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

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


Grilled vegetable frittata

Grilled vegetable frittata – serves one, 121 calories

IMG_2054Last Friday was World Diabetes Day with the focus on healthy breakfasts.  And one of the best ingredients to make a breakfast healthy is an egg.  They are packed with protein; infact they are a ‘complete’ source of protein because they contain all eight essential amino acids; the ones we cannot synthesise in our bodies and must obtain from our diet. And being low in calories – the average egg has only 70 calories, having them for breakfast could help with weight loss as the high protein content makes us feel fuller for longer.  They are also a great source of vitamin A and lutein – both needed to maintain eye health.  All of this makes them the ideal start to any day and great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

This great recipe is so versitile it can use up any left over vegetables and as well as being perfect for breakfast it can also be a quick and easy lunch as well as a satisfying supper.

So what are you waiting for, get cracking!

IMG_202420g sliced aubergine

40g sliced courgette

40g sliced pepper

1 spring onion

½ tsp olive oil

½ clove of sliced garlic

1 medium free range egg

splash of milk (dairy or non dairy)

large pinch of marjoram

large pinch of black pepper

small pinch of salt and chilli flakes


IMG_2028Switch on the grill place the sliced courgettes, aubergine and pepper on a heat proof tray and drizzle a small amount of oil over.  Cook under the grill for about 10 minutes, turning regularly to avoid them burning.  Remove and set aside


In the meantime in an individual non-stick omelette pan heat the remaining oil and add the spring onion and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until soft.


IMG_2026In a bowl crack the egg add a splash of milk, pepper, chilli and marjoram.  Whisk lightly.  Add the grilled veg to the omelette pan and pour in the egg mixture.  Move the egg mixture with a fork or spatula until it starts to set, this will take about 2-3 minutes.  Tip on to a plate and then back in to the omelette pan to cook the other side.  This will take a further minute or so.  Sprinkle the top with a pinch of salt. And slide out on to a plate


IMG_0593Serve with a large salad of leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, watercress, mint leaves and a drizzle of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

A word (or two) about cholesterol

For many years eggs have been considered more of a health risk than a healthy food, due to their high cholesterol levels. But its now the case that the cholesterol content  is much lower than it was 10 years ago.  British research shows that a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. Also it is believed that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol influences blood cholesterol levels the most.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol or are unsure whether it is safe for you to consume eggs please consult your GP.

Useful website: please visit this website for inforamtion about the safe handling of eggs


World Diabetes Day 2014

world-diabetes-dayToday, 14th November is World Diabetes Day.  The focus for 2014 is to start each day right by having a healthy breakfast.

Here are some stats to back up why the focus this year should be on breakfast


A study from the University of Bath found that people who eat breakfast burn more calories throughout the day and have better blood sugar control than those who skipped breakfast.

IMG_1523A study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that people who eat breakfast everyday are 34% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do not eat breakfast. They are also 43% less likely to become obese and 40% less likely to develop fat around their middle.

A University of Missouri-Columbia study indicated that young people who eat a protein-rich breakfast are less likely to indulge in unhealthy snacking later in the day.



You can read an earlier blog of mine about the Rise and rise of diabetes.  It gives 10 top tips to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes





A healthy breakfast is about eating foods that give a slow and gradual release of energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer.  It may seem quick and easy to pour out a bowl of sugary cereal or put a couple of slices of white bread in the toaster and then cover with jam, but you’re giving your body a massive hit of quick releasing energy because the foods are High GI.  Which is fine if you’ve just come back form an hours gym workout or a long run or bike ride.  Other than that what you really need is wholegrains and protein.

Here are some ideas for an ideal start to the day

  • IMG_1569Poached egg or scrambled egg on wholemeal toast
  • Porridge (made with milk or non diary milk) and some fruit like a banana, blueberries, an apple, and maybe a sprinkling of seeds
  • eggy bread
  • Baked beans on wholemeal toast
  • overnight oats
  • wholenut peanut butter (with a sliced banana) on Ryvitta – this can be wrapped up and eaten on your way to work or at your desk


Get some more great breakfast ideas from my previous blog post


imagesAs well as eating a healthy breakfast (lunch and evening meal!) don’t forget about exercise.  Being active can help you lose weight. It increases the amount of glucose used by the muscles for energy, so it may sometimes lower blood glucose levels.

