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New Year a New You: A healthy diet for life.

Published: 2nd January 2011 09:53

Article, pictures & recipes by Emma Allsopp

healthy bowl of soupIt's January and as usual we're feeling fat and bloated after virtually a month of over indulging. Hung-over on New Years day we decide to go on a new revolutionary diet that's going to change our lives, well this year try something different and by different I don't mean eating only yellow food!

We all know crazy diets don't work, they're expensive usually requiring us to throw away all of the foods in our house and buy new strange and exotic stuff we've no idea what to do with, difficult to follow, no one on earth could stick to them and sometimes just plain dangerous.

I for one have had enough of getting my hopes up and starting out with so much enthusiasm to be defeated a week in. My approach to dieting isn't radical, but having done just about every diet known to man I have found one that works! You'll probably read this and think ‘I knew that!' but it's the putting in to practice of that knowledge, working those ideas and recipes into your everyday life.

On this eating plan there are no quick fixes, but there are plenty of no nonsense ideas, that if you adopt and try to do everyday will mean you and your family can be healthy forever. As you eat more healthily then you will lose weight and find your own natural weight, if you exercise, your natural weight is lower. If I am running regularly, then I'm naturally and comfortably a stone lighter than when I'm not running.

It's the most basic equation (calories in)-(calories out)=Excess, and unfortunately an excess of 1500 calories to make 1 pound of fat. So just one extra chocolate bar a day means gaining 1 lb a week which is the equivalent of 4 stones a year! On the other hand if you cut out just a small amount of calories consistently for a year then you could drop 4 stone in a year! This really does work, after having my daughter I lost all 2 stones of my pregnancy weight in 6 months, just through sensible eating, not deprivation, if you've read my food articles you'll now I don't do deprivation.

Ok to the "diet".  The basic health principles I have tried to include are:
  1. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, not only are they packed with goodness but are also very filling for very few calories.
  2. No food is "banned", just be sensible it's pretty obvious crisps, chips and chocolate aren't good for you so try and limit them or at least try and compensate for them.
  3. All food groups are important, carbohydrates, protein and fats all play their part in a healthy diet. Sticking to complex carbohydrates will keep you fuller for longer, choosing lean protein will cut down on saturated fats and cholesterol. Fats such as omega 3 & 6 are important for preventing heart disease and building the brain.
  4. Dairy is important, our skeletons are constantly renewing themselves, if we don't have enough calcium our skeletons become weakened especially women.
  5. Balance is the key. If you know you're going out for the evening choose low calorie meals and snacks through out the day to limit the impact of the indulgence.
  6. The way you eat your calories is also important, to little for breakfast and you'll be starving and tempted to overeat mid morning, too much for breakfast and you'll be struggling with a calorie deficit all day.
Breakfast (approximately 300 calories, for women. 350 for men)

cinnamon & apple porridgeCinnamon & Apple Porridge 

Ok time to get your metabolism going. One principle from the GI diet I agree with is eating complex carbohydrates, they are harder to break down and so provide energy slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable. This means there isn't that mid-morning crash leaving you craving a latte and muffin fix at 10am. Porridge is a great example; you can add fresh berries for an extra vitamin boost. If you don't like porridge try muesli, I've given a recipe to make your own but if you prefer to buy it try and get a sugar free version with no sweeteners, you can add fresh berries for sweetness.

Sweeteners actually work on a psychological level to make you hungry, sugar starts digesting in the mouth alerting your body to the need to produce insulin to cope with the sugar you're eating, but of course you're not eating sugar so the insulin has nothing to act on.  This imbalance triggers the need to eat something sweet to use up the excess insulin. Whole-wheat toast is also a great alternative, with low sugar jam or unrefined un-sweetened peanut butter.

If at first you find these recipes lacking in sweetness drizzle over a teaspoon of honey to serve, you will have probably been used to over sweetened cereal and your body will be looking for an instant sweet hit, if you deny your body this you'll feel hungry all morning and may end up either grumpy or binging.

See our breakfast recipes

Spicy apple and cinnamon porridge

Home made Get up and go muesli

Kedgeree

Top toast toppers

Omelettes

Mid-morning (approximately 150 calories, for women. 250 for men)

lemon & poppyseed muffinsLemon & Poppyseed muffins 

A little pick me up to stop you pigging out at lunch.

A decaffeinated coffee or tea with skimmed milk and no sugar is only x calories, add in a homemade muffin or flapjack square.

See our Mid-morning snacks

Supper skinny muffins

Fruity flapjack squares 

Yogurt and muesli with berries & Fruit fixes

Homemade oatcakes

Lunch (approximately 400 calories, for women. 500 for men)

 Lunch for most people is eaten at work out of a lunchbox. So here are some great meals to be eaten with little mess, or fuss.

See our lunch menu

Super soup

Chicken ceaser salad wraps

Sandwich fillings

Lunchbox salads

Mid-afternoon (approximately 100 calories, for women. 200 for men)

Mid-afternoon is a snack you don't always have chance to eat. I usually have a medium banana (about 90 calories). It is important to eat even if it's a grabbed snack on the way back home or on the way to the gym, or you'll find yourself eating more than you should at dinner time. It's also worth noting a Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar has been reduced in size to be only 99 calories.
See our simple afternoon snacks (Rice cakes with toppings, Fruit and nut mix & Spicy seed mix)

Dinner (approximately 550, for women. 700 for men)

HamburgerAs dinner is usually eaten with the family whether that's your partner, kids or parents, you don't want to be cooking separate meals. So the recipes I have given are "family friendly". Meals which can be altered very simply for younger children who are still growing, or the just plain stubborn. My evening meal is my comfort blanket, if it's not satisfactory then a few hours after I've eaten I'll be looking through the cupboards for something. I also don't particularly like puddings, but I have included recipes for the pudding lovers among you.

See our Dinner time recipes

Chilli and rice

Skinny shepherd's pie

Burger, fries and salad

Stir fried mushrooms with Soya beans

Falafel, pita and tzatiki

Creamy Risotto with out the fat

Quick and easy pasta dishes

Friday night Curry

Puddings to diet for (Fragrant baked figs & Eaton mess)

5 ways with Yogurt

 

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