Tag Archives: priya dietitian

Which diet is the best?

Huge thanks to Naomi Leppitt, RD for her input in this post.

  • There are so many diets out there and a comparison study of Atkins, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers and Rosemary Conley showed they all result in weight loss of a similar amount (Truby, 2006). 
  • Very low-calorie shake diets (eg Lighter Life, Cambridge, Herbalife etc) result in greater immediate weight loss than standard low-calorie diets and may even induce the remission of diabetes, but over a year, they’re shown to be just as effective as each other (Tsai and Wadden, 2006).
  • What about  low-carb/low-fat diets? Well, in theory- a low carb diet should help with fat loss. When you eat carbs your body releases insulin  part of insulin’s job is to enable cells , to use the energy from carbs or store it. Eating less carbs can mean less insulin = less fat storage. Studies show in the short term, low-carb dieters lose more weight than low-fat dieters, over the longer term, they have similar results (Hession, 2008). 
  • Intermittent fasting diets, like the 5:2 work because on the days you  eat normally, most people will not fully compensate for their fasting days,  they eat less overall; and the fasting period has all sorts of positive effects on how your body processes energy.
  • What about exercise? When comparing dieting alone versus just an exercise regime, a comparison of multiple studies found that more people lose weight with dieting than exercise (Shaw, 2006), and that’s likely because it’s easier to reduce the amount of energy taken in, than try to burn that much more through activity. For example, cutting down a couple of biscuits will save 160kcals but it would take a 30 minute work to expend that amount of energy. However, those that diet and exercise, lose more weight than just dieting alone (Wu, 2009). 
  • So there is not one diet that is necessarily better than another. They can all work IN THE SHORT TERM. This is the key. In fact the research tells us that 80% of weight lost by dieting is regained after 5 yrs.
  • Instead of sticking strictly to one type of diet for the short term, think about what will work for your lifestyle long term. Diets are about changing the balance of your macronutrients and reducing your calories or burning more through movement. So how can you make swaps you can stick to? If you love carbs, do you need to check your portion sizes are not too large? What can you add into your diet to boost the quality? More fruit and veggies can mean less sugary snacks and eating protein at each meal can keep you fuller. Can you build more walking into your day? Quality of life is so important, so any changes need to be sustainable and not make you feel restricted or miserable. 

So how do I achieve healthy weight loss?

When someone wants to lose weight, there is often the desire to lose it quickly. We all want change NOW! However, it’s worth being mindful of the other effects of rapid weight loss and crash diets on your body. When you lose weight fast:

  • That initial fast weight loss is satisfying but it is due to fluid losses. It won’t all be fat.
  • Muscle is lost too as well as fat, which can slow metabolism. This means you use less calories in daily life.  It can be particularly detrimental when you’re older, as it can lead to frailty.
  • By eating minimally you just probably won’t be getting enough nutrients, especially if you are cutting out whole food groups ie no carbs, or no dairy. This can be ok short term but if these changes are for the long term you need to replace those nutrients.

A healthier weight loss approach is:

  1. To make small changes over time that you can keep to for the long term. 
  2. Find a dietary approach that works for your lifestyle and food preferences.
  3. Don’t pick fad diets that cut out whole food groups and promise unrealistic results.
  4. Think about what you can add in rather than what you need to take out. Do you need more fruit and veg, more water, can you have yoghurt as a pudding to prevent that mid afternoon choccie biscuit?
  5. Avoid weigh yourself every day or even each week or even at all… because your body weight is affected by so many things other than what you eat. It can be demoralising and demotivating when the scales don’t change as quickly as you want them to. Think about how your clothes fit and other signs that your weight is changing.
  6. Partner your food changes with some gentle increases in daily activity. You don’t have to sign up to a marathon, but there are some great couch-to-5k programs and at home videos to follow. In fact you can buy my Pilates DVD here.
  7. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the foods that you love but eat them in sensible amounts and frequencies.


Hession M et al. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. Obes Rev 2009, 10(1):36-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00518.x.

Truby H, et al, Randomised controlled trial of four commercial weight loss programmes in the UK: initial findings from the BBC “diet trials”. BMJ 2006, 17;332(7555):1418

Tsai AG and Wadden TA The evolution of very-low-calorie diets: an update and meta-analysis. Obesity 2006 14(8):1283-93.

