Tips on staying lean in BBQ season!

As soon as the sun appears us brits pull out the bbq and start soaking up the beautiful sunshine! We don’t get a lot so it is great when we can enjoy cooking and dining alfresco!

I love the smell of burning coals and the sound of meat sizzling away.

However BBQs often mean we over indulge particulary on fatty meat, bread and alcohol.

This is fine, enjoy it, but again everything in moderation! This will mean you are able to enjoy the food and not feel guilty.

To help I have created a few tips and a recipe to help!

One of my favourtie things to cook on a BBQ are vegetables! Now some of people might think BORING! Sorry but these are delicious and will enhance the rest of your food.

BBQ’d Mediterranean Veg:

Ingredients-

1 x large red onion

2 x Peppers (Any colour)

1 x Courgette

10 x cherry or plum tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 x teaspoon of dried basil.

Tin foil

Method.

Light your BBQ.

Whilst the coals are getting hot prepare your vegetables.

Cut all of the vegetables into large chunks. I like to cut the courgette horizontally to resemble large chips.

Prepare a large piece of tin foil about the same size a large plate. Fold this in half and then fold over the each of the edges of the foil.

Pour a tablespoon of oil onto the foil and then add the cherry tomatoes in the centre.

Sprinkle over some salt, pepper and the basil.

Mix with your hands.

When the bbq is hot put the chunky vegetables on the grill and cook alongside your meat.

Pop the foil plate of tomatoes on the bbq as well.

When the vegetables start to char and are looking cooked add these to tin foil with tomaotoes and keep on the BBQ.

If you have a grill shelf away from the severe heat pop them there.

Overall cooking should take about 10-15 mins and will depend on your BBQ temperature when you put them on.

Popping them in the foil with the tomatoes will prevent them burning but will keep them warm. However if you are happy that they are cooked, you could take them off the bbq and serve.

I then drizzle in balsamic vinegar and serve.

Other Tips-

1) Instead of buying ready made marinades which are high in fat and sugar. Make your own marinades using herbs and spices.

I like this Indian inspired spice mix-

  • 1 x teaspoon of each of these: Cumin, mixed spice, cinnamon, tumeric and chilli flakes.
  • I then mix in olive oil and rub this on lamb or chicken about an hour before cooking.

2) Make your own burgers using lean cuts of beef. Look for % fat content in the supermarket or at your butchers. Or if you don’t like beef why not try turkey burgers?

3) Opt for rice, potatoes, lentils or quinoa instead of bread. This is easier to digest and will help prevent bloating. (Great if your wearing a bikini)

4) Make your own coleslaw or potato salads. You then know what is in them and in my opinion they taste so much better.

Avocado & potato salad-

1 x pack of new potatoes

2 x tablespoons of mayonaise or greek yogurt

70g Avocado mashed

Hanful of chives or spring onion

Salt and pepper.

Paprika (Optional)

1 x teaspoon Olive oil.

Cook the potatoes, drain.

Mix the mayo, avocado and seasoning together in a large bowl.

Cut cooked potatoes into halves and add to the mixture.

Toss the potatoes in the mixture and drizzle with a little olive oil.

 

I hope these ideas have been helpful, let me know what you think.

The Art Of Snacking!

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Snacking in my opinion is extremely important. I am always snacking, nibbling, munching..I eat every 2-3 hours!

The benefits of snacking are endless! We should all be snacking because it prevents hunger which in turn stops us making unhealthy food choices for the rest of the day. There is also evidence to suggest that eating regularly can actually promote weight loss, boost concentration and improve our mood.

Hold on though this isn’t me encouraging people to snack on whatever they wish, be sensible with your snacking. A good balance of healthy and naughty treats didn’t hurt anyone and after all food is one of life’s pleasure so enjoy!

However if we want to be healthier or trying to lose weight, below are some smart snack ideas which will keep people feeling fuller for longer and are quick,  easy to prepare and perfect for busy schedules.

1) Hard boiled eggs- Full of protein and good fats. Pop them in some tupperware and carry them in your bag.

2) Plain almonds, cashews or peanuts a handful say 20-25g is a good amount. Nuts are healthy but are also high in calories so weighing these will keep portion size under control.

3) A chicken or tuna salad- This may seem like a second lunch but this is a great source of protein and other nutrients to keep you full. Perfect if you are going to the gym after work. (I would add some rice, quinoa or couscous to this if you are training in a few hours as you will need the carbs!)

4) Rice cakes, oatcakes or dark ryvita topped with cottage cheese, humous or peanut butter. 

I highly recommend Whole Earth nut butters, they are delicious,made with sustainable palm oil and have no added sugar! 


5) Vegetable crudites with humous or cottage cheese.

6) Greek yogurt with blueberries or any other forest fruits, topped flaked almonds or hazelnuts and a drizzle of honey is a lovely snack for those with a sweet tooth.

7) If you forget to pack a snack pop to local supermarket and grab some pre-cooked chicken. This will keep you feeling full until your next meal.

I would recommend having a snack mid morning at around 11am and another one mid afternoon at about 3:30pm. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevents those horrid hunger pangs.

Let me know if you try this and how it made you feel during the day?

 

A picture of health

Health is the most important thing we should consider before adopting a change in lifestyle. For example training for a marathon or maybe a triathlon or even starting a diet ready for your fast approaching holiday.
Health means different things to different people but for me health means having energy, clear skin being able to concentrate at work, getting a good nights sleep, having no injuries and not being ill.

Many people go to extreme when it comes to dieting or training to make it happen faster, we are impatient beings, we want it now! These things all take time and we shouldn’t sacrifice our health to get to our goal faster.

My biggest frustration is with the media! They create a pressure, stress, a need for people to have the perfect body or the clearest skin, to be the prettiest, skinniest or the richest. Even a thigh gap and getting one of those waist belts seems to be the craze I see in magazines and on social media at the moment.

Then we have greed! The people and companies who exploit and brainwash people striving for perfection, making billions every year. Whilst millions of people gain nothing but weight, stress, anxiety, depression and even anorexia.

There is a product available I saw on social media recently (I wont mention names for obvious reasons) that is a powder you drink and swells your stomach to stop you eating! This is scary as not only does this prevent people from learning when to stop eating, if taken incorrectly can close your throat and stop people from breathing!!! Are people this desperate, lazy or damn right bloody stupid?! Obviously yes as the retweets were in the thousands.

If something makes us feel tired, irritable, stressed, ill or could even kill us, is it really worth it??

What do we gain putting ourselves through it? If anything we are going to get sick of feeling crap and stop doing what we are doing all together or push ourselves too far that we end up in hospital or injured which means we have to pull out of our competition or stop our diet.

Detoxing, dieting and over training, i’ve done them all!!! They didn’t help me achieve anything except weight gain, shin splints, constant colds, iron deficiency, IBS and stress!
I have learnt my lesson and thankfully the majority of the above issues I experienced have disappeared.

I have learnt to listen to my body and have also realised becoming a better version of me is a journey, setting goals along the way to make the journey enjoyable.

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

A healthy body and mind could take months or years to create but if done correctly and with patience will ensure you are able to maintain good health and most importantly your happiness.

Here is some food for thought….

1) Set achievable, realistic short and long term goals.

2) When looking at diets, detox’s etc. Think about the long term effects on our health. Is skipping a meal and having a shake or herbal tea instead healthy?

3) If injured, is booking another race for a months time the right thing to do?

4) If diet pills actually worked wouldn’t doctors be supplying them and be flying off the shelves?

5) Is training every day with no rest days helping or hindering your performance?

6) Is depriving ourselves of our favourite food in the week to then binge on it at the weekend good for our mind or body?

 

Be Salad Savvy.

I love salads it’s all I eat to be honest but I don’t get bored and the reason for this, is because I am always adding something different to them everyday. This prevents boredom and makes sure I always look forward to eating my salad.

