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Infographic: Ultimate guide to fitness nutrition

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like infographics. And I love this one by Greatist, which has some great information about fitness nutrition and what you should be eating before and after your workouts.

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Recipe: Coconut, Avocado and Mint Bars

Mint, coconut and avocado bars

I am a big choc mint fan and as soon as I saw this recipe a few days ago, I knew I had to make it. I really love the idea of using avocado as an ingredient in desserts, and I’m super impressed with how this turned out.

Recipe originally from Raia’s Recipes

What you’ll need

Mint Layer

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 6 teaspoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Layer

  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or essence)
  • Pinch of salt

How to make it

  1. Line a baking pan with foil or baking paper.
  2. Add all mint layer ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture is combined.
  3. Smooth mixture into your pan and place in the freezer.
  4. While your mint mixture is cooling, add the coconut oil and honey for the chocolate layer to a saucepan and heat until melted.
  5. Add cocoa, vanilla and salt to the pan and stir until combined.
  6. Remove your mint layer from the freezer and pour chocolate mixture over the top.
  7. Place back into freezer for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Thanks again to Raia’s Recipes for this recipe!

Recipe: Crust-less Mini Quiches



I’m actually not much of an egg lover, but I’ve been making these for my family as a healthier snack option/easy meal. I’ve been told they taste great, so I’ll have to trust their opinion. The photo above had some capsicum added on top of the below recipe as well.

Makes 12

What you’ll need

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lite milk (or your choice of milk)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup spring onions
  • 1 can of corn kernels
  • 150g bacon
  • 150g cheese (I used Coles light tasty)
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced).
  2. Grease a silicone cupcake/muffin baking tray.
  3. Cook bacon and spring onion in a pan.
  4. Whisk eggs, milk and flour together in a jug (or bowl).
  5. Add the carrot, zucchini, corn and bacon.
  6. Add most of the cheese to the mix. Leave a little aside to top your quiches.
  7. Pour/spoon the mixture into the muffin pan.
  8. Add remaining cheese.
  9. Bake your quiches in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until nicely browned.

Approximate macros per quiche:
Calories – 169
Fat – 8.3g
Carbs – 12g
Protein – 11.67g
Fibre – 1g

Infographic: 100 Calories (Calorie Breakdown)

The human body is a complex machine. Find out more about how our body uses the calories we consume in this infographic from Herbalife.

Get more information, inspiration and updates by following Zero Steps Back on Facebook!

Nutrition Spotlight: Lunchtime Survey/Infographic

In 2012, Sumo Salad, a salad and soup chain in Australia conducted a survey into the lunchtime habits of Australians – the SumoSalad National Lunchtime Habits Survey. They found that the majority of those interviewed don’t think lunch is important and tend to make less than ideal decisions regarding their lunches.

Lunchtime Survey Key Statistics

Sumo Salad Lunch Survey

Source: Sumo Salad –

Here are some key stats from the survey:

  • 46% of Australians named convenience and value for money as being the main decision driver for their lunch. Only 31% named health and nutrition as the main factor behind their lunch choice.
  • 86% of those surveyed believe breakfast and dinner are more important than lunch.
  • 79% of people take half an hour at most for lunch during the working week.
  • 46% of the surveyed group skip lunch at least once per week.
  • 36% of Australians eat ‘healthy’ lunches two to three times a week and
  • 38% of the 1006 participants surveyed eat lunch at their work desk

I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I could go without eating lunch. I eat 6 or 7 small meals throughout the day, but ‘lunch’ is still super important and provides my body and brain with the fuel it needs to get through the afternoon. If I haven’t prepared a meal at home (frozen or fresh), I usually go for choices such as fresh sandwiches, custom “design your own” salads, soups or fresh stir fry.

Lunch Tips

  • First and foremost. Eat lunch. No matter what. You need to keep your blood sugar levels consistent, your metabolism active and your body functioning right. It’s just as important as breakfast and dinner.
  • Take time away from your desk. Even if it’s only 15 or so minutes, it will make a world of difference to your concentration and mood during the afternoon.
  • If you’re running low on time, look for quick but healthier options such as sushi, certain pre-made salads (go easy on the sauce – it’s usually full of hidden calories) or even a smoothie and a piece of fruit. Choosing options like fast food will only make you feel sluggish afterwards (hello, food coma!) and give your concentration levels a beating.
  • Prepare your meals ahead of time. Make bulk lots of food on the weekend and portion it out. I like to freeze my meals and bring them to work in a cooler bag and put them in the fridge. By the time I need them, they are usually almost or completely defrosted and just need a reheat. Making your own food will save you loads of money and will deter you from making unhealthy food choices.

Want more information, inspiration and tips? Follow Three Steps Forward, Zero Steps Back on Facebook.

Lack of sleep linked to fatty food cravings

Image from

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed when they are tired, they always want dirty, greasy burgers and hot chips. I always thought it was just me, but it turns out it’s just been scientifically proven that poor sleepers crave fatty foods.

A new study has been released that supports a link between sleep deprivation and fatty food cravings. Though it has long been assumed there is a link between sleep deprivation and the ways in which it affects our food choices, this is clear evidence.

