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pesto

Hey Pesto! Quick, easy, delicious & nutritious pesto sauces

I love a pesto sauce, so quick, versatile and tasty and healthy – bit of a winning formula, don’t you think? I am on a sugar free quest right now (it is the subject of my next book), so I am working on as many fabulous sugar free recipes as possible, and pesto sauces are perfect.

Homemade in about 5 minutes, pesto sauces have long been one of my favourite go to solutions for any time when I have unexpected guests or simply run out of my prepped meals (and that does happen even to this self-crowned Queen of Prep). They can be stored easily for up to three days in the fridge and used not just with pasta meals, but on pizzas, in sandwiches, as dips, on chicken or salmon and the list goes on…….. See what I mean by versatile?

With pesto sauces, you don’t even have to rely on fresh leaves/veg, well I don’t, which is perfect if you return home as silly o’clock, as I did last month from LA, with horrible jet lag and absolutely no inclination to go anywhere or see anyone other than my sofa and Netflix.  Whilst I do usually have a store of frozen homemade meals, I always have a store of frozen veg.  Cauliflower, chopped spinach and even herbs.  And at times when the fridge is bare, they really do come in to their own when I need something quick and after a trip away, a hefty dose of nutrients.

I don’t want you to think though that pesto sauces are just about the times when I am tired, they most definitely are not.  I often use them to jazz up dinner parties – many a dull looking meal has been transformed by a gloriously glossy, beautifully jewel coloured, delicious pesto.  And for my 19-year-old son and his friends they are one of their most popular choices when they visit.  A huge bowl of pasta, homemade pesto and pulled chicken or tinned tuna are among their favourite meals, so easy to cook and there is miraculously very little mess.  Hallelujah!

So, my pesto sauces are whizzed in little more than 5 mins, less  time than it takes to cook some wholemeal pasta, courgetti or sweet potato pasta, and I have a fabulous nutritious and delicious meal that I will really enjoy.

I have put together a few of my fav pesto sauce recipes for you to try, but I would also like you to be brave and chuck in some of your favourite leaves & nuts, give them a whizz and see what you can create, maybe add chilli, or jalapenos and if you love it, let me know.

Method for all pesto’s.

Place all ingredients in food processor and blitz!  It’s as easy as that for all the recipes.  As you can see, I have often written 1 – 2 of ingredients, because we all have different tastes, and as long as you have the basic ingredients, just add or take away the garlic, parmesan and nuts to suit you.   Add salt and pepper to taste and you’re good to go.

It is important to note that with the olive oil, start with a little and add as required – as it is high in fat, I add splashes of water at the end to get the consistency I require, and I only ever use up to 1 tbsp on my own portion of courgetti.

Classic Basil Pesto 

  • 100g basil
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Watercress & Brazil Nut Pesto

  • 100g watercress
  • Handful of basil
  • 40g brazil nuts, chopped
  • I squeezed lemon
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g parmesan cheese

Spinach & Walnut Pesto

  • 100g spinach leaves
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 squeezed lemon
  • 2 – 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 30g parmesan cheese
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cauliflower Pesto

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g parmesan cheese

Red Pepper Pesto

  • 1 x jar peppers, drained
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 70g blanched almonds or cashews (not blanched)
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
plates

Want to Lose Weight? Change Your PLATES!

When I start working with a new client who wants to lose weight, there are two things I ask them to do immediately. One is to change their drinking habits, limit their caffeine, cut out alcohol and fizzy drinks and to replace all with water – pure, life giving, beautifying, simple and cheap water.

The second is to buy smaller plates.  Much smaller plates.  I ask them to put their standard size plates in the cupboard out of sight and only to use the new smaller ones.  Every single client who follows just these two tips lose weight even if they make no other immediate changes.  There is of course more to YOUtrition’ s method than water and smaller plates, but they are an excellent start.

