Archive for Healthy Eating

You should not eat foods after their ‘Use By’ date, as they might not be safe to eat. Microbial changes take place in the
food after this time that can put your life at risk.

‘Best Before’ dates are slightly different. This is more to do with quality than safety. It means that the product is best eaten before this date. The flavour or texture may deteriorate after this date but it is not unsafe, with the exception of eggs.

‘Sell By’ or ‘Display until’ dates are used to help staff keepcontrol of stock – this is done by choice and is always in addition to ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Before’ dates.

Categories : Healthy Eating
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Oct
05

Food Labels – Sugar what to look for?

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  • Sugar Free = No added or naturally occurring sugar
  • No Added Sugar = No extra sugar added
  • Reduced Sugar = At least 25% less sugar than standard product

Check the ‘Carbohydrates’ (of which sugars) figure in the nutrition information panel on the label.

Read the following guidelines:

  • A lot of sugar = 10g of sugar or more per 100g
  • Moderate Sugar = Between 2g and 10g of sugar per 100g
  • Low Sugar = Less than 5g of sugar per 100g
  • A little sugar = 2g of sugar or less per 100g

No Added Sugar

No added sugar doesn’t mean that the food is sugar- free or even low in sugar it may still be high in naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit, juices and milk.

Categories : Healthy Eating
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Oct
05

5 A Day- what does this mean?

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On average we eat 3 portions (or servings) of fruit and vegetables a day. Health experts recommend at least 5 portions for better health.

So, most of us need to eat more fruit and vegetables!

So what does 5 a day actually mean?

    • eat 5 portions of fruit every day or
    • eat 5 portions of vegetables (includes salad) every day or, best of all
    • eat a mix of fruit and vegetables (includes salad) such as 2 fruit and 3 vegetables, every day.

Remember that frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables count, as well as fresh.

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Jun
07

Take On The Take Away

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Take On The Take Away - Rozanne Stevens

The takeaway business in Ireland is one of the few food businesses to actually grow in the recession. Possibly as it’s seen as a treat and the next best thing to dining out, which many people have cut back on. Unfortunately from a health point of view, most takeaways are very calorific, and contain excessive amounts of sugar and salt. An average sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice clocks in at 760 calories! That’s more than half of the daily recommended calories for a woman.

The good news is, you can still recreate many of your favourite takeaway dishes at home that are budget and figure friendly. But there is one more pitfall to avoid and that is ‘cook in’ sauces. Cook in sauces contain huge quantities of sugar, with one popular brand containing four tablespoons per bottle! Besides additives, sugar and salt are the ‘food villians’ that lurk in processed foods that we all need to cut back on.

I have recreated one of the most popular take away dishes-Sweet and Sour Chicken. This is a stir fry with lots of crunchy vitamin and fibre rich vegetables, lean protein from chicken and a much healthier, homemade sauce. This is a very family friendly meal that is quick and easy to prepare and tastes great. To make it even healthier, choose better brands of ingredients that you can buy to keep in your storecupboard. For Asian ingredients, it is well worth a trip to an Asian market where you will find good quality brands, in bigger sizes for a fraction of the price.

Top Storecupboard Ingredients:

  • Low salt and low sugar tomato ketchup – I buy the Heinz version
  • Low salt and additive stock cubes – I favour Kallo
  • Tinned fruit in natural juice, not a sugar syrup – there are many supermarket ‘own brand’
  • Good quality soy sauce – I like Thai Gold which is gluten free and Kikkoman soy sauce
  • Sunflower oil for stir fries – this is a flavourless oil that doesn’t burn at high temperatures so good for stir fries
  • Brown basmati or jasmine rice – I buy Thai Gold organic brown jasmine rice

Sweet and Sour Chicken Serves 4-6

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Sunflower oil, for stir frying
  • 1 brown onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 400g tin of pineapple pieces in natural juice, drained and juice reserved
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • 2tbls tomato ketchup
  • 2tbsp plum sauce
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 4tbls white wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp cornflour dissolved in 1tbsp water
  • 4tbls chicken stock (use a corner of a stock cube dissolved in boiling water)
  • Reserved pineapple juice
  • Brown basmati rice, to serve

Method:

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir fry the chicken in batches until browned and cooked through. Set aside in a clean bowl.

