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.

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! 

How to feel good? 3 easy steps… (Guest post by Just Josi Health)

We all want to feel good right? But sometimes it’s easy to feel down and we just don’t know why. Sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a negative rut and can’t explain what has caused it but we just know it needs to stop. I’ve found a couple of things really help me if I’m feeling this way and they may be easier to implement in your life than you realise.

  1. Self-care

This is so underrated and I know so many people struggle to find the time to make this a priority but as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Giving yourself time to recharge is so important and comes in a variety of ways for different people – personally if I have a nice long shower, moisturise from head to toe I use the Aveeno moisturiser and honestly it cannot be beaten!), put some amazing hair treatment in and sit on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea.

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I’ll either just put some nice music on or watch vlogs on Youtube to switch off my brain from any stresses. Even just one afternoon of this every couple of weeks is enough to keep me going, but I think it’s important we all keep an eye on ourselves and make sure we know when to take a break as everyone is different!

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  1. Unfollow negativity

This may sound a little controversial but I really don’t think it is talked about enough. Not everyone is compatible with everyone, it’s not meant to be that way, as they say you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. It is so easy to compare ourselves to things we see, especially on social media, so if seeing someone’s posts is constantly getting you down, what is stopping you from removing that negative influence? They may not even mean to do it but that doesn’t mean you should continue to feel down as a result of their posts or comments. Even if it is someone you used to be friends with, if their presence in your life is a constant negative then have the strength to move on. Neither of you need that in your lives, in the long run it is better for everyone.

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  1. Compliment someone

There is no better feeling than making someone’s day and I’m sure that the more happiness you spread, the more you feel it. Of course it’s normal to have down days but if you make a conscious effort to smile and pay compliments, it will become so natural and you will find yourself making people’s day regularly without even meaning to. That positivity will rapidly spread and you will be surrounded with a group of people all lifting each other up which is bound to make you feel good!

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What do you do to feel good?

J x

Outfit by Sweaty Betty

You can pick up the Aveeno range at Hello Skin (use code HELLOJOSI for a discount!)

Photography by Anna

 

Mindful running…

Running most definitely has its benefits; it is good for our hearts and our heads. I, and many others, have turned running into a habit that is undertaken more than once a week, not only for the exercise but for ability to slip in to another world and switch off.

I find it pretty normal for my mind to wonder whilst running; if someone I knew were to drive past me, I probably wouldn’t notice them. And the thoughts? Well, they can be related to absolutely anything; the run itself, work, life or just how beautiful the day is!

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Why do I find mindful running helpful?

If before I get ready to go out running I am feeling anxious, during my run, I will take the time to think about why I am feeling like that, how I can resolve, is there any reason to actually be feeling that way?

If I’m feeling happy, I will use it to push myself further; quicken the pace, push my legs and lungs and really get the best out of my run.

Either way, I finish the run with endorphin’s that are making me feel more positive.

What do I/ can I focus on to run mindfully?

I often focus on my breathing; making sure I am taking nice deep breaths, rather than shorter, snappy ones.

Once I have focused on that for long enough, and have got in to a rhythm, I will begin to take in my surroundings. Admire the beauty around you and the things that when life is speeding by, you may miss.

Top Tip: If I get stitch, I focus on breathing out every time I stride forward with my right foot. This way, I am no longer focusing on the issue. 

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Try to relax: 

As silly, and as hard, as this may seem, I try to relax when out running. I choose an object of focus, whatever it may be (my stride, bird song, cars, people, trees, my breath) and relax my mental attitude towards exercise. During the week, I push my body really hard when doing HIIT and weight training exercise, that I take this time to just go with the flow and allow my body to enjoy exercise!

How can you do it?

I’d say, follow these four steps:

  1. Focus on your breathing,
  2. Encourage yourself to focus on what is going on around you.
  3. Have a positive attitude towards yourself when you run,
  4. Relax and enjoy it!

Finally, reward yourself after you run! Be it a nice breakfast, a bath, shopping.. make it worthwhile! I love a stack of pancakes!

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I hope this helps!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Body Weight HIIT Workout (Guest post by @Bitesbybecs)

‘High Intensity Interval Training’ is a great form of exercise – it is a perfect way to squeeze a workout into a busy day and even better it can be done at home! So if you fancy burning some calories in a short amount of time, give this a go! All you’ll need is yourself and a bottle of water!

Before you begin, ensure you have warmed up and stretched to prevent any injuries occurring.

Complete each exercise for 40 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds. Rest for 2 minutes between each set. Complete the whole workout twice. The whole workout will take you 30 minutes.

Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after the workout too. GOOD LUCK!

Set 1

1. Skipping (If you have a rope that’s perfect, otherwise just complete the motion that you would with a skipping rope!)

2. High knees sprinting on the spot

3. Side skaters (Begin in a squat position. Jump to the left side landing on your left leg and bring your right leg behind your left ankle without it touching the floor. Then jump to the right landing on your right leg and brining your left leg behind your right ankle without it touching the floor).

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3 squat pulses in to full burpee..

REST 2 MINS

Set 2

1. 3 squat pulses into full burpee

2. Around the clock lunges (Start with feet together. Lunge forwards with one leg, then return to the centre. Then lunge sideways with the same leg and return to the centre. Then lunge back and return to the centre. Switch legs and repeat).

3. Duck walks (In a squat position walk forwards five steps and then backwards 5 steps. Repeat).

REST 2 MINS

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Skaters…

Set 3

1. Squat jumps

2. Mountain climbers

3. Glute bridges (Lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift hips off the ground until knees and hips are in line. Squeeze through your glutes and ensure your core remains tight throughout the whole movement. Ease back down.)

REST 2 MINS

 

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Mountain climber ready…

 

Please do tag both Bec and I if you give this a go!

 

Hannah x

Rhythm 108… my thoughts!

When I was asked if I could review the new Rhythm 108 ooh-la-la tea biscuits, I was more than excited. I have tried their good for you dessert bars and they are amazing so I had high expectations for these AND I wasn’t disappointed!

Who are Rhythm 108?

They make Real Food from The Yogi’s ancient secrets in a small cave in the Swiss Alps, bustling with Yogi-Patissiers!  They always use pure ingredients and make nutritious recipes that are simple, delicious and made with a lot of heart and soul – just like at home.

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There are four flavours:

  • Coconut Cookie,
  • Double Choco Hazelnut,
  • Almond Biscotti,
  • Lemon Ginger Chia,

The ingredients:

These are ALL natural; no preservatives, or any nasties at all. All the bars are gluten and dairy free, have no refined sugar, organic and are a great source of fibre.

All of the biscuits contain gluten free oat flour and coconut oil, each flavour then has additional, natural ingredients.

The taste test:

  • Coconut Cookie; as silly as this may sound, this wasn’t too coconutty. It had a lovely crunchy texture and was great for dipping in a cup of tea!
  • Double Choco Hazelnut; this was by far my favourite bar. It tasted just like Nutella BUT didn’t have the guilt factor. I was sad when my biscuit finished!
  • Almond Biscotti; this had lovely little chunks of almond in it, which created a great texture. They also taste just like marzipan; so feel really naughty! Again, a great biscuit to dip in your cuppa!
  • Lemon Ginger Chia; I love the lemon and ginger combination. The fact that the lemon zest is natural and organic is great too!

Overall, I am very happy I got to try these biscuits and I liked them all – if they were to be available in a store around oxford, I would definitely splurge on them once in a while. I say splurge – I think the price tag is a little drawback. BUT, if the price lowers I would buy more.

As the ingredient list is all natural, you could probably make them at home!

Besides that, I love that the ingredient list of these biscuits as they are so simple and fresh. No added scary stuff, all things we know and you can spell them all!

The consistency is perfect for my taste,, they don’t fall apart and my favourite part is the packaging which I think is super pretty and cute!

Head to their website to check them out!

Hannah x

 

 

 

 

My favourite dairy free milks…

Lactose intolerance (or dairy intolerance) is seeming to become a more common digestive problem, alongside this, many people are choosing to opt for a dairy free diet ot out of choice. I, personally, haven’t eliminated dairy products from my diet BUT, I do love to use dairy free milk alternatives in my baking, my breakfasts and in a matche latte!

There are so many Dairy-Free Milk alternatives available these days that it can be daunting to know which one to go for. Those experienced dairy-freers will already have a firm favourite, having tried a few and decided on the one they love. However, if you’re new to the dairy free lifestyle then you may not know where to begin.

Pip and Nut Almond drink:

This is my new, firm favourite.  It is unsweetened, contains no nasties and is, quit frankly, DELICIOUS!!!

I’ve used it in both sweet and savoury baking, and especially love it in porridge! Try mixing it with oats and protein powder for a porridge bowl and then top with your favourite fruits.

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Rude Health Almond drink:

This has a very obvious nutty flavour; which I love. It is great in overnight oats as it has a lovely creamy taste. It is also a great dairy free alternative in baking; especially cakes and pancakes. Try blending it with ice, a banana, cacao powder, chocolate protein powder and almond butter to make a delicious smoothie.

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Koko:

This has quite a sweet coconut taste and goes really well with cereal, fruit and in a coffee/ latte. It is low calorie too; 27 calories per 100ml. It is fortified with other vitamins and minerals, which I prefer not to have added to mine. However, it tastes great and, when I can’t find other options, I will happily use this!

Rebel Kitchen:

This company make great flavoured coconut drinks, especially great for children. They keep it simple – no additives or preservatives. They have a bold taste, fewer ingredients, nothing added as well as always being organic, responsibly sourced and responsibly produced.  The flavours include:

  • Banana,
  • Chocolate,
  • Coffee,
  • Chocolate orange,
  • Vanilla

Try mixing the chocolate orange with oats and cacao powder overnight before adding toppings in the morning. It is amazing!

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Oatly Oat milk:

This has a very obvious oat taste but then you can expect that when it is made purely of oats!!! It is great in porridge, with overnight oats and in baking! I love to use it in Banana breads instead of coconut milk/ yogurt.

 

I hope you found this helpful!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Ollybars.. My thoughts.

I recently discovered Olly Bars, a London based producer of handmade, healthy snack bars intended to keep you fuller for longer. Olly started the business with the aim of creating the ‘best tasting energy bars’ packed with plenty of healthy fruit and nuts. Many ‘healthy’ breakfast bars are actually anything but that, so I was pretty chuffed to be sent these bars! These bars are SO addictive but guilt free as they don’t contain all the additives.

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There are three different flavours: banana brunch, peanut choc chip and all day breakfast.

‘All day Breakfast’

Made with oats, dates, nuts and cocoa butter this snack bar will keep you full all morning. This bar is a good source of protein, with each bar containing 9g. It is also high in protein, additive-free and suitable for vegans. The bar has a chewy consistency and with every bite, you bite in to something different. It is a sizeable bar, probably double the size of those you would normally buy, so is great, satisfying breakfast option.

‘Peanut Choc Chip’

This bar is brilliant as a sweet but guilt-free dessert (and will satisfy a peanut-lover no end). It has to be my favourite. It is sweet but not too sweet and has an amazing texture. Basically, I love it!!!

‘Banana Brunch’

The superfood snack contains chia, sunflower and flax seeds – and has lowered the amount of natural fruit sugars by 40%, replacing them with protein by using vegan-friendly pea crunchies. Coming in at around 250 calories, it is a great pre/ post workout snack.. it didn’t quite suffice for breakfast.

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Overall, I give the bars an average of 7/10 BUTthe peanut choc chip bar gets 10/10 from me!

 

Hannah x

Turkey Mince.. My favourite recipes.

If you’ve followed for a while, you will probably know by now that I  love turkey mince. I think it is so versatile. So much so, that I prep it for both lunches and dinners.

You can also have it in so many forms:

  • Meatballs,
  • Burgers,
  • Mince- think Chilli con carne, tacos, keemas (this is my absolute favourite), lasagna, as a pizza topping.
  • Basically, if red meat is the mince suggestion in a recipe, just change it to turkey.

Why turkey mince?

In no way am I saying that red meat is bad, in fact my Dad is a beef farmer (check out Hannem Limousin’s). Red meat is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals in your diet. Red meat provides us with iron, and meat is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. However, too much red meat can lead to you eating too much saturated fat.

This is where the turkey mince comes in to action. You can have the same meals, BUT with less fat, calories and more protein. If you are going to swap to turkey then make sure you are using turkey breast mince, not thigh. The thigh is a much fattier cut of meat and can end up the same if not higher in calories and fat than beef mince and undoing all your good intentions!

So, here are a few of my favourite recipes from around the internet that are quick and easy and use mince that I would change to a turkey alternative.

  1. Turkey Mince Cottage Pie with a sweet potato topping. 
  2. The best healthy Turkey Chilli. 
  3. Slowcooker healthy Turkey Keema
  4. Turkey Burgers; here are a few recipes:

5.  Turkey Meatballs; here are a few that I love:

 

I hope you find this helpful!

 

Hannah xxx