The first tip, the water, all my clients understand.  Ultimately, whether you like water or not, and there is so much you can do to jazz it up, we all know that water is good for us and that it has no calories.  Most aren’t aware that it also takes the edge off hunger but they soon notice that and learn to love this elixir of life. The plates are a different story.

To demonstrate why I ask them to buy the smaller plates, I place on my table four plates dated from the 1970’s, 1980’s 2000 & 2009.  The difference in sizes is quite incredible and of course as our plates have grown in size, so have our portions.

In fact, we have gone from eating off 8.5” plates to 12” dinner plates in 40 years.  Can you imagine the extra calories as each plate grows?  Let me tell you that the 1970’s plate would have held approx. 800 calories, the 1980’s plate 1000 calories, the 2000’s plate 1600 calories and the 2009 plate a whopping 1900 calories. Now imagine a portion from the 1970’s of any meal on a modern day plate, it would look woefully small and yet is more than enough for all our bodies needs.

Then there is the quality of the foods on these plates. I am old enough to remember bread being sold in brown paper bags, which lasted only one day to today’s loaf that can last up 7 days. What is the difference?  There must be something “extra” in the bread. Now, in our instant gratification, fast everything, including food world, meals can be so easy to buy pre-prepared, beautifully coloured and wrapped in plastic ready for us to heat in our super quick microwaves and decant on to our huge plates.  These ready meals have plenty of ingredients, most of which aren’t food related, but not the ones we need.  They often lack both nutrients and the fibre required to keep us full, and so we can eat much larger portions.  I guess you can see where I am going with this………

Not only that, but along with the rapid advancement of technology, we now have remote controls for everything from the tv to the lighting at home.  I don’t think my 19 year old son has ever had to rouse himself from the comfort of his armchair to either turn the tv over or volume down.  We now have emails to whiz between departments so no longer have to move from our desks to confer with colleagues. Most of us have at least two cars per household (more if you have grown up children), so there is no need to walk anywhere. There are enormous supermarkets that cater for all our shopping needs from food to furniture,  and we can do our whole life shop in one place if we wish, rather than wander up and down the high street going to the bakers, butchers etc before lugging our heavy shopping home. Or better still, we can shop from our computers at home and get anything delivered.  Is some cases, it can even be put away by the lovely chap who drives it to our door.  So not only are we eating more, we are also moving less.

There is however, one element of our increased food consumption life that hasn’t overly changed, and that is the size of our stomachs.  They have remained pretty much the same regardless of our fast food world and humongous plates. Still, not to worry, as we continue to consume ever larger portions of unsatisfying “foods” that offer little taste and no nourishment, our stomachs are becoming increasingly stretched and distorted to accommodate the load.

So, take my professional advice, all of it works. Pop out to any supermarket, buy yourself a few smaller plates. Ignore the processed food products, fill half your plate with veggies, one quarter lean protein and healthy fats, and the last quarter grains or wholemeal carbs and take the first important step to successful weight loss.  I promise you, within a week, you won’t even notice the difference in portion sizes.  Then of course come back to me for some more tips.  Happy eating everyone!

YOUtrition

YOUtrition – No Fads, Lotions, Potions, Gells Or Spells!

What is YOUtrition and why am I different?  What do I know that other “diet clubs” don’t (well, I am not a diet club for a start). Am I another fad foodie offering an unsustainable diet plan with weird lotions/potions/gels or spells to guarantee a slim you forever?  No, I am not.  So, let me tell you what I am, who I am and why I am different.

At the age of 53 years (young), and after 27 years of seemingly hopeless addictions at times to both alcohol and drugs, I am now easily and happily sober. I tried all the interventions out there along with a fair few quacks, none of which had any impact.  At the time, I didn’t understand why but now I do and that knowledge is the difference  that I, as YOUtrition, bring to my clients.

Let me explain.  For the 15 years I was desperate to be clean after my son was born I searched high and low for an answer.  An external answer to an internal problem. A cheap sticking plaster if you like. One which didn’t fit properly, that didn’t allow the wounds underneath to heal and so I stayed drunk.  I made the fundamental mistake of relying on a book, class or person to have the secret to my alcohol free life.  To tell me what to do.  But I knew what to do, I needed to stop drinking, I just couldn’t.  So of course nothing worked for me. Plenty of people told me what I already knew, but not one had any impact. I thought I was destined to live and die an alcoholic. And then something, or rather someone, did work.  And that someone was me. I found that the only way forward for me was to think differently about what alcohol gave me (or rather took away) and by the simple change of thinking differently I was able to make different choices. Alcohol free ones.

Then there was all the interventions. Excellent in theory, except that they seemed to have a “one size fits all” policy (much like a diet plan), which was perfectly understandable as, again like a diet plan, they deal with large numbers of people, not the individual. However, even the individual therapists I saw had an accepted view of  treatment for addiction and recovery.  Sadly though, not many of us fit that one size.  Believe me I tried. Time and time again. But I struggled to fit myself into the constricting guidelines which didn’t resonate with me and so, also time and time again, I slipped and fell off a wagon that had no seat for me in the first place.

Does that sound to you like some of your food struggles?  Do you find that the weight loss recipes and diet rules just don’t work for you? That clubs telling you what to do, when frankly you already know, just don’t “click”? Do you then find because they didn’t click that the reliance on willpower and perceived deprivation and restriction becomes depressing and unsustainable?  If you experience any of those thoughts and feelings, you haven’t found the right fit for you. You haven’t found your click.

My passion is to find YOUR right fit (your click)!  What works for you and why.   I provide simple, tasty, health giving and stress free recipes that you and your family will love and work to put food back in its rightful place in your life.  A place of physical and emotional nourishment and a time of bonding for you and your family. But more importantly,  I focus on your thoughts as to the “why’s” of your eating habits and choices and it is understanding the why’s which is your food struggle game changer.  Change your why’s and everything becomes easy.  I  know this because I live this!

I want my life, after so many years of struggle to be simple and I keep your life simple too. If you find your favourite family meals are unhealthy,  I simply swap out ingredients for a healthier version. Planning and prepping a chaotic nightmare?  I soothe your bad dreams away and replace them with strategies that work. Struggling to fit healthy eating in around your work/life commitments? I always find a way that works.  A way that you tell me works because you can stick with it.

I challenge your often long held thoughts and belief’s around your food choices and eating habits.  I know that so many of these come from childhood, where often we were rewarded with foods,  or maybe chastised if we don’t eat everything on our plates or  suffered some emotional upheaval that we haven’t had the skills to cope with and overate instead. I put these firmly in the past.  Together we laugh at your food monsters, turn them on their heads, pack them up, drop them in a bucket and then chuck them down the drain.

YOUtrition’s method works! I know what worked for me and I know by helping you think differently about food and its place in your life, that I can make it work for you. You are my passion.  Everyone deserves the chance  that I so thankfully found for myself.

I put you, your weight and health first until you are able to. Until you have learned the habits and healthy food choices and skills that will stand you in good stead for life. Once you have those firmly in place, you pick up the baton and the wellness and dress size you desire really does become a long term reality and not just a summertime fling. A fling that once the the love affair with your new size and restrictive diet ends, finds you slinking back to the eating habits and food thoughts that bought you to me in the first place.

I work with small groups and 1-2-1’s, so contact me to see what I can do for you!

 

eat

Eat Well to Live Well – Top Tips For Your Busy Life

In  our modern super highway lives,  we can feel as though we are in constant motion, striving to produce our best in every area of our lives which can be quite a juggling act (sounding familiar yet?) so it is imperative that we eat well.

I know that most of us are juggling more than just one ball, in fact on the whole we are Olympic standard jugglers, with our work, child care, parent care, animal care and “you name it, I’ll do it” care balls, all constantly in the air as we deftly catch and relaunch them to keep life running smoothly.  There is one ball though that most of us leave, lying dusty on the floor as we feel it comes last.  It is our self-care ball.  The one that is all about us.

However, to be truly successful in any and every area of our lives, we must put ourselves first and the one of the easiest way to do this is by making food and drink choices that best support our mental and physical selves.

My son is working hard on his exams at the moment and he often tells me he hasn’t had time for lunch.  A friend who has reached a wonderfully old age  tells me he has been working hard in the garden and that he too hasn’t eaten during the day.  I am very upset when I hear both of my loved ones tell me this, especially as they sometimes say it it with, “I am working so hard, I don’t have time” pride. I get upset because I know that good nutrition is vital to their wellbeing, success and happiness in every area of their lives, and guess what, the same applies to you.

When we prepare for an important client meeting we make sure everything is 100%, our PowerPoint slides are perfect, the meeting venue is easy for everyone to reach, the timing works for everyone, someone is on hand with refreshments.

When you are planning do you ever think, I must make sure I eat properly before I go in?  I must make sure I am properly hydrated?  I know if I am not my concentration might be affected and my ability to give my best.

If you are properly fuelled you are giving yourself the best chance of being energized, full of vitality, and ready to face the day’s work and challenges. If you are not, you can feel exhausted and irritable, relying on jolts of caffeine and processed sugars to get you through the day?   Which scenario best applies to you?

When we are busy, eating can become a fight between what you crave and what you know is going to nourish you as sadly they are rarely the same foods, then making good choices can feel frustrating and an added stress.   The best way to avoid food stress is to plan your food in advance.

My food choices are rarely made on the day, they are made the night before or earlier – in the same way my work and home life is planned.  It is unusual for my planned day to change so dramatically that I have to all abandon my choices, but it does happen and even that I am prepared for, so here are YOUtrition’s top 7 practical tips to eat your way to success.

YOUtrition’s Top 7 Practical Tips to Eat your Way To Success.

Spend one hour at the weekend planning for your week’s meals, making a shopping list and stick to it! Make wholefoods priority, not food products. If the label has ingredients you don’t understand, they belong in a laboratory, not your body. If you feel you might be tempted with other “treats” shop online.

Spend another hour prepping simple, easy meals for the fridge/freezer. Follow the mantra, cook once, eat twice. Any time you spend now will be gained back when you need it most.  When you are tired and hungry at the end of a busy day and something nutritious is ready to be popped into the microwave or oven.

In the same way you plan your next day, plan your food. Are you at home or in the office? How much time do you expect to be travelling?  Are you staying overnight? Call ahead, ask if there is a fridge/microwave you can use.  Know your day and make your food plans.

Try to include protein and healthy fats at every meal. They keep fat burning, keep you feeling fuller longer than carbs and limit the mid-morning & mid-afternoon sugar slump.

Eat breakfast every day. Those who eat a healthy breakfast lose 30% more weight than those who don’t, and make better food choices throughout the day.

Never leave home without water and a wholefoods snack, a small banana, a boiled egg, handful of mixed nuts etc. – don’t be caught short and hungry or thirsty. Make sandwich bags for snack a must on your shopping list.

Stay hydrated. Limit caffeine.  The shot of caffeine we use in the morning to get us going can also cause anxiety in an already stressed day. The same with energy drinks. Two cups of coffee is fine, then switch to decaff or herbal teas.

Remember that in every situation there is a healthier choice, even in a motorway service station, you just have to choose it!

Finally, dear ladies, in the words of Virginal Woolf,

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well”

 

 

protein

Protein Powder – Why Choose Dust Over Food?

Protein powders are all the rage right now.  In every supermarket and health food shop, the choice seems to me to be overwhelming with all of them extolling their potentially miraculous results.  Some I acknowledge do sound healthier than others. The ones for instance that do not have sweeteners, synthetic fruit and chocolate added, but still, when did dust become a healthy food source?