If you are diabetic being active also helps the body to use insulin more efficiently, and regular activity can help reduce the amount of insulin you have to take

Take a look at my earlier blog post about what activities burn the most calories


Other useful blog posts

So celebrate today by eating a healthy breakfast and spending some time

in the great outdoors


Why not share what you did and ate on World Diabetes Day?

What to do with all those pumpkins!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

imagesWell Halloween has come and gone but we are still left with all those pumpkins and no clue what to do with them or why we should be eating them in the first place!  Pumpkin (or butternut squash and other squash’s)  is very low in calories (under 30 calories per 100g) and fat but high in vitamin A ,great for eye health, and fibre, brilliant at keeping you fuller for long and giving you good digestive health.

IMG_1919Last weeks blog was all about the simplicity of making soup, so that is my first suggestion.  Click here for a brilliant and tasty pumpkin soup, that is not only delicious but looks so colourful.  It serves one but the ingredients can easily be increased to serve two or a family of four or more.


So that’s a hot starter done what about a cold one – try this lovely pumpkin and spinach 

imagessalad it is low fat and very filling.  The addition of toasted pumpkin seeds gives it a great texture and crunch as well as providing protein. They are also low in cholesterol and sodium and high in magnesium and zinc.  Again it serves one but it can easily be increased to feed the whole family, that’s if you want to share it!

For a main course why not try this vegetarian omlette – it will be a winner with both your veggie and meat eating guests

Or if you fancy something different what about this aromatic Moroccan style casserole.  Again it is veggie but it would be easy to remove the potatoes and add some diced chicken instead

imagesWhen you think of pumpkin and pudding only one thing comes to mind pumpkin pie (courtesy of BBC Goodfood).

You may have noticed that all of these recipes are vegetarian that is because not only are vegetables and beans nutritious they are also inexpensive.  The latest research has shown that eating more vegetables has numerous health benefits; my blog about the Mediterranean diet gives more information and another tasty recipe for salmon curry

If you have a glut of pumpkins, don’t worry if stored correctly they can see you through the winter.

I hope you will try some or all of these recipes and post your comments or share some of your favourite pumpkin dishes.  The soup recipe will make a warm and hearty meal after your bonfire night celebrations next week

If you need even more inspiration try these recipes.

IMG_1904Halloween smoothie

pumpkin carrot and lentil soup

veggie sausage casserole





Foods and your medication

Foods and your medication

IMG_2007We would all like to eat a healthy balanced diet based on plenty of variety and lots of lovely colourful fruits and veggies.  But if you are taking medication for a temporary or permanent condition, in certain circumstances what you eat and drink can affect the way your medicines work.  Or a certain medicine can change the way your body uses a particular food


Below are some common drugs and some foods that may be best avoided or limited*.  But as with any advice it is always best to consult your GP.


Antihistamines and alcohol

imagesAntihistamines treat or relieve symptoms of colds and allergies (brand names like Piriton or Zirtek) Avoid alcohol because it can add to any drowsiness caused by these medicines


ACE Inhibitors and bananas

imagesACE inhibitors alone or with other medicines lower blood pressure or treat heart failure (brand names like Capoten, Capozide or Perdix).  They can increase the amount of potassium in your body; too much can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations (rapid heart beats). Avoid eating large amounts of foods high in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables, and salt substitutes that contain potassium.


Diuretics and bananas

plant-protein-greensSometimes called “water pills,” diuretics help remove water, sodium, and chloride from the body. Some brands lower the kidneys’ ability to remove potassium.  If yours is one of them avoid eating large amounts of foods high in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables, and salt substitutes that contain potassium


Hypothyroidism and soya

1_soy-productsIs a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (thyroxine).  Some foods can interfere with thyroxine absorption so please consult you GP if you eat large quantities of soya, kelp and iodine.  If you take iron tables please follow the advice or your doctor or pharmacist


Statins and grapefruit



Statins lower cholesterol by lowering the rate of production of LDL (Bad cholesterol). Some statins interact with grapefruit juice, so please ask your doctor or pharmacist if yours is one of them


Vitamin K Agonists/ Anticoagulants and green leafy veg

cranberriesAnticoagulants are also called “blood thinners.” (Brand names like warfarin), Vitamin K in food can make the medicine less effective.  Generally it is ok to eat a normal balanced diet with a regular amount of leafy green vegetables (Foods that have a high vitamin K content) like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale and brussel sprouts and rich vitamin K meats like liver.  However, if you make significant changes to your diet and begin to eat these foods in large amounts, or cut them out of your diet, this could interfere with how your warfarin works.

