How many calories to eat at lunch if you want to lose weight

Researchers suggest eating 750 calories for lunch to lose weight, in miracle study for those who love to go to lunch.

Photo: iStock

You pop the lid on your uber light quinoa salad or small pea soup, feeling great about yourself. Many of us make low calorie choices at lunch time and choose our larger meals for dinner to finish off the day (hello risotto, my old friend). However, new research suggests that eating your largest meal at lunchtime could yield a much better rate of weight loss.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 80 overweight women for 12 weeks. All participants (aged between 18-45) were told to eat their biggest meal (50 per cent of their daily calorie intake) at either lunch or dinner. Their weight and BMI was recorded before and after the experiment.

Not only were the participants watching how many calories they ate at each time of the day, but they were also told to follow a high carb, low saturated fat diet. Around 60 per cent of their calories came from carbs, 17 per cent protein and 23 per cent from fat. Simultaneously, the subjects partook in brisk walking and other moderate exercise for an hour five days a week.

RELATED: What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

The participants lost weight, even with the majority of their diet being carbs. However, another important discovery was that those who ate their biggest meal (750 calories for the average woman) at lunch lost more weight than those who ate it at dinner.

On average, the lunch feasters lost 13 pounds (just under six kilos) against the dinner eater’s 9.5 pounds (just over four kilos). The ‘lunchers’ also had a greater reduction in their BMI, and researchers attribute this is to their fasting insulin levels – the ‘lunchers’ had lower levels than those who were feasting at night. This thus meant that the ‘lunchers’ were able to avoid blood sugar spikes that cause hunger.

Perhaps we should be switching around our calorie intake – and maybe evern our meals completely – to drop that extra weight… so, risotto for breakfast, anyone?

RELATED: Is a 5:2 fasting diet good for the body?

Source link

Wine, beer, spirits: Which alcohol has the lowest fat content?

We know alcohol isn’t great, but with party season upon us, it’s difficult to cut back. Here’s what should you be drinking, if you choose to drink at all.

Photo: Stocksy

When it comes to fat content, alcohol actually contains very little – if any – fat. Believe it or not, alcohol is actually a source of energy and, to a certain degree, is a hidden macronutrient. But, as it poses little-to-no nutritional value, it’s not something we often talk about.

Where fat comes to play is when we start to look at the energy balance (kilojoule or calories) or energy in, verses energy out. When more energy is consumed than your body is able to burn off, alcohol converts into fat, which makes it harder to manage weight.

With that in mind, these are the top options for weight management – in moderation, of course. And remember, always drink responsibly.

Red wine or white wine?

Dry white wine and red wine with 12 per cent alcohol both provide 510 calories in a bottle; basically equivalent to a meal. One small glass of 120mL has only 82 calories, however in my experience, most individuals pour much more than this.

Sweet white wine is much higher in calories, coming in at 750 calories for a bottle, or 120 calories in a small glass.

Avoid ordering a whole bottle of wine and opt for a small glass of a dry white with dinner.

RELATED: Soft drink vs. alcohol: Which is actually worse for your health?

Cider or beer?

I’ve spoken before about the differences between cider and beer, however we know that beer is still high in calories. So if you choose to drink beer, what is a good choice? Full strength beer has around 72 calories in a 200mL glass, a lite beer only has 50, and a low carb option has around 60 calories. While the low carb beer has the lowest carbohydrates, the light beer is lower calories, lower in alcohol, and has less than 3 grams of carbohydrate more than the average low carb beer in a 200mL glass – so, that would be my choice.

Vodka soda or gin and tonic?

It’s common for people to think that gin and tonic is a ‘healthy choice’, however when we break it down we might find some hard truths. When we look at the sugar content of tonic water, a standard 100mL contains 9g of sugar (that’s 9 per cent sugar or 1.5 teaspoons, just from 100mL of tonic!).

Whether you choose vodka or gin (or scotch), swapping the soft drink for soda water is the best choice. And ask for a tall glass, so you get more soda water, which helps delay the next drink, and improve hydration.

Chloe McLeod is an accredited practicing dietitian. For more from Chloe, head here.

If you are having a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.

Source link

Jessica Sepel’s nut butter and sea salt brownies

Jessica Sepel’s nut butter and sea salt brownies recipe.

Photo: JSHealth

This recipe is everything you could want from a brownie; it’s gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free and full of good-for-you healthy fats! Perfect for an afternoon of baking or a low-sugar sweet treat. I think you will love.

Makes: 12 slices


• 1/4 cup coconut flour

• 1/3 cup raw cacao powder

• 1 cup almond butter

• 3-4 tbsp maple syrup

• 1/4 cup almond milk

• 2 eggs

• 1 tsp sea salt

• 1 tsp baking powder

• 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. Sift coconut flour, cacao powder, sea salt and baking powder into a large bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk almond butter, maple syrup, eggs and almond milk for a few minutes, until light and bubbly.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Stir through dark chocolate, if using.

5. Spoon into a lined cake or brownie dish and bake in oven for 25-30 mins, until just cooked.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source link

Why am I so hungry all the time?

Because there’s little worse than incessant hunger. You know, the type that leaves you thinking about nothing other than what you can eat – and when.

Photo: iStock

While occasional cravings are completely normal, constant hunger can be an indicator that all is not right with your baseline diet. So here are the most common reasons you may be hungry and the easy ways to take control before you eat an entire block of Cadbury’s or packet of Tim Tam’s.

Too few carbs

While we often cut back on carbs to ditch the kilos, the irony is that if we consume too few carbs, the body will quickly identify that it is not getting enough fuel and send out some pretty strong hunger signals. This is commonly observed late afternoon when your lunch choice has been on a light side – a tuna salad; fish and vegetables or a soup can often leave us with strong sugar cravings a couple of hours later. The solution? Make sure that you include a portion controlled serve of good quality carbs in your first few meals before tapering off late afternoon and evening. Good choices include 1/2 a cup of wholegrain carbs such as brown rice, oats or quinoa; fruit, wholegrain bread or veggie carbs such as corn or sweet potato.

RELATED: Natural sweeteners to add to your coffee – that aren’t sugar

Too few calories

Once you consume fewer than 1000-1200 calories each day, particularly over a long period of time in which you lost weight initially, the body attempts to prevent long term starvation and serious hunger can occur. This scenario is commonly seen in long term dieters who describe constant hunger after losing significant amounts of weight. The best way to manage this scenario is to ensure you always consume a baseline of 1200 calories each day with regular meals and snacks. Another option is to occasionally (1-2 times each week) consume significantly more calories via a large meal or treat. This in turn tells the body there are plenty of calories around in an attempt to buffer the starvation response.

Not enough protein

Protein as a nutrient is digested more slowly than carbohydrate and as such helps control hormone levels in the body, and keep us full. For this reason, ensuring that your meals include 20-30g of protein (and your snacks 5-10g) will help with appetite management through the day. Nutritionally, protein rich foods including dairy, nuts, meat, fish and legumes also offer a range of other key nutrients including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and essential fats.

Not enough fibre

We do not hear a lot about fibre but fibre remains a key part of gut health and also helps to slow digestion and keep us full. For this reason, diets lacking in fibre when fruits, carb rich foods such as breads and cereals and starchy veggies are eliminated are also relatively low in fibre. To get the 30g of fibre an adult requires each day, you need to consume 2 pieces of fruit, 2-3 cups of vegetables as well as a couple of serves of wholegrains via breads, cereals, grains or legumes.

Your hormones are out of control

Extreme fatigue, irregular periods, bad skin, extreme mood swings and unexplained weight gain my all be reasons that you are not getting the weight loss results you have been expecting. Your thyroid, insulin levels, adrenal hormones and even pituitary can all be factors that significantly influence our energy levels and even our ability to burn body fat. So if you have been feeling out of sorts, maybe it is time to book a thorough check up with your GP to make sure that an underlying hormonal issues is not actively working against fat loss.

Source link

OMG! Unicorn toast is here…

…and it’s not even bad for you.

Photo: vibrantandpure

This story originally appeared on, published here with permission.

We’ve found a new pastel-coloured food obsession that is super pretty… minus the sugar of fairy bread.

We’re calling it unicorn toast – and it looks a little something like this:

How do you even DO that?!

While it looks as though the toast maker has simply gone and bought a tub of Betty Crocker frosting and dyed it a bunch of pretty colours, it’s actually much healthier for you than it seems.

It’s made of almond milk cream cheese, which is infused with natural colours and flavours like beetroot juice, turmeric root, blueberry powder and spirulina. (You know, because health food buzzwords are all the rage these days.)

RELATED: Mango Eaton Mess

It’s like edible painting

Adeline, the genius unicorn toast creator who is also the food stylist behind Vibrant&Pure Wellness, is doing a great job of making healthy foods sound really fun.

“Decided to play around with some paint (cream cheese) and a canvas (toast),” she wrote on one of her Instagram pictures … and we can totally imagine our toddlers getting on board with that type of meal!

“The colors of almond milk cream cheese are: orange (juiced turmeric root) purple (freeze dried blueberry powder) light pink (pomegranate juice and raspberry dust) dark pink (beet juice) light green (chlorophyll drops) light blue (spirulina).

But wait, there’s more!

For those of you with a more developed palate, this cream cheese paint also works as a great base for a plethora of other toast creations.

RELATED: Jessica Sepel’s raspberry and coconut glow bowl

Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

Then again, if that all looks too overwhelming, there’s no shame in keeping things simple.

BRB. Off to eat a rainbow.

Source link

Wholesome Patisserie’s raw cookie dough cake

Decadent chocolate filling sandwiched between two layers of raw cookie dough. There are absolutely no nasties in this recipe so consider it guilt-free salivating.

Photo: Wholesome Patisserie

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves 6

Makes: 1 round cake



2 cups gluten free oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup almond butter

1/2 cup honey

3 teaspoons vanilla bean extract


3/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Cocobella Coconut Water

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract

2/3 cup desiccated coconut



1. Line a 8” x 8″ round cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and coconut.

3. Add almond butter and honey. Mix together with your hands or a wooden spoon.

4. Pour in vanilla and mix until well combined. The mixture should now be holding its own shape when pressed together.

5. Split mixture into two even amounts.

6. Press one half of the mixture into prepared cake tin. Place in the refrigerator. Set other half aside.


1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cacao and coconut water and mix until smooth.

2. Stir through honey, maple syrup, peanut butter and vanilla.

3. Add coconut and mix until thick and well combined.

4. Pour mixture over the base cookie dough layer, spreading it out evenly.

5. Place in the freezer and set for 30 minutes.

6. Press the other half of the cookie dough mixture over the chocolate filling, spread it evenly.

7. Place back into the freezer for 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!


Store cake in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for 1 week. Keep in the freezer on hot days and if the chocolate filling begins to melt.

This recipe is from Wholesome Patisserie. For more recipes like it visit

Source link

Mango Eaton mess

Embrace the fruit of the season in this classic dessert.

Photo: Australian Mangoes

Serves 4



100 gm egg white (about 3 eggs)

100 gm caster sugar

100 gm pure icing sugar, sieved

15 gm cornflour


2 ½ cups pouring cream

100g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 whole mangoes

1 pomegranate

2 passionfruit


For meringues, preheat oven to 120°C.

Whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until firm peaks form (3-4 minutes).

With motor running, gradually add caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy (2-3 minutes).

Sieve icing sugar and cornflour over, fold to combine, then spoon 8cm-diameter mounds onto oven trays lined with baking paper.

Bake until meringues lift easily from trays and are crisp but not coloured (45-50 minutes), then turn off oven and cool completely in oven.

Note – you can use store bought meringue nests for this recipe if you prefer.

Using an electric mixer and a clean bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla essence until it becomes stiff peaks (3-5 minutes). Chill until required.

Prepare mangoes by slicing off each cheek and cutting a lattice pattern in the flesh of each cheek, without cutting through the skin. Use a spoon to scoop out small bite size pieces.

Cut the pomegranate in half and remove the seeds.

Cut the passionfruit in half.

Break the meringue into bite size pieces.

Take 4 clean glasses and begin to layer all the ingredients starting with the meringue and cream then layering with the mango, pomegranate and passionfruit. Continue to build until the glass is filled and garnish with mango, pomegranate and passionfruit.

Serve chilled.

Source link

Are pre-packaged supermarket lunches healthy?

Accredited practicing dietitian Robbie Clark on whether your ‘healthy’ soup, salad or reheatable meals is actually doing you any good.

Photo: iStock

As the old saying goes “fresh is always best” – and when it comes to comparing fresh produce to pre-packaged foods or meals in the supermarket, this is no exception. But the reality is that many people are time-poor and are looking for a quick replacement that requires little food preparation and is still a healthy option, so to speak. When desperate times call for desperate measures and with the over-reliance on convenience foods, the usual culprits are pre-packaged soups, salads and frozen meals. Let’s look at each one in more detail.


Like yoghurts, the soup market is growing larger and larger with so many different brands on the shelves, in the cold section of the supermarket. Some soups come in instant dried form where all you need to do is add water; others come in cans, or plastic tubs that are microwaveable. Some are made with organic ingredients, others are not.

With such a wide range of options, it’s safe to say that some have superior nutrition content compared to others. Most canned or tinned soups are high in sodium, which, when overconsumed, may lead to high blood pressure and weight gain. Creamed soups can also be high fat and saturated fat, which may also lead to elevated cholesterol and not beneficial if you are trying to lose weight as it will cause your total calorie intake to increase.

Another issue with canned soup is its plastic lining, which may contain the harmful Bisphenol A (BPA). This toxin can leach from the lining into the food – and can’t be drained or rinsed.

Dried instant soups such as ‘cup a soup’ definitely deserve my wooded spoon. There is nothing healthy about them, and while some of them may advertise that they are low in fat, they are certainly not low in sodium. The average cup a soup contains 600-1000mg of sodium, about half your recommended sodium intake for the day. They also contain numerous amounts of other ingredients that you wouldn’t find in homemade soup. For example, mineral salts (340, 451), emulsifiers, anti-caking agents, sugar, flavour enhancers 621, 635 and colour 160b. There are even some brands in which their chicken soup contains no chicken but it does contain food acid, flavour enhancers, hydrolysed corn protein and colours such as caramel IV.

But soups found in the fridge/chiller section of the supermarket are probably your best choice of all soups. They have a shorter shelf life meaning they will have less additives and preservatives in them, and they contain an ingredients list closest to what I would use at home. There are many different ones out there and the ones to look out for are soups that are preservative and additive free, contain natural ingredients and are low in sodium (remember, you can always add more salt at the table if needed). Finally, these can cater for people with food intolerances and will call out if they are gluten free or dairy free on their packaging.

I think it’s obvious that nothing beats a homemade soup, both in terms of flavour as well as nutritional value, especially if you make your own stock. You also have the ability to control the amount of salt that goes into the soup. It also works out to be cheaper (depending if you buy organic produce or not) as you can make a big batch up soup and freeze portions for a meal later in the week.


In our never-ending search for foods that are both healthy and convenient, salad kits, premade salad bowls, bags of washed and pre-sliced vegetables offer the best of both worlds.

Anything with fresh leafy greens, raw vegetables, phytochemicals and antioxidants – not to mention, the word “prewashed” – gets a thumb’s up from me. Well, for the most part.

According to food safety groups, leafy greens are the riskiest food you can eat, in terms of food safety.

Having said this, it’s important to point out that the potential dangers are minimal. While it’s true that leafy greens are associated with a high number of food poisoning outbreaks in comparison to other types of foods, the lettuce itself isn’t inherently dangerous and the risk of food poisoning is very minimal. Therefore, in terms of health, the benefits of eating a healthy, pre-packaged salad outweigh the risks.

Being able to pick up a premade salad bowl at the supermarket when you’re on the run means that you’re far more likely to make a healthy choice with your meals.

Frozen or ready-meals

Ready-meals are usually defined as pre-prepared main courses that can be reheated in their container, requiring no further ingredients, and needing only minimal preparation before consumption. In the past, these meals have lacked flavour, been carb-heavy (think pasta and rice), contain minimal vegetables and not enough protein. Over the years, there have been a rise in healthier pre-packaged meals, though.

It’s important to note that these meals are usually designed and created to be nutritionally balanced, meaning they will usually contain a protein (animal or plant-based), vegetables and some grains. The serving size of these are also relatively small to keep the calorie count down, so they may not fill you up or provide certain population groups with enough energy that they require, for example, athletes, pregnant and breastfeeding women and the chronically ill. On a positive note, there is always an opportunity to add to the meal with things like tinned tuna, tinned chickpeas or other legumes, or extra frozen vegetables if need be.

Some brands and meals may contain high amounts of sodium as a way of adding flavour to them, so this is something to be cautious of. All in all, these meals are a better choice than most takeaway’s, but should be reserved in the freezer for emergencies when you come home starving – or have very little time to prepare a meal.

Source link

The Beauty Chef’s mulled rosehip iced berry cooler

A summer quencher that refreshes skin from the inside out.

Photo: supplied

Packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, hibiscus imparts a gorgeous red hue and subtle natural sourness to this summer quencher. Paired with a warming blend of mulled spices and sweetened with a little honey it’s the perfect balance of flavours and an ideal alcohol-free drink.



2 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise

6 whole cloves

7 whole black peppercorns

3 cups (750ml) water

3 rosehip and hibiscus tea bags

1⁄4 cup (60ml) raw honey

crushed ice, to serve

250g strawberries, hulled and quartered

125g blueberries

125g raspberries

3 cups (750ml) sparkling mineral water


1. Dry-roast the spices in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

2. Pour in the water and bring to the boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat. Add the tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.

4. Remove and discard the tea bags. Add the honey and stir to combine. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate to chill.

5. When ready to serve, quarter- fill a large serving jug or individual serving glasses with crushed ice and top with the berries. Pour over the chilled spiced tea mixture and top up with mineral water.

This recipe is from Carla Oates’ cookbook The Beauty Chef.

Source link

The Beauty Chef’s get glowing smoothie bowl

Start your day with a fibre, vitamin and antioxidant-rich breakfast. 

The Beauty Chef’s smoothie bowl

This health-giving bowl is fibre-rich, vitamin-rich, antioxidant-rich, lipid-rich and full of skin- protective and glow-giving minerals selenium, copper and zinc, plus it has the added boost of GLOW Inner Beauty powder with pre- and probiotics to keep your gut happy and skin radiant.

Serves: 2


125g frozen blueberries

100g frozen unsweetened açai pulp, coarsely chopped

1 very ripe frozen banana, coarsely chopped

]⁄2 cup (125g) coconut kefir or natural yoghurt

2 teaspoons GLOW Inner Beauty Powder

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons cacao nibs*


1 small ripe banana, peeled and sliced 6-10 fresh blueberries 2 tablespoons granola 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios 1 tablespoon goji berries 1 teaspoon bee pollen (not suitable for those with bee allergies) 1 teaspoon hemp seeds (optional)


To make the smoothie, blend the blueberries, açai, banana, kefir or yoghurt and GLOW powder, if using, cinnamon, chia seeds and cacao nibs in a high-speed blender, until smooth and creamy. Pour the smoothie into two wide shallow serving bowls. Decorate with toppings. Eat immediately.

Note: The topping ingredients can be substituted according to personal taste or availability.

This recipe is from Carla Oates’ cookbook The Beauty Chef.

Source link