Shaw  KA, et al. Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003817.pub3.

Wu T et al Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev 2009, 10(3):313-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00547.x. 

Hall D.H and K.Scott. Maintenance of lost weight and long term management of obesity. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012

Nutrition Tips for a Plant based Diet

Eating a more plant based diet or switching to a vegan diet is definitely on trend right now and whilst normally I’d not be recommending you jump onto the lastest fad in terms of nutrition, this is one I do agree with. I spoke about this at Womens Health Live so thought it was time I blogged on it too.

We all need to be doing our bit to help our planet. Eating more plants, preferably those grown locally and not wrapped in lots of plastic, is one step in the right direction towards a more sustainable diet.

But are there any nutrition concerns with eating a vegan, vegetarian or plant based diet? Whilst it is well known there are health benefits there are also some health risks if you are not consciously eating certain nutrients.


If you are reducing your dairy intake then you are also reducing your calcium. To help with this check that the milk you use is fortified and focus on non-dairy calcium rich foods being in your diet. The higher calcium content foods are chia seeds, fortified plant based milks, yoghurts and tofu.

An adult needs 700mg calcium per day, the requirements are higher if you are breastfeeding.

Non dairy calcium foodsCalcium mg
30g chia seeds178
1/2 pint Calcium enrich plant milk (rice, oat, soya)330-370
100g tofu350
1 pot Soya yoghurt150
1 tbsp tahini130
150g baked beans
2 slices wholemeal bread75
23 almonds75
1 large orange70
2 tbsp cooked greens70
30g cashews28
3 dried apricots20
3 tbsp cooked lentils25
1 tbsp kidney beans25
1 tbsp hummus12


The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones which play a key role in metabolism. Iodine is also needed in pregnancy for proper bone and brain development. There is an rise in iodine deficiency in the UK so it’s a nutrient to be mindful of.

Iodine deficiency is a potential concern if you do not eat meat, fish or dairy, so it’s important to be aware of other sources of iodine. Symptoms of iodine deficiency can include a swelling in the neck where the thyroid hormones are struggling to be made so the thyroid gland is on overdrive, fatigue and weakness, inability to concentrate/recall information, hair loss and dry flaky skin.

All is not lost, you can get your iodine in. Firstly, check your plant based milk as some are now fortified with iodine. Iodised salt is a good option (but not too much salt of course 6g max a day), seaweed limited to once a week and dried prunes are other options.

See this great food fact sheet on Iodine.


A nutrient that comes up a lot in terms of vegan and vegetarian diets. Can you meet all your iron needs on a plant based diet? Yes, totally but you need to plan things and be on the ball.

The iron you get in plant based foods is less readily absorbed by the body so you need more of it (1.8x). If you focus on eating iron rich foods daily and utilise some top tips you should be fine.

Iron Rich FoodsIron/mg
Baked beans1.4
Butter beans1.5
Kidney beans2
Dried Figs3.9
Dried Apricots3.4
Brazil Nuts2.5
Smooth peanut butter2.1
Sesame seeds10.4
Sunflower seeds6.4

Including vitamin C with a meal helps with absorption. So having a glass of fruit juice or a smoothie with an iron rich meal will help. Keep your tea and coffee away from meal times as these contain phytates which prevent the iron absorption. Cooking, soaking and sprouting your nuts, seeds and beans can help with absorption too.

For more on iron check out the British Dietetic Association Factsheet.


Mainly found in animal products with a few exceptions of fortified foods (fortified milks, nutritional yeast and breakfast cereals) this is one that you are going to need to take a supplement of if you stop eating animal products.

B12 is needed for nerves, for DNA production and for brain function as well as healthy red blood cell production. A pretty key nutrient. If you aren’t eating many fortified foods then you likely need a supplement which you can buy as part of a multivitamin and mineral over the counter. Chat to your medical team if you have any further concerns as there are also B12 injections.

So can you meet your nutritional requirements on a plant based diet? Yes with some careful planning and a couple of supplements. Remember you do not have to go fully vegan, eating a few days a week in this way has benefits.

Eating for a healthy gut


Huge thanks to Melissa Kuman for this guest blog. Melissa is a Registered Associate Nutritionist. She can be found on instagram or check out her blog.

