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Showing posts from tagged with: giving tree

How To Make A Warm Bowl Of Porridge With Pumpkin Crisps?

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Brr, brr, BRRRR! Has winter finally arrived? The mornings are getting darker and colder as the autumnal weather approaches, and let’s face it, there’s nothing more we want to do than hit snooze and roll over for another five minutes kip. But waking up to one of these beauties is another story. Porridge is a great winter warmer and what better way to start a cold, frosty morning than with a warming bowl of porridge? Breakfast is important to fuel your body for the day, particularly if you're going for a morning run or a gym session before work. We're huge fans of icy cold smoothies or granola and fruit in the summer months, but now the weather has turned colder, we're looking for a toasty alternative. But there are more reasons to enjoy porridge than just a delicious start to the day; oats could provide protection against heart disease and cancer, scientists say, and porridge is packed with fibre, which provides your body with sustainable energy. If you are feeling the cold here is a recipe to heat up your mornings with… A warming oat-free porridge topped with crunchy Giving Tree Snack Pumpkin Crisps and nutritious goji berries and a drizzle of Yacon Syrup!

Igredients:

 

Method:

  1. Place the oats and the coconut milk or water in a large pan over a medium heat
  2. Add a tiny pinch of salt, coconut butter and stir with a wooden spoon.
  3. Bring to a steady simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring as often as you can to give you a smooth creamy porridge – if you like your porridge runnier, simply add a splash more coconut milk or water until you’ve got the consistency you like.
  4. Stir the Yacon Syrup through the porridge.
  5. After you’re satisfied with the consistency, put your oats porridge in a bowl an add your Giving Tree Pumpkin topping alongside with the Goji Berries, Brazilian Nuts, Pumpkin, chia seeds and a little bit of cinnamon!
 

How To Make Black Bat Pumpkins For Halloween!

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Welcome trick-or-treaters and Halloween guests to your door with a litter of black cat pumpkins. These carve-free kitties are easy to craft, making them a fun project for older children or small kids with a little help from a crafty adult.

Material that you need:

  • faux pumpkins of various sizes and shapes
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Black exterior paint
  • 2'' foam paintbrush
  • Black craft foam
  • Medium-tipped white paint marker
  • White craft paint
  • Small craft paintbrush
  • Grey and light brown pipe cleaners
  • Felt (Light grey, light brown or red)
  • Black marker
 

Our Favourite Autumnal Treats..

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09.11.16

HEALTHY AUTUMN TREATS - SO SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS!

So Bonfire Night has been and gone, and we made some AMAZING healthy treats to tuck into! They were so simple to make, and so incredibly healthy too with our Giving Tree strawberry crisps and plenty of toppings. Recipe 1: Banana Choco Kebabs Method:
  • Cut 3 large bananas in half, and place a wooden skewer through each half.
  • Melt your favourite Dark Chocolate brand (we like 70% cocoa solids) and stir continuously, we added a little Chi Coconut Milk to make it extra creamy too!
  • Dunk bananas into the chocolatey bowl and let drip over a cooling rack (pop a plate underneath to collect any drippings!)
  • Now add your crushed Giving Tree fruit and your favourite nuts, seeds, grains and anything else you can get your hands on!
  • Leave to set in fridge for 3-4 hours and enjoy!
  screenshot-2016-11-09-13-28-41 Recipe 2: Sticky Choccy Apples  Method:
  • Cut 2 large apples in half, and place a wooden skewer through each half.
  • Melt your favourite Dark Chocolate brand (we like 70% cocoa solids) and stir continuously, we added a little Chi Coconut Milk to make it extra creamy too!
  • Dunk apples or drizzle in a fun pattern, into the chocolatey bowl and let drip over a cooling rack (pop a plate underneath to collect any drippings!)
  • Now add your crushed Giving Tree fruit and your favourite nuts, seeds, grains and anything else you can get your hands on!
  • Leave to set in fridge for 3-4 hours and enjoy!
          screenshot-2016-11-09-13-28-50

AVOIDING THE FAD SUMMER DIET..

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03.08.16

AVOIDING FAD DIETS!

