Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy frying…

Healthy frying… 🍳

With most people’s general activity levels lower at the moment and a natural focus on eating more “healthily” to stay well it seemed like a good opportunity to consider how to fry food more healthily.

There is an assumption that coconut oil is a healthy choice for cooking. As with other oils (e.g. olive oil), it does have some health benefits. The oil contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and there is evidence that it could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss.

So many people recommend using coconut oil to cook with – dolloping in a spoonful of the stuff for stir fries, pan frying meat and fish etc. Now whilst it is healthy it’s also extremely calorie dense. A spoonful (15g) of coconut oil is approx 129 cals. If you used this for one meal a day that would give you a total of 3,612 calories over the course of a month.

Thats a lot of extra calories! If you’re using oil simply to ensure the food doesn’t stick then you’d be far better off buying a good non-stick frying pan and using no oil at all! Or if you really need it you can get a 1 calorie coconut oil spray.

By using a non-stick pan you can save those extra calories (which you’re probably not accounting for anyway) and spend them on something else. It’s a small sacrifice for some big savings and assuming you’re having a balanced diet overall then you won’t suffer a decrease in health by cutting it out.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘ 🥓🍞🥜

I think if you were going to choose a “healthy” late morning snack/brunch option you’d probably assume the mixed nut bag is probably a better option than a bacon roll. And you’d assume it was healthier and certainly better for you if you’re trying to lose weight/fat.

Nuts, seeds and blackcurrants are full of nutrients – “good” fats, protein, antioxidants like Vitamin E etc. So nutritionally they are a good option, but the bag also contains a whopping 607 cals, with 28g fat and only 10g protein. The combination of fats and protein will help keep you full and satisfied but thats’s a really hefty snack that probably isn’t worth those calories.

In comparison a bacon roll would probably be perceived as a “bad” choice. In reality it has far fewer calories than the “healthy” option with only 389 cals in total. It’s also lower in fat with only 17.4g and higher in protein, 18.1 g. It still provides carbs, protein and fat so will keep you satisfied until lunch. I’m not suggesting you have one every day, but it’s certainly not terrible!.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy a bacon bap then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by the idea that nuts/seeds are inherently a “better” option – they’re not always!

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m pretty good at estimating my calories….. ‘

‘I’m pretty good at estimating my calories….. ‘ 🥑

I’m always telling my clients to try to be as accurate as possible when they’re tracking their food and calories. This means actually weighing things – particularly anything that is calorie dense.

Very often people tell me that they’re “pretty good” at estimating the amounts they’re having, that they have the same thing each day so they know what it looks like now, that they can estimate pretty well etc. I’m sure some can, but I know I can’t. I can at first but then often amounts creep up without you even realising it.

In this example on the left is an amount that was estimated at around 40g avocado by a number of people I asked, (calories excluding the toast), on the right is the actual amount – 120g! Now I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t have thought it was that much but look at what a difference it makes in calories. 40g can look very similar to 120g when layered on toast and you may not even realise how much you’re having. The same goes for nut butters, spreads, cheese etc – anything high calorie. With less calorie dense foods it won’t matter as much but with these calorie dense foods when you get it wrong you’re adding a large number of calories. This is also why measure like “a small avocado” are no good – what’s small? my small may not be your small… etc

So if you are trying to lose fat/watching your calories maybe it’s time to go back and get those scales out and double check those estimates and see if you really are as good as you think you are.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

If it’s made from cauliflower it must be healthy…. You

If it’s made from cauliflower it must be healthy…. 🍕

I’m sure we’ve all heard of, if not tried, having cauliflower in place of various carbs. Cauliflower is a vegetable so if something is made from cauliflower, it must be healthier than the “normal” version right?

Cauliflower pizza bases have become quite trendy and they’re marketed as being a healthier, better for you version, of your favourite Pizza.

Cauliflower is great – it’s a fab high fibre vegetable and is definitely a good thing to be eating if you like it. But just because something is made from cauliflower doesn’t automatically ,make it better for you. But in the case of a pizza base it’s very misleading. Have you ever tried to make a cauliflower pizza? It’s actually quite hard to make a “dough” without adding a whole of of other things too. At home you could probably make one with very little flour, but it’s not very stable and certainly wouldn’t survive being packaged and sold in supermarkets. So the sort you buy in health food shops/supermarkets etc are actually mostly flour of one type or another. In this example the main ingredient is actually wheat flour… exactly the same main ingredient as in the “normal” pizza base.

The cauliflower pizza is actually higher in calories and lower in protein than the “normal” one and despite often marketed as being high fibre (thanks to the cauliflower) it’s actually lower in fibre than the “normal” pizza base as well.

