Nutrition Tips & Blogs

Meal Prep Containers - What to Get

Meal Prep Containers – What to Get

When it comes to meal prep, and nutrition in general, it’s fair to say that your first thought will be about what you’re going to eat. An often-overlooked yet surprisingly important part of meal prep is what you’re going to store your prepared meals in and how you’re going to transport them between workouts.

In fact, picking the right containers to store and carry your food should be one of the first steps in your meal prep, as they will ultimately have an impact on every other stage. But what should you be looking for? Don’t worry, we’ve got a few tips for you to consider when buying meal prep containers:

What should you be looking for?

Whether you’re trying meal prep for the first time or are looking to add a little more efficiency to your current routine, getting the right containers first will give you a good foundation moving forward.

  1. Material

Containers come in a variety of materials, such as plastic, glass, silicone or metal. It’s down to personal preference – many people find that plastics transfer taste or chemicals to your food, but tend to be cheaper than glass or metal. But glass may not be the best choice for transport or packing, in case it breaks. Reusable silicone bags can be great for saving space, as are certain stackable containers.

If you’re looking to reheat your meals in the containers, when BPA-free plastic or glass are great choices. Some containers are a combination of both, which is a big benefit.

Choose what is going to be right for you and your schedule, if you’re on the move, you’ll want something light yet sturdy.

  1. Size

The size of your containers is important for portion control. You’ll want a container that’s big enough to store your meals, yet not too big as to give yourself a bigger portion than necessary. Alternatively it could just go to waste. Pick a container that’s going to allow for the right kind of portions for you.

  1. Separation

Using containers with built in separators will let you keep certain parts of your meal separate and fresher. Particularly useful with keeping your meats from your vegetables, dressings and salads separate, or your healthy snacks away from your main meal!

  1. Freezer Safe

If you’re planning on prepping enough meals in advance that you’ll need to keep some of them frozen, make sure you pick containers that are going to be suitable. This includes using containers that are completely sealable to avoid bacteria growth. If you’re planning on keeping the food in their containers when freezing, make sure they’re made form suitable material. The last thing you want is to ruin all of your work because of the container!

  1. Leak Proof

Meal prep is inherently ideal for a busy schedule, and a busy schedule usually means you’re on the move. This is where you definitely want to invest in containers that aren’t going to leak all over your back or important work documents! Salad dressings are particularly notorious for getting everywhere!

There’s nothing wrong with giving your containers a test run, even if it’s just with water, to ensure you’re not going to run into any problems.

What Suits You

Ultimately, how you prep and store your meals depends on your schedule, lifestyle and what it is you’ll be prepping. Get what works best for you, even if it means trying a few things out until you get it right!

 

What Are The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if one of the most popular sweet treats was also good for us, and it’s a topic that is often debated online. Unfortunately it’s not as simple to say that dark chocolate benefits your health, because there are a lot of different variables to consider. Our personal trainers have delved into the research so you don’t have to, now lets take a look at some of the nutritional facts, as well as some of the “hype” that surrounds dark chocolate and health benefits.

Is dark chocolate bad for you?

It’s safe to say that dark chocolate shouldn’t be labelled as a ‘health food’. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without some potential benefits when enjoyed in moderation. Generally speaking, dark chocolate is made from cocoa powder, cocoa butter and more often than not, sugar. This depends, of course, of the variety that you choose.

The one thing to look at in particular here however is the cocoa. This is the key ingredient in question when looking at dark chocolate and its health benefits. Cocoa contains an antioxidant known as oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), which is often referred to as flavanols. According to research, flavanols may help promote blood flow to the brain, reduce stress hormones and even relaxing the body’s blood vessels, resulting in lowered blood pressure. Interesting!

Phenethylamine is also contained in dark chocolate which is a compound known to help the release of endorphins, which can help lift your mood. The antioxidants in dark chocolate may also be beneficial for your skin because they help to fight damage caused by free radicals. As we already noted, flavanols can help promote blood flow which is also great for nourishing your skin’s cells. Dark chocolate also contains small amounts of magnesium, which can assist with the regulation of hormones.

Again, it’s difficult to state that dark chocolate is good for your health, because the amount of cocoa differs from product to product and cocoa bean varieties. Your best bet is to seek out 70%+ dark chocolate in order to benefit from the most flavanols. They may be more bitter and not as sweet as white or milk chocolate, but the benefits will certainly be increased.

As with most things, whilst there are benefits to eating dark chocolate, it should be enjoyed in moderation. The actual amount depends on your overall diet and activity levels, but even just a few squares should satisfy your sweet tooth. Try not to go too overboard, as more often than not your dark chocolate will contain sugar. If you are looking for other sources of antioxidants, a cup of herbal tea will also go down a treat!

4 Tips For Boosting Your Metabolism

A healthy metabolism will help your body convert the food and drink you consume more efficiently – if you boost your metabolism effectively, you’ll burn more calories even when in a resting state. So with that said, lets take a look at some ways to help give your metabolism that required ‘boost’:

Building Muscle

According to research, increasing your muscle mass will aid in boosting your metabolism when at rest. At Go-FitUK our personal trainers have proven and effective methods for building muscle through a variety of exercises and weight training. Not only that, but they will ensure you are working out in the most efficient and safe way possible, minimising the risk of injury and helping you look and feel at your best.

Add Protein

Protein is essential in any effective nutrition plan when you are looking to boost your metabolism. Include protein with meals and snacks to reduce overindulgence and speed up metabolism. It can be particularly effective when included in your breakfast to give you a kick-start in the morning. Try skipping on those carb-loaded breakfast bites like bagels or toast and have some eggs with sliced tomato or a few leaves of spinach.

In general we advise eating a palm-sized portion of protein of some kind like lean meat, fish, eggs, pumpkin, hemp or chia seeds. If you are vegetarian or vegan we would suggest you include a moderate amount of fermented soy foods such as tempeh, but no more than 50g per day. Please note while we agree certain soy foods eaten in moderation can be a healthy addition to your diet, women who eat soy at every meal or even every day may be putting their health at risk.  Soy has its good points but too many soy phytoestrogens do have an oestrogenic effect.

High Intensity

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is great for burning calories if you do it effectively. What’s great is that even after your HIIT session you’ll be burning fat for up to 48 hours thanks to EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). You can complete your HIIT workout in about 30 minutes or less, allowing for flexibility during your busy personal schedule. High Intensity Interval Training can be modified and scaled for different fitness levels and medical conditions. It can include a variety of workouts such as bodyweight exercises, cycling, swimming, walking, running and much more.

Get Your Sleep

Yes, we’re going to say it again! A good night’s sleep will help boost your metabolism. But not only that, if you get a good night’s rest you will be far more likely to get up and be motivated for your morning workout routine and have more energy to keep on moving throughout the day.  If you find it difficult to get to sleep early enough, try making sure your room is dark enough, cool enough and gradually make your bed time 10 minutes earlier each night. Having a “wind down” routine will also help get your brain ready for sleep; whether it be some hot tea, meditation or getting comfortable with a good book.

Stoke The Burn

All of the above tips will help to give your metabolism a kick-start, but it’s important to keep that efficiency going with an effective and structured workout and nutrition schedule!

Simple Diet & Nutrition Tips

You can be putting in a tonne of effort at the gym, but your workout really isn’t going to make too much of a difference if your nutrition plan is not up to scratch.

You need to keep a healthy, rested, hydrated body, free of junk foods and chemicals as much as possible in order to get the most out of your workout efforts. Even just the smallest of changes over time do add up and help you on your way to your fitness goals. To put it simply, you need to eat clean if you are investing time into fat loss and building muscle mass.

One of the first things that our personal trainers always stress is water. Water, water everywhere! Keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least 2.5 litres every day, more if you are exercising.  Consider starting every day with a healthful beverage consisting of hot water and the juice of a lemon; hydrating, detoxifying with an added vitamin boost. By staying hydrated you are helping to keep your cravings at bay.  It may also help with fat burning by improving digestion thus enabling you to metabolise calories more effectively.

Another component of clean eating is making sure that your food is literally clean. We’re fortunate that in this day and age, organic health food stores are springing up all over the place and that sort of access to that is easier than it has been in the past. If organic is not available to you, or it’s too expensive, that’s fine, just try to go for hormone and antibiotic free. Because what you don’t want is you don’t want to be consuming tons of protein to try and build muscle mass, at the same time consuming antibiotics and growth hormones and all sorts of other substances that unfortunately is in a lot of lower quality meat. What you eat influences the type of bacteria that reside in your gut, this will have a huge impact on your hormone levels.  We know that friendly microbiome feed on substances called lignans, present in some natural foods, including vegetables, fruit, healthy wholegrains and legumes such as beans and lentils. However, no amount of lignan containing food will help you if your friendly bacteria are out of balance with the bad.

