Tag Archives: lifestyle

Is Failing To Meal Plan The Cause Of Your Weight Gain?

Saving Time and Money

You might not realize it, but you waste a lot of time standing in front of your fridge each afternoon deciding what to make for dinner. Not to mention the money you wast running to the shop 4 to 5 times a week to pick up last minute ingredients. By planning your meals in advance, you save money long term.

Eliminating the Last Minute Stress

Everyone knows how stressful it is to make a last minute decision about a meal. If you have a meal plan, you can take care of things in advance and all that is left at the end of a long day are those last few things to cook.

Helping You Avoid Unhealthy Choices

How many times have you opted to stop at the fast food shop on the way home or buy a ready made meal instead of preparing a healthy meal? Probably more times than you care to admit. Meal planning eliminates the need to rely on this unhealthy last minute option.

WHAT TO DO NOW:

  • How many meals you need to plan for 

Take a few moments to think about what you have going on next week week. Taking a quick note of everyone’s plans will give you a rough idea of how many meals you’ll need to get through the week, and how much you can get from each recipe.

  • What you have time for 

If you have a crazy busy week coming up, make a mental note to be on the lookout for quick, slow cooker or make-ahead meals that can served up in a hurry. We’re big fans of the cook once, eat twice (or thrice) approach.

  • Your food mood 

Things like the weather, a change in seasons, and food cravings can impact what sounds good on any given day. Thinking about these things beforehand will make recipe selection process faster and meal times easier on everyone.

Now the fun part! Once you know how many meals you’ll need, it’s time to find some healthy recipes and fill in your calendar for the week.

  • Create a master recipe list

Having a list of go-to meals is one of the easiest ways to expedite the meal planning process. Consider trying one or two new recipes and use a few old favorites to fill in the gaps. Every time you find a new meal you love, add it to the rotation!

  • Find a few new dishes to try

Finding delicious, healthy recipes isn’t hard–you just need to know where to look. Health-conscious cookbooks and food magazines are great but the internet can literally provide millions of healthy recipes at your fingertips.

COLLECT & CALENDAR YOUR RECIPE

  1. Start a master recipe list. Digital versions (like a note on your smartphone) are handy, easy to update and usually within arm’s reach!
  2. Fill in your calendar. Pick some favorites from your master list and 1 or 2 new recipes to try.
  3. Write your grocery list. While doing that, jot down ingredients for each recipe. Then, take stock of what you already have on hand before heading to the store.
  4. Pick a time to shop. Once your shopping is done, you’re ready to tackle food prep.

Example Meals for Meal Prep

Here’s a few examples of tasty meals and snacks you can prepare in advance:

 Hot meals for reheating:

Blackened salmon with sweet potato and broccoli

Thai curry with brown rice

Chilli with brown rice

Turkey curry with brown rice

Fish curry with brown rice

Sweet Baked potato with tuna in brine, avocado & salad

Cold Meals:

Chicken salad (spinach, rocket, pine nut, satsuma

Mackerel salad (shredded lettuce, pine nuts, grapes)

Chicken and avocado salad with salt and pepper

Cold Snacks:

Rice cakes with Merdian almond butter and banana

Juice Plus Protein flapjack

Juice Plus Protein brownies

Juice Plus Protein carrot cupcakes

Any un-salted/roasted nuts

0% Total Greek yogurt with natural honey and berries

Raw avocado

 

Fruity Frosty Snacks

People snack; that’s a fact. And frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re trying to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re comfortable, you usually end up eating smaller meals plus a couple of snacks in between.

Make the most from your snacks this summer with these frosty fruity bites which I love to nibble on. These are great go-to snacks for any season, but are exceptional on a warm day! This is the season when the fruits are just rolling into markets so healthy choices are both cost effective and delicious.

1.Frozen Grapes

Just wash and dry and pop in the freezer on a lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, store in a freezer safe container or bag until ready to eat.

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2.Frozen Yogurt Grapes 

Wash and dry grapes, then submerge in your favorite yogurt (we find a toothpick method is easier than fishing out the grapes with utensils). Pick out the grapes one-by-one and pick on a lined cookie sheet. Freeze until completely frozen and store in a freezer-safe container.

