Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Protein smoothie for protein….. erm… or not?

Protein smoothie for protein….. erm… or not? 🥛

I’ve talked before about the marketing power of “protein” and how snacks (and other products) are often promoted as “healthy” or better because they contain X amount of protein. The reasoning behind this is the fact that increased protein can help with improved satiety (feelings of fullness) so CAN help to prevent overeating. Also those working out may want to focus on protein to help with muscle building.

Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete you probably don’t need to go out of your way to take in extra protein as most balanced diets contain far more protein than the average person needs. However you may still wish to focus on higher protein foods and snacks to help keep you feeling full.

So you may well see this protein smoothie and think it would be a good option as a post workout drink or snack. However for 350ml it’s around 207 cals (which is fine for a snack) and contains 7.7 G protein which is pretty good I guess for a fruit drink.

Oh but this is awkward… you could instead have a 350ml of skimmed milk for a mere 123 cals, and it will actually provide you with MORE protein – 12.6g in fact! And aside from the fact it’s lower calorie, and has more protein, it’s also far cheaper – costing around £0.24 for that amount (vs £1.86 for the same quantity of smoothie). The lacto-free skimmed milk also has similar calories and protein (though it is a bit pricier at £0.48) but also a great option – and there are flavoured options out there too if you want a fruity drink that also have similar protein and calorie levels! So plenty of options!




Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..”

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..” 😳

You hop on the scales in the morning and to your horror you’ve put on several kg seemingly overnight! Like most of us the first reaction is probably to feel demoralised and demotivated, think all your weight loss efforts have been wasted and assume you’ve put however many kg of fat on overnight.

I do say this a lot, but that’s because it’s true – the scales are not a very accurate measure when it comes to changes in bodyfat levels. Short term, significant, fluctuations in scale weight are normal and natural – especially large ones that seem to happen overnight. These do not mean changes in body composition – so you haven’t suddenly put on 3 kg of fat or muscle. Rather they tend to be related to water levels – intra and extracellular hydration.

Even if you did manage to eat an extra 20000 calories in one day (an impressive feat anyway!) then you STILL couldn’t store that all as 3kg of fat. Some would be expended in physical activity and metabolic processes, including the cost of digestion itself etc. The extra weight you see on the scales in short term fluctuations is water retention and food volume.

The reasons for it may include – a really big meal the night before, especially one that might be high in fibre, or red meat (which takes longer to digest). It could be due to your workout routine recently which can lead to short term fluid retention in the muscles. General hydration levels and salt levels will also impact it – especially if you had high levels of salt in your diet the day before. Hormones play a massive role – particularly for women and can cause fluctuations of up to 5kg doe to water retention. Lack of sleep or high levels of stress will also cause you to retain fluids. Carb heavy meals and alcohol do exactly the same thing too – you retain fluid – short term. Now that is NOT to say you need to avoid any of these things – you should be working out, you should be eating carbs etc but it may help to explain any fluctuations you see.

So if your scale weight is up today, then before you let it get you down, just stop and think about all the reasons it is probably fluctuating. Focus on being consistent with your calories instead, and use things like the way your clothes fit, or longer term trends in weight gauge progress (i.e. if you want to weigh yourself daily then take an average each week and use the trend of that average to gauge if you’re making progress).

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“Meat” Swaps

“Meat” Swaps 🥩

If you are trying to lose weight or fat then sometimes it’s handy to make some swaps for some of your meat based protein sources . Usually if you swap the higher fat protein options for leaner options then you can save calories, without sacrificing taste. It also means you can add more volume which helps with sticking to your caloire targets.

So here are a few examples of some easy swaps. I’ve included the plant-based options as well. There are a multitude of reasons you may choose not to eat meat (the ethics of which are beyond this article) but they can also be a handy way to reduce calories in some cases. However, as you can see, there are also lean meat options that reduce calories too (sometimes they’re even lower). It’s worth noting that I’ve chosen one example of plant based protein options and different brands have different caloric values so do check the labels.

You’ll also see that by choosing the leaner options you also end up with a greater amount of protein per 100g which is helpful for keeping your fuller for longer.

Chicken thigh 205 cals (16.9g protein) – chicken breast 112 cals (23g protein) – veggie ‘chicken’ 126 cals (16g protein)

Beef Mince (5% fat) 132 cals (22g protein) – turkey breast mince 119 cals (27g protein) – veggie mince 105 cals (14g protein)

Bacon 203 cals (17.6g protein) – bacon medallions 122 cals (21g protein) – veggie bacon 152 cals (24.5g protein)

Pork sausages 287 cals (12.7g protein) – chicken sausages 161 cals (15.1g protein) – veggie sausages 163 cals (14g protein)

These swaps are also handy if you struggle to track your calories. If you just made some of these swaps a few times a week you’d make significant savings over the week , facilitating a calorie deficit, and you’d probably barely even notice the difference!

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy vs unhealthy starter?

Healthy vs unhealthy starter? 🥟

With indoor restaurant dining open again many people will be having more meals out than before. If you’re trying to watch your calories or lose weight then restaurant meals can be tricky. We often have a number of preconceived ideas about which the ‘healthier’ option is and equate that with lower calorie. In reality sometimes things aren’t quite as you’d expect.

A great example of this is the classic Wagamama starter or side of edamame beans. These yummy little beans are a popular dish and definitely a healthy choice as they’re full of nutrients. I think most people would order them thinking they were the best option calorie wise, and probably not even really think about tracking the cals (because they’re just veg right?). You may even avoid another starter or side you actually prefer to choose these instead in the belief they’d be lower calorie.

However that’s not actually the case. It would be natural to assume that the pulled pork gyoza starter was a ‘worse’ choice in terms of calories. In reality that dish is actually lower calorie and fat than the edamame beans. The difference isn’t huge but it is there nonetheless. It also shows that those beans are a significant addition to the overall calories of the meal. So they are definitely worth counting and not something to have as an extra unless you actually want them!

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

A snack or loads of snacks…

A snack or loads of snacks… 🧁

There are lots of strategies you can use when trying to stick to your calorie deficit to lose weight/fat. Being aware of the calories in the foods you choose to consume and swapping to lower calorie foods which you also enjoy is an obvious option. As well as the calories though it’s worth considering the quantity and volume of the food you’re choosing.

Snacking is a common problem and an easy way to extra calories to sneak in. If you were to snack on a lemon muffin you’re looking at a substantial 428 calories of food. That’s quite a lot for a snack, and it will be gone in a few bites. However for only 259 calories you could have a curly wurly, a light babybel, some raspberries and a packet of popchips. This combination not only has the advantage of fewer calories overall, but also higher protein overall which will help to keep you fuller for longer, and they contain more fibre (mainly from the raspberries) and other micronutrients which will also help. But an often overlooked aspect is that there is also a greater volume of food in the lower calorie option. It will take you longer to eat the 4 snacks than the muffin, which will also increase feelings of satisfaction. You may also even find you don’t even need to eat all 4 snacks.

Obviously if you fancy the muffin and can fit it into your calories then go for it but this is just another strategy to add to your toolkit to help you stick to those calories.


Enjoy 🤗