Baby’s First Christmas Dinner…

 This dish should make two servings of baby’s meal but this depends on their age and weaning stage.

Weaning Recipes | Christmas Dinner Puree

Ingredients:

150g mashed or minced cooked turkey

¼ onion chopped finely

1 small potato, peeled & chopped finely

¼ cup of cabbage

¼ small swede, peeled & chopped finely

1 tbsp sprouts, chopped

a dash of olive oil

(N.B. all vegetables can be swapped for any other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli)

Method:

–       Cook the onions in some olive oil until it is slightly brown

–       Then add the potato, sprouts and swede and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the cabbage.

–       Cook on a low heat until all vegetables are soft.

–       Use a fork to mash the cooked turkey and add it to the vegetable mixture.

–       Blend or mash with some of baby’s usual milk the mixture to a desired texture (depending on your child’s weaning stage). Add more milk to make the mixture thinner or just a little milk to make the texture nice and thick.

 

 

Other Christmas Dinner Ideas- 

Chicken and vegetable puree

Ingredients: 

1tbsp vegetable oil

1 large carrot

2 medium potatoes

1 parsnip

1 small chicken breast

water

Method:

Wash, peel and chop the vegetables

Remove any skin from the chicken and chop it into medium sized pieces

Warm the oil in a pan and add the vegetables.

Cook, stirring for a few minutes the vegetables and then add the chicken.

Cook until the chicken is cooked through.

Add enough boiling water to cover the vegetables.

Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for around 15 minutes.

Puree the mixture until smooth – use extra boiled and then cooled water if needed for the right texture.

Lentil and vegetable puree

Ingredients:

1 large carrot

¼ cup of red lentils

1 sweet potato

Method:

Wash, peel and chop the carrot and the sweet potato into small pieces

Wash the lentils in a sieve under cold running water

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for about 8 minutes.

Add the sweet potato and cook for a further 5-6 minutes and then add the carrot and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until all ingredients are soft

Puree until smooth and add in some of baby’s usual milk if needed

Sweet potato, spinach and pea puree

Ingredients:

1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped

½ teacup full of peas

½ teacupful of spinach leaves, washed thoroughly

Method:

Place the sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about  7 minutes until tender.

Add the peas and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes drain well and then blend with baby’s normal milk.

Why are we getting so fat..?

Ok, so come on. Who doesn’t like a couple of biscuits with their tea or a piece of chocolate cake at their favourite café – or even a steaming bag of fish and chips on a winter’s night? The question is when and how did these little treats turn into the “obesity crisis” nation we have today?

I propose to make some suggestions.

If you haven’t seen it already here is The Foresight Obesity Map – outlining all factors that contribute to people becoming overweight.

Why are we becoming obese?

Try as we might, as health care professionals, it is very difficult to take on that vast array of influences!

Simplifying some of the main influences on the UK’s obesity epidemic below may help some to understand how we have ended up with more than 1 in 5 adults in the UK classified as obese:

