Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a walk…

Just a walk… 🚶🏼‍♀️

As lockdown progresses I’ve noticed a lot of my clients are beating themselves up over not doing “enough exercise”. In many cases they’ve been trying to work from home, home school the children, and run the household etc. Some days they’re managing to fit in a workout, others they’re not and they’re feeling guilty about it, and worrying about the loss of those activity calories they “should” be burning.

During this time most people are managing to walk more, making the most of their allowed outdoor exercise time. This is often not viewed as something which contributes to those activity calories, but it’s actually doing more good.

It’s natural to associate cardio workouts with burning loads of calories; you feel sweaty and breathless so you feel like you’re working hard. A 45 min HIIT or that sort of workout is very tough and regardless how hard you’re working you’re going to be feeling it. However, it may be hard to motivate yourself to commit to a 45 min session at home when there are so many other things shouting for your attention (children (literally!), work, house chores etc). In contrast an hour’s walk doesn’t feel particularly strenuous, it may be something you do anyway to walk the dog, get the shopping or get the kids out the house for bit, and it in fact burns more calories than the workouts.

I did this experiment on myself so the numbers will vary according to your age, height, weight and fitness levels but the principal is the same (and has been shown in independent studies too). A one hour walk a day will burn significantly more calories than a 45 min HIIT workout a day. So if you’re not managing a workout every day – don’t stress, especially if you’re managing to go for a walk. In addition 7 days of HIIT workouts is actually NOT a good idea – studies have shown these workouts impact negatively on sleep if you’re doing too many a week. Obviously there are cardiovascular and health benefits to the HIIT workouts which are equally as important as calories burnt so don’t ditch them completely – but my point is that you shouldn’t feel guilty or like you’re not burning anything if all you manage is a walk on some days.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Tackling Hunger

Tuesday Tip: Tackling Hunger 🍔

With the current lockdown many are finding it hard to manage their diet, and specifically their hunger.

So how can we try to manage this?

First off is it true hunger or emotional hunger? True hunger starts gradually, is satisfied by any food and will end when you’re full. In addition you’re less likely to feel guilty afterwards. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, in a state of heightened emotion (e.g. stress or anxiety) or boredom. It typically involves craving specific foods, not being satisfied once full, eating mindlessly and feelings of guilt.

If it’s true hunger there are a few things you can do to help manage it. Studies have shown that higher protein meals reduce perceptions of hunger, particularly when combined with fats. Low calorie, high fibre foods are also important (fruit and veg); it increases “bulk”, causing stomach wall expansion, triggering the release of satiating hormones (fullness hormones). Another great option is low/zero calorie carbonated drinks which can help curb sugar cravings, and create that sensation of fullness. Caffeine is also an inhibitor of hunger in small amounts.

 

Emotional hunger is harder. Many foods give us “good feelings” but these foods are calorie dense and often high in sugar/saturated fat. They can provide temporary escape from boredom, low mood, stress etc but can leave us feeling worse and promote a negative relationship with food. We eat because we feel bad and we feel bad because we eat. Identifying the triggers/situations where you tend to emotionally eat is vital. Once you identify the triggers you can produce a list of replacement activities. Actually write out some alternatives and display them e.g. take 3 deep breaths, drink a big glass of water, play with your dog/cat, do some exercise/stretches. listen to music/podcast, do a 60 sec household chore, call a friend, adult colouring/jigsaw etc.

Be kind to yourself, the lack of stimulation, reduced human interaction and increased anxiety as a result of lockdown is natural. So if you are emotionally eating that’s ok – if you want to reduce it though then try these tips for starters.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Fitness and Exercise

An easy, equipment free home workout! Bodyweight Circuit 1

This was the first workout I did when lockdown began. I didn’t video this one at the time so thought I’d go back and do the video for you guys so you have the full set!

It’s a ten min, ten exercise, equipment-free workout for you guys to try. Remember it doesn’t need to be a 45 min session – any exercise is good!  If you have more time then you can always do it twice or three times, but if you don’t then just do it once! Get the family involved too 🙂

If you want to do it “with me” then there’s a video below.

Or you can use the pics below or download a pdf of the workout here:

There’s a video below if you want to do it along with me! And you can download the pdf here Bodyweight Circuit 1

Have Fun 🙂

xx

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Recipes

Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

This is a great option for batch cooking for the week ahead, or a hearty weekend dinner. I’m not really sure whether to call it Shepherd’s or Cottage pie – as it’s neither – it’s meat alternative pie but that definitely doesn’t have the same ring lol!

This is really easy to make and if you’re busy you can speed it up even more by using bags of frozen veg. Waitrose/Ocado do a bag of mixed onion, celery and carrots (‘soffritto mix’) and a great bag of frozen mixed grilled veg (onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper) which work brilliantly. Don’t be afraid of using the frozen veg – often they’re actually higher in nutrients than fresh as they’re frozen immediately rather than sitting in warehouses for months. I’m very much a believer in making eating healthily as easy as possible so this is a really easy option.

Even if you’re not vegetarian I’d definitely suggest you try this – it’s a lot lighter in calories and just as tasty. And if you’re worried the family may not want a meat substitute I’d suggest trying it and not telling them – I bet they don’t notice! Loads of my clients have found that their other halves and children haven’t even realised it’s not meat (though obviously you could use turkey or beef mince if you wanted to).

The base is my veggie chili recipe – so it makes a large batch of the mince (8-10 servings) so you can make some of it into Shepherd’s pie and some of it can be used for bolognese/chili etc. Or just make extra pie!

If you’re making the shepherd’s pie it comes in at around 374 cals per serving!

You will need:

1000g of Quorn mince (or ‘meet the alternative’ or any other meat substitute)

1500g Pasatta or chopped tomatoes

Either – 1 bag of soffritto mix OR 1 large onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1- 2 large carrots all finely chopped

Other mixed veg – pepper, courgette, aubergine, mushroom (your choice, or 1 bag of the frozen veg)

3 vegetable stock cubes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Mixed herbs

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian brand if necessary)

Spoonful of marmite (optional)

Salt and pepper

For the potato topping – I made small pies so just used 2-3 medium potatoes per pie but you can adjust the quantity as you like.

A little butter/spread, and skimmed milk is also needed.

Heat a little oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few mins. Then add any other veg you’re using.

Add the mincemeat and mix well and let it heat through (if using turkey, beef etc then ensure the meat browns at this point). Add the stock cubes and mix well. Heat for a few mins.

Stir in the passata and then add all the spices, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and marmite. Mix well and allow to simmer.

Taste it during this phase and adjust seasoning to taste.

Allow it to simmer for at least 20 mins, if you can let it cook a bit longer do as it helps to give a better flavour.

While it’s cooking peel and chop your potatoes and boil them until soft. Add a little spread and skimmed milk and mash to your desired consistency. I also add some salt and pepper.

Add a good quantity of the mince to a bowl/pie dish and then top with potato.

You can freeze it in portions using takeaway containers etc. I like to them pop it in the oven to crisp the top a little before serving.

If you don’t make all the mince into pies then freeze the rest and have with spaghetti, jacket potato or add a little chili and have it with a dollop of Greek yoghurt!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Low calorie or “normal” ice cream?

Low calorie or “normal” ice cream?….. 🍦

Here are two ice cream options – one is a low calorie, currently very popular ice cream stick – a halo top strawberry cheesecake one. The other is an oldie but a goodie and just a “normal” ice cream – the humble strawberry split.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive fan of the low calorie Halo top ice cream – not just because they’re low calorie but because they taste good. But it’s very easy for people to discount the “normal” strawberry split. So whilst these are obviously not directly comparable in flavour and texture etc they are very similar and serve a similar purpose – as a dessert or snack. One is marketed as low calorie, one isn’t.

I think it’s safe to assume that many of use would presume the halo top ice cream is the “healthier” option as it’s marketed as low calorie, and certainly the lower calorie option. In reality it’s not – the strawberry split is actually considerably fewer calories. So if you were tracking calories and trying to lose weight/bodyfat then the strawberry split would be a better choice. It does however have a bit more sugar than the Halo top – so if weight loss isn’t a goal but you want to go for a less sugary option then the halo top might be the better choice.

Overall the differences are relatlively small. Neither is a “healthier” option – it’s ice cream. Ice cream isn’t consumed to provide us with nutrients – it’s consumed because we enjoy it – so choose the one you enjoy most! However, as always, be aware of those calories – you may find some of your favourite ice creams aren’t actually as bad as you thought they were!

Now go and enjoy an ice cream

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Skipping to Fitness

Tuesday tip: Skipping to Fitness 🏃🏼‍♀️

With gyms closed we’re all having to workout at home (or outside) but as the weeks go on motivation can wane. Having just had Easter too you may, like me, be feeling like you need to do some exercise. If you can’t face long home workouts or don’t have time with home schooling/ work etc then I have the perfect solution!

This is one of my favourite cardio exercises (as many of my PT clients will already know!) – skipping! It’s cheap, easy to do and can be done almost anywhere – and it’s really effective too! As well as being great for improving cardiovascular fitness, it is also great for helping to recruit and increase fast twitch muscle fibres to keep you agile, and improves balance and coordination . Studies have shown it is as effective as a 45 minute run in improving fitness and fat burning. And contrary to what you might think If done properly, skipping is lower impact on the joints than jogging or running. However, it does require the correct technique – light 2 footed jumps on the balls of your feet, only a couple of cms off the floor. This amount of impact is enough to support healthy bone density and prevent osteoporosis but not enough to stress the knees, ankles and hips too much.

And even better, a recent study by the Waseda University in Japan discovered that participants who took part in ten mins of skipping a day experienced a drop in appetite (compared to those who did nothing or did other cardio exercises such as cycling and running). It turns out that the up and down movements from skipping actually cause less ghrelin (the hunger stimulating hormone) to be produced by the gut. So you end up feeling less hungry – which means you will tend to eat less! Ideal for lockdown eh?

Try 2 min blasts now and then through your day.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Recipes

Easy Ice Lollies – Berry and Coconut, and Pineapple and Mint

The sun is shining so how about some easy ice lollies?

These are quick and easy to make and you can customise them with your own flavours or whatever fruit and juices etc you happen to have to hand!

I made two flavours – berry and coconut, and pineapple mint

They’re really low in calories – between 40 and 90 cals each (depending on whether you use coconut milk or not).

Pineapple Mint Lolly

300g Pineapple (fresh or canned)
300ml pineapple juice / apple juice or for a creamier lolly any sort of milk
Handful of fresh Mint leaves

Put all the ingredients in a blender apart from the mint. Blend until smooth. Chop the mint leaves and add to the mix. Stir well then put into lolly moulds and freeze.

Berry and Coconut Lolly

300g mixed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries 
400ml coconut milk (or swap for any liquid you like)
Honey/maple syrup liquid sweetener to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender (you can add whatever fruits you have to this) and blend until smooth. The coconut milk makes it creamier but you could use apple juice or any juice you like.

Pour into lolly moulds and freeze!

Then go and enjoy the sunshine 🙂

xx