Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Healthy Eating for the Christmas Party Season

Monday, December 10th, 2012

It’s the Christmas party season again! How can we avoid putting on extra weight while having a great time? The following are some holiday eating tips to help you do just that so that you can still look good and be healthy in January.

  • Don’t go to a party hungry.  We often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party.

  • Watch your portion.  Treat yourself a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portion.  Go for small portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.

  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items.  High fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, cheese-filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.

  • Try other versions of alcohol.  Instead of beer, cider, creamy liqueurs try dry wine or spirits with diet mixer, which have fewer calories.


  • Drink plenty of water.  Alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body.

  • Physical activity.  Take nice brisk walks with your loved ones and enjoy their company in the holiday season.

Nutrition tips to help avoid colds and flu

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The cold and flu season has begun. While there is no way to cure the common cold or the flu, healthy eating during cold and flu season can help prevent you getting sick.

Researchers have found positive links between immune function and components in food.

Garlic may boost your immune system, increasing resistance to infection and  stress. Raw garlic is an expectorant – good for chest infections and coughs.

Yoghurts and other dairy products contain probiotics, beneficial bacterial with immune boosting benefits. Also check dairy product labels for vitamin D. Early research suggests low levels of vitamin D may be linked to a seasonal increase in colds and flu and a higher incidence of respiratory infections.

Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, may also help the body’s immune system.

Zinc, found in meat, chicken, peanuts and peanut butter, plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system in the body

Healthy eating during cold and flu season means getting the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals by eating a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from all food groups.

Boost your immune system

Healthy bodies have an easier time fighting off infection. To stay healthy and boost your immune system:

  • Get plenty of rest. Get at least seven to eight hours sleep a night.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, grains, etc. are an important part of keeping your body nutrition at its best. Processed, fatty, and sugary foods don’t give the immune boosting protection that healthier food does.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Keep well hydrated. Dehydration inhibits the immune system’s functioning.
  • Cut back on unhealthy habits, such as smoking and over consumption of alcohol

Studies have shown that a session of moderate physical activity produces positive effects on the immune system. Over time, this means catching fewer colds and other upper respiratory tract infections.

Leek and Potato Soup

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Serves 6


Ingredients –

1 tbsp low fat spread

1 large onion, finely chopped

500g leeks, finely chopped

500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 litre of hot vegetable stock

300ml skimmed milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Method –

  1. Melt the low fat spread in a large, lidded, non stick saucepan and gently sauté the onion and leeks until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, parsley and hot stock and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the milk to the saucepan and reheat gently. Season to taste and serve garnished with parsley sprigs.


Keep Warm with Winter Soups

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Squash and chilli soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • Vegetable stock
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

Sauté the squash, onion and chilli in a little oil for a few minutes then cover and leave over a low heat to sweat gently for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and enough stock to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil and cover. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Season generously and whizz in a blender until smooth.

Bacon and lentil soup

  • 6 oz lentils
  • 2½ pints stock
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 7 oz bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • Small can tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash the lentils before placing them in a saucepan with the stock, garlic, pepper, bacon, tomatoes and onion. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the lentils and bacon are soft. Add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes. Whizz in a blender. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Serve hot garnished with crispy fried bacon or grated cheese.

Supplements …. Too much of a good thing?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

In Ireland, one in four of us is taking a nutritional supplement (Food Safety Authority of Ireland, 2008), often to make up for what we feel is a lack in our normal diet, or because we feel generally run down, or to help fight off colds in the winter. But can they really make a difference?

Vitamins, minerals and trace elements are needed for your body to work properly. However, that does not mean that taking a supplement is necessarily going to be beneficial.

There is a variety of reasons why taking supplements is not as effective as you have been lead to believe, these include the following:

  • Intakes of vitamins and minerals can be taken in much larger amounts in pill form than would ever be managed from food alone, potentially leading to an ‘over-dose’ of a particular vitamin or mineral.
  • In general supplements do not work as well as nutrients obtained from food as they are not as biologically active; that means the body cannot use them as efficiently.

So as much as certain companies would like you to believe the bottom line is….
If you have a balanced diet, for most of us it shouldn’t be necessary to have vitamin and mineral supplements.

However if you really want to take a supplement keep to a one-a-day vitamin and mineral that provides no more than the daily recommended amounts and avoid taking supplements of single vitamins or minerals.

There are as ever some exceptions where due to pregnancy, certain medical conditions, gut surgery or restricted diets that a supplement will be recommended.