Super Tasty Overnight Oats

Breakfast is hands down my favourite meal of the day. I get SO excited about creating new recipes and amazing combos- especially when it comes to oats! This is one of my favourites at the moment as it’s light, quick to make and very summery.

Ingredients:

  • 40g Rolled Oats
  • Half a Tablespoon of Cacao Powder
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 4 Strawberries
  • A Handful of Blueberries
  • 100ml of Almond Milk
  • 2 squares of Galaxy Cookie Crumble (optional… but would recommend!)

Recipe:

  1. Measure out 40g of rolled oats and pour them into a bowl.
  2. Put the banana, strawberries, blueberries, cacao powder and almond milk into a blender.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the oats, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
  4. Add ALLLLLLLLL the toppings

Zucchini Noodle Bolognese

Due to loving absolutely everything about Italy; the culture, the scenery and most importantly the food, not having pasta is probably the only thing I miss now that I follow a paleo based diet. ALAS, on a warm, Sunday evening I have managed to re-create one of my favourite dishes to be completely grain free. This version genuinely tastes better than the original, so much so that I’m already planning to make it again tomorrow. (YAY). So without further ado here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
• Zucchini Noodles (sometimes called courgette spirals)
• Coconut Oil
• Low-Fat Minced Meat
• Tomato Puree
• Spinach
• Mushrooms
• Tomatoes
• Red Pepper
• Asparagus
• Chia Seeds
• Flax Seeds

Method:

  • Wash, chop and peel the mushrooms, tomatoes and pepper.
  • Put a spoon of coconut oil into a frying pan and add approx. one serving of mince (125g) Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Put a spoon of coconut oil into a second frying pan and add the mushrooms, tomatoes, red pepper, asparagus and a large handful of spinach. Fry on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the tomato puree to the mince and continue to fry for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the zucchini noodles to the veg and continue to fry for 5 more minutes.
  • Plate up the zucchini noodles, add a bed of spinach, mushrooms and red peppers, followed by the mince then add the asparagus, chia seeds & flax seeds to complete the dish.

Weekly Food Order & Healthy Meal Plan

Nothing in this world makes me more excited than the delivery man ringing to say my weekly food shop is here.  Being in university, I find that one big order based on meal plans for each day saves time, money and it prevents (most of the time) snacking on the student union shop’s chocolate aisle.

I usually tend to stock up on staple food cupboard items such as pasta, rice, eggs and any cereal or granola in bulk once a month, therefore my weekly shop mainly consists of fresh food. After following a pescatarian diet for the past month, I am now back to having meat, but I still want to ensure I am getting the same large portions of fruit and vegetables as I was having with the medetarian based diet. Therefore, I have planned my meals around a guideline of 1/4 of protein, 1/4 carbs and 1/2 fruit or veg.

Food Order

  • Eggs
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Koko Dairy Free Milk
  • Actimel Yoghurts
  • New potatoes with herbs
  • Gluten Free Pasta
  • Buckwheat Pancake Mix
  • Wholemeal Ciabatta Rolls
  • Genius Plain Bagels
  • Mixed Salad
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tinned Tuna
  • Minced Meat
  • Cod and Parsley Fishcakes
  • Steak Burgers
  • Tilda Coconut Rice
  • Mixed Carrots and Peas
  • Smoked Salmon Slices
  • Nairns Oat Crackers
  • Roast Chicken Slices
  • Pears
  • Buckwheat Granola

I try to stick to breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. My meal portions vary depending on whether they’re pre or post workout, so if I’m going to the gym after breakfast I’ll have something small and energy fuelling then if I’m going later in the day I’ll have something bigger and then a smaller lunch.