It is advisable to avoid drinking cranberry juice regularly because it can change the effects of warfarin. The same advice should be taken for Grapefruit juice

For more information about healthy eating and how to maintain a balanced diet take a look at some of my previous blog posts

what is a healthy balanced diet

are you getting enough fruit and veg?

the Mediterranean diet

healthy eating goals

portion distortion

*Most of this information has been gathered from various NHS website

Chocolate and blueberry cheesecake

Chocolate and blueberry cheesecake – serves 4, 334 calories each

IMG_1968This recipe came about after my husband brought home a packet of chocolate Philadelphia with a view to turning it in to some energy bars,  Well that never happened so I got my thinking cap on and came up with this really easy recipe. The fruit can be varied depending what you have in the fridge or cupboards, for instance add  raspberries, strawberries or some tinned oranges  (minus their juice)


7 digestive biscuits

28g of butter/spread

½ tsp ground gingerIMG_1961

160g of quark cheese

160g chocolate Philadelphia

100g blueberries

Sprinkling of sea salt and sesame seeds (optional)



Melt the butter/spread in a pan or in the microwave

IMG_1959Place the biscuits in a bag and crush with a rolling pin or base of a pan, until you have fine breadcrumbs.  Add the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and mix well

If making individual cheesecakes, place cling film on a baking tray and place 4 small rings on the tray.  Press the crumbs into the bases and place in the fridge.

Make the filling by mixing the quark and chocolate IMG_1963Philadelphia together.  Add the blueberries and gently mix.  Spoon into the four moulds and smooth with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle each with a few grains of sea salt.  And place in the fridge for at least 2 hours

When you are ready to serve, remove from the fridge and using a spatula lift the cheesecake from the cling film tray and place on a plate.  Gently ease the rings up and away from the cheesecake.  serve with some extra blueberries and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds

IMG_1968When you make these cheesecakes please share you photos with me, or let me know what adaptations you made


Smoothies V juicing

Smoothies versus juicing

We all go through phases of wanting to be more healthy and making a real effort; just before we go on holiday, before a big event like a wedding, after a big event like Christmas.  And we often reach for pieces of kit to help us like a juicer or a smoothie maker

So today’s blog post is about the pros and cons of each and should we be doing it at all


unnamed They are a great way to have a quick and easy snack or meal on the go; the perfect portable food.  But do consider them a meal rather than a drink; with all that fruit, veg, milk and protein they can be calorie dense

Smoothies are a great way to try different fruit and veg combinations.  There’s the classic green smoothie with vitamin bursting vegetable goodness and loads of fibre, take a look at my version ‘Shrek the smoothie’ in a previous blog post green is the new black or a more traditional fruit based smoothie smoothie day


The big advantage of smoothies over juicers is that you get all the soluble fibre.  Adults need 18g of fibre a day, but most of us do not eat enough (the average intake is 12.8g/day for women and 14.8g/day for men).

A low fibre intake is associated with constipation and some gut diseases such as bowel cancer

A high fibre diet can help reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes

and can help protect against overweight[1]

Another advantage is that you can buy a bog standard blender, although specific smoothie makers are also available.



juicerWhen you want to boost your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits, juicing is a good way to achieve that goal with minimum fuss and preparation. It requires no peeling or lots of chopping.  But remember this is a very concentrated source of nutrients including sugar, so drink with caution and always brush your teeth or each a small amount of cheese afterwards to neutralise the harmful acids in your mouth.  Beasuse juicing lacks fibre, protein and fat it will not keep you as full as a piece of fruit or vegetable or a smoothie



The main advantage is that a variety of fruits and veg conbos can be achieved; it is therefore a great way to use up ripe or seasonal foods that are at their nutritional best and affordable.

Some research has suggested that the nutrients from juicing is accessed by the body must faster because the fibre has been removed, which can be quite useful for anyone with a sensitive digestive system or has had bowel/colon surgery that means fibre is off then menu

IMG_1833So if you go for a juicer what do you do with all the left over fruit and vegetable pulp?

  • Add it to stewed fruit and turn it into a pie or crumble, with added fibre
  • Enrich a pasta sauce
  • Bulk out a lasagne recipe
  • Add it to vegetable soups
  • And if all else fails compost it!


Only 31% of adults in the UK eat the recommended 5-a-day, so both smoothies and juicing is a great way to meet help that target, however the fruit and veg from juicers will only count as one portion due to the lack of fibre.  This is not the case with smoothies (but only if you don’t peel the skins from apples and pears etc and have at least two 80g portions of whole fruit or veg)


Which is the best  

It is really down to personal choice as to which one you prefer.  The smoothie will keep you fuller for longer and therefore should be considered a meal or snack and the juicer will give you an instant hit of nutrients and energy


But on balance I’d go for the smoothie, that fibre is so important for a healthy digestive system and a simple inexpensive blender will do the trick


This is a review of the top 5 juicers and smoothie makers 


As its Halloween I thought I’d share with you my favourite pumpkin smoothie  and juice recipes.


Halloween smoothie – serves 2

IMG_1906240g vanilla yogurt

100g cooked and chilled pumpkin flesh (either roasted in the oven for 20 minutes or cooked in a pan for 10 minutes)

3-4 ice cubes

80 ml of fresh orange juice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp mixed spice

1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen

0504-banana-pumpkin-smoothie-mCombine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.




Halloween juice – serves 2

IMG_1904300 g of pumpkin – hard outer skin and seeds removed

1 apple

100g fresh or tinned pineapple

½ piece of fresh ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

pumpkin juicePut all the ingredients except the cinnamon into a juicer and switch on.  Flavour the juice with the cinnamon


Use the leftover pulp to make my delicious sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry

Have a look at my other blog posts for more pumpkin recipes

[1] British Nutrition Foundation 2012

Piccolino restaurant review

Review of Piccolino restaurant in the Nottingham Post 29th October 2014

thumbnail_piccolino_nottinghamAs we have now entered autumn I thought this month’s column in the Nottingham Post should be about good tasty comfort food and for me that’s often Italian inspired, so I decided to visit Piccolino at Weekday Cross, in Nottingham’s city centre.  A rather upmarket restaurant that prides itself on using fresh seasonal ingredients; well that’s what the website boasts. I booked a table for early Saturday night and was told we had to be out by 8.00pm, which was fine as the IMG_1969Broadway cinema beckoned!

My online writeup is in Todays (29th October ) Nottingham Post Piccolino review

IMG_1932 Whist perusing the menu we ordered a prosecco, and a complimentary basket of delicious bread with oil and balsamic vinegar was placed on the table. To accompany my glass of fizz I opted for some creamy marinated giant Apulian Cerignola olives. I was pleased to see a number of veggie options on the menu, although some stated they were veggie but included Parmesan; and any good vegetarian knows that picccolino menuParmesan is never suitable for us veggies as it contains animal rennet.  And if you didn’t know you do now!

True to their website they did in deed have lots of seasonal options including a butternut squash ravioli and a creamy mushroom risotto (minus the parmesan crisp)

IMG_1934I decided to have a rustica pizza (Chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables, rocket & ricotta). It was beautifully thin, crispy and satisfyingly large!  The toppings were delicious lots of roasted peppers, aubergines, courgettes, creamy ricotta and peppery rocket.

The size of the pizza was sufficient to mean that pudding was not required.

I really enjoyed everything about Piccolino; the restaurant was beautifully lit and the atmosphere was buzzing.  Most of the staff were Italian and knew the menu inside out; they were also really attentive and professional whilst friendly at the same time.  Particular thanks must go to Giulia our server; she made us feel very welcome. The service was swift without being pushy, which meant we had plenty of time to walk to the Broadway cinema.

IMG_1936The bill came to £38 for two, which I think for an upmarket Italian restaurant is good value.  Would I eat there again, absolutely.  Maybe next time I will mention the ‘P’ word and ask them to use a vegetarian version of this famous Italian hard cheese

If you’ve recently been to Piccolino then please share your thoughts and pictures.

Veggie ocean pie

Veggie ocean pie – 4 generous servings or 5 smaller servings.  300 or 240 calories a serving

IMG_1958It was officially the end of British Summer Time this weekend, so the clocks went back an hour, the nights will be getting darker and the central heating is being switched on.  So that can only mean one thing ‘comfort food’!

