Food, Food, Food…..FitM.U.M’s day on a plate & easy nutritional changes

Quote - Julia Child Source - Pinterest

Quote – Julia Child
Source – Pinterest

I love food! There is not much I don’t eat and I have never been fussy. I have found that since getting back into full swing with my fitness journey and wanting to be healthier, I have really had to watch my portion sizes. I am naturally quite a big eater and I am definitely a big snacker, I always have been!

I get a few questions about what I eat in a typical day so I thought I would elaborate and go through what my day often looks like foodwise. Firstly, it is important to know that I do a allow myself cheat meals every now and then and we do enjoy socialising etc (although I haven’t drank a drop of alcohol in over 15 months). If i feel like eating something I will (in moderation) as I believe that total elimination of foods you enjoy can lead to binge eating or emotional eating. However, I love healthy, fresh food and 90% of the time I make healthy choices! This is a lifestyle and not a fad or unrealistic ‘diet’. I don’t do diets, they are too hard to stick too and if I restrict certain foods I end up resenting it and then sneakily eating it anyway…. what’s the point?!

I have previously written a post about cutting all dairy out of my diet while I am breastfeeding my daughter as she has a cow’s milk protein allergy. You can read more about that topic here. I was a bit of a chocoholic (during and straight after my pregnancy) so as you can imagine this was quite devastating to have to give up chocolate cold turkey once I found out about her allergy. Thank God for Cacao, that’s all I can say! And now that it has been over 5 months without chocolate, I actually don’t miss it.

Quite a while ago I also cut out all soft drink and regular tea and coffee (I drink water throughout the day and green tea and peppermint tea).  I also don’t have any added refined sugar in anything. These are just some minor changes I have made in the last year and they have definitely helped with weight loss after my second pregnancy but more importantly it has given me a huge boost in energy. Even though I am getting quite a bit less sleep than a year ago, I feel so much more energetic throughout the day, I am much less moody, my skin is better and I do not get bloated or stomach aches. In general, I feel the best I have ever felt.

So, what does FitM.U.M’s typical day look like when it comes to food? I’m glad you asked……

Call me a creature of habit but I pretty much have the same breakfast every single morning and I LOVE IT! My only variation to this is perhaps once or twice per week instead of cooked oats, I make overnight oats and eat them cold (delicious).

Overnight Oats with berries and coconut

Overnight Oats with berries and coconut

7.00am – Breakfast Oats & a cup of green tea with lemon

1/2 cup of traditional rolled oats with oat milk (alternatively almond or rice milk)

Once cooked, I sprinkle with chia seeds and diced apricots and then top with either blueberries or a sliced banana (or sometimes both if I have done a morning workout). Drizzle of honey (optional).

Oats for Breakfast

Oats for Breakfast

10am – Snack is usually a green apple and banana (if I didn’t have one on my oats) or a handful of berries or nuts

berries

1pm – Lunch & a cup of green tea

Chia mountain bread wrap with lean turkey, ham or tuna and mixed salad fillings eg. lettuce, baby spinach, grated carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and ALWAYS avocado!

3pm – Afternoon Snack of any of the following options:

  • Homemade trail mix which includes raw almonds, cashews, cranberries, diced apricots, dates, pepitas
  • Tuckers Natural Multifibre snacks, Tiny Dippers or Quinoa Snack Bites (http://www.tuckersnatural.com.au/). These are also so easy if I am out and about and I take them in my bag so I am never without a healthy snack
Tuckers Natural Tiny Dippers with Tomato Salsa

Tuckers Natural Tiny Dippers with Tomato Salsa

Such a delicious, quick and healthy snack!

Such a delicious, quick and healthy snack!

Half Choc & Nut Bliss balls and Half Apricot Bliss Balls

Half Choc & Nut Bliss balls and Half Apricot Bliss Balls

  • Smoothie incorporating a mix of greens (ie. spinach and kale) and fruit (ie. banana, berries, kiwi fruit) and chia seeds and walnuts

berry smoothie

  • Hummus with carrot sticks

hommus

6.30pm – Dinner. We tend to rotate between a few of our staples:

  • Grilled Chicken or Steak and at least 3 green vegetables (eg. asparagus, brocollini, snow peas, beans) and a small serve of quinoa
  • Stir-fry using quinoa instead of rice or noodles. Lots of Veg.
  • We sometimes do our own schnitzels using almond meal as the crumb
  • Tacos and quite often I will have mine in an iceberg lettuce cup rather than the shell (I load up on the salad and homemade guacomole)
  • Homemade pizzas

healthy pizza before

We don’t have dessert as an every night kind of thing but if I feel the need for something extra or something sweet at night (maybe twice a week) I enjoy:

