“Must haves” for a healthy balanced diet

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

“Must haves” for a healthy balanced diet

Do you think you eat a balanced diet or are you confused about what a balanced diet looks like?

I’m seeing more and more clients who seem lost and confused about what to eat and what not to eat

thai-tofu-curryEating a nutritious, balanced diet will help you improve your overall health. In particular, a balanced diet can help:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Reduce your chances of getting cancer
  • Give you more energy
  • Keep you well
  • improve weight loss
  • Improve your bowel health
  • Your skin, nails and hair look healthier

 

The two key elements to a healthy balanced diet are:

  • Eat the right amount of food for how active you are, and
  • Eat a variety of foods – this is where the ‘balance’ comes in

healthy eating advice

The “Must haves” for a healthy balanced diet should include:

  • fruit-and-veg-225x300Plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least 5 portions a day. Think ‘A rainbow of colour’.  And if its convenient use fresh, frozen or tinned
  • Fruit like grapefruit or melon eaten before a meal can help fill you up so you are less likely to overeat on higher calorie foods
  • Small amounts of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods (choosing wholegrain varieties when possible)
  • Some milk, dairy or plant-based alternative likes (soya, oat, nut etc).  Aim for 3 servings a day.
  • Sufficient protein such as tofu, Quorn, quinoa, nuts, beans, meat, fish, eggs.  Aim to eat low fat protein at every main meal.
  • Just a small amount of foods high in fat, sugar and salt
  • Keep within the safe alcohol limits (14 units a week for men and women).  Its also advised to have alcohol free days
  • activity exercise walkingDrink plenty of water, about 6-8 glasses (or other fluids) every day: more if you exercise or if the weather is hot
  • Green tea contains two compounds; caffeine and catechins, that may boost your metabolism for a couple of hours.
  • Stay active – aim for 150 minutes of activity a week.  this can include classes at a gym, running, weight training.  But equally housework, gardening, walking and dancing can all count too

 

Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they are eating healthy food they can eat more of it.  This can lead to weight gain in the same way that eating unhealthy foods can, because all foods have calories!

Follow this portion guide and you won’t go far wrong

  • A healthy 75g serving of protein (tofu, Quorn, quinoa, nuts, beans, meat, fish, eggs) is the same size as the palm of your hand
  • A medium potato is the same size as your computer mouse
  •   A serving of dairy is:
    • 200ml of milk or plant based alternative – regardless of full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed.
    • 30g hard cheese (including non dairy): around the same size as a matchbox
    • 150g of plain or fruit yoghurt.
  • A medium piece of fruit is the same size as your fist
  • pasta-portionA serving of rice is half a teacup or 75g (uncooked), which weighs 125g when cooked
  • A serving of pasta is 75g uncooked which weighs 170g when cooked al dente
  • A serving of vegetables is about 80g or about 2 tablespoons
  • A teaspoon of butter or margarine is the size of the tip of your thumb.
  • A unit of alcohol is half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a single pub measure of spirit. A 175 ml glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are about 1.5 units. A bottle of white wine has up to 9 units and 650 calories

If your diet is in a bit of a tailspin, then why not contact me for some nutritional advice

what i do 4

Next vegan cooking class – 16th April 2018

Next vegan cooking class – 16th April 2018

10 – 11.15am

In West Bridgford

I have a couple of places left on my next vegan cooking class, which is taking place on Monday 16th April at 10am in West Bridgford.  You’ll have everything you need to make  delicious vegan tacos.

