Blog

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Just a banana…’

‘Just a banana…’ 🍌

Bananas make a fab snack option or addition to your breakfast or lunch. They’re full of carbs for energy and a reasonable amount of fibre and are a great source of potassium. They’re also easily portable and have their own in build packaging so are handy for when you’re on the go.

However, if you are trying to lose fat/weight and watching those cals then it’s worth just being aware that bananas can pack a punch when it comes to calories and they also vary wildly. If you’re using a calorie tracking app you’ll often find entries like ‘one small banana’ or ‘one medium banana’ with the associated calories. You’d probably just enter that and assume you were pretty much right. But how small is small? What exactly is ‘medium’? Small to me may be medium to someone else and the calorie differences are pretty large!

The difference between these two bananas is nearly 100g and both are sold as ‘bananas’ – not small or large. So if you were regularly snacking on the larger one you’d be taking in almost 80 extra calories every time. That may not sound like much but over the course of a week or month that will add up. I’m not suggesting you stop having bananas – they’re fab! But just have a go at weighing the next banana you have and see exactly how many calories it does contain.

Knowledge is power right? And if you’re trying to lower that bodyfat then every calorie counts! The more aware you are of what goes in to your mouth the better!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Tips for Eating out within your calories

Tuesday Tip: Tips for Eating out within your calories 🍽

If you’re trying to lose fat/weight then frequent restaurant meals can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help reduce those extra cals.

#1 Sauces on the side

Ask for sauces/dressings on the side. Choose tomato-based sauces, and avoid cream based ones. This can save over 300 cals.

#2 Stand your ground

Don’t feel pressured to go for higher cal options just because others are. Its your body, not theirs, so choose what you want. It should be about the company, not what’s on your plate.

#3 Check in advance

Check the menu in advance, choose your meal and log the cals ahead of time. You can then make it fit into your daily target. You’ll also be less likely to be swayed by whoever you’re with.

#4 Avoid the nibbles

It’s an obvious one but just avoid the pre dinner bread, or olives etc You don’t need them, you’re about to have a full meal!

#5 One course

Most restaurant main courses will be 650 – 1500 calories so you really don’t need more. Ideally go for one course, especially if eating out several times a week.

#6 Starter for main

Try going for a starter as a main and then bulk it out with a side salad or veg. This is also a great tactic if the people you’re with are having 2 courses – you can have a starter and a starter!

#7 Food choice

For starters opt for salad or soup (avoid cream-based ones), then fish (white fish is best) or chicken for main, grilled or baked. Vegetarians beware of cheese-based dishes and consider asking for the vegan options. For pud; a sorbet or fruit based dessert is best.

# 8 Limit the booze

Booze is extra cals so try to avoid it, or alternate with tap water and try to choose lower calorie options (e.g. slimline gin and tonic).

#9 Don’t starve yourself

Don’t starve yourself before a meal out as you’re likely to lose self control and overeat. Instead adjust your other meals to save 100-200 calories on the days before and after to help buffer it.

#10 It’s not about the food

When you look back at these events it won’t be the food you remember – it will be the shared stories and laughs, with the people you’re with. Take the focus off the food.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Recipes

Courgette, leek and spinach soup

The clocks have gone back and it’s chilly out there today, so it’s definitely soup season!

This is a quick, easy, light soup for these cooler days. It is ridiculously low calorie – at around 100 cals a bowl (less if you leave the goats cheese out)! I made a massive batch as we had an over-grown courgette (basically a marrow) that I wanted to use up so it made over ten servings but the amounts below will make at least 5-6 portions.

You will need:

500g Courgettes

250g Leeks

400g Spinach

75g Soft Goat’s cheese (optional)

500ml strong vegetable stock

Mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leeks thinly and pop in a large pan over a low heat and allow to soften.

Chop the courgettes thinly too and then add them to the pan and allow to cook through for around 5 mins with the lid on.

Add the stock and herbs and cook for a further 5-10 mins. If your vegetable stock isn’t very strong it’s worth adding an extra stock cube too.

Add the spinach and stir thoroughly, and then cook through for 3-5 mins.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 mins and then blend thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper to taste and then, if you’re using it, add the goat’s cheese and blend again to combine.

Serve immediately or you can keep it in the fridge or freezer for handy lunches or dinners in the week!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

The ‘health’ halo effect ….

The ‘health’ halo effect 😇….

The “health halo” effect is something we all fall prey to. It’s the perception that certain foods are better for you than others due to their perceived health benefits. Usually terms like “organic”, “plant based”, “high protein”, “contains one of your five a day” are used on the packaging and there’s an assumption that this means they’re the best choice.

Now before anyone reacts – I’m not suggesting a Mcdonalds cheeseburger is a “healthy” option, nor am I suggesting it’s got more health benefits than the Biona Black bean and cashew burger. They’re both very different nutritionally, and they both taste very different too. But for many people trying to lose fat or weight they might naturally assume that instead of having a cheeseburger for lunch, they’d be better off having the Biona burger. However in actual fact that “healthy” burger has more calories and fat than the cheeseburger, and less protein. The cheeseburger is also lower in salt. The Biona burger doesn’t include the bun and other extras (including cheese) either so you’d be looking at perhaps another 300 or more calories on top (and the associated extra fat and salt).

So if you needed a quick lunch, and really fancied a cheeseburger, you’d be far better off just having one. I’m certainly not suggesting your whole diet be made up of “junk food”, but it’s important to be wary of these marketing ploys which make you perceive things as being “healthy” and therefore lower calorie and helpful for weight loss. At the end of the day, as always, it comes down to calories. If you want to lose fat or weight, then you need to be at a calorie deficit. And it’s important to still have foods you enjoy as part of an overall balanced diet. So have the cheeseburger for lunch if you want it, and then have a dinner with a range of whole foods and vegetables etc.

Be curious about what you’re putting in your body, look at the nutritional labels on food and don’t always assume the branded “health” food is the best choice.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Is a calorie just a calorie?

Tuesday Tip: Is a calorie just a calorie? 🍫

This is a very common argument when talking about calories, calorie deficits and which foods you use to meet your daily calorie goal. Often people will say ‘ah yes but a calorie isn’t just a calorie, some calories are better than others’. People will claim 100 calories of nuts isn’t the same as 100 calories of chocolate for example…

So is that true? Are some calories different?

Well technically – no – a calorie really is just a calorie. A calorie is simply a unit of measurement – it measures energy. So yes, 100 calories of nuts are exactly the same as 100 calories of chocolate in terms of the energy they provide.

However, food is not just food and the composition of those calories is where differences can arise. Different foods do have different metabolic effects. Some foods are easier and quicker to digest, some require more energy to digest (e.g this is the thermic effect of food – but don’t get too excited – the difference is pretty small so unlikely to make a massive difference to calories burned etc).

Different foods also have different effects on satiety (how full they make you feel). The nuts for example are more likely to leave you feeling fuller as they’re higher in fat and protein than the chocolate. Foods that take longer to eat will also affect fullness levels.

Also don’t forget that foods have different emotional and psychological effects too. Humans are very much driven by emotions and whilst nuts may theoretically leave you fuller there will be times when no amount of nuts will stop you wanting that chocolate bar. In those cases you’re far better off going for the chocolate bar!

Ultimately it’s about balancing all of these things in a way that lets you stick to your calorie goals. So sometimes that will mean going for the more filling option of nuts and sometimes it will mean going for the chocolate you actually want, but being aware that you may feel more hungry later and being prepared for that.

So yes, a calorie is in fact just a calorie, but food is not just food!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘It’s not worth recording…..’

‘It’s not worth recording…..’ ☕️

If you’re trying to lose fat and are working on reducing calories then you’re probably going to be recording your cals somehow. But are you really recording everything? It’s very easy to overlook some things because they seem so insignificant.

This is just an example of an average week for many people and where extra calories can sneak in. An extra spoonful of granola with brekkie every day (282 cals), a dash of milk in your tea or coffee (assuming 2 cups a day – 560 cals), a scraping of mayonnaise on your lunchtime sandwich (3 times a week – 300 cals), a slug of oil for cooking (3 meals – 360 cals), a sneaky spoonful of peanut butter because you’re hungry (237 cals), low sugar squash (a mere 18 cals for 100ml, but 3 litres of squash over the week – 540 cals), a few cashew nuts in the afternoon (a few every day – 221 cals), a squirt of ketchup with meals (5 meals – 172 cals), a drizzle of dressing on salads (3 salads – 540 cals), and finally gravy or similar sauces on your Sunday Roast (200 cals)…. That little lot totals 3, 412 cals over the course of a week. And let’s be honest for many of us we probably have even more of some of these….

But hey, they’re not worth recording right? Wrong! A sensible calorie deficit for fat loss is around 200 – 300 cals per day. With this little lot you’ve wiped out your weekly deficit without even noticing. All these little extras sneak in without really affecting how full we feel and without us noticing but they can really add up.

So if you are trying to lose fat, or your fat (weight) loss has stalled perhaps go back to basics and double check where some little extras could be coming in? And be a bit more mindful of these, or simply record them and have them within your daily calories. 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Cellulite Facts

Tuesday Tip: Cellulite Facts 🤓

Cellulite, that dimpled, lumpy appearance of the skin, is something over 90% women (and 10% men) suffer from. But can you get rid of it?

First things first cellulite is normal, it can affect anyone, at any age and fitness. It’s caused by fibrous connective tissue pulling on the fascia beneath the skin causing a dimpled appearance. It’s more prevalent in women because male connective tissue is more tightly interwoven. Women’s higher oestrogen levels also cause fat cells to respond differently, and as we age cellulite increases.

If your bodyfat is high then you’ll have more prominent and prevalent cellulite, so fat loss will reduce it, but as it’s about the structure of the fat deposits you can’t completely get rid of it, unless you reduce your bodyfat to dangerous levels. A good diet, good sleep, and regular exercise are all great for your health but won’t reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Whilst there is zero evidence that ‘cellulite busting’ foods can help, studies have shown that if you smoke then giving up can help. The chemicals in smoke reduce blood flow, weaken and disrupt collagen formation meaning fat shows through more.

Exercise has very little impact on cellulite. It will obviously help to reduce bodyfat but any fat still there will still show through and you definitely can’t spot reduce it by doing specific exercises for specific areas. We all have cellulite – I have it, I’ve had it since my teens, and I had it at my lowest and highest bodyfat.

There are lots of creams, gels, massage rollers, laser treatments etc which claim to reduce cellulite. They don’t. Any effects are temporary at best and ‘work’ by tightening the top layer of skin but the effects wear off after a few hours. There are surgical options that claim to reduce it but none give permanent results, most are very expensive and involve cutting the fibrous tissue to reduce the appearance.

Bottom line – cellulite is a fact of life so don’t waste energy or money trying to get rid of it. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet and doing exercise you enjoy to keep yourself fit and healthy.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx