Tuesday, 31 May 2011



It has been well documented on here that I don’t eat meat, just fish and all kinds of vegetarian stuff. However, meat definitely has its benefits (when cooked the right way and choosing the right kind of meat) and I do cook it often for my husband. I refuse to cook things like chicken nuggets or cheap beef patties. You don’t need to eat meat for every meal, every day (that isn’t healthy), so when I do cook meat, I can justify buying better quality meat to make a healthy and tasty meal. Apart from not wanting to subject my husband’s taste buds to frozen, processed, breaded “chicken”, it is not cook for his health and that is something I am always mindful of. I only cook lamb and beef on occasion, because it is not the healthiest, so the meat I cook the most is turkey. I think it is rally versatile as well as being cheap.

One of the great things about turkey is that it is a good source of protein. As well as being full of vitamin B6 and B12, it is also low in fat, so it can be a good substitute for higher fat meat, like beef. It has been shown to lower cholesterol when replaced for other meats.

Being a low carb food, it can help regulate your blood sugar levels. Served alongside healthy carbs, it is a great meal choice for meat eaters.

Most foods seem to contain something that combats cancer recently, and turkey is no different. It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which is needed by the immune system cells (T cells) that kill cancer cells.
Turkeys are not renowned for their happiness, but eating turkey can be a mood enhancer. Turkey is one of the best protein foods that increase serotonin levels, which can improve your mood.

As always, it goes without saying, the physical health of the turkey before it was slaughtered makes a significant difference in the nutritional content of it. Try to buy organic and free-range.

I have come up with a couple of recipes that use turkey as an alternative to beef and lamb. Turkey does not have as much flavour as these other meats, as it has less fat and the majority of the flavour is in the fat. However, you don’t just have to rely on fat to get flavour. Adding some extra herbs and spices is a great way to add flavour without adding to your weight.

Turkey meatballs – serves 2
You could make these as burgers rather than meatballs if you want, just make them into flat patties rather than balls.

-          - Half a pack of turkey mince
-          - 20g porridge oats (this might seem strange, but it is a replacement for breadcrumbs which is used to bind    the burgers. They are much healthier than breadcrumbs and make no difference to the taste.
-          - 6 slices of jarred jalapeƱos or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
-          - Half an apple, grated
-          - Half an onion, finely chopped
-          - 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
-          - Pepper to season

1)      1) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

2    2) Make them into meatball shapes and put in the fridge for 30-60 minutes
3)      3) Gently brown them on a griddle or George Foreman for a couple of minutes each side and then put them in the over at 180C for 30 minutes.
4)      4) Serve with whole-wheat spaghetti and a home-made marinara sauce (I will blog this recipe another time)

Turkey moussaka – serves 2
Whilst most Greek people would have a fit at a recipe for a traditional Greek dish that uses turkey instead of lamb, it makes the dish lower in fat and it is just as tasty. If you want to turn it into a bit more of a treat, you can sprinkle for feta cheese on top, but I think it is creamy enough without it.

-          - Half a pack of turkey mince
-          - Half aubergine
-          - Half a potato, peeled
-          - 1 onion, chopped
-          - 6, finely sliced
-          - 1 tin of tomatoes
-          - 1 teaspoon of paprika
-          - 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
-          - 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint
-          - 300g 0% fat traditional, thick Greek yogurt
-          - 2 eggs

1)      Slice the aubergine and potato, spray with oil and cook in the over at 200C for 25-30 minutes
2)      Meanwhile, heat some fry-light oil in a pan and brown the onion and mushrooms. Add the mince and allow to brown, stirring occasionally.
3)      Add the tin tomatoes, paprika, coriander and mint and stir well. Allow to gently simmer for 10 minutes.
4)      In a bowl, whisk the eggs and then stir in the yogurt until a smooth sauce has formed.
5)      The aubergine and potato should be ready now. Take them out of the oven and put a layer of aubergine at the bottom of an oven dish.
6)      Cover the aubergine with the turkey mixture
7)      Top the turkey with the remaining aubergine and then layer the potato on top.
8)      Cover it all with the egg and yogurt mixture
9)      Put the dish in the over at 180C for 30 minutes or until it starts to brown.
10)   Serve with a big salad and some olives.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

How to enjoy a holiday without undoing all your hard work

Hello there!
Well, I haven't updated at all during May, but I have been rather busy. I am now married, finally! And it really was the best day of my life. The wedding was my big incentive to look good, but just because it has past, does not mean I am going to go back to my old, unhealthy, ways.
After a wedding follows the honeymoon. We can't go on our real honeymoon until September, but we still felt it was important to have a few days away to spend time together, so we went to Ibiza for a week.

For most people, an upcoming holiday (or vacation if you are an American reading this) is usually a big incentive for eating better and toning up. We work so hard at the gym for weeks and weeks before our holiday so we can look good on the beach, only to undo all our hard work during the week we are there by eating and drinking too much and not moving enough.
With that being said, this is your holiday. This is your time to relax and enjoy yourself. You don't want to force yourself to be in the hotel gym for 2 hours a day and eat salad for every meal. You can still enjoy yourself and indulge, and so you should, just be mindful of what you are eating and drinking, so you don't come home and have to spend months working off one week of gluttony.

With just a few small changes to your usual holiday schedule (beer, ice cream and not moving from your sunbed unless it is for more ice cream) and following the tips below, you can still enjoy the usual holiday treats and come home feeling and looking just as good as your did before you left. Or at least only 1lb heavier, rather than 10lb.

  • Eat at home before you get on the plane - Most people start their bad holiday eating habits before they even arrive at their destination. Airports are full of bad choices like fast food and fat filled sandwiches. Either take your own food to the airport, or for shorting flights, you can eat at home before you leave and you won't need to eat again until you arrive. Also pack some healthy snacks like nuts, seeds and fruit in case you get hungry on the flight, so you are not tempted by the overprices and tasteless sandwich or a pot of pringles.Also avoid ordering an in flight meal - they are unhealthy and don't even taste nice.  
  • Drink lots of water - Chances are, you are going to be having your holiday in a hot country. This means your body will require more water than it would at home in the cold. Your body often confuses hunger for dehydration, so when you start craving yet more food, have a bottle of water and wait 20 minutes to see if the hunger pangs go away. Keeping hydrated will also keep your skin looking great, which will go well with that tan you will be coming home with. 
  •  Avoid fizzy drinks as much as possible - Fizzy drinks are full of sugar and are just wasted calories. You will be drinking because you are thirsty, so during the day, stick to water to keep you hydrated and save the fizzy drinks for the mixers to your vodka later that night. Diet drinks are no better either.
  • Sightseeing is a workout too - Grab a guide book, get off that sunbed and go explore the area you have traveled on holiday to. If there is a castle on top of a hill, go hike to the top of it. The view alone will be worth it, and your legs will thank you for it too. Whilst on holiday, try to walk everywhere. You will get to see lots of new places, get some fantastic photo opportunities and you will burn off lots of calories so you can treat yourself a little bit more.
  • Make use of the hotel pool and the sea - Swimming is a fantastic workout and with most hotels abroad having a great pool, you should make the most of it. As well as being a great way to cool down after sitting out in the sun, doing 20 minutes in the pool each day will compensate for that 10th cocktail you had the night before. As well as swimming, buy some inflatables for the pool and have fun. Jumping on and off of an inflatable crocodile and having an inflatable lilo battle with your friends has to burn off some calories!
  • Try new sports - Chances are, there will be lots of opportunities to try new activities whilst on holiday that will definitely help burn off a few calories. Are there water sports available at the beach, like surfing, windsurfing or canoeing? Has the hotel organised volleyball or tennis matches? Get involved!
  • Don't overdo it on the ice creams - The first thing I think of when the weather turns warm (apart from applying lots of sun lotion, of course) is ice cream. Magnums, feasts, basically anything on a stick and covered in chocolate. Whilst you should satisfy that craving on holiday and enjoy a treat, be careful not to overdo it. It is easy for eat 4 or 5 of those a day on holiday, especially if you are all-inclusive. It's hot and you are thirsty and you think an ice cream is the perfect thing to help that. At around 300 calories each, it can soon add up. Water will cool you down much more, but if you really want something cold and sweet, go for a fruit juice based ice lolly instead. You will save so much fat and calories that you won't have to burn off when you get home.
  • Be careful of the buffet - If you have meals included at your hotel, there will most likely be a buffet. Follow the tips from my previous post (http://hungryhealthyandhappy.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-eat-healthily-at-buffet.html) on how to eat healthy at a buffet. Chances are, the food will be a little different to what you are used to eating at home, so the desire to want to try all the new things can be tempting and lead you to eating 7 plates piled with food each meal. There is also the need to "get your moneys worth". This is a false economy for you, as you will just spend more money going to the gym when you get back.
  • Try to maintain your usual routine - If at home you usually have 5 small meals rather than 3 bigger meals each day, try to stick to this. Changing that routine will confuse your body and could lead to it storing fat. You body will also be used to functioning on this eating schedule. Also, if you do 20 minutes of yoga when you wake up, try to fit that is still. It isn't going to majorly cut into your holiday time, and your body will thank you for it when you get home.
  • Be realistic - You will most likely have been really strict in the weeks leading up to your holiday to ensure you will look your best in that bikini and you may think that you will be able to be that strict whilst on holiday, and not indulge in any treats. Loosen up and allow yourself to enjoy a few extra treats, just in moderation. If you convince yourself you can eat exactly the same foods as you do at home whilst you are holiday, you will not be prepared and when faced with all the holiday delights, you could end up eating more than you would have done. Be realistic - it is your holiday and you deserve to eat some of the foods you have been craving.
  • Make the most of all that fresh food - Being in a coastal resort means lots of fresh fish. Make the most of it and enjoy it with a big salad. Also take the opportunity to sample local fruits and vegetables you might not have at home.
  • Hide the mini-bar key - That handy little fridge in your room is not your friend. Apart from being insanely over priced, it is full of tempting chocolate and alcohol you could end up eating, just for the sake of it.
  • Choose your indulgences carefully - You are going to splurge, that is a given, so choose wisely. Make sure what ever you are treating yourself too, is something you really want. There is no point going over your calorie allowance for something you didn't overly enjoy, just because it was there.
  • Limit alcohol intake  - This is the one most people find difficult. You are on holiday and that most likely means getting pretty drunk most nights. Again, if you are all-inclusive, you can end up drinking for 12 hours each day. You don't need to do this. Even just have 3 or 4 drinks a day will ensure you get your moneys worth and won't do too much damage to your health. If you are going to drink, as always, try and make healthier choices. Avoid beer or sugary cocktails and go with vodka and fresh fruit juice, or soda water. Enjoy them in moderation.
The most important thing is to relax and enjoy yourself. Chances are, unless you get ill, you won't lose weight whilst on holiday. But, it is possible to maintain or only put on a couple of lbs. Just make a few healthy changes, don't eat for the sake of it, and stay active with fun activities. Don't beat yourself up if you get home and have gained weight. Just look back at your holiday photos and remind yourself what a good time you had, and then get yourself back into a healthy routine and start preparing for the next holiday.