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.



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!



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.



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump 😴

The mid afternoon energy slump – usually 3-4pm is common to all of us! It can have you reaching for the sugar or caffeine to stay alert but instead try these tips to help beat that slump!

#1 Start right

Not starting the day right can have big impacts later. If you don’t have breakfast you’re far more likely to feel sleepy later in the day. Try a brekkie that combines protein and carbs – eggs on toast, porridge with nuts/fruit. If you’re in a rush take it with you – peanut butter bagel, yogurt pot etc.

# 2 Watch the carbs and fat

Now I’m definitely not saying to cut carbs totally for lunch – you need them for energy. Too few and you’ll find you’re running low by 3pm. But on the flip side too many carbs and you’ll feel sluggish all afternoon. Go for a fist sized portion of carbs with lunch. Also reduce the fat – high fat meals are harder to digest so leave you feeling sluggish. So have a sandwich by all means, or a pasta salad, but load up on the veggies and go easy on the bread/pasta and cheese etc.

# 3 Have a break

Studies have found that taking regular 5-15 min breaks leads to increased productivity at work, and can help combat the afternoon slump. Try to get up and walk around at least once every hour throughout the day. Then, during your break, do a few stretches and take a few deep breaths to invigorate and refresh your mind and your body.

# 4 Drink more

The afternoon slump can also be a result of dehydration. So grab a cold glass of water when you start to feel sleepy. You could add a little lime/cucumber/lemon to your water to add to the flavour. Or try soaking some bits of pineapple in your water for a delicious pineapple-infused burst of energy!

#5 Use your head

It sounds counter intuitive as it’s the last thing you feel like doing but using your brain helps to combat that slump. Try a fun, quick task like crosswords/puzzles etc to give those brain cells a blast. Engaging your brain this way will rouse your concentration levels and refocus you.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


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 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips


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 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok 🥖🍞🥔

Carbs are the devil right? We all know someone that cut carbs and lost a stone in 4 weeks or whatever… so obviously carbs are bad?

There is so much conflicting, scientific sounding rhetoric out there blasting carbs – saying you shouldn’t eat them, or if you do eat them you should only eat them at certain times, or that cutting them will result in massive weight loss (well yeah if you cut any major food group out of your diet you’ll lose weight – you’re eating less!).

This is not actually true. The common argument is that carbs cause insulin to be released and to spike and therefore it’s bad because that insulin will somehow cause fat to be stored ….well sorry but all meals do this and in fact some proteins cause a greater response than carbs! In addition those insulin level changes have no direct impact on weight gain or weight loss. You have to be eating more than you’re using to store fat.

Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source – breaking them down to glucose, but if there are no carbs around the body simply breaks protein to glucose instead. This applies at any time – not just when you’re exercising- because we need glucose to function – both physically and mentally.

Does that mean that there is no point in eating more carbs at certain times and fewer at others? No – you can definitely choose to have more carbs when your body may need extra fuel e.g. when working out, or in the morning when you’ve not eaten all night. But it’s not black and white and you certainly don’t need to ONLY eat carbs at these times and you definitely shouldn’t be avoiding carbs altogether.

How many carbs you eat doesn’t determine your weight loss – it’s total number of calories eaten and calories expended that matter. Carbs are just one part of the equation that you can play around with to help you meet those goals. There’s no need to obsess over carbs – yes small tweaks may help and you MAY find it easier to only eat carbs in the morning, or whenever, but if you like carbs eat them – just manage your portion size.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx