Don’t be fooled! Ten foods and drinks to avoid…

Whilst my main focus is on lifestyle and habit change (rather than calorie counting) when it comes to health and fitness, I’m always on the lookout for pitfalls that anyone can fall into on a daily basis.

Here are some examples of foods and drinks you should definitely be careful of!

1.  Low fat yogurts: These are often marketed as ideal as “part of a calorie controlled diet”, but take the fat out of most yogurts and they become flat and tasteless. To compensate, manufacturers will boost the sugar and artificial flavorings, creating a product that might be low fat but is very high in calories.

Always go for natural or Greek varieties and add your own fruit.

2. Iced tea: Whilst this may seem to be a worthy and refreshing choice on a warm day, most iced tea varieties (including green tea) are crammed full of sugar…and some even exceed the levels found in well known fizzy drinks. As a result, it’s easy to consume your entire recommended daily sugar amount in one go!

Try natural mint tea that’s slightly sweeter to start.

3. Energy bars: Often sold in the “healthy” section of supermarkets and natural health shops, “energy bars” can be deadly and often contain in excess of 500 calories each. Much care is needed when selecting.

Look at the labels and pick one that has less than 250 calories and at least 4g of protein.

4. Prepared salads: How often do you go into a restaurant or take away and order a salad “through gritted teeth” to be healthy whilst your companions have the steak and chips or blt sandwich? Whilst a well constructed salad can be extremely beneficial and tasty, most restaurant chefs or shops flood their salads with extra fats to make them tastier and therefore “worth the money”. Caesar salads are particularly bad because of the oil, Parmesan and deep fried croutons. Make sure you know what’s in a salad before you order or buy…it may be worth picking something else!

Salads can be some of the tastiest dishes out there…so mix plenty of ingredients with only a bit of natural oil (say from tuna fish) and herbs or spices.

5. Hot chocolate: Whilst it is technically possible to have a reasonably healthy hc using a small cup of skimmed milk and only a teaspoon of chocolate (or hot water and maybe two spoonfuls of chocolate), most coffee shop hot chocolates are definite no-go items. The Starbucks Venti 2% Salted Hot Chocolate, for example, will hit you with 760 calories, 22g of fat and 85g of sugar!

Have a fruit tea with a small piece of plain dark chocolate instead.

6.  Flavored waters: A relatively new addition to the shop shelves, these are a sensational marketing gimmick. Often proclaiming to be full of extra vitamins and other energy-giving nutrients, the extra sugar in most of them will far outweigh any benefits given by the former. For instance, one of the best selling varieties, Volvic’s Touch of Fruit, has 27.5g of sugar in a 500ml bottle…equivalent to almost seven teaspoons of sugar. Things get even worse with something like Drench’s blackcurrant and apple water which comes in with a whopping 46g per 500ml. Bottled water is expensive enough without paying extra for added sugar!
On “healthy” water

Fill up a water bottle each morning from the tap…it’s free and much better for you! Alternatively, make your own “fruit infused” water.

Fruit infused water

7. Milkshakes: Just no…never.

8. Smoothies: Often sold as great “health” drinks, popular brands have built their reputation as being one (or even two) of the “five-a-day” servings. Don’t be fooled! Because they contain so much fruit, their natural sugar content is far higher than if you just had one of the original fruit. Throw in some tempting milk, cream or ice cream and their health value goes out of the window. Many fruit juices are as bad, advertising themselves as containing “the juice of ten fruit”. Sounds great until you realise you would not sit down and eat ten of any fruit in one go…ever!

Read the label carefully before purchase, or make your own smoothies with some fat free Greek yoghurt, a small handful of fruit and lots of ice.

9.  Coleslaw: Packed full of carrot, cabbage and other veg, most pre-packaged coleslaw is an accident waiting to happen.  Crammed with salad cream or mayonnaise, an average portion can deliver over 260 calories and 20g of fat.