  • Frozen banana ‘ice-cream’ or berry sorbet in the magic bullet
  • A bliss ball (see above snacks)
  • Choc-coco muggin (muffin in a mug). Recipe here
Choc-coco muggin. Souce - I Quit Sugar

Choc-coco muggin. Souce – I Quit Sugar

  • Choc-nut granola. Recipe here. Irondad likes his on top of greek yoghurt or straight out of the container(!!). I like mine sprinkled over my frozen banana ‘ice-cream’
Banana 'icecream' with choc nut granola

Banana ‘icecream’ with choc nut granola

I drink 3 litres of water throughout the day and I always end my night with a cup of peppermint tea. I find it helps me wind down and soothe my tummy at the end of the day.

So that is basically my day on a plate! Hope you have found it useful or interesting. Feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment here or on FitM.U.M’s Facebook page.

Quote - Greatist Source - Pinterest

Quote – Greatist
Source – Pinterest

Enjoy FitMummys xx

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Healthy Kids…. Creating Lifelong Nutrition Habits

First, let me start this by saying that I am not a dietitian/nutritionist/GP etc. I am a mum (who happens to be a Personal Trainer, Gym Manager and Health & Fitness enthusiast!). I understand that children’s eating/diet/habits can be a rather contentious issue, so this is only my own experience, views and beliefs. I have not lived with a child with severe allergies or a fussiness related to food. This is not meant as advice, it is simply my ramblings about my family, take from it what you will.

Children learn by the examples we set. As parents, we are the biggest role models and influence they will have. The same way they learn their values and morals is also the way they learn their lifestyle habits and food associations. With childhood obesity at an all time high (scary statistics), I am passionate about children learning the importance of healthy, nutritious food and forming good habits from a young age. I strongly believe we should be doing all we can to instill healthy food and lifestyle values in our children from the time they are tiny babies. Sure, when they get older they will make their own choices, and we are not with them 24/7, but if they are around a healthy family lifestyle for their entire childhood they are much more likely to continue living this way well into their adult years. Bad habits are hard to change (in adults and in children), so why not start off well and make it their ‘norm’.

Wise Benjamin Franklin

Wise Benjamin Franklin

Just last week, I started my 4 month old on her first taste of solids. So far she has enjoyed homemade rice cereal (so easy to make), avocado, steamed apples, pears and sweet potatoes. She is learning taste, texture and all sorts of other things. I let her ‘play’ with the food as I’m feeding it to her, not because I like the mess that’s for sure, but because these are all her very first experiences with food and I want it to be a positive and fun one. So far, so good, she seems to love it all. If she turns her nose up at something, that’s OK we will try again tomorrow. Persistence is key with children!

indie solids

I love nothing more than watching my 7 year old daughter devour a plate of veggies. There is not much that kid won’t eat. Don’t get me wrong, she likes the not so healthy stuff too and she is a sucker for party food, she’s a kid after all and I want her to enjoy being a kid. We are not the worlds strictest parents by any stretch but we do promote balance, moderation and choices and it seems to be working well for us. The important thing is that she knows what food is better for you than others and that we eat predominantly healthy food and save other things for treats or special occasions. We do not eliminate or restrict other foods as I believe this ‘can’ lead to over indulgence, binge eating and poor choices later on in  life, but we do limit them and always offer healthy alternatives. Everything in moderation!

Often Lily’s snacks and lunch look like this:

lil snacks

She loves a tasting plate, she’s a bit of a grazer and it is a great way to enjoy many different foods and you know what, it doesn’t always have to be eaten with a knife and fork and that makes her pretty happy.

My child has a very healthy appetite and some days I actually struggle to fill her. She does snack during the day (I think genetically she has a high metabolism like me) but she always eats her meals. She’s just a hungry kid, a lot of children aren’t and don’t need to eat a lot during the day and that’s OK too! We’re all different.

A few snacks Lily likes to eat include:

* Tuckers Natural Tiny Dippers. These are great because they are individual serves with just enough crackers and dip for little people. This is the Quinoa Crakers with Tomato Salsa Dip. We also love the Quinoa Crackers with Corn Dip. Yummo!

Tuckers

* Boiled eggs, avocado, carrot & cucumber sticks and dried fruit. These are all so easy to prepare and put on a plate.

* Smoothies (let them experiment with their own recipes and flavours)

* Multigrain wraps or mountain bread. Quite often she will just have one plain

* Spelt flour pancakes. I make up a big batch and freeze them individually. They are great in the school lunchbox (put them in frozen and they are ready by recess or lunch time). We also do the same with mini homemade cheesy-mite scrolls.

