Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Healthy’ day of snacks vs ‘I’ve blown my diet’

It’s amazing how we categorise our food choices in to good and bad. 😇😈

Having a day where you snack on a fruit smoothie, some dried fruit and a handful of nuts leaves you feeling virtuous, on track and having had a great, healthy day! Whilst if you’d had a doughnut, Mars bar and a couple of chocolate digestives you’d likely be feeling guilty, like you’d ruined your diet and were off the wagon totally right?

Now obviously in terms of nutritional value the dried fruit, smoothie and nuts are arguably a better choice – some good fats, a little protein and lots of vitamins and minerals. But they are also high in sugar – and yes it’s fruit sugars, but frankly that makes very little difference to how your body uses and processes them – sugar is sugar!

In contrast the ‘bad’ snacks are high in fat and sugar and lower in vitamins, minerals and good fats and protein. And I know someone will point out they’re more ‘processed’ but honestly that makes very little difference – everything we is processed and that smoothie is just as processed as the doughnut.

So if your goal is to increase the nutrients in your diet and to eat more ‘healthily’ then yes the fruit and nuts are the way to go. But if you’re goal is weight or fat loss then you really need to stop and consider the calorie differences.

That day of ‘good’ snacks is well over 50 percent of most people’s daily calorie requirement. The ‘bad’ snacks are almost 500 cals less….

So if you were trying to lose weight then maybe the ‘bad’ snacks are actually not so bad…. and you certainly haven’t ‘blown’ your diet. In fact you can probably still have a balanced couple of meals (to get all those other nutrients in) and finish the day within your calories.

No food is inherently good or bad… they’re just food. They have different nutritional profiles and different caloric values and all are fine as part of a balanced diet 🤗

Enjoy! Xx


Chilli con veggie!

This is another great option for weekday dinners as the weather gets colder. I make a big batch and it’s fab for a lovely quick meal. It is super versatile too – you can use it for spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, or as a chilli with rice or jacket potato, or just on its own! It will keep in the fridge for at least a week (I’ve kept it for 2 but usually I’ve eaten it all by then!) or you can freeze portions too.

This is really easy to make and if you’re busy you can speed it up even more by using bags of frozen veg. Waitrose/Ocado do a bag of mixed onion, celery and carrots (‘soffritto mix’) and a great bag of frozen mixed grilled veg (onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper) which work brilliantly. Don’t be afraid of using the frozen veg – often they’re actually higher in nutrients than fresh as they’re frozen immediately rather than sitting in warehouses for months. I’m very much a believer in making eating healthy as easy as possible so this is a really easy option.

Even if you’re not vegetarian I’d definitely suggest you try this – it’s a lot lighter in calories and just as tasty. And if you’re worried the family may not want a meat substitute i’d suggest trying it and not telling them – I bet they don’t notice! Loads of my clients have found that their other halves and children haven’t even realised it’s not meat (though obviously you could use turkey or beef mince if you wanted to).

This makes approx 8 generous servings at 245 cals per serving!

You will need:

1000g of Quorn mince (or ‘meet the alternative’ or any other meat substitute)

1500g Pasatta

Either – 1 bag of soffritto mix OR 1 onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1 large carrot all finely chopped

Other mixed veg – pepper, courgette, aubergine (your choice, or 1 bag of the frozen veg)

3 vegetable stock cubes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp of chilli (to taste)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Mixed herbs

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian brand if necessary)

Spoonful of marmite (optional)

Salt and pepper

Heat a little oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few mins.

Add the mincemeat and mix well and let it heat through (if using turkey, beef etc then ensure the meat browns at this point). Add the stock cubes and mix well.

Add the other vegetables and stir well. Heat for a few mins.

Stir in the passata and then add all the spices, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and marmite. Mix well and allow to simmer.

Taste it during this phase and adjust seasoning to taste.

Once it’s cooked for at least 20 mins, if you can let it cook a bit longer do as it helps to give a better flavour. Then it’s done!

Serve with spaghetti, jacket potato, rice, or as a chilli with a dollop of yoghurt and spinach!

Enjoy 🙂