Category Archives: Diet

Healthy snacking tips from Jillian Michaels

Try these sensible healthier eating tips from fitness expert and regular on Biggest Loser USA, Jillian Michaels

Create healthier alternatives to your favorite fried foods.
Opt for cooking methods that use little or no fat such as steaming, grilling, baking, popping, boiling or roasting. You can still make these items taste great with the right seasoning. Have a weakness for fried chicken? Instead try this recipe that is in my book, The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, for Almond Crusted Chicken Breast. Take skinless chicken breast cutlets and cover them in a delicious almond, rosemary and lemon zest paste, then bake. You’ll get the same great taste, but with half the calories and fat.

Too much of a good thing can actually be bad.
Everyone loves to tell you that healthy fats like avocados and extra virgin olive oil are good for you, but they require portion control like everything else. Eat no more than 6-8 teaspoons of fats and vegetable oil per day.

Keep eating – yes, I said it!
Eat three balanced meals a day every four hours with a snack in between lunch and dinner. Curb cravings with tasty snacks such as spice roasted almonds (this recipe is also in my cookbook!), veggies and organic hummus, or deviled organic eggs with a little vegan mayo. Fresh salsa is another great option but remember not to dip with fried crisps. Opt for crudites or low calorie snacks like Popchips ( instead – you’ll save a lot of fat and calories, but you won’t sacrifice taste. Just because it’s not fried, doesn’t mean it’s not delicious!

Popchips have less than half the fat of fried crisps – the entire bag has less than 100 calories, and no trans fats! Flavours include BBQ, Sour Cream and Onion, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Salt and Pepper and Thai Sweet Chilli.

Super supplement

Boost energy levels

Want to boost your weight loss and your energy levels? Co-enzyme Q10 could be the answer

Did you know your body has its very own ‘energy sparkplug’? It’s a natural chemical compound known as coenzyme-Q10, or co-Q10, and it’s found in every cell in your body. It helps to boost your energy levels, aid cell growth and ensure your body can turn food into energy – among other benefits.

Weight loss
If you find it difficult to summon the energy to run a few miles or hit the gym your supply of natural energy could be running low. The amount of co-Q10 your body can produce declines with age and a deficiency could contribute to lower energy levels and a slower metabolism – meaning fewer trips to the gym.

Fitness guru Dominic Knight, who runs a clinic in London’s Harley Street, says there are some promising studies that have shown a slowing in the progression of ageing in people taking co-Q10. ‘While it may seem too good to be true that the secret to weight loss could be found in a pill, there is a possibility that this is the case when it comes to coenzyme-Q10,’ he says.

‘Co-Q10’s effects on weight loss can be attributed to its ability to generate cellular energy, boosting your metabolism and helping you reach a healthy weight. Co-Q10 increases your body’s ability to convert food into energy, as well as regulating the fats and sugars found in your blood. The supplement also proves more effective when taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise programme,’ says Dominic. So if your weight loss needs a helping hand, look no further.

Menopause and migraines
Studies have also shown that co-Q10 could help to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. One study found 61.3 per cent of the patients in a trial achieved at least a 50 per cent reduction in frequency of migraine attacks – great if you’re susceptible to this pesky ailment.

It is also common for menopausal and premenopausal women to suffer from migraines and co-Q10 could be a natural alternative to taking conventional medicine. What’s more, supplementing with co-Q10 could help to alleviate other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, and fatigue. So if you’re suffering, consider upping your intake through your diet or taking a supplement.

Sources of co-Q10
As your body’s ability to produce co-Q10 begins to decline we need to find it elsewhere. We can source it in our diet from foods such as red meat, oily fish, soybean oil and nuts, but a supplement can also be a good option for keeping energy levels up – try the co-Q10 supplement range from Healthspan, it contains no impurities and is easily absorbed.

Sleep and weight loss

Sleep your way to a toned body with top tips from sleep expert, Dr Guy Meadows

You’re eating well and working hard at the gym, but are your body goals falling short? Perhaps you’re not getting the results that you want. While stepping up your exercise regime and cutting down on treats, Bensons for Beds and Dr Guy Meadows show how sleep affects weight management and what steps you can take to help get healthy, fit and lean.

How does sleep affect weight?

Hungry Hormones: “There are two hormones that affect weight, Ghrelin which regulates how hungry we feel and Leptin, which regulates the feeling of fullness. Research demonstrates that after a poor night‘s sleep Ghrelin levels increase, Leptin levels decrease and the desire to eat is increased by 45% above normal levels.”

