“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

Miso soup

Miso soup – 1 serving 80 calories 1.7g fat

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

In this cold and chilly weather what better way to stay warm than having plenty of miso soup, its simple quick and very satisfying.  And if you are watching your weight this is the perfect low calorie lunch option for all you 5:2 fasters

 

miso soup

the basic miso

2 tsp miso paste (make sure it is suitable for veggies and vegans i.e. no bonito flakes)

1 mug of boiling water

25g soft tofu – cubed

1 spring onion – finely sliced

¼ red pepper, chopped

few flakes of dried chilli

 

20 (large handful) spinach leaves or 1 Nori leaf, shredded

few fresh coriander leaves

  • Mix the miso paste with the hot water in the serving bowl or mug
  • Add in the cubed tofu, chilli flakes, spinach leaves or nori seaweed and sliced spring onion
  • Stir until the leaves are wilted and soft
  • scatter over some chopped fresh coriander (optional)
miso soup

The full works

 

 

IMG_2893Optional extras –  100g cooked sweet potato slices (90 calories), ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds (40 calories), few drops sesame oil (10 calories), 28g/small handful unsalted cashew nuts (150 calories), 2 sliced mushrooms (24 calories), soba noodles (28g will add 90 calories)

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

veg soupWhat better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.

 

Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie/vegan sausages or Quorn

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket potatoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Souper quick soup

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

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

website banner

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

soup

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 http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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

IMG_3182IMG_3175

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

 

IMG_3188

 

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 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

 

 

 

 

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Serves 3, 340 calories per serving

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

IMG_3874This is a great vegan dish to celebrate veganuary.  It’s also a great way to use up some leftover tinned spinach from making your favourite curry (but fresh or frozen is equally as good).  It is also really adaptable; so you can use your favourite beans like cannellini, borlotti, chick peas etc.  If you like it a bit spicier then add more chilli, pepper and paprika

The beans add some really good quality low fat protein, the spinach is a great source of fibre and vitamins – especially A,E and K,  which makes it great for bone health

1 (75g) onion

½ fresh chilli

IMG_3868200g chopped spinach (fresh, frozen or tinned)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp olive oil

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 tin butter beans

50g pitted olives

1 tsp capers (optional)

½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

1 packet dried gnocchi

Splash of lemon juice

Handful of chopped mint

 

 

Fry the chopped onion gently in a pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes until it softens. Add the chilli and chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes

IMG_3871Add the drained tinned spinach (or the frozen or washed fresh spinach), tinned tomatoes and drained and rinsed butter beans and stir thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat until it all starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer and add in the chopped olives (I prefer the green ones), capers (if you are using them) and the paprika.

 

IMG_3869Have a taste and add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly

IMG_3872

In the meantime put a pan of water on to boil as soon at it starts bubbling tip in the gnocchi. It is ready when each one pops up to the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and tip into the spinach sauce and stir to mix

 

IMG_3876

 

Add a splash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped mint and serve in 3 warmed bowls