Dinner, Recipies

Edamame Pasta Dish

I’ve recently become so obsessed with using pasta alternatives such as edamame or black bean spaghetti! I prefer it to whole wheat spaghetti, as it actually offers nutritional benefits such as 22g of protein per 50g (amazing!) plus it’s also lower in carbohydrates, with only 16g per 100g.  Also, it is gluten-free, vegan, and a great source of fiber! Basically, I have come to love the stuff and so I really wanted to share a yummy recipe with you all so you could give it a go too!

This dish is one of my absolute favourites to make because it is quick, simple, and budget-friendly. You can find the pasta alternative in most supermarkets such as Aldi and Tesco, if not you can buy it online from Holland & Barrett.

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Ingredients:

  • Edamame or black bean spaghetti
  • Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red or white onions (diced)
  • Garlic
  • paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Olives
  • Spinach

IMG_3556[1]

Method:

  1. In a frying pan sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes and fry for a further two minutes
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti (this cooks very quickly, and so it should only take between 5-8 minutes
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to to the frying pan
  4. turn the heat down to a lower setting, and add all other remaining ingredients and spices
  5. Serve and enjoy!

(I also added mushrooms and mangetout to my dish!)

Macros:

  • 319 calories (per serving, sharing the mackerel between two dishes)
  • 14.9g carbs
  • 10.2g Fat
  • 31.9g protein

 

You can also add any other veggies to this dish such as broccoli or top the dish with avocado, which also works really well. I hope you enjoy this healthy pasta dish,

Jazzy B ❤

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Blog

How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

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5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

Yes, food really does affect your mood.

When you think about what effects your mental health, the typical answers are stress, self-esteem, and relationship issues, to name but a few, however, we often underestimate the impact that food has on our mental health. When you consider the science behind it and the growing evidence that food has a greater effect on our mental health than we give credit for, I think we could all check what we are fuelling our bodies with.

There is no doubt that what we eat has an impact on our mental health, this link has been proven repeatedly. A review of studies looking into the issue of diet and mental health found that regular consumption of a Western diet (a diet consisting of highly processed and sugary foods) increased the risk of depression (O’Neil et al., 2014). Moreover, a poor diet is proven to impact biological mechanisms that are commonly associated with depression such as impacting the immune system and altering the levels of certain brain proteins potentially leading to depressive symptoms (O’Neil et al., 2014). This further strengthens the link between diet and mental health.

Moreover, some of the factors that contribute to poor mental health, such as stress, have been proven to influence food preferences. For example, a study by Kandiah, Yake, and Meyer (2006) found that when participants were not exposed to stress they made healthy dietary choices 80% of the time compared to when participants were exposed to stress, which they made healthy food choices only 33% of the time. This highlights an issue, the fact that something like stress can lead to poor mental health, yet when we experience stress we tend to eat unhealthier options, also negatively impacting our mental health. Therefore, healthier dietary choices could break this cycle as evidenced by Ansari, Adetunji, and Oskrochi (2014) who found that when fruit and vegetables weren’t consumed on a regular basis, there was a greater association with experiencing more depressive symptoms for both males and females.

Although there is little research on a diet that has been proven to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms and promote better mental health, there have been studies conducted on specific foods. For example, the following foods have all been linked to better mental health when in their raw form; carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit (Brookie, Best & Conner, 2018).

I hope you found this an interesting read,

Jazzy B ❤

References:

Kandiah, J., Yake, M., & Meyer, M. (2006). Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women.  Nutrition Research, 28(1), 118-123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2005.11.010 

Ansari, W.E, Adetunji, H., Oskrochi, R. (2014). Food and mental health: Relationship between food and perceived stress and depressive symptoms among university students in the United Kingdom. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22(2), 90-97.

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S.E., Houseden, S., Brennan, S.L., Williams, L.J., Pasco, J.A., Berk, M., & Jacka, F.N.(2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A Systematic Review. The American Journal of Public Health, 104(10).

Brookie, K.L., Best, G.I., Conner, T.S. (2018). Intake of raw fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health than intake of processed fruits and vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(1). doi: https://doaj.org/article/956172bb66c747b1a3efbf9a4a4d9023

Blog, Snacks

Strange Snacks

I am such a snacker. Snacks are what keep me going throughout the day, as I prefer to eat smaller meals, and then have a couple of healthy snacks in between. Often, I’ll just stick to my Staple Snacks, but as with everything you’ve got to mix things up to keep them interesting. So here are a few of what I like to call ‘strange’ snacks, as they aren’t you’re typical piece of fruit 😉

Seaweed Thins

These make the perfect snack for when you’re a little bit peckish, they’re very light and I just find the concept of eating seaweed so novel. Also, in my opinion, they look so much better than your bog-standard crisp…they’re Green! Normally, they come flavoured with sea salt, but I have tried some green tea infused thins before which were just as lovely.

IMG_7255Go Ahead Crunchy Dippers

Something a little sweet! When I saw these I just had to give them a go, especially as most snacks with breadsticks are savoury, and as I have a massive sweet tooth…they had me at hello ;). They are so worth the 148 calories, the perfect pick-me-up. Don’t fear if chocolate isn’t your thing, as they also have salted caramel and coconut and vanilla dippers…yum!

Protein Bars

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Yes…that is a Mars protein bar you see, and it is the bomb!

My new obsession. If I have had a really good gym session or I fancy some chocolate (always ;)), then I will reward myself with one of these bars of heaven. My favourite brands are Grenade, Quest, Mars, and Fulfil, as I find these all have the lowest sugar content and the highest protein. They can be quite expensive at £2.50 a bar, but it’s SO worth it. Also, if you haven’t tried heating one up the microwave you definitely should, it turn into a gooey chocolate pudding.

 

IMG_7287Walkers Poppadoms

These really are sensational, the flavour combinations work wonderfully together. Also, they’re only 63 calories and I’ve never seen a packet of crisps that low. If anything I would try them for the flavours, they’re unlike anything I’ve tasted.

 

So that concludes my strange snack round-up, I hope you’ve found something to spice up your snack cupboard (yes…I have a whole cupboard dedicated to snacks aha), until next time,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Lidl Healthy Food Haul

What with the next academic year approaching, now is the time to get my savvy-shopper game on… so what better than taking a lidl trip down to Lidl? 😉

Getting your weekly essentials for a cheap price takes practice, but once you figure out what you like and where you can get it cheapest from, you’re practically set! Because I snack on whole foods such as nuts and seeds, which are quite pricey, I’ve found the best places to buy these are from Grape Tree, Tesco and now Lidl.

Normally I’m a Tesco kinda girl, but having been into Lidl for the first time I was pleasantly surprised! My total shop came to roughly £8.00, compared to other supermarkets where it would be at least over £10.00. However, this wasn’t a full shop, more like an impulse-buying healthy snack sesh :’)

Conveniently, my uni house is located near an Aldi which offers pretty similar foods to Lidl, so expect more student foodie hacks to come! Even if there isn’t a Lidl near you, you could still use this haul for inspo as to how to spice up your weekly food shop.

1.Weetabix Protein CrunchIMG_7096

I’ve been so desperate to try these ever since I saw them on Instagram! I think this was just what the cereal isle needed. Although there is 6g of sugar per 30g, they do fit into my macros nicely what with the added protein…and they’re chocolate, so I’m one happy foodie! (£1.99)

2. Cashew nuts & AlmondsIMG_7093

I absolutely love cashew nuts, they make the perfect light snack and are packed full of good fats and protein. For this 200g bag, it was only £1.72. The almonds were £1.39 and are great sprinkled on porridge.

 

3. CheeseIMG_7094

Feta is so tasty when sprinkled onto salads, omelettes or in a baked sweet potato. This cost only £0.99. I  also picked up Quark for £0.75 which is another great protein source.

 

4. Passion FruitIMG_7095

I don’t often get exotic fruit like this, but this was such a good price at £1.20 and will taste fab in a smoothie bowl.

 

 

5. Dark ChocolateIMG_7097

I love putting dark chocolate in my porridge, it’s the best when it melts and you’ve got a puddle of chocolatey goodness! This bar was only £0.89 which is great considering its 74% cocoa.

 

6. Lemon Juice IMG_7098

I don’t normally buy lemon juice, but this was only £0.32 and there is so much you can do with it…watch this space 😉

 

 

 

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

How To Stay Healthy at Uni

With Uni just around the corner for many, this seemed like the most appropriate first blog post. I appreciate there are plenty of blog posts preaching what/ what not to do, but this one contains the tips that I swear by that helped to keep me on track.

Uni can seem a very overwhelming time, what with the new responsibilities that come all at once. This is made even worse by not having the comfort of home cooked food (unless your family are willing to send up a cheeky food parcel when they visit #guilty)IMG_6576

Also, what with the renowned alcohol-adoring, kebab-at-three-in-the-morning student lifestyle, a healthy diet can take a major back seat. But with the following tips, healthy eating will be a breeze:

1)  Cook once, eat twice

This simply involves cooking tomorrows lunch at dinner time. There is nothing better than in the middle of the day tucking into last nights tasty, nutritious left-overs (because let’s be real, the temptation of a Tesco £3.00 meal deal can be all too much when you’re hangry). Whatsmore, you can easily adjust them to adhere to your fitness goals e.g bump up the carbs or protein count post-workout.

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Lunch: Quinoa medley

2)  Meal Plan

This is the one I can’t stress enough. It only takes no more than 30 minutes of your time and is so worth it. I meal plan for one week, and I only plan my dinners, because for breakfast I have a few go-to’s such as oats, smoothie bowls, and french toast. I get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest, (here is a link to my board ).Typically, I meal plan and do the food shop on what I like to call get-sh#t-done Sunday ;). I would highly recommend buying a meal planner, below are a few links to some good ones:

Folk meal planner book – Paperchase (£8)

Raindrops magnetic meal planner – Paperchase (£8)

Busy B meal planner shopping list – Amazon (£9)

These are my main tips on how to keep a balanced diet whilst at uni, of course, there are many more tips, but for me, that is just what the first year of uni is all about; establishing a routine that works best for you personally. I would love to hear what your tips are to stay healthy,

Jazzy B ❤