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Smart Sizzling – How to Have a Healthy Barbecue

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If you’re planning on firing up the barbecue, this is a good time to turn to the Barbecue chapter of my new book The Right Bite. On the face of it, a barbecue ticks a lot of health boxes, after all, grilled meats and salad seem to be a relatively healthy option, but there are some major pitfalls to watch out for. Here are four top tips to help you enjoy your next barbecue and maximise the potential health benefits.

  1. Select a Superior Sausage
    If you’re partial to a sausage, then take a close look at the actual meat content on the label, as this can vary dramatically. Some sausages contain less than 40% meat, which can include fat and connective tissue too, and which leaves a lot of room for fillers, such as rusk and water. The more your sausage leaks water or white liquid into the pan, the more it is likely to be largely made up of fillers. A premium sausage will contain 85-90% meat which makes it of far superior quality and ensures fewer additives and fillers. If you’re wondering which sausage to choose, spare a thought for a venison sausage – they’re a better source of protein than beef or pork sausages, as well as containing higher levels of energy-boosting iron.
  1. Tone Down the Toxins
    It’s a smart move to use lean cuts of meat, such as chicken, and to cut the fat off any red meat, as this will help to reduce the amount of fat that drips from the meat onto the barbecue which causes flames. Cooking meat over an open flame can lead to the creation of powerful toxins, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which have been associated with an increased risk of cancer. You could also partially cook the meat in advance, so that barbecue cooking time is reduced. Using smaller cuts of meat and cutting off any charred bits could also help to reduce your potential exposure to PAHs.
  1. Shun the Sauces
    It’s easy to undo all your good work and careful choices by getting carried away with sugary sauces and glazes. A modest 37ml serving of sweet chilli or honey-based barbecue sauce contains around 4 teaspoons of sugar, so it’s important not to pour it on with a liberal hand. If sauce is a must, then opt for an unsweetened chilli sauce, a hot pepper sauce or even mustard, as these contain very little sugar.
  1. Keep the Coleslaw
    If it’s a toss up between coleslaw and potato salad, then you should choose coleslaw every time. Largely made up of antioxidant-rich cabbage and carrot, it contains about half the carb content of potato salad and twice as much fibre, which is good news for your waistline and your digestion. It’s also a smart move to opt for full-fat rather than low-fat coleslaw, as manufacturers often add extra sugar to low fat products to enhance the flavour, and coleslaw is no exception.

If you’d like more handy barbecue tips or would like to find out about the best choices for picnics, takeaway food and other tricky eating situations, then The Right Bite is definitely the book for you!

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also provides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is the ‘go-to’ person for the Mail on Sunday for sensible nutrition advice and has a regular column in Reveal Magazine. Jackie is also Chair of Trustees for the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.

RightBite_cover

Jackie Lynch
The Right Bite
Available from Nourish Books
 

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WIN a Copy of The Right Bite on Goodreads

Enter the competition HERE for a chance to win 1 of 10 copies of The Right Bite by Jackie Lynch – your survival guide to eating healthily on the go. The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 26.

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Bran muffin or chocolate chip? Which wine is likely to add the most inches to your waistline red, white or sparkling? And if you re dying for a pizza, how can you keep the damage to a minimum?

The Right Bite is a practical guide to help people navigate the minefields of everyday eating and make healthy choices when nutritious food is not easily available – such as in coffee shops, office lunches or the cinema.

It’s easy to follow a healthy diet when you’re in control of your shopping list and the contents of your fridge. But as soon as you step outside the front door, it can get a lot more complicated. Walk into a coffee shop, a bar or the cinema, and making the right decision can be a lot more challenging and confusing.

The Right Bite is here to help – with accessible, practical advice for all those everyday occasions, you can make the smart choice even when healthy options are limited. Each chapter focuses on a different eating environment – from Breakfast on the Go to Working Lunches, Takeaway Food, Pubs, Picnics, Barbeques and the Cinema.

For each situation The Right Bite then explores the type of foods likely to be available and compares them, explaining the main health pitfalls and highlighting top picks. A ham and cheese croissant is a better option in a coffee shop than a skinny muffin for example! The Right Bite explains why, providing useful insights with a down-to-earth approach. Packed with design features and small enough to slip in your handbag, this is the one-stop guide for anyone wanting to eat healthily in the real world.

5 Tips to Help You Choose The Right Bite at the Movies

Jackie Lynch shares some tips from her new book, The Right Bite to help you choose your cinema snacks.

There’s something about a trip to the movies that just seems to send caution to the winds when it comes to snacking. The usual suspects, such as popcorn, ice-cream and hot dogs, are high in sugar, refined carbohydrate and even trans fats which can make movie night a bit of a health minefield. Here are 5 quick tips to help you mitigate the damage.

