The 9 Amazing Benefits of Indian Cuisine Indulgence

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Indian Cuisine Image Design 1 - The 9 Amazing Benefits of Indian Cuisine Indulgence

You may have heard that Indian cuisine is bad for you. It’s full of fat that causes you to gain weight and struggle with heart problems. If that’s the case, why are there so many healthy Indians?

Indian food is some of the best for you, depending on how it’s cooked. There are many health benefits to the spices and herbs used to flavor dishes. In fact, many of the herbs and spices are used in Eastern health remedies because they are so good for you.

A good Indian diet is low in fat, high in fiber, and extremely good for proteins. Even if you don’t eat meat, the dishes will be packed with complete proteins due to the legumes you use. Sure, there are some creamy and fatty dishes, but in moderation, they can also be good for you. Here are the nine amazing benefits of Indian cuisine indulgence.

Packed with Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Minerals

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There is no denying that your Indian cuisine is packed with multiple vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You’ll use several fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your cooking. They contain the likes of vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals like potassium and iron. The Indian diet is packed with some of the best support for the body.

With the antioxidants, your immune system gets a boost. You’re protected from more illnesses and your body doesn’t become inflamed as much. The cells are protected from damage and toxins in the body.

Meanwhile, the blood has plenty of red blood cells carrying the oxygen around, thanks to the boost in iron. The potassium helps to keep your electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps. It’s easier to build stronger bones thanks to the calcium within the meals.

You don’t need to even pack your dishes with meat to get the mineral benefits. You can get it all from pulses and dals. Vegetable curries are among the best for your health, especially when you use chickpeas and quinoa. The two are considered complete proteins. They have all the nine amino acids your body needs in one sitting.

And because of all the proteins, the meals are extremely filling. You keep the fat content down while enjoying the food you eat. It’s easier to lose weight and keep it off because you feel like you’re living instead of dieting.

The health antioxidants and nutrients will help to keep cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels to a minimum. There’s more support for the organs, so you suffer from fewer health problems in your life.

Packed with Healthy Rice

Rice gets a bad reputation for the wrong reason. Even white rice gets a bad reputation. It’s viewed as a carbohydrate that is just causing you to gain weight. This is one of the reasons why Indian cuisine is viewed as a bad thing. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

White rice is a staple in many Oriental and Middle Eastern cuisines. You don’t see a lot of people in these locations struggling with health problems associated with the Western diets. That’s because it’s not the rice that causes the problem, but the refined carbs in flours and cakes.

If you’re not that convinced, you can make a switch to brown rice. It’s easy to mask the slightly harder taste (usually because most people don’t cook it long enough) within the curried dishes. Brown or even wild rice are considered healthier alternatives to white rice because of the higher fiber count. The fiber will help to support your digestive system and keep your blood sugar levels down.

Either way, the rice is going to help support your health. They both help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. You end up eating less throughout the day, without the negative side effects of flours and other refined carbs. The digestive system is supported, and you feel healthier inside and out because of the Indian food.

Plenty of Healthy Oils for the Heart

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There’s a common misconception that fat will make you fat. This was pushed by the sugar industries throughout the 80s, demonizing fats for all the wrong reasons. The truth is that some fat is healthy, and you want to add it to your diet.

Indian cuisine will help you get fat in the right way. Healthy oils can help support your brain and heart health. You get omega 3s to keep the brain cells in check, while the healthy oils will line the arteries with a smooth lining. The blood flows better, preventing high blood pressure and heart disease.

However, to make the most of this health benefit, you’ll have to think about the type of Indian dishes you eat. There are some that are packed with saturated fats and they can cause high bad cholesterol levels. Switch out the cream dishes and opt for more roasted, tomato-based dishes. When you do want something creamy, opt for yogurts or curd (more on this next).

Most Indian chefs will cook with non-stick pans and roast their vegetables. This helps to cut down on the frying but also keeps the vegetable oils out of the way. The fats come from the cuts of meat, the nuts, and other similar ingredients. Use the lean cuts of meat or opt for more vegetable dishes to cut your intake of saturated fats down further.

More Good Bacteria in the Gut

Remember the comment about curd? Well, this is another amazing benefit of Indian cuisine. The curd is one of the best ways to get good bacteria in the gut. Another option is yogurt.

The gut needs some bacteria. When it doesn’t get enough good bacteria, it will grow the bad bacteria. This leads to more yeast infections, underactive digestive systems, and chronic health problems. It makes it harder for the body to absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat, so you’re more likely to suffer from deficiencies, even if you have an averagely healthy diet.

The curd is an excellent way to replace the cream with a creamy texture to kormas, butter chicken, and other similar dishes. Of course, it is possible to eat too much, and you will need to get a good balance. It’s best to make your own homemade curd for best results.

If you can’t get curd, yogurt will offer similar good bacteria benefits. You will need to get natural Greek or plain yogurts. Those that are flavored won’t just affect the taste of your dishes but will also add more unnecessary sugars.

Improve Your Digestive Health

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It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear that Indian cuisine is great for your digestive health. We’ve already looked at the rice and how it contains more fiber than expected, helping to support the digestive system. But that’s not the only way Indian food is so good.

The lower fat content is positive for your digestive health. Fats are cloggy, even the unsaturated fats. They take time to break down in the digestive system and can cause some discomfort and upset. Indian cuisine is low in fats, making the food extremely easy to digest.

You also get plenty of fiber from the vegetables and fruits. They help to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs for good health. The digestive system is lined with a protective layer, while the food slides through.

The spices and herbs can also help to boost your digestive process, aiding with weight loss. In fact, the spices are worth looking at on their own.

 A Boost to the Metabolic Rate

When you think of Indian food, you likely initially consider the spices. After all, most Indian chefs will ask you how spicy you want your food and certain dishes are known to be the hottest. Spice is great for speeding up the metabolism.

The spice will increase the body’s internal temperature. To help reduce the temperature, the metabolism kicks up to get rid of the reason for it. This will help you burn through more calories in a short space of time, and the kick to the metabolism will continue long after you’ve eaten the food.

Meanwhile the heart rate increases. Your body thinks that you’re exercising, even though you’re sitting with a meal. This will help to further boost your metabolic rate.

Don’t worry about being left hungry. The body still needs to burn the protein and fiber you’ve fed it. What your metabolism ends up doing is burning the fat you’ve stored. It’s much easier to lose weight when you eat more spices. Plus, the spices will boost your immunity against diseases. Even if you didn’t need to lose weight, you’ll want to improve your immunity.

Lack of Sluggishness After a Meal

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When you eat your normal home cooked meals, you likely feel sluggish and full. Your digestive system has a lot of work to do, especially if you eat a lot of wheat and grains. Your body isn’t used to dealing with the thickness of the wheat.

You may initially think that Indian food shouldn’t be good for you, right? After all, chapattis and roti bread are common staples of Indian cuisine. If bread makes you sluggish, how can these breads be good for you? Well, they’re made from Atta flour or durum. Both are much finer than Western flours, so they don’t cause the same sluggishness.

They also don’t cause the same spike in your blood sugar levels. The flours break down slowly in the digestive system, absorbing when you need the energy and leaving you to feel satisfied but energetic. You don’t need the same amount of insulin to deal with Indian wheat as you do with Western flour and wheat. You have a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes and other health conditions.

Nutritional Values Are Preserved

A major issue with cooking vegetables is that the nutritional values can be damaged. This happens through the cooking process, whether you fry, bake, roast, or even boil and steam! An amazing thing about Indian cooking is that the nutritional values are all preserved because of different cooking methods.

Many of the Indian dishes use slow cooking methods. They help to bring out more moisture and flavor. The dishes can seep in the marinades, making them much tastier and spicier than other dishes.

Every bite you eat will be packed with the nutrients that you expect. You won’t be left wondering why you’re suffering from deficiencies despite a healthy diet.

You will also get more spices with Indian dishes. Most western dishes will add garlic, but not the ginger, turmeric, and cardamom pods. These are all included in many Indian dishes, offering the boosts to the metabolisms, the healing properties, and anti-inflammatory properties. Your whole body will benefit from every bite you take.

Only Fresh Ingredients Are Encouraged

When you eat at an Indian restaurant, you will find that all dishes taste a lot better than the quick ready meals you can pick up at the grocery store. This is because of the type of vegetables that are used. An Indian chef will always use fresh ingredients. They skip the preservatives and processed food, using freshly chopped vegetables and herbs and deliciously fresh meat.

All dishes are prepared by hand. They’re packed with flavor with many items freshly bought that day.

If you want to make the most of your Indian cuisine and benefit from this fact, you’ll need to get fresh ingredients as much as possible. Avoid the frozen vegetables and dried herbs. Grow your own herbs and spices at home and always use fresh where you can. You gain far more nutrients with each bite and the dishes will taste a lot better.

Indian cuisine is healthier than you would have initially considered. While there are some creamy dishes, there are ways to make them healthier. Your dishes are packed with antioxidants and proteins. You’ll get plenty of fiber and good bacteria. Your digestive system benefits, which means the rest of your body does too!

5 Post Workout Smoothies Proven Effective for Muscle Repair

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Smoothie Image Design 1 - 5 Post Workout Smoothies Proven Effective for Muscle Repair

Smoothies are excellent to get more nutrients into your diet in a short space of time. You can include more fruits and vegetables, add extra protein, and include nuts or seeds without even thinking about it. Green smoothies are often highly recommended, but you do not just need to use up your green vegetables in this way.

Sometimes it is worth adding other ingredients to your smoothies. You want a mixture of ingredients that will provide a specific function.

After a workout, it is all about good muscle repair. Whether you have done cardio or strength training, your muscles will feel it. They tear and break throughout the workout so that they can rebuild stronger and fitter than ever before. This is only possible when you add the right nutrients to your meals. A post-workout smoothie will help you get just the nutrients you need.

However, Why Are Smoothies So Good?

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One of the biggest benefits of smoothies is the speed at which the nutrients will get into your system. The ingredients have already been broken down. There’s no need for your stomach acid to get to work, meaning the nutrients get into your digestive system quicker. This is where the nutrients are absorbed into the body.

Because the nutrients have already been released, the digestive system gets to work absorbing them. The nutrients can get to their desired destination effortlessly.

Your body will be tired after a workout. You need to support it as easily as you can. Do not make it work more than t needs to. Allow the protein and fat to get around easily, and make it simple for the carbs to refuel your body. Not only will your muscles repair, but you will have the boost of energy afterward to get on with your day.

Eating a heavy meal after your workout is not a good idea. Your digestive system takes longer to work, so it will make it harder for the nutrients to reach your muscles. Getting something easy to digest is essential.

Smoothies will also allow you to add more ingredients without thinking about them. Protein powder is easily added in without tasting it. You can fill up with plenty of vitamins and minerals that will help to support the overall health.

You would not be able to eat all the ingredients in one sitting usually. The chewing and digestive process will lead to the body feeling fuller much sooner than usual. There’s much fiber to get through. By opting for a smoothie, you trick your body into letting you have more in one sitting.

Of course, this can backfire. You still need to consider your portion sizes. Make sure you only make enough smoothie for one portion to avoid getting extra, unnecessary calories. You do not want to outweigh the good that your workout has done for your body. The recipes we have at the end of this article will give you the perfect portion sizes for your needs.

