Chubby or Obese?

Is your child a healthy weight?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

For almost a year we have been told by the Government that its Childhood Obesity Strategy will be published shortly, but we are still waiting.  It is hoped to cover issues such obese childas a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising, a sugar tax, a ban on junk food at supermarket checkouts and reduced sugar and salt levels in manufactured products; to name but a few

When should you be concerned about your child’s weight?

When the School  sends them home with an NHS letter saying their weight is a potential issue; part of the National Child Measurement Programme?

When your GP recommends they attend child weight loss classes?

childhood obesityWhen your child complains of being bullied or not being picked for team activities?

Or maybe none of the above because you child is just chubby, its puppy fat, you don’t want to pressure them or its nothing to worry about.  But what if it is something to worry about. Recent statistics show that more than a third of UK children (from the ages of 2 – 15) are overweight or obese and it increases with age.

Tackling this potentially issue early might be the key. 

5 simple things you can do

1.  Consider finding out if your child is in a healthy weight range.

2.  Try and prepare simple meals that are eaten at the table with the whole family, such as

  • IMG_6847wholemeal pasta bake (with lots of blitzed up veggies in the sauce) and a crunchy cheese and breadcrumb topping.  Served with a colourful salad
  • Quorn sausages with mashed potato and carrots, served with peas and veggie gravy
  • Wraps filled with crunchy lettuce and tomatoes and roasted chicken or left over Spag bol mince.
  • Tinned sardines (in tomato sauce) on wholemeal bagels or muffins, or stuffed in to a pitta bread with salad and sweetcornIMG_6782
  • Sweet potato wedges with baked beans and grated cheese
  • Homemade pizza with lots of veggies and cheese.  served with a colourful salad
  • courgette spiraliseCut vegetables into interesting shapes – a spiraliser or vegetable peeler is great for doing the job




3.   Make sure your child is eating the correct portion size for their age

kids portion size

4.  Go to the supermarket with a shopping list and when you have all eaten; you are less likely to impulse buy and be persuaded by offers or sugary fatty foods

5.  11873788_10153625340999015_4728823108939216858_nSpend more time outdoors as a family; not only will it increase your vitamin D levels, which is needed for healthy bones, boosting your immune system and to keep your brain in good health, but it helps will fitness and calorie burning





child activity levels jpeg



This shows the amount of activity that a child should be doing


Here’s a list of some local activities taking place in the Nottingham area

over the summer holidays


July 31st West Bridgford Family fun day – West Bridgford Park 13738353_10204908103702460_3688449296979538302_o-696x456


1st August between 1- 4pm  – Eastwood Road, Kimberley.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities such as Sumo suits, frisbee, face painting, henna tattoos, giant outdoor games (Jenga and Connect 4), Tug of War, circus skills and many other old school park games.

2nd August between 1-4pm – Play dates at William Lee Memorial Park, Calverton.  Lots of imaginative fun for parents and kid

lark web image3rd August – Lark in the Park

4th August between 1- 4pm  – Coronation Park, Eastwood. Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

4, 7, 12, 15 and 20 August – In to the forest, Forest Recreation Ground

Meet at the pavilion at 11am on any of the above dates and enjoy a host of free activities from scavenger hunting to tree safaris.


5th – 7th August-  Nottingham Riverside Festival weekend images-5

5th August 5 – Highfields Park play area.  Orienteering challenge



f71870a09e0d970aa4ceedddf8500c72939247b1_1845th August – Mad Hatters tea party – 2-5pm at maid Marion Way, Nottingham

From 6th August – Free Summer Events at Skylarks Nature Reserve

8th August between 2-6pm – Parkfest Litchfield Park, Hucknall.  Ideal for kids aged 10-19, choose from water ball, rodeo bull, inflatables, coconut shy, henna art, tag rugby, rounders, football, skateboarding, limbo dance, BBQ and lots more.

11th August, between 1-4pm  – Hickings Lane, Stapleford.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

12th August  – Wollaton Park courtyard.   Orienteering challenge

12th August, from 11am – Clifton Playing Fields.  Picnic in the park

13th August between 1- 4pm  – Arnot Hill Park, Arnold.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

19th August  – Cowlick Woods play area.  Orienteering challenge

20th – 21st August –  Nottingham Caribbean Carnival weekend, Nottingham Embankment. 12noon to 8pm on both days

26th – 29th  August: Summer Nights Film Festival at Wollaton Park.  Watch outdoor film screenings of Mad Max: Fury Road, Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves, The Dark Knight Rises, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


If you know of any other summertime activities then please let me know

Veg Out – Yiannis Greek restaurant, Beeston

Veg Out – Yiannis Greek restaurant, Beeston

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

yiannis webTo celebrate a friend’s birthday we went to Yiannis on Wollaton Road in Beeston. It can be quite a challenge for some restaurants to cater for a large group, especially when it contains a number of vegetarians. But Yiannis and its staff took it in their stride.

My review is also online at Nottingham Post


As soon as we were shown to our table the menus were presented and a drinks order swiftly taken, including jugs of tap water


There was an extensive specials board, but none of the offerings were suitable for vegetarians, so I carried on scrutinising the main menu.


When I’ve been on holiday to Greece I’ve never struggled to find tasty veggie options and Yiannis was no exception for a starter I could have chosen from grilled halloumi, mini mezze, to a traditional Greek salad. But I opted for the hummus with pitta bread, as I knew by looking at other diner’s plates the portions were very generous and I didn’t want to feel too stuffed

The hummus was lovely and smooth and came with warm pitta. I would have loved the pitta to be wholemeal and for the hummus to have IMG_6742some salad accompaniment. But it was still very delicious, garlicky and filling


For my main course, again I was spoilt for choice; another mezzo option, ratouille, spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) or


Veggie mousaka

veggie  mousakka. I chose the later. It was served piping hot with a nice generous salad,. Instead of it being made just with vegetables it also had quorn, which made it very substantial and filling. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad I didn’t overdo the bread at the beginning of the meal

My fellow companions had most of the remaining menu! Including lamb Kleftico, spanakopitaseabass and beef stifado. Their portions were equally generous


For all of us a pudding was out of the question, we were all so full. But if we did have room we could have chosen from a wide menu including Baklava, chocolate cake, sticky toffee pudding and Greek yoghurt


Most starters were about £5, veggie main courses were roughly £12, meat and fish about £15, the set menu mezze £23 and the desserts £4.


mezze sharing for two


If I go again I’d be tempted to skip the starter and go straight for the mezze sharing platter for two (starter portion) all to myself. It was absolutely huge and had a lot of variety, including a really healthy looking Greek salad.

Spicy kale with chickpeas

Spicy kale with chickpeas –  serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

IMG_6710Kale is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. The addition of the tinned chickpeas adds some filling and low fat protein.  It makes an idea vegetarian and vegan lunch for two

Due to its very high Vitamin K content, if you are taking anticoagulants please consult her doctor before eating large quantities of kale.



veg cookery poster jpeg


All my vegan cookery class guests this week will also be cooking this recipe






1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, peeled, finely sliced

½ tsp each of ground cumin and coriander

Large pinch dried chilli flakes

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas

IMG_2667170g kale, washed, thick stalks removed, roughly sliced, blanched for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

splash of lemon juice


  • IMG_3654 Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, to soften.
  • Add the ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes, stir well, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, drained chickpeas and blanched kale and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add some chickpea water if it starts to dry out and stick




  • Season, to taste, with salt, freshly ground black pepperoni lemon juice. Serve immediately.


You can add a tin of chopped tomatoes, to make it make a rich sauce for pasta

Add different spices like curry powder, smoked paprika or ground ginger

Spinach, spring greens, cabbage can all be used instead of kale

Leeks, red onion or spring onions can be used instead of white onions

Butterbeans or cannellini beans can be used instead of chickpeas

For even more protein add some toasted pine nuts

Should you go Vegan?

Should you go Vegan?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Vegans do not consume any animal products or bi-products.  Obviously that means no meat, fish, dairy and eggs.  For some it also means no honey.  They will also not wear leather or fur

5 reason why its worth considering

1. Vegans and vegetarians generally have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index),  which can lead to a reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

IMG_66442. Eating a more plant based diet means more antioxidants and phytochemicals which help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation; high levels of both could lead to an increase in chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease and some cancers

3. Getting your 5-a-day.  Nearly two thirds of adults don’t manage to eat their recommended 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day.  These multicoloured powerhouses give us fibre, vitamins and minerals and help to stabilise our blood sugar levels


4. Reduced food costs?  A tin of beans costing beans50p has up to 10g of protein.  Buying fruits and veg when in season makes them more affordable they also contain optimum nutrition.  Dried beans and lentils can be bought in bulk.  Frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equal to fresh and are often more convenient. Many fruits and veg can be obtained free of charge from local allotments, friends and family or by growing your own.

5. And we can’t get away from animal welfare, global warming and sustaining the planet.

If you want to take the plunge but don’t know where to start then consider attending my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes that run weekly on most days (except Thursdays) and Tuesday evening

veg cookery poster jpeg

NP media cookery courseThe Nottingham Post online also covered the opening of my cookery school Nottingham Post article

So come along and make something new and nutritious

Contact me on 07946 301338 or



A vegan diet can be naturally lower in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.  But with some careful meal planning vegans can incorporate these micronutrients into their diet.

Marmite and soya (B12), Mushrooms and sunshine (Vitamin D), Flaxseeds (Omega 3), Green leafy Veg and pulses (Iron), citrus/dried fruits and sesame seeds (calcium) and Tofu, nuts and seeds (*zinc)

Vitamin D was in the media this week; with Public Health England suggesting that everyone should take a supplement in the winter months due to the reduced sunlight.   One of the best ways to obtain this crucial vitamin is to be in the sun for about 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen. so take a break at lunchtime and go for a quick walk, spend some time in the garden, walk the dog or take the children to the park.  All those activities done without sunscreen for 10 minutes should help your body to make Vitamin D.  After all it’s called the sunshine vitamin! 

* Unrefined grains such as wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, are high in phytates, which can block zinc absorption


Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

This recipe is the perfect dish for any vegetarian or vegan IMG_6235as the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a complete protein; meaning it contains all the essential amino acids a person needs.  This is very important to vegans and vegetarians as they often have to combine foods to get that balance i.e. beans on toast!

It is also low in calories due to the large amount of high nutrient but low calorie vegetables that bulk out the dish to create a very filling meal.  Making it perfect for anyone on a calorie reducing regime like the 5 :2 fast diet

My recipe made an appearance in the ‘Complete Health Magazine’

My published article

My published article


This wonderful salad will be the first dish my guest will make when they attend todays vegetarian and vegan cookery class

susan poster

Please contact me if you’d like to attend any of my classes

Serves: 4,  200 calories per serving

  • IMG_3176450ml water or vegetable stock
  • 150g quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ – 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 spring onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 15g each of fresh parsley and mint, chopped


Bring a saucepan with 450ml water or stock to the boil and add the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooked* allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, soy sauce or mustard, lemon juice, chilli, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, carrots and parsley and mint. Stir in the cooled quinoa.


uncooked and cooked quinoa

* the quinoa is cooked when a little curly sprout appears on the grain





To make the salad more substantial add one of the following

200g cooked quorn,

1 tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas,

3 hard boiled eggs, sliced,

2 ripe avocados, chopped

and for non-veggies: 200g diced cooked chicken or grilled salmon




De-stress with food

The benefits of eating healthily to reduce stress 

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website



I advocate a healthy balanced diet to all my clients, including those going through stressful situations such as the start of the summer holidays and keeping the kids entertained .





Stress can have an impact on your diet and in turn 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

  • Don’t skip breakfast; it can help with mood, memory and attention.  Try IMG_6160eating porridge or muesli or wholegrain cereal like bran flakes, Weetabix or shredded wheat; they help to steady blood sugar levels and stop you having an energy crash.  Brazil nuts are also great as they contain selenium – a great mineral for lifting your mood.


  • Eat a variety fruit and veg – so you get a ‘rainbow’ of colour and a boost fruit and vegof vitamin A, C & E and Zinc.  All of which play a positive role in your immune system.  Add more veggies like spinach and kale to your pasta sauce, or homemade pizza; the magnesium they contain also helps fight fatigue. Put seasonal fruit in blender with milk (or non-dairy) with some oats for a fibre and calcium rich smoothie.  Eating an Orange can orange fruitboost your levels of vitamin C; strengthening the immune system and at the same time reduce levels of stress hormones. Potassium is another mineral that can help in the battle to fight stress by reducing your blood pressure.  So make sure you regularly eat bananas and avocado 


  • During the day drink black or green tea – full of antioxidants which are great at moping up free radicals.  Black tea can lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol after stressful situations


  • waterStay 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 or some full fat yoghurt – 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 music, get out in the garden or watch your favourite box set


  • Limit your alcohol intake.  It is a depressant not a stimulant so drink within safe limits, which is now 14 units a week for both men and women


  • De-stress with some exercise or activity  – activity exercisebrisk walking is great way to burn calories, get some fresh air and absorb some much needed vitamin D


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, a calming brain feel good chemical

1 egg frittata

1 egg frittata – 151 calories (197 calories with salad), serves 1

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Eggs are a great source of complete protein and a power house of vitamins and minerals, so make sure you pack plenty in to your diet.  There is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat, so go on enjoy an egg to two!

Don’t forget to store them properly – in the fridge

egg1 large free range egg, splash of milk, salt and pepper, 40g courgette, ¼ garlic clove, ¼ (40g) onion, ½ tsp oil, pinch of dried chilli flakes

Add the oil to a small frying pan suitable for a single omelette.  When hot add the chopped courgette and onion.  Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes.  Break the egg in to a bowl add a splash of milk and lightly whisk with a fork.  Season with pepper and chilli and tip into the pan.




Stir with a spatula, when the egg starts to set stop stirring but tilt the pan to move the uncooked egg into any cracks and breaks so it all sets.  Season with salt.

Tip onto a warmed plate and serve with a large salad of mixed leaves, cucumber and tomato (180g, 46 calories)

 If you have a favourite egg recipe why not share it

Non-fast day additions

Double the recipe – 302 calories in total

Add a 30g grated cheese (125 calories) or feta (90 calories)

children’s portion size

Are you concerned about how much your toddler eats, do you know what a correct portion size looks like?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

During National Childhood Obesity Week I’m writing a couple of articles about looking after your child’s health.  What and how much you feed them is key; many toddlers are being overfed by parents who give adult portion sizes BBC News

obese childAs many as a fifth of all 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese. Children who are a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn and are more self-confident. They are also less likely to have low self esteem or be bullied. And crucially they are much less likely to have health problems in later life.

For advice and guidance visit the Infant and toddler website; it has an interactive table showing portion sizes for all the food groups

kids portion size

If you have any advice about children’s portion sizes, then please feel free to share it here

Below is a poster from the British Nutrition Foundation website that clearly states what a child’s food intake should be.  This may help you to give your child a balanced healthy diet

Toddler portion sizes

Some simple tips

  • Start with smaller meals and see if your child asks for more
  • Don’t pressure a child to clear their plate
  • Use smaller plates
  • Try and sit at a table and have more family meals
  • Don’t rush meal times

mini meals



This is a great document that has 303 fun first foods to try when weaning and beyond; with helpful portions sizes