Food should be a pleasure and the more you enjoy it the more likely you are to continue eating it.

Healthy food, salads or clean eating as some people like to call it, doesn’t have to be bland. Here are some ideas to mix with those lovely green leaves which will keep your taste buds tantalized.

1)Use different leaves in your salad like rocket, spinach or lambs lettuce.

2)Add different vegetables like green beans, courgette or butternut squash.

3)I sometimes roast Mediterranean vegetables in the oven and have these instead of spinach.

4)My mixed pepper salsa over on my recipe page is a great accompaniment too, if you are not a fan of chunky raw vegetables.

5)Add a good source of protein like chicken, salmon, tuna, beef or crab. If you are vegetarian opt for pulses and lentils which are high in protein.

6)Other ingredients which work well are chorizo, bacon, cheeses like feta or halloumi, or why not try adding chilli flakes or seeds to add spice and different textures.

7)Good Fats are hot topic in the news at the moment and so they should be! Add avocado, olive oil, salmon, nuts and eggs to salads to provide your body with essential fatty acids (omega 3 & 6) which the body cannot produce.

8)Add some carbs like pitta bread, rice, couscous, lentils or potato to salads. These will be essential if you are working out during the day.

These items can all be prepped on Sunday and stored in containers in your fridge. Rice and potato will keep for 2-3 days if stored correctly. 

9)Experiment with different oils and dressings. I love balsamic vinegar it goes well with everything. However I recommend avoiding cream based dressings like caesar which is high in calories.

Something I like to have during the week is tuna with sun-dried tomato paste. This is really simple to make and tastes amazing.

Ingredients-

1 x can of tuna

Black pepper

1 tsp of sun-dried tomato paste (I use Sacla Italia paste)

Mix all 3 ingredients together and that’s it!

I hope you like this post and it has given you some inspiration. If you would like me to share some more ideas/recipes please comment below or on my social media.

Thank you for taking time to visit my page.

 

 

Pork and Apple Burgers.

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I have become a little bored of turkey mince recently and my husband loves pork, so I thought id try these and they are delicious! Something which all the family will enjoy, these have become a tea time favourite in our house.

Serves 2-4 people.

30 minutes to prepare and cook.

Ingredients-

500g pork mince

1/2 white onion finely chopped (Optional)

2-3 teaspoons of apple sauce

1/2 teaspoon of dried sage

Salt/Pepper

Method-

Break up the pork mince into a bowl.

Chop up the onion and add this to the bowl.

Add salt, pepper, sage and the apple sauce.

Mix the ingredients together with your hands, this should bind easily.

Divide the ball into 4-6 balls and flatten into patties on a chopping board.

Pre-heat your grill to a medium setting, and grill the burgers for 15-20 minutes. Turning once during this time.

Serve the burgers with salad or vegetables of your choice. Or sandwich between a lovely wholemeal bun.

These are a perfect alternative to beef and are also great for barbecues.

Let me know what you think.

Be Breakfast Smart-

Research has shown that people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight, lose weight more successfully if overweight, and have reduced risk of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Wow! Do I need to write anymore to convince you to eat a good breakfast? I am going to anyway…

So we wake up in the morning and have slept probably for around 6-8 hours so our bodies need FUEL! Unless you ate straight before you went to bed then your body hasn’t had food for around 10 hours.

Breakfast fuels our bodies, enables our brain to function effectively, improves our mood and concentration, I could go on. It helps us to get our bums to work, school or just out of the house! It actually sets you up for a productive day. So why do so many people skip breakfast or have a poor breakfast??  The answer is usually down to time!

If we are busy at work or in general and need to be on top form throughout the day then why are some people fueling their mornings with just a black coffee? Rushing to work and grabbing a croissant from a bakery just around the corner. Or waffling down a bowl of Special K whilst the kids brush their teeth?

