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Do not bring us the Figgy Pudding!

Christmas is a notorious time for overindulgence and expanding waistbands. Research suggests that weight gain over the 4 week Christmas period can be as much as 2kg, which is an awful lot of mince pies! Whilst most people do not maintain this level of overindulgence throughout the year (not to mention the New Years resolution to shift those creeping pounds) there are a few festive foods for the health conscious, which are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed (nearly) guilt free!

1. Clementines– A popular fruit at Christmas, this little gem is packed with vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and dietary fibre. They are naturally high in sugar but swap a few mince pies for these when you crave something sweet, at only 35 calories each they are a saintly snack.

2. Chestnuts – Often overshadowed by their popular counterpart-the Brussels sprout, this nut contains high levels of vitamin C, lower fat content than other types of nut and high levels of minerals, in particular potassium. Potassium is highly rated for helping lower blood pressure (often running high in the stressful Christmas season) and heart rate.

3. Carrots– Rudolph’s preferred mid-present delivery snack. From the taproot family of vegetables, high in vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which helps with visual function and frontline bodily defense against infections and diseases. These will help keep away the dreaded ‘Christmas colds’ and other festive spirit-dampening ailments.

4. Turkey– Trussed and carved, the ultimate centrepiece for any Christmas Dinner table. Turkey is a lean meat which is low in saturated fat but high in protein and phosphorus which is essential for bone and teeth growth, not to mention it is a main component of every body cell.

5. Brussels Sprouts – Either love them or hate them, this Christmas dinner Brassica is without doubt full of good things (even if they smell somewhat suspect). Sprouts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K can be found in each one of these little green machines, which has been found to help limit neuronal damage and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!

6. Parsnips – This taproot is a classic Christmas dinner vegetable. High in fibre( but also natural sugars) this vegetable contains folic acid, vitamin b-6 and pentathenic acid which is known for it’s stress busting properties. Perfect after slaving away in a hot kitchen with hungry mouths to feed!

7. Cranberries – This berry is often sidelined to a table sauce at Christmas, which is high in sugar but the berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They contain Manganese, a mineral known for health benefits such as maintaining healthy bones and sugar levels, promoting optimal functioning of the thyroid and for helping the body absorb other key nutrients.

8. Cinnamon – this fragrant spice is full of antioxidants, essential oils and minerals. It has been used for centuries in medicine for its antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has the highest anti-oxidant level for all natural foods, combating nasty free-radicals. Cinnamon has also been found to have anti-clotting properties, helping reduce the risk of strokes and coronary disease.

9. Smoked salmon – This cured fish is a popular choice for a celebratory brunch or Christmas Party canapés. High in omega-3, this food can help with brain function, cell function and improved cardiovascular function. Other benefits from Omega-3 include improved joint operation and some research has shown it to help alleviate symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.

10 ways to kick start your day! (Part 1)

Getting the right start at the beginning of the day can drastically affect your performance and focus throughout the day. Without a routine healthy start to your morning, you’ll find your energy quickly dipping throughout the day. The easiest way to prevent this is to ensure that you kick start your day in the proper manner!

Porridge or oatmeal is great for breakfast!

Porridge or oatmeal is great for breakfast!

This article is going to be broken down into two parts – The first part contains the first 5 ways to kick start your day! Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top ways of getting your day off to the great start that it needs:

1 – Healthy balanced breakfast – Possibly the most obvious factor to a perfect start to your day, a healthy breakfast is vital to keeping your energy levels high throughout the day. Plenty of fibre, proteins and nutrients are essential which can easily be found through wholegrain cereals, granola, natural yogurt, dried fruit and berries. Try to stay clear of fatty meats, low-fibre cereals and white breads.

2 – Preparation the night before – In order to get yourself up and out there quickly, it’s useful to prepare everything you need the night before. There’s nothing worse than hunting for your car keys in a groggy brain “just-woken-up” state! Make sure everything is easy to find, including your outfit for the day. It’ll also give you plenty of wake-up time, including all important breakfast time.

3 – Snooze Control isn’t your friend–  The snooze button was invented by a lazy person! Just kidding – but although the snooze button may seem like your best friend, it really is not beneficial to your body. Falling asleep only to wake up again 5 minutes later doesn’t necessarily make waking up for the day any easier. Muster up all your willpower and get up and soon as your alarm rings – you’ll thank yourself later in the day!

4 – Regular wake-up times – Waking up at the same time everyday biologically programs our bodies to eventually wake up naturally each day. By waking up in this matter, you’ll find yourself feeling fresher and ready for the day without too much effort.

5 – Waking up in the sunshine – Our bodies respond to darkness by producing the sleep hormone known as melatonin, which is why it’s difficult for many of us to wake up during the winter in a dark bedroom. If you can’t sleep without closing the curtains, be sure to open them as soon as you wake up to allow natural light to flood the room.