Souper quick soup

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Souper quick soup

IMG_0452November is world vegan month and It’s also meat free Monday, so why not try this really quick pea and mint soup for one.  You may have some left over mushy peas from your bonfire night and didn’t know what to do with them; well look no further! It is low in fat and calories; only 141 calories and a good source of protein and fibre. So excellent for the 5:2ers and healthy eaters amongst you!

½ 300g tin of mushy peas (I used Batchelors Mushy Chip Shop Style Processed Peas because they are the lowest in calories), 120ml boiling water, ½ tsp marigold vegetable bouillon powder, 6g (large handful) of fresh mint leaves or 1 tsp jarred mint sauce, 2 or 3 drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

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Empty the peas into a small saucepan, add the vegetable powder and water, cook on a low – medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Using a hand blender blend until smooth add in the chopped fresh mint and few drops of lemon juice.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Serve in a warmed bowl


This can be put in a container with a tight lid and taken to work for a delicious and nutritious lunch.  All you need to do is microwave on high for 1 minute.  You may need to add a splash more hot water as it will thicken

And don’t forget you can easily double or quadruple the recipe to make a souper warming meal for the whole family


Pearl barley summer salad

Pearl barley summer salad Servings 2, 165 calories per serving

For more health and wellbeing advice please visit my website

IMG_3173Pearl barley is high in fibre, calcium and protein, but low in fat and calories. It has a nutty flavour and chewy texture, and in this salad it makes a pleasant change from quinoa or couscous.  So don’t confine that packet of pearl barley in the back of the cupboard to only winter stews, casseroles and soups.  It is an all year round marvel.  If you don’t have the time to cook the barley, then a quick cheat is to use a microwavable pre-cooked packet

And don’t forget it makes an ideal dish for all you 5:2 fast dieters out there.  At only 165 calories,  that leaves you with 335 calories for the rest of the day.

50 g raw or 160 g cooked Pearl Barley – or 1 packet pre cooked microwavable barley

1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder

250ml boiling water

¼ tsp crushed red chilli flakes – or ½ – 1 small fresh chill finely sliced

IMG_318380 g cucumber, chopped

80 g carrot, grated

80 g (1 medium) tomato, chopped

80 g (½)  yellow pepper, chopped

5 g (10 leaves), mint chopped

5 g (small handful) parsley, chopped

For the dressing

2 tsp, olive oil

1 tsp balsamic Vinegar , apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

½ tsp Wholegrain Mustard

large pinch of ground black pepper and small pinch of salt

If you don’t want to calorie count you don’t have to be so exact with the veggies.  But stick to the weight for the pearl barley


Place a medium sized saucepan on to the heat and add the pearl barley. Toast for 2 minutes, until it starts to smell malty. Add the vegetable powder to the water and stir. Then quickly add to the toasted grains

Be careful as the pan will be very hot and will bubble furiously

Add the chilli flakes, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes.  Ignore this step if you are using already cooked pearl barley

Meanwhile chop all the veg and herbs.


Prepare the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, pepper, salt and mustard. Taste and adjust the flavours as necessary




When the barley is cooked (it should still have a bite) let it cool before adding in the vegetables, herbs and dressing

Mix well and serve in two bowls





Non fast day additions

½ a tin of chickpeas – 135 calories

½ a ripe avocado – 150 calories

28g of unsalted cashew nuts – 164 calories

2 quorn fillets – 110 calories


Have your cake and eat it

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website 

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’!

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

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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





5 top tips for weight loss

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

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?

How much did you put on over Christmas?!

How much did you put on over Christmas?!  Counting the (calorie) cost of Christmas

So the festivities are over, the christmas tree has been packed away for another year and you are trying to get through all the chocolate, biscuits and treats that were either bought or received as gifts

Is it now New Year resolution time; get fit, get slimmer, get active, get alcohol free?! Why do we make these kinds of resolutions in January?  Well, maybe my game of festive bingo may provide some clues!

Have a look at the bingo card below see how many items you consumed over the last few weeks, then count up the calories.  Shocked?!




In true bingo style lets see if you got

  • The four corners; 870 calories in total
  • a line across; 950 calories in total
  • a line down ; 1,120 calories in total
  • a diagonal line ; 1,170 calories in total
  • A FULL HOUSE is 4,360 calories in total


You could consume 3,289 calories from your Christmas day dinner alone.  And maybe after completing the festive bingo card you can see where those calories have come from

If you are one of the many who stepped on the scales this week and quickly stepped off again I can help.  I have many clients who want to see me in January so I can help motivate and support them to shift the pounds, make healthy eating goals or adopt a healthier lifestyle




vegan cookery poster jpegYou might want to see me for one to one healthy eating advice, how to survive Dry January or join one of my healthy eating cookery classes.  My one to one sessions last 50 minutes and cost £40, but I have a special offer of 3 sessions for £100.  If you need cooking inspiration my classes cost £25 or 6 sessions for £125 (6 for the price of 5). Click on this link for more details about my classes

