Snact bars; my thoughts…

Who else finds that, when shopping, the sugar laden, processed snacks are always the ones that supermarkets promote? It drives me crazy as there are so many other natural and healthier options available.

Lucky for me, I recently received a great box of snacks from Snact; they aim to help combat food waste by using fruit that was due to be thrown away and using it to make delicious snack bars and fruit jerky.

I was looking forward to trying these out as I think the idea behind them is brilliant. I hate food waste and it is shocking how much ‘good food’ is simply thrown out each day that is still perfectly edible and, on the plus side, all sugars in them, are completely natural too.

Snact have been making deliciously sustainable snacks to tackle food waste since 2013. Every day in the UK we throw out tonnes of perfectly good fruit. Snact saves surplus fruit and turns it in to tasty snacks. All snacks are packaged in fully home compostable wrappers to ensure that their packaging matched their ethos of creating less waste.

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I received three different bars to try:

  1. Apple & Cinnamon Kick Banana Bar,
  2. Beetroot & Cacao Blast Banana Bar,
  3. Carrot & Spice Boost Banana Bar.
  • ✔ Each bar saves one banana from going to waste
  • ✔ Vegan
  • ✔ Gluten free
  • ✔ Part of your 5 a day
  • ✔ No added sugar
  • ✔ No additives or preservatives
  • ✔ In home compostable packaging
  • ✔ Definitely has no dates!

Apple & Cinnamon Kick Banana Bar

You can taste each of the flavours in this bar;  the combination of cinnamon and apple is my favourite too!

The ingredients are all easy to read and completely natural; Dried banana, gluten free wholegrain oat flakes, pumpkin seeds, dried apple powder, pecan nuts, apple fibre and ground cinnamon.

Beetroot & Cacao Blast Banana Bar

This bar tastes GREAT. Who’d of thought that beetroot and cacao would go so well together? It kind of tasted like my favourite raw brownies!

Carrot & Spice Boost Banana Bar

I loved the spices in this bar- it genuinely had the taste of carrot cake.

All of the bars were a great mid morning snack- they kept me from getting hangry before lunch and, as they’re only around 120 calories per bar, weren’t a too calorific mid morning snack.

 

As a teacher, I would also recommend them to the parents as suitable for snacks, or lunch products for children to bring in to school!

I thoroughly enjoyed trying these bars.  Snact bars can be purchased directly from the Snact website. Find out more about them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Thank you Snact!

 

 

The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet by Jennifer Dawson

The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet

We all know about the importance of iron from watching Popeye as kids. While downing a can of spinach won’t necessarily give you superhuman strength, it does play an important role in healthy growth and development. It helps to make up the hemoglobin in your bloodstream, which is essential to transporting oxygen around your body.

Without enough iron in your diet, you’ll find yourself feeling fatigued, weak,and irritable. It may even lead to more serious conditions such as anemia, especially amongst women. As many as 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women don’t have a high enough level of iron in their bloodstream to support healthy functioning.

Luckily, it’s not hard to increase your iron intake. There are plenty of tasty and affordable sources of iron that you can make sure to include in your diet.

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Eat More Meat

Heme iron is found in muscle tissue and is easy for the body to absorb. All meats contain heme iron, though some are a better source than others. Shellfish such as clams, mollusks, and muscles contain more iron in a single serving than you necessarily need in a day. Fish are also a decent source of heme iron, alongside beef, pork, and poultry. Chicken liver is a particularly good source of iron and tastes delicious in pate form.

Snack on Seeds and Beans

Nonheme iron is found in plants, and while it’s a little bit harder for the body to absorb, eating nonheme foods reduces the risk of accidentally consuming a toxic amount of iron. Cooked beans and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of iron that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well. In addition to iron, these foods also offer plenty of protein and fiber for healthy digestion which further balances the diet.