For a long time, we have collectively been aware of the fact the fad diets do not work, however so many of us continually appear to get caught up in the cycle of eating less, losing weight fast, to then only go and put it back on again soon after. As the Summer Season is in full swing, it’s essential to ensure that we are aware of this common Summer Diet, and aim to eat as mindfully as possible as the indulgence is taken up a gear! Occasionally, phrases similar to “if I’m good” or “I deserve it” can float around, allowing us to feel as though food can be used as either a punishment or a reward, however it’s much more productive to gain some balance and perspective on the food we eat at this time of year.

EAT A HEALTHY BREKKIE

It’s the old fave that we all know but don’t always abide by, yes you guessed it (well, it is in the sub heading…), eat breakfast! Ensuring you eat a healthy first meal of the day will of course set you up for the day ahead, but will more importantly allow you to worry less about what you eat for the rest of the day (within reason, of course!). If you are to have a smoothie bowl packed with goodness and topped with seeds, fruit or cacao nibs, with a glass of fresh juice, a herbal tea or another healthy alternative, you will automatically feel as though you are on course for a healthier day and subconsciously want to remain feeling super healthy, but will equally not be as worried about having what you really want for dinner!

DON’T BE FOOLED

A word of guidance now, don’t be fooled by the false promises of fad diets, as let’s face it, they make you feel well and truly miserable! Remember when the sun is out, it’s a lot easier to thrive off raw fruit and veg, with a naturally lower calorie content than other foods and undoubtedly bursting with goodness! Try keep up your healthy eating with exciting recipes and delicious seasonal fruit and veg.

PORTION PROPERLY

Many people fear the phrase “portion control” as it can come with negative connotations, however the premise of it really is to ensure you don’t overload your plate with an unnecessary amount of food. If fad-ing is a familiar thing for you, aim to exercise portion control (or whichever way you wish to phrase it) when having the more indulgent foods, as the misery from under eating can swing the other way once the 10th profiterole has been consumed, meaning you end up feeling equally as bad, and resulting in the lead up to a fad diet being on the cards! Portion properly throughout the day and you one, won’t be as ravenous when meal time hits, and two, will be able to enjoy your choice of meal without any of the ‘guilty’ repercussions.

SNACK YOUR HEART OUT

Snacking sometimes has a bad rep, however if you want to avoid feeling the need to fad in the future, snacking is a consistent and reliable way of ensuring that you aren’t going to reach for the choccy biscuits or family bag of crisps later on in the evening. Preparing small, sandwich - style bags with nuts, seeds, dried fruit or fresh fruit is a brilliant way of knowing that you have food on you for emergency hunger situations, in turn encouraging you to snack healthily, resulting in there being no need for over-indulging, and you feeling extremely satisfied in the long run.

CHILL OUT

It’s easy to fall into the all-or-nothing trap of eating, presuming that, if you eat really heathily for a week, you are then granted permission to eat whatever you want (binge style) a day following this; As soon as this is over, you end up feeling somewhat guilty about the quantity and quality of food you have consumed, and there begins the fad diet once again. By ensuring that you have a relaxed approach to your eating schedule, your decisions regarding the food you eat will be much easier as you will inevitably act more instinctively and if you wish to eat something healthy or alternatively unhealthily, it will be a more conscious, less impulsive decision. Whilst bearing these points in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that different things work for different people, and so to only commit to eating brekkie or consuming healthy snacks is absolutely fine, just as long as it works for you and your daily routine, as let’s face it, we can’t always do everything we know we should do all the time! So steer away from those age old fads if you’re looking for long term health and happiness, just make sure you enjoy the journey while you’re doing it!

Summer Comfort Eating Essentials

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22.07.16

Summer Comfort Food We all have moments where a home comfort meal makes us feel the world of good. Generally speaking, comforting food comes in the form of something which doesn’t always make you feel that great after consumption though, however with a few changes we can still enjoy these same comforts but with a healthy twist, and subsequently enjoy them guilt free.

CHIPS!