Using the food order above, my meals this week will consist of:

Breakfast

  • Granola, Yoghurt and Fruit
  • Buckwheat Pancakes and Fruit
  • Salmon & Scrambled Egg Bagel
  • Mushroom and Spinach Omelette

Lunch

  • Sliced Chicken and Salad Ciabatta Roll
  • Tilda Rice, Salmon, Peppers & Asparagus
  • Cod fishcake, Spinach & Salad
  • Tuna & Sweetcorn Pasta
  • Sliced Chicken, New Potatoes & Peppers

Afternoon Snack

  • Blueberry, Strawberry & Banana Smoothie
  • Bagel & Prutella Hazelnut Protein Spread
  • Sliced Pear & Coconut Yoghurt
  • Sliced Banana & Honey Oat Crackers

Dinner

  • Low Fat Mince, Peppers, Mushrooms & Low Calorie Tomato Sauce
  • Fishcake, Carrots, Peas & New Potatoes
  • Ciabatta Steak Burger, Carrots, Peas & Salad
  • Salmon, Coconut Rice, Asparagus & Peppers
  • Tuna, Sweetcorn, Pepper & Spinach Pasta

What I Eat In A Day And Why

For many people the hardest aspect of losing weight, or toning up, is diet. Once you’ve established a routine, exercise quickly becomes addictive, but there is absolutely nothing addictive about choosing a riveta cracker over a chocolate fudge cake.

At

All.

Both the problem, and the benefit, of fitness social media accounts, is that the pictures of victoria secret model lookalikes posing on a Caribbean beach is enough to make you consider whether you can in fact live off a grape a day. But, if you dedicate some serious scrolling time, you’ll learn that the majority of these girls are actually consuming 2000+ calories a day, alongside exercise, they just know exactly what to eat.

So what should you be eating? I have changed, adapted & tweaked my diet frequently over the last four years depending on my goals and shape. Right now, I’m consuming 2000-2500 calories on days which I train Legs, Glutes & Arms and 2000 calories on a day where I train Abs. I separate my calories into 4 or 5 separate meals, as I find eating little and often gives me the best results, and I ALWAYS ensure I’m eating 5+ fruit and veggies a day (being a newly converted pescatraian helps).

This is a typical meal plan for a weight intensive day at the gym for me. It consists of whole foods, fruit, veggies, protein, carbs & healthy fats which all assist in achieving goals on the outside of your body, and making you feel good on the inside too.

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Pre Workout & Breakfast

  • 6 Strawberries
  • 10 Blueberries
  • 1 Banana
  • 4 tablespoons of ‘Oatly’ Oat Drink
  • 2 tablespoons of Coyo Coconut Yoghurt
  • Grenade Caramel Chaos Protein Bar

Using a blender, blend the strawberries, blueberries, banana, oat drink and yoghurt together. Pour into a bowl and then add the chopped up Grenade bar and any excess fruit. Smoothie bowls are a great way to consume a large majority of your 5 a day, and coupling it with a protein bar before your workout gives you the extra energy you need to smash your workout.

 

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Taken with breakfast

Every morning  I take one Zinc tablet and two Peppermint tablets with breakfast. Zinc helps build immunity as well as maintaining hormonal balance and the growth of your skin, hair and nails. Peppermint tablets assist in relaxing your stomach muscles and encourage sufficient digestion.

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-extra-strength-oil-of-peppermint-capsules-200mg-60005010

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-high-strength-zinc-tablets-15mg-60005711

 

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Taken after Breakfast (and each meal)

If you suffer with bloating after certain foods, or a big meal, then taking two capsules after eating helps to improve that uncomfortable feeling. Or, if you simply want to aid digestion then these work rapidly in assisting this. I take two after every big meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and then one after my snack.

https://www.philrichardsperformance.co.uk/index.php/super-digestive-enzymes.html

 

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Post Workout & Lunch

  • Tila Coconut Basmati Rice
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Asparagus

This meal takes under 5 minutes to prepare yet it’s filled with complex carbs, healthy fats and a source of veggies. I try to include asparagus with at least two meals a day as it’s a natural diuretic, meaning it’s great at cleansing your digestive system. Substituting salmon for a lean chicken is also a great combination.

