Crisps: Is There A Healthy Choice? (Plus Healthy Snack Ideas!)

Diet & Weight Loss

Crisps, potato chips-no matter what we call them, our love affair with them is all the same. Some of us crave an endless list of flavours and varieties; whether they’re baked, deep fried, or kettle cooked … how healthy are they? …And if this is your savoury snack of choice, are you aware of its nutritional consequences?

 

Put those down… and don’t roll your eyes, this is good advice! Photo by: Colette_Flickr

Crisps are notorious for contributing to our daily recommended fat and salt intakes and it’s been shown in a UK government poll that 1/3 of British children (8-15 years) consume crisps on a daily basis; children are led by our example remember?!

That’s a rather disturbing thought considering the current rise in childhood obesity  and how many packets people probably consume per year. Having a standard pack of crisps every day equates to having nearly 3L of oil per year!

 

High intakes of salt can lead to raised blood pressure and cause bloating, whilst high intakes of fat can cause raised cholesterol levels, obesity and other chronic diseases. Those with existing underlying health conditions, or those that are very young or even pregnant have even more of a reason to adhere to healthy eating guidance; for you constipation suffers, excessive intakes will only exacerbate matters. For help on how to distinguish high fat and salt contents on food labelling, check out my other article on ‘5 Steps To Cut Down On Sugar & Why You’ll Be Happier for it! for FSA links.

 

So how have companies responded to increased health warnings? Some have created alternative snacks in their range, e.g. popcorn, whilst others have come out with supposedly healthier varieties, e.g. ‘baked not fired’, ‘70% less fat’, or ‘vegetable-based crisps’ etc. You can see why some companies may be reluctant to do this at first; it would mean that they would have to admit that there current product is inferior…perhaps not so healthy after all??

 

 There are various types of crisp sold in the U.K. Some example include:
McCoy's_Crisps_wikipedia

Look at what’s happened to this lovely, innocent potato! Why do they have crinkles? Did the dip companies request these? Is it another ‘food conspiracy’? Like when we were kids and would have to fight over hot dogs buns because the hot dog bun company would always sell an odd number of buns compared to the actual hot dogs?! …But I have digressed- look at these greasy crisps …or potato chips for all the North American viewers out there!

  • Kettle cooked
  • Preformed & processed crisps
  • Baked crisps
  • Corn based crisps
  • Root Vegetable crisps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So is there a ‘healthy’ option when it comes to crisps?

Let’s review some current brands and see…

 

 

An Average ‘Brand Name’ Serving And How They Weigh Up!

 

The Walkers ‘Baked’ and ‘Pop’ varieties in addition to the ‘POP’ brand & the Plain ‘Doritios’ chips (in a 25g portion) …and perhaps arguably the ‘SunBites’ seem to run ahead of the game as ‘healthier’ (and lower fat) options go, but as with any food its best to eat it in moderation- which doesn’t necessarily mean, every day, every other day or a once a week. NB: The Walkers ‘POP’ & ‘POP’ brand sells their product in a slightly smaller bag/portion size than other name brands. 

This also exposes the circulating myth of ‘kettle crisps’; although the cooking method may technically be ‘healthier’ as conventional cooking methods for crisps oxidises the cooking oil (creating free radicals)… but all you have to do is look at the nutritional information. Kettle crisps do not seem to be any healthier than the traditional crisps.

At the end of the day, potato crisps may provide a source of vitamin C, some B-vitamins and also potassium and vitamin E (from the cooking oil)… but on the other hand they provide us with fat, salt and calories.

 

If you can’t get on with the ‘healthier’ crisp options, try having your favourite type in ‘moderation’ or maybe you could give one of the healthy snack alternatives a try?

 

 

Healthier Savoury Snack Options
  • A portion of unsalted almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or some mixed nuts.
  • Pretzels (unsalted).
  • Baked and seasoned chickpeas, wasabi peas or any other type of legume.
  • Homemade dip, houmous or a savoury yoghurt, e.g. plain yoghurt with fresh herbs and lemon juice, maybe garlic served with crudités  or crackers/wholemeal pitta slices etc.

There are so many types of dips and houmous to choose from, e.g. butter bean, black bean, chickpeas, beetroot, sweet potato, sun dried tomato, artichoke etc!

 

  • Homemade popcorn with seasoning, e.g. a little salt or pepper, cumin, turmeric, paprika or whatever takes your fancy instead of a tonne of salt, sugar, oil or butter.

 

Looks like some sort of  popcorn & crisp slumber party?! You get the idea though-healthier snacks anyone?! Smiley lady not included. Photo by: Wojciech Grzejdziak_Flickr

 

  • Homemade black bean salsa with toasted pitta wedges.
  • Homemade (low-fat) vegetable crisps.
  • Celery sticks with a low-fat cream cheese or some natural(unsalted) nut/seed butter.
  • Some low-fat/salt flavoured rice cakes/crackers.
  • Low-salt corn cakes.
  • Some plain (low-salt, unsalted) rice or oat cakeswith a natural nut butter or low-fat cream cheese with slices of cucumber/tomato.

—>Add apple, grapes, pineapple, strawberries if you prefer a sweeter version!

 

  • A portion of low-fat cheese(30g/matchbox size) and (low-sodium) crackers.

    For all you non-vegans out there- here is a cheese platter. Photo by: Alpha_Flickr

     

  • Cheese on toast! Use some low-fat cheese on multi-grain toast.
  • A portion of olives (approx. 10, depending on type). If in brine, rinse before eating.
  • ‘Mini pizza to go’! Use ½ an English muffin, a small pitta bread or a toritilla wrap with a 1 tsp. of tomato sauce or puree, fresh or dried herbs, some veggies and 15g of low-fat cheese.
  • 2 pieces of sushi or ‘faux ‘sushi (tofu and/or vegetable).
  • A healthy homemade version of ‘egg  or tuna mayo’ on wholegrain crisp breads/wheat crackers.
  • A small portion if cherry or baby plum tomatoes, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, oregano or basil, seasoning and olive oil.

 

Yum! Lovely tomatoes. Photo by: Jacqueline_flickr

 

  • A small portion of tuna or seasoned tofu, white beans, e.g. butter, kidney, cannellini etc and a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
  • Small, homemade, grilled stuffed mushrooms (a little low-fat spread and cheese, green onions, herbs of choice, diced red pepper and bread crumbs) or try a nut or meat version if preferred.
  • 2-3 homemade bilinis with a little horseradish paste, smoked mackerel or tofu and a slice of red pepper or cucumber.

 

 

*For help with healthy portions, check out my portion sizes article !

 

This picture speaks for itself…someone has set this child a bad example and the world has gone mad! Photo by: Foundations UK_Flickr

It’s like they say with anything, keep to eating in ‘moderation’, have suitable portion sizes and realistic views about your food!

 

Whenever you pick up a packet of standard crisps, think about the 100-150 empty’ calories you’ll be consuming; of which 72+ will come from fat! Whilst eating an apple will provide you with much needed vitamins, some minerals, soluble fibre and lovely anti-oxidants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choice is yours; just make it an informed one!

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Loay Tattan_Flickr

Mini Chickpea & Kidney Bean Burgers [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 5-6
Prep & Cooking time: 45-50 mins
Type: Main Meal, Snack
Tools: Baking tray, parchment paper, colander, grater, chopping board, sharp knife, food processor, silicone spatula, mixing bowl, cooling rack

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving and is low in salt and saturated fats!

This recipe is great for those who do not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen or don’t fancy using a million ingredients but still want a nutritious meal. Yes, these mini plant-based burgers are baked (and not fried!), have a great flavour, go perfectly with a plate full of vegetables or with a tasty dip and can be adapted to your own personal preferences!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++400g   Tin Chickpeas (or about 200g dried/cooked)
++++++++++++++++400g   Tin Red Kidney Beans (or about 200g dried/cooked)
++++++++++++++++130g    Carrot
++++++++++++++++100g    White (or red) Onion
++++++++++++++++6g        Garlic Clove (one fat one!)
++++++++++++++++25g      Fresh Coriander
++++++++++++++++50g     Sunflower (or pumpkin) Seeds
++++++++++++++++20g     Tahini Paste (or use ‘2 flax eggs’)
++++++++++++++++10g      Vegetable Stock Powder (low-salt/DF/GF)
++++++++++++++++1g         Ground Coriander
++++++++++++++++1g         Cumin Seeds
++++++++++++++++            Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here . 🙂

 

Nutritional Info

 

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 220°C/430°F. Line a large baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas and kidney beans (unless you are using fresh!). Wash, trim the ends, peel and then finely grate the carrot. Peel and finely grate the onion and garlic. Wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander (if preferred, discard some of the larger stems).

3. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Blend for 10-15 seconds, until the mixture is fairly coarse. Tip: Alternatively, place the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and blitz them with a hand-held blender. Push the mixture down with a silicone spatula. Blend for a further 10-20 seconds or until a coarse mixture is achieved.

4. Carefully remove the blade from the processor. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.

5. Using dampened hands, shape the mixture into about twenty golf-ball sized balls. Tip: Have a shallow bowl of water nearby to dampen your hands as necessary. Place the balls onto the baking tray. Flatten slightly with the back of a wet spoon or a spatula into ‘patties/burgers’.

6. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 15-18 mins or until lightly coloured. Tip: The final consistency will be similar to a ‘baked falafel’. Remove from the oven. Allow to rest for 5 mins on the tray before removing. Remove and transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for as long as possible before serving. Tip: They continue to ‘set’ as they cool. 

 Serve as desired; as a burger or ‘open’ sandwich, in a salad or as a snack with some a small portion of low-fat houmous.

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air tight and resealable container; consume within 3-5 days.©

‘Open’ or closed’burger style… Stuffed into a multi-grain pita or wrap… In a garden salad… with roasted squash…2-3 with some houmous and  crunchy crudités is always tasty too!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use a dried variety of fresh legumes instead (soak and cook before use).
  • Experiment with different vegetables; maybe some courgette, sweet corn, bell pepper!
  • Try flavouring them with your favourite blend of herbs and spices.
  • Serve with home-made (low-fat) sweet potato wedges or chips.
  • Serve dressed with: unsweetened soya yoghurt (with added dried mint), a squeeze of lemon juice, low-fat houmous, a tahini dressing or perhaps a home-made vinaigrette dressing.

 

Recipe adapted from: G. McKeith

Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Houmous

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Assembly Time: 30 mins
Type: Side, Dip, Sandwich filler
Tools: Sharp knife, chopping board, cheese grater, food processor, spatula, resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains:  B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates,  protein, fibre, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugars, salt and saturated fats!

We think that homemade houmous is ridiculously cheap to make and its taste triumphs most store bought brands!

This recipe is extremely adaptable and easy to execute. Experiment with the flavours; add chillies, cooked beet root, roasted bell peppers, pesto, carrot, or various spices instead of sun-dried tomato.

Some other good things to note include:

  • Tahini paste can be pricey, but the recipe doesn’t require a lot; you might find it cheaper in some ethnic shops and it lasts up to 3 months from opening!
  • Use some fresh/soaked sun-dried tomatoes instead of the puree or anything else you’d prefer to flavour it with.
  • Fresh is best! Try using a dried variety of chickpeas; soak overnight, drain and cook before using in the recipe.
  • Make and utilise your own tahini paste; its just toasted sesame seeds and olive oil.
  • If you have the time, make an extremely smooth houmous with skinless chickpeas!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++++++++8g            Garlic Clove
++++++++++++++++++++++30ml       Lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++  Lemon zest  (of ½ a lemon)
++++++++++++++++++++++400g       Tin Chickpeas (or about 210g dried and cooked)
++++++++++++++++++++++30ml       Olive Oil (+ 5ml extra for garnishing)
++++++++++++++++++++++60g         Sun-dried Tomato Puree
++++++++++++++++++++++60ml       Tahini paste
++++++++++++++++++++++60ml       Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++  Salt
++++++++++++++++++++++2g            Sweet Paprika
++++++++++++++++++++++8g            Sesame Seeds

 

Directions

1. Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon, grate some zest and then juice it. If applicable, drain and wash the chickpeas.

2. With a food processor running, drop the garlic into it. Process until it has been finely diced. Scrape all of the garlic to the bottom with a rubber spatula. Add the lemon juice and zest, chickpeas, oil, puree and tahini. Blend until creamy. Add the water. Blend until combined. Taste and season it with some salt. If a thinner houmous is preferred, just add more water.

3. Transfer the houmous into a resealable container. Garnish with some oil (if desired), paprika and the sesame seeds.

4. Serve it with some warmed pita, crackers, crudités, as a sandwich spread with some vegetables or in your favourite falafel wrap!

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers; consume within 3-5 days.

A batch of tasty falafels to company it! Yum! 

Veganism: What’s All The Hype?

Diet & Weight Loss

I’m sure we might all know a friend of a friend or are currently trying a ‘vegan diet/lifestyle’ ourselves. Let’s face it, there’s been a lot of media attention over the last few years. Oprah Winfrey encouraged us to try ‘The Vegan Challenge’, facilitating everyone to consciously think about what they’re eating and the bigger picture; the Meatless Monday  trend introduced in the U.S during 2003 shared the same principles. PETA and The Vegan Society (U.K) also highlight celebrities that are inspiring this trend.

 

Let’s just get something straight, veganism shouldn’t be looked as the newest ‘diet trend’, although it has been seen to produce weight loss results; as reported in a two year randomized weight loss trial shown in the Obesity Journal.

Veganism is a lifestyle, many starting it with different motives; for me it was partly to do with finances and ethics, but the majority was health related. Surveys  during 2012 showed that approximately 1% of the British population are vegans; the current population is about 64 million, which means just over 600 million people have committed to veganism. The Vegan Society reported a 40% increase in the interest of vegan lifestyles last year.  I suppose it’s not surprising, as we can be unaware of what’s in our food; does the ‘Horse meat scandal’ ring any bells? But why have so many people had this change of heart?  Surely, it can’t just be because of their desire to eat tofu and celery?!

 

Let’s look at some genuine reasons why people might have decided to switch…

 

Ethical Views

  • Pro-Animals rights. Media has pointed out that if we are going to consume animal products, we must inform ourselves on how it gets to our plate; if it disturbs us, than that just speaks volumes, doesn’t it.

Photo by_hello kelly Flickr_c60

To truly be a vegan, we must embrace and adapt the lifestyle; avoiding all animal products, not just the ones we eat, but within make-up /beauty products, clothing and even our mattress!

Environmental Factors

  • Sustainability. An AMJCN publication looked at land and water resources, food production costs and how many people primarily consume a meat or a plant-based diet. Overall, with current population trends, plant-based diets looked more sustainable.
  • Reducing our carbon footprint. A study assessing some U.K diets showed: on average, meat-eaters contributed 46-51% more food-related greenhouse gas emissions than fish eaters, 50-54% more than vegetarians and an incredible 99-102% more than vegans.

 

Women’s Health & Wellness

Views…
The Arguments…

High Vitamin C= Stabilised Blood Sugar Levels? = 🙂

Photo by: Lan Li Flickr

Photo by: Lan Li Flickr

A study that included 500 people with type 2 diabetes, gave a random dose of 500mg or 1000mg/D of vitamin C for six weeks.Results: a (1000mg/D) supplementary vitamin C intake may be beneficial in decreasing blood sugar levels in these patients and lowering the damaging effects of sugar.

Money Saving

Photo by: Ken Teegardin Flickr

Photo by: Ken Teegardin Flickr

Legumes and pulses are significantly cheaper than meat, particularly in their ‘dry forms’ and can be just as tasty and nutritious.

Enhances Natural Beauty

lips_Photo by_E J Grubbs Flickr

Studies, (one study based in Australia) could influence dietary choices when it comes to our beauty regime. Regular acne sufferers might be pleased with this update!

Reducing PMS

woman with cake and grapes_Photo by_Go Laura Flickr

PMS is affecting a possible 3 out of 4 women of child bearing age.The PCRM noted research linking low-fat, plant-based diets and the effect on PMS; by avoiding animal fats and keeping vegetable oils to a minimum, can help reduce physical symptoms.These outcomes have been reported from 1-2 months after changing lifestyles.Theories included these thoughts about oestrogen:
-Reducing dietary fats reduces the amount of it in our blood.
-Plant fibres help remove it from our body.
-Soya products contain phytoestrogens, these reduce the chances of natural oestrogen’s attaching to our cells; equals less oestrogen stimulation of cells (aka PMS).

Healthier Lifestyle

  • Prevention. A low-fat vegan lifestyle may be the easiest way to improve our overall quality of life, reducing weight gain, chronic diseases & illness; similar views were highlighted in a 2010 article by the Physicians committee.
  • Global recognition. Dietitians recognised that a well-planned, vegan diet can be appropriate. Check them out: BDA, ADA, CDA and DAA .

