Going away on a course, conference or working away for a while? Don’t let healthy eating habits slip and have a date with Mcdonalds every night.

If we have been training hard and seeing results a week away from the norm can have an impact on our goals.

If you want to relax and let go though and you know you won’t feel guilty then that’s great. But if your looking to stay on track this post will help you along the way.

Whether were staying in a Travelodge, B&B or a 4 star hotel we can still eat healthy and I’m going to share with you how this can be done.

Being prepared is the key to success so here are a few suggestions which may help you.

If your staying in a large hotel, restaurant staff will always try to accommodate requests where possible so don’t be scared to ask!

Scope the menu on the hotel/restaurants website before arrival or in your hotel room.

If you are staying in a Travelodge, Holiday Inn Express or Premier Inn, these don’t always have a restaurant on site. So unless there are any restaurants nearby you might get in a pickle?! So have a look what is nearby before arrival so you can plan accordingly. 

Breakfast-

Eggs are the best breakfast in my opinion, the majority of hotels will have a hot buffet so scrambled or fried eggs are always on offer. Potentially the hotel may offer omelettes or poached eggs, so i’d recommend asking if you wish to have this instead.

Choose brown/wholemeal bread if available.  If following a low carb diet, instead of bread you could have grilled tomatoes or mushrooms from the hot buffet to fill out your breakfast.

If there is only continental available I would recommend porridge or some greek yogurt with fruit. Avoid croissants, muffins and pastries where possible.

Snacking-

Take food away with you eg: Protein shakes, protein bars, fruit, instant porridge oats, rice cakes, oatcakes or peanut butter are all good ideas. These are all easily stored in a suitcase and will save you from spending money on snacks whilst away.

Lunch-

You may notice from previous posts that im quite organised and like to be prepared. So I always take my tupperware and cutlery so I can nip into a shop and buy a bag of salad and some pre-cooked chicken if necessary.

This also helps if I haven’t got time to prepare a meal in advance. This may seem extreme to some people, however if you have had the same experience as me, arriving to a meeting just off the side of the motorway and the only thing stocking some type of food is the Cadbury machine in the corridor, then I don’t feel it is extreme.

If you are away for more than one night, just wash out your tupperware when you get back to your hotel room in the sink, dry and use again the next day if necessary.

Take a pot of balsamic vinegar, this will provide a nice dressing for salads if having to make one whilst away.

I have found with all hotels that I have stayed in they have been able to store items for me in their fridge and my cool packs in their freezers.

Some convenience stores and supermarkets sell their own pre-made salads which are good for convenience, however they are often laden with calories, excess mayo or calorific dressings.

If you pass a welcome break on your travels, the majority of these service areas have a food hall where I found a company called ‘Tossed’ a year ago http://tosseduk.com/

These guys make fantastic salads and you can even create your own. I love them as I can pick and choose from a large variety of flavours and add or limit carbs depending on what I need for the day. Such a great concept and I hope they will eventually be available at all service areas.

Also I have recently discovered a company called ‘BOL’ who make salad jars!http://www.bolfoods.com/salad-jars/

These look amazing and the founder ensures that each jar is full of nutritious natural ingredients. Just shake the jar to mix the ingredients up and your salad is done, their is even a fork inside! Unfortunately the jars aren’t yet available in Norfolk, the nearest stockist is Sainsbury’s in Cambridge. However you can order online and these are more readily available in larger cities. Stockists include Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. I am on the hunt for one of these when I’m next on my travels so I can have a try.

Dinner-

As mentioned above, scope the menu before going out and decide what you are going to eat to help you avoid unhealthy choices.

Have a small snack 2 hours before dinner eg a handful of nuts or a protein shake, this will reduce hunger and will stop you eating the whole bread basket whilst waiting for your dinner.

If having a drink with your meal, opt for prosecco or a vodka and soda. These are less sugary in comparison to beer or wine so have less calories.

I hope this post is helpful if so please comment below and share with your friends and family.

#Girlvstupperware

 

 

Chorizo and garlic kidney beans!

Kidney beans!Β 

Low fat, full of vitamins, fibre and an excellent source of protein!

