Lucky, is a girl who wins not one …. but two cooking experiences at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio in Sandton. As a fit foodie, the opportunity to sharpen my cooking skills is the experience that dreams are made off. Exaggerate much, I here you are ask but we will come back to this shortly.
The first time I won was during the #RuleYourHealth campaign collaboration between ever so gorgeous Babalwa Mabona and Discovery Health. I won an experience for two to attend the “All About Chicken” cooking class.
The second time, I won a cooking experience for 3 friends and I with Whirlpool during their Heritage Day campaign. When asked what my fav heritage dish was, I responded with a “Bunny Chow”. Yip, it’s my absolute fav and let me just add that I do make a mean bunny chow.
Back to my Discovery experiences. On both occasions at the Healthy Food Studio, we arrived at the extraordinary Discovery Health building and made our way up. A warm welcome and then we got to watch the sunset while people sipped on wine and I had a cuppa java. There were some delicious snacks to munch on while we mingled.
After a quick introductory, we were dressed in chef hats and aprons. We moved to the exquisitely designed and equipped kitchen that it fitted with appliances from Kitchenaid, Smeg and Whirlpool. All the food is supplied by Woolworths. Let’s just say that the experience at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio is an all-encompassing one.
I’m a huge Whirlpool fan and love the opportunity to cook with their state of the art appliances. I’m still waiting for the opportunity to use the Whirlpool JetChef which I have heard such amazing things about.
We took our places at our cooking stations and the qualified chefs then commenced with the themed classes. The classes at skills based and you will definitely leave having learnt new skills. The more experienced cooks in the room will hone their already impressive cooking skills. It’s a team effort from all in attendance and a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. The recipes utilised on the night are also emailed to you at a later stage so that you can put your new-found skills to the test when you cook your favourite dishes from the night.
Once all is said and done, everyone (except the chefs and staff) make their way to the dining room to eat dinner together. Sampling the dishes cooked on the night, is a fantastic way to end the experience, which also helps everyone determine their favourite dishes of the night. The cooking class is a wonderful experience irrespective of whether it is Date Night, Girls Night Out or Flying Solo kinda opportunity. It’s the opportunity to learn new skills, improve existing skills while socialising and meeting new people.
Im a home cook who cooks 3 meals a day despite being a working mom by day and blogger by night. Food is my passion and cooking for others is my way of expressing my love. The kitchen is indeed my happy place and if I can spend my days teaching people how to meal prep and cook healthy but delicious food, then I will be living my best life to the fullest extent. I’ve changed my life and improved my health by making small but sustainable changes and so can you. Until my dream (which I mentioned in my opening statements) becomes a reality, cooking classes like these and my live Sunday meal preps on Instagram will have to do. So, meet me on the gram every Sunday afternoon when I meal prep like a boss.
Chia seeds (salvia hispanica) have become one of the most popular superfoods in the fitness and health community. They’re easy to digest when prepared properly and a very versatile ingredient that can be easily used in recipes. The benefits of chia seeds are indeed plentiful.
History of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds were originally a best kept secret but has gained popularity in recent years. These tiny black and white seeds have a long history. They were grown in Mexico and South America, chia seeds are said to have been used by Mayan and Aztec cultures for supernatural powers. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. They were also known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds.
They give you tons of energy but also won’t keep you awake at night and are supposed to be great for weight loss. This is apparently due to the fact that they can absorb many times their size/weight in liquid. Chia seeds are also excellent for avoiding dehydration during exercise or exposure to heat.
But Wait, There’s A Down Side
Chia seeds contain compounds called phytates that block the absorption of certain nutrients. These anti-nutrients are the reason that many ancient cultures soaked and fermented grains and seeds prior to eating them. There is also some evidence that soaking and rinsing the seeds may help reduce the levels of these compounds. The good news is that when used in moderation there isn’t a need to worry too much about their phytate content.
Uses For Chia Seeds
Depending on the required texture, there are several ways to use them in the kitchen :-
Thicken gravies and sauces
Homemade energy gel
Bread chicken or fish
Grain free crackers
My Fav Chia Seed Recipes
These are just a few of my fav chia seeds recipes, but pop over to my Instagram account to see why my cupboard is always stocked with Chia Seeds
One of the trending topics in terms of health and wellness at the moment is “Gut Health” but what exactly does this mean. Well basically it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract.
To find this achievable state you need to feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria. In other words you would need to swap processed foods, breads and pastas for more plants, fruit, seeds and nuts. You would also have to add fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir to your diet. These items naturally contain probiotics and/or healthy bacteria.
There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term effects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can affect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc. – The Huffington Post
Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea & gas
Food allergies or sensitivities
Mood swings, irritability
Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
Skin problems like eczema
What to Eat to Improve Your Gut Health
Apple Cider Vinegar – helps your body create hydrochloric acid, which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Kombucha – the most natural way to get a buzz, it’s probiotic-packed meaning it’s good for your gut.
Dairy or Lactose-free yoghurts– made from almond, soy, or rice milk are much easier for people to digest than their dairy counterparts.
Fermented Coffee – Drinking coffee can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance sports so you should drink it before your workouts for energy.
Sauerkraut – is a naturally fermented food that has micro-organisms which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish.
Mangos – have been shown to help keep the good bacteria in your gut alive.
Kefir – is great for your gut as it usually contains at least 10 live and active strains of bacteria, compared to most yoghurts which usually have three.
Sprouted Grains – The process involved in making sprouted grain bread products makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat products, which in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Wild Salmon – has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes.
Garlic – is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw.
Miso – aside from being a good source of protein and fibre, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
Chocolate -raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic enhanced chocolate bars the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix.
Collagen – is one of the largest proteins in our bodies—in fact, it’s what basically keeps our body together.
Bone broth – is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours.
Onions – as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria. To make the most of these nutrient-rich foods you’ll want to avoid as many refined foods (think white flour and white sugar-based anything), which feed the bacteria in our gut that we don’t want.
Kvass – beverage commonly made from rye bread, meaning it’s filled with digestive health benefits.
High Fibre Foods – like artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds raspberries, and apples are a great addition to your diet.
Kimchi – is rich in probiotics and excellent at keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
Yoghurt– Grass-fed, full-fat and plain (no sugar added) yoghurt has a very high amount of beneficial probiotics.
Improved Gut Health Can Aid:
Immune function (80% of our immune system is located in the gut!)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Symptoms of anger, sadness and depression
Toxin levels in the body
In the past I never gave my gut a second thought, but with time and research I’ve come to learn otherwise. It is important for us to acknowledge and understand the effects of gut health on our bodies both mentally and physically, in doing so we will need to optimise our gut health in more innovative ways.
My latest health obsession is most definitely Apple Cider Vinegar (also known as ACV). I’ve recently began including ACV to my diet at the start of each morning.
What’s it made from?
ACV is made by extracting the liquid from apples. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria.
Why is it good for me?
ACV contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, organic acids and polyphenolic compounds (micronutrients known for their role in preventing disease). Basically, it’s a concentrated liquid filled with a lot of beneficial ingredients, that will aid in keeping your body healthy.
The Many Uses of AC
Acne – ACV is used for clearing breakouts, reducing pores, more even skin and reducing acne.
Local antiseptic – Acetic acid (one of the main ingredients), is used to disinfect wounds.
Blood sugar – Studies have shown that the use if ACV can reduce post-meal blood sugar levels, as well as suppress your appetite.
Candida – It can help you rid the body of candida (thrush) as it makes for a great probiotic drink.
Cholesterol – Some research suggests that consuming ACV can be good for your cardiovascular health.
Common cold – Diluted with water it can help alleviate a sore throat. The ACV will also fight against germs that might be making you feel sick.
Cooking – It can be used to make salad dressings or as a tenderiser when you are cooking meat or poultry.
Detox – As part of balancing your pH, ACV creates an overall detoxification of the body.
Flea repellant – A mixture of one part vinegar and one part water can be sprayed on your pets’ fur to eradicate fleas.
Hair – To boost your hair’s body and shine, rinse with ACV after shampooing. It can also be used as a dandruff treatment.
Heartburn – Studies suggest that ACV works by correcting low acid, hence reducing heartburn. (Note that this will not give relief if you have an ulcer)
Householduse – Use it to clean toilets and leave a bathroom smelling fresh and clean. It can also be used in dishwashers as a substitute for dish detergent. Also use it to clean microwaves, kitchen surfaces, windows, glass and mirrors.
Laxative – Loyalists swear by it, but I couldn’t find more proof of this but its worth a try.
Lymphatic system – It helps to reduce mucus and sinus congestion.
Massage treatment – Try using ACV to relieve tired hands and feet by rubbing it onto the affected area.
Sunburned skin – Soaking in a mixture of water and ACV can eliminate discomfort from sunburn.
Teeth – It can remove stains from teeth.
Warts – A cotton ball soaked in ACV, then place over a wart with a Band-Aid overnight will help remove a wart.
Weight loss – It can aid in weight loss if taken consistently as part of your daily diet.
Weed killer – Use it as an organic weed killer which is kinder to the environment
Not all ACV are created equal
There are several options available but if you are looking to get the best option then choose raw, organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized and has the mother intact. “The MOTHER!!!” I hear you say. In French, the word vinegar actually means sour wine. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegaralso contains “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance.
Consuming ACV in small amounts is considered to be safe. It is important to follow the directions on the bottle and not exceed the daily amount. People with diabetes should proceed with caution as ACV can lower blood glucose levels. It is also wise to consult your doctor if you suffer from any chronic diseases. Truth be told I drink a shot of ACV straight every morning but it is also recommended that you don’t drink it straight due to the fact that it is very acidic and can therefore harm your oesophagus and possibly contribute to tooth decay. Make sure that you dilute it before ingesting it or putting it directly on your skin (unless you are removing warts).
Eggs glorious eggs!! The superfood of all superfoods (well as far as I am concerned). An egg only contains one ingredient – “eggs.” So there’s no sugar or carbs. Now that is bloody amazing is you ask me. Eggs are a source of high-quality protein and a number of other nutrients. The other thing about eggs is that they are easily accessible and egg-cellently versatile (and yes I just used an egg pun).
Physical Performance The high-quality protein in an egg is essential for building and maintaining lean body mass.
Weight Management & Satiety The high-quality protein in eggs can reduce hunger and facilitate weight loss as well as help with weight maintenance
101 Ways to Cook Eggs
As I have already mentioned, eggs are extremely versatile and can be cooked in 101 ways. Eggs are also the kind of food that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even as a snack. Here are some of my fav egg dishes.
Caution – reading further may stimulate your appetite
Poach one egg. I no longer eat fried eggs but you can use a fried egg if that’s your preference. While your egg is poaching, heat up 1 teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. Chop up some kale and throw into a pan on low heat. Allow to cook just for a few seconds so that’s it has a slight crunch. Add a handful of chopped mushrooms and sauté. Add salt and pepper to taste. I cooked my diced bacon in the airfryer but you can cook in the oven or in a plan. In a plate, layer the kale and mushrooms, then the bacon and the poached egg.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cut an avocado in half. Remove the seed. Place the halved avos into an oven tray. Carefully crack an egg into each half. Place into the oven and cook. Remove according to how you like your eggs done. By the way, isn’t egg and avo just the perfect combo.
Egg cups are my favourite and they are super easy to make. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Using a muffin baking tin, spray it with spray and cook. Line the side of each cup with a piece of streaky bacon. Then crack an egg into the center. Pop the muffin tin into the oven and allow to bake.
We spoke about the versatility of eggs, and curries are no exception. This is a dish I grew up eating and I absolutely love it. “Tinned fish curry” aka Pilchards. I fry some onions, chillis, extra tomatoes to make a nice yummy base sauce then I add the pilchards. Don’t forget to remove the bones from the center of the fish. Boil the eggs, shell and add to the curry. This dish could definitely fall under healthy budget meals. You can also add eggs to veg curries to up the protein content.
There are many variations to this dish and many names for it. The Israeli’s for instance call it Shakshuka, it is basically poached eggs in a “tomato sauce”, but if you are Indian then it’s called Egg Chutney. Cook up a “tomato sauce” by frying some onions and chillis in a little coconut oil. Add your chopped tomatoes and spices as required. Allow to cook into a hearty sauce, then crack the eggs into it. Stir in the egg whites (I like to keep the yolks whole). Cover your pot and allow eggs to poach on a low heat. I make mine super spicy but that’s because I can’t get enough of hot and spicy food. With the cost of living ever-increasing, we want to get bang for our buck, and this is the epitome of that. Cheap, easy, quick and nutritionally amazing.
This is one of my favourite dishes when I eat out (this is not a sponsored post). Poached runny eggs on a bed of kale and crispy bacon. It’s served with an avo and sprinkled with seeds and micro leaves. Eating out can be tricky, but it’s all about making good food choices. Notice the omelette in the background. Now what makes you think this family loves their eggs?
Just one final one, the humble egg muffin. Its super easy to make and one of the coolest ways to use up left overs (not that you will ever find leftovers in my home). Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a muffin baking tin by spraying with spray and cook. Chop up tomatoes, onions, chillis, mushrooms, chicken and bacon for example. Look, this is where you get creative and use whatever blows your hair back. Sprinkle a little of your ingredients into each cup. Then add some grated cheese. Beat your eggs, add some pepper and salt to taste (I add a touch of paprika to mine) then pour the egg mix into the muffin cups. I also add a touch of baking powder and cream to my mixture.
I seriously hope that I’ve given you some food for thought and I’m hoping that now you will be even more creative when cooking eggs.
An egg-ceptionally wonderful day for you Lovelies and happy cooking.
This self-declared Boss Lady of Meal Prep doesn’t just meal prep for herself, she does it for her kids as well.
Being a working-mom means that I’m a slave to the clock and time is pretty much never on my side. So meal prepping for the kids lunches saves me loads of time in the morning when all hell is breaking loose.
I’ve tried my best to keep it simple but my sons are like day and night, especially when it comes to their eating habits. My little one is indeed a picky eater and would rather starve himself before eating tomatoes, olives or cheese for examples. My eldest on the other hand is an absolute pleasure to make lunches for. He eats absolutely anything. All this means that I pack different lunch boxes for each child (yes this extra work is indeed self-inflicted).
Below is my standard list of lunch picks. All items listed below in blue are meal prepped on a Sunday afternoon. The key to success for me is to select at one item from each category listed below, keeping the specific dietary requirements of each child.
1. Main Course
In an attempt to reduce their carb intake, we aim for sandwich free lunch on most days. The rule however doesn’t apply on Fridays. Monday to Thursday Options:
Ham & cheese pinwheels
Beef or chicken kebabs
Bacon wrapped egg cups
2. Fruit or Veg
All the items listed below can be prepped in advance.
Bananas (we avoid this on super hot days as they spoil easily)
Power balls ( I make these on a Sunday during my meal prep)
Chocolate or yoghurt covered rice cakes
4. A Drink
Fruit infused water
Hot chocolate (in winter)
#PimpMyLunchbox game on point, so we are definitely ready to tackle the 2018 school year
A lifestyle change pretty simply meant changing the way I ate. It is after all 80% what you eat versus 20% exercise. Truth be told, I didn’t eat badly, granted carbs and sugars were my Achilles heel. I did however consume far more calories than my body needed. So I did some research to figure out the foods that would be more beneficial to my health and well-being and then came across the buzzword SUPERFOODS. Pretty much everywhere l looked and everyone I spoke to mentioned superfoods.
