17 articles Tag healthy

Date Night at Home – Healthy Snack Ideas

Now that we live in the middle of nowhere, a full-on night out with Husband has become something of a rarity. We’ve had to be a lot more inventive when it comes to spending quality time together  and one of our current favourite things to do is to stick some music on, cook together, prepare some healthy snacks and play some online casino games. There’s nothing like a few spins of a roulette wheel to get the adrenaline going and obviously winning makes it even better! We also love the fruit machines – it’s like being in a pub without having to leave the comfort of our living room! Eating healthily at the moment means we have to think outside the box when it comes to finding fun snacks which are also good for us, but we’ve come across a few lately which have become firm favourites.

Topped Rice Cakes

Topped Rice Cakes

When we think of rice cakes, we often think of a dry, uninspiring cracker with little flavour and even less pleasure. However, if you change the way you view rice crackers, you can start seeing them in a whole new light and a great way to do this is to add toppings! Peanut butter with desiccated coconut and dried cherries will take your boring crackers from gross to gourmet with very little effort!

Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

It may seem a little odd to suggest chocolate as a healthy snack, but you’re free to indulge if you make the RIGHT choices. For instance, a slab of Dairy Milk isn’t going to be a great choice as there’s a ton of added fat and sugar. However, something of the dark chocolate variety, preferable 70% cocoa solids or higher and you’re on to a winner.

Popcorn

popcorn

Okay, so popcorn which is slathered in butter or toffee obviously isn’t the way to go if you’re trying to keep things healthy. However, if you buy plain kernels which you then pop and season yourself, you’ll massively reduce your fat intake and take this snack to a new level. Sea salt is tasty, as is a little smoked paprika if you like a hit of spice. We’d also recommend sprinkling cinnamon and a little granulated sweetener for a low-cal sweet alternative.

Wasabi Peas

Wasabi Peas

Wasabi Peas are an excellent snacking option because not only are they low calorie, but they’re also packed with protein, which means you’re potentially helping to build muscle while you play! The spice isn’t to everyone’s taste, but there’s also research to show that spicy food releases endorphins, so you’re actively making yourself happier on a chemical level by indulging in this green delicacy!

Guacamole

Guacamole

We’re huge fans of guacamole here, and we’d happily eat it with just about every meal, but it’s also great as a dip and contains a whole load of the good fats that our bodies need to function well. Opt for a wholemeal cracker or wholemeal pitta slices as a guacamole-delivery-system rather than high-cal corn chips and you’ll also be getting a much needed hit of wholegrain in your diet, too. If you were interested in finding some lovely healthy snacks check out matcha powder from Clearspring.

Walkers Mighty Lights Review

When I opened the door to the postman this morning and he was standing there with a rather large box, I had no idea what might be inside. Little did I know, the contents would change my day.

As you may or may not know, I’m diabetic, and I’m being closely monitored at the moment to see how I’m processing sugar, which means following a low GI diet and testing my blood 5-6 times a day. As a person who is, shall we say, a bit of a carb addict, low GI basically means cutting everything I enjoy out of my diet, which includes crisps.

So, when I opened the mystery box and saw three multipacks of Walkers Mighty Lights inside, I was unsure of how to proceed. I decided that the best thing to do was check the sugar content, try a bag and then test my blood sugar an hour later to see if my sugars had spiked. If they were still high an hour later, I’d have to put them firmly on the ‘Do Not Eat’ list.

Walkers Mighty Lights

Sausage sampled a bag of the Cheese and Onion and I had Chicken and the flavours of both were exactly as you’d expect from regular Walkers Crisps of these flavours and the texture of the crisps was great too, giving plenty of crunch without shredding the inside of your mouth!

Sausage and I both really enjoyed the Mighty Lights, and one of the things we liked was that although they’re a healthier alternative to crisps, they don’t feel like a compromise. They don’t have the dry, flavourless aspect that a lot of low-fat snacks suffer from and one bag was satisfying to the snacking urge.

But, the real acid test was what they’d done to my blood sugar levels – would the Mighty Lights have made my blood sugar levels spike, or were they low GI enough to be okay for me to enjoy?

Well, I’m thrilled to say that my test showed 4.6mmols of sugar an hour after eating – anything below 7.8mmols is fine, so to be at 4.6 is absolutely brilliant! In fact, the plain version of the Mighty Lights only contain 0.2g of sugar per bag, a negligible amount, making these a brilliant snack option for anyone concerned about their blood sugar, or following a low carb diet.

There’s more too, as the folks at Walkers told us – “With 30% less fat than standard crisps, Mighty Lights are perfect for kids’ lunchboxes. They are tasty, ridged crisps that come in three flavours – roast chicken, cheese and onion and lightly salted. All the flavours are suitable for vegetarians, and are available in shops nationwide. They’re made from real potatoes with no artificial colours of preservatives-  and they’re a source of fibre.”

All in all, I’m really pleased that we had the opportunity to try these snacks. Whilst I won’t be making a habit of snacking while I’m being monitored, it’s really nice to know that there are things I can enjoy which won’t affect my health, and that I can feel confident about giving to Sausage too.

 

Cinco de Mayo with a Healthy Twist!

Last week, I got an email from the delightful ladies at BritMums, who had partnered up with Discovery Foods to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, asking if we’d like to try some of their range. For those who aren’t familiar, Cinco de Mayo literally means ‘5th of May’ and is, according to Wikipedia (oh, font of all knowledge…) ” a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride”

We’re huge fans of Mexican food in the Mum’s the Word household and we make fajitas quite regularly, but we’re on a health kick lately so I thought we’d try them with turkey. Lean turkey can contain less than 3% fat, which makes it healthier than chicken. We also added a couple of handfuls of chopped mushrooms which gives extra nutrition and bulks the mixture out, which means you effectively need less meat. We used a yellow and an orange pepper as they’re our favorites and they add an element of sweetness to the flavour combination.

Accompanying our fajitas was Discovery’s Soured Cream topping which really helped to cool things down for Sausage, who’s pretty good but not able to take a whole lotta heat, and some shredded lettuce. The perfect fajita!

The Discovery Fajita seasoning gave a lovely smokey flavour with a hint of heat and actually worked really well with turkey. We’re thrilled with the result of our experiment and happy to know that we can continue to enjoy a favourite meal but with a healthy twist. We’ve also been sent the Cajun Season and Sauce to try and I’m really looking forward to giving this a go. We may even use turkey again, so that we can enjoy it without diet guilt!

Can Cook, Don’t Cook

Food is something with which I have a complicated relationship but if I were to try and put it in a nutshell for you, it’d go something like this; I eat too much of it and I like all of the wrong things. That’s not to say that I don’t like healthy food, but I have this addiction to junk that probably goes way back into my childhood, when money wasn’t hugely abundant and things like KFC were a real, once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Now, the idea of takeaway still gives me a tiny, illicit spark which is ridiculous because a) I’m a grown up and b) I usually regret eating junk immediately after finishing the meal.

The thing is, I love to cook. I’m not saying I’m very good at it and I’ve probably had more disasters than successes in the kitchen, but for me, there’s nothing more satisfying than making something for my family which is nutritious and prepared with love. But, I do have a few problems in that area. See, while I consider myself a food-lover, I probably have a rather unsophisticated palette, which means that I don’t do much inventive or off-the-cuff cooking as I simply don’t know what goes with what. I lack the confidence to experiment and to be honest, a modest family food budget doesn’t really extend to celeriac-related accidents when I have hungry mouths to feed and a limited time in which to do it. Obviously, Husband cooks dinner too but we both work and it’s only fair that we share the load.

And there’s the other thing; that mother of all bitches – TIME. I now work until 5.30pm, which means on a good traffic day, I roll in between 5.45pm and 6pm. Sausage is on a medication for her asthma that can’t be taken until 2 hours after she’s eaten which means our window for dinner is relatively small if I want my 4-year-old to go to bed at a reasonable hour. This, again, limits me in terms of experimentation.

Despite all of this, something I heard on Food and Drink last night (does anyone else absolutely adore that show?) really resonated with me and that’s that involving kids in their meal preparations can really set them up to have a healthy relationship with food. If there’s one thing that I really don’t want Sausage to inherit from me, it’s my weight and food issues so, really, the crux of all of this is this:

Husband has bought me some beautiful cookery books recently and I plan to use them to learn how to cook with different ingredients and hone my skills in the kitchen, but I need to learn to cook healthy, well-balanced, time-moderate food which Sausage can get involved with and won’t break the bank, for our day-to-day lives.

I’m sticking a linky below. It’s just a one-off thing but if you have any recipes at all that you think fit the bill, I’d love it if you’d leave me the link. I need to make some serious lifestyle changes and if there’s one thing that the last few years has taught me about the blogging community, it’s that you’re a super helpful and supportive bunch.

Thanks.

Banana, Blueberry and Walnut Cake (It’s Healthy, Honest!)

