It’s not just about the exercise you do, shaping up for the summer must be a whole-body plan. One that involves your sleep, your mental health, and your diet. There’s no point putting all those hours in at the studio toning up, if you haven’t thought about other areas of your life too. As summer gets closer we want you to be in the best shape both mentally and physically, ready for the holidays! This week I’m sharing a few handy hacks, where often simple substitutions or just thinking about the choices you make can make all the difference.
The Coffee Swap- There are 190 calories in a Starbuck Grande Latte but only 15 calories in a Starbucks Americano. You can still get your caffeine fix, just be mindful of the extra milky ones that add significant calories.
The Tea Swap- Peppermint tea is a great swap just before you head off on hols to banish the bloat and make sure you show off all your hard work with those abs! If you still need caffeine, green tea is a great alternative to black tea. It will give you the caffeine fix but has additional benefits because it is high in antioxidants which can help with long term weight loss.
The Soft Drink Swap- Swap diet drinks for sparkling water and add a slice of lime for an extra boost of vitamin C. By choosing water over low calorie drinks, you will avoid the sugary cravings for sweet things that will come shortly after a diet drink.
Dinner Time Swaps
Lunch Swaps – try making a little extra dinner the night before. Often the main meal you prepared before will be much more nutritious than a shop bought sandwich. If you have to buy a sandwich, opt for a wrap instead of more traditional bread.
Swap Rice for Vegetables – my favourite alternative to rice is to make cauliflower rice. By swapping simple carbohydrates out and vegetables in, it means you get a more nutritious meal and it will also count towards your 5 a day.
Swap Multi-tasking for Mindful eating- It has been shown that if you are watching TV whilst you eat, you tend to eat more. Try concentrating solely on the meal you are having, this allows you to notice the appetite cues from your body, meaning you only eat what you need. Turn off the TV, put away your phone and simply relax and enjoy your food.
Swap out Refined Sugar- Try to think ahead. The biggest reason we reach for sugary snacks is because we have left it too long before we eat. If you know your next meal is going to be over four hours away, aim to have something like a handful of nuts, a couple of oatcakes or some dried fruit, to fill the hunger gap and kerb those sugary cravings. If you leave it too late, your blood sugar levels will drop, and it will be much harder to turn down that big doughnut!
Swap Biscuits for Energy Balls- If you are craving a sweet fix, swap your biscuits or chocolate for an energy ball. Often packed with dates, energy balls will give you the sweet taste you desire but with none of the refined sugar. My favourite recipe for energy balls is here:
Amy’s utterly nutterly cocoa energy balls
125g Soft dates
100g Chopped almonds
75g Rolled oats
2tsp Nut butter (almond or peanut work well)
1tbsp Cocoa powder
Pick your favourites! I love finely chopped pistachios, dried fruit, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder or dark chocolate chips.
Put the dates, chopped almonds, oats, almond butter and cocoa powder into a food processor and blend until the nuts are crushed and the mixture is fully blended.
Take a small amount of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make bite sized balls. (This recipe makes between 12-15 energy balls).
Once rolled, choose your coating. Place the coating in a bowl and roll the ball around until covered.
They only take about ten minutes to make and even my toddler loves them!
Sleep habit swaps
Swap out Technology at Bedtime- Switch your phone or tablet for a real book and a small bedside light for a better night’s sleep. Leave your devices outside your bedroom so that you are not tempted to flick through your apps and wake up your mind. And maybe swap that extra hour of TV for a lovely hot, bubble bath or an early night.
These are some of my favourite habits and swaps for a healthier body and mind. Do you have any small daily changes that are making big changes in your life? What is working best for you on your summer plan? We would love to hear what is working for you!