Dietitian Lungile Nkosi on how you can eat healthier and shed those kilos

WHAT’S YOUR TYPICAL MEAL? Chicken salad. It is a quick meal packed with antioxidants and protein, and the small number of calories is great for weight loss or maintenance.

 WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK?  Water. It has zero calories with many health benefits, including weight loss. I drink a glass before every meal – it helps me with portion control because it makes me feel fuller.      

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DISH?  Pasta, lean mince, and veggies. I like quick, healthy meals. I use whole-wheat   pasta to increase my daily fibre intake, the veggies provide me with my daily vitamin and mineral requirements, and the lean mince is easy and quick to prepare and a good protein option.

YOUR FAVOURITE HEALTHY SNACK? A handful (30g) of raw almonds. They fill me up because they are high in fibre and protein. They are also high in good fats, which keeps my cholesterol levels low, and they are tasty.

HAS YOUR DIET CHANGED? As a student I ate absolutely everything, including chocolate and sweets, and drank cooldrink every day. When I started working, I decided to practise and take a lunchbox to work. If I’m buying food, I’m very disciplined.

WHAT GIVES YOU A MOOD LIFT? I drink rooibos tea with a teaspoon of sugar and a bit of low-fat milk.  

TOP TIPS FOR LOSING WEIGHT? If you are obese you have too much body fat, which can affect your general health. A good diet is a vital part of trying to achieve a healthy weight. Lungile recommends eating all the food groups in moderation and reducing portion sizes.

She suggests what I preach. Since then I’ve been eating healthy (low-GI) carbs, lean protein in moderation, low-fat dairy products and lots of fruit and veg.     

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT? I watch what I eat – anything high in fat or sugars I avoid. I also avoid takeaway meals and skip a rope three or four times a week for at least 20 minutes, wearing 2kg ankle weights on each ankle.

DO YOU STICK TO A PLAN? I prepare most of my meals from scratch and take a lunchbox to work. If I’m

buying food, I’m very disciplined.

TOP TIPS FOR LOSING WEIGHT? If you are obese you have too much body fat, which can affect your general health. A good diet is a vital part of trying to achieve a healthy weight.

Lungile recommends eating all the food groups in moderation and reducing portion sizes. She suggests the following if you want to trim down:    

·  Do not skip meals. Eat your breakfast within two hours of waking up. Have lunch and supper and healthy snacks in between.     

·   Eat in moderation – small portions are best.      

·  Avoid high-fat foods such as fast foods.       

·  Remove fat where possible. Take off chicken skin and trim visible fat off red meat before cooking.    

· Go for low-fat dairy products such as low-fat cheese, yoghurt and milk.

· Avoid frying – steam, grill, boil and   bake instead.      

· Include carbohydrates but choose good ones (low-GI) such as whole-wheat bread and cereals like oats. Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, cake, biscuits, and other products made with flour.       

·  Beware high-sugar drinks such as fruit juices. Drink lots of water and alcohol   in moderation – limit yourself to one glass of wine a day.       

· Do not be tempted by diets that promise quick weight loss. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a fad.       

·  Be active. Try to do 30-45 minutes of exercise four or five times a week. Lungile’s eating plan for the week is moderate in carbohydrates and protein, and low in fat.      

 “I’ve included carbohydrates because they help to sustain energy levels and prevent cravings,” she notes. “I’ve also put lentils and chickpeas on the menu because they’re often neglected in our diets but offer amazing health benefits – they’re full of fibre and protein and have no fat.”

meal plan
meal plan

Her eating plan (above) is easy to follow and includes afternoon snacks to sustain energy levels.