Reduced willpower: “Sleep-deprived individuals select foods that are on average 9% higher in calories than when in a rested state. Research suggests this could be due to a sleep deprivation induced reduction in willpower.”

Tiredness impacts exercise: “Poor sleep leads to increased tiredness levels and reduced motivation for exercise, which in turn leads to weight gain. Being active can help to manage weight, tire muscles and boost sleep quality.”

Quick fixes: “When tired it’s easy to reach for sugary snacks to keep you going, but this just leaves you feeling worse in the long term. Instead, opt for a breakfast packed with slow-release energy such as porridge with Greek yoghurt or poached eggs with wholemeal toast. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day will stop you reaching for that chocolate bar. Choose healthy snacks such apple slices with nut butter instead.”

What can you do to improve your sleep?

Food rules: “Keep your evening meal light and always leave at least two hours between eating and sleeping. A large meal before bed can disrupt sleep quality and increase fat storage.”

Take advantage of power naps: “Nap for no more than 30 minutes for an effective natural boost of daytime energy. Research shows that taking a power nap can increase alertness levels by 100% for up to four hours afterwards, use that extra energy for a long run or fitness class!

Get 7-8 hours: “Research suggests that people who average six hours of sleep per night are 27% more likely to be overweight, and those who average five hours per night are 73% more likely to be overweight than someone who sleeps for 7-8 hours.”

Drink rules: “Limit caffeine to before 2pm and opt for herbal or decaf alternatives after this time. Aim to drink no more than two to three cups of caffeine per day as this can keep you up during the night, leaving you feeling sluggish and minimising your chances of hitting the gym the next day. It should be noted that if people are looking to manage their weight effectively, getting a good night’s sleep should be part of living a healthy balanced lifestyle including eating healthy food and exercising regularly.”

Mindful eating tips

Try this five-day mindful-eating diet plan to adopt healthy eating habits.

Adopt a new set of eating skills each day for five days. ‘It takes about 20 to 30 attempts at a new habit to rewire your brain for a permanent change,’ says Gaynor Bussell, independent nutritionist for the Kallo Food Academy. ‘So persist and don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the rails and eat mindlessly. Just think carefully about what’s happened and why.’

Day one

Allow at least 20 minutes for each meal and give the food your full attention. Take pleasure in planning meals and snacks and gather ingredients in advance to resist eating whatever’s around.

Day two

Enjoy preparing food. ‘Make it a creative art, even if it’s just putting a topping on some rice cakes,’ says Bussell. Eat before you get ravenous.

Day three

Make eating an aesthetic experience. For example, use a napkin, placemat, your best crockery (but keep your plate small). Notice each mouthful as you eat; relax, chew thoroughly and be aware of the flavour and texture of your food.

Day four

Keep your mind on the food – don’t let it wander to other subjects. Consider how it arrived on your plate and how you prepared it. Connect with the food and think about how it’s nourishing your body and mind.

Day five

Notice how full you feel and stop when you feel pleasantly satisfied not stuffed. After eating, note the meal is over and clear away. ‘Don’t consider this a chore but just the completion of the meal. Think how nice the food was and how you feel,’ says Bussell.

Smoothies for weight loss

Try these tasty smoothies, ideal for breakfast or for after exercise.

Ultimate breakfast smoothie

This smoothie is crammed with nutrients and is high in fibre and protein, so it’s filling too. Packed with vitamin C, berries are a quick and easy ingredient for smoothies, especially in the morning when you don’t have time to peel and chop fruit. Frozen berries are extra convenient.

Serves one

– Add 80g frozen raspberries, 80g frozen blueberries, 200ml oat milk, two heaped tablespoons live natural yoghurt, 100g silken tofu and one tablespoon runny honey to a jug and blend until smooth.
– To save time, pop everything into a jug the night before, leave in the fridge then just blend in the morning.

Kiwifruit, pear and apple smoothie

Kiwifruit are packed with potassium, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins C and E.

Serves one

– To make this delcious smoothie, peel two ripe kiwifruit, then peel an core one ripe pear and blend together with one cup of cloudy apple juice.
– Simply add the ingredients to a large jug and blend together with a hand-held blender until smooth. By pulping whole fruit you capture the maximum number of nutrients.