healthy-2020
20 Changes for 2020!

Now that the hangover has cleared and New Year’s Eve is a distant memory, most of us are ready to start afresh. We have had enough overindulgence and it’s time to get back on the healthy track with 20 achievable changes for 2020. Reset the resolution If you are one of those people who set […]

Read more
Student Survival Guide

Moving away from home for the very first time is an exciting time, packed full of new adventures.  If you are packing your bags and heading off to college or university, the chances are that this is the first time in your life that you have to take full responsibility for what and when you […]

Read more
Awesomely healthy Autumn!

For my money, Autumn is the very best time of year to adopt some healthy new habits that will help to keep you well during the colder months ahead. With this change of season there is a glut of delicious local produce to be enjoyed – from plums, apples and berries, to kale, carrots and […]

Read more
healthy-family-food
Healthy Family Meals

The little darlings are back to school, and all across the land parents, grandparents and childminders breathe a sigh of relief as some semblance of normal routine resumes. As we get back to the regular timetable juggling school drop offs, homeworks, after schools clubs and trying to hold down a job at the same time, […]

Read more
Optimum Nutrition for Mental Health

We take it for granted that fast food, sugar and salt all have a part to play in the development of heart disease, but have you ever stopped to consider just how important our food choices are for mental health too? It is now widely accepted that nutrition could be as important to mental health […]

Read more
dental-health
Nutrition for Dental Health

Tooth decay is the number one reason for children being admitted to hospital. It is estimated that 40% of five year olds in Northern Ireland show signs of tooth decay (that is compared to 25% in England). So where are we going so badly wrong?

Read more
constipation
Constipation: are you regular?

How regular are you? Are you regular? One of the questions I always ask my 1-2-1 clients is how often they poop. It can tell a lot about a person’s general health, not just the state of their digestive tract. Constipation affects our mental and emotional health as well as our physical well-being, so it […]

Read more
multivitamin
Multi-vitamins: do we need them?

So many of us take a daily nutritional supplement as a little extra health insurance alongside our healthy diet, popping a supplement into our shopping trolley alongside our vegetables, oily fish, seeds and all the other food we buy to help keep ourselves well nourished. Do you take a multi-vitamin? Whether you buy your multinutrient […]

Read more
weight-loss
Weight loss: what works?

We all want a dietary quick fix – the magic bullet that helps us lose weight, fast! From intermittent fasting and low carb, to calorie counting and diet shakes, there are endless diets making promises for fast, fat-burning results. So, what really works? The short answer is there is no such thing as one diet […]

Read more
crash-diet
Crash Diets Don’t Work

How many times have you been on a diet? Do you get excited about the latest diet, follow it for a while and see what happens, only to find that it didn’t live up to expectations, or do you have one favourite diet that you go back to time and again that gets you the […]

Read more
golf-nutrition
Good nutrition for golfers – eat your way to a better game

At the weekend the British Open took Portrush by storm as the North Coast welcomed the world’s top golfers to our little corner of the world.Whether you aspire to be one of the world’s top pros or just want to take your weekend game to the next level, diet and nutrition could help you tee […]

Read more
Healthy-skin
Super Healthy Skin

The health of our skin can be a reflection of how healthy we are on the inside. When we are stressed out, have hormonal fluctuations or are feeling tired, we can see it in our skin. Spots and zits, redness and inflammation, dry skin or oily, the food we put into our body could be […]

Read more
mediterrean diet
A taste of the Med

Heading to the Med – why your holiday food could help keep you healthy… Plenty of us are looking forward to packing our bags, leaving the rain behind and heading off to find some Mediterranean sunshine over the next few weeks. Part of the fun of a holiday is to discover new foods and flavours […]

Read more
healthy-food-tips-nutrition
Ten Good Things

When it comes to diet and nutrition, the rules and restrictions of healthy eating can seem overwhelming – and quite honestly, entirely off-putting. One week, headlines tell us that we should all be eating less fat, the next week the message is low sugar. No wonder we end up feeling dazed and confused about the […]

Read more
mens-health-nutrition
Nutrition for Men’s Health

Yesterday was Father’s Day, so it’s the perfect time to talk about optimum nutrition for men’s health. Unfortunately, men tend to draw the short straw in the health stakes from mid-life onwards, with a shorter life expectancy than women and an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. Testosterone levels decline naturally as men age, […]

Read more
eat-more-vegetables-5-a-day
10 easy ways to eat more vegetables

Everyone knows all about five-a-day, but it seems that not many of us are reaching the target. New research shows that almost 1 in 5 (19.5%) of us here in Northern Ireland eat less than one portion of vegetables a day. That’s lower than anywhere else in the UK. What counts as a portion of […]

Read more
kids-healthy-snacks
Tackling Treats

Our kids are running on a junk food diet. Research published by safefood last week shows that almost a quarter of a child’s daily diet in Northern Ireland consists of junk food, high in sugar, fat and salt. Unhealthy snack foods like crisps, biscuits, cakes, sweets and chocolate have become the ‘go-to’ after school snack, and are […]

Read more
diet-weight-loss-fat
Weight loss – what works?

