The #WeDigDietitians series is all about introducing you to our favourite dietitians—and busting a few myths about what they really do (and don’t do) along the way. Our first Feature Dietitian is Rethink Nutrition’s Jacqui Tyler.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Wollongong with my husband, our two-year-old son and our small but very energetic dog. We love living here nestled between the ocean and the Illawarra escarpment.
2. Why did you become a dietitian?
I’ve always been interested in health and the human body. In senior PDHPE at high school we learnt about the major conditions and illnesses affecting Australians, all of which could be influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet and activity levels.
I liked the idea of being able to help others take more control over their own health. Learning about nutrition and diet also seemed like a great choice because I knew regardless of where I ended up working I would be able to apply the knowledge in my personal life as well as professional.
3. Can you share an average ‘day on your plate’?
While my Instagram feed might be full of pictures that make it look like I eat fancy meals every day the reality is much more simple. An average day would like something like this:
Breakfast: Traditional porridge with some fruit and nuts, and always a cup of tea (black, no sugar).
Morning Tea: Fruit shared with my son, maybe some yoghurt.
Lunch: This is the meal I need to make sure I actually eat, instead of just snacking throughout the day. Typically it would be a sandwich on grainy bread with tuna, cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce and cucumber. Perhaps with a coffee or hot chocolate if I’m out.
Afternoon tea: Sometimes a piece of fruit or a slice of raisin toast.
Dinner: We try to have lots of variety. A typical meal would be a piece of baked salmon with baked sweet potato wedges and steamed vegetables (usually broccoli, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower). We also love stir fries, curries, roasts and pasta dishes.
Supper: Occasionally I’ll have a little bit of chocolate or maybe some choc-chip cookies in the evening. I’m not afraid to have something sweet if I feel like it because I know my basic intake is healthy and a treat now and then will do no harm.
4. What’s your definition of good health, and how do you stay healthy?
Good health doesn’t just involve physical wellbeing, but also includes mental and spiritual health as well. A healthy lifestyle needs to support all of these areas.
For me personally, being in good health means eating a wide variety of foods to give my body the fuel it needs, being able to physically meet the demands of my day-to-day tasks, and being able to laugh and enjoy life while coping well with the inevitable challenges that come up.
To stay healthy I eat mostly from the core food groups (fruit, veg, high quality grains, high quality protein, and dairy) and don’t deny myself ‘sometimes’ foods. I try to reduce my sedentary time by being active throughout the day, getting up and playing with my son, and going for lots of walks along the beach.
5. What’s your perspective on society’s impact on body image today?
We live in a very visual world, where the media over-represents a particular body type that is seen as the ideal. We need to lessen the importance our society places on how we look and promote greater emphasis on how we treat each other and contribute to the community.
In the realm of health and wellness, we need to start looking more at an individual’s health behaviours rather than their body shape/size.
6. What are your favourite blogs or websites?
For nutrition blogs and information in Australia, you can’t go past The Storehouse. It’s a blog directory of Australian qualified dietitians and nutritionists. ‘Wellness Warriors’ or self proclaimed ‘health-gurus’ need not apply.
The Australian Healthy Food Guide is a great resource for easy and healthy recipes as well as credible information on health and nutrition.
7. What makes you happy?
When I think of the word ‘happy’ the first thing that comes to mind is my typical Saturday morning: walking the dog along the beach with my family, followed by coffee and maybe a treat at a favourite café. Family, beach, food and drink—what could be better than that?
8. Shameless plug time: do you have a service, book or blog you want people to know about?
Jacqui’s Winter Lentil Pie
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled & finely diced
1 large potato, peeled & diced
Small wedge of pumpkin (approx 250g), peeled & diced
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1 tin lentils, drained & rinsed
1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Step 1: Heat up the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, then add the onion and carrot. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Turn the heat down if the onions begin to fry. Into the pan add the potato, pumpkin, stock, water and lentils. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Step 3: Stir in the chopped spinach leaves, then pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Lay the pastry over the top of the mixture, pressing the edges into the sides of the dish. If there is any excess pastry, you can either trim it off, or roll it into the edge of the pie. Brush the top of the pastry with some beaten egg. Bake the pie in the oven for 25 minutes.
- To save time before dinner, make the vegetable and lentil mixture ahead of time, and either freeze it or pop it in the fridge until you are ready to turn it into a pie.
- You could also add in any other vegetables you have that need eating up.