Many thanks to everybody who put themselves forward to let a nutritionist take a peek at their food diaries. The winner was Suezi Q! I've had a look through a typical day of Suezi's meals, and have put together my analysis with some pointers for her going forward.
Overall there are plenty of healthy foods included in your diet – so well done! Let's go through each meal occasion in detail...
Oats are an excellent choice for breakfast – they will provide you with a steady release of energy, to keep you feeling full and energised right up until lunchtime. The soya milk adds some plant-based protein to your meal, which is also fab for feeling fuller for longer. It’s great to see some fruit in there too, and well done for adding an 80g portion – this amount counts towards one of your 5-a-day! That breakfast topper sounds delicious too, adding a bit of crunch to your porridge.
Really pleased to see some oily fish for lunch! I would recommend a slightly bigger portion next time, as the recommendation is to eat at least one 140g portion of oily fish per week. Spaghetti is a good choice to get some carbs in your meal – opting for a wholemeal version would help to provide a slower release of energy and a less sharp rise in blood sugar than white pasta. Sweet chilli sauce adds some wonderful flavour, and well done for keeping your sauce to a tablespoon measure, as being heavy-handed with condiments can rack up your sugar intake. A fantastic variety of veggies in there too. Collectively, these add up to just over one 5-a-day portion.
As a post-lunch snack, it’s great to see you’ve chosen a low-fat yogurt. This particular variety does contain added sugar, but it’s lower than other brands on the market which is good. Another option could be plain low-fat Greek yogurt with added fresh fruit or even a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for some low-sugar flavour.
The Strong Roots hash browns are low in saturated fat and a source of fibre, so all good! Your choice of gammon is also low in fat, high in protein and will provide you with iron too. That said, gammon is very high in salt, so this is something to watch as high salt diets are associated with high blood pressure – so it’s best to eat these sorts of processed meats in moderation. Eggs will add more protein to the meal, as well as a whole host of micronutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin B12. It’s excellent that you’ve been able to fry without oil too, as this can be where the calories ramp up. Great to see another variety of vegetable included here too – peas are a good source of fibre and will even provide you with some plant-based protein!
To summarise, I think you're doing very well and have made some great choices. To help you achieve your weight and health goals, here are a few extra things to think about going forward:
As a general rule, we don't recommend going lower than 1,200 calories on a regular basis. If you are quite active, I recommend trying to eat closer to 1,400 calories per day. If you’re not so active, then between 1,200 and 1,400 is fine if you feel genuinely satisfied. As you lose weight, your body will start requiring fewer calories, so it gives you room to reduce your calories a little further to the minimum of 1,200 calories, to ensure your weight loss continues. If you start with a very low calorie target, it means you won't have any ‘wiggle room’ to decrease your intake if required.
Your calorie intake on this day was 1115kcals, so it should only take an extra snack or a slightly larger portion of the oily fish at lunch for you to reach your target.
Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.