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healthy foods

We LOVE chips – gimme them with ketchup, mayo or salt and vinegar. 

And for all the vegans out there, you know how chips are your trusty back-up when restaurants do not cater for us.

Have them skinny or chunky – dip, drench or dunk them, they're just potato perfection. 

That's why we are having none of this new Harvard study.

Supposedly no more than SIX, yes six measly chips, should be eaten at one time, to avoid the negative health consequences associated with over-consumption.

The guideline comes from nutrition scientist, Professor Eric Rimm, and the news just goes from bad to worse.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year, found that those who consumed fried potato such as chips, crisps or the divine hash brown more than two or three times each week were cutting their life short.

In fact, they doubled their chances of an early death in an eight-year period. 

However, we must point out before you ditch potatoes entirely, that the study DIDN'T include whole, mashed or boiled potato – only deep fried.

The wholefoods don't pose a risk because it doesn't have the same fats as the fried potatoes said the researchers.

These unhealthy fats have been linked to heart disease risk factors and pro-inflammatory processes in your bod – so basically, you need to avoid them.

But the Professor didn't stop there – he introduced the phrase "starch bombs" – which honestly sounds delicious.

Nevertheless, he explained that fried potatoes are made up of processed potato that impacts the blood glucose levels and are combined with artery-damaging processed fats that are heated to extremely high-temperatures many times over – and voila, this is a starch bomb. 

And one of the main issues when it comes to fried potato habit is our growing portion sizes.

The recommended serving of fries is just 15 individual chips – 15?!

If the local chippy gave me that I'd hand it back – and don't get me started if someone dared to serve me 15 chips after a night out.

But the research means we probably have to re-evaluate our addiction to fried potato foods. 

 

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As if we don’t have enough things to worry about on a day-to-day basis, trying to remember to get the right amount of fruit and veg into our diets can cause more stress than it needs to.

And while we can’t ignore the importance of getting enough nutrients, we CAN give you a few sneaky tips to make the process that bit easier and less tiresome.

1. Load your breakfast

We know everyone doesn’t always have the time in the morning to cook up a tasty breakfast when they’re running out the door to work or school, but mixing some banana slices and fresh berries into your yoghurt or cereal is a great way to kick-start your day in the right direction.

2. Hide them in your cooking

If you find there’s only so much veg you can put on your plate before you explode, grate them down and hide it in your cooking. What exactly do we mean? Finely shred or grate your fruit and veg down and mix them into your favourite recipes. For example, grated courgette or carrots are delicious when mixed into meat to make burgers. Or try pureeing cooked cauliflower and stirring it through your mash.

3. Double the recipe

Whether you are making soup, sandwiches, or pizza, whatever your usual amount of veg is – double it. Don’t worry about ruining a recipe if it requires a certain amount of veg. Adding more will simply add to the nutritional value of your meal, as well as the flavour of it.

4. Experiment

Keep things interesting by adding one new fruit or vegetable to your shopping list each week. If you are trying something new, it is important to make sure that your chosen item is in season to make the experience more enjoyable. As we’re rolling into summer (and the weather seems to finally be catching up) it is a good time to add asparagus and aubergine to your cooking, and to nibble on berries for dessert.

5. Daily dessert

When most of us think dessert we think loads of cream and calories. But why not have a dessert after every dinner? Fruit desserts will provide something sweet after your meal, and provide extra nutritional goodness into your daily intake. Strawberries are great after dinner, or try freezing grapes or banana slices for a tasty summer snack.

6. Drink them

If you want a huge fruit and veg boost when you’re on the go, smoothies are a great way to get it. Create your own with your favourite fruit and veg to suit your tastes. Don’t be afraid to mix things up as well. Mango and papaya are delicious in smoothies and even cucumber can work surprisingly well. 

 

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If you are trying to lose weight, the best thing to do is to be realistic about it.

Eating iceberg lettuce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner isn’t healthy and, let’s face it, we wouldn’t make it past breakfast.

Instead, try some power foods that are great for helping to keep the weight off and that you can turn into delicious meals that will hold off any cravings.  

1. Salmon
A rich source of protein it will fill you up fast. It is also a great source of omega-3s which will get your metabolism going, as well as vitamin D.

2. Eggs
Full of satiating protein, two eggs as part of your breakfast will slow your hunger and prevent you snacking before lunch.

3. Cucumbers
If you need to snack, this is the answer. Made of almost 90 percent water, cucumbers are virtually calorie free. But their crunchy texture will satisfy your need to nibble.

4. Hazelnuts
Not only good for preventing hunger, hazelnuts are full of monounsaturated fats which actually help to shift the fat in your body.

5. Strawberries
The perfect answer to satisfying your sweet tooth. It has been proven that snacking on strawberries instead of sweets led people to eat 134 fewer calories in their next meal.  

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If you're trying to lose weight or simply to eat clean, it can be easy to be tempted by foods that claim to be healthy or "fat-free."

Not all so-called "healthy" foods are necessarily good for you or your waistline, though, so it's important to be clear what it is you're actually eating.

Here are a few not-so-healthy foods to watch out for…

1. Pre-made salads
A salad might seem like it's definitely the healthier option if you're grabbing lunch on the go, but watch out for dressings which can be packed with oil and sugar. As for tuna or prawn salads, these are generally loaded with mayonnaise and are far from a healthy choice. If you're ordering a salad when eating out, ask for the dressing on the side and watch your portion sizes. 

2. Energy bars or protein bars
If your pre-workout snack of choice is a shop-bought energy bar, you could be packing in excess calories without realising. These can often be filled with sugar and fat, so make your own instead or simply go for a protein-heavy snack like a handful of almonds instead.

3. Wholemeal bread
Many wholemeal breads, especially cheaper brands, are often simply dyed with colouring agent to appear brown and can in fact be worse for you than plain white bread. Even if you're choosing fresh wholemeal bread, be careful – just because it's wholegrain doesn't mean it won't bloat you as much as any other kind of bread.

4. Smoothies
Portion size is a huge issue when it comes to smoothies, especially if you are buying them from a juice or smoothie bar. While smoothies are a great source of fruit, they are often thickened and sweetened with sugar, full-fat yoghurt or even ice cream. Not good. Make your own at home instead and use a dollop or two of natural yoghurt instead of ice cream or excess sugar.

5. Granola
Granola once had a reputation as a serious health food, but there are so many better options out there than a bowl of honey coated oats with dried fruit. Try a wholemeal porridge instead – it'll fill you up for longer and you only need a small portion to feel satisfied. As for granola bars, look for brands with less than 10g sugar per bar or simply make your own to be sure of what's going into them.

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