Eating Loads and Staying Slim

Anything that tastes nice is probably fattening. Some people can eat anything without putting on weight. You’re not one of those people! Is any of this true? Not so, say authors Della Galton & Peter Jones in their latest book How To Eat Load Loads And Stay Slim. All you need is a willingness to change, and some gold stars…

Peter says


The problem with many self-help books, in my experience, is that the advice they contain is usually a lot easier to read than heed. Before you know it you’re at the end of the book, and nothing’s changed.

I’m not just an author. To two people in this world, my primary job is that of ‘Uncle’. It’s kind of a cross between being a clown, a punch bag, an audience, and a confidante.

I remember one weekend with my nephew and niece. Whilst my niece was her usual chatty self, my nephew spent much of the time with his face in a book. And not just a book, but a bumper book of maths puzzles. He spent the weekend doing sums. Was he catching up on school homework? Had his parents encouraged him to work through the book by way of extra study? No – it was completely voluntary. Why then had he chosen to spend his time in this way? Because of the stars.

At the back of my nephew’s book there were several sheets of self-adhesive gold stars, and at the bottom of each page was space for a gold star to be stuck once the page had been completed. This simple concept very much appealed to my young nephew. Della and I think that it might just work for you.

Each thought provoking, scientifically-provable, idea in How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim has a STAR RATING. There are fifty four stars available – you get one just for buying the book! Collect enough stars and we personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. No dieting required. And to get you started this article contains twelve of them.

How to calculate your Star Rating

Virtually Fat Free Chips – worth 1 star

Everyone loves chips. But they’re bad news if you’re trying to keep your chips-300x200weight under control, right? Not necessarily. You can have guilt-free chips. All you need to do
is swap the cooking method to a combination of microwave and oven baking!

Cut washed potatoes into chips, nice and thick (easier to cook), then spread them out on a plate and spray them with a low fat spray or a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and microwave for four minutes. Transfer them to the oven on a baking tray (add a little more low fat spray, if necessary) and bake at 240 degrees Celsius. You will need to turn them often so they get evenly browned.

Chips made like this are not quite as good as tasty as fried chips – but they are totally guilt free. You can have as many as you like. They go very well with ham and eggs. They also work very well if you roast vegetables alongside them. And if you’d like cheesy chips then just sprinkle a handful of half fat grated cheese over them and melt.

Swapping – 1 star for each ‘swap’ to a maximum of 5

‘Swapping’ is the concept of identifying foods that could easily, and painlessly, be switched for healthier, less fattening alternatives. For instance:

  • swap chips for jacket spuds
  • swap beef mince for extra-lean mince
  • swap full fat cheese for half fat cheese
  • swap pints of beer for bottles of beer
  • swap beer for wine
  • swap sugar for less sugar (with the cunning use of measuring spoons)
  • swap crisps for popadums
  • swap shop bought burgers for shop bought veggie-burgers
  • swap snack foods for healthier and shockingly tasty alternatives

It isn’t a new concept at all, but it’s such a simple, easy idea that it’s often overlooked and forgotten about.

Changing Your Mind – 3 stars in total

Never mind calorie counting, or spending your lunch hour on the treadmill, the real secret to eating loads and staying slim is to exercise the lump of grey matter between your ears, and to re-think your approach to food, based on facts.

For instance, there’s evidence that we use our eyes, more than our stomachs, to judge how much food we’ve eaten. If our plates are anything less than over-flowing we often feel cheated, and consequently hungry. And if there’s food on the plate we’ll often eat it, regardless of whether or not we’ve already had our fill.

This is scientific gold dust, and immediately give us two more techniques we can use to control our weight.

Firstly, get into the habit of checking in with your stomach whilst you’re eating. Are you full now? Then stop. Who cares if there’s food left on the plate. Leave it. Don’t worry about the WASTE, worry about your WAIST. 1 star for this one.

Secondly, you can actually trick your mind into accepting smaller portions by using smaller plates. If you’re using ten inch dinner plates, switch to nine. That’s a 10% decrease in overall food intake right there, and you won’t even notice. 2 stars for this one.

How Hunger Really Works – fatometer-295x3003 stars in total

Many, many years ago, long before you and I came to be – before the invention of the internet, the telephone, pizza delivery services, before mopeds, and the wheels that make them possible – food was generally hard to come by. The only meal options available were fruit, nuts and berries – or catching something and killing it. Which could be a tad treacherous and usually involved a joint effort. Times were tough.

This being the case, it didn’t make sense to evolve a hunger mechanism that made your tummy rumble just because you hadn’t eaten. On the other hand, when food was plentiful – say, when your old pal Ug had managed to trap a woolly mammoth – it made a LOT of sense for your body to encourage you to eat as much as you could from the all-you-can-eat mammoth buffet. In those days, life was quite often a case of ‘survival of the fattest.’

Back in the 21st century every day is ‘woolly mammoth day’. Figuratively speaking. Food is plentiful, and quite a lot of it is packed with calories. But whilst we might eventually evolve a new hunger mechanism that takes all this into account, right now your body and mine are operating on the assumption that the local pizza delivery place might run out of pizza at any moment, and that it’s best to fill up whilst we can.

Put simply, your body is designed to make you fatter. It does this by associating the calories in the food you eat, with the flavour that food has. Over time your body figures out which flavours are ‘fattest’. Those foods usually become our favourites.

There are several ways we can use this information to our advantage but three quick tips – worth one star each – are:

  • Try new foods whenever you can
  • Mix up your flavours
  • Have home-cooked meals whenever possible (avoiding sauces in packets or jars, or anything that’ll make your food taste identical to last time)

Read more about how hunger really works here

This article originally appeared in Good Magazine

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim is available now as an ebook, in paperback, and as an audio download, from amazon


Recipe: Peter’s Veggie Bake

Peter says

Following the positive feedback to my veggie bean chilli post which inspired many of you to take your life in your hands and turn veggie for meal or two, I thought I’d take you through another veggie meal of mine – behold Peter’s Veggie Bake!

Whoever came up with the “eat five portions of fruit and veg a day” advice neglected to mention that it’s actually easier to do this, and far tastier, if all five portions are in the same meal. So with this in mind…

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Step 1: Gather your ingredients. You’ll definitely need cornflower, salt, olive oil, milk, butter, cheese, some old bread, garlic, and every type of vegetable you can lay your hands on. I’m using cabbage, courgettes, carrots, broccoli, squash, and parsnips. Root vegetables are especially good in this dish.

By the way, did you know parsnips are higher in carbs than potatoes? Who knew. Anyway…

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Step 2: ‘Grease’ a large oven proof dish with some olive oil (or butter), then chop your veg and layer inside the dish. Don’t forget several cloves of (roughly chopped) garlic, and maybe some ginger.

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Step 3: Wait! I almost forgot the chilli! Blimey that was close. You definitely want to get some chilli in there. Why? What do you mean why? Because chillies are great that’s why!

(You’ll notice the broccoli and courgettes haven’t been chopped yet. I ran out of space in the dish. That often happens.)

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Step 4: Drizzle a little oil on the veg. Remember to season. Maybe get your fingers in there and give it all a really good mix up.

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Step 5: Right then! Time to start upsetting Della. Bring on the breadcrumbs! Don’t buy packet breadcrumbs (yuk) – instead save bits of old bread in the freezer, and grind them to crumbs in the food processor. I like to add a few sprigs of rosemary at this stage. And oh yes, another chilli.

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Step 6: Darn it, I forgot the cheese (sorry Della). Take a few chunks of cheese and grind those in with the crumbs. Also, add a little seasoning.

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Step 7: Grate a handful of the cheese that’s left (sorry Della) and put to one side with the breadcrumbs and the veg.

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Step 8: Prepare a white sauce. Take a pint of (semi) skimmed milk (cow’s milk or an alternative), add a knob (just a knob) of butter (sorry Della), and warm slowly, adding a couple of teaspoons of cornflour every thirty seconds and whisking continuously. When the mixture begins to stiffen take off the heat immediately.

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Step 9: Add the grated cheddar cheese.

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Step 10: Pour over the veg.

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Step 11: Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. If you have any left over put them in a bag and store in the freezer for next time.

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Step 12: Cover the whole thing with foil (shiny side down). Bake for an hour and a half at around 170 degrees Celsius (Gas mark 3). The longer you bake the better it gets – just try not to burn the top.

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Step 13: And a little later on this is what emerges… it should be bubbling with deliciousness

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Step 14: Use a ladle to serve as many portions as necessary. At this stage the ‘bake’ doesn’t have much solidity. It tastes utterly amazing though. Whilst you tuck into a bowlful allow the rest to cool, then cover the roasting dish and transfer to the fridge.

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Step 15: The following day remove the roasting dish from the fridge and cut the remaining bake into portions. You’ll noticed that it’s ‘set’ over night. It’ll also taste even better! Reheat what you want to eat right now in the oven for five or ten minutes, the remaining portions can be individually wrapped in foil and be frozen (thaw before reheating).

If your bake looks lonely on the plate, try serving with a salad (don’t groan – it works). My salad (pictured here) consists of lettuce, tomato, silverskin onions, and pickled jalapeño peppers. Of course. Don’t forget to dress your salad.

Now it’s going to come as no surprise to some of you that my esteemed co-author almost had heart failure when she saw the list of ingredients: butter, oil, cheese, breadcrumbs… It was almost enough to put her off her fat free dessert (though not enough to prevent her from clearing the plate when I made this dish for her), and once again one of my recipes was called into question. To which I offer the following defence:

Firstly, the point here is not to create a fat free meal, but to help you break your reliance on meat and convenience foods, and re-introduce you to vegetables which are, by their very nature, very low in fats, fabulously good for you, and lip-smackingly delicious… if you use plenty of them.

Secondly, if you’re truly worried about the calorie count I encourage you to use Della’s fat free cooking principles to turn this dish into a slightly more wholesome, guilt-free version.

I’d value your feedback. Feel free to add comments in the box below or on our facebook page.

Bottomless Soup Bowls

Peter says


According to scientists, when it comes to ‘eating loads’ people use their eyes, not their stomachs, to determine how much that is.

In one such study scientists took fifty-four volunteers and sat them down to eat a bowl of soup. Whilst half of the participants ate from ‘normal’ soup bowls, the other half unknowingly ate from bowls that were rigged in such a way that they could be slowly re-filled without the diner realising it. These folks ate, on average, a staggering 73% more soup and, more interestingly, had no idea that they’d done so. The scientists concluded that when it comes to figuring out how much we’ve eaten we rely on what our eyes are telling us.

Firstly, from here on, when it comes to food pay attention to your stomach. If you feel full, particularly if you’re no longer enjoying the meal – stop eating! So there’s still food on the plate. So what?

But what about those starving children in Africa? If you’re like me then you might have been raised to believe that you should always clear your plate because there are some people in the world who will never have enough to eat. And that’s a very good point. Which is why you’ll find a donation button to one of the numerous charitable organisations working in that part of the world in the bottom right hand corner of our website. Believe me, sending those organisations the odd donation will do you, and them, more good than forcing down food you don’t need to eat.

This blog post is based on research by Brian Wansink, James E. Painter, and Jill North and documented in their scientific paper “Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake“. You can read the paper here. Watch a short movie about this experiment here (or click the big play button in the image below if reading this post on the blog).