The number one reason that diets fail and one of the major factors causing weight gain is that people eat on the run they don’t carry food with them and therefore eat the wrong food and they snack all the time. Over 50% of the calories in our diets today come from snack food and junk food. One third of British people never ever cook.
Fifty years ago we took out food with us, now we expect a sandwich shop to provide lunch and we are all getting fatter and unhealthier because of it.
Research shows that people break their diets when they are too tired to wait to eat so they grab sugary snacks or the nearest available food or anything to boost their flagging energy. Once you start eating correctly you will have more energy to prepare portable food.
One in four people visiting their Doctor report being tired all the time and this is mostly caused by dehydration a poor diet or the wrong diet for that person. 175 million sick days were taken in 2006 costing the economy over £13.4 billion in 2006 (Reported by AXA ins and the CBI). The bottom line for all companies is that 80% of absenteeism due to illness has been proven to be diet related.
The most indigestible foods are dairy and grains unfortunately they are the staple of office workers.
We need to get into a lifelong habit of having the right food in our car, bag, office, desk or locker and having the right food at home and buying the right things in triplicate so we have healthy food we can prepare in minutes.
If you want to keep the weight off and look and feel fabulous you need to buy portable food and to always have it to hand. The simplest portable foods to buy are unsalted nuts and seeds, fruits and cans of tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel. When you are rushing out of the door it’s so easy to grab a can of fish, some cherry tomatoes an avocado and some fruit and nuts and you have something very healthy and sustaining to eat. It may not be the best food you have ever eaten but if your alternative is pre-packaged sandwiches and a packet of crisps you have already made a massive improvement. If you keep nuts and tuna (you can buy tuna in foil pouches) in your car and keep some canned fish, some nuts, fruit and cartons of soya milk and soya yogurt (long life obviously) and some nuts and seeds in your desk or locker at work you will always have something to eat in an emergency situation. Take it seriously and buy your essential items in triplicate so that you never run out of anything we all have to shop just shop a little smarter or do it on line.
As well as having some portable food at work make sure you have some staple items at home, like eggs and some frozen prawns so you can make a prawn omelette in minutes, you can add frozen spinach or sweet corn too or open a tin of tuna and eat it with an avocado and some tomatoes and sweet corn it takes seconds to put together and is filling and nutritious. If your weakness is reaching for food when you come home and not being able to wait to eat then have a bowl of king prawns or hard-boiled eggs shelled and ready so that you can snack on two hard boiled eggs, some tomatoes, lettuce and a little dressing. In place of biscuits buy some sugar free nut and seed bars.
These are the contents of bag that I keep in my car. Keep similar contents in your desk, locker or briefcase:
2 foil pouches of tuna or salmon in oil or water
1 ring pull can of tuna, mackerel or sardines
1 packet of sun dried tomatoes
Small ring pull cans of unsweetened sweet corn
Packets of unsalted nuts almonds cashews Brazil nuts or assorted nuts
I packet of seeds pumpkin hemp or sunflower
Long life soya yogurt
I packet of dried berries or dried apples pears mango etc
These are your emergency staples that you can make lunch from anytime by just adding some fresh fruit and maybe an avocado or some salad.
Your new eating plan:
Breakfast every day
Oats with oat milk or rice or soya milk with a spoon of milled flax seeds.
Scrambled eggs or omelette made with oil not butter.
Fruit compote or fresh fruit with nut and seed mix (almonds cashews Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds).
Smoothie of fruit and soya or rice or oat milk.
Soya yogurt with berries.
If you are not a breakfast person and can’t face breakfast take some food with you for later.
Make up a pan of porridge oats (ensure they are thicker not runny) add some seeds and berries spread it on a baking tray and bake slowly in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes then cut into slices and take it with you for later. This really is breakfast in a bar unlike those you buy in supermarkets which are full of sugar and milk. If you like it crunchy you can add hemp seeds and some popcorn or nuts and cook it for longer if you like it chewy add some grated apples or mashed banana and cook for less time.
Make a frittata (recipe below) take a slice of it to work for mid morning brunch or late breakfast
You can buy ready made tortillas in Sainsbury’s made by Floristan.
Want to make it really simple take a banana, a pear and some cashew or almonds maybe a soya yogurt. There is a new breakfast granola that I approve of called Perfekt Granola. It is wheat and sugar free and low GI.
Lunch (you can bring leftovers from any of the evening meals or make up these)
Mon -Salad of avocado, sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumber and tuna
Tues- Salad of cold roast chicken or turkey with cold roast sweet potato, spring onions, peppers and tomatoes. See recipe below:
Wed –cold cooked ham or Hummus and falafels with salad or vegetables.
Thurs-Thai Rice noodles with prawns or tofu see recipe below:
Friday-prawn skewers with cherry tomatoes, courgettes, button mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, cubed feta or halumi and olives (just put it in a tupperware if you can’t be bothered to skewer it.) Or Avocado with pine nuts and prawns Or Hard boiled eggs with salsa or tomatoes and low fat mayo add fruit and soya yogurt if you like a little dessert.
You don’t need to skimp on quantities as these are low carb high energy fat burning foods so always have at least a fist sized amount of protein and 2 fist sized amounts of vegetables and salad. When you eat like this you are fat burning instead of fat storing and you will have more energy as well as being slimmer with a flatter stomach and smaller waist.
Mid morning or afternoon snacks
• My favourite snack is to put dry popcorn kernels in a paper bag and microwave it for 3 minutes then sprinkle it with a little soy sauce, you can add tamari or any light sauce, its oil free and has hardly any calories but is yummy and filling. When I lived in LA all the celebs snacked on it, it is better than crisps and air popped popcorn is good for you.
• Seed bar
• Fruit with a handful of almonds or seeds
• Raw carrot sticks and hummus (home made with less oil more lemon, coriander and herbs)
• Celery sticks spread with a very small amount of sugar free peanut butter
• Raw courgette sticks and tzatziki
• Raw red and green pepper sticks with low fat hummus (home made with more lemon less oil add coriander and herbs to make it more tasty)
• Small quantity of nuts, especially almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts
• Small quantity of seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin or hemp
• No added sugar seed or seed & nut bar
• Oatcakes with very small amount of soya spread or a sliced peach apple or pear
• Humus & rice cakes or oat cakes
• Tangerines grapes blueberries
Make an extra portion to take to work the next day they all taste just as good cold
Make salmon or crab fish cakes by adding 100g mashed sweet potato to 75 cooked flaked salmon or tinned salmon or crab add some fresh coriander black pepper and lemon juice. Dip in beaten egg and fry in olive oil and serve with salad or stir fry vegetables.
chicken or turkey salad.
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cut into cubes
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and spring onions
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, coriander and salt.
In a medium bowl, place all the remaining ingredients. Whip the dressing ingredients together with a fork, and then pour over the chicken mixture. Gently toss and refrigerate until served.
Baked sweet potato with tuna fish, soya peas and sweet corn and or mixed salad 4oz veg and 4oz of tuna 2oz soya beans 2oz sweet corn
Thursday Thai noodles
Cook a large handful of rice noodles per person according to instructions and in a wok stir fry veggies like mange tout, leeks, peppers, bean sprouts, mushrooms, spring onions and cherry tomatoes until al dente add cooked noodles to veggies add tofu or prawns stir fry for a further 5 minutes add light soy sauce and sesame seeds
4oz noodles 3oz prawns 3oz veg per person
Spinach Parma and basil frittata made with oil (not milk or butter) served with salad and sweet potato wedges
4oz frittata 4oz salad
4oz Parma ham
3tsp olive oil
I onion chopped
I chopped garlic clove
Small bunch fresh basil torn
Medium bunch of spinach torn
Heat one tbs of olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and cook one onion and one garlic clove finely chopped for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
Beat 6 eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and peppers. Stir in the onions and garlic, spinach, basil and parma ham.
Preheat grill on high heat. Wipe out the frying pan and add a little oil. Heat over medium heat then pour in the egg mixture. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until almost set. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then slide gently out of the pan and cut into wedges to serve.
Cut sweet potatoes into wedges rub in oil and cinnamon bake under a hot grill or in the oven for 30 minutes.
You can make a breakfast frittata with parma ham and mushrooms
You can make them for lunch and dinner with prawn’s courgettes and any other veggies you choose.
Baked apples with fruit or dried fruit and nuts
Berries and sesame seeds heated in a for 5-7 minutes pan with fresh mint and a little honey.
Soya yogurt with fruit
Low cal jelly with soya cream
Hot berry compote