SARAH TUCK

Editor, dish mag­a­zine

Dish - - EAT WELL - For more tips from sports nu­tri­tion­ist Rosa Bach, visit dish.co.nz

dish: You are su­per busy – as many of us are. How do you keep your en­ergy up and make sure you eat a bal­anced diet?

Ha – it’s a strug­gle I have to ad­mit! I am lucky to nat­u­rally be a very high-en­ergy per­son and that (in the main) I crave healthy food…

I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I ate take­aways. I keep some ba­sics on hand to help keep me in line. At work you’ll of­ten find me chow­ing down on lin­seed and chia crack­ers smoth­ered in Fix & Fogg’s Ev­ery­thing But­ter (one of my all-time favourites). Also, and I guess this is crit­i­cal, I love food and never eat just ‘for fuel’; I eat with tex­ture and flavour in mind too.

dish: You used to be a per­sonal trainer.

Did you come across a big ob­ses­sion with di­et­ing and los­ing weight? How did you help peo­ple who had poor body im­age to take away any food-as­so­ci­ated guilt? Fun­nily enough I had more of a prob­lem with peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the food:ex­er­cise in­put/out­put ra­tio; for ex­am­ple think­ing a walk would jus­tify deca­dent eat­ing for the rest of the day. It won’t. But yes, there were also a few who saw food as a naughty in­dul­gence and ex­er­cise as pun­ish­ment. The key is to recog­nise that good choices don’t need to be un­ap­peal­ing, just bal­anced.

dish: Do you think we can ap­ply ‘bot­tom line’ rules for eat­ing well?

For my­self, I do, and it is pretty straight­for­ward: fresh, sea­sonal pro­duce fo­cus­ing on veges, with a mix of good-qual­ity fats and oils (salmon for ex­am­ple), some com­plex carbs (from brown rice to quinoa), with a wee bit of dairy and red meat thrown into the mix..

dish: What does your own daily eat­ing look like? Do you have cer­tain rules or rit­u­als?

I do have a ritual, but I’m not dis­turbed if for some rea­son it can’t be main­tained.

I start the day with lemon juice and ap­ple cider vine­gar in warm wa­ter. Once I’ve ex­er­cised, I have a strong cof­fee then of­ten take a cel­ery juice to work. Gen­er­ally I don’t get hun­gry for break­fast un­til mid-morn­ing. Week­nights for din­ner I have some com­bi­na­tion of sea­sonal veges, grains and ei­ther hum­mus or pesto topped with nuts or seeds. Of­ten I add a small serv­ing of fish – I tend to eat red meat only when I am en­ter­tain­ing or out for din­ner. I fin­ish ev­ery day with a few squares of dark choco­late…non-ne­go­tiable! When I go out I eat what­ever takes my fancy. dish: How can we let go of our angst around food but also eat healthily in a way that’s sus­tain­able for life?

Just be­cause some­thing is ‘healthy’ that doesn’t mean it can’t be packed with fab­u­lous flavours and tex­tures. I think one of the keys to nor­malise eat­ing well is to do it mind­fully – to sit at the ta­ble, to con­nect with friends and loved ones, to taste and ap­pre­ci­ate the food. I also think we need to turn the idea of re­ward and de­pri­va­tion around food on its head. When we eat great, healthy food we are do­ing some­thing won­der­ful for our bod­ies.

dish: For some­one who says ‘I’d love to eat healthily but I have no time to cook’, what would you ad­vise them?

I’d say the two are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive – eat­ing healthily is al­most al­ways an op­tion with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of fast food restau­rants and cafés jump­ing on the band wagon. When I was a trainer, one of my clients would buy lunch ev­ery day –pies, pizza or burg­ers – but by swap­ping those selections to sushi and healthy op­tions at Sub­way we made an im­me­di­ate im­pact. Also, I am a huge ad­vo­cate for do­ing prep or pre-cook­ing at the week­end then freez­ing or chill­ing food for later in the week.

dish: Do you agree we’ve lost some of our en­joy­ment of food? It seems ev­ery­one has opin­ions about the 'right' way to eat now… There is some truth in that. It used to be that you couldn’t dis­cuss money, sex or pol­i­tics at the din­ner ta­ble… now it ap­pears those are all fine, but food is off the menu. I think if we can ac­cept some ba­sic truths about healthy eat­ing and then es­tab­lish how that works for us, then we have a start. And it may be dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­body. But the fun­da­men­tal thing for me is this – eat­ing a meal to­gether gives us the op­por­tu­nity to con­nect and com­mu­ni­cate with friends and fam­ily, to check in on each other, ban­ter and share a joke, to share love around the ta­ble – se­ri­ously, our lives are stress­ful enough these days with­out bring­ing angst to the ta­ble. Let's bring the joy back.

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