Amanda Ursell: Healthy eating advice
Amanda Ursell, one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, has great advice on better breakfasts, fruit versus biscuits, stay-awake lunches. They’re all in this blog on healthy eating which she’s written for Thinking Slimmer. Amanda Ursell’s the author of numerous books on healthy eating including What Are You Really Eating? She holds a degree in nutrition and a postgraduate diploma in dietetics, is a columnist for two national newspapers and has twice been voted the most influential health professional in the UK.
Always have a good breakfast
Amanda Ursell says: How do you start your day? A latte and a blueberry muffin from the coffee shop on the way to work? Sugary things are digested too quickly and only leave you feeling hungry an hour or so later. That’s when you head for the biscuits! I recommend taking your time and having a slowly-digested breakfast such as sugar-free muesli, porridge or boiled eggs with toast. This will keep you feeling full until lunchtime and slowly release energy throughout the morning so you don’t suddenly feel low.
Fruit beats biscuits very time
Amanda Ursell says: I used to work in an office where fruit hadn’t been seen for months and a snack at the desk meant cakes or biscuits. In my office today there are always apples and bananas on hand and biscuits never get through the door. That’s because the rapid boost you get from sweet things has an unhelpful effect on your blood sugar level,; the highs and lows leaved you drained and feeling hungry. Fruit keeps the sugar level steady and delivers important vitamins, minerals and super nutrients. Berries are thought to be good for your brain – so try blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to keep your brain on top form.
Cut back on that coffee!
Amanda Ursell says: I love latte. I even half a small spoon of sugar in it. But I never drink more than one a day. My tipple is water – lots of it, because I know that when the body becomes dehydrated my concentration can easily become disrupted. A good tip is to cut back on tea and coffee, which both contain caffeine, and only enjoy a cup when you really need a boost, like before an important meeting or midway through a busy afternoon. There’s another benefit, too: a latte or a cappuccino can contain as many as 200 calories, so cutting back will help your waistline.
Eat a lunch that will keep you awake
Amanda Ursell says: We’ve all done it haven’t we? Stopped for lunch, filled ourselves up with stodgy carbohydrates like a big baguette or a giant sandwich filled with mayo, then found an hour later it’s a struggle to stay awake. Lunch is an important meal because if you allow yourself to get hungry you won’t be able to concentrate. It’s important to try to alter the balance of your nutrients so you have more protein (meat, ham, tuna, chicken, turkey, eggs) and less carbohydrate. The extra protein should help to keep your brain alert for the afternoon ahead.
Nuts and yoghurt are a perfect snack
Amanda Ursell says: We all need a snack most days, don’t we? But what’s going to help us feel full without putting on the pounds? I recommend one of these to keep you going through until dinner: A 40gram bag of mixed nuts and fruit; a nectarine with a yoghurt; or a banana with some oatcakes. They’ll all fill the gap without triggering the release of fat-storing insulin.
Cooking in oil helps the body
Amanda Ursell says: The important anti-oxidants beta carotene and lycopene are best absorbed by our bodies in cooked foods served with a little oil. Cooked carrots pureed with olive oil, for example, or tomatoes roasted with olive oil are an excellent way of getting the most of the antioxidants in these foods. You can really boost the anti-oxidant activity in the blood by drinking a large mug of green tea once a day. Let it brew for about 10 minutes for the maximum effect.
Less salt can make fewer lbs in weight
Amanda Ursell says: We keep reading about the need to cut down on the salt we eat, but what are the benefits? Although the official advice to consume is to no more than six grams of salt a day, a much healthier target would be just three grams. Not only would be reduce our blood pressure, we would also help weight loss. Reducing salt intake helps our bodies to release the excess water it stores (which is responsible for swollen ankles and bloating). You can literally lose 3lb in weight over just a few days in this way, which is great if you need to slim down quickly to get into a special party outfit.