Stress free eating

Stress free eating

IMG_2215If you are under a lot of stress, and who isn’t at this festive time, not only could it put you in a bad mood but you are more susceptible to illnesses.  One simple solution is to eat plenty of stress busting foods and drink.


So make sure these are on your shopping list!

  • IMG_1523Porridge, wholegrain cereal like branflakes, Weetabix or shredded wheat, brazil nuts.  The serotonin in these foods has a calming effect on the brain
  • Wholegrain bread, pasta and rice – these complex carbs help the brain to make more serotonin.  They have the added benefit of balancing blood sugar levels
  • During the day drink black or green tea – research has shown that these drinks can help you recover from stressful events more quickly
  • Oily fish – the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, fresh tuna or mackerel can prevent surges in the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • IMG_0711Love your veggies – vegetables like spinach and avocado contain potassium and magnesium, which can help reduce blood pressure and balance cortisol levels.
  • A warm milky drink at night – the calcium has been found to soothe tension and ease anxiety
  • Rest and relaxation – try and find 10 or 15 minutes to chill and unwind; read a paper, listen to some music have a bath or simply do some deep breathing
  • Less alcohol –  A tipple is often drunk to steady your nerves, but alcohol is a depressant, affecting your thoughts, feelings and actions, which can lead to a restless nights sleep
  • IMG_1525De-stress with some exercise – activity that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat not only increases oxygen around your body but produces a feel good chemical called endorphins



Try these stress busting recipes

IMG_0925overnight oats

IMG_1089pasta with pesto

giant couscous salad

sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry

salmon with wholemeal pasty and tomato sauce

And finally,

yappy christmas

Kale with miso

Kale with miso – 198 calories, serves one

Kale is the ‘go to’ winter vegetable, and here’s why: it is high in vitamin A, C and K – all vital for a strong immune system, good cell health and wound healing , potassium (helps nerves IMG_2210and muscles communicate), iron (for red blood cells) and fibre (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full).  It also contains good levels of lutein, a nutrient that gives kale its deep, dark green colour that is great for maintaing eye health. And lets not forget healthy fats – not something you usually associate with vegetables, kale contains good levels of omega-3 fatty acid, essential for brain health.  Finally acid from lemon juice helps make kale’s iron more bioavailable as well.

If you have thyroid problems 

In most cases, kale is an important part of any diet. But kale (and other veg like cabbage) can interact with thyroid function if they are eaten in very high amounts.

If you have an under active thyroid, ask your doctor about how certain foods can affect your thyroid.

So on with the kale with miso recipe

IMG_220040g kale – washed and chopped with thick stalks removed, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbls miso paste, 450 ml of boiling water, 1 tsp sesame seeds, ½ tsp chilli flakes or ½ fresh chilli finely sliced, 15g unsalted cashews, large pinch of black pepper and a dash of lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan and add the kale, stir fry for 5 minutes, IMG_2204or until soft add miso paste fry for a minute before adding the water and chill.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding the IMG_2207nuts, pepper and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour in to a large bowl and sprinkle over the sesame seeds

Healthier sweet treats

Healthier sweet treats  

Many people like sweets and find it difficult to cut them out or at least cut them down to healthy levels. If that sounds like you we have some good news for you.  There are ways to cut back on unhealthy sweets, but still enjoy other healthier sweet treats.

This article is all about healthy sweet ideas and making your own.

Why make your own sweets

Our biggest tip for enjoying healthy sweet treats is to start to make them yourself. We say this because this is the best way to stay in control of what you are eating.

imagesIf you make your own sweet treats, you know exactly what is in the sweets that you are eating. Making sweets and other sweet treats is not particularly time consuming and they taste much better and are not as processes as most of the treats you buy in the shops.

A ready source of ingredients  

If you are going to make your own sweets, we suggest that you grow your own fruit. Doing so keeps the cost down and ensures that you always have access to high quality fruit that you know has not been force grown or soaked in pesticides.


fruit trees can be easy to grow , so making your own sweet treats need not be expensive. Kids love planting trees and harvesting the fruit, so why not get them involved and start them on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

Go online and choose your first two fruit trees with your children. You can start growing most of them in pots, so you do not need to give up much space in your garden. If you enjoy growing your own fruit, you can plant them permanently, but if you do not you can just give the tree to a friend, colleague or family member. They make fantastic gifts.

