Healthy Eating is for life not just after Christmas


Healthy eating is for life not just after Christmas

Leading British nutrition experts have unveiled the Top 10 Secrets of Healthy Weight Loss – shed the pounds for life without the need for faddy or starvation-style diets. By following some simple rules below you can achieve and sustain a healthy weight for the long-term.

Top 10 Secrets of Healthy Weight Loss

1. Eat protein with every meal and snack: protein is essential for the body to grow and repair, it also keeps you feeling fuller for longer keeping hunger pangs at bay – leaving you less tempted to snack. Choose protein-rich fish, chicken and lean meats or beans, pulses and nuts with your meals and snacks.

2. Don’t skip meals: the body needs a regular supply of fuel, if you skip meals it sends your blood sugar and energy plummeting leaving you tired, hungry and tempted by sugary snacks or caffeine to re-energise.

3. Switch white foods to brown: white pasta, white rice and white bread provide very few nutrients and are quickly broken down in the body to sugar, this will leave you hungry and craving sugar as a pick-me-up.

4. Reduce stimulants: ideally don’t drink coffee or black tea, but if you do keep it to one cup a day and have it on a full stomach. Stimulants like tea, coffee and cola consumed for an energy boost actually have the opposite effect. They give you an energy rush, followed by a corresponding dip, leaving you lacking energy and looking for your next caffeine ‘fix’. Choose water, herbal tea and the occasional diluted fresh fruit juice as healthier options.

5. Deal with stress: it wreaks havoc with hormones slowing down your metabolism and making the body store more fat – especially around the middle. Did you know that stress has the same impact on your body as eating sugar? Stress causes cravings for the wrong foods, particularly salty, high fat and sugary snacks. Try to relax when you eat, chew your food and focus on what you are eating rather than reading, watching TV or using the computer.

6. Eat five or six times a day: have three healthy meals and two or three healthy snacks a day, this will give you sustained nutrients and energy for the day and keep hunger pangs at bay. Choose unprocessed, low sugar snacks such as a handful of unsalted nuts, hummus with carrot and celery sticks or oat cakes.

7. Don’t be afraid of fat: there are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are essential for the body to function well and support the weight loss process e.g. fat from oily fish, avocados or unsalted nuts. Bad fats on the other hand should be avoided, especially trans fats found in many biscuits and cakes and other baked goods with a long shelf life.

8. Sleep: when we are tired we eat more and reach for instant energy fixes from caffeine, sugar and fat. Try to get to bed early or deal with sleep problems should you have any. A good night’s sleep is really important for overall health as well as weight loss.

9. Stop calorie counting: listen to your body rather than count the calories, eat slowly and stop eating when you stop feeling hungry, keep portion sizes under control – meals shouldn’t be larger than your cupped hands put together. Your stomach is only around the size of your fist!

10. Exercise: this is important for overall health, energy and mood as well as a support to maintaining a healthy weight. Start slowly with a brisk walk in the park, take the stairs instead of the lift or get off the bus a few stops earlier than normal and walk the rest of the way.

Example Meal Planner – 3 Day

Day 1

Breakfast Scrambled egg on one slice of wholegrain toast

Mid-morning snack 1 apple with a handful (6-8) of cashew nuts

Lunch Lentil, tomato and red pepper soup

Mid-afternoon snack Hummus with rice crackers

Dinner Chicken, red pepper, tomato, onion and carrot casserole with broccoli, cabbage and green beans

Pre-bed snack: An oat cake with guacamole

Day 2

Breakfast Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit, chopped nuts and flaxseed

Mid-morning snack Low sugar / high protein cereal bar such as a Nature Valley Bar

Lunch Wholemeal pitta stuffed with rocket, tomatoes, grated carrot and pre-cooked chicken breast

Mid-afternoon snack Protein shake with fresh or frozen fruit and soya, almond, coconut or goat’s milk

Dinner Vegetable and bean chilli with brown rice and natural or greek yoghurt on the side

Pre-bed snack Handful (6 to 8) of cashews, almonds, pecans or walnuts

Day 3

Breakfast Porridge with flaxseed and fresh berries and made with soya, almond, coconut or goat’s milk

Mid-morning snack Small banana with a handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Lunch Leftover vegetable and bean chilli in a wholemeal wrap

Mid-afternoon snack Carrots, celery and peppers with a high protein dip e.g. hummus, guacamole, fish pâté

Dinner Salmon with roasted red peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, red onions and butternut squash with an olive oil, lemon and black pepper drizzle

Pre-bed snackHalf a portion of protein shake with soya, almond, coconut or goat’s milk

Weight loss tips

Rev up your metabolism with natural fat burners

It may seem too good to be true but you can actually eat yourself leaner! The key to kickstarting weight loss can be found right in your kitchen cupboard. Numerous everyday foods are known to help boost your metabolic rate, helping you to burn fat, and leave you looking and feeling fitter and healthier. My top five are:

1) Beans – Beans, such as kidney beans, broad beans, cannellini beans etc, help you feel full and are high in resistant starch, meaning that half the calories consumed cannot be absorbed. They also reduce blood sugar, and create the fatty acid butyrate, which may help to burn fat faster. Studies show that butyrate improves mitochondrial function in your cells, leading to a decrease in fat.

2) Chilli Peppers – Capsaicin, the compound that gives spicy peppers their zing, also curbs your appetite while you eat. Not only that, it raises your body temperature, which may boost your metabolism. Try adding some chilli sauce to your next winter soup, turkey burger or chicken wrap to give your metabolism that extra boost.

3) Coffee – A simple cup of coffee may be all that’s needed to boost the body’s metabolic rate, as coffee beans contain a number of active substances that can affect metabolism. These include caffeic acid, chlorogenic acids, theobromine and theophylline. Try drinking a cup of coffee before you hit the gym to enhance the results of exercise but note point 4 above.

4) Green Tea – Green tea is a rich source of phytonutrients called catechins, in particular EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which increases the hormone responsible for making you feel satiated. Drinking green tea daily has long-term benefits as well. It can help prevent storage of excess fat, improve your appetite-regulating hormones and change how your body handles cravings and metabolizes food.

5) Black Pepper – Black pepper contains an active component called piperine which can support the body’s natural thermogenic activity. Grind a few peppercorns onto your daily salads and soups while trying to shed those extra pounds.

How to get more vegetables in your diet

Snack on carrot, pepper or broccoli sticks and hummus instead of crisps or cereal bars

Add a portion of broccoli, cabbage or carrots alongside dishes that don’t traditionally have veggies with them – pasta or curry

Potatoes don’t count as veggies, so reduce the amount of potatoes on your plate and increase the number of colourful vegetables

Have a salad with your sandwiches at lunch

Use leftover vegetables to make a veggie soup

Anna Pugh, Nutritionist. If you need help with losing weight, give us a call on 01234 409538 or email Anna:

Categories: Nutrition.