Ultra-Processed Foods...Reducing Your Reliance On Them

Recent research has found that ultra-processed foods make up 63% of the average Briton’s diet. These foods: white bread, cakes, burgers, chips, processed sausages, pizzas, biscuits and cake have been found to increase our risk of obesity, high blood pressure and risk of cancers.

These foods are typically higher in refined sugars saturated fats and lower in good quality nutrients and fibre which may be one explanation for the hike in mortality risk. Although, researchers are also questioning the role of the additives, chemicals leaching from packaging and high cooking temperatures on these risks too.

I suppose you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this. We know that people are opting for these ultra-processed foods as a way of convenience and lack of time for meal prep. So I’m sharing my 5 top tips for helping you make healthy eating, simpler, delicious and more accessible.

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1.       Ensure your freezer is always stocked. I’ve said this time and time again but frozen vegetables will forever be my saviour. They’re pre-chopped and so saves big time on the veggie prep.

2.       Go for simplicity. Sometimes a quick omelette or scrambled eggs and avocado make for a perfect simple dinner. This takes less time than waiting for the oven to heat up to cook a pizza.

3.       Pre-prep your breakfast. Overnight oats are the fastest breakfast to make and perfect for taking on the go. Simply combine oats with milk (any of your choice), cinnamon and berries the night before. Leave them in the fridge and grab them on your way out the door in the morning.

4.       Stock up your snack cupboard at work. Watching people go to the vending machines can sometimes be tempting to tap in for your snack too. So I suggest stocking up your desk. Some of my favourite brands include: Brave peas, Squirrel Sisters snack bars, Nakd snack bars, Pip and Nut almond butter sachets and Ape snacks coconut curls.

5.       Switch the flavoured varieties for the more natural options. Flavoured yoghurts, milks, coffees all tend to be higher in sugars. Opt for the more natural varieties and then add a squeeze of honey and cinnamon if you need (maybe not in the coffee!)

There you have a few simple tips for helping you move over from the Ultra processed foods to some healthier options.

How To Get More Omega-3 Into Your Diet

Omega-3 has been fairy high on our priority list for a number of years now. Many of us are aware that we should probably eat 2 portions of fish per week (one of which should be oily). Omega-3 is vital for bone health, brain function, hormone production and supporting heart health.

Omega-3 from animal sources is in the form of EPA and DHA (aka the active forms which the body can utilise). The plant form (ALA) has to be converted into the active form before it can be used. During the conversion process you can lose a significant amount which means you require more omega-3 from dietary sources. So below I’ve listed 5 easy ways to add more omega-3 into your diets:

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  1. Add 2 tbsp of milled flaxseed to your porridge
    This is also a great way to increase your fibre intake and support a healthy gut microbiome. You might wish to reduce the quantity of oats to make space for your flaxseeds as they’ll help to keep you fuller for longer.

  2. Switch your mid morning snack for a handful of walnuts
    It’s no coincidence walnuts look like the brain! They’re full of healthy fats and omega-3 to help optimise brain function.

  3. Add hemp seeds to your morning smoothie or yoghurt

    As well as being high in omega-3 hemp seeds are also a good source of protein to help support repair and recovery in the body.

  4. Make friends with seaweed

    Seaweed is ideal for snacking on (Itsu make delicious seaweed thins which are bursting with flavour), it’s also really great for adding to broths or shredding over salad. So get creative in order to optimise your omega-3 intake.

  5. Get creative with chia seeds Chia seeds (often refered to as frogs born) aren’t the tastiest ingredient on the planet but that’s what makes them so great. They’re a blank canvas meaning you can flavour them as you wish or hide them in recipes (and you wouldn’t even know they’re there). Try getting creative with a range of chia pudding recipes or simply mix them into your smoothies, porridge or yoghurt. You can also add them to salads, and stews (you’d really have no idea).

    So there you have my top 5 tips for increasing your omega-3 intake… Let me know what works for you!

2019 Food Trends...

As we’re living in such a fast pace environment food trends are changing by the day. So here’s a run down of what to expect this year:

1.     Products made from surplus food. Brands such as ChicP Hummus, Snact (dried fruit snacks) and Spare fruit (fruit crisps) are using surplus produce to make delicious and nutritious snacks.

2.     Probiotics added to everyday products such as granola, nut butters, soups and energy bars. As we’ve seen over the past few years gut health has really taken the limelight and as a result brands are looking for all opportunities to help support your gut microbiome.

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3.     Hemp – set to be the next big thing, hemp seeds, hemp butter and even hemp pasta is on the horizon. Hemp is a great source of protein, healthy fats and fibre.

4.     Vegan snacks – I’m sure there’s no surprise there. With the rise of Veganuary and environmental concern plant based alternatives are on the rise. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have both recently launched a new vegan range with a options ranging from vegan burgers to jackfruit salads and vegan bolognaise.

5.     Alternative ice cream flavours – yes you read correctly, there’s talks of hummus, avocado and tahini ice creams. As a self-confessed hummus addict I’m yet to be convinced on this one…

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There you have a little insight of what’s to come! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so keep me posted over on Instagram @jennahopenutrition.