Can you make sense of healthy eating advice?

I find now that there are so many different articles in the press and on TV about what we should and should not eat that it can become so very confusing.

Certainly the fact that we were told to avoid fat has lead to a large increase in sugar being added to foods and this now is being regarded as a much bigger problem

You can now find so many ‘diets’ that advocate cutting out carbs and this in itself will probably result in weight loss but is it sustainable.

My mantra, which I use when discussing healthy eating with my clients is to try to avoid processed foods and to cook fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Coupling this with a healthy balance of food which includes some carbohydrates, protein, fats and natural sugars.  Using olive oil and natural yoghurt for example when cooking.

The main key is portion sizes, regular meals and avoiding snacking which is so much easier to do when you are eating a balanced diet.

If you would like to discuss healthy eating with me I would love to hear from you!

Salad, Figs, Cheese, Goat Cheese

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Celebrating my daughters wedding

I am a bit late posting my blog as I spent the weekend celebrating my daughters wedding. We really couldn’t have had better weather and it was so lovely to see her so happy.

I now  have a house full of flowers from the day and some of the amazing cake to finish. The cake was made by her chief bridesmaid and was filled with wonderful fruit and alcohol flavours.  A layer of passion fruit and chocolate; a second of champagne and strawberries; and the top layers of kirsch and chocolate.

Cake  This is a picture taken as it was dropped at the venue.

We spent a fabulous day at Somerford Hall in Brewood Staffordshire and if you are looking for a wedding venue I would highly recommend  them as the day ran so smoothly, the food was amazing and the staff could not have been more helpful.

Back next week with more healthy recipes and I will be back to healthy eating after a weekend of fun filled indulgence!

Celebrations allowed

Even if you are trying to lose weight or just eating healthily you can celebrate and I have been having a great time this weekend at my daughters hen party.

The trick however is to just have some days either before or after making sure that you balance the week and I have some typical days planned to help me do that.  I certainly will need them this week following some exciting cocktail making and drinking at the weekend .

This would be a typical balancing day for me  which you might want to try after a party

With your 1/2 pint skimmed milk this will give 1000 calories for a women and 1300 calories for a man. I would never recommend eating less than this in any day.

Breakfast

A tomato and herb omelette

Serves 1       cooking time 5 minutes

150 calories per person

1 Egg

2 tablespoons of skimmed milk

1 teaspoon of fresh herbs e.g. chives, basil or oregano or ½ teaspoon of dried herbs

½ teaspoon of olive oil

2 tomatoes sliced thinly

Salt and pepper

1 slice of brown toast (45g)

  • Beat the egg and milk together season and add the chopped herbs
  • Heat the olive oil in small pan and cook over a medium heat for about two minutes to set the base. Lay the tomatoes over one half of the omelette and season with salt and pepper
  • Cook the surface of the omelette under a grill until set and serve with the piece of toast.

You can carry this recipe by using mushrooms rather than herbs.

For men use two eggs to increase the calories to 225

Eating protein on your balancing day for breakfast will help your metabolism

Lunch

Tuna Cheese Bake

Serves 1        Cooking time about 20 mins

Calories 265

90 grams (3oz) dwarf green beans sliced

1 tomato cut in wedges

90 grams (3oz) cooked brown long grained rice

30 grams (1oz) canned tuna in brine drained

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of chopped parsley

½ oz fresh breadcrumbs

½ oz Red Leicester cheese grated or any type of hard cheese you prefer

Salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190c. Cook the green beans in lightly salted boing water for 5 minutes and drain well
  • Mix together the beans, tomato, cooked rice, tuna, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley and put into a shallow baking dish and season
  • Mix the cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle them over the rice mixture.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes until brown of the surface

Add one low fat yoghurt to bring this up to approximately 350 calories for women

Men should increase the amount of tuna to 60 grams and the cheese to 30 grams or 1oz bringing the calorie total 450.

Main Meal    Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Serves 1 Calories 380

Preparation and cooking time 1 hour marinating and 25 minutes cooking

90 gram (3oz) Skinless boned chicken breast

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of chopped parsley

1 small garlic clove crushed (optional)

1 teaspoon of olive oil

60grams (2oz) of Pasta shapes (farfalle is good with this)

90 grams of button mushrooms sliced

200ml stock made with ½ a vegetable stock cube

2 teaspoons of cornflour blended with a little water

Salt and pepper

  • Split the chicken breast in half horizontally with cutting it right through. Open it out flat and lay it in a shallow dish.  Mix together the lemon juice, parsley and garlic and oils.  Season with salt and pepper and pout the marinade over the chicken.  Allow to marinade for 1 hour turning once
  • Preheat the grill and cook the chicken for about 12 minutes turning it once and basting it with the marinade. Put the pasta to cook in lightly salted boiling water
  • Whist the chicken and pasta are cooking put the mushrooms into a saucepan with the vegetable stock bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the blende cornflour to the mushrooms and stir until thickened and smooth.
  • Drain the pasta and spoon it on to a warmed plate serve the chicken them pour over the mushroom sauce

You can use basil or chives if your prefer to parsley

Vegetarians who eat Fish can replace the chicken with a salmon fillet.  Men should add an extra 30 grams to both the pasta and the chicken to increase the calories to 450.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, drink and indoor

Cocktail Master Class at Smugglers Cove at Albert Dock Liverpool !

Are you addicted to sugar?

We hear so much about sugar these days and how it is bad for us but giving it up or even reducing your sugar intake can be difficult and you can suffer withdrawal symptoms, but it is worth it if you want to be healthy and lose some weight.

It might not be easy!

But here are some tips on coping with sugar withdrawal.

When you first cut out sugar, you crave it, especially if sweet treats were part of your daily routine. You might initially feel tired, feel moody and have headaches but trust me these will pass.

Dealing with Sugar Withdrawal

Nicole Mowbray at The Daily Mail gave up sugar and talked a bit about the withdrawal period, including the technique that helped her most. We tend to view sweets as a reward, and shifting this way of thinking helped Mowbray a lot. She focused on weight loss, but you can also try thinking about the long-term health benefits of quitting refined sugar.

Headaches are a common sugar withdrawal symptom, and one that Mowbray experienced. If your headaches are severe, you can take an over the counter pain medication occasionally to get you through this initial tough part.

If giving up sugar is making you moody and irritable try going for a short walk;  do some cleaning;or a job you have been putting off. This can help, but also you will be doing something positive rather than reaching for the chocolate bar.

You might want to find some alternatives and substitute  a healthy snack and I have included a few suggestions at the end of this blog.

Dealing with Social Situations

When you’re quitting sugar, you start to realize how big a part it plays in social situations.

I think we have all had people saying to us things like ‘oh just have one it won’t hurt you’. If you can it is helpful to say something about the fact that you are trying to eat more healthily and cutting down on sugar but you can also use other tactics such as

I won’t thank you as I am full’ or

‘That’s very kind but I am eating later and don’t want to spoil my appetite

If you find you are given sweet things as a gift with words such as ‘I know you love cake/chocolate etc. so I bought you these’ there are a few lines you can use

That is really kind of you and I do like them and would love to share them with you/group of friends etc.

Or

‘That is really kind of you but I am eating a lot less cake/chocolate these days so will save them for later (this may make people think about alternatives)

If you can get into the habit of doing this and opting for fresh fruit or having a warm drink instead of the sweet treat you will soon find that the withdrawal symptoms will decrease but also more importantly you will be learning new habits.

 Some ideas for a healthier snack 

Packed of Melba Toasts and Triangle of Dairylea or Laughing Cow cheese triangles

A Natural Yoghurt 125 mls

2 Ryvita slices topped with smoked salmon or low fat Philadelphia cheese

1 crumpet topped with low fat cheese

Small handful of mixed nuts

Olives in brine (10)

Nicole Mowbury as featured in the Daily Mail on line

Binning the sweet stuff: Nicole has turned her life around

You can eat out and lose weight

One of the things that often takes people off track when they are trying to lose weight is eating out.

This is when you can be tempted to eat things you have perhaps been avoiding, or you can overdo it.

I am trying to shift a few pounds I gained over Christmas so when out shopping yesterday I wanted to have a sensible lunch.

I ended up in Zizzi’s Italian restaurant where it was great to see the healthy choice of a light Pizza.  All of these are under 550 calories so are fine to eat as part of a healthy diet.  They come with salad and are delicious I chose the

Skinny Pizza Pollo Roquito as shown here and it was really yummy !

There are usually things you can have when out so don’t let a trip to shops undo your healthy eating

Boots and M&S do good ranges of healthy snacks and I have been to other restaurants who offer lower calorie options.

If you go in with the mind set that you want to eat healthily you will avoid temptation and feel so much better than if you had gone off track.

My Weight Away Plans are full of helpful hints and tips if you want to know more.

Great low calorie meals for the Chinese New Year

As the last weekend in January  will be the Chinese New Year, many of us will want to celebrate it with having a Chinese Meal. But not over-indulge!

There is nothing to stop us doing this, if we know how to cook healthy meals, and this is the whole basis of my Weight Away Plans. I help people to control portions sizes and cook fresh food to enable them to eat well and with friends and family but still lose weight.

I have attached photos for the two meals below which are both healthy alternatives to rushing to the take away for a Chinese meal.  They are both very easy to cook and absolutely delicious.  If you want to know about eating well and healthily but still be able to lose weight then I would love you to hear from you and I am happy to send you the recipe for the soup but the Chicken Pad Thai one is below

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Thai Prawn soup for around 250 calories

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Chicken Pad Thai for around 375 Calories

CHICKEN PAD THAI

Serves 4                                                                 350 calories per serving

35 -40 minutes to prepare and cook

Ingredients

125g rice noodles

A spray of olive oil

2 garlic cloves crushed

2cm of fresh ginger

1 egg beaten

300g chicken breast

3 spring onions

½ tsp chilli flakes

125g fresh bean sprouts

2 carrots grated

3 tbsp of soy sauce

50g dry roasted peanuts

To Cook

Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water. Leave to stand for 4 minutes then drain rinse in cold water and set aside

Spray a wok or large pan with olive oil and heat. When hot add the garlic, chopped ginger and egg. Move it around to scramble the eggs when cooked set aside

Spray the wok again with olive oil and add the chicken which should be cut into strips.  Stir fry for about 8-10 minutes then add the finely chopped spring onions and chilli flakes.  Stir for another couple of minutes.

Add the noodles, the grated carrots and the beansprouts but keep a few to top the dish.  Cook for another few minutes then add the soy and all but 2 tablespoons of the peanuts.

Stir fry again and incorporate the egg and ginger.  Serve sprinkling the remaining  beansprouts and nuts on the top.

 

How many diets have you tried?

At this time of year there are so many ‘diets’s being promoted in the press; on the TV and across Social Media, it is no wonder that we can all be tempted by the ‘miracle cure’ that looks promising and we think we could do!

If something looks too good to to be true then there is a reason.

It is true to say that any ‘diet’ when you follow it to the letter, will result in you losing weight; the real test is whether you will be able to keep it off.

Many of these ‘diets’ mean you will be either replacing foods with shakes or bars or restricting certain foods such as carbs,  fats, or sugar.

The problem with this type of approach, is that it is really difficult to lead a normal life. In fact you can find yourself spending an enormous amount on food replacements or ready prepared meals and supplements.

Whilst this might be great if you have a small amount of weight to lose and don’t mind changing your lifestyle completely for a short time, it is not the recipe for sustained weight loss.

I know, I have followed in the past things like the Atkins Diet; the Cabbage Soup Diet; the Grapefruit Diet to name but a few.  I know now I could choose the Military Diet; the Peanut Butter Diet; the Oil Diet – just some I have seen in the last few weeks, but I know from experience the only way to lose weight successfully is to change your eating habits for life.

This does not mean anything other than eating a well balanced healthy diet that avoids processed food but enables you to have things you love in sensible portion sizes.

So if you would prefer to eat meals like this

Lamb with White Wine

Great Tasty Food for under 500 calories

rather than meals like this

20170115_140649

then I would love to help you