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A Healthy Twist on a Classic Dish: Sugar & Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Almonds

A Healthy Twist on a Classic Dish: Sugar & Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Almonds

Are you looking for a dessert recipe but need or want to avoid gluten? This light and fluffy banana bread with almonds is not only gluten-free but also contains no refined sugar.
Tip: This banana bread makes for a yummy breakfast together with peanut butter or a satisfying afternoon snack along with your coffee.

Banana Bread with Almonds

Banana Bread with Almonds


  • 4 bananas
  • 40 g coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Vanilla powder (to taste)
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 35 g ground flaxseed


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a bread pan with parchment paper.
  2. Smash three bananas in a bowl. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon, baking soda, a pinch of salt and some vanilla powder. Stir well.
  3. Then mix in the almonds and flaxseed.
  4. Transfer the dough into the bread pan. Cut the fourth banana in half and place both halves on top of the dough.
  5. Bake the banana bread for 1 hour. Let it cool some before serving.



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Au revoir, baguette! France goes burger-mad

Au revoir, baguette! France goes burger-mad

American-style burgers were on the menu at 85 per cent of restaurants in France last year. — AFP picAmerican-style burgers were on the menu at 85 per cent of restaurants in France last year. — AFP picPARIS, March 20 — Baguette lovers may be horrified to learn that in 2017, for the first time ever, hamburger sales were higher in France than the classic jambon-beurre sandwich.

American-style burgers were on the menu at 85 per cent of restaurants in France last year, with a whopping 1.5 billion units sold, according to Paris-based restaurant consultants Gira Conseil.

The silver lining for foodies was the gradual demise of junk food, with good-quality, fresh alternatives on the rise.

Interestingly, fast food joints sold just 30 per cent of burgers in France, with the majority sold at restaurants with full table service.

This is all big news for a country that takes great pride in its national culinary culture, and which for years resisted the global burger onslaught.

“We’ve been talking about a burger frenzy for three years. This year, we don’t know how to describe the phenomenon. It’s just crazy,” Gira Conseil director Bernard Boutboul told AFP.

There was a nine per cent jump in burger sales last year. “That’s phenomenal growth,” Boutboul said.

In 2016, hamburger sales were on a par with the jambon-beurre, or ham-and-butter baguette — which is still the most popular sandwich in France.

“But in 2017, for the first time, (burgers) overtook (the French classic) by a long way,” Boutboul said, with jambon-beurre sales at 1.2 billion units.

“One wonders whether the burger might even overtake our famous steak frites in France,” he said.

‘I sold my soul’

There, Boutboul may have hit a nerve. While the French see their food culture as unique, the truth is a lot of it is based on meat, bread and potatoes — not a far cry from what makes up a US burger meal.

More broadly, fast food joint sales were “beating record upon record”, Gira Conseil found, making €51 billion (RM246 billion) in 2017.

France is McDonald’s most profitable market outside the US, with more than 1,400 restaurants.

The Golden Arches has adapted to French tastes with the McCamembert and the McBaguette with Emmental cheese, Dijon mustard, the various French salads and even macarons for dessert. Customers can also drink beer with their meals.

Jean-Pierre Petit, the man credited with helping France fall in love with “McDo”, is one of the brand’s most influential executives, pioneering McDonald’s attempts to adapt itself to local tastes.

In his 2013 book, I Sold My Soul to McDonald’s, Petit admitted that he had not eaten his first hamburger until he was 30.

In 2005 Frenchman Denis Hennequin, who introduced the Parmesan burger in Italy and the Shrimp Burger to Germany, became the first non-American to lead the McDonalds brand in Europe.

But a lot of the fast food that does best in France is high-quality — and fairly pricey.

“Even the Americans are keeping an eye on what we’re doing in our gastronomic fast food sector,” Boutboul said. — AFP

Delectable Japanese fusion food from award-winning chef

Delectable Japanese fusion food from award-winning chef

 In many ways, Hisho Japanese Cuisine is the culmination of chef Danny Leow’s childhood dream. It’s a story that started with childish jealousy but morphed into something far more meaningful.

