After many years of working 1-2-1 with clients, I have recently become involved with group weight loss classes – something I did in my early days as a nutritionist. I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy working in groups, helping people to make better food choices both to achieve weight loss goals and improve health at the same time.
My own health journey started some 15 years ago, when a shock diagnosis of cancer forced me to re-evaluate my diet & lifestyle in order to reduce my risk of recurrence following successful treatment. I have never looked back.
However when talking to people about their diets, it is apparent that much of our media reporting around food is causing considerable confusion. I want to offer a practical way of visualising two important facts:
- It is not calories per se that make you fat or unhealthy, it is the quality of the food you eat
- Good food is worth the effort – and with a little planning in the kitchen it doesn’t have to be onerous.
Here is an example of a typical day for me. My overriding aim is to eat as much good food as I can. And because good foods are filling, I don’t need to snack (which is where weight gain really happens):
Breakfast 8am – Red onion, red pepper & courgette stir fried in butter & olive oil; some chopped up baked potato added (just 100g which is 21g carbs) and topped with an egg scrambled with full fat milk & butter.
Lunch 3pm – Fennel, broccoli, avocado & orange salad with leftover cooked chicken, mayo & olive oil. Homemade chocolate brownie with clotted cream. The chocolate brownie is made from butter, eggs, walnuts, ground almonds, and a small amount of brown sugar & banana to sweeten. The full recipe makes 16 portions – I keep them in the freezer to avoid the temptation to eat them all in one sitting!
Supper 8pm – a large portion of homemade soup – leftover cauliflower cheese blended with leeks, carrot (4g carbs), garlic, cashew nuts (8g carbs) and homemade chicken stock (also kept frozen in individual portions). Cashew nuts make soup very creamy and add protein to the meal.
So in summary this meal plan includes a variety of 10 different vegetables; one fruit portion; protein with every meal (egg, chicken, cashew plus nuts in the brownie) & generous good fats (avocado, olive oil, cream, butter).
The starchy carb content (potato, satsuma, carrot, cashew and banana in the brownie was just 38g; plus 1.5tsp of added sugar (also in the brownie). This is a fraction of the WHO recommendation of no more than 6 tsp of added sugar per day. There are also carbs in the other vegetables, but I’m confident this would bring me way below the notional 100g a day max for a low carb diet (in contrast to current guidelines advocating a whopping 250g carb intake)
The meal plan was delicious and kept me full, even when lunch was later than usual due to a work commitment. It was also very fast to prepare.
I hope this blog post inspires you to enjoy good food which benefits both your health and waistline. And as a special reward for reading to the bottom of this post – here is the chocolate brownie recipe. Enjoy!!