Courgette pasta ribbons with rocket pesto

Courgette pasta ribbons with rocket pesto

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

IMG_2768This is the perfect lunch or light supper dish, as no cooking is required.  And for those of you who want to limit your intake of refined carbs (5:2 ers and fast dieters in particular) this is ideal for you because fibre rich courgettes take the place of gluten rich pasta.  Not only does the fibre and vitamin content increase when courgettes are used as pasta but the calories are vastly reduced.  A 75g of uncooked wholemeal pasta  per serving would make the total calories for this dish increase from 352 calories to 600 calories per serving


Comp health mag




The recipe has been featured in the online magazine Complete Health Magazine get your copy here






Courgette pasta ribbons with rocket pesto

Serves 2 – 352 calories per serving



2 courgettes

1 ripe avocado

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp pine nuts  – toasted in a dry pan

1 garlic clove, peeled

large pinch of dried chilli flakes

large handful (45g) of rocket

10 mint leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

IMG_27611 teaspoon of lemon juice

a splash of cold water

6 small ripe cherry tomatoes



  • IMG_2765To make the courgette ‘pasta, slice in to ribbons with a vegetable peeler or a spiralizer, coat with a splash of lemon juice and a few grains of salt to soften
  • IMG_2762For the rocket pesto, place the oil, pine nuts, garlic, chilli, S&P, mint leaves, 1teaspoon of lemon juice and rocket into a small food processor and blend until smooth. if its to thick add a splash of water to loosen it.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary
  • IMG_2767To serve, pour the pesto over the courgette pasta ribbons and stir well to coat. Place the pasta into two serving bowls and top with sliced avocado, the halved tomatoes and a few fresh mint leaves


To make the dish more substantial you can also add either ½ a can of drained and rinsed butter beans or 40g of crumbled feta cheese.  They will add an additional 105 and 115 calories, respectively

Nutrition during cancer treatment

Nutrition during cancer treatment

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

imagesOn Wednesday 25th March I appeared on Verity Cowlely’s show at BBC Radio Nottingham to talk about nutrition for those going through cancer.  You can listen to two excerpts of the interview.

7 minutes long

4 ½ minutes long

cropped-bloglogo2.jpgMore information about healthy eating can be found on some of my previous blog posts

healthy lifestylewhat is a healthy balanced diethigh calorie foods

Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger.

Eating well while you are being treated for cancer might help you:

  • Feel better.
  • Keep up your strength and energy.
  • Maintain your weight and your body’s store of nutrients.
  • Better tolerate treatment related side effects.
  • Lower your risk of infection.
  • Heal and recover faster.

Eating well means eating a variety of foods that will give your body the nutrients needed to help fight the effects of your cancer treatment. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.


IMG_2698If you have a poor appetite eat little and often, have a fortified drink (Complan or something similar) or go for nutrient dense food (see my blog high calorie foods that I created after being asked whilst at Maggie’s Nottingham) like fats, nuts, seeds, peanuts, nut butters, avocados, hummus and oils are great sources of healthy fats loaded with maggies_nottinghamnutrients and are very calorie dense. Try to enrich your favourite foods with dried milk powder, cream or cheese.  If you are struggling with the quantity then blend the food to make a fortified soup




Protein  is especially important as its needed to heal tissue and fight infection – beans, pulses, eggs, chicken, fish, tofu quinoa are all great sources

Ginger can help with nausea – have it as a tea, drinks, biscuits or grated into food

If your taste buds change eat foods you like or have strong flavours. lemon, mint, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, ginger

If you feel tired and the thought of cooking is too much then the occasional ready meals are fine or on your good days cook extra and freeze

Don’t serve large portions it can be overwhelming

Sometimes the smell of food can be off putting so have food served warm or at room temperature

The more trauma a body has undergone the more energy it needs to recover and repair. And the best source is carbohydrates and fats.

IMG_2435Having sufficient amounts of carbohydrates means that protein will not be converted in to energy and can be utilised for cell repair – wholemeal pasta, rice, bread are good examples

Veg and fruit are also good carb sources and have lots of vitamins, antioxidants (A,C,E,Zinc etc) and fibre – needed for a healthy digestion

Using fats for energy again allows protein to be used for cell regeneration. They also have a key role in the structure of cell walls, reducing inflammation and aiding clotting.

IMG_2421Healthy fats to eat are olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil and those found in avocados and oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout

Some people may develop anaemia (as chemo lowers red blood cells) – dark green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified bread and cereals, beans, nuts, meat, apricots, prunes, raisins are all valuable sources of iron. Eat foods high in Vitamin C at same time as non meat Iron to help with absorption.  so a red pepper with your green leafy veg for instance

imagesIt is important to increase your fluid intake, as dehydrated skin is less elastic, more fragile and more susceptible to tears. You may also experience a sore or dry mouth, drinking or sucking on an ice cube may help

Be careful about taking lots of supplements – you could have too many and be ill, so try and get all you need from the food you eat

Low immunity- avoid foods that may contain harmful bacteria like paté, raw eggs, live bacterial yoghurt, cheeses made from unpasteurised milk, such as Brie and blue-veined cheeses and raw or undercooked shellfish.

Have good personal and food hygiene to reduce risk of food poisioning

Factor in some gentle exercise, like a walk in the fresh air – can improve your appetite, boost energy levels, get Vitamin D (wear sunscreen as chemo can make you more light sensitive), socialise, change of scene, lift your mood


6389379-largeIf you have any issues about food or your diet during your cancer treatment first of all speak to your oncology team, or Maggie’s Nottingham or contact me

Susan Hart

07946 301338

The diet of the 1950s

The diet of the 1950s

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

11069372_974772509246900_7273530188136257966_nA new BBC2 programme about the nations diet through the decades began last week called Back in Time for Dinner, it kicked off with the 1950s.  I was asked to appear on Radio Nottingham last week to discuss the diet of a 1950s family, also appearing on the Mark Dennison show was Glennis, a housewife in the 50s.

Click here for a snippet of the interview that aired on Tuesday 17th March.

5 minutes long

In the 1950s some foods like sugar, tea, eggs and cream were still rationed so women had to be inventive when it came to planning meals for the family, especially as only 24% of households owned a fridge.  They learned to utilise all the food and not to waste a scrap.  IMG_2262The Sunday roast was a popular choice, on Monday the leftovers could be turned into a meet and potato pie, bubble and squeak or a stew (with dumplings to fill up the family).  Any unused veg was quickly turned into bubble and squeak and fried in the bacon fat from breakfast.  A dessert was often homemade cakes or scones with homemade preserves.  That will explain why in the 50s we ate more sugar.  Whereas now our sugar consumption mostly comes from fruit juices, soft drinks, sweets and sugary cereals

But surprisingly calorie intake peaked in the 1950s at 2660 kcal per person per day. This has now fallen, along with declining levels of physical activity, to 1750 kcal per  person per day.[1]

shopping 1950sThe average person in the 50s did more walking, cycling and travelling on public transport than we do now.  Also there wasn’t the labour saving devises that we now have, women were spending approximately 70 hours a week on housework, with the hardest work in the kitchen.  For instance washing could take up a whole day.

Food was more seasonal, there were no large supermarkets, no freezers so no frozen foods and a weekly takeaway was fish & chips!  To eek out the housekeeping the family would go blackberry picking, forage for mushrooms, grow their own vegetables and pick elderflowers to make wine

The first Wimpy Bars opened in 1954 selling hamburgers and milkshakes and proved extremely popular. They became a place for teenagers to meet and socialise, although the post war Government was more concerned with nutritional problems relating to deficiency, rather that it being all about excessive intakes now.




Ate more Ate less
Milk (which was full fat), potatoes, vegetables, bread, sugar (mostly for home baking, Jams etc) Fruit, cereals, meat (especially chicken – 10g per week in 1950 compared to 250g per week in 2000)

  • IMG_2609
    What can we learn from the 1950s?

    • shop locally and seasonally
    • try and be more active
    • eat less processed foods
    • base your main meal around vegetables
    • reduce food waste by making meals from leftovers, see my recipes for bubble and squeak and pea and mint soup and more advice about using leftovers in don’t waste it use it

Sample menu for a week’s meals from a 1951 cookery book

50s menu














If you would like some advice about getting back to the basics of healthy eating then please contact me

I offer a FREE initial consultation 

07946 301338


Salt in children’s meals

The salt in children’s meals

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

less saltThis week it is ‘national salt awareness week’  and today I was asked by Gem 106 to comment on the levels of salt in children’s meals.  This is on the back of reports in todays papers that restaurant meals aimed at children are high in salt; for instance a Hungry Horse ‘Ham (two slices) with mashed potato & baked beans’ had a whopping 4.2g of salt which is 141% of the daily salt intake for a 4 to 6 year old.

I went on to explain that when eating out it may be worth considering buying an adult meal and sharing it as it may have less salt.  Often children’s meals are processed rather than freshly made which means that the salt content is controlled by the manufacturer. A closer inspection of Burger Kings nutritional information reveals that a kid’s veggie burger contains an amazing 3494 mg or 3.5g of salt which worryingly is slightly more than their adult version.



Here are two audio clips of my interview  – they’re only 30 seconds long


So why should you be concerned about the level of salt your child is consuming?

Action on salt and health (CASH), a global organisation that is committed to lobbying manufacturers to reduce the levels of salt in all our processed foods. They have also commented on the amount of salt children consume

According to their report salt and children; a high salt diet may lead to high blood pressure as well as some serious medical conditions.

veggie-sticksAs a parent try and offer your child fresh fruit or veggie sticks rather than salty snacks like crisps.  Swap a salty cheese and ham sandwich with tuna (in oil or spring water), roast chicken or egg mayo.  Set a good example by not adding salt at the table, and try reducing or eliminating the amount of salt you use in cooking.

IMG_2846Understanding food labels will help you in your endeavour to reduce your child’s salt intake.  Often salt is recorded as sodium.  If thats the case you will have to multiply the figure by 2.5 to get the salt content. Depending on your child’s age they should eat no more than 1 – 6g of salt a day


These simple steps could make a big difference to your child’s health.  And remember if they do have processed foods make sure they drink plenty of water or milk so they stay hydrated

Cauliflower and chickpea curry

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Cauliflower and chickpea curry

Serves 2, 428 calories – including the rice or 318 calories with cauliflower ‘rice’

This is a protein packed curry dish, that is equally delicious whether you use cauliflower or broccoli.  The chickpeas add texture, plenty of fibre and low fat, low cholesterol protein.  The tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which is really good for prostate health.


½ head of cauliflower florets (about 8-10) or you could use broccoli instead (about 350g)

1 tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas

½ a leek thinly sliced

I clove of garlic – crushed

IMG_28431 thumb size of fresh ginger grated, or ½ tsp minced or ground ginger

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 – 2 teaspoons of hot curry powder (depending on taste)

½ – 1 tsp of chilli flakes (depending on taste)

½ tsp each of turmeric, cumin and coriander

Large splash of lemon juice

Large handful of chopped parsley or corriander

Salt and pepper to taste

IMG_2844100g of dried brown basmati rice cooked according to the packet

or cauliflower ‘rice’ – ½ head of cauliflower whizzed in a blender until it resembles bread crumbs. Tip it into a microwavable bowl sprinkle over ½ teaspoon of cumin and coriander and mix well. Cover with clingfilm and cook for 1 minute on high



In a large frying pan add a splash of hot water before adding the cauliflower (or broccoli) and leeks. Cook until they start to soften, then add all the dry spices, garlic and ginger. Most of the water will have evaporated so keep the ingredients moving to stop them from burning

After a few minutes tip in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and the tinned tomatoes. Add some water to the tin a tip the remainder of the liquid into the pan. Stir it all around turn down the heat to a slow simmer and add a lid if you have one


IMG_2807Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust the seasoning and maybe adding more spice if you need it. Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a thick rich sauce

At the last minute add the lemon juice and chopped fresh coriander or parsley

Divide into two warmed bowls and serve with the cooked brown basmati rice or cauliflower ‘rice’

Healthy lifestyle

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

10408049_10152339283011222_3886329634361639208_nMarch is National Nutrition Month.   The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”, which encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.[1]

But how do you start to make a change.  It is that question that can often stop you from getting where you want to be, and the thoughts in your head of ‘what if I can’t, what if its too hard, what if I fail’ shout loudly at you.

imagesI always ask my clients to commit to “small but permanent changes”.  So perhaps start with reading my previous blog post about change a habit in 28 days; this is a great way to educate your brain so that the change becomes a new healthier habit

Having a healthier lifestyle isn’t about never being able to have icecream, chocolate, crisps etc again its about applying moderation and balance.  My blog about the 80:20 rule really highlights that fact.  So for 80% of the time be aware of the food you eat and the activity you undertake and commit to that, and for the remaining 20% of the time don’t worry about food, enjoy eating out with your friends or having a day off from the gym.

My blog about what is a healthy balanced diet is a really good place to help you understand more about healthy eating principles.

imagesWhen you start to adopt a healthier lifestyle one of the simples techniques you can use is mindful eating.  This means being aware of the food you are eating, appreciating its flavours, taste, texture etc.  That can really only be achieved if you eat without distraction.  So try and eat at the table and rediscover the joy of family meals

It is well documented about the importance of having plenty of fruit and vegetables in your fruit image for 5-2 flyer scaleddiet, and for good reason.  Not only do they provide us with an array of different vitamins and minerals but much needed fibre.  Which helps us to feel fuller for longer and improves our digestive health.  So my suggestion to you is to eat a ‘rainbow of colour’, by that I mean try and use as many different types of fruits and vegetables as possible, my blog vibrant vegetables may be a good place to start.  Have you tried celeriac before? It tastes a bit like celery and is great cooked and mashed with potato as a different topping for a shepherds pie, or bubble and squeak


If you think you may have some issues with your digestion, then you might like to consider coming to one of my ‘Happy gut‘ workshops.  They are a mixture of tummy happy yoga poses delivered by a fully qualified and experience therapist and information about gut friendly food delivered by myself


Being more active is also the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle.  I have a number of clients that are either athletes, gym goers or exercise newbies and THSA-Badge-Sports-and-Exercise-Nutrition_HDthey all want the same thing; advice about what to eat when training (before, during and after).  As a qualified sports nutrition adviser I am able to create individual meal plans for whatever activity my client is considering – whether it be a triathlon, marathon or their very first 5k.


If you would like some help to make healthy lifestyle changes then contact me and I can arrange a FREE consultation for you


Mobile:  07946 301338

Twitter: @SH_nutrition











How late night eating affects sleep

How late night eating affects sleep

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Ideally, we’re meant to eat three meals a day. However, with the complexities of modern life, many of us find that we rarely get chance to achieve this.


As a result, we can find that we end up eating a variety of foods at very irregular hours. Whilst this can have a short-term benefit of keeping us going, it can have a negative impact in a variety of areas.


And here’s a look at how our sleeping habits in particular can be affected by late night eating.



beef-20678_640 It’s important to realise that your body can only process food in certain ways, and our sleeping patterns will invariably be affected by this. That’s why you should avoid a large late evening meal before going to bed, as your body will be busy trying to digest the food.


So in order to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of indigestion or heartburn, try and avoid eating large amounts of food at least three hours before going to bed. Whilst it can be something of a mystery as to why and how we sleep, having a belly full of food is not going to make things any easier.