The equipment you need

For the most part, you do not have to buy any special equipment to make your own imagessweets. You can use a large pan you already own, but you will need a sugar thermometer and some silicon sweet moulds.

What can you make?

You can make a huge range of sweets using fresh fruit. Here are a few ideas.


Homemade fruit pastilles. Photographs: Mike Lusmore

Homemade fruit pastilles. Photographs: Mike Lusmore


Jellies and gums  Fruit jellies and gums made with fresh fruit taste fantastic and can be lower in sugar than the shop bought varieties.




imagesDried  Drying fruit produces very tasty snacks. One of the simplest recipes is to core an apple, slice it, place on a baking tray covered with baking parchment and sprinkle them with a little cinnamon then dry them in a low oven. Totally, natural, but very tasty. They then become healthy fibre rich snacks

Other ideas

Fresh fruit ice-lollies are a great treat. They are also a good way of using up a glut of fruit that would otherwise end up in the bin.

Do not forget that you can also make a range of jams or fruit pies as well as sorbets, compotes and ice creams. Fresh fruit jelly is fantastic as are fresh fruit juice and smoothies. You can easily satisfy your sweet cravings using these ideas for homemade sweet treats.

Pureed fruit can also be used to enrich sponge cakes, muffins and cookies. Using this method is a great way to cut out some of the fat and sugar in the cakes you make.

My new referral scheme

My new referral scheme


Nottm post feature photoThis is to all my existing customers and to all my potential customers

If you recommend me to somebody and they subsequently have a paid nutrition consultation you will receive £5 off your next session


£5 Recommend a friend


The more people you recommend the more discounted sessions you’ll receive!


And as if that wasn’t enough; the bonus is .. if that person continues with another session they will also receive £5 of their next (3rd) session

Diet-high-in-fresh-fruit-and-veg--can-boost-heart-health-_16000651_800761660_0_0_14004466_300So if you know somebody who would benefit from healthy eating advice, or they need a bit more confidence to cook some simple recipes, or they have lost their way and need to get back to basics then please forward this on to them or get them to contact me


Please quote the reference “REFERRAL” to receive your discount

gift cet x1

Or why not treat a friend or family member to one of my sessions by buying them a gift certificate.  The perfect Christmas present and with a one year expiry date, bags of time to get healthy

Phone, text, email, FaceBook or Tweet me for more information


Mobile:  07946 301338

Twitter: @SH_nutrition

Peanut butter and pomegranate

IMG_2132This little gem came about by a happy accident! One afternoon I saw a pomegranate in the fruit bowl and decided to eat it along with my usual afternoon snack of wholenut peanut butter and rice cake.

I  dished it out all on the same plate and half way through some of the pomegranate seeds spilled from my spoon and et voila a new recipe was born!

Its simple, no cooking, no specialist equipment but still delicious.  And the little red jewels look so pretty and Christmassy

And I loved it so much I forgot to take a picture until I’d nearly polished it all off!

IMG_2173IMG_2179Remember when you remove the seeds from the skin of the pomegranate also remove all the white pith as its very bitter.  As for peanut butter I personally prefer wholenut peanut butter; it has no added sugar and 1 tablespoon is about 94 calories.  Of course you could make your own.

Wholenut peanut butter is high in fibre, protein and vitamin E.  Pomegranate seeds are also high in fibre, and vitamin C and K and low in calories.  All that fibre and protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer


IMG_2175The total calories for 1 rice cake (30 calories), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (94) and 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (9) is 133 calories.  Worth every bite

Go on make it now!




Obviously this snack is not suitable for anyone who has a peanut allergy – Obvious I know, but just saying’

Chicken and campylobacter

Chicken and campylobacter

“Nearly 60% of supermarket chickens have dangerous bacteria”



You probably all saw this headline earlier in the week and I bet it got you worried, especially as we are about to enter the Festive season when many of you will be eating more poultry.


But is there something to worry about and if so what can you do to safeguard your family?



A Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation found disturbingly high levels of contamination with the campylobacter bug, which can cause food poisoning, on chickens (and in some cases their packaging) being sold in supermarkets across the country


The good news is that cooking chicken properly will kill off campylobacter.  However, the concern is that someone may handle raw contaminated chicken and then touch their imagesmouth, which could lead to infection. Or touch some food that has already been cooked and is ready to eat like the roast potatoes, or food that doesn’t need cooking like the salad starter.

Also a concern is the incorrect storage of chicken, which could lead to the cross-contamination of other foods.


So lets take it back to basics and make sure that we have a bug free Sunday roast

  • It starts with buying the chicken.  Make sure none of the packaging has been damaged.  Place it in your trolley or basket away from other products.  When you are at the checkout wrap it in a separate carrier bag and transport it home as quickly as possible there isn’t  too much of a temperature change.  If in doubt put it in a cool bag in the boot of your car
  • A number of retailers have introduced ‘roast in the bag’ chickens, which help limit cross-contamination by minimising the handling of the raw chicken at home.
  • imagesOnce home remove the wrapper and bin it.  Wash your hands and then cover the chicken and put it in the fridge – at the bottom above the salad drawer is the best place; this way any juices will not drip onto other items
  • Do not wash your chicken before cooking.  Splashes from the water can fall on to work surfaces, taps, crockery or food on the draining board, sponges and cleaning cloths etc.

  • Wash all surfaces and utensils thoroughly including boards, knives, and any cloths.  Don’t wipe your hands on the tea towel.  Wash them first in hot soapy water and then dry them
  • Thoroughly cook the chicken – this is not a ‘medium’ or ‘rare’ bird.

chicken temp







  • Any leftovers should be wrapped up and put in the fridge as soon they have cooled down, but must be eaten within 2-3 days


This is the full FSA  report about campylobacter chickens




Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Makes 8 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

IMG_2129It’s getting colder so what better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.

500g parnsips

300g swede

400g potatoes

200g leek

300g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 stock cube

1 .25 litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 -2 tsp dried chilli

2 bay leaves (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using  a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it nice and smooth.  This will thicken the sauce so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 9 not 8 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie sausages, Quorn or roasted Chicken or left over Sunday roast meat

As a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket pototoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Is there a link with vegetarianism and a reduced risk of diabetes?

Is there a link with vegetarianism and a reduced risk of diabetes?


This week a daily newspaper had this as its headline

“How becoming a vegetarian can CURE diabetes: Plant-based diets improve blood sugar levels, scientists claim”


IMG_0848Now as a life long vegetarian and strong believer in the benefits of a plant based diet I would love this headline to be true.  So is it?


Well, to a degree; according to the NHS; in their recent article  they state being veggie could have ‘slight benefits in diabetes’.  The study, on which the headline was based found a vegetarian diet led to a quite modest fall in only one measure of blood glucose called HbA1C.


I also blogged about diabetes and its impact a few weeks ago on World Diabetes Day


gym and foodBeing vegetarian or a part time vegetarian (if you follow the meat free Monday campaign) has long been associated with better health, including

  • living longer
  • a reduced risk of heart disease and bowl cancer – due to the lack of red meat
  • a reduced risk of obesity  - because vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat eaters.  And as over half the UK adult population is overweight or obese this is something we should all take seriously.


If you decide to try being veggie, how do you start?




Obviously it means cutting out meat and fish, but protein is a valuable part of a healthy balanced diet and should therefore be included.  Here are some of my tasty recipes, using some great protein alternatives



Tinned beans and lentils –spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce, Moroccan pumpkin and IMG_1709chickpeas, tomato and butterbean brushetta ,

Quinoa – quinoa with broad beans

Eggs – Grilled vegetable Frittata, baked eggs

Cheese – fiery Quark couscous and goats cheese salad

Quorn – veggie ocean pie,  veggie sausage casserole, 

IMG_1826Nuts and seeds – all green stir-fry ,  pesto pasta,

Tofu – Tofu curry,  tofu sausages

In later blog posts I will revisit the vegetarian debate and talk more about key nutrients

Click here for more of my simple but delicious recipes

Why not share your favourite veggie recipe

As its Black Friday, if you would like more advice about becoming a vegetarian or healthy eating generally I will be offering £5 off my nutrition consultations for the next two weeks until Friday 12 December, if you mention this blog post when booking



The Ned Ludd

Veg out at The Ned Ludd – my latest food review to appear in the Nottingham Post (26/11/14)

A good breakfast to start the day


For a while now I have been on a quest to find the ultimate veggie breakfast so last Sunday I took a trip into town and paid my first visit to the Ned Ludd on Friar Lane.

