Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight it’s vital to intake a balanced diet. By eating in a balanced manor you protect yourself from a number of nutritional diseases and increase your vitamin and mineral intake. In order to eat balanced try to:

Consume a Variety of Foods
As you know every different healthy food offers a different nutritional benefit. There are a number of studies still being performed to identify substances in food which contribute to good health. By eating a wide range of healthy food this will ensure you get a wide assortment of nutrients that help protect the body from certain diseases. By eating a range of different foods you can also increase fibre intake which helps absorb extra Fat and cholesterol. You can get in a range of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants all contribute to good all round health. Include a range of coloured foods from green, to orange, red, and yellow. Choose whole fruits and vegetables over juices as they include more fibre.

I always stress the importance of portion control and keeping an eye on how much you are eating. You can overeat healthy foods too, so be aware of foods like nuts, coconut, avocado, fruit, dairy, meat etc. as they can contain high levels of fat/sugar/salt even though they are healthy you have to remember you can have too much of a good thing. I recommend watching your portions of vegetables too by making sure you are eating enough of them in a day. In the past 25 years portion sizes have increased and we are eating more than ever. Statistics published in the Irish Health journal states the instances of obesity has increased in Ireland dramatically. In 1990, only one in 10 Irish men were obese that figure now stands at one in four. Obesity in women has risen from 13% to 21%, since 1990 according to the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA). To avoid overeating stick to recommend portions for each food group and try eating from a smaller plate. To ensure you get more vegetables at lunch and dinner time place them onto your plate before any other food.

We all know that carbohydrate containing foods are highly beneficial in the diet as they provide the body with energy. However too many high GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates can provide the body with too much sugar and not enough fibre. Half your carbohydrates should be whole grain, whole wheat/barley, oats this will ensure more fibre in the diet. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and almost all the nutrients. When selecting carbohydrates read labels and look for 100% whole wheat or whole grain.  If it’s not obvious on the front of the packaging then check the ingredient list and whole grain should be the first ingredient listed.

Refined carbohydrates
Also known as white carbohydrates, foods from this category include white bread, pasta, and most snack foods which contain little or no fibre. These are not necessarily “bad” foods, 9 times out of ten I would recommend white rice and basmati rice over brown rice especially if the client eats a lot of fruit and vegetables. Over consumption of refined carbohydrates can be an issue when an individual encounters some possible dietary problems. Refined carbohydrates are digested quite rapidly into the bloodstream so check ingredient lists for wheat flour, white, refined or enriched flour. This goes without saying but limit the consumption of refined sugar and fizzy drinks they foods can contain empty calories and may lead to obesity if eaten for a long period of time.

Lean protein and Nuts 
I always speak of the benefits of including lean protein in the diet but why? Examples of lean protein include fish, chicken and turkey they have very little saturated fat. In the case of oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines) these types of proteins can reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammation and help promote circulation. Nuts, beans, lentils and eggs are also great sources of protein and contain healthy unsaturated fats in some cases.  Food like nuts can contain high level of fats and the tendency of them to promote weight gain is low due how satisfying they are in the diet.

Reduce animal fat
Red meat and processed meat contains high levels of saturated fat and can increase your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. I recommend having no more than one portion of red meat in a week and to watch the amount of processed meat you consume. No matter if you are eating packet ham, chicken, turkey they all contain high levels of salt to preserve their shelf life. In order to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet consume more nuts, fish, vegetable oil and limit lamb, steak and other red meat.

Avoid Trans fats
Trans fats come from hydrogenated vegetables oil and are used a lot of the time in many processed foods (baked goods, margarine) and fast food. So yes I am an advocator for everything in moderation however when it comes to Trans fats less is best. Not only do Trans fats raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol they also reduce HDL (“good”) cholesterol which can increase the chances of heart disease. Under EU legislation Trans fats must be listed on the label of a food its present in. This had led to many companies eliminating or reducing the presence of these unhealthy fats in their food product.

Watch your sodium intake
Too much sodium in the diet can dramatically increase blood pressure and cause additional adverse health effects. Individuals who are over 50, suffer with hypertension, chronic kidney disease or hypertension should limit the consumption of sodium to 1.5g for all other individuals aim for less than 2.3g daily. In a single teaspoon of table salt (combination of sodium and chloride) contains about 2,325 milligrams (2.3g) of sodium.

