This week I thought I’d talk about a less well-known but really important part of a healthy, balanced diet – fibre. Government guidelines published in July 2015 said that adults should have a fibre intake of 30g a day as part of a healthy balanced diet, but the average intake is only about 18g a day! So I’m going to encourage you all to add some fibre into your diet, and explain how and why you should do this.
Why do we need fibre?
There is strong evidence that eating plenty of fibre can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, strokes, type-2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Plus foods with fibre can make us feel fuller, which can help fight sugar cravings and wanting to snack in between meals.
There are different types of fibre, insoluble and soluble. Soluble fibre can be digested by your body, and may help reduce cholesterol and help with constipation. It can be found in oats, barley, rye, fruit such as bananas and apples and root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Insoluble fibre passes through your gut without being broken down and helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily; helping to prevent digestive problems. Good sources include nuts and seeds, cereals, bran and wholemeal bread.
So how can you get more fibre in your diet?
Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants, which means that meat, fish and dairy products don’t contain any. When trying to increase your fibre intake, make sure that it’s from a variety of sources as part of a healthy balanced diet. Here are some tips if you want to increase your fibre intake:
- At breakfast, choose a higher-fibre cereal such as porridge (oats are a good source of fibre), or bran flakes. The Jane Plan porridge is one of our bestsellers and our mueslis and granolas are also made with oats. We also have our own Bran Flakes – Branberry flakes with strawberries!
- Wholemeal or granary breads are a higher in fibre than white bread, but if counting calories it’s best to avoid bread.
- Green leafy vegetables are a great source of fibre – plus they’re lower in calories and rich in vitamins.
- Pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas are a good source of fibre as well. Several of the Jane Plan dinners are lentils or chickpea based, including our chickpea tagine and luxury lentil cottage pie. If eating off-Plan, try adding pulses into stews, curries or salads.
- Fresh or dried fruit are a good source of fibre also, but watch the calories in dried fruit!
- When snacking; raw vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and nuts or seeds are good source of fibre. A small handful of nuts can have up to 3g of fibre.
A final tip…
If you need to increase your fibre intake, make sure that you do it gradually. A sudden increase might leave you feeling bloated, ‘windy’ and could cause stomach cramps. Also make sure that you drink plenty of fluids too – around 1.2 litres a day.
So I hope you all go out and try to increase your fibre intake this weekend!
Have a lovely weekend,
This week I’ve heard from quite a few Jane Planners who want some more exciting ideas of what veggies to add into their diet Plan. So here are two of my favourite veggie substitutes for rice and pasta – they’re perfect for adding into your diet Plan, or even for dieting off-Plan.
Cauliflower rice can be a really good substitute for rice or couscous, and can be great alongside our Asian inspired meals. It’s so easy to make, all you need is some cauliflower, a grater and a microwave. Plus, an 100g portion of rice is only about 25 calories!
- Rinse the cauliflower well, pull off the outer leaves and break the cauliflower into large florets.
- Process in a food processor
- Break the florets into smaller pieces, put into the large bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Grate your cauliflower florets
- If you don’t have a food processor you can grate the cauliflower by hand using the larger side of a grater.
- Once chopped/grated, you can store the cauliflower until you’re ready to use it. Divide it into 100g portions, and it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Cook your cauliflower rice:
- Microwave – Place the cauliflower rice in a heatproof bowl, cover in cling film, and heat for 3 minutes on high, mixing half way through cooking. If heating from the freezer, microwave for 4 minutes instead.
- To make it more interesting, you can roast the cauliflower rice. Simply spread it into a thin layer on a tray with a drizzle of olive oil, and then roast for 12minutes at 200C. Roasting it intensifies the flavour, and dries it out to give it a really nice texture.
People who are trying to lose weight have often told me that they really miss pasta when they try to keep away from it. Courgette spaghetti can help you overcome this pasta craving, and it works well with all pasta sauces. Plus courgette is a good source of vitamin C.
All you need is 3 large courgettes per person, for about 93 calories per serving.
- Cut the courgettes into thin slices lengthways, and then cut each slice into thin strips to create spaghetti-like strips.
