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?

Asian Parsnip soup

Asian Parsnip soup – serves 6

This is a great way to use those wonderful sweet and seasonal parsnips. Not only are they full of slow releasing fibre to keep you nice and full but they are also jam packed with immune boosting vitamin C.

2 or 150g small onions

2 tsp olive oil

img_93881 tbls garam masala and ginger/garlic paste

1 tsp chili flakes

1 ½ ltr veggie stock, either made with 3 tsp bouillon powder or 1 stock cube and boiling water

6  or 600g parsnips

Handful of fresh coriander or parsley leaves

Soya/oat cream (optional)

1 tin of chickpeas (optional)


In a large saucepan add the oil and heat. Peel and chop the onions and fry in the oil until soft but not coloured. Add the spices and paste* and cook until its smells really aromatic (about 5 minutes). Keep moving the onions and spices to stop them sticking or burning

* You can also use a clove of garlic and 1 tsp ground ginger or fresh ginger instead of the ginger/garlic paste

img_2094-768x1024Add the chopped parsnips (it’s not necessary to peel the parsnips, although you can if you want) and the stock. Stir, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are soft.


Using a hand blender (or food processor, blender or nutribullet), blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

This little 15 second video shows you how easy it is to blend the soup



The soup can now be served. However to make it more substantial and to increase the fibre and protein content add a tin of chickpeas (and their water). Finish with a swirl of non-dairy cream

Beetroot risotto

Beetroot risotto with pearl barley and quinoa

Serves 2, 320 calories per serving

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

IMG_4244This risotto has been inspired by Jack Monroe’s risotto recipe in the Royal Marsden cancer cookbook



vegan cookery poster jpeg


And is the perfect recipe for my Vegan cookery class to make this week!

The use of beetroot not only adds colour and a wonderful earthy taste but bags of fibre, antioxidants, potassium and iron. The pearl barley makes a healthy nutritional change to arborio rice: Its high in fibre, calcium and protein, but low in fat and calories. By adding quinoa the protein content really increases, making this a very filling and nutritious vegetarian and vegan dish


IMG_4276250g fresh beetroot, peeled and diced (or use the pre-cooked vacuum packs)

500 ml vegetable stock – either leftover stock from cooking some veggies or hot water and 1 teaspoon veg bouillon powder

2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

1 fat garlic clove – crushed

1 small leek (80g) finely sliced

large pinch dried chilli flakes


Pearl barley

100g pearl barley and 25g of quinoa

50ml red or white wine (or water)

100g frozen peas (or broad beans)

2 tbls chopped mint and parsley

salt and ground black pepper


IMG_4296flavoured drizzle oil (optional)

zest and juice of half a lemon (equivalent to 2 tsp)

1 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

½ tsp horseradish

If you are not using the oil you can substitute the horseradish for the chilli flakes in the main risotto


If you are using fresh beetroot put it in a pan and cover with some of the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until tender.

If you are using the vacuum packed variety, miss out this stage and simply open the packet*

IMG_4294*A word of warning! which ever type of beetroot you use, be aware that it stains everything! So your chopping boards, spoons and hands will all be a lovely pink colour by the end of this. You can minimize the pink by wearing rubber gloves to handle the beetroot, cook with a metal spoon (never wooden for beetroot), or use a plastic chopping board


Meantime on a medium flame heat the oil in a large IMG_4281shallow pan and add the leeks and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the leeks are soft.   Add the pearl barley and coat with in the oil. Then tip in the wine and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes.


Blitz the beetroot in a blender (a nutribullet does a great IMG_4287job), add the stock and chilli (or horseradish) and add a ladleful at a time to the grains. Keep adding a ladleful as soon as it is absorbed. This should take about 30-40 minutes


After 15 minutes add the quinoa (this takes less time to cook) and mix in. once the pearl barley and quinoa are soft and fluffy stir in the peas and 1 tablespoon of the chopped herbs. Taste and season with salt and lots of pepper


Serve into 2 warmed bowls


Lemon horseradish oil

Mix all the ingredients together and drizzle over the risotto





Finally scatter over the remaining tablespoon of chopped herbs





BCAMThis is a great recipe to support breast cancer awareness month.  So why not make a larger amount (its easy to double or triple the ingredients) and invite your friends over.  They can make a donation to your favourite cancer charity like Maggie’s (the cancer support centre inside the grounds of the Nottingham City hospital)


Banana oaty bars

Banana oaty bars


I first posted this recipe early last year but recently a reader, Jocelyn  asked if I’d re-post.  She said

It’s a great recipe and my daughter and I use it a lot. We haven’t made them for a while and can never remember the amounts of the ingredients. It would be great to get the recipe back!

So this is for you Jocelyn and all those  who like a healthy treat.



These make an ideal afternoon treat, when the 3pm energy slump hits and you can feel your blood sugar levels dropping, as well as your resolve not to eat that chocolate bar!

They are also a great post gym energy boost

They are low GI I and low cholesterol due to the oats, that will release their energy slowly.  As well as fibre and potassium rich bananas, great for lowering blood pressure.  The carrots are also a good source of vitamin A and have been shown to have a positive effect on eye and heart health


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

Makes 12 generous bars, 63 calories per square


3 x (330 g) ripe mashed bananas

IMG_2739I apple,diced or grated

2 cups (200g) of oats

¼ cup (100ml) coconut/soya milk

½ cup (70g) grated carrots

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg (mixed)


  • Mix all the ingredients together tip in to a greased tin or baking dish
  • Bake at 175oC, 350oF or Gas mark 4 for 20- 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly before slicing into 12 generous squares
  • Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days


Shreddies with Max Protein


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

Shreddies with Max Protein

shreddiesThe other day an advert came on the TV, it was for a new version of Shreddies, the malted wheat cereal.  And it got my attention!

According to Nestles website Shreddies with Max Protein is “Delicious Crunchy Oat Granola with SHREDDIES® pieces. Made with Protein from Whole Grain Wheat & Oats. MAXimise your morning!”

But lets look beyond the marketing and crunch some data.

shreddies-p-servingA recommended 45g serving has 181calories, 11g of sugar and 5.85g protein

Now lets compare that to Original Shreddies: A recommended 40g serving has 146 calories, 6g of sugar and 4g protein


A couple of things to mention, the recommended portion size of the protein version is bigger, so the sugar content and calories will both increase.  There is almost 3 teaspoons of sugar compared to only 1½ in the original version.

The price may also be a consideration; the original Shreddies 500g box is *£2.49 (49p/100g) and has 12 servings in a box, making it 20p per portion

Protein Shreddies is sold in a 400g box for *£2.49 (61.5p/100g) and has 8 servings in a box, making it 31p per portion

Is the extra 11p per portion worth the additional 1.85g of protein?!



I don’t think it is.  My advice is to buy the original version and serve it with more milk.  A mere 50ml of semi skimmed milk or 60ml of soya milk has 1.8g of protein.



And judging by the comments on the Nestles website I’m not alone in my negative views

shreddies-p-review shreddies-p-review2



fuel-protein-bricksNestles are not the only brand to bring out a ‘Protein’ version; Fuel make protein boosted wheat biscuits.  2 biscuits ( a recommended  portion) contain 7.6 g protein and 23g of sugar ( or nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar).  They cost 22½p a portion




oatsOne of the best and cheapest protein packed cereals is porridge OATS, They contain 5.2g of protein), 0.4g of added sugar and a good hit of Fibre to boot.  A supermarkets own brand can work out as little as 6p per serving

Don’t be fooled by the advertising, you are paying extra for increased amounts of calories and sugar!



*Some supermarkets have both products on offer

Kale with miso

Kale with miso – 198 calories, serves one

Kale is the ‘go to’ leafy vegetable, and here’s why: it is high in vitamin A, C and K – all vital for a strong immune system, good cell health and wound healing , potassium (helps nerves IMG_2210and muscles communicate), iron (for red blood cells) and fibre (which helps manage blood sugar  makes you feel full and is great for gut health).  It also contains good levels of lutein, a nutrient that gives kale its deep, dark green colour that is great for maintaing eye health. And lets not forget healthy fats – not something you usually associate with vegetables, kale contains good levels of omega-3 fatty acid, essential for brain health.  Finally acid from lemon juice helps make kale’s iron more bioavailable as well.

If you have thyroid problems 

In most cases, kale is an important part of any diet. But kale (and other veg like cabbage) can interact with thyroid function if they are eaten in very high amounts.

If you have an under active thyroid, ask your doctor about how certain foods can affect your thyroid and associated medication.

