A better understanding of food and nutrition will ultimately lead to good physical and mental health, everything we eat and drink will affect our bodies in a certain way.
Building a healthy eating pattern, making smart informed choices on the food and drinks you are consuming will not only make you feel great it will also help combat: heart disease, obesity(the number 1 nutritional reason for disease) diabetes, stroke and much more.
There is much confusion over what to eat when to eat and how much to eat.. We will try to break it down and make things a little easier to understand.
Eating Little And Often Can Be Best!
I find eating little and often works best for me, there are some great benefits to eating little and often.
- The body will function much more efficiently
- Proved to help control appetite
- Boost mood and concentration
- maintain muscle mass
- eating small meals throughout the day will increase metabolism
Breakfast is a very important meal. A good breakfast gives you the energy to get ready for the day. As a general rule, you should eat within one hour to 1-1/2 hours after waking. Breakfast should provide at least 25-30% of your daily calorie intake. Apart from just energy breakfast foods are a great source of important nutrients.
- B vitamins
- Calcium and fibre can all be obtained from your breakfasts.
Research shows eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and lower stress levels. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight compared to others who miss breakfast.
If you are tempted by the 11.00 mid-morning calorie-packed snacks, eating a substantial healthy breakfast should help curb your cravings. Try a healthy alternative like fruits or nuts for a mid-morning snack if your feeling hungry.
Some Healthy Breakfast Idea’s
The basics for a healthy fruit and cereal breakfast, it’s a great way to get 1 of your 5 a day in.
- To make the basic cereal, roughly chop any larger dried fruit and nuts, then place into a large bowl along with the seeds, oats, and cinnamon (if using).
- Tip into an airtight container.
- Now you have two choices.
- Add milk or natural yoghurt and chopped fresh fruit, if you like, then serve.
Scrambled eggs on toast
- Eggs are an excellent source of protein, 2 scrambled eggs contain approx. 13 grams of protein.
- Scrambled eggs on toast and oats in the morning are my two fav’s, here’s a few more recommended by men’s health magazine you might like to try.
Almond-Butter-and-Raisin Sandwich with Smoothie
Prep time: 1 minute
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Eggo Special K waffles
1 Tbsp raisins
1 Stonyfield Farm smoothie
Spread the almond butter on the waffles. Sprinkle the raisins over one waffle and top with the other. Wash down with the smoothie.
Prep time: 1 minute
1 medium apple
1/2 pint fat-free milk
1 bran Vita muffin
1 pack Skippy Squeeze Stix peanut butter
Slice the apple, grab the milk, muffin, and peanut butter, and go. Squeeze the peanut butter out of its pack onto your apple slices as you eat.
2 PB-and-Banana Wraps with Milk
Prep time: 2 minutes
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Eggo Special K waffles
1 medium banana
1/2 pint fat-free chocolate milk
Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter over each (briefly microwaved) waffle. Divide the banana between them and roll each to make wraps. Wash down with chocolate milk.
Healthy Mid-Morning Snack Ideas
If you have just a few minutes at work or you’re having your snack at home it’s a good idea to keep them healthy. Try to avoid the high fat, low nutrient food you find in vending machines, keep healthy by making and taking your snacks with you to work.
- Fruit smoothie – easy to whizz up at home, can be one of your five a day and full of other important nutrients.
- A half cup of almonds – Try to chew 35-40 times, might make you look a little silly but it’s worth it, helps you absorb more nutrients like Vitamin E.
- Low-fat yoghurt – Great one to try! full of protein, calcium, 8-ounce serving gives you almost half(415mg)of your recommended daily amount of calcium, helps promote a healthy heart.
- Fruit (banana) rich in dietary fibre-alternatively, measure a bag 100 calories worth of dates, prunes, fresh dried figs, raisins, dried cherries, apricot halves.
It’s a good idea to try and eat some protein with each meal, remember protein makes you fuller than carbs. Try and aim for around 1g per pound of body weight. Whole proteins are an excellent source:
- Beef – pork – lamb
- Turkey – chicken – duck
Fish is also considered a whole/compact protein: Tuna – salmon – mackerel lets not forget eggs-milk and cheese these too are whole protein sources.
Veggies and fruit with each meal
- Great for a quick snack
- There an excellent source of dietary fibre
- Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and help prevent some cancers.
- Fruit and veggies are delicious, huge variety always something new to try!
Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, different veggies and fruits contain different amounts of fibre nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Smoothies are fantastic for this! mix a couple of your fav fruits and you have a well balanced highly nutritious snack.