So all in all, you’re better off sticking to a normal pizza base, unless you particularly enjoy the taste of the cauliflower one!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Coco-nuts!…

Coco-nuts!…. 🥥

Coconuts are heralded as a “superfood” So coconut yoghurt must be better for you right?

Coconut yoghurt contains fewer carbs than dairy yoghurt as it is lactose free (the natural sugar in milk). It also contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss. Critically though many of these benefits are associated with coconut oil or meat,not yoghurt.

It’s plant-based and suitable for those with dairy/lactose allergies or vegans (but not all coconut yoghurt are actually vegan, many also contain dairy milk or gelatin). Natural yoghurt is dairy based but contains live probiotics and is good for gut health. There are no naturally occurring probiotics in coconut yoghurt (though some brands do add them in). If you are aiming for weight/fat loss however then natural yoghurt has some benefits.

Coconut yoghurt contains significantly more calories than natural yoghurt and approx 5 times as much saturated fat. Whilst the fat in coconut yoghurt is the more beneficial medium-chain triglycerides thats still a large amount of fat and that has it’s own risks. There’s also significantly less protein in coconut yoghurt. Higher protein can help keep you fuller for longer – which from a weight loss perspective is helpful.

So if you were assuming coconut yoghurt is “healthier” and therefore better option for weight loss then think again. The “good” fats in coconut yoghurt don’t offset the extra calories I’m afraid. There are lower calorie coconut yoghurts out there so if you really love coconut yoghurt then check the labels (a lot is watered down reducing the calorie content). If you are unable to eat dairy then consider some of the lactose-free yoghurt which have comparable calories, or go for a soya based option.

As always – calories count guys so check those labels – and have what you want, within your calories. Knowledge is power!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Avoiding cravings… or listening to them…

Avoiding cravings… or listening to them… 🍫

We all have cravings for certain foods or drinks at certain times. It may be for chocolate, biscuits, cheese, toast, wine – etc, whatever it is it’s usually perceived as a “bad” food.

If you’re trying to lose fat/weight then when a chocolate craving hits you may avoid it at all costs. Why? because it’s “bad”. It’s not a snack packed with protein or fats, or vitamins or all those things we know we should be eating. It’s full of sugar (omg!) so it is definitely evil and must be avoided at all costs…..So you avoid it when you’re desperate for some at 3pm. But you spend the rest of the day thinking about it… By the time you’re back from work and have had your dinner the craving is so strong that you dive straight into the a giant bar and inhale it without even tasting it. Then you’ll feel guilty, probably fairly stuffed, uncomfy and miserable. You’ll also have taken in an extra 1920 cals.

Instead, if you really want some chocolate at 3pm – have it! You don’t need to earn it. You don’t need to justify it. Not every item of food you eat needs to be packed with vitamins, protein etc. If you have a balanced diet overall then it’s absolutely fine to have some foods in your diet that aren’t nutritionally great but that give you pleasure!

Chances are that in most cases if you enjoy that chocolate for your snack, factor it into your day’s calories, then you won’t feel the need to inhale a giant bar later that day. So instead of ending up gorging on 1920 cals of chocolate you will have had 240 cals of it when you wanted it.

So rather than creating rules about foods that are good or bad, try to view all foods as things you can have – in moderation.

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Pizza Night!

Pizza night! 🍕

Socialising is a really important part of a healthy lifestyle and often that will involve eating out with friends or family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going out and eating whatever you want – be it a massive pizza or anything else.

However if you are trying to lose fat or weight then you may wish to limit these extra calories. One option is simply to avoid social situations. That’s not ideal – life will be full of social situations and if you’re trying to make sustainable changes then you can’t just avoid everything for ever! Or you could of course say “f*ck it” and just have whatever you want. Nothing wrong with that – but if you’re then likely to spend the next few days feeling guilty or being angry with yourself for not making progress etc then that’s not a good option either.

The final option is to simply switch what you have for something that’s essentially the same but just a smaller portion. In this example I’ve gone for a large, “rustica” Gamberone and Chorizo pizza and a large glass of wine. That could wrack up over 1700 calories -which for most people is a large proportion of their daily calories. And let’s be honest, that’s an awful lot of food. No one actually needs a pizza that large… instead you could swap it for a “skinny” or small version of the same pizza (which almost all restaurants offer nowadays) and a small glass of wine. Same taste, same enjoyment, you can socialise, and you’re consuming less than a third of the calories.

So no need to avoid pizza night, or blow the diet, to still be able to enjoy yourself. Consider simply having smaller portions.

Enjoy 🤗

Xx