In my opinion this isn’t the right fuel your body needs! This is just caffeine and sugar, basically empty calories…stimulants sending our bodies into overdrive! Hunger strikes mid morning and we cave in to the custard creams Carol brought into work, or we have eaten lunch we brought by 11am! Oops!

Croissants are delicious but they are a treat every now and then, if you are looking to become healthier that is.  Hence why you are most likely reading this.

Busy schedule breakfasts:

Eggs are high in protein which keeps you fuller for longer.

Poach, fry, scramble,soft or hard-boiled, such a versatile food!

Get up 10 minutes earlier than normal and have eggs on wholemeal toast.

Or if you don’t have time or can’t stomach breakfast first thing in the morning…boil some eggs the night before, peel and store in a tupperware container in the fridge and take to work the next day. Have these with some rice cakes or oat cakes. I love Narin’s oatcake’s they are so handy to have in my handbag as they come in little pouches.

I take 3-4 x hard-boiled eggs and some chicken in my tupperware as one of my breakfasts on the road. I also add salad or I sometimes have wilted spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes that I have fried in a little coconut or rapeseed oil the night before.

This is high in protein and high in good fats which will make you feel fuller for longer! You won’t have hunger pangs at 10 am I promise!

If you like to have bread opt for wholemeal varieties or rye bread. Why not make a chicken and avocado sandwich? or an egg and smoked salmon sandwich? A great choice if you’re commuting to work.  You can eat these on the train, bus or at your desk.

This is certainly a lot better than having a bowl of highly processed,sugary cereal, a sugar-coated croissant or one of those Belvita cereal bars!

I workout in the mornings before work, so if you are an early bird like me you will need to have a carb based breakfast. For me this is usually porridge.

You could buy a box of porridge and take some to work and warm it there if you have a microwave. Or for even more convenience you can buy the ready-made pots. However be aware that these have powered milk and artificial sweeteners. I am very conscious of this so I prefer to buy a large box and add my own sweetener such as a little honey or some blueberries, it is a lot cheaper this way too.

I often eat my oats cold and will share a recipe with you via video if you would like to try it??

If you do want the recipe please comment below. 

 

 

 

Move over boring salads..say “Hello” to Carrot & Courgette Relish!

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I love pickled veg!  It tastes so good and is a great accompaniment to almost anything!

I love to add this courgette and carrot relish to my salads to make them more interesting throughout the week.

This only takes 10 minutes to make too!

Ingredients/Equipment-

Half a courgette

Half a carrot

White wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional)

Grater, bowl and chopping board.

Method-

Grate both the courgette and carrot onto a chopping board.

Then pour 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar into a bowl with the sugar (optional).

Add the grated vegetables and mix with clean hands.

Leave the relish to sit for a few minutes then mix again with your hands to thoroughly coat the vegetables.

There will be some excess liquid that the vegetables haven’t absorbed so you can drain this if you wish. I leave it overnight like this then drain the following day.

Try it and let me know what you think.

 

It’s not the plan that’s important it’s the planning!

It’s not the plan that’s important it’s the planning! Wise words from Dr Gramme Edwards!

We have all said, “Right, I’m going to be really good next week and take lunches to work”. We will say no to the cheeky hobnob at tea break and no to the McMuffin ritual at Friday’s brunch meeting. Monday arrives in a flash where has the weekend gone??!

Make things easier for yourself..it can be done! Prepare lunch for the week in advance I promise it won’t take long.

Planning Tips-

Chicken- So easy to prepare and cook! By far one of leanest meats to eat and enjoyed by almost everyone.

I buy mine in bulk from a wholesaler or butcher. Ask your local butcher if they can get you chicken breasts in bulk!

Its a lot cheaper than the supermarkets and they are HUGE breasts! 😉 plus your supporting the local businesses in your area.

Or if you don’t have a local butcher near by, companies like Musclefood will deliver chicken breasts and other meats to you! http://www.musclefood.com/ these can be more expensive due to delivery but is a great option if you can’t source local and they do some great offers.

I freeze my chicken in freezer bags and defrost when I need it.

The photo above is 5 chicken breasts cut into chunks which will be grilled. This takes 20mins max (turning it once) this will allow it to cook properly. Cut it up smaller if you want to cook it quicker, grill it whilst eating your tea or doing the ironing.

Once cooled this should be wrapped in tin foil or stored in a container and chilled in the fridge. This will last me and my hubby around 3/4 days for lunches and snacks.

Chop it up and pop in your tupperware!

Salad Pot-

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This is a salad pot that I create every Sunday, it makes creating salads for the week a lot quicker as I’m not chopping up vegetables every night! Chop up anything you like, put it in a plastic container or a bowl (whatever is easiest to fit in the fridge) and voila!

I then add a handful to mine and the husbands lunch box along with some chicken. This saves us about 20 minutes every night.

(Tip – try not to store the salad at the back of the fridge as this is often too cold and can sometimes freeze the salad)

Tupperware on the go!

containers

Salute to Earl Tupper who founded the Tupperware brand in 1948! People have been using Tupperware to store and transport food ever since.

So go out and buy some plastic containers! This is the first step on your mission to becoming more healthy on the go! You can get these from your local supermarket, Lakeland plastics, Wilko’s and even Tupperware themselves. They come in all shapes and sizes nowadays.

I particularly like the clean click containers from Lakeland Plastics as these are 100% leak-proof! Nothing worse than leaking containers in your handbag or car..I KNOW as I have had this experience on many occasions.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/in-the-kitchen/food-storage/containers/?q=:relevance:moreOptions:lakelandExclusive

Plastic containers can be chilled, frozen and in some cases heated making it a perfect a solution for food on the move.

Keeping it fresh is the next challenge.

On a hot summers day, by the time you get to work after your hour commute, your lovely chicken salad could be really hot and wilted. Or that pot of overnight oats now smells of stale milk. Ewww!

I use a Thermo bag- nothing fancy as it just sits in my car all day. I also pop in 2 reusable freezer packs to keep my  food cold all day.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thermos-Reuseable-Ice-Pack-400/dp/B0001MQ8GC

If you’re one of the lucky ones with a fridge at work..great! Pop it in there for the day, job done…

Image conscious?? Well, there are some nice lunch bags out there I think this one is cute. This is from Lakeland plastics and they have other designs as well.

lakeland lunch bag

I’m currently training hard and eating a strict diet which requires me to eat 6 meals a day. So I’m hoping to get a bag like this one below in the next few months!

https://preppedandpacked.com do some amazing bags to cater for all fitness enthusiasts. I’d say a perfect solution for anyone serious about diet and training like I am. 


Unfortunately, this will have to wait though due to moving house! All my money is being saved for the new home…Carpets, tiles and a new fridge are taking priority at the moment!

I don’t have time..

Everyday I hear people say “I don’t have time to eat healthy” or “I don’t have time to exercise”. In my opinion, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week yet there are people out there who claim they barely have time to brush their teeth in the morning yet there are others who spend an hour in the gym and still get to work on time and take a homemade lunch to work.

It all boils down to how badly we want something, if we want it we will make time for it.

For example, we might be someone who makes time to go to the pub after work with friends for that 1 drink that somehow turns into a few and a dirty kebab on the way home. We always make time for our nails, eyelash extensions or our favourite tv drama yet when it comes to preparing healthy meals or breaking a sweat there isn’t time.

I’m not saying don’t go for the drink…I’m saying we can do all the things we enjoy and still have time to prepare healthy food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

To be fair a lot of people like the idea of eating healthy and being more active but don’t know where to start.

I want to show you that it is possible to eat healthy and be more active with a chaotic job, lifestyle or 4 kids hanging off your legs.

Every week I will share with you ways to improve your food choices, give you recipe inspiration and fitness tips that fit into any schedule.

These are all things that have helped me and enabled me to eat healthy and stay active even with my job and a busy social life.