 

The cost is £25 and includes all the ingredients, equipment and the recipe.  Plus nutritional guidance, advice and tips about the ingredients you will be cooking with.

vegan cooking class
Contact me if you’d like to book a space, but please be quick as places are limited.

vegan cookery classes

If you can’t make this date I always have classes running on the following days and times Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 11 – 12.15pm, Tuesday from 12.15 – 1.30pm and Wednesday evening from 5.30 – 6.45pm

 

Its fine if you want to come to just this class or you could attend a series, in which case you can have 6 for the price of 5 i.e. £125, and they can be used within a year.

vegan cookery class

Out of the 6 sessions only one is sweet based, the other 5 are savoury.  Previous guests have made sweet potato falafels, Mexican tacos, cauliflower and chickpea curry, chocolate pots, beetroot pearl barley risotto, tofu rice paper rolls to name but a few delicious vegan dishes.

cookery review

 

Feel free to take a peak around my kitchen!

 

If you’d like to come along please contact me on

07946 301338 to book your place.

The sugar tax and sugary drinks

The sugar tax and sugary drinks

On 6th April 2018 the new sugar tax came in to force, meaning manufacturers have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell.  Drinks with more than 8g per 100ml will have a tax rate equivalent to 24p per litre.  Those containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml, a slightly lower rate of tax, of 18p per litre.   In many cases the tax has been passed on to the consumer.

Pure fruit juices will be exempt as they do not carry added sugar, and milky drinks will also be exempt due to their calcium content.

Ministers and campaigners already believe it to be a success, with many firms reducing sugar content ahead of the change. Leading brands such as Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of drinks, but Coca-Cola has not.

sugar_in_drinks_640-nc

Yesterday was also a busy day for me with filming for Notts TV about less sugary cereal alternatives, an Interview with BBC Radio Nottingham’s Verity Cowley and a couple of mentions on Gem106 fm evening news

sugar tax

 

Firstly Notts TV

Sugary cereals are a big concern as many of us choose this option as our go to breakfast, some children can consume near 3 teaspoons of added sugar before they even leave the house in the morning

Two short 20 second clips from Gem 106

And this is the last of my media clips: a 6 minute chat with Verity Cowley on her BBC Radio Nottingham show

 

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Whether you restrict your sugar intake or switch to artificial sweeteners the best advice I can give you is to educate your pallet to expect less sweet food.

Cheers to vegan beer

Cheers to vegan beer!

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

With the rise in popularity of cask ales and craft beers, I’ve noticed over the last year or so a number of establishments have started serving unfined vegan beer and lager. Breweries that saw the potential for this un-tapped (sorry!) market include Magpie, Angel Microbrewery, Brewdog and Castle Rock. Many of them also serve tasty vegan food too

crafty crow outside

angel

Angel

 

Magpie, a Nottingham based brewery is sold in two local pubs; Crafty Crow opposite Nottingham castle and Doctor’s orders on Mansfield Road, Carrington. I visited the crafty crow on two occasions, the first time they didn’t have any vegan beers on tap. The second time was more successful and I had the choice of one draft beer and a couple of craft beers and a few lager’s.

crafty crow label

I opted for the draft cherry raven, a rather tasty dark cherry stout. It looked so appetising and didn’t disappoint; not too sweet or fruity. The pub also has a food menu, but with only one choice of starter and main, I’d probably go elsewhere to eat.

crafty crowe

One of my volunteers (Paul Clarke) visited their other hostelry; Doctor’s orders, an incredibly small intimate place but they were able to offer a Magpie ale. Unfortunately the pumps were not clearly labelled and the staff didn’t know that another beer from the Framework brewery was also vegan. Being so small they don’t serve any vegan food options other than snacks.

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You can also read my review in today’s Nottingham Post and online

Nottingham Post

In the name of research I continued to drink my way around Nottingham and happened upon the Barley Twist on Canal Street, a Castle Rock establishment. The staff were very well informed and the beers clearly labelled

barley twist board

I opted for a light beer called ‘fallen odyssey’ and my drinking companion ordered another vegan beer the session IPA.

barley twist beer

Both were delicious and easy to drink. Another good Castle Rock pub that deserves a special mention is the Horse and Plough at Bingham, they always have at least one vegan beer on draft and unlike most of the other pubs serves great vegan food, it even has a separate vegan menu and again the staff are knowledgeable and helpful

 

Good food brings me on to The Angel on Stoney Street in Hockley. Not only are all its beers vegan and brewed on the premises, but their vegan food is also well worth a visit. I’ve tried their amazing jackfruit pulled burger and ‘steak’ and squash pie, with the best chips ever. Their beers are pretty good too ranging from a light easy to drink session beer to dark stouts and everything inbetween.

 

The last place on my mini vegan beer tour was Brewdog on Broad Street. It specialises in craft beers that tend to be a bit stronger, but their Punk IPA (on draft) at 5.6% ABV wasn’t too bad as long as I stuck to just a half. They also do a fair amount of vegan food to soak up the alcohol

 

I’ll just squeeze in three more Castle Rock pubs (visited by another volunteer, Kate) that deserve a mention; the Yarn bar, in the Theatre Royal, the Fox and Grapes in Sneinton market and the Beer Headz, in the old ticket office at the station. Staff at both pubs were very well informed and enthusiastic about their beers, but unfortunately the beers were not labelled as vegan

 

Fox and Grapes

Fox and Grapes

Beer Headz

Beer Headz

I am really excited by the prospect of more pubs embracing vegan beers, my waistline on the other hand might not be as excited!

Review of Chao chao, West Bridgford

Review of Chao Chao.

The new urban oriental kitchen and takeaway

This review was written for the West Bridgford Wire and can be seen by clicking on this link

https://westbridgfordwire.com/susan-hart-review-chao-chao-west-bridgford/

chao

 

But here are some additional photos of our visit

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the menu, but sadly we no dedicated vegan options

 

noodles

Egg free noodles

 

 

fresh green curry

fresh green curry

 

And the full write up

I’ve never been much of a fan of Chinese food, because for a vegan the food can often be samey and lacking in texture. And there is always the danger that fish or oyster sauce finds its way in to my meal and it’s often awash with MSG. But when I hear through the West Bridgford Wire that a new urban oriental kitchen had opened its doors a month ago, with the promise of MSG free food and a separate vegan menu, I just had to go and check it out

 

So last week I went with my friend and hopes were high. The restaurant definitely has more of a takeaway feel to it, but the inside was clean, fresh and bright. We sat at a high table and perused the menu, which stated they had vegan options on offer.

 

Unfortunately they haven’t managed to create a separate vegan menu and no ‘ve’ symbols were visible on the main menu, so initially it looked like there was nothing for us. However a quick chat with the owner eventually got us on track; he explained that many of the dishes could be veganised by removing, chicken, egg etc, although there were no dedicated vegan dishes . We opted to share the crispy seaweed (which is in fact kale), vegetable katsu curry (which came with steamed white rice), Chinese Green detox (a green veg curry) and Chow mein noodles (without the egg).

 

The crispy kale, which arrived in its biodegradable cardboard box was a good size and not greasy but it lacked a bit of seasoning; the addition of some sea salt, a dash of soy sauce or some toasted sesame seeds would have made it perfect. The veg katsu curry initially came as chicken katsu, which was hastily removed before the vegan version was presented. It was without fault; piping hot, el dente vegetables and plenty of flavoursome curry sauce (in a separate pot). I’d definitely have that again.

 

The Chinese green detox was hot, hot, hot! Not only was the sauce spicy but there was a larger gathering of raw chillis on top. But chilli is very good for the body so I ploughed on! There were plenty of crunchy veg to get my teeth into and like the katsu curry it was very tasty and fresh. We ate that with the chow mein noodles; totally delicious and again not too greasy.

 

After the meal we took our tray and empty boxes to the waste bin and were surprised that there seemed to be no recycling facility, maybe that’s on the to-do list too.

 

I would like to revisit when there is a separate vegan menu as I think we would have struggled without the owner’s intervention.

Spicy parsnip and coconut curry

Spicy parsnip and coconut curry

Serves 2

This is a great recipe for using up parsnips and even if they are not your favourite veg I’m sure you will absolutely love this dish

The dish was inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe in the Observer food monthly

1 onion – chopped

1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil

450g parsnips, washed and chopped into chunky batons

1 red chilli or ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

8 fresh/dried curry leave or 2-3 tsp of curry powder/paste

½ tsp mustard seeds and ground turmeric (or fresh turmeric grated)

1 tsp each of ground coriander and cumin

½ tin of chopped tomatoes

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

½ tin of coconut milk

salt and pepper

handful of coriander or mint leaves

parsnip veg

Chop all the veg in to appropriate sizes. In a large pan add the oil and chopped onions. Cook on a medium heat until the onions are golden brown. Grind down the mustard seeds in a pestle and mortar or blender.  Add the finely chopped chilli, curry leaves/powder and spices to the pan, cook for a few minutes until they are fragrant

Add the chunky chopped parsnips and cook for 3-5 minutes. Use a large spoon to move the veggies to stop them burning. Add the tinned tomatoes, then 5 minutes later add the coconut milk and a little salt and pepper.

parsnip veg

Turn up the heat until it bubbles then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes until the parsnips are soft, add the spinach and cover with the hot sauce until the leaves wilt

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Pour in to two bowls, scatter with the coriander and serve with flatbreads or wholegrain rice

parsnip vegIf you would like to learn how to make this dish and other tasty vegan dishes, then why not some to my vegan cooking classes

vegan cookery classes

 

Childhood obesity amongst poorer families

Childhood obesity amongst poorer families – should we be concerned?

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

 

As a nutrition coach I have noticed that sugar smart 4more of my clients are concerned about the weight issues affecting their whole family, including the children.  It seems that some parents are really worried and don’t know what to do.

 

Not only are parents worried but Government organisations are too.  Public Health England (PHE) this week said that children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be obese than their weather classmates. Traditionally, poverty has been associated with malnutrition and thinnness

PHE found that overweight and obese children are eating an extra 500 calories a day, that could lead to a 1lb or ½ a kilo weight gain a week

The issue of obese children has also come to the attention of Notts TV.  They came to interview me a few years ago.  Here’s a short clip of the interview that was later aired on ‘The 6.30 show’

 

So why do we have this potential epidemic? 

I don’t believe there is one simple issue or factor, I think it is a combination of the following (and probably more):

IMG_5653

 

  • Lack of knowledge and education about healthy eating.
  • The availability of food (on the way to school, at school, after school, at the weekend, in the cinema etc),
  • Too much sugary and processed food
  • Lack of exercise and activity
  • Overweight parent(s)

 

 

This week I was also taking to Gem106 radio about why this trend is happening

People’s perception could be that fresh vegetables and fruit are expensive, but that isn’t necessarily the case

If you have concerns about your child’s weight what should you do?

  • First get their BMI etc confirmed by your GP or from the National Childs Measurement Programme data
  • Get support from the GP or a support group
  • Look at portion controlkids portion size
  • Encourage your child, tell them they are great, boost their confidence
  • Don’t make it all about weight loss
  • Find fun family things to do that encourage activity (and burns calories)
  • Get cooking together, include more veggies and fruit
  • Make sure they are well hydrated as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  Water or milk is the preferred drink
  • Regain your motivation for home cooking- as a trained chef I can help you get back your cooking confidence with my vegan cooking classes, in West Bridgford.  These take place during the day and early evening

vegan cooking classes poster

 

Phone to book your place 07946 301338

  • Exercise can be as important as diet.  To lose weight effectively and to maintain a healthy weight it is always best to both eat sensibly and to exercise regularly.

child activity levels jpeg

  • The Governments recommends  that children and young people aged 5-18 need to do:
    • At least 60 minutes  of physical activity every day, such as cycling and playground activities and fast running and tennis.
    • On three days a week, these activities should involve muscle and bone strengthening activities like push-ups, skipping or running.
  • Get some healthy eating advice; that could be from the school, the GP or a nutrition coach like me. I have recently been talking about this very subject on Notts TV so please Contact me on 07946 301338 for a free consultation.

If you are unsure where to start to make a healthy change for your family, have a look at some of my previous blog posts where you will find guidance, advice and healthy eating recipes, or come and see me for a one to one nutrition session

what i do

 

Chickpea scramble

Chickpea scramble

This makes a great alternative to tofu scramble, and like tofu has a hefty amount of protein it is also high in fibre.  The nutritional yeast adds  B12 and the linseeds add essential fatty acids
As well as all that great nutrition the dish is incredibly tasty and flavoursome, so why not make it today
Serves two
Chickpea flour batter:
  • 50g of chickpea flour (also known as gram or besan flour)
  • 100 ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (with added B12)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed (linseeds)
  • ½ tsp kala namak (black salt) – for an eggy flavour and smell
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric or freshly grated
  • large pinch of smoked paprika and black pepper

chickpea flour

Veggies:
  • 1 tsp oil or a few squirts of oil spray
  • 1 clove of garlic ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ red, green or yellow pepper – chopped
  • handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • large pinch dried chilli flakes or ½ fresh chilli chopped
  • small handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • black pepper
  1. Make the batter by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside until neededchickpea scramble
  2. Heat ½ tsp oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic (salt) and cook until soft; about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add veggies and chilli and cook for another 2 mins.29365503_10155428600326903_775324558516289536_n
  4. Then add the spinach, cook until the leaves are wilted.
  5. Pour the chickpea flour batter over the veggies. Cook for a few minutes until the edges start to set. Drizzle ½ tsp oil or a few sprays of oil on the edges.chickpea scramble
  6. Scramble up the mixture  with a fork and continue cooking. The mixture will form clumps, scrape the bottom of the pan and let it cook for another few minutes before mixing again.  Continue to cook until the edges start to dry out, probably a total 4 to 5 minutes.chickpea scramble
  7. Turn off the heat and let the doughy mixture sit for 1-2 minutes.chickpea scramble
  8. Then break into smaller chunks and serve on wholemeal bread, sour dough toast or crumpets.  Or make it part of a more substantial brunch
  9. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and scatter over the coriander leaves

chickpea scramble

Calorie cuts

Calorie cuts

Food makers told to cut calories by 20% by 2024

These were the headlines last week

Public Health England says the target would slash costs to the NHS by £4.5bn and prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths

obesity

Overweight children are consuming between 300-500 calories a day extra, This could equate to a weight gain of 1lb or ½ kilo per week.  But it’s not just children that are facing this issue more than 60% of adults are also too heavy

PHE’s new strategy outlines 13 food categories, including sandwiches, ready meals, savoury biscuits, cooking sauces and potato products such as crisps and chips.

Food producers could make a number of changes, including reformulating products, promoting healthy options and reducing portion sizes.

But as with many of these issues it is not just up to one organisation to make changes, we all have a role to play in stemming this obesity epidemic.  Parents and families can be positive role models, local councils could look at how many fast food outlets are sited near schools, Schools themselves can be proactive in promoting healthy eating, setting up allotments, offering safe ‘walk to school’ schemes, and children have a role to play by making positive choices

I can also help by offering support and advice about how to make healthier changes

Last week I talked to Gem106 radio, here’s two very short snippets of their news items

How to cut up to 500 calories from a child’s diet

Get them more active – burns calories

Eating more veg – its filling and has fewer calories and makes the plate look full. If they don’t like veg use a blender to blitz veggies into a sauce, curry, chilli, shepherds pie or lasagna

lasagne7

Use skimmed milk, plain low fat yoghurt (and add fresh or tinned fruit, in juice not syrup)