TOP FACT! Can you believe that the bacteria inside us can weigh up to 2kg and around 10% of what we eat feeds them?

In a nutshell, you can improve your gut by eating certain prebiotic foods and/or take probiotics. This is important as a lot of our immunity is dependent upon our gut (70% of the immune cells are located in the gut) and the microbes that live in it. Plus, 90% of serotonin, the happy hormone is produced in the gut. So basically good nutrition = healthy gut= serotonin and immune system= happy mind and body! Now lets get into this in a bit more detail… 

What is the difference between pro and prebiotics?

Great question! Well probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host FAO/WHO (2002). Where as prebiotics are certain fibrous foods (like banana, onions and oats) that help feed the bacteria.

What do probiotics do?

Probiotics rarely colonize in the gut, but rather intermingle with microbes there. As they go through the gut, they interact with gut cells, immune cells and food, giving their benefits. There’s so much research talking about the benefits of probiotics! Studies show that probiotics can improve digestive health and our immunity, including: decreasing antibiotic‐linked diarrhoea; improving resilience to infections; and improving digestion of lactose. There is even some early evidence of benefits in weight management and glycaemic control, depression and anxiety (Jacka 2017).

There’s no harm in taking probiotics but they’re quite expensive, so you could go for prebiotic foods that help feed the good bacteria like oats, bananas, onions, greek yoghurt and Kombucha.

It is important that the probiotics you are taking have research on the certain bacteria they include and that a health benefit has been proven. 


Prebiotic foods are fibrous foods but not all fibrous foods are prebiotic, see table below. Overall, we need 30g of fibre a day and on average, in the UK, we are consuming just 18g. Both observational and interventional studies show that fibre influences gut health. As Burkitt, 1972 said ‘Dietary fibre has a role in the prevention of certain large bowel and other diseases present in Western countries’. Prospective studies also show it can decrease the risk of bowel cancer and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes.

So how can we increase our fibre? Why not try eating more nuts and seeds and whole fruit and vegetables. For example you could add banana onto your morning cereal and make a big pot of vegetable curry with whole grain rice.

Interestingly Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London followed his son’s ‘Fast Food Diet’ to investigate the changes in the microbiota over the 10 day period. Tim ate 2 x Large McDonalds Meal [Big Mac/chicken nuggets, fries & Cola], 1 packet crisps & 2 beers for 10 days. After the 10 days, he lost nearly 40% of bacterial species with the good bacteria diminishing. Tim felt constipated, tired and grumpy. Not surprising really.

Other factors influencing the gut

‘Exposure to stress, both physical and psychological can modify the composition of the microbiota, due to increased permeability of the gut, allowing opportunistic bacteria to grow and potentially cause damage.’ Rhee et al. (2009).

It is important to put a bit of self-care into your day to reduce stress like running a bath and to be mindful when eating. Both these can help you have a happy gut.

Prebiotics Probiotic 
banana Yakult- Lactobacillus casei shirota
chicory Codex- Saccharomyces Boulardii
onion Actimel- Lacobacillus Casei
asparagus Mutaflor- Escherichia Coil Nissle
garlic Dicoflor- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
leeks Tempeh
Cocoa Kimchi
Flaxseeds Miso
Artichoke  Kombucha
Barley Live yoghurt
Oats Kefir
Apples Sauerkraut

Heiman ML, Greenway FL. A healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is dependent on dietary diversity. Mol. Metab. 2016;5(5):317-320. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2016.02.005. 

Rhee et al. (2009) Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol; 6: 306-314. 14.

Hooper B, Spiro A, Stanner S. 30g of fibre a day: An achievable recommendation? Nutr. Bull. 2015;40(2):118-129. doi:10.1111/nbu.12141. 


