Diet, Nutrition & Healthy Eating

Diet - to most of us this conjures up the multitude of “diet “plans, books, clubs etc that are available, but this is not solely what we are looking at. We shall be focusing on the various plans out there and see what they are about under our diet plans page and as always we want to hear from organisations about how their plans work. Food choices really do effect your health and that of your children - see below for the latest news about additives. When it comes to food - it should be a positive experience - learning about what you are eating and how to cook healthily can transform bad eating habits New to Cooking? Dont worry we have added a lot of beginner basic cooking videos to our you tube channel and more will follow

If you would like a personal food plan created for you taking into account your dietary needs and medical history, Jessica offers a full online nutritional service via skype consultation to ongoing email and skype support. Please email her on for an initial 15 minute skype consulation free email consultation with Jessica to find out more about what you personally should do doing to help you with eating healthily or about living with diabetes please get in touch. More can be found about diabetes on our diabetes page

Many will have struggled and failed with trying to lose weight but don't get disheartened. Rather than think just of the pounds to lose start by finding an old dress / pair of trousers one size smaller than your usual size and use that as a target instead of the scales. By the time you are in it your scales will show the results too. If any of you are embarking on a change of eating habits and want to share your experiences please get in contact and we will share your diet diary with others to inspire, we list just some of the multitude of diet plans on Diet Plans


We shall also be including some advice from nutritional therapist Jessica Villa on adopting a healthier lifestyle. Jessica is Italian , qualified as a Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons) and has an MSc in Public Health Nutrition.

If you have a question to ask her for this page or a topic you would like to see included then please get in touch.

If you have a question to ask about your diet or want a personal skype consultation or individual diet programme contact me for an informal chat.


Change Destructive Weight Loss Behaviours

At the very core of all your weight loss goals is one very important piece of the puzzle – YOU. The degree to which you are committed to your goals makes all the difference in the world. After all, who’s going to be dragging your butt out of bed in the morning to hit the gym? You are! Who’s the one that has to muster up the courage to say no to that extra biscuit? You are! That’s right – you are. No one is more important to your success than you!

So when the time to take action and get in shape once and for all come, what do you do when you’re your biggest roadblock? You may think that weight loss is just too hard, but it’s not the actual weight loss that’s most difficult, it’s talking yourself into doing it everyday for long enough to make a difference. It’s the little things that you do that can hinder your weight loss, like keeping a drawer full of goodies at home, always taking the escalator instead of the stairs at the mall, or even engaging in negative self-talk. Your bad habits need to go! Listed below are five simple reminders that can help you rearrange your lifestyle to fit your new healthy weight goals:

You CAN Do It
Your first line of defence against destructive weight loss behaviours is to kill off negative self-talk. "I'm such a loser. I’ll never lose the weight. Why can't I just do it? I'm a failure." This kind of self-talk will always creep into your head unless you learn to defend yourself with positive reinforcement. "I want to be healthy and I deserve to feel good about myself. I might encounter setbacks along the way, but I will keep my head high and keep reaching for my goal. I will succeed!" You are also probably used to the self-defeating cycle of talking yourself into exercising tomorrow, but when tomorrow gets here you talk yourself right back out of it. This can take a huge toll on you, leaving you to feel hopeless and defeated.

It’s ALL Good
When you think about what you're going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner you label your food "good" or "bad" and restrict yourself to eating only foods from the "good" category. "No, I can't have carbs for breakfast.” “I'd better just eat a salad for lunch, even though I’m hungry.” ”I'll just skip dinner to save calories." At first glance this might sound like you did a good job for sticking to your diet, but the truth is that this pattern of restricting foods only increases your chance of achieving nutrient deficiency. Skipping meals actually slows down your metabolism. When you learn more about the need your body has for energy and nutrition, you understand that this kind of eating is actually contributing to your weight gain. All foods have some nutritional benefit, the solution is simply to eat everything in moderation. A variety of foods will provide you with a wide range of nutrients that your body needs on a regular basis.

Out with the OLD – In with the NEW
Trying to stop self-destructive diet habits cold turkey will only leave a void that you will eventually fill again and again with the same old bad behaviours. Replace negative eating habits with new habits. If you find that you have a routine of coming home from work every day and plopping down on the couch with a cola and crisps, you have created a negative routine that is hindering your weight loss attempts. Don't just give your television away and stop buying crisps and cola, instead, supply yourself with healthy foods and take your dog for a walk after work while munching on an apple! Figure out what your destructive habits are and then construct positive replacements. You'll find that you'll never want to go back!

Get Real!
You finally decide that you're going to do it once and for all...lose those 10 pounds that have been haunting you since childhood. Your plan? You're going to get up early every morning and work out for an hour, then run during your lunch break and when you get home you'll go to the gym and sweat it all out! Mmm-hmm. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. Setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations always results in failure. You will experience burnout so fast you'll be back to your bad habits in no time! Instead, try to focus on incorporating your new, positive behaviours into your daily routine. Make a positive and lasting small change instead of steering yourself toward imminent failure.

Slow Down
You're not going to lose 10 lbs by the end of the week. It's just not going to happen, and besides that, it would be extremely unhealthy. A steady loss of one to two pounds per week is both healthy and realistic. One pound is equal to 3,500Kcal. Divide this by seven days in a week and you will find that a deficit of 500Kcal a day will get you where you want to go. The best way to do this is to exercise and burn off 250 of those calories and then adjust your food intake to 250 less calories: cycling for 30 minutes will burn off about 250Kcal, cutting out your morning chocolate donut will reduce your daily intake by 250 calories and just skipping a cola and a coffee a day will do the same. These are simple things that you can do right away and they'll be an instant benefit to your health.


content provided by NHS Choices

5 A DAY meal planner

Go to NHS Choices homepage



How can you succeed with your weight loss plan?The only person that can help you succeed is "YOU"!

Now its time to take action and get in shape once and for all! I am not saying that weight loss is easy, its hard in fact, but it’s not the actual process of loosing weight that’s most difficult, it’s talking yourself into sticking to the plan daily and for long enough to make a difference.

Think about this: "it’s the little things that you do that can hinder your weight loss", like keeping your favourite comfort foods at home, taking the escalator instead of the stairs, or engaging in negative self-talk. All your bad habits need to go! And they need to go NOW!

Below are five simple reminders that can help you rearrange your lifestyle to fit your new healthy weight goals:

Kill off negative self-talk: stop saying to yourself "I'm such a loser. I will never lose the weight". Instead say to yourself: "I want to be healthy and I deserve to feel good about myself. I will succeed!"
Do not label your food as "good" or "bad". Just think about healthier options and you will enjoy your food more
Replace negative eating behaviours with new behaviours SLOWLY!
Set achievable goals, do not try to change everything from one day to another
Try to cut out unhealthy foods and replace them with healthier options daily



5 steps to a healthy diet:

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables Try to aim for 5 pieces/portions a day.

Drink at least 1,5L of water a day and reduce to a minimum soft drinks, alcohol and coffee

• Eat chicken or fish In preference to red meat and plenty of vegetables or a big mixed salad.

• Decrease or better avoid wheat products, such as baked goods, bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes and dairy foods

• Eat 5 small meals a day and never skip your breakfast


What is ‘high salt’?
Use the following table to work out what your recommended maximum daily intake of salt should be. Note that you do not need to eat this much salt - this is an upper limit. With so much salt added to processed foods it can be surprisingly easy to go over the limit, especially for children.

Recommended maximum daily amounts

for each age group
as sodium as salt
Children 1-3 0.8g 2g
Children 4-6 1.2g 3g
Children 7-10 2.0g 5g
Children 11+ 2.4g 6g
Adult women 2.0g 5g*
Adult men 2.8g 7g*
From: Salt & Health, published by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2003
* Note: For simplicity, the recommended maximum for adults is often averaged to 6g of salt (2.4g sodium) per day.


We hear over and over about dieting, bad foods, saturated fats, slimming, but most people are very confused from all this information and they don't know what to choose.

Why not take it step-by-step? To protect your heart you only need simple changes to your lifestyle and diet. Simple? Yes it is

Top 10 foods to help your heart:

Oats: help control cholesterol levels;
Nuts/Seeds: rich in healthy oils;
Green vegetables and Berries: rich in antioxidants;
Avocados and Olive oil: rich in heart-healthy fats;
Oily fish: rich in omega-3
Brown rice: rich in fibre;
Beans and Pulses: lower LDL (bad) cholesterol;
Turkey: the leanest meat of all;
Start eating more of the foods listed above and avoid butter, margarine, frying, red meat, cookies and cakes.

Also, walk for about 30 minutes every day and you will see and improvement in your general health and appearance. Remember that, especially in the Summer, the body needs antioxidants due to the effect of the sun on free radicals, so why not start using a multi vitamin/minerals? If you want more information on which brands are best, just write to me.

Additives -

Making positive food choices is important and understanding what is in your food - for example ,It may be a natural additive but do you know what colouring E120 Cochineal is made from ? A female Dactylopius coccus, a cactus-feeding scale insect is found in several red coloured food products !




© 2018 Big Matters Limited all rights reserved


* All content within Big Matters website is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Big Matters Ltd is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any individual, including all independant consultants on this site, any commercial product or service mentioned or advised any of the sites including nutritional information supplied herein. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition, your diet or before embarking on any exercise program or if you're in any way concerned about your health. Under no circumstances shall Big Matters be liable for any loss, damage or harm caused by a User's reliance on information obtained through this site. It is the responsibility of a User to evaluate the information, opinion, advice or other Content available on Big Matters website..