Have your cake and eat it

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/ 

Mindful eating – how to have your cake and eat it (But not whilst watching the TV!)

By taking some simple steps and following these tips you can still enjoy your favourite takeaway or treat

Henpecked, the female over 40s online resource has kindly uploaded my article about being mindful when it comes to eating and other tips to enable you to ‘have your cake and eat it’!

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 15.46.08

 

Click on this link for the full article  Henpicked article or follow their tweets

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 15.52.47

But below is also a little snap shot of those hints and tip

 

mindful eating

 

Be mindful of what you are eating. Studies have found that if you eat while distracted, you don’t always register what you have eaten and you can consume up to 288 calories more! So, switch off the TV, put down your phone, shut your laptop and focus on your food and you’ll eat less and enjoy more!

 

 

 

eat slowly

 

Slow down your eating.  Appreciate the taste, texture, smell and look of your food.  take a small forkful and chew it properly (20-30 times!). Swallow before you put in the next mouthful, put down your knife and fork.  And finally try and take 20 minutes to eat your main meal

 

 

 

DSC_1228Who doesn’t love a treat?! But whenever you have a high fat or high calorie meal like a pizza always have it with a large salad (go easy on the dressing!).  This will fill you up without adding lots of calories.  For instance a medium 12” pepperoni pizza could have up to 1700 calories.  But if you share it with a friend and fill the gap on your plate with a large mixed salad (with a balsamic vinegar dressing) you would consume about 920 calories.  A big calorie saving and equally as important a reduction of up to 38g of fat (which accounts for nearly half of the calorie saving)

 

 

plates2Have you noticed how plates and bowls have got bigger, both in restaurants and in your home; that can affect the amount you eat.

Research has shown that if you serve yourself from a larger serving dish onto larger plates and bowls then you’re likely to help yourself to 56% more food! So downsize your dishes, plates and serving tools and fool your brain into saving calories

 

 

 

 

Dementia: food and lifestyle

Dementia: food and lifestyle

According to NHS choices dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. It is a common condition, affecting about 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65.

dementia

As its ‘Dementia Awareness Week’, I’ve pulled together the findings from recent research to give a guide on what should and shouldn’t form part of a healthy balanced lifestyle

 

Be the correct weight for your height

Being overweight or obese could increase your risk of dementia.

puzzles

Keep the brain active, with puzzles, learning a new skill or language, get smartphone or tablet savvy

 

Challenge yourself, by trying something new or different each week; go to a different supermarket or coffee shop, try a new recipe, read a different type of book than you normally would, buy a new magazine or paper, walk a different way to the park or a friends house, eat with your opposite hand!

 

Include a range of healthy foods in to your diet. This can include:

  • fruit and vegPlenty of fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy veg); think a ‘rainbow of colour’
  • Wholegrain rice, bread and pasta – for increased fibre
  • Less saturated fat, from dairy, meat and processed foods and more fat from olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • Increase your intake of beans, peas and lentils – low in fat and high in fibre
  • Oily fish like salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel and sardines. Or linseeds, chia seeds or seaweed if you are vegetarian or veganbeans
  • Reduce your salt intake; try and aim for no more than 6g (or 1 ½ teaspoons) a day – this will help maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Reduced the amount of ready meals, takeaways and processed foods you eat – these can be high in fats, sugars and salt

 

 

yoga

 

Get more active, walk a bit more rather than always take the car or bus, spend time in the garden, do the housework, mow the lawn, go swimming, practice yoga or pilates, or go dancing. Walking as little as 15 minutes a day can help reverse shrinking of the brain.

 

 

Stay within a safe alcohol limit; that is now 14 units a week for both men and women. The latest advice is to also have a number of alcohol free days.

 

WIBe sociable, join a class or group, get to know others or have family gatherings and keep your brain active

 

Try and manage your blood pressure – many of the above lifestyle changes could have a positive impact on your blood pressure

 

Stop smoking (if you do)

heart and brain

A good guide is that what is good for the heart, such as regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet, is also good for the brain.

dementia brain food

Information and support can be vital in maintaining mental heath and wellbeing. I can help support a person to make informed food and healthy eating choices that’s right for them.

I can give informal and practical advice about food shopping and budgeting. How to turn those foods in to simple low cost meals that can be eaten on the day, stored in the fridge or frozen (ready for another day).

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 17.01.17Why not consider coming to learn how to make simple vegetarian or vegan meals in my kitchen in West Bridgford

https://youtu.be/UgRRosfrK70

 

 

 

Testimonials

 

“We enjoyed Susan’s visit to our group we found it very informative,

She was very easy to listen to and was very knowledgeable regarding

the questions asked, We are so pleased that we are currently arranging for her to come back and give us a talk on food and mood. We learned new things about the everyday foods we use. As a result of this we have started to change some of our eating habits. Very knowledgeable and understanding of our needs Thank you” The Gedling Follow On Group

 

 

memory cafe keyworth“Susan very generously gave her time and expertise to speak on eating well for brain health at a memory cafe I run.

 

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us at the memory cafe this morning Susan. Everyone said what a good talk you gave. I’m sure people will be greatly helped in putting your suggestions into practice. You gave us very clear, practical advice and guidance, and enabled us to feel it’s okay to have some treats too. We really liked the simple and quick meal suggestions, and ways of adding fibre and protein to foods in easy ways.” H Rawlinson, memory café Keyworth

Bone up on calcium

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Why should you care about the amount of calcium in your diet?

There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral and it has several important functions.images

These include:

  • helping build strong bones and teeth
  • regulating muscle contractions, including heartbeat
  • ensuring blood clots normally
  • helps in a the absorption of vitamin B12, needed for a healthy nervous system

logoTry this handy calcium calculator  to work out your weekly calcium intake.  If its low just incorporate more of the food below into your daily diet

This week the National Osteoporosis Society issued a press notice with this headline

 

dairyDoes it make you think, are you concerned about your child as they head off too university, move in to their first flat.  Are they confused about what makes a healthy balanced diet, are they concerned about their weight and have tried fad diets or cut out food groups like dairy?

If the answers yes then maybe read on

Good sources of calcium include:

  • IMG_2210milk, cheese and other dairy foods
  • green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra
  • soya beans, tofu and chickpeas
  • soya or other non- dairy drinks and yoghurts with added calcium
  • nuts (especially almonds), tahini and sesame seeds
  • bread and food made with fortified flourmixed nuts
  • fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and salmon
  • Fresh citrus fruits or calcium fortified orange juice
  • Dried figs – about 6

 

If you are concerned about your calcium (or vitamin D levels, for that matter) then maybe come and see me for a nutrition session.  Call me on 07946 301338

Cancer research UK has stated that dairy products (and non dairy alternatives) are high in calcium, and several studies show a lower risk of breast cancer for women with high calcium intakes or calcium blood levels.

calcium radio nottmBBC Radio Nottingham were also keen to explore this issue and asked me on to the Mark Dennison breakfast show.  Here’s a clip of the interview

 

It is important to make sure your children especially your daughters eat plenty of foods IMG_4234high in calcium so they have good bone density throughout their teens. It is thought that 1 in 10 teenage girls have very low intakes of calcium. By age 20, the amount of bone is at its greatest (called the peak bone mass), and then it slowly but steadily decreases. So, if not enough calcium is taken in during this critical period, less is available in the bones for the rest of life.  Encourage your children to drink and eat dairy and non- dairy alternatives; even low fat if its gets them to eat them!

Calcium friends

Vitamin D – Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium. It is found in oily fish, liver, fortified spreads and cereals, and egg yolks. Your body also makes its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine (without sunscreen).

Be active – doing weight bearing exercise like walking, running, dancing, lifting weights and skipping are all good activities to strengthen bones

Magnesium – calcium needs magnesium to aid absorption so eat plenty of green leafy veg, brown rice and nuts

Vitamin K2 – works in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones and heart healthy; found in offal, egg yolks and dairy products

Calcium foes

cola-drinksCoal drinks – Women who drink too many cola type fizzy drinks could have an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures, because the phosphoric acid in these drinks has the potential to weaken bones. If the drinks also contain caffeine it could affect how much calcium is much absorbed in the body

Protein – Too much protein like read meat and poultry can drain the body of calcium

Salt – If you have a high salt diet, you will excrete a lot of sodium and with it a lot of calcium.  People who consume too much sodium  could face an increased risk of kidney stones.

Superfoods

Superfoods  – myth or magic?

Are you buying the superfood hype; either literally or figuratively?  These foods have been in the press for the last few years but recently new magic morsels have been added including lentils, quinoa, chills and green tea.

Its worth remembering there is no official definition of a “superfood” and the EU has banned health claims on packaging unless supported by scientific evidence.

So do certain foods deserve that badge of honour?

What makes a food ‘Super'; they often contain higher than average amounts of antioxidants or compounds that can keep the body healthy and potentially help fight some diseases.  In that respect foods like blueberries, broccoli, oily fish, beetroot juice, dark chocolate and to a lesser extent red wine all deserve praise as they have high levels of compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids

homemade chocolate bar

But so do blackberries, carrots, apples, oats, nuts, red cabbage, raspberries, flaxseeds, and most fruits and vegetables.  And importantly they are often cheaper than their ‘superfood’ cousins

The superfood debate got the attention of BBC radio Leicester, so I joined them for a discussion along with Sangita the owner of a local Leicester deli.

Click here to listen to the interview (15 minutes)

https://soundcloud.com/user-95908886/radio-leics-superfood

 

fruit-and-vegTo eat a ‘superfood’ rich diet we agreed that it should contain more fruit and veg than we currently eat.  Incidentally, did you know that only about 30% of the UK adult population get their 5-a-day.

cakesTry and reduce your level of processed foods; anything from ready meals, cured meats to pastries and cakes

Go for variety and moderation; the occasional treat is fine

 

Drink within safe alcohol limits (max 14 units a week) a small glass (125ml) of red wine can be beneficial

Stay hydrated with the original ‘superfood'; Water

In other words adopt a more Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of wholegrain, pulses, vegetables, fruit and olive oil and you will feel “SUPER

 

 

 

5 top tips for weight loss

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

weight loss
I have previously published an article on the Nutritionist Resource website all about how to lose weight and keep it off.

Did you know that in England over 61% of adults are overweight or obese? If you’d like to get healthier and fitter why not try my simple tips to help with your weight-loss efforts.

Tip #1

Keep a food diary, many of us forget about the food we eat in the car, the latte we drink on the way to work or the children’s leftovers.  Why not download and print my example of a food diary so you can keep an accurate record and start to make some changes

Tip #2

tofu-eggAlways eat breakfast – even if it is just yoghurt (dairy or non dairy) with some blueberries or strawberries and a tablespoon of raw oats.  This provides you with protein and vitamins that will fuel you until lunchtime, as well as counting towards one of your 5 a-day

Or delicious scrambled eggs or tofu eggs for those who have more time for a relaxed breakfast.  Protein is a great for making you feel nice and full and both tofu and eggs are packed with protein and a range of 18 vitamins and minerals.

 

Tip #3

Mindful eating

 

Be mindful, research has shown that not paying attention to our food makes us more prone to snacking later. So put down that phone, tablet, laptop and enjoy what you are eating; How does it look, taste, smell?

 

 

Tip #4

IMG_2782Practice portion control.  Did you know crisps use to be sold in 25g bags, now it ranges from 30g to 150g (for the large sharing bags). In Briton we polish off six billion packets of crisps a year or almost 100 packets per person, so over our lifetime that’s lots of extra calories!

A recommended portion size of your favourite breakfast cereal is usually 30g.  Have you ever weighed out how much you eat.  Try this morning, you may be surprised just how much that is

Tip #5

IMG_3011If chocolate is your thing,  before you pop a piece in your mouth imagine what it smells like, think about the rich, deep chocolatey taste, how will it feel as it melts and coats your mouth.  Then pop that piece in.   Doing that simply exercise will make you eat less

 

Do you have a favourite weight loss tip that you could share?

Case study – fasting and chemo

fastingFasting through chemotherapy is a new concept that I first heard of when I met Yasmin and she said she was thinking of trying it and asked for my views.  That conversation culminated in me working with and supporting her through the process.

 

 

misoMany people believe fasting means no food or drink is consumed on those days.  That is not the case in ‘fasting through chemo’ Rather like the 5:2 fasting principle calories are restricted to 4-500 per day and is called ‘the fasting mimicking diet’.

The research behind this new concept believes that a short-term fast starves cancer cells and facilitates the chemo drug therapies to better target the cancer, whilst protecting healthy cells.

A non medical way to understate it is that without lots of food (fuel) your healthy cells go into repair and protect mode, in effect hibernate. But cancer cells are highly energetic and constantly want to divide and multiply so they are still very active and therefore more susceptible to the chemo treatment

This method of coping through chemo may not be for everybody but it is a possible option.  If you’d like more information please get in touch or talk to your oncology team

yasmin preThis is Yasmin’s account of her fasting experience

  • how you heard about fasting through chemo

I first came across fasting with cancer and chemotherapy two years ago via Michael Mosley’s co-authored book on the 5:2 diet, Eat, Fast and Live Longer.   Also the Horizon programme 2012-13, which I think you can see on youtube.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015 and subsequently found that my treatment plan required chemotherapy, I remembered reading about fasting and chemo and revisited the fasting subject doing as much internet research as I could find.  There were some useful discussion forums, published research articles and evidence of the effectiveness in research trials on mice (our closest comparator in the animal kingdom) and some human trials.  I was surprised that it was pretty unheard of here.

  • What made you consider trying it?
Yasmin short hair

a short chop before the chemo

I had some experience of fasting having taken up the 5:2 diet two years ago to help with regular but mild stomach upsets and found it to be beneficial.  I realised I felt healthier with one or two fasting days in the week.  When I discussed the idea with my oncologist and medical team they were supportive if it was something I wanted to try but they didn’t have any advice to offer.  I hadn’t discovered anyone else trying the approach in the UK but, having done as much research as I could, I found the evidence from the US and the explanation for how it worked compelling.  As well as helping to reduce the side effects of chemo, the idea that fasting helps protect good cells from chemo whilst cancer cells remain exposed also made me think it was worth doing.  However, as none of my medical team seemed to have heard of it and their advise was to eat to combat the side effects of chemo I was nervous.  I didn’t want to do anything that made me weaker or more vulnerable at a time when the treatment was going to attack my immune system. In addition, it became clear that I would need to fast for 4-5 consecutive days around chemotherapy.  I had only ever fasted for 1 or 2 days before so it was a challenge.   I became aware that there were nutrition workshops available through Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham and I was keen to learn as much as I could about how I could boost my diet in non-fasting days.

  • What support did you receive?

I was able to attend one of the nutrition workshops Susan gives at Maggie’s just before my first fast.  It was really helpful, first of all giving me some great tips on nutrition and recipe ideas and improving my understanding of the right balance of foods.  I had thought I was pretty knowledgeable but the session made me realise how much more there was to know.  Secondly Susan was familiar with 5:2 and its benefits and although she hadn’t heard of it being used with chemotherapy before she was really interested to find out more and to support me through the experience.  By the next workshop Susan had also done research and had been in touch with the team in America that have been studying the effects of fasting for the past 16 years and who were in the process of applying for a licence for their chemo food kits.  Although this would be too late for me, they were able to confirm the kinds of foods that were acceptable during fasting, as a small amount of food intake (400-500 calories) is okay.

  • What was your experience like?
My 50th during treatment

My 50th during treatment

I restricted my diet during fasting days to 400 calories and reduced/cut out protein and carbs and dairy.  I had some fruit and tended to make things like wholewheat couscous with stirfry veg and soy sauce – adding chillies for some flavour!.  Or salads.  When not fasting but not feeling like eating, I nutribullet/blended a good mix of greens/fruit and fibre which set me up for the day.  Being vegetarian helped but I did have some fish occasionally.  So the main thing was listening to what my body wanted, increasing plant based food, reducing processed foods and fasting round chemo.

I can’t say that I have been completely free of side-effects but I do seem to have fared much better than a lot of people.  It is impossible to say whether this would have been my experience anyway.  I came across the following article recently by a journalist and her experience seems more definitive than mine.  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/03/how-to-get-through-chemotherapy-decca-aitkenhead-cancer-treatment

After each session of chemo I did feel under the weather and for a few days and I felt what I described as ‘jet-lagged’. There were also ‘awake’ spells in the night due to steroids and chemo has brought on my menopause so I have been having hot flushes. My ability to ‘taste’ went for a week or so and there were times when I felt tired or needed a sleep in the day. How I felt with chemo was hard to describe.  Not exactly ill but not exactly well either.  But I didn’t need to take the extra anti-sickness tablets I was prescribed each time, or use the mouthwash for mouth and throat sores.  The tests prior to each chemo were generally good so I also know that it didn’t have a detrimental effect on me from a medical perspective.  My weight went down a few pounds each time I fasted but then came back up again before the next round.  I lost a few pounds overall. I generally had a few days of not feeling well but was still able to function.  The rest of the time I felt ok and by week three back to normal.

The days of fasting were manageable.  I tended to keep busy and take on a lot of fluid.  I did sometimes get headaches which I initially put down to reducing caffeine.  Once or twice the headache persisted despite headache tablets but then I found the next day I felt even better.  The main thing was boredom – eating is such a pleasure!   Fasting felt cleansing and although there were times when my energy dipped overall I felt stronger for it and there was for me a sense of achievement and control.  Hunger pains don’t last and they don’t grow.  When I did eat, I really took my time and ate simple and nutritious food and kept broadly within the guidelines I had come across through my research.

  • Post treatment

    Post treatment

    Things I’ve learnt

Listening to your body is really important.  Also things that in your head are ‘treat’ foods don’t turn out to be during chemo – so the treat became a nutribullet smoothie rather than a jam donut – it takes a while for you to notice the felt experience is different to what your head remembers!

 

Hangovers – the morning after!

The morning after…..Hangover cures 

alcoholThat double vodka, large glass of wine or a whole bottle or one more for the road seemed like a good idea last night.  But this morning it’s a different story, you feel nauseous, thirsty, have a headache, feel tired; basically you’re hungover

So how can you start to feel like your old self again?

 

  • Hydration – water is the best thing, sip it in case your stomach reacts.  If you prefer and have them available an isotonic drink is a good way to replenish lost fluids and minerals.  But they can be expensive and have a fair amount of sugar.  An answer is to make your own; mix one part orange juice, one part water and a pinch of salt.

IMG_9999This is exactly what I told a Notts Tv reporter when he visited me yesterday

Click on this Youtube link to hear the 30 second snippet

https://youtu.be/XsWPvQ0O-dc

 

 

  • If you have a headache water will help with the dehydration and a painkiller could also ease the discomfort.  Be careful with aspirin based medication as they can upset your stomach
  • Eating some protein can aid recovery, especially eggs as they contain  a protein called taurine that helps the liver to recover
  • If you can’t stomach eggs, a bowl of porridge will restore some energy especially if its served with some fresh fruit like a banana, which will help replace your depleted potassium levels
  • fruitA fruit smoothie made with yoghurt will also give you some much needed protein.
  • failing that some wholemeal toast with either jam or wholenut peanut butter
  • Try and take some gentle exercise, a walk would be a great idea as it releases  ‘feel good’ endorphins
  • Try and resit the temptation to have too many cups of strong coffee.  Caffeine can upset your stomach and it also acts as a diuretic increasing your dehydration
  • Don’t overdo the amount of sugar you consume as it produces an energy spike and then a crash, leaving you feeling more tired and lethargic

To minimise some of the symptoms of over indulgence take painkillers with a pint of water before you go to sleep   That way you may wakeup feeling more human!  

 

 

 

 

Vitamin D – should we take supplements?

Vitamin D – should we take supplements?

Its been widely reported in the press that we are recommended to take vitamin D supplements, after studies showed this “sunshine’ vitamin could protect against colds and flu.

Vitamin D

So before you go rushing off to your nearest health food shop I would suggest you first of all have your vitamin D level checked by your GP

Some of the common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are:

A true deficiency can only be confirmed by a blood test. But according to the NHS website, symptoms that may show you need a blood test are:

  • Aching bones
  • Having a low mood – vitamin D appears to have an effect on serotonin levels (feel good hormone
  • Being over 50 – the body makes less vitamin D as we age
  • Being overweight or obese – the higher your levels of body fat the more vitamin D is diluted (as it’s a fat soluble vitamin)
  • Having darker skin – it absorbs less of the suns rays
  • Gut troubles – coeliacs, Crohns or IBS can all affect the way the body absorbs fat soluble vitamins
  • People who cover up for cultural or religious reasons
  • Those who spend a lot of time indoors – the elderly and infirm for instance

How important is Vitamin D – What does it do?

The main job of vitamin D is to keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in our blood? These 2 nutrients work together to make our bones strong, so they don’t become brittle and break easily. If we don’t have vitamin D in our bodies, only a small amount of the calcium from our diet can be absorbed and only a little more than half of phosphorus is absorbed.

