Over the cold? So are we. March marks the beginning of spring, where the cold wintery days slowly disappear and we start seeing more sunshine. Our March issue is full of recipes and activities to enjoyed in early Spring warmth. From plant-based recipes to three ways to turn your walk into a workout, to a show-stopping strudel perfect for your Easter lunch – here are our 14 reasons to buy.
1. How to eat well on the go Eating well on-the-go can be tricky and with the new government 400:600:600 calorie rule it has just got harder. Nutrition editor, Amanda Ursell shares her advice, plus provides us with some top high-street choices.
2. I think positively, therefore I lose weight
Professor Jane Ogden explores the psychology of weight loss, and shares how we can positively adjust our mind-set in order to achieve long term weight loss. Pick up your copy of the March issue, for her six easy steps.
3. Make the most of your GP Find out how to get the most from your GP visit, in just 10 minutes, with Dr Dawn’s medical notes.
4. Nuts: we’ve done the number crunching They’re a powerhouse of nutrition, but nuts are also high in calories. So how many should we be eating? Dietitian Jennifer Low has the answers.
5. Healthy tonight Coffee-rubbed steak to sushi served in a bowl – our healthy tonight recipes are filled with flavours that your tastebuds will love.
6. Fresh and lean Tuck into satisfying suppers without piling on the starchy carbs, thanks to our colourful recipes. They’re all light on the carbs and heavy on the veg, including this chicken pad Thai with veg noodles.
7. Celebration Pie A show-stopping veggie strudel that can be enjoyed three-ways, and is perfect for your Easter celebrations.
8. Just the two of us Whether you want to impress your partner, or have been meaning to cook for your friend – our recipes for two are healthy, tasty and easy to make.
9. Vegan Supper club Hosting a dinner party, and got vegan guests? Our March issue contains a three-course plant-based menu that’s nutritionally balanced and absolutely delicious. Take a sneak peek at the starter below…
10. The healthy way to try vegan This is no Hollywood fad – thenumbers of vegans is increasing. If you’re thinking of embracing the vegan lifestyle, this month’s 8-page pull-out-and-keep guide is a must.
11. Tom and the sweet stuff Once again, Tom Kerridge has proven he can do no wrong with his inventive takes on classics, that are not only healthier and low in sugar, but also deliver on taste. These French apple tarts with mace will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
12. When whitening strikes With treatments becoming cheaper and huge celebrity endorsements, everyone seems to be whitening their teeth. We explore the risks of swapping yellow teeth for pearly whites…
13. Turn your walk into a workout Who said walking couldn’t be a workout? Health writer, Hannah Ebelthite explores three walking trends that will get you burning calories, building more muscles and even improve your problem solving abilities.
14. Win a healthy day out down on the farm Craving a day out in the glorious Somerset countryside, followed by a delicious two-course lunch? Enter this month’s competition and you and a friend could get the chance to explore one of UK’s leading organic farms, Yeo Valley.
Finally – there’s a verdict in the battle of low-fat vs low-carb diets. Compelling new evidence from a year-long study has helped settle the case, says registered dietitian Jennifer Low
The ‘which is the best diet for weight loss?’ has been a long-running debate, with strongly opinionated experts in each camp. But now the jury, in the form of a year-long study, has found there really is very little difference between the two diets when it comes to how much weight you lose.
The recently published DIETFITS study randomly assigned more than 600 people to either a low-carb or a low-fat diet. It also looked at people’s genetics and their insulin sensitivity to see if either had an impact on weight loss.
Both groups had access to a registered dietitian throughout the year and were given advice about how to reduce their intakes of added sugars and junk foods, while being encouraged to eat more vegetables and cook nutrient-dense healthy meals.
What were the results?
After 12 months, the low-fat group had lost 11.7lb (5.3kg) and the low-carb group 13.2lb (6kg); this difference of 1.5lb over 12 months is neither statistically significant nor clinically relevant to favour one diet over the other.
Genetics and insulin production had no effect on the weight-loss results for the low-carb or the low-fat group. The study authors did say that both areas should be investigated further – there might be other genotypes or other insulin markers that do affect weight-loss outcomes.
So what can we conclude?
If you want to lose weight, you should choose a diet that’s sustainable for you in the long-term, which you enjoy and which allows you to maintain a healthy weight and achieve a healthy balance in life.
Regardless of the proportion of fat or carbohydrate in your diet, if energy in is less than energy out, you will lose weight. But a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is always the best choice, so increase wholegrains and vegetables and reduce foods containing added sugar and trans fats.
If you need help to find the right eating plan for you have a look at www.freelancedietitians.org to find a dietitian in private practice. Or ask your GP for a referral to an NHS dietitian.
How worried should you be about the findings of a new study that links eating highly processed foods with an increased risk of cancer?
New research suggesting a link between ultra-processed foods with a higher risk of cancer may have you binning all ready meals, biscuits and crisps.
But before you panic on hearing the results of this recent research from the team at Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, it’s worth noting that the study was based on a mere two-day food diary of 105,000 people, who were then followed up five years later to assess their health.
The study found that people who ate more highly processed foods during this two-day ‘snap-shot’ of their eating habits, were more likely to develop cancer of any type over the next five years compared with those eating the least.
Scientists conducting the study are the first to point out that more work needs to be done on other large-scale studies to establish the cause behind the link. It may well in part be down to the often high levels of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars in the highly processed foods and drinks these people cons but it’s important to take into consideration that they were discovered to have been also more likely to smoke, be less active and consume more calories overall. In addition, the women involved were also more likely to be on the Pill.
Adjustments were made for these points, but can’t be completely excluded from playing a role in the health outcomes.
Which leaves us where? Well, the usual healthy eating advice remains true. Basing our meals and snacks on lots of vegetables, some wholegrain carbs and lean protein, having fruit each day and limiting processed foods is the sensible approach to daily eating and drinking. We’re also encouraged to limit alcohol to no more than 14 units a week and to get active daily.
If, like us, you’re fed-up with these grey winter days, fret not, our February 2018 Healthy Food Guide is FULL of colour. It’s filled with ideas from helping you eat more vegetables to running like a pro, plus some delicious sweet recipes for Valentine’s Day. Here’s our 10 reasons to buy.
1. The Real Food Doctors
We meet the medics who are not only prescribing medication to their patients, but also a good dose of nutrition, with healthy recipes like Dr. Rupy‘s herby mushrooms and greens.
2. Keeping active makes our brain work better Dr. Lisa Mosconi reveals how to power up our neurons, as well as tips on how to slow our brain from ageing.
3. Have you got too much on your plate?
With the nation’s waistline forever expanding, it’s time to really know how much we are putting on our plates…
4. Healthy tonight
Breeze through your week with our healthy and hearty mid-week recipes. From sticky meat kebabs to a hearty Mediterranean bake, this issue has your weeknights covered.
5. Think outside the VEG BOX
Add more vegetables (and colour) to your life with our rainbow-bright recipes. Your eyes will love them as much as your taste buds.
6. Comfort Food, VEGAN style
From lasagne to homemade beans, Master Chef finalist Jackie Kearney shares her hearty recipes from around the globe.
7. Pancakes for everyone
Got dietary requirements? There’s no need to miss out on Pancake Day. We’ve got three awesomely good whole-wheat, vegan and gluten-free ideas.
8. Sweets for your honey
Warm the pot and invite your Valentine to join you for a lighter afternoon tea for two.
9. Time to unplug
If you regularly find yourself mindlessly reaching for your phone, we have 10 great tips that will help you cut down, or stop.
10. Your complete training plan for a big race
Thinking of running 5km, 10km or half a marathon? Then this is for you. We’ve asked three of the UK’s top coaches to share their eight-week training plans, so you too can run like a pro.
New research suggests a mix of berries for breakfast could help you stay alert for longer.
Eating a bowl of mixed berries in the morning may improve your concentration for up to six hours, helping to avoid tiredness in the afternoons.
Research by the University of Reading tested 40 adults aged 20 to 30, who consumed either a drink containing a mix of 75g (1 portion) each of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a placebo. The adults were then assessed on a computer-based task examining executive function and mood at two, four and six hours after consumption.
The results showed the majority of adults who consumed the berry drink sustained their cognitive performance throughout their day and their reaction time was faster six hours after having it, than it was after two hours and four hours. Those in the placebo group showed no improvement, though. Importantly, this increased speed of performance for those who consumed berries did not result in loss of accuracy.
Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, plant chemicals that contain antioxidants that help protect cells in the body from damage by free radicals, and also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, nutritionist for British Summer Fruits, which conducted the study with the University, explains: ‘From this study we can make the assumption that if someone working a nine-to-five job consumes a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, it will help to improve cognitive function, through both sustained accuracy and improved reaction speeds.