Lily  has porridge for breakfast every morning (this is by choice there is not much else she likes for brekkie except pancakes some weekends). What I have found very interesting in the last few months is that from seeing me put chia seeds, diced apricots and blueberries on my oats every morning, she now chooses to do the same. Not because I told her to do it or did it for her but she made the choice and does it herself. This is, in my opinion, a much better way as it is more likely to stick with her rather than something I rammed down her throat, pardon the pun! She enjoys sprinkling them on and making her porridge look ‘pretty’.

Kids need to be involved in making choices about food. What we learn in our childhood, we take into our adulthood.

We discuss what is good and why it’s good for you and I let her help make things with me, which she loves. One of her favourite things to make is smoothies. After watching one of the ‘infomercials’ on TV she thought it would be a good idea to write her own smoothie recipe. She got all the ingredients out and made it herself. She absolutely loved it (the process and the end result) and she was so proud of herself that she could create something so yummy and healthy.

This was all her own work. I did not help her at all. *NB by 'flower' she means ground Linseed/Flaxseed (it looks like flour)

This was all her own work. I did not help her at all. *NB by ‘flower’ she means ground Linseed/Flaxseed (it looks like flour)

So, what are some things we do to ensure we are encouraging healthy habits?

1.) Eating together as a family every dinner time because I believe it is important. We also eat the same meals, our only variation is if we have a curry which Lily does not like, she will have the meat we are eating served with at least 3 vegetables and often a mountain bread wrap. I never take for granted how lucky I am to have a child that will eat almost anything and usually chooses to ear all her veggies before anything else. Some of her favourites are: broccolini, asparagus, corn, brussel sprouts and carrots.

2.) We stopped allowing TV viewing while eating breakfast as I was finding Lily wasn’t concentrating and it was taking her too long and she ended up rushing (with me constantly telling her to “hurry up, or we will be late for school”) or not finishing it. This has improved 100%, infact it has improved our entire morning routine so much there are no arguments or constant pleads all morning and everyone is much happier. I also believe this leads to a better association with food (specifically the importance of breakfast) as it is not associated to stress or rushing etc.

3.) Encourage trialing new foods or foods that perhaps she didn’t like last year. I never make a bit deal about foods Lily doesn’t like and I would never force her to eat something that she is old enough to know if she likes or doesn’t like. After all, we all have certain flavours, foods, spices etc that we don’t like so it’s not fair to expect a child to eat and enjoy everything put in front of them. What I do encourage, however, is revisiting certain foods to try them and see if her tastes have changed. If she tries it and still doesn’t like it, we leave it at that and praise her for trying it again. Fortunately Lily’s list of food she likes is HUGE and her dislikes are minimal.

4.) Involve her in weekly meal planning (asking for her input for certain weekly meals), shopping (get her to write the list) and preparation of food. We also discuss different types of food and why we chose some products rather than other ones. She has a pretty good knowledge of food. She also loves cooking shows and really got into Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules this year.

As I mentioned earlier, this is just a look at what we do as a family. It may not work for everyone. Maybe you already do all of that anyway, maybe there is one new thing that you can try and see if it works for your children? Keep encouraging healthy eating in children, they will thank you in the long run!

I thought this looked like a super cute idea. Notes on fruit in the school lunchbox would definitely make it more fun and exciting! (source – Pinterest)

Source - Pinterest

Source – Pinterest

I Quit Sugar Choc-Coco Muggin (Muffin in a Mug) Recipe

This is a delicious healthy and super quick and easy recipe from I Quit Sugar (Sarah Wilson’s amazing cookbook). We often make these after dinner as it is like having desert when you just need that little something after a hectic day, but there is nothing bad in it at all. The other good thing is you don’t need to make an entire batch of muffins. Just individual serves and they are ready in minutes!

Source: I Quit Sugar

Source: I Quit Sugar

 Paleo/Dairy Free Choc-Coco Muggin

Ingredients

1/4 cup almond meal

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1/2 Tbsp rice malt syrup (or 1/2 tsp stevia or sweetener)

1/4 cup milk (I use oat milk)

Directions

Add all ingredients to a microwave-safe porcelain mug and mix with a spoon. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes.

We serve ours with a drizzle of honey and coconut flakes but you could add whatever you like. The recipe says serve with greek-style yoghurt.

I like it slightly runny in the middle rather than too dry so I do 1 1/2 minutes and it is perfect!

Enjoy FitMummies xxx

A look inside FitMUM’s Shopping Trolley

I have had a few questions about what health food products (and brands) I use so for something different I thought I would do a post all about what made its way into my shopping trolley this week. Once I started I realised that there were so many more products that I could have written about. I have enough for a second blog article on this topic at some stage. If this is something that interests you, leave me a comment on my blog or my Facebook page here if you would like more.

Obviously this is not my entire shop (how boring and long would that be) but this is a selection of products we buy on a {very} regular basis and things that I love and use ALL time {basically can’t live without}.

Traditional Rolled Oats

Good old fashioned 100% rolled oats. Not often you find a product with only one thing listed on the ingredient list. I love oats and have them for breakfast every morning (with the exception of the odd Sunday when I have poached eggs on toast). They are quick and easy, super good for you and delicious. I make mine with Oat Milk and then add a drizzle of honey, chia seeds, diced apricots and either a handful of blueberries or a sliced banana. I also make a delicious Overnight Oats recipe about once a week from the I Quit Sugar Cookbook. YUMMO!

rolled oats

Black Chia Seeds

I add chia seeds to many things. I have them on my oats, in my smoothies, and in our bliss balls and choc granola.

Among other things Chia Seeds are high in fibre, protein and omega 3 and they are loaded with antioxidants. They certainly pack a health punch for such a tiny seed and they are low in calories for something so high in fibre.

chia seeds

Rice Malt Syrup

This mild tasting syrup is a fantastic fructose-free sugar substitute. It is very versatile and inexpensive. I use it in any recipes instead of sugar. You can drizzle it over pancakes or oats or use it to sweeten your tea if you are trying to quit sugar.

It is made from 100% brown rice and is a better option than other sweeteners that are high in fructose and release sugar faster into the blood stream causing insulin spikes and subsequent blood sugar crashes.

rice malt syrup

Green Tea & Peppermint Tea

I used to be a bit of a tea addict but since being dairy free I have switched to only drinking green tea and peppermint tea. I always start the day with a cup of green tea and I always end the day with a cup of peppermint tea (I also drink them throughout the day if I feel the need). I use Organo Gold Organic Green Tea which is infused with Ganoderma, a very powerful ingredient that has been used for centuries in China and Japan for its many health benefits and healing properties

*If you would like to know more about this product (both tea & coffee) email me at fitmumsa@gmail.com for more details*

OG green tea

 I have pretty much tried every brand of tea, if you don’t use Organo Organic Green Tea, these are others I buy:

green tea

We have all heard the many benefits of green tea (the list is long), one of the big ones being that it has been shown to increase fat burning and boost your metabolic rate.

Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil for so many reasons, from cooking through to using on my bubs cradle cap and dry skin…. seriously awesome stuff!

It goes great with cacao when making sweet treats so we use it in our choc granola, bliss balls, homemade ‘chocolate’ and other baking. It is the healthiest oil to cook with and has a high smoke point so can be used at high temperatures.

coconut oil

Oat Milk

I use organic unsweetened oat milk. Since removing dairy I have found this to be the best substitute for me (personal preference). I do have almond milk sometimes too. Oat milk goes perfectly with my breakfast oats and smoothies. I also use it in baking as a substitute for cows milk and the rest of my family can’t taste the difference (they still drink cow’s milk).

oat milk

Almonds

We buy dry roasted almonds by the truck load. They are a great snack mixed with dried fruit and other nuts. I usually carry a container of homemade trail mix in my bag for when I am out and about. I also put them in our choc nut bliss balls recipe here

We often make our own almond meal and use it in baking. This is also a great alternative to crumbing meat eg. Schnitzels.

almonds

Quinoa

We are a bit obsessed with Quinoa in our household. We usually eat it at least 3 times a week (minimum). We also buy health food brands from the markets or the Woolworths Macro range, however this is the one I grabbed this week as we were almost out. All of the organic brands are as good as each other in my opinion.

I have listed the health benefits of Quinoa on one of my previous Facebook posts and have written out the recipe for our Healthy Roast Vegetable & Quinoa Salad find it here

We also substitute any rice dishes with Quinoa, eg. Stir fry’s, Curries or just season it and use as a side dish with dinner. The options and recipes are endless so get creative with your Quinoa and start incorporating it into your weekly meals!

quinoa organic

So there you have a little insight into some of the staples in my family’s shopping trolley and some of the ways we use them.

Happy Shopping FitMummies!! Xx

Cacao & Nut Bliss Balls Recipe

These are a weekly staple in our house and part of my Sunday weekly food prep as discussed here https://fitmumblog.com/2014/10/07/food-prep-for-a-healthy-week/

If you wish, you can add your favourite protein to them if you want Choc Nut Protein Bliss Balls. This photo is half Cacao & Nut Bliss Balls and half of my Apricot Bliss Balls.