5 A Day Tips
- Add some deliciously grilled tomatoes or lightly fried mushroom to your scrambled eggs on toast.
- Chopped berries or banana with your cereal or porridge.
- When preparing your sandwiches to take to work, add some grated carrot cucumber or tomatoes.
- Mix some cooked veg into your mash potatoes.
- Add chopped red peppers and onions to your pasta.
- Make a salad or vegetable side dish to accompany your meal.
- I love peas mixed with rice! you could try mixing sweetcorn as well.
- You could try making your own vegetable baked crisps/chips
Fats The Good And the Bad
Adults should aim to get around 25% of their calories from fat, fat just like carbohydrates and protein is an essential nutrient. Research shows fats are beneficial to our health but what fats should you be eating?
Let’s start with the good fats-unsaturated fats, strictly speaking, an unsaturated fat is a fat or fatty acid in which there is one or more double bond in the fatty acid chain.
A fat molecule is monounsaturated if it contains one double bond, and polyunsaturated if it contains more than one double bond.
Where double bonds are formed, hydrogen atoms are eliminated. (from Wikipedia)
Some good examples of food and oil’s with a high content of unsaturated fats are:
Polyunsaturated – high in omega 3 – 6
- Nuts – Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts. Also a good source of protein
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn oil
- Soya beans
- Vegetable oil
- Oat Bran
- Olive oil
- Cheddar cheese
- Goat cheese
- Colby cheese
Oil’s rich in polyunsaturated fats also are high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which I’m sure most of you may have heard of before. Research suggests they lower the risk of heart disease and dementia Louise Sutton, a dietician at Leeds Metropolitan University. “Some are needed for the synthesis of prostaglandins, which help regulate blood clotting, body temperature, blood pressure, reproduction and immune function.”
The body can make most of the fats it needs from other fats but this is not the case with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, School of public health says’s “These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food” Be sure to try and incorporate some of the foods above into your diet. I try and eat fish twice a
Saturated Fats – the bad ones, maybe!
Saturated fat – It contains no double bonds. It contains carbon atoms that are fully saturated with hydrogen. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. They have no double bonds, while unsaturated fat has one or two. (from Wikipedia)
Is it bad for you? 5 years ago I would have said a definite yes but due to recent studies I have read, it seems quite the opposite! The official standpoint of The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats – which are found in butter, cheese, red meat and other animals – based foods, they go on to say ” eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.
High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke”… But new research suggests differently. In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine …A key previous research study they say “showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”
In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine …A key previous research study they say “showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”
High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke”… But new research suggests differently. In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a key previous research study they say “showed no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, CHD mortality, ischaemic stroke or type-2 diabetes in healthy adults”
If you would like to read the whole page then the article is the Guardian
Foods high in saturated fats
Recommended – only eat 30g a day of saturated fats..very hard for all of us to do, some of our
- Butter, Lard
- Pastries, sausage rolls, quiches, pies, croissants
- Cured meats, salami, pancetta, chorizo
- Cheese made from whole or reduced fat milk
Are You Drinking Enough Water?
The Government here in the UK recommends drinking around 1.2 litres a day of water a day “NHS Choices’ page on Water and drinks says: Your body needs water or other fluids to work properly and to avoid dehydration. That’s why it’s important to drink enough fluids.
In climates such as the UK’s, we should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated.” The US recommends 1.9 litres per day.
Why is drinking water so important
- 60% of the body is made up of water, drinking enough water helps maintain the body’s fluid balance
- Water’s great for flushing out toxins
- Water helps boost the immune system- try adding some freshly squeezed lemon to your water. lemon another awesome fruit packed full of vitamin C, E, and B6 helping boost your immune system.
- Weight loss-if your drinking plenty of water you will feel fuller, try and drink a glass of water before a meal.
- Prevents constipation aids in digestion.
- Helps boost our physical performance if we do not stay hydrated our work rate will suffer.
- Drinking water may help to prevent and treat headaches Health line say”Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals. Several studies have shown that water can relieve headaches in those who are dehydrated. However, this appears to depend on the type of
headache. One study of 18 people found that water had no effect on the frequency of headaches, but did reduce the intensity and duration somewhat.”
- I like to enjoy a few beers on the weekend, a good tip is to make sure you drink some water before bed. Alcohol tends to dehydrate you, you will feel much happier when you wake up in the morning if you have remembered to drink a large glass of water before bedtime.