I’m a dietitian and I think healthy eating often comes with the job title. Not for all but definitely for me. I have always tried really hard to get my 5 a Day in, keep sweet treats to a minimum and make sure my meals are as balanced as possible.
Often people assume a dietitian never eat cake and this is a definite myth! Of course we do. Louise has blogged about how others are often relieved we eat cake; so they can too!! As dietitians we want everyone to understand that faddy, quick fix diets are unhealthy and unrealistic. A healthy diet can incorporate cake but of course in moderation. This is usually a dietetic moto: Everything in Moderation.
As dietitians some of our most successful advice is to reduce portion sizes; this can really help with long-term weight loss and maintenance. However, sometimes we practice what we preach too much and actually could do with eating a bit more.
I personally breastfed my little girl for 9 months. This is a time where bigger portions are a must as you may need around 500kcals a day extra. I found myself snacking permanently as my appetite increased. However, 18 months post-partum and 9 months since I gave up feeding I am still 1/2 a stone lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight.
I find it very hard to eat more to gain weight as am very active and very used to my portion sizes and my usual diet. Working 3 days a week instead of 5 means more moving and more calories burned. Something as simple as having 2 boiled eggs for breakfast instead of my usual one would help but the mindset of watching portion sizes and declining seconds is a difficult one to lose. Louise and I discussed this further; we said we would always have some cake if offered but only 1 piece. Why? Because we would feel too greedy to have 2 or 3. Sometimes our habits and behavioural patterns need changing too!
Gaining weight healthily is important if needed to achieve and maintain a healthy body mass index (18.5-25kg/m2) Here are some basic tips to help do so:
- Increase portions sizes of protein and carbohydrate; have an extra spoon of rice or pasta or potatoes or an extra slice of meat.
- Snack more frequently; eat little and often. Healthy options include; nuts, seeds and dried fruit, wholegrain toast and peanut butter, full-fat yoghurt and fruit, a bowl of cereal and full fat milk or hommous and crudites.
- Ensure you are using full fat dairy options such as milk, cheese and yoghurts.
- Fortify your food. Add honey to your porridge, cheese to your pasta and sauce, a little cream to your soups.
- Try and have a dessert after your main meal. This does not have to be cake or chocolate (but some in moderation is absolutely fine!). It could be some yoghurt and granola, fruit salad and cream or a fruit scone.
Always have a chat with your GP if you have lost weight unintentionally.