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Spice up your Christmas and keep your weight in check

With a growing spotlight on increased body weight good eating habits are even more important as the festive food season approaches.

Here’s a few tips to help you make confident food choices.

Choosing good carbohydrates, those that release sugar slowly will keep you sustained for longer and eating these carbohydrates with protein makes them less likely to turn into your fat store. Aim to fill a quarter of your plate with good starch carbohydrates such as; brown rice, quinoa, lentils, kidney beans, pearl barley, wholemeal pasta and butternut squash, a quarter of your plate with protein, and half your plate with non-starchy green and colourful vegetables.

Controlling how food turns into energy and not fat depends on your intake of certain vitamins and minerals. To make insulin you need zinc and B vitamins alongside the mineral chromium which helps to stabilise blood sugar, with vitamin C and magnesium to convert food to energy. A daily portion of seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts help the metabolism burn fat. Aim for two varied servings of vegetables with each meal and two servings of fruit, this will give you the nutrients and fibre you need.

Some foods really can save the day.

A meta-analysis (1) published in the Diabetic Medicine Journal reported that the spice cinnamon has beneficial effects in normalising body weight and blood sugar markers. Cinnamon is one of the highest containing anti-oxidant foods on the planet which may be one of the reasons for its long held health use. Aim for up to 3 teaspoons a day, try it on porridge, over fruit and try it in your coffee.

Try these wonderful Cacao and Cinnamon bites

With a low glycaemic load of 8.8, 48 on the glycaemic index, these are suitable for anyone managing their blood sugar levels. They pack a good amount of protein and at 120 calories each they can be used as a good nutrient rich snack.

Makes 14 small 4cm bites

45g Oats (if you have food intolerances go for certified gluten free)

25g Almond flour

50g Coconut, desiccated

2g Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon

1g Baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon

1 Banana, medium size

2g Vanilla essence, 1/2 teaspoon

80g Coconut oil

50g Cacao nibs

- preheat oven to 180c and lightly grease a large baking tray

- mix together the almonds, oats, cinnamon and baking powder with dry coconut

- separately mash the bananas and stir in the vanilla and coconut oil

- add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine, fold in the cacao nibs

- divide mixture into 14 small dessert-spoonful's onto the try keeping them separate

- bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool then transfer to wire rack to fully cool.

(1) Efficacy and safety of 'true' cinnamon as a pharmaceutical agent in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2012

If you would like more food advice please contact Henley Nutrition,, Tel: 07831 120423


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