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FAQ – Food

Posted: 18 January 2019

How does the plan work, and how many snacks can I have?

Everyday you should eat 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 main meal and 2 snacks. For main meals we have a different meal for every day of the plan. For breakfast you can choose any of the 8 breakfast options, for lunch you can choose any of the 14 lunch options and same goes for the 8 snack options - so there's plenty of variety there for everyone!

I don't eat fish/certain foods, can I still follow the plan?

With regard to the meal plans, don't worry, everyone has food which they can't eat (or don't want to eat.) Our suggestion would be to repeat one of the other recipes on the plan which you enjoyed. Each meal is nutritionally balanced, so it won't affect your progress. There is a huge selection of meals to suit all tastes, so there will be plenty of meals which you will want to try again!

Can I swap any fish in the dishes on the plan?

It’s fine to swap white fish for salmon. Salmon, due to it's stronger flavour may not always work as well with all white fish recipes.

I am a vegetarian, can I still follow the plan?

Yes, there is a full vegetarian plan available.

I am a vegan, can I still follow the plan?

We don't have vegan specific meals at the moment.

Can I use dairy free alternatives if I’m following the plan?

You can use dairy free alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk, oat milk etc in place of cow’s milk. 

I am a coeliac/have a wheat intolerance, can I substitute the bread and pasta on the plan for gluten free versions?

Meals are not gluten free - but gluten free pastas and breads can easily be substituted into recipes where necessary. The main thing is to try eat nutritionally balanced meals, have regular meals and stay within the calories by portion controlling and making the best food choices available to you.

I have to cook for four people, can I just double the recipe ingredients?

Yes, you can!

I work as a shift worker, how do I follow the plan?

From an eating point of view, the goal is three meals and two snacks in a 24 hour period with the aim to eat every 3 - 4 hours when awake / working. The plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks which can be consumed over the 24 hour period.

I spend a lot of time in my car. Would you have any suggestions for how to follow the meal plan?

Sometimes it works well to swap breakfast and snacks first thing in morning.  So pick any of the snack options that are quick for first thing and then have breakfast during first break at work, for instance. Make the meal plan work for you!

Can I eat extra fruit on the plan?

If you are hungry, eat. Remember to add a handful of nuts as this will help keep you feeling fuller for longer.

I'm trying to stick to the plan but am struggling with the quantity of food, I still feel hungry - what should I do?

If you are hungry, eat. Currently the plan is set as having 3 meals & 2 snacks each day. You can add an extra snack in the day at a time you feel particularly hungry. If you feel the meal portions are not large enough, you can start by adding extra potatoes / rice / pasta to see if that helps.

Is sparkling water ok to drink or does it have to be still water only? How much tea/coffee can I drink on a daily basis?

Sparkling water is fine but aim to have still water as the majority of what you drink. For tea and coffee, three to five cups/day max is recommended.

What kind of butter is used in the recipes?

It’s real butter!

Is it ok to freeze the meals on the plan?

Yes, it’s fine to freeze most of the meals but some freeze better than others. Also, try to cook a double batch so that have extra portions for freezer.

Can I switch the carbohydrates in the meals?

It may not always suit the recipe.  The general rule of thumb is 250g potatoes for recipe for 2, quinoa can be same portion as rice / pasta.

I am pregnant, can I still follow the plan?

The plan is not for pregnant women as calories will not be high enough. The food plan is designed to help our leaders lose weight in line with their health goals. Weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy. Always consult with your GP before making dietary changes whether for weight loss or for medical reasons.

Can I follow the plan if I’ve recently had a baby?

We would recommend signing this off with your doctor before starting either the food or the fitness plan.

I am breast feeding, can I still follow the plan?

It's always best to consult with your GP before taking on any dietary changes, whether for weight loss or for medical reasons. The food plan is designed to help our leaders lose weight in line with their health goals and this may not provide enough energy for breastfeeding women. This can affect milk supply so it would be a good idea to add more carbohydrate to the meals / snacks. Aoife would recommend adding 50% carbohydrates to the meal like potatoes, rice and pasta.

I have a medical condition which limits intake of certain foods, can I just use straight swaps for dairy free/gluten free substitutes? 

It is important to get an official diagnosis by a medical doctor rather than just avoiding these things.  Generally, a straight swap will work, but it may vary depending on recipe. Processed gluten free products tend to be far higher in fat and lower in fibre.

Are the menus suitable for people with diabetes? 

Yes but if you are injecting with insulin you will need to discuss with your diabetes nurse.  Make sure to keep a close monitor of your blood sugars as you make changes and if you notice your blood sugar dropping too low discuss with your GP about changing amount of medication. 

I have high cholesterol, will these meals help?

Yes, the plan is generally low in saturated fat and high in fibre. Also, weight loss has a big impact on cholesterol levels.  Adding a plant sterol drink such as danancol or benecol or flora proactive daily can also help in addition to porridge daily

I suffer with low iron, what can I do?

You should choose food that are high in iron more often - red meat, salmon and eggs. Maybe aim for red meat 3 / week with salmon at least once /week and eggs daily.

I am quite fit and don’t wish to lose weight. Can I still follow the food plan?

The food plan is designed to help our leaders lose weight in line with their health goals. If you are not trying to lose weight & want to fuel exercise you will need to add more carbohydrates to your eating plan. The amount changes depending on how much you exercise. However, you could add 50% more carb to meals eg potatoes /rice/pasta as a starting point. As with any change to your eating, if you feel excessively weak or low in energy due to changes it would be good to discuss with a registered dietitian to get a personalised nutrition plan that is specific to your needs.