Half Choc & Nut Bliss balls and Half Apricot Bliss Balls

Half Choc & Nut Bliss balls and Half Apricot Bliss Balls

Cacao & Nut Bliss Balls (makes approx. 24)

3/4  cup almonds (dry roasted)

3/4 cup walnuts

30 Pitted Dates

1/2 cup diced apricots

1/4 cup cranberries

2 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp Rice Malt Syrup (can substitute Honey or Argave Nectar)

Combine all ingredients in food processor until combined (roughly chopped nuts for a chunkier texture or blitz them for a smoother texture… personal taste)

Roll in mix of chia seeds and desiccated coconut.

Chill in fridge for approx. 1 hour (or freeze).

We usually store half in an air tight container in the fridge and the other half in a zip lock bag in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Apricot Bliss Balls Recipe

These delicious Apricot Bliss Balls have no added sugar or preservatives. They are the perfect snack for adults and kids alike. I make a double batch and freeze half. A double batch makes about 24 balls.

Such a delicious, quick and healthy snack!

Such a delicious, quick and healthy snack!

Ingredients

* 1 cup dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 30 mins

* 3/4 cup of oats

* 1/4 cup desiccated coconut (extra for rolling)

2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 Tbsp Coconut oil (melted)

Method

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients blend until mixture forms a ball. Takes a few minutes.

Place extra coconut on a plate and roll mixture into small balls and roll in the coconut.

Place half in container in the fridge for approx. 45 mins. Place the other half in a zip lock bag in the freezer for later.

The problem I have with these is trying not to eat them all the day you make them. Enjoy!

Food Prep For A Healthy Week

I firmly believe that preparation is the key to success. Spending adequate time on weekend food prep is a such a big part of my ability to eat healthy in the week ahead. I haven’t always done this, I am usually a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ impulsive kind of girl. However I made it a goal of mine this year to ensure I dedicate time on Sunday’s for weekly food preparation. Since doing this, not only am I eating much healthier, I am also wasting less food too! I spend a couple of hours preparing and cooking things for the following week that will provide me with easy and healthy meals and snacks. It’s the snacks that have made a big difference to the way I eat. I am a huge ‘grazer’ and eat quite a lot throughout the day so having pre-prepared snack options means I am never hungry, I have food to take with me when I go out and I make good choices instead of eating crap!

food prep collage

We usually do our food shopping on a Saturday and we buy everything we need for the entire week in one shop. My next goal is to get back to shopping for our fruit & veg at the markets. This is something we used to do and we loved it but having a baby recently has meant that we have let this slide. However, I am planning on making my market comeback very soon now that bubs is getting a bit older (16 weeks now) and will happily sit in the baby carrier. We love the atmosphere of shopping at the market as much as we love the fresh (and cheap) fruit, veggies and health food supplies.  It is also a great outing for kids and I believe it sets them up with healthy food habits for life and hopefully it will become a little family tradition that they will also continue!

Here are some of the healthy weekly foods I prepare and store: (I will start to upload some of my weekly food prep on my instagram – follow me here http://instagram.com/fit_m.u.m#

* Quinoa Bars

* Protein Bliss Balls

* Apricot Balls

* Overnight Oats

* Granola or Muesli

* Trail Mix (almonds, cashews, macadamias, goji berries, dates, cranberries, diced apricots)

* Muffins (sweet and/or savory)

* Cacao & nut choc (make a big tray and break into snack size portions)

* Salads (these vary week to week from mixed green salad to quinoa salad and chicken salad)

* Boiled eggs

* Chicken or Turkey Quinoa Patties

* Spelt Pancakes

* Freeze whole bananas (use for ‘icecream’ dessert)

* Choc Stuffed Raspberries (melt cacao, coconut oil and peanut butter *optional* and fill fresh raspberries and freeze… OMG delicious!)

* Smoothie Bags (freeze portions of berries, bananas & any other fruit for a quick smoothie)

I make a double batch of the Protein Bliss Balls, Apricot Balls and Cacao & nut chocolate (not all in the same week, we rotate between these and other healthy treats) and I freeze half and keep the other half in containers in the fridge. Once we use the half in the fridge we can then use the frozen ones which only just gets us through a whole week as we like these treats A LOT! Again, it is important to remember moderation. Even though these are all healthy (no added sugar) treats, they are still treats and still contain calories.

preparation key to success

A little work once a week goes a long way towards staying on track with my health and fitness goals throughout the week. Once you start doing food prep, it becomes enjoyable and saves time and stress during the week.

Hope you have found this helpful, please feel free to leave a comment or even share your food prep ideas and join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitm.u.msa