Food types




It’s also a good idea to think about what kind of foods you are eating before going to bed, as certain foods have a debilitating effect on sleep.


Rich foods such as pork, cheese and chocolate should be avoided as these food types are packed with an amino acid called tyramine that the body converts into a brain stimulant. The last thing that you’ll be wanting as you head to bed is a brain working overtime!


And conversely if you find yourself hungry in the evening, then try and have a small amount of food that contains the chemical tryptophan. This has naturally occurring chemicals that aid sleep and can be food in a variety of foods such as yoghurt, milk, eggs and tuna.


Other effects




There have also been reports published that have illustrated that eating late can have an impact on weight gain.


The Daily Mail recently reported that by straying from the standard three meals a day, the body has problems with the hormones that control appetite which could then lead to symptoms of obesity.


And a BBC news story also added that it could be that our bodies need a 12 hour fasting period in every 24 hour cycle, so as to switch on important fat burning procedures in the body.

Bitter sweet!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Monday 9th March:

IMG_1082This morning I was live on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about sugar and what too much of it can do to children.  This is because a new sweet shop, Sweet Cottage has opened in Radcliffe on Trent and one the local schools, South Nottinghamshire Academy is not happy about it.


Listen to the full interview (8 minutes long)


or to my nutrition input (3 minutes long)


sugar-in-sweetsSo the debate is what does sugar do to children, how much is too much, who has a role in making sure children eat a balanced diet, what can we do about educating children, parents and schools?

Have a look at a related article I did a few weeks ago about children and sugar.  It gives useful tips for reducing sugar in their diets

But I hope you will agree this is something we need to get better at, as this graph from the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows teenagers are consuming 74g or 18½ teaspoons of sugar a day; where sweets, chocolate and jams made up 19-22% of children’s sugar intake


And its easy to see how those teaspoons add up if you take a look at some popular sweets and how much sugar they contain.

Maybe its time to think of sweets as ocassional treats?

Type of sweet Size Sugar content in gs, teaspoons and calories
Haribo Starmix 215G 98g, 24½ tsp, 690 calories
Haribo Starmix 25g  portion 12g, 3 tsp, 85 cals
White Chocolate Buttons 70G 42.8g, 10.7 tsp, 390 cals
Cadbury Creme Egg 40g 26.5g, 6.6 tsp, 177 cals
Kinder Bueno Bar 43G 18g, 4½ tsp,   244 cals
Snickers Single 48G 21.7g, 5½ tsp, 248 cals

Update: 10th March


Nottingham Post

Today I was asked by the Nottingham Post for my views on this story.  Read the full article in Todays Post.  I go on to say that sweets can be part of a balanced healthy diet for children but should be considered as an occasional treat not a breakfast choice



If you are a parent and concerned about your child’s diet, or you are a school and want to offer healthier food choices then please get in touch with me and we can work this out together


Mobile:  07946 301338

Twitter: @SH_nutrition



Quick vegetable rice

Quick vegetable rice  – serves 2, 262 calories (315 calls if using microwaveable rice)

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

IMG_2799This makes a really quick, filling and tasty lunch; packed with lots of veggies and some wholegrain carbs.  The seasonings can be varied to bring different flavours to the dish.  Try adding cumin, curry powder and coriander leaves for an indian flavour.  Or smoked paprika, Harissa and fresh mint  for a more Moroccan twist.  And if you want a Mediterranean feel add some tomato paste,  a few chopped olives, lemon zest and fresh mint

IMG_27911 courgette – cut into cubes

1 red pepper – cut into cubes

1 onion – sliced

1 stick of celery – sliced

1 garlic clove – finely chopped or grated

½ tsp minced ginger or small piece of grated fresh ginger

good pinch of ground black pepper

250 g cooked brown basmati (or 1 packet of microwaveable wholegrain basmati)

2 tsp olive oil

splash lemon juice and soy sauce

good pinch of chilli flakes

handful of chopped parsley


IMG_2794Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the vegetables IMG_2792until they start to soften – about 8-10 minutes. Add the chilli, garlic, black pepper, parsley and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice. If using the microwaveable rice, cook according to the instruction then add to the pan




Keep stirring until all the ingredients are hot and well mixed. Add the soy sauce and a splash of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve on two warmed plates.