3.Grape Popsicles

Wash and dry your grapes and using a high-speed blender, puree them until completely and entirely smooth. No seeds allowed here! Pour the puree into popsicle molds and freeze completely before enjoying (about four hours).


4.Bananas, Two Ways!

If you haven’t jumped on the frozen banana train you don’t know what you’re missing! Try these out the next time you have bananas that are really spotty and brown.frozen-banana-slices

5.Banana Bon Bons

Peel banana, cut into 1-inch chunks and freeze until firm. Then, one-by-one, dip each banana chunk into melted semi-sweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate (we like using a toothpick to keep this part tidy). You can then dip the chocolate covered banana in chopped nuts or coconut flakes to really jazz it up.

 

6.Yogurt Breakfast Popsicles

(Makes 6 popsicles)

  • 3cups strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup agave next a or natural honey
  • 1 cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup skimmed milk
  • 3/4 cups homemade granola

1. Combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup agave/honey in a small saucepan and stir gently to combine. Let the berries soften on the counter for at least 10 minutes, until it’s syrupy.

2. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid simmer.

3. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the strawberries are thick and jammy.

4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. You should have about 1 cup of jammy fruit.

5. When ready to assemble the popsicles, whisk together the yogurt, 1/4 cup of the milk, and 1/4 cup of the honey. The yogurt should be thick, but pourable (roughly the consistency of regular yogurt). If needed, whisk in a little more milk. Taste and add more honey if desired.

6. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the yogurt mixture and stir it into the granola. This will help the granola freeze into the popsicles.

7.  Arrange 6 popsicle molds on your work surface. Pour a generous spoonful of yogurt into the bottom of each mold. Add a scoop of granola and then a spoonful or two of strawberries. Continue layering yogurt, granola, and strawberries until the molds are filled. Tap the molds lightly agains the counter or use a popsicle stick to work out any air bubbles between the layers.

8. Insert popsicle sticks into each mold and place the popsicles in the freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.

9. To unmold, run the popsicle molds under hot running water for a few seconds and gently easy the popsicles out of the molds. Popsicles will keep in the freezer for several weeks.

Recipe Notes
The strawberries can be replaced with an equal amount of any other fruit.

Where to buy the popsicle holders – £2 Free Delivery, Click HERE,  Ice Lolly Maker Pop Mould

 

Recipes adapted from HERE

Please feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com – and comment below. Or contact me via social media (see menu bar) – i would love to get your feedback.

 

Melt In Your Mouth Morning Muffins

Kimberleys Own Granola muffins with cranberries and blueberries

Make Ahead: The muffins can be made a day in advance and kept (covered) at room temperature or frozen individually to preserve freshness (for up to 2 weeks), then defrosted in their wrappings. Reheat, loosely wrapped in aluminum foil, in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through.

SERVINGS: 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup less 1/2 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unprocessed wheat bran (also called miller’s bran; do not use bran cereal)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed, 
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw turbinado sugarffd07a32238caf39d792f5bae740461a
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoonslow-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or bluerberries
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the wells of a standard-size 12-well muffin pan with cooking oil spray.
  2. Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, bran, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl, then whisk in the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract. Blend in the oil, mixing well.
  4. Thoroughly stir in the mashed bananas.
  5. Quickly pour the banana mixture over the flour mixture, scatter over the cranberries and pumpkin seeds, and stir to form a thick batter. Let it stand, uncovered, for 2 minutes; this allows for the flours to be absorbed into the batter and steadies the rise of the muffins during baking. Divide the batter equally among the muffin pan wells, mounding the portions slightly.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins have risen and set and have browned. A wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin will withdraw clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn them out and cool completely (right side up) on the rack.muffins_9
Nutritional Facts

Calories per muffin (using low-fat buttermilk and sour cream): 220

Total Fat: 8g

Saturated Fat: 2g

Total Carbohydrates: 32g

Sugar: 16g

Protein: 6g

 

Email me your pictures of your muffins chloehthomas@gmail.com or comment your feedback below – and don’t forget to hit the like button if you liked the recipe!

