GymBug

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Archive for the tag “salad”

Foodie Challenge #8

Hi there!

I have a sort of dinner club with 2 friends here and we each take turns cooking the main every Wednesday. It was my turn this time round and I opted to make my own variation of sweet potato and white bean burgers! I wanted to try something healthy, fast and cheap.

Ingredients ( 2 large patties);

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 250g white beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg (optional)
  • Olive oil

Method;

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato and boil them until soft enough to mash.
  2. Dry the sweet potatoes and allow them to cool.
  3. Once cooled, mash the white beans and seasoning in together.
  4. Optional; add the egg. I didn’t use one, because I found they bound very well together without it, however, they didn’t crisp up excellently.
  5. Create either 2 large patties or more mini patties.
  6. Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
  7. Cook the patties until they are a nice, crisp, brown colour.
  8. Serve with side salad, vegetables, whatever you fancy!

I apologise for the photo, my phone died before I could get a finished product photo, but here’s a mini patty cooking!

Sweet Potato and White Bean Burger

You can also bulk them out a bit with breadcrumbs or have a burger bun with them!

Gym Bug

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Why is child obesity so high?

Hi there!

I’m exhausted today since I was exploring a new city yesterday! Salamanca is gorgeous by the way if anyone is looking for somewhere to visit. Maybe not yet, it’s freezing. I think I’ve had a better workout shivering than an hour at the gym! But today I read a disturbing news article. It was from the Daily Mail so I looked around for better, more reliable sources to confirm the claims. Unfortunately, I didn’t struggle. Child obesity now affects 1 in 3 of Britain’s children. Whilst these levels appear to be ‘leveling off’ un under 10’s according to the BBC , it is still a shockingly high number. Obesity brings all sort of health risks including diabetes, heart disease, increased risks of cancer, high blood and more.

It’s not just children either, UK obesity rates in the UK have almost trebled (see the ‘more’ link above). This is shocking, especially with such focus now on leading healthier lifestyles! What can we do? Unfortunately, we can’t change a nation. But you can make small changes to yours and your families life to start leading a healthier lifestyle and (if required) lose weight! It requires hard work and focus but once you’ve made these little changes and turned them into habits, you’ll notice a huge difference. There’s so many little things you can do!

  • Walk to work if you’re close enough.
  • Get off/on at an earlier bus stop if you can.
  • Walk if these trip is 20 minutes or less.
  • Don’t bring temptation into the house (buy one chocolate bar if you’re craving it, not a multipack, for example).
  • Never grocery shop hungry.
  • Fit in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day (a walk, for example).
  • Have a salad or soup at lunch.
  • Swap the crisps for an apple.
  • Eat porridge for breakfast to fuel you up until lunch.

Little steps like this can make a huge difference. Obesity does not need to be such a problem. We can change and we can help others change too. If you’ve got a group of friends who always complain about feeling overweight or uncomfortable then start a group and challenge yourselves! Doing things with a friend typically helps motivation because you feel a sense of commitment and don’t want to give up before the other (a little friendly competition never hurt anyone). Make some healthier choices to change your life!

What are your thoughts on obesity?

Gym Bug

Should there be a Sugar Tax?

Hi there!

Today the BBC released an article about how imposing a sugar tax could help fund public health. It got me thinking, “Is a sugar tax a good idea?”. Patient UK has given a decent summary on why this would be good.

I believe a tax on ultra-processed, high sugar content foods is a good idea. The UK has a shockingly high obesity rate and introducing a tax (according to the Patient UK link) could see a reduction in 100 calores a day (on average). The tax would also provide more revenue for the government AND hopefully reduce spending on obesity and related diseases (such as type 2 diabetes). Personally, I also believe it would help people live a healthier lifestyle. At the moment, looking at the prices of foods is incredibly frustrating. Why would someone buy the ingredients for a healthy salad when a microwave burger is a fraction of the cost? Or why would someone buy apples as a snack when a huge bag of chocolate is cheaper? Something needs to be done to help people lead healthier lifestyles. It is a choice but if healthier food is more easily available and unhealthy food less so, maybe people will start making better choices!

Apologies if this appears as a rant, but a salad should not cost an arm and a leg and a burger should not cost next to nothing. It encourages unhealthy habits and fuels the obesity epidemic we’re witnessing today. What’s worse is that marketing campaigns for junk food and sugary products are heavily targetted at children. They are the most vulnerable members of our society when it comes to marketing campaigns and ofcourse if they see Powerade advertised as a sports drink, they’ll guzzle one down straight after P.E, essentially undoing their work (given the amount of sugar in a Powerade). Don’t get me wrong, sports drinks can be incredibly useful sources of energy and recovery but only when you’re enduring hard, intense exercise. P.E is not hard nor is it intense. These children are being brought up surrounded by temptation, it’s not fair.

Everyone is feeling the financial squeeze given the crisis that unfortunately hit the UK and the world, so in theory, by increasing the price of unhealthy products, you’ll decrease the demand. It can only be beneficial for the long term health of the population and help generate further revenue to help the econom get out of this slump. (P.S I’m a business student).

So, that’s my idea on the whole subject. What’s yours? Is a sugar tax a good idea? Will it help?

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

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