Finger Lickin’ Chicken …

Finger Lickin’ Chicken …

In my opinion being organised and prepared is KEY to a healthy lifestyle so with this in mind, I thought I’d share a great tip for meals (and snacks) on the run.

I always try to incorporate some protein in every meal (including snacks.)  Protein is so helpful for weight loss and weight management!  We have been trained to think that if we don’t eat a good carbohydrate we will still be hungry, but it is protein that satisfies us and keeps us feeling  fuller for longer.  HOWEVER protein can be a tricky thing to incorporate in our busy schedules (it’s much easier to grab a piece of fruit or a packaged processed snack).  That’s why I make sure that we always have a supply of cooked chicken (bite sized pieces) in the fridge (or freezer) as it is a perfect and versatile protein to use.

I buy the Macro chicken stir fry strips, but chicken breast chopped up is just as good (always try for organic or free range chicken).  I season with a bit of salt, pepper and herbs (currently LOVING sumac!).  There are so many yummy spice blends on the market – check out the Herbies spice range!  Add a bit of garlic infused olive oil to a large pan and fry the chicken in batches until nice and brown.  (You can do 2 or even three packs at a time and freeze half if you are time poor during the week.)

Here are some great ways to use your chicken:

  1. It’s really yummy straight out of the pan on its own – a perfect snack!  ( a serve is about 100g) I like it with a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkling of chilli (great for the metabolism!)
  2. Chicken salad.  I mix some leafy greens (I love woolworths baby spinach and beetroot mix) with cucumber, capsicum, tomato, avocado, a tiny bit of feta and a sprinkling of chia or sunflower seeds.  Shake some olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing.  Delicious!  Apple Cider vinegar (make sure you buy the Braggs brand with ‘The Mother’) is well researched for it’s medicinal properties.  It aids our digestion of food and helps with bloating.
  3. Chop up and add to an egg white omelette with some red onion, spinach leaves, capsicum and mushrooms and a tiny bit of feta cheese.
  4. Throw it in a veggie soup to add some protein.
  5. And one of my favourite meals – my quick and tasty

    Toasted Chicken and Cottage Cheese Breakfast Wrap

This is one of our favourite breakfasts but would also make a great lunch!!!

You will need:

1 mountain bread wrap (mountain bread is the best thing ever, hardly any calories, all natural and so versatile.  I like using the spelt version which is new as I don’t love eating wheat, but the rye ones are also good.)

A handful of your pre-cooked chicken pieces

A tablespoon of cottage cheese

A quarter of an avocado

A handful of salad mix (again I love the baby spinach and beetroot mix from woollies)

A small tomato sliced

(anything else you fancy – Andrew likes capsicum and a drizzle of pesto, I like mushrooms, you can also use smoked salmon if there is no chicken on hand etc etc …)

To prepare:

Spread the cottage cheese and avocado on the mountain bread.  (Be gentle as they are very thin and break easily).  I like to mash my avo and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  Then add the other ingredients.

wrapuncooked

  Looking good (and so fresh no?) …

Finally, roll gently and toast for a few minutes in a sandwich toaster.

 

wrapcooked1And … Voila!!!!

It isn’t easy to eat with your hands so treat yourself to a knife and fork!
Such a great way to start the day!!!

Enjoy+ Add New Category

X
Alix

Handling Holidays …

I guess having just arrived safely home from a week at the snow with my family it is an appropriate time to share how we handle situations where food is taken out of our (my) control!

I’ve mentioned previously that over our 8 year journey Andrew and I have not suffered too much on the food/wine front!   We enjoy eating healthy food whenever we can but we also enjoy socialising and splurging every now and then – and I do truly believe that this is what has helped us in the long term.

When you embark on a lifestyle change, as we did, it is not a quick fix.  Yes the unwanted kilos should definitely and quite quickly start to shift (and stay away) if you clean up your nutrition and train efficiently, but it’s a change that you choose to make FOREVER so getting down in the dumps about falling off the wagon is something you have to stop doing!!!  Life is about balance – my father has always said ‘everything in moderation’!  Guilt will only work as a barrier against your goals.

