Christmas Food Hacks for Weight Conscious Socialising

low fat spicy hummus

Spicy Chickpea Dip

Indulging without Increasing the Waistline

Having spent the last year working towards my weight loss and fitness goals I’m not prepared to throw it all away this Christmas!

The temptation to eat, drink and indulge is upon me; with a works do, a catch-up with girlfriends and family socials it’s all too easy to slip off the weight-conscious-wagon. Every Christmas I repeat the same mistakes and curse myself as I enter the New Year with extra Kilo’s to shed.

But this year I’m making a plan to enjoy the festive season without giving up ground in the battle with the scales.

To kick off this offensive I’m sharing my favourite recipes that taste heavenly, are totally indulgent, but are packed with all the good stuff that will help you keep sugar cravings at bay.

This Spicy Chickpea Dip is my own variation on a traditional humus recipe, and has been a favourite to take to gatherings for a while. The kids love it, it doubles up as a great lunch spread on corn thins and is full of protein, good oils and vitamin C!

Spicy Chickpea Dip

Serves 6 ~ 663 Kilo joules per serve ~ 12 g carbs ~ 5.8 g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas drained & rinsed
  • 1 fresh chilli or half tsp dried chilli flakes (adjust to suit your palette)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil ( use chilli infused for an extra kick)
  • 1/4 cup water (the amount you need varies depending on consistency)
  • 1 heaped tbsp hulled tahini
  • 1 heaped tsp grd cumin
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • large handful of fresh coriander stalks and leaves

Directions

This couldn’t be much simpler!

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender (I’ve used a hand blender, a baby food blender and now my Omni Blend!)
  2. Whiz until smooth!!
  3. I like a stiff consistency for spreading on crackers, but if you want it a bit runnier then add more water.
  4. Serve topped with finely chopped coriander and a sprinkle of dried crushed chillies

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Re-Thinking Your Weight Loss Strategy

re-think your weight loss failuresI’m a serial offender when it comes to dieting; over the years I’ve followed Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox, Carol Vordorman’s Detox Plan, The 8 Hour Diet, CSIRO Total Well Being Plan and Atkins Don’t-Poo-For-A-Week Plan!!

Before I started each and every one of those plans I had heaps of enthusiasm, had done all the reading, inspired friends to join me and set off believing that this would be the one! But once I got started the boredom and monotony of following a routine did my head-in so much that I self sabotaged!

And do you know the most frustrating part about this? Celebrating the success of the friends who I convinced to join me when they reached their 5kg goal, while I was stuck right back where I’d started!

Why were they so successful? What did they have that I didn’t?

Well the answer may lie in how my brain is wired!

Know Yourself

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a Body Transformation Summit at Advanced Fitness, where I was re-introduced to the In8 Model by Veronica Smith. If you’ve never come across the In8model before, you’re not alone! I hadn’t heard of it until last year, when I had a chance to get my profile done.

In a nut-shell the In8 Model provides a way to understand how your brain works and use this awareness to target areas for change and growth.

I was fascinated with the idea that my preferences for using a particular area of my brain was able to explain many of my good (and bad) habits! But it wasn’t until I heard Veronica speak that I had an ‘a-ha’ moment!

The reason that I’m so good at encouraging and motivating others to join me on new diets is because I have a brain preference to connect, inspire and enthuse others. Equally, the reason that I’m so crap at sticking to a plan is because I’m under utilising a part of my brain that delivers the detail, routine and planing!!

It’s likely that the friends who have been successful are better utilising the planning quadrant of their brain, but need someone else to enthuse them into action and give them a kick-up-the-arse (otherwise known as a quadrant 1 preference)!

How Does This Help Me?

How does knowing my brain preferences help me to change? I believe it’s all about self-awareness.  I know that quadrant 2 of the brain focuses on persistence, planning and self-discipline and it’s an area that I have a preference to AVOID at all costs (hence late bill payments, poor time-keeping and zero routine!).

This knowledge helps me to re-focus my energy into this part of my life. By recognising that I avoid routine because it makes me feel restless and bored, I’m also able to see how this preference has sabotaged my previous attempts to stick to a weight loss plan.

I have to ask; is this preference serving my current goals? If the answer is NO, (which it is) then I will target this as an area for change.

Making Planning A Priority

In practical terms, I have prioritised my time and energy into planning and preparing.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I wrote a weekly meal planner and stuck it inside the pantry door. I also shopped to the plan, and spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon preparing food for the week ahead.

Today it’s Wednesday, and the preparation has really paid off; I’ve eaten the food on my plan and it’s time to re-stock and cook again ready to nail it for the rest of the week!

If you’d like to check out my weekly meal plan click this link: Food Plan week 1 – 6 Wk Challenge

What are your areas of challenge when trying to change?

Do you believe that knowing your brain preferences would help you to achieve change?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about the body transformation program click here

Recipe Road Test!

baking stuffed peppers

Lunch Box Recipe Road Test

Recipe Road Test is a new weekly feature for the blog.  I’m going to experiment on my family and report back to you on what we loved or loathed!

As the topic-of-the-moment on mummy2mum is healthy lunch boxes for teens, this seemed like a perfect  place to start the Road Test.

Recipe Road Test can extend beyond the lunch box, but that depends on what you, my lovely readers, want!

Your suggestions will be the driving force behind this feature!

Week 1 Recipe Road Test

Three Cheese Macaroni Stuffed Peppers

The wonderful Tiffany from Crème de la Crumb has created the Three Cheese Macaroni Stuffed Peppers and I’ve road tested them as lunch box savouries for my teens. Kathy’s post on 9 Pasta Leftovers For Lunch Ideas gave me the idea to use these macaroni stuffed peppers as a lunch box item.

The Road Test Team

The Road Test Team consists of:

  • Biscuit my 14 year old, who has a voracious appetite (it’s all about quantity for this one!)
  • Berry my 12 year old who is more interested in kicking a soccer ball than finishing his lunch
  • Excel-man my hubby who claims that ‘food is functional’, but has lots to say if it isn’t to his liking!
  • Me the health conscious chef!

After some discussion we decided that lunch box items need to be ranked on 4 areas:

  1. Taste – the most important!
  2. Practicality – is it practical to take it to school in a lunch box?
  3. Looks – if it looks appealing then that’s half the battle!
  4. Improvements – this may include tweaking the ingredients, or recommending it to the dog!

making 3 cheese macaroni stuffed peppers

Here’s The Verdict

review of stuffed peppers

As I’m the main chef in our house, I thought it’s worth noting how labour intensive this recipe was. I found it a bit time consuming to make solely for lunch boxes, but as I combined it with cooking an evening meal that also needed a cheese sauce (cauliflower cheese) I just made extra!

 What Did Everyone Agree On?

We all agreed that these peppers would taste amazing HOT! But eating cold baked pepper was not a big hit for the majority and had an impact on the taste scores.

Everyone found them too big and messy for a practical  lunch box item. For me this was the most valuable information from the road test – as I thought they looked great for lunch boxes…just shows how wrong you can be!

We all thought they looked really yummy, and this is reflected in the high score.

Improvements

  • Add spring onion to the macaroni cheese before baking
  • Add bacon was Biscuits suggestion (although he adds bacon to everything)!
  • Serve hot as the pepper was a bit watery cold

 Next Weeks Recipe Road-Test

I’d love to hear any suggestions you have for a Recipe Road Test. Next weeks recipe will appeal to those of you who have a sweet tooth!

Don’t Forget to subscribe to receive next weeks Recipe Road Test direct to your inbox!

 

Four Tips To Create A Power Packed Lunch For Teens!

healthy lunch box choices for teens

Variety is the spice of lunchbox life!

Are lunch boxes causing teenage angst in your household? My boys often complain that everybody else’s lunch boxes are so much better than theirs!

Now I know that I’m all about fresh and nutritious wholefoods, but surely I can’t be the only Mum who isn’t including potato chips, lollies and biscuits in lunches?

When it comes to lunch boxes I want my kids to feel as if they have the same treats as everyone else, so I’m on a mission to find ‘look-a-like treats’!

Or in other words, healthy food disguised as a treat!

Less Transparency

Including look-a-like treats was much easier when my kids were under 10 years old, as they were less savvy about what was going into their food. But, now it’s come to their teens I have to be a bit smarter!

Recently I cooked Glazed Chilli and Beetroot Brownies but, I made the mistake of excitedly telling the boys exactly what was in them! They then approached them with extreme caution and expected them to taste terrible. Had I been a bit more savvy and a bit less transparent I think their whole attitude would have been more positive.

  • Tip Number 1 don’t reveal the secret ingredient!

 

Frame The Argument

Both of my teens are into their sport in a big way and this provides a perfect opportunity to talk about the impact food has on performance. They are keen to eat food that is linked to high performance, and this just happens to be the sort of nutritious food that I want to feed them!

They are not interested in why I think fibre is good for their digestive system, but they sit up and listen when I tell them that whole grain carbohydrates  build up stores of energy that help optimum performance in soccer! It’s all about framing the argument to suit their needs!

  • Tip Number 2 focus on how healthy foods will work to benefit their interests.

 

Deal Breakers

If I want my teens to eat the contents of their lunch box then variety is the spice of life! In primary school eating times are usually supervised, but in high school independence and self regulation are the order of the day, which means that unappealing lunches are often dumped, sold or swapped! This makes negotiation the key to avoiding wasted lunches; teens need to have some say over lunch box decisions!

For our family this comes down to a frank discussion about what they want to see in their lunch boxes, what I want to include and what the deal-breakers are! Compromises have included a canteen day (where they can buy what they like), Friday chips and chocolate day or daily ‘treat impersonators’.

  • Tip Number 3 negotiate the deal breakers and be prepared to compromise!

 

 Think Quantity

Sometimes the boys and I have very different objectives when it comes to lunches! They’re impressed with quantity, and I’m all about quality! But it is important to remember that for teenagers size matters! So the more high quality snacks that I can pack into their lunches the better.

  • Tip Number 4 never under-estimate the importance of quantity!

 

Next week I’ll be sharing a round-up of the best lunch box recipes out on the web, and giving you our verdict on them! In the meantime, if you want to pick up some great lunchbox tips take at look at Nicole Avery’s Planning With Kids. She has five kids and offers loads of practical advice about making family life simpler by doing a bit of advance planning.

I’d love to hear any of your success stories or tips to negotiate those deal breakers for your kids lunch boxes.

Have you got any lunchbox wisdom to share?