Weight loss diets and trends come and go. From low fat diets, to calorie counting and low carb to high protein, it seems that every passing fad is a short term fix. Over the years, I have noticed a few trends that have stood the test of time. If you want to change your diet to […]

Read more
mental-health-nutrition
Mental Health and Nutrition

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for 2019 was focused on body image and the impact it has on our mental health. Shocking statistics published by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that in a survey of 4,505 adults and 1,118 teenagers, one in five adults felt shame, and over a third of teenagers (37%) felt upset about their […]

Read more
exam-nutrition-brain-food
Brain food – what to eat if you’re doing exams

Exam season is fast approaching, and students everywhere are cramming in as much revision as possible. If you are on the brink of sitting your GCSEs, A-levels or end-of-year exams, spare a thought for how the food you eat could help to optimise your brain power. Simply making a few changes to what you choose […]

Read more
marathon running nutrition
Marathon Recovery Nutrition

Marathon Recovery Nutrition The training is over, your trainers are ready and the excitement is building for tomorrow’s Belfast City Marathon. Of course, what you eat and drink in the run up to the marathon is critical to help you get the most out of your training no matter whether you are aiming for a […]

Read more
hay fever
Are there foods that reduce hay fever symptoms?

If you suffer from hay fever, the seasonal sounds of summer – chirping birds and next door’s lawnmower – can mean the onslaught of sneezing, runny noses and watery or itchy eyes. Alongside your usual antihistamines and hay fever remedies, nutrition could also have a role to play in helping to manage symptoms of seasonal […]

Read more
healthy Easter egg
How to have a Healthy Easter

How to have a healthy Easter Easter is a time of renewal and rebirth, so it is the perfect time to come out of hibernation after the long, cold winter and spring back to some healthy habits. It can be difficult to think about being healthy at Easter, but in between the sugar overload of […]

Read more
It’s not what we eat, it’s what we don’t eat – the value of a well-balanced diet

The fact that eating a well-balanced diet supports our mental and physical wellbeing and is likely to reduce risk of some diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers is old news, but what may come as a surprise is just how dangerous the food on your plate could be. Last week the […]

Read more
workplace health nutrition desk
Vital Nutrition for Workplace Health

Most days of the week I am popping in and out of workplaces all over Northern Ireland advising people how to eat well at work as part of their workplace health strategies. Here at Vital Nutrition HQ, we support business large and small to make their workplace a healthy place to be. Today’s blog is […]

Read more
How healthy are you and can eating affect that?

How would it feel to be 100 per cent super duper healthy? When I ask that question in the workshops that I run, the first thing people usually say is “to feel energised”, closely followed by “happiness”. Sunday April 7 was World Health Day. According to the WHO (The World Health Organisation), the definition of health […]

Read more
Why I’ll still be cracking into eggs for breakfast

Is there another food that has had such a hard time from headlines and more health scares than eggs? The original ‘Go to work on an egg’ headlines encouraged us to swap our cornflakes for a boiled egg as a nourishing way to start the day. Then along came the fear of high cholesterol and the […]

Read more
Underactive thyroid? Diet can help

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of our neck, just below our voicebox. This little gland releases hormones into the bloodstream that regulate metabolism and cell regeneration. When thyroid function is out of whack, it can affect how we think and feel. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include […]

Read more
Celebrate healthy Irish food on St Patrick’s Day

When we think of traditional Irish food, it’s often soda bread and Irish stew that spring to mind. As a nation of farmers and fishermen, we have a glut of healthy, locally produced Irish food on offer, so as the St Patrick’s Day celebrations get under way and the Guinness is flowing, let’s take a […]

Read more
Why you should eat your greens (and purples)

The term ‘superfood’ is often used to describe exotic foods that are relatively new to our diet, with exotic names like acai, goji or chia, but there are a group of green (and purple) super-duper foods that the Irish have been eating for generations that promise a myriad of health benefits. Brassicas or cruciferous vegetables […]

Read more
What to eat or not eat if you have high blood pressure

It is estimated that about one in eight people in Northern Ireland have high blood pressure, although many of us may be symptom-free and don’t even realise it is affecting us. If left untreated, high blood pressure or hypertension is a risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.   So what is high blood pressure?  As […]

Read more
How to control sugar cravings

Do you have a sweet tooth? Wondering how you can control your sugar cravings? If so, you are not alone. It is estimated that the average adult eats 130 teaspoons of sugar a week. That’s three times that recommended by the WHO. Our sugar consumption has got out of control and it is wreaking havoc […]

Read more
Immune Boosters

If you have been feeling a little under the weather, a bit run down, and just not quite as healthy as you would like to feel, I have a few simple immune boosters that most of us will find easy to include in our regular diet. My top ten immune boosters: Berries – dark coloured berries […]

Read more
Eat yourself to sleep – 10 tips for better shut-eye

A good night’s sleep leaves us refreshed, revived and ready to start the day with a spring in our step. With the recommended eight hours a night, sleep plays a significant role in healing and repairing our body. Insomnia and erratic sleep patterns have been associated with everything from obesity and cardiovascular disease, to depression […]

Read more
Healthy Eating for Teenagers

With all the changes going on in your body, being a teenager can be hard work. Hormones at puberty have a lot to answer for – your body shape is changing, your skin is getting spotty, your mood is all over the place, you are sprouting hair in usual places… Making a few changes to the […]

Read more
Eat your heart out – nutrition for a healthy ticker

Northern Ireland has one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world, with heart attacks and strokes remaining our biggest killer. There are several risk factors thought to be linked to an increased risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stress, poor eating habits, genetics, smoking and being overweight. […]

Read more
Do you know what’s in your daily multivitamin?

Do you take a daily multivitamin? How do you know if it’s doing you any good? In an age where we can buy cheap multivitamins off the shelf at the supermarket for a few quid, or spend a hefty wadge of cash on more expensive ones from health-food shops and specialist online stores, do you […]

Read more
A quick guide on eating for the good of our planet

You can’t have missed the recent paper published by The Lancet that looks at the impact of the food we eat on the health of our planet. With the snappy title ‘Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diet from sustainable food systems’, this paper suggests changes in food production and the dietary […]

Read more
Eat more fibre, for the good of your health!

