Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Cereal offenders…

Cereal offenders… 🥣

We are often told that higher protein is a better option when it comes to healthy food choice. Recently brands have been capitalising on this by marketing their products and releasing new products as high in protein or as a ‘protein’ version.

There is evidence that higher protein can help with weight management – but only because it helps to make you feel fuller, which therefore makes you less likely to consume more calories later. The end result is hopefully that you stick to your calories and are able to maintain or lose weight. Total calories are however the most important factor.

Cereals are one of the latest foods to fall victim to this. There are several brands out there now producing ‘protein’ cereals – Special K, Weetabix, Shreddies etc. You’d be forgiven for assuming the protein enhanced cereals were better for your health and to help you achieve your fat loss goals.

In reality the ‘normal’ cereal contains only 145 calories and 4.4g of protein. The protein enhanced cereal contains more calories at 182 per portion and 6g protein. So yes you are getting more protein of course, but the marginal gain in protein really isn’t worth the added calories and cost. That 1.4g of protein is not going to make a significant difference. You’d be better off having the cereal you want, and if you’re keen to increase protein levels then either add some Greek yoghurt instead milk, or have a snack of something that’s higher in protein later on (e.g a light mini babybel for 42 cals with 5g protein). The bonus of having the babybel or adding Greek yoghurt is that you’ll also get more fat which helps to keep you fuller for longer when combined with protein.

So if you’re a cereal lover then I wouldn’t waste your money or calories on these protein enhanced cereals (unless you actually enjoy the taste of them more of course). Either way read the labels rather than being swayed by the ‘protein’ label and make an informed choice xx 🤗

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein?

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein? 🍗

Protein is all the rage right now – pushes for its ability to aid weight loss, help keep you full, build muscle and added to pretty much everything in the supermarket now! But is it possible to eat too much?

Yes and no!

It’s important to get enough protein – not only is it essential for health (Amino acids in protein are the building blocks for your body), it’s also great at keeping you fuller for longer, but do we really need as much as it seems? The recommended amount is around 0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight. So if you weigh 65kg you need around 49g a day – a chicken sandwich, porridge with milk, and a veggie chili will give you well over that easily.

Studies do show that higher amounts of protein keep you fuller for longer and there’s also evidence to suggest that higher intakes of protein can help preserve muscle mass when losing weight. If you’re trying to build

Muscle then higher protein is also important(1.2g to 1.6g per kilo).

But…. just because slightly more protein is good that doesn’t mean loads is better.

Studies have shown over 2g per kg brings very little benefit. There’s no way to store protein so any surplus is used for energy – which means of course if you’re consuming more calories than you expend you will store it as fat. Despite scaremongering about excess protein and kidney issues there is little evidence of this in healthy adults. There is evidence though that excess protein causes changes in gut bacteria and digestive issues.

It’s also worth considering what you’re cutting out in order to get extra protein in. If you’re swapping grains for protein you’ll be consuming less fibre which can lead to gut issues.

For the majority of people, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, you’ll be getting plenty of protein. So if you’re reaching for ‘protein’ laden snacks just because you think they’re better then don’t bother, have what you enjoy instead. If you’re adding protein powder to everything just for the sake of it – stop and think whether you really need to. Are you just adding extra calories for the sake of it? As always, balance is key! 🙌🏼

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Chicken is already high protein….

Chicken is already high protein…. 🍗

When it comes to snacking a high protein option can be a good choice – it helps to keep you fuller for longer and more satisfied. This in turn can mean you’re less likely to snack again later or over eat at your main meals and so can help with weight loss or management by helping you stick to your daily calorie goal.

As I’ve said before many brands capitalise on this by marketing their products based on their protein content.

This is a another great example of that marketing. The fridge raider slow roasted chicken bites are marketed as ‘powered by protein’ and yes they make a convenient snack. But they actually only have 12g of protein for 124 cals and are around 91% chicken.

Chicken on the other hand – which is readily available in pre cooked snack size packs – just like the fridge raiders, gives you 16.2g protein for only 79 cals and it’s basically just chicken (98%)! It’s also a lot cheaper too!

So if you’re looking for a meat based protein snack then just save the calories and money and buy some actual chicken!🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

The totally nuts protein marketing myth!

The totally nuts protein marketing myth! 🥜

It seems to be the thing at the moment to market snacks as being high protein. This is presumably based on the idea that increased protein can help weight loss (it actually only does this by increasing your feeling of fullness meaning you are less likely to eat more later, thereby keeping your calorie intake lower). This is a great example of a high protein snack…. which is in fact not that high protein. These protein nuts have only 11g protein for 299 cals, which is not really ‘high’. They’ll be priced higher because they’re marketed this way. In contrast a serving of just normal nuts actually contains more protein (13.1g ) for only 4 calories more…

The protein nuts are double the price of the normal nuts… so if you’re choosing them because you like the taste then go for it, but if you’re choosing them because you think they’re a better source of protein then save your pennies, ignore the hype and buy some normal nuts!

Enjoy 🥜 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it?

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it? 🥤

This week’s tip may seem a bit specialist but I’ve had lots of people asking me about these. BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), the supposedly vital pre-workout supplement (usually taken as a drink) which helps muscle recovery and building – are they actually worth taking?

In general – No. Why not?

#1 They don’t build muscle

BCAAs contain leucine, valine and isoleucine, 3 of the 9 essential amino acids for muscle growth/repair. You need all of them, not just those 3. There are also recent studies showing they can actually inhibit muscle growth. Taking them on their own creates competition with other amino acids for absorption, making it harder for the body to use the other “building blocks” to form new muscle tissue.

#2 but…

But “I read that BCAAs increased muscle protein synthesis!” Maybe, but most of these studies have serious limitations, including being conducted by the companies that make them! They’re often compared to water in these studies which isn’t a fair comparison. When compared with other protein sources BCAAs show no benefits.

#3 They don’t reduce muscle soreness.

A recent study showed no reduction in muscle soreness by taking BCAAs which is one of the many benefits proponents of them claim.

#4 They’re empty calories

They’re not zero calories. Think about it – how can they be no calories if they’re amino acids and used for muscle synthesis? Of course they have calories (check the packet!). So you’re taking on extra calories for zero benefit.

#5 They can make you eat more

Recent studies have found BCAAs actually increase your appetite and make you eat more. They also have no impact on fatigue or tiredness. Many reports of this are anecdotal – in most actual studies they have no impact at all.

BCAAs have no nutritional benefits. Unless your diet is devoid of protein, BCAAs will do nothing to help you look better, feel better or perform better. So rather than wasting money and calories on BCAAs just because someone at the gym or on Instagram said they’re ‘vital’ simply have a balanced diet, with normal amounts of protein instead.

Happy Tuesday 🤗



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


Mixed herbs

Cayenne 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 🙂


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Avoid the Protein Hype

Tuesday Tip: Avoid the Protein Hype 🍞

Protein enhanced products are everywhere now – protein chocolate, protein porridge, protein crisps…. but is there really any benefit? Or is it just a marketing ploy?

Protein is important for muscle repair and growth so it’s vital for those wishing to build lean muscle. It also helps to keep you fuller for longer, so can aid in weight loss as it means you’re less hungry, and less likely to overeat. This has lead to widespread hype and a proliferation of protein-enhanced versions of existing products. These obviously appeal to people interested in weight loss and fitness but are they really worth the calories?

Well in most cases, no they’re not, and you’d be better off making different choices for those calories. Just because the word “protein” is on the side doesn’t instantly make it healthy, or low calorie (in fact in most cases they’re higher in calories) and often not even a great choice for protein content either!

For example in a special K Protein bar you would get 4g protein, 123 cals and 6 g of sugar… great … but a slice of bread will give you 5g protein for only 95 cals and 2g sugar (and at 5% of the price!). If you wanted to get a typical serving of 25g protein you’d have to have 6.25 bars, nearly 770 cals and 37.5g sugar!! Other examples – branded protein smoothies provide about 8g protein, 220 cals and 33g sugar, Snack packs (e.g graze) give about 7g protein, 130 cals and 1g sugar whereas a glass of semi-skimmed milk is 13g protein, 180 cals and 17 g sugar, and a packet of salted peanuts is 8g protein, 171 cals and 1g sugar etc

So if you enjoy these products – then go for it! But if you’re consuming them because you think they’re healthier or better for you due to the protein content then you’d be far better off saving your pennies and calories and just having a piece of toast instead!

Happy Tuesday – Enjoy your toast 🤗