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  • Writer's pictureJacqui Grant

Nutrition - Guilt Free Tips

Connect and Grow Magazine - November 2023 Edition 3

Savour the Melbourne Cup Carnival Without the Guilt: Tips, Tricks, and a Picnic Recipe

by Kathy Ashton

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is the pinnacle of Australia's racing calendar, where fashion, excitement, and delectable treats converge. However, it's no secret that navigating the food scene at such events can be a culinary minefield. The fear of overindulgence and unwanted weight gain can loom large. But fret not, because we're here to share some savvy strategies to help you savour the Carnival without guilt. Plus, we've got a scrumptious picnic recipe that's sure to steal the show.

1. Plan Your Indulgences:

Part of the joy of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is indulging in delicious treats. Rather than trying to resist temptation completely, plan your indulgences. Decide in advance what you'll treat yourself to and stick to your choices. This way, you can enjoy without the guilt.

2. Prioritize Portions:

It's all about portion control. Opt for smaller servings of your favourite treats, allowing you to savour the flavours without overdoing it. Share dishes with friends or sample multiple options in moderation.

3. Stay Hydrated:

Don't forget to hydrate! Melbourne's Cup Carnival often coincides with warmer weather, so drink plenty of water to stay refreshed. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger,leading to unnecessary snacking.

4. Start with Healthy Options:

Begin your day with a balanced, nutritious breakfast. This will help curb your appetite and prevent mindless snacking. Include fibre-rich foods like oats or whole-grain toast to keep you feeling full.

5. Smart Swaps:

Look for healthier alternatives to your favourite treats. If you're craving something sweet, choose a piece of fruit. If you're eyeing savory options, consider veggie platters with a tasty dip.

6. Be Mindful:

Pay attention to your body's hunger cues. Eat slowly and savour each bite. This mindful approach can help you recognize when you're satisfied, preventing overeating.

7. Stay Active:

Don't forget to move! Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Carnival by taking walks, exploring the grounds, or even joining in on the dance floor. Staying active helps balance theextra calories you might consume.

Vegan Spinach and Walnut-Stuffed Mushrooms


16 large button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 cup raw walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 cup breadcrumbs (use whole wheat or gluten-free, if preferred)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth or water (for sautéing)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a large pan, heat the vegetable broth or water over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and minced garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts and the garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and let it cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sautéed spinach and garlic with finely chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs. Mix well to create the stuffing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take each mushroom cap and fill it generously with the spinach and walnut stuffing mixture.

Place the stuffed mushrooms on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is golden brown.

Once done, remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Kathy Ashton

Registered Clinical/Medicinal Nutritionist

1300 003 082

(C) Connect and Grow Magazine November 2023 Edition 3

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