Jacka BMC Med 2017 ‘A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression’ 

FAO/WHO (2002) updated Hill et al (2014) Nature Rev Gastro Hepatol 


How to eat for Brain Health

We all want a healthy, functioning brain for as along as possible. How we eat and drink really does impact it.
Studies on cognitive function and brain health show that overall a wholefood plant-based diet with a limited intake of animal and high saturated fat foods is the way forward. A big piece of research on this is call the MIND diet. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago created the MIND diet –  this identified food groups and nutrients from the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet that had been linked to lower risk of dementia.  Over 900 older men and women’s diets were analyzed and  people who stuck closely to a MIND diet were 53% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over the 4.5-year study period, compared with people who adhered least to the diet.
10 brain healthy foods identified by the MIND diet:
Green leafy vegetables
Olive Oil
Wine (in moderation).
5 foods identified to not be good for brain health by the MIND diet:
Red meat
Butter and margarine
Pastries and sweets
Fried or fast food
See you can see that a brain healthy diet really does go along the lines of a Mediterranean diet and general healthy eating. Other research on 447 adults showed that they performed better in cognitive tests after four years on a Mediterranean diet compare to a control diet.
Here is my meal plan published in the Daily Mail as part of Twinstitute for BBC2.
Let’s dig a bit deeper….there are some specific nutrients that have been highlighted as improving cognitive function.
B vitamins and folate :  shown to have a link to improved cognitive function, possibly by decreasing homocysteine levels. The evidence is not robust but suggestive. For example a study on elderly people with an increased risk of dementia showed that high doses of B vitamins slight brain shrinkage over 2 yrs.
Specifically looking at vitamin B12, cohort studies have suggested that dementia rates are highest in those with a lower B12 status.
Omega 3’s: the brain comprises 60% fat and is one of the fattest organs in the body. With such a high percentage of fat in the brain it’s no surprise that fatty acid’s are important nutrient. Specifically we need to know which fatty acids are important. The research we have suggests that it is the omega three fatty acid‘s to focus on. These have the potential to slow cognitive decline. Fit to focus on therefore our fish, shellfish, algae and the plant foods walnuts, linseeds and chia seeds.
Antioxidants including Vits A,C and E: Oxidative stress is one of the primary reasons are brain function declines. Therefore antioxidants are of upmost importance. This brings us back to the good old fruit and vegetables once again proving that we just need to be eating more of them. There has been some research looking specifically at berries and berry juice linking this to increasing memory scores, also the famous avocado for its vitamin E content. Similarly flavonoids found in red wine, dark chocolate, green tea can also help fight oxidative stress. There are some small scale, low power studies that look at blueberries, green tea and red wine that suggest these can be helpful. We have some limited research suggesting that nut intake (specifically walnuts) is associated with better brain function. This fits in with the Mediterranean diet, they contain antioxidants including vitamin E and so it makes sense.
Water: about 75% of the brain is made up of water therefore dehydration even in small amounts can have a big affect. Therefore staying hydrated is key.
So top foods to eat more of?
Oily fish
Green tea
Plenty of fruit and veggies
Green veggies
Colourful berries
Nuts, seeds including walnuts
Drink water
And then a little of the red wine plus dark choc makes a perfect combination.



Bacon, Chard and Rosemary Pasta

Swiss chard is such an easy veggie to grow and it gives you back time after time. Plant a few seeds, water and care for a few plants lovingly and you will find you always have bountiful supply. 

Some interesting chard facts.

  • Swiss chard was discovered by a Swiss botanist – hence it’s name.  
  • It is a member of the goosefoot family, called this due to the leaves looking like a goose foot.
  • Chard is packed with nutrition including vitamins A,C, K plus magnesium, potassium, iron and fibre.

So the question is what to do with it? The great news is it goes in virtually everything. I’ve added baby leaves to smoothies, savoury muffins and scones. Then use it like you would spinach in dhal, stir fry and omelette. Or wash it and freeze, I’m totally up for an easy life and don’t cook it before freezing. I find it works fine to add to casseroles and other meals where you add as it cooks.

One of the easy summer recipes I sometimes pull out the back of my mind when the chard patch and my mind are overflowing, and I need to cook but also need a break – this chard and pasta dish. It works so well. The rosemary gives it a warm lift and the bacon adds the saltiness, plus it means my children eat it. Now my boy isn’t a fan of his greens, but will eat this meal all up. It goes to show sometimes it is what a food is paired with that matters.

I let my children decide their own portions of this meal and eat according to appetite. My eldest girl after a busy day at school had seconds, my boy cleared his plate and was satisfied. My toddler ate off my plate too! 


Bacon, Chard and Rosemary Pasta

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 150 g bacon chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200 g chard leave it whole
  • 150 g mushrooms chopped
  • seasoning
  • 300 g pasta


  1. Chop up the bacon, remove the fat and heat a non stick pan. Then cook the bacon for a few minutes.

  2. Add the rosemary and garlic, stir round to release the the flavours.

  3. Next add the chopped tomatoes and allow to come to a simmer.

  4. Cook the pasta.

  5. Wash the chard, chop any huge leaves. Place into the pan and allow it to wilt down.

  6. Chop the mushrooms and add these to the pan, allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and put the lid on. 

  7. When the pasta is ready mix the sauce in and serve.

Gingerbread energy balls

One of the questions I get asked a lot is for healthy snack ideas. Walking around the shops there is a plethora of snack items but so many of them are expensive items that you can make yourself in batches with a little knowhow and patience. Energy balls are one such item. Often sold for £1.50-£1 a portion, these can be made a lot cheaper at home. See my analysis below.  Whilst there are a lot of energy ball recipes out there on the internet this one is so delicious that I had to share it. I love having snacks  like these to hand for instant snacking and even better, these freeze well. My boy also loves making these with me.

Perfect mid morning snack for me between clients and an afternoon snack for the kids at a much better cost than buying from the shops.


Gingernut Energy Balls


  • 100 g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 100 g dates
  • 25 5 oats
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Recipe Notes

Blitz up the cashews, oats and dates in a food processor or grinder. I do this in batches as my grinder is smalll. You may need to stop grinding and stir it around a bit from time to time.

Put the mixture into a bowl, add in the ginger and stir.

Now roll into balls and roll in the sesame seeds (if wanted).

Store in a tin, the fridge or freeze.


Costing = £2.20 for 10 balls (5 portions for an adult)

100g cashews £1.10

100g dates 66p

25g oats 27p

1 tbsp sesame seeds 9p

1 tsp ginger 8p


Eat Well for Less: Healthier cheesecakes.

Cheesecake. It’s tasty, but it can be pretty high in calories. Now whilst I totally do not advocate calorie counting regularly, I do like having healthier alternatives to foods like this that mean I can make them without it being an extravagance.

So here is the much asked for recipe for those cheesecakes we made on Eat Well for Less. I made this for Christmas and it made a great lighter dessert.

Here is the video clip of Gregg, Chris and I in action making it.


Here is the recipe in all it’s glory.

Healthier Cheese Cakes
Yields 12
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
174 calories
14 g
59 g
11 g
4 g
5 g
53 g
93 g
7 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 5g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 59mg
Sodium 93mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 7g
Protein 4g
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. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 60g/2¼oz honey
  3. 120g/4½oz porridge oats, gluten-free, if required
  4. ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  5. 300g/10½oz fat-free Greek-style yoghurt
  6. 300g/10½oz lighter cream cheese
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. ½ lemon, zest only
  9. 1 tbsp stevia
  10. 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  11. 1 tbsp cornflour
  12. 2 free-range eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin with some oil.
  2. Put the remaining oil and honey into a saucepan, heat until warm and runny.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats and mixed spice until completely coated.
  4. Divide the oats between the muffin tin holes, pressing down on the mixture to make a solid base.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, cream cheese, vanilla extract, lemon zest, stevia, sugar and cornflour. Mix the eggs into the cream until smooth. Spoon evenly between the muffin holes on top of the oats.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set. (They should still wobble a little.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  7. Carefully remove the cheesecakes from the tin and top with fruit of your choice.
  8. Serve immediately or transfer to a sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  1. Truvia is fine to use in this recipe or you could swap the Stevia for another sweetener of your choice.
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
A word of caution – these are portion controlled but very tasty, so you need 11 friends to share them with 😉 

Easy Peasy Paella

With parents who reside in Spain, paella is something my whole family loves, my mum has been taught how to cook it by the locals. This weekend with my mum in the UK at my home I decided to cook her my version. It’s probably not a true paella but hey, it’s tasty family food and a one pot meal that you can put in the middle of the table so everyone helps themselves. 

Of course you could totally add chicken, fish or your own favourite vegetables to this, I used what I had in my kitchen. Make your own version and let me know how it goes.

Easy Peasy Paella
Serves 6
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
490 calories
70 g
105 g
13 g
23 g
4 g
335 g
736 g
5 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 490
Calories from Fat 114
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 105mg
Sodium 736mg
Total Carbohydrates 70g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 5g
Protein 23g
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. 1 tsp tumeric
  2. 1/2 tsp paprika
  3. 1/2 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. pinch of saffron (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp olive oil
  7. 100g chorizo, chopped
  8. 3 cloves garlic
  9. 450g basmati rice (you could use paella rice)
  10. 1 tsp Italian mixed herb mixture
  11. 2 dried lime leafs (optional)
  12. 450ml chicken stock (mine was homemade or use a stock cube and water)
  13. 2 large carrots grated
  14. 2 medium courgetes grated
  15. 100g mushrooms
  16. 100g peas
  17. 450-600ml water approx, judge it on the rice as it cooks
  18. dash of lemon juice
  19. 250g frozen prawns
  20. large handful of fresh herbs, chopped
  1. Place the spices in a large wide based pan on a medium heat, add the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the chorizo and allow it to release its oils.
  3. Next add the garlic and rice, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the stock, dried herbs and lime leaf.
  4. Allow this to simmer whilst you prep the veggies, you could use any veggies you like!
  5. Add in the vegetables one at a time and stir in.
  6. Add the water and place the lid on the pan. Allow it to simmer until the rice is cooked.
  7. Finish with the lemon juice and prawns, allowing the prawns to cook in the pan with the rice for a few minutes.
  8. Finally add the herbs, taste and season.
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
Check out a little video of us cooking it here. My 7 year old girl was on “sous chef” duty tonight and she totally enjoyed helping out. Her tasks were to measure the rice using the Carb Spoon, to cut the chorizo up, grate some vegetables, add them and stir the pan. She added the stock, picked the herbs and chopped them too. Plus she got the prawns out of the freezer and added those for me.

I’m trying to get my children to each cook with me once a week, making it a scheduled activity and time with mummy all at once. It slows me down and means more planning is needed but it is also teaching them valuable skills.



Childrens Yoghurts – how to choose a good one

Yoghurt is one of those confusing foods. You want your children to be eating it and getting in their calcium, but so often yoghurts can be laden with sugar. Personally I encourage my children to eat yoghurt daily, it is our go-to dessert after our evening meal. To help you, I’ve come up with a ranking of children’s yoghurts and give my verdict on those to have in the fridge everyday and those to leave for occasional consumption.

Why the confusion? Well firstly the choice is overwhelming. Walk down the yoghurt aisle and you are bombarded with brands, health claims, cartoon characters, pots, tubs, pouches. What should you choose and how do you know?

Let’s talk about sugar. Yoghurt contains lactose which is a naturally occuring sugar and not one children need to cut down on. However you cannot easily differentiate between these sugars and the added free sugars. A general rule of thumb is the first 5g per 100g of total sugars is lactose. The sugars to keep an eye on are the free sugars. These are any sugars added to food/drink. These could be written as sugar, honey, syrup, agave, fruit juice for example. If you look at a yoghurt label and it is 8.5g total sugars then you can estimate about 5g is lactose and so 3.5g is added sugars.

In this blog we are focusing on children. Children aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g free sugars a day and 7-10yrs no more than 24g free sugars a day. For children under 4 yrs there is no guideline figure, it’s just keeping added sugar low and avoiding it where possible.

Labelling reading:

You can rank a food as high/low in total sugar using this guide:


So in the instance of Full Fat Greek Yoghurt you can see that there are actually no added sugars in this. The sugar in it is all coming from the lactose and there is no sugar mentioned in the ingredients list confirming our thoughts. 

Compared it to this children’s yoghurt which definitely has added sugar. The label shows it as 13.2g total sugars per 100g, so thats around 8.2g added sugars (almost half the recommended amount for a child aged 4-7yrs). The label confirms this showing is has added sugar and the raspberry juice is also added sugar.

So it definitely pays to look at the label when buying yoghurts. If you are comparing several yoghurts it is best to compare them per 100g, Scroll down to see a table with a range of common children’s yoghurt in that have the sugar content per 100g with a quick ranking  done for you.

My Top Picks:

  1. Greek Style Yoghurts or Greek Yoghurt. For growing children I would always pick a full fat option, I eat the full fat version myself in fact. It may seem boring compared to other choices but you can add your own toppings at home – low sugar granola, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, frozen berries,
  2. Natural Yoghurt is also a winner.
  3. Skyr is a low sugar yoghurt due to the way it is made, even the flavoured ones are low in sugar so these are good options if you want a flavoured yoghurt.

The Worst Offenders:

 Anything with chocolate, added crunch, pureed fruit and most of the squeezy pouches. This of course does not meant you cannot ever give these to your children but it is about the balance. I’m not in favour of cutting foods out or saying a blanket no. However I would recommend keeping these yoghurts as occasional choices. Think about where else they get added sugars from in their diet? Also check the portion size as some of these products are very large portions and you could halve them, thus halving the sugar too. In our house we keep diferent yoghurts as an occasional change or we mix our yoghurt and add something sweeter to the Greek yoghurt. 

NamePortion Size in grams (g)Sugarsper 100g in grams (g)Ranking 1(best)-5(worst)
Greek Yoghurt




Yeo Valley Natural Yoghurt




Arla Natural Skyr Yoghurt




Petits Filous My First Vanilla Fromage Frais




Arla Raspberry Skyr Yoghurt




Petits Filous Organic Variety Fromage Frais




Tesco Strawberry Yogurt Drink




Petits Filous Strawberry Raspberry Fromage Frais




Peppa Pig Strawberry Fromage Frais




Paw Patrol Strawberry Fromage Frais




Petits Filous Magic Squares Raspberry Vanilla Yogurt




Frubes Variety Yogurt Pack




Munch Bunch Fruit Fromage Frais




Wildlife Choobs Strawberry Raspberry And Apricot Yogurt




Munch Bunch Squashums Limited Edition




Petits Filous Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt




Munch Bunch Squashum Strawberry Yogurt Drink




Actimel Multifruit Yogurt Drink




Munch Bunch Double Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt




Munch Bunch Double Up Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt




Frubes Strawberry And Raspberry Yogurt Pouches




Star Wars Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt Pouch




Smarties Split Pot Yogurt




Muller Corner Banana Yogurt Crunch Yogurt




Muller Corner Strawberry Crunch Yogurt




Muller Corner Vanilla Chocolate Balls Yogurt




Muller Corner Toffee Chocolate Hoops Yogurt




Milkybar Little Treats




Nestle Rolo Dessert




Cadbury Dairy Milk Pots Of Joy Caramel Dessert








Food trends 2018 I’d be pleased to see.

January always brings the weird, the wonderful and the wahey of food. I’ve highlighted a few trends that I predict are on the rise for 2018 and ones that I would be happy to see more of. You can check out my 2017 trends post here and see how I did! 

Plant Power

I think we’ve all seen the rise of the vegan diet with veganuary in full swing. Whilst being vegan is perfectly great way to live life and eat I don’t think it is something to take lightly or do for a month. Being a vegan is a lifestyle choice and not a fad. Rant over. I do think that eating more plants and less meat will be high on the 2018 agenda which is fabulous. Foods like tofu, tempeh and quinoa are growing in popularity as are meat free days. Check out Meatfreemonday for great recipes and inspiration.

Sustainable eating

This ties in with eating a plants based diet but goes further. Consumers are becoming more conscious and choosy about where their food comes from. Choosing foods that are not just heathy but are obtained in a way that does not damage the ecosystem or deplete a food source is important and coming higher up the agenda for people.

Fermented foods, probiotics and gut health

The chatter on these has been increasing in 2017 with people starting to think and talk about making them at home. As research on the microbiome grows this is a natural area to grow alongside it. Gut health and how your feed those bacteria is likely to become popular. Personally I love this idea and it’s certainly something I will be getting on board with. Making your own kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, live yoghurt , sourdough are all things you can make yourself.
Less diets more body signals. This could just be the circle I am in or my own hopefulness but could 2018 be the rise of intuitive eating? Listening to the bodies hunger and fullness signals, guilt free eating and take the labels of good and bad away from food. It’s a journey and no quick fix but boy it would be fabulous to see and I think it’s on the way up.

Recycling food

Using up leftovers can seem hard work to some and second nature to others. Chefs are coming on the scene who are pushing this as a trend. Not only will it reduce food waste but also your food bill. A great place to go for inspiration on how to use your leftovers is Love Food Hate Waste.