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11/04/11 Summer Motivation

Our Nutrition workshops are interactive and informative ways of getting staff interested in their wellbeing through diet.  At this time of year, the first bearing of flesh ensues and I share with everyone who thinks about the steamed puddings and toad in the hole we enjoyed in the winter months!  In this article you will find a few ideas for breaking the chocolate cycle (that craving after lunch or dinner for chocolate/sugar), along with some recipe suggestions for stamping out baddies (snacks that don’t serve us well!).

Our calorie requirements in the summer vs winter

Actually these don’t change.  If we eat well and balanced there is nothing to say we require less calories in the summer.  We should match our calorie intake to our level of exercise and if we are exercising more in the summer, we may need to take on more calories.

Trying to tone up and lose weight is often easier in the spring/summer as we can feel more motivated and energised, it is natural for us to spend more time outside and eat less stodge.  If you find yourself reaching for the Baddies:

  • Crisps
  • Cakes
  • Sweets
  • Biscuits (even low fat can have lots of sugar)
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Salted nuts

Even look out for the puffed rice treats in the supermarkets, whilst not fattening, they are incredibly full of salt, more per 100g than a bag of crisps!  In fact this is true of many low fat foods, they typically contain more sugar and salt than their slightly more ‘fattening’ counterparts.  Would it be best to have a ‘little’ of what you like than ‘allot’ of synthetic flavoured treats?

Try these simple ideas:

If you are used to having a salty snack such as crisps or nuts (think glass of wine or beer), then these tasty treats are full of healthy goodness.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, iron and protein and are also one of the most concentrated sources of zinc.  Sunflower seeds contain B vitamins B1 and B5, folate and selenium as well as a good amount of magnesium.  A power packed source of nutrition!

Pumpkin and Sunflower Tamari snacks

Simply take a cup of each seeds (or just use 2 cups of one type) mix with 2 teaspoons of Tamari (you can use normal soy sauce, tamari is our favourite at the WPH offices) and you can either:

Heat a large skillet/frying pan and pop seeds in – keep turning them until they brown ever so slightly and start popping, or

Pop on baking sheet and put into oven – mid heat – for around 12 minutes but keep an eye on them either way, they burn quickly!

Tip out onto plate and enjoy!  We keep them in a tub in the office for those 5pm cravings!

Nuts.  Glorious Nuts.

Quite simply nuts are nutritional powerhouses!

This is my key to cutting the sugar craving after food or in the afternoon or evening.  Nuts are nutritious and have a high fat and fibre content thus making them very filling, reducing the need for rubbishy snacks as your body has all the nutrients it needs it gets the correct messages from your food, the complete picture, reducing cravings.

It’s true, nuts are relatively high in calories, and this article is about toning up for summer, so you need to portion your power snack!  1oz is a good portion size (about 16 nuts although they are different shapes and sizes so you will need to work this out yourself!).  I mix freezer bags of nuts with dried fruit, try apricots, sultanas, cranberries and keep them in the cupboard to grab when I am leaving the house, or pop a couple in the car in the winter to ensure I have something to nibble on when I get the cheese and onion crisp urge – it works for me – give it a try.. and if you need any further convincing:

Nuts have been shown to play an important role in helping to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and raise “good” cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.

The Nurses Health Study, which followed 86,016 nurses for 14 years, found those who ate 5 ounces or more of nuts per week reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 35%. The researchers also noted that the nut-eaters tended to weigh less than the nurses who did not eat nuts.

More Seeds?

Sorry seeds again.  Looking for an alternative to cake, and those sugar filled cereal bars you can buy in the supermarket, I make these little beauties.

4 seed bars

2tbsp sunflower seeds

2tbsp pumpkin seeds

2tbsp linseeds

2 banannas

100g butter

3tbsp honey

50g millet flakes (if you don’t have use more oat flakes)

100g oat flakes

100g dried fruit (cranberries are nice, apricots, sultanas, raisins etc)

Heat oven to 180/350/gm4

1. Grease a tin – either 28 x 18 x 4 or you can use bun tins, just give them a spritz of oil

2. Chop seeds (I blitzed seeds and dried fruit in chopper/blender) and mash banana, mix everything together and pop into tin, or press into bun tins and bake for 30 minutes (big tin) and around 20 minutes for bun tin.

Cool on wire rack and enjoy.  They will keep for around 5 days or you can batch cook them and freeze them in portions.

Also, play around with the ingredients, you can add some nuts (simply chop finely or pop in blender)!!!

If you hate nuts and seeds, we do have some other ideas:

Fruit – good old fruit.  Amazingly it tastes great, you just have to remind yourself if you don’t eat it often.  High in

antioxidants, fibre and natural sugars, they will give you a good energy boost.

Eggs – hardboiled they really are a great ready snack and even come in their own protective biodegradable wrapping!  Nigella pops a spent match in her boiling water, I don’t tend to bother..

Vedge – chop up some of your favourites, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas and try with my new invention, Dijon dip – Mayo, lemon juice, white pepper and Dijon – mix and dip!

If you are interested in nutrition for your workplace, get in touch, typically we run hour workshops together with 12 x 30 minute one to one employee slots, please enquire for rates and additional topics.