“One of my classmates had a lot of expensive things. I was around 10 and was a bit jealous of him. One day, his father had a party and I went. I felt like his house was very big and he was very rich! I checked the father’s background and found out that he was a big-time Chinese chef. From then on, I felt that as a chef, you could have a good future,” he says, chuckling.

Leow is a good-natured, affable soul who worked his way up the hard way. He started out working part-time at local Japanese restaurants when he was just 16, and rose up the ranks over the years, guided by the steady hand of seasoned Japanese chef Hitoshi Kimijima (of local restaurant Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine), whom he calls his mentor.

Leow’s journey has taken him through a series of Japanese restaurants in Malaysia as well as eateries in Switzerland, Germany, Britain and China.

chef Danny Leow, Japanese fusion food

chef Danny Leow, Hisho Japanese Cuisine, Japanese fusion food

Danny Leow says sketching out each of his dishes before assembling and plating helps him organise his menu ideas in more detail.

In 2010, Leow’s skills were recognised when he won HAPA’s Best Fusion Japanese Award. In 2012, he also picked up the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival’s Best Chef Award.

Despite his many successes, Leow began to realise that he needed to spread his wings and be his own boss. “When you’re not the boss, you cannot do whatever you like, so a lot of my ideas were rejected. But here, I’m happy because I can create what I want and do what I want,” he says.

Leow started Hisho in March 2017 to fully flesh out his vision of opening a Japanese fusion restaurant. “I wanted to open this restaurant because I feel like about 70% of Japanese restaurants here are traditional. So customers come in and have tempura, sashimi – these kinds of traditional dishes, and I feel like they are bored. So I wanted to create Japanese fusion dishes and make it a more interesting experience,” he says.

Leow designed the menu from scratch and sketched out each dish before even beginning to plate. It’s a trait he picked up from Kimijima, and one that he says helps him sort out his menu ideas when inspiration strikes at unpredictable moments.

To get a proper initiation into Hisho’s fusion concept, try the tako kimuchi with mango salsa (RM25), which is basically composed of small octopus marinated with kimuchi sauce (the Japanese version of kimchi) and spicy mayonnaise. The octopus is cooked perfectly – soft and tender while assiduously avoiding falling into that dreaded rubbery category. The salsa gives it a piquant kick and each mouthful offers bagfuls of flavour.


Then there is the beautifully-plated volcano roll (RM38) which incorporates salmon roe, avocado, crab meat, cucumber and a special sauce (Leow will only reveal that it includes mayonnaise and a house-made chilli sauce). The rolls offer lots of clever textural juxtaposition and a rich sauce that ties everything together beautifully.

Perhaps the undisputed hero of Hisho’s menu is the sensationally good garlic fried rice (RM12). The dish is a labour of love that took Leow ages to perfect. “I threw out so many versions, until I got all the ingredients right. I think 90% of the people who come to Hisho eat the garlic fried rice,” says Leow, his eyes betraying an unmistakeable gleam of pride.

Leow is right to be proud of his creation though, as it is deserving of the superlative “best”. Each grain of rice is distinct and velvety with garlicky bits that adhere to it like a devoted acolyte.

Japanese fusion food, Hisho Japanese Cuisine, salmon steak

While it ostensibly doesn’t seem to have any Japanese origins, the salmon steak features perfectly cooked salmon that flakes apart beautifully.

The salmon steak (RM45) doesn’t really seem to have any Japanese roots, but the grilled fish has a lovely crispy skin and when prodded apart, reveals a tender cherry blossom pink middle. The sauce is very creamy (perhaps a tad too creamy) but the salsa adds a nice, tangy counterpoint to the fish.

Next up, try some of the offerings from the omakase selection (RM180 for five courses, RM270 for seven courses), which changes depending on what’s in season. The omakase menu requires a minimum of two people and must be ordered 24 hours in advance.