A pervious client was kind enough to write these words

ryans-testimonialSo if you want to be lighter, healthier and more motivated in 2017 give me a call

07946 301338

Case study #1 – weight loss via a virtual consultation

Case study #1 – weight loss via a virtual consultation


These are the words of my client Karen, she contacted me after seeing my blog on Mumsnet.  Although she is based in Yorkshire we were able to conduct a series of virtual consultations via Skype, so I could help support her to achieve her weight loss goal


I made notes in my journal dated 28/09/15, about my dissatisfaction with my weight, body image and relationship with food. At that point I was totally and utterly fed up with myself.

karen-white-dress-beforeI had been to the graduations of both my sons in the summer, having bought a very expensive Josef Ribkoff “ figure hugging dress for both occasions. I was dispirited when I saw the photos after, as the dress appeared to only accentuate the thickening around my middle section.


The main points were

  • I was worrying constantly about my weight and body shape but could not motivate myself to make changes
  • I hated the way I looked
  • I hated the way I felt out of control around food
  • I felt anxiety being “around food” all the time
  • My home felt dominated by food, food choices, preparation and cooking
  • My social life seemed to revolve around eating and drinking
  • My eating patterns had become very erratic – I wasn’t eating full meals but lots of snacks – I felt overly full very quickly if I ate a “proper” meal
  • My husband and son were at home a lot more than before (one semi-retired, one a student) so there seems to be food and cooking on the go constantly
  • I don’t want to go on a diet – I’m a Slimming World veteran
  • Female friends talk constantly about weight and diet

My Stats

  • My body details then were – height 5’9”, weight 11st 3lbs (would like to be 10st 7lbs)
  • Size 14 top, size 12 bottom – upside down pear – no hips or bottom but a largish bust, long legs
  • Tallness helps disguise “fat bits” and I’m highly skilled at dressing to hide them

On the plus side, I considered myself fairly active, swimming for 30 minutes three mornings a week. My diet includes many healthy options (I’m not a vegetarian but eat very little meat – red or white) I just ate too much of everything, too many snacks, too many coffees and teas and slightly more alcohol than I would like to, in an average week. I was generally very healthy with low blood pressure and plenty of energy.

However, I had got into a downward spiral and felt a strong need to talk to someone about all this, someone who would understand the psychology behind my problems and issues, but who would be able to help me formulate a healthier and more balanced eating plan.

Purely by chance, I found Susan whilst looking on Mumsnet Bloggers. Ideally I would have liked to have spoken to someone face to face but Susan appeared to have the skills and background to meet my needs. I confess, not being a wage earner, I was also drawn in by the offer of 3 sessions for £100!

Once I had hooked up with Susan, I wasn’t anxious in the least, although I had to put off our initial session due to holidays. I had used my “private” email address as I didn’t want my husband to see I was seeking help and using family money – I regarded the issues as a form of “weakness” and felt guilty about them – as though it was a problem an intelligent person should be able to solve on their own!

I felt embarrassed at home at having to secure some privacy to use my husband’s PC to use Skype, but made up my mind to tell him about the “project” and he was very understanding. I didn’t feel it mattered at all that Susan and I didn’t meet face to face – I found Skype absolutely fine.

I found Susan very understanding from the word “go”. She was “on my side”!!   I had not looked for anyone else similar as I sensed she was a lady of possibly a similar age group to me and therefore might have a better understanding of the issues facing a “middle-aged” lady!!

Karen before and after 

I felt we connected very well. I think I really needed some psychological support around my issues, as much as advice and ideas around the practical side of nutrition and diet. I needed to get over to Susan how I felt aspects of my family life and day to day catering needs were affecting me and discuss “emotional eating”. For example, a student son in the house, who seemed to be constantly preparing or cooking food, often at odd times of the day and night, and a husband who eats very little fruit or vegetables, but lots of red meat; also how to cope with my large social circle where meet-ups almost always involve eating and drinking.



It was very helpful to receive a summary of the points we had discussed – the positives and the negatives – to set some small goals to work towards. Writing is my “thing” – so having it all set down in black and white was a huge help to me. I set up a proper folder and notebook to record my progress.

I was able to ask Susan for some menu ideas – including the really helpful one of “basic recipes” that could be adapted to suit all family members – her website was a treasure trove of ideas. I typed up my own sheet each week ready for the next session with Susan to help me remember positives and negatives, and to record success and questions.

It really helped to recap at the start of each new session what had gone before and for me the pace of change was just fine. It helped to not focus solely on losing weight, although I did lose some along the way.

What worked for me


Getting active!

I realised I really liked my swimming sessions and ensured they were almost in “tablets of stone” in my diary, and still do. They keep me energised and set me up for the day.

