January 31, 2016

the healthy series: weekly meal prep

I'm officially becoming a pro at meal prep. For one of the most unorganised people in the universe, I consider it quite the achievement. I haven't got round to the boss level equivalent of meal prep that is making meals from scratch to freeze away, but I'm getting there. 

Usually on a Sunday morning, I have a good look through the fridge and see which vegetables need using up and then root through the freezer to check out the quorn I can cook up for the week ahead. I usually make two or three batches of either sausages, chicken pieces, mince or steak strips as they are filled with protein and are ideal to snack on or include in meals such as wraps, salads, stir frys and such on. I'm absolutely addicted to Reggae Reggae sauce and have found that it goes a dream with chicken pieces. Red's Devil Wing Barbecue Sauce is also heavenly on sausages, burgers, halloumi and pretty much everything else. 

Talking of halloumi, it really is a tricky bugger to master the art of cooking it properly. I whack a griddle pan onto super high heat, with a little rapeseed oil, and find that the quicker they cook the less chewy and dense they become. I chop mine into fine slices to cook, and then into strips once they're out the pan. 

The severely odd looking cake creations are my mum's take on a Slimming World recipe that we've switched up the sweetener in the recipe for maple syrup, and the almond essence for vanilla. Although they look questionable to say the least, they're actually pretty damn tasty and definitely satisfy any chocolate cravings. 

January 25, 2016

the healthy series: meal prep

Probably the biggest struggle I've come across when it comes healthy eating is battling the temptation to whack a calorie filled ready meal in the oven or order a takeaway when I'm feeling too tired or simply don't have the time to cook up a fresh meal. For the most part my freezer has been filled with either frozen chips, quorn products and frozen fruit for smoothies. I've ditched the chips because not only are they tasteless in comparison to my homemade and lower fat versions, but they take up far too much space. Instead of having a freezer full of food I leave in there for months on end, my new goal is to simply have in there what I want to use up within the next month or so and to be sure to use it all up. I'm a huge believer in efficiency and I absolutely can't stand wasting food, so this new plan should work a treat. 

I've also been discovering far more freezer friendly home cooked foods so that I always have something healthy to pop in the oven or microwave. These little freezer bags from Ikea are absolutely ideal as it's so easy to fill in what's inside and the date that it was frozen. As far as plastic containers go, I've found that Asda have the best selection and are BPA free too. At some point I'm also going to invest in takeaway foil containers to fill with ready made meals such as shepherd's pie and lasagna, #foodprepgoals. 

As a general rule, home cooked frozen meals will keep for around two months and if you're wondering what you can and can't freeze, just make homemade versions of the meals you see in the supermarket freezers. I'm going to write up all about meals you can prep to keep in the fridge for the week ahead and meals to freeze for the month very soon!

January 23, 2016

the healthy series: snacks

Healthy eating snack ideas

With January came the decision for me to clear out one of the kitchen drawers and fill it with healthy snacks. I don't tend to eat one of these per day, mainly due to how costly it would end up, but instead save them for when I'm having an emergency craving. Either that or I take one of the bars along to the gym for after I've done a workout and before I go for a swim. I absolutely adore each and every one of these snacks, but my favourites have to be the raw chocolate mulberries, quinoa chips and coco mango bites. I also love to have a couple of the nakd toffee treat fruit and nut nibbles with a few biona pomegranate hearts, they are seriously a match made in heaven. 

Before starting my healthy eating venture, I was addicted to cadbury fingers and fizzy drinks, but honestly after avoiding them for two weeks my body no longer craves sugary chocolate and instead I'm more than satisfied by eating a small amount of dark, high quality chocolate instead. I've also been getting in the habit of making a batch of miso soup on days that I'm still feeling hungry but have eaten most of my calorie allowance. 

Additionally I cook up snacks such as bbq quorn bites, smashed avocado on finn crisps and plenty of smoothies too, all of which I will soon write up blog posts about! 


January 22, 2016

the healthy series: diet is a dirty word

It has been a fair few years since I shared any kind of healthy eating journey via my blog, mainly because I've been eating endless amounts of pizza in hope that gaining weight would never be a thing. Well it soon did become a thing, a 3 inches on the waist kind of thing to be in fact. Until recently I hadn't weighed myself in years and had forgotten what a tape measure even looked like, it's safe to say that I've now come to the conclusion that actively not monitoring my weight just isn't the way. 

After getting over the sheer horror of piling on the pounds, I joined the rest of the vast majority of people starting a healthy eating plan in January. As if this isn't already the worst month of the year hey. I've always been the same in that I absolutely refuse to consider any kind of plan under the "diet" category, I'm simply not interested in trying out the latest fad for short-term weight loss. As much as I love to indulge in junk food every now and then, I'm fully aware of the importance of integrating healthy eating back into your lifestyle and that it will become a lifelong thing rather than being a case of once I lose the weight I can then eat as much mac and cheese as I desire. 

Two weeks on from sticking to around 1,200 calories a day and closely tracking the grams of carbs, protein and fat that I intake per day, and I've lost an inch from my waistline. I've changed my mentality towards food and now see everything I eat as fuel for my body rather than overindulging in treats. I usually try to stick to a rule of 80% nutrition and 20% pleasure when it comes to food, meaning that if for example I make a pasta dish, I will use brown pasta, baked aubergine, fresh tomato sauce and pine nuts for the 80% nutrition and the 20% pleasure will come in the form of a sprinkle of feta cheese. I then use this same tactic for the food I eat within the day, 80% will be healthy meals and snacks, then I will have a treat such as a pack of mini cadbury fingers or a pack of walkers sunbites. For the whole week, the trick comes in once again and I try to eat healthily for 80% of it and then treat myself to a takeaway for one meal per week. But even with the takeaway, I will go for the healthiest option available. Let's say I fancy a dominos (all of the time), I will now go for a medium thin and crispy version just on it's own rather than a meal deal with a large classic crust pizza, wedges and garlic bread. 

Then there's exercise. I've just signed up to virgin active which means I will be going three times a week and involving myself in classes as well as gym sessions and swimming. I'm also going to be going to tennis lessons in a month or so too. I truly do believe that a gym membership is essential to wellbeing and trust me when I say that after being a member again after a five year dip it has been the best thing I've done in a long time. 

I have so many ideas for healthy posts to share with you all, think recipes, my gym routine, tips and tricks along with snack ideas and smoothies too. I'd really love to hear what you'd be interested in reading about!