We know it keeps us regular and helps to prevent constipation, but apart from the effects on bowel health, did you know that getting sufficient fibre in our diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, weight management and bowel cancer.  We should be aiming for 30g fibre a […]

Read more
Is Veganuary good for your health?

January is the time when most of us take a look at our habits and lifestyle and try to make some changes to better ourselves a little. This year, Veganuary is the buzzword of the season, as plenty of us turn to a vegan diet for January in a quest to feel healthier, fitter, and […]

Read more
My food trend predictions for 2019

Happy New Year! We are just over a week into 2019 and in the energetic throes of healthy New Year’s Resolutions. So, whether you are donning your lycra for daily workouts, challenging yourself to a vegan January, or off the booze for the month, you might find some inspiration in the hot new food trends predicted […]

Read more
A healthy body isn’t made of New Year resolutions

Now that most of us are back at work and 2018 is becoming a distant memory, you might be starting to reflect on how you can make 2019 the year that you become a newer, faster, fitter, slimmer, better version of yourself. However well-intentioned our New Year’s Resolutions, often we set the bar too high. January […]

Read more
Eat, drink and… try my homemade Ferrero Rochers

Let’s face it – Christmas is not a time for diets, detoxes or counting calories. The season to eat, drink and be merry is definitely upon us. Most of us do our best to eat as well as we can throughout the year, making choices to ensure we eat our five a day, drink enough […]

Read more
The Vital Nutrition guide to surviving the office Christmas party

The Christmas party season is in full swing. It’s time to let your hair down, celebrate the festive season with friends and colleagues and eat until you pop. Overindulgence of rich, sugary foods and a little more alcohol than normal can leave us feeling the worse for the wear. If you are hitting the town […]

Read more
What to eat to stay on your feet, here’s your Christmas shopping survival guide!

Writing your list and checking it twice? If you are hitting the shops to do a spot of Christmas shopping this weekend, then I have a few ideas in my Christmas Shopping Survival Guide that might help to keep your energy levels fuelled. Hydrate yourself: The first sign of dehydration can be fatigue and flagging […]

Read more
Food doesn’t have to travel half way around the world to be a ‘superfood’

Goji berries, raw cacao and acai berries have been lauded as superfoods but I prefer to look a little closer to home, to foods that don’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of food miles to reach our breakfast bowl, lunch box or dinner plate for superfoods packed full of nutrition. The dictionary definition of […]

Read more
Feeling Sad? Tips for beating the winter blues

For many of us, the darker nights and limited daylight hours can make us feel a little more sluggish, but for some people the change of season can trigger the onset of more severe symptoms of low mood or depression, fatigue and anxiety. Seasonal Affective Disorder (Sad) is thought to affect one in 15 of […]

Read more
Eat with the seasons, for your health and to enjoy autumn’s flavour palette

The darker days creep up on us slowly but there is no denying the fact that we are well in the grip of autumn now. How does the change of season affect your health? Do you embrace the ritual of making seasonal and nourishing soups and stews, or do you find yourself eating more comforting […]

Read more
Healthy eating for one just takes a little prep

If you live on your own, shopping, cooking and eating healthy food can seem like a lot of effort, but I promise you, there are some simple tricks to max up your nutritional intake without too much effort. Not only will you be eating healthier food, but these simple ideas will increase your variety and […]

Read more
There’s more to health and safety at work than high vis and hard hats

Most of us are doing our best to eat well, most of the time with a view to staying healthy, but have you ever stopped to consider the impact of the food you eat on your safety at work. This week I have been visiting different workplaces across Northern Ireland to discuss just this. I’ve […]

Read more
Eating to boost your immune system for winter

As Autumn settles in and the nights get darker our health can take a bit of a downturn. Earlier this year, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended that honey and over-the-counter medications should be used for coughs and colds before turning to our GP to ask for an antibiotic. The common cold […]

Read more
How eating well can help optimise mental health

World Mental Health Day was on Wednesday. When we talk about mental health, often the food we eat and the impact it has on our mood can get overlooked. The field of nutritional psychiatry is a fairly new one, but more and more health professionals are looking to diet and nutrition as a way to help […]

Read more
menopause
What you eat can help during the menopause

Hormonal changes can rock your world. From hot flushes and anxiety to low libido and joint pain, menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman. Typically women start to experience signs of the menopause between the age of 45 and 55. As women approach menopause, levels of oestrogen and progesterone begin to decline, eventually leading to […]

Read more
Eating for exercise – what, when and how much

When it comes to looking after yourself, diet and exercise go hand in hand. Whether you are exercising for health and wellbeing or for competitions and performance, what you eat before, during and after training can affect recovery, fat burning and stamina. Some smart choices will help you get maximum results. If you are trying […]

Read more
Nutrition is about much more than the sum of calories in food

Recent news reports have been all over the idea that there should be a calorie count on menus in cafes, restaurants and your favourite takeaway in a bid to help control the obesity epidemic. While I am all for helping people to make healthier choices, I am not entirely in agreement that calorie counting is a […]

Read more
Veganism is popular – but is it healthy?

