All posts in Nutrition

So can we have meat on our BBQ this summer?

Nutrition Consultant Larissa Beeby

Cooking steak and salad on the Hauraki Gulf last summer!

Recently our newspapers went to town on the latest World Health Organisation report on meat and in particular processed meat.  With headlines like “Red meat gives you cancer” there was of course a case of histeria along with confusion.  Especially with BBQ season well and truly here.  So first off here is a summary of what the report actually said…

  • It ranked bacon, ham and sausages alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer
  • With each 50g of processed meat a day – the equivalent of one sausage, or less than two slices of bacon – increases the chance of developing bowel cancer by 18 per cent
  • Listed processed meat as a cancer-causing substance, the highest of five possible rankings, shared with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.
  • Fresh red meat was ranked on the next level, as a “probable” carcinogen
  • The classifications, by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), mean processed meat is officially regarded as “carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Processed meats have been classed in the highest risk category, alongside smoking, it does not mean that each are an equal danger
  • The classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence that a substance causes cancer, rather than the level of risk attached to it
  • For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed
  • Red meat – under which the IARC includes beef, lamb and pork – was classified as a “probable” carcinogen in its group 2A list that also contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers
  • The lower classification for fresh red meat reflected “limited evidence” that it causes cancer. The IARC found links mainly with bowel cancer, but also observed associations with pancreatic and prostate cancer.

So what does this really me for you and I…..Here is an analogy that I have been loving since I heard it  – while we know sun exposure CAUSES skin cancer, we don’t need to avoid the sun entirely. However, we do need to limit our exposure, to minimise our risk. The same can be said of processed meats. We don’t need to avoid them entirely but if you’re a big eater of processed meats, then it would be wise to look for other alternatives – such as fresh lean meats, seafood, poultry or better still, plant-based protein sources (eg legumes, nuts and seeds).

If you would like more help on nutrition and how to make sure you are consuming the correct level of meat and protein for you, contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or over the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Halloween….and the other 364 days of the year.

So its Halloween today….I’m a firm believer that kids shouldn’t miss out on these types of celebrations and events even though you are trying to create healthy food environments and habits for your kids. Yes Halloween and lollies do seem to go hand and hand these days but why not switch things up this year!
Its also important to remember that its not one day of the year that is too blame, its the other 364 days were these treats are normalised and food is used to reward, pacify or even entertain kids. (*disclaimer here – I don’t have kids…)So apart form giving out apples instead of lollies this weekend (yes I have done that before!) heres what you could do:

– If buying, buy your lollies at the last minute to stop them getting eaten before hand!
– Ensure your children have a good dinner before heading out trick or treating to prevent too much snacking on lollies later on
– Give out Halloween themed stickers or glow sticks from the $2 shop
– Chat to your children about sugar and how much is in each lolly (probably around 2 tsp of each small lolly!)
– If you children have come home with a bucketful of lollies ask them to pick out three and let them to take their time enjoy them, and put the others away for another day.

If you would like more help on nutrition and to book a nutrition consultation, contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or over the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Osteoporosis – are you at risk?

Auckland Nutritionist Larissa Beeby doing Chaturanga pose

Chaturanga pose

This week, on the 20th October is World Osteoporosis Day, so I thought this is the perfect opportunity for us to talk about all things bone related.  Putting it shortly, osteoporosis is when your bones become thin and brittle, which means you are more at risk of getting breaks and fractures, and any one that has broken a bone before will understand that this is not ideal! While this is common in mostly older people, young people can still suffer too, just like it affects more women and men, but yes men are still at risk too.  The scary thing is osteoporosis is often referred to as an ‘invisible disease’…

While many of us may know that calcium is important for children to help build strong bones, many of us don’t understand the importance for adults as calcium maintains our bone health and also slows bone loss.

The good news is that you can help this risk by modifying many lifestyle factors

  • nutrition: eat foods and drinks high in calcium (green leafy vegetables, whole canned fish with soft edible bones, nuts, tofu and of course our biggest and best source is dairy!), keep up your vitamin D* levels, reduce your salt intake, and limit alcohol and caffiene
  • exercise:  regular physical actively is key to healthy bones, especially weight bearing exercises
  • be smokefree….enough said!

*Vitamin D is not present in our foods in high levels and it is actually a substance made in the skin as a result of sunlight exposure.  Therefore if we are not getting outside into the sunlight each day we may be at risk of having low vitamin D levels.  However you may be thinking what about the risk of getting burnt?  Well the Cancer Society recommends we get outside failing in the early morning and late afternoon.  This is extremely important in turns of bone health as it facilitates absorption of calcium from the diet. When vitamin D levels are very low, mineralisation of bone is impaired.

If you would like more help on nutrition for bone health, contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or over the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

World Egg Day

Bacon and Eggs

One of my favourite way to have eggs – bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning!

