Column: Howard’s Health - ‘Snack on strawberries, not choccy bars’

John Howard ENGANL00120130210165810
John Howard ENGANL00120130210165810

Award winning local diet coach John Howard understands how hard it is to lose weight – and keep it off. He lost 7 stone in five months – and eight years on has kept his new shape.

Mrs H decided to give up chocolate bars for Lent.

Lent ran from March 5 to April 17, and I was so impressed with this that, in a moment of madness, countered with an offer to walk the dogs further across the fields every day.

Not that Charlie, one of our King Charles Spaniels, thanks me for it and has been giving me the evil eye all month.

So you can imagine my chagrin when I arrive home from a long walk with Charlie who was in a foul mood, to find Mrs H baking a delicious looking chocolate cake.

Ah, she says, it’s chocolate bars I have given up, not chocolate cake!

In fairness though she is losing weight amazingly well and with the calories in chocolate bars so high, it’s no surprise: A Mars bar has about 280 calories, a pair of Twix bars 284.

It is the sugar in chocolate bars and other foods that make us hungry and crave more – a Mars bar has about 11 tea spoons of sugar.

Sugar not only makes us hungry, so we eat more, it also converts to fat quickly too.

It is very hard to change our habits but we really can change the focus, so we lose weight without being under huge pressure that makes us unhappy.

So instead of snacking on chocolate, I snack on strawberries, raspberries or grapes with fat free Greek yoghurt.

A 450g serving of strawberries – that’s an entire punnet full – is amazing and just 122 calories. Filling, delicious, sweet and low in calories.

A small bunch of grapes weighing 100 grams is just 60 calories and 100 grams of raspberries comes in at just 25 calories.

So Mrs H, it’s a fruit cake for you next time! Now, where is Charlie…

Diet coach John Howard supports dieters on a one to one basis at Eye near Diss, and at Stowhealth centre in Stowmarket, to lose about a stone a month and no longer be unhappy with their weight. He can be contacted on 0787 231 4653, 01379 678416, or by email at For more details: