Friday, 13th July

Antioxidants

We have all heard the term antioxidants these days and associate them mainly with fresh fruit such as blueberries.  However, there are many fruits and vegetables that  contain good sources of antioxidants which are highly important in your training diet.

Antioxidants are important in your diet as they prevent oxidation and protect the cells from free radicals.  These free radicals can cause diet related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Free radicals tend to attach to the fatty acids in the body and can cause havoc to your cells.

The foods that contain these valuable antioxidants are rich in vitamin A, C and E and the minerals Selenium, Copper and Zinc.

The following foods contain these antioxidants in abundance and we encourage you to include them at every opportunity in your diet.

Broccoli and other green leafy vegetables

Carrots

Peppers

Olive oil

Apricots

Nuts/Seeds

Whole grains – oats, rice, quinoa, corn

Monosaturated fats and oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil and avocados are much better for you than polyunsaturated fats and oils such as synthetic magarines.

Wednesday, 4th July

Healthify your diet starting today!

Changing your diet needn’t be a massive chore that causes you pain and discomfort.

Make some easy swaps today with minimum hassle so that you start adding more nutrients into your body starting today!

  1. Add a nutrient rich cereal to you breakfast meal.  Cereal can provide you with fibre as well as carbs and therefore energy to start your day.

Great examples 

Porridge made with water or milk 

No sugar museli

Weetabix

Wholemeal toast

Chia seed puddings

Quinoa porridge

Buckwheat porridge 

You can make these with either dairy skimmed milk or try a non dairy option such as soy, almond, hazelnut or even coconut.  My favourite by far is almond milk.  Add a topping of either sliced banana, handful of berries, sliced apple or pear and a small handful of seeds.  Tasty, nutritious and very filling!

2.  Replace your usual biscuit(s) with two pieces of fruit

This may take a couple of weeks to get used to, but stick with it!!  The trick is to choose fruit that you really enjoy and get rid of the biscuits from the cupboard pronto.  You will not be sorry if you start this little habit.

3.  Replace biscuits and crisps with unsalted raw nuts and seeds.  These provide good fats which are beneficial in many ways including your skin, hair and keeping you insulated.

4.  Add a protein rich snack to your afternoons.  Sugary snacks mean a big slump in energy after an hour or so, meaning that you will soon be looking for more sugary snacks.  Great examples are plain yogurt such as greek, even half a tin of low sugar baked beans will do.  If you like them, a protein shake can be refreshing blended with some fruit, which will ward off hunger pangs until dinnertime.

5.  Get into veggie crudites.  Carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, mixed peppers, even thinly sliced mushrooms make for a lovely, healthy snack especially if accompanied with a tasty dip such as hummus or guacamole.

6.  Try some popcorn.  Enjoy nibbling on crisps and other salty snacks?  Try and buy some plain unpopped popcorn and make your own!  Popcorn is surprisingly healthy, provided you don’t buy the caramel, sugary versions.  Add your own toppings such as cinnamon, coconut sugar, a little pinch of sea salt or even kurma curry powder and a pinch of garlic powder.  The options are endless and kids love to hear them popping in the microwave!

7.  Get into smoothies.  A great way of eating good food easily and without hassle is to make your own green smoothies.  Adding spinach, an apple, a banana, pear, 1/2 avocado and optional 1 tbsp chia seeds means a complete meal in a glass.  They are surprisingly tasty too and will provide your body exactly what it needs in terms or greens which help to increase your energy and your consumption of phytonutrients.

8.  Swap sodas and pop for water flavoured with fruits or herbs such as mint

This makes a huge difference to your energy levels, mental clarity and weight loss.   Again, it will take a while to get used to, but making the effort will mean you reap all the rewards.

9.  Get into eggs – Eggs are a whole protein and adding around three to your diet each week will give you a lot of nutrition.  Eggs are also beneficial for children and very quick and easy to make after a long day at work.  Always keep a box of fresh eggs in the kitchen for quick emergency meals, so that you can avoid the takeaway or pizzas as much as possible.

10.  Enjoy lettuce sandwiches.  Do you have a lot of weight to lose?  Are you always almost falling asleep after a big carb rich sandwich or baguette?   Wrapping a large lettuce leaf around your filling means you get all of the benefits of a sandwich without the excess carbs.  This method is particularly good on days when you are not training and possibly spending more time being sedentary.  

Get started on these easy swaps today for increased health and vitality.

Monday, February 12th-Breakfast choices

Breakfast choices

Delicious overnight oats
I love breakfasts the best and knowing that you have something delicious waiting in the fridge just makes getting up even better!
Overnight oats have been around for a while now, but I never get sick of them.
There are many ways of dressing up oats and you can even leave the toppings such as nuts and seeds until the morning, which would make them crunchier.
Don’t think of these as just a breakfast meal though. I regularly eat a small bowl as a mid-afternoon snack, an afterschool snack for the kids and they make an excellent post workout meal after weights too.
Fill up a ceramic bowl or Tupperware container, so that you have enough for a couple of days.
250g oats
Enough almond milk (or any other milk) to cover the oats
Grate an apple with skin and fold into the milk and oat mixture
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 tablespoon of Sweet Freedom, maple syrup or honey
Method
Place the oats in the container, pour over the nut milk and sprinkle the chia seeds and a squirt of sweetener.
Place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning
Give the oats a stir and then top with your favourite nuts, seeds and fruit.
I like raisins, sunflower seeds and a small pinch of cinnamon at the moment. More flavour combinations coming up soon.
Enjoy your day,
Nicola.