‘This research also points to the benefits of eating a mixture of berries, instead of just a single type of fruit.’
Instructor Harriet has devised the following workout for you to do at home, but you don’t need a barre to do it (just a chair for the warm-up). It works as an all-over toning, 20-minute core routine to complete in full, two or three times a week. Grab a chair and get started with our warm-up.
DO THE BARRE WARM UP
1 Stand tall facing the barre with your heels together and your toes approximately 3in apart. Rest your fingertips lightly on the barre but don’t cling on.
2 Rise up on to the balls of your feet, keeping your legs straight, then slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
3 Rise up once more and draw your heels together, then bend your knees.
4 Keeping your legs bent and your torso upright, lower your body halfway to the floor and then halfway up again (without straightening your legs). Repeat 15 times.
5 On the 15th rep, stay halfway down and take 30 tiny pulses down.
6 To finish, hold halfway down for 20 sec. If you like, you can challenge your balance here by raising your arms above your head (round your arms with your elbows slightly bent – picture a ballet dancer).
ARMS – tricep push-ups into plank
1 Starting in a raised plank position, place your hands on the floor under your chest, with thumbs and index fingers together, to form a diamond shape, and knees off the floor.
2 Lower knees to the floor and tilt the pelvis forward, engaging the lower abs, and raise feet.
3 Bend into the arms drawing your elbows towards your hips, lowering your chest towards the floor. Then push back up to straight arms. Repeat 10 times.
4 On the 10th rep, hold halfway down, then, with your elbows bent, pulse your elbows in towards your hips 10 times.
5 With both knees on the floor (or both feet if you’re in the advanced position), hold a soft bend in your arms and hold still for 15 sec.
6 Finally, come down on to your forearms and hold a plank for 30 sec to 1 min.
Miss out no 2 and stay in the raised plank position for the whole sequence.
Float your right leg up for five reps, then the left for five, in no 4.
ABS – high curl with twist plank
1 Sitting upright on the floor, bring your ankles together and point your toes, then open the knees to a diamond shape.
2 Tuck your tailbone under, drawing the pubic bone towards the navel.
3 Slowly lean back from the hips until you feel you’re engaging your abdominal muscles (you feel them ‘switch on’ or they start to quiver).
4 Raise and open your arms into a V shape with your palms up.
5 Lean back 2in as you exhale, then inhale and come back up 2in. Repeat 10 times.
6 Bring your right hand to tap your left hand, twisting through the spine, then open back up to your original position. Repeat with the left hand. Repeat 10 times to each side.
7 Return to centre and take 20 tiny lifts up, keeping the tuck of the tailbone.
Hold your feet off the floor as you lift in no 7.
At the end, come into stillness and hold for 20 sec, taking the arms higher and wider to increase the intensity.
GLUTES – back dancing
1 Lie on your back, knees raised, feet flat on the floor under your knees, about a hand’s distance apart.
2 Tuck your pelvis under until your lower spine connects to the floor.
3 Drive your feet into the floor and tuck the pelvis under until your hips lift approximately a fist’s distance off the floor (the back of your rib cage should stay connected to the floor).
4 In this position, perform 20 tiny hip lifts, pushing your feet into the floor.
5 Keeping your hips level, extend your left leg up to the ceiling, pointing the toes.
6 Lower the left leg until it’s in line with your right thigh, then draw it back up to 90 degrees. Repeat 10 times without lowering hips.
7 On the 10th rep, hold the left leg in line with the right thigh, then pulse your hips up and down again 15 times.
8 Repeat everything on the left side (lifting the right leg).
THIGHS – Lunge with forward tilt
1 Start with heels together and toes a hand’s distance apart (like first position in ballet), with your arms by your sides.
2 Bend your knees and slide your right leg back about 1 metre, back heel raised and weight equally shared across both feet.
3 Keep both legs bent for the exercise.
4 Send your hands to the ceiling, palms facing forward.
5 Push your hands forward and down as you tilt forwards at the hips.
6 Your palms should arrive facing up behind your back, your torso forwards on the diagonal.
7 Engage your triceps (the muscles on the back of your arms).
8 Reverse the movement, bringing your hands back to the ceiling and torso vertical. Repeat 10 times.
9 On the 10th rep, hold the torso forwards position and pulse your legs up and down in the lunge position 25 times – just moving up and down a couple of inches. You should really feel the burn!
10 Bend deeper into the lunge and lift up halfway, then lower again. Repeat 10 times.
11 Repeat the whole sequence, this time with the left leg back.
Lift the front heel as you hold, in nos 9 and 10.
Hold the position in no 10 as deeply as you can for 15 sec.
We’re a nation that buys into supplements big time – but do we need them? Nutrition editor Amanda Ursell pinpoints the groups who can benefit from boosting their diet – and explains when we need to be more cautious
With almost half of all Brits taking some form of vitamin or mineral on a daily basis – a figure that rises to 65% when occasional users are included – it’s not surprising that sales of supplements top £414 million every year in the UK. So who’s taking them, and why? It’s the ‘demographically positioned’ vitamins (those targeted at particular age groups and health issues) that are most popular.
Experts say this is because we’re all trying to safeguard our health destinies. Research also shows that it’s women who are leading the charge. Common reasons given for taking supplements include seeing them as a general insurance policy and an attempt to boost vitality, limit the signs of ageing, lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease or treat degenerative health problems such as arthritis.
Could you have a deficiency?
So how do you know if you need a supplement, or if you’re falling for nebulous promises of better health on the label? Knowing if you have a deficiency can be the hardest part, says HFG expert and GP Dawn Harper. ‘Nutritional deficiencies can be difficult to spot, as in the early stages there may be very little in the way of symptoms and often, even down the line, the symptoms are vague,’ she says.
‘In fact, often I find that we identify deficiencies in General Practice when we’re investigating symptoms of fatigue and general malaise.’ Nutritional supplements cover a wide range of ingredients, including vitamins, minerals and herbs, amino acids, enzymes, fibre and essential fatty acids. We take them mainly in capsules and tablet form, but these days they also come as powdered sachets, drinks and supplement bars.
Don’t treat them as medicines
Legally, supplements are classified as foods rather than medicines. This means they can hit the shelves in store or online without going through the same checks and regulations for safety that a prescription drug does. However as a ‘food’, like a loaf of bread or pint of milk, supplements are covered by the Food Safety Act and should, therefore, not be harmful to health. Unfortunately, there are cases of supplements not always containing what they claim on the label.
Get them from a trusted source
In some cases, doses have been found to bear little resemblance to what is claimed on the pack. There are situations where, on analysis, laboratory scientists have discovered adulterants. Even when carrying the label ‘100% natural’, testing has revealed that some supplements contain undeclared pharmaceuticals, banned substances or toxic ingredients that can pose a serious risk to health.
This makes it crucial that you buy a reputable brand from a known source such as a high street pharmacy or trusted health food store, rather than unknown online sources, for instance. When taking vitamins and minerals watch the dosage, too. Unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your GP, medical specialist, registered dietitian or registered nutritionist, make sure you choose brands with doses that don’t exceed the Recommended Daily Amount – now called the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV).
For any woman enduring the double trouble of hot flushes and night sweats, Dr Dawn offers self-help suggestions to deal with the symptoms and discusses the merits of HRT.
A few years ago I couldn’t hold a single one of my GP surgeries without seeing a menopausal woman wanting to discuss her symptoms and ask about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Then came headline after headline based on the results of The Million Women Study and the Women’s Health Initiative, which threw the safety of HRT into doubt and, quite frankly, scared women witless.
The result was that, virtually overnight, menopausal women stopped coming to see me. Thankfully, the pendulum is finally beginning to swing back but in the meantime, thousands of women have suffered in silence.
The average age for menopause in the UK is 51, and a lucky 30% of women sail through with nothing more than the absence of periods to show for it. But that leaves the remaining seven out of 10 women experiencing a variety of symptoms, probably the most common being night sweats, hot flushes and sleep and mood disturbances.
Why do hot flushes happen?
Falling oestrogen levels around the time of the menopause trigger a chain of events that alter the chemicals in the brain that regulate body temperature. The result is that the body reacts to tiny variations in temperature (which are happening all the time naturally) in a sort of turbo-boosted way, causing the typical hot flushes, and also night sweats associated with the menopause.
You won’t necessarily experience both these symptoms – some women will have just one or the other – and they vary in intensity and duration. They usually affect the upper body, face and hands. I’m always being asked how many weeks, months (or years) symptoms will last, but I’m afraid that’s crystal-ball territory. It’s usually somewhere between six months and two years, but I’ve met several women still struggling several years down the track.
Can anything help reduce the symptoms?
It very much depends on their severity and the impact on quality of life. Lots of women tell me they can cope with flushes during the day but the night sweats cause such disruption to their sleep that they struggle through the next day. I’ve heard of women whose sweats are so frequent and severe they’re even having to change the bed linen several times a night.
If the symptoms aren’t too bad, I’m a great believer in trying to tackle them with lifestyle changes in the first instance. This includes easy switches, such as wearing several light layers of clothing during the day, so you can add or remove them depending on how you feel. Natural fibres are more breathable than man-made. The same goes for bed linen – wherever possible, opt for 100% cotton. And, if like many women, you’re constantly throwing off the duvet, try a lower-tog one or use two thin ones so you can continue the layering theme.
Dietary changes are worth trying, too. Both caffeine and alcohol cause blood vessels to dilate, so cutting back on these may help. Avoiding spicy foods is a good idea as these can make anyone hot! Interestingly, though, I’m told there’s no direct translation for the term ‘hot flush’ in the Japanese language. The reason Japanese women seem to suffer much less than Western women is thought to be to do with their high soya intake (soya is a natural plant oestrogen).
Other dietary sources include beansprouts, linseed, green leafy vegetables, chickpeas and lentils. Women who exercise regularly also seem to have fewer flushes than those who don’t, so there’s another good reason for staying fit (be aware, though, that if you take up exercising as you hit the menopause, the flushes may temporarily worsen). As for most conditions, being overweight and smoking are likely to make hot flushes worse, so menopause is a good time to think positively and address those unhealthy habits.
What’s the deal with HRT?
Contrary to what you might have read in the headlines, HRT isn’t the evil many people imagine – in fact, for some women it’s a real ‘lifesaver’, not least for the improvement it can make to disruptive mood swings. I have one lovely patient who tells me she’s absolutely convinced that without HRT she’d be jobless, friendless and divorced!
As it’s the falling levels of oestrogen that cause the symptoms associated with the menopause, it stands to reason that replacing the lost hormone will help resolve the problem. However, oestrogen alone causes the lining of the womb to thicken and can ultimately increase the risk of developing womb cancer.
This thickening is prevented by adding progestogen to the medication, so women who still have their womb may take a combination of the two hormones. There are, in fact, dozens of different forms of HRT. You may get patches, tablets, gel or even a nasal spray. Choosing the right formulation for any particular woman is a bit like choosing a little black dress.
What suits one woman beautifully just doesn’t work for another. One thing’s for sure: HRT is an extremely effective way of treating hot flushes and night sweats, with many women telling me it can start working within days (although it can take up to three months to achieve the maximum benefit). I usually see women a month after starting them on HRT to check how things are going, and find lots of women are looking and feeling so much better already.
Why the scary headlines, then?
We do need to be mindful that the negative press around HRT did have a basis: prolonged use of HRT increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and of blood clots. If you have other risk factors for any of these conditions, HRT may not be right for you, but don’t let that put you off at least having the discussion with your doctor, who can help you assess your own personal risk, weighed against the potential benefits.
Are there natural alternatives?
Plant oestrogens (also called phytoestrogens) found in pulses, soya products and wholegrains and seeds may help reduce flushes. Interestingly, the amount of active ingredient absorbed from these foods varies hugely from woman to woman. This is partly down to the variation in gut flora, so I usually advise women to take a
daily probiotic to improve the health of the microbiome and therefore the absorption of phytoestrogen.
Supplements such as black cohosh, which is derived from the root of the buttercup family, may help reduce flushes and sweats for some women. The evidence is mixed, with some studies showing their benefit and others not. Anecdotally, many of my patients have had great results with this and red clover. If you’re considering a herbal supplement, though, always check the packaging.
A product that includes a patient information leaflet in the box will be licensed, which means you know you’re buying what you think you’re buying. I’ve also had good results using an old-fashioned blood pressure treatment called clonidine. It doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re struggling but don’t want to take hormones, it may be worth asking your GP about it. In any case, don’t suffer in silence. If flushes and sweats are ruining sleep – and your life – make an appointment to see your GP and at least have the conversation. A short course of low- dose HRT may be all it takes to get your life back on track and if HRT isn’t for you, your doctor will be able to talk you through all the options.
Change4Life is a Public Health England (PHE) initiative that encourages us all to make small changes to our lifestyles that could result in big benefits to our health. This year it is focusing on snacking. The campaign is directed at parents, informing them how to take control of their children’s snacking, but actually it’s good advice that we could all bear in mind.
The truth is that more than half of adult women and more than two thirds of men are overweight or obese in this country and without putting too fine a point on it that is because we eat too much and move too little. To be fair, we are all leading increasingly busy, and often by necessity, sedentary lives, but snacking is one area that perhaps we could realistically target.
PHE has pulled together some pretty scary facts relating to our children’s snacking habits. They relate to kids but I’m sure there are plenty of adults for whom the same is true!
Each year children are consuming almost 400 biscuits, more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries, 100 portions of sweets, 70 chocolate bars and ice creams, and 150 juice pouches and cans of fizzy drinks each. There is no doubt that all these snacks are playing a significant role in the fact that British children are consuming three times more sugar than is recommended. Let’s not forget a pastry is likely to be around 270 calories, a chocolate bar 200 calories and an ice cream 175. Put like that it is hardly surprising that one in five reception children and one in three school-year 6 (aged 10) are overweight or obese.
Only one in four Brits achieve their recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Maybe swapping those crisps and biscuits for fruit or carrot sticks could be one way of improving that statistic, but if giving up altogether on your usual snacks is a step too far, there is some good news.
PHE has teamed up with some supermarkets to make it easier for us to choose healthier snacks for ourselves and for our families. The new Change4Life strapline encourages us to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max”. The messaging is simple, keep snacks to low-calorie options and limit them to two a day tops. Supermarkets such as Tesco and Co-op will be doing their bit this year to make it easier for us to choose healthier snacks with improved labelling, and Change4Life is offering money-off vouchers for healthier snacks. You can apply at nhs.uk/change4life. PHE has also launched a “Food Scanner” app. It can be downloaded from the App Store at Google Play and is simple to use. It scans the barcodes of thousands of products to instantly show you the calorie, sugar, salt and saturated fat content of each product. Give it a try – you may be in for some real surprises on your next visit to the supermarket!
I for one am delighted to see the government and food industry working together. This year, work will start on an initiative to cut sugar levels in the foods most often consumed by children, aiming to cut 20% of the sugar in these products by 2020. These are just a couple of initiatives to help us with our obesity epidemic in this country. Admittedly on their own, they won’t solve the problem but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Check out our ideas for a selection of savoury snacks, which are perfect to satisfy those inevitable tummy, rumbles between meals.
Give yourself a kickstart to health this year with the January Healthy Food Guide 2018 issue – out now! Read on for a sneak peak of 10 of the reasons why we hope this issue is your helping hand to a healthier new you…
Which kickstart diet will work for you?
Nutrition editor Amanda Ursell helps you to get started losing weight the healthier way, with three popular diets that could set you on your journey to weight loss.
2. How to rise above a minus D
Many of us are seriously low in the so-called sunshine vitamin – perhaps not surprising given our northern hemisphere climate. We discuss all things vitamin D related, including how to increase your intake.
3. 10 things to know about cholesterol
The modern western diet means nearly all of us have higher blood cholesterol than we should, and a period of overindulgence can lead to a surge in your cholesterol levels, says Professor Martin Cowie, consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Take back control if you’ve overdone it in the past few weeks…
4. Should we call time on wine o’clock?
The UK has a reputation for its drinking culture – we drink to celebrate, to commiserate and out of habit. But when does drinking start to affect our health? Editor Melanie Leyshon looks at the consequences of a few drinks too many, and how to cut down.
5. Fancy a hot cuppa?
Ditch the frying pan and enjoy a healthier cooked breakfast by popping a cup or bowl in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and ping! Breakfast is served…
6. Healthy tonight!
All of these high-protein dishes are ready in 30 minutes or less. One of our favourites is broccoli and cauliflower ‘rice’ with spring vegetables.
7. Meat free all week
All HFG readers are challenged to try a meat-free Monday to Friday, and if you want to have a go, then we’ve put together a handy shopping list alongside a collection of filling veggie suppers, including tofu satay curry.
8. Winter cheers!
If you’ve got some beer left over from the festive fridge then add a dash to dishes such as chicken in honey beer sauce – the alcohol burns off, leaving behind the delicate flavour of hops.
9. Healthier comfort food
Dumplings, macaroni cheese, creamy fish pie… You can enjoy them all using our comfort food recipes, tweaked for a healthier waistline. It’s happy food for hungry people.
10. Energy bars to go
Swap sugary cereal bars for our oaty, nutty, fruity pick-me-ups, such as choc-peanut bars. It’s one recipe four ways, with each making enough to fill the household snack jar.