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    Chew Slowly, Don’t Skip Breakfast And Eat 30 Plants A Week: 15 Easy Food Changes For 2024

    It’s a new year, and before you rush to set your resolutions and decide 2024 will finally be the year you completely overhaul your diet and fitness (for good, this time), we’re here to remind you that making small, sustainable changes over time is often more effective than attempting drastic alterations (which, often, can’t be sustained).

    With stats showing that 92 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions and 80 percent of us will have already failed by the second week of February, we’ve come up with a series of easy food changes – or micro changes, if you will – to help you make 2024 your healthiest yet. Because, if you can figure out how to make your goals easier, you’re more likely to succeed.

    These tiny tweaks are brought to you by a whole host of nutrition experts and doctors, who show that while there’s nothing wrong with aiming big, we can help ourselves by starting small.

    Easy food changes for 2024

    1. Build your meals with plants first

    At the risk of preaching to the choir (aka, WH readers), you don’t need us to tell you that to optimise your diet, you need to hit your five fruit and veg a day target. But how many of us actually do? According to the UK’s NHS, only 55.4% of adults aged 16 and over eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables on the regular.

    An easy food change for 2024? Make sure you’re eating at least one plant with every meal.

    “Plants include whole grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices,” says Dr Federica Amati, nutrition topic lead at Imperial College School of Medicine.

    “It’s important that we get a variety of these in our diet to maximise our intake of nutrients, plant protein, polyphenols, and fibre, which support our gut microbiome and overall health and wellbeing.”

    READ MORE: 10 Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Seeds And Juice, According To Dietitians

    2. Aim to eat 30 different plants a week

    In fact, if your New Year’s resolution is to eat more veg, why stop at five-a-day, when many experts now believe that adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to our diet is just as important?

    Orla Stone, nutritionist and gut health specialist, says the best way to fight the January blues is by eating various plant fibre.

    “We now know that your gut bacteria need a variety of fibre to thrive so you can’t just rely on the same foods day in and day out,” she says.

    “Given how important healthy gut bacteria are for supporting your mood and mental wellbeing, try to eat 30 different plants per week. Easy ways to support this include adding frozen mixed vegetables or a can of mixed pulses to your regular dinner.”

    3. Try to eat more fermented foods

    With recent studies looking at how fermented foods can affect everything from our gut health and immune system to our cholesterol levels and risk of type 2 diabetes, fermented foods are back in vogue. And making this easy food change is so simple.

    “Eating three to five portions of fermented foods regularly is linked to improved health outcomes,” says Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of ZOE, the personalised nutrition company and author of Sunday Times best-selling Food for Life and Spoon Fed.

    “Different fermented foods contain different types and strains of beneficial bacteria, which contribute to a more diverse and healthy microbiome. Some examples include live yoghurt (unsweetened), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.”

    4. Don’t skip breakfast

    Breakfast is often cited as ‘the most important meal of the day’, and for good reason. Added to the list of easy food changes? Eat your breakfast.

    “Most people know that a good, hearty breakfast is important for managing your glucose levels and providing essential nutrients to set you up for an energised day. However, what is often overlooked are the psychological benefits of a healthy breakfast,” says Pilates teacher Sarah Emblow.

    “Breakfast seems to influence our metabolism more so than lunch or dinner, and so by starting your day with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, you are more likely to make healthy choices for the rest of the day, encouraging strong, and improved habits.

    “When that 3pm crash happens, your body is programmed to crave the type of food you ate first in the day, so if you had eggs and avocado for breakfast, you are going to crave something savoury later in the day when your body needs to refuel.”

    READ MORE: 12 Of The Best Vegan Protein Powders You Can Buy Right Now

    5. Add seeds to your breakfast

    One of the easiest food changes you can make for your gut is to add fibre-rich seeds to your breakfast each morning.

    Jessica Sepel, clinical nutritionist and founder of JSHealth Vitamins says her favourite way to do this is by prepping a batch of her mum’s famous seed mix.

    “Simply combine 1 cup of each of the following: chia seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed or LSA mix, pumpkin seeds, plus 2 tbsp cinnamon, which is then ready to go for the week,” she says. “I enjoy it most mornings with berries and Greek yoghurt. Delicious and satisfying. I also take it with me when I am travelling.”

    6. Focus on the quality and timing of your snacking

    Ever found yourself *accidentally* devouring an entire ‘family sized’ bag of chocolates or ‘to share’ bag of crisps simply because? That would be, er, all of us, then.

    Dr Sarah Berry, a reader in Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and chief scientist at ZOE, says if there’s one thing you can focus on in 2024, it’s the quality – and timing – of your snacks.

    “The type of snacks you eat are really important for maintaining your energy levels, avoiding blood sugar dips and improving your health,” she says.

    “Try to eat good-quality snacks based on whole foods, such as nuts, whole fruit, and vegetable sticks with hummus. Avoid snacking late into the evening after 9pm, as our ZOE research has shown that this is linked with poorer cardiometabolic health.”

    7. Snack on nuts once per day

    And, actually, if you fancy a snack, Dr Sophie Medlin, consultant colorectal dietician, recommends reaching for nuts above all else.

    “Nuts contain micronutrients such as selenium, zinc and magnesium which are harder to find elsewhere in the diet,” she says.

    “They are also full of fibre and protein so are great for keeping you full between meals. I recommend to my patients to set an alarm for a 3-4pm snack, so they have something before they get too hungry and can’t resist the biscuits in the office.

    “Having an afternoon snack also helps you to make better decisions at your evening meal. So you’re more likely to prepare a balanced evening meal rather than reaching for food delivery apps,” she adds.

    READ MORE: How To Add More Vegetables To Your Diet, Even If You’re Busy

    8. Chew slowly

    “So many of us are fixated on which foods to include or exclude to support our health, and in return, we often overlook just how important the way we eat is for our health,” says Harley St. London-based nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr.

    “Digestion begins with our senses and in our mouth. When we miss this crucial stage of digestion – whether it is because we are shovelling in our food quickly between meetings, distracted by our phones, or eating whilst we work – we might be left with bloating and indigestion.”

    It takes 10-20 minutes for signals from our gut to tell our brain we are full and satiated, she adds. “So when we don’t focus on our food and eating habits, we can miss this signal and end up over-eating and feeling dissatisfied”.

    Brea Lofton, nutritionist and registered dietitian at Lumen, agrees. “Eating slowly and savouring your food instead of eating too quickly can help you recognize when you’re full and satisfied, and help prevent unintended overeating.”

    Some sources have suggested 32 bites per mouthful as a magic number, but this isn’t backed by science. So instead, Lenherr suggests simply putting your fork and knife down in between each bite. “This will help you slow down your eating,” she says. “Take a meeting with your food, dedicate 10 minutes to a meal to eat slowly.”

    9. Drink more water

    So we’re not exactly reinventing the wheel with this tip. But a survey from The State of Nutrition in South Africa 2021 suggests that 41 percent of South African people don’t drink enough water a day. The daily recommended amount? Six to eight glasses of H2O every day. So perhaps 2024 is the year you finally commit to drinking more water…

    “Try to limit sugary drinks and excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages, as these can contribute to dehydration,” says nutritionist Brea Lofton.

    And, remember, when your activity is higher, you are losing water through your sweat. “This means that on days your exercise sessions are more intense, it is a good idea to drink more water,” says Lofton.

    If you struggle to drink enough water, Meghan Foulsham, nutritionist, suggests adding a straw. “Switching to using a bottle with a built-in straw allows you to drink more water without thinking about it. We can take more liquid through a straw, as we don’t need to “gulp”, and it makes the drinking process more pleasant and smooth overall.”

    10. Choose wholemeal for a fibre boost

    The current recommended WHO guidelines say adults should eat 25g of fibre a day. Yet, according to one source, most women are only eating an average of about 16g a day.

    “Most people get 60% less fibre than they should,” says Dr Macarena Staudenmaier, chief medical officer at JERMS. “Fibre is crucial for a healthy diet. It prevents constipation but also diabetes, heart issues, and bowel cancer. Fibre is also a power food for the good bacteria in your gut.”

    Her top tip to up your fibre game? “Choose whole grain options like bulgur wheat, spelt bread, wholemeal pasta, or rye crackers over white versions.”

    READ MORE: Healthy Alternatives To Fried Chips

    11. Watch out for ultra-processed foods

    The terms ‘processed’ and ‘ultra-processed’ have been thrown around a lot over the past year. New research links diets high in ultra-processed foods to increased risks of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression.

    To identify ultra-processed foods, nutritionists say it’s best to check the label. “For 2024, try to cut back on foods and beverages high in added sugars,” says Brea Lofton. “You can make a plan to learn to read food labels to help you identify hidden sources of sugar and make positive changes to your nutrition.”

    12. Avoid large gaps in between meals

    When it comes to eating a healthy diet, it’s not just what and how much you eat that plays a role. When you eat can make a difference, too. Especially if you’re trying to balance your blood sugar levels.

    Jodie Relf, registered dietician says that when we don’t eat for hours on end we end up feeling ravenous. From there, we’re more inclined to reach for larger portions of foods to satisfy that hunger. “Or foods that are high in sugar and energy to quickly satisfy our hunger. This can cause large spikes in blood glucose levels”.

    “Blood sugar crashes can leave you feeling tired, irritable, hungry and anxious,” she adds. “Eating regularly, including protein and healthy fats with your meals/snacks, and prioritising sleep and reducing stress can all contribute to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.”

    13. Cook double for easy meal prep

    We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling after a long day at work. You’ve come home to an empty fridge and then ended up ordering a takeaway instead of going to the shops and cooking something healthy from scratch. The answer? Double up on portion sizes when cooking your dinner.

    “Save the leftovers for an easy lunch or a quick and healthy dinner option for evenings you’re more on the go,” says nutritionist Meghan Foulsham. “It doesn’t require any extra work, but it saves you time and likely money further down the line, as you don’t have to opt for convenience foods.”

    An easy 2024 goal? Allocate a couple of hours at the weekend or on a quiet evening to fill your fridge with delicious, healthy meals. This will help eliminate the temptation of a takeaway.

    14. Eat your kiwis

    When you think about boosting vitamin C, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Eating more oranges? Adding a supplement to your diet? What about kiwis?

    Kiwis are powerhouses when it comes to vitamin C – and new research, published in Foods, found that eating two kiwis a day for six weeks increased vitamin C intake by 150 mg per day.

    “Vitamin C is an essential vitamin to support proper immune function, and isn’t made or stored in our bodies,” explains Meleni Aldridge, nutrition consultant.

    “More importantly, it’s absorbed and used up 30-90 mins after ingestion. This means we need to replenish our levels regularly through the day with vitamin C-rich foods that don’t spike your blood sugar, supplements or functional drinks.”

    Other than kiwis, Aldridge suggests eating bioflavonoid-rich foods like peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach. These enhance the absorption of your vitamin C. “Bioflavonoids pack a super antioxidant punch too and are often called ‘vitamin P’ for their multiple health benefits,” she adds.

    15. Cycle sync your diet

    According to 2024 wellness trend forecasts, there’s going to be (finally) an increased conversation around the female cycle – with hormone-balancing foods at the forefront.

    “Eating essential fats from foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and oily fish is key for female hormone production, as essentially our hormones are made from cholesterol,” explains Rachel Butcher, head of nutrition at Third Space.

    “Likewise, carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies and therefore not getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates because of a low- or no-carbohydrate diet will likely lead to fatigue, changes in mood and changes in your female sex hormones, which can disrupt your menstrual cycle.”

    Her tip for 2024? “Focus on getting good-quality, complex carbohydrates into your diet from foods such as rice, oats and potato, as well as beans and lentils,” says Butcher.

    But remember, some research highlights that our nutrient needs change across the cycle. “Becoming aware of your cycle, and the physiology at that point, will enable you to understand how you might adjust your nutrition accordingly,” she adds.

    This story was first published by Alice Barraclough on More

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    The 2 Best Office Lunches You Can Prepare Ahead Of Time

    Working towards financial year-end deadlines and lacking lunch inspiration? Try these three delicious, nutritious, easy-to-pack meals.

    Bowl Them Over

    If you’d rather eat takeaways than brave the mystery splatters inside the shared office microwave, this hearty, best-served-cold bowl is your answer. Toss with dressing the night before and the flavours should achieve perfection just in time for your afternoon meal.

    Serves 1: Per serving: 1 504kJ, 7g fat (1g sat), 50g carbs, 490mg sodium, 3g fibre, 23g protein

    Asian-Style Salad Bowl

    Calories 359 kcal

    1 cup shredded Chinese cabbage1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil1 cup cooked rice noodles85g cooked chicken breast2 tsp low-sodium soy saucePinch chilli flakesToasted sesame seeds1 squeeze lime juice1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
    Sauté cabbage in olive oil over medium heat for one minute and set aside.Top rice noodles with chicken. Add in the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine and refrigerate overnight.

    Mepal Bento Lunch Box Large Nordic White

    Bento boxes are all the rage at the moment and what could be a cooler way to pack your new lunches than with this stylish choice from Mepal? Plus, if you’re snacking on a few extra fruits or eggs, just pop them into the separate containers.

    Glass container with bamboo lid & spoon

    These glass jars make for a fantastic storage fix for your Asian-inspired salad. Whether you’re in a hurry between meetings and opting for jar-eating convenience or taking a leisurely break, simply flip it into a bowl and indulge!

    Carb Free Lunch

    Collard greens, flat-leaf kale and chard all make for great carb-free tortillas. Remove their stiff backbones and they become pliable, while still holding up to travel (no tearing or sogginess). Add flavour by filling them with crumbly cheeses mixed with crisp vegetables and bright herbs.

    Serves 1: Per serving: 1 212kJ, 17g fat (6g sat), 14g carbs, 510mg sodium, 4g fibre, 21g protein

    Carb-Free Kale Wrap

    Servings 1Calories 289 kcal

    2 large kale leaves or collard green leaves4 tbsp hummus2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced2 tbsp grated carrots1 radish, finely sliced2 tbsp chopped roasted red peppers2 tsp finely chopped Italian parsley2 tsp crumbled feta
    With a paring knife, shave the thick spine from the two leaves, being careful not to cut into the leaves.Flip the leaves over and spread hummus on each “wrap”.Divide the rest of the ingredients among the two wraps, then fold them like burritos.

    Try these 3 high-protein breakfast recipes every active girl needs in her life. Plus: 20 of the best healthy snacks for weight loss. More

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    10 Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Seeds And Juice, According To Dietitians

    On our long list of summer-favourite foods, pomegranate is pretty high up there. Not only is this fruit a stunner with its gorgeous deep red hue, but it also packs a punch of flavour and sweetness into its tiny seeds (a.k.a. arils). Another pomegranate benefit? It adds the perfect pop of fun to salads and parfaits. And as if that wasn’t enough…it’s healthy, too.

    Pomegranates are celebrated for being low in calories but high in fibre, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. It’s a win-win-win in the aesthetic-flavour-nutrition department, which has us swooning over these stunners all season long.

    Meet the experts: Abigail Collen, RD, a registered dietitian. Rebecca Sarac, RD, is a registered dietitian who works to connect leading grocery retailers to their consumers through culinary-developed and inspired meals.

    Let’s dive deeper into the nutrition numbers, shall we?

    Here’s how the nutrients shake out for a half-cup of pomegranate seeds, according to USDA data:

    Calories: 72

    Fat: 1 g

    Saturated Fat: 0.1 g

    Carbohydrates: 16 g

    Sodium 2.6 mg

    Sugar: 11.9 g

    Fibre: 3.48 g

    Protein: 45 g

    Potassium: 205 mg

    To address the elephant in the room, yes, pomegranates *are* higher in sugar than other fruits (for comparison, a half-cup of raspberries has only 3 grams, compared to around 12 grams in pomegranates). But—and this is important—fruits like pomegranate also have fibre that helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

    “Over the past few decades, diet culture has taught us to fear sugar in all its forms. However, the wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as the fibre you get with fruits far outweighs the perceived cost of the slightly higher sugar content.”
    Abigail Collen

    Speaking of those vitamins and minerals, let’s dive into all those health benefits of pomegranates:

    1. They’re antioxidant-rich

    Pomegranates are chock-full of polyphenols (anthocyanins, punicalagins and hydrolyzable tannins) containing potent antioxidant properties.

    These antioxidants, in turn, help protect against “free radicals” which, in science-speak, are “molecules which have had a breakage in their chemical bond, making them unstable, highly reactive and capable of causing cell damage that manifests as ageing and disease,” explains Rebecca Sarac, RD.

    By working to eliminate free radicals, pomegranates help decrease cellular damage and fight off disease. And get this: pomegranates boast more antioxidant potential than red wine or green tea…not too shabby, right?

    2. They may help protect heart health

    Certain studies have shown that pomegranate extract may help lower blood pressure by reducing LDL (the “bad cholesterol”) and boosting HDL (the “good cholesterol).

    As Collen explains, LDL is labelled “bad” because of the “elevated levels of lipoprotein, which can build up in arteries and increase our risk for heart attacks or strokes. HDL, on the other hand, helps the body eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood by bringing it to the liver for excretion.”

    By helping reduce LDL and boost HDL, pomegranates may help protect against cardiovascular disease, a.k.a. heart disease.

    3. And they may have some anti-cancer properties, too

    While no food can definitively prevent or cure cancer (if only!), there has been promising research conducted on the effects of pomegranate juice, fruit, and/or extract on prostate cancer cells, as well as breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

    4. They may help boost exercise endurance

    Remember those polyphenols we talked about earlier? Well, there are studies showing that pomegranate in extract form may help increase exercise endurance by increasing “total time to exhaustion” as well as time to reach “ventilatory threshold.”

