10 Months, Ten Healthy New Foods

August 13, 2017

 

10 months ago, I made a more conscious effort to improve my diet and nutrition habits. This meant understand the food I was consming.

 

Why is it good for me?

What nutrition value does it provide my body?

Should I eat more or less of this?

How does this effect my performance for exercise?

 

I've always been someone thats curious about subjects that interest me. (Yeah, I still ask my mom annoying questions like a 8 year old thinking she knows everything and anything, sorry mom!)  Raise your hand though when you feel like you can't stop having the urge to learn🙋yes I really am that geeky.

 

But something like food, is what we all have in common. WE ALL EAT IT! But what I find fascinating is that the foods we eat have different effects on us. Every single one of us could eat the same food for a month yet have completely different moods, fitness performance, energy levels, skin, hair, nails. HOW CAN THIS BE!?!? Yes, I would love the ramble the many ins and outs of that question, but on to the reason for this post.

 

When choosing to be more conious of my foods it meant I chose (key word here) to cut out certain foods. I didn't want to binge on pizza, chocolate, chips. I wanted to have them in small moderations. Which is fine. Not that I was uber unhealthy or ridiculously crazed by clean foods either. Actually I was probably a slightly more on the unhealthy side of healthy (if that makes sense?😂) But felt I needed an upgrade in how I eat, I felt I was missing out on more foods I didn't eat then was eating!

 

It's okay to still eat the things you enjoy, but I wanted to delve into the world of food again and start again. 🍅🍊🍓🍳🍗🍠🍵🌽🍉

I didn't really have many healthy staple items, which meant I needed to find foods that I could put back in to my diet since I had cut a lot out. So this blog post is all about *new* (I mean they have always been around, but new for me) foods I've started to eat.

 

1. Cottage Cheese and Fish sticks

(my mom and dad are probably rolling their eyes as they read this, I never shut up about this)

I got a few funny looks at sixth form for bringing theses in. But I kid you not, I'VE BECOME OBSESSED😻

They make an appearance on our shopping list every week (I kind of embarrassingly laugh here, because I'm the only one who eats them).

So yeah, not going to lie, when I first thought of eating cottage cheese, I really was put off. I think it was the lumps and bumps within it (which is the cheese if you're unsure what it was) It just seemed like an 'old persons' food, no offence!! And fish sticks, again, was a really bizarre buy. We were looking in the fish section, trying to find some source of protein snack for me , and BOOM- my eyes had played upon the protein gem to my duo of my fave snack! THE DREAM TEAM WAS BORN! (sorry i'm so dramatic but I'm so not really kidding either) I really encourage you to try this combo. I feel like it's either you'll love it or hate it, but what do you have to loose? (also super cheap item for the students out there!)

 

The reason I eat it?

 

I eat this combo because I like to have a good source of protein after my workouts or as a snack, for me I've struggled to find high protein snacks that taste good and aren't a protein chocolate bar or shake. 

 

When do I eat it?

 

As a snack or post workout re-fuel

or anytime like because ITS LYFE

 

What do I eat it with?

 

Most often I eat them together as a pair (because they go together like Ant and Dec for me) but sometimes I'll spread the cottage cheese on a rye cracker, if I'm feeling fancy (which is most of the time #livinglikebeyonce #sassyhairtoss) I'll add a couple fish sticks on top, like a lil open sandwich. 

 

Macros

 

Fish sticks (per 4 sticks)- 

Cals- 76

Carbs-11.2g

Fats- 0.8g

Protein-4.4g

Sugar- 3.2g 

 

Cottage Cheese (per 100g, thats what they class as a 'serving'

I laugh when I have ate the whole tub in one 'serving' more than often😅😂🙈)-

Cals-106

Carbs-4.1g

Fats-5.5

Protein- 10g

Sugar- 4.1g

 

 

2. Dried Fruit

 

 Ive always had a sweet tooth. Been loving fruits and chocolate since 1998✌ but oddly enough when I was younger and my dad would often endlessly be offering me some weird dried fruit 'try this dried fig' Martha,  want some dates?' 'give this dried apricot a try' - I'd often get a little bit annoyed after the 10th offering of the day.... ALL THOSE YEARS WERE WASTED!!!! Dad, I sincerely apologise for making fun of the amount of times I would decline what i can only describe as now 'my savour🙌' My dad now laughs every time I sneak into his 'dried fruits stash' and pop my head out pretending this isn't my fourth visit there within an hour😏

 

So I agree, dried fruits don't look very appealing on the eye. In fact, I would keep your eyes closed whilst eating a fig. But dried fruits are honestly amazing. Yes, they are still a fruit and because they're dehydrated (taking the water content out of them, hence making them 'dried') they contain more sugar than I would like to admit to myself when I'm scoffing an entire bag of dried apricots #guiltyface however they are great If you want to try and avoid refined sugar like chocolate chips or sprinkles, I'd highly recommend adding in chopped (or medjool) dates into your baking. They are a great alternative to adding into your own granola pot or yogurt dessert (just to add a lil bit of spice to your life!🌟) 

 

The reason I eat it?

 

Honestly, I really do love them now! I find them more addictive (especially dried apricots) and have them as a well deserve treat! Getting your mindset round having healthier foods as a actually pleasure to eat is half the battle sometimes. If you tell yourself you won't enjoy it, then its going to make swapping different foods a lot harder. 

 

When do I eat it?

 

I often add dried fruits to my yogurt either as part of my breakfast, snack or dessert. I don't tend to snack on them, they are more of a 'topping' I would say.

 

What do I eat them with?

 

yogurt is often my first choice (I just laavvveee it!) but can be added to my porridge or my baking.

 

My advice

 

Just be 'portion conious', a little goes a long way with dried fruit. Therefore portion control (if you're in a calorie deficit or maintenance) is extremely important, as dried fruit does contain more calories and sugar so don't over do it (I'm starting to think I should take my own advice when it comes to this, but a part of me just thinks... MEH💁) 

 

Macros (for dried apricots, I just want to fall in love with them as much as I have #sharingthelove)

 

Per 30g (is one serving= about 5-6 pieces, I know right, it's shocking how I have way more than 'one serving')

 

Cals- 51

Fat- 0g

Protein- 0.6g

Carbs- 12.5g

Sugars-11.1g

 

 

3. Sweet Potatoes

 

I feel my youth was deprived of the fact I hadn't had a sweet potato until LAST YEAR... WTF????

It's actually horrifying to think I had missed out on so many good food moments over the years that could have included one of my absolute faves to my new diet.  Sweet potatoes are nutritionally very good for you too. This was one of the interesting factors that had drawn me to loving it (not to mention they taste great and are very versatile!) Sweet potatoes health benefits include

💚High in vitamin B6 (which is linked to reduce the chemical homocysteine,

which is linked with heart problems)

💚High in vitamin C (helps fight flu and colds)

💚High in magnesium (helps with stress)

💚Keeps immune system strong and healthy

 

The reason I eat it?

 

So at first, when I was going through my more 'restrictive' start to my health journey I had cut out a lot of complex carbs. But because I was doing a lot of exercise I needed something to fill the position of my main carb duty. All hail... the sweet potato filled this position on my plate, and I couldn't be happier🍠👏 Of course now I eat more carbs but this was a great food to help start me off. 

 

When do I eat it?

 

I like to re-plensish my body with a complex carb (sweet potato) after exercise. Because I often do my workouts in the morning I'll need a good carb to feed my body after a workout. 

 

What do I eat them with?

 

I'll eat them with anything and have it in any style (I'm not fussy!!) Baked, jacket, boiled, wedge style, mash, sliced- quite literally anyway you can think of! (I've even put it in a brownie before- the results were delicious😋)

 

Macros

 

One sweet potato (about 135g)

Cals- 117

Fats- 0.7g

Protein- 2g

Carbs- 28

Sugar- 6g

 

4. Quorn

 

So Quorn is only thought as something only vegatraitains and vegans can eat, and meat eaters can't have it.... I LAUGH.

Not to quote the advert too much (but feel free to add a little lisp to this next part😉) but its is a nutritious protein source that actually contains as much protein as regular meat. I also think it tastes pretty yummy too (my brother would say otherwise) but just swapping meat out for Quorn just once or twice a week is so much healthier and will make a significant difference to your health. Quorn is *on the whole* lower in fat, saturated fat and big in protein. Personally I'm so pleased I've added this into my diet as another source of good quality protein. (Building top guns in progress💪)

 

The reason I eat it?

 

It is a healthier alternative to meat (but I still have meat in my diet) I like to mix up my sources of protein and its nice to have a break from meat. It's also lower in fat then mince meat and chicken (but they are already quite low so don't think cutting out real meat is the answer, because I wouldn't worry its still healthy enough and relatively low in fat) I just prefer to change up my meals and protein. (I also like the ease, I feel thats also a good enough reason, right?)

 

When do I eat it?

 

Quorn is a meat alternative so it mainly part of my post workout/ all meals.

 

What do I eat them with?

 

There are lots of different Quorn products (e.g. steaks, burgers, chicken, mince etc) so i just add them in place of where the normal meat product would go... Sounds so obnoxious to need to explain that.. I'm sorry!

 

Macros

 

Mince Meat (100g)

Cals- 105

Fat-2g

Protein- 14.5g

Carbs- 4.5g

Sugar-0.7g

 

 

5.Cocoa Powder

 

This has been revolutionary for me in my diet. It's allowed me to still enjoy the chocolate flavour but without the worry of guilt or nastiness of actual chocolate. It's made having chocolate more accessible for someone that still really craves sweet things. Don't get me wrong, every know and again ill go for the refined chocolate because I'll really want it, but for mostly I'll add this to a mug cake, pancakes, overnight oats or some other form of baking and its just such a healthier change from chocolate. Because Cocoa is the raw state before its cooked and given the extra chemicals and preservatives, making it the nice side of naughty! 

 

The reason I eat it?

 

Because I still like chocolate flavourings but don't want to always have the negativity of pure chocolate, so this allows me to have my cake and eat it too (all da cake🎂😻) 

 

When do I eat it?

 

Honestly, just when I'm having a sweet craving moment,  so its satisfies me perfectly for that.

 

What do I eat them with?

 

I'll add it to mostly making products i.e. pancakes, mug cakes, overnight oats or sprinkle on top my coffee or yoghurt (for extra flavouurrrr!!!!)

 

 

Macros

 

1 TBSP (One Serving)

Cals-24

Fats-0.6g

Carbs- 3.4g

Protein- 1.2g

Sugar- 0.2g

 

6. Tinned Fish

 

So, I have been living off tuna since birth, LITERALLY! I've been brought in up in the most 'tunnay' house. We have it in our cupboards shocked up like the zombie apocalypse is next week and the price of tuna is 40p a tin😂 It actually gets a little embarrassing that all my friends know my mom for her legendary (their words not mine, although I agree) tuna stuffed potatoes. So tuna is not something new to me.However I've always described myself as not a huge fan of fish, but when trying to find new source of protein and something quite cheap (because student loans are pretty pathetic) I wanted to find something that would be easy to store as well. DRUM ROLL...... tinned fish I see you!!!!👀 I must have been blind sighted by all the tuna lovin' and have missed the other fishes I was neglecting. But can we discuss how good sardines, mackerel, salmon (not particularly cheap but lets pray for a reduced sticker when it happens🙏AMEN) Not only do they taste great just straight outta the tin (new movie title?) but they also come in different sauces! It sounds so silly, but for me this is a major discovery and my little world have been opened to a great tin of fish! (and also around 50p-70p they are perfect for a students budget)

 

The reason I eat it?

 

Another cheap source of protein, and if you don't mind funny looks are great as a travel-able snack.

 

When do I eat it?

 

Most of the time I'll have it as my main source of protein in a salad, but sometimes as a quick snack.

 

What do I eat them with?

 

Mostly pair with leafy greens, and a healthy source of fat (avo is my fave) My mom used to have sardines on toast, so you could try that as a toast topping.(I've heard weirder things, you read the fish sticks and cottage cheese segment right?😅)

 

Macros

 

Tinned Sardines (In brine- 1 tin)

Cals- 191

Fat- 11g

Carbs- 0g

Protein- 23g

Sugar- 0g

 

 

7. Avocado

 

So considering this is the most basic white girl, hipster, health blogger food there is, how can this be on my list of foods that's 'new'. Well to be really honest, I went through a little rough patch with the good ol ago here. I was so obsessed with the fact it had 'FAT' in it but wasn't looking beyond the fact it was a 'healthy, body needs fat kinda fat'. So once I had gotten over that lil fear- I fell in love again. Aren't I lucky. Finding a new love for a once loved food was honestly like finding an old dvd and re-watching it knowing every single word, laughing at every joke that you know the punch line to and still getting the same enjoyment from it as the first time you watched it. wow- even I didn't think I could get that deep about a simple avocado, guess I really am the definition of a basic white girl #hipsterlovinavocadowhitegirltoastbrunchinblogger- too much?

 

The reason I eat it?

 

A source of healthy fat is needed in any diet, and its a great way to get it in. Also it taste dammmmmn gooooooooood

 

When do I eat it?

 

There isn't really a specific time I like to eat it, but I mostly like it for breakfast/brunch (because its my fave time of day😋)

 

What do I eat them with?

 

What don't I eat them with? I love them with eggs, on toast, salad, on top of a chilli, I even mix it with tuna and it then turns into a healthier version of tuna mayo (you're welcome).

 

Macros

 

Half an avo (one serving)

Cals- 117

Fat- 10.5g

Carbs- 6g

Protein- 1.5g

Sugar- 0.5g

 

 

8. Soya Beans

 

Snacking is one of the hardest things to combat when finding a healthy balance. Often 'snack' foods are either high in sugar or fat and neither in high quantities are good for you (especially as a snack food, because it'll leave you with a major sugar crash leaving you in a massive hunger dip) so finding a snack or 'tv watching or picking' foods was really important to find, because I didn't want to feel left out when my whole family comes round and they are eating peanuts or salty snacks and there would be me with a celery stick- ITS JUST NOT THE SAME. Roasted soya beans were a great find for me not to feel left out or isolated it those types of situations (because what I've learnt from changing my lifestyle is to never make yourself feel sad or isolated from eating healthy, it just doesn't have to be that way, I promise). It made me have the same feeling of being able to snack but also helping me add good nutrients and protein source (again). Yay- go beans!! 

 

The reason I eat it?

 

A great balance of both healthy fat and protein 

 

When do I eat it?

 

For when my family visit and we have little nibbles (it just makes me feel part of the family and enjoying the eating aspect of it, without compromising my eating choices) or when I fancy a little snack whilst watching tv or typing my blog (oh hello beans to my left😏)

 

What do I eat them with?

 

They are more of a snacking and picking food so often have them on there own.

 

Macros

 

25g (One Serving)

Cals- 105

Fat- 5.1g

Carbs- 1.7g

Protein- 10.2

Sugar- 1.5g

 

9. Spinach 

 

2 years ago, I actually wrote an english essay about how much I hated spinach (it didn't get rated that well either😂) I really disliked the greeny monster. However once I had played around with this leafy queen, I've actually really enjoyed having this in my diet, It makes an appearance in almost all my meals. I think once you get over that mindset of 'ugh, its green and doesn't take of anything' it actually is a nice addition to well just about anything! It makes me feel so healthy while eating it because its full of some many micronutrients and goodness #spiniachfan

 

The reason I eat it?

 

It's great for bulking up my meals (it means I can have lots and lots of foooood!!) and its packed full of so many healthy micros and macros.

 

When do I eat it?

 

No particular time I just like it with my main means (I wouldn't snack on this unless blended in a smoothie)

 

What do I eat them with?

 

either with breakfast, lunch, dinner or in smoothies (so basically anything...)

 

10. Cinnamon 

 

If you thought my food choices couldn't get any weirder, this one might pose a few questions. Let me explain.... Ive always been interesting in foods/herbs with healing properties. Cinnamon is one of my little gems I add in most of my sweet foods. A dash of cinnamon and it heals and helps my body in so many ways. It regulates blood sugar levels, adds a little sweetener (without sugar) and is anti-inflammatory. 

 

The reason I eat it?

 

I like the added flavour it brings to dishes, it provides goodness for my body.

 

When do I eat it?

 

No particular time, just in any dish it would go well with (sweet dishes not savoury- I feel like that was fairy obvious but needed to be said I thought)

 

What do I eat them with?

 

I always add it to my baking products, my overnight oats or sprinkle on my coffee. 

 

Macros

 

5g

Cals- 6

Fat- 0

Carbs- 2.1g

Protein- 0.1g

Sugar0.1

 

 

I hoped you enjoy this post, and it might have inspired you to either try some of these foods (might slightly be offended if you start to diss my fish sticks and cottage cheese combo😒) Next time have a good lil peruse around the supermarket and try and pick up something a little different and try some new foods. It's honestly amazing and can be really exciting way to find your love of food again if you're in a bit of a rut with your diet.

 

Until next time,

 

Simply Martha 🌻🌞x

 

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