Get sufficient Calcium and vitamin D
We all know that Calcium is vital for the development and health of teeth and bones. Calcium is present in dairy products and leafy green veg, if you are worried about the additional calories present in dairy products opt for low fat alternatives. Without the presence of vitamin D the amount of calcium absorbed is reduced so it’s vital to get enough of this vitamin. Vitamin D is obtained from sunlight and the diet but can be difficult to get enough from both sources. So in some cases supplementation may be needed (800 – 1,000 IU a day) to ensure an individual gets the RDA.

Food over supplementation
I previously stated that supplementation can be an alternative if an individual is not getting enough of a particular vitamin or mineral however there is no substitute for a healthy balanced diet.  Food offers countless other potentially beneficial compounds other than vitamin and minerals. By eating a food your body knows how to use the nutrients more effectively in the body. However supplementation is an ideal choice for an individual who cannot get sufficient vitamins and minerals from their diet like in the case of vitamin D as previously mentioned.

Watch for empty liquid calories
Some beverages can supply 20% of the calories in an Irish diet. Individuals think as it’s a liquid that it’s not calorific, when this just isn’t the case. Some drinks such as milk and 100% fruit juice are considered healthy but can have between 60 – 250 calories depending on the size of “your” glass. These are not the beverages I would ever be concerned about unless you were drinking it by the carton, it’s the fizzy drinks, sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages.  These drinks provide very little if any nutrients but are high in calories, fizzy drinks provide high amounts of sugar also. Limit your consumption of these calorie dense beverages and opt for drinking more water.  

Limit Alcohol
Drinking two or three glasses of alcohol in a week will have little negative effect on your body. Alcohol consumption becomes an issue when it’s over consumed as it can cause a number of adverse health problems like increase risk of certain cancers, liver disease, negatively affect mood – depression/anxiety, high blood pressure just to name a few.
To stay within the alcohol limits its recommended by department of health that Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week and no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
Pregnant and lactating woman are recommended not to consume any alcohol during the first trimester.

Aisling BSc Nutrition

Believe it or not but bronzers are one of my all time favourite makeup products they bring life into my makeup look. Adding definition to my flat makeup look and creating contours on my face. There is a big difference between bronzers and contour powders and I use all these different products for different things. I just want to mention I have sallow skin at the moment Im wearing no fake tan and wearing MAC Nc35 so the following bronzers may not preform the same way they do on my skin. Juts a little helpful hit xox

1. Chanel soleil tan de Chanel

This is the only cream bronzer I have on the list and honestly when I first bought this bronzer I HATED IT. I found it made my makeup look caky and patchy, it was by the correction of a youtube video that made it clear I was using this bronzer wrong. How can you use a bronzer wrong I hear you say well I was applying it over my powder set foundation. This is why it was caking up on me and looking more like a five o'clock shadow then a defining contour. 
I apply it before I set my foundation and I dip my brush in lightly, applying it under my cheekbones and across my forehead. This is the most natural looking bronzer I own and it makes me look like I am sun kissed. The bronzer is €39 and is available from Brown Thomas I bought mine in Spain two years ago for a fraction of the price at a pharmacy sale. Iv used this bronzer to death and hardly made a dent a little goes a long way.

2. NYC sunny bronzer 

This bronzer costs less than €5 and iv had it in my collection for the longest time. Its is slightly more orange than the rest of the bronzers I'm going to talk about and I use it more to add colour to my face and not so much for contouring. This gives the most amazing sun kissed look. Its matte which is so rare for an affordable bronzer, I find they all have some sort of shimmer in them. Im not apposed to a shimmery bronzer but from an affordable brand having a matte bronzer is refreshing.

3. Hoola bronzer from Benefit

This is the first cool toned bronzer I ever got and just like with the Chanel bronzer this took a few tries to get it to look right on my skin tone. I use this solely for contouring my cheekbones and it works wonders. So a little of this goes a long way and thats why I struggled with it a little in the beginning. I would look muddy when I went over bored with hoola. Now I take the smallest amount on a Zoeva luxe cheek brush and this gives my makeup look life. Its all about the brush, amount of the product you take and patience blending this out which makes it one of my favourite contour powders.

4. Nars Laguna bronzer 

Not technically a contour powder, however I find it does an amazing job at sculpting out your face. It has the perfect amount of coolness in it that you can get away with it as a contour product. Its important to be aware this is not a matte powder, however the shimmer is so finely milled it doesn't transfer onto the skin. 
As you can see, Nars Laguna is much loved and adored this is actually my second one. Unlike hoola this is not hard to blend out and similarly a little goes a long way. I find I gravitate towards this a lot and when I use it I adore how my contour turn out. It might be my skin tone that works so well with this bronzer and is why I love it so much.
Available for €38 in Brown Thomas 

5. INGLOT sculpting contour powder #502

I honestly don't play favourites with my bronzers but if there was one it would be INGLOT sculpting contour powder in #502 which is the second shade in from the left. I have made a huge dent in this powder and have needed a refill of it since taking this picture. I love the way it looks on my skin, I love the way it preforms, I love the way it blends out, I love everything about it. I know it may seem strange to love a contour shade so much, but if you watch my videos regularly on youtube you will see this bad boy rear its head a lot. This palette was designed my myself each shad costing €10 each and the palette needs to be bought separately but you have it forever. I use this to contour my cheeks, add a contour to around my temples and across the top of my forehead. Its so beautiful and a dream to work with.

6. MAC mineralized skinfinish in give me sun

This is the newest bronzer I'm obsessing over and again this is not considered a contouring bronzer, however with my skin tone I think it looks great. This past summer I wore it every singly day and now party season is coming up I feel like this bronzer will be my best friend. Give me sun, gives such a subtle bronze to my skin but its so bendable. This is the only bronzer out of the bunch that I feel gives a natural glow to the skin nothing crazy don't sweat! It looks like it has an orange undertone in the picture but you can see from the swatch below it has an element of coolness. This is why I think it works so well on my skin!

L-R Chanel soleil tan de Chanel , NYC sunny bronzer, Hoola bronzer, NARS laguna, INGLOT 502 contour powder and MAC give me sun!

What is your favourite bronzer or contour powder. I am always on the look out for a new one and would love to hear your suggestions. 

The importance of eating breakfast
The reason breakfast is vital to us is due to the fact that we are fasting all night. Many of us fast for 9 or 10 hours during the night so eating a healthy, energy fuelled breakfast is vital. By skipping breakfast you are leaving yourself susceptible to adverse health effects, weight gain and lower performance. 

There are studies to which prove that eating a healthy breakfast can help:
*Improve concentration and performance  
*Reduce cholesterol levels
*Increase nutritional intake such as vitamins and minerals

Breakfast and weight control 
Individuals who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip breakfast. By eating breakfast you are reducing hunger throughout the day, meaning you are more inclined to select healthier food choices at other meals. The impression certain people have on skipping breakfast is that you are saving calories; the truth is that skipping breakfast means you are more likely binge throughout the day and eat larger meals such as lunch. As part of a healthy lifestyle and weight control, it is essential to include breakfast. Aim for breakfasts that contain protein and/or whole grains and not processed meats (eg. fry ups) or sugar dense cereals which can be loaded with fat and calories. 

Check food labels
Even sweet cereals can also have high levels of salt so always check the label before purchasing. It is not unusual for a cereal to have 1/3 of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of sodium. Greater than 1.5g of Salt per 100g is considered very high. For example, Special K® has 1.1g of salt per 100g and corn flakes have 1.3g per 100g; take that into consideration if you have any health concerns (eg) too much salt can raise blood pressure. 

The same goes for sugar content; some cereals have as much sugar (per 30g serving) as 3 chocolate digestive biscuits (eg) Crunchy Nut® Cornflakes has 35g of sugar per 100g.  Any food which contains more than 15g of sugar per 100g is high in sugar. Similarly Special K®, which many consider to be a low fat cereal, has 17g of sugar per 100g. Anything less than 10g of sugar is more preferable; too much sugar in the morning can lead your sugars to rise to quickly which can cause a “sugar crash” later in the morning and increase hunger pangs.  It’s vital to stabilise your sugars as this will help regulate your hunger and mood and reduce a future risk of diabetes type 2 . The likes of porridge and high fibre cereals like Weetabix® are likely to keep you fuller for longer. Don’t forget, you can add fruit like bananas and blueberries to the likes of porridge to help achieve your “five a day”.

This food label above says everything about some of your favourite breakfast cereals. Porridge comes out trumps! This is why I eat porridge every morning.

Keep fuller for long 
Choose a breakfast that will keep you fuelled for 2-3 hours. A wholemeal breakfast is the best choice for keeping your hunger pangs at bay (eg) Porridge, Branflakes®, Weetabix®, Brown bread. Wholegrain choices also contain more vitamins and minerals as they are not processed and are highly beneficial in the diet as they contain fibre. Fibre from adequate sources can reduce the absorption of dietary fats and cholesterol, which may result in lower blood cholesterol concentrations thus reducing the risk of heart disease. If you are having porridge chose rolled or steel cut oats avoid quick oats they are much more processed. 

Breakfast options 
Option 1
Fruit compote (this contains 3 portions of fruit or your daily allowance) 
1 kiwi fruit (½ portion)
1 mandarin, segmented  (½ portion)
10 -15 mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) 1 portion 
1 of the following – apple, banana, pear (1 portion) 
Tbl Natural yoghurt 

Option 2 
30g rolled porridge oats  
Sprinkling of fresh fruit of your choice  (I always add banana)
1/2 low fat milk and 1/2 water 

Option 3
2 Weetabix 
10 – 12 berries (blueberries , blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Low fat milk

Option 4 
Poached egg on granary bread 
- Two Eggs 
- Two tablespoons low fat milk
- Two slices granary bread
- 2tsp low fat spread (Flora low low)

Option 5
30g all bran
20 goji berries
Low fat milk

Option 6 
Overnight oats
30g rolled Porridge oats 
mixed berries
natural yoghurt 

Combine all the ingredients in layers in a jar and leave in the fridge over night the yoghurt will soften  the oats and the berries will add some natural sweetness. You can add whatever you want into this mixture (nuts, chia seeds, banana etc.)

Bye bye fry?
If you are a lover of a big fry up on a Sunday morning then there are still ways you can still enjoy it, don't forget everything in moderation. Instead of frying your food why not grill and opt for Turkey bacon and sausages instead of pork as  they contain less sat and saturated fat. Unfortunately I am not going to say enjoy a fry every day its not advisable for good health and will leave you susceptible to certain diseases if eaten over a long period of time 2 -3  mornings a week. Be very clever when it comes to breakfast choices as it really does set you up for the day 

If you are trying to lose weight or have lost weight in the past then you will know how much of an adjustment it is. When you initially make the decision to lose weight you feel motivated, ambitious and you are intent on improving you eating habits. This feeling can be exacerbated when you see how quickly the weight is coming off (as it does in the early weeks). However weight loss eventually stabilises as your body becomes adjusted to the new ways of eating at this stage you may only be losing 1-2lbs a week. This is not unusual and it doesn’t mean you are eating the wrong foods or hindering your weight loss in some way. A weight loss of 1 -2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation, this may seem like a slow pace but by losing weight this slowly you are more likely to keep the weight off long term.

1lbs of fat contains 3,500 calories, by losing that pound a week you need to burn 500 calories each day (500 x 7day = 3,500 calories). Chances are if you have changed to a healthier way of eating then you are more than likely not taking in as many calories daily and the 1lbs weight loss is the result of this.
The major concern with rapid weight loss is that it is usually done in an unhealthy manor and can take extraordinary efforts, which are more than likely extreme and difficult to maintain long-term. This means you are more likely to give up as it’s very difficult to maintain unhealthy weight loss efforts. Additionally by losing weigh quickly you are less likely to lose fat and more likely to lose water and lean tissue. This makes it even more difficult to burn calories.  If your doctor requests you to lose weight for health reasons then rapid weight loss can be safe as it’s done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Don’t fall for a fad
It’s so attractive reading an article online or in the newspaper about a person who lost 2 stone in a month from the juice diet or the 80:10:10 diet but you need to remember these articles are written for shock value. Following a fad diet is not recommended the likelihood of anyone losing weight and keeping it off is slim to none. Yes we have all followed some sort of crazy diet at one stage where you were drinking some revolting juice or living off rabbit food for a month and yes you may have lost 3-4 pounds on this diet but how often has the weight crept back on and some. The truth is a fad diet is not a balanced diet, the weight may comes off fast at first and when you have had enough of calorie restriction you binge and say to yourself “I will try again on Monday”. By following a balanced diet you never have the food cravings and binging as you are not restricting your diet. You are eating healthier and more balanced getting in a range of food groups and enjoying your meals. A balanced diet is easy to follow and if you eat everything in moderation you will lose weight and keep it off. This is why I recommend a balanced diet to my clients and teach them about healthy eating and what meals and food groups they need to incorporate. 

Why slow weight loss is easier to maintain
Losing weight can be easy for some, but maintaining it is what can be challenging. By losing weight at a rapid pace you are more likely to gain back the weight. Rapid weight loss occurs when you are on a calorie restricted diet, I have spoken about eating little and often before and how every woman needs to intake 1900 calories a day and every man needs to intake 2450 calories. By restricting your calorie intake over a long period of time, you may slow down your metabolism and as a result weight loss will become slower and you will be restricting calories and possibly feel hungry.
When your weight loss is slower your metabolism is kept constant and you lose weight steadily. You are not restricting calories or food, the food you eat will be more balanced and healthy. You will see better weight loss results down the line. Not only are you shedding the pounds but you are educating yourself on healthy eating habits that are easier to maintain. Your energy levels are increased, unhealthy food cravings are reduced and you are not obsessing over food.

Losing weight slowly is safer By losing weight at a slower pace you are less likely to experience nutritional deficiencies, dehydration and it gives your body time to adjust to the new changes in lifestyle and diet. By following a quick fix diet you may be eating few and fewer calories and your weight loss can become slower. This can lead to anxiety and body will crave food causing you to binge eat. You may feel like you have failed in your attempt to lose weight and after a time of binge eating or unhealthy eating you will try a quick fix diet again. This is what’s called yoyo dieting and is extremely   damaging to the body when done long term. When losing weight slowly you tend to keep the weight off long term.

Reduces muscle loss
Another advantage to slower weight loss is the reduction in muscle loss.  It’s a known fact that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, for this reason it’s vital to maintain our muscle stores. We all have muscles and when you are on a calorie restricted diet the body will try and obtain energy from your muscle cells as it is not getting sufficient energy from your food.  This can result in muscle loss and a reduction in muscle tone. By losing the weight at a slower rate you are giving your body the energy from your food as you are eating balanced and not restricting the food you intake.

Reduced fatigue By losing weigh slowly your body does not feel deprived of food as you are following the eating little and often analogy. You are receiving a steady flow of energy from your food and you can lead an active lifestyle.  When you restrict calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) your body is not receiving adequate energy and this can leave you tired and fatigued when you go about your day.

Don’t ever be disheartened if weight loss is slower than you initially thought. Some of us have unrealistic ideas about weight loss and we think it should happen overnight.  If you are overweight and losing weight every week then in time you will see a noticeable difference. By losing weight slowly on a healthy diet, the likelihood of you returning to your old unhealthy ways of eating are dramatically reduced. You feel for energised as you are eating little and regularly and not starving yourself. Restriction diets rarely work and if they do it’s for a short period of time. Eating balanced and including a range of different essential nutrients is the most ideal way to keep the weight off for good.  

Aisling xo

As a nutritionist I get asked all the time the best way to loose weight and I have a number of suggestions which I will have in up and coming blog posts and youtube videos. 
It may seem like an easy way out when you want to drop a few pounds, but skipping meals is never a good idea. You may think that by avoiding lunch and holding out until dinner will save you some calories but this theory couldn’t be more wrong. Replacing food with juices is also considered skipping meals no matter how amazing your juicer is or how organic your fruit and veg. Juices are recognised by the body as liquid and not food and they are digested rapidly by the body giving you very little or no sustenance.
The reality is that dealing with low energy and the feeling of hunger is just minor compared to what is going on in the body when you skip meals.

Promoting belly fat storage 
You may think I'm joking when I say skipping meals can cause weight gain in your belly. I have seen first hand experience of this in my nutrition clinic not to mention the hundreds of articles I have read on the topic all proving this claim. Not only can skipping meals lead to stubborn weight gain to you middle it can also lead to insulin resistance (diabetes type 2). Other then looking unpleasant belly fat can cause huge issues for your health. Excess fat stored in the belly or trunk of your body is visceral fat and its found surrounding the organs Visceral fat is not to be mistaken with subcutaneous fat which is under the skin and used for protection and insulation (however can also contribute to a big belly). Visceral fat is associated closely with heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes type 2 as it blocks the action of insulin. Insulin signals to the liver to store the excess glucose away from the blood, but with all the fat surrounding the liver it stops responding. Glucose stays in the blood and can cause damage to other organs.

Altered Metabolism
There could be a few reasons you skipped a meal but if you are trying to lose weight skipping meals is the worst way to go about it. By skipping a meal you may actually be hindering weight loss as it directly effects your metabolism. When you eat, your metabolism breaks food down into smaller, usable nutrients, when a meal is missed your metabolism has nothing to do and doesn’t have to work. As a result your metabolism begins to slow down and the next time you do actually eat something, your metabolism is not able to work as quickly. When your metabolism slows down the food is stored as fat, and the damage can be done to your metabolism very quickly. In order to maintain a healthy weight (or even lose weight), it is essential that you eat regular small meals throughout the day. Recent research has found that five to seven small, regularly timed meals eaten over the course of a day works best when trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Blood Sugar Drops and Spikes
One of the most important reasons that skipping meals is unhealthy is due to the affect this has on your blood sugar. We all know that when you eat a meal, the body breaks up the food. Some of this food is stored as fat, while other parts of it enter your bloodstream as glucose, glucose is the fuel our bodies run on. Glucose works to provide you with energy throughout the day and if the correct foods are eaten it can provide a steady flow of energy (not an instant sugar hit). When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops dramatically and your body goes into starvation mode (conserving energy). This not only can make you feel sluggish and tired, but it can disrupt the insulin in your body. If you regularly skip meals, you can be setting yourself up for the development of diabetes type 2 later in life. 
Your insulin levels are not the only thing affected by skipping meals, your brain function can also be impaired. You can become moody, feel irritated and snappy, "hangry" to put it! The way you feel is directly associated with the lack of food. When you do eventually eat after skipping a meal your body can feel relieved but the damage is already done your metabolism may have become slower as your body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming. This is why I always stress eating little and often

Inadequate Nutrition
This goes without saying that skipping meals means you are more than likely not receiving adequate nutrition. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats ensures that your body functions properly. Adequate nutrition also helps treat and prevent a number of serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, and some types of cancer. You may believe that you can skip meals and still achieve optimal nutrition by supplementing your diet with multivitamins. While multivitamins do have their benefits, they are by no means as effective as real food at providing your body with nutrients and protecting you from certain diseases. 

Eating little and often is a great method to follow in order to avoid hunger pangs, stabilise your blood sugars and keep your metabolism functioning to the best of its ability. The most important factor to remember when eating little and eating regularly is to select the correct foods and to try eating every 3-4hours.

Trying to juggle work, school or college with home life and trying to support ourselves has meant we have become lazy when it comes to eating healthy and regularly. Research has shown that the average Irish person has very little time to sit down for a big meal 3 times a day and instead is consuming 4 to 6 mini meals a day. This is not necessarily a negative way of eating however the food you consume may be an area of concern. We have become a country obsesses with snack food, eating on the go and picking up chocolate and crisps from sweet shops which seem to be on every street.

Being a nutritionist, I recommend to my clients to move away from "traditional eating" patterns such as three big meals a day and instead I recommend a grazing pattern of eating. Why you may ask? Well it takes up to 3 hours for your body to digest a meal – the food is broken down into sugars and these sugars travel through the blood stream providing energy for the whole body. When you ingest a large meal you can burden the digestive system, causing bloating and lowering energy while the body struggles to digest the large quantities of food. 

The body can only use so much energy at one time so by eating large meals you are overwhelming the body. As a result your body stores the excess fuel as fat (causes weight gain).  In addition eating a large meal means your blood sugar spikes and once the body has digested the food your blood sugar level drops leaving your mood lower. The bigger the meal consumed the bigger the crash in energy and mood which means your body will crave a replacement of fuel and it’s usually in the form of a sugary snack. 

