Summer eating guide

Interview with Geraldine Georgeou, Accredited Practising Dietitian and SunRice Ambassador. Republished with permission from

Question: What advice do you have to get our eating habits in top shape?

Geraldine Georgeou: I recommend three guidelines to keep eating habits in top shape:

Always have 3 meals a day: especially breakfast, to begin fuelling your body and help avoid feeling hungry or overeating throughout the day

Ensure your meals are balanced: make sure you’ve got a balance of low GI carbohydrate (such as basmati rice), protein and controlled fat in each meal

Be prepared: keep a handful of nuts available for an on-the-go snack, and go to the supermarket with a list and a full stomach to help steer clear of unhealthy, impulse buys

Focus on balance and learning to identify your pitfalls – then you can really boost these areas up.

Question: How should our eating change in Summer?

Geraldine Georgeou: It’s more about how our eating can change in summer. The summer lifestyle (warmer weather, longer days, parties) means you’re naturally more likely to eat healthier and increase our intake of healthy foods, including:

Fruit and vegetable: there’s an abundance available
Salads: due to the warmer weather, such as summer rice salads as they’re tasty and easy to make
Lean proteins: summer is BBQ season, meaning we tend to reach for BBQ-favoured leaner protein options

Another factor is the days are longer and you’re more active. When you’re more active you’re more conscious of the foods you eat, so as not to undo your good work.

Question: How can we beat bloating, especially before putting on the bikini?

Geraldine Georgeou: This is a common question around summer. Bloating can happen for many reasons, including menstruation and hormones. Surprisingly, just being hungry can make you more bloated.

A couple of steps you can take to help beat the bloat are to avoid high salt foods and ensure you’re eating good fibre, lean proteins and low GI carbohydrates, such as basmati rice or sweet potato, to assist with good digestion.

Question: What’s a typical day’s diet for you, in Summer?

Geraldine Georgeou: In summer, I try to stick to fresh food as much as possible.

Breakfast: In the morning I like to have wholegrain toast with some mashed avocado, lemon and cracked pepper, and a boiled egg on theside.

Morning tea: For a morning snack, I love having a fruit compote, including fresh mango, blueberries, pomegranate and a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt for some added protein and calcium.

Lunch: I try to ensure my lunch meals are as balanced as possible. For example, I’ll have a couple of rice paper rolls with Jasmine/ basmati rice, prawns, chicken, carrot and snow peas.

Afternoon snack: As an afternoon snack, I’ll have a small handful of nuts with a piece of fruit, such as a couple of plums.

Dinner: For dinner, I like to play with my Greek heritage! I love lamb souvlaki with a Greek-style salad, a small pita break and tzatziki.

Question: Which of the SunRice range is your favourite?

Geraldine Georgeou: SunRice Basmati Rice. Not only does it have a delicious aroma, but it’s low GI, versatile, is great to incorporate into dishes like stir-fries and is easy to reheat for lunch the next day.

A really tasty Basmati rice recipe is rissoles in stroganoff sauce with Basmati rice. Here’s a link to the recipe.

Question: Is it detrimental to avoid gluten and dairy, if we do not have an intolerance?

Geraldine Georgeou: Yes, as you may be missing out on important nutrients for growth and development. Cutting out gluten could mean you’re missing out on important wholegrain fibres for bowel health. Avoiding dairy will likely mean your diet will be low in calcium, which can affect your bone health.

If you do think you have an intolerance or are restricting your diet, please see an Accredited Practising Dietitian. They’ll help determine if you need to eliminate gluten or dairy and suggest food swaps you can make to ensure you’re still getting all your vital nutrients.

Question: Is there such thing as too much fruit?

Geraldine Georgeou: Yes. Fruit is a source of carbohydrate, which is important fuel for our bodies, but portion sizes are still important when eating healthy foods.

I always recommend eating the whole fruit on its own will ensure you get the full fibre content and will overall be more filling and satisfying. While fruit is a healthy food, it can still add up if you overeat on it.

Question: What’s the one piece of advice you give to all of your clients?

Geraldine Georgeou: Avoid fad diets, as they focus on cutting out or back on food groups that are necessary for growth and development.

Any diet you follow needs to meet the nutritional requirements of your lifecycle – for example, a 20-year old will need to eat differently than a 50-year old. Here’s a link to where you can see what the recommended nutritional requirements are for your life stage.

Always work with your medical team and dietitian to identify your health goals, to ensure you reach them in the healthiest way possible.

Question: What do most Australians not consume enough of, in their diets?

Geraldine Georgeou: Protein, particularly at breakfast. Consuming protein at breakfast means the nutrient is distributed throughout your body during the day, helping you to feel fuller and avoid overeating.

Carbohydrates are another nutrient Australians don’t consume enough of. Confusion in the media has led to many believing that all carbohydrates are unhealthy. Australians have forgotten that staple foods, such as rice, provide vital nutrients and fuel for the body.

Question: How many meals/snacks should we be eating a day?

Geraldine Georgeou: It depends for everyone, but I’d always recommend three meals and two snacks each day. Ensure your meals are balanced with protein, low GI carbohydrates and vegetables.

Look to combine protein, carbohydrates and good fat in your snack choices, for sustainable energy – an example is a small handful of nuts with a piece of fruit.

Overall, listen to your body and see what it’s asking for. If your stomach is grumbling around 3pm, a small, considered snack is good.

Question: Do you recommend detoxes? If so, which?

Geraldine Georgeou: Detox is a very generic word. What are you detoxing?

Detoxing for me means changing an eating habit, rather than a quick fix. It could mean you’re now choosing to eat healthier and that you’re focusing on a particular health goal, such as drinking more water and less coffee or reducing your sugar intake.

I always recommend making balanced diet choices and healthy swaps.

Interview by Brooke Hunter