    “The research is still early,” caveats Collen, “but early evidence points to the fact that pomegranate in certain forms may help with exercise endurance and muscle recovery (similar to the effects of beets).”

    5. They help support urinary health

    Oxidative stress is a risk factor for kidney stones. Pomegranate juice, with its antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects, has been shown to possibly help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

    READ MORE: Make These 4 Low-Calorie Cocktails If You’re Watching Your Weight

    6. They’re packed with potassium

    205 mg per half cup, to be exact. “Potassium serves many functions in the body,” says Collen, “including facilitating nerve signalling muscle contraction and helping maintain blood pressure.”

    7. They may help boost brain function

    Inside the peel and seeds of the pomegranate is an anti-inflammatory polyphenol called ellagitannins, which influence our gut-brain axis. Specifically, pomegranates are being studied for their protective effects against common forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease.

    8. They’re gut-friendly

    Pomegranates boast some seriously impressive benefits when it comes to digestive health as well…shout-out to all that fibre to keep things, ahem, moving along. It also helps that pomegranates have some prebiotic properties (as a reminder, prebiotics feed probiotics, the good bacteria in the gut).

    “The good microbes in our gut benefit from the fibre and polyphenols in pomegranates as a source of prebiotics,” explains Sarac. “As a result, the good microbes flourish, decreasing inflammation and improving intestinal health.”

    READ MORE: Spinach, Beetroot & Pomegranate Salad

    9. They help support immunity

    Prebiotics aren’t just gut-friendly: “By keeping our gut bacteria fed, we can help improve digestion and even immunity,” points out Collen.

    The high vitamin C count doesn’t hurt either. In a half-cup of pomegranate seeds, you’ll rake in 8.87 mg, which is 11.8 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult women.

    10. And they may help ease joint pain (arthritis included)

    Feeling a little achy and stiff? Pomegranates may help. “In extract form, pomegranate has been shown to help inhibit inflammatory cytokines (or small proteins) which can contribute to osteoarthritis and joint disease,” says Collen.

    Wait, what about weight loss?

    Pomegranates aren’t typically touted for their effects on weight loss because TBH, the jury’s still out on this one.

    That said, because they’re naturally low in calories and high in fibre, they will help you to feel fuller, longer while contributing to a caloric deficit.

    The fact that they’re gut-friendly may also play a role in the weight loss department. “Our gut microbiomes are a huge contributor to having a balanced weight,” says Sarac, “because they take care of our digestive health and help keep our blood sugar under control.”

    Ultimately, what’s most important in any weight loss or weight management protocol is swapping ultra-processed foods for whole, natural, nutrient-dense fruits (pomegranates included!) and vegetables, which “will nearly always lead to improved health functioning,” Sarac adds.

    Collen agrees. “Unfortunately, there’s no one magic food that is going to cause weight loss; however, a diet high in fibre-rich, whole foods will certainly improve your health and could lead to some weight loss.”

    Soooo…can I eat pomegranates all day every day?

    Not so fast. While the potential health benefits of pomegranates are impressive, there *is* such a thing as too much of a good thing—especially given the fruit’s higher sugar content. Plus, you should be cautious if you’re taking medications. As Collen explains, certain compounds in fruits like pomegranate (or grapefruit) could interact with other drugs or impact their potency, so be sure to check with your doctor, especially if you’re on ACE inhibitors, statins, or blood thinners.

    Do I get the same health benefits with fresh pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice?

    You’ll get more fibre with the whole pomegranate seed. And more fibre = better digestion and satiety, plus more stable blood sugar. But that doesn’t mean we need to shun fruit juice entirely. In fact, in juice form you’ll get a higher concentration of antioxidants and a whole lot of vitamin C and vitamin K.

    If you’re going to drink pomegranate juice, Sarac recommends pairing it with foods that contain fibre to balance out the sugar intake (smoothie, anyone?). Alternatively, try cutting the pomegranate juice with sparkling water to add a pop of flavour while minimizing sugar.

    Real talk: How in the WORLD do I get pomegranate seeds out?

    There’s no shortage of internet debate on the best way to remove arils from the pomegranate without staining your countertops or clothing. So, we asked the WH Test Kitchen to break down the best way:

    Fill up a large bowl of water. Cut the pomegranate in half, then submerge it in water. From there, carefully peel out the seeds using your fingers. While the seeds should sink to the bottom, the white part of the flesh should rise to the top. Once done, skim off the white flesh and toss out, then drain—and voilà, you’re left with bright red gems to sprinkle on salads, yoghurt, dips and more. Once de-seeded, the arils will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week.

    This article written by Jacqueline Parisi was originally published on Women’s Health. More

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    This Salmon Sandwich Is The Health-Boosting Desk Lunch You Need

    This salmon sandwich, which channels the Swedish way of eating, is here to boost your desk lunch – and your health. Fact: Sweden boasts low obesity and high life expectancy, which has a lot to do with lifestyle. They eat a lot of this type of salmon, a cured version called gravlax. And it’s got a ton of benefits: it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and B vitamins and contains naturally healthy bacteria that fuel your immunity.

    Here’s a salmon sandwich to ensure you eat like a Swede and reap the benefits. Prepare all these, then layer on rye bread – or whichever loaf you fancy. You’ll be making the salmon, a cucumber salad and a mustard sauce. Layer them all on your loaf of choice and enjoy over and over again.

    Salmon Gravlax

    You’ll need to cure the salmon before placing it on your chosen bread. These easy steps take you there.

    Prep Time 2 days d

    Course Lunch, Main Course, Side DishCuisine French, Healthy, Sandwich

    Servings 8Calories 99 kcal

    400 g Norwegian salmon, deboned, skin on1 tbsp rock salt heaped1 tbsp sugar heaped0.5 lemon, zested0.5 tsp peppercorns white or black1 tbsp dill finely chopped
    Spread clingfilm on a work surface and place one piece of salmon on it, skin-side down.Spread the salt mixture (rest of the ingredients) on top and cover with the second piece of fish, skin-side up.Wrap tightly, place on a baking sheet, cover with foil and top with another baking sheet.Place tins on top to weigh it down and refrigerate for two days, turning every 12 hours. To serve, gently rinse off the salt mixture with water, pat the salmon dry with paper towel and slice it wafer thin. Arrange on thin slices of rye bread and top with cucumber salad.

    Keyword Easy Meals, fish, Salmon, Sandwich

    READ MORE: You Won’t Even Miss The Chicken In This Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    Cucumber salad

    Pair this delicious cucumber salad with your salmon on your ‘wich.

    Prep Time 15 minutes minsResting Time 30 minutes mins

    Course Appetizer, Salad, Side DishCuisine Healthy

    ½ English CucumberSalt2 tbsp White wine vinegar2 tbsp Water½ tsp sugarBlack pepper freshly ground1 tbsp dill finely chopped
    Slice the cucumber wafer-thin, spread out in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes.Rinse and drain.Add the remaining ingredients to the cucumber and toss well.

    Keyword cucumber salad

    READ MORE: 6 Health Benefits Of Kombucha You Should Know About, According To Dieticians

    Mustard Sauce

    This zingy mustard sauce complements the salty fish perfectly and you’ll want to use it in other dishes, too.

    Cook Time 20 minutes mins

    Course Side DishCuisine Healthy, Sandwich

    1 tbsp English mustard1 tbsp Lemon juice½ tsp White wine vinegar1 tbsp sugar¼ to ⅓ cup cream
    Add all the ingredients except the cream to the pot, heat over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced and thickened.

    Keyword mustard, sauce More

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    This Hot-Honey Broiled Pineapple Toast Recipe Will Crush Your Hunger

    Ready to start your day with a protein-packed punch that’s as quick to make as it is delicious? This hot-honey broiled pineapple toast recipe is about to become your morning ritual in just 10 minutes!

    Bursting with immune-boosting nutrients, this a.m. delight showcases the creamy richness of cottage cheese, providing a substantial protein boost for enhanced muscle health and overall well-being. The tropical sweetness of pineapple complements the toast, infusing it with a wealth of vitamins (vitamin C, manganese, zinc and B vitamins), antioxidants and digestive enzymes.

    READ MORE: 9 Of The Best Post-Workout Snacks That Actually Taste Amazing Too

    Quick And Easy Hot-Honey Broiled Pineapple Toast

    Hot-Honey Broiled Pineapple Toast

    The sweet heat of this toast topper will give your morning some zing!

    Total Time 10 minutes mins

    Course Breakfast, Snack

    Servings 1Calories 264 kcal

    1 tsp olive oil⅓ cup fresh pineapple chunks1 tsp hot honey, plus more for serving1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted3 tbsp cottage cheeseAleppo pepper, for sprinkling
    Place oven rack on highest level and heat broiler.Meanwhile, grease a small-rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place pineapple chunks on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with hot honey and toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer and broil for 2 minutes. Toss; broil until golden brown for additional 2 minutes.Top toast with cottage cheese and spoon pineapple on top. Drizzle with additional hot honey and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper if desired.

    Keyword breakfast, Fruits, Pineapple

    Per serving: 264 cal, 7.5 g fat (1.5 g sat), 10 g protein, 275 mg sodium, 41 g carb, 20 g sugars (12.5 g added sugars), 4 g fibre

    For more breakfast inspiration and meal planning, try these Low-Calorie Smoothie Recipes.

    This recipe originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of Women’s Health US. More

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    12 Restaurants In Cape Town And Joburg To Satisfy Your Vegan Cravings

    While it’s easy to be a vegetarian or vegan at home, it can be tricky eating out, even if it’s just meat that you are cutting from your diet. Luckily, more and more restaurants are catering to vegans and vegetarians. Plus, even if there isn’t anything specifically vegan on the menu, most establishments sub ingredients to make them vegan. To help you avoid the animal-product minefield that some restaurant menus can be, here’s a list of eateries in Cape Town and Joburg that you can put on your must-visit list.

    Vegan Restaurants in Cape Town

    Royale Eatery

    Burger lovers rejoice! Royale Eatery has a burger for every taste and dietary requirement, including veggie and vegan. They even make sure that the burger buns are free of animal products — many buns are brushed with egg white to make them shine. Just make sure to ask your waitress for a vegan bun. Bonus: recently they added vegan milkshakes to the menu. Don’t forget to book, this restaurant is always buzzing.

    Scheckter’s Raw

    Image by Scheckter’s Raw

    Located on Regent Road in Sea Point, Scheckter’s Raw’s philosophy is to offer natural, authentic, honest, plant-based, cruelty-free and nutrient-dense food. Go for breakfast and have the organic matcha flapjacks.

    READ MORE: 12 Of The Best Vegan Protein Powders You Can Buy Right Now

    Chefs Warehouse & Canteen

    Vegetarians and vegans have it good with Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse in Bree Street and the branch on Beau Constantia Wine Farm. The restaurants are famous for their Tapas For Two menus, which consist of eight courses that you share with a partner. If you go with a meat-eater, they will be able to choose four dishes from the menu and you will be given four veggie dishes. They are able to cater for vegetarians without prior notice. If you phone and give them at least three days’ notice, they will be able to create four vegan options for you. The restaurant at Beau Constantia has a vegetarian and vegan menu and does take reservations — make them in advance, the bookings fill up quickly!

    The Pot Luck Club

    Image by The Pot Luck Club

    The Pot Luck Club’s vegetarian menu is filled with delicious tapas-style dishes designed for sharing (trust me, though, you won’t want to). I recently went as a vegan and they were able to give me a list of veggie dishes that could be made vegan and there were more than enough for me to choose from (and I didn’t share!).  As with all restaurants, let them know your dietary requirements beforehand so that they can make sure that they can accommodate you. There’s one in Joburg, too.

    READ MORE: This Plant-Based Ploughman’s Sandwich Is A Vegan Dream


    Another iteration from Liam Tomlin, Thali offers Indian tapas in Tomlin’s signature tapas-for-two style. There are both vegetarian and vegan menus and you can expect dishes like dahl and tempura veggies with tamarind and ginger dipping sauce. Go hungry because the portions are generous!

    Honest Chocolate Café

    Image by Honest Chocolate

    While chocolate and desserts are often oozing with dairy, this one caters for vegans. At the café, you’ll find a large number of vegan treats, including dairy-free ice cream, dairy-free milkshakes and of course, alternative milks for your Americano or latte. Their specialities are dairy-free milkshakes, our trademark ‘coconut dream’ drink, and the banana bread bunny chow. Vegan bliss on a plate. Yum.

    READ MORE: All The Vegan Kits, Meals And Guides To Help You Go Vegan

    Vegan Restaurants in Joburg


    Image by Perron

    If you’re a sucker for Mexican food (like many WH team members) and in Joburg, then Perron is the place for you. The menu features tapas dishes as well as the usual suspects, including salads, burritos and nibbles (hi, nachos and guac!). They do meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetarian and a few vegan ones too, including the Bandera (pickled baby carrot and broccoli salad with radish, pistachios, avo, crispy shallots, spring onions, greens and agave-nectar dressing) and the Bowl of Beans (black beans with spicy aubergine, coriander, cauliflower rice, pumpkin seeds, fresh avo and fire-roasted tomato salsa). Word to the wise, if you like margaritas and beer, get The Rita (a bottle of Corona perched in a goblet of frozen margarita – it works and it’s delicious).


    Not a restaurant, we still thought this ought to be on the list, since there are few vegan meal delivery places around. BeetFresh aims to make vegan food as inclusive and fun as possible for everyone – even the sceptics. Each meal is made to order and is delivered to your door. Think: kale and butternut salad bowls, breakfast burritos and tofu scrambles, taking the thinking out of your everyday meal needs.

    READ MORE: You’ll Want To Put This Easy Homemade Vegan Basil Pesto On Everything

    The Fussy Vegan

    If you’re looking for the plant-based version of your favourite meal, this is the way to go. They’ve also been voted best vegan restaurant in Joburg for two years running. Meals to try include their Tofu Facon Sub, Seitan Strib BGR, Breakfast Burrito and Tofu Buddha Bowl.


    This expansive menu includes a host of vegan burgers to satisfy almost any craving. The burger patties are made from veg – not faux meat – so you’ll get all those nutrients that you need to keep going, while feeding your desire for a good, chunky burger.

    READ MORE: You Won’t Even Miss The Chicken In This Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    The Green Room

    The Green Room is a family-style restaurant situated at the Pirates Sports Club in Greenside, Johannesburg. On the menu, you’ll find a variety of vegan meals, spanning sandwiches, spring rolls, pizza and more.

    Fresh Earth Café

    This expansive menu has everything your heart desires. Choose from Thai stir-fries, wraps, sandwiches and freshly squeezed veggie juice for that health kick. They’ve also got a food store selling staple goodies for when you’re inspired from your culinary experience and want to recreate some meals. More

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    How To Manage The Festive Sugar Spike This Christmas – For Adults And Kids

    Mince pies, Christmas pudding smothered in lashings of caramel sauce, endless amounts of chocolate and a personal favourite, good old Lindor chocolate truffles, who doesn’t love a bit (okay, a lot) of sugar at Christmas?

    The amount of sugar we consume during December can be shocking and what about the amount our children are eating? Trying to keep our blood sugar in some sort of balance at Christmas can be a minefield. So, Women’s Health spoke to a whole host of experts – some of the best nutritionists, GPs and PTs we know – to find out how you can best take care of your sugar levels this festive season while still enjoying a treat or two.

    How to manage the festive sugar spike

    “Whether you are a chocaholic like my husband Michael Mosley, who has been known at times to scoff more than a few slices of the children’s chocolate oranges, or simply have a sweet tooth, Christmas can be really challenging.”
    Dr Clare Bailey of The Fast 800

    Willpower is often overestimated and wanes rapidly when handed a chocolate cupcake after a long day. So, with all this temptation, how do we avoid abandoning ourselves to a full-on sugar fest?

    ‘Don’t forget that all these enticing confectionaries, especially chocolate and shop-bought mince pies are designed to be addictive – that combination of sugar and fat somehow manages to bypass those signals telling you that you have had enough… just one more slice of cake,’ Dr Clare added.

    So how can you indulge without having major sugar surges?

    “Unless you are very active, all those extra sugary calories won’t get burnt. Instead, as we slump on the sofa over Christmas, they will get stored as fat in all the wrong places, especially around the middle, affecting your metabolic health. Over time, raised sugar levels in your body cause inflammation, and this can lead to Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even depression.”

    Everything in moderation

    Of course, if this is just an occasional indulgence and you are fit, active and a healthy weight, you don’t need to be too concerned, Dr Clare adds.

    It’s completely expected to be surrounded by sugary treats around Christmas, rather than try to fight it, embrace the holiday season with open arms and don’t beat yourself up for enjoying the odd treat or two in moderation is the advice from MyFitnessPal’s Registered Dietician, Stephanie Nelson. The key word from the experts here though, is moderation.

    READ MORE: These Raspberry And Yoghurt Tartlets Make The Tastiest & Cutest Summer Dessert

    What are the best foods to balance blood sugar naturally?

    We grilled Dr Clare further on how we can have our cake and eat it this festive season. “My advice is, if you have Christmas nibbles beforehand, try to avoid the crisps and Doritos and instead go for dips – ideally with vegetable crudites, or eat the sausages, or cheese as these foods are rich in protein and fibre and will help reduce your appetite.”

    If you are prone to raised sugars you can still have a generously filled plate by adding plenty of turkey, fowl, meat or veggie equivalent, as the protein helps you feel full sooner, enjoy lots of red cabbage and mounds of green veg, but cut back on the starchy veg such as potatoes, parsnips as they rapidly convert to sugars. Remember that protein and natural fat beforehand tend to lessen the sugar surge.

    Don’t indulge on an empty stomach

    When it comes to the sweet stuff, don’t indulge on an empty stomach. If you eat protein-rich food beforehand the sugar spike will be flatter compared to eating it on an empty stomach.

    “To prevent sugar spikes, eat protein-dense foods first, followed by high glycaemic carbs and desserts,” says Rosalba Martone, Director of Education at Perricone MD.

    “If you’re dealing with a sugar spike that’s already happened, the best thing to do is go for a lovely Christmas walk and get some fresh air but any exercise will be effective. Try and get your body moving to help metabolise the sugar.”

    Top tips for balancing your sugar intake this Christmas

    1. Relax

    Easier said than done but try to get in the mindset that you are enjoying some Christmas spirit rather than doing something wrong. Between family events, shopping and cooking, there’s no need to add extra stress over whether or not you should be enjoying sweets, MyFitnessPal’s Stephanie advises.

    2. Prioritise regular meals

    Many people think they should restrict what they eat during the holidays since they are eating more sweets, but all this does is make you more likely to overeat. Instead, focus on meeting your most important needs.

    Outside of celebrations, focus on meals high in protein, fibre, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Stephanie added, “I use the MyFitnessPal app and I shift my focus from calories, fat and sugar, to meeting my needs for fibre, protein and unsaturated fats. This helps me keep a balance and a healthy mindset toward indulging a little over Christmas.”

    3. Hydrate and encourage your kids to hydrate as well

    This will help minimise the impact sugar has on your bloodstream and may lighten the sugar rush in kids so they don’t become as wild.

    4. Pair sweets with other foods

    The more food in your or your kids’ stomachs, the slower it’ll hit the bloodstream. Whenever possible, time the sweets so they come at the end of a meal.

    What is the best way to tackle sugar overload in children this Christmas?

    The number one thing experts told us when it came to managing sugar overload in both adults and children was to go for a walk and get the body moving.

    The second thing is managing when they eat and what they eat the sweet treat with. Health researcher and chemist, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) agrees, advising you to take children who have eaten too much sugar out for a walk or to the park for a game of soccer.

    An interesting report by TAP highlighted the importance of not depriving anyone of sugary treats as it can make them want them more, so keep this in mind.

    “Protein and natural fat beforehand tends to lessen the sugar surge.”

    Get creative in the kitchen

    It’s best to enjoy indulgent treats soon after lunch so they are full – the sugar rush is less and you are not having to restrain their indulgence (much!).

    “Try making a cake, muffins or biscuits which are sweetened by natural fruits such as bananas, dates, cranberries or blueberries,” Dr Clare advised.

    Swop to using whole grain flours, or ground almonds as a base, as these are gut-friendly and help support a healthy gut microbiome thanks to the extra fibre. Avoiding a sweet tooth makes it far easier and protects them for life.

    Homemade is always better than food that is mass-produced and packaged in a factory. Something to bear in mind about chocolates and biscuits bought in the shops-processed sweet treats contain few nutrients, are designed to be addictive and are likely to damage your gut microbiome, as well as your teeth.

    What exercise is best for children who’ve had too much sugar this Christmas?

    “The reality is, there aren’t specific ‘quick fix’ exercises for children and adults who’ve had too much sugar intake during the holidays. The general rule of thumb is to avoid processed sugars and find healthy alternatives and get your kids moving,” Martial artist and social activist Coach Chris Otokito told us, himself a dad of two.

    “We as parents have the blessed responsibility to discover and introduce our children to healthy options and choices. The best way of doing this is to lead by example. I’m personally a huge advocate of training myself and coaching my own bambinos, plus other warrior cubs in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts); specifically, Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Boxing. It helps teach kids discipline and let off steam.”

    Is it harmful to binge on sugar once in a while?

    “No, but it’s just going to wreak havoc with your sugar levels leaving you tired and possibly craving more sugar, so be aware of how often you do it,” Celebrity Trainer Monique Eastwood told us.

    “It’s perfectly normal and fine to have sweet treats occasionally. The best thing to do is have a proper healthy meal first and then finish with that treat. This way you may want less of the sugary stuff as you will not be substituting your meal with those unhealthy sugars. Just try and make sure it’s not an everyday occurrence.”

    Any tips for mums who have diabetic children or have diabetes themselves?

    We went straight to Dr Tim for this one who told us that Christmas can be a challenge for both diabetic children and adults. Children may be used to working out their insulin doses. Let them know what food to expect and don’t tempt them with any extras.

    “Bear in mind that it’s not just sugary foods and drinks that are a problem,” he added.

    “Keep all foods out of sight between meals. Look out for signs of high and low blood sugar, make sure your child tests as often as they are recommended to do so (maybe more often at Christmas) and get them to talk in private about any distress they may feel regarding diabetes with others present.”

    “For an adult with diabetes, create a food plan and stick to it. Make this plan when you are not hungry as hunger distorts what you want to eat. Tell your family about your plan so they don’t offer you anything outside of it. Factor in alcohol as it contains calories and can impact blood sugar levels. A small glass of wine with one meal a day over the festive period is likely to be fine (but check with the GP or dietitian).”

    READ MORE: How To Do The Festive Season Sober, Plus The 15 Best Alcohol-Free Drinks

    Look out for hidden sugars

    “Hidden sugars are sugars which have been labelled differently and are usually the words which end in “ose” For example, dextrose, maltose, fructose,” Curaprox’s Children’s Dental Ambassador, Theodora Little, advised.

    It is always important to read labels and check for these hidden sugars before giving them to babies and young children. Yoghurts should also be checked thoroughly. Fruit juices also contain natural sugars and should be limited to meal times only.

    Don’t deprive yourself

    We rate the advice from PCOS Dietician Jodie Relf, spokesperson for MyOva who told us that one of the most important things we can do at this time of year is to permit ourselves to eat the foods we love and enjoy.

    “Remind yourself that these foods are readily available throughout the year. One of the reasons so many of us struggle with this time of year is because of what happens next – the “New year, new you” diet pressure OR because we tell ourselves that once January starts, we’re going back to eating healthy and there will be no more chocolates. This narrative encourages us to eat ALL the chocolates and delicious foods now because come January there will be none. If we know we are allowed to have these foods after Christmas, there’s suddenly less of an urge to eat as many of them as you can now.”

    Fill up on fibre

    “Increase your fibre intake as this slows down carb digestion and sugar absorption. This applies to children as well as adults and think outside of the box to make colourful festive-themed snacks out of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains,” advised Nurse Yasmin Shirazi of Remedi London.

    Check your cravings

    Check-in with hunger and satiety cues. Ask yourself if you’re reaching for those Christmas chocolates simply because they’re there, are you genuinely hungry or do you simply really fancy a bit of chocolate?

    If it’s just because they’re there, rather put them away and save them for when you really fancy them – you’ll enjoy them more. If you’re hungry, could you have something slightly more substantial and balanced to go alongside your chocolate? Remember that pairing carbohydrates (including sugars) with a protein or fat helps slow down the release of sugars and reduce the spike in blood glucose levels.

    Have healthy snacks ready

    Have nuts, fruits, wholegrain crackers, hummus, yoghurt (check for hidden sugars) and cubes of cheese available for when hunger strikes amidst the Christmas chaos.

    How should women with PCOS manage their blood sugar levels this Christmas?

    “Insulin resistance is thought to be present in up to 80% of those with PCOS and those with PCOS are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, so managing blood sugar levels is an important step in managing your PCOS symptoms,” PCOS Dietician Jodie Relf, added.

    In order to manage blood sugar levels, it’s important to make choices that improve insulin sensitivity. This includes the following:

    Remove the labels

    The first step is to remove the labels we give food and not to think of foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This narrative is not helpful and is what drives a lot of our behaviours around the foods we really enjoy.

    Give yourself the freedom to eat the foods you love alongside foods that nourish your body and energise you.

    Notice how foods make you feel

    After having a well-balanced breakfast, how do you feel for the rest of the day? Possibly more energised and more satisfied. Compared to grabbing a quick mince pie or a pastry – does this keep you satisfied for as long? Do you find yourself feeling a bit of a slump later in the day or snacking loads before lunchtime? Once we can identify how certain foods make us feel it makes it easier to make better decisions.

    Regular exercise

    Our muscles use glucose as a main fuel source, therefore if we increase our muscle mass and use our muscles this increases the amount of glucose we require and the efficiency of being able to metabolise glucose.

    Eating regularly 

    When we leave long gaps between our meals this can cause large fluctuations in our blood glucose levels. What’s more, our body can start to crave sugar because it’s the quickest way to get energy.

    READ MORE: The Healthy & Crunchy Watercress Salad That’s Perfect For Summer Lunches

    Include protein and healthy fats

    Try to include a source of protein and/or healthy fats with your meals and snacks – it takes the body longer to break down protein and fat which helps slow down the release of glucose present in that meal.

    Protein is also great for keeping us fuller for longer. As an example, having toast with jam for breakfast contains very little protein. If you have you add an egg or two and have jam on just one slice of toast, the addition of protein will help keep your blood sugar levels stable for a lot longer and keep you fuller for longer.

    Prioritise sleep and stress

    The festive season can be a stressful time, we’re also more likely to stay up a little later than usual due to all the socialising. Research has shown us that both sleep and stress can influence the types of foods we reach for and can have a negative impact on our insulin resistance. When we’re tired or stressed we’re more likely to reach for sugary, high-energy foods to keep us going.


    Inositol effectively improves insulin sensitivity and reduces levels of male hormones (testosterone), making it a great supplement for individuals with PCOS and enhancing ovulation.

    Don’t punish yourself if you feel it’s all gone wrong – this will lead to a binge restrict cycle. If you do find that you’ve overindulged get back to regular balanced meals as soon as you can.

    This article by Margarita Mitchel Pollock was originally published by Women’s Health UK. More

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    You Won’t Even Miss The Chicken In This Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    Not only is this chickpea salad sandwich packed with protein and heart-healthy nutrients, it’s so delicious you won’t even notice that it’s not chicken. Chickpeas make the perfect chicken sub because they’re chock-a-block with minerals and nutrients that’ll keep your nervous system in shape. Plus, they have vitamins A, E and C to ward off colds and flu and keep your nails, eyes and skin glowing.

    READ MORE: 12 Of The Best Vegan Protein Powders You Can Buy Right Now

    Per serving: 472 cal, 12 g fat (2 g sat), 23 g protein, 905 mg sodium, 70 g carb, 11.5 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 16 g fibre

    Meal-Prep This Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    Not only is this chickpea salad sandwich packed with protein and heart-healthy nutrients, it’s so delicious you won’t even notice that it’s not chicken.

    Course LunchCuisine Vegetarian

    Servings 4Calories 472 kcal

    2 tbsp fresh lemon juice2 tbsp mayonnaise1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce1 tbsp nutritional yeast2 cans chickpeas, rinsed2 stalks celery, thinly sliced1 scallion, sliced¼ cup pickled cucumber (about 7), finely chopped½ cup parsley, chopped8 slices whole-grain bread4 eaves green leaf lettuce1 Cucumber or 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled into ribbons1 cup sprouts
    In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mayonnaise, soy sauce and nutritional yeast. Add chickpeas and mash, leaving some larger chunks. Fold in celery, scallion, cornichons and parsley.Assemble sandwiches with bread, lettuce, chickpea mixture, cucumber and sprouts.

    Keyword Lunch

    This recipe was originally published on  More