The sashimi platter serves up all the best seasonal offerings that Japan has to offer. Hisho gets most of its seafood directly from Japanese suppliers, so expect very fresh tuna, salmon, prawns and octopus.

sashimi platter, Japanese fusion food, Hisho Japanese Cuisine

Only the season’s freshest seafood makes it to the sashimi platter, which is filled with all manner of aquatic delights.

One of the most inventive items on the omakase menu is Leow’s carefully crafted gyoza skin with yuzu foie gras, which features foie gras marinated in yuzu for two whole months! This is one of the most sublime, unusual things you’re likely to eat anywhere – the foie gras is silken soft and supple and has sweet fruity undertones, akin to the taste of jackfruit. It’s a revelatory experience, one that speaks volumes about Leow’s abilities as a chef.

Given his success at being his own boss, one has to wonder if this is an experience Leow might perhaps like to duplicate somewhere else? Apparently, he’s all for it, and plans are already afoot for his next outlet.

“Yes, we are looking at opening another restaurant sometime this year. Which is good, because I have a lot of food sketches at home which I haven’t used anywhere. So I can use it for my next restaurant!” says Leow, with a wide smile.

Hisho Japanese Cuisine

2nd Floor, DC Mall
Jalan Damanlela
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2011 2666
Open daily 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10pm

I tried the popular Silicon Valley diet credited with boosting energy and prolonging life — and I can see why people are obsessed

I tried the popular Silicon Valley diet credited with boosting energy and prolonging life — and I can see why people are obsessed

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

I’ve been ignoring my mother for a week and a half.

For the past 10 days, I’ve stifled the small voice she instilled in the back of my mind to remind me that forgoing breakfast is nutritional doom – all for the sake of a diet known as intermittent fasting.

The diet essentially involves abstaining from food for a set period of time ranging from 16 hours to several days – and surprisingly, it has a lot of scientific backing.

Large studies have found intermittent fasting to be just as reliable for weight loss as traditional diets. And a few studies in animals have suggested it could have other benefits, such as reducing the risk for certain cancers and even prolonging life.

Silicon Valley loves it. A Bay Area group called WeFast meets weekly to collectively break their fasts with a hearty morning meal. The Facebook executive Dan Zigmond confines his eating to a narrow time slot; many other CEOs and tech pioneers are sworn “IF” devotees – some even fast for up to 36 hours at a time.

I opted to try a form of the diet known as the 16:8, in which you fast for 16 hours and eat (or “feed,” as some proponents call it) for eight hours. With this regimen, you can eat whatever you want – as long as it doesn’t fall outside the designated eight-hour window.

Here’s how it went.

Before starting my fast, I checked in with the doctor Krista Varady, one of the first researchers to study intermittent fasting in humans. I also had a standard checkup with my primary-care doctor.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Varady is a nutrition professor at the University of Illinois and wrote a book about fasting called “The Every-Other-Day Diet” in 2013. She told me the most scientifically supported benefit of intermittent fasting was weight loss.

Most of Varady’s IF research has involved obese people. Study subjects have lost a significant amount of weight – roughly the same amount they would have on a traditional diet that involves strict eating and calorie counting.

I told Varady I was trying out the diet not to lose weight but rather to find out how feasible the plan was. She said that while certain people shouldn’t try intermittent fasting – those over 70, people with Type 1 diabetes, and women who are pregnant or lactating – “most people can give it a try.”

Some research suggests that intermittent fasting has a handful of other benefits, from increased focus to a reduced risk of certain diseases. Some studies even suggest it may help prolong life, but most of that research has been in animals, not people.

Melia Robinson

Anecdotally, intermittent fasters report that their diets have helped them become more productive, build muscle faster, and sleep better. Members of a Silicon Valley startup called HVMN skip eating on Tuesdays and claim they get more work done on that day than any other.

Varady said hundreds of people in her studies had reported similar benefits. “But we haven’t studied or quantified any of that yet,” she said.

With the go-ahead from my doctor and Varady, I was ready to find out for myself. Based on advice from other IF fans, I chose to break my daily fast at noon and stop eating at 8 p.m., giving me eight hours to eat or “feed.”

Flickr/Molly Elliott

I wanted the last meal before my first 16-hour fast to be good, so I made one of my favorites: homemade pizza with arugula and chicken breast.

My first day of fasting began with an iced coffee. Intermittent fasters are allowed to drink fluids including tea and coffee during the fast, but no sugar or cream is allowed.

Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Then I headed to a morning yoga class. I have to admit feeling a little trepidatious about exercising without my typical morning fuel.

My workout went better than I expected. The hunger pangs I felt during the warmup quickly faded. During class, I felt more energized than usual. At work afterward, I didn’t start to feel peckish until 10 a.m., so I poured myself another black coffee.


The coffee helped curb the cravings for a while, but I started to feel ravenous at about 11 a.m. At 11:45, I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes.

Finally, it was noon. I ate the lunch I’d prepared: a salad of spinach, chicken breast, cheese, and a banana for dessert. I savored the sweet taste of victory: My first 16-hour fast was over. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

About 30 minutes after inhaling my meal, I started to feel dazed. I had trouble focusing. My hands and fingers, which are normally a bit cold, felt like ice. I wasn’t hungry, but I suddenly felt as if I hadn’t eaten in days. On a tip from a practiced intermittent faster, I went for a long walk.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

About 20 minutes into my walk, I began to feel slightly better, but I still couldn’t really focus. When I got back to the office, I managed to get a few things done but still didn’t feel like myself.

Later that day, the fog faded and I felt normal again. Soon after that I found myself plowing through work with more energy than usual. Around dinner time, I noticed another change — I didn’t feel as ravenous as I usually do. So I warmed up a couple of pieces of leftover pizza and skipped my usual dessert.


The next day, I woke up determined not to be thwarted by the previous episode of brain fog. For lunch, instead of a container full of lettuce and a bit of chicken, I had a hearty bowl featuring loads of grilled chicken, half an avocado, cheese, veggies, and black beans.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

After lunch, I felt great. I was focused, full, and ready for an afternoon of work.

That evening, however, I encountered my first challenge: dinner with friends.


Luckily, the friends who invited me over wanted to eat at about 7, well within my “feeding window.” We planned to order takeout, but, unfortunately, some of us arrived late. By the time we ordered, it was 8 p.m., and the food didn’t arrive until 8:30 (after I was supposed to stop eating for the day).

It felt weird to refrain from eating with everyone, so I decided that the next day I would break my fast an hour later to make up for it.

But delaying my break-fast was a mistake. By 10:30, my stomach was growling. I couldn’t think about anything other than food. I kept drinking coffee and water, hoping I could quell my appetite with liquids and caffeine.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

By 11:45 a.m., I was ravenous and shaking from all the coffee. I decided to eat at noon again despite the promise I’d made the night before. The rest of the day went all right, and for dinner I heated up a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s.

The next day I faced my second challenge: traveling while fasting. My office had an overnight work retreat planned, and everyone was ready to pile in the car around noon — the exact time I was supposed to break my fast.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

In a rush, I grabbed a Clif bar, a handful of almonds, and some seaweed snacks from my desk. I scarfed it all down as we drove.

When we arrived, we went for a hike in California’s Año Nuevo state park. It was gorgeous and I was feeling energized and happy — despite the fact that I’d also worked out in the morning and had hardly eaten.

Melia Robinson / Business Insider

Some of the intermittent fasters I spoke with told me they preferred to work out in the middle of their fast since exercising in that state gave them more energy during heavy bouts of training.

The science doesn’t necessarily support this, however. In one large recent study, scientists reviewed several studies of Muslim athletes. They had been practicing one of the oldest forms of intermittent fasting – abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.

