How your diet can affect your skin

Did you know that what you eat (and drink) can have a huge impact on your skin? You may notice that there are certain times when your skin is particularly worse than usual. This can be for many reasons but one of the most common is diet. If we eat a lot of greasy foods, or eat foods that are high in saturated fats, then you may notice that you start to have a lot more breakouts than usual. Often a simply change in your diet can help reduce this and within a couple of days you will start to see and improvement.

If you are eating a lot of takeaway food or foods that have been fried then this grease and fat can clog up your pores on your skin, which can then result in spots.

Review your current diet and see where you could make changes that may help. Swapping that chocolate bar or packet of crisps for an apple or banana is the perfect place to start. Make sure that you drink as much water as you can as this will help flush out your body and improve your overall health as well as your skin.

Healthy options for summer dining

When we think about healthy eating many of us automatically think that means eating lots of salad but although salad items need to be part of a healthy diet, summer dining is so much more than a bowl of lettuce.

During the warmer summer months lots of people enjoy eating lighter meals and do not want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food. There are lots of healthy meals that can be prepared in less than an hour as long as you have the ingredients to hand.

Chicken is a wonderfully healthy meat to choose and once cooked can be kept in the fridge and sliced up as required. A delicious Caesar salad can be made using crisp romaine lettuce leaves, parmesan cheese with sliced chicken pieces and a garlic dressing. Coupled with crusty ciabatta bread it makes a great light lunch.

Stir fries are a quick and easy way to feed the family and are a good way to get lots of vegetables into the diet. A Mediterranean vegetable stir fry could include peppers, onion, courgettes and aubergines and adding prawns to the stir fry will ensure you meal contains some healthy protein too. Most vegetables can be cooked in a stir fry so be adventurous and try shredded carrot, broccoli and sugar snap peas for a change.

Breakfast – to have or not to have, that is the question.

With our busy lives, breakfast is something that many people skip, opting instead for multiple caffeinated drinks to make them feel full and energised. However lots of research shows that by taking the time to have a healthy breakfast you can set up a healthy eating routine for the eating breakfast you start your metabolism off which is important to consider particularly if you’re trying to lose weight.

So what should you have? Firstly avoid any high sugar breakfast items such as cereal bars or chocolate cereals as these give you a blood sugar spike then a crash making you feel very hungry and lethargic about an hour after. Instead opt for whole grain cereals that are high in fibre such as oats and whole wheat products that allow a more slow-release of energy. If you like toast, choose wholemeal breads or breads that contain dark rye, as these are healthier for you than plain white bread. Avoid any high sugar spreads including jams and marmalades and instead choose something nutritious like avocado or poached or boiled eggs. With the right breakfast you can kick-start your metabolism and keep your blood sugar level nice and stable ready for the day ahead.

Making sure you get the right portions of all the food groups

Having a balanced diet is important as it ensures that your body is fuelled with all the nutrients it needs to function correctly. There are a number of different food groups, and it is wise to try and get some of each into your diet daily. You may need more of one sort of food group than another. If you are vegetarian then you may easily miss out on the recommended protein, which is usually found in meat, so you may need to replace this with other foods that are high in protein. Many meat substitute products have been made with this in mind.

If you are struggling to get all the vitamins and nutrients into your diet through food you may decide to supplement with a tablet or even a drink. This will allow you to boost your intake. Sometimes, for you body to absorb these, you may need to take them with another vitamin or food or possibly avoid taking them with some drinks or foods. If you are trying to increase your levels of good bacteria, then you may opt for a probiotic. You should not take these with a hot drink or even hot food as it can kill off the bacteria rendering them useless.

How to beat the boredom hunger

January is often the most common time of year for people to start diets or try and lose weight. Many of us over indulge over the festive period and then tell ourselves that come January we are going to lost the extra weight that we have needed to get rid of. Dieting can be very hard and it is not just about physically controlling what you eat, you also need to be in the right state mentally too as it often takes a lot of will power.

Most people say that the time they struggle most with watching what they eat is when they are bored or tired. This is because we crave stimulation or comfort and for many of us this is what we get from certain foods. If you are sleepy, you may want foods like chocolate or if you are bored you may reach for the nuts or sweets. Trying to keep busy can help you stop thinking about food. Try and ensure that you are constantly doing something and when you get tired in the evening try and go to bed earlier. Also drinking, especially hot drinks, is another great way to stave away the hunger.

Is batch cooking a good idea?

Batch cooking is something that has come back over the last couple of years. People are so busy with their jobs and life commitments that they simply do not have as much time anymore for preparing and cooking meals. If you do not have meals prepared then it is easy to end up cooking something quick and often unhealthy. You may also find that you pick a lot whilst the food is cooking because you are hungry and haven’t planned ahead.

Batch cooking allows you to cook multiple batches of food at one time. You can then refrigerate or freeze these to use on another day. You will probably not want exactly the same food every day for a week so it is always a good idea to bulk cook multiple different meals so you can swap around and have something different.

Not all meals can be batched cooked but lasagne’s, curry’s, Chilli and soups are all great examples. You can also prepare other foods in advance to have as snacks, so you may decide to cook some chicken thighs to be able to use throughout the week, If they are already cooked you can either eat them cold or heat them up again.

Foods to cook in the winter

Often our food choices tend to change quite a bit from summer to winter. In the summer you may find that you have more of a Mediterranean diet such as salads, fish, chicken and grains where as in the winter months you are more likely to crave warm, hearty dishes such as casseroles, stews, shepherd’s pie and roast dinners. Something that is warm that will give us that warm, full feeling.

Sometimes it can be harder to get motivated to do dinner in the winter as all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa but doing your preparation in the day will save a lot of time.

Now is the perfect time to bring out the slow cooker. Slow cookers are a great way to prepare a good home made meal without having to spend hours over the stove. If you haven’t got one, it is definitely the go to gadget you need to invest in this Christmas. You can fill the pot with raw meat, veg and stock and leave it to slowly cook throughout the day. When you get home you can simply cut up some crusty bread and server out your ready made slow cooked stew.

Eating good whole foods balanced with exercise

If you are not happy with the way you look at present then you may be tempted to try a diet. Often the problem with diets is that it removes the fats and replaces it with low fat high sugar alternatives. High sugar foods do not keep you full for very long so after only an hour or two you may be craving food once more.

Rather than going on a diet, it is better to make some lifestyle changes that you can stick to long term. The problem with dieting is that you may be able to lose weight fast but then often you will put it back in as soon as you start eating normally again. Making small but sustainable changes to your day to day food habits is a much better way at going about getting fit and healthy. Try and eat foods in their whole state as much as possible. For example rather than plastering peanut butter and jam on your toast why not opt for a handful of nuts and a small bowl of fruit. Add in some natural yogurt and you have a tasty dish that is not only satisfying but also packed full of foods that are great for your body and your mind.

Does dieting work alone?

With summer coming to an end and the colder days and nights start to draw in, dieting is probably the last thing on your mind, but it can actually be a good time to start if you want to get in shape for Christmas.

Many men and women try multiple ways to lose weight often unsuccessfully. It may be that they find a diet that ensures they start to drop the pounds but it isn’t sustainable so after a few weeks to a month they give up. For a diet to be successful it needs to be a lifestyle change not just a temporary fix if you want the weight loss to be permanent. Often dieting in its own is tough but by increasing your exercise too, you don’t have to cut as many calories.

Before you start cutting the calories, try incorporating half an hour to an hours exercise every day. Try and find something you enjoy whether it be walking, swimming or yoga. Once you have got in to a routine with your exercise you should then find it easier to cut down on a few hundred calories. This will really ramp up the weight loss and you probably won’t even notice you are dieting.

How to manage a food allergy

If you or your child has a food allergy you need to think very carefully about how to manage it. There are different degrees of food intolerance. For some people certain foods or ingredients in food make them have a bad stomach or possibly be sick, for others they may come out in a rash or even have a life-threatening reaction which can cause them to stop breathing. Lot’s pf people that have an allergic reaching to nuts or eggs find that it can be very serious. Often, they need to carry an epi pen with them wherever they go and make sure that they do not eat anything that contains the food they are allergic too. Some people can even have an allergy to a food that is in the air, so for example, if you have a nut allergy, sometimes even being in the same room as nuts could start you off.

Although this can be very hard to manage at times, especially if you are out for a meal or away on holiday, once you have gotten used t what sorts of foods to what out for, it can become a little easier.