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Laura was previously the editorial assistant on Healthy Food Guide. She is now a freelance journalist specialising in health, wellbeing, food & travel.

Being a dietitian doesn’t mean food is always easy… Lucy talks about her weight-loss struggle and feeding a fussy eater

 

I arrived at university unable to boil an egg. I went on a steep learning curve, and now I’m a confident cook. I feel passionate about helping other people to get cooking.

As a mum, I favour 30-minute dinners or anything I can pop in the slow cooker. I fill it with chickpeas, beans and vegetables and use tomatoes as a base for the sauce. I cook mainly vegetarian dishes (I’ll use soya mince for spaghetti bolognese) or fish – we love lemon sole and sea bass.

My son Archie was the fussiest eater I’d ever come across. You assume that being a dietitian means your child will eat everything – he did not. I found the trick was not to give up offering a new food just because it’s rejected. Research backs this up – you need to try at least 15 times before a child accepts it! Now Archie’s three, he eats pretty well – his favourite veg are broccoli and carrots, and he’s a great fish eater.

I struggled to lose weight after pregnancy, which came as a surprise to me. I gained 4st during my pregnancy and thought the weight would fly off after breastfeeding, but it didn’t. A year later I was still 1½st heavier than usual. I really started paying more attention to my snacking habits and exercise.

In fact, snacking is one of the biggest problems I see with clients. We live in a country where everyone is busy. If you can’t prioritise the time to plan or even eat a meal, you’re starving before you get to your next meal, so you graze on high-fat foods. The first thing I do is get people into a meal routine.

The health industry is filled with too much noise. There are too many conflicting health messages, very few of which are backed by evidence, so people have lost faith in knowing what’s true. The food industry faces a real challenge in getting the correct information through.

Nobody likes the ‘everything in moderation’ message, but it works! We all need to move more, eat less and enjoy a wide variety of foods. I’d love to move away from single nutrient demonisation. Any nutrient in excess is bad, but continually going after fat or carbs is unhelpful.

We’re not eating enough fibre as a nation. The message got completely lost in the latest scientific report on carbs. We need to be focusing on getting more fibre and eating the right carbs (the unrefined variety found in wholegrains) for improved bowel health. Fibre has a positive effect on blood fats, but we’ve got a massive job ahead of us at a time when people are choosing to cut out carbs and, therefore, reducing fibre.

Foods I love

Yogurt We usually have about 10 tonnes of yogurt in our house. Archie loves Greek yogurt with a little honey stirred in.

Pulses and beans My cupboard’s full of tins of beans – so easy to use in curries and casseroles.

Nuts My favourite healthy snack. A small handful of almonds every day helps to lower cholesterol, and they’ve been found to reduce visceral fat around the belly, which helps to reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.