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5 Tips for Eating More Protein

Since starting the gym this time last year, my biggest challenge (apart from all those heavy weights) has been my diet. I’ve never restricted myself, I’ve always been one of those people that eats everything. Now I work out this isn’t really that different except I follow more of an 80:20 rule – that is, eat 80% healthy balanced stuff, 20% treats. I more or less stick to this, maybe on weekends those treats go up to 40% but hey we’re all human.

My main change has been about what I eat though, and with my strength training there’s a real requirement to eat more protein to help heal and build my muscles. I’m aiming for just under double my body weight in grams, so between 80-100g a day. It’s a pretty big ask but I’ve found a few things that help me that I thought would be good to share.

1. Get a good breakfast

Eggs are everything. A large egg has around 7g of protein, scramble two of those on some toast with a handful of mushrooms and or spinach and you’re 14g down and off to a great start to the day.

2. Make ahead snacks

Your body can only digest and use 30g or so of protein in one serving. Snacks are a great way to keep getting that protein in small amounts throughout the day and here’s some of my favourites:

  • Chicken drumsticks (~13g per drummer)
  • Beef jerky (~20g per pack)
  • Cottage cheese and crudités (~10g per 100g)
  • Peanut butter and apple (~8g/2tbsp peanut butter)
  • Crispy chickpeas (~7g/handful)

3. Lentils, beans chickpeas are your friends

Meat is expensive, not great for the planet and can contain bad fats and other nasties. Plus let’s face it, it gets boring after a while. Varying your protein sources stops boredom and keeps things fresh. Lentils are hella cheap and delicious (hello, lentil curry) and chickpeas you can add to virtually anything. Beans are so versatile, they can add extra bulk to lots of things, or even be a replacement for mash. Stock up on these cupboard essentials and you’ll always have a cheap, protein rich meal to hand.

4. Don’t forget fibre

Your body needs fibre to help you process the protein so don’t be afraid of including brown carbs and plenty of fruit and veg. Basically, don’t ignore the other food groups!

5. Sometimes you have to have shakes

A high protein diet shouldn’t be ALL protein shakes but if you’re trying to meet 100g a day, they become a bit of a necessity. Protein cereal bars (I like Eat Natural) are also good to keep on hand if you get in a bind. Overall though, you should try and get as much from natural food sources as possible, as you need the other nutrients.

Are you eating a high protein diet? Let me know if you found this useful!

Jino’s Thai Cafe, Headingley Review

Jino’s has always been on my list to visit, having always heard amazing things about it. Despite living in a mile radius of this place for four years I didn’t actually make it until a couple of weeks ago for my dads birthday and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

It’s very small, very unassuming, with minimal decor inside – very much a cafe vibe. We had booked for 1pm and were the first people through the door, leaving us wondering if we should have booked at all. Our fears were quickly subsided though as it rapidly began to fill up with families and students. It’s BYOB, by the way.

We started with spring rolls, a couple of rounds of chicken satay and some sweetcorn fritters which for me were the star of the show. Deep fried, incredibly sweet and incredibly savoury at the same time, they were little rounds of puréed sweetcorn with a chilli dipping sauce. Gorgeous.

Then onto the mains. We like to share, so we got a few different plates and all dived in. We had a beef massaman curry, a special duck red Thai curry, a chicken pad Thai and a pork fried rice (Khao Pad). The pad thai was delicious, just the right amount of peanuttyness and a gorgeous, sweet sour sauce. The red Thai curry had a proper kick to it and delicious, well cooked duck.

My favourite though was the pork fried rice, it had that delicious smoky wok flavour and loads of fresh vegetables. Absolutely savoury and moreish!

All in all the food was absolutely delicious, properly Thai and excellent value. You can also bring your own booze, which again makes it a cheaper affair. I’d really recommend Jinos if you’re looking for Thai outside Leeds city centre.

72 Mighty Meatballs

You can’t just make A FEW meatballs. They’re one of those foods where if you’re making them, you should be making a LOT of them. This happens especially if you’re mixing your meats – mine are pork and beef – because you can’t buy a tiny pack of beef mince and a tiny pack of pork mince. You might as well go whole hog, buy 1kg meat and spending your afternoon well… Ballin’. That’s exactly what I did, and we ended up with 72 meatballs in the house.*

I’ve been making this recipe as long as I can remember, as taught by my dad (author of other delicious creations such as The Best Bolognese Sauce and Tuna, Rice ‘And All Things Nice’) As my tastes have changed I’ve started adding more spice but the basic recipe remains untouched. Spend a couple of hours bulk balling, and you’ll have a freezer full of meaty delights that you can pop on pasta, serve in pittas as per my little packed lunches, or just eat (obviously defrosted and cooked through).

Recipe after the jump!

*Update – there’s like 20 left now

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The Best Restaurants in Ciutadella, Menorca

It’s holiday post time! Yes, ok, I’ve been back for two weeks, but these things take time. So, we recently holidayed (is that a verb?) in the beautiful city of Ciutadella, in Menorca. Menorca is next to Majorca in the Balearic Islands, and we found it to be quite similar in terms of vibe and touristy-ness. We had originally booked Cala’n Bosch not realising that it’s VERY touristy and built up, not really the authentic experience we like on holiday. So we ended up rebooking to Ciutadella which looked much more Spanish.

We weren’t disappointed. Ciutadella is a beautiful place, with authentic tapas restaurants spilling out onto ambling paved streets, a lively harbour with marketplaces and music, and gelato shops on every corner. The only downside to our visit was that everyone else thinks it’s a beautiful place too! In peak season, the city gets very busy. We visited in the last week of August and found ourselves on the first few nights queueing for the popular restaurants, or having to settle for places we maybe wouldn’t have chosen. So some tips if you are thinking of visiting – try to go outside of the school holidays, get to the top rated TripAdvisor places early, or try to make reservations for the following night if you see somewhere nice.

Here’s a quick run down of some of the places we tried, most were rated well on TripAdvisor…

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A (Kind of Scary) Fitness Update

Deep breaths… this is a nerve wracking post! Soooo if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that since October last year I’ve been hitting the gym HARD with the help of my PT Jess, and I have a really great update to give. It’s exciting news, but it comes with a before-and-after pictures which are a bit scary to put online but I think they do the story justice.

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Creamy Chicken Sausage, Mushroom and Kale Spaghetti

I am such a huge fan of Heck! Chicken Italia sausages. Not only are they lean they are also absolutely delicious! You can use them like you would pork sausages (in a sandwich or breakfast) but they also really come into their own in creamy dishes like this, just like chicken breast would.

Note this totally isn’t an advert for Heck!, and other chicken sausages are available. They’re just really, really good.

The sausages are waaaaay easier to cut up if you cook them first so be sure to do that to make your life easier. You also get a better colour on the skin through grilling them rather than frying. Kale can be swapped for spinach too if you prefer, and I used wholegrain spaghetti because I like it but again that’s up for change.

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