Vitamin D may also be linked to muscle strength, but this link is very recent and more trials and evidence needs to be gathered

Why is Vitamin deficiency so common in the UK?  We don’t absorb enough of the sun rays (overuse of sunblock) and spend a lot of time indoors 

A 2007 survey estimated that around 50% of all adults have some degree of vitamin D deficiency.  The rates of rickets is children has risen fourfold in the last 15 years

Gem news

 

 

Gem 106 radio contacted me this week for my opinion about vitamin D supplements.  Here’s an extract of that interview

 

 

 

Vitamin D supplements, should we take them? 1 minute 30

 

How can we increase our intake of vitamin D?

sunshineFirst and foremost expose your skin to 10-20 minutes of sun a day. – 90% of our vitamin D comes from this source. This has to be without sunscreen, so don’t do this when the sun is at its strongest and be sensible.

Certain foods are also high in vitamin D, including oily fish (such as salmon and sardines), eggs, milk/non dairy milk, orange juice. In the UK, infant formula and fat spreads are fortified with vitamin D. It is also added to other foods such as breakfast cereals, non dairy milks.

If your GP has confirmed you have below average levels of vitamin D, then some simple changes to your diet could be sufficient.  Why not contact me and book a free short consultation and we can get you back on track

07946 301338

Here’s another extract of the GEM106 radio interview, where we discuss food- its only 19 seconds long

 

How soon would we see the benefit?

It can take up to 3 months, depending on how low your levels were

 

Can you have too much?

Yes,  according to the NHS website there is a vitamin D toxicity, which may cause high levels of calcium in the blood and can lead to kidney stones. It can affect some pople.ie Vitamin D supplements plus lots of sun and lots of fortified food, but it is rare.

symptoms (of hypercalcaemia) include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness or drowsiness

Always check with GP/pharmacist if you want to take supplements as some medical conditions can make you more sensitive to Vitamin D (liver/kidney disease)

 

 

 

Eat together eat better

Eat together eat better

 

dinner tableAccording to the latest figures from Gem 106 families eat together as few as 7 times a month. Does that surprise you, are you one of those families, do you eat every main meal at the table, or do you prepare meals at different times of the day for your household?

 

Do you remember when you were young and meals were always noisy family affairs with squabbles, chatter and laughter around the table. Well just over third of us do that now and nearly a quarter of us sit in front of the TV to have our meals.

I was asked by Gem106 radio if I was surprised that just under half of people aren’t eating at the table each night. Here’s a 2 minute clip

 

There are many reasons why eating at the table can benefit the whole family.

It’s a great time to bond as a group; to talk over what each has done during the day, what’s troubling someone, to share happy stories and to seek reassurance and security.

 

IMG_4069Children can get involved in the planning, cooking and serving of meals (even if you eat different things) and appreciate the time and effort involved in that process. Fun dishes like pitta pizza’s, spiralised veggies, fruit kebabs and tomato spaghetti could encourage then to get involved. Home cooked simple meals are generally lower in sugar, fat and salt than ready meals and takeaways. And the parent can moderate the amount of food that is consumed so that healthy portions are served, including the children’s five-a-day.

Some studies have suggested that family meals may reduce the risk of childhood obesity and may help the whole family to develop healthier eating patterns. Parents can lead by example choosing healthier meals like grilled chicken with sweet potato wedges and vegetables, oily fish (sardines on toast or tuna pasta bake) or a vegetable and cheesed filled omlette with baked beans.

 

It has also been suggested that a child’s development in particular their vocabulary can be improved by listen to and taking part in family conversations.

 

spiraliseWhen eating in front of the TV or being distracted by other gadgets, the brain often fails to register when you’ve had enough to eat, until its too late and you’ve overeaten, feel bloated or sick.   Family meals can have the opposite effect; time is taken to eat, chewing and digesting can be done at a slower pace and the bodies “I’m full’ signals can be recognised. This can lead to a reduction in calories consumed.

Maybe what’s stopping families is a lack of cooking confidence or maybe someone in the family has special dietary requirements like gluten free, vegan or vegetarian. If that’s the case then maybe coming to my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes could give you the confidence and support you need

vegan cookery poster jpeg

This is a short 2 minute clip of Nicky, who came to one of my classes and what her experience was like

Has any of this made you think and appreciate that family meals can be so much more than just a chance to refuel?!

Food Trends for 2017

Food Trends for 2017: What’s in?

Food Trends for 2017January is the most popular month for giving your diet and lifestyle an overhaul. But what are the 2017 food trends that you will be encouraged to adopt?!

Whichever one (or none) you decide upon to really succeed you need to consider making “small but permanent changes’.  What can you live with from here on in, or certainly beyond the end of February!?

 

As its January (or Veganuary) lets start with veganism or a plant based diet.  There is lots of evidence that a diet rich in fruits and veg can not only reduce your body mass index (BMI) but your risk of getting certain illnesses and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.  I predict there will be more vegan vegancafe’s and restaurants opening up on the high street and more regular eateries will be offering a greater choice of vegan options.  We are already seeing it  in Nottingham; the Peacock Pub has a 100% vegan kitchen, cafe Roya is an upmarket veggie vegan delight, Alma living foods is a small vegan deli and sandwich bar, The Dice cup is a board game and vegan cafe and the screaming carrot is a secret little deli in Sherwood Rise, selling very tasty sos o rolls

 

 

I recently visited Pizzi, an Italian restaurant and found out you can have vegan cheese on your pizzas and pasta dishes.  Witherspoon’s have made their chilli vegan (sadly they don’t have non-dairy milk so your coffee has to be black!) and last Christmas Cafe Nero’s mince pies were also vegan.

protein barsProtein enriched food is also on the increase. Protein is the bodies building block, its helps muscles repair and grow and can help you maintain or lose weight because it can make you feel full.  So of course it is now enriching some standard food items.  It started with protein powders for dedicated gym goers so they could consume protein shakes by the ‘shaker’ full. Yoghurts also got a makeover; Skyr, Liberte and Fage Total yogurts have about 10g of protein per100g,  compared with 5g per 100g for other “Greek’ type yoghurts. Flapjacks were also due an upgrade and are now called ‘protein’ or ‘energy’ bars, being sold at health food shops, gyms and Aldi!  With some containing as much as 22g of protein per bar they certainly pack a punch.  But a word or warning, with increased protein often comes increased calories and sugar.  The 68g ‘Cliff Builders’ bar has 273 calories and 21 g of sugar (or 5 teaspoons)

palm oilPalm oil free or RSPO-certified food and products will come on to our radar because palm oil it is said is one of the major causes of rainforest deforestation.  Have a look in your cupboards and bathroom cabinets and see which of your foods and products contain this plant oil?  Its found in toiletries, packaging, bad goods, instant noodles, sliced bread and ice-cream to name a few.

Is seaweed the new kale? Like its green cousin it’s also low in calories and high in nutrients, particularly iodine, calcium, antioxidants (vitamin A and C) and potassium.  So get nori seaweeddown to your nearest sushi or noodle bar and enjoy some Nori.  But a word of warning don’t over do it; moderation is the watch word, that means about 2 tablespoons of this sea vegetable a week.  And consult your GP if you have any pre existing medical conditions

Curcumin, a super-healthy compound is the reason why turmeric has made it on to the list. It is the root stalk of a tropical plant that’s part of the ginger family and can be brought fresh or dried from most supermarkets.  Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants are just a few reasons why the medical turmericworld is getting excited about turmeric. Its health benefits have been linked to cancer, types 2 diabetes, alzheimer’s disease and dementia and arthritis. Expect to see it appearing more on restaurant menus, in supermarkets and your local coffee shop may offer you turmeric latte or tea!

Say hello to Sauerkraut! Fermented foods could be big in 2017. Its all about good gut health and fermented foods help with the production of good bacteria (probiotics) that can help maintain our immune system. Live yoghurt, sour cream, some cheeses, sour dough bread, pickles, kimchi, kefir, miso soup kimchiare all examples of foods that you may be eating more of in 2017.  We may also be hearing more about pre-biotics; they feed probiotics and therefore help them to multiply and grow. It is also believed they can help with calcium absorption. Bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, beans and asparagus are just some examples of foods that contain pre-biotic properties.  You can also buy products that are boosted with pre and probiotics.

If you believe there are some other food trends for 2017 that I haven’t included then please add a comment