Susan Hart – How to cut calories through healthy meals

Susan Hart weight loss

Our resident nutrition coach Susan Hart shares her tips on cutting calories and maintaining a healthy diet for yourself and the whole family.

Do you rely on ready meals?

Ready meals whether fresh or frozen are for many a quick and convenient way to put a meal on the table.  But spend a few moments looking at the food label and it becomes clear that nutritionally they could be improved.  For instance a pizza could have 1500 calories but many of us don’t realise that it should serve 2 people

Food producers have been told to cut calories in ready meals (and other foods including savoury biscuits, cooking sauces, sandwiches and potato products such as crisps and chips) by 20% by 2024.  Public Health England says the target would slash costs to the NHS by £4.5bn and prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths, because more than 60% of adults are too heavy.  And its not just adults: overweight children are consuming between 300-500 calories a day extra, this equates to a potential weight gain of 1lb or ½ kilo per week.


How to cut up to 500 calories from a child’s diet

If you want to help your family to reduce its calorie consumption and possibly reduce their intake of ready meals here are some top tips

  • Parents can be a positive role model by eating more veggies, making family meals and drinking mostly water
  • Get the whole family more active – it burns calories and builds strong bones and muscles
  • Eating more veg – its filling and has fewer calories and makes the plate look full.  If they don’t like veg use a blender to blitz veggies into a sauce, curry chilli, shepherds pie
  • Use skimmed milk and plant based milks
  • Cook in bulk and freeze.  When time is more limited you simply take a home cooked meal out of the freezer
  • Get the children involved in preparing meals; this could be a simple salad or fruit salad or a more complex spicy bean wrap or pizza
  • Have water at meal times
  • Limit the amount of sweet treats and drinks your child eats
  • If you do have ready meals try and serve them with a pile of veggies or a big salad to increase their nutritional content and fibre
  • Don’t necessarily go for low fat products as they can be high in sugar
  • Limit the amount of snacks and fast food a child eats
  • Always have chopped up fruit or veggie sticks in the fridge for children to snack on
  • Apps to help: change for life: sugar smart, food scanner


100 calorie snacks – max 2 a day

Individual packets (25g) of baked crisps

1 slice of malt loaf no butter

1 crumpet with small amount of butter, jam or marmite

Fresh or tinned fruit salad (in juice)

Chopped veg and hummus

Rice cake

Sugar free jelly

An oatmal biscuit

Small pot of fruit yoghurt

1 apple and 1 tbls wholenut peanut butter

If you need some recipe inspiration then consider coming to see someone like me for advice about how to make healthier changes for the whole family