The reviewers found that as long as the athletes ate the same number of calories and nutrients when they broke their fasts, their athletic performance didn’t suffer or improve during Ramadan.

After the hike, my coworkers and I met up for dinner at a taco joint. When we arrived, I was famished. Instead of being polite, I marched to the front of the line and was first to order.

Melia Robinson / Business Insider

I got two chicken tacos, chips and salsa, and a side of refried beans.

When I took a bite, the flavor of the grilled chicken seemed to dance on my taste buds. The corn tortillas were soft, light, and delicious. The beans were hearty and had a kick of spiciness that I loved.

I realized I was tasting the food more intensely than usual – as if my senses were heightened. Perhaps narrowing my eating to a specific window of time made me pay more attention to my food. It seemed to make the act of eating more enjoyable, too.

After the meal, I was stuffed. My coworkers decided to make s’mores, but by then it was 9:30 p.m. — well past my eating time. I didn’t want to miss out, so I headed over to the campfire and helped other people roast their ‘mallows.


That night, I went to bed feeling great about my self-control. When I arrived at the conference center my office had booked for our retreat, however, I couldn’t help staring at the breakfast spread.

Personal Creations/Flickr (CC)

There was fresh fruit, yogurt, and a plate of whole-grain muffins that looked as if they’d been baked that morning. I was tempted but moved on.

Around 11, I was hungry and decided I’d earned a small cheat, so I added almond milk to my second cup of coffee. It tasted sweet, nutty, and wholesome – and after skipping out on s’mores, I didn’t feel guilty.

The day before, I’d made a mistake in assuming that I’d be able to eat lunch right at noon. This time, I prepared by saving some nuts as an emergency snack.


That turned out to be a good idea. My meetings ran well past noon, but I was able to break my fast with a hearty snack. When lunch arrived, I was still hungry and ate a blackened-salmon burger with salad and some berries. I felt as if I could have kept eating for hours but tried to control myself.

After lunch, someone broke out the rest of the s’mores supplies, and this time I could enjoy the treats.

Melia Robinson / Business Insider

After a couple of raw s’mores, I was feeling a little giddy from all the sugar.

When I got home after my office retreat, I wasn’t super hungry but didn’t want to miss my window for dinner. So I made some scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

The next day, I hit the gym in the morning with more energy than usual. I powered through about twice the miles I normally do on the stationary bike, then ran a few errands. I broke my fast at noon with a small plain yogurt, but then oddly forgot to eat for the rest of the day. I had a few bites of chicken breast and veggies at about 5 but wasn’t hungry. It was a mistake I’d pay for later.


My lack of appetite is one of the reasons I think people would be drawn to intermittent fasting. Though the idea of a “fast” – which implies denying yourself food – sounds tough, I did occasionally experience less hunger overall when I did eat.

The next day started out well. I had pizza, my first meal of the day, around 12:15 p.m. But afterward I had a strong and unusual craving for something sweet, so I stopped by a newly opened bakery.


To celebrate the store’s opening, there were plates stacked high with free alfajores – delicious South American cookies sandwiched together with a layer of dulce de leche. I quickly polished off four alfajores, which I later calculated had more calories than one of my normal meals – and way more sugar and refined carbs than I would normally eat in a day. But hey – I didn’t break my diet!

That night after dinner, my sweet tooth had yet to be satiated. Around 11 p.m. — three hours past my eating window — I was overwhelmed by a craving-fueled urge to make s’mores. Armed with the leftover supplies from my work retreat, I fired up the stove.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

By midnight, I’d eaten four s’mores and some vanilla ice cream, and felt as if I could keep going. Only my lack of supplies stopped me. I love sweets, but this was abnormal even for me. It was as if my stomach had no bottom. All I wanted was more chocolate.

The next day, I felt guilty and went back to my fasting routine. I skipped breakfast and broke my fast at noon with a healthy-but-hearty lunch: turkey breast, cabbage, spinach, a scoop of egg salad, and some hummus.

Erin Brodwin / Business Insider

Afterward, I felt much better than I had for the previous 24 hours. The problem with sweets (like the ones I’d gorged on) is that they’re high in refined carbs and sugar, neither of which fill you up or fuel your body long term.

My guess is that after I forgot to eat, my body went into starvation mode. Then, when I consumed heavy, rich treats, it went into overdrive and started craving more and more of them.

For the next two days, I ate healthy, filling meals. I made salads full of beans, chickpeas, and lean meats or eggs; whole-grain pasta with chicken breast; and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice and tofu. I also drank a ton of water — sometimes up to 15 glasses a day.


Varady told me that not drinking enough water was a central pitfall of the diet. “Many people who try the diet complain of things like headaches. But the problem is a lot of them aren’t drinking enough water,” she said.

Roughly 20% of our daily fluid intake comes from food, so if you’re fasting, you may need to add a few glasses of water to your day.

Overall, I learned a lot about my body by trying intermittent fasting, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve done.

Flickr/With Wind

When I stick to a fairly healthy diet full of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (avocados and nuts), vegetables, and small amounts of lean meat and dairy, I feel good – no matter when I eat.

And when I eat like that, I can enjoy the occasional sweet treat – be it a s’more or an alfajor. But when I get too rigid with my eating by denying myself certain things, or when I forget to eat altogether, it puts me in a danger zone where I crave unhealthy foods that ultimately don’t nourish my body.

I don’t think intermittent fasting is the right eating plan for me, but I see how it could work wonders for some. It reduced my opportunities to snack, curbed my appetite (at least on the days when I followed it properly), and pushed me to focus on and enjoy my food when I did eat.

Erin Brodwin

Intermittent fasting also appeared to eliminate my late-night snacking habit and seemed to give me more energy throughout the day. I’m glad I gave it a shot, but for now, I’m back to three meals a day – plus the occasional sweet treat.

There’s now scientific evidence to suggest there are real health benefits to fasting — and they’re not just related to weight loss

There’s now scientific evidence to suggest there are real health benefits to fasting — and they’re not just related to weight loss

Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity.

Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity.
  • Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity.
  • Researchers conducted a study that examined the impact of the 5:2 on the body’s ability to metabolise fat compared to a daily calorie restriction diet.
  • Those on the 5:2 cleared fat more efficiently and saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure.
  • However, the study was small, and further investigation is needed.

Intermittent fasting was one of the most talked about diet trends in 2017 – and now new research from the University of Surrey suggests that following such a diet could have real health benefits.

In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers assigned 27 overweight participants to either the 5:2 diet or a daily calorie restriction diet, and told to them to lose 5% of their weight.

The study aimed to look at the impact of the 5:2 on the body’s ability to metabolise fat and glucose following a meal and compared it to the effects of weight loss achieved by a daily calorie restriction diet.

The participants on the 5:2 followed the regime of eating normally for five days and restricting their calories to 600 calories on their two so-called “fasting days.”

Meanwhile those on the daily diet were required to eat 600 calories less each day than their estimated requirements for weight maintenance – women ate approximately 1,400 calories and men ate approximately 1,900 calories per day.

The results

It’s important to note the study was relatively small, and that 20% of each participant group dropped out because they either “could not tolerate the diet or were unable to attain their 5% weight loss target.”

However, of the participants who did complete the experiment, those on the 5:2 reached their goal of 5% weight loss in 59 days compared to those on the daily calorie restriction diet who achieved it in 73 days.

The researchers found that those on the 5:2 cleared the fat (triglyceride) from the blood after meals quicker than those on the daily calorie restriction diets.

They found no differences in the handling of glucose, but said they were “surprised to find variations between the diets in c-peptide (a marker of insulin secretion from the pancreas) following the meal, the significance of which will need further investigation.”

The researchers also found that systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats) was reduced by 9% in those following the 5:2 diet, compared to a 2% increase among those on the daily diet.

