• Harriet Milne

Fuel your success!

How Your Diet Can Fuel Your Success

Does everyone seem to be following a different diet or weight loss plan in your office?

Do you find yourself on a diet plan constantly dreaming about food rather than focusing on your work?

Do you crash every afternoon and need a sugar or caffeine hit to make it to the end of the working day?

Many nutrition education programmes have been developed over the years such as:

The Eatwell plate

Weight Watchers ‘points’ system

Slimming World system

The Food Pyramid

and several American systems which are increasingly popular this side of the Atlantic despite being developed with the American population in mind.

Research is constantly being done and the populations that they target change. As a result, these programmes evolve. For example, there is a far greater emphasis on PHYSICAL EXERCISE, less emphasis on GRAINS and more advice on PORTION SIZES.

So how do you know which one is correct? How can you navigate the best way forward if you don’t want to slavishly follow a complicated system of measurements and good cop/ bad cop foods?


BALANCE is the most important goal to strive for when it comes to your diet.

How to do this? Try to make as many of your meals as possible include

Protein, Smart Carbohydrates, Veggies and Healthy Fats. (PCVF)

PORTION SIZES affect your food balance. For an easy to use guide use YOUR HAND as a measure:

Your PALM determines your PROTEIN portions

Your FIST determines your VEGGIE portions

Your CUPPED HAND determines your CARB portions

Your THUMB determines your FAT portions

Smart Carbohydrates: Wholegrain/ wholewheat varieties of bread, rice, pasta and potatoes (sweet and normal varieties) FRUIT counts as your carbohydrate portion

2 cupped handfuls for men

1 large bread roll

2 slices of bread or toast

1 large wrap

2 ramekin sized portions of rice or grains

2 ramekin sized portions of healthy breakfast cereal

2 cupped handfuls of mixed berries

1 cupped handful for women

1 small bread roll

1 slice bread or toast

1 medium sized wrap

1 ramekin sized portion of rice or grains

1 ramekin sized portion of healthy breakfast cereal

1 small banana

Protein: Meat, fish, poultry, beans, pulses and legumes, quinoa, eggs, soya, tofu, yoghurts, cottage cheese, protein supplements.

2 palm sized portions about the same thickness and your hand for men

1 large chicken breast

Baked beans to cover 2 slices of toast,

2 sausages,

4 eggs

1 palm sized portion about the same thickness as your hand for women

1/2 a large chicken breast

Baked beans to cover 1 slice of toast

1 sausage

2 eggs

Veggies: No starchy ones. Green and colourful. The more colour variety the more vitamin and mineral variety

2 fist sized portions with every meal for men

spinach, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes,

2 fist sized portions of cooked onions, peppers and tomatoes.

1 fist sized portion with every meal for women

1 fist sized portion of mixed greens, chopped carrots and cucumbers

Healthy Fats: raw, unsalted nuts, avocados, seeds, virgin oils, fish oils

2 thumb-sized portions for men

2 thumb sized portions of cheese

2 tbsp of guacamole

2 thumbs of nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 thumb-sized portion for women

Half an avocado

1 slice of cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp pesto

Top tips for when you are busy:

PREP VEGGIES IN ADVANCE: We know that veggies retain more nutrients when chopped just before eating, however if the choice is pre-chopped veggies or none then it’s much better to chop a load of carrots, peppers, cucumber etc once or twice a week and grab them to snack on in a matter of seconds each morning.

PRE COOK YOUR PROTEIN: The problem with meat is that it takes time to prepare and cook, as do many vegetarian alternatives such a beans which require soaking and boiling. Try cooking up a big batch of protein sources on a quiet evening or weekend day and refrigerate them until you need them so you can add them to your meals in seconds when you need them.

EAT WRAPS INSTEAD OF SANDWICHES: Sandwiches are invariably unbalanced with lots of bread (carbs) and hardly any nutritious filling (Protein and veggies). If you use a wrap you can get much more of the good stuff inside - especially if you’re using those pre cut veggies and pre-cooked protein sources for your lunches on-the-go.

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