There are different kinds of chip eaters - whether you’re a sharer, an occasional enjoyer, a wrap them up and take them home to enjoy on your own kind of person, or someone who simply can’t get enough of them, a portion of the nation’s favourite shaped potato doesn’t ever go amiss. However, they aren’t always the healthiest option; the humble sweet potato though makes for an entirely different story. One of our absolute favourite home comfort alternatives comes in the form of sweet potato fries, and is a great way also of getting a wonderful amount of beta-carotene, fibre and hair, nail and skin nourishing goodness into your system without any compromise on comfort! Simply slice them, add a small drizzle of olive oil, herbs, and whichever flavourings take your fancy, and pop them in the oven - it really couldn’t be easier!

SPAG BOL

The perfect carby comfort food, try spirallazing your favourite vegetable, we like butternut squash, courgette or carrot and gently cook these in a drizzle of oil until softened. Serve with your favourite veggie packed Bolognese and a generous helping of reduced fat cheese, or a lighter cheese such as feta. Another great option is buckwheat or brown rice pasta, as they are completely gluten free as well as healthful and honestly taste just as good. Try mashing together an avocado, basil, lemon and pine nuts for a healthy creamy alternative too!

PANCAKES

Making for the perfect Sunday brunch option (or just whichever meal takes your fancy), it’s undeniable that these are some of our favourite go-to’s for an indulgent, home comfort-style meal. However, with the general ingredients for our favourite round indulgence being not extremely healthy, and therefore not something we generally indulge in on a daily basis, its important to recognise the ingredients which will make up for this so that we can do just that! Ingredients which are great for this include oats, banana, almond milk, medjool dates and more - all completely natural and make for a delicious, energy abundant treat whenever takes your fancy.

COOKIES

Try a cashew coconut cookies for a wonderfully crunchy snack with a slight Christmassy feel to them with the ginger and cinnamon element to them. As well as this, chocolate-banana oat cookies are a great alternative to our choccy childhood faves, with cacao powder and date syrup creating the flavours we all love and once again, oats and bananas the consistency. They really are great, and you can be rest assured once you smell them exiting the oven, it will be as though you have been transformed back to your childhood home treats once again. So enjoy your tasty summer comfort foods, on us!

Modern Dieting – balance is key!

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13.07.16

Put together by the Guardian, this article perfectly describes the issues of modern day dieting and the 'gospel' words of many un-qualified celebrity like role models which encourage clean eating and missing out crucial food groups from our diets..

It mustn't be forgotten that despite healthy cook books and advice being great for those interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle and encouraging cooking rather than buying ready meals, to not take this advice so literally as balance is key!

"Every Sunday in the centre of Brixton, a group of Afro-Caribbean women of a certain age, gather on Atlantic Road to sing lustily about Jesus while wearing big hats. As a diehard atheist I am meant to have no time for organised religion. But the fact is they’re not harming anyone and they look very happy indeed.

If only all religions were so benign. If only all religions were so cheerful. But they are not. Recently a new kind of religion has arisen; one engineered for a godless age and specifically designed to make its devotees feel worse about themselves more often than they feel better. Like all religions it is based on hocus-pocus, misdirection and delusion. This new religion is called The Diet.

Yes of course diets have been around for centuries, promoted just as they are now through books. And for the most part they have always been stupid: the grapefruit diet, the red wine and steak diet, the kitten and stilton diet. I may have invented one of those. But generally they were functional. Do thing A and thing B and you will get result C. They didn’t work because like, pyramid investment schemes, they never do.

 madshaw

What the modern diet books have that the previous lot didn’t is a moral dimension. They are not merely instruction manuals. They are secular catechisms. There is an implication in these titles, written by young people with glossy hair and clear eyes who look like they think their farts smell only of peaches and peppermint, that if you don’t follow their plans you will not merely be fat. You will be bad. You will be a flawed person who through, lack of insight and moral fibre, has failed to reach their full potential in the way the authors have.

Well I wonder if I might be permitted to make a learned intervention into this noble discussion of the human soul, by saying this: sod off! Really, go away. Find something else to do. Take up boxing; it may involve hurting people but at least there are rules. In saying this I am only adding my voice to a growing choir. The brilliant Ruby Tandoh recently examined the speciousness of some of the faux-scientific thinking underpinning various of these works. A new blogger called the Angry Chef has been laying waste in superbly forensic style to the flaws in dietary advice and a general failure to understand the science of food and cooking. And Nigella has had a stab at the use of the phrase “Clean Eating”. Food does not have a moral aspect. Only the people eating it do.