Don’t necessarily go for diet products as they can be high in sugar

Limit the amount of snacks and fast food a child eats – PHE records no more than two 100 calorie snacks a day

hummus veggie sticks Always have chopped fruit or veggie sticks in the fridge for children to snack on

Apps to help: change for life: sugar smart, food scanner

 

Children aged 4-10 are getting over 50% of their sugar intake from sweet treats

Each year children consume, on average, 400 biscuits, 120 cakes, buns and pastries, 100 portions of sweets, 70 chocolate bars and ice creams and 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink

  • An ice cream – about 175 calories
  • A pack of crisps – 190 calories
  • A chocolate bar – 200 calories
  • A pastry – 270 calories

As well as calories that’s an awful lot of sugar.  Children should eat no more than 5-6 teaspoons of added sugar (also known as ‘free’ sugar) a day.  Yet the average daily consumption is more like three times that amount.

 

100 calorie snacks – max 2 a day

Individual packets (25g) of baked crisps

1 slice of malt loaf no butter

1 crumpet with small amount of butter, jam or marmite

fresh or tinned fruit salad (in juice)

chopped veg and hummus

rice cake

sugar free jelly

an oatmal biscuit

1 apple and 1 tbls wholenut peanut butter

a boiled egg

Sweet potato falafels

Sweet potato falafels – serves 2

sweet-potat-falafelsThese are a great way to use protein rich chickpeas and vitamin packed sweet potatoes.  If you have some roasted butternut squash that can easily be used in place of the sweet potato. And feel free to play with the spicing by using curry powder, garam masala, turmeric or a small amount of cinnamon

My vegan cookery class guests will be making these little morsels all this week.

 

vegan cooking

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

Makes 10 x 30g falafels

sp-falafels-ingredients250g raw sweet potato

½ tin (108g) drained chickpeas (keep the water)

or 25g dried chickpeas soaked overnight in water until they swell to 125g (discard the water) and rinse them well. Add them to a large pot, cover the beans with several inches of water, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until they reach your desired tenderness,  1 ½ to 2 hours. Either with the a lid off or slightly on

35g chickpea (gram) flour

1 large garlic clove

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp chilli flakes and smoked paprika

5g fresh coriander or parsley, chopped finely

toasted sesame seeds, to coat (optional)

 

Sesame sauce

1 tbsp tahini

2 tsp lemon juice

½ small garlic clove, crushed

½ tsp maple/golden syrup or agave

salt & pepper to taste

chickpea water

 

 

mashed-falafelsPut the potatoes into a 200° C / gas mark 6 oven and roast it until soft, it takes about 1 hour (depending on size). Or microwave for 5-6 minutes on full. Let them cool, peel and mash the flesh with a fork. You can bake the skins until crispy and serve with the falafels

Finely grind the chickpeas and garlic in a food processor.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed potato, ground chickpeas and garlic, chickpea flour, herbs and spices. Mix it well, if its very soft it can be placed in the fridge for an hour or two (or freezer for ½ an hour) to firm up.

 

patie-shapesUsing your hands (dipped in water to stop the mixture from sticking to them), form small patties (about 30g) out of the mixture. If the mixture is still too soft add a bit more chickpea flour. Once shaped, press them lightly into some sesame seeds spread on a small plate.

Brush a small amount of olive oil onto a baking tray and place falafels on it, making sure they do not touch. Bake falafel-in-the-ovenfor 20- 25 minutes, keep an eye on them after 15 mins and flip them over if they look too brown. At this point you can add the potato skins to the dish and crisp them up.  The falafels are done when they are crispy and golden.

 

 

Sesame sauce

In a bowl, mix tahini with lemon juice and a splash of chickpea water.

Add maple/golden syrup, garlic and a bit more water to thin it down so you can drizzle it. Taste and if necessary season with salt and pepper.

sw-falafels2

 

When you try this recipe, why not post your photos here?!

 

 

 

recipe inspired by LazyCat kitchen