Column: Howard’s Health - ‘Here’s a health tip - don’t eat daffodils’

John Howard ENGANL00120130210165810
John Howard ENGANL00120130210165810

It was Mother’s Day, I was four-years-old, and I was with the other children at the front of church holding a bunch of daffodils for my mum.

Only, while the other children were holding theirs, I had decided to eat mine in full view of the congregation.

As my mum said the other day: “You always liked your food John and had a good appetite at an early age, even devouring those daffodils!”

In my defence, I apparently left some of the stalks which I then proudly presented to mother.

The problem with cravings is they strike us at different times. I spend time working one to one with dieters who want me to identify their own triggers to eat unhealthily. I have found cravings can often come at 11am and 4pm as we get hungry after a less than filling breakfast.

Or they can have little to do with hunger and strike when we are stressed and reach for food where others would reach for cigarettes or may go for a run.

Other common triggers are during a build up to a difficult conversation we have to have, or from sheer tiredness as we arrive home after a long day and then snack on the way home or as we walk through the door.

Or simply from boredom or snacking while watching television.

There are as many ways of managing this as there are those of us who want to lose weight and the answers are different for different people.But generally I advise:

-Having mini-breaks during the day so we are not overtired and our willpower fades and we eat the wrong things.

-Having 40g of porridge oats, two shredded wheat with skimmed milk, 40g of no added sugar muesli or a small seeded granary seeded brown bread and a boiled egg are great choices for breakfast and leave us feeling fuller for longer.

-Having fruit during the day or when you are bored or stressed, especially strawberries, raspberries, grapes which are all low in calories and good for snacking so you are not denying yourself at least something at times of craving.

-Having filling evening meals including chicken, white fish, omelettes, with a 180g baked potato, 200g of new potatoes, a 150g sweet potato or 40g of basmati or brown rice, couscous or wholemeal pasta. These are high protein and low sugar foods that keep you feeling full and help you manage your cravings. Maybe pop some potatoes in with a chicken or prawn salad at lunchtime too?

But whatever you do, avoid eating the daffodils!

Award winning local diet coach John Howard understands how hard it is to lose weight – and keep it off. He lost seven stone in five months – and eight years on has kept his new shape.

n Diet coach John Howard supports dieters on a one to one basis from Eye near Diss, and Stowhealth centre in Stowmarket, to lose about a stone a month. He can be contacted on 0787 231 4653, 01379 678416, or by email at For more details: