20 May 2009

Stop throwing your money in the bin

As the recession continues, we're all pretty much resigned to watching what we spend and not over indulging in any particular area so we can save the pennies.

But did you know that you are spending a lot of money on food that goes straight from the supermarket trolley, into your fridge and then into the bin a week later without ever passing your lips. You may as well throw the cash straight into the rubbish.

In the UK, we throw away around one third of the food we buy. Yes 33% of what we spend is wasted...read on for some shocking stats and what you can do to start saving today.

Here are some highlights from the new report on Food Waste by Wrap.

• In the UK, we throw away nearly half the salad we buy

• seven million slices of bread

• We also cook and prepare too much, resulting in an additional 1.6 million tonnes of food waste a year.

• 330,000 chicken portions (worth £70 million a year)

• 4.4 million whole apples; (worth £300 million a year)

• 1.3 million yoghurts and yoghurt drinks

• Every year, 20,000 tonnes, or £66 million worth, of breakfast cereals are thrown away by people too much in a rush to finish them.

Not a good list to see and we're probably all guilty of some of the above statements. So what can you do.

1. Think French - they still shop daily on the whole rather than go to the supermarket weekly to have enough food for the week. This way, you shop when you need stuff rather than have a full fridge.
2. If that's not practical for you, try buying a couple of good cookbooks aimed at quick healthy meals that make it so easy for you to use the food you have in and gain more confidence to cook more meals from scratch and use up all your ingredients.
3. Plan your menu for the week and take it to the supermarket. This way, you can guarantee you'll be using what you buy. Stop buying extras just because you fancy them or more gherkins because you think you may be running out. They're not essentials.
4. Don't overcook. Buy smaller portions of meat and count out your potatoes and measure your pasta and rice before cooking.
5. Use your freezer. Not for convenience food but for left overs and clearly date every container and use it within 2 weeks for the best tasting food.

These all sound like very basic lessons but maybe we all have to go back to the beginning to get it right because what these stats show is that we're overbuying, overcooking and throwing valuable cash away everyday.

To see the full article.

18 May 2009

The 5 Worst Carbs to Eat

Following on from the post last week about the 5 Best carbs to Eat, here are the 5 worst offenders when it comes to carbs in your diary and if you can cut them right down or out completely, you'll feel much better and lose weight more efficiently. Having any of the foods in the list a couple of times is fine, but just be aware that they wont fill you and are high in calories.

1. Corn Flakes
Marketed as a great star to your day but this cereal will have you hungry by 9.30am and that's when the snacking will begin to compensate. Avoid if you can.

2. Croissants
These should always be a treat and not a daily breakfast choice because they have virtually nothing going for them - they're fattening, wont fill you and are way too moreish.

3. Cheesy Puffs
As far as snacks go, these are like fattening air. Usually loaded with preservatives and colourings, if you want something like this, try nuts or plain popcorn instead.

4. Instant Mashed Potatoes
No, no, no. If you are going to have mashed potato, make it yourself and add no butter. This is plane food not real food.

5. Sugary sodas
May surprise you that these are carbs but they are full of artificial sweeteners and make you hungry straight afterwards. Why not have a cold sparkling water with fresh lemon or crushed strawberries / raspberries etc. instead?

Photograph by izaeus|argazk (flickr)

15 May 2009

The 5 Best Carbs to Eat

When it comes to trying to lose weight, the finger is usually pointed at carbs and as a result, they are the first thing most people remove from their diet.

However, sometimes, we're being a bit hasty. There are good carbs and the problem with cutting out carbs all together is that we often don't feel full after a meal which leads to lots of snacking and we are losing out on some essential nutrients and fibre. So what should you keep in your diet that's good for you and will help satisfy those hunger pangs?

1. Wholewheat Pasta
Perfect for favourites like spaghetti bolognese, pasta and sauce and even wholewheat noodles which are more widely available now. Once cooked, you'll barely notice the difference.

2. Multigrain and seeded wholemeal bread
If you're watching your weight, you should be avoiding white bread anyway but keep an eye that your bread doesn't have sugar added and aim to get some nuts or granary at the very least into each slice.

3. All Bran
Start your day off the perfect way and stay full till 11am at least when you should have a couple of pieces of fruit. This is a great way to start losing weight.

4. Porridge / Oatmeal
Brilliant for cold mornings and even when the weather gets better - great for your heart, your waistline and quite addictive once you get into the habit. Make with fat free milk and sprinkle to top with berries, nuts, fruit.

5. Chickpeas
Great for adding to casseroles or making soups with once blended. Very filling and flexible.

Photograph by rachelandrew (flickr)