 

 

 

Super seeded oat porridge
It’s not possible to have too many ideas for porridge. This is cooked with chia seeds and topped with omega seed mix which is a mixture of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and linseeds.
Ingredients
half a mug of porridge
1 tbsp chia seeds
small pinch of raisins
milk of choice to cover such as almond or cow’s
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp omega mix seeds
Method
1. Place the all of the ingredients apart from the omega mix seeds in a small saucepan and cover with the milk. Bring to a boil and lower the heat and stir continuously ensuring it doesn’t burn for around 5 minutes until cooked through. Serve with the seeds on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Balls
Energy balls
Get through christmas cravings with these little balls of deliciousness! The peanut butter/cocoa combination makes them feel like a real treat. Easy to make and no need to feel guilty, you have worked hard for them. One ball a day is enough though before or after a workout is best. I get the ground linseed mix from Aldi, they have different combinations. You could add other ingredients, whatever you have such as dates instead of raisins.
100g ground almonds
75g raisins
1 tbsp ground linseeds
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave syrup or honey
50g desiccated coconut
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp coconut oil
In a big bowl place ground almonds, add the raisins, peanut butter, linseeds, cocoa powder, and agave syrup and mix to combine.
In a small saucepan, place the butter, coconut oil and sugar. On a low heat, melt until you have a runny mixture. Mix with the other ingredients in the bowl.
Shape mixture into walnut sized balls and roll in desiccated coconut to coat. Put in the fridge to firm for 30 mins, then eat whenever you need a quick boost such as before a workout or after with a glass of skimmed milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrambled eggs with spinach
Scrambled eggs with stir – fried spinach
Scrambled eggs have a reputation as being breakfast food, however they make a great fast meal any time of day. One tip though, make sure you use a non – stick frying pan otherwise you will spend the rest of the evening scrubbing away!
Makes 1
1 tsp olive oil
2 eggs, whisked with a fork in a cup
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
Method
In a non – stick frying pan pour oil in and bring to a medium hot heat. Place the spinach in and stir until wilting, only a minute or so. Stir in chilli sauce and place on a plate.
Pour the eggs in and stir round constantly or it will catch. Scrape the egg off the bottom of the pan until cooked. Couple of minutes this will take.
Place the eggs on the spinach and dress with cracked black pepper (optional).
Eat to train,
Nicola.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berry Super Shake
Intro to fat loss
Berry Super Shake
A super shake is a meal replacement you can take with you or rustle up quickly when you need good quality nutrition fast, for example for breakfast or after a workout.
However, calling these meal replacements is almost an insult. There are literally hundreds of supplements on the market claiming to be meal replacements however they tend to contain bad fats, low-quality protein and sugar.
This super shake should supplement an already healthy and nutritious diet full of whole foods.
You can eliminate the oats if it’s a rest day. We recommend whey protein powder for these shakes.
12 oz skimmed milk
2 scoops vanilla or strawberry whey protein powder
2 cupped handfuls of mixed berries, frozen
1 fist of spinach
2 thumbs of walnuts
3 tbsp plain low fat greek yogurt
Handful of oats
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Add the milk to the blender, followed by the protein powder, berries, yogurt, nuts, cinnamon and oats.
Blend on high for 1 minute.
Next add the spinach to the blender and blend again for 1 minute.
Eat to train
Nicola.

 

 

 

 

Breakfast
Introduction to fat loss – recipes
This is a breakfast recipe however if you can’t stomach eating this in the morning or you haven’t got time, it makes a great tasty meal any time of day. I’ve recently started shopping in Aldi’s which is very reasonable for fresh food such as fruit, vegetables and fresh meat.
Breakfast
Omelette with side salad
3 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1oz mozzarella cheese
Olive oil cooking spray
2 handfuls of mixed salad leaves (rocket, spinach, watercress)
1 avocado
Small handful of mixed nuts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Method
Preheat a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with olive oil spray. Whisk egg whites, eggs and grated mozzarella cheese together in a bowl.
Pour egg mixture in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the omelette and cook until the other side is golden brown.
While the omelette is cooking, in a separate bowl add the salad leaves, chopped avocado, mixed nuts, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Toss lightly to mix the ingredients.
When omelette is ready, transfer to a plate. Add salad to the side and serve.

 

 

 

Breakfast Granola

Oats are rich in soluble fibre and provide slow release energy as well as plenty of B vitamins and iron. The nuts and seeds supply protein, calcium, zinc and healthy monounsaturated oils. This is quite expensive to make but Aldi’s sell a great range of nuts and the spices will keep for a while. Shop bought cereals are packed full of sugar and salt. This is a nice thing to make on the weekend handy for the week ahead.
Ingredients
400g jumbo oats
3 tablespoons olive oil
200ml apple juice
50g flaked almonds
50g walnuts
125g sunflower seeds
4 level tablespoons linseeds
3 tablespoons flaked coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g sultanas
Method
1. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 180C(fan) 200C, gas mark 6.
2. Throw all the ingredients apart from the sultanas into a big bowl and mix thoroughly.
3. Spread the muesli over the two trays and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. It is important to stir it every 10 minutes.
4. Cool slightly and add the raisins. Leave to cool completely before storing in a plastic cereal container. This will keep for around 2 weeks.
5. Serve with milk or sprinkle over low fat greek yogurt. 80g whole almonds

Friday, 23rd September

Food Quiz!

I love these little food quiz bites! They really bring home the amount of fat and sugar in our diets.

Yesterday I gave an example of a lady who loved Chocolate Digestives and who doesn’t like a biscuit now and again? Problem with biscuits though is that they are too moreish and too high in fat and sugar!

Test your fat knowledge with this little quiz —

How many bananas contain the equivalent amount of fat as two Hobnob biscuits?

Answer

26 bananas!!

How shocking is that?

Although bananas are high in natural sugars too so moderation is key here. Two pieces of fruit a day is enough.

Nicola.