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Monday, 2 November 2015

What I Eat, My Favourite Healthy Foods - Easy Healthy Vegetable Based Dishes - Vegetable Challenge With AO.com!


Hello hello! So today is a health related post yay! I'm often asked what 'I eat' and I've promised to write some updated blog posts about this but because what I eat varies on a daily basis it's quite difficult to capture on a blog post (and also everyone is different when it comes to food). I'm not a nutritionist so I don't want to start telling you what you should and shouldn't eat because that's totally up to you but this post gave me the chance to share some of my favourite healthy meals with you. When AO.com got in touch and challenged me to eat vegetable only based meals for one week I jumped at the chance and saw it as a great way to share my food shopping list with you and show you some of the things I eat because I tend to eat quite a lot of vegetable based dishes anyway. I actually found it quite difficult though because I do adore my chicken and tend to have lots of chicken with veg normally. I thought it would be a really good idea to show you how you can put your veggies to use in a really easy way because we all know how good they are for us but often forget to put them into things. Let's talk yummy but healthy meals!...


On all my blog posts about food/diet/health (you can read my health/fitness section here) I always say the same thing: It is a way of life and a lifestyle choice. I do not believe in dieting, I never have and I never will. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, don't deprive yourself as you'll just crave it more. Eat healthy 80% of the time and then enjoy your life 20% of the time. I'm not saying you can't enjoy your life if you eat healthy 100% of the time, I just find it easier to curb cravings if I allow myself to have treat 20% of the time and therefore, find it easier to just be healthy the majority of the time. For me, eating healthy really is part of my every day routine, my cupboards are stocked with healthy things and it means I reach for an apple to snack on rather than a packet of crisps. Tiny things can make a huge difference and now, it's normal for me to choose healthy options. You can read my top health and well-being tips post here as this may help you/explain more but I've done a full post about this which hopefully you'll find useful!



A knock on my door one night and AO.com had kindly ordered me a food shop so I could whip up some of their vegetable based recipes for the following week (I just ended up whipping up the kind of things I eat on a daily basis using the items they sent me). I'm always so busy so never really have time to spend ages on cooking which is why I tend to just try whip up the healthiest yet quickest thing I can that's going to fill me up! I didn't really have a choice with what was sent (the team did really good though!!!) to me but thought it was a good way for me to tell you guys whats in my supermarket trolley on a weekly basis anyway:

My Food List:

- Quinoa
- Wholegrain rice
- Wholegrain pasta
- Porridge oats
- Fajita set (I'm never giving up yummy oven-baked fajitas! - Just substitute calorific toppings for Greek yoghurt and fresh veg)
- Kale
- Spinach
- Avocado
- Tomatoes
- Blueberries
- Strawberries
- Grapes
- Bananas
- Sweet potatoes
- Eggs
- Milk
- Cottage cheese
- Chicken
- Tuna

Always In My Cupboard:

- Healthy bars (I always buy these Nakd ones here in bulk)
- Chia seeds by The Chia Co 
- Flax seeds
- Basically seed mixtures in general (I use these ones online here)
- Honey
- Cinnamon to sprinkle
- 90% dark chocolate
- Raw cocoa powder
- Sunflower seeds
- Buckwheat flour
- Dates
- Peanut Butter
- Chilli Flakes
- Bloom Matcha Tea (stronger and better for you than green tea!)

The above is roughly what I throw into my basket when doing a food shop and then the 'always in my cupboard' are quite expensive items that will last you a long time but most of them are superfoods/stuff I add to all my cooking to make it healthier or 'cleaner'. I made the decision over a year ago now to cut white things out, I now only have wholewheat things really. I have white things on special occasions or in restaurants but to be honest they just make me bloated and make my stomach really really un-happy so I try to avoid them. I've felt a lot slimmer and happier since not stuffing my face with pasta and crisps every day actually and had a lot more energy. The lovely team at AO did really well with my food shop actually and ended up sending me most of the things I would usually cook with anyway. They did send me some salmon which I didn't use because I really just don't like fish too much - I know this is bad because fish is so so good for you so if you do like fish, eat it!

Diet is very important but so is exercise too - you can read 'what I do at the gym' here if you're interested in that.

So now I want to give you a little look into some of the meals I cooked in my vegetable week (quite a lot of them are duplicates/quite similar because I am quite boring and do tend to eat the same thing a lot!) but these are all crazily easy meals and they're healthy too but they are so quick to whip up.

I am absolutely obsessed with quinoa, particularly now you can get it in easy to cook 2 minute bags by Tilda and Uncle Bens. I've been using the Tilda ones because you can stir fry them (I stir fry them with coconut oil to keep it healthier) but they literally take 4 minutes in a pan and you can make some amazing inventions with them. Tilda rice is such good quality and SO tasty. Brown rice is so much better for you than white rice and I've trained myself to love it. It goes with literally anything and everything and makes such a filling but healthy meal. I tend to stir fry it with yummy vegetables but you could make healthy vegetable based curries and more! I even put it inside my fajitas. Brown rice is basically my favourite go-to dish at the moment as it just fills me up so well - add lots of veggies in and wow, you're good to go.
For example, for a yummy healthy lunch I stir-fried tomatoes, a pack of Tilda rice (it says it serves two on the packet but I use one just for me alone, oops, big appetite) with mushrooms and asparagus and then added some chili flakes in. I had this after the gym and it was so delicious. 

On day two, I did the same as I was in a huge rush but bulked my rice out with some kale, feta cheese, spinach and celery. I wanted to pack in as many veggies as possible and oh my gosh this was so delicious particularly because the feta melted really nicely and the tomatoes went nice and gooey into my rice.  This kind of meal is great because you can have it as lunch, dinner or even as a side to go with meat if you are eating meat. When I'm really hungry or for dinner I'd probably have this as a side to go with some baked chicken or my favourite healthy quinoa fritters.


You can even add a poached egg on top for extra protein! The egg goes so gooey and yummy. I love eggs and when I have time (not that they take long to cook anyway) I usually have them poached on brown bread for my lunch. Every time I go out for brunch I have eggs with spinach. Eggs taste so much nicer with vegetables. 

Please excuse the lighting, I wasn't in my own kitchen so these photos aren't as beautiful as I'd have hoped (I told you it's difficult to capture what you're eating when you're never at home cooking and always running around!). I fancied a pasta dish one night (wholegrain) so I gently stir-fried as many vegetables as I could find; celery, tomatoes, asparagus, kale, spinach and then added it in with pasta and pesto. This was literally the most filling meal ever but it was so delicious. It's so unlike me not to put cheese on pasta but I didn't even feel the need for it. I've never had so many greens in my life but it was delicious. 


I even added in some garden peas for some extra greenness! I've been trying to eat more peas and broccoli as they're easy to cook and good for you. The best thing about pasta and rice? You can literally throw anything in with them! 
I made more of a mushroom based rice dish with lentils and onions for dinner one night. I told you I'm obsessed with rice. I basically alternate between pasta and rice and add lots of crunchy goodness into it. 



I am obsessed with pizza so any excuse to make a 'healthy pizza'. I've tried to make cauliflower pizza and personally find it way too difficult and long winded to make, instead, I just get a wholemeal wrap, put it on a grill and then add tinned tomatoes, a little bit of fresh mozzarella cheese and all my veg on top. It tastes so yummy when it gets really hot but it isn't half as bad for you as real pizza. You can pile it high with loads of veg too. 

The best thing about the meals above is that you can just keep using the same vegetables/alternating them and use them all week for meals. They make easy, healthy, quick and versatile dishes.



Breakfasty based items are my absolute favourites, but you can also have them for lunch too if you've got a sweet tooth I guess. I've made a recipe for the most delicious, yummy, healthy pancakes and I will blog this very soon. I know these don't have veg on them but they do have fruit on them so technically it's similar to the veg challenge. These healthy oat pancakes (it's literally oats, banana, Greek yoghurt, milk, eggs and some buckwheat flour) keep me so full right up until lunchtime, you can even eat them for breakfast and lunch! These are just a few of the pancakes I whipped up in the week when I was trying to eat more fruit/veg. I wish I could eat these every morning - technically you can because they're healthy but it totally depends on the time you have! 

I try to make myself a yummy smoothie, with lots of veg in it (spinach, bananas, blueberries, kale - you name it) in a smoothie maker or food processor (AO.com have some amazing ones, I have a great juicer from there!) 

Easy healthy breakfast dishes that I love include poached eggs with brown bread, chopped tomatoes and even some spinach and asparagus on them too - a great way to get lots of veg! I absolutely adore tinned tomatoes with poached eggs, for some reason it makes them taste so much nicer. Also omelettes. I literally just put two eggs in a bowl, whisk away and then add in all the veg I could find. This made such a big, yummy and healthy omelette. Who needs meat? Another great thing about omelettes though is that you can have it for lunch or dinner too - it really isn't just a breakfast item.


Healthy soups are really nutritious and easy to make plus healthy too as long as you use the same stuff. I was craving carbs so made a potato and leek soup (you could always use sweet potatoes), grab your veg, cook it in some chicken stock or vegetable stock, add some pepper to taste and when it's all cooked and nice and soft, blend it. There are loads of easy recipes online, I love just home-made vegetable soup! It's so yummy and satisfying, particularly close to Winter.

Last but certainly not least, my favourite thing ever; over-night oats. I am obsessed with porridge and it's such an easy, affordable meal to make (cold over-night oats are way yummier than warm oats in my opinion). I must get my recipe for this up soon too! I always stay fuller for longer when I start my day with over-night oats. I mix oats, milk, blueberries, bananas, honey, chia seeds - love Chia Co ones (and any other seeds I have) and then take them out of the fridge in the morning and they're fluffy and creamy and just super filling and delicious! These don't look too good on the photo below but I promise they taste like gooey heaven.

I hope you liked seeing a few of the things I eat on a weekly basis, they're healthy, easy to make and quick too! I'd love to hear your healthy recipes too so do leave them below! A big thanks to AO.com for challenging me with this, it's definitely made me aware of how little veg I eat and made me want to add more of it to everything I eat!


What are your favourite healthy foods? Do you like any of the above? Have you tried any of the above?



Big thanks to AO.com for sponsoring this post - make sure you check them out for amazing appliances! 



Lots of love, Em x


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