Healthy dessert – Chocolate balls – no sugar added!

Did you know that having two healthy snacks throughout the day in between your main meals keeps your blood sugar levels balanced, ensuring plenty of energy and brain power. Because you avoid that crash of energy you will in turn start making healthier food choices as well.

Here is the recipe of most delicious and nutrient dense snack i have ever made. These little bites are high in antioxidants, protein, fibre and good fats, helping with muscle maintenance and boosting the immune system.

ballsIngredients:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 table spoons of sesame seeds
2 table spoons of cashew/almond or peanut butter
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
splash of water if necessary

What to do…
Chop up dates and walnuts, then place all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
Use your hands to roll the mixture into small balls.
Pour the coconut onto a chopping board and roll each of the balls until coated.
Store in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Healthy breakfast ideas to stay in shape

Fotor0528121652Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no doubt about it. I know this sound like a cliché, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me once you read what an impact it can have on your everyday life.

So let’s see why is breakfast so important?

  • When you wake up your blood sugar levels are low, and you don’t have any energy. Eating something will give you the energy to carry out your tasks during the day.
  • Having some breakfast will start up your metabolism and you’ll burn more calories during the day.
  • When you are asleep, your metabolism slows down, and you need something in your stomach to wake it up.
  • If you are not eating in the morning, for sure you will over eat during the day.

The benefits of eating breakfast:

  • Eating a breakfast that’s high in fibre and carbohydrates could help you feel less tired throughout the day
  • The best formula is to eat a balanced blend of good carbs, proteins, and fats in the morning. In fact this is the best general plan for all meals.
  • Starting your day with a good breakfast boosts your energy and increases your attention; also you’ll be in better control of your emotions.

Here are your best options:

  1.  Greek yogurt With Berries And Nuts – It’s so simple and delicious: You will need a Greek yogurt, berries with some cashews or almonds. This combination gives the perfect amount of protein, carbs and good fats you need to be fuller longer.
  2. Scrambled Eggs With Spinach – scrambled eggs with spinach, or egg whites, with a few strips of turkey bacon it can be another perfect option.
  3. Oatmeal with fruits – you will need some oats, almonds, raisins, cinnamon, a little bit of honey and some kind of fruit like bananas, blueberries or apples, it’s your choice. It will keep you full till lunch time.
  4. Banana pancakes – they are so delicious and filling, and so easy to make. I think this is my all time favourite. You will need 2 whole eggs, a banana, 1 table spoon of creamy peanut butter and some cinnamon, if you like it very sweet you can add a little bit of honey but I think bananas are sufficiently sweet.
  5. Fried egg with multi-grain toast, avocados, goat cheese, and salmon is another very healthy and filling breakfast. You can add some fresh salad by your choice tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cucumber.

Bon appétit!

The benefits of eating fruits first thing in the morning

fruit-plate-1024x7681. Between the hours of 7-11 the body is doing the heaviest detoxification, so eating fruits (especially on empty stomach) ensures energy which is used for detoxification rather wasted on digesting heavy fatty foods.

2. If you eat enough fruits in the morning you will not require coffee as the natural fruit sugars keep the brain sharp and energized.

3. The fruit fiber cleans the colon, leaving you feeling light, refreshed and ready to go.

4. People who eat only fruits for breakfast have been shown to be leaner, healthier and more productive during their day.

5. Fruits in general are full of vitamins and antioxidants. They contain more vitamin C than any other regularly consumed breakfast food. Certain fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas have unique anti microbial compounds. All of these boost immunity and protect cells from free radical damage.

So give it a try, eat your fruits first thing in the morning and see the changes and benefits!

Have a nice day!

 

Best pre workout snack/ food ideas

 IMG_20130516_140615People interested in fitness want to know which are the best foods to eat before a workout and exactly when is the best time to eat them. Also there are lots of misconceptions about this subject, if we should or not be eating before exercising.

To optimize your performance, you need to eat. You should never eat too close to the time you will be working out, because your body needs time to digest the food. Exercise on a full stomach could cause digestive problems. Eating before a workout also prevents low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue. Also you don’t want to eat the wrong things before your workout. Choose foods that provide fuel for the body such as carbs and eat protein to help your body build muscles and supply nutrients to all of your cells.

Here are the best foods you can eat before your workout so you can fuel up the right way.

1. Peanut butter on apple

You get a good mix of natural sugars, plus the protein and good fats from the peanut butter which lower the foods glycemic index, resulting a slower release of sugars into your bloodstream. That’s how you can keep going harder for longer.

2. Whole wheat toast with sliced banana 

Before an intensive workout we need carbs. A mix of complex and simple carbs is the perfect combination. The whole-wheat toast with fruit gives you both types of carbs and they are super easy to digest. Bananas are perfect in raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot.

3. Greek yoghurt and mixed nuts

This combination of protein and carbohydrates will keep you going for hours. Just remember, a little bit goes a long way. Seeds and nuts are high in fat, which means they take longer to digest.

4. Fruit and cottage cheese

Cottage cheese has no lactose and is considered an excellent source of protein. Fruits like blueberries or kiwis provide the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for your workout. If you need the extra energy for longer endurance, add a banana. Bananas have more carbs than most other fruits.

5. Oats/ oatmeal

Oats are full of fiber, which means they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Oatmeal will boost your energy level and help you have a better workout. Oats also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy.

6. Fruit smoothies

Fruit smoothies are high in carbohydrates and high-quality protein. They’re easy to consume and are rapidly digested. Try blending 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yoghurt  1/2 cup fruit and 1 cup fruit juice. You need to put fruits in your smoothies because the protein does not break down fast enough to become fuel for your workout. The carbs from fruit break down quickly and the protein is used later to prevent muscle damage.

What to avoid!

Be sure to avoid fatty foods before working out—fat leaves the stomach very slowly, which means you’ll feel full and could cramp up easily.

Although carbohydrates are good, you should not get them from raw sugar or candy. Either of those foods will cause a sugar rush and probably a crash while you’re working out.

Avoid overeating before you workout. These are all snack – not meal – suggestions. Eating too much can cause indigestion, nausea or even vomiting.

Most popular fitness myths!

 

myths_6When you start a fitness journey or a healthy lifestyle, the most important thing  is to be informed. The best defence against failure is good information. These crushed fitness myths will help you recognize right from wrong and truth from lies.

You may be surprised to learn how many are really fiction, so here they are:

Myth nr.1

The more you sweat, the more fat you lose.

Sweat is your body’s way of getting rid of heat, is our body’s way of cooling off, it means you’re losing water weight, not fat. Fat is oxidized inside your body and it is not going to vaporize because you’re sweating! The sweat isn’t related to burning fat – it’s related to temperature regulation.

Myth nr.2

Doing crunches or working on an “ab machine” will get rid of belly fat.

Doing ab exercises like crunches might help strengthen the muscles around that area, but to be able to “see” your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat.  If you don’t lose the belly fat, you won’t see the abdominal muscles. Unfortunately you can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat. So crunches aren’t going to target weight loss in that area. To burn fat, you should create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content.

Myth nr.3

If you want to get in shape, you have to run for long distances.

If you want to lose weight or gain muscle, running miles may not be the best way to do it. The more efficient your body becomes at running, the fewer calories you’ll burn. A good tip if you really like to run is to add intervals. Interval workouts, whether programs on the machine or created by you, will always be the best option.

Myth nr.4

Occasional overeating makes you fat.

Eating more calories than your body needs will make you gain weight. But you can gain both muscle and fat depending on where the calories are coming from and whether you stimulate your muscles into growth. Occasional overeating will not make you fat.

 Myth nr.5

No pain, no gain!

Exercise should not be painful! During your workout you should be sweating and breathing hard. You should not be so out of breath that you cannot speak, but should not be so comfortable that you can make a conversation. That’s how you know you are working at a good level. It’s important to distinguish between muscle fatigue (feeling “the burn”) and muscle/joint pain (uncomfortable pain during movement). Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong.  Just listen to your body; if it’s painful, you have to stop!

 Myth nr.6

Fruit is a healthy snack that can’t make you fat.

We eat food because it gives us nutrients and fuel, but any kind of food, no matter how healthy, can make you gain weight. Fruit has a lot of easily accessible carbs. When you provide your body easily accessible carbs, you’re basically telling it to stop burning body fat for fuel.

Top 10 Super foods

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Maybe you’re asking yourself now what a super food is. What makes a food super food?

There are specific factors which make a food super. One of the most important factors is nutrient density, which means, how much nutrient is “packed” in that specific food. These super foods are very high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, good fats, essential fatty and amino acids.

Super foods turbo charge the system – especially when eaten on a regular basis! Our goal of consuming super foods is to load the body with as many nutrients as possible. These foods are rich in phytochemicals, which are special chemicals that have been noted to have disease-fighting properties. Phytochemicals can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, or in some other way contribute to a person being healthier

Here is the list:

1. Berries (blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, goji berries)

Blueberries and berries in general are high in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They are full of Vitamins C and K. A very popular berry is the goji berry which has been estimated to contain 500 times more vitamin c than an orange. This Himalayan fruit contains all 18 amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) as well as huge amounts of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E. They contain more iron than steak and spinach and more beta carotene than carrots.

2. Leafy green vegetables

This includes spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli and asparagus. Kale for example contains more iron than beef. Broccoli is thought to boost your immune system, protect your cells from being damaged by free radicals. Broccoli also contains beta carotene, energy producing vitamins B3 and B5, potassium and chromium, which help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Incorporate as much leafy greens as possible to your meals.

3. Whole grains/Oats

Whole grains help stabilize blood sugar and insulin and may protect against heart disease. They include all three parts of a grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole wheat flour, brown rice, barley and oatmeal are all whole grain foods. Oatmeal’s top benefit comes from its high soluble-fiber content, which helps lower cholesterol. Oatmeal is low-fat, high in protein and loaded with iron and other minerals. One cup of cooked oatmeal is only 166 calories.

4. Avocado

Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat which our body needs (these are the good fats) and have a rich source of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant known to block over 30 different carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue). Avocados are also one of the most nutrient-dense foods; high in fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium. It is a great food, it is filling, it tastes super good and does not contain a lot of calories.

5. Olive oil

Olive oil doesn’t get its reputation as a super food for no reason – olive oil is packed with healthy mono unsaturated fats that may actually lower your risk of heart disease; healthy fats can actually promote good cholesterol and help to regulate your blood sugar. It’s also anti-inflammatory and delicious, too. Studies also show that olive oil may also be linked to brain health and cancer prevention.

6. Eggs

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet- this is what scientists say. Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients. A large egg contains only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids. It is rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others). Eggs are a nutritious, protein rich food with a strong impact on satiety. Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.

7. Lentils/Beans/Chick Peas

Lentils and beans in general are a great source of satiating protein and fibre. A half-cup of lentils delivers 3.4 grams of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that boosts metabolism and burns fat. It is a high-protein food such as meat, eggs, poultry and fish, so it’s the perfect food for vegetarians.

8. Bananas

Bananas are slightly higher in energy than other fruits but the calories come mainly from carbohydrate; excellent for refuelling before, during or after exercise. All types of fruits and vegetables contain plant chemicals or phytochemicals known as antioxidants. These antioxidants protect cells in the body against damage from free radicals that can cause heart disease and cancer. According to Japanese Scientific Research, full ripe banana with dark patches on yellow skin produces a substance called TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells. The more darker patches it has the higher will be its immunity enhancement quality; Hence, the riper the banana the better the anti-cancer quality. Yellow skin banana with dark spots on it is 8x more effective in enhancing the property of white blood cells than green skin version. Eating 1-2 banana/s a day increases immunity.

9. Nuts/ (Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds)

All nuts are generally full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Recent studies suggest that eating a small handful of nuts four times a week can help reduce heart disease and satisfy food cravings. Brazil nuts are one of the few good sources of selenium that may help protect against cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

10.  Green tea

Green tea has special health-giving properties because of the way it’s processed. The leaves of black tea are fermented, but the green version is steamed, which makes it rich in antioxidants. The caffeine in green tea acts as a mild stimulant and also supports brain health and memory. Longer term, it protects against Alzheimer’s. Green tea has zero calories, so flavored with some natural lemon juice can be the best refreshing summer drink. Green tea also supports brain health and memory.

This list could go on, but I wanted to point out these 10 foods, for now, and the concept of Superfoods! Try to implement these foods into your daily menu and stay healthy! 🙂