 

Eat Salads

As mentioned earlier, spinach has long been known as a good source of nonheme iron. It’s best to eat spinach leaves raw in salads, smoothies, and other light dishes. Other leafy green vegetables can also give you the iron that you need. Kale, chard, broccoli, and more can provide you with some of your daily iron needs, but you’ll probably have to supplement them with other nutrient-rich foods as well. 

Iron is an essential nutrient that’s important to include in your diet, especially for women. You can get iron from both meat and plant sources that also provide a host of other essential nutrients, keeping you feeling your very best.

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Jennifer

High Protein Energy Balls

Keep these little balls of protein goodness in the fridge ready for when you need a bit of a boost. Along with nut butter, they contain egg white and whey protein!

 

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Serves 12
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooling time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients:

50g dates

2 large egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

25g Nutty one Muesli

25g Protein powder

75g Coconut flour

100g chunky peanut butter

40g desiccated coconut (to role in)

As much coconut milk as needed to make them roll able!

 

Method:

  1. Put the raisins in a blender with the egg whites and vanilla and blitz until the dates are finely chopped. Stir in the oats, protein powder, coconut flour and nut butter and mix well to make a soft dough; adding enough coconut milk to make this viable!
  2. Divide into 12 and roll in the desiccated coconut to make balls.
  3. Store in the fridge, in a container, for up to a week.

 

Enjoy x

Hazelnut Truffles ft Oppo Ice Cream

You can still enjoy a treat and eat healthy as these  Hazelnut ‘Ferrero Rocher’ style truffles,  made with healthy OPPO icecream, prove. Made with oat flour, cacao powder and chocolate whey protein, you wont be able to stop at just one!

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Ingredients:

– 70g of Cacao and Hazelnut OPPO Icecream, melted,

– 80g of soaked medjool dates,

– 50g of oat flour,

– 3 teaspoons of cacao powder,

– 30g of chocolate protein powder (or sub for more flour).

– 1 tbsp of chocolate spread (a cacao nut butter was my option),

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in your blender,
  2. Blend until well combined,
  3. Leave the mix to harden in the fridge for around an hour,
  4. Take the mix out of the fridge and scoop teaspoon size amounts on to a place,
  5. Place these scoops in to the freezer for a further half an hour,
  6. Take out the freezer, role in to shape and store in the fridge!

 

Hannah x

Three Diet and Fitness Plans You May Want To Try by Jennifer Dawson

Not everyone likes the idea of following a specific plan to lose weight or get fit, but others are reliant upon it. A plan can help focus your goals and get you there more quickly and there are hundreds of options on the market. Obesity rates in the UK outstrip the rest of Europe and finding a plan, a sport or a nutritional programme which suits your needs can really be the start of the change needed to beat these statistics.

Food is absolutely key to any fitness regime. From proper meal planning to finding and recognising those foods which are problematic for you can really help in your journey. Having a specific plan or regime to stick to can be a step in the right direction, as can actually learning how to diet, which many people struggle with.

Tried and Tested Diet and Fitness Plans

It is no exaggeration to say there are hundreds of diet plans to choose from. Many comprehensive diet and fitness programmes are designed with the average person in mind while others are tailored to specific groups.

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Here are just three you may want to consider if you’re looking for a structured approach to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle:

Cruise Control Diet

Designed with fat loss in mind the Cruise Control Diet really makes you think about what you’re putting into your body. As with all structured programmes you need to simply follow it step by step without missing a single stage and you’ll get the results you want. The Cruise Control plan encourages us to “eat natural” and restrict foods which cause inflammation and bloating such as processed and packaged food. One of the bonuses with this plan is that it recognises our need for “cheat meals” and builds them into the plan in a sensible and manageable way.

Whole Body Vibrations Workouts

If you regularly use the gym or have even just been a couple of times you’ll have seen the vibration machines. Using power plates and other similar technology it is possible to tone and work on specific areas of your body. Described as passive exercise these kinds of work out are dependent on the vibrations as much as where you position yourself and they can be a gentle way of getting into exercise if you’re unsure where to start, or particularly self-conscious.