3. Heat another tablespoon of oil and stir fry the vegetables until cooked but still crunchy, approximately 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water to create steam and cook the veggies without adding extra oil.

4. Add the chicken, pineapple pieces and sauce. Bring to the boil and wait for the sauce to thicken while stirring.

5. Serve immediatley with brown basmati rice.

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Jan
19

Oats Porridge – The Breakfast Superfood

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It might not be a sexy new superfood,
but oats are one of the healthiest foods
you can eat. It also grows extremely well
in Ireland so you can buy local and even
organic porridge oats if you prefer. Plus it
is far more economical than junky, sugary
breakfast cereals.
Coming into winter a warm bowl
of porridge in the morning is a comforting
way to ease yourself into the day. Many
people claim that a bowl of porridge
‘sets them up’ for the day. And they are
absolutely right. Oats, unlike other grains,
has a very high level of soluble fi bre, called
beta glucan. This fi bre forms a gel in
the digestive tract that has many positive
effects. The most measurable is probably
the lowering of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol.
It does this by trapping the cholesterol in
the digestive tract and moving it out of the
body. Avenanthramides are antioxidants
in oats that reduce the build up of plaque
in the artery walls and thereby prevent
hardening of the arteries, another factor in
heart disease.
The fi bre in oats helps to make it a
slow releasing carbohydrate, which keeps
blood sugar nice and steady. This is vital
for diabetics and for weightloss, but also for
sustained energy and good brain function
and concentration. Oats are also rich in
B vitamins which are vital for the nervous
system and brain function. Along with
selenium, an important antioxidant for
healthy brain chemistry.
New studies show that beta glucan,
the soluble fi bre in oats, also helps immune
cells in the body to treat bacterial infection
more effectively, facilitating quicker healing
and recovery. This is important for all of
us struggling with colds and fl us, but even
more important if you have a longterm
illness. The high levels of zinc in oats also
contribute to a healthy immune system.
There are also several antioxidants
and phytonutrients present in oats that have
powerful anti cancer actions. Selenium,
along with happy brain chemistry, is
involved in DNA repair and is associated
with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Ferulic
acid is another antioxidant that protects the
colon from cancer.

It might not be a sexy new superfood, but oats are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It also grows extremely well in Ireland so you can buy local and even organic porridge oats if you prefer. Plus it is far more economical than junky, sugary breakfast cereals.

Coming into winter a warm bowl of porridge in the morning is a comforting way to ease yourself into the day. Many people claim that a bowl of porridge ‘sets them up’ for the day. And they are absolutely right. Oats, unlike other grains, has a very high level of soluble fibre, called beta glucan. This fibre forms a gel in the digestive tract that has many positive effects. The most measurable is probably the lowering of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. It does this by trapping the cholesterol in the digestive tract and moving it out of the body. Avenanthramides are antioxidants in oats that reduce the build up of plaque in the artery walls and thereby prevent hardening of the arteries, another factor in heart disease.

Read More→

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Have Breakfast
• Do not skip meals
• Change to smaller plates and
bowls – control your portions
• Eat slowly – chew and taste your
food
• Do not carry out other activities
while eating
• Fill up with healthy soups,
vegetables and fruit
• Drink 1 – 1.5 litres of water daily
• Keep a daily record of what you
eat and activity levels
• Make a list of the foods you need
before going shopping
• Get more active – burn up some
calories
  • Have Breakfast
  • Do not skip meals
  • Change to smaller plates and bowls – control your portions
  • Eat slowly – chew and taste your food
  • Do not carry out other activities while eating
  • Fill up with healthy soups, vegetables and fruit
  • Drink 1 – 1.5 litres of water daily
  • Keep a daily record of what you eat and activity levels
  • Make a list of the foods you need before going shopping
  • Get more active – burn up some calories

