Oh food…

As someone who lives to eat rather than eats to live, a page dedicated to food was an absolute given! (There’s a cursory nod in the direction of exercise, too…)

Healthy Swaps and Tweaks!

As my mission to eat healthily and lose a few pounds continues, I’ve made a few more swaps and tweaks when it comes to food.

Cutting out entire food groups or obsessively calorie counting is unsustainable for me, but swapping one food for another or tweaking a meal is easy (and can be quite fun…!)

Hopefully these will inspire you 🙂

Eat porridge or eggs for breakfast

Instead of my usual breakfast of branflakes mixed with muesli, I’ve switched to either 45-50 grams of porridge with half a banana and a pinch of cinnamon, or two scrambled eggs with a handful of mushrooms.

I make my porridge on the hob, using water and a splash of milk, but you could microwave it if you prefer. For a creamier texture, opt for milk instead of water, and if you get bored with banana and cinnamon, you could shake things up a little with a spoonful of honey, mixed berries, or a little bit of cocoa powder.

Of course, scrambled eggs and mushrooms call for a little extra prep, but the protein in the eggs will keep you feeling more full than a sugary breakfast cereal, so it’s definitely worth it. Again, I do mine on the hob, but you may prefer to microwave yours. Spinach leaves work well with eggs too, and one slice of granary toast won’t do you any harm if you feel you need it!

Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes

For me, this isn’t a hardship at all!

I love the taste of sweet potatoes, and wedges made with sweet potato are especially delicious when seasoned with thyme or paprika.

If you’re having a roast dinner, try roasting a few sweet potatoes with your usual white ones. (Just be aware that they cook a bit faster, so will have to be added once the white potatoes have been in for a while!)

Make your takeaway a little healthier

S and I love fish and chips, which is highly dangerous as there’s a fish and chip shop just around the corner.

To make myself feel slightly better about this meal, I cook peas to go with it. Not only does this add a healthy element to an otherwise pretty unhealthy dinner (apart from the protein in the fish, of course) but putting peas on the plate first means that there is limited room for chips!

Also, rather than have individual portions of chips to ourselves, S and I started sharing a large portion, and have now downsized to a medium between us! (For someone who loves chips as much as I do, this is quite an achievement…!)

Think of the nourishment

Having just finished a book which teaches the importance of developing a healthier relationship with food rather than jumping from one fad diet to the next, I’ve started to think about whether the food I’m craving is going to nourish me or not. More often than not, it isn’t, and I’ll have something else instead.

Of course, sometimes I eat it anyway, but being mindful has really helped with my tendency to overeat ‘naughty’ things.

The book is called This Is Not a Diet Book and is by Bee Wilson.

It’s a very interesting and helpful guide for anyone who feels they have an unhealthy relationship with food, (and it’s small enough for your handbag!)

How to spend less!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself popping to the shops for milk and coming home with a whole load of food you don’t need. Or, you think you’re being frugal but are actually spending ridiculous amounts of money a week on food.

I’ve made a real effort to spend less money recently and I’m here to save you from yourself with a few tips!

Buy reduced food and freeze it

I can spot a reduced sticker a mile off, and will hunt down the reduced section in every supermarket I enter.

The best food to buy reduced is meat or fish, which you can immediately freeze and defrost for a weekday dinner, and bread items. The bottom shelf of our freezer is reserved for reduced granary loaves, breakfast muffins and crumpets, which I get out in the morning so that they’ve defrosted in time for those post-lunch, pre-dinner hunger pangs.

On the subject of freezers…

Consider frozen over fresh

Obviously there are benefits to eating fresh fruit, but consider keeping a bag of frozen mixed berries in your freezer. I take a portion out in the morning and by the evening they’re ready to be added to greek yogurt for a guilt-free pudding. Or, if you get some out the night before, you can add them to your porridge or muesli in the morning. This is a much cheaper way of keeping healthy berries in the house, as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are expensive fresh (plus they don’t last very long!)

Plate up enough and save the rest

When you’re making dinner, make a real effort to only plate up enough for that meal and save the rest. You could have the leftovers for lunch the next day, or save them for another dinner. S and I have got into the habit of freezing leftover bolognese and having it with jacket potatoes later in the week 🙂

Get baking!

As I’ve said before, baking from home is a great idea. Not only are you in control of the ingredients, but it’s cheaper! My teabread lasts us the whole week, meaning we don’t have to panic-buy cake bars or chocolate when we’re craving sugar. (Although sometimes we do anyway…)

Stick to your list

Although I’ve admitted that I’m a sucker for a reduced sticker, unless there are meat or bread items that can be frozen, try to buy only what you went in for. There will always be deals on in supermarkets, and it’s important not to buy things just because they’re slightly cheaper. Plus you don’t need a beaten-up can of Coke or five mini sausage rolls. (Honestly, you don’t…)

Read the labels

Before I met S, I would just buy the item with the lowest price, but he taught me to look at the labels on shelves to see what is cheapest per 100 grams (etc). For example, it’s better value to buy dried fruit by the kilogram, even though the smaller bag is (obviously) cheaper. This is the case for lots of food items.

Tips for maintaining a healthy weight when living with your boyfriend

The truth is, I’ve gained around half a stone since S and I bought a house together.

I know it’s ‘happy weight’ and has crept on because I’m content with my boyfriend (and comfortable enough with him to eat like an absolute horse at times) but that doesn’t mean I’m ‘happy’ about it!

So, I’ve made a few changes in an effort to stop myself gaining even more weight, and thought I’d share them…!

Have a ‘treat tin’

Keeping treats in a tin in the cupboard means that when S is merrily working his way through a slab of chocolate, I’m able to resist; safe in the knowledge that I can have a treat of my own when I actually want it, and don’t have to compete with him. (This only works if your boyfriend knows the tin of goodies is yours, by the way!)

Make sweet things from scratch

I’ve taken to making teabread every week, as it’s fat-free and the dried fruit makes it sweet enough without needing extra sugar. There are plenty of recipes online, or you could get yourself a  book of recipes which use less sugar and fat than standard baked treats and test a few out. S got me this one for Christmas, and the flapjack is amazing:

Pay attention to recommended portion sizes

Just because you’ve allowed yourself a ‘treats tin’, doesn’t mean you can stuff yourself silly (unfortunately). For example, I’ve got a sharing-size bag of Mini Eggs in my tin at the moment, but when a chocolate-craving hits, I’m only going to have the recommended serving size.

Also, consider buying a portions plate. I referred to this in my previous post and admitted that I tend to abuse it a little, but it’s well worth trying to stick to it. If you’re anything like me, even though your portions are (hopefully!) smaller than your boyfriend’s, they’re probably still too large.

Remember that exercise-wise, every little helps!

Silly things like doing squats whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or planking during adverts on TV are all good! I’m also a huge fan of the 10 Minute Solutions dvds, of which there are LOADS! I’ve included links to the ones I’ve got, and would recommend starting with ‘Target Toning for Beginners’, as it really gets you working without being too challenging (plus it’s less than £2.00!) And if money is an issue when it comes to keeping fit, remember that walking and running are free!