- If you are not that skilled with a knife, kitchen gadgets like a mandolin can help you slice the courgettes into strips.
- Boil the spaghetti strips for 2 minutes, and then drain. Take care not to overcook the spaghetti, or the strips will go mushy.
- Serve with your favourite spaghetti sauce or alongside a Jane Plan diet meal.
I hope these have helped inspire you to jazz up your diet plan!
Have a lovely weekend,
The other day I bought a new pair of scales to replace my old, broken ones – what could possibly go wrong? But imagine my horror when, having stepped onto them for the first time, I was 5 Lbs heavier than I had been when I last weighed myself! In fact, my new scales were saying that I was the same weight as I was having just had my first baby. It was impossible that I had gained this weight in the short time since I had last weighed myself. The only explanation was that my old scales were simply inaccurate, and had been saying I was 5 Lbs less than I really was.
This was definitely a wake-up call, and has given me a kick-start to make some small changes to a healthier lifestyle. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve recently stepped up my training for Tough Mudder, and have already worked myself up to running 6km. I’ve also been making some small changes to my diet; trying to cut down my snacking, and reducing my portion sizes.
This experience has definitely proven to me again how important it is to weigh in regularly. If you don’t know your true weight, you’ll stay where you are; whereas weighing in can motivate you and let you know whether you’re on track. After a week of resisting temptation it’s so satisfying to see how this has translated on the scales! Whilst it’s true that the scales can disappoint you, it’s much better to be honest with yourself so you can try to work out what you should be doing differently.
I recommend weighing yourself once a week on the same day, at roughly the same time, using the same scales in the same place. This might sound a little over-cautious, but weight can vary day to day – you can even weigh more in the evening than in the morning. So to avoid demoralising results, it’s best to weigh yourself consistently. Just make sure your scales are up to scratch to avoid a shock like I had! I’d recommend digital bathroom scales, which are more accurate than old-fashioned spring-balance scales.
I hope you’ll be motivated by this blog to go out and weigh yourself this weekend (avoid the mentality that you’ll ‘start on Monday’!)
So go on, be brave and hop on those scales.
With the weather so cold and gloomy in January, it’s easy to make poor choices and comfort eat (I know I’ve been guilty of this!). But now that January is finally over, I’ve been trying to focus on eating lighter and cleaner, and trying to cook with fresh ingredients. So I thought I’d share two of my favourite light lunches, which are healthy and balanced – as well as delicious! They’re so easy and quick to make – so there’s really no excuse for eating unhealthily this February!
1. Salmon and Rocket Salad with Horseradish
This salad is a favourite of mine – it can be made in minutes, tastes absolutely delicious and is full of iron. If you’re in a rush, don’t worry about grating the lemon zest or adding the crème fraîche, it’s still gorgeous without.
- 4 generous handfuls of wild rocket
- 400g smoked salmon slices
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 2 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
- 2 gherkins, chopped
- 1 lemon
- Dill springs, to garnish
- Put the rocket at the bottom of your container. Roll up the slices of smoked salmon and arrange them on the top. Mix the horseradish, crème fraîche and chopped gherkins together in a bowl and leave to one side.
- In the morning before you leave for work, grate the lemon zest on top of the salmon and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then add a spoonful of the horseradish mixture. Finish with a spring of dill.
- If serving at the table, put the rocket on a plate, add the rolled smoked salmon, zest and squeeze the lemon and put the horseradish in a bowl so that everyone can help themselves. Garnish your salad with dill, then serve.
2. Avocado Salad
Avocado is packed full of essential nutrients, including potassium, fibre and folic acid, and this recipe is so easy to follow there’s no excuse for not including it in your diet!
- 1 handful of mixed salad leaves
- 1 avocado
- Half tsp dried chilli flakes
- 8 baby tomatoes
- Remove the pit of the avocado and slice it into ‘half-moon’ shapes, you should have about 10. Place the salad leaves on the plate and add the avocado on top.
- Scatter with chilli flakes and add 8 halved tomatoes. Finish by drizzling with avocado oil.