Nutrition and Calorie Tips, Uncategorized

The lower sugar myth…

Sugar is often vilified as the cause of all health issues and as a result many companies have latched on to the idea that people are keen to reduce their sugar consumption. Now whilst sugar in excess amounts is undoubtedly not good (no nutrient in excess is) normal amounts of sugar in the diet are absolutely fine. However if you’re diabetic or trying to reduce your reliance on sugary snacks then it may be sensible to opt for some lower sugar options.

If you’re trying to lose weight (fat) then you may also decide to reduce sugar consumption. Many people equate lower sugar to mean lower calorie and would therefore go for the reduced sugar option in the belief that it would help them lose weight. In this example the actual difference is pretty insignificant.

A bag of normal Colin the Caterpillar sweets contain 499 cals, whilst the reduced sugar version contains 471 cals – a reduction of 28, which is unlikely to result in weight loss. Yes, every little bit counts, but the expectation would probably be that it was much lower and therefore you may eat a larger portion, or expect bigger fat losses from this small change. So at first glance you’d assume it was a lower calorie option. It’s not really! Clever eh?

So if you’re trying to reduce your calories and are going for the reduced sugar versions of things you love just take some time to check the calories and portion sizes and see if there really is a difference. If you enjoy the reduced sugar option and it helps to keep you on track then go for it! But don’t pay more for a marketing ploy when you don’t need to. Enjoy the sweets you like, in moderation, as part of a balanced diet 🤗


Recipes, Uncategorized

Lemon veggie ‘chicken’ and ‘bacon’ rice

This is something I used to make many years ago with ‘real’ chicken and bacon. You can obviously use the real deal if you want, but even if you’re not veggie it’s worth considering the vegetarian alternatives as they do save a lot of calories without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.

This works well with either freshly cooked or leftover rice. The lemon gives it a real freshness which is great for a warm spring/summer dinner or lunch.

It serves 4 and is approx 320 cals a portion.

You will need:

200g rice of your choice (uncooked weight)

300g Chicken alternative (I used Quorn chicken pieces)

120g Bacon alternative (I used Quorn)

1 onion, diced

A couple handfuls of frozen peas

Juice and zest of one large lemon (plus extra wedges for serving)

1/2 tsp oregano (or mixed herbs if not)

Black Pepper to taste

Start by getting the rice going – cook as usual (add to boiling water and boil until as soft as you like it). Drain and put to one side.

Use a little 1 cal oil spray in a hot pan and add the diced onion and sauté until brown.

Add the veggie chicken pieces and allow to brown.

Chop the veggie bacon into small pieces and add to the pan, allowing that to brown too.

Then add the peas – you can use as many as you like!

Cook through for a couple of minutes and then add the cooked rice and stir well.

Then add the oregano/ herbs, black pepper and lemon zest and mix.

Finally pour the lemon juice over and stir in well. Then serve, with a wedge of lemon.

Enjoy! 🙂



Craving chocolate…. just have chocolate!

Craving chocolate…. just have chocolate!🍫

At this time of year it’s quite common for people to try complete bans on certain foods in an attempt to lose weight or fat. Usually these foods are those they deem to be “bad” – often the more calorie dense or triggering food such as chocolate for example. Labelling foods as good or bad is never a great idea – no food is good or bad and all can be included within a balanced diet. The key is being aware of the calories in those foods and consuming them in moderation.

The problem with completely banning certain foods is that it isn’t sustainable long term. If you’re using it as a kick start – then fab, if you find it works for you and you need it to get you into the right mindset then brill, if you’re doing it because you find those foods trigger binge eating or other behaviours you want to avoid, then go for it! However if you’re arbitrarily banning them because they’re “bad” then think again. One of the biggest issues is that when we ban certain foods as “bad” we often consume “good” foods instead without being aware of their quantities or calories.

This is example is a classic one – and one I’ve fallen foul of numerous times myself. You’re avoiding chocolate because you’re trying to be “good” but you are desperately craving it. So instead you try a cocoa naked bar – cos that’s kinda chocolatey right? But it doesn’t really cut it, so you reach for the chocolate brazil nuts – ok so they do have some chocolate, but they’re “good” because Brazil nuts are great for you, and they’re not a proper chocolate bar so thats ok…. but that still doesn’t cut it…So you reach for the Superfood protein balls – cos protein and superfoods must be good eh? By now you’re probably too full to have more, but you still haven’t suppressed that chocolate craving.

However you’ve consumed over 700 cals in that little exercise… Instead you could have had a 45g sized bar of actual chocolate – enjoyed it, fed the craving and got on with your day for a mere 240 cals. In fact you could have had 2 bars and still have consumed fewer calories!

So sometimes you’re better off just having the damn chocolate!

Enjoy 🤗



Tuesday Tip: Are you Dehydrated?

Tuesday Tip: Are you Dehydrated? 💧

The wonderful hot weather seems to be continuing (yay!) so I thought it would be good to touch on hydration this week. We have an average of 5 litres of water in our body, you can lose up to 2 litres in a single workout so in this weather, even if you’re not working out, dehydration is a real risk. It’s not just about thirst, in fact thirst is a really poor measure of hydration as once you’re thirsty you’ve probably been dehydrated for some time. So what should you watch for?

#1 Dry skin

Skin is 80% water so if you’re not drinking enough your skin will show you – dull, peeling, dry skin can mean you’re dehydrated. 

#2 Fewer loo trips

Your kidneys use water to remove waste from your blood, so if you’re not getting enough water your kidneys can’t do this as effectively, this means you store it up, and you’ll need fewer loo trips. If this happens regularly then you may develop kidney stones. So if you’re pee-ing less than normal, drink more!

#3 Dark pee

The darker your urine the more dehydrated you are (usually – some foods also colour your pee e.g. beetroot). You want straw coloured pee! 

#4 Cramps

Muscles are 75% water. If you’re dehydrated the body will take water and divert blood flow from the muscles in preference to essential organs (e.g the heart) so you’re likely to get cramps. Dehydration causes hypersensitivity and involuntary contraction of muscles.

#5 Blood pressure changes

As you dehydrate your blood becomes thicker as the water-containing plasma becomes more concentrated. This means there is less blood volume to pump and as a result blood pressure can drop short term. However, chronic dehydration can lead to high blood pressure. When cells lack water the brain sends a signal to the pituitary glad to secrete vasopressin, a chemical that causes constriction of the blood vessels and increased blood pressure.

#6 Headache

Lack of water (and essential potassium and sodium) causes chemical changes in the blood. The brain is sensitive to these and reacts twith a headache. Equally if your blood volume drops the temporary reduction in blood pressure and oxygen flow to the brain causes the blood vessels in the brain to expand and swell which causes pressure headaches. They tend to be in back of the head and neck,  or all over the head, and may get worse when you bend over. A sports drink or rehydration sachet will help to ease this. 

#7 Constipation

After food is eaten, it is broken down in the small intestine and the non-essential portion of the food gets converted to waste. Dehydration causes the intestinal cells to extract water from the food waste in the intestines, causing the waste to become hard, leading to constipation. 

#8 Joint pain

Dehydration causes the cartilage in joints to rub against each other, causing weakening and wearing over time. However, with adequate water supply and the formation of new cells, the cartilage can be repaired. Lack of water increases the delay of repair to these damaged joints and over time the cartilage can wear out completely.

#9 Bad breath 

It’s a no brainer really – if you don’t have enough water then you won’t have enough saliva, so you’ll get a dry mouth and in turn bad breath. 

#10 Fatigue 

The brain  requires 85% water – more than any other organ in the body. Water deficiency in brain cells can result in an immediate reduction of the brain’s energy supply, which leads to fatigue, lethargy, and even depression.

Never attempt to drink your 2-3 litres of daily water quota in one sitting (that’s just as dangerous!), instead drink regularly, and get hydrating foods in e.g. melon, cucumber, grapes, celery etc. So get sipping! 

I’m staying hydrated with my Sundried water bottle – ethical, recycled active-wear and accessories – save the planet and your body (and get 50% off by entering the code ‘NANCY’ at check out) 

Happy Tuesday!


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