Breakfast like a king …

Do you eat breakfast?  In the UK, one in five adults miss out on breakfast (not to mention children).  Reasons given for skipping breakfast vary from – not enough time; to cut down on calories or I’m not hungry first thing in the morning.

How important is breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  As you sleep your sugar levels start to fall and by the time you wake up they’re pretty low.  In order for your body to function properly, you need to fuel up on foods which are low in “free” sugar.

Research shows that breakfast not only gives you the energy you need to start the day, it also

  • helps you control your weight
  • improves concentration levels
  • helps lower cholesterol levels.

 

What makes a good breakfast?

You can choose from a number of foods to start your day in a healthy way. My all-time favourite is good old porridge; but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Some suggested options are:

  • ready-made cereals (low in sugar and sodium);
  • home-made muesli
  • one slice of wholegrain toast spread with avocado and 20g of crumbled Feta cheese
  • baked beans on wholegrain toast
  • one poached egg with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes
  • plain Greek yogurt served with a few fresh berries
  • a bowl of fresh fruit salad.

Avoid jams, marmalade, chocolate spreads or butter. An overdose of too much “free” sugar puts your body under stress.  When your sugar levels are on a roller-coaster ride, you feel crappy all day.  You are also more likely to reach out for the biscuit tin at eleven and eat even more sugary carbohydrates as the day goes on.

If you decide to go for an English breakfast, grill your bacon and sausages; avoid fried food.

Breakfast on the go

Unless you go for the full Monty every day, breakfast shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes.  Make the effort, wake up 10 minutes earlier and eat a decent breakfast before you leave the house.

With a little bit of planning, you can prepare some oat breakfasts from the night before.

Here are some ideas I came across

Maple Pecan Overnight Oats – by Pamela

maple-pecan-oats

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bowls by Kath

strawberry_oatmeal_breakfast_bowls_hero

Mocha Overnight Oats by Davida

mocha-coffee

These recipes are so quick and easy to make.  You can get them ready the night before, or prepare ahead for a few days.  If you are running late, grab a jar on your way out and eat it  on the hoof [don’t forget your teaspoon :-)].

I hope you like these few ideas I shared with you today.  Here are some more overnight oat recipes, brought to you courtesy of Honest Cooking.

If you have any quick breakfast recipes you’d like to share, please drop me a line and I’d be happy to post them on my blog.

Until next time… it’s goodbye.

My thanks go to

WebMD
The British Heart Foundation
Kath Eates Real Food
My Man’s Belly
The Healthy Maven

 

 

 

 

Lose Weight in the Kitchen, get fit in the Gym

Diet vs exercise –  studies show it is easier to watch what you eat than to workout the extra calories in the gym. Exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, but controlling how much you eat is by far more important.

Today I would like to share with you 5 tips to help you lose weight in the kitchen.

  1. Your healthy eating starts at the supermarket – don’t buy junk food.  Don’t allow yourself to be tempted when you open your cupboard.  Spring clean your cupboards and fridge from all the biscuits, chocolates, ice-cream and all the processed stuff.  Instead stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses and lean meat such as fish or chicken.healthy-looking-fridge
  2. Keep a food diary – it is not easy to remember all that goes through your mouth in the space of a day –  a generous spread of peanut butter, a fizzy drink, cake at eleven, biscuits with your afternoon tea, crisps or chocolate whilst watching TV – and the list goes on. Keep a food diary and take note of all you eat.  Be honest with yourself and go into detail. Note also the time of day and the mood you were in when you ate. Are you eating out of habit or because you’re hungry? Are you really hungry or thirsty? You’d be surprised how easy it is to eat out of habit, when you’re thirsty, when you’re stressed or tired.
  3. Weigh your food – portion distortion is the #1 culprit for weight gain. It is not easy to figure out how much food you need to keep healthy.  Unfortunately, we are made to believe we need more food than we actually do.  Take meat portions for instance – 250 / 350 g a piece – when in fact you only need 1 g of protein (meat or fish) for every one kilo of body weight.  Therefore, a 60-kg person requires 60 g of protein a day.  Keep cup and spoon measures on your work top and use them, all the time.  Smaller dinner plates help you control your portion size.
  4. Drink plenty of water – what is plenty of water?  There are various schools of thought about the amount of water you should drink.  Lately, I came across an article which I think makes perfect sense.  You can tell if you’re drinking enough water by looking at the colour of your urine.  If your urine is dark, you need to drink more water. I like using a two-litre bottle as a guide to how much water I drink each day.   You  need to drink more water if you drink alcohol or  workout at the gym. A good way to start your day is by drinking a mug of lukewarm water with lemon.
  5. Spread your meals over the daygolden rule #1 is don’t miss breakfast. Research shows that people who eat breakfast regularly are able to control their weight long term. Space your meals throughout the day.  Eat five small meals instead of three large ones.  This will keep you full throughout and help cut down on snacking.  Whenever possible do not eat your last meal just before you go to bed. Remember, your heaviest meal should be in the morning, not last thing at night.

Doesn’t sound complicated, does it?  You do not need to reinvent the wheel to lose weight. A few changes and some awareness should help you get on track and manage your weight long term.

Increase your level of activity as part of your healthy lifestyle for better results.

One final tip for the festive season – don’t miss out on celebrations – moderation is key.  If you’re going to a drinks party, have a bowl of homemade soup before you leave the house and avoid the finger food that goes round.  As for drinking – take one glass of water for each one of alcohol you drink.

The choice is yours – big changes start with small steps.  Let me know how you get on.

My thanks go to

The Unbounded Spirit

WebMD

Mirror online

Popsugar for image

Get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen (part I)

Do you go to the gym to lose weight?  Do you overeat because you exercise? Do you reward yourself with crappy food after a workout?

Diet vs Exercise

Your waistline is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Exercise alone without changes to your diet will not make you lose weight.

abs-made-in-kitchen

In order to lose weight you have to create a caloric deficit – that is, take in less energy than you put out.  And the only way to achieve this is by making changes to your diet.

It is impossible to workout all the extra calories you consume through overeating or eating the wrong foods.

Did you know that an average portion of chocolate cake gives you twice the amount of calories needed to cycle for 30 minutes?  A scientific study carried out by Dr John Briffa in 2010, shows that it takes 77 hours of exercise to lose one kilogram of body fat.

How can you lose weight?

Don’t think for one minute I’m suggesting you do not exercise. Those of you who know me, know I’m a firm believer in regular exercise and will always encourage it.  The gym does not appeal to everyone, but there are other forms of activity, such as walking, swimming or taking part in a sport you like.

Regular exercise has a number of benefits.  It reduces stress and anxiety; increases energy levels; helps with digestion; promotes a general sense of well-being and much more.

It is true, regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, however your diet is the main factor leading towards weight loss.

In simple terms, weight loss is caloric consumption vs expenditure.

Diets vs healthy lifestyle

Diets are useless.  I hate diets with a passion and think they’re a pure waste of time and money.  How many fad diets have you seen come and go?  Low carb; low fat; protein diet… they were all out there at some point.

Yes, it’s true; if you eliminate certain food groups from your diet, you lose weight.  But what happens when you re-introduce those foods?  If you’re not super careful, the weight creeps back and you end up heavier than before you started.

Change your lifestyle instead.

A healthy lifestyle guarantees a normal, healthy weight without too much effort. It is made up of a balanced diet plus a regular level of activity. It is sustainable and you do not “come off it” like you would a diet.

A balanced diet

  • provides you with sufficient nutrients – carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals and vitamins
  • balances your energy intake and consumption so you maintain a healthy weight
  • provides you with enough fluids, especially water
  • is not high in salt and sugar.

 

Next week, in part II, we look at changes that can help you lose weight in the kitchen.

My thanks go to

Dr Briffa – A Good Look at Good Health

Dr John Briffa

SecondsCount.org

Vitals Lifehacker

Medical Dictionary

Medical Dictionary

Google Images

 

 

 

20-Minute Spinach and Tuna supper

Have you ever tried warm spinach and canned tuna?  They go so well together.  Today, after my workout, I did not feel like the grilled vegetables I prepared earlier. I fancied a quick spinach supper.  So I put together the following:

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg spinach (steamed and drained)
  • 1 large can of tuna in olive oil
  • 1 small can of chickpeas
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 black olives
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 1 small lime squeezed

and this is the result …

warm-spinach-and-tuna

It’s really as easy as it sounds.

Method

  • steam the spinach and drain well
  • squeeze half of the lime on the spinach
  • top with chickpeas, chopped spring onion, tomatoes and olives
  • finally add drained tuna and squeeze the remaining half lime.

A nutritious supper in under 20 minutes.

Try it and let me have your comments.

 

My thanks go to

Martha Stewart

How to make vegetable couscous

North African food is very healthy.  It is mainly made from a variety of fresh vegetables and dried pulses. Beef is commonly used. Other meats used are lamb, chicken and fish.  To these they add spices, herbs, raw olive oil and dried fruits and nuts. Most dishes are served with couscous – a type of grain-like pasta made from wheat flour.

North African food has a unique sweet and spicy taste. It is a fusion between Mediterranean cuisine, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber.  The spicy meat and vegetables are slow cooked in a tagine – an earthenware dish with a tall cone-like lid. The couscous is steamed separately.

tagine

Today I would like to share with you a recipe from Morocco. Vegetable couscous is a typical recipe. You can come across variations of it. This is my favourite version.

moroccan-style-vegetable-couscous

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas
2 tbsps olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 small aubergine, cut into small cubes
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
200 grms pumpkin, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tsps Harissa (or to taste)
2 cups boiling water
100 grms small string less beans, cut diagonally
2 zucchini, sliced
1 medium ripe tomato, chopped
1 tbsp flat-leaved parsley
1 tbsp fresh coriander
ground pepper

Couscous
1 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
2 tsps light olive oil

Method

  1. Soak the chickpeas for a minimum of four hours or overnight.  Drain, rinse and cook in large pan.  Bring water to a boil, lower heat and simmer partly covered, for one hour or until chickpeas are cooked, but not too soft.
  1. Heat oil in heavy based pan and saute onion and cinnamon stick until onion is soft and transparent (do not brown).
  2. Add eggplant, carrots and potatoes.  Cover and sweat for ten minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time .  If the mixture is too dry, add two tablespoons hot water.
  3. Add pumpkin, zucchini, beans, allspice and Harissa.  Mix well so that all the vegetables are covered with the onion and spicy mixture. Cook for three to five minutes.  Pour in boiling water and add chick peas.
  4. Cover and simmer gently for ten minutes.  Stir in the chopped tomato and continue simmering for a further five minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly.  Serve with chopped parsley and coriander.
  5. Couscous: place couscous in a pan and pour boiling water over it.  Stir well.  Add olive oil and give it a good stir so that all the grains are glistening.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow to stand for ten minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Place on a very low heat for two to three minutes, stirring continuously to make sure the pasta is free from any moisture. Serve couscous in a large platter topped with the spicy vegetable stew. Enjoy.

My thanks go to

Wikipedia
The Kitchn
Google images

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