What have you been putting into your shopping basket lately?
Having recently moved to Dublin city from Letterkenny, it can be quite hard to fight temptation on a weekly basis. Five Guys, Eddie Rockets, Dominoes and some of the best independent restaurants going. I am spoilt for choice. Talk about first world problems. Somehow, my mother’s homemade dinners back home have taken a back row seat. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to indulge every so often. I eat as clean as I can Monday to Friday, while getting 4-5 days in the gym and then I enjoy my weekend. Possibly treating myself to some of the above.
But how do I possibly survive those gruelling weekdays of clean eating? It’s not that gruelling by the way. Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. If you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you have some interest in your nutrition and diet, you want to feel good. I love feeling good, and these foods ensure I maintain that good feeling.
Now that I work for a health and fitness company, I’ve become more educated in nutrition and healthy eating. I knew the basics before, but when we educate ourselves in why we should eat the foods we’re told to and how they benefit our bodies, you become a lot more motivated to eat them for your long term health and well being.
These are 8 healthy foods that I now put in my basket on a Sunday evening, and I recommend they should be in yours too, and I’ll explain why in a nutshell.
To start things off, it’s important to have a healthy breakfast to kick start your metabolism for the day. Oats are the foundation of my overall diet. Essentially, they are a slow digesting carbohydrate. Meaning that they will slowly provide you with energy throughout your day. Compare this to a fast digesting cereal that may give you a quick buzz of energy early on but come 12pm you will hit that wall. If you’re not that into oats, then other great alternatives are granola or muesli mixed with fruits.
Oats will equip you with the energy needed for all your daily activities, work & exercise. Try having your oats with some sliced banana or blueberries, mix things up with some 100% pure squeezy honey or maple syrup. Now that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
2. Free Range Egg’s
Sticking with the theme of morning gowns, black coffee and bushy hair, free range eggs are a fantastic way to start your day. They are full of protein and make you feel fuller for much longer.
In my opinion, you must go with free range eggs compared to regular eggs. Those free ranged chickens produce this dark orange yolk that you just don’t get with those regular grocery chicken eggs. The yolk is in fact high in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) but it won’t negatively affect your blood cholesterol.
What I find great about using free range eggs is the fact that you can literally have a different breakfast or lunch every day using them. How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine scrambled, poached, boiled or in an omelette. Compliment with a healthy brown slice of low carb bread, a spread of avocado, salt and pepper. Very hipster, but best believe you are ready for your day.
One of the more popular fruits, banana’s taste amazing and are extremely healthy. They are packed with vital nutrients such as Potassium, Vitamin B and fibre. Meaning they are great for your digestive system. You can add sliced bananas to your oats, toast or rice cakes to mix things up.
They are excellent early in the morning, afternoon or right after your workout. Post workout, they can aid in recovery as they replace nutrients and prevent post-workout inflammation. What you might not know is that bananas also help to relieve hangovers! Alcohol can suck the potassium right out of us when we have a few too many, This depletion in potassium is one of the reasons we may feel sick the next morning after a night of drinking alcohol. Bananas also contain magnesium, which calms blood vessels and is known to ease headaches in some people.
Forgotten by many, Kiwi’s taste amazing and are great for your immune system. Fun fact for the day, did you know there is more vitamin C in a Kiwi than an orange? I know, madness. This little fruit is full of fibre, meaning that it makes you feel fuller than you are and as a result they are a great low-calorie snack, making them perfect for weight loss.
Only recently have I rediscovered the kiwi. If your feeling adventurous try and eat the skin. Not my kind of thing but apparently that’s where most of the fibre is. I feel like I should be stranded on an Island with Tom Hanks when I’m shovelling into one. A solid 10/10 fruit.
5. Fresh Salmon
One of my favourites, Fresh Salmon is considered an oily fish. This means that it is loaded with essential fatty acids and healthy oils. It’s a great protein option that is both tasty and light.
When you think on a wild salmon, you think of an athletic, strong and powerful fish packed full of lean protein. Think about how good it must for your body to consume the nutrients they carry as they make their way up stream.
They are essentially out there hustling and if you decide to include salmon in your diet at least twice a week, you will be hustling too.
6. Fresh Chicken Breast
The most popular meat, fresh chicken breast is the most trusted source of lean protein you can get. This meat is both healthy and inexpensive. Of course, how you decide to prepare this meat when cooking will determine how healthy is really is. I would recommend cooking chicken in an oven or grilling on a frying pan with mixed vegetables.
You really can’t go wrong with a diced chicken stir fry with mixed peppers, onions, white rice and a few helpings of soy sauce. Seasoning is your best friend with chicken. I normally go for Cajun & garlic seasoning but its entirely up to you how you dress it up. Remember to keep it healthy when your looking to add flavour to your chicken breast,try to avoid sauces from a jar which are both full of calories and full of sugar.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Both normal potatoes and sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious, but sweet potato is significantly healthier and better for you. Sweet potato is a great carbohydrate. This vegetable is a rich source of fibre, which is great for your digestive system and it is suggested that sweet potato offers more vitamins and antioxidants than its close brother the white potato.
To neutralise cravings on weekdays, I like to make thin sweet potato wedges as a side once or twice a week. Simply cut a couple of sweet potatoes into very fine wedges to speed up cooking, season with paprika (loads of paprika), plant them in the oven for 30 minutes and you have yourself a tasty alternative to chips.
Last but certainly not least we have greens. How important are greens? Well you should have a healthy serving of greens at least once a day. Greens not only are full of iron, but they can help you maintain or lose weight when you use them as a substitution for other foods and apparently, they can make you look younger.
Personally I go for spinach. Its convenient and cheap. You can literally throw it into most dishes. I like to use spinach in an omelette (using free-range eggs of course), in a stir fry or simply on the side of my dinner.
It is also suggested that spinach can make you strong. “Strong till the finish cause you eat your spinach”.
Vinny Pyper – Marketing Co-Ordinator