The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Corporate Nutrition'

The Moody Foodie - Fed up with Feeling Hangry?
It’s that time of year again when many people’s thoughts turn to eating more healthily. Most sensible eating is about commonsense- we know that it’s not good to miss breakfast, eat too many sugary salty snacks or subsist on a diet of convenience food. We also know it’s wise to exercise moderation, eat a good variety of fruit and vegetables, consume less meat and drink plenty of water. What we probably pay less attention to is what’s in a diet- isn’t food just fuel?
Read More
The Daily Dozen - The Only Checklist You Need to Eat Healthy
So you want to be healthy and you’re on-board with Veganuary, but how do you make sure you have a healthy balanced diet throughout the day? The Daily Dozen are the 12 essential things to eat, drink and do to maintain a healthy mind, body & soul ready for to face the challenges of the new year and be fit for life and fit for the new you.
Read More
APM put their cookery skills to the test!
APM’s leadership team visited The Cooking Academy in Rickmansworth and put their cookery skills to the test. The group took part in a team building cookery class in November, which saw them preparing delicious fresh recipes that were donated to a local women’s refuge.
Read More
Team Building with a difference- 'Ready, Steady... Unite'
At The Cooking Academy, we offer a very different type of team-building activity, a cookery challenge in the form of a ‘Cook Off’ between colleagues.
Read More
Improve your cognitive function with Peanuts

A higher nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people according to new research from the University of South Australia.

In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.

Lead researcher, UniSA's Dr. Ming Li, says the study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.

"Population ageing is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged-care and health services," Dr. Li says.

"In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is ageing far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world.  "Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an ageing population presents.

"By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent– compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline."  Dr. Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.

Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health. While there is no cure at present for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.

The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the number of people living with dementia is at 47 million.

By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple. China has the largest population of people with dementia.

As people age, they naturally experience changes to conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed. This is all part of the normal ageing process; however age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. Thus finding ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer is imperative, modifying their diet is a good start and absolutely worth the effort.

Research taken from University of South Australia – Dr li and Dr Shi  published January 2019
Read More
The Alchemy of Food – motivational speaker with a difference
‘The Alchemy of Food’ presented by Kumud Gandhi is the exception.   Kumud is a food scientist, published author and keynote speaker on health and wellbeing for peak personal and professional performance.
Read More
For those of us in business and particularly retail, over the festive period things may not have slowed at all and we still need to keep focused on our business objectives and activities.  This time of year is always challenging, commuting through dark mornings and evenings, usually awful weather and we’re past the festivities with a long month ahead until payday.  We need a lot of resilience to get through the gloom!I believe January is always a good time to take stock and look at our objectives and how we can make life better for ourselves. Resilience and mindfulness are not only for the new age types, some of the most successful business people in the world take time out for themselves, actually they MAKE time for themselves.
Read More
Mental Health - What’s food got to do with it?
Mental Health is finally on the agenda and not before time; yet I find myself slightly nervous about putting the word ‘Mental’ Health in the subject title!  Why is that, even though I am a food scientist and have studied brain physiology in detail.So what is it about the term ‘mental’ health that makes us a little uneasy about things?  Historically the term ‘mental health’ has had negative connotations, conjuring up images of extreme depression and people who ‘can’t cope’.  Perhaps it’s also something that we think won’t happen to us.
Read More
Breakfast – most important meal of the day?
Do you skip breakfast? Does your breakfast consist of a strong cup of tea or coffee on the way to work and nothing else?There have been many studies about whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day, some contradictory and some inconclusive.  Generally they recommend not fasting for too long.  We would not recommend missing breakfast.  After a night’s sleep your body has effectively been starved, so to continue starving until lunch time will leave you feeling hungry – and moody.  When our resilience is down it is so easy to reach for an unhealthy snack and another caffeine shot.
Read More
Staying hydrated in the hot weather
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially during the current spell of hot weather.  We are made up of almost two thirds water and it is essential to life.  Having enough water in our system helps our body and brain function properly.  If you’re not drinking enough, you may find you are subject to headaches, stomach upset and your joints begin to creak!
Read More
The Corporate Well-being Revolution
The well-being revolution is truly underway and continued research and analysis backs up what we already know; building a happier, healthier, more connected workforce delivers excellent results for everyone.
Read More
Tropical Smoothie
Breakfast time can be such a rush and it’s all too easy to grab something convenient on the way to work, such as a muffin.  The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) and Action on Sugar conducted research into blueberry muffins available on the high street. Shockingly, over 61% contained over six teaspoons of sugar. The recommended daily allowance is 30g which is about seven teaspoons!  In other words, one muffin takes uses up almost all of you your daily recommended amount of sugar.
Read More
How Good is Your Sleep Hygiene
One third of our lives are spent in bed. We all know a good night’s sleep is a great way to recover and rest after a full day. Getting a full night’s sleep is not a luxury, it is a health necessity and for those of us in the world or work or studying it is essential to productivity and wellbeing.  It is recommended that adults have between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and more for teenagers and children. Yet it is estimated that a staggering 40% of adults are not getting enough sleep, Public Health England state that the annual cost to the UK employers is a resounding £30 billion pounds and 200,000 working days are lost to sickness and mental health every year.
Read More
Water & Wellbeing
We all know how important it is to drink water, for some of us it takes a little pushing to get the right daily intake.  Whilst we are often tempted to brush off the effects of dehydration, it can lead to significant body changes both externally and visually as well as to our internal body functions.  Some of the more latent impacts will happen over a period of time and therefore less noticeable.   However long term, dehydration is very bad for your health and could become a trigger for, depression, diabetes, skin conditions and worse still other more toxic diseases.  Whilst it may seem somewhat dramatic, dehydration is a very dangerous and life threatening condition.  In time of sickness dehydration can literally lead to death so ensuring you are also hydrated is really important.
Read More
Cooking as a Corporate Event
Food holds many connections with us, whether it’s from childhood or family memories, our travelling experiences, or a personal love for a cuisine. Unlike other team building activities, the act of cooking with others is a useful tool to share these connections and therefore brings people together.  Cooking is an activity that has a broad appeal by virtue of everyone’s need to eat.
Read More
Wake up your work force!
With the average worker losing 11 days of productivity each year due to tiredness, isn’t it time to eat yourself fit and energetic again. At 6.30am when you are dreading the busy rush hour commute you are more than likely turn to a strong cup of coffee and a sugary bowl of cereal to start your day. STOP! This is probably the worst thing you can do! Foods that are high in sugar are great for an initial energy boost, but as the sugar rush starts to fade you will find your energy will come crashing down.
Read More
Good Health is Good Business
Does your business have an awareness of the ‘wellness’ of its employees, and the direct effect it has on the organisation?