In total it takes 2- 3 hours for the peak in sugar levels to go back down so by frequently eating small meals you are supplying the body with manageable levels of energy over the day, the body can use this energy immediately and there is no need to store it as fat for later use.

The best foods to graze on
An adult is recommended to consume up to sixteen different food types over 2-3 days in order to maintain optimum health. When you eat 3 meals a day you may only be eating between six to eight food types. Someone who grazes can eat much healthier, eating less fatty foods and including more carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. When you eat small snack and meals regularly you can consuming higher levels of vitamin C and other nutrients. Someone who eats little and often tends to have lower levels of body fat. The only downside to eating little and often is people tend to interpret snacks as chocolate or crisps (high sugar, high fat), I always suggest snacks throughout the day to be nuts, grains fruit, vegetables and yoghurts. By eating these types of foods you stay fuller for long and are not disrupting you energy levels also you avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods which contain little or no nutrients and are loaded with calories.

Changing the way you eat in the day can be mentally difficult to adjust to and I always suggest taking it slowly do small changes every week. Reduce sugar one week, then try salt the next week, then increase your vegetable intake the following week. Always eat sitting down in a relaxed family surrounding when you’re eating at home. Enjoy the flavours of your food try not to eat too fast.

Eating little and often can be beneficial for so many reasons such as:
Increasing your metabolism
By eating little and often you are keeping your blood sugar at a steady level which means your metabolism is continuously working by skipping meals or not eating something to raise your blood sugar your metabolic rate can possibly slow down meaning you can hang onto extra weight. 

Making weight loss easier
One of the main challenges people face when trying to lose weight is keeping their metabolism steady. Long periods between eating can lead to unhealthy food choice as your body craves an instant sugar hit. Usually sweets or chocolate bars are the first foods people gravitate towards, this can then lead to unnecessary weight gain. Eating little and often stops you from getting too hungry and you can then make healthy nutritious food choices when it comes to snack time.

Continuous energy
When you eat your body uses the food as energy to function. By skipping meals or going too long without eating you can upset your energy levels, when your blood sugars are high you feel energised and when the drop your energy levels plummet. Eating frequently means you avoid dipping and peaking energy levels, instead you keep sugar levels steady and you feel energised throughout the day. .

Keeps your mood stable
A term I frequently use to describe myself if I have gone too long without eating is “Hangry” or hungry- angry. There is a strong scientific connection between food and mood, the brain needs energy in order to function and glucose is what the brain uses for fuel. So when the sugar in your bloodstream goes down, so does your brainpower and you can get snappy, annoyed and irritable for no reason other than you are hungry.  The key is to include complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, all of which help maintain levels of serotonin (a mood-boosting chemical) in the brain.

You will defiantly recognise this product from my instagram and snapchat I posted about it so much when I first got it. I was wandering around boots skincare isle as you do, and I noticed the boots botanics radiance balm on offer for €4.  I liked the sound of it - "all bright" "radiance" it sounded right up my ally. To be honest I had no idea what it was for or how I was going to use it. Is it a moisturiser, highlighter, or just something to give life back into your skin, well I say its all of the above. 

I had heard after googling it that it was supposed to be a dupe for MAC strobe cream. Now I will say its not exactly the same as MAC strobe cream (being a love of mine for so long) but its soooo close and honestly does the exact same thing.

In the tube it looks like a pinky nude colour but once spread out its more of a pearl colour. I use this over my moisturiser and under my foundation and it spreads so well being a super creamy texture. This Balm just gives a lift to my skin and makes it look glowy, without turning me into an oil slick. 

If you feel like your skin needs a little lift then this is your man! It brings life back into a dull completion. Sometimes I apply this to my face and add a little concealer on no makeup days just so I dont look completely dead!

The pearly finish it gives to the skin makes you look like you are glowing. I wont say it prolongs the wear of my foundation but it does give me that youthful radiance to my skin. I recommend this balm for all skin types as the "pearly" finish is not overly obvious once your foundation is applied.

Get it while its on offer and let me know how much you love it ;) 

Ash xxxx

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