A bowl of health – 300 calorie breakfast and super delicious!

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ImageWe have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and since it is not a simple rumor but a fact, breakfast should start with a healthy kick of nutrients for the day! If you’re wondering what a healthy breakfast should look like – here is a perfect example.

This Orange-Apple combination with a pinch of oats will start your day with a “kick” of vitamins, fiber and minerals! And most importantly: it is absolutely delicious! I could have this for breakfast for weeks in a row, even though – variety is the most important element of a healthy diet (don’t forget)!

So how is this prepared? Very simple: it will take you about 5 minutes to prepare and about 8 minutes if you really suck at cooking. All you have to do is chop an orange and one apple into small cubes. Place them in a bowl together with 4 table-spoons of plain yogurt and 4 table-spoons of dried oats!

To spice it up you can add nuts and raisins to it – this will increase its calorie content from 300 to 400 calories (which is still quite decent for a good breakfast)! Nuts will provide your body with natural, healthy fats, while raisins will enhance the taste – whatever you prefer!

For a good finish of your healthy breakfast, wash it off with a glass of fresh orange juice or a cup of green tea! This will get your system going for the day and boost your energy levels! Make an effort for yourself and treat your body with care – it will pay off!

Strawberry-Almond Delights – 35 calories per cookie! Recipe

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Ah don’t they look amazing? These cookies are perfect for your diet since they don’t contain added sugars and taste absolutely delicious! Almonds do the trick with flavor, while reduced sugar strawberry jam and chocolate crumbs give them a gentle, heavenly sweet taste.

As usually they are very easy to make and won’t lay heavy on your budget. This recipe combines just a few simple ingredients which result in a healthy and tasteful snack.

Ingredient list:

– 50 grams of almonds

– 100 grams of flour

– 1 egg

– 40 grams of butter

– 2 tea-spoons of vanilla aroma

– 2 tea-spoons of liquor

– 25 grams of chocolate

– reduced-sugar strawberry jam

How to prepare: These cookies can be prepared in just a few easy steps. Crush the chocolate and almonds into small chunks. Leave just a few pieces of almond for (on top) decoration. Melt the butter and mix all ingredients together except the strawberry jam. Spread your dough in a very thin layer: about 2 millimeters.  A good trick to make those even, beautiful cookie circles is with the help of a Champagne glass. Just push the mouth of the glass into the dough until a circle is formed. Easy right? Put a half of tea-spoon of strawberry jam on one side of the cookie and cover with another cookie. You’re nearly there. Melt a bit of butter and polish the top of your cookies with a cooking tassel (brush) with it. Lay the bits of almonds on top of the cookie and place it in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees Celsius. Wait for about 17 minutes. Ready to go 🙂

Tip: If you are a sweet tooth and you can’t imagine your dessert without any added sugar, I recommend using 2 table-spoons of honey or maple syrup.

This recipe will yield a lot of cookies, so don’t worry if it sounds like little! And yes, go ahead have one, and another one, and another one!

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Low-calorie Chocolate Chip cookies – Recipe

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ImageChocolate chip cookies are probably the most adored and beloved treats of many of us! Everything about them is amazing except their high sugar and fat content. Fortunately, I have invented a recipe that doesn’t use white sugar at all and still gives them a delicious flavor and rich taste. Are you ready for it?

Before I begin I would like to point out that the entire dough preparation takes about 7 minutes. No cooking, pre-baking and any sort of preparation is required! Really fast, convenient and most importantly – healthy.

List of ingredients:

– 200 grams of oatmeal

– 1 banana

– 1/4 of a chocolate bar (any kind of chocolate you like)

– 1 table-spoon of cinnamon

– 1 table-spoon of liquor or rum

– 1 egg

– 1 table-spoon of melted butter

– 2 table-spoons of crushed nuts (optional)

– 15 grams of baking powder

– 1 table-spoon of raisins (optional)

Preparation: Crush your chocolate in smaller chunks and mix all ingredients together. You should have a nice, smooth and homogeneous mass. Take a baking tray and spread a thin layer of melted butter on it. Portion your dough according to the cookie size you would like to have, and lay it gently on the baking tray. Take care that your cookies will grow and spread a little in the oven so make sure you place them far enough from each other on the baking tray. Pre-hit the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and place them there for 13 minutes until they get golden-brown shades.

This is how your dough should look like:Image

Tasting profile: Amazingly, but these cookies are very sweet without any sugar. This is one of those recipes that doesn’t reveal the sugar absence at all, especially if you are using raisins and chocolate chunks. Besides the naturally sweet taste, they are rich in flavor and softer in texture. The combination of nuts, chocolate and oatmeal is both healthy and delicious.

Calorie content: The most important benefit of this recipe is not only the absence of sugar, but also the absence of flour. These two components usually add about 200 calories  extra to each dessert. This recipe yields about 8 cookies, each having about 120 calories. A normal chocolate chip cookie of this size, American style, has about 180 calories.

Enjoy your healthy, low-calorie cookies with pleasure!

“A Large Cappuccino Please!” COFFEE – Healthy or not during your diet?

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coffee-heartThe amount of people that accuse coffee of causing illnesses and harm is just the same as the amount of people stating that coffee is actually beneficial for your body. So who is right and who is wrong? Well, it’s a little bit of both.

There are many myths behind the “story of coffee” and I am going to break some of them in this article today. Exaggerating with your coffee intake or refusing to drink it without even having an idea of how it actually affects your body – is a little silly, isn’t it?

So are you curious now? As always, to make it more simple for everyone, I’m going to define the benefits of coffee as “THE GOOD” and its negative sides as “THE BAD” respectively.

Let’s start with good news…

THE GOOD

Coffee can help you burn fat – due to its stimulating effects, coffee increases the speed of your metabolism and the oxidation of fatty acids, which basically means – you burn fat faster and more efficiently.

Coffee can heal your headache – Paracetamol or aspirin is not always the best cure against your headache. In fact, I would say it is the worst cure. Subjecting your body to chemicals is not the best solution against your pain, and coffee might be a good alternative. Because it boosts the functioning of your nervous system, it can as well heal your headache within minutes. Give it a try!

Coffee contains vitamins – Yes, surprisingly studies show that coffee contains a small dose of some of the daily vitamins that your body requires. Such include: Vitamin B5, B2, B1 and even Potassium and Magnesium and most importantly, a lot of antioxidants! Antioxidants help protecting your cells against damage, thus keeping your skin, nails and hair in a better condition and strengthening your immune system. Quite impressive for a dark brown liquid at the first sight – don’t you think?

Coffee prevents the risk of depression – Yet another benefit of coffee proven by the Harvard School of Public Health is its ability to prevent women’s depression by as much as 20%. The studies show that women that consumed in average 2 cups of caffeinated coffee per day were less subjected to depression that those that drank none. Coffee makes you happy? Interesting.

Coffee doesn’t cause cancer or heart diseases – This is the most common myth that coffee is being blamed for! Fortunately, studies have proven that this is just a myth and there was no relationship established between coffee drinking and heart ache, if you know what I mean.

Enough about the good. If you are against coffee or you just can’t stand it for some particular reason, you’re probably eager to find out what are the harms that coffee may bring to your system.

THE BAD

Coffee may increase your cholesterol level – Excessive consumption of unfiltered coffee may slightly increase your levels of cholesterol, some studies show. To define what exactly is meant by “excessive” – well it is considered that more than 2 cups of coffee a day is a little too much for your system.

Coffee might cause mood swings – Committed coffee lovers might experience mood swings during the day and that is partially because of their redundant coffee consumption. This is due to the fact that coffee speeds up the activity of your nervous system thus giving you more energy and a smile on your face. If you exaggerate with your coffee intake, your body experiences energy boosts several times a day, which stresses your system a lot. Therefore, try to keep your daily coffee intake within the recommended amount and then your mood won’t change like the seasons 4 times a day.

Coffee causes dehydration – As you may have probably experienced yourself, you tend to go to the toilet more often after having a cup of coffee. Indeed, it has been proved by the scientists that coffee does have an effect on your urinating system and drains water from your body. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to have a full glass of water after your coffee in order to compensate the liquid loss. Dehydration might cause dizziness, headache and exhaust – keep your body hydrated!

Coffee is addictive – In fact, anything in this world might cause an addiction. This is not only the case with coffee, and yet it might become an unhealthy habit. There are many other things in this world that give you energy so try to not to rely on coffee all the time – it is just a drink, a way to enjoy your break at work or have a chat at the cafe. Don’t make it your ENERGY FOUNTAIN!

Coffee and calories – what about that?

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And this is another side of today’s topic where I would like to give you some helpful advice. Coffee on its own has no calories, and in fact is no threat for your weight. Obviously, things that go with it are the ones that you need to think of: milk, sugar, creamer, cream, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, cacao powder, etc etc.

To make this more simple, here is how I would advice you to drink your coffee:

1. Use milk to make it sweeter. Try to avoid using sugar or creamer, since both of these things are processed products that are unhealthy for you. Besides, they are loaded with calories. Milk is a way healthier option because it also contains calcium that is so important for your bones. If you find the taste of coffee quite disgusting, well there are two ways to tackle this problem: 1) get used to it by expanding your tasting profiles, 2) add 1 tea-spoon of sugar into your cup – that is MORE than enough!

2. Try to avoid all the creamy stuff. Whipped cream, foamy cream, any cream in your coffee is nothing more than a sugary, fatty and diet-breaking addition. I know that it tastes good, but we are here to taste the coffee, to feel its flavors and not make a dessert out of it. Don’t worry, this  is at least my opinion. I would rather have a cheese cake on the side with an Espresso, than having a cheese cake on the side and another dessert with a bit of coffee in it – you decide!

3. No sprinkles, cacao, etc. The reason for this is exactly the same as just mentioned before! If you love it with all these compliments, well then you’ll have to face a coffee that has about 400 calories instead of just 1.

4. Use a bit of syrup or honey to sweeten. I have tried this in one of the restaurants I’ve been to, and I was quite impressed. The coffee had more interesting flavors in it, and was sweet enough for a sweet-tooth like me. Besides, a coffee like this is likely to have 100 calories per cup instead of the overwhelming 400.

I hope this gave you a good insight on the story of coffee! This has been quite explicit, but I hope – helpful! Thank you for reading 🙂

How to make a CAN soup taste like HOMEMADE – budget-friendly solutions!

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ImageHaving soup as a maincourse is beneficial for your diet in many ways. First of all, soup is a perfect choice if you want to minimize your portion and feel full afterwards. Secondly, a regular portion of soup (300 grams) as illustrated in the photo, has as little as 300 calories. Last but not least, soup contains a variety of ingredients that nurture your body with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Regardless to all these benefits, soup might become quite a time-taking procedure, and most importantly – a little “heavy” for your budget. In order to release you from this “heaviness”, I have come up with a budget-friendly solution of transforming stabilized, plain and tasteless canned soups in delicious creations.

The soup of the day is the traditional Dutch Pea soup. It is a perfect diet solution since its thickness and nutritional value will replace a full meal by cutting your calorie intake down to just 300 calories per cup. Its main ingredients include: carrots, sausage, peas, leek and onion – pretty simple, right?

Since my time and budget is restricted by the challenges of adult life, I have learnt how to transform this canned soup in a delicious and finely flavored lunch. For this transformation you will need:

– a can of any pea soup

– plain yogurt

– ham or sausage

– fresh parsley and celery

– onionImage

How to prepare: Finely chop the parsley, the celery and the onion. Hit up the canned soup and stir it properly for a few minutes. Add the parsley, celery and onion and a few table-spoons of plain yogurt. While steering the soup, add spices such as: garlic, black pepper, salt, dry dill and paprika. It is not dramatic if you don’t have some of these spices in your cupboard, as long as salt and pepper is there – you will be fine. Bring the soup to boil and pour it in the plate. Garnish with chopped sausage or ham and a pinch of parsley. BON APPETIT!

Other benefits: The entire preparation takes about 15 minutes and the end result is delicious. Besides being convenient, let’s not forget about the health benefits of peas. They have a poor fat content but rich in fiber, protein and micro-nutrients. Other studies show that a small daily intake of peas might benefit the functioning of your immune system and slow-down your aging process. Another benefit of peas is the blood sugar regulation which keeps you away from sugar cravings for longer.

I hope this has been helpful 🙂

Pure Chocolate and Blackberry Muffins – healthy sugar and high protein!

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ImageToday I’ve designed another low-calorie recipe, tailor-made for those of you who workout or follow a diet. Due to some cooking tricks of mine, these muffins contain 0 sugar and a load of proteins which facilitates your muscle growth during exercises.

Here is the list of ingredients:

– Skimmed milk (120 ml)

– Blackberries (300 grams)

– Olive oil (70 ml)

– Self-raising flour (200 grams)

– Black chocolate (225 grams)

– 2 eggs

– a cup of protein powder

– 15 grams of cinnamon and 2 table-spoons of rum or liquor

How to prepare:

If you’re using frozen blackberries, you have to make sure they are completely defrosted before you use them (tip: you can also replace them with blueberries if you prefer). Melt the chocolate and mix all the ingredients thoroughly (except the blackberries). Leave a few spoons of melted chocolate for the icing. There should be no flour chunks in the mix. (And don’t forget about the spice and liquor!) At the end, add the blackberries and gently mix the dough. Pre-hit your oven at 170 degrees, and pour the dough in forms. Use two table-spoons of dough for each form. (tip: don’t make the form too full, leave about 2 millimeters of space). Place the forms in the oven and wait for 15 thrilling minutes. 

When your beauties are out of the oven, spread the few spoons of melted chocolate that you’ve saved on top of them!

Note: Your muffins won’t raise too much since we didn’t use any baking powders. They will look like teeny-tiny chocolate delights full of blackberries and happiness!

Tasting profile: These muffins are sweet and sour at the same time because of the presence of blackberries. The aromas of liquor and cinnamon will give it a little extra finesse.

I find it one of the most delightful ways to consume your proteins and enjoy the chocolate. If you’re not into the fitness supplements, this is just a healthy and tasteful option for preparing muffins!

How to focus on Carbohydrates and lose weight. Diet Essentials Part 7

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Carbohydrates, carbs, evil creatures, the fat makers – call them whatever you want! Everyone has heard of them since the mass media and the online world are shouting about them every day. Diet programs are telling you – eat less carbs, tv shows are advising you – don’t eat food full of crabs, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on forever. But has anyone ever explained us what those evil carbohydrates really are and how much of them are we allowed to consume? Well, here I am to help you. (Oh and btw, the photo with these mouth-watering sweets was sent to me by my father – just to tease me)

In this article I am going to explain what these carbohydrates actually are and how to consume them properly – without gaining weight or lose weight, for those of you who are concerned.

I’ll try to make this as simple as possible: there are two types of carbs. Let’s call them, the good carbs and the bad carbs.

The good carbs: These carbohydrates are full of fiber, and therefore are digested and processed slowly by our system. Slow digestion means keeping the hunger away for much longer, avoiding sugar strikes in your blood which in turn, prevents you from sugar cravings. Everything that is properly and slowly digested by your body, is less likely to be stored as fat. Good carbs are present in: whole grains (bread, oatmeal, pasta and anything than contains whole grain), fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.

The bad carbs: Anything that contains large amounts of sugar, refined sugar and “white” processed grain is, in a way or another, making you fat. The list of products that contain these components is endless: starting from junk, snacks, cakes, white bread, white rice, crackers – really, anything that is a factory stabilized product. Fruits contain sugar as well – it is called fructose, and it is the “healthy” sugar. Anything that contains the sugar you stir with your tea – is processed, refined sugar.

Now that you know more about carbs, I am going to tell you how to identify the good carbs and the bad carbs on the food labels, and avoid the common mistakes people make when doing their groceries.

Most of the food products (especially in Europe) provide you with a total Calorie amount for the product. It is usually given per serving (25 grams) and per 100 grams. Well here is where you have to pay attention. The food company provides you with a total amount of calories that the product contains – these calories come from various components: carbs, fiber, protein, sugar, fat and alcohol sugar.

So if the product has only 150 calories per serving (which you might think is not a lot), take a good look at where do these calories come from! It might be the case that, for instance, 120 out of these 150 calories come from carbohydrates – which means that this product is not a good go for your diet, it is a carb bomb. This is usually the case with crackers and biscuits.

Sugars, carbs, fats, protein and fiber contents are normally shown in grams on the food label. If you’re attempting at losing weight, or maintaining weight, here is the scale of the daily carbohydrate intake for each of the options:

Carbohydrate intake per day:

(250 – 300 +) grams – This is dangerous for you! If you’re consuming this amount of carbs a day, you’re surely gaining weight  Rapidly! It is not only making you fat but also leading you towards cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and what not. You should definitely reconsider your diet in this case.

(150 – 250) grams – You’re steadily and gradually gaining weight. You should reconsider this amount of carbs a day except if you’re aiming at gaining weight.

(100 – 150) grams – The perfect amount for weight maintenance. If you stay within this range, you are not likely to gain weight. This is the healthy amount of carbs a day and the probability of diseases decreases dramatically.

(45 – 100) grams – Gradual and sustainable weight loss. If you combine this amount of carbohydrate intake with a range of workouts or exercises – you are going to lose weight.

(10 – 45) grams – Rapid weight loss, or Ketosis. Ketosis is the so-called state of your body when long chain fatty acids are broken down completely and your body is using your fat storage to feed itself. In other words, you’re starving. I don’t recommend this way of dieting, except if your wedding is in 4 days and you want to lose 3 kg (7.2 Ibs) to fit in your dress perfectly.

To help your existence, I am going to give you a list of products that at the first glance seem healthy and low-calorie, but in fact, they aren’t! I advice avoiding them:

– crackers/ biscuits/ cookies (any type, salted, unsalted, digestive or delicious). They are mainly composed of carbs. No fiber, no protein, nothing nutritious for your body.

jam and canned fruits. Besides the fact that the majority of canned fruits have lost about 80% of their vitamins, they are full of sugar. Food factories use a lot of sugar during canning and jam production, which is not that good for your diet. I recommend going for reduced sugar options of these products.

zero sugar drinks. I know! Even if it says that it contains zero sugar, it is impossible that any water on this earth will taste sweet without having sugar in it! In this case the alcohol sugar is used, which is unhealthy and still ends up in your fat tissue!

dressings & sauces. I strongly advice you to make an effort and eat your food without sauce, or make the sauce yourself instead of buying the easy-to-make powders that transform into sauces and dressings. They are full of sugars, fats and chemicals that don’t make any healthy contribution to your body.

I hope I have been informative and helpful. I truly believe that these are the ultimate diet ESSENTIALS! I sincerely hope that after reading this, many of you will reconsider their daily food habits and make the first step to becoming more healthy!