit or vegetables using buckwheat flour and grated pumpkin

 

Casey Dick is a clinical Nutritionist based in Brisbane and founder of The Nutrition Clinician. Casey seeks to inspire simplicity and clarity when it comes to health in the most delicious and realistic way possible. Casey enjoys working with clients across the life-span to treat all facets of health conditions. When working with clients Casey aims to ensure they are provided with the right tools and support needed to achieve a balanced and healthy life. To find out more and for nutrition tips, please visit: http://thenutritionclinician.com.au/

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