All posts in 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

Brazil Cheese

Homemade nut cheese can be a great addition to your diet.  While I am a huge fan of dairy some people can not tolerate it, you may want extra protein and nutrients (Brazil nuts are high in selenium and Vit E) or you may just want to try something new.

I love this on seed bread, crackers, with veggie crudités, adding it to stir fry veggies or a dip with kumara fries.
Brazil Nut Cheese Recipe - Nutrition By Design

Brazil Nut Cheese Recipe


  • 1 cup of Brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast ( Not bakers yeast, Nutritional Yeast is available in the health isle of the supermarket or health food stores)
  • 1 lemon squeezed


  1. Place all the ingredients in the blender and pulse until the nuts are into smaller pieces.
  2. Then blend to smooth!
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.



Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist




Gut Health : Probiotics

One of the most important thing you can do for your health is too improve the quality of your gut health.  I encourage everyone I meet to get this part of their body functioning correctly.  Most people are not even aware of the impact their diet is having on their gut until it is working right!   Our gut health is incredibly important as around 60-80% of our immune system is actually found in our gut and 90% of our neurotransmitters are produced there!

Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for our health.  They are often called “good” bacteria because they help keep our gut healthy. 

However there are also bad bacteria (and this is the stuff we commonly hear about!) and when there is an imbalance with our friendly gut bacteria there are going to be problems within both our gastrointestinal and immune system. When someone has an imbalance in their gut bacteria they may be more likely to suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, brain fog, colds, aches, pains, depression, eczema, rosacea, chronic fatigue, bloating, stomach pain, hormonal imbalances and auto immune conditions.

Common causes of imbalances can be antibiotic use, food intolerances, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stress and pesticides.  However by limiting these inflammatories and by increasing the good bacteria you can achieve the right balance again.  Foods that contain probiotics are yoghurt, fermented vegetables such as saurkaurt or kimchi, kombucha, kefir.

For more help contact Larissa –


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist


Larissa’s Seeded Bread

Larissa's Seeded Bread Recipe

I have been LOVING The Raw Kitchen’s Sprouted Bread but like most things I wanted to see if I could make it at home, put my spin on it and make it for a tad cheaper.  So this weekend I got to it and spent some time in the kitchen.  The kitchen for me is my happy place, and for me its my down time.


  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup LSA or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup linseeds
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp psyllium seed husks
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp oil of your choice; olive oil, coconut oil or ghee ( I have been using Ghee and its amazing!)


  1. Line a loaf pan ( I use silicone pans) with parchment paper.  Combine all the dry ingredients in the pan, and mix well.
  2. In a pan, gently melt the oil.  Mix in 1- 1 1/2 cups of water.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  The mixture sound be completely soaked and the ‘dough’ should be very thick.  If need be add 1-2 Tbsp of water until the ‘dough’ becomes manageable.
  4. Smooth the top of the ‘dough’, cover and leave to sit over night.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180.
  6. Bake the loaf ( I don’t have fan bake :( so place in the middle of my oven) for 30min, then flip out of the pan and bake for another 30min.  Botton side up!  The loaf should sound hallow once cooked.
  7. Let the loaf cool and cut with a serrated bread knife.
  8. Store in a sealed container int eh fridge for 5 days or slice and freeze!



Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Tips on reducing your sugar intake

Reducing Sugar Tips

Sugar is the all the buzz at the moment.  And while we are constantly bombarded with stories in the media there is still a lot of confusion about what this means.  There are two types of sugar; naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. It is added sugar that we need to watch out for, which is included in common processed food and drinks.  So when we talk about reducing our sugar intake we aren’t talking about fruit (fructose) or milk (lactose), we are talking about the sugar the is added to food.

Sugary foods often don’t have much to offer in terms of nutrition and are often empty calories.  (think sugary carbonated beverages).  This means larger spikes in your blood sugar which can make you feel hungry and reaching for more sugar.  Excess sugar can also create an acidic environment in your body. Ultimately, decreasing your addedvsugar intake can help you lose weight, have better control over your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Here is my tips on reducing your sugar intake:

Check labels:  Sugar is often hidden in my foods in the supermarket.  And some of these foods may not be what you would imagine such as tomato sauce, yoghurt (we are talking added sugar here), and even crackers.  On top of this there is around 56 different names for sugar….Agave Nectar, Barley Malt Syrup, Beet Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup, Brown Sugar, Cane Crystals, Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Palm Sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Dextrin, Dextrose,Evaporated Cane Juice, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrate, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Malt syrup, Maltose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Palm Sugar, Raw Sugar, Rice Syrup, Saccharose, Sorghum or sorghum syrup, Sucrose, Syrup, Treacle, Turbinado Sugar, Xylose.

Up your vege intake:  Everyone can benefit from increasing their vegetable intake.  Vegetables are powerhouses for vitamins and minerals and fibre.  The fibre in vegetables will help keep you fuel for longer and therefore less likely to reach for those sugary snacks between your  meals.  So add an extra vegetable or two into your meals. 

Hydrate:  Our thirst is often mis read for hunger.  So next time you think you are hungry or craving sugar then reach for a glass of water first.  Im not saying replace meals with water!  But we need to constantly fuel our bodies with water, after all we are 80% water!

Eat Breakfast:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and one that a lot of people struggle with.  Breakfast is well and truly breaking-the-fast, so after around 12 hours of ‘fasting’ from dinner the night before its important to fuel your body with the right nutrients.  These nutrients and energy will set you up for the day by providing you with what you need to concentrate and function efficiently.  And here is the bonus… will make it less likely for those sugar cravings to sneak in. But it is important that you pass on those sugar laden cereals, cafe muffins and breakfast bars.  Your breakfast should include a balance of protein, fibre (from vegetables or good wholegrain carbohydrate sources) and protein.  This combination will help satisfy your hungry and help to keep you fuel to lunch time.

Exercise:  I have many clients tell me that when they are on an ‘exercise buzz’ they are more likely to make healthy food choices.  So why not make this your normal and make exercise part of your life.  Make your goal to move everyday but remember you can not out exercise a bad diet!  Plus daily exercise will help boost your endorphin and serotonin levels, which are our feel good hormones. These will give you a natural mood boosting effect, making it less likely for you to crave sugar.

Snack Smart: Snacking on sugar can often be a response to a low mood.  A good trick is to have your snacks prepared and on hand.  Good snack options include: raw nuts, vegetables and hummus or avocado dip, apple with peanut or almond butter, nut and seed balls or hard-boiled eggs.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritioinst


Healthy Pancake Recipe


  • 2 x bananas
  • 2 x eggs
  • 2 x Tbsp Quinoa Flour
  • 2 x Tbsp Almond Flour
  • 1 x tbsp Baking powder
  • Coconut oil to fry
  • Raspberries
  • Coconut Yoghurt
  • Almonds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries


  1. Blend together the banana and eggs until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and fold in the flour and baking powder.
  3. Heat fry pan on a medium heat and melt the coconut oil.
  4. Spoon in two tablespoon of mixture at a time for a small pancake and fry until golden brown.
  5. Stack together layering with coconut yoghurt and berries and sprinkle with nuts and seeds.



Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist


How to beat the winter ‘blah’!

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There are many things I love about winter but there are a couple of things that even I get tired of over the wintery months.  I’m thinking the obvious here; leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark and the cold!  So here is a couple of my tricks that get me through these months with a positive attitude and a smile on my face.

Rest:  During winter I often find a lot of people just put their head down and try and get through to the other side.  However give yourself permission to relax and be grateful for these times.  Rest is the incredibly important to keep your immunity up so why not make the most of it.

Probiotics:  I also take probiotics regularly. Hippocrates famously said that all illness begins in the gut, and in winter months, the gut needs some extra TLC. One a day is all you need, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.

Garlic:  During winter months I up my intake of raw garlic as well as cooked garlic.  Some people grate raw garlic into water and drink it but I prefer to mix it with mayo and use it as a dipping sauce for coconut oil baked camera – delish!  Its not great for your breath but it is totally worth it to keep the bugs away.

Exercise:  Winter is a great time to change up your routine.  Try a new class at the gym, find a new yoga studio, try an at home Nike Training Club workout or chuck your shoes on and head out for a walk around your neighbourhood.  Walking outside, even for five minutes, will invigorate the mind, body, heart, and spirit. The crisp air and exposure to natural light will kick start your mood, energy, and physical well-being.

Fake Tan:  What is one reason why everyone looks so healthy in summer?  That gorgeous golden glow.  So this is a great example of ‘faking it to you make it’.  I’m all for fake tan and I use Eco-Tan all winter long.  And it means there is no excuse to put your shorts on for the gym!  I also find my skin gets incredibly dry in winter so always have hand cream in my handbag and slather my skin with a natural moisturiser after every shower.  My current fav is Eco Store body moisteriser.

Home-made Throat Gargle:  If I feel like I am getting a sore throat I mix a teaspoon of salt in water and gargle it like mouthwash.  This is a tip from my Nana and it works a treat.  The more you do it the better.

Fresh Air and Natural Light:  Throw back your curtains in the morning, open your windows and doors (yes I know its cold out there).  But embrace the natural sunlight when it is there! ps sunsets and sunrises will also do the trick.

Warm comfort food:  Sorry I’m not talking hot chips here; I’m thinking hot herbal tea, homemade soups, nourishing slow cooker meals, or even simply adding more chilli, turmeric and spices to your meals.

Contact for help on making sure your diet is set for winter.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

Protein Chocolate


I love nothing more than when JS asks if there is any dessert and then heading into the kitchen and being able to make him a ‘sweet treat’ that is not packed of sugar and actually nourishes your body.

This recipe contains two great sources of protein, from the protein powder and the peanut butter.  Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They are used to make muscles, organs, tendons and skin. We also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and lots of tiny molecules that make our bodies work.  So a pretty important nutrient.  And it also helps us to stay full for longer which is great for satiety.


  • 4 scoops of Nuzest Vanilla Protein
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp cacao


  1. Gently melt the coconut oil and mix together with the other ingredients.
  2. Pour into a container and freeze to set.  This chocolate can also be kept in the fridge.

Enjoy! x


Director /  NZ Registered Nutritionist