Anyway, let me tell you, despite our best intentions, our trip to the snow was always going to be a tricky one to stay on track.  Thankfully our preference for good food leads us to choose healthy options without really thinking about it anymore, but there are times when you are on holidays that there just isn’t a healthy option!!!

It can be very frustrating when the only options for lunch are a greasy hamburger or pie and chips with gravy and you are STARVING because you have been hard at work skiing all morning!!!  Or you think you are choosing the healthy option at dinner only to discover that your salmon fillet is coated in a thick creamy sauce, which kind of completely defeats the purpose!!!   And I’m not going to even mention the fries that were served with every kids meal – not worth getting fat over but oh so hard to resist picking at …..  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and put it down to ‘holiday calories’ and not let it ruin your mood.  On a positive note, as I wolfed down the aforementioned greasy burger I actually couldn’t stomach the white bun after a couple of bites – interesting what our bodies get used to!!!  By the end of the week we discovered alternative lunch options such as a greek salad which we ordered with chicken breast – we felt better immediately!!!

Obviously, there are ways to avoid those holiday calories , we probably didn’t need to drink quite so much wine and we could have said no to the bread roll at dinner, but sometimes it’s just as good for you to put the regime on the backburner and enjoy spending quality time with your family without stress.  Stress plays a huge impact in weight retention – particularly around the tummy area so the less stress the better!!!

Andrew and I are lucky to have been on several holidays together since starting our weight loss journey. Each time, we inevitably put a little bit of weight back on, because we do let go of the reins a little (ok, a lot!), but the trick is to HOP STRAIGHT BACK ON THE WAGON the moment we get home!!!!

Last night we walked in the door at 5pm having been on the road with 3 kids 6 and under all day!  We were SHATTERED!  The easy option would have been to throw the kids in bed and order takeway – it was sooo tempting to just hit the couch without worrying about cooking dinner!  What actually happened was that I whipped up a shopping list, sent Andrew off to the supermarket while I started the immense task of unpacking and by 7.30 the kids were in bed and we sat down to a delicious meal of BBQ salmon, green salad and asparagus.  SOOOO much better!

Alarms were set for our tag team runs this morning, fridge is stocked with fresh fruit, veg, cooked chicken, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt and we are already feeling amazing!  It seriously does not take your body much time at all to get back into a routine it thrives on.  The holiday weight will hopefully melt away, and life goes on!!!

Life is too short to let holiday calories get you down!

I hope you enjoyed this post – Andrew really wanted to me to emphasise the importance of getting straight back on track.  If you did (enjoy the post!) don’t forget to get my blog straight into your inbox by clicking the ‘follow by email tab’ on this page!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

X
Alix

Spicy Lamb Mince

Spicy Lamb Mince

So it was Andrew’s birthday last week and I was all set to make him a healthy roast lemon chicken for dinner with roasted cauliflower, eggplant and steamed asparagus but he requested my Spicy Lamb Mince instead.

I have been making this lamb mince for years – used to serve it with risotto and toasted flatbreads – so many naughty carbs!!!  The way we eat it now it is just as delicious and much healthier served on a bed of mixed salad greens with a dollop of hummus (yummmmo).

In the unhealthier days Andrew’s requests would have been crumbed lamb cutlets fried up and served with fried rice, or  takeaway pizza, or a huge creamy pasta or a big burger with the works and fries undoubtedly followed by a big tub of ice cream!  For him to request this much healthier meal on his birthday as a celebration meal is an indication of just how far he’s come.

I have added diced eggplant to this recipe as we love eggplant and I am always looking for ways to bulk up a meal with veggies.  If you aren’t partial to eggplant just leave the whole eggplant process out – will still be delicious!

I usually double the recipe and freeze half – it’s a great alternative to takeaway to have on hand!

Please try it and let me know what you think – it is seriously yummy!

