Salad inspiration

I love salads – they’re one of my favourite kinds of lunch (and sometimes dinner) as you can add so many delicious things! I often get asked for inspiration on how to jazz up a salad so I thought I would make this infographic to give you some ideas.

salad building

 

P.S. I can’t believe I missed them out, but I forgot to put olives on the toppings section – I nearly always add these to a salad.

This is just a guide for if you are feeling a bit stuck with what to put in your salad. It is by no means an instruction manual so feel free to go wild!

Obesogenic environments

We are now living in an environment that enables and encourages weight gain due to overeating and low physical activity. This is often referred to as an ‘obesogenic environment’. If you look around your local area I am sure you will see signs of it. It includes a multitude of fast-food outlets, and lifts and escalators being far easier to find in a building than the stairs. Once you become aware of this, it seems as though there is a coffee shop or food outlet everywhere you look .

It is thought that teenagers are some of the most vulnerable to this sort of environment as they have a little bit of expendable income (pocket-money) and more independence as they are probably getting themselves to and from school. There are also often deals in take-away shops targeted specifically at school children.

The picture above is a poster that I spotted on the high street in my local area – on the main bus route that gets extremely busy around the end of the school day. You can pick up a whole pizza for just £1! I don’t know if you can see, but at the bottom of the poster it says, ‘Offered only at lunch time from 12pm to 4pm’. I’m sure you can imagine how tempting this would be for school children walking past who are feeling peckish after the school day. And how demoralising it must be for parents who are trying to encourage their children to eat a healthy diet.

I am all for moderation and eating a variety of foods, including pizza occasionally (I love pizza!), but I doubt that at £1 each these pizzas will be eaten only occasionally.

Some supermarkets have already made moves to create a more enabling and healthy environment by removing crisps and confectionery from the check-out. I’m sure you’ve experienced how tempting that chocolate bar is when you’re waiting in line, but that you probably hadn’t even considered buying as you were doing the rest of your shopping.

I think the first step is to make ourselves more aware of the obesogenic environment in which we live, but maybe it needs to go as far as government legislation on location of fast-food outlets and such deals being targeted at children – what do you think?

Move a little more

I know I only wrote a post about physical activity a couple of months ago, but I felt inspired after going to a talk yesterday afternoon highlighting the health benefits of moving a little bit more. These include improving sleep, mental well-being and reducing the risk of various diseases like diabetes.

So often the emphasis of exercise is on weight loss or aesthetics, but it shouldn’t be – I think this can cause people to attach guilt and stress to exercise. Therefore, for the rest of this article I’m going to refer to it as physical activity. I think that this has completely different connotations as it makes you think of walking and moving in your day-to-day life rather than gym memberships. With many of us having quite sedentary jobs we could all do with moving!

Here are some small and fairly easy ways to increase the amount that we move everyday:

  • Get off the bus or tube one stop early and walk the last little bit of the journey
  • Walk up the escalator instead of standing
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Doing some light gardening like weeding
  • Playing with the kids in the park
  • Doing housework (I can work up a real sweat doing my hoovering!)
  • Putting on some silly pop music and having a dance
  • Going bowling
  • Digging out your roller-blades

Get inventive!

There are also plenty of fun fitness activities going on all over the place such as Park Run and Race for Life.

This infographic produced in 2011 by the Chief Medical Officer illustrates the benefits of physical activity. They also have one for babies and young children (under 5’s) and older children and teenagers.

physical activity