At the beginning of the year I shared a blog post on weight loss in general, this had turned out to be my most popular blog post yet (go figure! You can read about it here). Looking your best for your wedding day really seems to be high up on a brides priorities, and the preparation never starts the morning of your wedding, it starts in the months leading up to the big day. Nutrition and hydration are the two most important factors in not only weight loss, but skin, hair and nail care, not only will a healthy diet make you look good on the outside, but you will also feel better on the inside.
In my day job we recently had a big buzz around staying healthy over winter (or any time of the year really), and we had a boost week where a different smoothie was provided every day to try, as well as a nutrition seminar among other things. Which is what sparked me to write this blog post I guess. I have also shared a few of my go-to yummy smoothie recipes below to give you a nutritional boost.
Please note as: I said in my last blog about weight loss, I am NOT a nutritionist or a weight loss expert; what I know has come from what I have tried myself, or read about from experts in the field. If you are after a full and comprehensive weight management plan please speak to a qualified nutritionist.
When you hear the saying "abs are made in the kitchen", its not just another fad, there are studies out there backing up that exercise alone is not enough to get lean and toned. This is where clean eating comes into play, when I say clean eating I don't mean eating raw or vegan diets, or completely eliminating carbs, sugar etc. I mean eating good nutritious food from the new (updated) food pyramid, you can see what it looks like here.
Here are a few tips:
- I personally don't believe in cutting out ALL sugars, natural sugars as found in fruit also provide huge amounts of vitamins and minerals - eat these in moderation (2 servings a day is recommended).
- I also don't think cutting out carbs is a good way to be healthy or lose weight. Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source, carbs are turned into glucose which is essential for all your cell function, cutting these out will make you feel lethargic and your body won't function at full capacity. Instead of eliminating carbs reduce refined carb intake, replace with whole grain options.
- Don't eat too many starches, if you are eating a lot of potato and kumara and counting these as vegetables, you may want to rethink this - they won't do much for your waistline. If you need your potatoes with dinner, then stick to a small handful size.
- Cereals are not really health foods - well most aren't. When you read the nutritional information they are usually full of sugar. Opt for wholegrain toast with an egg for breakfast, oats, or even a meal replacement smoothie (also a fantastic way to sneak in 1 or 2 servings of veggies). I'm personally not a fan of drinking your calories in those shake diets, but if you have a meal replacement smoothie this can be a different story.
- Eat 80/20. What I mean by this is eat healthy 80% of the time, the other 20% is up to you. In this day and age completely eliminating certain foods is hard to do, and not sustainable for most people. It will often cause feelings of deprivation which can lead to bingeing, feelings of failure and falling off the wagon. Eating small amounts of the foods you love is ok, remember everything in moderation.
- Fats are also very important - fats will not make you fat, excess sugar is your problem here. Stick with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, oils (in moderation), avocados, eggs and oily fish.
- Eat protein and fats with every meal - this increases your satiety and makes you feel fuller for longer.
- Drink plenty of water, you do get a lot of fluids from fruit and vegetables but you still need fresh water too. Drink as much as you can every day, but don't get water-logged!
As a busy mum, full time worker and business owner I understand how precious time is, and I don't always have the time to cook up a healthy nutritious meal, so smoothies are always my go-to for breakfast if I need a nutrition hit fast. There really are two types of smoothies, those lower in calories (usually) packed full of fruits, vegies, and sometimes nuts and seeds that are created to give you a vitamin and mineral boost. And then there are those high in calories, bulked up in order to replace your meal and keep you going till morning tea or lunch time. Here are a few that I enjoy, you can even make them dairy-free.
Meal Replacement Smoothies
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter if you aren't a fan like me)
1 Cup Almond Milk
¼ Cup Wholegrain Oats
3 Tbsp Low-fat Greek Yoghurt (or Coconut Yoghurt for a dairy-free option)
Small handful of ice
¼ Cup Frozen Blueberries
Small handful of Spinach Leave
Small handful of Kale
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Cup Coconut Water (or Filtered Water)
½ Cup Pineapple Juice (fresh, no sugar added)
1 Tsp Linseeds
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
¼ Cup Wholegrain Oats
Fresh Ginger - to taste
½ Tsp Tumeric
2 Tbsp Low-Fat Vanilla Greek Yoghurt (or Coconut Yoghurt for a dairy free option)
Nutrition Boost Smoothies - shouldn't be used as a meal replacement
½ Cups Spinach Leaves
½ Cup Kale
Fresh Ginger - to taste
¼ Small Cucumber
½ Cup Pineapple pieces (including core)
¼ Cup Water (or more if you like it thinner)
2-3 Ice Cubes
Pick Me-Up Smoothie
½ Cup Green Grapes, Seedless
50ml Apple Juice
50ml Filtered Water
4 Ice Cubes
Blueberry & Cacao Smoothie
50ml Almond Milk
50ml Water (add more if needed)
1 Tbsp Low-Fat Vanilla Greek Yoghurt (or Coconut Yoghurt for a dairy free option)
½ Cup Frozen Blueberries
Small handful Spinach Leaves
2 Tsp LSA (Ground Linseed, Sunflower, Almond)
2 Tsp Cacao Powder
2 Ice Cubes
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below!