Back in 2004, a year after my first pregnancy, I took what I can only describe as a leap of faith, by embarking on my very first, and luckily last, weight loss journey. Since then, my focus has shifted on long-term health and becoming a better version of myself over the years. Healthier and happier version of me. However, I did not even understand at a time that weight loss is such a big thing for so many people and that choices are so vast that can truly leave a person lost in confusion as well as despair. These days, I imagine it to be even harder for the person looking to improve their health or better manage their weight. The moment you open up your email or social media account – you are overwhelmed with health messages, recipes, different diets being promoted from all kinds of experts and influencers in health industry.
I am one of them. Well, who knew that out of my first and very positive weight loss experience, passion was born and so was my calling. Because one thing I knew was that I felt better, not just for the weight I lost, but for the energy & confidence I gained as well as incredible satisfaction from helping others has given me. With all that, there is also a constant need to remain a student myself as well as educate others on the latest in nutrition and health as, not only through solutions that we offer, but through the education – we can make this world a better, healthier place. Because knowledge is power. Always.
If you are one of those looking for help and not sure where to start, let me give you a few pointers what to look for, so you can make the right choice, the one that is sustainable long-term, rather than go astray or run around in circles. If you are no stranger to dieting, I am sure you have, at some point perhaps, started a diet or an exercise regime but never got the shape and result you wanted, felt hungry or deprived, lonely, lacked energy or motivation to keep going?
Thousands people every day start or are planning to start some new diet. Some choose Herbalife Nutrition. I don’t know about you, but, majority of my clients start because they were inspired by a friend, relative or colleague who had great results and can not stop talking about it and they wanted to give it a try. So, we meet up, or have a chat over the phone, start a 3-6 Dat Nutrition Trial most times and then on to a fully personalised plan with regular coaching and follow-up. I know there are many questions at this stage and a lot to take in although it is all made really simple to follow, so, I hope the following might help as it comes from personal experience as well as experience of many existing clients.
It is not a diet. It is a way of life. Start as you mean to go on.
Healthy snacking is an important part of our diet and lifestyle for many reasons:
- It prevents us from being too hungry and over-eating for lunch or dinner by helping keep blood sugar levels stable;
- It is an opportunity to sneak in some veggies or fruit to increase our nutrient intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre;
- Keeping our lean muscle on throughout life depends, apart from exercising, also on eating enough protein, therefore, balanced, protein snacks are a great way to help us reach our daily protein requirements.
When creating meal plans for clients, snacks play an important part for all the reasons mentioned above. For a snack to be considered healthy, we need to take into consideration both energy it gives us (we want just enough calories to keep hunger at bay until next main meal) and balance (low in carbs and high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, which all nourishes, but combined, also keeps blood sugar levels stable).
Rome has not been built in one day and our attempt to improve our physique and health should pretty much be approached with bearing the same in mind… We need a plan, patience & vision. Those with vision move even in darkness. Our vision for ourselves is best when not focused on the outside appearance alone as our health and beauty are a lot more than just skin deep. Our vision needs to be strong and inspire action every day, which will make us more patient and committed to a long term goals. Then we need a plan that is simple, even fun and that nourishes us on our path to becoming the best version of ourselves.
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is waiting for the “perfect storm”, that perfect moment to start something new… to start a new diet, to stop smoking, to look for a better job, start that project, make an important phone call, study for the exam… The only perfect moment is RIGHT NOW. Delaying action whilst waiting for that perfect opportunity is simply procrastination and the more we do it, the more we develop a habit of it that can be very costly.
Protein Balls seem to be in fashion at the moment and there are many recipes – some I tried and they are to die for, but not all would constitute as a protein snack, in my humble opinion. I have seen many with over 200 calories and under 5 grams of protein. Just adding nuts does not hugely add to protein but it can add hugely to calories. And this does not work for me. So, based on some recipes I have seen, here is the one I came up with, but promise to keep trying improving on the protein v calories ratio:
- 150 gr of almonds (944 calories/ 32 gr protein)
- 100 gr Herbalife 24 Powder (380 calories/ 51 gr protein)
- 20 gr coconut oil (172 calories)
- 30 gr of raw honey, the one that bees actually make, not industrial (92 calories)
- tablespoon of vanilla extract or (for adults) some rum
- for garnish: sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and/ or raw cocoa powder
Mix it all in a chopper or blender until you get thick paste and using a bit of coconut oil on your palms – mould into balls and then roll in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and add a sprinkle of raw cacao powder and, voila, they are done. Put your feet up and enjoy… one! (I know!)
I decided to use Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength, normally used for a recovery shake after a strength training, because it contains array of essential nutrients, but also because I just love its distinctive chocolate flavour, reminding me of Baileys. Next time, and there will be next time, I will try with our Protein Drink Mix (Vanilla) and perhaps some other Formula 1 like Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies & Cream or Cappuccino, or perhaps even some fruity flavours.
For my snacks, I am always looking for around 8-10 grams of protein under 150 calories and this snack just about does it. Above makes 12 balls each 25 grams and they are under 140 calories and 7 grams of protein. Not too shabby at all and makes a lovely difference. I think I still prefer my Herbalife Protein Bar with an optimum amount of protein (10 gr) and calories (140gr) per 35 gr snack as they are quick and handy and already done for me, but, if you do not mind a bit of fuffing around in making them, these protein balls are amazing and will be loved by everyone in the house.
The only two questions that run through my mind are where to hide them safely so they do not disappear in a flash and how to stop myself from not eating more than one in one go as they are superb and literally each is just one bite? Hmmm… But, mmmmmm….
While there is so much advice to Eat Right – it might be easier said than done. Eating right means not only making the right food choices, but also eating the right foods at the right time. To keep your mind and body properly fueled, here are some tips to help you to ‘Eat Right’ at the right time:
We all know how amazing humus is: dip some carrots or cucumber into humus and you have a great mid morning and mid afternoon snack. My only issue, when creating a meal plan for my clients and personalising their protein, most struggle reaching their targets if they start including humus every time as humus, whilst made out of chick peas that does contain protein, it is not exactly a lot of protein, only 2-3 grams if we wish to keep it around 100 calories, even if it is a low-fat humus. So, I had an idea… instead of chick peas, how about making a similar dip with boiled from frozen green soya beans as 80 grams are around 11 grams of protein and only 100 calories.
Crustless Quiche is really just another fancy word for one of my fancy omelette apart from the fact that it is baked in the oven. Mix 2 eggs and two egg whites (per person) with some salt and pepper and pour over some straight-from-the-oven roasted vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potato, squash) in a small tin. Serve with some salad and low-fat yoghurt. And, of course, enjoy! 🙂
Cooking does not need to be complicated. What is important for any meal is for it to be balanced. I am not a cook book kind of girl, I have no interest in following long complicated recipes as life is too short and, while it seems that lot of my life revolves around food because I talk about it, help people with it, cook it, take pretty photographs of it (as photography is my second passion) and then talk more about it – I actually do not enjoy it when process is too lengthy. I cook completely the opposite way most people do. Most people might think what they will have or what meal they would like to cook after they see a recipe, get ingredients and then cook. I, instead, buy food making sure I have dairy, meat, meat free options, grains, fruit and vegetables (so, all major food groups)… I open up a fridge and it almost as if talks to me: “Have this!”, “Try this”, “Have that!”. I like my meals to be delicious, I strive for balance and high nutritional content, but also I aim for as little cooking time as possible. In my world – this is a true WIN WIN.
These are an ideal snack as well as a side to your meal. A couple of Portobello Mushrooms, stuffed with some cottage cheese or spinach with goats cheese, placed under a grill for 10 minutes and, voila – couple of them are under 150 calories snack with over 10 grams of protein and some fibre. Fabulous snack when at home and really being keen on having something different. This is it! Sprinkle with some chilli flakes, sit back and enjoy! Break time! 🙂
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
I have really enjoyed this lunch today. When I need something quick and delicious for lunch or dinner, if I am not planning to having a shake, I straight away turn to eggs and I love them in all kinds of ways. I have never used quorn until recently trying some sausages. I was dissapointed with how little protein they had compared to some other vegetarian options, however, I could see that Quorn mince has got quite a decent amount so decided to give mince quorn a try, in my seemingly never ending efforts to find more vegetarian options in my diet.
Here is one I did last night for this mornings breakfast… Formula 1 pudding… 200ml water, 3 scoops of F1 and 1 scoop of Protein Drink Mix… I added some chia seeds, 1 teaspoon, topped with frozen berries that thawed nicely overnight. Very delicious. Great for those who would love some bite to their morning F1. … how lucky are we to have F1, so much delicious nutrition, it has never been easier to do right by your body.