GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “avocado”

Foodie Challenge #4

Hi there!

Trying lots of recipes recently! Classes are about to start so it will likely become less frequent but I will try maintain my one new recipe a month! Last nights dinner was a delicious Sweet Potato and White Bean stew, I got the inspiration to this from this recipe but made many edits. What’s great about this is it uses any leftovers from last Foodie Challenge #3!

Ingredients (for one);

  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into chunks.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped.
  • 1 cup spinach.
  • 1/2 cup aubergine, cubed.
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1/2 cup brocoli.
  • 100g white beans.
  • 200g tinned tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes.
  • 100ml red wine.
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed.
  • Crushed black pepper.
  • Olive oil

Method;

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and soften the garlic and onions (use a lid to do this).
  2. Add the cumin, black pepper and chili flakes and stir to coat over the onions.
  3. Add all the vegetables, sweet potato and tinned tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Add the beans and the red wine and stir it well.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook gently on a simmer for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender, the sweet potato is soft and the stew has thickened.
  6. Taste and season further as required.

This takes longer to cook than my other recipes but it’s delicious, filling and healthy!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it's sweet potato not prawns in it!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it’s sweet potato not prawns in it!

Not going to lie, I’m really enjoying this challenge!

Gym Bug

Breakfast; The Most Important Meal of the Day

Hi there!

Today I shall be discussing the most important meal of the day; BREAKFAST. Studies have repeatedly shown breakfast is vital if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Literally, Google the importance of breakfast and see what happens!

The whole idea behind ‘breakfast is the important meal of the day’ relates to the fact that you haven’t eaten for a considerable amount of time whilst you’ve been sleeping. It’s roughly an average of 5-7 hours. That’s a long time for your body not to receive fuel. Yes, your metabolism is not running at such a high rate when you’re sleeping but you are still burning calories to breath and function, right? Eating breakfast gives you the energy to perform better, concentrate, exercise and generally tackle the day better. It may also reduce hunger throughout the day, leading to weight loss or management. Overall, breakfast is a must-have if you’re looking to make healthier lifestyle choices. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious and it can be quick if you need it to be!

Here are some excellent breakfast options;

  • Porridge
    A huge favourite of mine. I usually have this for breakfast every day and I never get sick of it. The best part about porridge is that you can change it up all the time. Try it with sliced banana, apple, berries, pineapples and more fruit! I love cooking the fruit in with the porridge to soften the fruit and get the juices mixed with the oats. You can also add honey, agave syrup, seeds, cacoa powder, dark chocolate drops, nut butter and cinnamon! Also if you’ve made it rather thick, a good spoonful of yoghurt is delicious too. Porridge is a low glycaemic index food which means it’s slow releasing, keeping you fuelled and focused until lunch (or maybe snack time).
  • Pancakes
    I’ve done two different pancakes posts; Protein Power Pancakes and 2-Ingredient Pancakes. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there though and you can make variations on both these recipes. The best and most versatile thing about pancakes though is the toppings. Go for fruit, syrup (watch the quantities), nut butters, yoghurt, some cinnamon to make them sweet. If you’re wanting something a bit more savoury pancakes are great with eggs (maybe not the two recipes listed above, but a more neutral pancake mix), bacon, sausage (not the healthiest options), even have them with some ham and tomato or avocado.
  • Overnight oats
    I have had Bircher’s Muesli that my mum made once and it’s phenomenal, I’ll post the recipe below for you to try but overnight oats are becoming insanely popular. These are great if you need a grab’n’go breakfast.
  • Eggs
    Have them scrambled, boiled, poached, in an omelette, however you like them! These are a great source of protein which will keep you going until lunch. Have a veggie omelette, veggie scramble, boiled eggs with whole wheat toast, scrambled eggs and avocado, again the possibilities are endless!
  • Muffins
    You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, it sounds strange but you can create some delicious and healthy breakfast muffins for another grab’n’go breakfast. It’s all about preparing the night before and making sure you’re not buying your breakfast muffin! Here’s a recipe below I found for delicious Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins.
  • Smoothies
    Another grab’n’go one here. Through in your favourite fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, oats and blitz it! You can also make vegetable juices or through in some spinach, kale etc to make different combinations of smoothies. Freeze the fruit for an ice-cold serving of breakfast. Also, if you’re taking protein feel free to through in a scoop of your powder to really get a packed breakfast.

These are but a few options. Here’s a link to my Breakfast board on Pinterest for more inspiration  I’m constantly updating it with new finds and I’ll post on here when I use new recipes and let you know the verdict!

Now for the Bircher’s Muesli (for 6, overnight recipe)

Ingredients;
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¾ cups water or milk
1 green apple
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ cups plain yoghurt/non-fat greek yoghurt/ low-fat fruit yoghurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Method;
1. Combine the water or milk and oats, cover and leave overnight.
2. The next morning make sure your oats are nice and soft.
3. Core and grate the apple into the oats.
4. Add the honey, yoghurt and (if using) the cinnamon to the oats and apple.
5. Stir until all is well combined.
6. Serve as it is or with your favourite breakfast toppings.

Some favourite toppings; banana, dark chocolate drops, berries, raisins, nuts.

This is a delicious breakfast and one I’m sneakily hoping will be prepared at some stage when I’m home, I may even make it myself!

With all these amazing recipes why would you want to skip breakfast!?

Gym Bug

Adoring Avocados

Hi there!

It’s almost Christmas (as I’ve said, I know, but I’m so excited). Which means delicious food circling and lots of opportunities to show off some (healthy) cooking! These recipes are not just exclusively for Christmas though so keep a note of them for future opportunities to use them! They’re great for dinner parties, appetisers or just a healthy dinner!

A big health food in my house is avocado. We love them! They’re in season May through to August (but you can still get some now) and are brilliant sources of good fats (poly- and monounsaturated fats) which when eaten instead of saturated fats can help lower cholesterol. Some avoid avocado because they are high in fat and therefor calories, but again, good fats. They are very easy to chop up and throw in a salad, put on some ryvita or crispbread or whip up some guacamole! Here are some recipes below my family enjoy.

Guacamole

1 avocado
1/3 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1/2 red onion
1 clove of garlic
3 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor until to the desired consistency.
  2. Add salt, pepper, more chili to taste.
  3. Store in an airtight container, keeps for roughly 3 days (ensure to leave the avocado pip in with the guacamole to prevent browning)

Avocado Salad Dressing

1 avocado
1/2 tablespoon honey
2- 3 drops of Tabasco
Handful of coriander
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon of cider or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion
Juice from 1 lime
3/4 cup of water
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
  2. Season as required to your own personal taste, add more Tabasco if you like the kick.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for around an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. This will keep for around 3-5 days in the fridge, stored in an airtight container.

Caeser Salad Dressing-this is a great, healthier alternative to a mayonnaise based dressing, you can also use fat-free natural or greek yoghurt (about 5 tablespoons)

1 avocado
2 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

  1. Blend the avocado in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the olive oil.
  3. Add the olive oil last and stir briefly.
  4. Season if desired.
  5. This will store in an airtight container for about 3 days in the fridge.
You can play around with the quantities of all of these recipes to get the desired flavors and consistencies. Honestly, when I make them I just go with it until I get the flavor I’m looking for. Beware with the Avocado Salad Dressing, the honey can be very distinctive and make the dressing sweet, best go for less at first then add if desired.
Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic Salad
1 pack parmaham
1 avocado
50g pine nuts
150ml balasmic dressing
200ml extra virgin olive oil
As much rocket as you like
Salt and pepper
  1. Wash the rocket thoroughly and pat dry, lay out on a large, flat plate.
  2. Toast your pine nuts by laying them on a frying pan (no oil) on a medium-high heat until they start to brown (some may have black patches, that’s fine) remove from the heat and allow to cool in a dish.
  3. Mix the balsamic and olive oil together, we place it in a  glass bottle with an unpeeled clove of garlic, salt and pepper and shake thoroughly (you can store it in this bottle in the fridge for salads too).
  4. Peel and slice the avocado, best to cut the avocado in half, remove the pip then slice length ways to keep the curved shape in each slice.
  5. Scatter the avocado across the rocket, tear the parmaham and scatter it too then sprinkle over the pine nuts.
  6. Drizzle some of the dressing (not all of it) over the plate and allow others to add more dressing if desired (remember that dressing can be used for all salads).
  7. Best eaten then and there, but will keep in the fridge for a day or 2, make sure to keep the avocado pip and pop it on the plate/in the container when you store it.
Creamy Avocado Pasta (for one)- this is a super simple, cheap pasta dish that’s very quick and healthy!
1 avocado (the riper, the better)
70g wholewheat pasta
1 garlic clove
1 red onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
50g peas
Chicken or prawns (optional)
Salt and pepper
  1. Start cooking your wholewheat pasta, it takes slightly longer than normal pasta, best give it around 12 minutes, at around minute 9 or 10 throw in the peas to the water.
  2. If you’re having chicken cook it now any way you wish and slice it into manageable chunks, if your prawns are raw cook them now.
  3. Chop the garlic and onion and put in a food processor with the avocado, chili powder, olive oil,salt and pepper and blitz until you get a smooth, creamy sauce.
  4. Once your pasta and chicken/prawns are ready, drain the pasta and throw in the chicken/prawns and stir in the avocado sauce (I do this in the pot the pasta was cooked in to heat the sauce up a bit)
  5. For vegetarians you could try adding tofu or quorn (never tested this myself).

Guaranteed the Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic salad will make an appearance in my household over the festive period (or at least a variation of it). Give them go and always be willing to tweak them as you see fit (and healthy).

It’s the weekend! Have a great weekend everybody!
Gym Bug

Recovery Foods

Hi there!

Hard, intense workouts of the cardio or strength training variety should leave you feeling pretty drained and eventually hungry. If you’re like me, you’re not hungry immediately after a workout, but give it 20-30minutes and the hunger kicks in and it’s intense! It’s necessary to fuel your body up 1-2 hours after working out in order to help muscles repair and your body to maintain function. It’s best to get a good mix of protein, carbs and healthy fats.

After most of my workouts I’ll eat a bowl of porridge (I prefer exercising first thing in the morning) and on occassion I’ll have a salad packed with rommaine lettuce, white beans/lentils, cucumber and olives. I also have MyProtein Chocolate Smooth Whey Protein after strength training days. However, this isn’t foreveryone, so below I’ve listed some great recovery foods to have after the gym.

  • Chocolate milk (especially handy for people on the go) with a banana
  • Cottage cheese on rye bread (cottage cheese is good for protein)
  • Scrambled eggs (protein, protein, protein) pair it with some wholemeal bread or rye bread!
  • Peanut butter on wholemeal toast or rye bread
  • Coconut water and a banana (great for restoring electrolytes)
  • Avocado stuffed with cottage cheese and tomato
  • Avocado on wholemeal toast/rye bread
  • Spinach salad with chicken
  • Sliced apple with peanut butter and raisins
  • Tuna salad or sandwich
  • Smoothie with oats and greek yoghurt
  • Greek yoghurt, chopped banana, topped with some nuts

These are just a couple of great ideas that combine carbs, fats and proteins to help your body recover and make sure you’re ready to tackle the next workout! Remember to try keep carbs as wholegrains and DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Rehydrating is vital and consistently drinking water through the day is an excellent habit to develop. Always try keep a water bottle to hand.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Gym Bug

Fat- What’s going on

Hi there!

As I’ve mentioned before, I hit a low point in my life where I lost too much weight. I was boney, drawn and pale. A key issue (as pointed out by my sister) was my lack of fats in my diet. Unfortunately, I had fallen victim to the villainisation of fats in the media. All the hype about having a low fat diet to be healthy had more of an effect than I’d realised and I had not only reduced by intake of saturated fat, but of the healthy fats my body needs to function properly. So, let’s take a look at fats.

Saturated Fat
This is considered as something we should try cut down on. Recently, there’s been stories flying around the media about saturated fat is actually not as bad as previously thought. Saturated fat has forever been associated with weight gain and is found in processed foods, meats, butter, cheese, cream and confectionary. We’re always told not to eat too much. For example, the British Dietic Association recommends no more than 30g per day for males and no more than 20g per day for females. Whilst there are numerous opinions regarding saturated fats and the negative health implications high consumption has, there is no sound, scientific evidence supporting them.
I view saturated fats as something to consume in moderation. I can enjoy a cheeseburger once in a while, or a chocolate bar but not four. I think more research needs to be done into saturated fats, especially whether there is a causal relationship between high consumption and disease.
Please do not take this as an excuse to chow down on fatty meats and not be concerned about putting on weight. Fats are high in calories, and excessive consumption may lead to unhealthy weight gain! Also fatty deposits in your arteries.

Trans Fat
Another fat not to indulge excessively in. This type of fat is found naturally (in low levels) in meat and dairy products and found in foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oil. There are associations between trans fats and raised cholesterol, so it is recommended nt to consume more than 2g per day (for an adult). Good news is a lot of food manufacturers have removed hydrogetaed vegetable oils from products, so we don’t actually consume a lot of it!

Unsaturated Fat
We like this one, we need this one. These are the healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. They’re categorised as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. These provides our bodies with nutrient for basic function. Eating these fats can also help lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol. It also helps you from looking like a gaunt ghostly character (as I discovered).

Fat, like carbohydrates and proteins, should be an integral part of our diet. The key is balance. You need to try maximise your intake of unsaturated fats and limit your intake of saturated/trans fats. It’s better for your health to consume 200 calories of nuts than it is of chocolate, so try and make healthy  choices that help try maintain this balance. Ofcourse, don’t cut the “bad” fats out completely, have a cookie or a chocolate bar or a burger but try maintain a balance. It’s all about moderation.

Also, remember fats are high in calories, so watch portion sizes even with the unsaturated fats. Too many calories means weight gain and that can be unhealthy in some circumstances, especially if it is excessive weight gain.

Here are some healthy snacks with healthy fats that I enjoy;

  • Avocado on wholegrain toast
  • A handful of mixed nuts and seeds
  • Olives
  • Olive oil based dressings
    A firm family favourite is simple 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, clove of garlic (not peeled or chopped but lightly squashed) and pepper

Just keep it in balance and try get a wide, varied diet to ensure you get all your nutrients for a healthy lifestyle! Simples. (I wish)

Gym Bug

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