But we need to go further and argue against one other element of all this: the use of guilt as if it were a weapon being wielded by a 14th-century pope. I am often asked what my guilty food secret is. I reply that I don’t have one. Because if I started feeling guilty, where would I stop? There are some foods that I like but which I know I shouldn’t eat too much of and that’s what I try to do. Guilt corrodes. Instead I go to the gym and watch what I eat, like any responsible adult. But I also make a point of enjoying what life has to offer. Food is just too much of a pleasure to be sullied by the stupidities of a bunch of swivel-eyed hucksters whose only real credential is the size of their Instagram following. Put that in your nutribullet and drink it."

mindful-eating

Summer Kitchen Prep Made Easy!

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06.06.16

It’s easy to let the healthy eating slide when the Summer months come into play, however it’s surprisingly easy to stay healthy with just a few simple pre planning tips. We use time as an excuse but when you consciously set aside a decent amount of time to mass prepare for the week (or longer), the time saved is brilliant, and you will be able to enjoy the sun without compromising on what you put into your body. From food to tupperware, and shopping to chopping, we have some of our top tips for prepping your kitchen for the summer months. Invest in tupperware, it's the backbone of eating healthy in the summer months, as without any, the excuses would multiply as to why we can’t stay healthy on the go or pre make as many healthy meals as possible. Investing in tupperware is a brilliant way of allowing you to prepare meals that can be stored in the freezer for as long as you like. Alternatively, tupperware is a great way to allow you to prepare things like carrot sticks and hummus as well as large salads, or even some raw treats you’ve prepared previously to take into school or work as a snack. We love Giving Tree snacks, especially broccoli and pumpkin with hummus and fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumber too. FullSizeRender Fruit at it’s ripest can be extremely expensive when it’s boxed up or packed in supermarkets, however if you plan ahead that you would like to have a certain fruit perhaps in 3-4 days time, then buying the whole fruit as opposed to the pre-prepared version will firstly be cheaper, and secondly be ready for you to chop up once you are finally ready to eat it, as opposed to feeling as though you have to eat it as soon as it’s bought. Try to head to supermarkets or market stalls selling fruit and veggies at the end of the day, as their ripest fruit will inevitably have to be sold or thrown away, so you will be able to buy the most delicious produce at a fraction of the price - score!! Dust Off That Smoothie Maker - having equipment like a smoothie maker (or blender) at the back of the cupboard does no one any good when wanting to create delicious and healthy drinks for the summer months, right? However if you make the blender a necessary part of your summer drinking routine, it can cut down so much time when you are wanting to get some of the good stuff into your system. Buying frozen berries and lots of bananas as well as throwing in some spinach or kale (for example) can create something extremely healthful, delicious, quick to make and filled with lots of energising goodness to keep you going all morning. They can be so affordable and really do allow you to get in a lot of goodness without having to invest in expensive equipment or ingredients. Plan Meals Ahead - if you know you will be in for four nights in a particular week, perhaps prepare something the Sunday before and allow yourself to be rest assured that the meals will be ready to eat without any thought having to go into it on your part during the week. Ensure you have all the ingredients ready to prepare something which you know you will want to eat in the summer months, and inevitably allow yourself a stress free week of healthy summer meals - it saves so much time and allows you to enjoy the meals you love without worrying about creating them in the week. Cool Blocks and Picnic Bags Tis the season for picnics, and without cool blocks and picnic bags, we end up with a soggy or warm concoction of food we earlier wanted but not so much once it’s been carried all the way to the park or house! It sounds obvious, but ensuring you have the necessities to keep your food and drink the way you created them is a luxury many don’t enjoy in the summer because of those small mistakes!   Screenshot 2016-04-14 15.54.03

Vegan Healthy Treats

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31.05.16

We have found the most AMAZINGLY delicious and totally vegan recipes from one of our favourite bloggers Madeleine Shaw.. featuring freeze dried goodness!

Check this out..

madshaw

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a doughnut pan with coconut oil.

