Vegetables (non-starchy carbohydrates)
Broccoli, spinach, kale, runner beans, peas, courgette, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, watercress, alfalfa beans, cucumber, peppers, fennel, mange tout, asparagus, aubergine, radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress
Lean meat, fish, natural live yoghurt, hummus, eggs, beans, pulses
Oats, brown rice, sweet potato, sweetcorn, carrots, wholegrain pasta, rye bread, oatcakes, parsnip, swede, beetroot, pumpkin, quinoa
Drizzle olive oil, flax oil or sprinkle seeds on your meal to add where desired to increase level of good fats
Hints and Tips
● Storing & batch cooking If you are making a stew, curry or soup spoon it into takeaway carton size Tupperware and use as your measure. Serve with lots of steamed veg and a tablespoon of brown or wholegrain rice. It is a good idea to make a large batch and the rest can be frozen or used for lunch/dinner
● Soups – as you won’t be eating any bread, you can have up to 2 bowlfuls of soup per serving (only if you are hungry enough though!) ensure soup contains protein (lean meats, fish, pulses) so your appetite is sustained for a longer period.
● Brown or white? Swap white rice for brown and regular potatoes for sweet potatoes
● It is good to eat a mixture of proteins, use this as an opportunity to have a few meat-free days per week.
● Could this be impacting your weight loss? If you find yourself craving sweet or sugary foods then ensure that you are drinking enough water and eating enough fat and protein (which sustain appetite for longer) and getting enough rest. When we are tired we are more likely to crave sugary and carbohydrate heavy food as the body is able to utilise this more quickly. Be aware of signs that your body gives you and respond accordingly. Just because your brain is telling you that you ‘need’ chocolate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is what it requires. By including a balanced amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat with each meal, you are enabling your blood sugar and appetite to remain stable throughout the day, thus reducing the risk of energy slumps and sugary cravings
● Alcohol Try to avoid alcohol where possible during this 2-week period. It is a good time to allow your body a break after the holiday season. However, if you have a social engagement and you wish to have a glass or two of wine then don’t feel that you can’t enjoy it. Just ensure that you are properly hydrated and that you drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Also be aware that after a few drinks, you are more likely to opt for less healthy foods and be less focused on portion control. So it is good to be aware of this prior to your night out so that you can ensure that you keep relatively healthy. You may also find that the following day you are craving a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast. Ensure that you drink plenty of water before bed (though ensure not too much in case going you are woken in the middle of the night with a full bladder) and as soon as you wake and that your food throughout the day contains adequate levels of protein. Eggs are a good option following a night out.
● Meal sizes Try (where possible) to eat your larger meals earlier in the day. We require more energy earlier in the day and less as we move towards bedtime. Your body ideally needs to wind-down in the hour or two prior to bed, so this is a time for relaxing and preparing for sleep. Eating a large meal at this time is difficult for the body to digest and can be uncomfortable for you. If you can keep your evening meals lighter than your breakfast and lunch you will be helping your body.
● Sleep & rest they are both so important for health and wellbeing. When we don’t sleep enough we can find that this has a negative effect on our food choices. If you are tired you are more likely to opt for foods that are calorie-laden and high in sugar. This is largely because our bodies can burn this type of food off more quickly and we crave the instant energy release that this food gives us. Aim for a couple of early nights per week, avoided computers, phones and tablets. Try and get into a habit of spending the hour before you go to bed relaxing in preparation for sleep. If you feel you wake in the night with your head whizzing with things to remember for the next day, then keep a pad and pen at your bedside and write things down. Don’t lie there worrying, as that will prevent you from relaxing and being able to fall into a restorative sleep.
● Be adventurous! Try not to fall into the trap of eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and only eating the same thing for snacks. We want you to revive your taste for foods and also for you to benefit from different types of food. The broader the range of foods, the broader the range of flavours and the greater diversity in nutrient intake - interesting AND healthy - win/win!