Archive for Weight Control Tips

You can have your (Christmas) cake and eat it too -- all it takes is planning, says dietitian Elaine McGowan

You can have your (Christmas) cake and eat it, says dietician Elaine McGowan. With a little planning, you can enjoy all the festive trimmings without piling on the pounds

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me… not a partridge in a pear tree but a rich and sumptuous meal of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, all the trimmings, topped off with an enormous bowl of pudding with lashings of brandy sauce.

Over the next 12 days, there might be a few lords a-leaping all right but rather than drummers drumming or milkmaids milking, we’re likely to see an endless parade of food: mince pies with cream, Christmas cake, biscuits, chocolates, beer, wine… and whatever sinful treat you feel like having yourself.

Of course, a little of what you fancy is a great thing, but remember that having a lot of what you fancy comes with a price. After Christmas, I see many people suffering from stomach problems. They have overindulged in December and are feeling overweight, unhealthy, lacking in energy and guilty – that is not a good way to start the New Year.

However, if you take a little care over the festive season, you can enjoy all the festive trimmings without piling on the pounds. It’s all a question of balance and awareness. And the first thing to remember is that Christmas shouldn’t last for weeks on end. We really shouldn’t be thinking of tucking into the treats until Christmas Eve and then we should think about returning to normal after three days at the most.

If you can, leave buying goodies until the last minute, otherwise, you’ll have them eaten six times over before the holiday even begins. When the festivities do begin, bring in a limited number of sweet things and apply some portion control. For four people, think in terms of eight mince pies, a small Christmas cake, a medium pudding and one large box of chocolates (820g).
Here are some tips to take you through the 12 days of Christmas – and beyond.

Day One
December 25th

Start your day with a breakfast rich in protein. Something like scrambled eggs and salmon on a wholemeal bagel or brown bread would set you up for the day. Then, when it comes to the big lunch, relax and tuck in. Have your turkey and ham and lots of roast, seasonal vegetables like Brussel sprouts, carrots and parsnips. Have the stuffing, gravy, roast and mashed potato too. Eat plenty of your dinner leaving less room for the goodies.
You can treat yourself to pudding or mince pies, and maybe, later on, some Christmas cake and tea. Spare the cream and ice cream, though. In the evening, have a wholemeal sandwich with fish or turkey or ham and remember to drink plenty of water, at least three pints. Limit the sugary drinks – such as juices and minerals – and if you are having alcohol, try to have one glass of water for every glass of wine or beer.

Day Two
December 26th

Have something filling for breakfast like a bowl of porridge and top it with cinnamon or dried fruit to give it a seasonal twist. You can have your treats today, too, but remember you don’t have to eat everything that is on offer. Exercise a little discretion; it’s not a competition to see how much you can keep down. Your body is a temple not a dustbin.

Use the turkey carcass for stock and make a nourishing winter soup with all the leftover vegetables. Use a variation of the following ingredients – garlic, 3 carrots, 9 mushrooms, 9 Brussel spouts, 1 medium sweet potato cubed, half a pint of stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste – to have as a low-calorie snack or as a warming lunch. It is full of immune-boosting antioxidants.

Day Three
December 27th,

You should be thinking about regrouping today and locking all the sweet things away. You can have the odd treat, say a finger of Christmas cake, but remember that it contains about 250 calories which takes one hour to walk off.

It’s a good time to start thinking about exercise too. Over the festive season, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that a person will consume between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day, up to twice the recommended intake. People gain, on average, between three and six kilos (a half stone to a stone) at this time of year because the season of excess has extended by several days. So, take yourself in hand, and get out and walk for an hour.

Day Four,
December 28th

If you find you are craving sweet things, have two satsumas before you dip into the tin of chocolates. The fruit has only 25 calories and its sweetness might take the edge off your chocolate craving. You mightn’t feel like keeping count but remember five chocolates add up to 200 calories – that’s nearly an hour pounding the pavement if you want to undo the indulgence.

Day Five,
December 29th

So, another big night out is on the cards and you don’t want to be the one ordering the sparkling water. Everyone struggles making healthy choices and it’s especially hard when it comes to alcohol. Not only is it full of empty calories but it stimulates the appetite by causing blood sugar to drop, which explains why we often get the munchies at the end of an evening.

Eating before you go out on the town is a great idea. Have something like cheese or peanut butter on wholegrain bread, or hummus on oatcakes with half a glass of low-fat milk. If you can, eat while you drink. You could think about diluting your drinks too, or pacing yourself by sipping on a glass of water between. Start slowly, choose wisely and don’t mix your drinks.

