Banana bread breakfast cookies…

I have a new obsession to share: Banana bread breakfast cookies.

Normally I would say protein/ regular cookies, but since these taste like banana bread AND my favourite breakfast oat bowl, I’m really quite in love. And when flavour additions are thrown in the mix? OMG!

Plus they only take 15 minutes to make and clock in at around 60 calories per cookie. YES!

This really isn’t even a recipe. It’s me telling you to mix two things together for sweet satisfaction that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

The possibilities are endless with these cookies BUT I’ve added in Soreen Malt loaf and it was a great decision. Thanks to Muscle Food UK, I’ve taken part in the #MFsoreen challenge and this was my easy peasy recipe of choice!

INGREDIENTS

• 2 large bananas, mashed

• 2 cups gluten free oats

And, 2 Soreen snack size Malt loaves, diced

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

2 Place oats in blender or food processor and blend until oats become the consistency of flour; it’s okay if it’s not perfectly ground.

3 In large bowl combined mashed banana with oats until smooth. Add in Soreen.

4 Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Drop dough by large tablespoons onto cookie sheet; flatten a bit with a rubber spatula. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Cookies will keep in a covered container for a few days, or they can be frozen and reheated. Makes about 16 cookies.

Enjoy!

Xxx

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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

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

Trogym Active wear… my thoughts.

As I have said before, for me, wearing pretty, quality gym gear is essential and in my view, you can never EVER have enough gym wear; actually, the more, the better!! So, when these beautiful Trogym leggings and bra came through the door, I was more than excited!

So, who are/what is Trogym?

trogym® is a brand of ethical activewear, blending modern exotic styles and smart materials with a commitment to treating workforces and the environment kindly.

With an aim to empower and inspire you during workouts, their clothing is bright, attractive and unique looking!

My initial thoughts:

  1. The leggings and bras look of great quality; the material is smooth and shiny.
  2. The colours on the leggings and bra are bright and fun! They don’t have too many colours in them though, so aren’t too intense!
  3. The bra is ‘different’ to other sports bras- with more of a v-plunge- so looks attractve to wear!

The wear test:

  1. Can you squat in them? YES! The bottoms don’t go see through!
  2. Can you do a HIIT session in them? Yessss; they don’t feel restrictive and don’t slip down!
  3. They are also great for running as they are not too thick so your calves don’t get sweaty (my biggest hate)!
  4. The bras is supportive too; everything stayed in place as I worked out!

Design Detail:

The leggings and bra both have a lovely, simple design; the stripes match!

The seams are just on the inside of the leggings so, they’re not itchy and you can barely feel them!

The leggings are high waisted so I didn’t mind training in them without a top!

 

Value for money:

The leggings are priced at £48 and I think this is incredible value for money; they are so versatile, not just for a workout, so you will 100% get your money’s worth!

The bra will cost you £26; it is supportive, so again, I think it is definitely worth spending the money on!

Verdict:

BUY THEM!!!

Hannah x

 

UFit drinks… my thoughts.

The sports nutrition industry has become littered with new brands that claim to be the best and provide you with the nutrition to produce ultimate performance. So, when it comes to know what to buy, how good it is and if you can actually trust the brands claims, it can all become a bit mind boggling. So, when I received a lovely looking parcel of protein shakes from UFit drinks, I wanted to see if their ‘on-the-go high protein health & wellness drinks for active men & women’, were as good as they look on the bottle.

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The taste test:

  • When trying the drinks, I based their taste on what I feel the flavour ‘normally’tastes like and, coming up trumps, for me was the banana flavour. It tasted SO good; like I was drinking an actual banana shake.

The texture:

  • The chocolate was thick and creamy, just as I like a shake to be
  • None of the shakes were runny, so as a meal replacement, they are ideal because you feel as if you have actually consumed something of substance.

The nutritional content:

  • In the ‘normal’ size bottle, the drinks contain a whopping 22g of protein, 11g of carbs and around 3g of fat; ideal to help you recover post work out.
  • In the UFit 50 drinks, there is 50g of protein for only 336 calories! FIT PRO50 is naturally rich in essential amino acids, the building blocks of your body. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by your body, meaning they must be obtained from foods and drink.  They also contain vitmains and minerals and are low in fat, again, ideal post workout!

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Baking, making and creating with UFIT:

  • The drinks are SO versatile to make things with; you can sub any liquid in a mixture for the drink and can make the ultimate protein pancakes.
  • To make the pancakes, simply blend a banana, one UFIT drink and some flour together and then cook in a frying pan!

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The price and where to find them:

 

The HollyBush, Witney… my thoughts.

Last week, I felt very lucky when heading to The HollyBush to try their food (and drinks). After talking to my friends who live in the area, I was promised great things, and the meal didn’t disappoint.

Firstly, when we arrived at the pub, it was really easy to park on the road outside, we had a 2 minute walk to the door (if that) and Witney has many places available in which you can park for free! We strolled in, were greeted with lovely smiling faces and seated at a lovely table near a fireplace!

The atmosphere in the pub was brilliant; background music that wasn’t overpowering and many other customers happily chatting (and drinking) away!

The drinks menu was the first thing I looked at and the cocktail options, as well as beers, wines and soft drinks, were amazing! So much so, that I didn’t know which cocktail to go for. In the end, I chose Passionella (because it contained Limencello, my favourite) and it was delicious! A great way to start the evening!

The Menus (the normal one and specials) had so many tasty options; I was stuck for choice! Normally, I am really fussy and don’t like many things on the menu, so being stuck for choice, says a lot (in a positive way)! In the end, we chose smoked salmon with sourdough bread and scallops with a cauliflower puree for starters, follwed by a chicken and stuffing wellington and a prawn Vietnamese noodle soup for mains!

When our starters arrived, they looked amazing and they tasted just that! They were really nicely laid out on the plate, of a great temperature to eat immediately and both tasted great! The scallops tasted SO GOOD; I would definitely order them again!

The mains were of the same level of taste and appearance as the starters; I’d never had the soup before, so was excited to give it a try! I loved it and it is definitely something I will have a try at making myself!

Overall, I feel that the price, taste and atmosphere was all brilliant and, due to this, I would definitely return!

Hannah x

 

February Favourites.

Who else is in agreement that February went so (too) fast? But, before March rolls around, I thought I’d go over some of my favourite products I’ve been eating and using this month.

Food:

Ripped Kit; I love these boxes as they open your eyes to the best of the massive range of protein bars on the market. Every month you get a delivery of the newest and most delicious protein based snacks to help keep you on track to reach personal fitness targets.

This month, the box contained the new grenade bar; one that I have been dying to try and it didn’t disappoint. It has also opened my eyes to other protein bar options on the market; I particularly like the Fulfil bars and, in last months box, the battle-oats bar which was a great, quick breakfast on the go!

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Two Chicks products; chirps and egg whites: I love this brand (and the lovely lady behind it).  The egg whites are just so handy; 17 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving and SO versatile. I use them in my baking, breakfasts, to make egg fried rice, pad thai, mug cakes.. the options are endless (See below)! And the chirps? Well, they are a great, low carb, high protein, delicious snack to have on the go. My favourite flavour is the sea salt and cracked black pepper but they are all super tasty!

That Protein: are an organic protein company who produce THE tastiest protein. Thatprotein create protein that is made from premium organic plant protein powders and superfoods combined in to one product. The protein is natural, organic, cold pressed and pure and never processed by heat over 40 degrees. Alongside this it is ALSO dairy free with no added sugars, non GMO, no sweeteners AND free from anything artificial; literally no negatives about it.

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Having been lucky enough to receive a lovely, surprise package of their Chirpy Chirpy Choca Mocha Super Protein, I didn’t hesitate in trying it out. The Chirpy Chirpy Choca Mocha Super Protein is:

  • Made from brown rice protein; a complete plant protein that helps support healthy muscles, skin, hair and nails.

  • Made from Raw Cacao; a top source of antioxidants and packed full of iron and magnesium.

  • Contains caffeine to wake you up in the morning or pre-workout.

So, after all that, I have also developed a simple, delicious and nutritious breakfast/snack/pudding for you as a Choca Mocha Protein Mugcake.

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Recipe:

  • 25g of Chirpy Choca Mocha Protein Powder,

  • 50g of Two Chicks Products egg whites,

  • 1 tablespoon of Nurtriseed UK cacao powder,

  • Optional teaspoon of Maca Powder,

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder,

  • Enough water to make a batter like consistency,

Simply grease a mug or small bowl with coconut oil, put in all the dry ingredients, add in the egg whites and mix it together and then slowly add in water until you have a batter like consistency.

Pop cling film over the top and microwave for 30 second sessions until it is bouncy/ firm on top!

Then top with whatever you desire.

Optional extras to mix in the batter are endless.  I’ve tried:

  • Cacao nibs,

  • Nut butter (make the mixture, drop in a teaspoon of nut butter and then microwave),

  • Dried nuts and fruit,

  • Berries (do the same as with the nut butter)

Fit Kitchen: Don’t get me wrong, I love meal prep- I find it so therapeutic- but sometimes you just don’t have the time. And, this month has gone that way; work has been crazy and available time has been minimal.  Therefore, these delicious, protein packed, low calorie meals have come in so handy; keeping me full until snack time and the hunger pangs at bay. My personal favourite is the Pad Thai Chicken with zesty sauce; only 288 calories, all natural ingredients, 3 of your 5 a day and most importantly DELICIOUS.

Fitness:

My Fitbit Blaze; I loveeeee my blaze and have @whenharrymetsalad to thank for having one! It tracks my steps (making sure that I am active throughout the whole day, not just at the gym), my running routes (this means that I can make sure I am progressing run by run, week by week, in order to meet my pace goals), my weight training sessions (making sure I keep my heart rate up at all points; not just when I’m warming up) and most importantly tells me how many calories I’ve burned (I’m currently cutting, so this helps me to stay in a slight calorie deficit).

Lifestyle:

Sunday walks with those who matter the most; this might sound such a silly one, but taking the time to spend quality time with those you often take for granted is a must in life. My Mum, sister and I have been making sure that we go on long, country walks on a Sunday to forget our worries and just let the world go by.

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Grab your wellies and get out in to the countryside!

Hannah x

The importance of meal prep.

I am a big supporter of meal prep. You don’t have to be a body builder, or even a gym goer, to partake, and it saves so much time in the week when you’re busy and making meals for the next day is the last thing you want to do! I know it seems like a gargantuan task, but it’s importance in achieving your goals (however big or small) really can’t be underestimated. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat and then preparing your meals is one of important aspects of achieving a healthy, balanced diet.

The key to getting it right is finding a few staples that are quick and easy to prepare yet packed full of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. I have a few staple foods (chicken, vegetables, oats and protein powder) that can be used in many, more adventurous ways that don’t allow me to get bored of my midday meals!

Why meal prep?

  1. Save money; buy going on just one food shop, with a list, per week you are not going to be tempted by things that are on offer that you don’t reallllly want!
  2. Save time; cook all your meals in one fowl swoop and that’s it, you’re done!
  3. Keep your meals clean and nutritious so that you stay on track with ease.
  4. Save mid-week stress; you can just come home and relax!

How do I meal prep?

For this, you simply have to make meals in bulk!

  1. The simplest way, for lunch, is to double up your meal from the night before.
  2. Roast a tray of your favourite veg and then separate in to individual tupperware.
  3. Make a meal and freeze it in portions; curry is a great option for this!
  4. Roast multiple chicken breasts and refrigerate until you need them!

Meal prep ideas:

Breakfast:

  1. Overnight oats; there are so many options to find online! I like a simple mix of cinnamon, oats, vanilla protein, milk, berries and a sprinkle of granola!
  2. Pancakes/Waffles; a nice treat in the week! You make these in bulk and refrigerate or freeze and then just get out when you want them! Find my staple pancake recipe here! Instead of the lavish toppings, I serve with yogurt and fruit!
  3. Breakfast cookies and loaves; again, I make these on a Sunday to have on both Monday and Tuesday! So quick and simple to make! Head to the loaf cake section on my blog!

Lunch:

  1. Bro food; roasted chicken breast with steamed veg and spinach. Sometimes I add in a hard boiled egg for extra protein.
  2. Fritattas/egg muffins; mix together any eggs and veg that  you fancy, tip in to a muffin tin or baking tray, pour over whisked egg and oven cook until firm to touch!
  3. Chicken, quinoa and veg.
  4. For a vegan option; buddha bowls are great. A mix of roasted veg, lentils and hummus.

Snacks:

  1. Hard boil eggs,
  2. Make energy balls; I love these! Find my favourite recipes here.
  3. Carrot and cucumber sticks dipped in nut butter,
  4. Melon and nuts,
  5. Seeds,
  6. Chirps are great; they are packed full of protein and keep me full for a long time,
  7.  Paleo bakes; blondies, brownies, cookies etc.
  8.  Mug cakes; a mix of egg whites, protein powder, coconut flour, mashed banana and baking powder. Pop in the microwave for 1 and half minutes and then you’re sorted!

How do I know what to buy/prep?

Make a plan! I get out all my favourite cook books, decide what I want to eat that week, make a list and shop away!

 

I hope this has been of some help!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Ness Fit Official.. my thoughts!

As I have said before, for me, wearing pretty, quality gym gear is essential and in my view, you can never EVER have enough gym wear; actually, the more, the better!! So, when these beautiful NessFit outfits came through the door, I was more than excited!

So, who are/what is NessFit?

Ness Fit are a new fitness apparel website based in breat Britain; they offer exciting, matching outfits that make you feel and look good!

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My initial thoughts:

  1. The leggings and bras look of great quality; the material is smooth and shiny.
  2. The colours on the chaos leggings and bra are bright but not too bright so look great! And, I LOVE the monochrome leggings.
  3. The packaging was lovely too; they were nicely wrapped in a bag each. A great initial thought that makes you think the product is of great quality.

The wear test:

  1. Can you squat in them? YES! The bottom doesn’t go see through! Big yay!
  2. Can you do a HIIT session in them? yessss; they don’t feel restrictive orrrr sweaty so they are ideal!
  3. They are also great for running on a treadmill as they are not too thick so your calves don’t sweaty (my biggest hate)!
  4. The bras are both supportive too; they kept everything in place as I worked out!

Design Detail:

The leggings and bra both have a lovely, simple design around the waist/chest that says workout on; this helps the outfit coordinate even more!

The seams are just on the inside of the leggings so, they’re not itchy!

The patterns are both really effective; bright and attractive but not in your face!

Value for money:

The leggings are priced at £30 and I think this is incredible value for money; they are so versatile, not just for a workout, so you will 100% get your money’s worth!

The bras will cost you £25; slightly more pricey, but they are supportive, so again, I think they’re worth spending the money on!

Verdict:

BUY THEM!!!

Hannah x