Weekend eating, healthy swaps

After analysing one of our ‘healthy eating food diaries’, we wanted to know more. Many of us will fall into the health kick trap; eating well and exercising all week, only to give in to temptation on Friday night. We associate this with failure and can often knock our motivation and confidence. But we promote a happy, balanced lifestyle and are keen to learn what swaps can be made to keep our weekend eats nutritious, balanced and enjoyable.


We asked registered nutritionist and Nutritionist Resource member, Dr Lisa Gatenby to take a look at one of our weekend food diaries.

NR team member, Kat sent her two-day food diary to Lisa, recording her meals, snacks, drinks and activity levels, as well as stating her age, weight and height. While this is only a small snippet of the week, Lisa took these factors into consideration when conducting the analysis.

What did Lisa say?

This food diary shows some great foods, providing healthy omega-3 from the salmon, high protein and filling scrambled eggs for breakfast, spinach providing magnesium, folate and vitamin K and blueberries providing lots of antioxidants. However, there are some further improvements which can be made. The suggestions I have made below aim to help make this food plan even better.


Although the granola is a premium range product and prides itself on its use of natural maple syrup. Maple syrup is still a sugar and this breakfast contains 12% sugar and 26% fat. It is OK to have this once a week but an alternative way may be to have just one tablespoon sprinkled on top of a weetabix, which has very low fat and sugar content. Weetabix will still help to keep you full from the wholegrain and a spoonful of granola will help liven it up!

Breakfast also contains a smoothie. While this is only a small 180g portion which is not bad, it is best to stick to a maximum of one a day. This could even be replaced by adding fresh berries to your cereal, which will provide beneficial nutrients and it is always better to eat your calories than drink them!

Lunch is a nice protein-packed eggs and avocado. Eggs are a great complete protein and also contain B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and selenium. However, it would be much better to poach the eggs rather than fry them and maybe serve with avocado and a salad to help ensure you reach/exceed your 5-a-day.

The snack of blueberries is great. Blueberries are often referred to as a superfood because they contain many nutrients and antioxidants. You could add some Greek yoghurt to the blueberries to help ensure you obtain enough calcium and to help fill you up for longer from the extra protein in the yoghurt.

Chorizo, chicken and spinach for dinner sounds wonderful, but be careful not to add too much chorizo as it has a high fat content. Though, a little bit for flavour is fine. You may want to add a small serving of wild rice to add some complex carbs to the meal.

Dark chocolate makes a nice treat, but try not to have too much. Two squares should be sufficient and if you’ve added complex carbs to your meal, you may find you can reduce the chocolate to just a couple of nights a week.

A glass of red wine with your meal is fine, make sure you don’t have more than 14 units a week.


Scrambled eggs on toast is a great way to start the day – consider if you need two slices of whole grain bread. Two eggs with one slice of toast and some mushrooms or tomatoes would improve this option.

The chicken and mango wrap is a nice option from a pre-made range, however it does have a high sugar content (8.3%). An alternative is to make this at home. You could also add a side salad to this to help increase your fruit and veg intake, or you could make it a chicken salad, with lots of colourful salad, chicken and avocado.

Salmon, couscous, spinach and tomatoes. Omega-3 goodness from the salmon, though you could serve this with roasted veg, such as butternut squash, courgettes, peppers and red onion to add more variety.

Please note – this is only two days recorded intake and our nutrition is over a much longer period of time. I also find when I ask people to consciously write down what they eat for a few days, they eat much better when recording that time. Please remember that this is only a guide.

Below you will find Kat’s weekend food diary:


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Written by Ellen Lees
Head of Content.
Written by Ellen Lees
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