Spicy Lamb Mince

You will need

2 onions finely diced

1 eggplant

1 kg (2 pounds) Lamb mince

1tablespoon olive oil (I love using garlic infused olive oil for dishes like this)

3 cloves garlic (or 3 teaspoons crushed garlic – I love the spiral organic crushed garlic)

2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (can get this from Harris Farm,  or delis)

Salt

50 g (1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts

Bunch of fresh mint

Good quality store bought hummus (love the PilPel brand – just make sure there are no nasty additives …)

Bag of mixed salad greens (love the baby spinach and beetroot mix from Woolworths)

For the Spice Mix

1 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground all spice

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried mint

Preparation

Slice the eggplant lengthways and lay on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt (I use celtic sea salt for this kind of thing – don’t waste your murray river pink salt!)  Leave for about 10 minutes.  Once your eggplant has started weeping (see pic below) get some more paper towel and wipe the salt and the juices off.  Then cut into small cubes and set aside.

saltedeggplant

Heat up a large pot and add the olive oil.  Throw in the chopped onions and garlic.  Sprinkle some salt and sauté until transparent.  Add the eggplant and toss it with the onion and garlic until cooked through.  Add the lamb mince and mix together.  When cooked, throw in the spice mix and pomegranate molasses and cook until the flavours come together.

Toss through the toasted pine nuts and the chopped fresh mint and then it’s done!!!

Serve on a bed of salad greens, with a dollop of hummus.  It ain’t a pretty dish but it tastes AMAZING!!!!

Enjoy!!!

Top 10 things we have learned along our way …

We have learned so much on our journey so I thought I would sum up the top 10 things that have helped us and share them with you.  I will elaborate on these in the coming weeks and of course there is so much more information to share.  I do not claim to be an expert in nutrition, and I’m not qualified to give medical advice on such matters.  I am simply sharing with you what works for Andrew and I.

Here we go …

  1. Diet drinks are TERRIBLE!   Stop drinking them NOW!!!  When we started seeing the food coach Andrew was drinking up to 6 cans of diet coke per day – as soon as he cut it out he noticed a difference on the scales!!!!  Drink plenty of water or sparkling mineral water instead.  A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime in sparkling water is a refreshing alternative to those nasty chemicals which confuse your body, make you hungry and ultimately inhibit your weight loss. If there is one thing you ever take away from my ramblings it is this!!!
  2.  Sugar is the enemy.  When I was growing up we were always taught that fat was the problem when trying to lose weight but in fact good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts) in moderation are actually really good for you, sugar on the other hand causes lots of problems not least of all weight gain and is hidden in so many foods.
  3. Eat as cleanly as possible – check the ingredients of food you buy – avoid artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, flavour enhancers, SUGAR and sweeteners.   You will be surprised where you find these nasties …
  4. Enjoy a healthy breakfast every single day!!!  Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day – I have always found that eating a good breakfast results in better habits throughout the day.
  5.  Keep eating!!!  Not eating will not help you lose weight in the long term!  Starving yourself tells your body to hold onto everything in case it never gets food again!!!  Rather eat a good breakfast, a decent mid morning snack (containing protein preferably), lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner.  You will be less likely to feel hungry and your body’s metabolism will work more effectively.
  6. Move!!!  Whether it be a brisk walk, light jog, weights session, or a bootcamp your body will love to get moving.  I find it much more effective to exercise first thing for many reasons, but it really doesn’t make a difference when you train as long as you get moving!  Although at the end of the day most of your weight loss will come down to nutrition, the benefits of those feel good endorphins released when training will make you feel happier, healthier and more inspired to treat your body the way it wants to be treated!
  7. Preparation is vital to a healthy diet!  At the beginning of the week write down a food plan –what are you going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks?  When making healthy and delicious meals is it possible to make double and freeze half?  Having delicious home made meals ready to go in the freezer will save you from resorting to unhealthy takeaway at the end of a hectic day.
  8. Drink lots of water (ideally filtered)– at least 2 – 3 litres a day, especially if exercising.  Water is everything to our bodies, and you will notice a huge difference when you drink more water if you haven’t been drinking enough.  When we are dehydrated we feel tired, lethargic, hungry and unwell.  First thing in the morning drink a glass of water with some fresh lemon squeezed in.  It is a great detoxer and a refreshing energising start to the day.
  9. Avoid starchy carbohydrates after lunch.  Try and eat dinners that do not contain carbs such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread.  Instead load up on veggies and protein and you will notice a change super fast!  If you really feel like you need carbs at night swap the starchy carbs for low GI options such as sweet potato or legumes.
  10. Get enough sleep!!!  We need at least 8 hours sleep a day in order for our bodies to regroup and recharge and not getting enough sleep has been scientifically proven to negatively impact weight loss – with 3 young children sleep is golden in our house!!!

It’s also really important to concentrate on your goal – what is it that you are really seeking to achieve for yourself.  It’s much easier to work to specific goal than a vague idea of one.  Is it a pair of jeans you want to fit into, a special occasion coming up, an event you want to train for, your fat percentage?  Concentrate on working towards that and know that you can do whatever you set your mind to!!!

I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to your feedback, don’t forget to click on the follow tab so that you can follow me via email ….

Have  a great week everyone!

X
Alix

Healthy Entertaining – BBQ Salmon with Lentil, Haloumi and Spinach Salad

Healthy Entertaining – BBQ Salmon with Lentil, Haloumi and Spinach Salad

It’s hard enough to stick to a healthy eating regime when eating out at restaurants or at friends let alone when entertaining at home!

I love entertaining, and throughout our healthy eating journey Andrew and I have gathered lots of recipes and ideas for entertaining at home that are healthy,simple – yet really quite impressive and of course very yummy (remember I said that Andrew and I don’t like to suffer too much in the food department!!!).

A couple of weeks ago Judy Davie (The Food Coach) popped in for lunch.  She hadn’t seen us since Andrew had his operation.  I agonised over what to cook for our food mentor and decided on the recipe below.  The salad comes from a good friend of mine Robyn who runs Mimis Kitchen.  It is fabulously easy to make, goes beautifully with BBQ’d salmon (or chicken if you aren’t a fish person).

Most of the work is done in the oven (and by hubby on the BBQ) which leaves lots of time to chat to your guests rather than fussing about in the kitchen…

BBQ Salmon with Lentil, Haloumi and Green Spinach Salad

(serves 4)

You will need …

4 pieces of Salmon.  (I buy the Decosti’s Huon Salmon pre-packaged in the fish section of Woolworths for ease.  I like skin on, but skin off is obviously fine too).

1 Bag English Spinach Leaves

150-200g  Green Beans (topped and tailed)

1 Packet Haloumi (broken into bite sized pieces)

1 Tin Organic Lentils (drained and rinsed)

Sumac (optional but very tasty), paprika would also be nice …

Jar of good quality store bought pesto – better if found in the fridge section.

Dressing

Shake juice of 1 lemon, a splash of olive oil (2-3 TB) and a dollop of Dijon mustard in a jar with salt and pepper.

Preparation

Make a few cuts in the skin of the salmon, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put aside until ready to bbq.  (Andrew did these below – don’t they look great?!)

salmonscored

 

To make the salad, place beans and haloumi on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with pepper and sumac (or paprika) – don’t forget haloumi is quite salty already.  Bake in a medium oven for 15- 20 minutes or until the haloumi is deliciously golden.

When cooked, put the spinach in your salad bowl, scatter the lentils over the top and then finish of with the beans & haloumi.  Drizzle with dressing.

 

haloumiandlentilsaladTold you it was easy!

To BBQ the salmon, Andrew cooks it about 4 minutes each side (medium rare).  Serve Salmon with a dollop of pesto, wedge of lemon and the salad – delicious and very healthy!!!

salmonandhaloumiserved1

Enjoy!

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