Archive for Weight Control Tips

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”

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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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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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Jan
07

Facts About…Weight & Health

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Excess weight doesn’t just make us feel bad about our reflection in the mirror – it also carries with it some serious health implications. Carrying too much weight can adversely affect our health by increasing our risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even some types of cancer. Being excessively heavy can also put extra strain on joints, making us more vulnerable to the pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.

Are you at risk?

“Most of us know when we gain weight,” says Elaine. “Our clothes become tighter and the weighing scales confirm it for us. However, some people manage to overlook these signs in a process of denial. Fortunately, there are scientific methods of assessing what a healthy body weight is. One is the Body Mass Index (BMI) and the other is the measuring of waist circumference. When patients attend one of my clinics, I can quickly assess if they are at a healthy weight or not, and then we can take the steps together that will help them lose the excess weight, feel better about themselves and, like Aiden, reduce their risk of developing long term health problems.”

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Dec
10

Elaine’s Tips to avoid weight gain

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Exercise – walk everywhere you can to use up extra calories you consume (see for 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 our recipes) 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’).
Stay Stable – aim to be the same weight for January 3 (2010) – 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
  • Exercise – walk everywhere you can to use up extra calories you consume (see for 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 our recipes) 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’).
  • Stay Stable - aim to be the same weight for January 3 (2010) – 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

For more information, contact Elaine McGowan Dietician Clinics – click here for details.

Categories : Weight Control Tips
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Nov
18

Practical Pointers – Sunday Fry

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irish fry up - healthy option

By making some simple tweaks to our meals, we can save a considerable amount in terms of calories and fat, whilst also boosting the health benefits we can enjoy from our food.

Look at the difference between a traditional fry-up and Elaine’s healthier version here. One of the most interesting effects of this ‘meal makeover’ is that Elaine’s version will keep you fuller for longer!

Traditional Grill: 2 grilled rashers, 2 fried eggs, 2 grilled sausages, 1 slice of fried white bread and ketchup = provides 850 kcals, 60g fat and just a trace of fibre and vitamin C
Elaine’s Healthier Version: 2 grilled low salt rashers, 1 poached egg, 1 portion of baked beans, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomatoes with chopped basil, 1 slice wholemeal toast with low fat spread and glass of orange juice = provides just 488 kcals, 15g fat, 11g fibre and 80mg vitamin C.

Traditional Grill:

2 grilled rashers,
2 fried eggs,
2 grilled sausages,
1 slice of fried white bread and ketchup
Provides 850 kcals, 60g fat and just a trace of fibre and vitamin C

Elaine’s Healthier Version

2 grilled low salt rashers,
1 poached egg,
1 portion of baked beans,
grilled mushrooms,
grilled tomatoes with chopped basil,
1 slice wholemeal toast with low fat spread and
glass of orange juice
Provides just 488 kcals, 15g fat, 11g fibre and 80mg vitamin C.

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Nov
18

Take Control! (Tips for Eating Out)

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Drink a glass of water and/or eat a piece of fruit before you get to the restaurant
Try not to have lots of bread before your meal arrives
Choose soup or salad as a starter
Consider having two starters instead of a starter plus main course
Eat slowly and remember that you don’t need to clean your plate!
Limit your alcohol intake – just one or two glasses of wine is plenty
Choose dishes that are grilled, boiled, poached, steamed or stir-fried
If you are craving a dessert, opt for sharing one or, instead, keep a bar of dark chocolate in your bag and have just two or three squares
  • Drink a glass of water and/or eat a piece of fruit before you get to the restaurant
  • Try not to have lots of bread before your meal arrives
  • Choose soup or salad as a starter
  • Consider having two starters instead of a starter plus main course
  • Eat slowly and remember that you don’t need to clean your plate!
  • Limit your alcohol intake – just one or two glasses of wine is plenty
  • Choose dishes that are grilled, boiled, poached, steamed or stir-fried
  • If you are craving a dessert, opt for sharing one or, instead, keep a bar of dark chocolate in your bag and have just two or three squares

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.