My Shopping List Staples

Shopping can be confusing at the best of times, especially when you’re trying to make healthy choices. I receive a lot of questions regarding nutrition, and I’ve already put together a rough food diary, which you can view here. I thought it would also be useful to create a list of my cupboard/fridge staples, to perhaps make your trip around the supermarket a little less faff. Here we go:

Fruit:

  • Bananas: I am quite literally bananas about bananas. I use them for everything – smoothies, baking, topping rice cakes and peanut butter. You name it, a banana can do it. Plus, they’re rich in potassium, and a source of quality carbohydrate, ideal either pre or post workout
  • Frozen Berries: buying your berries frozen means that you get a lot more bang for your buck… In more ways than one. When berries are frozen, their nutrients are sealed in, thus they maintain a higher nutritional value than their fresh counterparts, which have been bumped about during the journey from field to fridge. They’re also a lot less expensive, and last for ages in the freezer. Great for adding to smoothies, or topping your porridge
  • Avocado: you may be inclined to call it a vegetable because of its savoury taste. Butttt, avo is a fruit packed full of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, potassium and fibre. I start almost every day with the amusingly basic breakfast of eggs and avo, and I’m not bored of it yet

Veggies:

  • Sweet Potato: dense in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron, sweet potato is a quality source of carbohydrate, with a valuable nutritional profile. Added bonus: it makes everything taste better
  • Cucumber: chop into sticks and munch alongside a fresh pot of hummus – you have the perfect snack! Did you know that cucumbers contain silica, the mineral responsible for promoting good nail-health? Well, you do now
  • Spinach Leaves: phytonutrient central, with anti-inflammatory properties. Spinach helps to maintain healthy eyesight, and its an absolute overall winner

Carbohydrates:

  • Oats: rich in beta-glucan – a dietary fibre known to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. I eat oats cold, soaked in water or Rude Health Brown Rice Milk
  • Rice Cakes: the ultimate versatile snack. Top with peanut butter and banana, cream cheese and veggies, tuna and mashed avocado… The possibilities are endless
  • Uncle Ben’s Wholegrain Rice: these microwaveable pouches are easy to cook, and oh so tasty. Great for when you’re in a hurry, and available in a variety of yummy flavours

Protein:

  • Salmon Fillet: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B12, selenium, niacin – the list goes on. The perfect protein-packed addition to any meal
  • Cod Fillet: a low calorie source of lean protein, dense in vitamins B6 and B12. Pair with sweet potato wedges, vinegar and homemade mushy peas to make your very own healthy fish and chips. Don’t mind if I do…
  • Eggs: the nutritional powerhouse, containing 13 essential vitamins and minerals, alongside a high nutrient and healthy fat content. I eat so many eggs that one day I may actually become one
  • Tinned Tuna in Spring Water: a readily available, affordable source of protein, and a great option for when you’re on-the-go. I opt for tuna in spring water, as opposed to oil, as this reduces calorie content

Snacks:

  • Fage 0% Fat Yoghurt: high in protein, low in fat. The ideal addition to a post workout smoothie, when fats should be kept to a minimum, to ensure rapid absorption of carbohydrates and protein into the body
  • Full Fat Greek Yoghurt: I buy both full and 0% fat yoghurt, to eat at different times of day. Mix 200g full fat Greek yoghurt with a handful of frozen berries, to create a tasty and filling snack
  • Meridian Peanut/Almond Butter: 100% nuts, enough said
  • Dark Chocolate: the darker, the more delicious… We’re talking 90% cocoa. If you can find raw cacao chocolate, that’s even better

This is by no means a fool proof, all-inclusive list, but I hope that it’s helpful nonetheless!

Recipe – Chickpea and Spinach Salad

This is an incredibly easy vegetarian recipe, which can be adapted to vegan if you substitute the cheddar for vegan cheese. It’s perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or even a side salad. You could also double the recipe and serve it as a sharing plate alongside your main meal.

When I was making this dish, I hadn’t intended to post it online, but it was just too yummy not to! I also can’t stress enough how simple it is to make, which is perfect for those of you with a hectic schedule.

IMG_8155

Chickpeas are an amazing source of protein and, as we know, protein is essential in aiding muscle recovery and cell growth/repair. Chickpeas also contain a high level of fibre, which contributes to digestive health, and helps leave you feeling fuller for longer after a meal.

Below is a list of other vitamins and minerals found in chickpeas, and why these are beneficial to your health:

  • Iron: aids transportation of oxygen around the body, and acts to combat fatigue
  • Manganese: supports bone development and collagen production
  • Phosphate: helps to build/repair bones, and contributes to efficient nerve function
  • Folate: aids cell growth
  • Calcium: essential for bone health, whilst also assisting consistent communication between the brain and the rest of the body
  • Zinc: regulates the immune system

Of course there are plenty of other wholesome ingredients in this recipe, including spinach, avocado and red onion. These nutrient-dense products are sure to leave you feeling fresh, satisfied and fuelled for anything.

IMG_8152

The Recipe:

Vegetarian (or vegan if adapted)

Gluten Free

Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients (always use organic products where possible):

  • Half a can of chickpeas
  • Two handfuls of spinach
  • Half a red onion
  • Half an avocado
  • Around 15g of cheddar cheese, or vegan alternative
  • Two teaspoons of olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste

IMG_8153

  1. Empty the chickpeas into a colander, rinse with fresh water and leave to drain, before adding to a mixing bowl
  2. Rinse the spinach in the colander, leave to drain whilst you prep the other ingredients
  3. Skin and roughly chop the red onion
  4. Scoop the avocado out of its skin, removing the stone. Chop into chunks
  5. Finely grate the cheddar cheese
  6. Add all prepped ingredients into the mixing bowl, along with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  7. Combine with salad spoons, ensuring the dressing has covered all of the mixture
  8. Serve, and enjoy!

Handy tip: I like to top mine with lots of black pepper, but you could also add dried chilli seeds, for an extra kick!

Recipe – Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie

You wake up in the morning ready for your daily caffeine fix, and all you can think about is heading to the local coffee shop to grab yourself a sweet, creamy iced coffee.

A Frappucino doesn’t sound too bad for you, right? Wrong! The traditional recipe is full of refined sugar and artificial flavourings; just not what your body needs to fuel your day.

What you really need is a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats (for more information on this, see How to Fuel Your Body in the Morning). Who knew it’s possible to achieve this combination in a homemade Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie!?

With a little organisation, you can stock your cupboards with fresh and nutritious ingredients and satisfy your cravings the healthy way. So many people say that they ‘don’t have time’ to eat breakfast, but with this recipe, that’s not an excuse – it takes less than 5 minutes to make!

So next time you’re feeling tempted by a shop-bought, ice cold sweet treat and you’re just not ready to surrender your morning caffeine fix, why not try making this simple recipe at home instead? It’s SO much better than the original, and full of goodness that your body will thank you for.

IMG_6941

The Recipe

Vegan

Gluten free

Dairy free

Refined sugar free

IMG_6956

Ingredients (Always use organic products where possible):

  • One small cup of double strength coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup of natural dairy free milk. I use Rude Health almond milk because it’s delicious and free from chemicals
  • Two frozen bananas
  • Two scoops of protein powder. I use unflavoured Pulsin Soya Protein because it’s completely natural, but a vanilla or chocolate protein would work equally well
  • Two heaped teaspoons of nut butter. I use Meridian cashew nut butter
  • Two heaped teaspoons of raw cacao powder. I use Organic Traditions
  • ½ teaspoon ground vanilla seeds or pure vanilla extract (without ethanol)
  • One/two cups of ice, depending on how slushy you like your smoothie
  • If you prefer your smoothie extra sweet, you can add two medjool dates

IMG_6953

Preparation – The Night Before:

  • Brew the coffee and leave to cool, before storing overnight in the fridge
  • Peel the bananas and chop into chunks, before placing in the freezer in a tupperware

Creation – In the Morning:

  • Remove banana chunks from the freezer and place in the blender, along with cooled coffee
  • Add all remaining ingredients to the mixture
  • Blend until smooth
  • Enjoy!

IMG_6955

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s really versatile. Here, I’ve served mine as a smoothie bowl, topped with crushed pistachios, but you can also bottle it and take it on the go – perfect for those busy mornings.

Recipe – Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl

Smoothies are one of my all time favourite things. They’re a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients because they’re packed with raw fruit and vegetables. Creating smoothies made with wholesome ingredients will leave you feeling satisfied and energised.

One of the many health benefits of smoothies is that they’re easy to digest. The ingredients are broken down during the blending process, which eases the burden on your digestive system.

IMG_6867

This recipe contains both strawberries and blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants. These help your body to fight against free radicals, which multiply in the body as a result of factors such as air pollution, smoking and alcohol. Free radicals have the potential to damage healthy cells, so antioxidants play a crucial role in preventing this process.

Berries have a particularly low sugar and calorie content in comparison to other fruit. They also act to decrease inflammation in the body, and their high level of phytonutrients aid in fighting disease.

Smoothies are a great way to up your daily fibre intake, which contributes to good digestive health. Fruit contains soluble fibre, which can be digested in the body, helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Fibre leaves you feeling fuller for longer, aiding in the prevention of those dreaded cravings.

IMG_6869

The Recipe

✓ Vegan

✓ Gluten free

✓ Refined sugar free

Ingredients:

  • One cup of strawberries
  • One cup of blueberries
  • A banana (can be frozen if you have a high powered blender but this is optional)
  • One large teaspoon of natural nut butter. I like Meridian
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon, plus an extra sprinkle to garnish (optional)
  • Half a cup of water or natural dairy free milk of choice. I like Rude Health Almond Milk
  • One cup of ice
  • Handful of nuts/seeds of choice to garnish. I’ve used chopped walnuts

IMG_6870

  1. If you are freezing the banana, peel it and chop into small chunks. Store in the freezer in a sealed tupperware. I like to do this the night before to ensure that the banana is frozen properly
  2. Remove the stalks from all strawberries
  3. Wash the strawberries and blueberries in a colander, before placing in the blender. I use a Blend Active by Breville because it’s high powered and inexpensive
  4. Remove banana from the freezer and place in the blender along with all remaining ingredients
  5. Blend until desired consistency is achieved
  6. Pour into a bowl, before topping with nuts/seeds of choice and sprinkling with cinnamon
  7. Grab a spoon and enjoy!