2018 has been the year of the plant-based diet and the trend for veganism is on the up. With concerns over the environment, animal welfare and health, and supermarkets and major retailers offering new products to support a plant-based diet, more people are switching to the vegan way of life, at least a few days […]

Read more
Get into the swing of the changing seasons

September feels like a fresh start. A time to reflect and get ourselves back on track after the relaxed months of summer. Maybe its because kids are back to school and we are back in the routine of real life, or maybe it’s the change of season that gets us motivated to take action to clear […]

Read more
How to pack your kids a healthy lunch

The start of a new school year not only means new uniforms and shiny shoes, for many families September means getting back to the routine of making packed lunches for your little ones. So how do you pack your kids a healthy lunch? ::What’s in your child’s lunchbox? Around 42 per cent of children in […]

Read more
Bring balance back to your diet

If every Monday morning starts with great intentions to get fitter, healthier and become a new and improved version of yourself, but by Saturday you are chastising yourself for another failed diet, then maybe it is time to change the way you think about food. For many of us food means dieting, restriction, watching calories, carbs, […]

Read more
The health benefits of tea

If Ireland has a ‘national drink’, then arguably it has to be a good cup of tea: whether in times of grief and sadness or happiness and celebration, it is what we turn to for comfort. Tea drinking has been considered a healthy habit since ancient times, and now there is a mass of evidence to […]

Read more
Food synergy

There are certain food combinations that not only taste better together, but have a synergistic effect to boost their nutrition to the max. We are just starting to understand how these combinations work. That’s why getting as much variety into our diets and packing as many different types of fruit, vegetables and unprocessed whole foods […]

Read more
Are you getting enough fibre in your diet?

Dietary fibre may not be the most glamorous subject in the nutrition world but there may be more to this indigestible substance than keeping us regular. Getting sufficient fibre in our diet could play a role in supporting weight management, blood-sugar control, cardiovascular health and hormone balance. :: What is fibre? When we think fibre, […]

Read more
The sweet and low-down on sugar alternatives
The sweet and low-down on sugar alternatives

Last week I was chatting to you about how to manage sugar cravings. So now that your sweet tooth is under control, let’s take closer look at some of the sugar alternatives available, for that every once in a while when you want a little something to sweeten up your life. Cutting back on sugar […]

Read more
A quick guide to curbing your sugar cravings

Do you need a sugar fix? If your sweet tooth is leading you into the temptation of chocolate, biscuits and sweets more often than is healthy, it could be more than just a matter of lack of willpower. We all know the dangers of too much sugar in our diet – from obesity and type […]

Read more
Nature’s own functional foods

Walk down any supermarket aisle and you are sure to find a whole range of functional foods. These are foods and drinks that promise to deliver a variety of health benefits, from probiotic yoghurts that are good for your gut, to margarines with promises of reducing cholesterol and breakfast cereal with added folic acid or […]

Read more
Get kids in the kitchen this summer!

Summer holidays can be a challenging time for parents trying their best to feed their kids well. With long summer days, holiday lie-ins and the temptation to curb boredom with food, children (and adults) are more likely to be tempted by sugary treats, ice cream and junk food, but good nutrition does not have to […]

Read more
My tips for eating your way to better health

Good health is a question of balance. According to the World Health Organisation, health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. We have the power to change our health simply by making some changes to the food we choose, how we move our bodies […]

Read more
Fats and oils for cooking, spreading, drizzling

If there is one nutritional issue that tends to confuse people, it’s the question of fats. What are the best oils to cook with, spread on and drizzle over your food? Before we go any further, though, let’s talk about saturated fats. For years we have been told to eat ‘low fat’, avoid saturated fat and […]

Read more
Chewing the fat!

For far too many years, the diet industry has been encouraging us to limit our intake of calories in a quest to lose weight. A low calorie diet inevitably means a low fat diet, as gram for gram fat contains more calories than the other macros in our diet, providing 9kcals per gram compared to […]

Read more
Time restricted eating – a beginner’s guide

In modern life we are surrounded by food, all of the time. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready in an instant at any time of the day or night for when we feel a bit peckish. We have become a society of grazers. For the vast majority of us, […]

Read more
Don’t forget that there’s a knack to snacking

Are you a snacker? Sometimes there are so many conflicting rules and contrasting regulations about healthy eating, that it can end up getting totally confusing. Take snacking as an example. One rule says we should eat little and often, and then something else tells us not to snack between meals. So how so we know what […]

Read more
How to stay hydrated and why we need water

Water is essential to life. It makes up about 60 per cent of our body weight and is important to help us regulate our body temperature, lubricate our joints, digest our food, to carry nutrients to our vital organs and help excretion of water material. When we become a little dehydrated, we can feel more […]

Read more
Sunny spell lays bare obesity problem

Seduced by the heat of the sun, t-shirts have been whipped off and legs that have been in hibernation since last summer have seen the light of day. If you have noticed an extra inch or a little more wobble with each passing summer, you are not alone. Research shows that, in the past 20 years, […]

Read more
Tips for a healthier barbecue

Summertime salads, grilled meat and fish, gathering with friends and family – you can’t beat a barbecue. But wait a minute… isn’t our penchant for barbecue meant to be a health risk, associated with everything from obesity to heart disease and cancers, not to mention food poisoning? Before you throw out the charcoal, here’s how […]

Read more
Here’s my menu to help you survive your exams

AS EXAM season starts and GCSE and A-level exams get under way, good nutrition could be the key to helping students cope a little better with stress, as well as having an impact on memory and concentration. Here are my top tips for eating to survive exam season: :: Keep well hydrated. The first sign […]

Read more
Porridge for breakfast? There’s porridge and there’s porridge…

Take a walk down the cereal aisle of any supermarket and you are sure to be bombarded with promises of health and wellbeing. For most people, breakfast is a quick meal eaten to fuel our morning. Sometimes cereal packages are not what they seem, and with hidden sugars and incomprehensible food labelling, simply choosing a […]

Read more
Portion distortion – a guide to healthy meal sizes

One of the questions I get asked most often is what is a healthy portion size? We live in a time when supersize portions and family size packs have made it tricky to work out what is ‘normal’ in terms of the amount of food we should have on our plate. We don’t need to […]

Read more
hay fever nutrition
Nutrition for hay fever

Nutrition for Hay Fever If you suffer from hay fever, the seasonal sounds of summer – chirping birds and next door’s lawnmower can mean the onslaught of sneezing, runny nose and watery or itchy eyes. Alongside your usual anti-histamines and hay fever remedies, nutrition could also have a role to play in helping to manage symptoms of […]

Read more
Eating better is simplest form of health insurance

If I told you that there was something we could all do to be a healthy weight, feel more energised, stop sugar cravings, support our immunity and promote good health, would you want a bit of it? Most of us would jump at it, wouldn’t we? Although it sounds too good to be true, this […]

Read more
Sugar taxed at last but beware of the alternatives!

So, the sugar tax is here. Last week saw the introduction of a UK-wide levy on soft drinks, with the aim of tackling childhood obesity. This has encouraged many of the soft-drink manufacturers to change their recipes to create a lower sugar alternative. What is the sugar tax? The UK government has introduced a two-tier […]

Read more
Diet tips for those with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is neurological condition that affects around 8,000 people in Ireland. It is named after Dr James Parkinson, who first identified it in 1817. Parkinson’s disease affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements. This Wednesday (11 April) is World Parkinson’s Day, with events happening all over the UK and Ireland all week to help raise awareness about […]

Read more
What’s in your shopping basket?

Most of us have the same route around the supermarket week after week, filling the shopping basket with the same sort of stuff we know our families will eat. Changing just one or two things in our weekly shop has the potential to change the food we eat for the good of our health, and eth chances are your […]

Read more
The Good Gut Guide

Grumblings, rumblings, farts and poo. Gut health is not something we usually discuss in polite conversation, so how do you know what is normal, and what is not? IBS is one of the most common health diagnosis, thought to affect about one in five of us. Symptoms can vary from pain and discomfort, constipation and diarrhoea, to bloating and […]

Read more
What has changed in our society to make so many of us fat & sick?

Recent headlines have not been great news for our health, and perhaps a sign that our nutrition is out of balance. Type 2 diabetes has increased by 62% since 2007 and more than 7 in 10 millenials will be overweight or obese by the time they reach middle age. Is this a sign of our times? What has […]

Read more
Eggs are not just for Easter

If you were off chocolate for lent, I’m sure you were eagerly anticipating munching your way through at least one chocolate Easter egg at the weekend.Whether chocolate, painted, rolled or hunted, eggs are synonymous with Easter celebrations as a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth. The tradition of painting eggs pre-dates Christianity as a […]

Read more
Is five-a-day really enough?

A HIGHER intake of fruit and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. We know these foods are good for us, so why are so many of us vegetable dodgers? With recent advice suggesting we should aim to eat seven to 10 portions of vegetables and fruit […]

Read more
Not all calories are equal

A third of us underestimate how many calories we work our way through each day. That’s according to a new report from the Office of National Statistics. They reckon that we eat about 1000kcals more than we think we do. So whether the people that took part in the survey gave an under-estimate to look good […]

Read more
What’s in your lunchbox?

What’s in your lunchbox? Is your lunchbox packed with good nutrition, or is it the same boring thing week in, week out? Forget soggy sandwiches and limp lettuce, it’s time to give our lunchboxes a makeover. Fresh, vibrant salads and hearty, warming soups can turn a boring lunch into something worth taking a break for. […]

Read more
Get well soon – a flu recovery plan!

Get well soon – nutrition to make you feel better! This year’s Australian flu has hit us hard, with friends and family knocked off their feet for at least a couple of weeks, and people who never get sick hit with fever, fatigue, chills, aches and pains. As a Nutritional Therapist, my first thought always […]

Read more
2018 food trends

We are well into 2018 now, with the end of January looming and the scents and sounds of spring in the air. I have been taking a look at some predicted food trends for 2018 and chosen some of my favourites. Plant Power! In 2017 plant based diets were hot and the trend sets to continue […]

Read more
Forget New Year’s Resolutions!

Forget New Year’s Resolutions! Most of us start the year with great intentions of becoming a newer, faster, fitter, slimmer, better version of ourselves, which is great, but how many times have you made the same resolution, only to find yourself disappointed at your lack willpower, or feeling guilty about your love of chocolate. I have a better […]

Read more
Feeling S.A.D?

Do you find your mood starts to darken with the longer nights and darker days? Most of us living in the UK and Ireland are affected by the seasons to some degree or other and many of us suffer the ‘winter blues’ in November, December, January or February. You often hear people saying they have less energy […]

Read more
Healthy Halloween

Spooky, creepy things are starting to stir. It’s that time year when grown-ups revert to childhood, dress up as witches, ghouls or punks (?!), and kids munch their way through endless buckets of sweets, chocolate and ‘candy’. So is there such a thing as healthy halloween treats? Healthy Halloween food As a festival to celebrate the passing of […]

Read more
I love chocolate!

I love chocolate! I am a nutritional therapist with a chocolate habit! I love the stuff, so I get it when clients tell me they have a sweet tooth. Over the years I have found a way to curb the cravings and not give into temptation, so here’s what works for me. One thing that helps me to control the […]

Read more
Food and Mood

Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, substance misuse, eating disorders and post-natal depression are thought to affect 19% of our population, with people in Northern Ireland having a 25% increased chance of suffering from mental health problems than in England. We have a problem and we need to talk about it! Mental health problems can go undetected, […]

Read more
Think Outside the Lunchbox!

If your kids are feeling the back-to-school blues, maybe a few new ideas for their lunchbox is just the thing to boost mood, help concentration and make sure their energy levels don’t flag come 2pm. Vital Nutrition’s School Lunch Box Checklist Make it colourful – a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables will ensure your […]

Read more
Shortcuts for busy families

Life is busy, the kids are hungry, tensions are fraught and it is all too easy to resort to nuggets and waffles for tea again because it is quick and easy – and everyone will eat it. So what if there was an easy way to feed your family healthy food without too much hassle?  In this blog post […]

Read more
Vegan diets – are they healthy?

Is a vegan diet a healthy diet, or do we need to consume some animal based foods for optimum nutrition? Last week’s twitter storm over what a dietician said about vegan diets hit the headlines. So was she right to say  ‘It’s very complicated to make sure a vegan diet is safe and adequate – […]

Read more
Low income, healthy eating

A recent report from The Consumer Council Northern Ireland reported that low income families spend one third of their income on food. Healthy eating on a low income can be a tricky juggling act, but with a few savvy ideas it is possible to eat well on a tight budget. With food prices on the increase, saving […]

Read more
Help for High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is measured as two numbers. The first number is the systolic reading and this is the pressure within your blood vessels as the heart contracts and faces blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure is the lower number and records the pressure when your heart fills up with blood again. Normal blood pressure is […]

Read more
How safe is coconut oil?

Last week’s headlines splashed the shocker ‘Coconut oil as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’. Not so long ago, coconut oil was hailed as a cure-all for everything from dementia to dry skin and we were all rushing out to stockpile this ‘healthy’ fat. No wonder we end up dazed and confused about what foods are healthy. When anything like […]

Read more
More than 5 a day

More than half of adults in Northern Ireland struggle to eat three portions of fruit and veg a week. This is shocking! It’s time to up our game for the good of our health. It seems that the 5 a day message we struggle so hard to achieve is lower than levels that current research suggests as being […]

Read more
What is your body trying to tell you?

Dry itchy skin, joint pain, tired all the time, bad breath, anxiety and stress. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it could be your body’s way of telling you that something is deficient in your diet. A recent survey by Healthspan of 2000 adults found that 1 in 20 people believed they need to supplement krill oil and vegetable […]

Read more
Mental Health Week

It’s World Mental Health Week. Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, substance misuse, eating disorders and post-natal depression are thought to affect 19% of our population, with people in Northern Ireland having a 25% increased chance of suffering from mental health problems than in England. We have a problem and we need to talk about it! Mental […]

Read more
Reading Food Labels

Reading food labels can be confusing at the best of times, but you don’t need a Food Science degree to work out what’s in your food if you follow some basic rules. Ignore the claims and boasts on the front of the pack. They are often covering up for something that’s missing, or trying to dress […]

Read more
Spring Clean Your Diet

Lighter evenings and sunny days are on the way as the clocks change next weekend. If you have been in winter hibernation, all this talk of sunshine, might put you in the mood for a radical clean up of your diet. Although not quite time to pack away the slow cooker and wave goodbye to soups and […]

Read more
Eat your heart out!

Heart health is a big issue in Northern Ireland, with 39% of all adult deaths caused by chest, heart or stroke conditions and 11% of the population living with these conditions. With obesity on the increase, a fruit and vegetable intake lower than anywhere else in the UK and our lack of exercise, these figures are unlikely to […]

Read more
Boost Your Winter Immunity

The weather forecast is for colder weather to come in the next few weeks, so get your store cupboard stocked with some winter essentials to help keep your immune system in check. Here are my top ten immune boosters: Elderberry is one of the most potent immune boosters known and has been used for generations to treat […]

Read more
Do burnt toast & roast potatoes increase cancer risk?

Burnt toast & roast potatoes! The Food Standard’s Agency’s (FSA) ‘Go for Gold‘ campaign encourages us to avoid burnt toast and cook our roast potatoes for a shorter time to help reduce our cancer risk. What is acrylamide? The offending factor is a chemical called acrylamide, which is formed when starchy foods like spuds and […]

Read more
Healthy Christmas
Have yourself a healthy little Christmas

With just a few days to go before Christmas day, the countdown is well and truly stepping up a gear. So here is my fail safe guide to a happy, healthy Christmas: On Christmas morning share a decadent breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs to help maintain and sustain your energy levels for the […]

Read more
surviving christmas shopping
Surviving Christmas Shopping!

Surviving Christmas Shopping! Writing your list, checking it twice, finding out who was nasty or nice? If you are hitting the shops for some Christmas shopping this week, then check out my festive survival guide…. Jane’s Christmas Shopping Guide_2 from Jane McClenaghan on Vimeo. Sometimes in the run up to Christmas, our energy levels will flag, our […]

Read more
1980s Diet Decade

Ready meals, pre-packed sandwiches, microwave meals and low fat foods – the 1980s have a lot to answer for when it comes to shaping our food habits. So are we eating better now than we did 30 years ago?  The National Obesity Forum compared the eating and cooking habits of 4,000 UK households from 1980 to 2012, […]

Read more
Is milk healthy?

Is milk a healthy choice? Is milk really healthy, or is there a better alternative? Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk… the choice seems endless, so how do you know which is the best choice for you? The answer is not clear cut, as everyone is different. For some, cow’s milk […]

Read more
Is bread a healthy choice?

Is your daily bread a healthy choice, is there a better alternative, or would you be better cutting bread out of your diet completely? Is bread healthy? The bread we know today has come a long way from traditional breads. Most commercially produced bread is made using a method called the Choleywood process – a quick and […]

Read more
Healthy Back to School Ideas

A new term is starting and the kids are back to school next week. So how can you make sure you are keeping them healthy? What’s in your lunchbox? 42% of children in Northern Ireland take a packed lunch to school. A few years ago, The Food Standards Agency’ carried out a survey of school lunch boxes and found […]

Read more
childhood obesity
Childhood Obesity – a plan for action

The UK Government’s report, Childhood Obesity – a plan for action was published yesterday with advice for reducing childhood obesity in England. The report opens with this introduction: ‘Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese, and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing […]

Read more
Eat Right, Age Well

Eat right to age well. As we get older, most of us start to take a little more notice of the food we eat and the impact it has on how we look and feel. Whether you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s, your body’s nutrition requirements change with each passing decade. So […]

Read more
Healthy Summer Holidays

Healthy Summer Holidays… School’s out for summer (almost!) and there is an excitement in the air about sunny days and sunshine holidays. If you are packing your suitcase and jetting off to warmer climes, here are a few ideas to keep you healthy in the sun… Eat a Mediterranean Diet The Mediterranean diet has long […]

Read more
Summertime and the eating is easy…

As the weather heats up and time slows down, diets and healthy eating can go one of two ways – either you are on a crash diet to fit into last year’s summer clothes, or you have given up all thoughts of healthy eating and are looking forward to summer BBQs, ice cream and fish […]

Read more
Eat on the run. Nutrition for runners

Eat and run! Whether you are a couch to 5k runner, or are psyching yourself up for next week’s Belfast Marathon, keeping the focus on your nutrition will have an impact on your running and could mean the difference between a hard slog and a fun run. So, here’s my guide to optimum nutrition for […]

Read more
Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s ‘occasional’ foods

Once again, the headlines are screaming out about the high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats in processed foods. So?! Tell us something new. The difference is that this time, these are foods that you are likely popping into your weekly shop thinking that you are providing your family with a healthy dinner. Dolmio […]

Read more
Are your Kids Fussy Eaters?

Are your kids fussy eaters? A recent BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour was dedicated to the subject and is worth a listen if this is something that affects your family. In my work with children, it is a hot topic for discussion amongst parents. So, here are a few tried and tested tricks that might encourage them […]

Read more
Extreme clean eating

Clean eating, high protein, more fat, less carbs, less sugar – no wonder we are left feeling dazed and confused about whether food is healthy or not. So called ‘clean eating’ can mean anything from a balanced healthy diet to extremely high protein, low carbohydrate food. Recently I have had a number of clients into […]

Read more
Detox, Clean Eating and January Diets

Detox, Clean Eating and January Diets January is almost at an end and by now most of us have forgotten about our good intentions and New Year’s resolutions of detox, clean eating and January diets! If you are still hanging in there, keep going, but if you need a helping hand, then here are a […]

Read more
good gut guide
The Good Gut Guide

Good Gut Guide Gurglings, rumblings, wind and poo! Digestion is not something most of us want to think about until it goes a bit wrong and our belly starts to tell us about it. We bombard our gut with any food that takes our fancy and seldom think of what happens to it once it […]

Read more
Healthy New Year! It’s time to ditch the diet…

Healthy New Year! It’s time to ditch the diet… Happy New Year, lets make it a healthy New Year too! If you start January with good intentions to get your health, fitness and well-being back  in balance, that is fantastic. Just don’t be too hard on yourself by putting yourself on a strict diet, with […]

Read more
keeping it simple
Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple When it comes to diet, nutrition and all things healthy, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information that is at our fingertips. Sometimes nutritional advice can be so conflicting that it can get confusing trying to sort out the truth from the nonsense and work out what we […]

Read more
Healthy Eating Made Simple
Healthy Eating Made Simple

Healthy Eating Made Simple Are you the kind of person who welcomes the change of seasons with a spring in your step and determination to become a happier, healthier, better version of yourself, or do you want to cuddle under the duvet and forget winter is on the way? Whichever describes you, everyone can benefit […]

Read more
getting your five a day
Getting Your Five a Day?

Getting Your Five a Day? Most of us know by now that the idea of eating at least five portions of fruit and veg every day is the bare minimum we need for optimum health but are you getting your five a day? If you are struggling to eat 5 portions, here’s a few ideas […]

Read more
eat more fat
Eat More Fat!!!

Eat More Fat!!! Yes, you read that right! But I’ll say it again – eat more fat!!! Over the years most of us have succumbed to the enticing promises of a low fat diet. This has left us deficient in a nutrient that can help us to lower weight, balance cholesterol levels and promote healthy […]

Read more
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Healthy Eating on a Budget

Healthy Eating on a Budget Good food does not have to break the bank, blow the budget and leave you out of pocket. There are plenty of economical ways to eat healthy even when money is tight. With just a little imagination and a few carefully selected ingredients, your store cupboard can contain all the […]

Read more
Vital Nutrition's Top Ten Stress Busting Ideas
Vital Nutrition’s Top Ten Stress Busting Ideas

Vital Nutrition’s Top Ten Stress Busting Ideas Most of us live busy, hectic lifestyles, with little time to think about the impact this might have on our nutrition (or lack of it). Here’s Vital Nutrition’s top ten stress busting ideas… Drink green tea – a good source of l-theanine, to promote relaxing alpha wave brain […]

Read more
Good Mood Foods
Good Mood Foods

Good Mood Foods Over the years I have worked with plenty of clients with mental health issues like anxiety and depression and in my experience, food is a vital part of the jigsaw for good mental health, and there is a bank of what I like to call ‘good mood foods’ to help you. Think […]

Read more
Does diet affect cholesterol?
Does diet affect cholesterol?

Does diet affect cholesterol? In a recent BBC documentary, Michael Mosley went on a mission to find out how effective dietary changes could be in reducing cholesterol balance, trying to answer the regularly asked question, does diet affect cholesterol? For many people, statins are the last resort and I often see people in my clinic […]

Read more
Kick the Sugar Habit…

If you are struggling with kicking the sugar habit, here’s a few ideas that might help… Allow yourself a treat once or twice a week – e.g. Friday evenings & Sunday afternoons. I find that if you know you are allowed whatever takes your fancy at those times, you are less likely to crave it […]

Read more
Cleanse and Detox

Every now and then it is a good idea to give your diet a bit of a shake up and I think there is no better time that the change of seasons. So, I thought I’d share a wee taster of Vital Nutrition’s 10 day, cleansing, rejuvenating, low GI detox plan. Keep an eye on […]

Read more
5:2 Diet, Vital Nutrition Style! Are you ready for a challenge?

There has been much buzz about the latest diet craze, the 5:2 diet. This diet has been researched since 1930 and was recently documented by Michael Mosley on BBC’s Horizon programme. So, we thought we’d give it a go – Vital Nutrition style. The idea is that for 2 days a week (which don’t have […]

Read more
Stress less…

‘Slow down, take it easy now. You’ve come a long way now rest for a while.’ – wise words from one of my favourite local musicians, Malojian Most of us live a fast pace of life, doing our best to juggle work, rest and play. Over the last few years I have seen more and more […]

Read more
Vitamin D Testing now available

Did you know that Vital Nutrition offers a pinprick test for vitamin D levels? This is a simple pinprick test that you can do it at home. Vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, tends to be low for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere – and especially after the summer we’ve had! […]

Read more
Let’s go sugar-free!

Anyone fancy joining me on a sugar clear out? Sugar (not fat!) is the number one reason why we are getting fatter. If you make one change to your diet, make it a good one – cut right back on your sugar intake. Sugar is empty calories – it provides a ready source of energy, […]

Read more
Peas and Beans from my Allotment

Last year we acquired an allotment – one of the best things ever! We had a fantastic crop of peas and beans and I am hoping for a glut again this year. We have planted runner beans, peas, broad beans and, for the first time, some borlotti beans. I have learnt (the hard) way not […]

Read more
Lose weight the easy way!

Lose 10lbs in 4 weeks, drop a dress size in 7 days, lose belly fat fast! These are some of the headlines that sell newspapers and magazines, but what is the real truth behind successful weight loss? Over the years, I have seen hundreds of clients who struggle with their weight, and there are usually […]

Read more
Mediterranean diet for a healthy holiday

If you are jetting off to warmer climes of the Mediterranean this summer, eating like the locals could mean you come back from holiday healthier and happier than when you left. Research shows that that eating a varied, plant-based diet packed with fruit, vegetables, pulses, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, with fish a few times […]

Read more
Weekday workouts

If you exercise after work, some days you’ll need a wee bit more motivation than others. A nutrient packed snack about three hours before your session will get you motivated and raring to go. If you are planning on working out around 6 or 7pm, grab a bite when you’re feeling peckish around 3 or […]

Read more
Intermittent Fasting and 5:2 diets – what’s the deal?

Intermittent Fasting – also known as the 5:2 diet, the 2 day diet, the overnight diet or the Fast Diet… As most of my clients know, I have always been very cautious about the idea of fasting, instead preferring the ‘eat little and often’ line of nutritional thought. But nutritional science is ever changing and […]

Read more
Shock Headline – high protein diets as dangerous as smoking!

As usual, the Daily Mail is out to shock with the headline claiming: ‘Eating lots of meat and cheese in middle age is ‘as deadly as SMOKING’ We know that smoking is a prime cause of lung cancer and we shouldn’t do it, but let’s look behind the headline and see what the researchers found. […]

Read more
Healthy snacks on the run

Healthy eating would be so easy if we had 100% control of what, when and how we ate, 100% of the time, but that’s just not realistic. So the key to eating better is being prepared. Taking food to work with you, having a few healthy snacks in the glove box of your car and […]

Read more
Exam Survival Diet

If you are spending your days with your head stuck in books, revising for the impending summer exams, here is Vital Nutrition’s Exam Survival Toolkit  to help maximise your brain power. Break your fast! Always eat breakfast to maintain and sustain energy and concentration. Here are a few ideas for breakfasts to eat on the […]

Read more
Unscrambling the egg myth!

Eggs and Easter – you can’t have one without the other, right? Instead of the sugary sweet chocolate eggs, the subject of this blog is the humble hen’s egg. Healthy folk used to love eggs. In the 1980’s we were told to ‘go to work on an egg’, then the cholesterol myth took hold and […]

Read more
The food of love…

Chocolate, asparagus and oysters are all said to have aphrodisiac properties, but with chocolate being a contributing factor to obesity, asparagus out of season and oysters not to everyone’s taste, are there better alternatives for your Valentine? Here Jane gives us the low-down on how diet can help boost your sex drive and bring back […]

Read more
Jane’s New Year’s Resolution (of sorts!)

So we all eat a little too much, drink a little more than normal and party a wee bit harder than we usually do in December (Nutritional Therapists included!), so by the time it gets to January, most of us are ready for more cleansing, nourishing foods. I wanted to start the year with a […]

Read more