By implementing a corporate wellness programme, you will see multiple benefits within the organisation in the form of an energetic workforce, a reduction in employee sickness, increased staff loyalty, job satisfaction and staff retention.

There are five key aspects to achieving wellness which are nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress management and mindfulness.  When those elements of your life are in place you can achieve both balance and perspective.  An improved diet can directly lead to increased motivation, an increased ability to exercise which leads to greater energy and better sleep; overall, creating an improved outlook in life.

The role of a corporate wellness programme is to act as a catalyst to get individuals within an organisation to start thinking about their well-being.  Through the employee’s direct engagement, they can consider what they are eating and how that affects their everyday life, and by taking it into their own hands, which is the only way to make it achievable.

Individuals often need only very basic and elementary help, such as knowing how to cook healthy menu options, or even just knowing how to shop for the things they should be including in their diet.  Unfortunately, food manufacturers don’t make that easy, we have very little food transparency and that’s an issue which causes a great deal of confusion for the consumer.

Is it time to refine your corporate wellness programme? Simple workshops and seminars that are designed to get individuals thinking about what they eat and the impact it has on their energy levels and overall physical and mental health can have significant improvements in the workplace.

Read More
Health tips for the office professional: eating well at work
The workplace is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to temptation to eat unhealthily.  This is mainly down to the supply and demand nature of food provision, and snack vending machines being the most common type of quick food solution on any office floor.

Although trying to improve your health levels whilst working a desk job can seem like a losing battle, there are simple things you can do to reduce the challenge and make things seem that little bit easier.

Here are 5 tips for setting yourself up the right way for a healthier week at the office:

    1. Plan ahead

One of the main causes of unhealthy eating at work is lack of preparation.  You come into work already hungry but with nothing to eat and grab the first thing you see.  This often ends up being something with a high sugar content such as a pastry or cake from the building’s café.

The best way to combat this is to spend some time each week deciding on easy meals and snacks to take to work, so that you’re not left to make quick, rash decisions on a daily basis.

    2. Bring leftovers to work

This will help you to eat better whilst also reducing your monthly food wastage at the same time.  Leftover meat and fish can be used creatively to spice up anything from your lunch sandwich to a basic salad.  In fact we recently posted a brilliant and simple recipe for a salmon, avocado and artichoke salad using leftover cuts of fish.

A great tip is to prepare a little extra food when you’re cooking your evening meal, then take a lunch-sized portion out before you eat, and store it for the next day.  This will ensure that your lunches are always prepared the day before, whilst preventing you from overeating at dinner.

    3. The 80/20 rule

Deprivation shouldn’t always be the first port of call when it comes to healthy eating.  In fact depriving yourself can have an negative effect on you and your mind and can lead to an earlier relapse.

Most foods are fine in moderation.  The 80/20 philosophy draws on this by encouraging you to still give yourself treats throughout the week.  This makes it easier for you to stick to healthier foods the majority of the time as you won’t feel like you’re limiting yourself and therefore feel tempted by “forbidden fruits”.

    4. Enjoy what you eat

Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste “healthy”, as some might put it.  You should never force yourself to eat something you don’t like.

Making yourself eat humous when you hate it will make you more likely to reach for unhealthier replacements when you’re feeling desperate.  Try out a variety of nutrient-rich foods and then stick to what you like.  Food isn’t meant to be forced or a chore.

    5. Eat slowly

The slower you eat and more you chew, the easier your body is able to process the food it receives.  This is because the food is already broken down a great amount by your teeth and enzymes in your saliva before it reaches your stomach, meaning less effort is needed to dissolve it when it gets there.

This means better digestion, no uncomfortable tummy after wolfing down a meal, and a greater level of satisfaction and feeling full.  The brain takes around 20 minutes to register the fullness of your stomach; so the faster you eat, the more you’ll end up consuming before the sensation kicks in, which leads to overeating.


Those were my 5 top tips for eating better throughout the working week.  Try all of them, or even just one or two, and see if they make a difference to your diet at the office.  Good luck!

If you’d like to find out more about the 80/20 rule when applying to food, this article does a great job of explaining the main points.
Read More
Good Nutrition in the Workplace
Nutritional Cookery Classes for your Employees

Have you ever heard the expression ‘food for thought’ and wondered what it really means? Every organisation concerned with their productivity and profitability should seek out the answer.

Nutritional eating is vital to operating at our optimum levels, whether it is physical, mental or emotional and the link between health and success is increasingly recognised as a key factor in workplace and personal productivity. The mood, energy levels and thought processes at work are created by chemical reactions to our diet in the brain, which will influence how we interact with one another. Feeding the brain with the right balance of nutrition is therefore critical to maximising our output.

Nutrition in the Workplace

With busy lifestyles and work pressures, it isn’t always possible to manage ones nutritional requirements at home, so employers must consider the needs of their professional family in the workplace. The right food and drink choices available to staff will have a dramatic impact on their engagement with colleagues, affecting their mood and concentration throughout their working day. Investing in the nutritional needs of your employees will have a double win, for the individuals and the organisation through their increased productivity. Happy employees create positivity, which transcends to customers and suppliers, thereby enhancing your reputation as an ‘employer of choice’.  This in turn will have significant benefits to the bottom line in staff retention and a reduction in absenteeism.

Nutritional Cookery Programmes

The Cooking Academy offers a wide range of nutritional consultancy to evaluate and inspire change through employee engagement.  Our Corporate Nutritional Programmes and Corporate Cookery teambuilding events are available throughout the UK to educate and inspire busy, working people. We can devise a bespoke solution to suit your requirements, including Executive nutritional coaching, cookery team-building, nutritional cookery classes and workshop-based group events.

Organisations such as Jaguar Landrover have added the full range of cookery classes from The Cooking Academy as part of their Employee Learning Scheme programme for their employees as a means of maximising health and well-being awareness within their business.

RES, a leading wind power provider, have recognised the value of good health in the workplace and the impact of food on employee well being, they were inspired and motivated by the 'Spice Trail Masterclass' at their cookery event, which focused on the health and nutritional benefits of cooking with fresh herbs and spices, and the medicinal values of everyday ingredients.

If you feel that your organisation would benefit from a Nutritional cookery programme or cookery-based team-building event please contact Claire Larkin on 01923 778880 or email

Recent Client Reviews

“Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable event that went far beyond my expectations! The feedback I have had from the team has been the most positive I have ever had regarding events that I have arranged. You should be very proud of the event you have created.” Angela Marlowe – RES, August 2015

“Thank YOU for a wonderful evening! Everyone has been raving on about it today and we had so much fun. I'm so glad we could come to you for this event and I'm dying to come back”. Lou Watson – Universal Pictures, November 2015

“The day was great, I loved every minute of it.  We learnt so much more than I expected a lot and we will definitely come back to another class. It was highly motivating, very informative and educational and everything was explained very well.” Natalia Neila – Jaguar Landrover, September 2015

Natalia attended a Advanced Indian class as part of the Jaguar Landrover Employee Learning Scheme where The Cooking Academy is the preferred supplier.

“Thank YOU for a wonderful evening! Everyone has been raving on about it today and we had so much fun.  I'm so glad we could come to you for this event and I'm dying to come back”  We will have no hesitation in recommending you to our colleagues . Lou Watson – Universal Pictures, November 2015









Read More
Loading more posts