Last but not least, it’s really important to enjoy yourself. So you should enjoy your food, you should pay attention to what you’re eating, how you’re eating it, when you’re eating it, and how you feel when you’re consuming your food. Because at the end of the day, consuming food should be pleasurable, but it should also be nourishing. The best way to know if something’s good for you or not is just listening to your body.It’s fine to indulge, but just indulge wisely. Do it in moderation. For example a glass or two of red wine may be very appealing after a stressful day.  However, take note – this little habit is extremely detrimental to your gut.  Studies show that just one glass in women and two in men can induce dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth.

Most important is keep it clean, drink tons of water, and listen to your body!

Date Truffles Recipe - Quick, Tasty & Healthy

Satisfy your sweet tooth while remaining guilt-free with these fantastic Date Truffles. Dates are naturally sweet and loaded with natural sugars, so you should avoid adding any further sweeteners! As always, enjoy them in moderation and as part of a solid nutrition plan.

The excellent thing about these date truffles is that you have the freedom to change the coating to your tastes. Fantastic alternatives could be roasted sesame, cinnamon, desiccated coconut, crushed nuts or dry ground berries. These healthy Date Truffles don’t just look terrific, they taste great and our personal trainers absolutely love them! If that’s not enough, they’re even freezable, saving you preparation time if you want to make a double serving; simply defrost the paste the night before and you’ll have yourself a ready paste to form more date truffles.

You’ll need the following to make these tasty Date Truffles, but of course feel free to play around with the coating to suit your tastes!

– 35g coconut oil, melted
– 30g dried dates, chopped
– 15g cocoa powder
– 35g nut butter of your choice
– 30g chocolate or vanilla flavour whey or rice protein powder
– 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Decorative coating ideas:

– Desiccated coconut
– Cacao powder
– Crushed pistachio
– Sesame

1. Place the dates and coconut oil into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
2. Place all ingredients into a suitable bowl.
3. Stir well to combine into a thick paste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
4. Roll the mixture into 5 balls.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you find that the paste is too firm, try adding more soft dates, but the trick is to form a paste that is both sticky enough for a coating but not too soft that you can’t properly form the truffles – it’s all about balance!

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Date Truffle Recipe – Video Guide

The Keys To Staying Healthy With A City Lifestyle

With many of our clients leading really busy lives, it’s imperative that we always have super energising foods as part of their nutrition plans!

So without further a due, please say hello to the infamous…’Quinoa’

Quinoa (pronounced – ‘keen-wah’) dates back to almost 4000 years and was discovered by the Incas. It was believed to be a ‘food from the gods’ so much so it was even reserved for their mighty warriors!

Here are 7 of the main benefits:

1. It’s protein rich containing 9 essential amino acids. Great alternative to meat if you’re vegetarian.

2. It contains twice as much fibre as most other grains. A fibre rich diet helps to reduce constipation, prevent the risk of heart disease and keep blood pressure in order.

3. High in manganese, an antioxidant which protects cells from the effects of free radicals.

4. It contains Lysine. This is essential for muscle growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. This promotes healthy blood sugar and therefore reduces the effects of type-2 diabetes. It also helps to relax blood vessels, which reduces the chances of migraines.

6. Quinoa contains iron. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies it to our muscles to aid in their contraction.

7. It’s high in the vitamin B2, which improves energy metabolism.

So go on, get yourself down to the supermarket and stock up this ‘super food’ staple!

PS: let us know if you’d like a nice quinoa recipe to follow? Our ladies love it!

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The Keys To Staying Healthy With A City Lifestyle

Over the years we have always judged our health and fitness levels on one thing: What the scales say.

As long as the weight on the scales is not going up, then we are fine right?

Wrong!

We’re here to help enlighten some of you in that weight loss and just being light on the scales does not necessarily mean you are in good health. We want to give you some information on this subject that a lot of people do not know much about.

The term ‘skinny fat’ is used quite often in the fitness world. ‘Skinny fat’ refers to men or women who have low levels of muscle mass and way too much body fat. For example, you may have two girls who both wear the same dress size. However, one has a low body fat percentage and more muscle mass, whereas the other has high body fat percentage and low levels of muscle mass. When wearing their clothes, both girls look relatively the same, but if they removed their clothes their body compositions and health would reveal two completely different looks.

Being ‘skinny fat’ also comes with some significant health related issues as well, such as poor blood sugar level (poor concentration, low energy), high blood pressure, chronic stress, poor sleep patterns, hormonal imbalances, and poor digestive systems. It is therefore amazing to think how many people out there fit this profile of being ‘skinny fat’ but are completely unaware of the health complications that they also have. Would it then amaze you if I said that if we started to address these health issues and improve health that large amounts of body fat would be lost and lean tissue would be built at the same time.

One of the most common reasons that people end up skinny fat is the amount of crazy diets that they undertake. They predominantly consist of low-calorie eating, lots of cardiovascular exercise (e.g. running, cross-trainer, cycling) and the promise of large losses in scale weight each week. However, despite having rapid early success with this style of dieting, much of the weight loss also comes from loss of muscle tissue. When we come off of the diet we tried and return to eating poor food, we regain the majority of it back because there is less muscle there to burn up the extra calories we are now eating. Consequently, we gain it all back and more with the majority of the weight gain coming as body fat. As you gain body fat, the cycle begins all over again as you find a new diet to try and help shift the unwanted weight again. Time after time the cycle continues, each time you gain more body fat and lose more muscle tissue, but bodyweight can remain roughly the same.

Each time we go through this cycle, we are actually wreaking havoc with our health. The more stress we place on our bodies through these cycles of dieting, the more inflammation we have. We often think if inflammation as the swelling and redness we get after we have injured ourselves. Well this can happen on the inside to, resulting in unseen damage to our digestion and gut health. Furthermore, inflammation is heavily linked with depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, weakened immune system and asthma. More than this, inflammation will also lead to a loss in muscle mass, lowered metabolic rate and can make you more prone to osteoporosis, all without you even realising it.

After going through some of the health issues that are associated with this poor dieting regime of trying to maintain scale weight rather than to focus on body composition and body fat percentage, we are sure you are wondering how you can take steps to turn improve body composition and body fat percentage.

The initial habits we recommend you try and begin to implement are:

1. Start your day with protein (e.g. meat, fish, eggs, etc.) and consume some at each meal.

2. Dramatically reduce your intake of refined, sugary foods such as breads, cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks in favour of vegetables.

3. Start resistance training. Make it a goal to get strong and develop some lean muscle tissue (you won’t get big and bulky; I promise).

4. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep.

5. Consume vegetables and essential fats (e.g. coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, nuts) with each meal.
These steps should help to get you on the road to improving your body composition and health, not just your bodyweight.

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The Joy And Power Of Diet

We all know that eating right is important. That doesn’t necessarily mean we like doing it, though. When faced with the prospect of eating a slice of pizza or a chicken breast, you’re likely to always be tempted by the former. What countless articles and websites fail to tell you, mind, is that eating healthy doesn’t have to be an endless journey of suffering.

By and large you know what is and isn’t healthy when it comes to food. Any diet in its early stages will be effective by making the smallest of changes: cutting out fast food, eliminating fizzy drinks from your day-to-day, keeping sugary treats down to a minimum. If your goal is to lose weight and keep that weight off, the most important aspect is to continually feel excited and motivated to do so.

This is why adapting what you eat, rather than banning yourself from the food you love, is essential when you decide to take the plunge. We all experience cravings from time-to-time, and the best way to deal with them is to find out exactly what the body wants and deliver that in the healthiest way possible. Before long, these hankerings will start to fade. More importantly, your body will start to reward you for making the change. Your mood will become more positive, you’ll be able to deal with things in a much more productive way and, of course, the changes you start to see will only encourage you to continue on.

Make sure to plan in a ‘cheat’ meal once a week as well. Knowing that a treat is only a few days away is the perfect way to stay on track until that point. A metaphorical dangling carrot, it will allow you to feel like you earned the food you love, making it taste all the more sweet.

A well-rounded diet is so powerful that, combined with the right exercise program, it can literally turn your whole life around. It’s not just a case of burning body fat or increasing muscle tone – although these are two huge benefits you’ll see after implementing a proper nutrition plan. It’s about your overall well-being and how you feel from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep.

Eating right can be directly responsible for putting you in a better place, making you feel great and giving you a new lease of life. Learning how food is consumed by the body will also help you understand what to eat and why, turning a diet into a lifestyle. Coupled with the right workout, it’s a one-stop shop to ensure a long, healthy, happy existence.

Click here if you are looking for more advice on nutrition