Never Eat Airplane Food Again – Top Tips For Eating Healthy When Travelling

Why do millions of people think they have to eat airport and airplane food because it’s the only thing available?

This is why i feel compelled to share and help you as you have a choice. YOU are in control of everything you put in your mouth and your body is not a rubbish bins for the industrial and processed foods. Airplane food is often heavily processed with tons of controversial additives and preservatives. When you’re flying, it’s stressful. Your body utilizes more nutrients, so it’s important to nourish yourself well and plan.

Bring food with you to the airport & on airplanes.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to eat airport and airplane food in a years – apart from fruit! It’s easy to do, but it does take a bit of prep time and you have to make sure that what you bring won’t get confiscated by the TSA at the security checkpoint.

Healthy-Travel-Food2

TSA lets you bring food through security.

In the UK, USA and in most countries, the transit authorities allows you to bring food through the security screening and onboard. Here are some items that work well and don’t get confiscated:

  • Homemade sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stored in a quart-sized plastic bag. Keep in mind that all food that you carry on will need to go through the x-ray machine at the checkpoint. So, never use any foil. They will want to search your bag and delay your travels.
  • Dips and sauces, such as hummus, salsa and almond butter, as long as it is in a small Tupperware/container,  and put into a small ziploc plastic bag.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples, bananas, carrot sticks, celery sticks and avocados. Just wash them at home or in your hotel room before you put them in your bag. If you cut or peel them ahead of time, of course they need to be in a plastic ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  • Crunchy snacks such as crackers, ryvita, kale chips, etc.
  • Dried fruit and raw nuts make a great snack on the plane. You can make my own mix – 1/2 cup each of raw almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries or raisins, and raw walnuts. The airport usually has trail mix in boots or Pret a Manger, but it comes along with all the inflammatory oils, other additives and are usually not raw or organic (although Pret is good).
  • Pre-made salads in containers (Tupperware- BPA-free plastic). Salad dressing can be already mixed into a salad or at the bottom of the bowl for mixing in later. Ask for a plastic fork on the plane.
  • Empty flasks – any size. These are great for filling up after you get through security. And you can bring a protein shaker bottle with the protein powder in, then once you are through security go to coffee shop and get some milk and water and mix it up – or on the plane.
  • Tea bags for making hot tea in the airport before you board or on the plane.

TravelTips1

Most people don’t think about this, but you can pack a cooler as one of your carry-on bags. There are some great travel coolers available, and even some that are on wheels that easily go through security for long flights or if you are traveling with family. Just make sure that it meets the size requirements for the airline that you are flying on.

For longer flights, pack some frozen food in your cooler. If you pack some frozen berries or yogurt in small containers, it will help to keep your cooler cool and slowly defrost during your flight.

And remember , exercise alongside your healthy diet when you are travelling. And no you DON’T need a gym or equipment – Click HERE for 9 workout moves you can do in a hotel room!! 

Please leave comments below and feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com, i would love to hear your top tips or any questions about your travels!

 

Thanks to Vali for some of these tips, check out her great website here.

9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

The easiest way to get fit (and stay that way!) is to use the one piece of equipment that will be with you no matter where you travel: you. With just the resistance of your own body weight, it’s possible to improve your strength, balance, agility, stamina, and more. The hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries! Forgot to pack your sneakers? No problem! Accidentally booked a beach vacation during monsoon season? NBD! These 9 moves are excuse-proof, because wherever you go, there you are—literally!

CLICK HERE: 9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

womanworkingoutinhotel-room1

Professor Uses Juice Plus As Post Operative Meal

Professor Francesco Rubino recommended Radio 4 presenter, Jenny Murray, to use Juice Plus Complete post surgery . This is the same product I use and that I recommend to others.

“Professor Rubino visited, told me I was doing really well and gave me a diet sheet to take home…I have been following the liquid diet to the letter: vitamin supplements, two smoothies made with Juice Plus+ Complete — a meal supplement … skimmed milk (20 g protein per serving, I need 60 g a day) and strawberries or bananas.”*

For more information on Juice Plus or to purchase some, please click HERE.