I had struggled with a rather sedentary husband who didn’t take much exercise, but managed to get him to join me on walks, and not encourage me into cafes and pubs as a “reward”. I learned tactics such as spotting my danger times – coming home late afternoon to an empty house, or one where other family members don’t greet or bother with me – and to find distractions – not head straight to the biscuit tin but to take time out for a little rest, a cup of herbal tea, read a book, take my DAB radio well away from the kitchen, listen to a podcast.

I became better at keeping a sense of perspective – which is hard, being an all or nothing type of person.

I established much better daily and weekly routines and tried to throw out the scattergun approach – I used printable diary sheets – these also helped me with meal planning.

The holistic approach was absolutely perfect for me as I already knew my problems were not just around food but my whole lifestyle as a semi-retired woman who spends a lot of time at home – and has a big living kitchen where a lot of family activity takes place.

Small permanent changes were exactly what I needed. The 80/20 rule was very helpful – especially as regards my tendency to see things as black and white – and I was only too aware I needed to get some balance back into my life. I became more confident and able to say to friends – let’s not go for coffee and cake, why don’t you come over and we’ll go for a walk (I became more appreciative of the rural area I live in!)

The 80-20 rule

Whilst talking to Susan was like talking to a friend, she did challenge me and not let me get away with being “sloppy” or “airy fairy”. I felt answerable to her, which I liked – Slimming World had “worked” for me in the past because I responded to the pressure of the weekly documented weigh-in!

Moving forward

I have felt recently I could use the occasional “top up” session from time to time, just to keep me on track and stop me being complacent – like I do with my physiotherapist. Maybe such top-ups could form part of a slightly broader package than just the three sessions?

Portion control

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Over 60% of the UK adult population is currently overweight or obese, and we all have a responsibility to reduce that statistic including fast food outlets, schools, supermarkets, cafes and food manufacturers

IMG_2782Research has shown that when people are presented with larger portion sizes, they will eat more and most people underestimate how many calories they consume each day by as much as 25%.



imagesSince the 1980s, typical servings have increased dramatically: a bag of crisps has grown from 25g to 40g. ‘Big Eat’ bags have 50% more than standard bags – a bag of Walker’s crisps, for example, now contains 55g – that’s 290 calories and 18g of fat, compared to 130 cals and 8g of fat in 25g.


Soft drinks are still sold in 330ml cans (139 cals for a can of Coke), but 500ml bottles of are just as popular (210 cals in a bottle of Coke).

IMG_1082King-size and pocket pack chocolate bars are up to twice the size of regular bars – a Mars Big One has 100 calories more than a regular bar, while a King-Sized Snickers has 200 extra calories than the regular version.  There are now even 1 and a half bars of chocolate and Bounty bars are available in triple packs!

Double and triple burgers (with all the extras) are available from every burger chain. If you double-up your cheeseburger in McDonald’s, for example, you increase your calories from 300 to 440, and your fat intake from 11.5g to 23 g.  Pasta servings and nearly five times bigger than they were 20 years ago.

portion control 1 Ready meals have also ballooned over the past 15 years with products such as curry, cottage pies, pasta dishes and casseroles now weighing on average 400g nearly twice the size they were in the 1990’s.

You’re not even safe in the local coffee shop – Your morning caffeine fix in the 50s would be 45 calories. Nowadays, a 16oz (450ml) takeout coffee with mocha syrup would be 350 calories.


And how many times are you asked if you want to ‘go large’?


Modern main course bowl on the left. 1970s plate on the right


Even the standard dinner plate used in most restaurants and homes has increased from 10 to 12 inches!

Recent research has revealed that smaller plates, cups, glasses and bowls could reduce overall calorie intake by up to 16 per cent.



This is called portion distortion and it’s making us fat!
 The more we eat the more calories we consume

Are you shocked by this, did you have any idea that food portion sizes have been on the increase?

To put it in to context eating just 200 extra calories a day over a year can mean a weight gain of over a stone (6.3 Kg)

So what is a correct portion size?

  • A 75g serving of meat, poultry or fish is the same size as the palm of your hand
  • A medium potato is the same size as your computer mouse
  • pasta-portionKeep portions of cheese to 25g – around the same size as a matchbox
  • A medium piece of fruit is the same size as your fist
  • A serving of rice is half a teacup (75g uncooked weight)
  • A serving of vegetables is about 80g
  • A teaspoon of butter or margarine is the size of the tip of your thumb.

A useful guide is to use your hand as a visual template:

palmProtein like meat, fish, poultry, tofu lentils, eggs should be no bigger than the palm of your hand




Carbohydrates like bread rice pasta should fit into one cupped handcupped hand




cupped handsFruit and vegetables should fit in to two cupped hands




For more information about the increase in portion size please click on this link to the Food Standards Agency booklet