Fitness Friday | How I prepare my meals

1 Find healthy recipes! I assume that a lot of you are bloggers, or like to read blogs… so read some food blogs! Use Google, trawl through some sites and favourite those that you enjoy. I use Google and tumblr to find healthy recipes and food blogs. When I find a recipe I enjoy I take a picture of it on my phone, or bookmark it, so when I am later making my meal plan I know what I need to buy.

2. Make a Meal Plan! Now you should have a wide range of recipes to fill your week with, so organise which one’s you want to have this week. I don’t actually say which day I’m going to have which recipe as sometimes I really don’t feel like eating a certain dish. But I make sure I have 6 recipes for dinner, a couple of healthy breakfast options, a couple of lunch dishes, and some healthy snacks.

3. Buy your food! Your meal plan will have given you a list of ingredients you need for that week, so now go to the supermarket and buy ONLY what is on your shopping list! The majority of your food with be from the fruit and vegetable aisle, followed by the meat aisle. Stay away from the confectionary aisles… these things should not be on your list so there is no need to go anywhere near that aisle. Why test your will power, make it easy for yourself!

4. Find a spare few hours in your schedule! I’m a very busy person, as I imagine most of you are. I work full time, blog part time, workout daily and spend time with my boyfriend, among all that I still manage to find a coupe of spare hours so I can prepare my food. Be it a Sunday afternoon, Saturday morning or weekday evening… dedicate a few hours a week to cooking!

5. Figure out what will keep for the week!
Pull out your meal plan and recipes and figure out what you can prepare now that will keep for the week (I say week, my food usually lasts about 4-5 days, depending on what it is). I don’t prepare salads as like mine fresh, but am happy to prepare carrots, peppers, eggs, tuna, quinoa to go in the salad. At the moment I have soup for lunch, so always make a huge batch of soup for the week and keep it in the fridge. The same with smoothies or juices… I prepare a batch of them so I don’t have to make them first thing in the morning, I can grab and go! Things like mince can be cooked and kept in the fridge for a couple of days, chicken dishes not so much.. but they are pretty quick to make. I precook my pancake and muffins for quick breakfast. For snacks I chop carrot for vegetable crudité and keep them in a Tupperware, I hard boil eggs for grab and go protein and bake bars or healthy cookies, for sweet treats; all of which keep very well in Tupperware.

6. Cook! Now you know what you can prepare in advance on your meal plan, get cooking! It will only take a couple of hours to prepare your meals for the week! Just think of the time you will save in the morning, the money will you save from taking a packed lunch to work, and the easy dinners you can heat up in the evening!

7. Store in the fridge! Invest in plenty of Tupperware so you have plenty to put your food into. My fridge is always stacked high with various sized Tupperware.. but it mean that I save so much time when I have meals later in the week!

Mackerel Chimichurri with Potato Hash

I don’t know about you, but Ready Steady Cook was one of my favourite programmes when I was younger, so I decided to do a 30 minute recipe.

For me fish is hugely underrated and should be included more in everyones diet (including my own). It’s very versatile, easy to prepare and packed full of nutrients and health advantages such as;

  • Packed full of protein – keeping you fuller for longer!
  • Low fat
  • Mackerel (and other oily fish) are full of omega-3 fats which help keep the heart working properly and maintain normal blood pressure, brain function and vision.
  • Help keep your metabolism revved up!

I will definitely be including more fish in my diet to replace the beef, lamb and turkey my body disagrees with. So below you’ll find my Ready, Steady Cook Fish recipe which is made from a handful of ingredients and in under 30 minutes!

To make Mackerel Chimichurri with Potato Hash for 2, you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of Mackerel
  • 10 new potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 inches chorizo
  • handful of spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful parsley
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbs sherry wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tb oregano

Start by cutting the potatoes into slices (approx £1 coin in thickness) and frying them in a pan on a medium heat.

While your potatoes are cooking, make the Chimichurri. Throw 1 handful of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, 1 red chilli (seeds removed), 2 tbs oregano, 1/2 red onion, juice of half a lemon, 3 tbs sherry wine vinegar into a food processor. Blitz until finely chopped and gradually add the olive oil until a loose sauce has been created.

Slice the other half of the red onion and chop the chorizo into small pieces and add both to the potatoes in the pan. Sprinkle all with paprika.

While your onions and chorizo are cooking, place the mackerel on a tray, season and drizzle with olive oil. Place the mackerel under the grill and cook flesh side up for 4-5 minutes, then flip over to crisp the skin.

Et voila, simply plate up all the yumminess. Potato Hash first, topped with the mackerel and drizzled with Chimichurri.

Five ways to Zumba fitness fun

Zumba is a workout I love! When a workout is fun it doesn’t take effort, it isn’t something you dread and it doesn’t feel like a workout – this is what fitness should be like! I’ve participated in a number of Zumba classes, have all the DVDs and even the Wii Zumba game so I am a bit of a fan! Although it isn’t as intensive as the bootcamp style workouts I currently do, Zumba still gets me sweating, gets my heartbeat racing and I definitely feel it working my abs! Sine it’s introduction Zumba has taken the exercise world by storm so if you’re looking to loose weight, get fitter or just have some fun while working out, Zumba could be the class you’re looking for! Based on Latin rhythms, it’s a dance class that’s not only fun, but also offers lasting health benefits. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the five health benefits below that Zumba delivers –

Fat Burning Fun
Depending on whether your class is a beginners or advanced Zumba workout, you could burn off anything from 300 to 600 calories in an hour long class!

Limber Limbs
Many of us have sedentary, computer-based jobs, suffering daily from prolonged periods at a desk as well as repetitive strain in our arms from computing. Couple this with “relaxation” activities such as internet browsing, texting our friends and computer gaming and our arms can really struggle! Zumba’s a dance which allows for any amount of arm action to engage arm muscles throughout the moves as well as lengthening, stretching and easing those tired, cramped shoulder muscles.

Booty Benefits
And speaking of sedentary… one of the most popular benefits of Zumba lies behind the scenes, with the shaking and shaping of that booty! Getting into the rhythm of the music and using the momentum from up and down moves to exercise thigh, hip and glute muscles is really encouraged by Zumba instructors, as this really burns those calories from areas which have literally just been sitting around all day – perfect for getting a top to bottom workout and a peachy booty!

Putting Your Heart Into It
Physically and metaphorically, putting your heart and soul into your Zumba class should bring you plenty of aerobic and cardio benefits, by getting that heart pumping at a consistently higher rate throughout some of the routines, and a healthy release of happy endorphins too!

Finally, there’s something about letting loose on the dance floor that’s totally relaxing, however high impact some of the rhythms might be. And because Zumba features both fast and slower Latin rhythms, there’s always the chance for your body to loosen up as you shake it on down!