  1. Start Sharing
    You may not be a natural sharer and hate the idea of someone else picking at your food, but the cinema is one place where you might want to bend the rules, as it can make a big difference to just how much you consume in one sitting. You might run the risk of annoying your neighbours with all the rustling, but it can be a clever way of halving the potential calories and sugar intake, as long as you play fair and stick to your share.
  2. Avoid Sugary Toppings and Glazes
    Sweet or salted, popcorn is a starchy snack that adds up to about 500 calories per small portion, so if it’s your preferred movie snack you need to tread carefully. It’s a smart move to steer clear of extra caramel or toffee toppings, as this ups the sugar content significantly and adds around 150 extra empty calories. Sharing is a very smart move here – a large popcorn (sweet or savoury) averages at around 1,000 calories, which is half the recommended daily amount for women. Splitting it between 2, 3 or ideally 4 of you could make a huge difference, especially if you’re a regular moviegoer.
  3. Opt for Frozen Yogurt
    Ice cream is the ultimate comfort food and the combination of sugar and fat is highly addictive to our taste buds, which is bad news if you’re trying to watch your weight, as the excess sugar will go straight to your waistline. The Right Bite here would be natural frozen yogurt, and it’s easily available in most outlets. At 150 calories per 100g tub it contains less than half the calories of vanilla or chocolate chip cookie ice cream which range from 330-400 calories per 2 scoops. Beware of some of the fruit frozen yogurts – they may be lower in fat and calories than ice cream but they still contain the equivalent of around 7 teaspoons of sugar which won’t help your cause.
  4. Nachos Beat Hotdogs Every Time
    If you’re wavering between the two, then opt for nachos. Hot dogs are highly processed and there’s really no room for manoeuvre to make it a healthier choice. Nachos may not be a perfect solution, as the combination of fat, sugar and salt in the tortilla chips is something we instinctively crave, which means that the more you eat, the more you’ll want to eat, but there is far more mileage in health terms if you’re smart about the topping. Avoiding cheese and sour cream and focusing on guacamole and tomato salsa could make all the difference. The avocado in guacamole is a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and contains some protein too which will help to keep you going for longer, so that you’re less likely to get the munchies later on. The spicy tomato salsa is another smart choice, as it’s low in fat and full of antioxidants.
  5. Choose Your Drink Wisely
    If you know there’s no way that you’ll walk past the food and drink concessions without treating yourself to something to eat and drink, try to limit the damage by being smart about your choice of drink. Indulging in a medium soda means you’ll be adding the equivalent of roughly 13 teaspoons of sugar to your snack, which is a huge amount by anyone’s standards. Beware diet sodas, as these may not contain sugar, but the long list of ingredients means that they’re highly processed and the artificial sweeteners they contain can trigger a similar addictive response in the body as sugar, leading to cravings and a possible sugar binge further down the line. There’s no doubt that the Right Bite here would be water – it would help your body cells recover from all the sugar you’ve consumed in your chosen snack, keep you alert during the movie and add no calories at all!

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also Jackie Lynchprovides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is a regular contributor to the Mail on Sunday and the Net Doctor website and her advice features in a wide range of other national media. Visit her website.

RightBite_cover

Jackie Lynch
The Right Bite
£6.99, available from Nourish Books.
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Meet Jackie Lynch

Jackie Lynch is the author of The Right Bite, a practical guide perfect for urban life, to help people make healthy choices on the go, when Jackie Lynchnutritious food is not easily available. Last week Jackie visited Nourish offices in Angel, and we took this opportunity to have a chat with her about her work, and to know the behind the scenes of writing The Right Bite. You can listen to Jackie Lynch podcast, or download it from iTunes.

Jackie is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also provides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is a regular contributor to the Mail on Sunday and the Net Doctor website and her advice features in a wide range of other national media. Visit her website at www.well-well-well.co.uk.

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The book is practical and friendly. Each chapter has a Right Bite box, so if you are in real hurry, what you have to do is flick through the book and find the right option for you. – Jackie Lynch

 

JAckie 2

 

RightBite_cover

Jackie Lynch
The Right Bite
£6.99, available from Nourish Books.

 
Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month

 

4 Simple Strategies to Slash the Sugar in Your Diet

Jackie Lynch shares some helpful tips from her book The Right Bite to help you effortlessly limit the sugar in your diet.

If you’ve been following the headlines recently, you’ll have seen that sugar has been firmly cast as the villain of the piece in health terms which makes it a smart move to keep it to a minimum. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done as sugar is highly addictive and seems to be added to everything, from bread to soups and pasta sauces. Here are 4 simple strategies which will help you significantly reduce sugar without too much effort.

1. Read the label carefully
Sugar comes in many different guises, and can often feature two or three times on a label in a form that you might not recognise, which means high levels of sugar can slip under the radar, if you’re not careful. Anything that ends in –ose is a sugar, for example sucrose, fructose, dextrose or maltose. Corn syrup, maple syrup (or any other syrup, for that matter), treacle, molasses, maltodextrin and hydrolysed starch are all commonly used terms to look out for, as they are just sugar under another name. Don’t be fooled into thinking that honey is a healthier form of sugar, as it’s just sugar in a liquid form (and that doesn’t change if it’s raw, organic or Manuka honey – it’s all sugar). Avoiding products that contain high levels of these hidden sugars could help you cut sugar consumption quite dramatically. If you want to do the maths when you check the label, a teaspoon of sugar adds up to about 4g.