For several consecutive years, Professor Rubino was selected by both US News & World Report and Castle Connolly as one of “America’s Top Doctors” and was selected by Crain’s NY Business as a notable “40 under 40”, which recognizes young rising stars in the healthcare, business, non-profit and entertainment industries.

His work has been featured in journals such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, 60 Minutes on CBS, the Guardian, the New Scientists as well as on national TVs and newspapers in Japan, Italy, Qatar, Brazil, South Africa and other countries.

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*From daily-mail online

 

Stop Dieting Today! Why Giving Up on Diets Is NOT Giving Up On Yourself

Years of dieting and listening to someone else’s voice – ie the media– means we naturally believe someone else always knows better. If we listen we will get the body they tell us we want. The picture of that (airbrushed) model in the magazine/diet book/poster – if we follow this diet we will look like that.

We loose touch with our own voice, what WE want to eat, WHEN we are actually hungry and actually full and satisfied. You eat unpalatable food because it will give you a body that the media tells you is ‘correct/right’ – slender and trim.

When you give up dieting you are taking back YOUR VOICE. 

Scary thought isnt it?!

When breaking free from a diet it can be overwhelming with the amount of food you are now ‘allowed’ to eat. You now have to TRUST the wisdom of your body.

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Here are some helpful tips when learning to listen to you again…

– Make sure you eat when you are hungry! ….sounds obvious right?….but honeslty think about when you eat – is it becuase ts a meal time so you are expected to eat

– You are upset so you have a treat – something to eat.

– You are celebreating – so have something to eat

– You are happy – so have something to eat

– You are in love and so you share – which leads to eating

– You are frusted adn need confort – so you eat

The list goes on….

I know, its hard at first, you have been following the Rules for years, the Adive in the media of ‘legal foods‘ but give it a go! It is NICE !!

Another thing I would add is – make sure you STOP when you are full. For example – you are eating your delicious chocolate bar/cake/ice cream/ pizza etc and you feel full (satisfied and not uncomfortably full) – but ‘it tastes sooo good’! you want to keep eating the cake becuase its delicious- but listen to your stomach and body – you ARE full. What i would adivse here is put away your food (in the fridge or tupperware, not in the bin)  and tell yourself ‘i can eat this whenver i like – BUT when i am hungry again’. This means you won’t over-eat and then feel guilty and can heave a healthy relationship with food again.

Feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com –  for more advice and guidance and please comment below your feedback on this post.

Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules.

We’ve all heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while there’s truth in this statement, it can lead us astray in our quest to build a great body.

You see, when we’re just talking about mere weight loss or gain, it doesn’t matter where these calories come from. So in this way, a calorie is a calorie. When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the main part of the equation. Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

HOWEVER, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, sleeping well etc. You want to do everything in your power to avoid things like heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end your life too early.

When we’re talking about improving body composition (losing just body fat and not muscle, or maximizing muscle growth while minimizing fat storage), you must not only follow the principles of energy balance, but you must do so with a proper balance of macronutrients.


A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. How you balance your intake of these macronutrients has profound effects on how your body responds to the foods you eat. For example, protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when you want to optimize your body composition. The research is clear.

A high-protein diet…

-Is vital for preserving lean mass when dieting for fat loss.

-Is vital for maximizing muscle growth when dieting for muscle gain.

-Is effective for reducing body fat levels, including abdominal fat in particular.

-Increases satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.

-A high-protein diet is even more important if you’re exercising regularly, as this further increases your body’s demand for amino acids.

Despite what you’ve been told, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They don’t make you fat or unhealthy. In fact, there are big benefits to keeping carbohydrate intake as high as possible, even when dieting for fat loss, including…

-Better workout performance.

-Improved retention of lean mass.

-Better thyroid function.

-More satiety.

-Better mood.

Trust me–low-carb dieting is NOT GOOD and is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people looking to lose weight, and is downright detrimental to those trying to put on size.

What does the perfect ratio look like?

In my opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person depending upon their body, goals, and routine. A proper meal plan not only provides the proper amount of calories but breaks them down into the optimal amounts of macronutrients as well.

  

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?
Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? Are you trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

Do you use any apps on your phone to record claories alone or do you include macronutrients? -Has this article made you reconsider? 

I’d love to hear from you – chloehthomas@gmail.com, or message me on facebook- click here

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO HANDLE CRAVINGS

1. Plan for a snack attack

Many of us use low blood sugar as an excuse for a mid-afternoon chocolate snack. There are plenty of alternative foods that will boost your blood sugar and energy levels. A peanut butter sandwich or a banana is much better, as it increases blood sugar gradually, rather than the quick fix hit of chocolate. Learn to anticipate your weak moments and have healthy alternatives, such as nuts or fruit.

You could even try getting your chocolate fix with a juice plus pancake or ice cream or whip some into greek yoghurt (total 0%). 

What is GI and GL?

Glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) provide information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin.

The lower a food’s GI or GL, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels.
GI measures the effect of your food on blood glucose levels. It’s a rank list index for foods based on how quickly your blood sugar levels will increase after ingestion.

The GL is different as it is based on the active carbohydrate content of a normal serving of food, or around 100 grammes. So in other words, the GL tells you how much carbohydrate is in a standard serving size of food.

2. Take up exercise

It may not be as immediately satisfying as munching on a bar of chocolate, but exercise creates serotonin, a neurotransmitter which promotes feelings of happiness.

It also releases endorphins in the same way that a bar of chocolate will, only exercise is far better for you in the long run.

After a good workout, you won’t have as much need for sugar, and the same goes for sex!

3. Blood glucose levels

A low glycaemic load (GL) diet will help keep your blood sugar level balanced. The glycaemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Juice Plus shakes are Low GI. 

Low GL carbohydrates produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

Eating quality lean proteins and the right fats with low GL carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread, will make you feel full and you won’t be as likely to crave a sugar rush.

Is Booze Making You Fat? The Truth About Alcohol & Calories


We don’t burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol – not like we do from digesting carbs, fat and protein. This phenomenon, called the “thermic effect of food”, refers to the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters our bloodstream without burning any extra calories.

Your liver does the dirty work because alcohol is seen as a toxin, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first which means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while that happens. The liver is only able to clear alcohol at a rate of around one ounce liquor per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy.

Alcohol makes your blood sugar drop, making you want to reach for carbs. The liver helps keep our blood sugar steady, but a liver busy at work metabolizing alcohol can’t do this effectively, causing your blood sugar drops and stays low until the alcohol is metabolised. This explains why you crave carbs and wake up the next day with a headache.

Alcohol calories that aren’t burned will be stored as fat. This is true for all extra calories eaten no matter the source, but what makes alcohol calories worse is that they are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out the alcohol-induced fat for proper storage in your fat cells. If the liver doesn’t do this fast enough (or if you drink too much, too often) the fat stays stuck in your liver and around your abdomen giving you what we refer to jovially as a “beer belly.”

This of course doesn’t mean you need to completely dodge all social sips. Here are some tips to help prevent you from gaining too much of your night out:

1. Pour yourself half as much. This will help you limit yourself to one or two drinks per party.

2. Avoid higher calorie mixed drinks like eggnog, margaritas, mudslides, or other sugary mixed drinks–or have one and consider it dessert.

3. Alternate between having alcohol and water to stay well hydrated.

4. Sip slowly and take the time of enjoy your alcoholic beverage.

5. Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories. 

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Hopefully this will make you think twice when you go out this weekend!

Another way to look at the effect alcohol has on weight loss is to compare the equivalent time you would need to spend doing fitness training to burn these calories off! We’ll assume someone has an average fitness level and is of average weight.

Training time required to burn off calories from alcohol:

Alcoholic drink

Walking

Swimming

Running

Cycling

Beer (355ml)

30 mins

17 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Light beer (355ml)

20 mins

11 mins

8 mins

9 mins

Low carb beer (355ml)

23 mins

13 mins

9 mins

10 mins

White wine sweet (200ml glass)

40 mins

23 mins

16 mins

18 mins

White wine dry (200ml glass)

29 mins

16 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Red wine (200ml glass)

28 mins

16 mins

11 mins

12 mins

Spirits (on ice / neat)

13 mins

7 mins

5 mins

6 mins

Water

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins