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Don't Sweat it Diets can be Fun the Complete Diet Program

Updated on May 28, 2014
HubblyBubbly profile image

Born in Rhodesia and emigrated to South Africa 1982.2013 then emigrated to United Kingdom,where I run my own Locksmithing business.

Bacchus' Pleasure
Bacchus' Pleasure

Become a Skinny Liz

The Complete Balanced Diet

 Try Skinny on Snacks



First, they told us snacking would lead to weight gain. Then they told us it would help us lose weight. So, what's the deal really?

The deal is that both are true, or not true, depending on the individual. The key is to find out which approach works for you.

A research study conducted by David Levitsky of Cornell University found that some people who snacked in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon felt hungrier at lunch and dinner. Although they didn't eat more at these meals, their total number of daily kilojoules was higher because of the snacks.

Other studies say snacking can lead to eating less food at regular meals. One study of overweight men found that those who ate a little bit every hour consumed 27% fewer kilojoules at lunch. And studies from the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society show that eating more frequently helps control appetite, preventing us from overeating at meals.

Research also suggests that snacking when you're not hungry has little effect on your appetite at a later meal. The urge to snack can stem not from hunger but from pure impulse, stress, boredom or the influence of others. Recognising these types of urges may help people make wiser decisions about snacking.

Experts in behaviour change say that, although most impulses pass on their own within a short time, emotions like stress and frustration should be addressed, but in appropriate ways that don’t rely on food.

Control your portions

Another consideration about snacks relates to portion size. The American Institute for Cancer Research emphasises that eating too much, even wholesome foods, isn't healthy. Snacking directly from a package, for example, often leads people to unintentionally eat the entire contents.

Helpful strategies include ordering a small serving when eating out and, at home, portioning out one handful of a snack onto a plate or napkin rather than eating directly from a package.

Choice of food is also important.

Fruits and vegetables make excellent snacks, especially since their proportion of nutrients to kilojoules is usually good.

Further research may bring us a clearer answer about whether snacking helps or hinders weight control. Perhaps looking for one simple answer is expecting too much. People whose meals aren’t spaced too far apart may want to see what happens if they limit themselves to only water between meals. Others may prefer to snack, but focus on making wise choices about what and how much to eat.

Try this easy Diet


The latest research shows that the very best way of losing weight is to follow a low-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet and to increase your level of exercise.

Basic diet plan


1 serving of fruit

1 glass of orange juice

½ cup of bran-rich cereal

½ a cup of low-fat milk


½ cup of low-fat yoghurt

1 teaspoon of honey on cereal

Tea, coffee, or cocoa with ¼ cup of low-fat milk


2-4 servings of bread

2 double-slice, whole-wheat sandwiches with 2 teaspoons of medium-fat margarine

2 servings of meat/cheese

2-4 teaspoons of grated low-fat cheese OR 2 thin slices of meat without fat (60g)

1 serving of vegetables

Lettuce, tomato, cucumber

1 serving of fruit


Tea or coffee with ¼ cup of low-fat milk OR 1 glass of fruit juice


Low-fat yoghurt with 2 fruits OR 2 thin slices of meat, like chicken breasts, with 2 cooked vegetables (beans/peas/butternut) and 2 fruits (no desserts).


2 servings of meat/cheese

2 slices of low-fat meat (chicken breasts, beef) (50 g)

2 servings of starch

1 large baked potato

2 vegetables

½ cup of cooked carrots and ½ cup of salad

2 teaspoons of fat

1 teaspoon of low-fat yoghurt dressing for potato and 1 teaspoon of low-oil dressing on salad

1 fruit


Tea, coffee or cocoa with ¼ cup of low-fat milk

 Low-fat diet recommendations

Skimmed milk, and milk products, e.g. yoghurt and cottage cheese made from skimmed milk.

Low-fat cheese, e.g. mozzarella, edam and tilsiter.

Unrefined cereals, e.g. whole-wheat, brown or rye bread, brown rice, unrefined maize meal, bran-rich breakfast cereals, oats, maltabella, crisp breads, pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, noodles).

Fresh and preferably raw fruit and vegetables, canned or frozen vegetables, dried fruit.

Boiled or poached eggs, restrict to 4 per week.

Small portions of meat, chicken or fish with all the visible fat cut off and prepared by grilling, steaming or pan baking without added fat.

Legumes, e.g. cooked dry beans, peas, lentils and vegetable protein meat replacers, e.g. Toppers.

2 tablespoons of fat-reduced margarine with a high polyunsaturated fatty acid content, or sunflower, avocado or canola oil, or low-oil dressing.

Diet Tips

Eat these low-fat foods in moderation and the fat cells will start to disappear.

Cut down on alcohol intake to save on kilojoules and lose weight fast. Stick to one glass of red wine or whisky per day.

Always read food labels to check how much fat a specific product contains.

Foods to avoid

Processed foods: read the labels and see how much fat they contain.

Food preparation methods that add fat to food, like frying. Sauces made from meat drippings and commercial dressings made with oil and eggs, e.g. mayonnaise (use low-oil dressings).

Processed meats such as polony, ham, bacon, sausages, pies and sausage rolls (use reduced fat meat products).

Cakes, pastries, biscuits, vetkoek, "koeksisters" (twists of dough deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup), refined rusks and chocolate.

Hard or high-fat cheeses, e.g. gouda, cheddar, camembert and parmesan.

Full-cream milk products, ice cream and commercial puddings.

Coffee creamers, milk blends, cream, suet, lard.


Burn up more energy by starting to exercise, but just check with your doctor first if you can participate in an exercise programme.

Regular brisk walking/running in the fresh air is probably the most pleasant and healthy form of exercise. Start gradually and increase how long and how actively you walk or run over a period of time. Enjoy.

If you prefer working out, or doing aerobics, join a good gym.

Regular swimming, cycling, tennis and squash are also excellent ways of increasing your energy output and firming the body.

 Healthy combinations for Snacks


Trying to lose weight or wanting to follow a healthier lifestyle? Then snacking is the way to go.

Let no more than three hours pass between meals or snacks. This way, you'll ensure a constant supply of glucose to your body's cells. More energy and less cravings for sugary and fatty foods will be the positive spin-off.

A few healthy snack ideas include:

1. A slice of rye kernel bread with peanut butter and honey

You've heard of the glycaemic index (GI), right? This nutrition buzzword refers to the effect of carbohydrate foods on blood-sugar levels. Foods with a low GI ensure a slow release of energy; foods with a high GI release energy fast. For stabilising blood-sugar levels, a diet rich in low-GI foods is recommended.

Rye kernel bread is suggested here because it has a much lower GI than white or brown bread, for example. To lower the GI of this snack even further, you can add peanut butter, thinly spread on the bread. Both the fat and the protein in the peanut butter will slow down the digestion of the carbohydrate in the bread.

A small amount of honey, which is a source of fructose, can be added to make the snack more palatable. Research has shown that small to moderate amounts of dietary fructose can promote better blood-sugar control. This is also because fructose has a lower GI compared to many other carbohydrates, including sucrose (table sugar).

Apart from the GI considerations, peanut butter contains the phytochemical resveratrol, which has been linked to a significant decrease in heart disease. Peanut butter also has anti-cancer effects and can lower cholesterol levels if it's eaten instead of other high-fat foods.

2. Provitas topped with avocado pear, tomato, black pepper and herbs

Wholewheat Provitas are a good source of fibre, which is not only necessary for regular bowel movements but is essential for regulating glucose release into the bloodstream. These crackers are also relatively low in fat and a good source of several important vitamins and minerals. It makes for the perfect no-mess-no-fuss, on-the-run snack.

While several toppings could make a cracker both healthy and tasty, we recommend avocado and tomato. Research has shown that avos can cut cholesterol. This fruit also has antioxidant abilities, making it an excellent cancer fighter, and it contains vitamins E, C and B6, as well as potassium and omega-3 fatty acid.

Tomatoes can be coined a "super food", particularly because of its high lycopene content. Lycopene is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Free radicals wreak havoc in the body and have been linked to cancer and other chronic diseases. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C and E.

A pinch of salt will probably do no harm – except if you suffer from high blood pressure or kidney problems. However, a generous sprinkling of black pepper and/or herbs is a healthier option. It's believed that black pepper aids the digestive process, while herbs are also a good source of antioxidants.

3. Vegetable bites (e.g. carrot sticks, celery sticks, baby tomatoes) with a humus or cottage-cheese dip

Veggies have so many benefits that it's hard to know where to start. Let's just focus on the veggies recommended here (although any other combinations will do the trick too).

Carrots have an extremely high beta-carotene content and have many health benefits, including giving protection against heart disease and several cancers, notably lung cancer. Carrots can also lower blood cholesterol and help guard against food poisoning.

Celery is a good source of potassium. It has a diuretic effect, can help control blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory effects.

As mentioned above, tomatoes have strong anti-cancer properties and are a good source of vitamins C and E. All vegetables also aid digestion as they're generally rich in fibre.

Unfortunately, veggies generally have quite a high GI. That's why it's not only more interesting to combine your favourite vegetable bites with a dip like humus or cottage cheese, but also important in terms of blood-sugar control. The chickpeas from which the humus is made, as well as the milk that forms the basis of the cottage cheese, are slow-releasing, low-GI foods. By using one of these dips, you'll lower the GI of your entire meal/snack.

4. Fruit salad with low-fat, plain yoghurt, sprinkled with a nut-and-seed mix and topped with a dollop of honey

Choose any of your favourite fruits (in season, of course) and combine them in a delicious fruit salad – the more colour, the better. Many of the good properties of fruit are locked up in the colour pigment. And different colours have different benefits. So, go wild!

Yoghurt has several benefits. Besides the obvious calcium injection that it'll give you, this tasty snack is also a source of probiotics. Probiotics are non-disease-causing microorganisms that play a positive role in immune regulation, the absorption of nutrients, and the treatment of diarrhoea. Go for the low-fat or fat-free options and choose a plain, Bulgarian yoghurt if you're planning to add honey to your snack.

The nut-and-seed mix will add crunch to your fruit salad. The bonus is that nuts and seeds are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Nuts and seeds are also a source of protein (along with the protein in the yoghurt, it will lower the GI of your salad), as well as countless vitamins, minerals and fibre. Add no more than a tablespoon if you need to watch your weight.

For a final touch, add a dollop of honey, and enjoy the benefits of a healthy, slow energy-releasing meal.

Healthier Fast Food

We all love fast food. What we don't love are the implications for our health and our weight. Here's how to have your cake and eat it.

It's not true that healthy eating needs to be an all-or-nothing thing; homecooked meat-and-three-veg or a sugary greaseball. Many restaurants and fast-food chains have clocked our concerns, and include healthier varieties of their favourite items on their menus.

Some general rules for choosing healthy meal options include:

1. Look for the Heart Mark

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSFSA) has joined forces with some restaurants to include healthier meal options that are lower in fat, cholesterol and salt, and higher in fibre.

The aim is to identify items on the menu which already meet the dietary guidelines recommended by the HSFSA and to offer suggestions on making small changes to menu items to make them more heart-friendly. All you have to do is look for the Heart Mark symbol on menus.

The following restaurants have taken part in this: Spur Steak Ranches, Panarotti’s Pizza Pasta, Mochachos Chicken Villages, Morituri Pizzeria, Col’Cacchio Pizzeria, St Elmo’s Woodfired Pizza, Osumo and Blow Fish.

2. Get nutrition smart

Some fast-food outlets have started making the nutritional details of their meals available both on the internet as well as inside their stores. If you can, wise up before you go, so you don't get confused (and tempted) by the chips.

3. Control your portion sizes

Try to eat the same amount you would at home. Don’t upsize your meal and avoid combo options. Go for regular size meals or even choose a kid's meal.

4. Skip the chips

More fast-food outlets are adding salad to their menus. Swap the chips for a salad, baked potato or vegetables.

However, be careful of high-kilojoule salad dressings, yellow cheese and sour cream. Also avoid creamed, sugared and buttered vegetables (ask for grilled or steamed options instead).

5. Like it lean

Choose lean meat, chicken and fish wherever possible.

If you’re having chicken, take the skin off, or order it skinless (this option is available at Nando’s). A 100g portion of roasted chicken with skin has 933kJ and 13.5g of fat while 100g skinless chicken supplies only 640kJ and 4.2g fat – quite a difference.

If you’re having steak, choose the smallest option (often, especially irritatingly for men who're not huge eaters, called a 'ladies' steak), grilled, and with visible fat removed. Rather than having gravy, try mustard, or a barbeque, black pepper or monkey gland sauce. Stay away from deep-fried cordon bleu options and schnitzels.

Have fish grilled or baked. Low-fat options include hake, kabeljou, sole, kingklip and sushi.

6. What’s for dessert?

Avoid having a creamy, high-fat dessert and try a fruit salad. You could also have a coffee, tea or cappuccino with skimmed milk.

Steer clear of sweetened cold drinks as these contain a lot of sugar.

The Importance of Breakfast

Research shows that eating a solid breakfast is one of the best things you can do if you're trying to lose weight. Of course, eating breakfast is also an essential step if you're merely interested in following a healthier lifestyle.

What's more, research also indicates that certain breakfast choices are better if you're trying to shape up.

For example,

a 2008 study

published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-kilojoule diet, helped overweight adults lose more weight and feel more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal kilojoules, reports.

An earlier Experimental Biology study analysed the breakfast habits of 19 000 Americans older than 12 years - an investigation that formed part of a mega study called NHANES III. This was one of the largest diet surveys ever undertaken in the USA and the results showed the following:

Eating breakfast may play a more significant role in weight maintenance than total kilojoule intake.

Breakfast skippers tend to gain, rather than lose weight, because they're more inclined to overcompensate for the loss of kilojoules at breakfast by eating more fat-rich, high-energy foods later in the day, especially at supper.

Eating breakfast not only increases the daily dietary fibre intake significantly, but also provides more protective nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. High-fibre diets have a lower fat and energy content than low-fibre diets, because foods rich in fibre are generally low in fat and the inclusion of dietary fibre dilutes the energy content of the diet.

Eating high-fibre breakfast cereals has a positive impact on keeping the body mass index low (BMI is a measure of body weight). According to the research, people who ate breakfast cereals had an average BMI of 25.5, while participants who ate eggs and bacon had an average BMI of 26.7 (BMIs above 25 are indicative of overweight and obesity).

Children and teenagers

Another study reported on the breakfast habits of children and teenagers. Once again, the results showed that children and teenagers who ate breakfast were thinner than their counterparts who skipped breakfast.

Why do we skip breakfast?

In the USA, about 25% of the population skip breakfast on a regular basis. In South Africa, the situation is probably fairly similar.

Reasons given for skipping breakfast vary and include: lack of time, poor meal planning and the mistaken belief that skipping meals will result in weight loss.

Make an effort

It may take a bit of planning, but it's really worthwhile. The following suggestions may help you to become a breakfast eater:

Plan what you're going to eat for breakfast and include these foods on your shopping list.

Set the alarm to go off 15 minutes earlier so that you have time to eat a simple, but healthy breakfast.

If you really can’t face food just after rising, prepare food to take along to work or school that you can eat during the course of the morning.

Good choices

A balanced, low-fat, high-fibre breakfast should include the following:

A fresh fruit or fruit juice (tip: buy fruit that requires no preparing and is easy to take to work/school, e.g. naartjies, apples, bananas).

High-fibre breakfast cereal (tip: instant oats can be prepared anywhere as long as you have hot water available, or take bran-rich cereals/muesli to work/school in a plastic container).

Low-fat milk or yoghurt. These dairy products are rich in protein and calcium, but low in fat (tip: buy long-life low-fat milk and store in a fridge at work and buy low-fat yoghurt in small plastic containers).

Low-GI or wholewheat bread, or high-fibre muffins, with Lite margarine, jam or marmite;

Boiled or scrambled eggs. Include these for extra protein and iron (tip: hard-boiled eggs are easy to take along to work/school; you can can eat three to four eggs a week).

Winter Eating

Implement these six changes and you won’t gain weight between June and September – in fact you may even lose as much as 20kg before spring, depending on how bad your current habits are.

We know when the temperature drops our weight does the opposite. As we tuck into pies and stews to ward off the winter chill we’re making sure there’s an extra – fatty – layer between us and the cold. And when it’s miserable outside nobody feels like getting up from the couch to exercise.

The slow-down in physical activity and a winter diet of stodgy, fatty food are the main reasons people gain weight in winter. So, how do we avoid becoming as heavy as our favourite winter foods?


Winter fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, naartjies, pawpaw, kiwi fruit and guavas are brimming with protective nutrients such as vitamin C and bioflavonoids to help ward off winter colds and flu, and they’re low in kilojoules.

Try eating one of these fruits at each meal to fill you up and boost your immune system.

The difference

If you eat just five portions of fruit a week (more would be even better) instead of pudding or a 100g bar of chocolate, you won’t gain a gram. If you used to eat puddings, cakes and chocolates at least three times a week your new habit will help you lose up to 5kg in three months.


Winter is the best time to eat soups which can be nutritious without increasing your energy intake. The simplest soups can be made with a variety of vegetables cooked with beef or chicken stock. Use stock cubes that are low in kilojoules or make your own stock from chicken or beef, let it cool in the fridge then remove the fat that has solidified on top.

Use fat-free milk to make cream of vegetable soups and add fat-free yoghurt instead of cream. Prepare your soup or stew the day before, let it cool in the fridge and scoop off the solidified fat before you heat it. For every teaspoon of fat you remove, you save nearly 200kJ. Serve vegetable soups with crusty wholewheat bread for a delicious, wholesome, non-fattening meal that will keep you warm and full for hours.

The difference

Try having a low-kilojoule soup for one of your main meals every day this winter. Remember to skim off the fat from your stews. This way you won’t gain weight; you may in fact lose up to 3kg in three months.


Research shows eating more fat-free or low-fat dairy products can actually help you lose weight. Using fat-free milk for hot drinks such as Milo means you won’t be piling on the kilos this winter.

The difference

If you replace full-cream milk with skimmed (fat-free) or low-fat (2%) milk, use low-fat yoghurt and cottage cheese instead of the full-cream versions and stick to no more than three portions of dairy a day (three glasses of milk or three small yoghurts or three matchbox-sized portions of cottage cheese) you can lose between 2 and 4kg in three months. How much you lose will depend on whether you choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.


Instead of adding two or three teaspoons of sugar to your hot beverages, use artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners. If you have five hot drinks a day, you’ll save between 800 and 1 200kJ.

The difference

You'll lose between 2 and 3kg in three months.


It’s convenient to snack on sausage rolls, samoesas, pastries, chips or deep-fried chicken takeaways when it’s cold outside. Somehow the idea of eating warm food seems comforting.

The difference

If you can steer clear of these foods this winter you have a good chance of not gaining weight. And if you usually eat a pie and packet of hot chips a day your new habit will help you to lose up to 5kg in three months.


Make a deliberate decision to be more active this winter. Go for brisk walks when the sun is out; join a gym; go to dancing, Pilates or yoga classes; or try home workouts. After 10 minutes you’ll feel as warm as toast and glowing with health. Being active will also help keep gloominess at bay.

The difference

If you continue your summer exercise regime you won’t gain weight. If you’ve been a couch potato you’ll lose weight if you start exercising. If you walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, five to six days a week for three months, you’ll lose up to 1.5kg in three months. If you add three 30-minute sessions of muscle exercise to your routine three times a week, you can lose 3kg in three months.

Fast fact:

If you feel depressed in winter your body reacts by producing more serotonin, the "happy hormone". One of the ways in which the body tries to boost serotonin production is to increase your craving for carbohydrates. Unfortunately many carbohydrate foods such as chips, cakes, pies, pastries and chocolate also have a high fat content. If you eat a lot of these foods because you feel the urge to stock up on carbohydrates you’ll most probably gain weight.

Shopping for Your Diet

Don’t get around to following a healthy, balanced diet because you don't have time to shop for and prepare the foods these diets require?

Unfortunately, if you really want to change your diet and lifestyle, you need to take a long, hard look at your current circumstances.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Do you really want to improve your diet? Do you really want to lose weight?

If you answer "Yes", you'll have to make some changes to your busy programme. But rest assured that none of these changes are difficult or time-consuming.

The first step is to keep the following in mind:

You're the one who wants to or needs to change your diet to improve your health and/or to lose weight. No one else can do this for you.

You need to make provision to obtain the healthy and low-fat foods you require on a monthly or weekly basis.

You need to take responsibility for this change in eating habits, which includes buying the correct foods.


All it takes is some planning and if you're such a busy, high-powered person, you're probably excellent at planning schedules and programmes. Apply your organising skills to the present problem of obtaining foods that will improve your diet.

Useful tips

1) Obtain an example of a healthy, balanced eating plan.

for a low-fat, high-fibre diet that's good for weight loss and can also be used as a basic low-fat diet to treat heart disease and problems with insulin).

2) Make a list of the basic foods you need to have readily available in your cupboard or pantry or freezer, i.e. foods that can be stored for longer periods:

Ready-to-eat high-bran breakfast cereals, oats (instant varieties are good if you need to save time on cooking), Wheatbix or unsifted maize meal and Maltabella (for weekends when you can cook your breakfast porridge)

High-fibre starches such as brown rice, crushed wheat, pasta made from 100% durum wheat

Wholewheat, rye, rice or maize crackers

Sliced low-GI, wholewheat or rye bread, or rolls (Freeze in portion sizes that you require. For example if you are living alone, you may need only 6 slices a day -two for breakfast and four for sandwiches at lunch. Take your daily portion out of the freezer every evening and store in the fridge. By morning the bread will have defrosted and be ready for toasting or for making those sandwiches.)

Fat-free, long-life milk for times when you run out of fresh fat-free milk

Frozen fat-free yoghurt

Fruit juice and dried fruit

Fruit canned in juice

Canned vegetables such as tomato and onion, tomato paste and green beans

Frozen vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peas, beans, pumpkin and mixed vegetables

Lean meat (freeze fat-free mince, ostrich, small portions of steak or pork chops with all visible fat removed)

Lean, thinly sliced cold cuts (roast beef, Pastrami or roast pork) or Like-it-Lean products (pack into portions and freeze)

Ready-to eat, low-fat frozen meals (Woolworths has an excellent range)

Tuna, salmon or pilchards canned in brine, water or tomato sauce

Frozen fish and calamari (buy plain without crumbs or batter)

Skinned chicken breasts (pack into portions and freeze)

Canned beans, peas and lentils of all types

Textured vegetable protein products (Toppers etc.)

Lite margarine or Flora Pro-Activ margarine (the latter helps to lower blood cholesterol levels) and Spray & Cook for preparing fat-free dishes

Low-fat salad dressings

Olive, canola or avocado oil

Lite or low-GI jam, or honey

Sugar-free cold drinks or spring water, and soda water

Sugar-free gum

Sugar-free jelly

Canned gherkins, mustard and tomato sauce for flavouring

Buy these foods once a month when you go on your big shopping trip.

3) Make a list of foods that you need to buy on a weekly basis (i.e. foods that you can store in the fridge, not in the freezer):

Fat-free milk, yoghurt and cottage cheese

Fresh fruit and vegetables, including ready-to eat salads

Fresh low-GI, wholewheat or rye bread (if you prefer fresh bread)

Fresh fish (if available)

4) Plan when you're going to do your big monthly shopping trip and when you do your weekly shopping trip.

If you're not able to do your weekly shopping, then delegate. Type out a shopping list and get your PA or secretary or domestic assistant to do the shopping for you. You can also order food to be delivered to your home or office by certain supermarkets. As most stores stay open for long hours on a daily basis and over weekends, shopping is much more accessible than it used to be. If you plan your schedule, you should still be able to pop in to a supermarket on your way home or over lunch.

5) Write out a schedule for making those foods that you need to prepare on a weekly or daily basis.

Many meals need hardly any preparation, e.g. breakfast: fruit juice, instant oats with fat-free milk or yoghurt, wholewheat toast with Lite margarine and Lite jam or cottage cheese, and a cup of coffee or tea.

Other meals need minimum preparation, e.g. lunch: fresh fruit, wholewheat sandwich with Lite margarine, thinly sliced beef, lettuce and cucumber, fat-free yoghurt and a cup of coffee or tea. All you need to prepare is the sandwich which should take about 3 minutes if you have the basic ingredients available.

Some meals need a bit of preparation, e.g. supper: grilled fish with baked potato, mixed vegetables and a fruit. If you use the microwave to prepare the potato and mixed vegetables and grill the fish, this meal shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to cook.

You can also plan your programme in such a way that you cook certain dishes when you have the time, like over weekends, and freeze them for use during your busy week. Make pasta and vegetable bakes, or lean meat or fish and vegetable stews, or cooked legume dishes and freeze in portions for later use.

Myths 10 of the Worst

1. Drink lots of fruit juice, as long as it’s pure

Fruit juice is concentrated, dissolved fructose (70%) and glucose (30%). The average 200ml pure juice contains approximately six fruits. The human body copes well with small amounts of fructose and glucose from eating single servings of fresh fruit, where the pulp slows down rapid absorption of these simple sugars. Juices place a burden on the body to produce insulin in an effort to cope with large amounts of quickly absorbable sugars. In other words, eat your fruit, don’t drink it.

2. Fat free is the only way to diet

Health authorities have recommended "low-fat" or "fat-free" diets for almost four decades. The reasoning was that fat contains more kilojoules (38kJ per gram) than either carbohydrates or protein, containing 17kJ per gram.

It makes mathematical sense that if you eat equal quantities of these nutrients, fat will be most fattening. But this equation discounts several important facts: fat offers the highest satiety value, and severely restricting it from your diet will lead to incessant hunger, and also make it a lot more difficult to stick to any diet.

The second discounted point is the

GI-lowering effect of fat with meals, and thirdly, the life-saving anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fats. By restricting all fats, we've probably increased our exposure to inflammatory conditions such as heart disease

, abdominal obesity, hypertension, diabetes and certain cancers.

3. Base your meals on cereals and starches

The Food Guide Pyramid has indeed become our tombstone. Many years of starchy eating (6 – 11 portions per day, as recommended) have fuelled our abdominal fat stores. This could lead to an increased production of insulin in response to chronic, large amounts of blood-sugar release from starches.

Fresh fruit

and vegetables are a healthier alternative to starchy eating, since their biochemistry call for less insulin release. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be used to substitute half of our starches. No diet based on starch will promote or sustain weight loss.

4. Jelly babies and marshmallows are fat free, and not fattening

The food industry knows you confuse fats and sugars, and exploits this. If you think you can regularly, safely indulge in a packet of "fat free" jelly babies while you're trying to lose weight, you've fallen in the trap. These products might be fat free, but contain concentrated sugar, with a high insulin-stimulating action. High insulin release is exactly what you want to avoid if you want lasting success with weight loss


5. Eat at least five fruits daily

This recommendation assumes that these five fruits will substitute extras in your diet, such as starches or desserts. It's no use eating your daily junk diet, plus five fruits to soothe your conscience. Then even fruit is fattening.

6. Avocado is fattening

This healthy fruit has been unfairly blamed as fattening for too long. Fruit is generally fat free, and the fat in avocado is not "high fat", "bad fat" or even fattening. Also – it has no effect on your cholesterol or blood-sugar levels.

7. It's what you eat – when is not important

We often skimp on our food intake during the day, with the result that by late afternoon our need for blood-sugar replenishment overrides all reason. One of the main purposes of breakfast

is to get a solid, slow supply of blood sugar going. Topped up by a sensible lunch and late-afternoon snack, your supper should be smallest of your meals.

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