27 August 2008

5 Best Dinners for Losing Weight

healthy ideas for dinner when you want to lose weight
Here is the final installment about what meal choices to make that are great when you're trying to lose weight. We're had healthy breakfast ideas and lots of lunch suggestions - today is all about dinner. Trying to eat healthily doesn't have to mean starving yourself and spending all day dreaming about your next meal. that's never going to work. But sometimes it's hard to find out what's good to eat that will fill you but not fatten you.

Here are a few suggestions of my own to give you some new ideas.

1.Grilled Salmon
Pre heat the grill and brush the salmon fillet with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper and crushed garlic. Wrap the fish in foil and place under the grill for 10 mins. Open the foil so the fish is exposed to the grill directly and cook for a further 5-10 mins depending on how you like your fish. Add a squeeze of lemon and serve with wild rice / cous cous / brown rice and small side salad.

2. Vegetable Pasta Bake
Choose 4 of your favourite vegetables (red pepper, mushrooms, carrots and leeks for example) and chop into medium size pieces and add to a pan on a low heat with a crop of olive oil. After 3 mins, add a can of tinned tomatoes and mix together. Season with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper (garlic optional). Using another pan, boil some wholewheat pasta in a pan and when it is al dente, drain the water and add the pasta to the vegetable and tomato mix. Pour this pasta / vegetable mix into a a casserole dish, add some low fat mozarella to the top, cover and place in the over for 20 mins.

3. Spaghetti Bolognese
Make this classic even healthier by using turkey mince instead of beef and use a jar of passata and not a pre-prepared bolognese sauce. Season with oregano, garlic and add some grated carrot. Serve with wholewheat spaghetti and a tomato and onion salad on the side. Yum!

4.Grilled Steak with Greens
Buy the best cut you can afford and make sure it's lean. Season with some black pepper and salt and a little steak seasoning mix if desired. Chop a few mushrooms in half and put under the grill at the same time as the steak. Grilling times according to taste. Serve with steamed spinach, green beans and peas.

5. Grilled Mackerel on Toast
Squeeze a wedge of lime over the fish and season before placing under the grill. Serve on top of 2 slices of wholemeal / granary toast. This makes a perfect light supper that will still fill you.

Photograph by marielito (flickr)

21 August 2008

Best Lunch ideas when trying to lose weight

healthy and filling lunch options
Lunch is a meal that shouldn't be messed with.

It can make or break an afternoon and just the anticipation of it can get you through from 11am when you're in the office. But all too often, you can end up making the wrong choices and end up feeling bloated and unsatisfied from sandwiches or hungry and sulky after a bowl a soup.

I gave you some healthy and hearty breakfasts ideas last month so here are some ideas of what you can eat for lunch without ruin the diet. Yum!

If you are one of those super organised people who takes a packed lunch into the office with them, here are a few suggestions:

1. The Filling Ham Sandwich
Make sure you get a good quality ham from the deli counter rather than out of a packet. Use 2 slices.
Use wholemeal, multi grain or sourdough bread to make the sandwich as this will also keep you feeling full for longer than white bread.
Add a small spread of mustard instead of mayo.
Add two sliced tomatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper to season.

2. Hummus and pitta bread
At the supermarket, select a large tub of reduced-fat hummus so you can have this 2/3 times during the week.
Chop up some crudites - cucumber, carrots, spring onions. Take one standard sized pitta (warm this at work if you have a microwave -15 seconds) and slice into thin slices for dipping.

3. Tuna tortilla wrap
Buy a packet of tortilla wraps from the supermarket (they also have wholemeal versions now but white would be OK).
Spread a thin layer of low fat plain yogurt and season a little.
Add a generous spoonful of tuna from a can and top with some finely shopped tomatoes and red pepper.
Roll up and wrap tightly in foil - ready to go.

Eating out options

4. Soup and Roll
Don't pick a light soup though or you'll be hungry within the hour. Go for a hearty choice like mixed bean, french onion or lentils. Have this with a wholemeal roll.

5. Baked potato with tuna and sweetcorn or cottage cheese or baked beans.
Choose a medium sized potato - don't go over the top and accept one of those monster sized ones you see!
Add no butter. You won't miss it once you start eating.
Have a small side salad if you fancy some more greens with just a squeeze of lemon for dressing.

6. Sushi
Most supermarkets sell trays of sushi nowadays.
Get a medium sized tray (approx 9 pieces)
Avoid the trays with the deep fried in batter options.
Drink plenty of water with this lunch as soy sauce is salty and the wasabi is wonderfully fiery.

7. Turkey Salad
Go for the works when it comes to the salad - aim for a good mix of colour on your plate.
Avoid the dressings that are creamy and oily even if they claim to be low fat. A dash of balsamic vinegar is perfect.
Top the salad with a generous portion of chopped roast turkey (or chicken).

I'm sure there are some new ideas there for you to try and remember, all these lunches will not add to your waistline and will give you enough energy to get through the afternoon without that sleepy lull that an over sized meal can cause.

Remember to have a small snack around 4pm. A banana or orange is ideal.

Look out for Best Ideas for Dinner coming soon.

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Photograph by WordRidden (Flickr)

12 August 2008

What to do when you start forgetting things

I was recently sent an early copy of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife & Beyond.  Someone at the publisher had read my blog and thought the book might be a good fit with what I write about. What to do when you start forgetting things is just one of the questions they answer in the book. 

Written by two doctor, they've compiled a guide based on the real questions their patients have come to them with over the years.  This makes the guide practical, relevant and real rather than purely academic and also allows you to use the guide both as a comprehensive overview of the changes to their bodies that women face through the years or as a reference to look up specific issues.

The book is a good mix of the medical and the everyday practical and what’s really clear is that although some of the issues discussed may not become priorities until midlife, there are plenty of reminders that living well now will pay dividends in the future. 

So I’d say the book is worth a read at any age – for those who’ve reached midlife it will provide a lot of answers and save you some potential anxiety.  It’s also useful for younger readers as it offers motivation to stay on track with looking after yourself each and every day.

For more details, take a look at the guide here and it may just answer any questions you've ever wanted to ask the doctor.

9 August 2008

How to Stay Fit on Holiday

Jeff Archer swimming on vacation
At the moment I’m on vacation visiting family so I don’t have access to my gym for my regular workouts and I’m away from all the running routes that I’m familiar with. 

Rather than be worried that I'll get out of shape while I’m here, I decided when I left home that I’d see what new things I could try and see if they’ll be options for adding to my routine when I get back home.  Here’s how I’m getting on so far.

Having watched a really exciting Wimbledon this year, I wanted to take up tennis again.  I didn’t get around to it when I was in London but here I've been to the stores and bought racquets for all the family and so far we’ve had a championship in the street and found a local court where we can all pretend to be professionals.  I’ve really enjoyed it and everyone else has had fun too so this is something I’ll definitely continue when I get home.

It’s easier to swim here where the weather is 80+ degrees and the pool is outdoors in the sunshine but, regardless of the weather, just getting back into swimming has reminded me of how much I enjoyed it a few years back and also what great exercise it is.  I’ve also been to the beach and swum in the ocean and had great fun on a boogie board, though this isn’t something I’ll be able to do back home.  I know people who do it but for me, it’s just too cold!  I will be visiting the local pool though.

3.Circuit training
I like circuit training at home but it’s usually in the gym.  Here there is a park with a full exercise area so it’s been easy to put together a few programmes that don’t take long but have really been fun to do.  Having enjoyed these workouts here I’ll be making more of an effort to get fit outside as well as in the gym when I get home.

So I’ve managed three new activities so far and enjoyed each one of them.  I’ve also felt aches in places I don’t think I’ve worked for a while, felt the sun on my skin and slept really well.  Oh to be on vacay all the time.....

It would be great to hear what new exercise or activities anyone else has tried on vacation…the start of a vacation does not have to mean abandoning your fitness.