Eat Shop Save - The Whites

Taking on the Eat Shop Save challenge... the White family.

Mark and Ellie live in North Wales with their two kids, Leon and Eryn. When Ranvir first met the family in March, they were feeling stressed, tired and overwhelmed by busy family life. They used to have an active lifestyle abroad when Mark was in the army, but since he left the forces six years ago and they returned to the UK, their fitness levels had suffered and they had got stuck in a rut of carb heavy convenience food. Over their eight week Eat Shop Save challenge, they transform their lifestyle, leaving them happier, healthier and wealthier. 

Blood Glucose and Diabetes

Ranvir sends in chef and nutritionist Dale Pinnock who identifies concerns with Mark and Ellie’s food choices. He thinks their eating patterns and high intake of refined carbohydrates such as white carbs and biscuits could be sending their blood sugar levels rocketing. We sent the couple for blood tests which reveal that Mark’s blood glucose level (Hba1c) is at the higher end of the healthy range. Dale warns that if this carries on he could be getting towards Type 2 Diabetes territory.

Following a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In less than 8 weeks of adopting a healthier lifestyle, Mark managed to lose 18lbs in weight, and dramatically improve his blood glucose levels, reducing his risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Dale shows Mark and Ellie how to make a bean chilli. Beans are a cheaper alternative to meat, and as they release their energy slowly, they're great for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. And for a nutritious, less carb heavy alternative to rice, you can make your own cauliflower “rice”.

You can learn how to make Dale’s chilli here!

If you want to learn more about Type 2 Diabetes and find out whether you could be at risk, you can visit the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and Diabetes UK website.

Savvy shopping

Before their Eat Shop Save challenge, the Whites wanted a way to enjoy more quality family time, but they found that at the end of the month they could make ends meet but rarely had enough money left over for any family days out. To help them to save some cash, money expert Kate Hardcastle tackles the family’s supermarket shopping habits. The family’s food shopping was sometimes adding up to over £270 a week. Kate reveals her own weekly shop for the White family using her top techniques which totals just £74. By the end of their 8 week Eat Shop Save challenge, the White family saved over £1000 by following Kate’s advice!

Why not see if how cheaply you can buy your weekly shop, by following Kate’s top tips:

  • Planning is key! Each week take the time to sit down and decide what you’re going to have for every meal that week - breakfast, lunch and tea.

  • Use your meal plan to write a shopping list of exactly what ingredients you need for the week, and what quantities. 

  • When you go shopping ONLY buy the items that are on your list - don’t get drawn in by special offers on items you don’t actually need.

  • Make sure you’re getting the best value on every product, by looking at all the options and reading the ‘price per unit’ labels that you can find in supermarkets. 

  • Consider supermarket ‘own brand’ versions of products, which can be much cheaper than big brands, and you sometimes can’t even notice the difference!

  • Avoid paying for convenience. E.g. grated cheese will usually cost you more than a block of cheese you have to grate yourself.

  • Make batch cooking a way of life, and always eat the leftovers! E.g. A big batch of bean chilli can be enjoyed with rice for your evening meal, then put in a wrap for lunch the next day. Making a bit vat of curry means you can portion up and freezer additional portions for future you to enjoy!

  • Find value in the frozen aisles. Frozen fruit and vegetables still maintain all their goodness and can be a fraction of the price of fresh veg. 

Don’t be daunted by exercise

75% of women would like to exercise more, with the fear of being judged the main reason they don’t.

Personal trainer Marvin Ambrosius talks to Mum Ellie to understand what is stopping her from exercise. She says: “I don’t have the confidence, I’m quite embarrassed about other people seeing me do exercise because I don’t think I’m doing it properly.” 

To help Ellie overcome these obstacles, Marvin takes her to the beach and shows her a simple workout that doesn’t require any equipment, and is easy to fit into her busy life. 

By keeping up with Marvin’s workouts and transforming her mealtimes, Ellie loses 16lbs in just 8 weeks.

You can learn how to do Marvin’s simple exercise routine here.

Read about all the amazing benefits of exercise on the NHS website.