With this week being World Egg Day (yes that is a thing!) what better time than now to celebrate the humble egg.  Eggs haven’t always been received well in the world of nutrition, while it has never been contested that they aren’t a great source of nutrients, their cholesterol levels did lead to recommendations on limiting their consumption to just a couple a week.  However as nutrition is a science and we know science evolves with time so do our recommendations.  The good news (or great!) news is that we now know that cholesterol in our food isn’t a big influencer on our own cholesterol levels in our body, so an egg or two a day is fine in the context of a healthy diet.

Here are my top egg facts:

  • Eggs are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.  While we normally think of fish, walnuts or LSA, one egg contains around 90mg, so if you’re having 2 eggs for breakfast then you get 180mg, which is a good contributor to the 500mg recommended a day (or 3500mg over a week)
  • Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and folate. Plus they are also a source of vitamin A and E and provide iodine, iron, zinc and phosphorus
  • The colour of the shell (brown or white) is dependent of the breed of the hen and has nothing to do with nutrition value
  • A quick test for freshness is to check if the raw egg in the shell sinks in a basin of water. Fresh eggs stay at the bottom of the bowl while older eggs float because of the large air cell that forms in its base.
  • Eggs are a very economical food.  They supply high-quality protein and a variety of important vitamins and minerals at a very low price.

If you would like more help on nutrition contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or over the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

How to spring clean your pantry in 6 steps!

Don't get sidetracked by people who are not on track.

I love nothing more than a good spring clean.

#1: Throw It!

Start in one place and one place only.  Either your fridge, freezer or pantry and take out all the foods that will hinder your healthy lifestyle.  I really struggle to throw out food, so you can’t bring yourself to throw them out, give them away.  And do it straight away, don’t let them sneak back in!

#2: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

While its not always realistic to completely get rid of everything.  There may be some sometimes or occasional foods still lingering around so pop these in containers you can’t see through, at the back of the pantry or fridge, up high and most defiantly off the kitchen bench!

#3:Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Always have a stash of quick ingredients to whip up a healthy meal for those occasions you are tempted to get takeaways.  Freezing single-sized portions of left-overs, or doing a cook off specially to freeze is a great idea so you can prepare a home cooked meal faster than it takes to dial for takeaways (plus these are great for winter lunches at work!)

#4: Prepare, prepare prepare

In addition to the above make sure you also have a supply of frozen vegetables, fruit and proteins available in the freezer as quick meal ingredients. I love to keep peas, corn, kale and spinach in the freezer along with prawns and small salmon loins.  Buy bulk vegetables and fruit when in season in freeze your own!

#5: LOVE

Respect yourself (and your veggies) by taking time to choose the best produce available. Make sure you’re aware of the best way store your foodstuffs to lengthen the shelf-life to preserve nutrients and maximise flavour.  Such as tomatoes in the fruit bowl not the fridge!

#6: Throw the fizz

So many calories are wasted on beverages with next to no nutritional value. Commit to having only zero calorie fluids readily available (the best one is sparkling mineral water with a twist of citrus )

If you would like more help on nutrition contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or on the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Kids in the Kitchen

Healthy Refined Sugar Free Banana Muffins

My neice and I baking Banana Muffins.

Teaching your children to cook is an important life skill for not only health and wellbeing but also to help them survive in the big bad world on their own two feet (so they don’t live on 2minute noodles and takeways!).  While that may seem like a long way off if your child is a toddler, its important that these skills are taught early because:

  • It can be great quality time together
  • Cooking creates an appreciate and love of food and even an understanding of nutrition and more specifically what fuels their bodies (so they can play more!)
  • Kids are more likely to eat and enjoy foods they have made or help make.  Same goes for growing vegetables, children are more likely to try it if they grew it themselves!
  • Cooking involves a range of other important skills scubas as mathematics, reading, decision making, research, co-ordination, teamwork, time management and creativity.
  • Plus image how good it will be when they are older and they can take over some of the cooking!

What to do at what age:

0-1 years
Sit the baby where they can see you cooking. Talk to them about the food and show them what you are doing. While they may not understand, they are forming pictures of what is normal for Mummy or Daddy to do.

1-3 years
Involve them as much as possible in what you are doing. Give them plastic bowls, wooden spoons, plastic sets of cutters and play dough to play with. As they get older and their motor skills get better, let them stand on a stool and pour ingredients you have measured into a bowl. They can also help clear the table by removing place mats and napkins.

3-5 years
Pre-schoolers can spread, peanut butter or avocado or hummus with a butter (blunt) knife. They can tear up lettuce for a salad, stir the contents of a bowl, wash fruit and vegetables and help mash vegetables. They can also help set the table.

5-10 years
School-aged kids can use hand egg beaters, whisks and sifters. They can measure ingredients and mix them in the right order. Since their reading skills are improving, they can start to read recipes – this is a good time to buy a kids’ cookbook or download some kids recipes. Close supervision of all food preparation will still be necessary.

And beware, this could be messy, but I promise it will be well worth it!

