Introducing our third article in the four-part series from guest nutritional therapist Delyth Johnson, who is helping you eat well in time for the summer months. The focus this week is how to compose meals, preparation and some helpful hints on what to drink. Carry on with increasing the variety of fruits and vegetables while including health-promoting fats.
Composition of meals
To help control the release of sugar from carbohydrates make sure you have a protein source with every meal, including breakfast. Protein, fat and fibre slow down the release of sugar into the blood, thereby controlling the level of insulin being released and reducing the amount of sugar moving into cells, causing weight gain. Ensuring you eat adequate protein also contributes to the feeling of satiety (feeling full) so you won’t be hungry again so quickly, reducing food intake overall. Portion control is also important, examples are provided in next week’s final instalment.
Eat more: Protein by ensuring a portion size per meal (one handful) alongside plenty of vegetables and a serving of whole grains. Protein sources: lean meats, fish, poultry, dairy and cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses.
Avoid: Try not to eat carbohydrates (grains, fruit and vegetables) on their own, always with protein.
Establish a regular eating pattern of three meals a day each containing some protein and arm yourself with a host of healthy snacks so you can have two snacks a day in between meals. This means you keep your blood sugar under control without it going too low (too hungry) so reducing the temptation to reach out for snacks high in sugar and saturated/trans/hydrogenated fats.
Snack ideas (up to two a day) choosing from:
½ grapefruit or ½ avocado pear
1 medium fruit – apples, oranges, pears, peaches, nectarines, kiwi
2 plums, apricots, or clementines
1 handful of berries, grapes or cherries
Eat with nuts and seeds which contain beneficial nutrients but use in moderation due to being high in calories. In one day have a maximum of: eight almonds or three brazils or three walnuts or 1-2 dessertspoons of mixed seeds, one oatcake or two rye crisp breads topped with one tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese and sprinkle of fresh chives with one sliced tomato or 50g low fat cottage cheese or 20g cheddar cheese and one sliced apple.
Thirst can be disguised as hunger so it is important to make sure that you stay well hydrated:
1. Ensure you are drinking 1.5-2 litres of water per day; this may also help you flush out toxins and aid digestion.
2. Minimise caffeine and fizzy drink intake due to their effects on blood sugar and insulin balance.
Try herbal teas and green tea. Although green tea is caffeinated, the phytochemical ‘catchein’, found in green tea, may assist in weight management and may benefit liver health. Avoid green tea if you are feeling stressed and try chamomile or lemongrass tea for relaxation.
Delyth Johnson is a qualified nutritional therapist.
For more information about nutritional therapy, visit Delyth Johnson’s website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07525 715008.