Mash the banana, chia egg, maple syrup, spices and melted coconut oil together. In another bowl mix the flour and baking powder. Pour the wet mix into the dry and combine well with a spoon. Spoon in the batter and cook for 10 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Depending on the size of your doughnut pan, you might need to cook in two batches.

While this is cooking make the glaze by melting the coconut oil with the nut butter and maple syrup. Stir well until fully combined then leave to the side to cool a little.

You can also glaze your donuts with melted dark or raw chocolate if you are nut free, or just for some extra decadence! Or do a mix of both like I have. Brush the donuts with the glaze then top with the toppings. They won’t last long because they’re so moreish but if you’re going to savour them, they’ll last in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days.

Pancakes with Strawberries and Coconut Cream

panc

Directions

For the crepes: Whisk the eggs and milk in a large bowl, slowly shift in the flour and a pinch of salt.

Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a pan on a medium heat, swirl the oil around to cover the pan.

Pour about 50ml of the batter onto the pan making sure the mixture is distributed evenly. When the edges are set and they start to curl up (after just under a minute) flip over and cook for 30 seconds, then fold in half.

Repeat this same procedure for the rest of the mixture.

To serve, open up each crepes, smear in the coconut yogurt, a drizzle of honey and the strawberries, fold in half then into quarters and serve.

Note – The wet mix will keep in the fridge a few days so you can enjoy them a few times more.

National Vegetarian Week – the best of the bites!

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17.05.16

National Vegetarian Week is upon us, so why not try one of these delicious meat-free meals?

These dishes are full of flavour, texture and colour so you won't feel like you're missing out on anything at all.

For the Pasta and Cheese lovers..

Mac and three cheeses recipe

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS 1 x 410g tin of evaporated milk 200g cream cheese 2 tsp English mustard ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 350g macaroni 3 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 small garlic clove, crushed 175g  Comté or cheddar, grated 75g stilton, crumbled 500g green beans 1 tbsp chopped chives 45g  sourdough breadcrumbs 45g  pecans 150g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

METHOD Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Whisk the evaporated milk, cream cheese and mustard well. Add the nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Bring 3.5 litres of salted water to a boil, and add the macaroni, slowly, making sure the water is always boiling. Stir for a minute to stop the macaroni sticking together. Test after about eight minutes – the macaroni should be very al dente. Drain well and add to the cream-cheese mixture.
 Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and garlic and use this to grease a deep 20 x 20cm (8 x8 in) baking-dish. Spread half of the macaroni on the bottom of the dish. Scatter on half of the Comté and all of the stilton, cover with another layer of macaroni and finish with the rest of the Comté. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Boil or steam the green beans until tender with a slight crunch – about five minutes. Drain, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the chives. Heat the coconut oil in a frying-pan. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and pecans and cook for two to three minutes, until crisp and golden. Add the beans and toss to coat them well. Serve the macaroni with green beans and, if you wish, a few tomatoes on the side.   cheesemac

Mushroom, spinach, and blue-cheese lasagne

This creamy vegetarian lasagne full of chesnut mushrooms is perfect served with a big salad and some fresh crusty bread

SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp olive oil 2 x 250g packs chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large clove of garlic, crushed 2 x 240g packs pre-washed fresh spinach 1 large jar ready-made white sauce (710g) 12 sheets ready-to-bake lasagne 125g blue cheese, crumbled
METHOD Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add half the mushrooms and fry until golden, about five minutes. Transfer them to kitchen paper, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the remaining mushrooms, also transferring them to kitchen paper after five minutes.
Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic for about four minutes, until soft. Add the spinach to the pan, cover with a lid and allow it to wilt for one to two minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan, mix together and season.
Use a rectangular dish about 24 x 18cm and spread a layer of white sauce on the base. Place three lasagne sheets on the sauce followed by a third of the mushroom mixture, another layer of white sauce and some crumbled cheese.
Add another three sheets of lasagne and continue layering, finishing with the final three sheets of lasagne, a good covering of white sauce and a sprinkling of crumbled cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it is cooked through and the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad or garlic bread.

