HOW I STAY HEALTHY
By leading dietitian Susie Burrell As a new mum to twin boys, ‘busy’ is Susie Burrell’s middle name. She shares with us her non-negotiable health shortcuts and how she beats sugar cravings.
Author and dietitian Susie Burrell shares health tips for busy mums
One thing I do every day is drink plenty of water. It really impacts my energy and skin, so I prioritise 1–1.5 litres per day. I also try to walk every day, because I feel sluggish if I don’t. Sometimes I just take the twins to the park, and that helps me get to 10,000 steps a day.
Since I’ve had my twins, the ‘proper breakfast’ is over. I used to enjoy a lot more meals out, but there’s just no time now. Usually I have coffee the minute I wake up, and then I’ll grab a piece of wholemeal toast with cheese and Vegemite. It’s quick and gets me going for the day.
Lunch has become my main meal, at around 11am. If I’m at home, I’ll make myself an egg scramble, which is basically eggs and heaps of vegies cooked in a pan with goat’s cheese and a few bits of toast. That keeps me full all day, and it’s also a great way to eat more vegetables.
My husband and I tend to eat really simply for dinner at home. It’s usually grilled lean meat or fish, along with two or three different vegetables. It’s a light meal — pasta and rice are a bit too heavy for me at that time of day. I also like to have a glass of wine with dinner.
I’m not a big snacker, but I always like something sweet before bed. At around 8pm I make sure that I sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit, or perhaps it’ll be a small piece of chocolate. It’s not a lot — just a small treat, so that I don’t feel that I’m being deprived in any way.
As a busy mum, I like routine and plan a lot of my meals in advance. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself starving in the car, and then having to stop and buy something to eat. It’s often hard to find healthy options when you’re away from home. Salads are usually just too expensive and lack protein, and most of the sandwiches are pre-made and huge!
My best shortcut is to cook once, eat twice. For example, I’ll cook dinner and then eat leftovers for lunch the next day, or buy a cut of meat that I can use for two meals. I also love buying pre-cut vegetables and stir-fry mixes — we shouldn’t be afraid of using convenient, time-saving options.
I don’t really think too much about my weight, and for me consistency is key for maintaining a healthy weight. One thing about dietitians is we have fairly consistent eating habits — there’s no binge eating followed by rapid dieting. As you get older it’s important to maintain your metabolism and prevent weight gain. Otherwise suddenly you have 10kg to lose.
Surprisingly I’m not overly strict with what the twins eat. They’re only 18 months, but I don’t want them to be obsessed with food, so I let them have a biscuit here and there. The only thing I’m really strict about is liquid sugars like juices, smoothies and soft drink. They only drink water and a little bit of milk. Some kids fill up on too much milk.
Because I have something sweet every day, I honestly never have cravings. As soon as you feel deprived, that’s when the cravings come along. Severe cravings are often a result of poor blood sugar control, which suggests your baseline diet isn’t balanced. So maybe you’re not eating enough protein in the morning, or you’re not having enough carbs with lunch.
There’s a huge amount of pleasure that comes from eating. I love good quality cakes, slices and doughnuts. There’s something about the density and mouthfeel. But it’s hard to find a good one, so I don’t have them very often. It’s all about choosing what you spend your calories on.