#fuelyourrun

  • By James Hill
  • 05 May, 2017

Nutrition guidance for 10k runners

With the Women’s Running 10k season underway, here is our “Top Ten” guidance on fuelling yourself for a 10km run.

1.       Planning and preparation

Whether you are a novice runner, or a seasoned long distance runner, it is always important to plan your food well in advance of an event. Firstly, think about logistics. What time does the race start? Will you have to travel? Most 10km runs commence mid-morning, so schedule in time for breakfast 2 to 3 hours before your race starts to allow adequate time for digestion. Plan to snack at regular intervals (if you know you get hungry) and make sure your snacks are easy to eat on the run.

2.       Trial your nutrition plan

Once you have worked out what you will be eating to fuel your run (this includes dinner the night before, breakfast, pre and during race snacks, and hydration), it is crucial to have a trial run with all the food. Tummy upsets and discomforts are common in long distance runners. Select foods you know that you can comfortably digest, and avoid any unusual or spicy foods before or during the race.

3.       Optimise your meals for performance

If you are not familiar with the term ‘macros’, it is short from macronutrient. Carbohydrate, protein and fat are the 3 macronutrients that the body digests to release energy. Carbohydrate is the main source of energy when exercising at a medium to high intensity (e.g. when running a 10km), whilst fat is the main source of energy when exercising at a low intensity (e.g. leisurely cycle or walk). A high carbohydrate meal (e.g. pasta, rice, potatoes) the night before a race will maximise your muscle glycogen stores ready for the run.

4.       Think about energy release

Athletes are typically advised to select slow release energy foods (like porridge) a couple of hours before the race. This helps to avoid an energy spike shortly after eating, and a subsequent energy dip pre-race. Your muscle glycogen supplies should provide you with sufficient energy for the whole 10k run. However, if you are relatively new to running, having a sweet snack to hand will help to keep you going. Bananas, fruit bars or jelly babies are great for a quick energy boost mid-run. Some runners prefer energy gels or sipping on sports drinks as they can be easier to swallow. Choose whatever suits you best!

5.       Have you tried caffeine?

Caffeine is an athlete’s friend! It is well documented that supplementing your diet with caffeine can boost performance, but we recommend you try it out during your training programme! A relatively small dosage of 1 - 3mg/kg body weight (that’s 70 - 210mg for a 70kg person) could help you cut minutes off your time! Caffeine reduces your perception of pain so you can run harder for longer, and also boosts your alertness. Bear in mind that most research with caffeine is carried out with trained athletes. Beginners and amateur runners should focus on improving their fitness and stamina before reaching for supplements.

6.       Boost your immunity

The last thing you want on race day is get a cold! To avoid infections, take necessary precautions in the weeks leading up the event. Get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious wholefoods, wash your hands properly, and avoid sharing water bottles.

7.       Allow yourself time to recover

Whilst scoffing a calorie laden protein bar within minutes of passing the finish line is not wholly necessary for recovery, eating a nutritious protein rich meal after your run will help your muscles to recover. Including a good source of carbohydrate is equally as important for recovery, as your muscle glycogen stores will need replenishing ready for your next run (if a 10km wasn’t enough for you!). Build in plenty of rest days in your training programme to avoid overtraining and reduce the likelihood of injury.

8.       Keep hydrated

Water is a cheap and convenient way to keep hydrated before and during the race. Supplementing your water with electrolytes will boost your hydration and replenish any salts lost during sweat. Bear in mind that over-hydrating can be as detrimental to your performance as under-hydrating. Sip water regularly (at least every 15 minutes) before and during the race (rather than gulping) to prevent stitches and discomfort, and remember to keep drinking after the race.  Practise keeping well hydrated during your training programme. You can monitor your hydration status by checking the colour of your urine. Aim for pale straw coloured.

9.  Avoid alcohol

This point does not need much elaboration! Save the alcohol for afterwards (if you must!) but remember to drink moderately as you are likely to be dehydrated after the run. Drinking the night before a race will not only make you feel hungover and less energetic in the morning, but it will also deplete your muscle glycogen stores and dehydrate you.

10.  Food first

Take a food first approach when planning your food for both your training programme and your race. Eating a wholesome diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is the best way to help your body prepare, and recover from exercise. Think carefully if you are considering using supplements (such as protein powders). More often than not, all the nutrients we require can be provided by consuming a wholesome and balanced diet. We recommend seeking advice from sports nutritionist or dietician first.

Ali Benger MSc (Hons) Applied Sports Nutrition


By James Hill 05 May, 2017

With the Women’s Running 10k season underway, here is our “Top Ten” guidance on fuelling yourself for a 10km run.

1.       Planning and preparation

Whether you are a novice runner, or a seasoned long distance runner, it is always important to plan your food well in advance of an event. Firstly, think about logistics. What time does the race start? Will you have to travel? Most 10km runs commence mid-morning, so schedule in time for breakfast 2 to 3 hours before your race starts to allow adequate time for digestion. Plan to snack at regular intervals (if you know you get hungry) and make sure your snacks are easy to eat on the run.

2.       Trial your nutrition plan

Once you have worked out what you will be eating to fuel your run (this includes dinner the night before, breakfast, pre and during race snacks, and hydration), it is crucial to have a trial run with all the food. Tummy upsets and discomforts are common in long distance runners. Select foods you know that you can comfortably digest, and avoid any unusual or spicy foods before or during the race.

3.       Optimise your meals for performance

If you are not familiar with the term ‘macros’, it is short from macronutrient. Carbohydrate, protein and fat are the 3 macronutrients that the body digests to release energy. Carbohydrate is the main source of energy when exercising at a medium to high intensity (e.g. when running a 10km), whilst fat is the main source of energy when exercising at a low intensity (e.g. leisurely cycle or walk). A high carbohydrate meal (e.g. pasta, rice, potatoes) the night before a race will maximise your muscle glycogen stores ready for the run.

4.       Think about energy release

Athletes are typically advised to select slow release energy foods (like porridge) a couple of hours before the race. This helps to avoid an energy spike shortly after eating, and a subsequent energy dip pre-race. Your muscle glycogen supplies should provide you with sufficient energy for the whole 10k run. However, if you are relatively new to running, having a sweet snack to hand will help to keep you going. Bananas, fruit bars or jelly babies are great for a quick energy boost mid-run. Some runners prefer energy gels or sipping on sports drinks as they can be easier to swallow. Choose whatever suits you best!

5.       Have you tried caffeine?

Caffeine is an athlete’s friend! It is well documented that supplementing your diet with caffeine can boost performance, but we recommend you try it out during your training programme! A relatively small dosage of 1 - 3mg/kg body weight (that’s 70 - 210mg for a 70kg person) could help you cut minutes off your time! Caffeine reduces your perception of pain so you can run harder for longer, and also boosts your alertness. Bear in mind that most research with caffeine is carried out with trained athletes. Beginners and amateur runners should focus on improving their fitness and stamina before reaching for supplements.

6.       Boost your immunity

The last thing you want on race day is get a cold! To avoid infections, take necessary precautions in the weeks leading up the event. Get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious wholefoods, wash your hands properly, and avoid sharing water bottles.

7.       Allow yourself time to recover

Whilst scoffing a calorie laden protein bar within minutes of passing the finish line is not wholly necessary for recovery, eating a nutritious protein rich meal after your run will help your muscles to recover. Including a good source of carbohydrate is equally as important for recovery, as your muscle glycogen stores will need replenishing ready for your next run (if a 10km wasn’t enough for you!). Build in plenty of rest days in your training programme to avoid overtraining and reduce the likelihood of injury.

8.       Keep hydrated

Water is a cheap and convenient way to keep hydrated before and during the race. Supplementing your water with electrolytes will boost your hydration and replenish any salts lost during sweat. Bear in mind that over-hydrating can be as detrimental to your performance as under-hydrating. Sip water regularly (at least every 15 minutes) before and during the race (rather than gulping) to prevent stitches and discomfort, and remember to keep drinking after the race.  Practise keeping well hydrated during your training programme. You can monitor your hydration status by checking the colour of your urine. Aim for pale straw coloured.

9.  Avoid alcohol

This point does not need much elaboration! Save the alcohol for afterwards (if you must!) but remember to drink moderately as you are likely to be dehydrated after the run. Drinking the night before a race will not only make you feel hungover and less energetic in the morning, but it will also deplete your muscle glycogen stores and dehydrate you.

10.  Food first

Take a food first approach when planning your food for both your training programme and your race. Eating a wholesome diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is the best way to help your body prepare, and recover from exercise. Think carefully if you are considering using supplements (such as protein powders). More often than not, all the nutrients we require can be provided by consuming a wholesome and balanced diet. We recommend seeking advice from sports nutritionist or dietician first.

Ali Benger MSc (Hons) Applied Sports Nutrition


By James Hill 23 Apr, 2017
Upcoming Shows and Events

Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink
Northernhay Gardens, Exeter
Saturday 29th April - Monday 1st May 2017 10.00am-6.00pm / 10.00am-5.00pm
http://www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk/

Nottingham Viva Vegan Festival
Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham
Saturday 6th May 2017 10.00am-6.00pm
http://www.viva.org.uk/festivals/nottingham-2017

Irish Vegan Festival

New Waterfront, Belfast
Saturday 13th May 2017
https://www.irishveganfestival.com/

Bristol Vegfest
The Amphitheatre and Waterfront Square, Bristol
Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st May 2017 11.00am-6.00pm (evening entertainment goes on later)
http://bristol.vegfest.co.uk/

Women Running Race Series - Cardiff  
Bute Park, North Road, Cardiff
Sunday 21st May 2017
http://womensrunninguk.co.uk/raceseries/cardiff-2017/

Foodies Festival Syon Park London
Syon Park, Brentford, Middlesex
Saturday 27th May &  Sunday 28th May 11am - 7pm, Monday 29th May 11am - 6pm
http://foodiesfestival.com/syon-park-food-festival/

Vegan Summer Fest Brighton
The Level, Brighton
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th June 2017 10.00am-5.00pm
https://www.facebook.com/pg/VeganSummerFestUK/about/?ref=page_internal

Women Running Race Series -  Southampton
Southampton Common, Southampton
Sunday 4th June 2017
http://womensrunninguk.co.uk/raceseries/southampton-2017/

The Allergy & Free From Show Berlin
Station, Berlin
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June 2017 10am - 5pm
http://www.allergyshow.de/

Women Running Race Series -  Exeter
Riverside Valley Park, Exeter
Sunday 18th June 2017
http://womensrunninguk.co.uk/raceseries/exeter-2017/


By James Hill 05 Jul, 2016
Following months of product and brand development, along with growing distribution via a number of Holland & Barrett stores and independent retailers, we are going out on the road to spread the good news about our delicious and nutritious Good Full Stop bars. It is true that we are verging on the evangelical about our new brand of healthy, nutritional snack bars – which not only act as one of your five a day (except for that cheeky little Double Choc variety) as well as being jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals – but we think once you’ve tried them you’ll never want for any other snack.

With fans across the UK as well as further afield in countries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and South Africa, we are excited to spread the love of these super healthy nutritious bars that taste amazing far and wide.Over the next few months we will be hitting the road and attending some of the major shows around the UK and further afield – from vegetarian extravaganzas to convenience store trade shows.

Here are some of our movements over the coming months. If you are going to be attending any of the below, do pop along and say ‘Hi’ and we can show you our new trade stand that is going to knock your socks off. Oh, and if you haven’t already done so, make sure you grab a sample of our delicious range of Good Full Stop bars to find out which one you love the most.

VEGFEST BRIGHTON
February 27-28th
vegfest.co.uk

One of Europe’s biggest vegan events, VegfestUK Brighton is set to kick off the Good Full Stop UK Tour. We are more than happy to get on board and champion the festival’s mission to encourage more people to go vegan, live vegan and stay vegan as well as teaching vegan to others. Good Full Stop Bars are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, and taste amazing, so no need to forego flavour.

THE ALLERGY SHOW
Scotland 19-20th March – Stand B36
Berlin 15-17th April
allergyshow.co.uk

Whether you or someone you care for lives with allergies, intolerances, eczema or coeliac disease or need to live ‘free from’ gluten, wheat, eggs, nuts or dairy, or need to avoid dust mites, latex or any other material, then the Allergy Show is a must for your calendar.

NATIONAL CONVENIENCE SHOW
18-20th April
nationalconvenienceshow.co.uk

The National Convenience Show 2016 is the must-attend event for all owners and buyers from the convenience market, including convenience stores, forecourts, independent retailers, symbol groups, CTN's, off licences, wholesalers, cash and carries, sandwich shops and cafes. We very much look forward to introducing the Good Full Stop brand to new potential sales outlets.

CONFEX
21st April
confex.ltd.uk

Hosted by National Wholesale Buying Group, Confex, this year’s trade show promises great things and will once again showcase over 70 suppliers representing a broad spectrum of products, including our very own Good Full Stop bars naturally. We look forward to meeting other suppliers to share stories as well as catching up with some of the UK’s key distributors.We are just finalising the next phase of the tour and will soon be announcing more shows we will be attending throughout the year, so keep an eye on our website to see where you can find us!
By James Hill 01 Jul, 2016
The Good Full Stop team can frequently be found on our travels around the world, either sourcing the delicious dates that make up our Good Full Stop bars, or venturing to countries we would like to introduce our products to. It’s always good to come back to our home county again to enjoy the delights of Devon, one of the most beautiful and varied areas in the UK to explore on foot. With coastal paths, dramatic scenic coastline, rugged mystical moorland and undulating countryside, there’s no better way to discover the Heart of Devon than going for a walk. Here are our top ten places to go for a walk around our home county… with a healthy supply of Good Full Stop bars of course.

1 The East Devon Way
Stretching from Exmouth all the way to Lyme Regis, the 40-mile East Devon Way can be tackled all at once (fuelled by several Good Full Stop bars) or broken up into six more manageable sections (one for each flavour of Good Full Stop!). Running right through the heart of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), this links the South West Coast Path, the beautiful Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the Exe Estuary. The walk uses a mixture of rights of way, permissive routes and minor roads, leading the walker through heathland, woodland and river valley.For the full route, visit:  www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk

2 Teign Valley Classic Circuit
From the imposing bulk of Castle Drogo – the last castle to be built in England – and following the breathtaking Hunter’s Path high above the river Teign, the Teign Valley Classic Circuit is perhaps the most famous walk on Dartmoor. Taking about two to two-and-a-half hours to complete, this circular walk is 3.5 miles long and is suitable for taking your dog with you. Starting at Castle Drogo’s main car park, the route takes in the delights of woodland, with Fingle Bridge Inn just under half way around offering the perfect place to stop and enjoy lunch or a refreshing drink, and a Good Full Stop Bar!For the full route, visit: Teign Valley Classic Circuit3 Wander down the Grand Western Canal The Grand Western Canal Country Park is a popular place to enjoy a flat, easy walk in the countryside – ideal for those with very young children, elderly relatives and wheelchair users. The Grand Western Canal Country Park and Local Nature Reserve is an 11¼-mile long linear park based around the in-water section of the Grand Western Canal in Devon. A fantastic new Canal Visitor Centre, located in the Canal Basin in Tiverton, was officially opened by local Olympic athlete and canal-lover Jo Pavey, in 2013. The new oak-clad, elliptical building provides a great starting point for visits to the canal and houses a fascinating range of displays, bringing to life the Canal’s rich natural and industrial history. Bring a picnic – not forgetting the Good Full Stop Bars.For more information on walks to take, visit: Grand Western Canal

4 Wembury Beach to Heybrook Bay Walk
Starting at Wembury Bay National Trust car park, this moderate walk along the South West Coast Path, leading up from the bay and passing fields and the former HMS Cambridge site, loops back around from Heybrook Bay to take in the views of the Mewstone. There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy along this stretch of coast as well as discovering Wembury Point’s interesting past. For refreshments, there is the cute Old Mill Cafe or combine your walk with a more refined experience - the nearby Langdon Court does a great lunch offer. For the full walk details, visit: Wembury Beach to Heybrook

5 Greenway Garden Ramble
Agatha Christie called Greenway 'the loveliest place in the world' and treasured it as a holiday home for her and her family. We like to combine a visit to the house with this one-mile circular walk, which leads you through some of the more secluded areas of the garden, including the North Walled Garden and the Bird Pond. It brings you to the best place in the whole garden to see the views of the River Dart all the way down to Dartmouth – and don’t forget to Tweet us a photo with your Good Full Stop Bar. For full details of the walk, visit: Greenway Garden Ramble

6 Bantham to Thurlestone
Another favourite of ours on the South West Coast Path, take in the old haunts of Saxons and smugglers, lush coastline and glittering sea, then amble back through the green fields of South Devon. An ideal walk to combine surf with turf, Bantham Beach is also perfect as a place to learn to surf. Good Full Stop Bars are perfect for giving you sustained energy whether hiking or surfing, so make sure you pack plenty of supplies. You can also stop for refreshments at the Village Inn at Thurlestone or Sloop Inn at Bantham. For full details of the route, visit Bantham to Thurlestone Circular Walk

7 Gentle walk to Heddon's Mouth
Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Heddon Valley is home to a variety of wildlife including otters and the rare high brown fritillary butterfly. You'll also find a restored 19th-century lime kiln on the beach. Take a gentle stroll on this one-hour easy route through ancient woodland alongside the River Heddon, to where it meets the sea between some of England's highest cliffs. The route starts and finishes at the Heddon Valley National Trust Gift Shop. For the full route, please visit: Gentle Walk to Heddon's Mouth

8 Lynton and the Valley of Rocks
When we want to go for a nice and easy, family-friendly walk, Lynton and the Valley of Rocks is a firm favourite on the South West Coast Path. The Coast Path from Lyntyon to the famous Valley of Rocks is relatively level and has been surfaced with tarmac to make it easier for everyone to use. Children will love the stories associated with the spectacular rock formations, and the herd of friendly feral goats. And no family visit to the picturesque towns of Lynton and Lynmouth would be complete without a trip on the world famous Cliff Railway – chomp your way through a Good Full Stop Bar as you take in the views.

9 Ashclyst Forest butterfly walk
Starting from the bus stop at Killerton road junction on B3181, we love taking a leisurely walk along sunken lanes and woodland rides and through broad-leaved and coniferous woodland. Keep an eye out for fritillary butterflies (pearl-bordered, small pearl-bordered and silver-washed), white admiral and other butterflies. The 4-mile walk neatly deposits you at the end at the Killerton House main car park – a perfect spot for with tea and a Good Full Stop Bar as a just reward

10 Wood and Wildflowers Walk at Combe Wood
Located near Honiton, on the outskirts of the Blackdown Hills AONB, this circular walk around Combe Wood can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but is at its very best during bluebell season in early May when the ground is blanketed with these fragrant flowers. Taking in the delights of all manner of flora and fauna the beauty of this walk is that it’s almost impossible to get lost. All you need to do is keep the edge of the wood to your right.For full route details, please visit: Combe Wood Wildflower Walk

So do get out and about in Devon’s great outdoors – making sure to take a good supply of Good Full Stop Bars – healthy snacks for all the family.
By James Hill 01 Jul, 2016
Finally, we hear you cheer, winter appears to have thrown off its gloomy hold of our countryside and spring is in the air. With blossom, fragrant with sweet aromas,appearing on our trees and our forest floors and waysides daintily decorated with brightly coloured spring blooms, this is the perfect time of the year to get out and about to enjoy the Great British countryside. But whatever you do, don’t forget to take your favourite Good Full Stop bar with you!

Available in six delicious flavour combinations, Good Full Stop bars are ideal as a snack to keep up your strength whether discovering
the dales of Yorkshire or the downs of Kent. The bars are nutritious and hunger-busting in equal measure, all neatly packaged for ultimate freshness. Each bar contains a perfect blend of dates, date syrup and natural flavourings, offering a perfect marriage of a tasty and satisfying snack bar, while being an excellent source of nutrition – all the pleasure and none of the pain.

Using the finest natural, wholesome ingredients and a ‘hint of naughtiness’, Good Full Stop bars really are suitable for everyone, as they are gluten - and dairy -
free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and have a low glycemic index. And if you buy them direct from our website you can get great savings.

The dates used in Good Full Stop bars have also been found to contain three times the amount of iron as in previously recorded data on the dried fruits. Iron
helps to metabolise proteins and play a role in the production of haemoglobin and red blood cells – giving you ample energy to get out and about exploring the Great British countryside.

Our healthy snack bars have travelled the world, and are making their way around the food shows of the UK. Make sure you let us know where you eat yours on
social media.
By James Hill 01 Jul, 2016
1 Rainbow Fruit Skewers
Even the most fruit-averse child will love this super colourful snack. All you have to do is take some wooden skewers and thread one of each fruit type on – try their favourites intermingled with a few exotic options. You could go for any type of fruit, for example raspberries, strawberries, satsuma segments, mango pieces, pineapple chunks, kiwi fruit, green and red grapes, blueberries. Arrange in a rainbow shape and let everyone help themselves (BBC Good Food).

2 Smoothies
Kids go crazy over these delicious sippable treats, and they're packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, pure orange juice and a banana as the smoothie's base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It's a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit and fibre into your child's diet (Super Healthy Kids).

3 Vegetable Soup
What better way to ‘hide’ vegetables than in a soup – where you can basically chuck in any healthy veg and whizz up in the blender for a tasty treat? Leek and potato, summer vegetable and carrot and coriander are just three options that kids love. Try cooking in advance and storing in small batches to give you a quick and easy snack for children. We particularly like this recipe for sweetcorn and sweet potato chowder with crispy tortillas from Riverford.

4 Fresh fruit lollies
Never mind the additive-packed ice lollies from the ice cream van! Try giving your children some home-made, fresh fruit lollies, which are full of goodness and deliciousness. We absolutely love this recipe for Traffic Light Ice Lollies from Annabel Karmel.

5 Oven-baked Sweet Potato Tots
A firm favourite in the US, beloved by kids and adults, bite-sized tater tots arecrunchy on the outside, filled with potato goodness on the inside. Now you can enjoy them the healthy way, thanks toSkinnyms’ Oven Baked Sweet Potato Tots. Perfect for family get-togethers, as finger food during the big game, or at kids’ parties, these tots will bring out the kid in everyone (Skinnyms).

6 Healthy cookies
All children love a good biscuit, but they don’t all need to be packed with sugar and artificial flavours. Why not try one of Myfussyeater.com’s Carrot, apple & Oat Breakfast Cookies - a great breakfast cookie recipe for picky eaters, packed full of healthy oats, carrots, apples and banana.

7 Fro Yo Bites
Especially tasty as a yummy summertime snack on a hot summer afternoon, these simple cubes of yoghurt mixed with whizzed up fruit are super easy to make. You can make a big batch and then have them as a fast snack whenever you want them!Once they are out of the freezer, let them sit for a few minutes and then put a toothpick in through the middle. Dip them inhomemade granola, wheat germ and/or flax seeds for an even healthier snack (Super Healthy Kids).

8 Home-made Popcorn
Making sure you don’t add excessive sugar or salt, homemade popcorn has a lot of bulk for its calories, so it helps fill you up. Plus, 3½ cups contains one of your three recommended daily servings of whole grains.

9 Olives
Now these may not be to every kid’s taste, but there are plenty of children out there that adore olives. Being watchful not to give ones with stones in, olives satisfy a salty craving and supply a decent amount of heart-healthy fats.

10 A Good Full Stop Bar (of course)
Providing your child is not allergic to nuts, Good Full Stop bars are a great healthy and satisfying snack, filled with nutrition-packed fruit and nuts to keep you feeling fuller for longer. The bars have been specially created by the UK’s largest importer of dates and date products, so they should know a thing or two about the sweet treats.
By James Hill 29 Jun, 2016
We all know that if we eat better, exercise more and think positively that we feel better in ourselves. However, when we are surrounded by unhealthy eating choices and live busy, often stressful lives, there are times that you need a little helping hand. Here are Good Full Stop’s top 10 tips for enjoying a healthy lifestyle without losing the enjoyment for life.

1 Make sure you have access to a good supply of healthy snacks– one of the biggest hindrences to healthy eating in modern society is lack of time to prepare food and ready access to healthy snacks. We all succumb to reaching for a snack in between meals, so why not plan for this eventuality by havinga good supply of healthy snacks at work or at home.

Nuts are a great source of natural goodness, as are dates, which is why we pack our Good Full Stop bars with tasty goodness. Combine this with having to hand fresh fruit and vegetables and your urge to reach for the chocolate biscuits will diminish.

2 Reduce your sugar intake– sugar comes in many forms and can be hidden, especially in ready meals readily available in the supermarkets. Most labels, however, are now required to show their sugar content. To reduce your sugar intake, try switching to lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar, such as:

  • plain porridge
  • plain wholewheat cereal biscuits
  • plain shredded wholegrain pillows

Porridge oats are cheap and contain vitamins, minerals and fibre. Make porridge with semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk, or water.Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our dients comes from sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes and cordials. It is also worth limiting your intake of fruit juice or smoothies to 150ml per day.

3 Eat a healthy balance of food groups– Going shopping when you are on a diet can be time-consuming and let’s face it frustrating experience. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.If in doubt on what you should be eating, the Eatwell Guidecreated by the NHS shows the different types of food we should eat – and in what proportions – to have a healthy, balanced diet.

4 Drink more water– we all know this is an important element of healthy living, and yet it can be easy to forget to drink your recommended intake of water. As well as providing information of what food to eat, the Eatwell Guide says we should drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count.

5 Exercise more– Going to the gym is more popular than ever, with membership in the UK soaring by 44% thanks to the growth in popularity of new, budget gyms that come without the burden of expensive contracts and fees. However, getting more active does not have to be in the form of going to the gym.

  • Find an exercise buddy who matches your goals and objectives and inspire each other.
  • Change your habit of hopping in the car and walk to work / the shops / the park.
  • If gym membership is not for you, why not take up a dance class and shimmy the calories away.
  • Take up running – this is a free form of exercise but can be scary for first time runnewrs. Why not try the NHS’s Couch to 5KM running plan for beginners.

6 Eat more fibre–Government guidelines published in July 2015 say that our dietary fibre intake should increase to 30g a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet. As most adults are only eating an average of about 18g day, we need to find ways of increasing our intake. There are 2.5g fibre in every Good Full Stop bar (about the same as a jacket potato with the skin on), but for other sources try a higher fibre breakfast cereal, potatoes with their skins on, pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas, eat more vegetables, as well as fresh or dried fruit.

7 Reduce your salt intake– Many of us eat too much salt. As with sugar, much of the salt we eat can be found in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals, but we must also be careful not to add too much salt when cooking or at the dinner table. Cutting down on salt lowers blood pressure, which means that your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease is reduced.
For tips on how to cut down on salt, read Tips for a lower-salt diet or download this handy Salt survival guide infographic (PDF, 6Mb).

8 Eat less saturated fat–Eating a diet that is high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. Having high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease.

9 Know your alcohol levels- Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health.To reduce the risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week

Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether.
If you are unsure of your unit of alcohol intake, Alcohol concern has a helpful unit calculator.

10 Consult the NHS Choices website – if you would like more tips on how to live a healthier life, then take a look on the NHS website. Not only do they have a comprehensive Health A-Z, but their ‘Live Well’ section offers loads of helpful ideas on healthy living for everyone.
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