5 tasty low-calorie snacks

 We’ve uncovered five healthy snack ideas to get you through your day and the 3 pm hunger pangs.

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1. Homemade popcorn: Unlike our favourite buttery movie companion, this version is a low-calorie and high-fibre snack. Just add ½ cup of corn kernels to a brown paper bag and microwave for a couple of minutes, until the popping slows down to one or two pops per second.

“Homemade popcorn is a fun wholegrain snack that provides you with roughly 1g of fibre and 1g of protein per cup for as little as 30 calories!” says wholefood dietitian and nutritionist Larina Robinson.

The best part? You can top with a touch of Himalayan salt and nut butter or spices such as turmeric or cinnamon for anti-inflammatory benefits. Or if you have the tastebuds for it, seaweed flakes are high in iodine, which is important for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.  

2. Fibre One™ snacks: Sucker for a 3pm sweet hit but don’t like making your own healthy treat? Try Fibre One squares and brownies: these delicious snacks taste just like your traditional brownie, but with only 90 calories per serve.

Plus, they come in two mouth-watering flavours: Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Salted Caramel Squares. For only $5.49 for a pack of 5, it’s hard to resist.

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3. Tuna with wholegrain crackers: For a healthy alternative to cheese and crackers to get you through those never-ending emails,a handful of wholegrain crackers and a tin of tuna in springwater contains around 163 calories.

This combo is high in protein and slow-releasing carbs, keeping you full for longer while not spiking blood sugar levels – the perfect afternoon or pre-workout fuel.

4. Overnight oats: AddGreek yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, shredded coconut and cinnamon to a cup of rolled oats in a jar and leave to set overnight. Top with your favourite berries when ready to eat. A standard breakfast-sized jar contains around 370 calories but you can halve the serving amount for a morning or afternoon snack.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and are high in fibre, aiding digestion, and cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. You’ll reap myriad benefits from all of the ingredients, according to Robinson.

“It contains protein for muscle repair and to keep you feeling full for longer, slow-releasing carbohydrates for sustained energy and for stabilising blood sugar levels, fibre to support digestion and control weight, antioxidants to fight free radical that damage the body’s cells, and healthy fats for supple skin and healthy hair,” she says.

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5. Homemade hommus with vegie sticks: Ditch the packaged store-bought dips with unhealthy oils and additives and grab a tin of chickpeas and make your own hommus.

Chickpeas are rich in protein and soluble fibre, aiding digestion, reducing inflammation and helping with heart and bone health and maintaining weight. A 2-3 tablespoon serve is roughly 100-150 calories.

Cut carrot and cucumber into sticks for dipping and you have yourself a low calorie afternoon pick-me-up, plus it’s a great way of getting in an extra serve of vegies.

This piece was produced in partnership between Fibre OneTM and Women’s Health & Fitness magazine.

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Why the Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa is the best way to start the new year

Whether it’s a detox coming out of the festive period or a weekend getaway with the girls minus the extra holiday kilos, there’s no denying that health and fitness retreats are in high demand. But are they really worth your hard-earned coin?

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We sent WH&F editor Katelyn Swallow to world-renowned Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa in the Hunter Valley, NSW, to find out what all the fuss is about.

I’ve been to a fair few health retreats in my time, but nothing could have prepared me for the rolling hills and glimpses of grapevines my friend Tiffany and I experienced as we drove up to the iconic gates of the Golden Door Health Retreat. Perched on a hill overlooking the valley’s wineries and Brokenback mountain range – about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sydney and just 45 minutes from Newcastle – we were welcomed by Golden Door [hyperlink: goldendoor.com.au] staff in their luxe marbled foyer. Almost instantly, I felt the stresses of the week’s work begin to melt away thanks to the steady trickle of their indoor water feature.

As a self-confessed gym junkie, I was a bit wary of bringing a friend with differing interests along for the ride. But on closer inspection of Golden Door’s program, I realised there was something for everyone – no ‘go hard or go home’ bootcamps here. Whether you’re wanting a week-long wellness reset with the girls or just a romantic two-night getaway with your significant other, Golden Door’s all inclusive packages have you covered.

Designed as an oasis for the mind, body and spirit, you can opt in or out of any activity on the retreat timetable, accommodating meditative yogi to squat enthusiast – and everyone in between:

For the lover of creature comforts

Both Tiffany and I are unapologetically fans of a good night’s rest and Golden Door’s voguish accommodation did not disappoint. A leisurely two-minute stroll from the front desk found us outside one of their 74 on-site villas (there are one, two or three bedroom options available), which we would call home for the next two nights. Stunning views from the balcony, huge ensuite bathrooms, a spacious king bed and even a self-contained kitchen, it was the perfect place to curl up with a book and recoup after a ‘busy’ day exercising, eating and relaxing.

For the foodie

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If there isn’t food, don’t invite me – particularly if I need to step a toe into the kitchen. And it seems Golden Door knew I was coming. All main meals plus two snacks are delivered daily by the in-house chef, including a buffet-style breakfast, so all you have to do is eat.

Meals are mostly plant based and dairy free, aside from small portions of chicken and fish, and coffee was banned to give your hard-working adrenals a rest. But who knew healthy cooking could taste that good? And that’s coming from a self-confessed carnivore!

“Our Golden Door menu is not completely vegetarian and we do provide options for a caffeine non-detox [if requested] to guests wanting a soft landing into health and wellness cuisine. However, limiting animal proteins to poultry and seafood keeps the menu nice and lean,” says executive chef James Knight.

“Our menu has been crafted to nourish guests as well as inspire them, so we limit things that tend to be consumed in excess and show them how it’s possible to use this variety of produce at home. With plenty of colourful fruits, salads and vegetables (many straight from our organic kitchen garden), our guests experience a cleaner way of eating that is still incredibly satisfying.”

By the end of the first day, once the detox headaches subsided, my digestion had improved, the bloat was gone and I slept through the night for the first time in a long time. And if, like me, you hate beetroot on your salad – no fret. Kitchen hand Lita (who knew all 30 guests’ names by the end of day one, just FYI) will accommodate all your dietary preferences.


 

For the yogi

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If you think sweating it out in a HIIT class is akin to torture, or if injury is a concern, choose to take the path to Zen. Tiffany and I started our first day at the retreat with an early morning tai chi class, overlooking the valley as the sun was just peaking over the horizon, followed by a walk around the adjacent golf course.

Beginner to advanced yoga and Pilates classes are offered throughout the day, or learn how to harness the power of breath in one of the evening workshops.

But whether you’re a budding yogi or as conservative as they come, don’t skip the daily Meditation 101 classes. The experienced instructors can get even the busiest brain to relax, trialling different techniques so you, too. find your best fit.

“A huge block when it comes to meditation is that people believe they have to empty the mind and completely stop thinking. When that fails to happen, a barrier is formed, ‘I can’t meditate,’” says program and guest experience manager Damian Rocks.

“But meditation is not about not thinking, it is simply about finding a point of focus for a period of time. This focus can be on anything, as long as it is with intention, and can last for three seconds or 30 minutes; focused intention, regardless of length of time, is still a form of meditation. And just one physiological benefit of many is an increased capacity for problem-solving in the pre-frontal cortex, allowing the brain to work more efficiently.”

For the gym junkie

If you’re using the retreat as a way to get back your fitness mojo, prepare to be sore but inspired by the end of your stay. Each morning starts with a short and sharp stretch session to loosen tight and tired muscles. You can then choose to sweat through a high intensity spin class, tough it out in their fully equipped gym as part of a group circuit, book a one-on-one personal training session or work out your frustrations with a boxing lesson.

Our pick? One of the AM low-impact deep water running classes! Far from your typical aqua aerobics class, you’ll leave the huge heated pool with a definite sweat. Follow it up with a quick sauna and spa and, like us, you’ll feel light and satisfied – all before breakfast.


 

For the self-indulgent

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Many of our fellow retreat guests took a day to simply de-stress, sipping herbal tea and getting pampered at the retreat’s in-house spa. Offering all your standard spa treatments such as manicures and facials – plus a few just left of centre – you get one to two treatments complementary, depending on your package. Tiff and I opted for the Cleopatra: essentially a full-body exfoliation treatment and mud wrap – we had skin smoother than a baby’s bottom for weeks.

The verdict

After just three days at Golden Door Health Retreat, I felt completely at ease: my skin was glowing, my stomach flat and the usual ball of stress and anxiety in my stomach had unknotted. My digestion and sleep were improved, and I was two kilos lighter on the scales.

But far beyond the physical were the nutrition and exercise habits and education I took away home with me. In a sentence, I would describe Golden Door as an intensive health, fitness and mindset overhaul – with beautiful long-term benefits. And with 2-night weekend programs starting at just $1,210pp twin share, it’s worth every penny.

GOLDEN DOOR SPECIALS – VALID UNTIL MARCH 31 2018

$1000 off: 7-night program

$800 off: 5-night program

$1000 pp weekend offer

To book, visit their official website.

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5 minutes with February 2018 cover model Ellie Giffen

We sat down with February 2018 cover model Ellie Giffen to chat about all things health, fitness and lifestyle. 

EAT

There isn’t much I won’t eat. I love food and have mastered a happy medium between my love for gourmet ingredients and clean eating. For example, I love eating fresh fish but I season it with freshly squeezed lemon, coriander, ripe cherry tomatoes, ginger and cracked pepper. Instead of having it with plain steamed vegies, I might throw together a salad with some sweet mango, mint and fresh chilli. My nutrition needs to excite me and be ever changing.

MOVE

A typical week of training includes a variety of workouts. I typically only spend two days in a gym and the other days are either spent in a Pilates studio (KX Pilates in Adelaide is incredible), on the beach (running or walking) or on a yoga mat at home (I invested in a TRX, which is amazing for bodyweight workouts and is responsible for my strong core).

THRIVE

My short-term goals are simple: I’ve accepted that life does not need to be extravagant all the time for it to be fulfilling. If we are constantly striving for the next big thing we will miss what is right in front of us. I aim to continue with the little things that bring me joy such as painting, eating good food, swimming in the ocean, camping and spending my time with people who make me feel good.

Long term, I see myself working as a social worker in women’s mental health. At the risk of sounding cliché, I really do want to help others or at the very least let women know that they are not alone and have an important place in this world.

BE

To de-stress I hug my dog, put on a good playlist or watch an epic make-up tutorial on YouTube. I also enjoy shopping, reading a novel until 3am and running through sand dunes. I used to believe that every waking second of my day had to be productive, but I’ve learnt that the more relaxed I am, the more productive I become!

Model: Ellie Giffen // @miss_elliesue

Photographer: Dannielle McPherson //@danniellemcphersonphotography

HMU: Sophie Williams // @sophiewilliamsmakeupartistry

Grab the February 2018 edition for her full cover story and more!

 

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How to maintain motivation over the holiday season

Struggling to stay on top of your exercise regime because you’re simply not motivated enough? Here are three ways to maintain it.

The key is to tone down rather than completely halt your exercise regimen, but maintaining motivation during times of temptation generally comes down to how you think about your training. If heading for the bench press doesn’t excite you, you’ll likely forego exercise for the call of cosmos.

Follow the experts’ top tips for maintaining motivation:

» Look on the bright side: “The relationship you have with exercise will depend on how you prioritise it and whether toning down your training will have positive effects or not. If you view exercise as punishment or to purely burn calories rather than seeing it for its mental and physical health benefits, then you’re less likely to enjoy it and remain consistent. When you value and enjoy exercise – you prioritise it,” says Brooke Turner.

» Develop an exercise routine before summer hits so motivation isn’t an issue next season: “The development of positive habits and routines is important for mental wellbeing, with a holistic and flexible approach. Ideally, a good exercise routine should be sustainable and easily modified and adapted to take life changes into account, and having a number of different activities you participate in can help,” says clinical psychologist Dr Yuliya Richard.

» Modify your routine: King suggests experimenting with outdoor activities during this time that take advantage of summer’s social theme and heat. Think learning to surf or a game of beach volleyball with friends. Try mixing up such activities with bootcamps, walking, swimming, running, yoga, Pilates and gym sessions; this way you have options depending on the season and weather moving into the new year.

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Superfood strawberry protein milkshake recipe

Alleviate the brain fog and keep your mood in check with this protein smoothie.

Ingredients (makes one smoothie)

Method

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender

2. Blend until smooth

3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

NUTRITION (per smoothie)

Protein: 19g // Fat: 5g //

Carbs: 16g // Calories: 213g

 

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Keeping fit with Alexandra Kierdorf-Robinson

We caught up with December 2017 cover model Alexandra Kiedorf-Robinson to chat about all things health, fitness, passion and purpose.

Alex Kierdorf-Robinson has had a far from easy life. With parents suffering from addiction in her home country of Sweden, she had to grow up early – and fast. But rather than weakening her resolve, Kierforf-Robinson used these challenges to her advantage, and is now a Swedish-qualified physiotherapist, group fitness instructor and personal trainer for her own business, 360Health. She spoke to WH&F about fostering a positive attitude in the face of adversity, finding love, and working to create a healthy and fit lifestyle.

ON CAREER

I have always loved sports and training. It began with my passion for figure skating as a child, followed by soccer in high school and then I joined the gym for the first time when I was 17. I remember walking into my first group fitness class and thinking that one day I’d like to be an instructor on stage. It looked like so much fun to teach, motivate and train with a room full of people.

After school, I did a bit of travelling and working before finally deciding to study physiotherapy in Gothenburg, Sweden. I had always been fascinated by the human body and movement; by its musculoskeletal and physiological systems. It was during my years at university that I started my career as a group fitness instructor. I started out teaching old-school freestyle aerobics and step, but have since moved more toward Les Mills pre-choreographed classes such as Bodypump, RPM and Bodybalance. I also teach yoga, which I absolutely love!

ON FINDING LOVE

It was during a study abroad in 2006 that I met my now husband, Mark (@healthmanmark). We did long distance for three years while I completed my physiotherapy degree before I finally made the move to the Gold Coast, Australia. These days I work as a personal trainer for our own business, 360Health, that Mark runs with business partner Rob Quatro. I train people of all ages and fitness levels, and enjoy helping clients rehabilitate and prevent injuries. I also train clients preparing for bodybuilding competitions, as well as providing online coaching services.

ON PASSION & PURPOSE

My aim and goal in any field – whether it be during PT, in the cycle studio or in a yoga class – is always to promote the benefits of physical exercise. In a society with so many lifestyle-related metabolic conditions, and abundant healthcare and medicines to aid almost any condition, using exercise to promote health is sometimes forgotten. I want to spread the knowledge that training can help treat and prevent a whole range of ailments.

I love what I do because I get to see so many lives completely transformed in this industry. And I’m not just talking about the physical transformations (which of course are rewarding) but the changes to a person’s quality of life: improved confidence and motivation, better energy levels, and a better social and family life too.

ON AN AVERAGE DAY

I get up early – usually by 4.30am. I train clients or take a class or two until about lunch. Most afternoons I teach group fitness as well.

ON ‘SUMMER BODIES’

I think it’s great that people want to get fit for summer. It’s a great time to start a new fitness regime given you will likely have more energy thanks to the light and warmth outside. However, I always try to promote staying fit and training year-round. Making your healthy nutrition and training part of your routine 365 days a year will ensure it feels natural and you will never have to struggle making drastic changes to your physique because of one season.

Make the commitment. Set pen to paper and write down your plan of attack. Set progress goals and when you want to achieve them by. Make sure you stick to the plan and keep yourself accountable – either by hiring yourself a PT or coach, or telling your friends and family what you hope to achieve.

ON PERSONALITY

I’d describe my personality as happy and positive. I try my best to support and inspire friends, family and people around me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform, but I am learning that I also need rest and time to look after my body and mind.

My childhood was a tough one. I had  loving parents, but both suffered from addiction –  so I had quite a chaotic life growing up and I pretty much looked after myself from a very young age. I lost my mother when I was 18 and my father has since passed as well. I like to think these life experiences have made me persistent, strong and determined in life rather than weakened me.

ON MY FAVOURITE EXERCISE

It would have to be teaching a crazy, tough RPM class! But I also love participating in group fitness and hot yoga classes.

ON MY FAVOURITE ‘TREAT’ MEAL

A big bowl of pasta, I love it! And for a sweet treat anything including chocolate, lollies and ice-cream works!

ON MY ROLE MODEL

I think Roger Federer is an absolute legend! He is so much more than the greatest of all time (GOAT) on the court, but also a humble, intelligent, kind man with absolute integrity.

ON GOALS

Short term, I am looking forward to getting back into a full training load. I have been dealing with an injury in my elbow for about six months now and it is continuously getting better with rest and very specific rehab training, but I can’t wait to lift some heavy weights again.

Long term, I would like to become a person who inspires health and physical activity nationally and globally, through face-to-face meetings, coaching and group fitness. Becoming a master trainer for group fitness instructors has always been a dream.

Model: Alexandra Kierdorf-Robinson // swedishalex.com // @swedishalex

Photographer: Jessica Apap // jessicaapap.com // @jessicaapap_photographer

HMU: Cynthia Smyth // cynthiasmythmakeup.com.au // @cynthiasmyth_makeup

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Tiffiny Hall’s ‘Glow Bowl’ recipe

Tuck into this delicious glow bowl filled with healthy goodness by trainer Tiffiny Hall.

Ingredients (Serves 2  // Prep: 10 min // Cook: 10 min)


  • ¼ cup mixed quinoa
  • ½ fennel, shaved
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 8 walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs, boiled, peeled and cut into quarters, to serve
  • ½ bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp water

 

Method

1. To cook the quinoa, bring ¾ cup of water to the boil, add the rinsed quinoa and simmer for 10–12 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.  Drain and spread on a plate to cool slightly.

2. To make the dressing place mint, lemon juice, yoghurt and water in a blender, blend until smooth.

3. Arrange ingredients into 2 bowls, drizzle with dressing and add boiled eggs to serve.

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