Using MRI scans to track changes in brain activity, 23 participants underwent two tests – one after a full nights sleep and one after being sleep deprived for a night. The test subjects were then shown a range of portion sizes and pictures of 80 different food types.

Once the subjects were sleep deprived, the scientists noted there was impaired activity in areas of the cortex that assist with appetite and hunger levels. They also noted higher levels of cravings for high calorie foods.

You can read more about the test at The Age and at Lifehacker.

A favour

Hi guys! I have a huge favour to ask!

If you have a second, and have Facebook, please go like my review here so I can win a prize for reviewing one of my favourite products!

(Cassandra Dawson is me, in case you’re unsure)

Thank you!!


Recipe: Honeycomb Protein Oat Pancakes

Recipe - Honeycomb Protein Oat Pancakes

I had a fairly crappy day today, so I decided to whip up some oat pancakes for dinner (sorry, vegetables). Originally the recipe was from the HealthKitchen instagram, though I modified the recipe a fair bit to suit what I felt like and the ingredients I had.

Honeycomb Protein Oat Pancakes

What you’ll need

  • 125ml hot water
  • 20g oat bran
  • 20 oats (I used oat flour/ground oats so my pancakes were smoother)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used honeycomb)
  • 1 egg white
  • Coconut Oil (for greasing the pan)
  • 1/2 a banana (optional)

How to make it

  1. In a bowl, add in your hot water, oat bran and oats. Set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  2. While your oats are cooking in the hot water, get another bowl/cup and mix the egg white and protein powder.
  3. Add all ingredients together and mix well – make sure there are no clumps.
  4. Grease your frypan with a small amount of coconut oil (if it’s a good non-stick one, you probably won’t need to do this).
  5. Pour and cook your pancake mix on a medium heat. Be careful – they are a little more fragile than standard white flour pancakes.
  6. Stack your pancakes and you’re good to go!
  7. Optional – top with banana!
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe: Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

Applesauce (essentially puréed apples) are such a good food to heat and up and eat warm on a cold, rainy day like today. I know this recipe is really simple, but I love it so much it can’t hurt to post it.

When I first went to make my own applesauce, I was surprised to find most recipes still had extra sugar on top of the natural sugars found in the apples. I don’t add in the extra sugars since I don’t really think it’s necessary, but I guess if you have a more tart flavour apple, you could try stevia or something similar.

Homemade Applesauce

What you’ll need

  • 8 apples, peeled and diced (Choose a sweet variety. I love using Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Allspice, to taste

How to make it

  1. Add your diced apple and water into a large pot.
  2. Add cinnamon and allspice to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil (when the water boils), then reduce to a low simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the apples are cooked down into a chunky sauce/purée.
  4. Optional – if your sauce looks too watery, you could strain a bit of the liquid out before processing it.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool down a little before using a hand mixer or food processor to purée the applesauce.
  6. Pour the sauce into a container or jar and you’re done!

Recipe: Homemade/Clean Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Homemade Clean Nutella Recipe

I have one hell of a sweet tooth. There is rarely a time when I don’t feel like chocolate or something sweet. Around a year ago, I stumbled across this recipe by The Gracious Pantry. I am a long time reader of the site and couldn’t wait to try this recipe out. It. Was. Awesome. My spread turned out a bit more spongy than the processed stuff, and it was a cleaner taste, but it was great. So I’m finally getting around to posting it here. I made a few modifications since there were a few ingredients in the original I couldn’t find, but the idea is still the same.

Homemade/Clean Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Adaptation from The Gracious Pantry (thank you Tiffany for introducing me to this!) Makes around 800 grams

What you’ll need

  • 1 1/2 cups of hazelnuts
  • 170 grams of unsweetened chocolate (I guess you could also use something like the high cocoa Lindt varieties)
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (or your choice of neutral tasting oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it

  1. Bake your hazelnuts on baking paper at 180 degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes. You’ll know when they are done as the flesh will be a delicious-looking golden brown and the skins will look super dark.
  2. Once they’ve cooled enough to hold, get a dampened warm tea towel (dish towel) and rub at the hazelnuts skin. If you find this method isn’t really working for you, there are a heap of people who swear by boiling your baked hazelnuts in baking soda, dunking them in cold water and then peeling them.
  3. Blend your hazelnuts in a food processor until they become fairly smooth. It will take a few minutes. Leave the hazelnuts in the processor when done.
  4. Melt your chocolate using a double boiler or microwave.
  5. Add the chocolate, honey and your oil into the processor. Mix for as long as you can. Because the mixture is now so thick, your food processor may struggle so be sure to mix in small intervals, or if you can’t mix it at all, mix the mixture in two lots.
  6. Once your spread is mixed, slowly add the milk in while the processor is on (or add a little then mix and repeat).
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix a little more to make sure everything is combined.
  8. Put your mix into a jar or container and put it in the fridge. Don’t stress over the texture and consistency – it will change as it cools down.
  9. You’re done! Try not to leave it out of the fridge for too long and make sure you mix your spread up with a spoon before use in case the ingredients have separated a little.

Special thanks again to The Gracious Pantry. This really is her recipe, I just changed it a little to what I had available.

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