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.
I received three different bars to try:
Apple & Cinnamon Kick Banana Bar,
Beetroot & Cacao Blast Banana Bar,
Carrot & Spice Boost Banana Bar.
✔ Each bar saves one banana from going to waste
✔ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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!
My initial thoughts:
The leggings and bras look of great quality; the material is smooth and shiny.
The colours on the chaos leggings and bra are bright but not too bright so look great! And, I LOVE the monochrome leggings.
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:
Can you squat in them? YES! The bottom doesn’t go see through! Big yay!
Can you do a HIIT session in them? yessss; they don’t feel restrictive orrrr sweaty so they are ideal!
They are also great for running on a treadmill as they are not too thick so your calves don’t sweaty (my biggest hate)!
The bras are both supportive too; they kept everything in place as I worked out!
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!
Do you sometimes find it hard being a mum and forget who you actually are? Do you think about how simple and easy life was before kids? Being a mum can be hard work and demanding. We all have our low days, experience feelings of guilt and strive to be that ‘perfect’ mum. At times you may feel like you have no support and it can feel a lonely place. You want to please everyone, so how do you get the right balance?
Following on from having my 2 children, it took a while to find that happy balance. I have learnt over the years that I will never be a super-mum, but know balance is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. Whether you work or not it can seem almost impossible to make time for yourself – let alone exercise! When life gets busy, fitness tends to be the last thing on your mind. Even though these times are when your body needs it the most.
Fitness is my ‘me-time’ a break from the outside world, a place I can reflect on my life with no interruptions. No matter how tired I feel, once I have worked out it puts me in such a good mood. I workout 4-5 times a week because I enjoy it and want to. It makes me feel happy and confident which is important to me being a mum. I like to mix it up with running, circuit classes and weight training; a lot of it depends on how I feel on the day. I do encourage my children to be active too and often go on bike rides with my youngest. Some days finding time to work out just doesn’t happen. I have learnt not to beat myself up if I don’t work out. Find something you will enjoy and stick too, whether it be running, yoga, swimming, Zumba or even just going for walks can be very beneficial. You don’t need a fancy gym membership either, working out from home is still as effective. Even if it’s a 10 mins workout on say a you-tube channel, it is better than nothing.
Nutrition is key, and as the saying goes ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’. My diet consists of clean eating, basically unprocessed whole foods. (See my blog on my must have food staples). In fact it’s not even a diet, it is my lifestyle. I keep it simple and it doesn’t cost the earth. Diets aren’t sustainable and are restrictive, there are no quick fixes. I take pleasure in cooking from scratch and knowing what goes into each meal. By embracing whole foods and eating good amounts of healthy proteins and fats. However you should never deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy, but like anything, eat in moderation! I go with the 80/20 rule so still indulge around 20% of the time. Decide what makes you feel good and works for you. I still enjoy my take aways and sweet treats and have these as a treat. I find this more enjoyable without feeling guilty. Though if I fancy a slice of cake, some chocolate or ice cream; I will. Life is for living!
If you can make time for yourself to be fit and well, the return benefits will be worthwhile. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle it keeps me focused in life, gives me the energy to look after my family and be a positive example to them. It’s not selfish to make yourself a priority, yet it does need to come from self love which does not make you a bad person. I love the fact that my children know fitness plays a big part of my life. Don’t feel guilty for looking after your body, it’s the only place you have to live in. Give yourself the time to be a mum and a woman; you will feel so much better about yourself.
In the run up to Christmas, if you’re like me, your wish list is looking a little bit like the stock list of a fitness shop! At the top of my list is new running trainers as there is nothing better than that first, bouncy run in your flashy, shines shoes!
However, adding a pair to the list that you’ve chosen based on colour and style may not mean that you are wearing the correct shoes to really get the best from your running and stop you from getting an injury! So, this week @runswindon have come to the rescue and have created a recommendation list for you…
When choosing a shoe we would recommend several relevant factors.
Finding a shoe relevant to your gait is so important to help reduce injury and make your running journey a fantastic experience.
Pop to your specialist running store so they can carry out a gait analysis.
Ideally you should be assessed for hip stability, Pronation levels, form, technique and obviously fit when choosing a shoe.
Is it comfortable?
Ideally we are looking for a Cinderella fit.
However this is not always immediately possible so a shoe that you feel after several runs or so feels natural to you.
Is it fit for the purpose?
i.e. Are you looking for a road shoe or a shoe more suitable to the trail.
A shoe for short racing or intervals or a shoe you can do many miles of training in.
This is advise a specialist running store can give you.
So when buying a running shoe always gain expert advise from a specialist running store, try the shoes, run in the shoes and be analysed in the shoes.
Kindest Liam @runswindon
Owner RUN Swindon #happyfeet
So, as a runner, I am always keen to improve my pace, beat my last race time and improve my overall cardio fitness BUT just running on its own will not aid this! Therefore, this is where HIIT (High-intensity interval training) comes in to action.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.
HIIT is considered more effective than steady paced cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.
This type of training will have you alternating between periods of maximum effort and short recovery; in the workout below, you complete a whole circuit before taking a rest. For beginners, this may be too much and a simple 20 seconds on 20 seconds off will still you sweating.
After reading all the above this is where my friend, fellow blogger and personal trainer @_harrielouc exclusive HIIT workout can help you; I did it this morning and I can tell you, I felt the burn! If you give it a try, tag Harrie and I (@_hannaheats) and let us know how sweaty it got you!
I’ve been a runner for nearly 6 years now, and not once have I looked back. Although it hasn’t been an easy journey, life as a competitive runner never is. However, it has made me realise how much I just love to run – running at any speed, even for a short 5 minutes, is enjoyable.
I get asked on a very regular basis “I’d love to get fit and healthy again, where do you recommend I start?” and nearly always, my answer is “Grab a sturdy pair of trainers and some shorts and head out the front door’’. I’m not suggesting that running a marathon tomorrow with no prior training is a good idea because what makes you ‘fit and healthy’ is your lifestyle – in other words what you do on a day-to-day basis.
Running is such a great way to keep fit, and possibly one of the easiest ways there is!
Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Running is cheap. No monthly gym membership required. No up-front joining fee needed. All that you need is a good-fitting pair of running trainers, some kit, and a road, field or park.
2. It is a relatively quick way of getting your heart rate up (depending on how long you run for). Running is one of the biggest calorie torchers there is – a 30 minute run can easily burn over 300 calories, whereas if you were cycling it would take you 3 times as long to have the same effect. This also makes it perfect if you have a busy home life, a short run from home is a lot easier than driving to and from a gym to work out.
3. You can explore somewhere new every time you run. Unlike a gym where you’re likely to stay in the same room every time you go, you can mix up your runs and make sure you go somewhere different every time! Go to a park today, run the roads tomorrow, find a trail next week – one of my favourite quotes is ‘The world is your treadmill, run all over it.’
4. Running is fun!!! Go running with a friend and catch up with them as you go – it’s harder than it looks but it’ll work you harder and keep you more motivated too! If you’ve chosen a park, the views can be stunning, especially this time of year with the Autumn leaves.
There are just a few reasons why running isn’t as bad as it sounds, you never know it might just become your favourite way to get out of the house and get some fresh air!