Nutrition - Knowledge is the Key!

At TAPfit we believe wholeheartedly in creating a healthy way of living with both TAPfit and nutrition.  By attending TAPfit classes we give you access to a 14 day TAPfit Trimmer menu plan and recipes which have been collated by TAPfit Dietitian Julie Masci.  This plan will give you the knowledge and tools to lose weight and keep it off.Here are a few hints and tips to get you on your way!


Basic Healthy Eating Plan

Here are 4 basic steps to constructing a simple but healthy dinner meal:

  1. Choose a medium sized plate or bowl (avoid large ones)
  2. Fill 1/2 your plate with a variety of colorful cooked vegetables or salad
  3. Add lean protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, tofu or legumes (chick peas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.) to 1/4 of the plate
  4. The last 1/4 of the plate add carbohydrate foods such as rice, pasta, noodles or starchy vegetables (e.g. potato, sweet potato, corn). Try to include low GI carbohydrate at each meal.

Be sure to also have a serve of fruit and also some dairy throughout the day!
And last but not least plenty of water!


Nutrition Basics

Food is fuel. It gives us energy to think, breathe, walk, and talk. Specifically, the three major nutrients found within food, referred to as macronutrients, are responsible for providing us with fuel, known as calories. These macronutrients, known as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, are the most critical nutrients of human nutrition. Each of them plays a critical role, therefore is important to have a basic understanding of these nutrients, what they do, and how they affect our bodies and health.

What is a calorie?

A calorie is simply a way of measuring the amount of energy in food. Many people try to avoid or limit calories due to the potential for weight gain. In order to maintain your weight, you need to consume the same number of calories as you burn. If you are gaining or losing weight, that means you are consuming more or fewer calories than you actually need.

Calories come from only three main sources, known as the macronutrients. After eating, these three nutrients are either immediately used by the body for various functions (to build muscle, to provide immediate energy, to build new cells) or if consumed in excess they are stored as fat. The key to a healthy weight is not to eliminate or avoid any specific macronutrient, but instead to find the right balance to between our calorie intake and expenditure.

What is protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient found in every cell of our bodies. Protein makes up the structure of the cells, organs, and muscles. It can also be used to make hormones, co-enzymes, blood, and even DNA. Protein-containing structures are constantly being broken down and replaced, therefore the body needs some protein daily to replace what has been used up.

Protein can also be used for energy. Most adults get more than enough protein to meet their daily needs as long as they are eating a varied diet. Protein has gotten a lot of hype as a “weight loss” food over the last few years, but adding more protein to your diet will not cause any miraculous weight loss. It can cause you to feel more satisfied at a meal, but it still contains calories and too many calories from any source can cause you to gain weight.

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are a large molecule found in food that your body breaks down into sugar (glucose). The body uses the sugar from these molecules to give you energy for daily activities and to maintain proper organ function, especially brain function. The glucose from carbohydrates is either burned right away or can be saved in the muscles and liver to be used later.

The minimum amount of carbohydrates needed for proper brain function is about 130 grams per day. If you are physically inactive, you may want to eat fewer carbohydrates, as any excess can get stored as fat. You should always choose “complex” carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, milk or yogurt, beans, and whole grains. These complex carbs contain fiber and will also give you a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Limit foods containing added sugar like cakes, pies, candy, or sugary drinks.

What is Fat?

Fat has been unfairly blamed as the nutrient that causes disease and makes us gain weight. However, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, fat is actually a necessary part of the diet and may be beneficial.   Part of the reason that fat has such a negative reputation is that fat is higher in calories, over double what is provided by protein and carbohydrates. But, it is not fat that is the problem for chronic disease, it is the over consumption of the wrong kinds of fat that is problematic to our health.

Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats such as those found in high fat meats and processed baked goods as these have been linked to disease risk and may increase cholesterol. Healthy fats actually can help lower the risk of the disease and make you feel more satisfied when eating. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, found in foods such as nuts, olive oil, avocados, fish, and flaxseeds. Including these fats in your diet can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Fats help us feel more satisfied with our meals and are necessary for proper brain and immune function. Don’t be afraid of fat, just choose the right type. But, remember, fat is high in calories so even if there are health benefits, watch your portions, a small amount can go a long way.

By TAPfit Dietician, Julie Masci


10 Hot Tips to Help you Lose Weight

1. Never skip breakfast
Have you ever missed breakfast and then a few hours later feel so hungry you could eat anything! What sort of breakfast you have will dictate what sort of day you have. The better the breakfast the more satisfied you will feel, less blood sugar fluctuation means you’ll be calm and less moody, and you will have energy to take on the day.

2. Always have a small dinner
This is a great weight loss tool. Having a small dinner will give your body a break from digesting overnight so you actually burn fat sleeping. Vegetables soups are the best for this.

3. Vegetables will fill you up
Fruit and vegetables are mostly water so they are the best for keeping you slim and trim. Base most of your meals around fresh vegetables and fruits, the best way is to cut carrots, cucumber, capsicum, green beans and keep a fridge full of them so you can have a handful whenever you feel puckish and visit the fridge.

4. Drink 1 big glass of water as soon as you wake up
So many people go straight for the tea or coffee when the wake up but these actually Dehydrate you! Dehydration causes ‘hunger’ pangs which will mean you will snack all morning. Don Colbert M.D. author of “Eat this and live” also explains that drinking water first thing in the morning is beneficial because your stomach is empty and will not hinder digestion. Go for the water first. This will make your skin look great during the day too.

5. Sugar = fat in the body
Just because something says ‘fat free’ doesn’t mean it is. Sugar and too much ‘white foods’ like white bread, pastry, bagels, pasta turn into fat if you have too much. It’s very easy to have too much sugar as its hidden in lots of packet foods.

6. Sleep like a teenager
Sleep is the biggest weight loss helper. Dr. Siobhan Banks from the University of Pennsylvania is now a research fellow at the Centre for Sleep Research in South Australia. Dr Banks study of 92 healthy adults found that those who only slept 4 hours a day, gained 1.5kg during the 11 day study![1] Researchers at the University of Chicago believe that lack of sleep results in an increase in the hormone ghrelin which increases your appetite. Make sure you get 7-8 hours sleep as often as you can!

7. Don’t mistake boredom hunger for real hunger
When you’re bored the fridge or café is your best friend. Real hunger is that growling stomach type. Instead, have a glass of water and go write down a to do list of all the things you’ve been meaning to get done that week or take yourself for a walk outside, listening to your favourite songs!

8. Find your weakness
When do you crave bad foods? Is it when you’ve had a bad day, or stressed out? Drive past the convenience store or take out joint? Once you find your weakness try and change your habits. Not buying the bad stuff in the first place is often the best way not to eat it

9. Don’t be scared of fats
The ‘good’ fats should be called ‘beauty’ fats! Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds are great for your hair, skin and nails. Avocado is great for your skin. Salmon is great for promoting the release of stubborn bad fat from the body and for your skin. Just to name a few.

10. Smile More
It’s been proven that when you smile, even if you don’t feel like it, you brain is flooded with happy chemicals… So smiling when you’re having a mope will actually improve your mood and you will be less likely to reach for the chocolate as a quick fix.

By Emma Brown (Nutritionist)

[1] Drummond, L. “Sleep linked to weightloss” (n.d.) Retrieved from:,8207