5 healthy eating tips and the rise of courgetti!

zucchini_noodle_soup

With the weather heating up and bikini season soon approaching, I wanted to share some of my healthy eating tips and tricks and a recipe using my new spiralizer!

Eating a healthy diet isn’t brain science, it’s just about achieving the right balance of protein, fat, carbs and minerals and making sure to exercise regularly. As long as you’re in-the-know about what you put on your plate and in your mouth, there’s no need for fad diets and detoxes. Here are 5 tips to help you banish the bulge without having to eat like Bugs Bunny.

1) Read the label 
Do you read food labels? Well it’s time to start. With processed foods filling our cupboards how do we really know what we’re putting inside ourselves? It’s not good enough to just look at the calorie count, sugar and fat content figures are just as important and can sometimes surprise you. Just because food has a ‘healthy’ label on it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice. For example, a 500ml bottle of Volvic Touch of Lemon & Lime has 116 calories and 27.6g sugar, which is equal to around 7 teaspoons.

2) Fat free = sugar laden
Another fact that may surprise you is that many ‘fat-free’ products are filled with sugar. A 150g Yeo Valley Family Farm 0% fat vanilla yoghurt has 20.9g of sugar in it (five teaspoons) and with only 120 calories overall, you’re easily tricked into thinking it’s a good choice. Now there’s no surprise that those calories are, largely, just sugar!

3) Keep a food diary
Do you really know what you’re consuming each day? Chances are that secret snacking and mindless munching whilst preparing dinner could be what’s clocking up those pounds on the scales. Keeping a food diary is an easy way to monitor what you’re putting in and will make you more conscious of what you consume.

4) Snacking the right way
Snacking however shouldn’t be banned. It’s good to eat little and often, you just need to pick the right choices. I love snacking on popcorn – the home-popped variety, and enjoy a bowl of Fage 0% Fat Plain Greek Yoghurt (the good kind!) with fruit and a drizzle of honey. Chocolate rice cakes are also a favourite of mine and raw Nakd bars give you that sugar kick without the sin.

5) Portion size
It doesn’t take a genius to realise portion size is directly linked to obesity. Put too much in without burning it off and you’ll gain weight. Breakfast cereals are a good example – if you pour your cereal straight into the bowl, chances are you are eating up to two servings. My new best friend is a set of measuring cup spoons as they make it easy to measure the right food portions. 1/2 cup of oats make my morning porridge and 1/3 cup of almonds make a great snack to banish hunger.

6) Healthy swaps
Making healthy food swaps is a really simple way of changing your diet for the better. Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite types of carbs and make really yummy chips by slicing them into wedges and baking them in the oven. Quinoa has also replaced rice in our household and is easy to prepare by simmering in vegetable stock with some peppers, onions and mushrooms.

And this brings me on to courgetti – spirals of courgette to replace spaghetti or noodles!

Courgetti-1

I was recently sent a spiralizer from LV= to try out some healthy recipes, and oh my, does this machine make healthy eating a walk in the park! I’ve tried everything from making curly sweet potato fries to shredded carrot salads and of course courgetti. Courgettes take on the quality of pasta or noodles when stir fried and with a hearty sauce can be turned into a number of healthy recipes- try Thai green curry or a spicy bolognese! They also make a great noodle soup. Here’s a personal favourite of mine inspired by a recipe from Woman’s Health magazine…

Healthy chicken noodle soup

1/2 cup diced red onion
2 celery sticks, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tbsp thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
2 bay leaves
3 chicken breasts
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 medium courgettes

1. Place a large pot over a medium heat, and add in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for three to five minutes, or until the vegetables ‘sweat’ and onions are translucent. Add in the thyme and oregano, and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.

2. Place in the chicken and bay leaf, and pour in the chicken stock and water. Cover, and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a steady simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Afterward, remove the chicken from the pot, shred it and return to the soup.

3. Spiralize the courgettes into noodles and add to the soup, cooking for five minutes, or until the courgette is al dente.

If you want to find out more healthy-eating tips and discover how mindful eating, the practice of thinking about what you’re eating, why you’re eating it etc, can improve your overall health and help prevent illnesses then visit the LV= website for more information.

Make sure to share your healthy tips in the comment box below!

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