The place had a few bleary eyed diners all enjoying their breakfast of choice

The service was slick and we were soon seated and presented with menus.  I was keen to try the Vegetarian breakfast which had one of my favourites; bubble and squeak accompanied by 2 fried free range eggs, beans, spinach, roasted stout ned coffeemushrooms, tomato and toast.  Washed down with a complimentary tea or coffee for the very reasonable price of £5.95




Ned ludd bfastAnd when it came I wasn’t disappointed, well just a tad but more of that later.  The bubble and squeak wasn’t the usual ‘cake; but a deconstructed version of cubed potato, onion and some greens and I think I detected some celeriac; very nice and crispy.  It made a very pleasant change from the ubiquitous and often tasteless ‘hash brown’ found in the supermarket freezer cabinet. The rest of the ingredients were lovely, tasty and plentiful.  The addition of fresh wilted spinach was a nice touch (and also introduced some nutritious iron), although the mushrooms, described as ‘roasted stout mushrooms’ just tasted of mushroom – nice all the same.

ned eggMy smidge of disappointment came with the fried eggs.  My companion’s eggs were individually cooked and were nice and crinkly round the edges, mine on the other hand had been cooked together and cut into weird triangular shapes, meaning I lost lots of the lovey crispy edges. They tasted fine, I just felt a bit short changed. Often a bugbear of mine when it comes to a cooked breakfast is partly grilled tomatoes that have just been flashed under the grill to caramelise the top but are as hard as nails underneath.  Happily this wasn’t the case with Mr Ludd’s tomatoes, which were soft and squishy – lovely!

cbkAll in all I’d call it a successful breakfast, well Brunch actually.  The bill came to a very reasonable £13.90 for a meat and veggie breakfast including the two complimentary coffees.  The Ned Ludd would certainly be in my top 10 of breakfast venues.  Maybe next time I will try the breakfast pancakes with fruit and maple syrup.

Productive and motivated employees

A unique employee well-being programme

images 5I would like to help you to improve the productivity and effectiveness of your business, by delivering an employee well-being programme, based around healthy eating.


productivityWhy should a programme like that be part of your employee engagement?  In the current economic climate getting the most out of your most important and expensive resource i.e. your staff is more important than ever.  Healthy and motivated workers are more likely to take fewer sick days, ‘go that extra mile’, give good customer service, and provide commitment and increased creativity.


marksspencer_logoSome leading organisations are already ahead of the game: Marks and Spencer’s wellbeing programme helps reduce staff turnover rates while supporting over 13,000 employees in their efforts to improve their health, 1,088 employees joined the weight-loss challenge, with the result that 4000 kilos or 629 stone of weight were lost while increasing staff engagement


So how can I help you to help your workforce to help your business?

images 4As a trained chef and nutrition coach I offer workshops in healthy eating, balanced lifestyles and improved wellbeing.  The sessions can be designed with my client’s particular needs in mind but are always interactive and focused on how to obtain that elusive healthy balanced diet.  I can also offer practical cookery demonstrations


Some of the areas I cover are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Stress and how food can have a positive impact
  • Healthy eating for the family
  • Exercise and nutrition
  • Alcohol advice


applesI have delivered workshops and cookery demonstrations for a number of leading organisations, including Nottingham City Council, Rushcliffe Borough Council, Saint Gobain and BWB consulting.  I also deliver fortnightly workshops at Maggie’s, Nottingham – a local Cancer Support drop in centre based at the City Hospital.

imagesThis Health and wellbeing fact sheet provides additional information and below is a selection of testimonials from some of those forward thinking and proactive companies

Workshops can be part of a series, one offs, 1 or 2 hour sessions or ½ day seminars.  They are tailored to your business needs and circumstances and can dovetail into any existing HR programmes and events that you hold

health and wellbeing workshop letter

Health and wellbeing fact sheet

If you would like to implement a personalised employee well-being programme, then please contact me to discuss how we can work together to improve the health and wellbeing of your valued workforce


Mobile:  07946 301338