If you would like more help on nutrition for children or practical ideas to get kids in the kitchen contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for an appointment either online, in person or on the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

5 beauty tips from a nutritionist

Nutritionist Larissa Beeby's top beauty tips

A no make up selfie!


I am a believer that health (and beauty) comes from within.  The relationship between what we eat and drink and how we look and feel are linked.  What we put in comes out, which are why the below tips are incredibly important:

Water, water, and more water!:  Being hydrated is one of the simpliest ways to glowing skin, however some people can find this incredibly hard. Aim for 2L per day.  If this is hard for you to achieve, keep track by purchasing a 1L glass bottle and make sure you get through two a day.

Eat more greens:  Green vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that can improve your skin, hair and nails.  The key is to get a variety each day and at every meal.  Try by adding a handful of spinach to your smoothie ( I promise you will not taste it), and aim for at least one handful of veggies at lunch and two at dinner time.

Cut back on the wines:  I am not forcing you to be a tea-totlar here but just by cutting back you will be doing wonders for your liver. And therefore your skin.  Try swapping every second drink to a sparkling water or have a 2 drink limit.

Look after your gut:  As over 60% of your immunity comes from your gut, your skin is also a reflection of your gut health.  Try increasing probiotic foods.

and REST!: This is another one that sounds simple but a lot of people struggle with. An exhausted body can’t function the way it is supposed to which means your skin and hair will suffer.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist


How to Cook Grains

Cooking grains from scratch can be a little off putting at first.  Because honestly who likes gluggy rice!! Or maybe you are keen to try buckwheat for the first time or you want to nail cooking (and saying) quinoa (keen-wa).  So here is your go to cooking guide

Brown Rice

  • Ratio: 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water
  • Method:  Absorption
  • Cooking time:  30-45 min

Quinoa (Keen-Wa in case you missed it above)

Ratio:  1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water
Method:  Absorption
Cooking time:  12-15 minutes


Ratio:  1 cup of barley to 3 cups of water
Method:  Absorption
Cooking time:  30-45 minutes for pearl  or 90 mins for unhulled


Ratio:  1 cup of buckwheat to 1.5 cups of water
Method:  Absorption
Cooking time:  10-12 minutes (plus soak over night)


Ratio:  1 cup of polenta to 3 cups of water
Method:  Stirring
Cooking time:  15-30 minutes


Ratio:  1 cup of couscous to 1 cup of boiling water
Method:  No cooking required
Cooking time:  3 minutes


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

My new favourite Banana Bread recipe….

Larissa's Banana Bread Recipe

So I thought I had already perfected my Banana Bread recipe however I played around with it last weekend.  I had been using the food processor to make my Banana Granola (recipe to come for that one!) so I thought since its already dirty I’ll just use it to quickly mix my banana bread ingredients together. I assumed I was just going to get a quicker version of usual recipe however I was pleasantly surprised at how much closer it was to ‘normal’ banana bread.


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large bananas
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coocnut flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a loaf tin
  2. Place eggs and banana in the food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and then mix again until smooth.
  4. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Once cooled slightly cut and serve with salted butter, almond butter with raspberry chia jam or a topping of your choice!



Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Raw Salted Caramel Slice


What’s not to like about salted caramel?  To me it is the perfect combination of sweet and salt!  So here is my version of a traditional caramel slice recipe, made purely from whole foods.  But here is the good part – the caramel centre is the thickest part of the 3 layers, which is just how I like it.  And I hope you do too!

Crunchy Base

  • ½ C walnut pieces
  • 1/2 C dates, pre soaked
  • ½ C cacao
  • ½ C buckwheat

Salted Caramel Centre

  • 3/4 C natural peanut butter
  • ½ C tahini
  • ½ C rice malt syrup
  • 1 C dates, pre-soaked
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ C slivered almonds

Chocolate Topping

  • 2 Tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 4 Tbsp cacao butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 T cacao
  • pinch of salt


  1. Line a 20x20cm  tin with baking paper.
  2. First start on the base – place the walnuts, dates (drained) and cacao in the food processor.  You will need to pulse this at the start to break down into smaller pieces and then blend into a smooth chocolately paste.
  3. Take out the food processor bowl and manually stir in the buckwheat.
  4. Pour the mixture into your tin, smooth into an even layer, pack it down firmly and then put it in the freezer to set.
  5. Gently warm your caramel ingredients a little bit first so they blend together nicely. The coconut oil should be super soft to touch or near to liquid. Put everything into the food processor and work it into a really smooth glossy caramel.
  6. Give it a bit of taste for the salt factor.
  7. Remove the base from the freezer, spread the thick caramel on top and place back into the freezer.
  8. This part is easy; melt all the ingredients together, mix well and pour over the caramel. Then you have to be patient…This is the hardest part for me but you will need to give it at least a couple of hours!
  9. Once set run a warm knife around the edges and use the paper lining to lift it out of the tray. Cut it into even sized pieces or if you are me, uneven sized as sometimes I like bite sized pieces too!

PS  If you can save any then you can hide some in the freezer for later!


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist