Advice from TV nutrition expert Amanda Hamilton on ways to stay slim, snack seasonally and avoid comfort eating
Former co-presenter of BBC2’s Something for the Weekend and TV's go-to nutritionist Amanda Hamilton shared her healthy eating advice in our Expert Forum web clinic on Zest.co.uk. Here are her six steps to keep in shape throughout the winter.
Roasted chestnuts are a satisfying autumn snack. They’re full of satisfying protein and fibre and all that peeling keeps your hands busy. Boredom or habit are likely factors in temptation to snack! We’re rarely more than 100 metres from an emergency muffin or skinny latte these days. Visual cues or the anticipation of eating can actually make you feel physically hungry.
Work out whether your body genuinely needs food. A food and mood diary can help with this. If you're eating lean proteins and vegetables these can usually help curb your appetite too. If you’re eating lots of sweets, try replacing them with more natural snacks like raw food bars or dried fruit and nuts.
Try snacking on pistachios: the healthy nut
My favourite winter hot drink would have to be a zesty lemon, ginger and Manuka honey blend. Perfect for fending off colds as well as boosting the digestion. A high factor Manuka honey (such as New Zealand Honey Co) contains prebiotics, which help feed 'friendly' bacteria in your gut. Ginger and lemon are traditionally used as digestive aids too. When you're pressed for time, peppermint, ginger or fennel teabags are all good options.
5 reasons to drink herbal tea
Focus on nutrition rather than calories and the pounds will drop off more naturally. For me, soup is the wonder food of autumn and winter. It helps you feel full without packing in calories.
Also, try to focus your meals around lean protein and plenty of fruit and vegetables (seasonal is best - I’m loving mushrooms at the moment). By eating a quality diet you can lose weight without counting calories or fat.
Enjoy these winter soup recipes
Baked fruit makes the perfect winter pudding. The key is to avoid adding lots of sugar and cream. Core a cooking apple then pop a few frozen berries, some orange juice, cinnamon and a tiny drizzle of honey into the centre. Bake for around 40 minutes, then serve with a dollop of low-fat natural yoghurt.
Try autumn fruit like pears, persimmons, pomegranates and plums. The more colours of fruits you choose, the greater the nutritional benefit!
Nothing beats a nice bit of chocolate with a cup of coffee or tea. Try good quality dark chocolate - it's packed with antioxidants and is a good source of iron - rather than the cheaper options. You’ll feel satisfied with less, so it’s also cost-effective.
Make comfort foods under 300 calories
When you’re trying to gain muscle, the main thing is to make sure you’re eating enough overall. Otherwise some of the protein you eat will be used for energy rather than to build new muscle. It might help to have your main meal after your training session. Try experimenting with beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fish, dairy (low-fat Greek yoghurt is a brilliant source of protein) and quinoa. Try my quick quinoa, feta and courgette salad.
It’s normal to be scared about putting the weight back on. Those healthy habits have probably started to feel normal to you know - so keep them up. Weight re-gain usually happens when we stop being mindful and gradually slip back into old habits. Concentrate on trying to keep up your healthy habits. Cook from scratch when you can and limit processed foods. Exercise is also fantastic for maintaining weight loss.
If you find yourself always on the go, follow these healthy eating tips for busy women
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