Creating the Perfect Smoothie for Muscle Repair

Science shows up that protein is one of the best nutrients for building muscles, but you need more than this to help support muscle repair. Your muscles will need other vitamins and minerals, while your body needs additional macronutrients for energy support. You will also need to think about the quality of the ingredients. Not all are made the same!

While we will have five smoothies to try out, you will want to adapt and add more recipes to your list. You will need to know the overall types of ingredients to add to your smoothies to make sure they will always help to keep your muscles strong and ease the repair process after a workout.

Opt for Clean Protein Powders Always

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There are so many protein powders out there, but they are not all made the same. They have all sorts of labels and marketing statements, but that does not mean they are going to do the job they state. It does not mean they will not cause other problems to your health. You need to check the ingredients of all protein powders to make sure they are clean.

Look out for those that specifically state they have non-GMO ingredients. Organic ingredients are even better. You may also want to look out for vegan-friendly or gluten-free ingredients. The latter two are not as important depending on your diet. If you see whey protein powder, it is not vegan-friendly. However, it can be perfect for your muscles.

Watch out for added sugar in the ingredients. This includes fructose, syrup, and even coconut sugar. Sugar is the last thing your body needs after a workout. All you are going to do is add the sugar to your bloodstream and cause an insulin boost. You will get a quick energy slump right after. Sure, fruits will have sugar in them, but this is natural, and you have plenty of fiber working with the sugar to prevent the insulin boost. You get the complex carbs from fruit and vegetables that your body desperately needs after a workout.

Companies that make a clean protein powder will want to rant and rave about this. After all, so many people look for it now. The FAQs on a manufacturer’s website will tell you more about whether the protein powder is clean or not.

Stock up on Leafy Greens

While you do not just need leafy vegetables in your post-workout smoothies, you will want to add at least one in. Dark leafy greens are your best friend when it comes to multiple nutrients. They can be better than red meat and milk for your calcium intake!

Most importantly, dark leafy greens are packed with magnesium. This is a nutrient we tend to overlook but is necessary for the recovery of your muscles. The magnesium will help to keep the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body low. This is a hormone that peaks after a workout, so you want to prevent it increasing too much. Large amounts of stress will disrupt your metabolism, digestive system, immunity, and natural oil production balance. Your muscles will not be able to gain as much protein as it needs when the hormonal balance is out.

On top of that, the dark leafy greens will offer fewer calories compared to all other ingredients, while keeping your nutrient levels up. They are packed with fiber for a healthy digestive system, helping to ensure all the other ingredients work effectively.

Opt for spinach or kale as a base for your post-workout smoothie. Swiss chard and collards are other good options.

Do Not Forget About Superfoods

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You may have heard of some foods being classed as “superfoods.” These are foods that are maximized with nutrients. They are packed with fiber, complex carbs, and numerous micronutrients to keep your body working effectively throughout the day. Even if you have not done a workout, you will want to add more superfoods to your diet to protect your health.

You will be surprised at some of the superfoods out there. Cacao (cocoa in its raw form) is one of them; yes! Many of the superfoods may be fruits that you cannot pronounce, or you have never heard of before, but that does not stop them from being good.

Look out for chia seeds, goji berries, spirulina, maca, and even wheatgrass powder for your smoothies. Not sure where to get them or worried about the cost? Well, there are fruits and ingredients easily found in your local grocery stores. Stock up on berries (of all type, but blueberries are among the best) and do not forget about the non-dairy milk. Almond and coconut are excellent options, but you can also gain superfood benefits from soy milk.

Unsweetened vanilla flavors of the non-dairy milk offer an excellent way to get a sweeter taste to your smoothies. They are already naturally sweet but avoid the added corn syrups and fructose to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

When you opt for superfoods, make sure you stock up on vegan, organic, raw versions and always look out for non-GMO ingredients. Most of them are naturally gluten-free, so you do not have to worry about that. Like with protein powder, keeping the ingredients clean will help to add more health benefits to your smoothies.

Opt for Low GI Fruits as Much as Possible

While you want fruits in your smoothies, you will need to consider the best options for your health. Fruits are full of natural sugar. While they have fiber to balance out the sugars, some fruits are lower on the glycemic index (GI) than others. You want to choose fruits on the lower end of the scale to avoid high blood sugar spikes.

You will be surprised at the sweetness you can get from low GI fruits. Just half a banana will make your smoothie creamier and sweeter while adding more potassium and other nutrients to your diet. Moreover, while it tastes super sweet, it is good for the overall health.

Other low-GI fruits include berries, including acai and goji berries, and papayas. You will not need to add a lot of the fruits to taste the difference in your smoothies. In fact, avoid adding too many fruits together as the flavors do not always blend well together. The flavors in low GI fruits can be strong, but they certainly help to avoid the bitterness of the leafy greens!

Think About Some Healthy Fats

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You may have heard that fats are bad for you, but that is not the case. Like with carbs, not all fats are made equally. Healthy fats include all types of unsaturated fats. You can get them from olive oil, nut butter, avocados, some seeds, and much more.

Healthy fats can help with the post-workout recovery process. They help to restore the glycogen within the muscle cells, speeding up the recovery time. However, you want to keep the number of healthy fats you eat to a minimum. Remember your digestive system will be sluggish, and fats tend to be harder than other nutrients to digest. Plus, they contain more calories.

Non-dairy milk (and regular milk) are good options for healthy fats. However, you can also get them through raw almond/peanut butter, a quarter of an avocado, a handful of flax seeds, or raw coconut butter.

Healthy fats are not compulsory but tend to be good additions.

5 Post Workout Smoothies that You Need for Muscle Recovery

Now it is time to start your post-workout smoothie recipe list. These five all include a range of the ingredients above to make sure you repair the damage to the muscles, improve the muscle cells, and add other nutrients to support your overall health to make it easier for muscles to recover.

With all the recipes, you just need to put all the ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. If you would like whole seeds, add them in after blending the fruits and vegetables. This is more of personal preference.

You will notice most recipes call for bananas that are frozen. Peel your refrigerated bananas and wrap in foil before putting in the freezer. You can then just pull out and put straight in your blender. The frozen bananas can help to avoid the need for ice and will add a slightly creamier taste to your smoothies.

The No-Hunger Post Workout Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 2tbsp almond butter
  • 3/4cups of Northern beans, drained
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 2tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2tbsp coconut butter
  • 2tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of almond milk/water

Berry and Kale Power Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • ½ cup of kale leaves stalks removed
  • ¼ cup of almond/coconut/soy milk
  • 1tbsp flax seeds, ground
  • 1tbsp hemp powder
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 1tbsp acai berry powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2tbsp protein powder of choice

Homemade Thyroid Booster

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped to make it easier to blend
  • 1 cup of coconut water/plain water
  • 1 cup of almond/soy milk
  • 1tsp maca powder
  • 1tbsp fermented fish oil
  • 1tsp spirulina
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • Dash of cinnamon

The Warrior Protein Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of grapefruit/orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1 cup of baby spinach/dinosaur kale
  • 1 sweet apple, cored and chopped for easier processing
  • 1 cup of cucumber, chopped for easier processing
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped for easier processing
  • 3-4tbsp hemp hearts, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup of mango, fresh or frozen
  • 2tbsp mint leaves, preferably fresh
  • 2tbsp protein powder of choice
  • 4 ice cubes

Note: You may need to buy crushed ice if your blender is not powerful enough to blend ice cubes. You can also put the cubes in at the end to drink cold.

This recipe works well by blending bits of the ingredient list at a time to avoid sticking at the bottom. You will likely have extra at the end, which you can store in the fridge for later.

Protein Power Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 2tbsp almond butter
  • 1 lime, peeled
  • 2tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2tbsp coconut oil, melted to liquid
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 2tbsp protein powder of choice

Boost Your Recovery with the Right Smoothies

By getting the right smoothies, you can boost your recovery period after your workout. You do not need a lot of special ingredients. The fruits and vegetables you have in your fridge will likely already do the job you need. The seeds and oils will last for weeks, so are more than worthwhile buying.

A great benefit of smoothies is using up your ripe fruit. The riper, the better for creating delicious and taste smoothies. They are packed with all the nutrients that your body needs to repair the muscles and fully recover after a workout.

All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

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Cheat Meals Image Design 1 - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

A cheat meal is a term used when dieting. It’s the meal that goes against your dieting plan, offering a way to enjoy your lifestyle and stick to the diet in the long term. It’s a meal that many dieters look forward to, without fearing the worst for their weight loss efforts.

However, to use cheat meals effectively, you need to follow this guide. There are certain rules and tips that will help you make the most out of your cheat meals and always have something you can look forward to.

This all-in-one guide to creating cheat meals will also look at the benefits but the downsides to them. You’ll get all you need in one place, so you can make the most of your eating habits.

What Exactly Is a Cheat Meal?

What Exactly Is a Cheat Meal - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

Cheat meals are there for dieters to literally cheat. They don’t stick to their diet for one meal a week, allowing them the freedom to eat what they want. It’s only for a meal—although some dieters will opt for a full day of cheat food.

The cheat meal can be any meal that you want. The majority of people will choose their dinner one night a week, but you can opt for breakfast or lunch depending on your schedule for the week. You can also choose the day of the week you want, although it is best to stick to the same night each week to help the body get into a pattern.

With a cheat meal, you don’t need to track your calorie intake, worry about weighing out food or concern yourself about the amount of dessert or type of food you eat. This meal is there to give your brain exactly what it needs: a break and a feeling that you’re eating for enjoyment. This can be a good way to give into cravings without damaging your overall health or your weight loss efforts.

The cheat meal is that meal so many people look forward to. It can be your chance to try out the newest restaurant in town or you can get your favorite takeout from the local Indian. There’s the chance to make a new dish that just doesn’t fit in with your meal plan or enjoy the dessert that you’ve been eyeing up all week.

However, there are a few rules to follow. This isn’t a case of just eat whatever you want for a full 24 hours or ignore that feeling of being satisfied. You can also make a cheat meal that is actually good for your health and your weight loss efforts. We’ll go through all that in this guide, but first, let’s look into the pros and cons of cheat meals.

The Benefits of Opting for Cheat Meals

The Benefits of Opting for Cheat Meals - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

The biggest benefit is your diet becomes something that you can stick to for the long term. While you have this healthy eating plan, your brain starts to miss the food that you would usually eat. You can be left disappointing that you’re saying no to all your favorites and you can soon start suffering from sugar cravings and negative feelings.

This is especially a problem when it comes to restrictive diets. You say no so much that your body starts rebelling. That often leads to you giving in when you’ve had a bad day or see a bad weighing result one week.

When you opt for cheat meals, you don’t have this as much. You know that each week you’re allowed what you’re craving. It’s a day to look forward to, helping you stay on track for the rest of the week.

One bad meal doesn’t lead to a bad result, just like one good meal in a week of bad won’t help you lose weight. There’s no need to feel guilty for these cheat foods, especially when you make sensible choices with the cheat options.

Your cheat meal can be adapted to your specific diet. For example, if you’re on an extremely calorie-restrictive diet, you may actually get away with two cheat meals a week, spaced out. This is because the calorie-restrictive diet can be negative on the mind for longer periods of time. If you’re focusing on reducing the calories slightly throughout the week, your cheat meal will be less regular. The cheat meals become entirely adaptive to your diet.

The whole process can stop you binging. It’s possible to make a plan to have one meal that you really want. The next week, you can have something else and so on. There’s no need to try to consume it all within a short space of time, leading to a binge and sometimes completely falling off the wagon.

You also get rid of the guilt. After all, you’ve planned for this meal and you’ve allowed yourself to have it.

The Downsides of a Cheat Meal

While there are certainly plenty of benefits, there are also many downsides to adding cheat meals into your weight loss program. One of those is if you have an addictive personality. If you do struggle with binges, you can find yourself eating more than you should. Or you may find it harder to stop with just one meal.

It’s important to still have a meal plan. This cheat meal needs to be added to the meal plan and you only want to get the ingredients (or the order) for it. Avoid everything else until the next week.

Many people also forget about actually planning for the cheat meal. Without planning, you don’t really know what you’re looking forward to. This can lead to your thoughts changing from one day to the next over what to have. By the time it comes to the cheat meal, you pick one thing but then feel dissatisfied because it wasn’t quite what you wanted after all.

If you don’t plan, there’s also a chance that you eat the meal at the wrong time. You run the risk of eating it a day early, just because you felt like it. If you start doing this, you’ll find it easier to give to others in the future.

Then there’s the downside of the lack of nutrients. While your cheat meal will be off the plan, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be absolutely everything. Focusing on food that is possibly on the “no” list but still nutritionally beneficial is the best thing you can do. When you opt for nutritious cheat food, you can support the health of your body and will possibly find it easier to lose weight.

Tips for Adding Cheat Meals to Your Diet Plan

Tips for Adding Cheat Meals to Your Diet Plan - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

Plan your meal ahead. Start by planning. You likely already have a meal plan for your dieting, making sure you stick to the yes and no of your diet plan. You’ll want to make sure you stick to all the allowed foods, so you increase the chances of losing weight. But this also means you need to plan your cheat meal ahead.

Give yourself an idea of what you want to look forward to. Will you make burgers for the night or tuck into a delicious korma? What about enjoying a pizza or shrimp fajitas? When you start planning ahead, you’ll find it much easier to follow through with the meal plan that you set. This cheat meal is something you have motivating you through your hard work and efforts. It’s that reward at the end of a long week.

Don’t miss out on the exercise. A cheat meal is just one meal. You can’t spend the whole day cheating. Make sure you follow through with your plan of attack. That includes adding your exercise to the day.

Exercise is extremely beneficial for your weight loss routine. You’ll not just burn calories, but you’ll burn muscle. The burning of muscle will then help you tone and burn extra calories, so you end up in a win-win situation. Plus, you feel good when you exercise. This helps you stick to the diet plan that you’ve set and avoided the cravings.

Set up a system to help avoid binges. Cheat meals don’t work for everyone, because of the temptation to binge. Something that you need to do is set up a system to avoid binges. What will you do when you feel that need to keep eating after your cheat meal? How will you control the temptations during the week, while you look forward to the upcoming cheat meal?

Create a plan of attack. Set out your steps and make sure they are placed somewhere, so you always remember what you’re going to do. You’ll also want steps to take when you’ve had a bad week. How are you going to control that need to binge afterward?

Set a day and stick with it. One of the best things you can do is set your cheat day and make it the same one every day of the week. You may be tempted to change it every now and then, usually when you’ve had a bad day and you just want the cheat meal now. However, your body needs to get used to the new routine.

Stop giving into the temptation. Find a way to manage those expectations that you can just switch your cheat day around. While you can still be a little flexible (maybe one week you have a party on a Friday whereas every other week for six weeks your cheat day is Saturday), you don’t want to keep changing the day or the time of the meal. The best way to do this is set the day you usually eat out; the one that most of your social events take up. This will help you quickly become consistent.

Listen to your body and your results. When you do decide on a day of the week, make sure you listen to your body. Is the cheat meal agreeing with you? While you are eating, make sure you’re satisfied and not over-full. While you can have a cheat meal, you still want to put your body and health first.

You’ll always want to look at the results you get on the scales each week. Are you losing a lot of weight in a short space of time? This isn’t healthy and could be a sign your diet is too restrictive. You may get away with adding another cheat meal. What about if you’re not losing weight? Then you need to start assessing whether the cheat meal each week is working for you. Is this something you need to reduce to once every two weeks or once a month?

The benefit of a cheat meal is that it’s flexible for your diet. But you need to be willing to make changes to your plan if you see the opposite results of what you want. A cheat meal isn’t for everyone.

Skip the poor nutrient foods. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having sugar every now and then, you want the majority of your cheat meals to be as nutritionally sound as possible. Cheat meals get to be higher in carbs and calories than your normal meals, but you should still focus on health.

There are a few benefits of opting for nutritionally dense foods. One of those is that your cravings will lessen. If your brain doesn’t get the sugar, it doesn’t start carving it more in the future. The second benefit is that you feel satisfied after the meal and this will help the positive feelings in the brain.

Using Cheat Meals in Your Diet

Using Cheat Meals in Your Diet - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

It’s time to consider adding cheat meals into your diet. They are extremely beneficial when used correctly. However, do keep in mind that they’re not for everyone and they do not mean a whole cheat day. You will still need to listen to your body and focus on foods that are nutritionally beneficial for your health. Then you get something satisfying, tasting and beneficial for your whole system.

What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

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Brain Supplement Image Design 1 - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

There are so many supplements on offer now. They all claim to do something specific. When it comes to brain supplements, they all claim to help improve cognitive functions, boost memory, and protect the brain cells. Some even promise to improve blood flow and oxygen to improve concentration and alertness, getting rid of the fogginess.

Then there are others that help to boost the mood. With positive moods, it’s possible to manage more and avoid the fog that can take over.

But the big question for many is which brain supplement is the best to take? Is there a specific one that will work better than others? What should you focus on more throughout the day?

Here’s a look at your options and a look at the one that stands out today.

Adding Fish Oils to Your Diet

Adding Fish Oils to Your Diet - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

One of the best options is to add a fish oil supplement to your diet. It’s full of fatty acids known as omega-3s, which have proven positive effects on the brain. In fact, the omega-3s have proven benefits for the overall health, not just for supporting the brain cells, the memory, and the cognitive functions.

While you can get omega-3s from multiple sources, oily fish is the best. The oil will help to reduce inflammation in the brain, helping to reduce the signs of aging and the damage to the cognitive functions.

Look out for a supplement that has both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both offer different benefits and help to support the brain in various ways. The EPA offers the excellent anti-inflammatory benefits, while the DHA supplements are better at improving memory, concentration, and reaction times.

There are also studies that show taking fish oil supplements can help to boost the mood. People with depression took EPA specifically and saw benefits. The inflammation can lead to stress hormones and negative chemicals passing through the body. Inflammation is also bad for supporting the flow of blood and oxygen in the brain, leading to some fogginess. By getting rid of the inflammation with the EPA, it’s possible to reduce the negative side effects of poor mention health.

You don’t just need to take fish oil supplements. It is possible to get the benefits through natural methods. However, fish oil can be easier to take. Look out for natural fish oil supplements for better health benefits. You only need 1g of combined acids to support the brain health.

Resveratrol Is a Second Option

Resveratrol Is a Second Option - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

Many people have started to turn to resveratrol. While it looks like a nasty chemical, it’s a natural antioxidant that you can find in your food. Consider eating more red and purple fruits, including purple plums, berries, red peppers, and tomatoes.  You can also find the antioxidant in some red wine. However, you will want to keep the amount to just one glass a day to avoid the damaging side effects of excess alcohol.

Studies show that resveratrol helps to avoid the hippocampus deteriorating. This is the part of the brain that holds memories. There are two hippocampi in the brain and both need support throughout life. By improving the cells within the hippocampi it’s possible to slow down declining functions as you age. You can stave off the aging process to reduce the risks of developing dementia.

Some animal studies have shown positive results in improving brain function. This means the antioxidant can help to repair some of the damage. One study in humans has shown positives for repairing memory issues after taking a small amount of resveratrol supplement for 26 weeks.

It’s currently not clear what all the benefits or potential downsides are with taking the supplements. However, you can get plenty of natural resveratrol in fruits and foods. It’s worth adding more berries and anything red or purple to your diet (natural and healthy) to help support the brain health.

Getting More Natural Fat Called Phosphatidylserine

Getting More Natural Fat Called Phosphatidylserine - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

They say that if you can’t say a word then it’s not good for you. That’s not the case when it comes to brain supplements. One that you’ll want to consider getting is called phosphatidylserine. This is a natural fat compound found in the brain. The compound helps to perverse the health of the brain, like the fatty acid omega-3.

There are currently studies into the benefits of supplements containing phosphatidylserine. Some studies have shown positive results in preventing a decline in the brain due to aging. It’s possible to protect the cells, to reduce the damage to the memory and cognitive functions. Other studies have also shown improvement in thinking skills and concentration.

Like other studies, there needs to be further research on phosphatidylserine supplements. There is little known about any side effects. However, it’s another one of those that you can get naturally and promote your body to develop it naturally.

Improve the Creation of Acetyl-L-Carnitine in the Brain

Improve the Creation of Acetyl L Carnitine in the Brain - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

Like others we’ve already looked at, acetyl-L-carnitine is a compound that can be naturally created in the body. The supplements will help with the development of the product to help support the brain health.

This is specifically an amino acid, which is a type of protein. It helps to keep the metabolism working effectively, making sure the energy production is up to standard. When the metabolism continues to work, the blood flow and oxygen creation and production are supported. The brain health is therefore supported, helping to reduce the chances of developing memory loss and dementia.

Studies have so far been positive about acetyl-L-carnitine. It’s shown support for the memory, improving the learning capacity and improving the function of the brain health. Some studies have also shown positives for those with mild Alzheimer’s or dementia. So far there are no studies in showing positives in those who haven’t started to see a decline in their brain function because of their age or damage.

Consider Citicoline for a Natural Brain Protector

Consider Citicoline for a Natural Brain Protector - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

One naturally occurring compound in the body that you likely haven’t heard of is called citicoline. This is found in all cells within the body, making it an especially powerful supplement for the brain. It’s needed to help support the brain cell’s membranes, supporting the connections throughout the brain. With good membranes and connections, it’s easier to improve the blood flow and plasticity. The latter is important to help the brain grown and develop throughout its lifespan. On top of improving the membranes, citicoline will also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress damage.

You can also increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. This is essential to help reduce depression and anxiety. It’s possible to reduce the risk of dementia and other conditions by protecting the neurotransmitters.

Now, European doctors have started prescribing citicoline for those with serious neurological disorders. You can get it as an over the counter supplement, but you will want to make sure it is made naturally for the best results. You may be surprised to hear that antihistamines, antibiotics, and antispasmodic medication will also include it, due to the way they help to support the brain.

If you have certain conditions or diseases, you’ll want to avoid citicoline. Your doctor will discuss this with you. Some patients also notice blood pressure changes, vision problems, insomnia, and some headaches and other pain. Your body can develop a resistance to the medication, which can mean increasing the amount of supplement you take over time.

Get More Curcumin in Your Diet

 

Get More Curcumin in Your Diet - What Is the Best Brain Supplement Today?

Curcumin is gold dust in the brain. Not only has it proven to be one of the best ways to keep your cells healthy, but it has also shown positive results for treating depression. In fact, studies show that curcumin is just as effective as Prozac, the most popular antidepressant. The best thing about curcumin is that it’s completely natural. Your body doesn’t develop a resistance to it!

Curcumin helps to increase both the serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Not only are you boosting your mood to fight depression, but you’re going to be more relaxed to keep the stress levels at bay. It’s also an antioxidant to help reduce inflammation in the brain (and the body overall) to keep all the connections healthy and strong.

Some studies show positive results for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder. It doesn’t exactly get rid of the condition but can help to prevent the poor memory and concentration levels due to it.

Adults have proven to gain more energy and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by adding more curcumin to the diet. It’s very easy to add it to your food, so there’s no actual need for supplements. However, it is possible to get supplements if you want to increase the amount you get. You can get curcumin through turmeric, onions, pepper, garlic, ginger and so much more. These ingredients have shown positives to help fight the disease, as well as protecting the brain health.

Are there any side effects? Unfortunately, there are but this is when the supplements are considered. If you get the curcumin through natural foods, there are very minimal side effects noticed. When taking supplements, diarrhea, and nausea are the most common side effects. These are noticed when taking high doses more than normal, expected ones.

It’s important to watch out for some of the additives in the curcumin or turmeric supplements. Some will use ginkgo or ginseng, which have blood thinning properties. This can lead to some health problems, like poor clotting blood. If you already have blood problems, you will want to reduce the amount of the supplements you take and talk to your doctor first.

Some of the supplements also add piperine to them. This can prevent some medications from working. Again, it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding them.

So, Which Is the Best Brain Supplement?

The best way to protect your brain is through a natural and healthy diet. Add more oily fish, red and purple natural foods, and complete proteins to your diet. This will help you get more of the natural compounds that will help to support the health of your brain.

While citicoline can be good, the side effects can cause some major downsides to those. Insomnia can lead to mental health downsides, which could overrule the benefits. Then you have other potential health risks that will outweigh the good the supplement is doing. There’s really no need to add it to your diet unless your doctor recommends it and gives you a prescription.

The amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine has shown some good results in those with mild age-related brain problems. If you are currently suffering from dementia or other brain problems, you may find that adding more of the supplement to your diet is good for you. However, there are no positive results in those without brain or memory problems. There’s no point adding a supplement to your diet for the sake of it.

The most beneficial brain supplement so far has been fish oil. It’s something that you can easily add to your diet naturally. You can add more oily fish to your meals or you can opt for natural fish oil capsules. There are currently minimal negative side effects linked to taking fish oils, while plenty of health benefits. You’re not just benefiting your memory health, but your joint and heart health. The anti-inflammatory benefits occur throughout your whole body, supporting the overall health.

To get more resveratrol and curcumin, it is best if you eat food that are rich in these substances. They are great for getting a naturally sweet snack and for adding more flavor to your meals. You’ll be surprised at the way you will feel better overall by adding these foods to your diet. The fiber in the natural foods will help to avoid some of the uncomfortable side effects.

It’s time to add more brain-boosting supplements to your diet. If you’re not going to get everything naturally, opt for fish oil as your number one choice.

9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

d39d5aafb020504adee36f2ead5ef8fb - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

Tofu Image Design 1 - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today
Tofu has been around for decades but hasn’t always had the best of reps when it comes to your diet. There are many who view it has something that tastes dull and dry, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tofu can be highly delicious, if it’s cooked well.
While vegans will use tofu on a regular basis, it’s something that you should add to your diet even if you’re a meat eater. This is one of those dishes that will offer a range of health benefits that you just can’t say no to.

What Is Tofu?

Before you look at the reasons to start adding tofu to your diet, you’ll want to know what it is and how it’s made. Also known as bean curd, it’s created by pressing soy milk that’s been coagulated. This turns the soy milk into white blocks, which can then be used in place of meat.
While it’s been popular in the western world for a few decades, it’s been popular oriental food for much longer. It’s one of those dishes that offers health benefits that it’s popular in natural medicine and is completely organic. Because of the use of soy, it’s a complete protein and one of the only complete proteins vegetarians and vegans will eat.
Now it’s time to look at the benefits of adding tofu into your diet. Here are nine reasons to start eating it today.

It’s aProtein Powerhouse

It%E2%80%99s a Protein Powerhouse - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

The first, and possibly the biggest, benefit of adding tofu to the diet is due to the protein. As mentioned, soy is a complete protein. It’s made up of all the nine essential amino acids. Barely anything other than meat and dairy offer this benefit.
Protein is essential in the body. There’s a common belief that you can only get it from animal products, but clearly that’s not the case. The problem is most vegans and vegetarians don’t get enough of it—especially complete proteins.
With the right amount of protein, your muscles and bones will build stronger. The protein helps to support all the tendons and ligaments, every tissue in the body. Amino acids also help to support the organs and cell development, reducing the risk of many health problems and diseases.
By switching from red meat to tofu for your protein, you will benefit in other ways. Red meat has been linked to high cholesterol levels and heart disease. Tofu hasn’t, which means you can get your protein without the downsides.

Keep the Cholesterol Levels Down

Since we’ve mentioned cholesterol levels, it’s worth looking at the tofu benefits. By switching from red meat to tofu, you are instantly reducing your cholesterol levels. This is because, unlike red meat, tofu has very little cholesterol. It doesn’t coagulate in the arteries.
There are two types of cholesterol levels in the body: good and bad. The former is found in many lean options, but those are harder to come by with red meat. Bad cholesterol causes a friction layer in the arteries, making it much harder for the blood to flow properly. The western diet has proven problematic for bad cholesterol levels, leading to obesity, heart disease risk and stroke risk.
Tofu helps to absorb the cooking oils, too. This means the cooking oil will pass through your body better, rather than building up and causing health problems. You further help to reduce your cholesterol levels because of this.
You will also get adequate amounts of linoleic acid and lecithin. Both helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body, which means you don’t just reduce the amount you put in, but you get rid of amounts that were already there!

 Help to Treat Anemia

Help to Treat Anemia - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

There have been links to tofu and anemia treatment. Anemia is when the red blood cell count is down, which leads to problems with oxygenated blood passing around the body. Symptoms can include fatigue and a low heart rate. While iron tablets can be offered, many dieticians in the past have recommended an increase in eating red meat for the natural iron sources.
This isn’t necessary when tofu is involved. Chinese studies have shown that tofu can have all the nutrients that help to reduce the risk of anemia.
The benefit is improved if you follow a healthy and balanced diet. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, are packed with extra iron. This is great news for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, as there’s no need to eat animal products for iron levels. However, you will want to discuss your iron intake with your doctor to ensure your levels are healthy.

Help to Support Your Weight Loss Efforts

If you’re trying to lose weight, you can gain benefits from eating tofu. There are a few reasons for this and one of those is linked to the linoleic acid and lecithin. Both are known for regulating the metabolism, which can help to ensure you continue to burn calories at your normal and a healthy rate.
When you make switches to your diet and reduce your calorie intake, you can sometimes see a drop in your metabolic rate. Tofu helps to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Another reason for the weight loss support is the amount of protein in it. Protein takes longer to break down, which can help to make you feel fuller for longer. There’s less of a need to eat throughout the day.
And there’s the benefit of a lower calorie intake. While full of protein, tofu is a whole food that is low in calories. You can eat portions the size of your usual meat portions with a lower number of calories. There’s no need to feel like you’re on a diet, while you maintain your blood lipids and burn more calories than you consume.

Treat Your Gout Problems

Treat Your Gout Problems - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

There are many studies currently looking into gout. Once known as the rich-man’s disease, it’s now increasing in numbers. This is likely due to the increase of red meat. Tofu could be one of the ways to treat the condition, at least according to some recent studies.
The complete proteins in tofu can lead to more removal of uric acid in the body. This helps to get the levels back to a normal rate in those who already have gout.
However, the studies haven’t shown any benefits for those who don’t have gout yet. That doesn’t mean there aren’t long term benefits though, and there are certainly many other health reasons to start adding it to your diet.

Helps to Support Your Heart Health

Do you remember all that about keeping your cholesterol levels down? Well, tofu can help your heart in more ways than that. For one, it will help to boost your metabolic rate, so you lose weight and put less strain on your heart. But there is another important benefit.
Tofu is very low in fat, especially saturated fat. While your body needs some fat, the fat only needs to make up around 10% of your daily calorie intake. That really isn’t that much!
Too much saturated fat clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease, along with other health problems. Because tofu has no saturated fat and little in the way of any fat, your arteries remain clear and protected. Your blood can flow much better and that helps your heart remain strong and supportive of the whole body.

You’ll Have Stronger Bones

You%E2%80%99ll Have Stronger Bones - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today Did you know that tofu is a good source of calcium? This is something often overlooked, but extremely important. There are many misconceptions about getting calcium into your diet. Vegans are viewed as being unhealthy because they don’t use dairy products for calcium, but with the right vegetables and some tofu that doesn’t have to be the case!
Calcium is needed for the bones. With the protein, the calcium helps to keep bones strong, repair breaks and ensure the density remains healthy throughout your life. The bone cells naturally die, but they need to repair too. Without the calcium, this can’t happen properly.
Women are at high risk of developing a condition called osteoporosis. This is when the bone density is extremely low and can lead to an increased risk of fractures.
You can’t just get calcium. You will also need vitamin D to help your body absorb and use the calcium. However, you still need to get calcium through your diet to support your bones (and your teeth!).

 

 Improve Your Circulation

Your blood gets around the body due to the iron. Remember how tofu is good to help reduce the risk of anemia? Well, it’s all linked to this iron levels. The iron is essential for keeping the oxygenated blood circulating around the body. This helps to ensure your organs get all the oxygenated blood they need.
On top of that, the blood also needs the iron to transport gas around the body. This gas aids in generating energy, which will help to boost your metabolism and reduce the feeling of fatigue.
Your organs get all the support they need. This helps to ensure you live a healthier lifestyle and your heart remains strong.

Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Reduce the Risk of Cancer - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today

It seems nowadays that everything you do or eat can cause cancer. Well, that’s not the case when it comes to tofu. In fact, this meat substitute can help to reduce the risk of cancer in both men and women. This is all thanks to the isoflavones.
The isoflavones can help to support the health of the cells, preventing abnormal cells from growing. This is especially the case for endometrial cancer, especially in women who have been through menopause. Isoflavones have also shown benefits in reducing the risk of breast cancer, which is another problematic cancer especially after menopause.
Those who already have cancer have also seen some health benefits due to cancer. Patients with lung cancer have shown some significant improvements in lifespan through studies.
In fact, isoflavones are helpful to manage menopause symptoms in women. This is just a bonus reason to add tofu to your diet.

Getting the Right Type of Tofu

Getting the Right Type of Tofu - 9 Reasons to Start Eating Tofu Today
Now you know you need to add tofu to your diet, it’s time to look for the best type of tofu to use. There are five types of tofu that you can buy in the grocery store and all of them have their own pros and cons. Most of the types differ in fat content, which means the prices increase.
Silken tofu is one that most recipes will suggest getting. It’s a creamy, soft option that is high in water. This can be great for weight loss and for those with some dietary conditions. It’s routinely use for smoothies and desserts to help create a creamy texture without any of the animal products. This is also a popular replacement for eggs in recipes.
Seasoned tofu is as it sounds: it’s been seasoned. There are all types of flavors that can be used, with teriyaki and barbecue as the most popular options.
Smoked tofu is usually smoked over tea leaves, although beechwood can also be routinely used. It has a deeper flavor and is often used raw. It can be delicious in salads or as an appetizer.
Fermented tofu is often creamy, but it is also pickled. This can be great for those who want something to create a delicious dip for their vegetables. It’s also often added to porridge or rice to create something unique and delicious.
Regular tofu is the most commonly bought option and routinely used when it comes to making roasts, meat-less meatloaves and more. You can get it in soft, medium, firm or extra firm forms, with the latter being the best for a meat substitute and is delicious when crumbled to create your meat-less dishes. Soft tofu is popular in soups and stews.
The type of tofu you want will depend on the type of dish you’re making.

Add Tofu to Your Dishes Today

Don’t delay in getting the benefits of tofu in your diet. Even if you’re a meat-eater, this is something you want to try. There’s nothing wrong with having one a day week where you don’t consume any meat. If you can, cut down on animal products in total and enjoy far more health benefits moving forwards.
You will want to use tofu as part of a healthy and balanced diet to get all the benefits mentioned above. However, it makes a powerful meat substitute, with many recipe ideas to help find you new and interesting ways to go meat-less.

5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

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Foods Image Design 1 - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

While you may be trying hard to stick to a tight budget, there are certain foods you will want to spend money on. Certain foods are better when fresh or when organic. They don’t just taste better, but they will also be better for your overall health.

With the rest of the foods, you can stick to the cheaper options. Certain items are worth buying frozen or in bulk, so you can keep the costs down. When you save on them, you have the money to spend on the more important foods you need to put in your trolley every week.

Here are the five that you need to start spending money on every single week. You will not regret the decision.

Balsamic, Apple Cider or Wine Vinegar

Balsamic Apple Cider or Wine Vinegar - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

Don’t just jump straight for the malt or white vinegar when you do your food shop. You want to spend a little extra money on this condiment. Choose balsamic, apple cider or even wine vinegar. These types of vinegar are better quality than your bulk-purchased options and come with a variety of extra health benefits.

You can also replace your ready-made salad dressings from the right type of vinegar. A little olive oil and balsamic vinegar are delicious over the top of a salad, while apple cider vinegar can help to add that slightly sweeter taste to your pasta dishes.

When you add better vinegar, you will add more antioxidants and other nutrients to your body. Apple cider vinegar has been used for healing for centuries. It can help to clean out wounds, support the gum health and boost the immune system. Because of the antioxidants, it’s possible to support the cell development and repair process.

These types of vinegar can be used for cleaning, with apple cider vinegar your likely best option. You get a natural cleanser that is antibacterial. It can also be added to your skin and help to remove dirt and debris from pores, reducing the risk of acne. Because of its acidic nature, it will also help to lighten the skin and tone it. Again, apple cider vinegar is your best option, but you can use balsamic and wine vinegar if you want.

The best thing to buy is organic apple cider vinegar with the mother. This will keep the probiotics and other nutrients that are lost in the processing of other types of vinegar. You’ll support your digestive health instantly, reducing inflammation and supporting the good bacteria.

One of the great things about vinegar is you won’t likely need to add it to your shopping list every week. Once or twice a month will be enough, depending on how you use it, so it’s worth spending a little extra money on.

Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

Like vinegar, you want to make sure you spend extra money on your oil. Many of us buy vegetable or corn oil because it’s cheaper and you can get in bulk. After all, oil doesn’t go off, right?

The problem with the cheaper options is they’re not good for the body. They’re full of saturated fats and offer no nutritional benefits. You want to opt for the oils that have monounsaturated oils. These are the ones that won’t block the arteries and will help you lose weight.

Olive oil is one of the best options in the store, but you don’t just want to buy any olive oil. Spend the money on the extra virgin olive oil. This is made from the first pressing from any olive used, so it’s not just the healthiest but will also be the freshest. You’ll get a slightly more peppery taste with this type of oil.

The downside with extra virgin olive oil is that it only lasts around six months. If you use it daily for your cooking, you should find that the oil never really goes to waste. You will know when the oil starts to go off as it will start to separate and taste stronger than it should.

Olive oil is perfect for your salad dressings. It can also replace other oils and butter in your meals and your beauty products. You can use the oil as a base for your skin as it is full of antioxidants and will help to nourish and support the health of your skin. Even if you have naturally oily skin, the olive oil will help reduce the blockages to your pores, so you don’t suffer from extra acne.

Organic Vegetables that Are Locally Grown Will Be the Best

Organic Vegetables that Are Locally Grown Will Be the Best - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

You will likely add vegetables to your grocery shop. There’s this idea that if you’re adding vegetables in, you’re doing some good. While there are certain vegetables that can be frozen without too many detrimental effects on their nutrients (such as peas and sweetcorn), there are others that will be much better for you fresh.

In fact, there are certain vegetables that will be much better for you organic and grown locally. Organic vegetables lack the pesticides and other chemicals used to help increase growth and avoid pests. These chemicals can lead to various health problems and have been linked to the increase of sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies.

When vegetables are grown locally, you will also get a fresher taste. The food doesn’t have as far to travel and there’s no need to freeze or treat it to make sure it lasts the journey. You’ll get food the way it was supposed to be intended, which means plenty of nutrients within whichever vegetables you choose to buy.

Plus, by supporting local businesses you’re helping families nearby support themselves. There are a lot of people looking for the cheapest deal and you’re just helping to line the pockets of the one percent.

Your local farmer’s market is going to be the best place to find the freshest options. Many farmers will offer a range of seasonal options that are much healthier for you. You’ll get juicy tomatoes in the summer, perfect squash in the winter and much more. Some farmers may even offer vegetable box schemes to help you keep the cost to a minimum.

If you’re going to spend money on anything weekly, this is the area you want to look at.

Stock Up on Greek Yogurt

Stock Up on Greek Yogurt - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

You’ve likely heard of the health benefits of yogurt. It’s certainly something that supports the health of the gut due to the probiotics. But you need to get the right option and that means spending a little extra money on your weekly grocery shops. While the flavored batches of yogurts tend to be cheaper, you want to spend extra money on Greek yogurt. This can have a stronger taste, so Natural plain yogurt is a good secondary option.

Greek yogurt is packed with extra protein and is far creamier than other options in the store. The straining process removes the whey, but it keeps double the protein to help support your muscle growth and make you feel fuller for longer.

There’s also the lower sugar count. This will depend on the brand, but most Greek yogurt doesn’t have added sugars in it or any artificial flavors. Those flavored yogurts usually have more sugar than candy bars. The sugars end up causing problems within the gut and can lead to extra bad bacteria, which does the opposite that yogurt should.

Look out for Greek yogurt that is packed with live cultures. They are the good bacteria that help to improve the health of the gut, supporting digestive tract health. With the right balance of good bacteria, the bad bacteria are kept at bay and the gut can absorb more nutrients from the food.

You can use natural fruit and raw honey to help flavor your yogurt. Raw honey is another expensive option but something worth buying to avoid the extra added sugars in the processed products.

Sustainable Fish Sources Are Your Friend

Sustainable Fish Sources Are Your Friend - 5 Foods That Are Worth Spending Money on Every Week

When it comes to fish, we tend to go for the cheap frozen options. That’s if we buy from the grocery store at all. Fish is expensive and sometimes it can seem like it’s too expensive for our budgets. Well, it’s something that you want to spend money on every week.

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential nutrients that support the cells in the body, reducing the risk of many cancers. Fatty acids have also been linked to better brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and improving concentration and reducing mental fatigue.

Sustainable fish sources are the most important options, and therefore fish can be expensive. The fish stocks are those that replenish naturally and those catching the fish are concerned about the health of the fish and the welfare of the oceans. The sustainable fish can roam in their natural habitat and don’t suffer from over-fishing.

Because they roam naturally, they are also free of antibiotics and hormones. You want to look for hormone and antibiotic free versions of all meat, but fish especially. There are certain types of fish that are suffering in numbers and will affect your health because of the use of hormones and antibiotics.

Antibiotics can lead to more resistant forms of bacteria growing in your body. The antibiotics are left behind in the cooking and pass into your body. When you suffer from illnesses that require antibiotics, there are many forms that have already grown a resistance against some because you’ve added them to your body on numerous occasions.

Then the hormones can lead to other health problems. They disrupt your own hormonal balance, leading to some issues like depression, PCOS, and other problems.

Fish from sustainable sources are also much tastier. Since they don’t have the hormones and caught from their natural habitats, they are much fresher. You can go to your local fishmongers or discuss the sources of the fish at your local grocery store.

You don’t need a lot of fish in your diet. Just 1-2 portions a week is enough, which will help to keep the costs down.

Extra Money Doesn’t Always Mean Better Food, but There Are Times It Really Does

You’ll hear that you don’t always need to spend extra money on your food; that it’s all about the branding and packaging. That is certain it the case with some food, but not with all. Sometimes you want to spend more. In certain cases, the extra cost is due to the better processing or the better farming techniques. The food is available less to suit the demand, so the higher price supports that. At the same time, the companies need to make a profit, so must charge more because the processing costs more.

In many cases, you’re sourcing food from better places. You’re supporting local businesses and getting food that isn’t riddled with pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals. While you’re getting fresher food, you will also get food that is better for your own bodies.

The five foods above are all those that involve the health benefits. The higher price point is because they’re more expensive to make. You can still find some non-branded options, but the prices will still usually be higher than some of the larger bulk options in the stores. However, they are worth adding to your shopping on a weekly basis.

Start with One and Work Your Way Up

The best thing you can do is start with one new food item. You can start with something that may last you longer than a week, so you don’t see the high increase in your food bills. Once you get used to that being part of your shopping, you can add another option to the list.

You’ll soon find that you barely notice the price increases. If you really are struggling to stick to the budget, there will be other items that you can take out; items that are worth sacrificing on a regular basis to make the most of the healthier options.

The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

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Milk Substitute Image Design 1 - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

Milk is one of the most crucial parts of baking. Almost every single cake, dessert, and muffin recipe will call for it. Even if it’s just a tablespoon, omitting it would cause dryness issues with your dish.

But what if you can’t or don’t want to use milk? You may be lactose intolerant or want to live a vegan lifestyle. You may just want to lose weight and find that milk isn’t helping your efforts at all. Does that mean all your baking options are limited?

Not at all! There are now plenty of milk substitutes for your baking needs. Some of them will be obvious and you’ll see them daily in the store without really realizing. However, there are others that you may not quite have considered. Milk (and milk products) is one of the easiest things you can substitute in your baking.

Here’s your ultimate list of milk substitutes for all your baking needs. There is going to be something that works for you, whether you want a creamy texture or just some moisture.

Start with Soy Milk

Start with Soy Milk - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

The first one to make the list has to be soy milk. It’s the most popular milk substitute in the world and has been around for years. It’s so popular in fact that there are baby formulas created with soy milk rather than cow’s milk to help counter children’s dairy allergies.

You can get soy milk in most of grocery stores now. They don’t cost a lot of extra money like they used to do, either.

Soy offers you the ability to get something thick and creamy. It’s perfect for those recipes where you use a lot of milk for the creamy texture. You can also add it to curries and soups to help thicken them and make them creamier than before. It’s also the perfect option for your pancake and waffle mixes! You won’t be able to taste the difference, especially if you pick up the plain varieties. The whole point is to be invisible for most of your needs.

However, the taste is slightly stronger than normal milk and other milk substitutes. When you have a delicate dessert or sauce it may not be the best option.

You can get multiple flavors of soy milk. Vanilla, chocolate, and mocha are among some of the more popular options. They’re great for your drinks and can be useful for some baking needs. However, the flavors will come through in the taste of your end products.

Soy is also the best alternative when it comes to the nutrients. It’s a complete protein and the only complete protein on the list. That means it has all the amino acids, as well as the initial burst of protein. It’s the only like for like dairy substitute because of this. So, if you want to switch to full lifestyle or diet requirements (rather than just looking for a temporary replacement) then you’ll want to seriously consider soy milk.

This isn’t an option if you’re an allergy to soy. You’ll need to look at other milk substitutes.

Opt for Rice Milk Instead

Opt for Rice Milk Instead - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

The next one on the list is known as rice milk. This is considered the closest to cow’s milk, making it the perfect option for every single baking need. It’s sweet and light, creating bouncy and delicious cakes, sauces, and more. It’s also one of the best to whisk, helping for some of your fluffier baking recipes.

One of the downsides of rice milk is the cost. While it is popular, it still has extra costs involved compared to soy milk. It’s not the most popular option, especially as a few other milk substitutes start to take over.

If you’re making savory delicacies, you’ll want to avoid rice milk. It’s much sweeter than other options naturally and this sweet taste will come through.

One of the downsides is the lack of nutrients. It has minimal protein and other nutrients that you’d get from dairy and soy milk. You’ll want to look for alternatives that have extra calcium and vitamin D added to them.

Try Out Oat Milk for Low-Fat Options

Try Out Oat Milk for Low Fat Options - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

One of the issues with soy and rice milk is the fattening nature. They’re very similar to cow’s milk, in the way that they have a few extra calories and they can be thick and creamy. If you want to find a milk substitute that is great for the waistline, consider using oat milk instead.

The flavor if it is extremely mild. You’ll get a slight sweetness, but it’s perfect for your more savory options. The texture is also light, which helps to keep sauces and bakery items fluffy and moist. You can also use it in your mashed potatoes, in tea, and on cereal without too many problems.

You should be able to find oat milk in your local grocery store. It can be on the more pricier side as it’s still not one of the most popular milk substitutes. However, it’s worth the costs when you get such a delicious taste.

Consider Almond Milk for Some Baking Needs

Consider Almond Milk for Some Baking Needs - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

Depending on the items you’re making, you may want to consider almond milk. This is growing in popularity and tastes excellent. It’s also low in calories, which makes it the perfect diet-friendly substitute. It’s easily available in grocery stores, with many companies putting on regular offers because so many people are turning to it.

You can get almond milk in a variety of flavors. Chocolate and vanilla tend to be the second two most popular options after plain almond milk.

With plain, you will still get a hint of the almonds. This can leave your tea or coffee with a slightly nutty texture, which isn’t for everyone. When it comes to baking, it can be great for most of needs. It’s got a creamy texture like soy make, making it the perfect alternative if you’re also allergic to soy milk. However, you may be able to taste the sweeter, nutty flavors in your baking.

If you’re not the biggest fan of almonds, you can also look at hazelnut or cashew nut milk. These both have similar tastes, but they are much harder to find.

The only reason you’re really want to avoid any of these milk is if you’re allergic to nuts. It shouldn’t need to be said, but they really are made from the nuts!

Hemp milk is another nutty alternative and is starting to become popular. If you’re not allergic to nuts, you may want to consider it if you like the nutty texture to your dishes or you’re cooking with nuts anyway. However, some people find this too chalky and gritty for their baking needs.

Opt for Sunflower or Flax Milk

Opt for Sunflower or Flax Milk - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

When you want something like almond milk but you’re allergic to nuts, you’ll want to think about using sunflower or flax milk instead. They make excellent vegan and paleo options for your meals. They are also good for diet-friendly substitutes.

They tend to taste quite bland, especially flax milk. This is great for most of your baking needs, as you just want to replace the liquid needs to prevent your dishes drying out. They can make some of the best options for bread and cakes, where other flavors take over.

These can be difficult to find in the grocery store. You’ll want to consider a health store instead.

Think About Coconut Milk

Think About Coconut Milk - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

Another popular option is coconut milk. You won’t find this in the same place as your other milk substitutes in the grocery store. It’s usually in the baking aisle and in a can because it’s much easier to store for the long term.

Coconut milk has a hint of the coconut, which can disrupt some of your dishes. You’ll have to determine whether a coconut flavor will work with the result. It can be delicious when mixed with other fruity flavors or other sweet products, but it’s the best option for your savory products.

One of the big benefits of coconut milk is its thickness. It’s perfect for thickening all types of dishes and sauces for your desserts. Of course, the thickness means a few extra calories. However, it still has fewer calories than dairy milk and it can be an excellent diet-friendly alternative.

You’ll want to look out for unsweetened coconut milk. There are already natural sugars in the milk, so there’s no need for added sugar.

Making Your Own Condensed or Evaporated Milk or Buttermilk

Making Your Own Condensed or Evaporated Milk or Buttermilk - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

It’s not just normal milk products that will be off limits. You’ll also want to look for other milk products that you can replace in your baking. Many recipes will call for evaporated or condensed milk. While it’s hard to find substitutes on the shelves in your grocery store, you can make your own. This is also the case for buttermilk if you’re willing to go to the extra effort.

Use whichever milk substitute you want to be listed above to create your own dishes. Soy or rice milk tends to be the best options for evaporated or condensed milk. Soy or almond milk can be excellent options for buttermilk for the thickness.

Making evaporated milk:

Pour your milk substitute in a pan and simmer until you’ve reduced it by 60%. You’ll get a cup of evaporated milk from about 3 cups of your milk substitute.

Making condensed milk:

Once you’ve made your evaporated milk, you can make your own condensed milk.

Use a cup of the evaporated milk and have about a cup of sugar. Allow the sugar to completely dissolve in the milk while still over the heat and then allow to completely cool. You’ll get about a cup or a cup and a half of the condensed milk.

Making your own buttermilk:

For buttermilk, you just need to add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of your milk alternative. Combine the ingredients together and you’re ready to use it! It really is that simple.

Go with Taste Not Fad

Go with Taste Not Fad - The Ultimate List of Milk Substitutes for All Your Baking Needs

There is certain milk that will go in and out of the trend. Soy milk was once the go-to dairy milk alternative. Then it was coconut milk and currently its almond milk. It won’t be surprising if hemp, sunflower, or even rice milk takes over at some point in the future.

There’s always a reason to try out the different substitutes. They can give a better taste, or they can be better for the texture. Some say that the alternatives are better for the health or they may have shown some support for weight management.

At the end of the day, it’s all about you enjoying your meals. The options above are all the milk substitutes available. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working with a substitute that isn’t the current trend. Give a current trendy substitute a try, but don’t panic if you don’t like it. Don’t force yourself to enjoy baking with it! Opt for the milk that you like the taste and texture of the most.

You may find that you have multiple types of substitutes in your cupboard and fridge. After all, certain baked dishes will work better with some over others. You can find rice milk is excellent for your thinner, lighter dishes, while oat milk is necessary for the savory options. In all other cases, you may opt for soy or even almond milk!

Still, want to use dairy milk now and then? That’s okay! You can just use the alternatives every now and then if the only reason you’re switching is for your weight management or taste needs.

It’s Time to Start Substituting

Goat’s milk isn’t a safe alternative to cow’s milk. There are still some dairy sugars in it, so if you’re lactose intolerant you can still suffer from stomach upsets. You’ll need to look at non-dairy substitutes if this is the reason you’re looking at alternatives. Work with your dietary needs (such as allergies) and find something that works for your taste and texture needs. There are so many milk alternatives that substitution is easy.

7 Kitchen Must-Haves for Better Meal Planning

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Kitchen Must Haves Image Design 1 - 7 Kitchen Must-Haves for Better Meal Planning

Meal planning is important. Not only is it the best way to ensure a healthy diet, but you will find it easier to lose weight and save money. When you plan out your meals, you can ensure you get all your nutrients, know precisely what you will eat each day, and only buy the food you need for the week. The offers and special treats are less tempting when you get to the store.

However, you need to make sure your kitchen is set up to help you with your meal planning. It needs to be designed to ensure you only buy the ingredients you need, and you can fully work out every meal you will enjoy for the week ahead.

Just what are you going to need for better meal planning? Here are seven items that are necessary for all kitchens.

A Selection of Recipe Books and Stand

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Make sure you have a selection of recipe books to look through. You can also use your iPad or computer to do a little recipe research.

Meal planning can get boring if you keep doing the same things repeatedly. You are more likely to scrap a meal for the night and opt for a takeaway. Alternatively, you end up going to the store and looking for something else to quickly throw in the oven. In some cases, you can entirely skip a meal and just snack throughout the night instead.

Having a selection of recipe books will give you the chance to look through a variety of meals. You can look at specific main ingredient recipes, like pork, chicken, or even vegetarian. It is also possible to look get recipe books for specific meals or for definite diet plans that you are on.

Do not think you need to go out and buy special recipe books. You can do a lot of your research on the computer. Have a folder on your iPad with all your recipes stored, so you can quickly grab and read when you need them. Print out the favorites that you find and create your recipe folder for your needs.

Now you will need a stand in the kitchen. This should be big enough for your recipe books, folder, or the iPad that you are using. Put it somewhere that you can see the recipe while cooking but so that it stays out of the way of splashes from the frying pan or from contamination from the food you chop up. Store the recipe book stand in a cupboard throughout the day, only pulling it out when you need it.

A Binder to Track Your Meal Planning

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Meal planning is not something to do one week and then forget about it. You want to be able to keep track of all your meal planning. It is important to have a binder that allows you to track everything you have made each week. This is also the place to note any changes you made to your plan from one week to another; after all, not everything quite works out the way that you initially intended.

A binder for the cupboard is the best way to track your meal planning. You can store all your tracking sheets for each month. Circle the ones that you loved the most and make a note of the dishes that your friends or family members did not like. Have a system to make sure you can create dishes that guests will be able to eat due to their dietary requirements or their preferences.

When you are at a loss for new meal planning ideas, you will be able to look back over your past plans. Get new and fresh ideas or find ways to adapt certain dishes that you’ve enjoyed (or not) in the past.

The binder can get big, so you will only want to keep six months to a year’s worth of meal plans. After that, make a note of the dishes that you have tried one off and what you thought of them. The best dishes will have already been used on other meal plans.

Have a section in your binder for the seasonal meals. Put together your Christmas dinner list, so you do not have to think about it every year. Put together a list of the treats you make for Halloween. Have a section for the party food you put on frequently.

