Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Lockdown Snacking…..

Lockdown Snacking….. 🍫🍦

Whether you are currently isolating, or just in lockdown, or even still out there going essential work, it’s quite likely that with the increased stress, uncertainty, inability to go out as you normally would etc that snacking and having “treats” is likely to increase.

Now there is absolutely no point trying to avoid snacking completely. It’s not realistic, it’s also putting unnecessary stress on yourself at a time when other things are far more important. Instead some simple, lower calorie, swaps can really help reduce the impact of all those extras.

You can still have “treats” and things you enjoy but you can minimise the impact and hopefully prevent too much overeating. You can make some really simple swaps – swapping your chocolate for something like a curly wurly, a grab bag of crisps for some pop chips, and choosing a a low calorie ice cream could reduce your snack calories by two thirds!

Finding similar tasting treats that are simply lower in calories is a great way to cope with the snacking temptations of being at home more, or the added stress and anxiety without negatively impacting on your fat loss goal.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown?

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown? 🏃🏼‍♀️

I know a worry for many of you (me included) is losing your fitness during lockdown. Suddenly you’re not walking to the office/school run, you’re not able to get to the gym or classes etc. Well don’t panic – it’s not as bad as you may expect.

Studies show that muscle loss doesn’t occur until about 4 weeks BUT that’s only if you stop training completely! And even then it’s minor and happens in tiny increments each week. If you continue to workout even just with bodyweight workouts then you’ll preserve muscle mass, and post lock-down you’ll be back to normal within a few weeks. If you have no equipment then focus on full body circuits, increase intensity by adjusting the tempo, and increase the volume (number of reps) e.g. a 10 bodyweight move circuit repeated 5 times etc a few times a week.

Studies show that over 12 weeks there’s only a 16% reduction in aerobic fitness overall. If you can run or cycle then this will help, but even long fast paced walks will help. If you’re into cardio classes then you’re sorted as HIIT workouts lend themselves to small spaces. You can do your own little HIIT workout, but if you struggle to motivate yourself to work hard then there’s loads of free workouts online now – see my previous posts or ask me for links). Another fab way to replicate cardio workouts is with skipping – 2 mins a few times a day as a cardio blast!

Specific fitness losses will go a degree relate to your own training/exercise history, types of exercise you do (fitness is maintained for longer if you did a variety of types of exercise e.g. not just running, and genetic and lifestyle factors. However, if you’re a regular exerciser it will take longer to lose fitness as things like increased capillary density take much longer to disappear.

So basically – don’t fret! You’re going to be fine! I hope these tips help. If you want any specific advice then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy frying…

Healthy frying… 🍳

With most people’s general activity levels lower at the moment and a natural focus on eating more “healthily” to stay well it seemed like a good opportunity to consider how to fry food more healthily.

There is an assumption that coconut oil is a healthy choice for cooking. As with other oils (e.g. olive oil), it does have some health benefits. The oil contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and there is evidence that it could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss.

So many people recommend using coconut oil to cook with – dolloping in a spoonful of the stuff for stir fries, pan frying meat and fish etc. Now whilst it is healthy it’s also extremely calorie dense. A spoonful (15g) of coconut oil is approx 129 cals. If you used this for one meal a day that would give you a total of 3,612 calories over the course of a month.

Thats a lot of extra calories! If you’re using oil simply to ensure the food doesn’t stick then you’d be far better off buying a good non-stick frying pan and using no oil at all! Or if you really need it you can get a 1 calorie coconut oil spray.

By using a non-stick pan you can save those extra calories (which you’re probably not accounting for anyway) and spend them on something else. It’s a small sacrifice for some big savings and assuming you’re having a balanced diet overall then you won’t suffer a decrease in health by cutting it out.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Working from Home

Tuesday Tip: Working from Home 🏠

Working from home, be it your normal work, schooling the kids, or just now being at home as work has closed, can be hard. Productivity goes down and it’s hard to stay motivated. So here are some tips on how to make the best of it.

# 1 Routine

Try to stick to your “normal” routine as much as possible. Get up/go to bed at the same time as normal, plan your day, schedule in something every day that signals it’s the start/end of the day. These rituals will will help to keep you positive e.g. a morning workout, an evening walk or family movie time etc.

# 2 Workout

It’s vital for your mind and body to stay as active as possible. It releases endorphins, decreases stress hormones and helps create routine. Schedule it in; perhaps at the same time you would normally go to the gym /class etc. Publicly commit to it with your family or friends so you’re likely to stick to it.

# 3 Find a place

Choose a space at home that’s comfy, but not too comfy, to work in. Avoid the bed/sofa if possible. Set up the space up so it’s easy to work from; laptop/paperwork, easy access to power points/cables etc. Also set up a space to workout in. If you don’t have space for a dedicated workout area then just keep anything you need handy so it’s easy to use without spending ages getting set up.

# 4 NO distractions

Avoid distractions you can control. Put your phone away, turn the TV off, set aside a time for household chores so you’re not tempted to do them instead of the work.

# 5 Make a list

Make a list of all the things you MUST do that day, and another list of things you WANT to do if you can. Then you can prioritise and hopefully get some of the “want” list done too if you have time.

# 6 Schedule breaks

It’s easy for work to creep into all hours of the day if you’re not careful, so try to work similar hours to normal. Signal the end of the day by doing something that isn’t work; e.g. workout, a walk, a bath etc. Close the laptop and don’t leave it open all evening etc so you can separate work from home time.

I hope these tips help. If I can help at all with anything then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Recipes

Hearty Squash, pepper and lentil soup

It may be officially spring but it’s pretty cold out there still! When I first made this soup I made it using a glut of squashes from the garden. but today I’ve made it with butternut squash I had in the freezer! You can use any type of squash or sweet potato for this (or a mixture!).

This is a calorie bargain at only 150 – 175 cals per portion, and super filling. It’s perfect for batch cooking if you’re stuck inside at the moment too.

 

As I said, you can use squash, pumpkin or sweet potato (or a mix) and you can also be a bit free and loose with the quantities to be honest – as long as you keep an eye on the amount of liquid and add a bit more stock if needed.

I made a massive batch so I could have it for a few days and also freeze some, but you could easily halve this. This recipe serves around 12-14.

You will need:

Approx 1,200g – 1,500g squash

3 medium red peppers (or 2 large)

2 onions

500g red lentils

4 cloves garlic

600g chopped tomatoes (passata also works fine or use fresh tomatoes)

1 litre vegetable stock (but you may need to add a little more as it cooks)

2 tbsp tomato purée

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp Chilli powder (or to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

To serve – fresh spinach and a dollop of greek yoghurt

Peel and de-seed the squash and then chop into small pieces (or use pre-chopped fresh or frozen squash).

Chop the onion and peppers and crush the garlic. Heat up a little oil in a pan and add the onions and crushed garlic, and allow to lightly brown. Then add the pepper.

Add the squash, stir well and cook for 5 mins with the lid on (stirring occasionally). The squash will start to release some water and begin to soften a little.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Then add the lentils, vegetable stock, spices and tomato purée and stir.

Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for a few minutes with the lid off. Then reduce the heat further and put the lid on and allow to cook for at least 20 mins making sure you stir regularly so the lentils don’t stick. If it looks like it needs it then add a little more stock.

Season to taste and cook until the squash is tender and the lentils are cooked through. Remove from heat and at this point. If you like your soup chunky you can serve it now.

Alternatively you can blend it to a smooth consistency.

To serve stir through some fresh spinach and add a dollop of greek yoghurt!

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Quick Healthy Banana Pancakes

Another one of my faves! These work great as a breakfast, or light lunch or afternoon snack! They’re quick and easy to make and taste amazing! If you want something more substantial you can add some protein powder in to the mix but I tend not to bother. This makes two small pancakes, enough for one person, and comes in at approx 200 calories, plus the fruit.

You will need:

1 banana

1 egg

2 tbsp flour (any flour you like)

Cinnamon (optional)

Fruit of your choice

Mash the banana with a fork in bowl, add the egg and mix well.

The mixture will vary in consistency depending on your banana size and ripeness, and egg size – it really doesn’t matter though. Add the flour and cinnamon and mix well.

The batter will be lumpy – that’s fine too! Heat a little oil in a pan and then add the batter. Leave to cook on one side, then flip.

Serve with fruit (if you need it you can also add some maple syrup or other liquid sweetener but I find the fruit is sweet enough)

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘ 🥓🍞🥜

I think if you were going to choose a “healthy” late morning snack/brunch option you’d probably assume the mixed nut bag is probably a better option than a bacon roll. And you’d assume it was healthier and certainly better for you if you’re trying to lose weight/fat.

Nuts, seeds and blackcurrants are full of nutrients – “good” fats, protein, antioxidants like Vitamin E etc. So nutritionally they are a good option, but the bag also contains a whopping 607 cals, with 28g fat and only 10g protein. The combination of fats and protein will help keep you full and satisfied but thats’s a really hefty snack that probably isn’t worth those calories.

In comparison a bacon roll would probably be perceived as a “bad” choice. In reality it has far fewer calories than the “healthy” option with only 389 cals in total. It’s also lower in fat with only 17.4g and higher in protein, 18.1 g. It still provides carbs, protein and fat so will keep you satisfied until lunch. I’m not suggesting you have one every day, but it’s certainly not terrible!.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy a bacon bap then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by the idea that nuts/seeds are inherently a “better” option – they’re not always!

🤗

Xx