The idea of eating healthier and losing weight has got a bad reputation, with the assumption that you’ll have to go cold turkey on eating for enjoyment. That’s codswallop – as anyone who has devoured a cold turkey sandwich with avocado and mayo on wholemeal will know. Cold chicken in a pitta is also good, and that just so happens to be one of the most popular recipes on Noom.
Noom is an online programme that uses the psychology of behaviour change, one-on-one coaching, education and perhaps most importantly very tasty recipes to help people eat healthier, as well as losing some weight along the way if they fancy it.
“Our role is not to tell you what to eat, but to empower you in making educated decisions for yourself,” says Alex Sizer, who is a registered dietitian in the US and a Noom coach. “Noom’s dietary advice encourages awareness, portion control, mindfulness and moderation over restriction so that all foods can fit into a healthy balanced diet.”
One way Noom informs your food choices is by helping you set a reasonable daily calorie intake. It then introduces the concept of calorie density, categorizing foods into a traffic light system according to how many calories a set weight of food contains.
“Foods that are less calorically dense – less calories and more volume – are categorised as green, where foods that are more calorically dense – more calories and less volume – are categorized as red,” says Sizer. “Noom encourages, but doesn’t require, you to choose foods that keep you feeling full, while still successfully staying within a calorie deficit to promote weight loss.
“If you follow Noom’s guidance, a typical day’s diet will reach your ideal calorie range without going too far over or under. You’ll be encouraged to balance your food choices in a distribution of 30% of daily calories from green foods, 45% from yellow foods, and 25% from red foods.”
That’s the science-y bit, but what does that look like in practice? And more importantly, what could you eat tonight (a question we’re always pondering)? Sizer pointed us towards three of the most popular recipes with Noom users (see below), but made it clear that you won’t be forced into a “three square meals a day” straitjacket. “While some individuals may strive for three meals per day, others may be grazers and eat small frequent meals. Possibly you’re more of a ‘two meals per day with a few snacks in-between’ type of eater. Or maybe you work night shifts, and eat your primary meals through the night. We recognise that everyone has their own unique background and their own unique schedule, meaning a typical day’s food intake really depends on you!”
If you’re tempted by the approach, or the recipes below and want more, Noom is offering a 14-day trial for £1.
Breakfast: Banana-Apple And Nut Oatmeal (Serves One)
- ¼ cup quick cooking oats
- ½ cup skimmed milk or almond milk
- ¼tbsp flaxseeds
- ½ medium apple, diced
- 1tbsp walnuts, chopped
- ½ banana, peeled and sliced
- 1tbsp honey
- Combine oats, milk, flaxseeds and honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in a microwave for 1½ minutes (you may need to adjust depending on the microwave).
- Stir the mixture, top with walnuts, apples and bananas. Serve hot.
Lunch: Chicken And Avocado Pitta Pockets (Serves Four)
- 500g cooked chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup diced avocado
- ½ cup bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ½ cup cucumber, chopped
- ½ cup carrots, peeled and shredded
- ½ cup cauliflower, finely chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped
- 6tbsp balsamic dressing
- 4 wholewheat pittas, halved
- Toss the chicken, cheddar and vegetables with the dressing. Fill each pitta half with approximately ¾ cup of the mixture.
Dinner: Turkey Cheddar Tacos (Serves Four)
- 1 cup shredded cooked turkey breast
- 2tbsp drained pickled jalapeño
- 1tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
- 2tbsp fresh chopped coriander
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 4 6in/20cm fat-free flour tortillas
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- ½ cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- Combine the turkey, pickled jalapeño, mayonnaise, coriander, lime zest and lime juice in a medium bowl.
- Warm a large nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the tortillas, one at a time, and warm until crisp and dark brown in spots, about one minute on each side.
- Top each tortilla with ¼ cup of the turkey mixture, spreading it almost to the edge. Top with ¼ cup of lettuce, about ¼ cup of tomatoes and 2tbsp of the cheddar.