Definition of Superfoods
According to the Oxford dictionary Superfoods are nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
The Lovely World of Marketing
Superfoods are however somewhat subjective. There is no legal or medical definition for superfoods and they don’t have their own food group. As a result marketing companies world-wide have jumped onto the bandwagon and have made extensive use of the term. They are able to use the term SUPERFOODS to get more feet in the doors and improve their sales. Despite this fact, superfoods do have major health benefits so it’s a matter of knowing the details behind the so-called superfood in question. Superfoods should be as close as possible to their natural state.
What’s So Super about Superfoods
Superfoods are packed to the brim with antioxidants, minerals, polyphenols and vitamins. Eating them is a good idea as they may reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life. People who eat more superfoods tend to be healthier than those who don’t and in the struggle to lose weight and/or stay healthy, we can do with all the help we can get. So fill up on nutrient packed foods that can not only help flight disease, but also leave you feeling more energetic and even aid in weightloss.
While there is a long list of superfoods one can consume, here’s a breakdown of the superfoods always found in my kitchen :-
Almonds – are a great source of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. They make for the perfect snack and almond flour is the perfect alternative for healthy baking!
Avocados – are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, the good kind that is!
Beans & Lentils – eating more legumes (such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils) improved blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk for patients with type 2 diabetes. Legumes are a powerful weight-loss super food.
Bell Peppers – Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants. The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. I use the green, yellow and orange ones as well.
Blue berries– packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. I always keep a stash in the freezer just in case
Broccoli – has held the reputation for being the healthiest veggies because of its nutritional makeup. This superfood is loaded with fiber, antioxidants to fight cancer, and vitamin C to aid in iron absorption
Cauliflower – This super-power-packed veggie has plenty of benefits of its own. Part of the cruciferous family (including other superfoods like broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts), cauliflower includes plenty of vitamins and minerals, but its real power comes from cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates.
Chia seeds – are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds).
Coconut– Whether you eat the meat of the fruit, drink the water or milk, or use the oil, you can get some serious health benefits and even improve your appearance with this tropical food. One of the striking and unusual features of the coconut compared to other fruits is the amount of water it contains. This water has provided important hydration for people for thousands of years. In addition to the water in the young fruits, people have always eaten the meat, or the white part of the fruit.
Dark chocolate– The cocoa bean contains antioxidant flavonoids, insoluble fibre, magnesium and copper. The fibre helps lower cholesterol and may help reduce the rate of cancer as well as constipation. Magnesium helps soothe the nervous system and relax muscles. And while still inconclusive, studies are linking cocoa to slowing dementia because of the antioxidants and Vitamins E and B. The polyphenols found in cocoa have also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity that can lead to diabetes.
Eggs -Eggs are considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. They are building blocks for the body. Eggs contain nutrients that are believed to prevent heart disease: B6 and B12 vitamins, riboflavin, folate, and choline. Additionally, they contain lutein and zeaxanthin which help with eye health, as well as Vitamins A, D, and E, selenium, and iron.
Flax seeds – has been linked to reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes as well as reducing inflammation in those suffering from arthritis. Flaxseed has four great ingredients that give it its healthy reputation: essential fatty acids, lignans, flavonoids, and fibre. They curb stiffness and joint pain, lowering levels of depression, improving lung function in asthmatics by lowering inflammation, and improving mental and cognitive skills.
Garlic – Consuming garlic on a daily basis helps to lower cholesterol levels because of the anti-oxidant properties of Allicin. It is also immensely beneficial to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Greek Yogurt – this dairy product, which is different from regular yoghurt is a creamy, rich yogurt with less sugar, more protein, and a tart taste. The acidity also makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients.
Hot Peppers – In addition to capsaicin, chilies are high in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids, and contain about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. Almost any dish can benefit from small amounts of hot peppers.
Lemons & Limes – besides tasting delicious and providing my dishes with a light and fresh flavor, lemon has a wide variety of health benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. They are filled with large amounts of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. It boosts the immune system and increases overall heart health.
Mushrooms – are also great sources of protein, fibre, B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, minerals and selenium. They also contain some unique antioxidants, such as ergothioneine, which according to studies is a highly powerful antioxidant
Olive Oil – Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a major component of the Mediterranean diet. Populations from that region have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, compared with North Americans and Northern Europeans
Pomogranates – the benefits of this fruit in the edible seeds and the sweet-tart juice. Just one glass of pomegranate juice has the same polyphenol content as two glasses of red wine, four glasses of cranberry juice, or 10 cups of green tea. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Quinoa – is filled to the brim with a variety of nutrients including plenty of protein, potassium and fibre. This round seed is used as a grain or as a substitute for rice and is closely related to species such as beetroots and spinach. It’s gluten-free and high in essential amino acids!
Salmon – Like walnuts and flaxseeds, -salmon contains a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which research suggests can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Sunflower Seeds – reduces the risk for heart disease, helps to prevent cancer due to high antioxidant content and supports thyroid function through selenium. It also helps combat osteoporosis, bone loss, and muscle cramps. Sunflower seeds balance blood sugar levels and Helps Ward off Diabetes. Improves Skin Health.
Sweet Potatoes – are high in many important nutrients. They contain a good amount of fibre as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals. In addition to the nutrients above, sweet potatoes also contain riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium and iron.
Tomatoes – classified as a fruit (not a veggie), tomatoes have the ability to protect against prostate cancer including digestive tract, cervix, bladder, and lung cancers. Ironically, processed tomatoes play a key role in reducing risks.
On a final note, just remember that all SUPERHEROES need SUPERFOOD. So do your research and fuel your body with your favourite superfoods.
It’s mid-way into December and I have given serious thought as to how I’m going to survive the dreaded festive season. It’s the season to be jolly and festive which really means over-indulging while you socialise like there is no tomorrow. Constantly faced with the very temptations you were able to resist all year through, the festive season can easily set you back months of hard work. I’m going to be rather realistic about the festive season and keep things fairly simple. I have decided not to implement any new or drastic changes at the moment. It’s going to be a matter of maintaining as opposed to chasing goals and losing weight.
Here’s some simple yet effective ways to survive the upcoming festive season:-
1. Rest up!
Life is a rat-race that has us constantly striving to find more hours in a day. As each year passes we seem to have increased commitments, so why not use the holidays to catch-up on some much-needed R&R. Sleep in late and take those afternoon naps without feeling guilty. Switch off your phone and read a book instead. Try journaling and reflect on the numerous blessings bestowed upon you in the past year. Laze in a hammock and think of absolutely nothing. Whatever it may be that brings you that much-needed rest and helps you recharge your batteries, do it. Enjoy every single minute because you have certainly earned it.
2. Stick to your meal plan
The festive season is most certainly not a license to over-indulge every single day. The occasional “treat” is acceptable, but it is important to stick to your usual meal plan as far as possible. Start your day off with a healthy breakfast that will not only keep your sugar levels stable and hunger pains under control, but will also help you avoid those empty calories. Try to make healthier choices when eating out and limit those carbs and sugars. You really don’t want to undo all the hard work and effort you’ve put in during the course of the year.
3. Drink that H2O
Maintain that H2O level. It is so important to stay hydrated during summer. Drinking enough water will also keep you fuller for longer. Aim to drink a glass of water before each meal. Diet drinks, sugar-free fizzy drinks, fruit juices, milkshakes, tea and coffee should be consumed in moderation. Also try to drink 1-2 glasses of water after every alcoholic or caffeinated drink as this will prevent your body from dehydrating. Add lemon or fruit to your water to create your own infused waters and always keep a water bottle with you.
4. Continue to be active
As far as I’m concerned, being active is most certainly not restricted to the gym or a fitness class. You can be active anywhere and anytime, so there are no excuses. Now that it’s the festive season and you have more time on your hands (well most of us do), take your workouts outdoors and enjoy the beautiful summer days. Keep active at the nearest beach or park. Go for a hike or a swim. Try and keep to your weekly Parkrun for instance. Take the kids to the nearest Trampoline Park or Acrobranch and join in on the fun.
5. Healthy snacks
One of the biggest obstacles over the festive season is the constant snacking. It is therefore best to get your healthy snack game on. Make sure to stock up on healthy snack options that you can keep in your bag, car and home. This gives you easy access and you will always be prepared. Avoid after-dinner snacks like chocolates and biscuits.
6. Limit alcohol
Avoiding alcohol is not always the easiest of things to do over the festive season. If you do decide to drink alcohol, then find alcoholic options that are more forgiving on the waistline. Believe it or not there are healthier alcoholic drinks like light beer or wine; a margarita, Bloody Mary, vodka or whiskey on the rocks. Alternatively, drink your vodka or whiskey with water as opposed to cool drink. Always add ice to your drink and never mix your alcohol. Remember to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. Also try not to over-indulge. This will help you avoid horrible hangovers, possible embarrassing situations and those unwanted calories.
7. Portion control
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of portion control. Try to eat off a side plate as opposed to a dinner plate. Also stick to one helping of food as far as possible. When faced with a buffet, pace yourself and rather be a picky eater. Only eat the foods you really really love. It will help not to linger around or be too close to the buffet. Rather select the food you want and find a comfortable spot away from the buffet where you can enjoy your food. Also try to choose healthier options like fruits, veggies and protein.
8. Don’t beat yourself up Lastly, just remember that you are human. So, if you do over-indulge and fall off the wagon, a new year is just around the corner and you can set new goals and pick-up from where you have left off. Why not start the new year off with a detox?!?!
So my lovelies, there is no need to fear as there is hope after the dreaded festive season!
Pretty much a self-proclaimed title, but I do meal prep like a boss and I’m damn proud of it.
A year ago, I pretty much sucked when it came to planning my meals and basically ate on the fly. The nature of my job didn’t help much as I was always travelling, constantly finding myself in a car or an aircraft. I ate whatever I could get my hands on, which was mostly unhealthy food. I also over ate because l had no plan and didn’t track what l ate. Six months into this journey, I had read about meal prepping and thought that I should give it a bash. Now I can honestly say that I love my Sunday afternoon meal preps. It’s my day to reassess, refocus and set new goals for the week ahead. By the end of my two hours of meal prepping, I’m left feeling focused and ready to smash out another week of goals.
Meal preparation, better known as meal prep can mean different things to different people, so it’s a matter of figuring out what best serves you and makes your life easier. I meal prep for four meals per day for five days. Dinners are spontaneous as I need some spontaneity in my life. Some people however, just prep snacks or lunches. Irrespective of your type of meal prep, you will find that its saves you money and time, keeps you motivated and helps you achieve those goals.
Steps to Meal Prepping Like a Boss
Step 1 – Plan ahead
Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,”. It’s a rather harsh adage, but there is some truth in it. Planning is a far easier way to achieve your goals. It gives you the edge and serves as a constant reminder of what you have set out to achieve. Set some time aside to plan your meals according to your dietary requirements. Thereafter, make a grocery list so that you are prepared when hitting the shops. Make a point to ensure your meals are balanced and healthy, so that you load your body with plenty of yummy and wholesome goodness.
Step 2 – Right Tool for the Job
So you have now created your meal plan and finalised your grocery list, so now its time to check if you have your storage game on. I went through my cupboard to check what containers I had, but opted to buy a new set. This made stacking in the fridge much easier. Make sure your containers are compact; of a good quality and are airtight to keep in the freshness. I prefer smaller containers as I eat small portions throughout the day. Mason jars are great for storing breakfast parfaits, salads and snacks like power balls or nuts. I also use the snack size zip-lock bags to portion out my almonds and biltong for instance. Glass Pyrex dishes with lids are a better option if you are prepping bigger meals.
I use different equipment when cooking to speed up and make my meal process a lot more efficient. My air-fryer is probably the most used item in my kitchen, but I also use a stick blender, spiralizer and julienne strip grater. A kitchen scale and measuring cups are a must if you are super serious about meal prepping. Slow cookers, pressure cookers, rice cookers, and steamers can also be helpful during a meal prep, but are not items I use. I prefer keeping things simple and aim to complete my full meal prep within 2 hours maximum. A large oven tray is also extremely handy.
Step 3 – Hit the shops
So now that you are organised and prepared, its time to hit the shops to get the groceries you need for your meal prep. Don’t leave home without your grocery list, as this will keep you on track and curb the impulsive and unnecessary shopping. Stock up on fresh and organic items where possible. Keep an eye out for healthy alternatives for carbs and sugar. Just a tip – don’t go shopping on an empty tummy.
Step 4 – Routine is Key
I’m a creature of habit and thrive on routine. It’s also the key to successful meal prepping and goal smashing. I personally spend my Sunday afternoons cooking up a storm to prep my meals and snacks for the week ahead. Choose a day that best suits your lifestyle, so that you can establish a routine.
Fitlikemummy’s Basic Meal Plan
Breakfast (I alternate between the below choices):
Yogurt, berries and chia seeds.
Eggs (add some mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or avo to create variety)
Vegetable (low carb options)
Carbs (1 of the below only at lunch and no later than 2pm)
Brown basmati rice
Benefits of a Meal Prep
1. Saves you money
Despite popular belief, healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan correctly. Buy things in bulk and peel, chop and store in the freezer. By planning ahead and being prepared you will know exactly what you need to buy. No more shopping for unnecessary things. No more spur of the moment trips to the canteen at work or the nearest garage shop. The best part is that you will no longer be throwing food away because it spoils before you get to use it. When you meal prep, you make use of your ingredients for the week, and it is highly unlikely that you will have any leftovers.
2. Saves you time
I can’t emphasise enough how much time is saved with meal prepping. Granted, I spend a few hours to plan and prep all my meals. I however, don’t spend time deciding what to cook or heading out to the shops on a daily basis. There’s no time spent cooking dinner after a busy day at the office. Instead your time will be your own is my own and I can hit the gym and spend quality time with my family.
3. Grocery shopping will become easier
Once you know what meals you will be eating for the week and have compiled that grocery list, shopping will be a walk in the park. No more shopping for unnecessary items. Definitely no more finding yourself in the chips and sweets aisles, being tempted to buy unhealthy goodies.
4. You will master portion control and calorie intake
Meal prepping teaches you self-control and discipline. You put in the effort to ensure you have balanced meals. As a result you will better manage your portion sizes and calorie intake. If you want to lose weight and consume the right amount of nutrients, portion control is exceptionally important. You can still treat yourself from time to time, but then it will be on your terms.
5. Weight loss will be a sure thing
Planning your meals in advance is most certainly the key to successful weight loss. It’s an easier way to track what you have consumed and impulsive eating soon becomes a thing of the past. A well thought out meal prep routine allows you to control how many calories you are consuming daily, which is the perfect way to achieve your weight loss goals
6.Variety is key
Variety is most certainly the spice of life and if you are able to put thought into your meals ahead of time, it will become easy to choose from several different food group. Variety will help you stay motivated and on track. There are no limitations and this will spur on your creativity. So don’t forget to change it up and keeps things fresh and exciting.