Need some incentives? An HSE report showed more than 6 out of 10 men (66.5%) and 5 out of 10 women (57.8%) in the U.K were overweight or obese; the WHO highlighted “65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.”

Maybe we should consider this lifestyle? We can always talk to a medical professional to make sure we avoid any nutritional pitfalls.

After all, what value do you place on your health?

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Michiko Yoshifuji Flickr
Sources:
Meatless Monday
Peta UK
Vegan Society
Wiley Online Library
Vegetarian Society.org
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Springer International Publishing
Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR)
Pub Med
Patient Info
Patients Committee for Responsible Medicine(PCRM)
British Dietetic Association (BDA)
American Dietetic Association (ADA)
Dietitians of Canada (CDA)
Journal of The American Dietetic Association
Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA)
Public Health England
World Health Organization (WHO)

MULTIVITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS: A NECESSITY OR AN EXPENSE?

Diet & Weight Loss

Hands up if you are currently taking multivitamins, minerals, or some form of supplement at the moment? How long have you been taking them and do you feel any healthier for it?

I think we all like to look and feel our best (myself included) and being healthy means different things to all of us. We all have different backgrounds, including dietary needs. I take calcium, vitamin D , some vitamin B12 and occasionally iron because I became a vegan this year.

Although I do try and get these things from my current diet, I know that it might not be possible to meet my dietary needs because:

  • Vitamin B12 predominantly comes from animal sources. (1)
  • Our Vitamin D intake mainly comes from sunlight (topping up our levels during April-September/October here in the UK) (2). My levels are reduced due to my factor SPF 40 I wear!
  • Calcium is more readily absorbed with lactose, a sugar found in cows, goat and sheep milk. (3)

Equally someone with high cholesterol could benefit from buying plant sterols tablets, taking 2mg/D, or those especially designed cholesterol lowering drinks/yoghurts with added sterols; studies have proven this along with healthy diet and lifestyle changes, they do help lower total cholesterol.

The market for dietary vitamins and supplements was worth more than £670 million in 2009, according to an NHS report in 2011; it highlighted 8% was for beauty use, and approximately 85% was for combined physical and mental health reasons.

The ‘health industry’ have created their own market by appealing to people’s desires and needs to be as healthy as possible, whilst preying on people’s lack of knowledge. The placebo affect is a very real phenomenon, which many of these companies know all too well; so how do we know that the products advertised and endorsed by celebrities are any better than sugar pills? So it’s understandable we are possibly making the wrong choices regarding the products we should buy or completely avoid.

Recently, articles have shown Kelly Brook to have accepted a new range of health products from her friend Gary Cockerill. His range of vitamin drinks contain: Green Caffeine, Raspberry Ketones, Colon Cleanser and Acai Berry. Health companies have had those various components in the spotlight for a while, have you tried them?

    Would you associate these products with solid healthy living advice?

Photo courtesy of: Holland & Barrett & Evolution Slimming

Photos adapted from: Holland & Barrett & Evolution Slimming

I could write a whole article debating on what these contain and why they aren’t necessarily worth your money.  A lot of articles push what are supposedly the best supplements to buy each season, but do you really want and can you a afford to have a cupboard full of pills valued over £200? No thanks. From a diet point of view, companies will always try to entice us with fancy terms, e.g. anti-oxidant and immune fighting, thermogenic  or colon cleansing effects etc, but if there was a ‘magic weight loss pill’, we’d all be taking it; this is just a costly and possibly unsafe endeavour.

The reality is that a healthy, balanced and well planned diet will provide the right balance of nutrients and keep you performing at your best, so buying a pill is a potential waste of money. Did you know that 50% of vitamins are water soluble? Which means you could literally be throwing money down the toilet if you take these in high doses due to poor absorption; many vitamins and minerals need to be taken with food for better absorption and many of them compete with each other for absorption whilst others can be lethal in high doses, e.g. vitamin A. Take a peek at the NHS or BDA sites for more information regarding vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Am I being cynical? After all, if you have the money we’re all entitled to spend it as we see fit. I suppose it can be a little concerning how much money we invest in health products, not knowing the full risks, but I guess it’s up to us to do our research and if you’re unsure that you’re at risk, talk to a health professional.

Ultimately it’s important to make informed choices regarding our health, don’t you agree?

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Andreas Feldl Flickr
Sources:
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959839
2. Pearce SHS, et al. Diagnosis and management of vitamin D deficiency. British Medical Journal 2010;340:142-7.
3. Am J Clin Nutr August 2002vol. 76 no. 2 442-446

Diet And Exercise- Not Just Seasonal? Plus 8 Lifestyle Changes

Diet & Weight Loss

So you notice the changing leaves, cooler air, earlier sunsets, following by the torrential downpours on your journey into work? This all points to one thing here in the U.K… yes winter is coming but so are the dreaded changes to your diet and exercise regime. You know what I mean, keeping high-calorie carbohydrate cravings at bay, followed by the excuses that stop you from exercising now that its dark and cold outside…it’s inevitable, or is it?

 

It’s time to get real, be consistent with our health, in what we’re doing year round, not just season to season. There are too many reasons to diet and exercise sporadically… birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and I don’t know about you, but I dislike diets, especially as they don’t work and are a waste of energy! Wouldn’t it just be easier to maintain a healthy and ‘you-friendly’ shape all year? Yes, undoubtedly yes!

So how do we go about it? A personal trainer once told me that in order to achieve a beach body (or a celebrity’s body as I prefer to think of it) you would have to spend a year in the gym eating a ‘clean diet‘. Beach body- who has the time for that?! I’m way past keeping a diary of how many lunges and push-ups I’ve completed or the amount of couscous I’ve eaten; if this is you, I applaud it. It takes a strong drive to maintain this military-like regime and still keep you sanity intact!

For the non- G.I Jane’s out there, a more practical solution is needed. As a food lover and a nutritionist, I would never recommend anyone to follow a very low calorie diet (VLCD) or ‘fad diet’. Why put yourself through the misery? So it’s a new chapter, not a new diet; burn the diet books! By following the changes below you’ll develop a healthier lifestyle.

 

The 8 Lifestyle Changes You Should Make Year Round Include:
  • Mindfulness. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry? Maybe it’s just thirst? Think about what you are eating, the portion sizes and enjoy every mouthful; make time to enjoy meals with friends or family.
  • Sleep. Studies have shown getting less than 7 hours of beauty sleep a night can lead to weight gain.
  • Meal plan & eat in moderation. It’s possible to eat healthy meals on a budget all year; it just takes some planning and a little research. The My Supermarket app compares food prices and can reduce your bills. Your weight loss doesn’t occur on a daily basis, but over weeks & months, so avoid your daily, or weekly snacks or ‘treats’; your waistline will thank you!
  • Reducing alcohol. Remember, alcohol=calories, whether it’s champagne, a martini or whatever your drink of choice.
  • Experiment. Your old ‘diets’ or usual meals might have made you bored of food; seek a colourful dinner plate to make sure we eat as many nutrients as possible.

I encourage you try these healthy, alternative, stodgy winter recipes:

These versions slice the calories you would normally consume in their ‘standard’ recipes but do not fail to satisfy!

  • Eat to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Try legumes, yoghurt, wholemeal pastas and rice, porridge, nuts, seeds and whole fruits. Protein and fibre will help keep you going for longer and reduce your appetite, whilst cupcakes and doughnuts, courtesy of the ‘office feeder’ won’t.
  • Buy a measuring tape. Your weight can fluctuate daily, so ditch the scale; take measurements every 2-4 weeks to see your progress.
  • Exercise! Get your heart racing for 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. Studies show that even exercising for three 10 minute intervals/bursts per day is beneficial for your overall health. Keep motivated by involving your friends and family! Just keep your goals SMART, as you want to be able to keep up this new regime.

Be kind to yourself and maybe have a crack at some of these new workouts:

Always get a health professional’s opinion if you are new to exercise. I don’t want anyone injuring themselves.

Making these changes will allow your body to adjust to a healthy, comfortable weight. Just keep it realistic, interesting and remember, its ‘lifestyle changes’ so keep it up as the seasons change!

Check future articles for more great ways to exercise throughout the winter!

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image: Running By: fatfeet_Flickr
Sources:
NHS Choices
Web MD
BDA Weight Wise
My SuperMarket.co.uk
Mayo Clinic
Department of Health (DOH)