Day Six,
December 30th

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. That is especially important when consuming alcohol but we often tend to get very dehydrated sitting around in the balmy temperatures of centrally heated homes. Caffeine can dehydrate too so try to limit tea, coffee and minerals. Drink lots of water and try peppermint and camomile tea to ease the gut.

No sugary treats today.

Day Seven
December 31st

It’s New Year’s Eve and everyone is letting their hair down. Go out and enjoy it. If you are going to drink, make sure to go out with something in your stomach. If you are having a meal, enjoy that too but bear in mind that there some very simple adjustments can make a big difference. Drink a glass of water and/or eat a piece of fruit before you go to the restaurant, so that you won’t be ravenous when you arrive. Try not to dig into the bread basket before the food arrives. Choose soup as a starter and choose main dishes that are grilled, boiled, poached, stir-fried. Instead of having a full dessert, share one or have a few squares of dark chocolate in your bag to satisfy that sweet tooth.

January 1st
Day Eight

You can indulge a little today and maybe start the day with a fry for breakfast. You could allow yourself maybe two full Irish breakfasts over the 12 days of Christmas. Other mornings, when you might have more time, have a cooked breakfast but reduce the fat content. Have an omelette, or beans on toast, or grilled bacon with mushrooms and tomatoes.

Day Nine
January 2nd

Start the day with a protein breakfast or a smoothie. Protein can be very satisfying and smoothies made with bananas and berries are high in antioxidants, which is good after the festive splurge. They are also full of Vitamin C, which can help prevent colds and flus and boosts the immune system. Go for a healthy dinner, filling up on veg.
Gather up all the sugary treats left in the house and plan to give them away – there are lots of charities who would be delighted to get them.

Day Ten
January 3rd

Alcohol and treats should be completely limited. If you are out and about shopping, beware of the liquid calories in that well-earned cuppa. A frappuccino or a hot chocolate could top 440 calories and if you add a little muffin because you think you deserve it after all that traipsing around, you could be consuming more than half your recommended daily allowance.

Day Eleven
January 4th

It’s time to think fruit. Eat lots of it and eat it in its entirety as that way it’s more filling. It’s a good time to think about the year ahead and the dietary changes you might need to make to give you more energy. Never skip meals, though. Instead, plan in advance and try to eat what is in season – as well as tasting better, it is often cheaper. If you do want to have a treat, just control the portion.

Day Twelve
January 5th

Well done on making it through the 12 days of Christmas. It’s time to weigh yourself. If you have stayed the same weight, that is a real result. Congratulations. If you haven’t, don’t beat yourself up. Fifty pc of Irish adults are overweight and some 300,000 children. If you have gained a few pounds, you will be joining most Irish people but do try to lose it as quickly as possible.
One of the best ways to do that is to keep a food diary. Studies show that people reduce what they eat by up to 20pc when they write everything down. For the new year, resolve to weigh yourself once a week, in the same spot, wearing the same clothes, to keep track of your progress. The very best of luck with it. Here’s to a happy, healthy and energetic new year.

Elaine McGowan specialises in diets for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, stomach problems and weight loss. www.emgdc.ie Tel: 01- 6459617.

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Cut down on foods high in calories, fat and sugar.

In every 100 grams of food:
Healthy Eating Tips from Elaine McGowan Weight Loss Clinic

Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses

Limit your intake of red and processed meat
Try to have 1 meat free day per week

Eat less salt

Do not use dietary supplements as a replacement for healthy food

Use the Food Pyramid to help you plan your meals every day

Make a food diary to stay on top of what you’re eating (use an App such as myfitnesspal or go to myfitnesspal.com)

Limit your alcohol intake

Aim for at least 30 minutes physical activity everyday

Keep weight within healthy BMI range – 18.5- 24.9 weight (kg) / height (m2)

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Exercise – walk everywhere you can to use up extra calories you consume (see walking tips).

Have ‘free days’ – Take December 24, 25, 26, 31 and 1 January as ‘free days’ (when you relax your standards a little) and then simply get back on track on the other days.

Fill up on goodness – eat plenty of winter vegetables (see recipe!) and seasonal fruits at meal times in order to fill up and avoid overindulging on less healthy foods at other times of the day.

Watch the booze – studies show that alcohol stimulates food intake (‘the munchies’) and can also increase
subjective feelings of hunger (plus it is full of ‘empty calories’ – see here).

Stay Stable –  aim to be the same weight for January 3 – it’s normal to put a few pounds on over Christmas
Day and Stephen’s Day, but then cut back on the intervening days to avoid weight gain

Categories : Weight Control Tips
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Dec
18

Alcohol: Empty Calories

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“At Christmas time, we often turn to alcohol to celebrate the holidays, but remember to go easy as alcohol does no favours to your waistline,” says Elaine. “It is high in calories and provides little or no nutritional benefit. In fact, alcohol contains about seven calories per gram which means that, if you want to lose weight and reduce excess body fat, alcohol is not a good choice! You may be surprised at the calorie content of your favourite drinks!”

Alcohol: Empty Calories

5 Alcohol Savvy Tips

“Many clients ask me ‘how can I cut down on booze at one of the most alcohol fuelled times of the year?’ It may actually be easier than you think – follow my tips to reduce your intake without feeling that you are depriving yourself.”

Eat while you drink – or, better still, eat beforehand as food slows down the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol

Dilute your drinks – water down white wine with soda to make a refreshing spritzer or add more mixer to spirits

Choose wisely – opt for low calorie versions of your favourite drinks, such as low cal or ‘light’ beers or slimline mixers

Start slowly – try to relax and sip your drink slowly – sit back and try to stay in control

Pace yourself – sip on a glass of water in-between each alcoholic drink.

‘A little of what you fancy is good, a lot of what you fancy has a price’

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1 mince pie with 1 tablespoon ofwhipped cream – 350 calories

70g slice of iced rich Christmas cake – 250 calories

5 Cadbury’s Roses or Heroes – 200 calories

30g (small handful) mixed nuts & raisins – 150 calories

2 satsumas – 50 calories

1 Banana – 80 calories

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Oct
23

Facts About… …New Food Pyramid

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Facts About... ...New Food Pyramid - Elaine McGowan Diet Clinic Dublin, Ennis and Limerick

The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, recently announced changes to the food pyramid.

The top shelf of the pyramid has changed. It now focuses on typical foods and drinks from this shelf that contains approximately 100 calories and the need to restrict servings of these to a maximum of 1 per day.

Alcohol is now also included in the top shelf as it contributes calories to the diet.

There are also new guidelines on portion sizes and all advice is tailored to the Irish population for people across four age groups from 5 to 51+ years leading active and non-active lifestyles.

For more information, please visit:
www.dohc.ie/publications/yourguide_ foodpyramid.html

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Record everything you eat and drink in a diary

Plan meals in advance

Do not store unhealthy foods and snacks in the house

Eat before you become hungry

Do not go shopping on an empty stomach

Avoid fried foods

Use less butter or try low fat spread

Replace whole milk with low fat milk

Increase foods high in fibre, e.g. fruit, veg, pulses, brown rice, pasta and wholemeal bread

Eat a wide variety of foods

Drink plenty of water

Eat slowly

Limit time spent in front of the tv/computer

Try to take regular exercise

Finally it is important to remember that losing weight takes time. Long term healthy eating habits are the best way to lose weight, crash diets tend to cause large weight loss but quick weight regain.

To make an appointment to discuss your weight loss needs and concerns, please contact your nearest Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinic.

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Healthy Breakfast Ideas from Elaine McGowan Weight Loss Specialists Dublin

To make an appointment to discuss your weight loss needs and concerns, please contact your nearest Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinic.

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Oct
23

Did You Know? What is Body Mass Index?

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BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measure of body fat based on weight (kg) and height (m). Calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared. e.g. kg/m2.

Body Mass Index - Elaine McGowan Diet Clinics Dubline

In Ireland, 38% of the population is considered overweight and a further 23% are obese, this means that over half of the population are at risk of weight related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer amongst others.

Want to know your BMI? Check out our Body Mass Index Calculator here.

To make an appointment to discuss your weight loss needs and concerns, please contact your nearest Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinic.

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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

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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Aug
14

Practical Pointers: Lunch

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“In the middle of the day, it’s too easy to grab a dull (and often expensive!) sandwich from the local deli or supermarket,” says Elaine. “I advise clients to add a bit more excitement to their lunch by bringing in their own or choosing something with a bit more imagination. Here are some ideas to try.”
Bring your own salad – salads provide the perfect opportunity to show a little imagination. As a base, always use green leafy vegetables such as spinach leaves, rocket or broccoli. Try a feta cheese, hazelnut and olive salad or grilled mackerel with spinach leaves and sun dried tomatoes to boost your intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Make sandwiches with wholemeal bread – this type of bread is higher in fibre and provides a source of selenium and iron (try a wholemeal wrap with smoked salmon and a sweet chilli sauce for something different). Always garnish your sandwiches with extra salad to liven them up.
Try new sandwich fillers – go for a thin spreading of hummus with olives and watercress; red kidney beans mixed with tuna and fromage frais; or a blend of avocado, spinach and smoked salmon (put into a good blender and pulse it down to a smooth paste – add pumpkins for an extra kick of selenium).
Try baked potatoes – these are great if you’re feeling particularly hungry (have with tuna, sweetcorn and fromage frais or with simple baked beans for a quick meal with an iron boost).
See the next issue of the Newsletter for my practical pointers on dinners!

practical-weight-loss-baked-potatoe“In the middle of the day, it’s too easy to grab a dull (and often expensive!) sandwich from the local deli or supermarket,” says Elaine. “I advise clients to add a bit more excitement to their lunch by bringing in their own or choosing something with a bit more imagination. Here are some ideas to try.”

Bring your own salad – salads provide the perfect opportunity to show a little imagination. As a base, always use green leafy vegetables such as spinach leaves, rocket or broccoli. Try a feta cheese, hazelnut and olive salad or grilled mackerel with spinach leaves and sun dried tomatoes to boost your intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs).

Make sandwiches with wholemeal bread – this type of bread is higher in fibre and provides a source of selenium and iron (try a wholemeal wrap with smoked salmon and a sweet chilli sauce for something different). Always garnish your sandwiches with extra salad to liven them up.

Try new sandwich fillers – go for a thin spreading of hummus with olives and watercress; red kidney beans mixed with tuna and fromage frais; or a blend of avocado, spinach and smoked salmon (put into a good blender and pulse it down to a smooth paste – add pumpkins for an extra kick of selenium).

Try baked potatoes – these are great if you’re feeling particularly hungry (have with tuna, sweetcorn and fromage frais or with simple baked beans for a quick meal with an iron boost).

See the next issue of the Newsletter for my practical pointers on dinners!

Categories : Weight Control Tips
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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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Keeping these healthy, low fat snacks close to hand (such as beside the kettle or in the fridge at work or even in the glove compartment of your car) will reduce the chances of you buying higher fat, calorie dense foods that can lead to weight gain. Also, these foods have a low glycemic index so they will keep you full for longer and will stave off hunger pangs as they help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
1 Popcorn
Most newsagents stock air-popped packets which are easy to grab on the go (avoid toffee varieties) or pop your own at home in just a little oil – extremely satisfying yet surprisingly low in calories and fat.
2 Fruit Smoothie
Try low fat yoghurt blended with frozen berries and a banana (throw in some flaxseed for a boost of healthy essential fatty acids!)
3 Dried Apricots
These give a slow release of energy and are high in iron, calcium and beta-carotene.
4 Raw Vegetables
Try sticks of carrot, celery or peppers with hummus, salsa or a yoghurt dip to fill a hunger gap healthily!
5 Crackers
Only buy the wholegrain or rye varieties, or melba toast, and spread with a scraping of butter and a thin slice of cheese topped with tomato.

PopcornKeeping these healthy, low fat snacks close to hand (such as beside the kettle or in the fridge at work or even in the glove compartment of your car) will reduce the chances of you buying higher fat, calorie dense foods that can lead to weight gain. Also, these foods have a low glycemic index so they will keep you full for longer and will stave off hunger pangs as they help to regulate your blood sugar levels.

Popcorn

Most newsagents stock air-popped packets which are easy to grab on the go (avoid toffee varieties) or pop your own at home in just a little oil – extremely satisfying yet surprisingly low in calories and fat.

Fruit Smoothie

Try low fat yoghurt blended with frozen berries and a banana (throw in some flaxseed for a boost of healthy essential fatty acids!)

Dried Apricots

These give a slow release of energy and are high in iron, calcium and beta-carotene.

Raw Vegetables

Try sticks of carrot, celery or peppers with hummus, salsa or a yoghurt dip to fill a hunger gap healthily!

Crackers

Only buy the wholegrain or rye varieties, or melba toast, and spread with a scraping of butter and a thin slice of cheese topped with tomato.

Categories : Weight Control Tips
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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.