To make it a more substantial meal add 2 chopped hard boiled eggs (160 calories), ½ tin of chick peas (145 calories) or 200g steamed edamame beans (166 clories)

Make it happen

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


This Sunday, March 8th 2015 is International Womens Day, with the theme being ‘Make It Happen’ 



Thank youSo with that in mind I thought I’d share with you two of my latest client testimonials and let them tell you how my simple healthy eating advice has changed their perspective, attitude and motivation towards their personal health goals and how they’ve made it happen

Testimonial one 

I had struggled for over 5 years with excess weight that I just couldn’t shift. It made me really unhappy, and it became all I thought about. I dressed in baggy shirts, I dreaded the thought of a summer holiday in a bikini, I would cry in changing rooms and didn’t enjoy the process of getting ready for a night out with my friends. I really thought I couldn’t lose that extra weight – like it was something I would just have to come to terms with over time.

However, I had an appointment with Susan, which I was optimistic about but I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high, as I felt like I was never going to lose weight. Susan understood what I was going through completely, and it was very therapeutic to explain how I felt about myself, after many years of complaining about it to friends and family who would say ‘You look fine!’ or ‘Don’t be silly!’ without really listening to me.

Susan was extremely helpful and so informative, but I never felt patronised or like I was being lectured. I obviously have made the wrong food choices and Susan helped me to see that, and take steps to address it. Her advice of ‘small but permanent changes’ has really worked with me, as it is achievable. Her optimism and positive attitude encouraged and motivated me. I’m over the moon with my weight loss – I have lost half a stone in just over a month and I’m continuing to make small but permanent changes in order to be as happy as I deserve to be.

I can’t recommend Susan enough! If you are struggling with losing weight and don’t really know what you’re doing wrong, Susan can help you. She has such a friendly and positive attitude; you will feel motivated and supported in the process of weight loss and finding your happiest weight.  (B Evington)

I always advocate that the way to achieve sustainable long term improvement is by making  ‘small but permanent changes’

This simple principle can be applied to anything that is not going well for you in your life right now; although most of my clients use it for healthy eating or weight loss

gym and foodSomething as simple as adding some fresh fruit to wholegrain cereal instead of sugar would be a good start.  Or always having a water bottle with you wherever you go – we often mistake hunger for thirst. And don’t forget about exercise – making time for more physical activity is a great calorie burner and mood enhancer.



Portion control is another area that clients often struggle with.  By showing a client what a correct portion size should be can make a real difference to the daily calories they consume

This  image shows a recommended 30g serving (on the right) of Branflakes and a clients portion (on the left).  Nearly three times the amount and an additional 214 calories

 Testimonial two 

I am not the best person to be focused upon diet and food and I am generally quite resistant to confining myself – however I found the information given by the guest speaker, Susan definitely food for thought – no pun intended – Just understanding how the body processes food and how energy is created and what can give immediate highs and lows was very thought provoking, how generally eating slower and finding out what are the best healthy energy foods has created discussion in our house about foods we want to eat and healthier eating

I found the whole exercise very informative and have since then tried to take into account the information we were given – I have enjoyed my healthier options chosen since then including the planning – which I did not think about much before – and feel it has been of real benefit to a person who is generally dismissive and sceptical – in terms of value for money – If I can maintain her thoughts in my head and we are following her blog – even if she has only made small changes to me and my family – they are still significant and therefore of value. (SI)


imagesIf you feel confused about what you should be eating as part of a healthy balanced diet, or you want to lose a few pounds before the Summer wardrobe makes an appearance, then please contact me and I can arrange for you to have a FREE 30 minute consultation



Mobile:  07946 301338