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In her day to day role as a Total Wellbeing dietitian with the CSIRO, Pennie McCoy combines her background in counselling and her expertise in nutrition to help people optimise their health. At home, being mum to Charlotte (12) and Archie (9) is a full-time job on its own.

We spoke to Pennie about family life, her important work with the CSIRO and what she does when she feels like letting her hair down.

Tell us about your current role?

My passion is helping people improve and optimise their health through nutrition, and I’m especially interested in personalised nutrition – helping people to make changes goes beyond understanding the science and translating it into practical messages for people. Having a strong counselling background has been a major element of how I provide support.

My role with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is diverse, and I feel lucky to be involved with such great work. I get to help people make better health choices, working with amazing researchers who unlock the latest in nutrition science, and teams that create nutrition-based programs that help a huge number of people. This includes free, online tools such as the Healthy Diet Score and Junk Food Analyser which are available for Aussies looking to kickstart their nutrition awareness and health journeys.

What time does a typical day start for you, and what does your morning look like?

I always start my day with something like overnight oats or porridge with berries. It is full of slow-release energy and essential vitamins that keep me stable and alert throughout the day. One of my favourite recipes is the Total Wellbeing Diet’s Cocoa porridge with raspberries and coconut.

I hustle to get the kids ready for school and get prepared to work with my clients, helping people identify what their health goals are and finding ways to make that happen! I love seeing people improve their relationship with food and build better health with the right nutrition.

During my one-on-one sessions with Total Wellbeing Diet members, I help them to understand their best possible self, where and how to make nutrition changes, and align their health goals with their motivations and aspirations.

I might also do a Facebook live with our Total Wellbeing Diet community which is an opportunity to talk about a topic and answer relevant questions – it’s like a group dietitian coaching session really!

If you have 10 minutes to yourself, where do you go and what do you like to do?

If I have 10 minutes, you’ll find me at the beach, either in the water or strolling on the sand.

Do your kids do any extracurricular activities?

My kids have plenty of activities to enjoy including dance classes several days a week, Jiu jitsu and soccer. Most days of the week include a fun activity to attend.

What do you do for fun as a family?

One of our regular activities is Friday night movie night – we pick a movie and enjoy a simple dinner like homemade pizzas and popcorn. On the weekend we always go for a Sunday afternoon walk. It’s a chance to chat about anything, get out into nature and get set for the week ahead.

What is your favourite thing to eat out with your kids?

My kids love Japanese! Sushi and sashimi are favourites.

Where do you head when you need a girls’ night out?

Most often somewhere close to home. I am a night owl, so I love to find somewhere with a fun atmosphere and some live music.

What’s your must-know fashion or beauty tip for mums?

I’m no fashion or beauty expert but staying hydrated and getting a good night’s sleep is a must!

What’s your favourite place to shop?

Being a dietitian, this might be different, but I love food markets! Fresh produce markets, and stores like Scoop or Source. I love exploring and trying new foods.

Must-have parenting tip or tool?

Getting the kids involved in the kitchen at a young age and trying to find a practical way to encourage a healthy relationship with food! I take a very realistic approach with food choices for my children, but always make sure there are at least three different types of veggies on the dinner plate. I’m a big fan of finding ways to boost vegetables, grains and plant-based foods into everyday eating.

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