“A reduction in systolic blood pressure reduces pressure on arteries, potentially lessening incidences of heart attacks and strokes,” the University said.

Dr Rona Antoni, a research fellow in nutritional metabolism at the University of Surrey, said: “As seen in this study, some of our participants struggled to tolerate the 5:2 diet, which suggests that this approach is not suited to everybody; ultimately the key to dieting success is finding an approach you can sustain long term.

“But for those who do well and are able stick to the 5:2 diet, it could potentially have a beneficial impact on some important risk markers for cardiovascular disease, in some cases more so than daily dieting. However, we need further studies to confirm our findings, to understand the underlying mechanisms and to improve the tolerability of the 5:2 diet.”

Take Note: Are You Making These 6 Mistakes at Lunch?

Take Note: Are You Making These 6 Mistakes at Lunch?

It’s 10:30 in the morning, and your stomach is growling pretty loudly already. You’re already fantasizing about your well-earned lunch break, when you can eat whatever your heart desires. But be careful, this meal plays a huge role in your productivity for the rest of the day. It’s also significant in terms of your weight loss efforts. Here are the 6 biggest lunchtime mistakes, and we bet you’re probably guilty of a few of them.

1. You eat out (almost) every day

Do you grab a fast food meal or join colleagues at a restaurant most of the time? If you take the time to cook something extra in the evenings though, you can avoid this trap pretty easily. Let’s be honest “I don’t have enough time” is just an excuse, and not a great one at that.

2. You eat too fast

You’ve got back-to-back meetings or appointments, and simply can’t make time for a relaxed, leisurely lunch. Watch out though: when you eat quickly, you tend to forget about portions and therefore end up consuming a lot more calories.

Interesting fact: A study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found a direct correlation between higher speed of eating and a higher Body Mass Index.

Tip from the nutrition expert:

Try to chew every bite at least 20 times and try to really schedule 30 minutes as a dedicated lunch break.

3. You eat on the go or in front of your computer

If you like to squeeze your lunch in while you’re on the way somewhere else or eat sitting at your desk…better ditch that habit soon!  If you’re not paying attention while you’re eating, you will likely consume more calories. Instead, try to make lunch a social activity and sit together with colleagues for a chat while you eat.

Someone having a meal in front of the computer

4. You’re only eating green salad

A plain salad for lunch isn’t really a balanced meal and definitely won’t fill you up. Even if you’re trying to cut calories or shed a few pounds, you can pep up your salad without making it an unhealthy choice. Try to make sure that your salad includes all three macronutrients: use dark leafy greens as a basis (field greens, spinach or green cabbage, for example), add some cut veggies (carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, etc. The more colorful the better!), then toss in your protein source of choice (we like grilled chicken, feta, hard-boiled eggs, or chickpeas!), and last but not least, include a complex carbohydrate like quinoa, couscous or beans. You can balance everything with healthy fat in your dressing by using olive oil or, if you prefer, top it all off with half an avocado.

Recipe Tip:

This Greek Chickpea Salad is a great source of protein and will definitely fill you up at lunch!

A man and a woman having lunch

5. You drink only soft drinks or fruit juice

Go for water instead — this will ensure you are well-hydrated. Soft drinks and juices don’t actually quench thirst, they just deliver you large quantities of empty calories. If you feel like water alone is too boring, try adding lemon, ginger or cucumber to give it some pep. Coconut water is another refreshing alternative.

6. You only eat when you’re actually starving

Do you have breakfast around 7 in the morning or do you skip the first meal of the day altogether? If so, it’s likely you could show signs of being hangry toward lunchtime. If your stomach is growling loudly and frequently, you may be tempted to eat anything and everything you can get your hands on at lunch. You can avoid this (and actually help your weight loss efforts!) by grabbing a mid-morning snack. Plain yogurt with fresh berries or apple slices with almond butter are great choices for filling up between meals.


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