  • The increase in portion sizes – Slowly and steadily portion sizes have become bigger. So much so that now, even the good food we cook at home is spilling off our plates. Restaurants and fast food outlets have been increasing the portions of food for a long time and now we need more food to be fully satisfied after a meal. Not only have these portion sizes got bigger but also the introduction of “value packs” means that bigger portions cost just a little more and tempt us to buy twice as much. Meanwhile increasing profits for food manufacturers.
  • Mindless Eating – No wonder we are eating more when we have such little regard for the food we put in our mouths! ‘Mindless eating’ explains the way we frequently eat today: never taking time out to sit for proper meals, eating on the go, eating whilst watching the TV or chatting on the phone.  All this means that our body is distracted from the food we are eating and therefore a high volume of food goes undetected by our body’s satiety signals (signals that tell us when we are full). Ultimately, this results in us overeating during mealtimes and throughout the whole day.
  • Food availability – with 24 hour access to pretty much any food, the environment we live in is what is described as “obesogenic”. For most people the default option is to eat more and exercise less.
  • Types of food – Of course, this list would not be complete without acknowledging the types of food we are consuming as a hugely influential factor. Less cooking at home and a lack of knowledge as to how to cook and prepare meals from scratch. This results in the public relying on foods prepared by the food industry. Unfortunately, priority for the food industry is to make foods that sell – which ultimately leads to overproduction (and therefore overconsumption) of foods high in sugar, fat and salt. These are, after all,  the foods which sell.
  • The eating habits of our babies – eating habits developed in early life has an impact on patterns of food consumption throughout a child’s life. Therefore starting our babies and toddlers on all the wrong foods has a huge influence on the habits of the next generation. Too many manufactured baby foods, pre-packaged baby meals and the sweets, cakes and biscuits we all know we should avoid, may lead to a lifetime of bad eating.
  • The Food Industry (and the government’s co-operation with them)– Industry, unfortunately for consumers, has a big influence on government policy and government recommendations around food. With multi-million pound budgets, loopholes in labeling and government policies are not hard to find. The Food Industry is here to do one thing and one thing only – TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS TO YOU. Making decisions that could reduce how much is sold or encouraging people to EAT LESS could bring down profits, which would certainly not impress shareholders.
  • Diet myths – Every day the media is responsible for confusing the public. This leads people to start faddy diets and accept ideas about “losing weight fast” both of which inevitably lead to failure. What is the result? – a despondent population which feels there is nothing else it can do but accept fate and stay fat (or of course try a different diet next time round). People try and look for blame else where “I’m big boned”, “It’s in my genes”, “It’s my metabolism” which leads them to feel that they may as well keep doing what they are doing as nothing seems to work.
  • Becoming more inactive – It is not necessarily about “exercising” per se, but more about increasing the energy expended in day-to-day activities. Jobs today are less physically demanding. We drive rather than walk, we have inactive entertainment in the form of the television rather than active games or interests. As humans we are inherently lazy. We will do as little as possible to get what we need. Do you think the cavemen would go on search of food far afield if they had access to food nearby?

So, there we have it. These are some of my suggestions as to why we are becoming an overweight nation. Of course, we can see by looking at the obesity map above that these are not the only factors responsible. However, they are certainly big players in the overweight game.

Checking for sugar in your food…

In order to improve health it is important to cut down on the amount of added sugar we have in our diet. However, for many people what constitutes as “added sugar” is a bit of a mystery!

sugar exposed | reading labels | sugar listing on labels

Talking to clients, friends and family, many feel that they don’t eat much in the way of sugar:

“I don’t add any to my tea”

“I don’t like sweet food or puddings much”

Yet so many of the foods on our shelves and in our cupboards contain hidden sugars.

A report from Which? found that 32 out of 50 cereals examined in a study were considered as “high” in sugar with only two of them being high down to natural sugars from fruit.

So how do we check how much sugar is in our products? Well, quite honestly, it is not as simple as it should be. First and foremost is to check the ingredients list. But the food manufacturers are cleverer than that and use a variety of terms to describe “added sugar”.

If you are checking for “added sugar” in you foodstuffs you might want to keep an eye out for the different ways of labelling sugar listed below:

  • Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose syrup
  • Fructose-glucose syrups
  • Corn syrups
  • Invert sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Malt extract
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Deionized fruit juices
  • High maltose syrups
  • Agave syrup
  • Dextrin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Isoglucose
  • Maize syrup
  • Fructose syrup

N.B. This is NOT an exclusive list!!

If you notice any of these on the ingredients list, it means the food has added sugar. The higher up on the list these ingredients are, the more of the product is made up of them and therefore the more added sugar they contain.

Secondly, check out our simple label reading guide for more information on how to read labels and spot high sugar foods, simply and easily using the information on the package.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth…

If I haven’t convinced you that sugar consumption is paramount in the obesity epidemic please let America’s Professer Lustig give it a shot in this fantastic (yet very scientific) video conference:

 

Politician backs anti-food industry campaign…

An article in the Guardian came out today which noted that the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has called for a law to be made to regulate how much fat, salt and sugar is being added to foods.

He said “There are some products on the market that are so full of salt, sugar or fat that they are unacceptable and they have to be brought in line.”

Andy Burnham sugar and salt levels in foodstuffs

Well, welcome to the realisation of what Nutritionists and Dietitians alike have been campaigning against for a long time! Is it not strange that it has taken this long for just one politician to become aware of this huge problem that our society faces every day?

Just recently I was food shopping and from a WHOLE isle of breakfast cereals, I could find just two varieties of cereal that had appropriate sugar contents (under 5g/100g). The majority of other of cereals (many of which were aimed towards children) had sugar levels above 15g/100g with some reaching almost 40g/100g (that’s 40% sugar!!!), which is considered HIGH and would be labelled with a red light on food packages that use front of pack labelling.

How is it that we have let food manufacturers control what we are eating to such an extent? Possibly because the Government has let them?

The article went on to say that the food industry had commented that the idea of producing food with less sugar, salt and fat was “hugely complicated” and that healthy foods such as raisins would have to be controlled.

I would argue however, that the suggested regulations would only need to be targeted towards those foodstuffs which are manufactured and processed and where sugar, fat and salt are ADDED to products. However, I welcome the opinions of others on this matter…..?

Contact us to give your thoughts and opinion or see our Facebook and Twitter Pages

 

 

 

Label Reading – Making consumers aware…

Easy Label Reading
Image 1

News is widespread that the UK Government are introducing a new Front-of-Pack Food Labelling system, as of next summer. The idea behind the new system is that consumers will be able to see “at a glance” whether the foods they are eating are healthy or not in order to allow the public to make informed choices.

Within the UK and Europe there is currently relatively strict regulation around food labelling laws. However, front-of-pack labels are voluntary and therefore do not have to be provided by law.

There has previously been controversy around the type of labelling used on products with some supermarkets and/or manufacturers choosing to display the traffic light system (see image 1 below) and others choosing to display Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) (see image 2) on the front of their food packages.

There are a number of pros and cons to each system and the use of the two different systems has obviously lead to further confusion for consumers.

Nevertheless, it seems the government have finally made a decision to introduce a new food labeling system that combines the two designs above (how they did not come to this conclusion before is beyond me). It is not yet known what the new labeling system will look like but the Food Standards Agency’s image here is likely to be a close match:

Image 2

Despite the delay, this is a huge step in the right direction for public health, as these labels should, put simply, allow consumers to identify the foods that they should be eating less often. It also allows more information in the form of the GDAs which display how much the product contributes towards an average person’s Guideline Daily Amount of certain nutrients (e.g. sugar, fat and salt).

However, these labels are still not clear for everyone and, for those of you interested, we recommend you take a look at our easy guide to label reading blog which we feel makes label reading much simpler.

Although we are pleased that action has been taken to develop the front-of-pack labelling system, there is still a lot of work needed to allow labels to encourage the public to make the RIGHT choices about the foods they are eating. Additionally, foods with labels are, more often than not, processed foods and therefore clearly foods that we should be eating less of.

Front of pack food labelling GDA and Traffic Light

An article from the New York Times also made some very important points:

1.)  That food labels do not consider the actual “foodness” of a product – for example, how far is the product from it’s natural form and how much processing has occurred before the product reaches the shelves.

2.)  That the welfare of the food is not taken into account – including the treatment of animals in the manufacturing process as well as the treatment of workers and the land used to grow the foods.

These are two vital points well made by the New York Times article and something we very much agree with. But, as they say, small steps lead to big change so here is hoping……

To Go or Not to Go… Choosing Organic?

choosing organic foods | Healthy Eating | pesticides in foodThere has been a lot of recent media hype around the topic of organic foods. This hype has been in response to a study from Stamford University, which was intended to review evidence for the health effects of organic foods.  The main conclusions of the study – the one that was continually reported by the press, anyway – was that organic foods were no more nutritionally beneficial than their non-organic alternatives.

So what do we think, here at SR Nutrition?

Well, firstly, we wanted to see what some of our clients and followers thought, so we put out the question on twitter and our Facebook pages. Here are some of the responses we received:

“I like to choose organic when there are dairy/animal products involved due to ethical concerns. Obviously the extra cost is a consideration though.”

 

“…I always try and go for organic although cost can come into play when looking at family budgets. It’s my husband that tends to freak out about that part but I much prefer knowing that what I am feeding my kids is good for their insides!!”

 

“No difference! I have no facts to back up this statement but neither have I heard/read any facts of organic food proven to be better for you.”

 

“..I don’t think the benefits are so great to justify the prices for organic food!”

 

“I would rather chose organic, my bank balance doesn’t always like it though or I try to buy British fresh produce to support our farmers.”

It is important to note that this study, comparing organic with conventional produce, also found that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria” – something that wasn’t so well highlighted by the press!

Additionally, the controversy surrounding the organic vs. non-organic matter was never really about the NUTRITIONAL quality of organic foods, but more about the potential dangers to consumers of non-organic foods because within these foods are likely to be pesticides, agricultural chemicals and antibiotics.

The fact that the nutritional content of organic and non-organic produce is much the same is immaterial to those who campaign in favour of organic foods. Many believe that the consumption of these substances in non-organic produce may be contributing to a number of health problems – including changes to DNA structure, behavioural problems and even cancer.

There is little long-term research into this topic; however, there is much ongoing research, which may help to shed more of a light on the matter. But until then the jury is out!

Wherever you stand on the topic, it is clear – in part – from the comments above, that some people choose not to buy organic. On the other hand some cannot buy organic because of the (usually) greater cost.

At SR Nutrition we believe that everyone should be able to have a choice, as well as the opportunity to buy organic if they so wish.

We also believe that it is always an individual’s choice, but opt for organic produce ourselves for a variety of reasons. Firstly it makes sense from an ecological standpoint, and there is always the issue of animal welfare to consider. Eating organic is as much for the good of the planet as for an individual’s health.

For a link to the original article please see here:

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685

Or to share your thoughts and views visit our contacts page and tell us what you think about Organic food.

Preparing for a Wedding: My Health Kick Diary…

Dieting for a wedding | wedding health kickSo, what a surprise! I am officially engaged to my partner of 7 years and planning to walk down the isle in the next year or so!

This means, like many other women, I want to look my best for the big day and the preparations for an ultra-healthy me start now.

Having a goal or target for a health kick can be just the thing to get people going and motivate them to make realistic and long-term changes to their health. So often we make plans to get healthy or exercise more which just don’t stick. Having to prepare for an important event, such as a wedding, can be a great tool to really get you going and help you to reach your goals.

The first thing I need to think about is having some SMART goals:

Specific – goals that are person focused and clear cut

Measurable – goals that you can quantify and measure the success of

Achievable – well there is no point in having a goal that you know you can’t achieve!

Realistic – be honest with yourself and do not make goals and timeframes that won’t really work

Timely – Put a time on your goals e.g. 2 months before the big day but remember timings need to          be realistic too.

So, if you are waiting for that motivation and have a wedding or a future event, start to think about some long-term goals that you can easily tick off as SMART goals. Remember, SMALL STEPS TO BIG CHANGE.

14/09/2012…

So, for me, being a nutritionist means that I eat pretty well. However, for a long time I have known I needed to do more exercise, tone up and get my fitness back. I have therefore made this my next goal…..

Making changes to your health and lifestyle aren’t just simply about actions. Doing something you enjoy means it is more likely you will continue doing it, so for me, finding an exercise which I enjoy taking part in is key.

Additionally, there is no point starting something that is inconvenient and doesn’t fit in with your everyday life. This will result in you giving up sooner rather than later, because, it simply doesn’t fit in. I therefore am aiming to find an exercise session or programme that fits in with my work – life balance.

Taking time over making this change is equally important. There is no point in going from doing nothing to going to the gym 7x a week as you are unlikely to be able to sustain such a dramatic change over a long time.

So the three key points for me to take forward when planning my new Health Kick are to find something:

1.) Enjoyable

2.) Convenient

3.) Realistic

The same goes for any diet or health changes that you want to make yourself…whether it be choosing a few healthier foods that you really enjoy eating or having regular food at a time that fits in with your current routine or just focusing on improving your eating on one meal a day all these changes count towards a newer, healthier You! And the more that you can make them enjoyable, convenient and realistic, the more likely they are to continue…. 🙂

 

To be continued…..

 

The National Sugar Rush…

The following article states USA statistics but is a really interesting piece and one we wanted to share with our readers. Although we are not in America, it is important to remember that we are not too far behind in the Obesity stakes. The imagery below points out some vital information that we could all learn from.  For more information please see our articles on Drinks and Dental Care.

Soda Infographic
Source: InsuranceQuotes.org

(Thought’s and content within this blog post are not SR Nutrition’s or my own but those of the disclosed source above.)

New Weight Loss Workshop…

Weight Loss Workshop Bexhill

SR Nutrition, in partnership with YouNique Wellbeing Studios, are running a one hour Weight-Loss workshop where we will dispel the myths about dieting and put you on the right path to reach your weight-loss goals.

Say goodbye to calorie counting and restrictive diets for good!!

When: Friday 27st July 2012 from 6.00pm-7.00pm

Where: You-Nique Wellbeing Studios, 11 Windmill Drive, Bexhill, TN394HG

Early Bird payment of £5.00 or £6.00 on the door

For more information or to book a place contact us or YouNique Wellbeing studios directly on 01424 217630 / 07986672697 or alternatively email us at info@you-nique.co.uk.

Watermelon and Strawberry Smoothie…

With this beautiful weather we have been getting (every now and then) it is a great idea to have some recipes for refreshing, yet healthy, snacks for those hot summer days.

Smoothies are a good choice to have every now and then as they are easy and cheap to prepare and can be full of goodness. Try this recipe below and let us know what you think?

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of strawberries
  • One large slice of watermelon
  • 125mls of milk or plain yoghurt
  • A few fresh mint leaves
  • A teaspoon of plain yoghurt

Instructions:

  1. Wash the strawberries and take out the stems
  2. Remove pips from the watermelon and cut into chunks
  3. Pop the fruit into the blender and add the milk or yoghurt on top
  4. Blend all together until fully mixed
  5. Pour into a glass and add the mint leaves and extra yoghurt to the top
  6. To make the smoothie extra cold you can add some ice cubes into the blender with the fruit.

Salt Levels in Children’s Food…

A brilliant charity called CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health) hit the headlines today with some of their latest research demonstrating the scarily high levels of salt found in some children’s foods. These foods were mainly those from high street pubs, resturants and fast food chains.

Salt is known to raise blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and osteoporosis and therefore allowing young children to develop a preference for salty foods could have detrimental effects on their long-term health.

Within the UK we consume far too much salt. Salt is added to a great number of our everyday foods, many of which we probably wouldn’t even consider to be “salty”. Foods such as bread, cereals, rice, sauces, dressings and meat products often contain especially high levels of salt and the large quantity of salt in bread also came under scrutiny last year.

In the UK we also add salt to our food at the table as well as during cooking. However, this amount only makes up around 25% of the salt we consume. The rest (75%) is already present within the foods we are eating.

To me, all this research and information simply highlights, yet again, the importance of encouraging people to prepare more food from home, cook more meals from scratch and to try and rely less on processed meals.

A few tips to reduce salt intakes for the whole family:

1.) Train your taste buds –  it actually is suprisingly easy to get your taste buds tingling to a lower level of salt. Simply reduce the amount of salt you add to your foods a tiny amount each day. After just a week or so, you will be using less salt and won’t even notice a difference in the taste of your food – try it!!

2.) Swap the flavouring – instead of flavouring foods with salt, choose other methods such as adding lemon and lime juice, ground pepper or experimenting with the many, many herbs and spices that the supermarkets have on offer.

3.) Don’t add it at the table – leaving the salt pot out of reach, at the back of the cupboard, when cooking and eating is a great way to reduce your intake. Remember, you don’t actually NEED to add salt to anything, pasta and rice included!

4.) Cook from scratch – make home made meals more often and leave the ‘eating out’ to a one-off treat, every now and then.

For more information on this topic please see CASH’s press release here:

Dangerously high levels of salt in kid’s meals – CASH

Or have a look at my earlier response to this on Mindful Mum’s Website:

Mindful Mum + Quotes from SR Nutrition

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