I understand that in our high-speed, immediate gratification world, so wonderfully promoted through super clever marketing to re-enforce that we are time poor, such powders just might have some place occasionally in a balanced diet – but only the least processed and least added to (always remember to check out the ingredients list. The less ingredients, usually, the less processed), but still they are not a true alternative to any good whole food protein source that comes bound with fibre, vitamins and other health giving nutrients that our bodies not only need but know how to effectively utilise.

If we plan our food properly in advance there is very little need for protein powders and unless you are a super athlete, try to minimise their usage and fuel your body with real foods instead.

Remember that your body can’t store any excess protein anyway, so unless you need the extra boost  it is wasted.  Plus protein powders are so much more expensive and so much less tasty than whole foods – have you ever lusted over a plate of dust, the way you have over a gorgeous steak or salmon?

From the committed carnivore to the dedicated herbivore and for every group in between, there are options for fabulous, wholefoods proteins. To make it easy for you, I have included below a list of meat and vegetarian protein sources and their protein content so that you can make the best food not powder choices!

MEATS

Beef (6 oz.) – 54 grams

Turkey, breast (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Pork Chop (6 oz.) 49 grams
Turkey, dark meat (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Hamburger (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Chicken, dark meat (6 oz.) – 47.2 grams
Tuna (6 oz.) – 40.1 grams
Broiled Beefsteak (6 oz.) – 38.6 grams
Chicken, breast (6 oz.) – 37.8 grams
Ham (6 oz.) – 35.4 grams
Salmon (6 oz.) – 33.6 grams

DAIRY/EGGS

Cottage cheese (1 cup) – 28.1 grams
Yogurt, low fat (1 cup) – 10.7 grams
Skim milk (1 cup) – 8.3 grams
Whole milk (1 cup) – 8 grams
American cheese (1 oz.) – 7 grams
Soymilk (6 oz.) – 6.7 grams
Egg (1 large) – 6.3 grams

MEAT SUBSTITUTES, BEANS AND LEGUMES, NUTS

Veggie Burger (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Tofu (6 oz.) – 13.8 grams
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 8.1 grams
Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 7 grams
Lentils (1/2 cup) – 9 grams
Split Peas (1/2 cup) – 8.1 grams
Kidney Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.6 grams
Sesame Seeds (1 oz.) – 7.5 grams
Black Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.5 grams
Garbanzo Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.3 grams
Green Peas (1/2 cup) – 4.1 grams

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Orange (large) – 1.7 grams
Banana (medium) – 1.2 grams
Green Beans (1/2 cup) – 1 gram
Carrots (1/2 cup) – .8 gram
Apple (large) – 0 grams

 

sweet

Sweet Potato Toast – the perfect bread alternative!

I am very good at food planning and prepping. I see and feel the benefits on every level myself, from the lack of food panic over what’s is/isn’t in the fridge when I am hungry, to my weight and health.  I feel the difference in my energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing very quickly if I have eaten rubbish.  Most of us do, but in our super high-speed world we are sadly not as tuned into our bodies and its needs as we could be. Plus of course, is it my passion to get clients to eat a healthy balanced diet that brings them all the health and weight benefits I know they can enjoy and that they deserve, but still sometimes I do get caught short.

This morning is one such instance.  I have had family staying for the weekend, a lovely, happy time, but also a time of total fridge depletion.  I often find that when I have guests, the foods that I always have prepared are dipped into purely out of interest to see what the “Mad Professor Food Aunt” (I am sure that it is said with love) has been working on.  Only trouble is, they don’t tell me and I don’t realize until I need to eat the “experiment”.

Today my homemade muesli is gone, along with my breakfast burrito filling and all my fruit salad with seeds and nuts.  Hey Ho! they had a good dose of nutrients and I love them so.

Meanwhile, I have no bread, I rarely do, I find it bloats me and make me sluggish, but I sometimes have half a bagel and they are gone too, so I can’t even have toast.  Or can I?  I do have sweet potatoes, I wonder what they will be like toasted? Here goes.

They are wonderful! Low on the GI scale (slower sugar release so no sugar slump),  packed with nutrients, slightly sweet and perfect with a buttery fried egg on avocado smash. Under 250 cals with avocado and fried egg topping, and with 11g of protein to keep you full, the “mad prof” has come through again! Check out this recipe, be bold and brave with your topping and try the latest toast to hit town.  Let me know how it goes.  Happy eating.

Ingredient

1 x Large Sweet Potato

Method

Slice sweet potato lengthwise into 2cm slices.

Insert slices into toaster (as you would bread) and toast on high. Check the sweet potatoes after it pops up from toaster. (It’s ready when you can easily pierce a fork into the flesh, it’s ready.) Continue toasting until tender, if necessary.

Keep a close eye until you have perfected your toast, if it browns too quickly , turn the toaster down.

Top with your avocado smash and buttery fried egg and serve immediately.

Mix Your Toppings Up 

  • tsp Tahini and sesame seeds
  • tsp peanut butter & sliced banana
  • tsp honey and sprinkle of mixed seeds
  • tsp marmite
  • tsp cottage cheese, sliced cucumber & tomato
banana

Banana Ice Cream – No Fat, No Sugar!

We all want to look and feel our best, especially in the summer months.  We can slather on the fake tan and get those little tops and shorts out, yes at 53 I am still (attempting) to rock my 23 year old self, and get our bodies out there soaking up those life giving, feel good rays and vital vitamin D.

There are fabulous healthy summer salads everywhere, and long cool drinks, that if we chose wisely – and I don’t mean that ice cold Rose every day – that help us on our way to looking and feeling amazing (Obviously I think one of the best ways to that end is for you to join my 6 Week Youtrition Group Program on my website.  Just saying…..)

However, healthy eating does not have to mean no sweet treats. Even though we know they really need to be small and occasional, the word “treat” is the clue and treat does not mean every day. Still, most of us would feel that is a little cruel. We want to enjoy our ice creams with the kids, or just by ourselves, but the shop bought ones, even the creamiest ones labelled “healthy” are packed with sugar and fat.

Have no fear though, I have the perfect answer and only one ingredient! Banana ice creams! You don’t even have to like the taste of bananas, with the toppings you don’t even need to taste them.  They are amazingly versatile, packed with nutrients, no saturated fat, loads of fibre to fill you up and I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed my ice creams.  This recipe is taken from my 6 Weeks to Looking & Feeling Amazing Program and is the easiest ever recipe.

Banana Ice Cream

Banana ice cream is a fabulous, fat free alternative and one of my fav desserts. So quick and easy to make and so many variations

2 x chopped bananas, frozen –  that’s it!

Add frozen bananas to food processor/blender and blend for 3 minutes.  Keep stopping to scrape from the sides into the mixture.

Place in bowl and your done! Either eat immediately or return to freezer for a firmer ice cream.

Mix it Up, try

3 x chopped strawberries

1 x tsp honey

1 x tsp honey & 1x tsp pistachio nuts

1 x tbsp. caco powder

1 x tbsp caco & ¼ tsp peppermint essence (mint choc ice cream)

1 x tsp cinnamon

Small chunks of any fruit you like!

Serves 2, Cals 65, Carbs 13.6g, Protein 0.9g, Fat 0.2g

Give it a go, add some of your fav fruit and let me know how it goes!

easter

Easter Treats that Feel Like a Treat!

Easter is just around the corner, and the shops are filled with all sorts of beautiful indulgences with which to celebrate.  Some of these beautiful indulgences  can  make us feel wonderful and happy and loved and those life enhancing feelings will stay with us for probably 10 days. Others we can treasure for life. So much to look forward to.

However, does that sound like your Easter treat?  For most people, probably not.  Why is that?  What is your Easter treat?  Is it a superficial and purely commercial shop bought Easter egg packaged to entice all ages and stamped with an absolute 100% guarantee of  the sugar rushes that will leave you feeling rubbish for at least one day and hug your waistline like the most ardent lover for the next few weeks?  Those sort of  Easter treats can make even the healthiest of us feel sluggish, stuffed and with a horrible sticky taste in our mouths, no matter how many times we clean our teeth? What sort of “treat” is that!

With YOUtrition, it’s all about thinking differently.  I cannot remember the last time I ate or was bought an Easter egg.  I do however remember last Easter, the one before that and even further back because of the wonderful treats bought/made for me by my son.

I still have the beautiful handmade Easter cards, saying on not very straight lines (who cares!), “I love you mummy, Happy Easter”, and the Easter chicks made from cotton wool balls and dyed a frightening yellow.  Later he progressed to shop bought cards, just as precious, with lovely verses he had obviously read in advance because they applied to our lives, often with photos of us and our dog stuck in – how utterly precious these still are.  And then of course the beautiful daffodils.  Always a bunch of sunshiny daffs on Easter Sunday.

Can you imagine how these true treats make me feel?  I know the mummies among you will, and it would also take the most hardened sugar addict to also not be affected.

So, my message is clear.  Ask your family in advance for something different this year.  Guide them gently to the card shops, point out the glorious spring flowers everywhere and let them know that at this second (or maybe third, after Christmas and Mother’s Day), most commercial time of  they year, that the things that would give you most joy are not the ones you put into your mouth and enjoy for 10 minutes then feel despondent about and regret for days later, but the pure joy of a homemade card or non-food gift or, for me my absolute favourite, a beautiful simple bunch of spring flowers.

Happy Easter!

 

smoothie

Smoothie, Power Up Your Body With Nutrients And Keep Calories Down

This morning, whilst I am at home getting ready for my busy day I am loving a smoothie for breakfast.  A gorgeous alternative meal (and I do mean alternative, don’t have a meal as well!),  that took less than 5 minutes to blend and, even though I am always prepared in advance with a healthy meal and snack in the fridge, sometimes I just feel like something different, maybe a little more indulgent that I can sip away at on the way to my next client or at home in front of the computer whilst I work.

And this is where smoothies become king.   A healthy smoothie can provide you with essential vitamins, fibre, healthy fats, protein and minerals and are an easy way to nourish your body as well as being a fantastic aid to weight loss.

Quick and unstressful to make, there is no need for the shop bought variety which are expensive and can have very high sugar content. The best way to know the exact ingredients in your smoothie is to make them yourself. All you need is a blender, leafy veg, a small amount of fruit and a base, such as water, milk or yogurt. Smoothies don’t need much planning in advance. These are the basics and from this start point, anything you like goes, literally.

The healthiest smoothies are packed with fibre, protein and healthy fats – think avocado, nuts and seeds.  Delicious to taste they are a godsend on a busy day, or after an indulgent night before or weekend.  They are a great way to re-balance our bodies and pump in the nutrients we may have missed out on and to keep your calories down.

Beware though of the not so healthy smoothies, even homemade ones.  These are the ones packed mainly with fruit and although fruit is fantastic in terms of antioxidants and vitamins, it does need to be eaten in moderation due to the high sugar content.  I want your smoothie to keep you full so that you don’t need to snack between meals, and don’t create a massive sugar spike then slump which will leave you craving more sugar.

The best proportion for any smoothie to keep you full and satisfied is 3/4 veg and the last quarter made up of fruit, healthy fats and water – if I do add avocado or nuts, I use water instead of yogurt to keep the fat and calorie content lower.

So here is my smoothie recipe for this morning, and as I said before, I didn’t plan it, I just had the ingredients to hand,  and literally anything you like goes.  Be brave, mix it up.  Like any new recipe, taste it and then add a little more sweetness in the form of an extra strawberry, a little more banana, or ramp up the intensity by adding a pinch of chilli or small amount of ginger.

Breakfast Boost

1 x handful spinach.

1/4 avocado.

2 x tbsp oats.

¼ x beetroot.

½ x small banana.

1 x strawberry.

½ cup water.

Serves 1, Cals 200.

Blended all together and its done.  If you like a little looser add water to achieve the consistency you like.  Just look at the nutrients involved here, the vitamins, fibre, protein and healthy fats.  This is a total powerhouse of a meal in one delicious drink.

habits

New Year, New Habits – Are they hard to stick to?

Happy New Year, Happy New Food Habits to all my lovely YOUtrition ladies.  I hope your Christmas period was filled with love, laughter and not the obligatory family fight …. or is that just my family???

So, New Year, New You, New food habits.  How’s it going this year?  Off the wagon already and feeling that change is impossible?  Read on and think about my little story.

Last October I lost my little dog, Bandit, at the age of 12.  He was a massive part of mine and my son’s life – we were the Gang of Three and I can say in all honesty, that his loss, the first bereavement I have had since being sober (another sober Christmas.  Yippee to me!), hit me so, so hard especially as my son had just left for college.  Anyway, I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer and last week, got my new, ugly little girl who we have called Gorby.  She is 14 weeks old and the ugliest and most adorable scruff ever.  Now though I have the challenge of house training her.  A monumental task for me, as I have to kindly break her old habits, and lovingly instill new ones.  Bit like changing food choices/habits maybe……..

Every morning, in the freezing cold, I get up, pick her up and sit outside in my pj’s, robe, boots, hat and gloves for half an hour so that she can, in puppy training terms, “eliminate” .  Once she has done that, I praise her, take her inside, feed and water her and then half an hour later repeat the same routine – at this stage still slightly hypothermic and in my pj’s.  I have spent more time in my frosty garden this last week then I did all of last summer – actually, more than the last three summers put together probably.   Then for the rest of the day, I take her out between every 30 minutes to 1 hour to eliminate (love that word) so that she can learn that the house is not a toilet and the garden is.  I will probably have to do this for the next 6 weeks or so.  Please God don’t let it be longer….

Now to my point.  So many of my clients are concentious, loving pet owners.  They know before they bring home their pet exactly what is required of them to instill good habits that keep them and their pets safe and in a clean environment and they persevere until their pet’s new habit is formed.  Yet, when it comes to making changes to my clients eating habits, all the excellent effort they put into a pet or child they love, goes out of the window.  Why is that?  Don’t they feel they deserve the same level of kindness and attention?  Do they think no matter what they do the habits won’t stick?  Every dog owner knows that good training works and the short term “pain” and believe me I am not enjoying my early morning freezes, will pay off for years to come.

So, lovely ladies.  Let me help you create the new food/eating habits that I know will work for you in your life, because they are tailored to you.  Stick with them for just 6 weeks and if you choose, they will become habits for life.

To give you a confidence boost I am giving you my top five tips for creating new habits.

1 Add a new healthier spin to an old unhealthy habit.  Cup of tea and a biscuit in the afternoon?  Try a wholegrain oatcake instead with a teaspoon of peanut butter – loads of protein, no sugar rush so no sugar crash and further craving.

2 Small changes.  Don’t try to change everything you are unhappy with at once. A small change that you can stick with will make you proud of yourself and motivate you to move to bigger changes.

3 Start NOW! Don’t wait or overthink the change.  Just do it.  No waiting until tomorrow, or until the food/sweets are all eaten.  Throw the rubbish out.  Think, “Rubbish food, rubbish mood/body”.

4 Commit yourself to your new habit every day.  Look at yourself in the mirror, praise yourself for how far you have come, even if it is only one day, and say to yourself out loud, your new habit and your commitment to it.  You will achieve what you tell yourself you will achieve.

5 Make your new habit fun! If you want to exercise more, join a social dance class.  If you want to eat healthier foods, scour the internet for recipes and enjoy the experiment.  Involve friends and family.  Make your new habit a blast.

I hope the above helps you or gives you some ideas for what works in your life and let me know if you need any help or support. Here’s to you and your new habits!    I must be off now, its elimination time………