Tag: foodie

Where to buy Health Food on the cheap (in London)

Where to buy Health Food on the cheap (in London)

“Being healthy is just so expensive”

I hear that phrase all the time.

There’s all sorts of advice on blogs, social media and in magazines about how to live healthily on a budget. But a lot of them of them pretty much say the same thing.

Buy in bulk. Meal prep. Have a food planner. Shop at markets half an hour before closing time.

I’m mean that’s all very well – and yes, it all makes sense. But a) you have to be pretty damn organised and in-the-know about your local markets and b) there’s just no denying the fact that sometimes healthy food is expensive, no matter how organised you are.

It’s frustrating, because there are loads of easy, healthy recipes that are absolutely delicious but completely useless if you can’t afford half the ingredients.

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

I’m not going to pretend I’m completely guilt free of this. A lot of the recipes on this blog call for some sort of protein powder, superfood or random spice that aren’t stock cupboard regulars and aren’t exactly cheap as chips.

Equally though, I’m pretty stingy with my money. Especially when I’m trying to save. No shame- I completely admit it.

Luckily, supermarkets have started to jump on the whole health food bandwagon – meaning you don’t have to blow your weekly budget in places like Whole Foods or super pricey independent health food stores.

I like to think that I have become pretty savvy at sourcing healthy ingredients whilst managing not to completely break the bank.

Here’s the lowdown of where I get my health food on the cheap in London.

 

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

TOP SHOP: Lidl

What: Smoked Salmon, Protein Powder, Superfood Seeds, Nuts, Fruit and Veg. Oh, and your odd piece of Fitness Equipment

Lidl really puts me off because of how it’s organised, and because you always seem to wait forever at the checkouts. HOWEVER, it’s pretty unbeatable price wise. The fruit and veg are normally good value (and I’ve heard the same of Aldi too, although there isn’t one close to me). You can get big packets of nuts for less than £2.20 for 200g – compared to other supermarkets where you’d normally spend almost double that amount. You can also get things like Linseeds, milled Chia seeds and healthy breakfast grains and toppings for between £1-£1.50 for 200-250g.

Top tip from one of my clients, apparently, the Smoked Salmon from Lidl is very cheap but of a much better quality than at other supermarkets. Direct quote “it’s not all veiny and gross”.

Oh, and they also do some brilliant fitness equipment too, such as yoga mats and resistance bands. Suspension ropes (TRX) for £11 anyone?

 

Asda

What: Yoghurt, Protein Cookies and Bars.

Before Aldi and Lidl came along, I knew of Asda as the ‘cheaper option’ supermarket. It’s still a pretty good option if you’re being tight with the purse strings, especially for bulk buying things such as whole-wheat pasta, lentils and grains. You can also usually get protein bars or cookies for a decent price (i.e. less than £1.50 per unit). However in particular, I go to Asda for yoghurt. They have a huge range of healthy, high protein yoghurts including my favourite brand, Fage, for £2 per 500g tub. Compared to the £2.95 that my nearest Sainsbury’s offers…well that’s a pretty big difference. They also include Skyr yoghurt (my second fave) in their 2 for £2 deal. Absolute winner.

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

Boots

What: On-the-go lunches, health bars, energy balls, snacks, protein shakes and healthy drinks

Boots is brilliant purely because of its meal deal. A main, a drink and a snack for £3.89 (give or take depending on the branch). The thing is, pretty much everything is included in the meal deal – unlike some other places which limit you to their basic selection. Which means you can get things such as Cold Press Juice, Protein Shakes, Trek Bars, Deliciously Ella Protein Balls, Graze Boxes and loads more as part of a lunch deal that costs less than £4. Given that other places often charge between £2-£4 for the one thing alone (I saw Cloud Press Juice for £3.29 for 250ml elsewhere) this works out as great value.

 

Sainsbury’s

What: Peanut butter & Coconut Oil

Sainsbury’s always seems to have deals on their nut butters – and the bigger stores have a good selection of brands too. I usually buy my favourite Pip & Nut peanut butter for £1.70 for a 225g jar (normally around £2.20). Every now and then they’ll also have an offer on the 1kg tubs. I also discovered Sainbury’s £1 ginger shots a little while ago when I went through a huge ginger phase. These are normally minimum £2 so that was awesome.

Coconut Oil (for cooking) is another extraordinarily expensive habit of the health food community, HOWEVER in my nearest big Sainsbury’s (don’t even bother with the little local ones) I saw 600ml of Pure Cooking Coconut Oil in the foreign foods section for £2.49. I’ve seen half as much coconut oil go for £12 in Planet Organic once…so £2.49 is a steal!

 

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Holland and Barratt

What: Superfood Powders & Alternative Baking Ingredients

Like Boots, Holland and Barratt run some amazing sales, even if the individual products themselves can be pricey. They run their Penny sale regularly, which is where you buy one item and get one of any other item for 1 pence. If you shop wisely, this can really work out in your favour, especially as they include quite a large majority of stock in the sale. You can pretty much get two high price items for the price of one. Last time I got around 500g of acai powder (which is stupidly expensive) for £8. For non-sale days, their alternative baking ingredients (such as high protein or gluten free flour) is usually quite a decent price.

 

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Waitrose

What: Not very much…

I know, I know. You don’t exactly include the word ‘Waitrose’ and the word ‘budget’ in the same sentence. BUT, if you are conveniently close to a decent size store (rather than the smaller, local ones which charge you a small mortgage for a sandwich) they have some hidden gems amongst the £5 pot of apple slices. They always seem to have a good sale on to-go protein shakes, for example. Plus, (being Waitrose) they also have their own brand of things such as Matcha Shots, Ginger Shots and Coconut water, which makes them ever so slightly cheaper than when you buy such things from a café.

That being said, at £2.50 per 500ml, my favourite Fage yoghurt is actually cheaper in Waitrose than in Sainsbury’s. So that’s food for thought.

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Do you have any thrifty tips or tricks when it comes to sourcing your health food on the cheap? Please share in the comments!

4 Healthy, Tasty and Genuinely Filling on-the-go Breakfast Ideas

4 Healthy, Tasty and Genuinely Filling on-the-go Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. It’s pretty much the first thing I think about from the moment I wake up. I always make sure to include it in my daily routine because I really see a noticeable drop in my energy levels on days when I don’t have it!

I’m a morning person. Lots of my classes or clients are booked in for early morning slots – usually starting at 6.30-7am. I’d much rather get up early for work than get home too late!

The issue with that is that during the week I’m constantly on the go. Meaning it’s very rare that I have the time to make a relaxed breakfast and eat it straight away. I read a lot of posts- and meet a lot of people- whose go-to “healthy take-away” breakfast is either juice or a smoothie, and maybe a breakfast/granola bar.

That’s not breakfast.

Not for me anyway. I’m a very active person and I need a lot of calories (for my size) to keep up with a crazy busy lifestyle. Still, even if I wasn’t as active as I am, I highly doubt that just a simple juice or smoothie would actually fill me up and leave me satisfied.

I’ve put together a list of my go-to meal prep breakfasts. They’re super simple and can all be made ahead the night before. That leaves you time to have an extra five minutes in bed! Plus I can guarantee that they’ll actually leave you substantially full to tackle the day ahead! (whilst avoiding unnecessary snacking).

On-The-Go Breakfast Ideas

Yoghurt & Fruit

It sounds a bit pathetic and very “housewife on a diet” – but trust me, my make-ahead breakfast yoghurt bowls are not to be spurned! This is my number 1 go-to and I pretty much have it every single day.

The trick to making it filling is the type of yoghurt. Try to go for the thicker types – my favourite brands are Fage and Skyr. They have much more protein than their thinner, waterier equivalents, which is key to that full-up feeling. They also have no added sugar. If you buy cheap, low-fat yoghurt, it’s often got a lot of added sugar to make up for the fats that have been taken away – meaning you’ll get a quick rush of energy but then you’ll crash hard.

I have a collection of recycled Fage yoghurt pots at home that now serve as my take-away container breakfast bowls.

Simply mix a good couple of spoonfuls with your favourite fruit. I usually go for berries and a sliced banana. From there you can get inventive. Stir some oats in to make it slightly more substantial, and also add your choice of nuts, nut butter, seeds & superfood powders. Then simply pop the lid back on your re-used yoghurt pot and store in the fridge until you need it.

Here’s my favourite recipe for breakfast yoghurt take-out bowls:

On-The-Go Breakfast Pots

Peanut-Butter Pitta

This is ideal post-work out. Yes, it’s calorific, but that’s not a bad thing! It’s also full of protein, good fats and complex carbs and is low in sugar. In other words, perfect for supporting your body’s recovery after exercise! It’s stupidly easy to make and you can wrap your pitta in some cling film or foil and take it on your way.

Lightly toast a wholemeal pitta bread, and generously spread with your favourite peanut (or other nut) butter. Slice a banana inside for extra energy- or I like to include some sliced strawberries for a fresher ‘PB&J’ style breakfast!

Egg & Avocado

For those of you who like savoury in the morning, this one is high in good fats and protein, low in sugar and is deliciously filling. Grab a Tupperware, slice half an avocado and a couple of boiled eggs and you’re good to go! I like to put some spinach and cherry tomatoes in there too, squeeze over some lime juice, and add a pinch of chilli flakes. Delicious!

On-The-Go Breakfast Ideas

(Super thick) Frozen Protein Shake

The only reason I’m allowing this to be classes as breakfast is because it genuinely is so thick and filling. It probably contains more calories than any other of the breakfasts on this list. It’s more like a frozen smoothie bowl than a drink – plus with the glorious weather it’s nice to have something cold and refreshing.

Now that we’re getting into summer I’ve started keeping a stash of frozen bananas in the freezer again. They’re great to have on hand for smoothies, smoothie bowls and of course quick healthy ice cream! Make sure to peel the banana before you freeze it!

Simply blitz together a whole frozen banana, a handful of frozen berries, a generous portion of oats, a scoop of unflavoured (or vanilla) protein powder and about 400ml of either water, coconut water, milk or milk equivalent. I usually use soy milk and water half and half. I also like to add a spoonful of peanut butter because…well because I add it to everything!

What’s your go-to on-the-go breakfast? Or your favourite meal of the day?

Be:Fit Festival 2017: The Breakdown

Be:Fit Festival 2017: The Breakdown

At the end of last month I experienced London’s Be:Fit Festival for the very first time. Maybe it’s because I’m “in the industry” now, but I swear that until this year I hadn’t heard of it. Apparently Be:Fit has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural event in March 2017. (It was held at Olympia and, according to the people I’ve spoken to that were there, it was just a bit sh*t).

This year, all of a sudden, everything in my social media feed was about the lead up to this event. “Europe’s only health and fitness festival dedicated to Women”.  April 2017, Be:Fit Festival at Islington’s Business Design Centre was the place to be for any female fitness fanatic.

I was obviously thrilled when I won complimentary tickets to attend the full weekend this year. The chance to check it out for myself without overly worrying about filling a tote bag with enough bitesize freebies to make up the cost of the £25 ticket. Kerching!

I dragged Tom along with me on the Saturday. There were other men there, despite it being a ‘woman’s’ festival, although a couple of people did remark on how brave he was! In retrospect, I do think that around 18,000 girls parading their sports tights, crops and freshly braided hair, high on endorphins…well yes that must be pretty intimidating. I went with friends on the Sunday, Tom having politely declined the invitation…

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

The Be:Fit Breakdown

The Classes

Well…the class. I wish I could have spent two days doing back to back classes, but a) I don’t think I could’ve handled it and b) with the way that Be:Fit’s booking system works, it would have been pretty impossible. 50% spaces for the classes are booked in advance (and obviously get taken up within seconds). The remaining 50% are reserved for on the door. Which obviously means you have to plan your day down to the T and get queuing a good hour in advance if there’s a class you’re desperate to go to. Even then, VIP members get priority so there’s no guarantee still that you won’t be turned away.

The team from Rebound UK had the right idea, – running 5 minute ‘drop in’ classes on the mezzanine. Literally a hop-on hop-off exercise class. Their instructors were absolutely full of beans the whole day, even throwing trampoline flash-mobs into the crowd every few hours or so! It fitted perfectly with the festival set up and really gave a great atmosphere to the whole event.

I did manage to do a class with Un1t on Sunday. With bases in London Bridge and Fulham, Un1t specialise in High Intensity, Functional classes – a bit like F45. It was kind of intimidating because there were 5 instructors running around and “motivating”, rather than just one. Their motivational phrases ranged from “Yes, keep going, you’re doing great!” to “Don’t you stop now I need to see you sweating“. I don’t know, maybe they were just going for the “something for everyone” approach. It was less of a community feel than what I experienced going into F45…but I guess that’s hard to achieve in a one off class at a festival. Still, I left the studio with that satisfying exhaustion of a great workout!

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

The Stands

I had to work at a similar event once upon a time when I worked at the Royal Academy of Dance. I spent all of three hours (nothing) stood at their stall and it honestly drained me. Which is why I have so much respect for the owners of small business at these sort of events. They spend the whole weekend behind their stands promoting and selling their products. Plus even more time planning, setting up and clearing away. It takes a lot of effort, organisation and energy. You can really tell when the people behind the stand are genuinely passionate as well.

There was a decent range of brands available, some that I’d heard of before and other’s that I hadn’t. I was always going to get my fair share of samples from Pip and Nut and CocoPro – but finding a delicious and genuinely healthy Ice Cream brand (Oppo) was an unexpected surprise!

Be:Fit Festival Breakdown 2017

Overall

To be honest, looking back now, it’s all a bit of a blur. I remember being very overwhelmed, particularly on the Saturday when it was busiest. Festivals are strange places – I was reminded a lot of my university fresher’s fair where you go around armed with your email address and a bag full of freebies signing up to things you have no intention of committing to. It’s an interesting experience with a brilliant concept. I’m glad I’ve been once but would I go again? I’m not so sure…

 

I have not been endorsed by any of the companies featured here – even if I were, all opinions would be a) true and b) my own. Life’s too short to speak other people’s words.