22 Dec 2015

What can I eat on diet chef?

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With Diet Chef you get 3 fantastic meals and a delicious snack each day, but you may need to add a few fresh extras of your own as well, especially if you need to add more calories to your diet. We would recommend adding 2-3 pieces of fruit per day to your diet as well as 1/4 of a pint of skimmed milk (47 Kcal) with your breakfast but with dinner we know there is such a wide variety of sides and vegetables it can be a bit hard to know what you should be eating alongside your diet chef meals. We've decided to take a look at some of our favourites below:

Wheat Noodles

 
Per 60g Portion (1/3 Cup)
Energy
83 Kcal
Fat
1.3g
Carbohydrates
15g
Protein
2.7g
Great in texture and very affordable, wheat noodles are rich in fibre & vitamins and are a great accompaniment of our Chinese based dishes.  To cook just add ½ cup (60g) to a pre heated pan of water and cooks for 4 minutes. For a low calorie alternative why not try some Japanese Shirataki Noodles.

Rice

 
Per 60g Portion (1/3 Cup)
Energy
83 Kcal
Fat
0.2g
Carbohydrates
22g
Protein
1.5g
Rice is the most commonly consumed food in the world and it’s easy to see why. Rice goes great with Indian, Chinese and Mexican dishes. To cook just bring a cup of water in a pan water to boil  and a add a small amount of salt. Add 60g of rice and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Rice can also be cooked quite easily in the microwave with water and salt. For a lower calorie intake try sticking to brown rice which takes longer to cook but contains 15% less calories than traditional brown rice. 

Cucumber, Onion & Lettuce Salad

 
Per Portion (100g)
Energy
24 Kcal
Fat
0.1g
Carbohydrates
5g
Protein
1g
Simple but splendid, this salad is probably the easiest side of all. Just chop and wash a couple of lettuce or rocket leaves, 1/2 small onion and a few slices of cucumber and you have the perfect side for most Diet Chef dinners.

Goes Great With: Macaroni Cheese, Pasta Carbonara, Mushroom Pasta, Tuna Pasta, Mild chicken Tikka Masala

Cabbage


Savoy Cabbage
Per 100g Portion
Energy
25 Kcal
Fat
.1g
Carbohydrates
6g
Protein
1.3g
Cabbage is great filler during your Diet Chef diet as its low in fat and cholesterol while being a great source of vitamins of minerals. To cook take four whole cabbages leave and chop into small pieces and place on a hob of boiled water with a pinch of salt. The cabbage should be cooked within 5-10 minutes.



Potatoes


 
Per Portion (120g)
Energy
93 Kcal
Fat
0.1g
Carbohydrates
20g
Protein
2.4g
Potatoes are a stable part of most European diets, it’s hard to imagine what we did without them before they were brought from the Americas in the 16th century. Potatoes are very filling and a great source of potassium and fibre and can be enjoyed boiled or mashed (with skimmed milk).  Just add 2 small or 1 large potatoes to a pot of boiled (and lightly salted water) and cook for around 15 minutes. To mash add ¼ pint of semi skimmed milk and mash before serving.

Carrots

 
Per 80g Portion
Energy
33 Kcal
Fat
0.2g
Carbohydrates
4g
Protein
0.7g
You may have heard that carrots are good for your eyesight and they do contain Vitamin A which is known to improve eye health. But carrots are also rich in Vitamin A, K and potassium. To prepare peel 1 large carrot and dice before adding s to a pot of boiled (and lightly salted water) and cooking for around 10 minutes.

Naan Bread

 
Per 90g Portion (1/2 Slice)
Energy
275 Kcal
Fat
10g
Carbohydrates
37.8g
Protein
7.5g
Lightly toasted naan bread is a tasty and filling side for our Indian dishes. Naan bread is high in fat and carbohydrates so should be enjoyed in moderation or after exercising to help quickly refuel your energy supplies.

Pasta

 
Per 60g Portion (1/3 Cup)
Energy
79 Kcal
Fat
0.7g
Carbohydrates
15g
Protein
3g
Pasta has been Italy’s favourite side dish for almost 1,000 years. Pasta comes in many shapes, sizes and names but all pasta is extremely filling and a great source of energy before or after exercising. To prepare add salt and two cups of water to a pot and bring to boil. Add 60g of Pasta (1/3 a cup) and cook for 10 minutes. 

Goes Great With: Pork Meatballs, Italian Bolognese

Peas

 
Per 60g Portion (1/3 Cup)
Energy
83 Kcal
Fat
0.2g
Carbohydrates
22g
Protein
1.5g
Peas are low in fat and calories but high in just about all of the good things and whats more the UK is the largest producer of frozen peas so there is plenty to go around. Take half a cup of garden peas and bring to boil (but don’t use salt this time) for about 5 minutes. 

Goes Great With: Coq au Vin, Lamb Hot Pot, Minced Beef Hot Pot, Cottage Pie, Chicken Chasseur,  Sausages in Onion Gravy, Beef Stew

Cous Cous

 
Per 60g Portion (1/3 Cup)
Energy
67 Kcal
Fat
0.1g
Carbohydrates
23g
Protein
2.2g
So good they named in twice, couscous is a popular North African side that can be eaten hot or cold.  Just add 1/3 cup to 250ml of lightly salted boiled water and allow it to swell for 5 minutes. The couscous will clump together during this process so ensure that you separated using a fork before serving.

Goes Great With: Vegetable Curry, Chicken Jalfrezi, Taka Dahl


Got anything else you love to add to your Diet Chef meals? Let us know in the comments below!


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9 Feb 2015

Index - helpful blog posts

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Index of useful blog posts... 

On this page, we have listed all our most helpful blog posts, containing information that we get asked about often. We have split them into the following categories:
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6 Feb 2015

My Success Story - meet our winner!

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We love it when our customers share their weight loss experiences with us, which is why in January 2015 we ran a competition called 'My Success Story'.

Every week in January, we asked customers and past customers to share a photo and a brief outline that they felt reflected their weight loss journey, including the hash tag #MySuccessStory, on one or more of our social media pages.

We got some great entries from you guys and earlier this week, we randomly selected a winner.

Meet Alison, our winner!

Alison Browne from Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland, lost a whopping 8 stone on Diet Chef and through the healthy eating habits that our meal plan taught her, in 2014 - we think she looks fantastic! Alison says:


"This is my before and after picture...the photo to the left is of me just over a year ago, at a friend's wedding. This is the photograph that shocked me into doing something about my weight! 

The photo to the right is me after 9 months of Diet Chef and the healthy eating habits that the plan taught me. I'm down from a size 30 to a size 14, with an 8 stone weight loss so far. I'm determined to get the rest of the weight off and keep it off!" 

Alison has won a £500 John Lewis gift card, which is on its way to her as we publish this.

Congratulations on both your win and your incredible weight loss achievement - you look great, and we hope you enjoy shopping up a storm on us! :)

Thank you, everyone! 

Thank you and well done to everyone who took part in the 'My Success Story' competition - you've all done a fantastic job!

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5 Feb 2015

Winter cold? These foods can help!

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At this time of year, it can seem like winter colds are doing the rounds almost on a weekly basis...everywhere you turn colleagues, friends and family members are struggling with runny noses, coughs, sneeze attacks, headaches and sore throats.

Painkillers and Cold & Flu are always good to have handy for when you're feeling really lousy, but if you want to avoid pills as much as possible, there are natural remedies that can easily be incorporated into your everyday diet.

We asked our Nutritionist, Fiona Williamson, what foods (and drinks) she would suggest we stock up on to prevent, or help cure, head colds - and here's what she had to say.

Stay hydrated! 

As at any time of year, keeping hydrated is fundamental. Drinking lots of water will help flush any bugs out your system. Aim for at least 8 glasses a day. Hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will give you an additional, helpful boost of vitamin C.

Mix up your fruit & veg!

Eat an array of different coloured fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C can't be stored in the body and so it's essential to eat fruits and vegetables every day to keep your body equipped and healthy.

Top up on zinc!

Zinc, which helps maintain your immune function, can be found in foods like beef, oysters, beans, nuts and dairy products.

Try chicken soup!

There may actually be some value (other than taste and comfort) to enjoying this old DIY remedy when ill, as it contains anti-inflammatory agents and may help clear congestion.

What next? 

Hope you found that useful...you may also want to...

Have a look at our top 'winter warmers' foods...
Check out our tips on staying motivated...
View our winter serving suggestions...
Find out how to snack healthily...

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3 Feb 2015

Winter serving suggestions...mmm!

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Not many things beat a nice, hot meal during the winter months, when it's cold, wet and dark outside. But you don’t have to go off diet to enjoy delicious comfort food that really hits the spot!

We asked our Development Chef Alan Mathieson to have a look at our menu and come up with a few mouth-watering winter serving suggestions. Here’s what Alan had to say…

Beef & Vegetable Stew 

"We recently replaced our Beef in Ale dinner with a sumptuous Beef and Chunky Vegetable Stew – an absolutely stunning and rich dish, which tastes like something you might get served in a trendy gastro pub!

Why not try it with celeriac, potato & garlic mash, plus boiled or steamed tender stem broccoli?"

Sausages in Onion Gravy 

"To bulk out our delicious Sausages in Onion Gravy, serve with roast celeriac, parsnip, carrot and potato wedges. Lightly coat the potato wedges and vegetables in a little bit of oil, season with garlic and rosemary, then bake in the oven.

The rich onion gravy will go superbly with the garlic and rosemary seasoning, and the meaty sausages will be a perfect match for the roast roots and wedges."

Beet Meatball Wrap

"How about something hot AND cold? That's one of my personal favourites, in terms of food combinations!

But be warned: this dish can get messy, so make sure you have lots of paper towel at hand – it's basically a healthy twist on a meatball sub roll.

Cook some green lentils until they just have a tiny bit of bite left, strain and cool down in cold water, then allow to drain thoroughly. Once drained, mix the lentils with fresh coriander, chopped tomatoes, a bit of feta cheese, grated garlic and seasoning. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and a little bit of oil, then leave to soak.

Take a tortilla wrap and add the soaked lentil mix, fresh chopped iceberg lettuce, our delicious beef meatballs (having heated them up first, as per the instructions) and finish with a low fat yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip.

A truly amazing hot and cold combination!"

Red Thai Curry Laksa

"To create a warming, filling oriental meal, add some water to our Red Thai Curry and heat in a pot, then mix in fresh coriander, blanched bok choi and some pre-soaked rice noodles.

If you're feeling brave, add some Bird's-eye chillies (small chillies) and lime juice to give the dish a bit of extra kick."


Well, we don’t know about you, but that all sounds amazing to us – and perfect for a cosy night in. Big thanks to Alan for sharing his favourite winter serving suggestions and tips with us! 

Have your own serving suggestions? 

We hope you enjoy trying one or more of the above out – if you do, feel free to let us know how you got on and what you thought.

Also, if you have any good 'Diet Chef serving suggestions' of your own, please share with us in the comment section below, or on our social media pages.

You may also want to... 

Have a look at our top 5 winter warmers...
Read our top tips on staying motivated...
Check our blog on snacking healthily...
Go to the Diet Chef online menu...

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29 Jan 2015

Take control of your happiness!

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Having a positive mental attitude and an optimistic outlook on life can positively affect your health as well as your happiness.

As mentioned in our January top tips blog, from a few weeks ago, a good way to keep stress and failure at bay when working towards your target weight, is to keep your healthy eating and exercise goals realistic. Implement lifestyle changes gradually over time, rather than trying to nail down a whole series of  'quick fixes' at once.

Having goals in place that are manageable will give you a feeling of empowerment, as you are in control of your new lifestyle, rather than allowing unsustainable regimes restrict and depress you.

Staying motivated...

Finding motivation and staying motivated are often two very distinct things, though – the initial sense of optimistic confidence about your new healthy choices can easily fade as you inevitably encounter temptations and stumbling blocks along the way. The stumbling blocks (anything that makes you question whether your goals are worth it / achievable) are bound to arise in all sorts of everyday situations.

The power of positivity... 

However, maintaining a positive mental attitude (PMA) can help keep you motivated and allow you to work through any stumbling blocks more constructively.

Positive mental imagery 

A massive supporting tool for PMA is 'positive mental imagery'. Rather than dwelling on how others may currently perceive you, focus on what your body will look like, how much healthier you will be, and the emotional rewards this will bring, once you reach your target. Visualise yourself completing your goals, and keep reminding yourself of how this will make you feel – the effort will be worth it!

Similarly, if you start to "miss" the unhealthy foods that you have cut out of your diet, try not to get caught up in cravings - instead, spend some time researching all the new delicious, healthy dishes you could be discovering, and think about how this feeds into your overall health goals.

Inspiring images / mantras 

In addition to positive mental imagery, use of inspiring images and mantras is a common psychological technique. Put photos and images that drive you to keep going (you at your heaviest; your children; a beach holiday; your dream body, etc.) up in places where you will regularly see them - such as the fridge door, the bathroom mirror, or on your office desk - to keep reminding yourself of what you're doing and what you want to achieve.

Happiness...backed by science... 

Using small habits like the above techniques to keep yourself motivated and happy will not only assist you in reaching your weight loss goals, but could even help you live longer! A 2007 study called 'Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care', looked into the relationship between happiness and longevity, and whilst happiness can't be used to treat illness, it can help in the prevention of becoming ill.

The power of fruit & veg... 

Following on from the above, research has also shown that eating fruit and vegetables increases positivity, not only on the day, but the following day as well. So, ensuring you make fruit and vegetables a large part of your regular, daily diet can have some great benefits, beyond just the nutrition factor!

Exercise helps too, of course... 

In addition to good food and a positive attitude keeping you happy and healthy, exercise plays a massive role in creating and maintaining good mental well-being. Each time you exercise, you release chemicals called Endorphins, which are like feel-good messages to your brain. They are released to combat the feelings of pain and stress, both physical and emotional.

The prospect of going  for a jog might not seems appealing, but the 'runners high' you experience afterwards will make it worth it - especially if you are feeling a bit low!

On a more general note... 

Trying to keep yourself content in all aspects of life is a good rule of thumb for a healthy life. As much as possible...

  • Keep good social contact with friends;
  • Don't miss out on fun events because you are 'dieting';
  • Get plenty of sleep and fresh air;
  • Set goals for the future, but live in the present;
  • Focus on constructive actions you can take now to make positive change happen;
  • Don't worry over what might never be.

No one is happy ALL the time... 

Last but not least, remember that no one is happy all of the time. It's perfectly fine to have off days, or feel sorry for yourself every so often, but try not to dwell or focus on the negatives for the sake of it, or find problems where there need not be any.

At the end of a bad day, or during a period of feeling low, try to spend some time contemplating all the things you do have to be happy about.

You may also want to...

Read our top tips on motivation...
Check out our 'winter warmers'...
Learn how to snack healthily... 
Find out more about Diet Chef...


Read More...