 

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Fat Loss Factor Diet and Fitness Programme

The Fat Loss Factor Programme is the creation of Dr Charles Livingston. It is a structured, stage-based programme which involves some degree of detox to get you started and then a more relaxed approach from then on. It has a loose basis around Low GI foods and focuses on ensuring you fill up on good quality lean proteins and fats.

Choosing a diet plan isn’t for everyone but if you are the kind of person who likes to follow rules, it could be your best bet at achieving the lifestyle you’re looking for.

 

Jennifer x

8 Cooking Tools That Make Cooking Easier and Healthier by Dom from standingmixers.com

The need to maintain a healthy diet is on the rise, and it’s especially important when there are so many easy ways to get fast food or other foods that are lacking in nutrition. One way to help combat this is to have cooking tools that make healthy meals easier to make. If it’s easy to do, it becomes less of a struggle to try to come up with healthy meals. This article is going to go over 8 tools that can help you cook healthier meals with ease.

 

Slow Cooker

 

Prepping and cooking a healthy meal can take time, and that’s time you may not have if you work all day long or otherwise spend a lot of time on the go. A slow cooker is an excellent tool to help solve this problem because it allows you to prep food when you can, and then add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work.

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You’ll be able to come home to a cooked meal, which will make it a lot easier to avoid stopping by a fast food restaurant on the way home. If you get a larger one, slow cookers can also be used to cook up a lot of food at once, which you can then freeze and store to eat throughout the week.

 

Indoor Grill

 

The most helpful aspect of an indoor grill is that it’s able to drain grease away from the food you’re cooking rather than sitting in a pan, soaking in that grease. This can help even the greasiest foods to become a little bit healthier. It’s certainly not going to transform a burger into vegetables, but being able to enjoy the meat without the grease is a huge benefit in itself.

 

Many indoor grills have easy presets for various kinds of food that can help you to ensure it gets thoroughly cooked regardless of whether you’re grilling a burger or a chicken breast. Typically, these grills are easy to use, all you have to do is plug them in and get cooking!

 

Blender

 

Blenders can help you with making a number of things, from smoothies to salsas, soups and more without you having to worry about doing a lot of chopping. Cutting up a lot of vegetables and fruit can be time consuming, but a blender makes it a quicker experience.

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Smoothies are great to make with a blender

It also allows you to find ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet. For example, some people like to blend some kale into their smoothies so that they can enjoy the health effects of kale with the taste of their favorite fruits. A quality blender can have various settings from chopping to liquifying, which makes it a highly versatile tool.

 

Digital Food Scale

 

One of the biggest issues with the eating habits of many people today is the portion size. Portion sizes keep getting bigger and bigger when the best idea is to seek out moderation and balance. A digital food scale can help you achieve that balance by ensuring that you consume only the serving size you want, depending on your own nutritional needs. That way, you don’t have to try to guess at how much of something you’re making. This is especially helpful for meat, which is not very easy to measure in any way other than by weight.

 

Some added benefits are that typically, digital food scales aren’t very expensive and only require one or two AAA batteries to run. They are a little tool that can go a long way towards making healthy eating easier.

 

Steamer

 

A steamer is a great tool to have if you want to eat more vegetable and prefer them cooked rather than raw, or want a combination of cooking styles at your disposal. With a steamer, you won’t need any oil or other things to keep the vegetables from sticking. In small amounts, oils and other flavoring additions can be useful but it can also be great to avoid them when possible.

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Steamed veggies are more likely to be healthier than those that are cooked in a pan or with a roast. They can also be an easy go to if you want something simple from time to time like rice paired with your favorite veggies.

 

Oil Mister

 

An oil mister is a useful tool that helps you to use just enough oil to keep whatever you’re cooking from sticking to the pan without coating it in too much oil. This can help with cutting down on unnecessary calories that can come from those oils. When you’re trying to eat more healthfully, it can be helpful to cut down on calories that you may not even realize you’re consuming because they are just side products that you use with your regular meal.

 

It’s also often easier to cut down on these empty calories because it’s something that is less noticeable in your day to day cooking anyway. The oil mister may seem like a luxury item, but it can actually help a lot with making cooking oils last longer by using less of them.

 

Food Processor

 

Much like a blender, a food processor can help with adding fruits and vegetables to your diet in easier ways. While blenders work well for soups and smoothies, a food processor can be great for dips, dressings or even just chopping up some vegetables to add to a recipe. In some food processors, you can also keep the prepped food separated easier, because each mixing container comes with a lid that allows you to easily store any leftovers without having to dirty another dish.

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Energy balls are great to make with a food processor

They can also come in a variety of sizes, which can allow you to chop small amounts or, if you choose, you can also use some food processors to make smoothies or mixed drinks and use larger mixing containers more suitable for sharing. They’re a highly useful, versatile tool that can make many different kinds of food prep a lot easier.

 

Pressure Cooker

 

Pressure cookers are known to cook more quickly, which can be highly convenient when you don’t have a lot of time to cook an extravagant meal. Because of the quick cooking time, it can help things like vegetables hold in more of their nutrients.

 

When using a pressure cooker, you get the best of both worlds if you prefer cooked vegetables, because you’ll get the cooked flavor with more of the nutrients that would otherwise get cooked out of the food. This will make it a lot easier to enjoy cooked carrots, asparagus and other vegetable favorites in a shorter timeframe and in a healthier fashion.

 

Conclusion

 

Each of the tools in this list are useful in different ways, for different purposes. You may find that you end up needing all of them to create healthy meals sooner or later or there may be just a few that you come to rely on regularly. It’s all going to be up to your own personal preferences and budget. In any one of these tools, you’ll surely find something that will be able to allow you to cook healthy meals easily, making it much more convenient to maintain a nutritious diet.

Ginger and Apple Skillet Cake

A moist and tender dark cake baked with molasses and spices, topped with Oppo salted caramel ice-cream; perfect to welcome in the colder months.

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Serves 1
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20g almond/ coconut flour
  • 20g buckwheat flour
  • 20g vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp each; cinnamon, ginger
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml egg whites
  • 100ml milk (I used almond)
  • 1 apple, sliced.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to180C and grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients EXCEPT for the apple.
  3. Pour the mix in to the skillet and top with the apple slices,
  4. Cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Top with Oppo icecream!

Raw Nutella Brownies..

These are my favourite guilt-free treat. The hazelnuts give them a rich, indulgent feel, which, combined with the energy-boosting raw cacao powder, will keep you coming back for more after just one bite. IMG_9680

Serves 6

You need:

  • 25g Chocolate Protein Powder,
  • 35g Cacao Powder,
  • Pinch of Salt,
  • 150g of Hazelnuts,
  • 150g Dates,
  • 3tbsp melted coconut oil.

 

Method:

1. In a blender or food processor, blend the hazelnuts for 3 minutes then add the dates, salt, protein powder and cacao. Slowly add the coconut oil as the mixture is blending. Allow this to mix for a few minutes.

2. Once the mixture is totally blended together, use a spatula to scrape the mixture into a square cake tin or baking dish.

3. Put the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until you want to serve it.

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes by @SuperHealthySteph

These pancakes are moist, delicious, fluffy and packed full of warm spices. They are perfect for the cold winter mornings, but can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert with maple syrup and chopped walnuts.
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Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 40g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 40g Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp All Spice (or more, if you fancy!)
  • 200ml Almond Nut Milk (or any other)
  • 1tsp Agave Or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 100g Pumpkin steamed and mashed (or Pumpkin Purée)

Method: 

  1. Chop up the pumpkin flesh into chunks and steam until soft and able to mashed. I used a microwave tubberware steamer which takes approx 6 mins. (Or skip this step if using pumpkin purée)
  2. Mix all pancakes ingredients, including the mashed pumpkin, until thoroughly combined – use a food processor to speed up this process and for a smooth batter.
  3. Heat 1tsp coconut oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat and begin with approx 1/6 of the pancakes batter. Heat until bubbles form, and flip to cook for another minute or two. Repeat for the rest of the mixture, adding coconut oil to the pan as required.
  4. Serve and enjoy

Find Steph’s recipe on her blog here too:

http://superhealthysteph.com/recipes/breakfasts/pumpkin-pancakes-spice-sugared-pecans/

Present shopping for fitness lovers…

Happy October. I’m kinda proud of myself for doing this post already.. cos yeah, Christmas seems like a lifetime away, but with the way this year has sped by, it will soon be upon us. As a fitness fanatic myself, I know that fitness gifts will definitely please people like myself. However, if fitness isn’t your forte, then this post is here to help! So, read on to find out more!

  1. Sweaty Betty/ Lulu-lemon gift voucher; although this seems like quite a boring idea, there is so much to choose from on these websites that allowing the person you are giving the gift to to choose their present, takes a lot of pressure off of yourself and gives them the opportunity to decide!
  2. Adidas Ultra Boost trainers; I LOVE MINE and now feel that no other trainers will suffice and by that I mean NO OTHER TRAINERS. They look cooooool, they’re super bouncy to workout in (I mean, they got me box jumping) and they come in so many different colours! adidasMedia
  3. Workout bands; no gym, no problem. These bands are ultra portable and mean you can do a muscle burning workout wherever you are! They’re cheap too, so a great stocking filler! Unlike cumbersome weights, they won’t clutter up your home and there is much less danger of injury from dropping them. Another one of those fitness gifts that is incredibly adaptable to different situations, resistance bands can be used to focus on specific muscle groups, to mirror sporting manoeuvres and in conjunction with dumbbells.
  4. ‘Healthy’ cookbooks; there are SO many on the market and they all show great, versatile ways of using simple ingredients. They aid with meal prep to help reach fitness goals and can allow for people to strive to head in the right direction after the Christmas chaos. I love Clean Eating Alices books, the Body Coach’s books, Madeline Shaw includes some brilliant recipes in her recipe books anddddd so many more!
  5. Health food supplements; I’m talking protein powders, BCAA’s (try Women’s best), Pre-workouts. You name it, the fitness friend/ girlfriend will want it! A lovely brand is whey box for protein; a monthly subscription of multiple flavours of whey protein. If its vegan protein you’re looking for, MissFits Nutrition are great!
  6. Head Phones; I love Sudio Sweden or any that are noise cancelling. Head phones are great as they really help you get in the zone when you are in the gym!
  7. Heart rate monitor; I have a Garmin watch and LOVE it! It shows me exactly when I am pushing myself! Whatever the sport a heart rate monitor can give you a greater insight into you cardiac performance, allowing you to push yourself to the limit and even map your fitness as your heart gets used to strenuous exercise.
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    I love the Garmin ForeRunner 35! Great for tracking runs and workouts! 
  8. Kettlebells; home workouts are the best. You can get a sweat on whenever and wherever you fancy. Kettlebells make for a great total body workout and can reallt torch the calories.
  9. A yoga mat; The amount of people taking part in yoga sessions has dramatically increased in recent years, with classes seemingly popping up everywhere. The only equipment you need is a mat, either a cheap one from a supermarket or a rather more luxury one like the one pictured. While not usually an aerobic activity, yoga does improve flexibility, muscle strength and provides a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of modern life. I personally LOVE my Lulu Lemon mat.
  10. A gym bag; this means you can travel to and fro the gym in style. I love Sweaty Betty and Lulu Lemon bags, however, Active in style have some great, slightly more affordable bags.
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The Sweaty Betty Lux Bag is my favourite!