Tag Archives: dietician

The least sexy but vitally important nutrient

Facebook likes too ask “what’s on my mind” well actually right now it is fibre. An overlooked and neglected nutrient, maybe because bowel health just isn’t sexy. However to my mind, neither is constipation or piles. 
When the recommendations for fibre increased to 30g per day there were lots of posts out there about how hard it would be to achieve it and how to meet your fibre needs. At the time I remember thinking how hard this would be for many people to achieve. It’s all about making small changes one at a time and then building on these. In my clinic I see the extremes. Sometimes underweight people who are eating too much of the fibre rich foods (and I have to ask them to decrease these) but then also plenty of people who are just not having enough fibre which is causing some of their symptoms. 
(Disclaimer: this advice is not for those who are weight restoring from an eating disorder, too much fibre can be very filling and stop you from eating enough energy).
So why is fibre important? 
  • Bowels, bowels, bowels. As a student dietitian on the wards I remember having to swallow my embarrassment and loudly say to people “how are your bowels today”. These days I’m older, a lot harder to embarrass, mum to small kids and used to talking about bowels a lot… whether it be a clients, a child’s or a worms. Yes this week my girl wanted to chat about worms poo. Having enough insoluble fibre is important for bulking your stool. 


  • Soluble fibre forms a gel that slows digestion. This also means it helps stabilise blood sugars, lowers cholesterol and aids satiety, keeping you fuller for longer. Soluble fibre is found in oats, barley, psyllium, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits/vegetables. 


  • The microbiome is a fascinating area. Research has shown that the largest influence on the gut microbiome comes from diet. Fibre feeds the gut bacteria so by eating your fibre you are helping ensure your gut stays happy and healthy.

So how much fibre is in your foods? Although I wouldn’t promote you analyse labels all the time it can be interesting to compare the fibre content of some of the foods you eat.

Some fibre rich foods that can help boost your intake are:

Lentils, Spilt peas, beans,  garden peas, nuts, seeds, wholegrain versions of pasta, rice, bread products, wholegrain cereals, grains such as oats, quinoa, cous cous, popcorn, fruit and veggies, potato skins.

Top tips to increase the fibre content of your meals: 

  • Add lentils, beans and pulses to your meals. A couple of handfuls of lentils goes well in casseroles, soups, salads, even stir fries. 
  • When possible opt for wholegrain versions of foods.
  • Add nuts and seeds into meals. I love them sprinkled on breakfast or my yoghurt, you could add to a salad or on top of a stirfry. Sprinkle some in your sandwich or add to baking.
  • Increase your portions of fruit and vegetables if you are not meeting the 5 a day target. 
  • Eating more plant based meals in your week. We aim to eat plant based meals 4-5 times a week in our house. 

Here are some meals where I’ve pimped the fibre:

Oats with fruit, seeds and nuts – 15g fibre. Plus the oats here are soluble fibre. 


2 x Rye bread with 1/2 avocado – 10-15g fibre, this particular bread is very high fibre, 10g for 2 slices.

If you used a different rye bread it would be lower, using my normal rye bread plus the avocado it would be 10g fibre.

Risotto made with pearl barley and broccoli – 12-15g fibre per portion. Pearl barley has a high fibre content and is a great grain to cook with. It takes slightly longer to cook than rice but can be used instead of rice, or added to soups and stews. 

Vegetable fajitas with chickpeas, peppers and sesame seeds, smashed avocado and seeded wraps – 10g fibre.

I totally encourage you to try increasing your fibre intake and help your gut bacteria, blood sugars and bowel health. Remember to also drink plenty of fluids to help that fibre move through your system.



How to prepare yourself for weaning.

I love the adventure of weaning. The excitement of seeing your baby try something for the first time. Their facial expressions when they taste. The determination they have in picking up a food. The mess they make as they feel the texture. Taking photos of them, it’s all rewarding and funny in my eyes. 

Dietitian UK: How to start weaning

However there can be a level of stress in it too. What do I feed them? How do I start them off? How do I minimise the mess? What do I do when out and about? Which foods are best to give them?

So here are my “mum of 3” tips of what you need to get started. 

What you need to start with:

Bibs: I like to have the ones that cover as much of their bodies as possible! Long sleeved as great. It saves a clothing change after eating. You need at least 5 if you can. 1 per meal and 1 in the wash plus 1 in the change bag. It saves hassle to have more bibs around. Although a muslin folded into a triangle can be tied around your little ones neck as a make shift bib. Be warned the food stains may not come out! 

A high chair with a table: I’ve started 2 of mine off in a Bumbo with the tray attached. I like it as they have sat on the table and there is less chance of throwing food onto the floor. However it didn’t work for my boy as he wasn’t safe in the Bumbo. 

Dietitian UK: How to prepare for weaning 2

I don’t think that is any need for an expensive high chair. The Ikea Antilop white one is our fav. Wipe clean with hardly any nooks or crannies for food to get stuck in it is also portable in the car as the legs come off. This highchair fits out table well, however I like it away from the table for the start of weaning so I can prevent baby throwing food in my dinner! It is also found in lots of cafe’s so when you eat out baby feels like it’s a home from home.

A mat: having a plastic sheet, shower curtain or washable mat under the highchair saves a whole heap of clearing up. You can then pick it up, shake the bits of food off outside and put the mat in the washing machine when wanted. I have this one which I take to people’s houses as well (saves apologising constantly about their cream carpets!).

Plastic Spoons: These can be picked up cheaply from any supermarket. These are specifically designed for fit a babies mouth and are shallower than other teaspoons. Metal spoons are not suitable as if baby bites on them or pushes them further into the back of their mouths they could harm themselves. 

Plastic Bowls: Again easily picked up in a supermarket or online. Safe in a dishwasher, microwave and unbreakable as they will get dropped on the floor.  Having some with lids is useful for storing and transporting foods.


Cups: If you can use an open beaker then that is the best way to encourage baby to drink. It is messy however as they can pour it everywhere! I like to use a combination of different cups. My favourite open cup is the baby cup as it is so small it is easy to hold and there is not much liquid to be thrown around!  Safe, easy to clean and approved by dentists. I also like doidy cups.

 Wipes: We use washable wipes, they just get thrown in with the normal washing. I have a tub that sits on my table with damp wipes in it. Everyone ends up using them for messy hands and faces. I’ve found cheeky wipes really good as they trap all the bits and wash well. 

Patience: baby may not be that interested and eat that much initially, which can be stressful. It is almost best to ignore them and let them get on with it, whilst keeping a quiet eye out for safety. Let them play, let them eat with the family, let them make mess, let them try and feed themselves. 

A plan: Not necessarily a spreadsheet of foods to try out, but some vague plan of what you are cooking and how you can therefore adapt it for baby. I often find it easiest to save leftover from the day before and give that to baby for lunch the following day. You don’t need to cook different meals for baby, but it can also be useful to have bits of food saved up to offer them or spare meals in the freezer.

Good books: If you want to do some reading up then the Baby led weaning book and cookbook by Gill Rapley are good and for some great evidence based information try ”Easy Weaning” by Sara Patience.

Foods to have ready: As babies are used to sweetness in milk I find it good to start with a mixture of a few sweeter foods such as fruit but also plenty of vegetables and starchy foods. 


Breakfast : 

Porridge fingers (porridge cooked and left to go hard! I often some to last several days. It is sticky but easy for little fingers to pick up.

Toast fingers with butter, scrambled egg or hummus.

Eggy bread with vegetable sticks.

Weetabix with mashed banana.


Pitta bread in fingers with cream cheese and avocado.

Large Pasta shapes with roasted carrot and courgette strips.

Savoury muffins with cheese and cucumber.

Pancakes with steamed green beans, mushrooms and trips of chicken.


Risotto with a no/low salt stock

Roast dinner with no gravy

Potato wedges with broccoli florets steamed, sweetcorn and fingers of fish.


If you want to stock up online here is a little list of my recommendations:


Should we label a food as good or bad?

The label of good and bad foods annoys me. It is one of those labels that I find hard to get away from when I am talking to people as it comes up constantly. I spend a lot of time trying to break that idea down in people’s minds. Google it and there are over 71,800,000 links talking about what foods are good/bad, what bad foods are really good, the best good foods to eat and so on. But do good and bad foods really exist?

Bad foods seem to be ones that are high in sugar, fats and calories. Foods that are “not healthy” and that exert a “bad” affect on the body. They can range from fast food, processed food and high fat/high calorie snack items to carbohydrates and dried fruit.

Dietitian UK: Should we label foods as good and bad?

We have a complex relationship with food. Trying to make it fit into just one camp is tricky. Look at the major food groups – carbohydrates, protein, fat, dairy, fruit and veggies. Then look at lentils. They are put in the protein group but they contain carbs and are a portion of veggies too. 

Let’s take it to a more philosophical level. Can a person be labelled as good or bad? Take an object like a razor blade. Is it good or bad? One the one hand it can be used to shave and on the other hand it could be used as a weapon. 

So by trying to label foods as good or bad we are over-simplifying it. Foods are really neutral. Labelling them automatically places them into one category. Let’s take chocolate as an example. On the one hand this is a high calorie, high fat food that is often laden with sugar, so could be classed as a “bad food”. However dark chocolate contains iron, magnesium and fibre. It has antioxidants including polyphenols, catchins and flavanols and may help lower blood pressure plus reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Some research suggests it may help with cognitive function too making it sound like a pretty amazing food to be eating. Even fruit and vegetables can have their negatives, too many carrots can turn the skin orange due to excessive beta carotene!

No single food is to my knowledge nutritionally complete. We need a combination of foods in order to provide the body with all the nutrients it needs. This includes the full range of essential fatty acids and some sugar too.

The old phrase “All things in moderation” is actually very true. Instead of looking at a food in isolation we need to think about how often we eat a food, how much or it we eat, combined with what else we are eating and adding to a food. Limiting or not allowing yourself to eat certain foods can actually lead to you craving them more and then over-eating them. Food is something to be enjoyed rather than denied, so a small amount of the things you like really can be good. 

So instead of labelling foods as good and bad, or healthy and not healthy, how about we change the way we view it. I let my children eat all foods, including cake, sweets and chocolate. However they know that some foods are best to eat in small amounts as they can lead to their bodies getting sick. A good example of this is a weekend recently where we had multiple parties, leading to a lot of party food being consumed. Both children had tummy aches and were slightly constipated! An excellent time to highlight that they had eaten more biscuits and cakes, less fruit and veggies and their bodies were complaining. We talked about how these foods are delicious (the words of my toddler boy) but if you eat too much of them they can make you feel unwell. 

How do you label food in your mind? 

Where should I set my weight goal?

Where should my weight goal be?

Why does my body keep on gaining when I want it to stop?

Why have I reached a plateau?

If you were perfectly in tune with our bodies you would be able to eat when hungry, stop when full, even decide what to eat whilst thinking about the signals your body was sending out. This would likely result in your weight remaining relatively stable. Why? 

The theory is that the body has a genetically determined weight set point. This is the point where the body functions best. It will work to gain/lose weight back to this point. So with small losses and gains of weight your body will adapt it’s metabolism to bring your weight back. 

If you constantly ignore the bodies hunger/fullness signals you can override this system and push the body into a new “settling point”. Your body will work to get back towards it’s set point but external factors may mean this is not possible so it compromises. This can explain why you find it easy to gain/lose a little weight below your normal weight but then have to make bigger changes to alter your weight further. It also shows why a WEIGHT BAND is needed and not a single figure. 

Dietitian UK: set-point-theorywhere-should-i-set-my-weight-goal

Looking at the research on weight restoration after people have been at a low weight you find it takes time for them to get back to their healthy weight bands. For example simulation using the data from the Minnesota starvation study show it took over a year for the men’s bodies to resettle back to within 5% of their original body fat. 

In my practice of eating disorders I see similar results. Getting the body to regain weight back to it’s former set point is not as easy as you would imagine. There can be phases of regular weight gain and then plateau periods. It can take a few months for weight maintenance to be established. Almost as if the body is testing to make sure it is safe for it to settle into it’s groove again. Following a pattern of either bingeing and restricting or eating more and then compensating another day will make it harder for the body to normalise itself. Mindful eating, a regular pattern of meals and listening to your body’s signals is the key.

When you lose weight, below the set-point, your metabolism decreases. Your body uses less energy for jobs such as digesting food. Your overall energy expenditure decreases and your resting energy expenditure decreases. So you use less calories than you were using. As you start to weight restore your metabolism will at some point start to increase alongside this. This can result in a weight plateau, but it can also help you justify eating more.

How do your work out your set-point?

This is the tricky bit. There is no direct way to measure it and it can change over time. For some women pregnancy will change the set point. Ageing can have an affect. Medications and illness too. 

What we do know is it isn’t likely to be dead on a BMI of 20. BMI is a guide and a range it isn’t definitive. So you may have to continue gaining past BMI of 20 and listen to your physical health signals. Your energy levels, your menstrual cycle, your bone health, the condition of your hair and nails, your blood results. Ignore the numbers on the scales and think about your body as a whole.

General tips: look back over your weight history. If you have had a stable period when you ate normally and were moderately active then your weight at this time will be a huge clue. 

Look at the weight of siblings and parents. If you are female think about the weight when your menstrual cycle was occurring regularly, this is a huge clue. 

Remember, the body wants stability and to feel safe. So give it a routine and listen to what it is asking you for. 

If you need any advice then do get in touch for a Skype or face to face consultation.



CCI: set point theory http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/set%20point%20theory.pdf

Mirror-Mirror : Set Point Theory: http://www.mirror-mirror.org/set.htm 

Muller, JM et al (2010). Is there evidence for a set point that regulates human body weight? F1000 Med Rep. 2010; 2: 59. Accessed via PubMed.

Make your own healthy “graze” snack boxes

So snacking, it’s one of those things I definitely do. I tend to eat my 3 meals and at least 2 snacks a day. Which means my snacks need to be healthy, well most of them! Currently I am breastfeeding which makes me quite hungry at times. It is those moments when I have children clamouring for me, a baby wanting to feed and I know I need to eat that I need a ready to grab and go snack. That moment when it could be biscuits. Although I do eat my share of those too, I’ve recently discovered a wheat free dark chocolate and stem ginger cookie… dangerously nice. So to keep me on the straight and narrow I’ve started making snack boxes. This is something I often recommed to clients and many find them so useful. You can literally make a pile up for the week and take one to work each day, keep them in your bag or just on the worktop if you are at home.

Here are some of my favourite combos:

15g Dried cranberries, 15 almonds and 10g dark chocolate


15g pecans, 15g dried apple, 1 tbsp dried edamame beans


15g cashews, 15g dried mango, 1 tsp mixed seeds


5 brazil nuts, 3 dried apricots, 1 tsp mixed seeds

Here is me trying out Facebook Live and showing off my not so great phone video skills:

Love to hear your healthy snack box combos. Leave me a message/comment so I can steal your ideas too 😉

I tend to buy my nuts and dried fruit in bulk online (it is cheaper per kg but costs a bit up front) and I store a supply in the cupboard and a supply in glass jars on my shelf. Which looks pretty and also means we all see them and are more likely to eat them instead of reaching into the biscuit tin. 

“Keep healthy food – In plain sight so it is in your mind to eat it”

A good example of this is my toddler boy who often asks for “prawns” and points at the jars… he means prunes! 


Eating fat does not make you fat?!

“Eating fat does not make you fat,” argues a new report by the National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the Public Health Collaboration, as they demanded a major overhaul of official dietary guidelines.”

Sounds confusing? It is. And potentially dangerous as it will lead to no-one knowing what to actually eat. Or people eating a high fat diet and thinking that they will not end up overweight. Which is utter madness! Fat is high in calories, making it much easier to gain weight when eating a high fat diet. The report specifically recommends eating more saturated fats saying these will help with obesity and type 2 diabetes. However there is a proven link between saturated fat and heart disease, so we want people to eat less saturated fat and replace it with unsaturated fats instead. This reduces the risk of heart disease. 

The report is based on the message that the long standing advice of eating a low fat diet is wrong. However looking at the report, it was actually not based on the best evidence and a lot of it is opinion rather than fact. When you look at the studies they included and (64 studies) there are some that are very much in the grey area and have limitations that are not taken into account. Not all research is good research and it needs to be interpreted carefully looking at the methodology and the limitations. This was not a comprehensive review of the evidence either so some studies have been left out.