 

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Afternoon Snack

  • Narins Oat Crackers
  • 1 Banana
  • 4 scoops of Muscle Food Prutella Hazelnut Spread

This is the perfect snack to have mid-afternoon if you need an extra boost (or to satisfy some sugar cravings). Another one of your five a day ticked off and a great source of protein from the Prutella spread which will continue to assist your muscles throughout the day.

http://www.musclefood.com/prutella-chocolate-hazelnut-spread.html/

 

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Dinner

  • 1/2 cup of Pasta
  • 4 Broccoli Stems
  • 6 Green Beans
  • 2 Stems of Asparague
  • 1/2 cup of Sweetcorn
  • Handle of Mixed Peppers
  • Cod Loin

With my dinner I like to pile on as many veggies as I can, alongside a sufficient carbs and protein hit. This is usually my last source of food during the day, unless I’m particularly hungry and fancy another snack, so I like it to be as filling as possible. Again, substituting the cod with another lean meat is equally as tasty.

This is just an example of one of my week day meal plans. I like to try and mix it up everyday to ensure I still get excited about making and planning food. However, even though I may change the rice to a wholewheat bagel, or substitute pasta for potatoes, I’m still ensuring that I’m consuming good, whole foods, which I enjoy eating and give me the results I want.

How Pescatarian Week Affected My Fitness

Due to having a mixture of both vegetarian and pescatarian close friends, me and my two meat-loving flatmates decided to try and last a week following one of these diets. Due to the amount of weight-based exercise I partake in each week, coupled with training for an upcoming half-marathon, I chose the pescatarian diet; to ensure I was still getting a substantial amount of naturally sourced protein.

I found the week a LOT easier than I expected. I only had one near meltdown, going to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and having to order a bean burger instead of my usual meaty stack, but aside from this, I had no substantial urge to eat meat. I am certain that meal planning immensely assisted my lack of cravings, as I had bought and prepped breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner throughout the week.

The plan was as follows:

Monday-

Exercise: 1hour Body Pump

Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch- Feta Cheese Salad & Asparagus

Snack- Strawberries, Banana, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner- Salmon & Spinach Fishcake, Carrot, Broccoli, Green Beans & Sweet Potato

 

Tuesday-

Exercise: 3K Sprint Run & Ab workout

Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch- Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel

Snack- Strawberries, Banana, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner- Low Fat Aubergine & Mozzarella Pasta Bake

 

Wednesday-

Exercise: 20 Minute Ab Workout

Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch: Golden Vegetable Rice, Green Beans & Asparagus

Snack: Strawberries, Banana, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner: Veggie Burgers, Tomato, Lettuce, Fresh Ciabatta, Carrot & Broccoli

 

Thursday-

Exercise: 7K Run

Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch: Feta Cheese Salad & Asparagus

Snack: Snack: Strawberries, Banana, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner: Gourmet Burger Kitchens “Californian Bean Burger” with mature cheddar, avocado, smoked chili mayo, crispy onions & relish.

 

Friday-

Exercise: Rest Day

Breakfast: Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Snack: Strawberries, Banana, Grapes, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner: Veggie Lasagne, Carrots, Broccoli, Green Beans & Sweet Potato

 

Saturday-

Exercise: 1hour Body Combat

Breakfast: Breakfast: Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch: Scrambled Egg & Salmon Bagel

Snack: Strawberries, Banana, Grapes, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner: Veggie burgers, Lime & Coriander Rice, Carrots, Broccoli & Green Beans

 

Sunday-

Exercise: 1hour Triple Challenge

Breakfast: Weetabix & Blueberries

Lunch: Lunch: Scrambled Egg & Salmon Bagel

Snack: Strawberries, Banana, Grapes, Raspberries & Activia Low Fat Yoghurt

Dinner: Cod & Parsley Fishcake, Carrots, Broccoli, Sprouts & New Potatoes

 

My breakfasts are usually a tad more exciting than a grainy cereal & some blueberries, but due to meat being a solid source of fibre, I wanted to ensure that I was still getting a regular intake. The same goes for my afternoon snack of fruit and Activia yoghurt, due to training for the half marathon I’m not consuming any processed sugar for just under a month in order to aid my endurance. You could easily supplement this with snacks such as a peanut butter & banana bagel, a low-carb/ high protein bar, oats & fruit, cream cheese & riveta, carrots and humus- the list is endless.

Although I didn’t experience any major cravings, I did notice a difference in my energy levels. Despite, on some nights, getting 9 or 10 hours sleep I was still waking up feeling fatigued, leading to a further decrease in energy as the day progressed. Assuming this was due to a sudden lack of iron (largely found in meats: especially red meat) I started taking iron supplements every morning, which began to help towards the end of the week.

I also noticed a difference in my muscle performance. I was struggling with my usual squatting weight, due to aches and pains from previous workouts (usually healed fairly fast by a large in-take of protein), and my stamina was also suffering with long distance running. However, in terms of mind-set and motivation, I felt great. Whether this was simply due to a sense of sheer determination in not giving in to a Nando’s wrap, or whether my sudden increase in fruit and veg was to blame, who knows? But I enjoyed it.

If I was to follow the diet again, or consider converting to pescy full-time, I would definitely repeat planning meals ahead and taking iron, vitamin and protein supplements. Even though I have just demolished a well-earned beef burger, with 0 regret, I am definitely going to keep including a more varied mixture of veg with my normal diet, as well as Tesco’s Salmon & Spinach fishcakes. Once you’ve had one, you’ll understand.

How to get back on track after Christmas

The Christmas period is, without a doubt, one of the hardest times of the year to stick to a fitness and healthy eating regime. With endless meals out, leftover buffets & enough celebration boxes to last you a lifetime, it’s incredibly easy to feel as though you’ve put on some extra weight. However, you can easily get yourself back on track with these key tips.

Do NOT feel guilty 

Sure, it can be slightly depressing looking at the thousands of empty chocolate wrappers but SO WHAT, it’s Christmas! The main thing which prevents people from getting back on track after the festive period is mind-set. Your mind is frantically trying to add up how many calories you’ve consumed over the three cheeseboards, but in reality, a few days eating a little more than usual isn’t going to make you put on an unfathomable amount of weight, just like going to the gym a few times doesn’t make the pounds instantly drop. It’s natural to lose some confidence and motivation when your routine is disrupted, but as soon as you finish your first session you’ll forget why you were even worried.

Take it slow

A crucial mistake is to absolutely smash your first session back in the gym. Ultimately leading to either a serious injury or severely aching muscles, further prolonging getting back to your regime. The best routine to undertake on your first day back is a light cardio session, this will activate the majority of your muscles, without running the risk of a pull or a sprain. Start with a short run or fast walk on the treadmill, around 15-20 minutes on a gradient of 3 or 4, followed by the cross trainer on a low intensity level for 10 minutes, and then cool down with the bike for another 10 minutes.

Plan new goals

A short period away from the gym is a great opportunity to plan new fitness goals. Take some down time to work out where you want to be in the next 3 months, 6 months and this time next year. Try incorporating this tip with a friend or family member by planning a run for charity, or choosing a goal weight for you both to reach by a certain month. This will keep you focused, improve your motivation and provide a lot more fun than working out alone.

Do a cleanse

Unfortunately, a lot of the typical food consumed over Christmas is high in carbs, fat and sugar, therefore a few days cleanse is a great way to re-fuel your body with nutrients and feel a lot better on the inside. There are various juice detoxes available online, but these can often contain harmful ingredients, so the safest way to cleanse is to simply use natural remedies. Start your day with three slices of lemon in hot water, this is a diuretic which aids the reduction of bloating and flushes out any unwanted toxins. Try to consume five portions of vegetables and five portions of fruit per day throughout your cleanse; making them into a soup or a smoothie is a great way to incorporate them all. Have a medium to large sized portion of natural yoghurt per day, it is filled with natural probiotics which help to re-balance the good and bad bacteria in the gut. Drink at least 3-4 litres of room temperature water per day; if the water is too cold this can cause the gut to bloat and produce abdominal pains. Finally, avoid any foods with sugar which isn’t naturally formed. Stay away from chocolate bars, cereals and sweets and, when the cravings kick in, try honey or frozen grapes instead.

Try something new

If you are among the large majority of people who despise the gym, then there are plenty of other ways to keep fit and beat the Christmas blues. Do some research around the area you live and plan some scenic running routes, try a group exercise class, go on regular fast- paced walks with a friend, opt to cycle to school/university/work instead of driving, join the local swimming baths or even buy a cross trainer or treadmill to use at home.

How to still live a healthy life at uni

There are many different stereotypes of students at university, but perhaps the most prominent is that you are suddenly thrown into a life of 24/7 drinking, limited sleep and endless takeaways. As this is fairly accurate for a lot of students, particularly during freshers, it can be really hard to establish a routine which enables you to still live a healthy life whilst balancing your degree, social life and the main hardship of uni: laundry. So, here are my top tips for still leading a healthy life.

Plan your meals:

Organisation is an incredibly big part of uni so simply planning your meals at the beginning of the week saves you a lot of time, and also prevents the last resort calls to the takeaway or the endless pizza’s from the uni shop. Not only this, it will also save you a HUGE amount of money in the long run. Buying basic items such as pasta, rice and frozen fruit and veg in bulk means that you only need to buy a few fresh essentials each week.

Pick your mixers carefully: 

Going out and socialising is another big aspect of uni, and with so many flat nights out, course drinks and sports socials you’re going to become very familiar with the dreadful supermarkets own alcohol brand. Spirits themselves aren’t particularly unhealthy, it’s the drink you’re mixing it with which is the problem. Instead of a fizzy drink or red bull try and mix it up whilst you’re on a night out and opt for the occasional lime and soda, or even better lime and water mixer. Also, try to avoid lots of VK style drinks, although admittedly they do taste amazing, they are packed with 30g of sugar per bottle, which is the equivalent of two large slices of chocolate fudge cake.

Join a sports club: 

Joining a sport at uni is one of the best ways to meet new people whilst also getting some great, intense exercise. Most clubs train for 2+ hours per week, as well as competing in various matches and tournaments, so you’re in a great position to be able to keep up your fitness levels.

Go to fitness classes: 

Most uni’s have award winning sports facilities with great opportunities to try new things. Gathering up your flat or course mates and booking onto a fitness class is a great way to spend time together and come out feeling like you’ve mutually achieved something. Fitness classes such as Les Mills’ Body Combat and Body Pump are amazing stress relievers and they are sure to put you in a kickass mood all day.

Avoid too many ready meals: 

Although the easy option is to cook a pizza or shove a lasagne in the oven, too much of these processed meals will start to affect your body, making you sluggish and un-motivated, due to the lack of nutrients. Try to make something fresh everyday, whether it’s chicken and tomatoes to put in some pasta, a salad for in-between lectures or even a big bowl of fruit. All of these ingredients are full of vitamins and minerals which will help you feel better in yourself, especially during stressful periods. Inevitably, there will be certain times where you just want comfort food which is fine, because balancing your food is all part of a healthy lifestyle.

Try to be a morning person: 

On the days where you have limited or no lectures, and you haven’t been out until 4am the night before, try and be a morning person. Exercising in the morning is scientifically proven to stimulate both your mood and your mind-set for the day ahead. So a good gym session, followed by a super healthy breakfast will put you in a great place to get some work done and go out that night knowing you deserve it.

Drink plenty of water:

Drinking water throughout the day is so important in living a healthy lifestyle. Among the many benefits, it reduces fatigue, assists with digestion, flushes out toxins and keeps your skin glowing. Although its tempting to drink 5 coffee’s before 11am on a monday morning, try and stick to water, and aim for 8-10 glasses a day.