COVID has thrown obesity into the spotlight – and now is the time to tackle it.
A third of us gained half a stone during lockdown and two thirds of adults are overweight.
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But excess weight puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from coronavirus. In a study of nearly 17,000 hospital patients with Covid-19 in the UK, those with a body mass index of more than 30 had a 33 per cent greater risk of dying than those who were not obese.
This is why The Sun is today launching a new healthy eating plan from Fabulous columnist Suzanne Mulholland — aka The Batch Lady — to lose up to a stone in just six weeks.
Packed full of vitamin-rich veg, heart-healthy salmon and meat full of iron, it’s a tasty way to get what your body needs — and the weekly planner makes it easy to stick to 1,500 calories each day.
Men who want to lose weight should be having around 2,000 calories a day, so those following this plan can eat 500 extra calories of snacks daily.
These should be based around fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. For a woman to maintain her weight, the NHS recommends 2,000 calories a day. To lose around 2lb a week, you should cut your daily calorie intake by 500 to 600 calories — over six weeks that could translate to almost 1st weight loss.
All the meals in Suzanne’s diet can be batch-cooked on a Sunday in around 1½ hours — saving time and money — before they are popped into the fridge or freezer to be used over the following week. With one in four adults extremely overweight, slimming down has never been more important.
Professor Susan Jebb, from Oxford University, said: “If you’re overweight you’re less able to kill off a serious infection such as Covid-19. Once you’ve got it, your chances of going to hospital, intensive care and dying are much greater if overweight.
“So cut out unnecessary things and put the emphasis on lots of fresh food, so you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need but with fewer calories. Now is a good moment to get into some healthier habits.”
Cut out and keep the one-week meal plan we will be printing then repeat it for five more.
Today, the Batch Lady also reveals two recipes that can be used for breakfasts, and in tomorrow’s Sun we unveil her lunch and dinner recipes.
THIS diet plan is for two adults. Any leftover food can be kept and used the following week.
DAIRY & EGGS
1-Week Meal plan
MONDAY (1,492 cals)
Overnight oats using Quaker Oats sachet with raspberries and blueberries.
Baked potato with chicken mayo.
Bolognese with spaghetti.
Sausage and egg muffin.
Soup, wholemeal pitta bread, and a banana.
Chicken and 2 wholemeal wraps with 40g grated cheese.
Porridge, using Quaker Oats sachet with banana and cinnamon.
Sausage and tomato omelette and an apple.
Salmon and pesto parcel with new potatoes.
100g zero per cent fat Greek yoghurt with 1 tbsp of Cadbury Highlights milk chocolate powder, with a sliced apple and satsuma to dip.
Yoghurt, blueberries, raspberries and a banana.
Baked sweet potato with coronation chicken and an apple.
Chilli with rice.
Sausage and egg muffin and an apple.
Soup, wholemeal pitta and banana.
Chicken and veg curry and rice.
1 gin and diet tonic, 1 packet of light crisps (90cal).
Sausage and tomato omelette.
Baked potato with tuna, red onion and sweetcorn and an apple.
Salmon stir fry with basmati rice.
Egg and sausage muffin and an apple.
Curry with wholemeal pitta bread and salad.
Beef lettuce taco boats with 40g cheese.
100g zero per cent Total yoghurt with 1 tbsp Cadbury Highlights milk chocolate powder.
METHOD: Add a sachet of porridge to each of two jam jars or Tupperware boxes and split the berries, yoghurt and milk between the containers. Cover and leave to sit in the fridge overnight for Monday morning breakfast.
Make fresh on the day: For Wednesday’s breakfast follow the instructions on the back of the porridge sachet. For each bowl of porridge use 170ml skimmed milk and add 1 small banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For Thursday’s breakfast use 100g zero per cent yoghurt (54cal), a handful of raspberries (15cal), a handful of blueberries (15cal) and a small banana (80cal) for each of you. This is easy to make in the morning as it only takes two minutes.
Breakfast egg muffin & omelette
These can be made at the same time as they use most of the same ingredients.
Muffin ingredients (makes six – 260cal each):
Omelette ingredients (makes four – 333cal each – for lunch on Wednesday and breakfast on Saturday):
Bake your sausages for both recipes, leave to cool and cut into chunks. Now just work on making the muffins by following the steps below. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Add the eggs and milk to a bowl and mix with a fork. Add salt and pepper.
Cut your cherry tomatoes into quarters. In a muffin tray, spray each of the six holes with 2 sprays of light oil. Add the 6 cut-up sausages and the tomatoes to each hole and pour over the egg mix. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden and firm.
While these are baking you can finish your omelettes:
Add the eggs and milk to a bowl and mix with a fork. Add salt and pepper. Cut your cherry tomatoes into quarters. In a frying pan heat 4 sprays of light oil and place on a medium heat.
Pour in a quarter of the egg mix and, using a spatula, scrape the mix into the inside, tilt the pan and leave the mix to cook. Add a quarter of the sausage chunks, a quarter of the tomatoes and a quarter the grated cheese then fold one side over.
Once your first omelette is finished you can now go back and repeat the steps using the rest of the ingredients to make your other three omelettes. Leave the omelettes to cool before adding to a reusable freezer bag and freezing.
On Tuesday night, remove two omelettes from the freezer and leave to defrost ready to reheat in the microwave for around three minutes for Wednesday’s lunch.
On Friday night, remove the remaining two omelettes from the freezer to defrost for Saturday’s breakfast. Reheat in the microwave for around three minutes once fully defrosted.
When the muffins are cooked, run a knife around the edge of each muffin and they should pop out. Leave to cool. Once fully cooled, keep two egg muffins in the fridge for Tuesday’s breakfast and freeze the other four for Friday and Sunday morning.
To defrost, simply remove from the freezer the night before, and once defrosted, reheat in the microwave for two minutes until piping hot.
‘We lost 14st between us from batch cooking’
GILLIAN FITZIMONS, 31, and Phil Day, 45, both found batch-cooking the best form of watching what they eat.
Gillian dropped from 17st 5lb to 9st 2lb, while Phil’s weight fell from 19st 7lb to 13st 6lb. Gillian says: “After my first pregnancy I put on 5st and became a size 24 by constantly eating takeaways.
“I wanted another child, but I have polycystic ovary syndrome and my GP told me that my weight was too dangerous for me to get pregnant. I started batch-cooking my own sauces and meals and lost 8st 3lb, dropping to a size eight, in 12 months.
“I even found my own takeaway replacement meal, which is taco fries. By batch-cooking the low-fat mince in a sauce, and homemade chips, it means there is no risk of me calling up a takeaway shop. In 2017 I fell pregnant again. It only took me eight weeks to get back on track, due to batch-cooking.”
Gillian then met Phil and the couple now live together in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Gillian continued: “We moved in with each other and it was great because we both love to batch-cook.
“Every Sunday morning we spend three hours cooking soups, bolognese, carbonaras and chilli con carne for the next week or two. Batch-cooking saved my life, and now I’m pregnant again.”
Phil says: “When I was 30 I got ill with blood clots on my lungs and I was bed-bound, which made me go up to 19st. I spent four years dieting, but only lost 2½st. Then I discovered batch-cooking and within 12 weeks I had lost 3½st.”
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