Last January I embraced ‘Meat Free Mondays’ (although not always on a Monday!) in response to the environmental concerns as well as wanting to improve my repertoire of vegetarian and vegan recipes for the family. We have experimented with new and exciting flavours and textures since then and one of my favourites is a chickpea and coconut curry (pictured).
Plant based diets are growing ever more popular and are fuelled by a combination of health, economic, religious, ethical and environmental reasons. However, it is not just a case of cutting out meat and/or dairy and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake as this is likely to leave you with nutritional deficiencies later down the line.
I noticed that when searching for recipes I was drawn towards ones which contained not only vegetables but protein as well as carbohydrate to ensure a filling and satisfying meal for the family.
Good sources of plant based protein include beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, seeds, nuts and nut butters, tofu and soya. Eggs and dairy are also good sources if you’re not following a vegan diet. Meat substitutes such as vegetarian burgers, soya sausages and other meat alternatives can be a useful source of protein but they can be high in added salt and fat so check the labels carefully and use in moderation.
If you are following a vegan diet two nutrients which you are more at risk of becoming deficient in are Iron and Vitamin B12. Plant based sources of iron include dried fruits, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and pulses. As bioavailability (the amount absorbed by the body) is lower in plants than in meat it is best to combine citrus and other vitamin C sources with plant based sources of iron to increase absorption. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient found mostly in animal products therefore the only reliable plant sources of vitamin B12 are fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals, yeast extracts, soya yoghurts and non-dairy milks. Supplements may be required.
If you’re planning on continuing a plant based diet long term then as long as it’s well planned and balanced it can support every age and stage of life. It can also have health benefits such as helping you manage your weight and may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. However, a poorly planned diet that relies heavily on processed foods, and doesn’t replace nutrients found in animal products can lead to deficiencies in protein, Vitamin B12 and Iron as well as omega-3 fatty acids, Calcium, Iodine, Vitamin D, Zinc and Selenium. So if you’re not sure if you’ve covered all these nutrients then I can work with you to review your diet to support you in achieving the right balance of nutrients to meet your health goals. For personalised and professional support then do contact me at email@example.com or via the contact page.
As we approach the shortest day, in the middle of a pandemic, it can be hard to focus on the positives! Warming soups and stews and the puddings with custard serve to make us feel warm and provide the ultimate comfort. But remember to get the balance right so you’re not left with unwanted weight gain and low mood. Here, I discuss some thoughts to help you eat well and stay well this winter.
It’s boring but ‘balance’ is the name of the game. It’s not a time to be starting restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups. This just leaves us feeling hungry and deprived and can set up negative thought patterns and behaviours that can lead to overeating. Foods should not be labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’! Nourishing yourself properly with regular meals that provide complex, wholegrain carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and oats to sustain energy levels throughout the day; a protein source such as meat, fish, beans or pulses; plenty of fruit, salad or vegetables and a dairy source will give you a good balance of nutrients to support your overall health. Snacks can help to fuel our day and offer a useful boost to our overall nutrient intake, but the key is to plan them! Unplanned snacking can result from skipping meals and over-restrictive diets and then the foods chosen are often high in fat and sugar and over consumed. This can then lead to feelings of guilt and fuels a negative thought process impacting on our relationship with food. Build the foods you love into your diet and enjoy them in moderation and guilt free.
The winter months can see an increase in depression and if you already struggle with your mood then it can worsen symptoms. Eating well when you are struggling mentally can be extremely difficult. Feelings of guilt and shame if you’re unable to prepare meals will make things worse so it’s important to show yourself compassion and kindness during these times. Planning ahead for this by having good store cupboard and freezer supplies can help you grab a healthy snack or meal when the going gets tough.
Food is so much more than just nutrients! It can offer pleasure, comfort and invites social interaction which can help us keep a positive relationship with food. If you are struggling with your mood the thought of socialising can be extremely difficult. Usually, cosy winter evenings can be the perfect time to socialise with friends and family over a meal and a drink or meeting a friend for lunch can boost your mood on a gloomy day. This is difficult under our current pandemic restrictions, but we can still be creative in how we do this. So, why not share an online meal or drink? Or grab a takeaway coffee and go for a walk with a friend in an open space.
Colder days mean we don’t feel as thirsty and can often forget to drink. Dehydration can leave us feeling tired, sluggish, irritable and light-headed. Remember to drink regularly, at least 6-8 glasses, throughout the day and more if you’re exercising.
We all know exercise is good for us but fitting it in when the days are short can be challenging. Every little helps! It is recommended that adults should have a mix of aerobic and strength based exercise every week (see https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/ for actual guidelines). The benefits of physical activity are cumulative so if you aren’t meeting current guidelines then build up gradually in 10-15 minute blocks. If you’re working from home, make time during the day to see some daylight. It’ll boost your physical and mental wellbeing.
If you would like inspiration, support or motivation then do get in touch here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find also find me on Facebook and Instagram @lydialnutrition.
A recent study showed that 40% of UK adults report that they were eating more than usual during lockdown, compared with before lockdown, which may have led to some experiencing unwanted weight gain. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone, and here in ‘Lessons from Lockdown – Part 2’ I share some ways on how to get the balance back.
I found that about 8 weeks into lockdown, despite my daily dose of exercise I noticed a slight increase in my weight. We do bake a lot of cake in my house anyway, but I put this down to a reduction in my day-to-day ‘toing and froing’ and a change to my usual exercise regime. So, what did I do to regain control?
There are so many more ways of tweaking your food and activity to achieve your lifestyle goals, but whatever change you make, ensure it’s sustainable and works for you and your lifestyle. If you would like inspiration, support or motivation then do get in touch here or at email@example.com. You can find also find me on Facebook and https://www.instagram.com/lydialnutrition .
The school holidays are nearly at an end and many children have been off school nearly six months. With the beginning of term looming I decided it would be a good time to reflect on my own experiences as a working, mummy Dietitian and how I have managed to feed the family during lockdown.
So, there we have it! These are the positive food related things that have occurred in my family during lockdown. I’d love to hear how this time has positively impacted your family so do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here. In the second part of this blog I will explore how some may have struggled with their diets during lockdown and what can be done now lockdown eases.
Don’t have time for breakfast? Surviving on coffee until mid afternoon? Spending all day craving for something to eat? We all have good and bad days but if you always feel grumpy, sluggish or lack concentration then maybe you should consider whether there’s a connection between the foods you eat and how you’re feeling. As a Dietitian and as mum of two small children, planning my meals and snacks reduces the dreaded ‘hungry meltdown’ or ‘thirsty tantrum’.
But what about me? Well, as a dietitian I do plan for myself but there are so many parents who forget about caring for themselves whilst caring for their children. This blog explores how the food we eat can play a big part in how we feel.
Erratic eating patterns, over restrictive diets that lack variety and therefore key nutrients, such as carbohydrates, iron, selenium and some B vitamins can impact our mood, energy levels and brain function.
Here are 5 things you can do to plan a diet to support a positive outlook.
Looking after young children is tiring so it is important to take the time to prioritise yourself and plan YOUR, and their, food intake, to ensure that you all benefit from a variety of foods that will supply a range of nutrients that will give you sustained energy throughout the day.
If you would like a review of your diet then do contact me at email@example.com or visit my website www.lydialeighton.com for more information. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram @lydialnutrition.
As a meal planning and family mealtimes expert, I must have heard every excuse under the sun as to why people don’t do it – no time, it’s restrictive, don’t know how, sounds like something my gran would do. And yet, the benefits far out weigh all of those excuses and there’s a very good reason why meal planning is something your gran would do!
Invest a little time to get organised and you could quickly see the results:
How to get started
This is where most people I work with struggle – knowing where or how to start.
Some tips for meal planning success
Thank you to Lydia for allowing me to share my meal planning wisdom with you and give you a flavour of what Kitchen Titbits is all about. We share a passion for good food and showing people that a healthy lifestyle and eating well needn’t cost a fortune, cause you organisation headaches or eat into what little precious time you have left for you once everything else is taken care of.
For more tips, tricks and titbits as well as plenty of meal inspiration you can find me at kitchentitbits.co.uk over on Facebook as @KitchenTitbits.Sarah or on Instagram and Twitter as @kitchentitbits If you need more help with meal planning or family mealtimes, I’d love to chat.
Having just taken receipt of my first ever Fruit & Veg box it got me thinking about how me and my family’s eating habits and food menu has changed since lockdown began. As with many of us, I am now catering for the whole family to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, at home every day. We seem to be baking a lot more cakes too! There are no school lunches, freebie work lunches, odd meal out or coffee and cake with friends to ease the meal planning in the week. With a supermarket shop taking so much longer and the fact that you can’t necessarily get everything you need or want due to low stocks, combined with online delivery slots now scarce, I am meal planning for well over a week in order to limit the number of trips I need to make to the shops. Keen to work out a more practical way forward (and avoid a mega shop every couple of weeks) I’ve looked into supporting the local butcher and bakery and found that my usual greengrocer’s market stall was changing to deliveries through this difficult time!
I have always liked the idea of receiving a weekly fruit and vegetable box and the element of surprise of what arrives in a weekly box, then being creative with your seasonal ingredients would be good fun. But for various reasons, despite researching various companies, I’ve never quite got around to actually ordering one! I think that I might change now!
Granted, my supplies this week (pictured) are not all seasonal but it does give the family fresh produce that will supplement my store cupboard, freezer and tinned supplies nicely for the week ahead. Now it’s time to start menu planning. So far I’m thinking spinach and pea frittata (I have some local eggs), stir fry, leek and potato soup, mushroom stroganoff and plenty of vegetables to go with the Easter Sunday Roast dinner…what would you cook? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
More tips to follow on menu planning and staying well during lockdown but in the meantime for personalised and professional dietary guidance email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact page. All consultations are currently offered via video call online or by telephone due to COVID19 restrictions.
One of the positives to self isolation is that my family and I are all at home together. Without the usual weekly commitments there is more time to cook and eat as a family. It’s a great opportunity to get children involved in food preparation and learn essential life skills. So what better way than to start with making a pizza at home?
This simple recipe uses a scone base (a recipe from my school days) and lends itself to whatever topping you choose to enjoy as a family. You could also make separate bases so it’s exactly as you like it. Great if you have a ‘fussy eater’! Yesterday we chose roasted vegetables (aubergine, courgettes, peppers, onion) topped with mozzarella cheese and sundried tomatoes. The children made their own smaller bases and added their preferred toppings to create funny faces. We served it with some sweet potato wedges and a green salad.
The beauty of homemade pizza is that you know exactly what’s in it and it’s lower salt, fat and sugar than shop-bought pizzas. Don’t worry if you already have pizzas in your freezer you can always improve your nutritional intake by sharing a pizza with others in your family and adding a large salad or portion of vegetables.
Recipe – makes enough for one pizza. I use half as much again for 2 adults and 2 children.
150g self raising flour
1 egg + 2 tbsp milk, beaten
2-3tbsp tomato puree or passata
1 tsp mixed herbs
Mozzarella or grated cheddar cheese
Pizza is so versatile you could try onions, mushrooms, peppers, roasted vegetables, pineapple, olives, cooked chicken, chorizo, pepperoni, tuna, bacon etc.
For personalised and professional dietary guidance email me at email@example.com or via the contact page. All consultations are currently offered via online video call or by telephone due to the COVID19 restrictions.
This week is Salt Awareness Week.
Since training as a Dietitian, I knew that 75% of the salt we eat comes from processed food. Since having children I’ve become even more aware of what this really means.
What is the problem? In short, too much salt in our diets can lead to high blood pressure, water retention and ultimately an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
When children are under 12 months old, it is recommended that they don’t eat more than 1g salt per day (less than ¼ of a teaspoon) because their kidneys can’t cope with it. Children aged 4-6 years it’s less than 4g per day, and for ages 11+ and adults it’s less than 6g per day. In reality, most of us are eating more like 8g per day and don’t even realise it!
Foods to check for high salt content are breads, breakfast cereals, jarred sauces, soups and snacks to name a few. Check the labels and choose lower salt alternatives where possible. As always, salt content should be put in context: Our regular bread (pictured) contains 1.03g salt per 100g which is on the higher end of medium-high for salt intake. I choose this bread for my family because we like it, we limit other foods like salty snacks and we try to make as much as possible from scratch. It also contributes other nutrients to our diet such as fibre, a small amount of protein and added Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). Tot up how much you’re having and see if you’re within the guidelines most of the time. For more information see this Fact Sheet https://www.bda.uk.com/uploads/assets/22e8b887-f2bd-4efe-894c929676479a0a/Salt-food-fact-sheet.pdf.
Happy label checking and if you’d like to talk more about your diet and how I can help call me on 07485 156916 or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have recently returned from a short break in New York which was all booked for me as a surprise trip. One of my first questions when I found out we were going was ‘what about breakfast?’ In our experience of travelling to the United States, breakfast isn’t something that is regularly included in hotel stays and you usually have to go out and find a diner. Thankfully, my husband knows me well and managed to book a hotel which included breakfast so we could get a good start to the day!
I love breakfast and am conditioned to eat within a couple of hours of waking up and feel quite unwell if I don’t, but many (up to a third of us) can skip it all together with no obvious ill effects. Is breakfast still considered ‘the most important meal of the day?’ Well, in answer to this it is hotly debated with existing evidence being challenged. However, for now many guidelines still recommend it and as a breakfast lover I’m sharing 5 reasons that support a healthy breakfast:
Remember to make it healthy and build it from the main food groups of the Eatwell Plate. If there isn’t time before you leave the house then plan ahead and take something with you. There is always a way to include something to give you the best start to the day.
In New York my breakfast choice was cereals topped with dried fruit and milk, a piece of fresh fruit and a New York bagel with cream cheese and a glass of apple juice. It kept us going well past our normal lunch time despite the miles of walking we did.
If you don’t know if you’re nutritionally balanced throughout the day or have health needs or busy work patterns that make it tricky to plan your meals then I can work with you to review your diet and current situation. From there I can support and guide you to achieve the right balance of nutrients to meet your health goals. For personalised and professional support then do contact me at email@example.com or via the contact page.