Tag Archives: priya dietitian

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
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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
335g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 490
Calories from Fat 114
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
20%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 105mg
35%
Sodium 736mg
31%
Total Carbohydrates 70g
23%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 5g
Protein 23g
Vitamin A
88%
Vitamin C
27%
Calcium
9%
Iron
14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  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
Instructions
  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.
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calories
490
fat
13g
protein
23g
carbs
70g
more
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.

 

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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:

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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. 

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

100

5.4

1

Yeo Valley Natural Yoghurt

150

5.6

1

Arla Natural Skyr Yoghurt

150

4

1

Petits Filous My First Vanilla Fromage Frais

47

4.8

1

Arla Raspberry Skyr Yoghurt

150

8.3

2

Petits Filous Organic Variety Fromage Frais

50

8.8

2

Tesco Strawberry Yogurt Drink

100

9.1

2

Petits Filous Strawberry Raspberry Fromage Frais

85

9.9g

2

Peppa Pig Strawberry Fromage Frais

45

10

2

Paw Patrol Strawberry Fromage Frais

45

9.9

2

Petits Filous Magic Squares Raspberry Vanilla Yogurt

80

10.8

2

Frubes Variety Yogurt Pack

40

10.9

2

Munch Bunch Fruit Fromage Frais

42

12.7

3

Wildlife Choobs Strawberry Raspberry And Apricot Yogurt

40

12.8

3

Munch Bunch Squashums Limited Edition

60

12.1

3

Petits Filous Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt

100

12.2

3

Munch Bunch Squashum Strawberry Yogurt Drink

90

12.7

3

Actimel Multifruit Yogurt Drink

100

12.2

3

Munch Bunch Double Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt

85

12.5

3

Munch Bunch Double Up Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt

85

12.5

3

Frubes Strawberry And Raspberry Yogurt Pouches

70

13.2

4

Star Wars Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt Pouch

70

13.2

4

Smarties Split Pot Yogurt

120

15

4

Muller Corner Banana Yogurt Crunch Yogurt

135

16.7

5

Muller Corner Strawberry Crunch Yogurt

135

17.1

5

Muller Corner Vanilla Chocolate Balls Yogurt

135

17.7

5

Muller Corner Toffee Chocolate Hoops Yogurt

135

18.4

5

Milkybar Little Treats

60

21.1

5

Nestle Rolo Dessert

70

25.4

5

Cadbury Dairy Milk Pots Of Joy Caramel Dessert

70

26

5

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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.

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Simple Chicken and Butternut Curry.

Comfort food for me is curry. Being half Sri-lankan it’s in my roots that curry is delicious, nutritious and part of life. For me a good curry must include fragrant spice, vegetables and lentils. Or at least have those as side dishes. I’m not about the greasy, ultra spiced up meals with lots of sauce and no veg. Curry can be a great way to be creative with vegetables and give them a twist. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated but it does have to be tasty.

Chicken and Butternut Curry
Serves 4
Family friendly curry
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
504 calories
64 g
55 g
7 g
46 g
1 g
233 g
87 g
5 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
233g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 504
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 55mg
18%
Sodium 87mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 64g
21%
Dietary Fiber 31g
124%
Sugars 5g
Protein 46g
Vitamin A
154%
Vitamin C
13%
Calcium
8%
Iron
47%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 large butternut squash
  2. 3 medium carrots
  3. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  4. 3 chicken breasts
  5. 1/2 tin coconut milk
  6. 2 cups lentils
  7. 1 tsp tumeric, coriander, cumin
  8. 1/4 inch grated ginger
  9. 2 cloves garlic
  10. 80g mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the butternut squash (or use frozen chunks) and the carrots.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the butternut and carrots for 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile chop the chicken into bite sized chunks and set aside.
  4. Add the tumeric, coriander and cumin, it will smell fragrant and delicious. Stir around to coat everything. Next add the chicken and stir to coat.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and add lentils. Top tip: if you use the smallest lentils they cook extra fast.
  6. Whilst this comes up to a simmer prepare the garlic cloves, I like to smash and chop mine. Grate the ginger and add the ginger and garlic to the pan.
  7. Finally add the chunks of mushrooms and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  8. Serve with rice and a sprinkle of coriander if you have it and your family will eat it (mine moan at the green stuff).
Notes
  1. I use frozen ginger and grate it with the skin still on, you could also use it fresh and peel it first.
beta
calories
504
fat
7g
protein
46g
carbs
64g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
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Eating Mediterranean to beat the bills

One thing I love about nutrition and dietetics is the conundrum that is complex science that usually translates down to simple health messages. The Mediterranean diet is a great example. The science behind how it all works on the body is long winded actions of  polyphenols and antioxidants. However you don’t really need to worry about all of that. What we really want to know is:

  1. What does the summary of the research say about the health benefits.
  2. How can I translate that into my everyday life.
  3. What do I need to eat and how often. 

A team from Ghent University analysed the research on the Med diet, looking at 8 meta analysis and 10 cohort studies, they founds some pretty huge results.  If we convinced 2% of the UK to eat a more Mediterranean diet it could lead to a saving of £1 billion. Increase this to 10% of the population eating more plant foods, olive oil, soya, nuts and seed would potentially save £5 billion.  Reductions through a decrease in hospital admissions, doctors bills and keeping people healthy to work more days a year. Isn’t it amazing that such simple changes can lead to such huge savings.

A summary of the research showed that a Med diet can:

  • Reduce diabetes risk by 26% 
  • Lead to a 42% reduction in CHD in men and 25% in women
  • 37% reduction in stroke
  • 33% reduction in breast cancer
Med diet reduces disease risk Women Men
Colon cancer

40%

44%

Stomach cancer

42%

29%

Lung cancer

25%

23%

Diabetes

28%

28%

Stroke

36%

9%

Prostrate cancer  

30%

Postmenopausal breast cancer

36%

 
coronary heart disease

4%

4%

Soya beans, soy products and tofu contain phyto-oestrogens. These are bioactive substances in plant foods that have naturally occurring oestrogen activity. Photo oestrogens have been widely studied and there is evidence they can help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. Some bone sparing effects in osteoporosis and they may reduce the risk of certain cancers. They can reduce the risk of heart disease due to their cholesterol lowering effects. Eating more soy can displace the saturated fat intake from meat. 

 

 So the plan from this for you? 

Eat more fruit and vegetables – aim for over 5 portions a day if you can and include soy products in your eating (25g a day = 1 portion).

Why you should cook with your kids

I’ve been baking with my kids since my eldest was 18 months. With one child it is messy, with more than one it is carnage. It takes 4 times as long, involves multiple conversations, explanations and shouts of “no, not yet”, there is a kitchen to clear up and children too… however I am convinced it is something we should all be doing.

Why? Here are my top reasons.

  1. It teaches children about measuring, volume, pouring, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Jobs like rolling pastry, cutting out shapes, measuring the flour, stirring and pouring in milk are all good to try.

Dietitian UK: Why you should cook with your kids 1

  1. They learn about safety in the kitchen. My 5 years old has her own knife and know how to safely chop the vegetables and how to carry sharp knifes. Learning about the oven, the hob and even the big kitchen appliances can be interesting to small ones and teaches them how to be safe in the kitchen.
  2. Children may find it less intimidating and stressful to try out new foods whilst you are preparing them or after they have cooked them. My boy went through a tricky stage with vegetables, then I discovered he would eat lots when helping cut them up for the dinner. So every night he helped prepare the veggies with me! 
  3. It gives them a sense of achievement and success. My kids always look full of happiness and pride when I remind them they helped cook a meal.

Dietitian UK: Toddler cooks Healthy Spag carbonara

  1. Cooking seems to be a dying out skill. It isn’t really taught at school so the only way your children will learn is at home. I come across a lot of people who don’t know how to cook, or have no confidence in the kitchen. Letting your children learn whilst at home teaches them a valuable skill for life.
  2. It is a chance to talk about healthy eating and role model healthy lifestyles to your small ones. We look at different foods, talk about how they are made/where they come from and look at how they look inside, how they cook and different ways to use them. For ages my boy thought Peppa Pig was related to an actual pepper 😉 Watch out though as age 3 my girl was proudly able to tell people when they ate bacon that it had come from a  pig and told the pigs at the farm they made tasty sausages! 
  3. You can use cooking as a whole education. Colours, shapes, counting can all be part of the process! 
  4. In our family, it can be that all important catch up time, where we chat and hang out. 

Dietitian UK: Why you should cook with your kids 2

  1. It occupies them! I have a girl with a very active mind, she needs activities to do, so she cooks with me.
  2. Hopefully, they will be able to cook you dinner when old enough!! I cannot wait for this!

So if you don’t cook with your children, I hope I have given you some reasons why you should 🙂

Lentil and Date Chocolate Brownies. A revelation!

It’s not often I get inspired to make brownies. Don’t get me wrong, I love a brownie, but they generally aren’t the healthiest thing you can bake and once you make a batch you have to eat them, right? So it’s usually flapjack in my cake tin.

However this week Miss K brought home a lentil brownie recipe in her bag from school and it intrigued me. Lentil in a brownie? Surely not. 

Dietitian UK: Lentil and Date Brownies 1

I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to lower the sugar and next time I would definitely add in pecans. You can’t beat a pecan in a brownie.

These were  a hands down winner. Easy to make (as long as you have lentils already cooked or cook them earlier in the day) and they baked whilst we ate dinner. I gave one to my hubby, he looked at me suspiciously and took a bite, then with a surprised voice told me they were really good. My poor family have to try a lot of dud baking as well as the good bits!

None of my children or husband even noticed the lentils. I had a faint taste of them, but I had made them so was probably a bit sensitive to the taste. A great way to lower the glycaemic index and make a higher protein version of a chocolate brownie.

Dietitian UK: Lentil and Date Brownies 2

Lentil and Date Brownies
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
83 calories
11 g
27 g
4 g
2 g
2 g
24 g
8 g
8 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
24g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 83
Calories from Fat 34
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 27mg
9%
Sodium 8mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 45g cooked red lentils
  2. 1 egg
  3. 30g cacao powder
  4. 40g cacao butter or marg
  5. 40g sugar
  6. 60g dates chopped
Instructions
  1. Cook the lentils or use tinned.
  2. Chop the dates into small pieces.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Line a baking tray and spread the mixture in, you want it fairly thick.
  5. Bake at Gask Mark 5 for 20 minutes until it feels gently set.
  6. Leave to cool, cut and eat!
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calories
83
fat
4g
protein
2g
carbs
11g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Amazing Almonds

This week I was invited to go to the EU Round Table Meeting for the Almond Board of California. Exciting stuff, not just because I like almonds. 

Here is some of what I learnt and liked…

Almonds can help keep you satiated and although you may think they are high in calories, studies show that they can help with weight management. When added into the diet in a sensible portion size the research shows that people do not gain weight but adapt their calorie intake at other points in the day.

 A year long study showed adding whole almonds to the diet did not lead to weight gain. People ate more healthy fats and some people lost weight. 

Dietitian UK: Why almonds are so good for you

Almonds can suppress hunger, the desire to eat when not hungry and your meal size. They also increase your resting energy expenditure by 13%, so you burn more calories at rest, which explains some of the reason weight gain is not seen when you eat them regularly.

 Due to the cell wall of almonds being difficult to break down whole almonds actually provide about 20% less calories than originally thought. Chewing studies show that the more you chew your almonds the more nutrition you will get from them. Conversely if you do not chew them well you will excrete more fat from them!

 So almonds are a healthy food to be snacking on. It may surprise you to know that a portion is 23 almonds, equivalent to a shot glass or enough to cover a 3″ x 3″ square sticky note. I love these portion control tins the Almond Board make. I was given a lovely jar of almonds to take home so I’m certainly going to keep on snacking on them!