And this is one of the best.  Why should fish eaters have all the best recipes so I’ve made a veggie ocean pie with some of the best bits of a classic fish pie; a creamy sauce, lots of filling, heaps of fresh parsley and plenty of crispy potato topping.  But with some lovely nutritious additions like vitamin A & C packed kale, low GI and fibre rich sweet potato and calcium loaded veggie/vegan cheese

IMG_1947120g carrots
 – chopped/sliced

150g leek
 – washed and sliced

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic
 clove – sliced

1 tbls flour

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

Salt and pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

500ml milk/unsweetened non dairy milk

1- 2 tbls lemon juice

100g chestnut mushrooms

50g of chopped fresh kale or dried seaweed or a mix of the two

2 quorn fillets cut into pieces or 100g quorn pieces or 200g tofu
 (at 15 calories per portion)

50g frozen peas

1 heaped tsp capers

25g parsley
 – chopped

300g potatoes

200g sweet potato

grated nutmeg

60g strong cheese/vegan cheese


IMG_1952Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Boil the potatoes until soft then mash in a ricer or use a potato masher.  Add a small amount of milk, salt and pepper, grated nutmeg and your favourite cheese ( I used some creamy stilton)

Add the chopped carrots and leeks to a heavy bottomed IMG_1948large saucepan or wide deep frying pan fry the vegetables in a little oil on a low/medium heat for 6-8 minutes until they are softened. Add the garlic and kale/seaweed, vegetable powder, flour, seasoning and paprika and give everything a good stir.  Cook for 2 3 minutes to remove the ‘floury’ taste.



Add the milk, lemon juice, mushrooms, quorn, peas, capers and chopped parsley. Stir again and lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.


IMG_1953Pour the filling into a baking dish and then top with the mashed potato and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling away.




Serve with a large portion of broccoli or your favourite veg.  100g is about 35 calories

Get your pyjamas and slippers on and enjoy!

The benefits of eating healthily

The benefits of eating healthily

1000x1000As you may know I am now running fortnightly workshops at Maggies, cancer caring centre, based in the grounds of the City Hospital,  Nottingham.  And as it is breast cancer awareness month I thought it would be appropriate to write something about how food can help boost a suppressed immune system, lift your mood and help make you feel less stressed, at what can often be a very stressful time of your life


6389379-largeI advocate a healthy balanced diet to all my clients, including those going through a stressful time.  A healthy balanced diet can, depending on your circumstances can help you to maintain, gain or lose weight. Of course there are instances when you need extra nutritional support, but I believe for the most part food in its natural state is the best nourishment.  And if like me you like cooking that can be a stress buster in itself.


imagesMy previous blog goes into more detail about what can constitute a healthy balanced diet, so lets spend some time looking at stress and the impact it can have on your diet and in turn how food can impact on your stress


If you are under a lot of stress you are more susceptible to feeling unwell both emotionally and physically, one part of the solution is to eat plenty of stress busting foods and drink to boost your immune system.  Try some of these simple steps

  • overnight oatsDon’t skip breakfast; it can help with mood, memory and attention.  Try eating porridge or my overnight oats  (a cold variations), wholegrain cereal like branflakes, Weetabix or shredded wheat.  Brazil nuts are also great as they contain selenium – a great mineral for lifting your mood.
  • IMG_0848Eat a variety fruit and veg – so you get a ‘rainbow’ of colour and a boost of vitamin A, C & E and Zinc.  All of which play a positive role in your immune system
  • During the day drink black or green tea – full of antioxidants
  • Stay hydrated with water – often you can mistake thirst for hunger so always have a drink first; wait about 10 minutes and then have something to eat if you are still hungry
  • Have a warm milky drink at night – the calcium soothes tension as well as eases anxiety and the protein has a calming effect on the body, which could lower blood pressure.
  • imagesRest and relaxation – take time for your self; read a book, have a warm bath, listen to your favourite cd or watch your favourite dvd
  • Limit your alcohol intake.  It is a depressant not a stimulant so drink within safe limits
  • De-stress with some exercise or activity  – brisk walking is great way to burn calories, get some fresh air and absorb some much needed vitamin D


Have a read through some of my additional blogs about stress and the immune system

Nottm post feature photo

don’t worry, be happy

managing stress

Foods to boost the immune system

food to make you feel good


dark chocolateAnd ending on a positive and happy note, eating a few squares of 70% dark chocolate can also make you feel happy by prompting the release of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin