Who want’s salad when it’s cold outside? Best diet foods you can eat, still lose weight and feel full!

Where do we start?

Let’s begin with breakfast, for many breakfast is now a rushed bowl of cereals, piece of toast or worse still, nothing at all!

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This is where protein is a must, protein foods keep us feeling full for longer – so we eat less! (1). Cereals and cereal bars can be full of sugar, and toast with jam is no better. Energy from these sugar laden options are used up quickly leaving us hungry mid-morning and reaching for the biscuits.

What should we eat?

Eggs can be an excellent choice, high in protein they keep us full longer. Boiled, poached, scrambled all excellent, add tomatoes, mushrooms, wilted spinach you are adding filling fibre and nutrients. Add a slice of smoked salmon and you have even included a source of omega 3 fats (our beneficial oils) and vitamin D!

A 2005 study found that those having eggs for breakfast felt full for longer and ate less short term, so less calories going in! (2), and apparently now not the big cholesterol risk! (3)

Another old favourite oats, porridge can make an excellent warming breakfast. Oats release their energy slowly. Add nuts and seeds, you are including protein and healthy fats, and in moderation (½ dozen) do not increase weight. (4) A handful of berries and you increase health promoting phytonutrients, also 1 of your 5 a day.

What about lunch?

Having had your healthy, satisfying breakfast don’t spoil it with a sandwich and bag of crisps, warm yourself and fill up with a nutritious flask of home-made soup.

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Base for soup

Heat 12g/ ½oz of butter in a large pan, gently fry a small chopped onion and garlic, when soft add stock, consisting of 1 low salt vegetable stock cube in 500ml/1 pint water, add vegetables and simmer till cooked, blend and season to taste. Include pre-cooked chicken, meat, lentils or beans, the extra protein will keep you full. Carefully heat through serve or add to your flask for later.

You can make several days at a time and refrigerate or freeze. With lots of vegetables and the added protein when you reheat, you have a perfect balanced meal in a cup.

Jacket potatoes are high in fibre so very filling but low in calories, they are rich in hormone supporting vitamin B6 which help us to sleep well and feel good (5). Add some cottage cheese, minted yogurt, mixed bean salad or tuna and you have your protein, garnish with folate rich romaine salad, cherry tomatoes, peppers, celery or anything fresh and colourful in the salad range and the perfect lunch to keep you going till dinner.

And now to dinner!

For dinner if you want it quick and easy how about a stir fry? You can use almost anything in the vegetable draw, finely chop vegetables, onions and garlic if desired and stir fry at a moderate temperature in a little water or olive oil, add precooked meat, chicken or fish experiment with herbs, a little flavoured oil, crème fraiche or plain yogurt.

Adding a small portion of pre-cooked rice or pasta can offer the carb boost we often crave in the evening, saving raids on the sweetie jar. Pasta can be pre-cooked and frozen in small bags so ready for use when needed, new research also suggests when cooked and reheated it is slower to digest. (Chill rice and pasta quickly, use promptly if not frozen and heat through thoroughly when used. Do not reheat more than once)

If you have more time to prepare, and a slow cooker, how about a casserole. Again make batches and freeze or refrigerate, have with a small jacket potato and lots of green leafy vegetables. For variety use meat, chicken, beans, lentils or a mix of several.

On a cold winters day there is nothing better than good warming nutritious meals to keep us energised and happy. We don’t have to suffer to be slim, just fill up on the right foods!

Remember

– Protein with every meal.
– Lots of filling fibre in whole grains and vegetables.
– Leave out the ‘empty’ carbs in sugar laden foods. They have lots of calories, poor in nutrients and can result energy dips.
– Keep hydrated.

Note: Some of those with medical issues should seek medical advice before making drastic changes to diet.

References

1) Tome D. Et Al (2009) Protein, amino acids, vagus nerve signalling, and the brain. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 90 (suppl):838s-43s

2) Vander J et al (2005) Short Term Effect of Eggs on Satiety in Overweight and Obese Subjects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 24 (6) 510-515

3) EUFIC(2011) Eggs revisited- nutritious and safe to eat.European Food Information Council.www.eufic.org

4) St-Onge, M. (2005) Dietary fats, teas, dairy, and nuts: potential functional foods for weight control. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81:7-15

5) Liu R. (2013) Health-Promoting Components of Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet. Advances in Nutrition. 4: 384s-392s

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