What’s not to love about these little beauties?! They don’t just compliment a chilli they are a fantastic alternative to rice, pasta and potatoes and this recipe is great served with fish.

For this recipe I have used Seabass (one of my favourites)

Serves 2 people

Ingredients-

2 x pre cut sea bass fillets (No bones!)

1 x can of kidney beans in water.

6 x thin slices of chorizo (pre packed sliced options are available in most supermarkets)

1 x clove of crushed garlic.

1 x shallot or small white onion.

1 x dessert spoon of sun-dried tomato paste.

Rapeseed oil.

1/4 teaspoon of mixed herbs.

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Method-

Heat a saucepan on a medium setting and add some olive oil.

Finely chop the onion and the garlic and add this to the pan.

Saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes stirring with a spoon. Don’t allow this to burn, so if the pan is too hot or ingredients are turning brown turn the heat down so that the onion and garlic cook gently.

Chop the slices of chorizo finely and add these to the pan.

Drain the can of kidney beans and add these to the pan.

Add the sun-dried tomato paste and herbs and give everything a good stir.

Turn off the heat and let the mixture rest whilst you cook the sea bass.

In another pan,Β add some rapeseed oil and place on a high heat.

Once the pan is hot add your sea bass fillets to the pan skin side facing down. The fillets should sizzle as soon as they hit the pan. This will help make the skin crispy.

Fry this for a minute then turn over so skin side is now facing up. Turn the heat to medium and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Reheat the pan of kidney beans for 2 minutes on a low setting, stirring occasionally so beans cook evenly.

Place the kidney bean mixture on plates and place the sea bass on top.

Serve this with salad or vegetables of your choice.

(To increase the good fat content I added avocado on top of the fish.)

I would love to know what you think, so please comment below.

 

 

Aubergine Boats

Ahoy there!
Aubergine (or also known as egg plant) a lovely and I believe an under rated vegetable. I usually enjoy aubergine diced and roasted with other vegetables, or covered in mince and cheese in a Moussaka. However I wanted to try something different and due to being on a lower carb diet I need to keep my food interesting!

So I got creative and carved out an aubergine and made it into two boats and loaded them with turkey mince…Yummy!

You can use any mince you like in this recipe and if you want to add cheese i’d recommend mozzarella or cheddar for a delicious stringy texture on top. If you are watching what you eat i’d use the cheese sparingly.

Serves 2 people (Use more aubergines if catering for more people.)


Ingredients-
1 x Aubergine

1 x dessert spoon of olive oil

1 x dessert spoon of rapeseed oil

500g Turkey mince

1 x Can of chopped tomatoes

1 x Garlic clove

1 x Small white onion

1 x teaspoon of mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

1 x teaspoon of spicy chipolte paste (optional)

1 x dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar

Method-

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees

Cut aubergine in half length ways (see picture above) and score the flesh diagonally.

Place the aubergine halves onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins.

Whilst the aubergine is cooking you can now prepare the filling.

Chop up the onion, garlic and peppers finely.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a pan on a medium setting

Add the vegetables and gently fry these until soft

Add the turkey mince and cook until the turkey mince is evenly cooked.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and herbs and then stir.

Leave this to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add the spicy chipolte paste (optional)

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take the aubergine out of the oven and cut around the edges and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You can then add the flesh to the turkey mince if you wanted to, and continue letting that simmer gently for a few more minutes.

Now that your boats are ready turn off the heat of the pan, and add the turkey mince to the aubergine boats. Fill these up generously and place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

If you want to add cheese place this on top before putting in the oven.

Serve with a large salad.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Battle of the beige!

Why is it we can never get a healthy lunch or snack at a conference, function or a meeting? The long tables of beige greet us as we all pile out of our meetings thirsty, hungry and wishing 5pm would hurry up. Sandwiches, rolls, chips, chicken goujons, quiche, biscuits and cakes cover the tables at most conferences I have been to. There is literally nothing green insight, as those of us who are health conscious stare on in disappointment and either skip lunch completely or give in to a plate of sandwiches.

What frustrates me is that after lunch we go back into these conferences or meetings with full bellies, feeling sluggish and yet we are expected to concentrate, be alert and full of energy.

So why on earth are our employers feeding us the beige crap??! It baffles me.

I know some people enjoy the tasty mini sausage rolls and mini Victoria sponges washed down with a tea but I bet if we look at them at 3pm they are either nodding off or practically biting their own arm off as hunger strikes.

Mid afternoon coffee break arrives, 5pm is near and this time we are greeted by trays of biscuits, mini scones and if you are lucky a bowl of fruit! Thank god I take my protein shake and other snacks with me otherwise i’d be eating my chair!

I often hear colleagues say “well that’s my diet out the window!” these people often end up bingeing for the rest of the day due to the empty calories consumed and feel guilty for it the rest of the week. I know how that feel’s as I’ve been there!

To be fair though things are improving, particularly where I work as most of the meetings I go to now we all eat in the hotel restaurant, where there is a choice of hot/cold meals and a salad bar. I assume this costs a lot more though and not all companies can afford to do this.

Don’t be afraid of taking your tupperware, I’m certainly not and I bet I am the envy of my health conscious colleagues.

I know not everyone wants to eat healthy but I bet if we asked all our colleagues and management team if they would be interested in eating food that makes them more focused, productive and have more energy for the rest of the day that they would say yes!

Healthy food doesn’t have to be a bowl of salad! A plate of wholemeal sandwiches filled with chicken, avocado and bacon would be a perfect choice. High in protein, good fats and slow release carbs.

So….

If anyone finds it difficult to eat healthy whilst at a meeting or conference, ask your manager in advance if they are able to provide a healthier option for you. 

If this isn’t an option take your own food in a cool bag, at least you know that whatever scenario you come across you are prepared. 

 

 

 

Is fruit making us fat?

Controversial?…read on.

Yes fruit is good for you it is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. However it contains fructose (sugar) and if people are over weight, trying to lose weight or are diabetic then this information below should be taken seriously.

The majority of food contains some sort of carbohydrates which will in turn contain sugar. This includes fruit, vegetables, milk and cheese.

But not all carbohydrates act the same. Some are quickly broken down in the intestine, causing the blood glucose level to rise rapidly. These carbohydrates have a high glycemic index. Other carbs called complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly and release a steady flow of glucose.

Foods with a high GI (Glycaemic index) have a greater effect on your blood glucose levels, when your blood glucose level increases, the hormone insulin is released into the bloodstream to remove the glucose (sugar). Some glucose goes to the brain and muscles where it’s used as an energy fuel, but if there is any excess this goes to the liver where it’s turned into fat and stored, causing people to gain weight.

To give you some context 1 medium sized apple (180g) can contain up to 20g sugar! This is the equivalent to a standard Mars bar! An Apple is A LOT healthier than a Mars Bar and is full of vitamins however people don’t realise that the cravings a short while after eating either of these are caused by the increase in blood sugar levels which then crash causing hunger to strike. This is because they are both high GI foods.

Don’t put down that apple though or be scared of other high GI foods as they have a purpose! One of which is the quick release of glucose, this will feed our muscles which is extremely important after a workout or any strenuous activity. Look at long distance cyclists who eat Jelly Babies or energy gels during their rides, this gives them an instant hit of  glucose turning into energy which helps them power through the remaining part of their journey.

However if people are over weight and don’t exercise regularly why would we need the increase in glucose? If it isn’t used, it is being stored as fat therefore it makes sense to limit the amount of high GI foods in our diets as this will make a significant difference to our health.

Lets look at foods with a low GI, these maintain a steady blood sugar level which is good and will prevent spikes in insulin levels. So what would happen if we combine low GI and high GI foods together?

Well this would reduce the impact of the high GI food, meaning that you can enjoy high GI foods without the insulin spike! 

I used to eat apples, pineapple, smoothies and raisins as an easy snack during the day and would find I was ravenous within an hour and I didn’t know why. I was eating my lunch by 11:30am and starving by mid afternoon!

After reading a book called the GL Bible by Patrick Holford I have experimented with combining high GI and low GI foods, to help keep my blood sugar balanced. It has worked really well for me and I would highly recommend this if anyone is interested in losing weight or even reducing symptoms of diabetes.

I now eat the majority of high GI foods after a workout as the majority, if not all of the glucose will be used to feed my muscles. However if I do eat something with a high GI any other time I will always eat this with something with a low GI.

For example combine an apple with some cashew nuts or white rice with chicken or a banana with some peanut butter.

Here are some other high and low GI food examples-

High- White bread, pasta, pineapple, grapes, white rice, sweet potato, carrots

Low- Lentils, blueberries, plums, spinach, chicken, brown rice, nuts and seeds.

You might be thinking, well I already combine the majority of these foods, if so that’s great. However I know a lot of people that don’t and are often snacking on high GI foods and are extremely hungry when they get home.

We are told smoothies, fruit juices and dried fruit are healthy.  Yes they are but all in moderation or combined with a low GI food to reduce the effect they have on blood glucose levels.

So in summary-

  • Fruit is good for us! 
  • Continue to eat fruit and choose low sugar options like strawberries, pears, plums and blueberries.
  • Combine high and low GI foods.
  • Eat the majority of high GI foods after a workout.
  • When buying smoothies opt for ones with low sugar, if making your own make sure you add vegetables and good fats.
  • If your diabetic then consider removing high GI foods altogether or if you do eat them, you should combine with low GI foods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Hail my turkey & vegetable tower burger!

I am super impressed with myself this evening! All day I have been thinking about food and what I was going to have for dinner this evening. 

I can’t have bread or any other carbs at the moment but I really REALLY wanted a burger!

So I’ve made a burger without the carbs!! A turkey and vegetable tower burger.

This only takes 30 mins to prepare and cook and serves 2-4 people.

Ingredients-

For the burgers-

500g Lean turkey breast mince

1/4 of red onion

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

Garlic powder or 1 clove of fresh garlic.

For tower greatness-

4 x Large flat mushrooms

1 x Ripe avocado

1x Large beef tomato

4 x Eggs

1 x spoon of rapeseed or coconut oil

Sweet chilli sauce

Method-

Cut the avocado in half and take out the stone.

Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork.

Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Mix together and set aside.

Pre heat your grill to a medium setting.

Whilst this is warming pop your flat mushrooms on a baking tray and pop under the grill.

Finely chop the red onion and garlic (if you are using fresh garlic) and add this to a large bowl.

Add the turkey breast mince and generously season with salt and pepper.

Add the mixed herbs and garlic powder.

Mix the ingredients together using your hands and roll the mixture into 4 balls and flatten slightly to make burgers.

Check the mushrooms as these should be starting to cook.

Pop your burgers under the grill next to the mushrooms.

Cook the burgers for around 15 minutes turning once half way through.

Whilst the burgers are cooking cut the beef tomatoes into thick slices.

Take the mushrooms out when you turn the burgers so these don’t burn and pop them on the plates as these will be your base ready to start your towers.

Cut the stork off each mushroom so they are flat and will enable you to add the other layers.

Add a teaspoon of avocado to each mushroom.

Put a pan on medium heat add some rapeseed or coconut oil.

When the pan is hot crack each egg into the pan and fry the eggs to your preference. I like mine slightly runny. Take these off the heat when done and leave in the pan.

Your burgers should be done by this point, take these out from under the grill and add a burger to each of the mushrooms.

Then add another teaspoon of avocado and a slice of tomato.

Then add your eggs on top the tomato and then another slice of tomato on top.

Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with sweet chilli sauce.

I served these with a side salad and my carrot and courgette relish.

You could add cheese to these if you wanted instead of egg or different vegetables. Whatever your preference these are a great alternative to bread and will keep that carb monster at bay!

Let me know what you think.

 

Sweet Potato Rosti’s

OMG! If you haven’t tried these before well you’re in for a treat.

You can have them with anything they compliment a steak well, they are also a great alternative to toast accompanied with 2 lovely poached eggs and some bacon for a breakfast with a twist!

They only take 20 mins to prepare and cook and I guarantee everyone will enjoy them!

Serves 2-4 people.

If you want to make a larger batch double the quantities of each.

Ingredients-

2 large sweet potatoes

1 x egg whisked

1/2 a red or white onion

Garlic powder (optional)

Salt and pepper

1-2 teaspoons of Cajun spice

Coconut or rapeseed oil.

Note- You will also need a grater

Method-

Peel the potatoes and then grate them into a bowl.

Take the bowl over to your sink so it is nearby. Then with your hands take handfuls of potato and squeeze it tightly in your hands over the sink which will remove some water from the sweet potato. (This process will help make the rosti’s crisp up in the pan.)

Alternatively you can put the grated potato in a tea towel, roll this up and twist tightly over the sink to drain the excess.

Once you have finished this process, chop the onion finely add this to the bowl of sweet potato and season with salt and pepper.

Add the garlic powder and Cajun spices to the bowl and give this a mix.

Crack an egg into a separate bowl and whisk with a fork and add this to the mixture.

Using a spoon mix the ingredients together so that the egg coats all of the potato mixture.

Meanwhile heat a frying pan with some coconut or rapeseed oil.

Whilst the pan is warming, with your hands make balls of sweet potato mixture and add these to the pan. These can be as big or small as you want them to be, flatten them slightly with a spatula and by this time your pan should be starting to sizzle.

Fry the rosti’s on a medium heat for 10 mins turning half way through cooking time.

Once the rosti’s are golden and crisp on each side, turn them out onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil and serve.

Let me know what you think. 

My new best friend…Cauliflower rice.

Carbs!! Who doesn’t love carbs..I do however at the moment I am on a low carb diet so I am always looking for alternatives to feed the carb monster inside me.

I then discovered Cauliflower rice…OMG it is amazing! The texture isn’t like rice however a great alternative to rice, I always feel satisfied when I eat it and the flavour possibilities are endless!

You can buy this in most supermarkets now already riced for as little as Β£1.

The other great thing is you can freeze it and it will defrost within a few minutes. A lot quicker than boiling rice, potatoes or pasta!

If you are going to freeze I would recommend buying some sealed freezer bags to store the rice in.

So enough of me praising the Cauliflower! Here are a couple of recipes for you to try.

Thai inspired rice! Serves 2-4 people

Takes 5-10 mins to cook

1 x Cauliflower or buy a pack of cauliflower already riced.

4 x Spring onions

2 x Cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

20 x Cashews roughly chopped

Coconut oil

Hand full of fresh coriander finely chopped.

Salt & Pepper

1 x teaspoon of chilli flakes or 1 fresh red or green chilli.

Method-

If you have brought a whole cauliflower grate this or blitz in a food processor.

Meanwhile chop up the other ingredients finely.

Fry the spring onion, chilli and garlic in a pan with some coconut oil.

Add the cauliflower and saute for 5 mins stirring occasionally.

Crush the cashews and sprinkle these on top of the mixtue along with the coriander

Season with salt and pepper (If using garlic powder add this here.)

Stir the mixture again and serve alongside a Thai curry or other Thai dishes you enjoy.

 

Tomato and red pepper cauliflower rice! Serves 2-4 people

Takes 5-10 mins to cook

1 x Cauliflower or buy a pack of cauliflower already riced.

1 x Clove of garlic or 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 x Red onion, white or spring onion

6 x Cherry or plum tomatoes cut in half

1 x Red Pepper

Rapeseed or coconut oil

Large handful of spinach

Salt & Pepper

Method-

If you have brought a whole cauliflower grate this or blitz in a food processor.

Finely chop the onion and garlic, or use a garlic press if you have one. (If using garlic powder sprinkle this on the cauliflower when its in the pan.)

Slice the pepper into thin slices and chop the tomatoes in half.

Heat a frying pan to a medium heat with your choice of rapeseed or coconut oil.

Add the onion, garlic and peppers to the pan.

Once these start to soften add the cauliflower, tomatoes and the spinach.

Stir the ingredients in the pan and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper.

Serve this with a salad, grilled chicken, salmon or a meat of your choice.

Let me know what you think. πŸ™‚