Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Too Much sugar….’

‘Too Much sugar….’🍬 🍎

Sugar – so often vilified as something to be avoided, something bad, the root of all our health problems… yet is it really?

The simple answer is no. We need sugar – it’s a great source of easy energy and it also tastes great. Sugar is made up of two components, fructose and glucose. The molecular structure is the same no matter where they come from. Fruit contains fructose, glucose and also some sucrose (a combination of fructose and glucose). Sweets will tend to be higher in sucrose.

Once digested the sugar from 40g of haribo has the same effect in terms of calories as the sugar from an apple. It’s not worse, and no better. There is a however a difference in how it’s metabolised – fructose is metabolised in the liver so doesn’t produce the same blood sugar high and insulin response – fruit is therefore a better choice in that respect.

In the case of the haribo you’re getting mostly just sugar (and a small amount of protein), with an apple you’re getting the sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals. The fibre slows digestion making it more filling (and good for your gut heath). This means you’re less likely to want to eat more later, and it’s better for your blood sugar levels. So objectively the apple is a better choice health-wise.

However, foods also provide other things – such as pleasure, convenience etc. So if you’re trying to watch your calories, and you really fancy some sweets you’re better off just having them. If you’re rushing and need a quick burst of energy before a run you’re also better off going for sweets. In terms of the impact on weight/fat loss there will be no difference as long as you stay within your daily calories and are aware they will be a less filling option. And in terms of sugar content the apple is actually higher.

I’m not suggesting sweets are better than apples for you, nor that you swap all your fruit for haribo. I’m just suggesting we recognise that no foods are ‘bad’, and that as part of a balanced, healthy diet you can have both! Sometimes the haribo will be what you need, sometimes the apple!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

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

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

‘I’m trying to lose weight so I’m avoiding carbs ….

‘I’m trying to lose weight so I’m avoiding carbs ….’ 🍞

There is a common misconception that carbs are inherently ‘bad’ and that in order to lose weight you need to cut them out or avoid them completely. This usually means people cut out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc.

However they continue to eat fruit and veg without thinking twice when many actually contain more carbs. For example compared to a slice of bread a small Banana contains more calories, 3 times as many carbs and 15 times as much sugar! Now that doesn’t make the banana bad either – but why would you avoid the bread if you like it, yet happily eat the banana if you’re trying to avoid carbs?

In reality there is no reason at all to cut carbs from your diet. You can lose weight with or without carbs – it’s all about calories. Now obviously some people have medical reasons to avoid things like bread (coeliacs etc) but for the majority of people these foods are fine. The reason you may see weight loss when cutting these sorts of carbs is simply because you’re reducing your overall calorie intake. However unless you never want to eat carbs again then you’re not really setting yourself up for sustainable, long term weight management.

Obviously different carbs have different pros and cons – complex carbs will keep you fuller longer, whilst simple carbs (fruits mostly) will provide a faster hit of energy, you’ll get different nutrients from the different types too.

It’s important to have a balanced diet – including a range of carbs from bread to fruit. What works for you may not work for someone else and you may prefer to reduce consumption carbs, but it’s important to be informed about what’s actually in the food you’re eating before you make that choice. Cutting out whole food groups is never a sensible or sustainable approach though.

Personally I enjoy all sorts of carbs – from bread, to fruit, to pasta, to potatoes – to doughnuts! Eat the carbs you like and enjoy and just be mindful of the calories! 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

The healthy smoothie deception…

The healthy smoothie deception…. 🥤

You’d probably consider grabbing a bottle of some fruit based smoothie as a healthy option. It may be something you’d grab to go with your sandwich at lunch etc. It seems perfectly reasonable and it’s marketed as 2 of your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.

On the other hand if I suggested you grab a punnet of strawberries, one and a half apples, a quarter of an orange, a handful of black currants, a bunch of grapes and two bananas to go with your sandwich you’d probably think I’d gone mad! However that’s exactly what you’re doing when you grab a bottle of fruit smoothie.

It would actually be pretty hard to eat that quantity of fruit alongside your lunch without feeling very full, yet we can easily guzzle down 390 cals of smoothie? The fruit itself is virtually the same amount of calories – so what’s the difference?

The difference is bulk, mainly from fibre. The fibre you get in whole fruit is what makes it almost impossible to eat the same quantity of fruit as is in the smoothie. The smoothie strips almost all that fibre out so all you’re getting is sugar and the micronutrients.

There’s nothing wrong with having the smoothie if you want it, and have the calories for it in your day, but I think it is worth stopping and considering the quantity of fruit it compares to. And perhaps if you want something healthy to go with your lunch grabbing a punnet of strawberries instead? 🤗xx

Recipes

Mushroom and Tomato Tofu Scramble

This is a great easy lunch, light dinner or brekkie option. It’s filling, high protein and low fat and so easy and quick to make. You can use any veg you like – I often put pepper and courgette in if I have it.

This makes a large serving at approx 245 cals or a smaller (enough for lunch) serving at only 123 cals! You can keep leftovers in the fridge to be re heated the following day. Best served on toast – either a nice bit of sourdough or if want to save on cals go for one of the sandwich ‘thins’ at only 100 cals per thin.

Tofu only tastes as good as the herbs and spices it’s cooked in so adjust these to your taste.

You will need:

1 packet of Silken tofu (approx 350g)

100g Mushrooms

100g tomatoes

Spices and herbs to taste. I used :

Worcestershire sauce

Paprika

Mixed herbs

Cayenne pepper

Salt

Pepper

Chop the mushrooms and tomatoes. Add a little oil to a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until starting to brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook them down.

Open the tofu and drain off any obvious liquid, then add to the pan and break it up with a spatula.

Add all the spices and herbs and cook through.

Continue to cook for a couple of minutes and then serve on a piece of toast!

Enjoy 🙂

XX

Recipes

Peanut butter and Jam Porridge

Nothing beats a yummy bowl of porridge on a chilly day! And this one combines two of my favourite things – peanut butter and jam! Yum!

I actually tend to have this for lunch as it’s quite a filling portion. If you wanted you could also add a scoop of vanilla protein powder to make it even more filling. My current favourite protein powder is Missfits Vegan Vanilla powder – super yummy and available from amazon and Ocado (and other places!). I like my porridge made with water – but obviously use any type of milk if you prefer (though bear in mind the protein powder and milk will increase the calories).

This comes in at approx 384 cals of warming yumminess!

You will need:

50g jumbo oats

1 tbsp raspberry (or any flavour) jam

15g peanut butter

Raspberries and blueberries to top

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

Place the oats in to a saucepan (also add the protein powder if using) Add enough water to cover (I like my porridge quite dry so adjust the amount of water to suit you) – heat gently and stir well. If I’m rushed I just pour boiling water on to the oats, stir and add a little extra water then blast in the microwave for a min.

Once cooked pour the porridge in to a bowl and add the jam and stir through.

Drizzle the peanut butter on top next.

And then pop the berries on top.

Enjoy!

🙂

Xx