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Jan
19

Healthy Diet – Recommendations

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Besides having a slim, svelte body, your health and wellbeing and energy levels are of paramount importance.
Three of the most prevalent diseases in Irish society today are heart disease, diabetes and cancer. All of these are lifestyle related where diet and exercise can make a huge difference in prevention and treatment.
According to the Irish Cancer Society, 30-40% of cancers can be prevented by diet and lifestyle changes.
This infor mation is empowering as it is proven that our health is in our control and we can make the positive changes. The following are some dietary guidelines from the Irish Cancer Society:
Eat a wide variety of plant based foods (not
encouraging people to become vegetarians but to eat
wholegrain foods and a wide variety of fruit and veg in
their most natural state).
Choose five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Eat more high-fibre foods such as potatoes andwholegrain breads, cereals, pasta and rice.
Choose lean red meat and eat it no more than 3 times a week.
If food has been burnt in cooking, cut off any charred or blackened parts such as charred chicken skin from the BBQ.
Eat oily fi sh, such as salmon, trout, sardines or mackerel at least once a week.
Choose less fatty and fried foods such as chips, sausages and take-aways.
Eat fresh food more often and less high-fat and high salt processed foods such as ready meals, savoury snacks and crisps, biscuits, cakes and chocolate.

Besides having a slim, svelte body, your health and wellbeing and energy levels are of paramount importance.

Three of the most prevalent diseases in Irish society today are heart disease, diabetes and cancer. All of these are lifestyle related where diet and exercise can make a huge difference in prevention and treatment.

According to the Irish Cancer Society, 30-40% of cancers can be prevented by diet and lifestyle changes.

This information is empowering as it is proven that our health is in our control and we can make the positive changes. The following are some dietary guidelines from the Irish Cancer Society:

  • Eat a wide variety of plant based foods (not encouraging people to become vegetarians but to eat wholegrain foods and a wide variety of fruit and veg in their most natural state).
  • Choose five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Eat more high-fibre foods such as potatoes and wholegrain breads, cereals, pasta and rice.
  • Choose lean red meat and eat it no more than 3 times a week.
  • If food has been burnt in cooking, cut off any charred or blackened parts such as charred chicken skin from the BBQ.
  • Eat oily fish, such as salmon, trout, sardines or mackerel at least once a week.
  • Choose less fatty and fried foods such as chips, sausages and take-aways.
  • Eat fresh food more often and less high-fat and high salt processed foods such as ready meals, savoury snacks and crisps, biscuits, cakes and chocolate.

Categories : Healthy Eating
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Jan
19

Food Label Fat – what to look for:

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Food Label Fat – what to look for:
A low fat food is 97% fat free or less than 3g of total fat per 100g
Low in saturated fat = less than 3g of saturated fat in 100g
Virtually fat free = less than 0.3g fat in 100g

A low fat food is 97% fat free or less than 3g of total fat per 100g

Low in saturated fat = less than 3g of saturated fat in 100g

Virtually fat free = less than 0.3g fat in 100g

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Jan
19

Winter Warmers – Tip!

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“While stews and casseroles are hearty and wholesome it is very easy to rack up the saturated fat content when you brown off the meat in oil. Even if you have a good non stick pan, you still tend to use a fairly large quantity of oil.
So I have experimented with not browning the meat at all and just adding the raw,unbrowned meat to the pot. And surprisingly, it works very well as a good recipe and the gentle cooking process will still create complex flavours.
So skip this step to save time and calories. Another tip for reducing saturated fat is removing any chicken skin. You really aren’t missing out on anything as the skin goes rubbery during the long stewing. And lastly, instead of using gallons of cream, use mostly stock, tomatoes and wine as your liquid. Add a little half fat crème fraiche just before serving for a creamy finish without all the fat”

“While stews and casseroles are hearty and wholesome it is very easy to rack up the saturated fat content when you brown off the meat in oil. Even if you have a good non stick pan, you still tend to use a fairly large quantity of oil.

So I have experimented with not browning the meat at all and just adding the raw,unbrowned meat to the pot. And surprisingly, it works very well as a good recipe and the gentle cooking process will still create complex flavours.

So skip this step to save time and calories. Another tip for reducing saturated fat is removing any chicken skin. You really aren’t missing out on anything as the skin goes rubbery during the long stewing. And lastly, instead of using gallons of cream, use mostly stock, tomatoes and wine as your liquid. Add a little half fat crème fraiche just before serving for a creamy finish without all the fat”

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Apr
14

Superfoods – Part 2

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In the last issue of our newsletter, I gave you five top superfoods to include in your diet – namely, tomatoes, spinach, mangoes, Brazil nuts and salmon. Here are the next five top superfoods to include in your supermarket shopping this week – see my next newsletter for a further five!
Red and orange peppers – peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (just half a red pepper provides you with all the vitamin C you need in one day) in addition to providing useful sources of flavanoids and beta-carotene (see my recipe using peppers on this page!)
Garlic – full of pungent, active phytochemicals called allylic sulphides which act as powerful antioxidants which may help to ward off cell damage in the body.
Broccoli – this cruciferous vegetable is known for its sulphoraphane content, a phytochemical which helps to prevent free radical damage, as well as its folic acid and vitamin C content.
Onions – onions contain allium compounds and a phytochemical known as quercetin (especially high in red onions), both of which are strong antioxidants capable of fighting cell damage within the body.
Sunflower seeds – these seeds are particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin E and also provide healthy essential fatty acids.
What are antioxidants? – they are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body.

ripe garlic fruits with green parsley leavesIn the last issue of our newsletter, I gave you five top superfoods to include in your diet – namely, tomatoes, spinach, mangoes, Brazil nuts and salmon. Here are the next five top superfoods to include in your supermarket shopping this week – see my next newsletter for a further five!

Red and orange peppers - peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (just half a red pepper provides you with all the vitamin C you need in one day) in addition to providing useful sources of flavanoids and beta-carotene (see my recipe using peppers on this page!)

Garlic – full of pungent, active phytochemicals called allylic sulphides which act as powerful antioxidants which may help to ward off cell damage in the body.

Broccoli – this cruciferous vegetable is known for its sulphoraphane content, a phytochemical which helps to prevent free radical damage, as well as its folic acid and vitamin C content.

Onions – onions contain allium compounds and a phytochemical known as quercetin (especially high in red onions), both of which are strong antioxidants capable of fighting cell damage within the body.

Sunflower seeds - these seeds are particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin E and also provide healthy essential fatty acids.

What are antioxidants? – they are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body.

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Apr
13

For the Love of Porridge

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PorridgeHaving experienced somewhat of a revival in our diet, porridge is now becoming a staple in many people’s diets, which is wonderful. This simple breakfast food delivers a whole host of health benefits. It tastes good too! Forget the cold, mushy porridge of your childhood – start again, experimenting with different brands and oats to discover your favourite.

Porridge is top of my list when advising clients on how to switch to a healthier diet. Here are just some of the reasons why porridge is so good for us:

  • It has been proven to help lower cholesterol (as it contains high levels of soluble fibre which is also present in fruit, vegetables and pulses such as beans)
  • It can help deter the onset of diabetes and heart disease
  • It is high in fibre and is therefore filling, helping to avoid unhealthy snacking
  • It boosts your protein intake, which is helpful in aiding weight loss
  • It is high in iron
  • It aids digestion and, unlike bran, oats are gentle on your stomach
  • It delivers essential B vitamins (B1 and B2) and also vitamin E
  • It contains a probiotic agent called ‘beta glucan’ which encourages the growth of good bacterial
  • It can help to keep the pounds off by stabilising blood sugar levels
  • It is a ‘tooth friendly’ alternative to sugary cereals for your children
  • It has a low glycemic index, meaning it is an appetite suppressor and it releases energy slowly, so I always recommend it to sports enthusiasts who want to sustain energy for longer
  • Eating porridge has been shown to help in the production of serotonin; the brain transmitter which helps keeps our mood levels elevated.

In 1997, after an extensive review of 42 clinical trials, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially recognised the lipid-lowering effects of oats. As a result, they now allow manufacturers to print a health claim on packaging stating that ‘soluble fibre from foods such as oat bran, rolled oats or oatmeal and whole oat flour, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease”

Read More→

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Jan
07

What is a healthy portion?

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“Many people are confused about what portion to serve themselves,” says Elaine,
“And I believe that this is crucial to weight loss and maintenance. Without
realising it, many of us serve ourselves more food than we need. For example, the
recommended amount of rice as a main dish is around two cups (cooked)
and, for pasta as a main dish, is about two and a half cups (cooked), yet
many of us can have three or four times that amount without even thinking about
it. Of course, different portions are appropriate for men, women and children, but
there are general guides which I go through with patients when they attend me in
clinic, using visual aids to help them to remember each time they serve themselves.
After a while, patients fi nd that they get used to more ‘nor mal’ portion sizes and
they consume less calories throughout the day, leading to sustainable weight loss.”

“Many people are confused about what portion to serve themselves,” says Elaine, “And I believe that this is crucial to weight loss and maintenance. Without realising it, many of us serve ourselves more food than we need. For example, the recommended amount of rice as a main dish is around two cups (cooked) and, for pasta as a main dish, is about two and a half cups (cooked), yet many of us can have three or four times that amount without even thinking about it.

Of course, different portions are appropriate for men, women and children, but there are general guides which I go through with patients when they attend me in clinic, using visual aids to help them to remember each time they serve themselves.

After a while, patients find that they get used to more ‘normal’ portion sizes and they consume less calories throughout the day, leading to sustainable weight loss.”

For more information on healthy eating and one-to-one professional weight loss advice, contact Elaine McGowan Dietician Clinics (Dublin South, Dublin North, Limerick and Ennis) – click here for details.

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This recipe is fresh and satisfying,
and is high in protein and
antioxidants thanks to the three
‘superfoods’ included, namely
salmon, spinach and mango. Each
portion provides just 260 Kcals
and 14 g fat.
Ingredients (serves 6):
1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, fi nely chopped
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
2 small chillies, chopped (red for mild; g reen for extra hot!)
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp chopped watercress (plus 4 sprigs for decoration)
Pinch of black pepper
4 medium salmon fi llets
Half a lemon
8 handfuls of (uncooked) spinach
Method
1. In a large bowl, combine the mango, red onion, olive oil, chillies, lime
juice and watercress. Add the black pepper and mix.
2. Brush the salmon lightly with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
3. Grill salmon on each side for approximately 5 to 8 minutes, or until
cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, lightly steam the spinach. When it is cooked, shake
excess water away and make a bed of spinach on each plate.
5. Place salmon on top with a sprig of watercress and serve with the
salsa.
Serving: You could serve with some new baby potatoes or some brown
rice on the side (splash with reduced-salt soya sauce for extra fl avour).

salmon_recipeThis recipe is fresh and satisfying, and is high in protein and antioxidants thanks to the three ‘superfoods’ included, namely salmon, spinach and mango.

Each portion provides just 260 Kcals and 14 g fat.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 2 small chillies, chopped (red for mild; g reen for extra hot!)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp chopped watercress (plus 4 sprigs for decoration)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 4 medium salmon fi llets
  • Half a lemon
  • 8 handfuls of (uncooked) spinach

Read More→

Categories : Fish, Healthy Eating, Recipes
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Jan
07

Superfoods – Part 1

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Over this and the following few issues of the Newsletter, we
will feature 5 top superfoods to include in your diet. Each time
you go supermarket shopping, try to include some or all of the
following in your trolley (one of the easiest ways to make sure
your shop is a healthy one is that the basket or trolley is full of
an array of colours from reds and greens to oranges and yellow).
See Elaine’s recipe below which uses three of the superfoods
listed here.
Tomatoes – are full of lycopene (linked to a reduced risk
of heart disease and cancer) and are also a source of vitamins C
and E, plus fl avanoids
Mangoes – have a high vitamin C content (important in
fi ghting off colds) and some vitamin E and carotenoids
Spinach – with its folic acid content (good for healthy blood,
nerves and also during preganancy) and vitamin C, this leafy
green also provides a good source of carotenoids
Brazil Nuts – these are rich in selenium, which helps to
keep the immune system strong. Unfortunately many of us are
low in selenium so we need to consume more)
Salmon – a good source of selenium and omega-3s, or
‘healthy fats’, best known for their benefi cial effects on the heart,
these fats may also help to prevent cancer by enhancing the
immune system.

Over this and the following few issues of the Newsletter, we will feature 5 top superfoods to include in your diet. Each time you go supermarket shopping, try to include some or all of the following in your trolley (one of the easiest ways to make sure your shop is a healthy one is that the basket or trolley is full of an array of colours from reds and greens to oranges and yellow).

See Elaine’s recipe which uses three of the superfoods listed here.

Tomatoes – are full of lycopene (linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer) and are also a source of vitamins C and E, plus flavanoids

Mangoes - have a high vitamin C content (important in fighting off colds) and some vitamin E and carotenoids

Spinach – with its folic acid content (good for healthy blood, nerves and also during preganancy) and vitamin C, this leafy green also provides a good source of carotenoids

Brazil Nuts – these are rich in selenium, which helps to keep the immune system strong. Unfortunately many of us are low in selenium so we need to consume more)

Salmon – a good source of selenium and omega-3s, or ‘healthy fats’, best known for their beneficial effects on the heart, these fats may also help to prevent cancer by enhancing the immune system.

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Jan
07

Practical Pointers: Breakfast

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breakfast  - weight loss tips“Making these quick and easy changes to your breakfast can save you hundreds of calories over the course of the week,” says Elaine, “These choices will also inject your diet with immune boosting antioxidants – a must during the cold, damp weather that can give rise to colds and flu. Look out for my healthier lunch tips in next month’s issue!”

Add fresh fruit to your breakfast – Try a fruit salad made up of orange, kiwi, banana and strawberries to boost your vitamin C and potassium levels. Add natural or fruit yoghurt for extra calcium.

Choose a wholegrain cereal that is low in salt – (see page 1 on preferential salt levels in cereals) – throw in some nuts, seeds and dried fruit for extra nutrients (providing fibre plus an array of important B-group vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, selenium and vitamin D).

Try a poached egg on wholemeal toast with freshly squeezed OJ – add grilled tomatoes and mushrooms to deliver B-group vitamins and vitamin A, in addition to the essential protein in the egg, the fibre in the toast and the vitamin C in the orange juice.

See the next issue of the Newsletter for Elaine’s practical pointers on lunches!

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About Elaine

Elaine graduated from Trinity College with a B.Sc., (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She gained wide experience working as clinical nutritionist in several hospitals prior to establishing her first private dietetic clinic in 1992.

Private Practice Experience
Elaine has gained vast experience specialising in providing private individual dietetic consultations for her clients in her clinics for the past 17 years. In recent years, her main areas of interest are weight management, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and nutrition and gastro-enterology.

Elaine is an active member of the INDI and was chairperson of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic weight management interest group from 2005 to 2007.

Dietetic and Nutrition Consultancy
Elaine has provided dietetic consultancy to a wide range of industries including private hospitals, hotels and catering companies. She has designed, piloted, implemented and coordinated workplace wellbeing programmes for several prominent companies and large international corporations.