lunes, 5 de noviembre de 2012

Health tip XII: Fast food

We're students, which in most cases means we're poorer than rats. However, we still like to go out, enjoy the city, sightsee and all that jazz. What do we do in those days we don't get to cook? We eat out. And what do we eat? Fast food. You know it's true, don't try to deny it. McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Nando's... you name it. They're the cheapest way to eat out. And, as unhealthy as they might be, they also taste good. 

The other day I went to the cinema with my flatmate. Before entering the screening, we decided to drop by McDonald's to grab a bite. In England, the bastards have put the number of kcal next to every item on the menu. Honestly, I was happier when I didn't know how many calories a Quarter Pounder had. However, some things cannot be unseen, so I decided to try and eat something a little bit healthier. Here's my suggestion:
  • Take chicken nuggets instead of a burger. 6 of them have 250 kcal (290 if you add some dip).
  • As a side dish, take the salad instead of the fries. I know, I know it hurts, but it is actually kind of good and it only has 10 kcal (40 if you add the sauce, which is really tasty).
  • Instead of regular coke, take diet coke. 
There you go. You will have eaten at McDonald's for less than 350 kcal! It is possible, it's just not the most delicious choice.

Remember, you can eat whatever you want, I'm only giving you tips here. Actually, I would've probably eaten the fries if I had not eaten an ice-cream a few hours prior. It's just a matter of keeping count so you don't end up eating 3500 kcal every day.

viernes, 2 de noviembre de 2012

Health tip XI: Plan your meals ahead

So, what happens when you live on your own? You have to cook, clean and tidy up yourself. It sucks, honestly, because I personally wasn't used to do so much stuff by myself until I came to live in England. I've had to learn a lot in these two months (also, to value my parents' efforts). So, when it comes to cooking, it is fairly easy to feel lazy. I've suffered of the "don't feel like cooking" syndrome quite a lot, as a matter of fact. 
What are we to do in order to avoid eating lots of french fries and fried stuff just because it's quick and easy? My tips:
  • Plan your meals ahead. You don't need to stick to a timetable, but maybe a bit of planning would do you good. Maybe just the evening before, sit down and think: Okay, what am I going to do tomorrow? And then, decide what you're going to eat. If you do that, once you get to the kitchen you will already know what you're going to use and, therefore, it'll be much quicker and easier for you.
  • Buy pre-cooked food. Remember, "pre-cooked" doesn't always mean "unhealthy". You can't live off frozen lasagne, but eating frozen stuff once or twice a week should be okay. Weight Watchers has a great deal of pre-cooked meals that are both tasty and healthy (check them up!)
  • Enjoy Japanese noodles. Okay, easy, tasty and moderately healthy. Japanese noodles come in "one serving" pots and have around 350/400 kcal. The perks? You only have to add boiling water to the pot and wait for three minutes. It is really good for those nights you really don't feel like cooking.
  • Okay, so laziness has got the better of you. It happens, don't worry. Instead of eating anything you find in your way, pick a big pot of yoghurt (if it is fat free, even better!) and have a bit of a healthy dinner. 450 gr. of fat-free, mango yoghurt have around 225 kcal. Add some biscuits if you want (no more than 150 kcal, please, don't be greedy) and enjoy! 
Okay, there you go. I hope you find these helpful. Have a good day!

sábado, 27 de octubre de 2012

Health tip X: Weight Watchers

For us lucky bastards living the UK, there is this amazing food brand called Weight Watchers. They sell all sorts of products; from yoghurts to pre-cooked food and from flatbread to freaking brownies, and everything, everything is low-fat. I've had the pleasure of tasting some of their foods and I bow to them because everything I've eaten so far has proved delicious. Delicious, filling and healthy! 

Take a look at their webpage. I think you can order food on-line, but you can also find their products at Tesco's, ASDA and so on...
Do not forget, of course, that this sort of stuff isn't good unless you alternate it with fresh fruit and vegetables. However, Weight Watchers can really help you in your way to a healthier diet. 

jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012

Health tip IX: Choose your biscuits wisely

Okay, who doesn't love biscuits? Don't lie, I know you do. There are hundreds of them, one for every kind of person; buttery, chocolatey,  sugary, rounded, star-shaped, creamy... and we would eat them all if we could! Well, who says we can't? In moderation, everything should be alright. Don't go eating twenty Oreo biscuits a day if you want to maintain your figure, though. That's a total no-go. 

Biscuits are perfect for either breakfast or as an afternoon snack. However, we should always be wise when buying them. My tips:
  • Buy them in small packages; this way you will always know how many calories you're eating. For instance, Oreo and other brands have what they call 'snack packs', bags of about 120 kcal each. They are perfect and you can carry them everywhere! 
  • If your favourite biscuit doesn't come in a small pack, you should always be sensible about  how many you're going to eat. Eat four or five, don't eat forty.
  • Tea biscuits are amazing if you're feeling peckish. They're not as tasty a biscuit as the chocolate ones, but they're much less caloric. (Mc.Vitie's tea biscuits have around 38 kcal each, whereas any chocolate-chip biscuit has around 55 kcal.) Keep it in mind when you're buying!
Again, you're not on a diet. You're free to eat whatever you please. However, be sensible and wise, choose whatever you think is best for you and your health and, of course, enjoy it as much as you can!

miércoles, 24 de octubre de 2012

Health tip VIII: Carbs. Friends or foes?

Carbohydrates are absolutely necessary to the human body, so if you were thinking about eliminating them of your diet, think twice. Besides, they are literally everywhere. Bread? Say "hi" to carbs. Pasta? Cereals? All carbs. Yes, they are caloric, but then again they are also extremely healthy.

My tips:
  • Eat pasta. 200 gr. of "penne" have around 280 kcal. Remember, it is usually the sauce that adds loads of extra calories. If you choose, like me, a light tomato and herb sauce, you will only add from 50 to 80 kcal to your dish. Yummy and filling!
  • Do not abuse bread. You can eat bread, of course, but if you can start buying wholegrain instead of white bread, you'll reduce the calories substantially. Much less caloric and definitely healthier. 
It would probably be a good idea if you ate pasta at lunch instead of during dinnertime. See, carbohydrates have "fast" calories; they are really quick to burn. Therefore, it'll be easier for your body to eliminate them if you've got a busy afternoon instead of an early night. If you're set on losing weight, maybe don't eat any sort of carbs after, let's say, 5 pm. Otherwise, enjoy them as much as you can; they're really yummy!

martes, 23 de octubre de 2012

Health tip VII: Winter is coming

For those of you who live in southern Europe, winter is still far away. However, for those of us inhabiting the obscure north (well, come on, I'm living in London) winter is already a reality. Coming down with something gets easier and easier as temperature falls. Therefore, we need to prepare ourselves!
  • Soup is your new best friend. Cheap, easy to make, healthy and waaaarm.
  • Drink a lot of liquids; water, juices, hot milk, tea, coffee... whatever floats your boat.
    • Please remember to use skimmed milk (45 kcal/100 ml) if you want to cut down calories!
    • Don't drink too much juice; it is extremely sugary.
    • When drinking tea and coffee, be careful with the sugar (maybe alternate with saccharine?)
  • Stay warm. I think that goes without saying.
Remember: exercising can also help to prevent your falling ill. If you can't go to the gym, either work out at home or go running. If you do the latter, wear scarves, gloves and maybe a bonnet, and even if you start sweating do not remove any of your clothes. 

Winter is a wonderful time to exercise. Snow? Snow is great to gain some muscle and lose some weight! Skying, snowboarding, even just walking in the snow... Does it snow where you live? Take advantage of it!
  • Important: The lower the temperature, the less calories you will burn while exercising. It's time to push yourself a little harder.

Health tip VI: Do the shopping!

If you're living on your own I'm sure you've already had the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of doing the shopping. If you're living at home, maybe your parents do it for you, maybe they don't. Anway, if you're really set on having a healthier diet, going to the supermarket yourself should become one of your first goals. If you go with some friends you can even have fun (I talk from personal experience; going to the supermarket with my flatmate is a fucking show!)

Why is it important?
  • You actually choose what you are going to eat; vegetables, fruit, even pasta or canned food.
  • You don't buy what you don't want to eat (for example, my mum is set on buying crisps, which is a total no-go if you're trying to keep a healthy diet).
  • You can compare prices and save a huge amount of money.
  • You can buy products according to their low fat/calories.
  • You can give your parents a very much deserved rest (!!!)
I admit that going to the supermarket if you don't own a car sucks quite a bit. However, you can take it as a form of exercise as well! Trust me, carrying bags up and down helps to build up some awesome biceps.