I start my new job tomorrow so I wanted to do something nice with Sausage  today, but while we were getting ready to go out, the sky went black and didn’t fill me with much of a desire to go out and get tiddled on, so I suggested we do some baking instead. The trouble is, I’m trying to lose weight, so I had to find something vaguely healthy for us to make. My friend Kerry (And Then All I Thought About Was You) mentioned that the Slimming World banana cake recipe was nice and low-fat, so I found it online and decided to experiment by adding a few things. It also uses sweetener rather than sugar which, as a diabetic, makes it perfect for me. Here’s the recipe:

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2012

I started to write a post about how rubbish 2011 was and about all of the negative things that have happened, when I stopped myself. If there’s one thing that the last year has taught me, it’s that I’m grateful for every day that passes and that we’re lucky just to be here. So I thought I’d write a little post about what 2012 represents to my past, present and future.

  •  This month marks 6 years since I left home and moved in with my friends. The first time I ever really struck out on my own and became a grown up!
  • I met Husband in February 6 years ago and so much has happened in that time.
  • I was just doing my sums and this year will mark SEVENTEEN years since I started secondary school and eleven years since I left – how can this be?!
  • April will be time for us to decide whether we’re going to stay on in our current house, or look for somewhere new. Either way, we won’t be going far as we want to stay in this catchment area. It’s also two years since we got Happy, our hamster.
  • May will be the month that our friends have their new baby, a second little man added to the family. We can’t wait to meet him!
  • June will be my 28th birthday and rather than the gripping fear that I’ve had in previous years about getting older and that much closer to the big 3-0, I’m relishing the thought of enjoying every birthday that I’m fortunate enough to have.
  • Husband’s birthday is in July and although he doesn’t like to celebrate, Sausage and I like to make a fuss of him.
  • August is a big month for our family, 2012 will be six years since Husband and I got married, which falls the day after Sausage’s 4th birthday!
  • I cannot quite believe it, but Sausage will be starting school this September and I reckon my little bright spark is going to well and truly flourish in an academic environment.
  • October will be six years since we got Chuck and will be his 8th birthday. He may still be a bit rough around the edges (like trying to make love to any guests we have in the house), but he’s the best dog we could ever have hoped for.
  • October will also be the 2nd anniversary of Mum’s the Word, two years of blogging completed!
  • November and December will be the same flurry of Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year festivities and I plan to do a lot more baking and partying in 2012!

I’m also looking forward to starting a much healthier life in 2012, along with starting a new module of my degree in a completely different subject than I’ve studied before, as well as much saving for our Disney trip and hopefully getting our new car and doing a lot of visiting and day-tripping. Oh, and I also have several tattoos planned this year too…

I’m exhausted already!

What do you have planned for 2012? Oh, and Happy New Year everyone!

Healthy Size?

I’ve been vocal in the past about my problems with my weight (for explanation of said problems, refer to this simple formula: Lazier than a sloth + Appetite of a blue whale = Arse like a hippo). Husband says I’m too hard on myself and that my self-criticism is too much, especially around Sausage, but I just like to think that I’m realistic. I can’t bear it when people who are overweight claim that the have no idea why they’re overweight. It makes me want to shout. It’s not difficult, if you eat too much and don’t move enough, you WILL GET FAT. That’s not to say that I judge people for being fat. I’m fat, I’m just not claiming to be in the dark about how I got here.

While I was out shopping today, rummaging through the sale rail in New Look, I heard a voice say “Excuse me, have you got this in a healthy size?”. I turned around to see a lady of about my age, probably about 6′ tall and clearly on the higher end of the plus size section. The sales assisstant asked her to repeat herself and she said again “Have you got this in a healthy size? You know, a size to fit a lady like me?”

Now, while I salute people for having confidence and self-love, I think this is actually very destructive. This woman was obviously very confident and happy in her own skin, but who in the world told her that being fat was healthy? There’s nothing wrong with being overweight, if you know the risks involved, just like smoking, drinking, etc. You’re an adult. If you want to fuck up your lungs/liver/pancreas, go right ahead, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that this is a healthy way to be.

I don’t think this woman should be criticized for being happy to be overweight, but this message that you can be fat and healthy at the same time is just downright wrong and quite frankly, dangerous.

As Sausage grows up, I’ll be encouraging to love herself for who she is and to be happy with her appearance, but I certainly won’t be teaching her that it’s okay to be fat. While I’d never want her to suffer the perpetual cycle of dieting that so many women live by, shouldn’t we be teaching our kids what healthy actually means?

What do you think?