The report states that eating a low fat diet has led to an increase in eating low fat junk food, refined carbohydrates and polyunsaturated vegetables oils. However I’m not sure what low fat junk food is? Current recommendations are that 1/3 of your energy comes from carbohydrates, preferably wholegrains, not refined ones or “junk food”. Wholegrains and carbs such as rice, quinoa, potaotes, sweet potatoes, wholegrain cereals, brown pasta and bread all fill you up for less calories, provide fibre, B vitamins and are the body’s preferred energy source. 

It is about the overall balance of calories that will make you put on weight. Fat is a lot more energy dense and so it can be difficult to have a high fat diet and not put weight on. At the end of the day fat has more calories than carbohydrates. The body also finds it easier to store excess fat as fat, it has to covert carbohydrate into fat to then store it. All that takes energy and effort. 

Another odd feature of the report is the part on activity. Apparently “regular physical activity will not help with weight loss”. Ummm what? I agree that we don’t want people exercising off their dietary intake, but we do know that exercises helps with weight loss. Fact. A lot of research suggests that exercise is actually the key to weight loss more so than diet. I say we need a combination of the 2 and a look at the whole lifestyle too. Lets not forget that you can over-eat still on a good diet and gain weight eating an excess of healthy foods.

Apparently snacking is bad for us and eating 6 times a day will not result in weight loss. Well that can be true, but surely that depends on what you are snacking on and what your diet as a whole looks like? Everyone is individual and no one diet will suit every person. So this kind of statement makes no sense. 

So what should we be eating?

The Mediterranean Diet:

  1. Wholegrains – base your meals on starchy carbohydrates and include them at each meal.
  2. Eat plenty of fruit and veggies (7-9 portions), pulses and legumes.
  3. Reduce your red meat intake, eat more fish, poultry, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  4. Swap saturated fats (butter, lard, white fat on meat) for monounsaturated fats: olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado.
  5. Reduce processed foods, junk food and ready meals. Cook more meals from scratch using fresh ingredients.
  6. Include dairy foods in your diet regularly.
  7. Keep salt to a minimum, add herbs and spices to your meals instead.
  8. Drink red wine in moderation.

See more on the Mediterranean Diet here.

Common sense needs to prevail here. Think about what is in the food you put into your body. Get back to cooking more meals from fresh, whole foods. Reduce the processed foods and naturally the composition of your diet will become healthier. There is no need to avoid food groups (unless you have an actual allergy/intolerance) just stick to the “all things in moderation rule”. There is no one diet that fits all but in general if you aim for 1/3 carbohydrate, 1/3 fruit and veggies and 1/3 protein/dairy you will be getting things somewhere close to the right proportions. 

If you want a general planner to follow with recipes then you can download mine here and here. 


Good articles to read:

expert reaction to new report on diet as published by the National Obesity Forum



Why eating nuts can aid weight control.

A few things you may not know about almonds

The nutrition basics:

  • Almonds have a proven heart health claim. This is due to being high in monounsaturated fat and their vitamin E content. They are the tree nut with the highest amount of vitamin E. Proven to lower total and LDL cholesterol.
  • 1 handful of almonds contain a similar amount of polyphenols to 1 cup of green tea. 
  • They are low in glycaemic index and when eaten together they can lower the impact on blood sugars of other carbohydrate foods. 
  • 1 serving (1 oz) contains 12 vitamins and minerals (including folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper and potassium) and 6 g protein. This protein helps provide a powerful satiating effect, so they keep you fuller for longer.
  • They are the nuts with the longest shelf life.
  • You need 2 types of almond trees present for pollination, as the bees need to carry pollen from 1 type of almond tree to another.

Heart Health:

2 large studies show the heart health benfits of nuts:

1. Nurses’ Health Study (over 86,000 nurses followed over 14 years)

2. the Adventist Health Study (followed over 27,000 men)

Dietitian UK: Why almonds are so good for you

In total these studies assessed the diets of over 110,000 men and women and after adjusting for other risk factors they linked the intake of five or more servings of nuts per week to a 35 – 50 percent reduction in risk of coronary heart disease incidence and death.

If nuts are high in fat, won’t eating them make me fat?

It sounds like common sense doesn’t it. However the evidence begs to differ. Nut eaters tend to come out at a lower body weight than non-nut eaters. Here is one example for you:

A 24 week weight loss interventional study on obese women compared:

Group A who ate 84g of almonds per day, equivalent to 3 portions of almonds per day. 

A low calorie diet 

39% total fat, 25% MUFA and 32% carbohydrate

Group B on a low calorie, complex carbohydrate diet. 

(18% total fat, 5% MUFA and 53% carbohydrate)

Both diets were equivalent calories and protein. The results showed a 62% greater reduction in weight/BMI, 50% greater reduction in waist circumference and 56% greater reduction in Fat mass in the almond-group.

Int J Obesity Related Metabolic Disease (2003): 27: 1365.

The Reasoning:

Firstly….You don’t absorb all the calories from nuts. That fact blew me away the first time I heard it and understood it. In fact I know now that we absorb different amounts calories from different nuts. The research is ongoing on this and some of it so new it is yet to be published. for the same nuts there is then a difference in the amount of energy we absorb for different nut products – whole, chopped, nut butters.

Secondly…. the calorie content of foods is not that accurate. It is calculated using conversion factors rather than being measured.  Digestibility is not taken into account. If we measured the urinary and fecal energy after eating almonds we would get a more accurate figure, but just getting someone to eat only almonds so we can so this is an extreme task. Some new research has looked at another way of doing this using a base diet with and without almonds. This highlighted that there is a definite difference between the food label calorie content and the measured calorie content of nuts.

The real calorie content of nuts is 5-21% lower than the labels tell us. It varies depending on the type of nut and the processing of the nut. 

Take Home Message:

Nuts are good, no, GREAT for you when eaten in sensible portion sizes. Obviously overeating them can lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain. However,  when eaten daily, in portion controlled amounts, they can help with weight control, satiety and provide a good heart health benefit too.

I personally love the portion tins you can get. 


A portion is described as: 1 oz, 2 tbsp, a small handful, 30g.

In actual numbers of nuts this is:

23 almonds, 18 cashews, 12 hazelnuts, 8 brazil nuts ,35 peanuts, 15 pecan halves or 14 walnut halves.

Dietitian UK: Nuts portion guide



Disclaimer: I recently attended a Round Table event for the Almond B0ard of California. Some of the information in this post has come from that day. This post was not paid for, nor was I asked to write it, it just interests me!

Banana Oaty Bars

 Mini-Disaster in our house usually means…. there is no flapjack left, we are out of milk, Miss K cannot find a very important item (insert “really not important in the grand scheme of life but a calamity to her”), or a section of the train track has come apart. I quite love the fact that these really are regular disasters in the eyes of my small ones. How simple life can be!

Today’s disaster led to a distraught 2 year old.

 1. The flapjack tin was empty

2. There were not enough oats to make more.

Super Mummy to the rescue. I rarely make the same recipe twice anyway 😉

So I adapted my semi-famous banana and sultana flapjack recipe by adding flour. It comes out less of a flapjack and more of an oat bar. Dense, oaty and firm – no crumbly texture here. A really good option to have with a cuppa, for lunch boxes or to feed a snacking child. They are sweet but not too sweet, if you know what I mean. The oats provide that wholegrain goodness, the banana and sultanas pack in the fruit and there is just a hint of honey and butter to bind it all.

It’s falls into that territory of “Is it a flapjack? Is is a cake? It is a bar?”

You know what? I can’t decide but all that really matters is it is healthy and yummy!

Dietitian UK: Banana Oaty Bars

Banana Oat Bars (wheat free, gluten free)
Yields 12
Quick, easy oat bar recipe that is healthy and great for hungry children.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
118 calories
19 g
9 g
4 g
2 g
2 g
43 g
1 g
5 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 118
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 9mg
Sodium 1mg
Total Carbohydrates 19g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 100g oats (gluten free if needed)
  2. 100g plain flour (I used a gluten free blend)
  3. 100g sultanas
  4. 1 mashed banana
  5. 2 tbsp honey
  6. 50g butter
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together, by hand or in a food processor/stand mixer.
  2. Melt the honey and butter together in a bowl and then add along with the banana.
  3. Mix well, I left this for a few minutes in my stand mixer.
  4. Press into a lined, greased baking tray, cover the top with foil for half of the cooking time to stop the sultanas getting burnt.
  5. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 20-30 minutes.
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

When did healthy eating become so complicated?

Healthy Eating is meant to be straightforward and a common sense approach to eating. Right? However when you look on Pinterest, blog sites and the internet you are suddenly confronted with complicated recipes using all kinds of specialist expensive ingredients and equipment – agave, coconut oil, himalyan sea salt, seaweed, the latest berries, spiralizers etc. Now I quite like a bit of faffing around in the kitchen and I’m all for experimenting with new foods…. but this isn’t something you can do everyday and I wonder how many people think this is how you have to cook to eat a healthily?

Dry tomatoes

Recently at a lecture I was reminded by the speaker how in the war, rationing meant that people had no choice but to eat less fat and sugar, grow their own vegetables, could afford less meat and had to make the most of the food they had. When rationing stopped there was a sudden binge on foods like sugar and butter, biscuits and cake!

Dietitan UK: War rationing

When I went to University I started out with minimal equipment, a small budget and I pretty much cooked all my own meals from scratch as it was the cheapest way to do things. Lots of vegetable and bean stir frys, pasta dishes, jacket potatoes and anything I could cook with a pack of minced beef! Chopped tomatoes, tins of pulses and beans and the local green grocer were my friend. It was a simple and enjoyable way of cooking with no real pressure, especially as I was mainly cooking for just myself.

Now I have to cater for a growing family. Fancy meals really do not work. We have our basic staple meals that work every time. Pasta with roasted veggies. Lentil bolognaise. Risotto done in many ways. Salmon Parcels

So what do you need in order to eat a healthy, balanced diet?

1. Fancy equipment is often nice to have but not needed! A good knife, peeler, spoons to stir with, a grater and a tin opener is enough to start with. 

2. A store cupboad with the basics in: chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, baked beans, tinned pulses, dried mixed herbs, tuna, pasta, rice, curry powder, olive oil are all things I have in mine right now.

3. A menu plan. Look for some simple recipes on sites like BBC Good Food and the supermarkets websites. Get hold of a cookery book that doesn’t have hundreds of ingredients per recipe and the meals can be cooked in 30 minutes. Make up a folder or use pinterest to save the ideas you like and use to build your weekly plan and shopping list. Think about foods you really like and the time you have on each night.

4. There is no need to be fancy on a daily basis! Save that for a weekend 😉

5. Cooking from scratch may seem like hard work at first but it really is worth it. Base your meals around your vegetables, add some meat and some carbohydrates on the side. Job done.

In the words of the great saying. 

Keep It Simple, Stupid.




Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Flapjack (WF, GF, DF).

It’s been a rainy summers week, so I felt the need to pimp up my own flapjack recipe to cheer us up. It’s a healthier take on a full fat, full syrup flapjack, perfect for a cuppa on a rainy day. What is even better is that I used peanut butter in it so my hubby won’t touch it 😉 I love using peanut butter in baking as it is lower in saturated fats, higher in the heart healthier monounsaturates and it also adds protein to help with satiety. The oats provide low glycaemic index carbs which can help stabilise blood sugars so also helping to keep you fuller for longer. It should provide for a healthy snack that will tide you over until your next meal.

Recipe creation for me provides an outlet for creativity and is almost a form of therapy as I switch off from “work” and get inspired by what is around me. It’s actually something I sometimes recommend to eating disorder clients, but they don’t have to eat it unless they want to. Often they love looking at recipes, love creating things and so being given the green light to go ahead and make things but not have to eat them can be quite releasing. 

So here is my latest flapjack. It’s a keeper. It is also wheat free, gluten free (if you use gluten free oats) and can be made dairy free if you use the right chocolate. GENIUS.

Dietitian UK: Peanut butter and choc flapjack

Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Flapjack
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
167 calories
21 g
2 g
7 g
6 g
2 g
51 g
46 g
7 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 167
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 2mg
Sodium 46mg
Total Carbohydrates 21g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 7g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 200g oats (gluten free if needed)
  2. 100g peanut butter (I used a low sugar, low salt version)
  3. 80g chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate (Dairy free e.g. Booja Booja if needed)
  4. 2 mashed, over-ripe bananas
  1. Mix it all together by hand or food mixer.
  2. Grease and line a baking tray.
  3. Spread it into the baking tray, so it is about 2cm thick.
  4. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 25-30 minutes.
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/