So on with the kale with miso recipe

IMG_220040g kale – washed and chopped with thick stalks removed ( or a couple of blocks of frozen kale), 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbls miso paste, 450 ml of boiling water, 1 tsp sesame seeds, ½ tsp chilli flakes or ½ fresh chilli finely sliced, 15g unsalted cashews, large pinch of black pepper and a dash of lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan and add the kale, stir fry for 5 minutes, IMG_2204or until soft add miso paste fry for a minute before adding the water and chill.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding the IMG_2207nuts, pepper and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour in to a large bowl and sprinkle over the sesame seeds


The ‘F’ word – Fibre

The ‘F’ word – Fibre

Eating food with lots of fibre will help you feel full for longer, so you’re more likely to stay within your calorie limit and possibly lose weight.

Fibre keeps your bowels healthy and can help reduce cholesterol levels. Most people in the UK eat only about 14g of fibre a day, but should aim to eat at least 18g as a minimum.

IMG_2435There is both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre can be digested by the body and increases the water content of your poo.  It comes from fruits and veg, oats, lentils and beans.  Insoluble fibre absorbs water but passes through your body almost undigested.  It was previously known as ‘roughage’.  Foods containing insoluble fibre like wholegrain cereals, dried fruits and sweetcorn make you feel fuller for longer and bulk out waste products making you want to go to the loo

Word of caution!

Increase your fibre intake gradually, though, as a sudden increase can cause cramp and constipation. And make sure to drink plenty of water – aim for 2 litres a day – to avoid these potential side effects.









Here are some easy ways to boost the fibre in your snacks and meals:


cerealAdding some fibre to your breakfast will help you stay feeling fuller until lunch and reduce the urge for a mid- morning snack.

  • Swap white bread for wholemeal, wholegrain or sourdough varieties.
  • Swap sugary cereals for high-fibre cereals such as wholegrain wheat cereals, unsweetened muesli, or porridge oats. Remember to check the salt content.

Lunch and dinner

uncooked lentils

uncooked lentils

Vegetables are a good source of fibre, so try swapping some of the things on your plate for more veg. Aim for at least two portions of veg on your plate at dinner.

  • Swap white rice and pasta for wholemeal versions – simply doing this can double the amount of fibre you’ve eaten.
  • Incorporate pulses – beans, lentils and peas – into your meals. They’re a cheap, low-fat source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Add pulses to soups, casseroles, rice and pasta dishes, or serve baked beans (choose reduced-salt and sugar varieties) on wholemeal or sourdough toast (with no butter or spread).


Stock up on healthier snacks containing fibre such as:

  • IMG_2609Fruit – fresh, dried, canned or frozen. Don’t forget to eat the skin on fruits such as apples and pears.
  • Veg sticks – carrot, celery, pepper or cucumber sticks or a packet of sugar snap peas. You can enjoy these low- calorie snacks if you feel hungry in between your meals.
  • Reduced-fat hummus. With veg sticks, wholegrain crispbreads or pitta bread. You’ll get the fibre from both the veg and the bread.
  • Air-popped, plain popcorn. Homemade is best, to avoid the high fat, sugar or salt content in some commercial brands. Don’t add any sugar or butter.

protein sources










So will you be talking more about the ‘F’ word?!

Roasted butternut squash, carrot and lentil soup

Roasted butternut squash, carrot and lentil soup – makes 7 x 250ml servings, 95 calories a portion


Its Endometriosis Awareness Week and I thought a recipe using ingredients that could help improve the symptoms of this painful condition could be useful

For this recipe I originally used pumpkin, but now butternut squash is readily available, so I’ve done a quick substitute!  Don’t be afraid to be generous with the spicing  – The soup can pack quite a punch, which is perfect on a chilly day

Squashes are low in fat, calories and cholesterol, and high in fibre, vitamin A, iron and vitamin C.  Like squashes carrots are also packed with vitamin A and fibre, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer.  TheIMG_5540Vitamins are good for eye health, cell regeneration and for boosting the immune system.  Lentils are also rich in fibre and iron and are an excellent low fat low calorie protein source.

A winner all round!

if you don’t have butternut squash a pumpkin will work equally well


90g leek chopped

300g butternut squash or pumpkin, cut into wedges (no need to peel)

400g chopped or grated carrot

1 tsp olive oil

1 ½  tsp cumin, coriander

IMG_19141 tsp chilli flakes

100 g dried red lentils

1.25 ltrs hot water

1 tsp vegetable powder or 1 stock cube

1 tsp cumin and coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

black pepper and salt


  • Pre heat the oven 185oC
  • IMG_1904Wash and slice the butternut squash into wedges place in a large baking tray drizzle over 1 tsp olive/vegetable oil.  Sprinkle over the spices (1 ½ tsp cumin and 1 tsp chilli flakes).  Toss in the oil and place in the pre heated oven.  Cook until soft – about 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and place the wedges on to a plate and scrape the oil and seasoning in to a large pan
  • IMG_1906Slice the washed leek and add to the pan, don’t add any additional oil.   Cook until they soften – about 10 minutes, add the sliced or grated carrot and again cook until they soften. Chop up the squash (no need to remove the skin unless you don’t like it) and add to the pan
  • Add 1.25 litres of boiling water and 1 heaped tsp vegetable bouillon, 1 tsp cumin, coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • IMG_1917Cook until the lentils and carrots are soft – about 20 minutes
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Blend until smooth either in a blender or using a stick blender.  Add more water if it is too thick
  • Serve 250g/250ml in warmed bowls


If you want to make a smaller batch, just reduce the individual ingredients, but still keep the same proportions.  if however, you make a big batch simply put portions in to a freezer bags; it freezers for up to three months

Why not share your best recipe that utilises this great and versatile vegetable

The truth about detox!


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

For many January is all about change and regrouping and trying to banish those Christmas excesses, so we join a gym, we make new years resolutions and we may try some form of detox.

imagesThis is a busy time for me because new clients want to make a fresh start and come to me hoping for a quick fix, a magic pill or a diet that will have then dropping the pounds in no time.  My friend and fellow therapist Misia Smith of Soothe Therapies also felt that at this time of year her clients wanted some unctuous lotions and potions that would rejuvenate, moisturise and rehydrate skin and cells that had been mistreated over the festive period

Detox February-March16


So we decided the best course of action was to help our clients and potential clients by dispelling some of the detox myths.  Our full article, which appeared in Nottingham Local News can be read at http://www.nottinghamlocalmagazine.com/the-truth-about-detox/


I believe there is no quick fix when it comes to permanent weight loss; we can all starve ourselves for a few days to fit in to that ever so slightly tight dress; we can also eat watermelon, grapefruit, cabbage, or whatever is the latest fad at every meal for about a week in order to drop half a stone.  But the weight will inevitably creep back on (and then some!)

imagesSo I always advocate small but permanent changes, starting with adding more veg and fruit to your diet.  Why, because we need to help the body to do what it does properly and antioxidants are the key

Your body (via the skin, gut, liver and kidney) constantly filters out, breaks down and excretes toxins and waste products like alcohol, medications, dead cells, chemicals from pollution and bacteria.

IMG_3011In a nutshell, If you want to maintain peak health then the best approach is a balanced diet, with at least five portions (80g) of vegetables and fruit a day; small portions of wholegrain carbs, regular amounts of protein like lean meat, fish, beans and pulses, eggs, tofu and dairy products. Drink plenty of water (2 litres) and moderate your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.  And have the occasional treat like dark chocolate

And importantly quit smoking

To help your body do what it does naturally try and incorporate the following into your meals




  • Fibre from vegetables and fruit and wholegrains, like pasta, rice and oats
  • A rainbow of colours’ – a wide variety of vegetables and fruit will provide your body with plenty of antioxidants (vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E), B vitamins, calcium, and trace minerals to protect your organs from damage and help them do their job effectively.


chopped veggies

chopped veggies

  • Orange and red vegetables and fruits are especially high in antioxidants i.e. berries, sweat potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes, oranges, butternut squash, chilli, carrots, apricots
  • Some green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are also rich in beta-carotene.
  • Almonds, safflower, corn and soybean oils, mangos and nuts are all high in vitamin E
  • Keep hydrated – it helps the kidneys to work effectively. Urine should be a pale straw colour
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat (these are often high in salt) to promote water loss. Cranberries, celery, asparagus and herbal teas can also help with water loss
  • Green tea is full of antioxidants and could help with a natural detox
  • If you are looking to lose weight then consider reducing portion sizes, and don’t forget to be active every day.


The one supplement that keeps cropping up when you mention detox is Milk-thistle or Salymarin. However if you regularly include the above foods into your meals and snacks it is generally unnecessary to take additional supplements

I’d love to hear your stories – Have you tried detoxing, if so what did you do and did it work?