Tag Archives: priyatew

Should I count calories?

With all these calorie counting apps that are around and the pressure is better on us to look a certain way calorie counting can be an easy trap to fall into. Whilst it can be useful in some clinical instances I don’t think it is helpful for the general purposes of dieting.
 
Formally, a Calorie is a measure of the amount of energy required to heat one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. It was first used in engineering and physics, but eventually found its way into nutrition, we have Wilbur Atwater to thank for that.
 
Whilst it may make sense that tracking your calories, macros and nutritional intake will help you with your weight, overall health or dietary intake in fact it can have the opposite affect. It can lead to you becoming obsessed with counting everything you eat and feeling you have to stick within a certain number of calories per day. This will stop you enjoying your food and impact your socialising too.  What if you are out with friends in a cafe, a once a week occurance and the cake you is 450kcals plus a coffee 150kcals but you are only allowing yourself to eat 1500kcals a day? That cake is 1/5th of your calorie intake for the day, so is it worth eating it? Do you choose to eat it knowing you will be over your calorie limit for the day but that you have enjoyed your cake and time with friends, do you choose to eat the coffee and cake but then restrict your calories the next day to make up for it or do you decline the cake and feel deprived and as if you cannot join in?
 
Dietitian UK: Why I don't like calorie counting
 
I’d suggest that calorie counting can be a useful guide and tool for one off occasions but over the long term it has the potential to become obsessive.  Following a calorie restrictive diet does not make it a balanced diet. You could be getting all your calories from just fruit and veggies or be skipping a whole food group out.
 
There is also the question of is it even accurate? There is no way to accurately know the exact calories of the food apart from using a calorimeter in a laboratory. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to burn my food up each time! Yes this is worked out for us on food labels but that is a guide. A slightly different portion size, a different way of cooking, a slight change to a recipe and it will have a small affect. Does that matter? No not really as the calories are just a guide. 
 
Delving deeper,  your body will also not necessarily absorb all the calories that you eat. For some foods such as nuts for example, a proportion of the calories are excreted. So even know you may be eating  X  amount of calories you are not necessarily going to be absorbing all of those. Other foods can make your metabolism work harder, again showing calorie counting to not be a 100% accurate tool.
 
Personally I do not think counting calories on a daily basis is helpful and it can be a negative trap that you fall into. Instead look at the balance of your diet. Think about getting a range of nutrients in to your day and a wide variety of foodstuffs. Ensure you cook from scratch as much as possible, eating wholegrains and starchy foods, fruit and veggies, protein and healthy fats regularly. Enjoy what you eat, stop when you are full, eat when you’re hungry and be mindful of the food that you consume but not consumed by it.
 
 

Back to school lunches

Back to School. It’s that time again. My girl loves having packed lunch is and actually I quite like knowing what she’s having. But it can become repetitive, so one of our aims is to get inspiration and vary each of the food groups. We always go for a carbohydrate option, some protein, raw veggies and fruit as the basics. Then we add in a few extras such a yoghurt, a muesli bar or some cake. Of course one of the biggest factors is what your child actually likes! It’s no good giving them beautiful looking nutritious food if the won’t eat it.
 
I’d love to say that we spend time each weekend baking for lunches or that we whip up spectacular salads each week. Truth be told, packed lunches are made quickly after dinner whilst I tidy up the kitchen, usually before I teach Pilates and while the kids run around the house like crazies. It’s doesn’t have to be complicated, but balance and variety are 2 of the keys 🔑.
 
Carbohydrates: Bagels, wraps, pitta, bread, baguette, crackers, rice, pasta, couscous.
 
Protein: tuna, cheese, ham, salami, peanut butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs, turkey, chicken, hummus.
 
Raw veggies: cucumber, 1/2 avocado (with a spoon), tomatoes, peppers, carrots, gherkins, olives, sweet corn, peas, mange tout, sugar snap peas, mushrooms.
 
Fruit: melon, apple, berries, satsumas, pear, grapes.
 
Extras: malt loaf, yoghurt, cheese portion, popcorn, cheesy biscuits, cereal bar, dried fruit bar, homemade flapjack.
 
 
 
 
 
Sandwich Filling Ideas:
Cheese and pickle 
Hummus and ham 
Egg and hummus
Salami and cream cheese
Avocado and cream cheese
Avocado and egg salad
Tuna and mayo
Mashed chickpeas, avocado and mayo
Peanut butter
Nut butter and banana
Cheese and marmite
 
Alternatives to Sandwiches:
Sushi (make a batch and use it for 3 days)
Pasta, rice or couscous  salads
Pizza Whirls – use your choice of toppings
Picky Box – crackers, cheese, veggies and let them make their own lunch at school
 
I’d love to hear your ideas! I share packed lunches regularly on my inst-stories so do give me a follow
 

Carrot, Lentil and Coconut Soup

This is one of those soups you can knock up in a hurry from store cupboard ingredients, plus a few carrots. We nearly always have a few carrots floating around in the veggie rack that need using up. Lentil are low glycaemic index which means they can help to keep your blood sugars stable, your energy levels up and your hunger levels down. This is  filling, nutritious lunch, pair it with a wholemeal roll or some wholegrain rice cakes plus a piece of fruit and you will be nicely warmed and satisfied.

 

Carrot, Lentil and Coconut Soup (gluten free, low GI)
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
531 calories
74 g
4 g
11 g
35 g
5 g
587 g
671 g
11 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
587g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 531
Calories from Fat 97
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 4mg
1%
Sodium 671mg
28%
Total Carbohydrates 74g
25%
Dietary Fiber 33g
133%
Sugars 11g
Protein 35g
Vitamin A
256%
Vitamin C
19%
Calcium
10%
Iron
43%
* 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 onion
  2. 5 medium carrots
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 2 cups lentils
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1.5l stock
  7. 50g creamed coconut
  8. 1tsp cumin
  9. 1 tsp coriander
  10. Optional: greek yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the onion and carrots.
  2. Saute the vegetables in the olive oil for a few minutes.
  3. Now add the lentils, bay leaves and stock.
  4. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool a little and then puree.
  6. Next grate the coconut and add this to the soup along with the spices.
  7. Reheat and serve up with a swirl of greek yoghurt if wanted.
beta
calories
531
fat
11g
protein
35g
carbs
74g
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Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/