2. Ensure protein features in every meal or snack
It’s incredibly difficult to limit your sugar intake if you’ve allowed your blood sugar to drop. Low blood sugar leads to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol which creates powerful cravings for sugar, carbs or caffeine to restore blood sugar balance. When your hormones start to determine your food choices, it’s almost impossible not to give into the temptation of the nearest sugary snack. Protein is hard to digest and helps to slow down the release of sugars and carbohydrate in the body, keeping your blood sugar balanced. A protein-rich lunch will make it much easier to say no to a sugary snack mid-afternoon and including protein in all your meals or snacks will go a long way to helping you stay on the straight and narrow.

3. Avoid the low-fat trap
A common misconception is to opt for low-fat foods as a means of losing weight. This is likely to be extremely counter-productive, as sugar not fat is the principal culprit when it comes to gaining abdominal fat. When fat is stripped out of a product, there is a significant loss of flavour and manufacturers will often add sugar (or salt) to enhance the flavour. A typical example of this would be the so-called skinny muffin in coffee shops. This often contains more sugar than the classic version which means it isn’t the healthy treat you might imagine. Make sure you do a label comparison next time you grab your favourite low-fat product at the supermarket so that you don’t fall into the low-fat trap.

4. Steer clear of dried fruit, fruit juices and smoothies
Swapping dried fruit for fresh fruit can make huge inroads into your sugar intake. The dehydration process considerably intensifies the sugar content of the fruit – for example raisins contain about four times as much sugar as grapes. It’s also important to be wary of fruit juices and smoothies – a glass of orange juice with your breakfast may seem like a healthy option, but it contains the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar and a 250ml smoothie bottle contains even more, with sugar content averaging at the equivalent of 7-8 teaspoons. Opting for vegetable juices will help to keep the sugar content down, as long as you make sure there isn’t too much fruit hidden in there. Or you could just drink water!Jackie Lynch

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also provides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is a regular contributor to the Mail on Sunday and the Net Doctor website and her advice features in a wide range of other national media. Visit her website.

 

RightBite_cover

Jackie Lynch
The Right Bite
£6.99, available from Nourish Books.
Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month

Avoiding Those Valentine Vices

The Right Bite‘s author Jackie Lynch, suggests some smart food and drink swaps to keep you on the straight and narrow in February.

When the shops start to feature large displays of pink champagne and mountains of foil-wrapped chocolate hearts, it can mean only one thing – Valentine’s Day is upon us, and the chocolate season is about to start in a big way.

Valentine’s really has become more of a season than just a single day which can quickly undermine any healthy habits you established in January, as there’s a whole host of tempting treats available in the shops for several weeks. Even if you don’t specifically celebrate Valentine’s, it can be hard to resist adding a chocolate treat or bottle of fizz to your shopping trolley from time to time, when they’re so easy to hand.

So what can you do to keep the damage to a minimum? Here are a few handy hints to help you to avoid the vices and make a virtue out of Valentine’s.

  1. Avoid champagne and other sparkling wine. This may seem the natural choice for a celebration, but unfortunately it’s really bad news for your waistline. Sparkling wine is incredibly high in sugar – just two standard 125ml glasses contain the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar, and sugar really is the main culprit when it comes to gaining inches around your waist. If you’re looking to keep in shape but still want to enjoy some wine, you’d do far better to share a bottle of red with your beloved, as the sugar content is minimal, by comparison.
  2. Choose your chocolate with care. If you already know that a box of chocolates is on the cards for you on Valentine’s Day, then it’s time to start dropping hints about dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is often highly processed and usually contains about 5 times as much sugar as dark chocolate. The high levels of cocoa in dark chocolate give it a more bitter taste, which has the added bonus of meaning that you’re likely to eat less of it, especially if it’s in tablet form, rather than filled chocolates. Aim for at least 80% cocoa, as you’ll benefit from the flavonoids found in cocoa, protective plant compounds which are associated with supporting cardiovascular health and choose an organic product if possible, as this limits the exposure to toxins in the non-organic production process.
  3. Prepare a Valentine’s meal at home. Restaurants are usually more crowded and often a lot pricier around Valentine’s Day, so this could be a smart move on a number of fronts. Nutrition-wise it leaves you in control of your ingredients, cooking methods and portions. Consider grilling rather than frying a steak to keep fat content down. Steam rather than boil your vegetables, so that you retain higher levels of vitamins. Keep high-calorie starch, such as bread, rice and pasta to a minimum, as this is likely to sit heavily on your stomach, making you feeling quite sluggish and sleepy after dinner which could hinder any plans to get amorous!
  4. Don’t bake (or buy) a Valentine’s cake. Just one modest slice of cake contains the equivalent of about 8 teaspoons of sugar, and 350-400 calories and that’s without taking into account any icing. It’s really not the best choice if you want to keep on looking fabulous in that little black dress or your skinny jeans. Try strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate instead – it’s not just the healthier option, it’s a far sexier and more decadent Valentine’s dessert than a slab of cake. And you don’t need to be an experienced cook, as it couldn’t be easier – just Google a recipe and give it a go.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

RightBite_cover

Jackie Lynch
The Right Bite
Available from March 2016
Preorder from Amazon now.

 

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