healthy eating

5 Quick tricks to help you eat less and this week’s meal plan


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quick tricks to help you eat less

5 Quick tricks to help you eat less

Over the summer my food intake has certainly increased.  All those little treats you allow yourself because “you’re on holiday” can soon become an everyday habit.

The problem with small increases in food intake is that they soon add up and you begin putting on weight, especially if you’re not moving more to compensation – me completely!

However, the same is true if you make small decreases here and there in your food intake.  Over time these changes help to reduce any possible weight gain and could even help you reduce weight.

Of course, you could make a radical change i.e. drastic diet and probably see some immediate results.  The problem with this strategy is that we usually can’t sustain it and invariably slip back into our old habits.  This is why drastic diets never work long term.

So, I recommend implementing a few simple tweaks to your eating habits to get you started.  These are changes that are hardly noticeable in your day to day life but they soon become everyday habits that you do without thinking.

1. Change your plate size

Dinner plates have been getting bigger and bigger.  Some plates, particularly in restaurants can measure up to 12″/30cms.  Change your plate size to no bigger than 10″/25cms.  This small change could reduce your food intake over a year by 22% (source: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think – Dr Brian Wansink)

If you want to really reduce your food intake then you could try using a side plate, which usually measure around 8″/20cms.

The reason this small change works is because you are tricking your brain into thinking you are still enjoying a full portion of food.

Small portions of food on a large plate make you feel as if you are depriving yourself.  However, the same portion of food on a small plate looks larger and your brain feels more satisfied that it’s eating a full size meal.

2. Fill half your plate with vegetables first

When you are dishing food out onto your plate, fill half the plate first with salad or vegetables.  The other half of the plate should be a quarter of protein and a quarter of carbohydrates, with a small portion of healthy fats.

If half your plate is already stacked with salad or vegetables you will automatically reduce the amount of foods you place on the other half.  This is a really important trick to use at ‘all you can eat buffets’ or carveries if you are dining out.

3. Change the colour of your plates

Research suggests that when we use white plates, foods such as popular carbohydrates like rice, pasta and potatoes become lost against the white background.  This increases the chances of overloading our plates with these foods as we find it harder to judge our portion size.

If you pick a coloured plate, particularly green or blue, the contrast against the ‘white’ carbohydrates helps you assess your portion size.  Conversely, green vegetables don’t stand out so well on blue and green plates so you pile these portions higher – a healthy result!.

I’m currently using these plates from  Mason Cash:

4. Make healthy foods in the home prominent

I’ve talked about this before in my super size challenge post


Make your fruit bowl visible and accessible – either on your kitchen worktop or your dinner table.  Whenever you are feeling peckish or if you are in a rush to go out, you are much more likely to pick up a piece of fruit.

To make this work though you also need to hide away the cookie jar and unhealthy snacks.  The harder it is to see and access them, the less you will choose them.  If you are really struggling with sugar cravings, I would go so far as to say don’t even have them in the house.  Temptation is everywhere outside our homes.  Human beings have limited amounts of willpower.  The best place to control your environment is in your home.  Reduce all the temptations in this zone so that you only need to rely on your willpower once you leave the house.

5. Drink more water

Often we crave food simply because we are dehydrated.  It’s really important to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

When we are dehydrated we feel weak and fatigued and are much more likely to cave into the temptations of unhealthy food.

The NHS recommends we should drink about 6-8 glasses of liquids or 1.2 litres per day.  This can include water, low fat milk and sugar free drinks like tea and coffee.

Invest in a beautiful water bottle to keep with you at all times, particularly on your desk at work.   Work out how much water your bottle holds and then how many refills you need to maintain your recommended 1.2 litres.  Pop a rubber band around your bottle for each refill you require.  Each time you refill your bottle, you can remove a band.  This will help you keep on track with your goal each day.

This week’s meal plan:

  • Balsamic and green bean salad with salmon and sweet potato wedges
  • Roast Pork with a pistachio stuffing, vegetables and roast potatoes
  • Breaded chicken fillets and salad
  • Chilli con carne
  • Spicy stir fried pork with rice (left overs from roast)
  • Indian chicken curry and rice
  • Chicken pie, mashed potatoes and vegies


Wishing you all a wonderful week.  Don’t forget to hop on over to my Facebook Page or Instagram page and let me know what changes you are making to your everyday habits.

You can also sign up for my regular New Leaf Newsletter here to receive up date information, recipes and tips.


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6 Healthy eating holiday tips and this week’s meal plan

6 healthy eating holiday tips

6 Healthy eating holiday tips

I absolutely love holidays.  They’re a great time to relax, enjoy time with loved ones, explore new places and enjoy food!!!

When on holiday though,  the last thing you want to do is restrict what you eat and drink.   However, I believe that by making a few simple little tweaks here and there to your food choices you can still stay on track with your healthy goals.  Here’s my 6 holiday tips:-

1. Enjoy Breakfast

If you are staying in a half board or bed and breakfast hotel then make the most of the breakfast on offer.  You’ve got the whole of the rest of the day to burn this food off, plus you’ve paid for it up front!

If you are self catering, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast to start the day off right – lots of fresh fruit, yogurts, eggs and maybe a croissant or two!

2. Eat a light lunch

If you’ve eaten a big breakfast, then only eat a very light lunch.  A salad, or some fresh fruit should keep you going.  Obviously, children will need more – mine are always starving no matter how big a breakfast they’ve had.

3. Do some exercise

Try to do some exercise.  Get out and explore your holiday destination by walking as much as possible.  Use the pool or sea to set yourself a swimming challenge each day.  Spend time playing with the kids – tag, table tennis, cricket or tennis if available.

4. Keep track of your drinks

It’s easy whilst on holiday to drink more beer, cocktails, wine and even sugary, fizzy drinks.  Whilst, it’s important to enjoy your holiday, these extra calories do add up.  Just try to alternative your drinks with lots of water.  Tea and coffee is also fine but preferably without any added sugar.

5. Listen to your body

When your body says it’s FULL – stop eating!

Yes, I know there are lots of temptations to carrying on eating but you really will feel better for listening to your body.  Filling up on the “all you can eat” buffet before bed will affect your sleep as your body thinks it needs to digest all that food instead of resting.

6. When eating out try some healthy swaps like the ones in this chart:-



If you want some more ideas about changing and making new habits check out this post HERE

This week’s meal plan:-

  • Cumin and garlic fish with salsa and creamy potato bake
  • Mexican chilli chicken and rice
  • Satay pork and oven baked turmeric rice
  • Quiche and salad
  • Sweet chilli chicken stir fry with noodles
  • Thai turkey burgers and salad


I hope you all have a wonderful week and if you are off on holiday soon, have a great time!.  I will be having a little break from the meal plan posts whilst I’m on my holidays.

Don’t forget to sign up for my regular newsletter for updates and recipes from this site.

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The Truth About Healthy Eating – Does Healthy mean Expensive?

healthy eating

Did you get to see The Truth About Healthy Eating on the BBC with Fiona Phillips?  I thought it raised some interesting points about whether healthy eating needs to be expensive.  We all get fooled by marketing hype into thinking a particular food will do us good but it this true?


Firstly, Fiona compared the nutritional value of “superfoods” to ordinary supermarket staples.  The results were that highly expensive goji berries had the same levels of Vitamin C as fresh strawberries (which I prefer), pearl barley and quinoa had no major difference in their release of energy, coconut oil and rapeseed oil had the same properties, as did cabbage compared to kale.

So basically, none of us should fall for the marketing and advertising hype of food companies naming products as “superfoods”.  Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive.  Supermarket basics and local fresh produce can provide all the nutritional goodness that the body needs through a balanced diet.

Are supplements a waste of money?

The programme also examined whether there was actually any scientific benefit from taking supplements i.e. multivitamins etc.  The programme’s test results failed to find any significant difference in Fiona’s blood results after two weeks of maximum supplement intake. The scientist involved even suggested that for some people it can be harmful to take supplements.  Personally, I have always wondered whether popping a few pills can really make up for a diet lacking in nutrients.  The body processes nutrients in a very complicated way. Often one nutrient can only be absorbed or work effectively if it is eaten at the same time as another nutrient.  In my opinion, the cost of purchasing supplements would be better spent on fresh fruit and vegetables.

Can Smoothies give you a boost?

The hype around high antioxidant smoothies was also tested in the programme.  Unfortunately, the results weren’t favourable for this expensive healthy boost either.  The body likes to keep itself in balance, so it will only utilise a small amount of antioxidants and ditch the excess.  Whilst I can understand that drinking smoothies excessively could be a waste of money, I still think that if you aren’t good at getting your five a day, then at least one smoothie a day will offer you some nutritional benefit.  Perhaps the body just doesn’t absorb the nutrients in liquid form in the same way as when they are whole fruit or vegetables.  Could these be higher in fibre and therefore pass through the intestine slower?  Any nutritional scientists out there who can answer that question?

Detox Diets

Lastly, the programme tested whether detox diets provided any health benefits.  It turned out that the students who just ate a balanced diet* showed much better liver, heart and weight levels at the end of the test than those who did the detox diet.  Again, fancy detox supplements and foods appeared to have no real value.

So overall, I think the programme was very effective at pointing out that a balanced diet has far more benefits than supplements, detoxing and stocking up on “superfoods”, which are all extremely expensive.  Healthy eating shouldn’t cost more, so don’t be fooled by the marketing hype.

Go eat your VEG!

*the programme’s balanced diet included meat/fish, pasta/rice, fruit/veg, eggs/dairy, wholemeal bread and small amounts of coffee and alcoholic drinks – sounds good to me!