Saturday, 19 January 2013

January Energy Boosts

Hello again, friends, sorry its been a week since last writing. I have been desperately wanting to write but could find nothing worthy of writing. Most of my recent kitchen creations, although very edible (in my opinion) and healthy, didn't quite hit the mark for recipe share-age. So I reached out to my friends on MyFitnessPal, and they came up trumps with suggestions for me.

First up, how can we energise ourselves in January? Finding the mental energy let alone the physical energy to get yourself going in chilly winter months is a huge hurdle and barrier to hitting your health goals. Does ditching a healthy hearty lunchtime salad for the less healthful but far more comforting dishes sound familiar? Ever set an early alarm with the intention of a morning workout but decide that it REALLY isn't worth the chill, or depriving yourself of an extra snuggly half an hour? (guilty!)

So how can we keep healthy habits in check when our energy levels are face planting?

Here are some habits that I'm trying to engage in to give me a bit more of a boost:

1. More snacking. The temptation when reducing calories post-indulgence is to cut out the snacks. But going longer than your body is used to without fuel can cause your blood sugar to crash and fling you head first into a pile of chocolate! Take time to prepare and plan snacks and choose healthy but filling options. Lately I'm loving apple slices and almond butter mid-morning as the apple's sweetness and the nut butter's fat and protein curbs cravings, and a large veggie juice in the afternoon fills me up by feeding my body on a cellular level, perfect to pump me up for the gym.

2. Warming one-pot meals. I love making big batches of soups, chillies, curries and casseroles that I can also portion and freeze so that I always have a 'ready meal' to turn to when my motivation to cook a healthy meal and chop vegetables is low. I always try to cook with a pulses, lots of vegetables, and a starch or grain so that the meal is complete, filling and nutritionally rich. Using plenty of herbs and spices (many have extraordinary health benefits) makes the dish exciting! Pictured is a recent one-pot slowcooker creation (not quite shareable yet!) of chickpea, tomato and veg 'risotto soup', sprinkled with nutritional yeast. I have 7 portions left in freezer :-)

3. Chose exercise options that make you accountable. It will be a lot harder to change your mind on a preplanned workout when you have a vested interest in seeing the workout through. For example, arrange to meet a friend to workout, sign up for a class, buy yourself new workout gear, plan/prepare yourself a delicious post-workout meal that cannot be eaten unless you exercise!

4. Choose healthier hot drinks. Warm yourself up from the inside and hydrate yourself at the same time by choosing a more detoxing option of green or herbal tea or hot water and lemon/ginger, rather than a creamy coffee or hot chocolate. I also find that these choices curb cravings too, and keeping hydrated is important can help when you feel lethargic.

 So, I have come up with 4 things, what else can you think of to warm you up and stay energised when it's cold/wet/snowy?

Keep warm guys, and stay safe on the snow and ice :-)

Hannah xx

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