Have a Fridge Magnet Planner

You want a planner that you can put in the fridge (or on the wall or cupboard door). This needs to be something that the whole family can see. It allows them to make the meal if you cannot, or they can help prepare things in advance when you are at work. By getting everyone involved, you will find it easier to stick to the meal plan.

The planner will also help you glance at the day to see what you are getting for the day. You can make sure you have all the ingredients before you go to work, picking them up on the way home if you need to. However, you should have everything from your weekly shop.

A good meal planner will also have a shopping list section. This is something you will be able to write ingredients you need for your next shop based on the meal plan you have created. You can then just tear off the shopping list and take it with you on the go.

If you choose not to have a family meal planner, make sure you have a shopping list for each trip. This is the key to avoid buying too much or ingredients that you do not need to buy.

Have a White Board for Notes

Ran out of milk? Need to get some more basil during your next shopping trip? Want to leave a note for a family member about your meal plan for the week? Make sure you have a whiteboard for the kitchen or on the way out of the door. This is the place to put all your notes and a last-minute shopping list after realizing you have run out of something you were not expecting to.

People will see the notes. They can pick up things for you, or they can make a note of something for you.

The whiteboard is something that is always reusable. Once an item has been bought, it can be rubbed off, and you can add a new item as and when you need one.

It is also worth having a whiteboard calendar in the house. This will allow you to keep track of any birthday parties or nights that some family members are not going to be in the house. You can track the busiest nights to make sure easier meals are planned. With the calendar, it is much easier to work ahead of the game and ensure everyone is included in the plan.

The calendar is also the place for hot meal days at school or school trips. You will know the days that you do not need to plan a packed lunch or when you need to make extra for whatever reason. There is no need to panic on the day of the trip that you have forgotten about something.

Containers for the Leftovers

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You want to plan to make too much of a meal in your planning. That way, one night or two you have a leftover to fall back on. This is great when you have nights that you just do not want to cook. You can also opt for a potluck night or “leftover night” where you put the range of dishes left over from the week of cooking on the table. Everyone gets a little from the week, and he or she get a double dose of their favorites.

To make this possible, you will need containers. You can choose glass, plastic, or any other material that you prefer. Make sure the material is good for your fridge or freezer. Opting for glass will help to avoid chemicals transferring into your meals and will mean you can heat straight from the dish. Plastic containers are not usually oven safe.

Keep your containers stored together. Often, you end up with lids going missing.

Plastic containers are also good for your lunches. You can make sure people go to school or work with the dishes that have been planned for wherever they are.

The tubs can also be used for some pre-prep work. As soon as you get back from the store, prepare as much as you can in advance. Chop up the vegetables, so they are ready for your next meal. Make up your smoothies in advance, so you can just grab and go. There are going to be some meals you cannot prep in advance, but get as much done as you can. You will find it much easier when it comes to sticking to your meal plan since there is left to do on the night in question.

Get a Slow Cooker

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One of your best friends in meal planning is the slow cooker. You can put it on before you go to work and your dinner is ready when you return. If people are hungry before you get home because your job requires long hours, they can serve their own, but you can have the same dish and not have to worry about reheating.

Make sure you invest in a slow cooker. It will be your third arm when it comes to cooking and planning in advance. You can make roast dinners, curries, stews, and so much more. Plan with the slow cooker in mind. Think about the days that you know you do not have time and look for slow cooker dishes that you can come home to.

Do not forget to stock up on slow cooker liners too. These are placed in the slow cooker, so all your ingredients go into them. They are like the oven bags that can help you infuse roast chickens with plenty of flavors.

You can pull out the liner at the end, and your slow cooker is still clean. It will just need a quick wipe down, and you will be able to put it away. There is no need to dread the cleaning of your slow cooker at the end of your meal! These are great if you want to use your slow cooker straight away for another meal the next night. You put in another liner, and you are ready to go!

Do Not Forget a Powerful Blender

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Smoothies, soups, and many other dishes will require some blending. A powerful blender is the way to go. It will make your meal prepping a lot easier.

Opt for one that will chop up ice. Look out for a blender that can deal with any ingredient you want to use. You can also look for one that will help with the chopping of your vegetables. You will be able to speed up the process of the chopping, so you can get on with the cooking of your dishes.

When meal prepping goes faster, you will find it easier to stick to your meal plan. You will not think so much about the hard work and will be able to just get on with things.

If you only make smoothies for yourself, you can also stock up on something like the Nutri Bullet. This will make one portion of a smoothie, making sure you do not end up overeating by accident.

Stock Up on the Right Kitchen Items

Meal planning is more than just jotting down a few ideas and then making them on the night. You will need to have the right tools to plan and then store your prepped food or leftovers. The seven items above will help you do all this. You will be able to plan new and fresh dishes, get prepared early, and have the right tools to make planning a breeze.

Are you ready to start meal planning? Would you like to get into good habits? Stock up on the above, and you will find it easier.

The All in One Guide on How Excessive Sugar Intake During Pregnancy Affects the Child

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Sugar Intake Image Design 1 - The All in One Guide on How Excessive Sugar Intake During Pregnancy Affects the Child

You will know that excessive sugar intake is bad for your health. Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should keep the amount of refined sugar you eat to a minimum. There are many people now advocating for sugar-free diets, but just keeping the sugar to a minimum will help to avoid various health problems.

But have you ever considered what you could do to an unborn child? If you’re pregnant, you’ll hear more about keeping your sugar intake to a minimum and what you could do to yourself. Your doctor will also likely mention there are risks to your baby. What many doctors don’t go in are what those risks are exactly. Their thinking is that the idea of risks should make you comply with their advice.

You likely want to know what you could exactly do to your child. It’s important to understand all the dangers. So, with that in mind, this is your all in one guide on how excessive sugar intake during pregnancy can affect your child.

Sugar Shouldn’t Be Demonized

Let’s start by saying that this doesn’t mean you have to cut out all sugar. Even in pregnancy, you can still enjoy some. And we’re not just talking about the natural sugars in fruits. You can still have some refined sugar now and then.

If you tried to cut out all, you could find yourself worse off. Sugar is highly addictive and withdrawals symptoms are common. They can include headaches and shaking, as well as cravings and a low mood. Your hormones are already causing a problem during pregnancy.

Rather than cut out all sugar, opt for a moderate amount. Therefore, we’re focusing on “excessive” sugar intakes.

Making Your Pregnancy Symptoms Worse

 

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Excessive amounts of sugar can make some of your general discomforts in pregnancy worse. You’re more at risk of developing heartburn and indigestion. The digestive system is already sluggish, but your body can react negatively to the refined sugar.

It’s not just your heartburn that is worse. All your pregnancy symptoms can be made worse through the excessive intake of sugar. You are more likely to suffer harsh mood swings and deal with nausea and vomiting more. They’re bad enough already. Do you really want to make them worse?

And with bad pregnancy symptoms, you can affect your child. Excessive vomiting can lead to a nutritional deficiency for your child. Your baby will try to take as many nutrients from you as possible, but if they’re not there because you haven’t eaten anything for a while, you put both you and the baby at risk. You’re also at risk of dehydration!

That feeling of fatigue will also be worse. Yes, tiredness is extremely normal in pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. You’re growing a human and your body is working extremely hard to do that. But the excessive sugar intake is making it worse.

Many of us will reach for sugar for a quick energy boost. This is the worst thing you can do. While you do get a quick boost, you end up with an even quicker crash. Your body burns through the sugar quickly, leaving you feeling more tired afterward than you did before you opted for the quick fix. If you really want to boost your energy levels, you need to look for the long-term benefits.

How does the fatigue affect your baby? Well, you can also make your baby sluggish. That sugar doesn’t just power you. It powers your baby and you can cause the energy increases and crashes in your child.

There’s No Nutritional Benefit in Sugar

Refined sugar offers absolutely no nutritional benefit for you or your baby. It’s not like natural sugars that are usually packed with fiber and other nutrients. All you get is sugar and fat in the foods and not the healthy type of fat!

When you indulge in the foods, you end up consuming what are known as empty calories. Your whole body will feel the issue. You don’t get the protein for the muscles, the body doesn’t get the healthy fats for the brain and heart health, and you don’t get the fiber for your digestive system. The body starts to react negatively, making your indigestion worse and causing more bloating and pain.

And your baby will also suffer. Your baby relies on you for nutrients. If you don’t get the nutrients into your body, your baby can’t develop properly. In some cases, it’s possible for your baby to be underdeveloped or suffer from health problems due to the lack of nutrients. Some of the most common issues are brittle bones, being underweight, or brain defects.

You want to focus on a diet that is nutritionally balanced. Have the sugar now and then, but you want to focus more on the other vitamins and minerals to keep both you and baby’s health in order.

Weight Gain Is Far More Common

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Because of the empty calories, your body doesn’t quite acknowledge that you’re consuming the calories. You end up hungry sooner than you would if you had a balanced meal. This can lead to excessive weight gain. Studies have shown that pregnant women who consume excess sugars are more likely to gain excess weight. Sure, some weight gain is expected, but you want to keep it to a healthy window (depending on the weight you started at).

Women who gain the weight in pregnancy will also find it harder to get rid of that weight afterward. You likely won’t change your food intake, so you end up continuing the problem of excessive sugar and more weight gain.

All this is bad for your baby. Being overweight can lead to babies with lower birth weights and more difficult labors. You’re more at risk of needing a C-section, which puts you at further risks of hemorrhaging and infection. Your healing time will also take longer.

High Risk of Gestational Diabetes and Other Health Problems

Women with a higher intake of sugar are more at risk of developing gestational diabetes. This is when you develop diabetes during pregnancy and it usually goes away afterward. However, it can develop into normal diabetes. Either way, gestation diabetes is something that you want to avoid.

Those who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to have children with the health condition. You can also have low birth weight babies and go into pre-term labor. Your body hasn’t had the chance to fully develop, which puts your baby at many health risks, including death.

Those that do survive are more likely to develop diabetes in their childhood. This can be Type I diabetes, which is almost impossible to reverse and usually requires medication for the rest of their life. Even if your child doesn’t develop diabetes, they are more likely to crave sugar. Remember that refined sugar is highly addictive and that includes two babies growing in the womb. As your baby gets older, the cravings for sugar get stronger and they’re more at risk of obesity and other health problems.

If it’s not gestational diabetes, the higher sugar consumption can also lead to a risk of pre-eclampsia. This is found in women with high blood pressure, protein in their urine, and swelling in their hands, feet and/or face. Pre-eclampsia is an extremely dangerous disease and can lead to pre-term labor, since giving birth is the only way to rectify it.

Your Baby Is at a Higher Risk of Heart Disease

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Babies that have been exposed to excessive sugar intakes during pregnancy are more likely to have thinner blood vessels. This can put them at higher risk of high blood pressure and poor heart health. Heart disease is a serious risk and factors can appear in children as young as seven years old.

With thinner blood vessels, the blood finds it harder to work around the whole body. If it’s not the heart affected, other organs are. The blood pressure increases because the body is having to work harder. On top of this, there’s the chance that diabetes or other health problems will play a factor.

Your baby’s body can’t develop properly in the womb. The best way to help avoid future health problems is by following a healthy and balanced diet. Get plenty of nutrients to help with the development of the blood vessels.

There’s a Chance of Higher Allergy Risks

Doctors are still looking for the reasons allergies appear in patients. Children are at risk of developing all types of allergies, with soy, milk, and peanut allergies being the most common. One of the links to allergies is high sugar consumption in the mothers during pregnancy. Some studies have shown that higher sugar levels can lead to a high chance of developing allergic asthma than those whose mothers didn’t consume much sugar.

This is something that still needs research within. It’s currently unclear just why allergy risks are higher. One of the most commonly believed reasons is inflammation within the body, especially in the lungs. High sugar consumption leads to the inflammatory response, as the hormones become out of sync.  With more inflammation in the lungs and body, the immune system can view the wrong particles as being damaging.

However, it’s worth noting that the increased allergy risks have also been linked to other reasons. An increase in pollutants in the air and exposure to some microbes have also been linked to allergic reactions. This is something that experts will research further to understand more about how the mother’s diet can cause them.

How to Minimize the Risks

Now that you know the dangers, you’ll want to do everything you can to minimize the risks of health problems. The best thing you can do is reduce the number of refined sugars that you eat. Make a switch to using sweeteners and natural sugars.

For example, you don’t need to use table sugar in your tea. Opt for a little Stevia instead. You can also get flavored yogurts that use Stevia instead of cane sugar for flavoring. When it comes to water, add some fruit slices to the liquid. This is better than drinking fruit juice, which loses its nutritional benefits and fiber through the juicing process.

Avoid processed foods as much as possible. They tend to be full of additives and hidden sugars. They offer no nutritional benefits and lead to many other health problems for you and your baby.

When it comes to snacking, practice mindful eating. Are you really that hungry and is a snack necessary? Often, you just think you’re hungry due to emotional eating, boredom, and thirst. Grab a glass of water before you grab anything to eat and determine if you’re still hungry. If you are, look at the time. It could be time for something to eat. If not, then opt for a healthy snack. A piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds can be much better than sugary snacks.

You may also want to change the way that you eat your meals. During pregnancy, opting for five or six small meals a day may be preferable to three large meals and two snacks. This is because of the room you have available as your baby grows. Getting the smaller meals can help you avoid hunger dips throughout the day, reducing the cravings for sweet foods. You also won’t feel over-full after you’ve finished a meal and your digestive system will be able to handle food more effectively.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

There’s no need to completely cut out sugars from your diet during pregnancy. In moderation, there’s no evidence to show that there is harm to you or your baby. However, the key is eating in moderation. Excessive sugar consumption is putting your unborn baby at risk. This isn’t just about a risk of pre-term birth. You’re increasing the risk of various health problems in the future, including the risk of diabetes and heart disease when they’re still children!

9 Tips to Improve Your Steak Meals

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The most traditional way to enjoy a steak is with fries. But that’s not the only way you can eat your meal. You also don’t need to opt for a boring side salad if you want to cut out the carbs and stick to healthy food.

It’s time to get a little more creative with your steak meals. Create something exciting and delicious. After all, steak can be good for you. Get the right cut and you keep the saturated fats down, add more protein to your diet, and can also boost other nutrients found in red meat. The great news is you don’t have to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to improve your steak meals.

Here are nine tips that will help improve your meals. You’ll add more nutrients and improve the flavor considerably!

Keep the Bones In

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There is a lot of focus on removing the bones. After all, you want as much meat as possible right? Well, it’s time to make a few changes to the way you cut your steak. Opt for those cuts with some of the bones still in. You’ll gain far more nutrients this way.

When you have the bone still in the meat, you keep many of the muscle fibers stretched. This adds a little more protein to your dish.

You’ll also improve the flavor and texture. When cooking, the fibers will shrink. By cooking with the bone in, the fibers don’t have the ability to shrink as much. Your meat remains tender and easier to chew.

This works with all cuts of beef. When buying from the butches, ask for those that still have some of the bones. You don’t need a large bone at the end, but make sure the bone is large enough to keep the muscle fibers connected and pulled.

Make Sure the Beef Is Aged

A good steak is at least 30 days old. This isn’t something you’re going to find in your local grocery store. Their aim is to sell as much as possible, regardless of the taste. It’s time to spend a little more money and time searching out the best meats.

Regardless of the cut, you can get an amazing steak with some extra time. Talk to your local butcher about how they cut and sell their meat. You want someone who will wait at least 30 days with the steaks to ensure the best taste.

Over the 30 days, the meat has a chance to marble. This will help to lock in more of the juices. Whether you’re going to marinade or eat the steak without extra flavors, this extra time is going to be beneficial.

 Turn Up the Heat on Your Grill

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Most people will cook their meat at a low temperature. You don’t want to burn your meat, right? Well, there are high chances that you’re cooking your steaks in a heat that is way too low. You want to get that seared and smoky taste, which means increasing the heat. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to grill, fry or even BBQ! Nor does it matter if you’re using gas, electric, or even charcoal.

Charcoal and gas will give you better tastes, but electric can work well. Preheat your grill for at least 20 minutes to get the temperature high enough. Then put your meat on the grates.

If you’re going to use a charcoal cooking method, consider using a chimney starter. You want to avoid the use of lighter fluid, as this will end up mixing in with the taste of the steak while cooking.

Grilling is certainly the best way to cook, especially if you want the steak to be tender. Frying just ends up collecting extra fat.

However, you don’t want a consistently high heat across the whole grill. Work on getting a heated topside and a lower heat on the bottom. This is much easier with charcoal since you can move the coals to one side of the grill. When you keep the heat consistently high, your steak will become tough to eat. Sear your meat on the hot side and then turn over for the low side to finish.

Give the Meat Time to Sit

You’ll be tempted to jump straight into eating your steak, but that’s something you want to avoid at first. Once cooked, your meat needs time to sit and relax. Allow it just 4-6 minutes without disturbing it. That means just leave it on the grill that you’ve cooked it on.

When you leave the steak, the juices have a chance to distribute. It’s easier to spread them across the whole steak, so every element is as juicy and tender as each other.

It doesn’t matter how you’ve cooked or the marinades you’ve used. Use the time to prepare your sides and get the table ready. You’ll appreciate your food a lot more.

And it’s not just after the cooking that you want to let the meat rest. Before you start cooking it, allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives the steak time to reach room temperature and it’s an essential part of the cooking process. Cold meat doesn’t cook evenly. You’ll be left with areas that are tough and others that are almost just right. When you cook at room temperature, you give the juices time to distribute, making even cooking much easier.

Do this even if you’re marinating. You can place in the fridge overnight to marinate fully, but then you’ll want to allow the steak to reach room temperature before cooking.

 Be Generous with the Seasoning

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Whatever you decide to do for seasoning, make sure you’re generous. It’s tempting to put a little flavor on to avoid overwhelming the steak, but it’s not possible to lose the taste of a well-cooked steak.

The juices will run off and distribute while cooking. If you want to get the full flavor all the way through, you will want to season well. Rub as much as possible into the meat and don’t forget to sear the meat first to help the flavors to get into the middle of the meat.

When marinating, allow a few hours to get the flavors deeper into the cuts of meat. You can even leave it overnight to fully combine the flavors and seasoning.

Do all the seasoning before allowing the steak to rest. It’s during the resting period that the steak has time to fully envelope all the flavors.

Don’t be afraid to try some different flavorings each time you cook a steak. Salt is one of the more important seasonings to get in, but you can get some smoky and interesting tastes with the likes of cinnamon, paprika, and turmeric.

Don’t Forget the Butter

While you want to avoid too many saturated fats, every now and then you can still enjoy them. You just must time the use of them right. Butter is one of the most important toppings for your steak. It will mix with the steak flavors and create a delicious, own-made sauce.

Make sure you add the butter when the steak is still hot. Use it as soon as the steak is cooked before you rest it for a few minutes. This will help to melt the butter into the meat and work with the distributing juices. Everything works together evenly, creating the softest, most luxurious steak you have ever tried.

And butter isn’t the only topping to consider. Don’t forget about fried mushrooms, some fresh pesto, and even some vegetable slaws. Add them while the steak is still hot, giving their flavors time to distribute into the steak juices better.

Have fun testing out different toppings each time you make a new steak dish. Get creative to avoid your steak meals from getting boring!

Don’t Be Afraid to Use the Freezer

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Try freezing your steak for 45 minutes before you cook it. This is something to do right before cooking.

Yes, this goes against the previous suggestion of allowing your steak to warm to room temperature first, but it’s an interesting cooking option for something a little different. While you don’t get the even cooking, you can get a juice and tender steak in the middle.

This is good when you want to fry rather than grill your steak. You’ll evaporate the moisture on the surface, to get a charred crust. You can get a little more of the smoky flavor, creating a steak from the South.

You don’t want to fully freeze the steak. The idea is to dry out the surface of the steak to help quickly create the smoky and charred effect when cooking.

Get the Perfect Texture with a Meat Thermometer

Many people will cook with a timer method to get the right texture, but this isn’t a foolproof option. After all, steaks of different sizes will take different lengths of time to cook. What you really want is a thermometer to tell you when your steak is done.

Everyone has their own preferences on the way they like their steak cooked. You may prefer it to be as blue as possible, or you may want it crispy to almost burnt! There’s nothing wrong with any of the “doneness” as you’re the one that’s enjoying it.

A digital thermometer will tell you when your meat is just right for your needs. You’ll want to stop cooking five degrees before reaching the desired temperature, as the meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the heat. This is where the “resting” time is extremely useful.

The best-desired temperatures for your doneness are:

Very rare: 120F

Rare: 125F

Medium rare: 130F

Medium: 140F

Medium well: 150F

Well: 165F

Make Sure the Plate Is Hot

Finally, make sure you serve your steaks on hot plates. Restaurants warm their plates before plating the food because it helps to offer the best experience for customers. The meat can lose its heat very quickly, so serving on hot plates is the best way to keep hold of that. You’ll also make sure the rest of the food is at the right temperature.

If you put the food on plates at room temperature, you will lose some of the heat from the food quicker. The cooler plates will draw in the heat from the food. By heating the plates, you create a balance between dish and food!

You’ll need to make sure your plates are oven-safe. Heat than for a few minutes at 350F at the end of the cooking. It’s great to do this while you’re allowing your meat to rest. You can also heat in the microwave if you want. It really will depend on the way you’ve cooked your steak.

If you’re serving with salad, make sure the salad is placed in a separate bowl. All your guests to serve the salad themselves directly from the bowl to avoid their greens heating up too quickly.

Cook the Perfect Steak

Are you ready to get the perfect steak? This is more than just thinking about the sides you serve. Cooking the perfect steak starts from before you even buy the meat. Make sure you get the right cuts. It’s more than just looking at the right type of cut and looking at where the meat has come from. You want to make sure the meat has been cured for the right length of time to get the perfect taste.

From there, you can start the process of seasoning your meat and giving it time to stand. Decide on how you want your meat cooked and use a thermometer to make sure it’s just right. Don’t forget to ask your guests how they like to have their meat cooked to ensure the tenderness and juices are just to their liking.

Steaks can be delicious. You can get the restaurant taste in your own home. It’s all about patience, timing, and the right toppings and seasonings.