Aubergine, pepper and yogurt stacks with coriander pesto

Serves four
3 red peppers chi coconut oil for brushing 2 large aubergines ½ lemon 8 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt sprigs of coriander to serve
For the pesto: 60g (2oz) coriander leaves 40g (1½oz) blanched almonds, lightly toasted 2 garlic cloves, chopped juice of ½ lemon 125ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (not too grassy) 60g (2oz) feta cheese, finely crumbled 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk. Put into a small roasting-tin and brush with olive oil. Season. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the edges of the flesh are slightly scorched.
Meanwhile make the pesto by putting everything, except the feta and chilli, into a food processor. Whizz to a purée. Season to taste, then scrape into a bowl and add the feta cheese and chilli.   stacks_2917851b
Bean chilli with chocolate and walnuts
SERVES 6-8
INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you like it hot) 1 tsp ground paprika 1 tsp dried oregano 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 sweetcorn cobs (kernels cut off) or 150g thawed frozen sweetcorn 2 large celery sticks (use leaves too), finely sliced 150g  walnuts, very finely chopped 300g dried mixed beans, such as kidney, black-eye or borlotti, soaked and cooked (or 3 x 400g cans cooked mixed pulses, drained) 2 x 400g cans whole plum tomatoes 2 tsp sea salt 60g dark chocolate (minimum 80 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
to serve 120ml  plain yogurt 1 large handful coriander leaves, coarsely chopped Giving Tree broccoli and pumpkin crisps to dip and use as toppings too
METHOD Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smell fragrant and the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the peppers, carrot, sweetcorn and celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the walnuts, beans, tomatoes, 250ml (9fl oz) water and salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the chocolate and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and season. Serve in bowls, garnished with a dollop of yogurt and chopped coriander with toasted corn tortillas on the side. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for three to five days.

branchili

Why are there days when you just can’t stop eating? Banish the hunger!

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16.05.16

This great article for the Daily Mail features advice from our nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert on why you get those dreaded hunger pangs!

You know the feeling - you wake up with hunger pangs that even a hearty breakfast and slap-up lunch do little to diminish. But what causes those 'hyper-hungry' days when all you can think about is the next snack? We look at the science behind the stomach rumbles.

YOU'RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

If you didn't sleep well last night, chances are you won't only feel exhausted. You will feel ravenous, too.

Those who don't go to bed until the early hours end up eating an extra 248 calories the next day, according to a study in the journal Obesity.

Those who don't go to bed until the early hours end up eating an extra 248 calories the next day

Those who don't go to bed until the early hours end up eating an extra 248 calories the next day

Being exhausted has also been found to encourage us to eat twice the amount of high-calorie fast food and fizzy drinks - and half the amount of fruit and veg.

If you keep skimping on sleep, scientists say you are likely to become badly overweight, because the stress on your body interrupts the balance of 'hunger hormones' ghrelin and leptin, which tell you if you are hungry or full.

As a result, people who regularly get only five hours of sleep have been found to be 50 per cent more likely to be obese than those getting eight hours.

Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, of rhitrition.com, says: 'If you are tired and your body hasn't had enough sleep the night before to stoke energy levels, it is going to crave glucose - sugar, carbs and fizzy drinks - like crazy because it needs more energy quickly.'

EATING TOO MANY CARBS AT DINNERTIME

If you felt famished when you woke up this morning, cast your mind back to what you had for dinner last night. If it was pizza, garlic bread and cake, you went to sleep on a major sugar high.

Refined carbohydrates such as these are made of small molecules which are quickly digested and converted into glucose - a sugar produced by the liver that fuels the brain. Eating them causes levels of these sugars not only to rise rapidly but to drop fast, too.

The resulting low means on waking up, your brain immediately craves glucose. Hunger hormones are then released, making you want to eat as soon as possible.

To avoid starting the day hungry, experts advise dinners that combine more complex carbs - brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas, which are processed more slowly by the body - with proteins, such as meat, fish or nuts, which are also more difficult to digest.

Endocrinologist Sir Stephen O'Rahilly, a professor at Cambridge University, says carbs don't switch off hunger hormones as well as other foods.

'Inside your intestines are tiny sensor cells which detect how much protein and carbs you have eaten.

'Protein stimulates these cells more strongly than carbs, which is why it's harder to eat too much steak than too much pizza. You need to include protein in meals to tell your brain you have had enough.'

A BIG NIGHT OUT WITH FRIENDS

Drinking doesn't just land you with a raging hangover the next morning. It can also give you the munchies.

Research published in the journal Alcohol And Alcoholism found just three glasses of wine can lower levels of hormone leptin, which keeps hunger at bay, by up to 30 per cent.

Also, your liver will have spent so much time breaking down the alcohol in your blood overnight it won't have been able to deliver the levels of glucose your brain needs to function.

Professor O'Rahilly, says: 'If you poison your liver with alcohol, it does not make the normal amount that your brain is used to. So when you wake up, it screams emergency because it wants glucose so badly.'

MOUTHWATERING FOOD ADS

Tempting food smells set off cravings, too. Our brains light up when we smell our favourite foods - in the same way that those of cocaine addicts do when they think about their next drug fix

With food adverts tempting us everywhere we go, no wonder eating is always on our minds.

Just looking at pictures of appetising meals can make you hungry, according to researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.

They found we produce more nof the hunger hormone ghrelin when we see the images.

Tempting food smells set off cravings, too. New York-based Brookhaven National Laboratory found our brains light up when we smell our favourite foods - in the same way that those of cocaine addicts do when they think about their next drug fix.

The result of all this is that we no longer just eat when we are hungry, says Alison Clark, of the British Dietetic Association. 'Triggers like food ads can actually make people want to eat - even when they don't need to.'

NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

You think you're peckish - but if you don't take on enough fluids, you may be misinterpreting your thirst as hunger. When we are dehydrated, these messages become confused in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which regulates appetite hormones, so we reach for a snack when we actually need a drink.

Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert says: 'Our body is 60 per cent water and all our cells need it. If you're dehydrated, you're going to start getting moody, tired, losing concentration. However, that feeling can get confused in the brain with hunger as it has the same effects.

If you don't drink enough, you may be misinterpreting your thirst as hunge

If you don't drink enough, you may be misinterpreting your thirst as hunge

'People should therefore aim for about two litres a day minimum, even when you don't actually feel thirsty, to avoid this confusion.'

SUFFERING THE 'BUFFET EFFECT'

The trend for importing cuisines from all over the world means we have never enjoyed a wider range of exotic flavours.

But eating lots of different types of food at one meal - known as the 'buffet effect' - can trick us into eating more than we need.

A study in the Journal Of Consumer Research found diners tend to eat 10 per cent more if offered a variety of foods.

When faced with a large choice at one meal, researchers think our eyes con us into underestimating the quantities of each dish. Over a year, this 'optical illusion' can lead to weight gain of up to 20 lb.

Therapist Marisa Peer, author of You Can Be Younger, says studies show how a new taste can also reset our appetite - even when full. 'There is only so much of one food we can have before we get bored and stop eating. When you are given a taste, even if feeling full, it stimulates your appetite again.

'This is why you still have room for dessert after a filling Sunday lunch.'

WOLFING DOWN YOUR MEAL

When you rush a meal, you may fill your stomach quickly. But your brain needs time to register you've had enough.

Experts say it starts to realise you are full only when your meal begins to be digested.

'It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register and for your receptors in your stomach to reach the brain and say: “Thanks very much. I'm full. Stop eating,”' says Alison Clark of the British Dietetic Association.

'So we suggest taking time to pause after a meal instead of going on to the next course in order to allow the chemical signals to reach the brain.'

YOUR PERIOD IS ON THE WAY

If your period is on the way, the biscuit tin will be much harder to resist.

During the second half of your menstrual cycle, levels of the sex hormone progesterone rise as your body gets ready for pregnancy by sending blood to the womb.

As part of this preparation, it also triggers hunger hormones to persuade you to eat more and give your body the reserves to grow a baby.

As your period approaches, levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen also dramatically drop off - and with it levels of the feelgood hormone serotonin.

Lucia Lukanova, founder of The Flow app, which helps women chart their cycles, says: 'Women's food cravings start in the last week before their period when their progesterone and oestrogen levels fall.

'This sudden withdrawal is like taking cigarettes away from a smoker so we crave alternatives, like comfort foods, to make us feel better.'