Make your own using a fat free yogurt, with a squirt of lemon juice and lots of pepper and herbs.

10. Pre-packaged sandwiches: Although many fast food outlets have made a real effort to label their sandwiches and provide low calorie alternatives, it’s still often quite difficult to find one that’s low fat, low calorie and tasty. Many are still made of white bread and are crammed full of mayonnaise or similar. Even the sandwiches that are targeted at “dieters” can contain as much as half the targeted daily intake…and who can make do with just a sandwich at lunchtime?

Go for a wholemeal bread sandwich, containing a lean meat or fish, healthy salad veg with a light dressing. Or instead opt for a soup or egg on toast.

As I’m always saying (boring but true), eating is as much about common sense as it is about micro managing your calorie intake. Read the labels of everything you buy and stick to the basics (e.g. plain water instead of flavored water), reserving the slightly more “unhealthy” options for those times you may not have the choice.




Small daily changes to lose weight

With all the press in full flow about the growing obesity and inactivity “epidemic” sweeping the country and how it’s going to cripple the NHS over the next twenty years, isn’t it about time for us to take the lead when it comes to our own health and fitness?

If you are one of the 62% of the U.K. population who are overweight, or one of the 80% who are inactive, then surely the answer must be Yes!

However, most people find it really difficult to lose weight and get active because most of the influences surrounding eating and exercise seem to work against us. The supermarkets spend millions tempting their customer with relatively unhealthy food and drink, and the supposed “cures” for being overweight and unfit are either another fad diet, or a costly and time consuming gym membership.  With the speed of “life” increasing, the issue of looking after your own body and “self” often has to take a back seat.

So perhaps now is a good time to look at the mechanism and philosophy surrounding the whole “keeping fit and healthy” thing to work out a way we can not only improve our general fitness levels (and remember, if you are fit, then your body weight probably won’t be an issue) but also do it in a way that avoids starvation diets, isn’t expensive or necessarily time-consuming, and, perhaps most importantly, will be for the long term. 

This approach is not earth-shatteringly new, but little practiced. Come January, you can bet your life people will be searching again for the latest fad diet book on Amazon, or signing up for a year’s membership at their local gym. The latter is certainly a good start if you have regular time to spare, but the latest diet probably won’t work…again!

So, the first thing you have to do is to say to yourself:

“I’m going to change my lifestyle to get healthier and fitter for good” 

Sometimes the hardest part of the whole process is understanding just this! Being overweight and inactive is a function of what you do, day in day out and your eating habits and routines. It’s not only about how many calories are in this and how many in that.

The second thing is to realise that “changing your lifestyle” doesn’t mean making drastic, quick changes…in fact, the most effective way is to make small, gradual changes over a period of time. That way, it’s both easier to do and more effective in the long run. Get in this mindset:

“Small daily changes are the key to amazing long term results”

Once you are thinking like this, suddenly the mountain doesn’t look quite so big to climb! True, you won’t go from a large size to a small size in a week (impossible, whichever method you use!), but you will see the road ahead. Take each day as it comes and congratulate yourself each time you swap out an unhealthy habit for a healthy one, whether it be climbing the stairs at work or going for a walk instead of the coffee shop!

There’s lots of help and advice out there, but a plan like New In 90 will show you exactly what to do each day to make the necessary long term changes.

Good luck!


Are you overweight? Here’s a simple test to find out…

weighing machineA recent study (see link below) by Cass Business School, City University, London has come with with a really simple formula to tell if you are overweight or not…and, if you are, how many years you’ll lose off your life if you don’t do something about it.

According to the research, the ideal formula for living a long life is having a waist circumference that is less than half your height.

The study says that the rule applied regardless of a person’s age, ethnicity or gender and is an excellent indicator of whether or not you are overweight.

So, get yourself a tape measure or a piece of string and measure your waist at the halfway point between your lowest rib and your hip bone i.e. the thinnest bit. Don’t breathe in when you measure and stand upright. If the measurement is less than half your height, then you’re OK.

The study’s authors say the circumference of the waist is important because it indicates the amount of “central fat” in the body. This affects the vital organs, causing health problems from heart trouble to diabetes, unlike fat around the thighs, hips and bottom. They go onto say that this test is better than the industry standard BMI test because the latter does not distinguish between fat and muscle.

So what happens if you find that your waist circumference is MORE than half your height?

Well, the research suggests that a 30 year old male whose waist-to-height ratio is 60%, 70% 0r 80% will lose approximately 1.7, 7.2 or 20.2 years respectively off his life, whilst a female will lose 1.4, 4.6 or 10.6 years.

The concept of seeing “overweightness” in terms of years off your life is sobering but remember it’s never too late to do something about it!

Don’t rush headlong into a horrible diet or faddish exercise regime. Instead, work out how you can make simple changes to make your lifestyle healthier and then set about actually MAKING the changes! If you approach the task like this, then it becomes challenging in a good way and you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your objective.

New In 90

The secret to a longer life – keep your waist to half your height

Getting fit and healthy…here’s how to have your cake and eat it!


With the daily press constantly bombarding us about the dangers of being unfit, how come the vast majority of us are classed either overweight, obese and/or inactive? If we know a certain condition might well lead to ill-health or even worse consequences, why aren’t we busting a gut to do something about it?

Mmmn, that’s a million dollar question if ever there was one but there ARE some obvious comments.

The first is that a lot of people just don’t have any real desire to do anything about it. Sure, we know we should but we humans are very good at putting things off until we get a BIG wake up call. A doctor saying you’re on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes, or getting really breathless just walking up a flight of stairs, might be two such calls…it might even take worse news to gird us into action.

The second is that our rushed and inactive lifestyles, combined with modern food production and retailing, means that we no longer have to toil in the fields all day, sustained by fresh food from the vegetable garden. Instead we sit at a desk, go to the supermarket and buy lots of tasty looking pre-prepared food that can be cooked up in ten minutes before we slump in front of the TV or computer. We go to coffee shops and bars, Indian restaurants and burger outlets…no wonder it’s tough to stay fit and eat healthily!

The third obvious reason is most of us just don’t have the will power required to go on a tightly controlled low calorie diet and stringent exercise regime…because that’s TOUGH.

So, if you are one of those people who perhaps realises that things are getting out of hand, the fitness levels are slumping, the weight increasing and this time you really want to do something about it…the simple answer is YOU CAN.

The first thing you probably need to do is to remove any barriers stopping you…so take a look at 5 golden rules to follow before you start.

Once you’ve successfully done that, you’ve got to realise that getting fitter and healthier is not necessarily about how much you weigh, it’s about how you lead and prioritise your life. You’ll want any changes to become permanent, so it’s worth taking it slowly, one day at a time. Once you understand that you’re not going to lose a load of weight or go out and run a marathon in a week, then the whole process will be much easier.

The next thing is to make sure you don’t deprive yourself of anything you really like. This is crucial because no sooner you say “No more chocolate”, the quicker you’ll be opening the cupboard and devouring a big slab! The key thing is to cut right down on the amount you eat (Master portion control and you’re halfway there) and increase your rate of general activity (Ten easy ways to get the blood pumping…).

You can do all this without going on a diet, without going to the gym and you can still have your favourite treat…just not so often!

For more great help take a look at some great advice from one of New In 90’s users, Sue from Basingstoke.
Great tips to BOOST motivation and REDUCE temptation…

Good luck!



The top 10 ingredients for the perfect breakfast…

A good breakfast is an essential way to start the day

As with anything to do with diet and exercise, there’s always a difference of opinions amongst the experts, but I’m convinced that having a regular breakfast with good-for-you ingredients can give you energy and set yourself up for a sensible days eating.

The key thing, of course, is WHAT you eat! We are constantly bombarded with promotional messages and breakfast food is no different. Having a greasy fry up is fine every once in a while but the full English with toast, coffee and juice is probably your day’s worth of calories in one go…so have that several times a week and you’re already fighting a losing battle – however tasty it is!

So, here’s my list of the top ingredients for a perfect breakfast. All are readily available at the local store and you should make sure you have some or all of them in the cupboards at all times.

1. Greek yogurt: It tastes creamy and is packed full of calcium and protein. Choose a plain, non-fat variety and add some fruit to give it sweetness and flavour.

Avoid: Fruit yogurts that are crammed full of additives and sugar.

2. Bananas: A great food to have at any time of the day but particularly at breakfast. They contain healthy carbohydrates, potassium (great for helping to keep blood pressure at bay) and natural sugar for any sugar cravings. Particularly good sliced over your cereal or with your Greek yogurt.

Avoid: Having too many (i.e. more than one or two per day)! Like any food, everything should be taken in moderation.

3. Eggs: A fantastic source of protein and nutrients, eggs are nature’s energy food. Don’t worry about the cholesterol in them because research has shown that it has less of an impact than previously thought.

Avoid: Frying them in lots of oil, stuffing an omelette with cheese and bacon and having too many. A two egg omelette with no added milk and some fruit on the side is just perfect.

4. Blueberries: Relatively low in calories compared to other fruits, Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and studies suggest they can help improve everything from memory to motor skills. Perfect for eating with cereal and as a tasty snack. Strawberries, raspberries and kiwi fruits are as good, so keep a variety going.

Avoid: Having them everyday…they’re not the cheapest of breakfast foods.

5. Coffee: Despite coffee’s occasional bad press, drinking it has been linked to a lower risk of several diseases due to its combination of caffeine and antioxidants. You can definitely afford one or two with breakfast! Always have black, or with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.

Avoid: Having ten throughout the day and adding gallons of full fat milk or cream, along with other gimmicky shots…and definitely no sugar!

6. Tea: If you’re not a coffee fan first thing, then have a cup of tea! It has less caffeine than coffee, so hydrates you better and it’s also a rich source of immunity-boosting antioxidants. Green and fruit tea are great drinks for anytime of the day.

Avoid: Like coffee, avoid adding lots of milk and sugar.

7. Orange juice: Packed full of essential vitamins, it’s a great and tasty way to start the day. Make sure it is fresh and the bits are still in it. Cranberry juice is good as well.

Avoid: Having a large glass! It’s high in calories and sugar.

8.Cereal: One of the most misunderstood breakfast foods of all because of the huge variety. Most of them on the supermarket shelves are processed and packed with sugar and other undesirable ingredients and many are marketed especially with children in mind. It’s worth looking at the labels before you buy and stick to unprocessed, whole grain cereals. Don’t be fooled by the “healthy” messages. A good example is shredded wheat (ingredients: 100% wholegrain wheat) versus wholegrain bran flakes (ingredients: 76% wheat bran, sugar, barley malt extract, salt and a load of vitamins). Always have with some skimmed or semi-skimmed milk with fruit, nut or yogurt topping…it’s the best meal of the day.

Avoid: Any gimmicky brands, particularly ones with coatings of sugar or chocolate.

9. Wholewheat bread: One of the traditional breakfasts of white toast, butter and jam is not that good for you! If you are having bread, toast or a muffin, always pick a whole wheat brown variety. They are packed with fibre and other nutrients that have all been taken out of their white counterparts. Pop a poached egg on top for an energy boosting start to the day.

Avoid: Covering your whole wheat toast with chocolate topping or peanut butter!

10: Fish: Probably a luxury in most people’s eyes and something reserved for the weekends but any type of fish is great to start off the day. Grilled or poached (in a small amount of skimmed milk) is the best way to cook.

Avoid: Creamy sauces poured over the top or lashings of melted butter.

In a hurry? Grab a banana, a handful of nuts and a bottle of water and you won’t go far wrong.

Remember though not to ban those “we know it’s not good for you” breakfasts! A good breakfast fry-up is one of life’s great pleasures…just make sure it’s done rarely and as a real treat!






Daily treats

At a recent event in London, the great and the good from the nutrition and health sectors came together to discuss the critical issues facing the NHS in relation to eating, exercise and the rise in obesity rates in the U.K.

Tom Sanders, head of dietetics and nutrition at King’s College, London, said that many people were unaware a breakfast muffin and latte could amount to almost half the recommended daily calorie count intake for women.

Christine Williams, a nutritionist at Reading University, said low-fat foods were often “loaded up with sugar to compensate for the lack of palatability caused by the removal of the fat.”

The majority of the experts called upon the government to tackle the problem in a far more robust way, perhaps even imposing increased taxes on sugary drinks and other, obviously unhealthy, foods.

The “anti-nanny state” campaigners would not like this…and probably such legislation would never get to the statute books but it does beg the question as to why we are even discussing it.

If someone is told that their calorie intake per day should be say, 2000 and they choose to have a muffin and latte (say 800 cals) and then fill up with other foods to the 2000, then that’s fine isn’t it?

Of course it is, but the reality is many people will have the muffin and latte in addition to three meals and other snacks, taking their intake way over the recommended level…and that’s where the trouble begins. Do that for a year and common sense tells you that you’ll find yourself heavier than you were at the start!

And the answer?

Well, there’s no real point in putting up the price of muffin and lattes, so it’s down to the individual to balance their food intake. Have the muffin just occasionally, always have skimmed milk with the latte and, on days when you do have this treat (because that’s what it has to become), make sure you balance out the rest of your day’s eating with good, healthy food.

If you work it right, you can have a treat AND eat healthily every day of the week without having to worry about your weight!


The best kind of exercise to control your blood sugar

Young woman walking

If you are one of those people who suffer from type 2 diabetes (and there are now, unfortunately, a lot of them in the U.K.), then there’s some new research (see link below) from the University of Copenhagen and published in Diabetologia, that suggests walking at varying speeds, rather than at a constant speed, could be better in helping manage blood sugar levels.

The effects of exercise on blood sugar control in people who have type 2 diabetes are well documented, but the best type remains to be nailed down. Traditionally, high-intensity exercise has not been recommended due to a fear of inducing injuries and discouraging patients from exercising, even though it has been demonstrated that high-intensity exercise improves glycaemic control more than low-intensity exercise.

So this new research is particularly encouraging for those people who do suffer from type 2 diabetes, but don’t take part in any really structured or high intensity exercise. The answer may be to walk regularly and to ensure that you speed up your walk (or jog for a few minutes) several times whilst you are out. The object should be to quicken your heart rate and breathing, so some double-time marching is the order of the day!

These benefits are not just restricted to people with type 2 diabetes.

Walking is a great exercise for everyone and can be easily incorporated into a busy working day. Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification at the American College of Sports Medicine, says “The return on investment in interval training is fabulous. Walkers can incorporate it by warming up and walking for three minutes and then walking as fast as they can, or jogging, for one minute and repeating that pattern for the duration of the walk.”

I would agree with this, and walking plays a hugely important part in the New In 90 programme. Not only is it a highly effective way of getting active, it can also be incorporated into anyone’s day without major disruption and you don’t need to go anywhere or dress in special clothes to do it. If you can increase its effectiveness with surges of pace, then it makes it even more valuable!


Research explores why interval walking training is better than continuous walking training

If January 1st means “time to go on a new year diet”, then read this…

Weight loss advice

If you are one of those people who look forward to the New Year with dread because that’s the time you really feel you should go on a new year diet, then make the decision to change things this year!

You may think that the LAST thing you want to do is to consider what you might be doing in January because, let’s face it, it’s a fairly bleak time of year. The weather is cold, Christmas and the holiday festivities are over and there’s nothing really to look forward to until Spring!

And yet, that’s the time a lot of us rush to Amazon to buy the latest diet book or renew our lapsed (again!) gym membership.

I have spoken many times about the flawed concept of “going on a diet” and also the difficulty of any sort of imposed eating regime in the New Year (for the reasons above)…so this year make the decision to do things differently.

Here’s how to do that. 

Getting fitter, healthier and achieving your “ideal” weight is all about your eating and activity lifestyle, it’s not about religiously calorie counting or fasting. It’s about changing your habits and routines in small and easy steps and incorporating new ones into your daily life.

Many people immediately worry when any sort of lifestyle change is proposed but these will only be minor adjustments done on a daily basis and then incorporated for the long term…that’s the way they add up to make a BIG difference.

And the good news is that you’ve got about three months left in the year and that’s the right time you’ll need to set this plan in motion.

I’ve written lots of articles about exactly how to go about this but you should look at Follow these simple eating rules for long term weight control and Need help losing weight? Here’s 10 great pieces of advice…. to start.

You’ll see that making small adjustments NOW will have a great long term effect and you’ll get to January 1st 2015 with a totally different outlook…and something to really look forward to!

Good luck!


You may find it easier to follow a structured plan like New In 90…it will tell you exactly what to do on each day for the next 90 days…simple!

Great tips to BOOST motivation and REDUCE temptation…

Don't give up, Dont give in.

If you are trying to get a bit slimmer, fitter and healthier, the hardest thing, bar NONE is stay motivated enough to overcome temptation. You can have all the diet books in the world at your fingertips but when that chocolate biscuit or treacle sponge craving comes knocking, many of us find it impossible to resist.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just a one-off slip, but all so often it signals the start of a return to old habits and the imminent end to any sort of dieting effort.

Does this sound familiar?

Well, one of my more regular readers, Sue from Basingstoke, has sent us HER tips to overcome these “difficult” times and to keep on the road to the kind of healthy lifestyle most of us are looking for in the long term. See what you think and send me any tips that have worked for you.

When it comes to yo-yo dieting, I am one of the very worst! I’ve tried them all over the last 10 or so years and have always “given in” to some sort of temptation or other…often within a few days of starting! It’s been hopeless.

However, doing New In 90 has made me change my whole approach and my new philosophy seems to be working! I have lost some weight, but more important, my attitude is changing…and I can see how a long term approach will not only get me fitter, but also make my weight adjust to what I consider to be “normal”. Once I realised this, all the pressure that most diets pile on you, disappeared and more motivation kicked in.

So here’s some tips that I’ve found useful…maybe they will for you as well!

On motivation:

You got to really WANT to change in order to change. If you are doing it on a whim or just “giving it a go”, then you probably won’t change anything.

If you have decided you DO want to change, then decide to START. Once you start, take each day as it comes and give yourself a big pat on the back when you go to bed. The first day is hard, but then the more you change, the more motivated you’ll become.

Think long term…think “this is for life”. If you do that, the “instant” results are not so important.

Take small steps…don’t immediately rush into marathons or starvation diets. Do things that you will be able to do rather than set yourself up for failure.

Get the support of those around you. It took a while to get my two boys and husband on board but once they saw the difference in me, they were really good…in fact they now help me!

Talk to yourself! Keep saying how good you are being and how you are going to feel in a few months, in a year, in five years. You are your own coach!

On temptation

Get rid of it! Stop buying treats, snacks and fizzy drinks. If you don’t have them in the house, then you can’t eat them. This is especially important in the first few weeks. Clear the cupboards out and throw away all those sugary temptations!

If you have a craving for something…don’t dwell on it and don’t try and ignore it. The first thing I do is to drink a glass of water…and that normally puts the genie back in his box. If that doesn’t work, get up and do something…anything (I find a quick walk is best) at all. Jump up and down and shout at yourself if that works!

Talk to yourself (again)! If you feel yourself giving in to temptation, give yourself a good talking to…tell yourself what you want to achieve and how you don’t really need what is tempting you. 

Revel in resisting! Once the urge passes, congratulate yourself, particularly early on. The more you do it, the easier it will become…promise!

Give into it sometimes! Who wants to never have a treat ever again? Not me for sure, so I do have occasional treats but beware…make sure your treat is small and savour every mouthful.

Hope someone finds this useful!

Thanks Sue,


Follow these simple eating rules for long term weight control

Healthy foods

I am always saying that “losing weight” should never be the number one objective of any health and fitness kick…it should be one of the welcome results of such a campaign, along with the many other benefits that a healthy lifestyle can bring.

People who just want to lose weight in isolation and try to do so by going on a calorie counting or abstinence regime are probably not going to succeed in the long term and will most likely get pretty depressed at the same time. It’s much better to get to grips with the reasons why you are unfit and overweight and end up with a more effective long term solution.

So saying, there’s no point at all changing all your habits and routines and getting more active if at the end of the day you’re still eating lots of all the wrong types of foods and drinks!

So it makes sense to follow some very simple eating rules – you’ll have heard them all before but if they are followed in conjunction with other lifestyle changes, then you’ll dramatically increase your chance of long term success!

1. Go for brown, not white: Brown/wholewheat bread, pasta, rice, flour and cereal. If something is white, then it means it’s been processed and most of the goodness will have been stripped out. And remember to limit the amounts you have…just because it IS brown does NOT mean you can eat unlimited quantities!

2.  Eat breakfast – go for eggs, or yoghurt with some fruit and nuts. Cereals and porridge are fine if you have it unrefined (eg weetabix or shredded wheat) and have it with a small amount of skimmed milk and/or natural yoghurt. If you are in a hurry, grab a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit as you rush out of the house.

Avoid sweet or processed foods such as white toast loaded with butter and jam, sugary cereals and large glasses of fruit juice.

Some experts say that breakfast is not important and if you are someone who just can’t face food first thing then that’s fine, as long as the rest of your eating “day” is sensible. However, the trap comes mid morning when the tummy rumbles and a cappuccino and full fat muffin beckons!

3. Stop snacking! Eat three balanced meals containing the right things in the right quantities. If you must have something in between, then a try a glass of water, handful of nuts, a natural yoghurt, a piece of fruit or a raw vegetable.

OK, but what’s life without the occasional chocolate biscuit, packet of crisps or ice cream? The answer is to keep it just that…occasional. If you snack on high sugar/fat items throughout the day then it’s time to change!

4. Avoid processed foods. That pretty means any food that’s had something done to it before you buy it. Occasional ready meals or pizzas are fine but only really once or twice a month.

5. Skip puddings. If you think the vast majority of puddings are a) sugary and b) normally eaten when you are probably full, then you’ll know why this is a wise move! If you are desperate have a small piece of dark chocolate instead and eat it VERY slowly.

6.  Limit your helpings and STOP eating as soon as you feel a bit full. Nearly everyone puts too much food on their plates and then goes on eating after they feel full. Just don’t!

7. Eat more chicken and fish. Limit red meat to once or twice a month.

8. Learn how to steam and stir fry.  A wok and a steamer are invaluable in the kitchen…they make cooking quicker, healthier and the food will always taste nicer.

9. When you shop make sure you stock up on the “healthy” stuff and avoid the “bad” stuff. If you come home from work and the only thing in the cupboard is a ready meal, then that’s what you’ll have. Come home to some chicken and veg, then you can cook up a tasty stir fry in the same amount of time as a ready meal in the microwave.

10. Eat sensibly but never “ban” anything, particularly your favourite treat or snack. If you get into the habit of sensible eating, then having an Indian takeaway or an ice cream blowout every now and again is fine!

You can find out more about sensible eating on the very useful New In 90 Healthy Food List or The Healthy Eating Plate and Harvard’s great Healthy Eating Pyramid.