With the borders starting to reopen, (and it no longer being illegal to leave our own country!) I’m sure many of you are starting to think about the summer holidays and getting to spend some time on the beach. This is usually the time of year when I get a lot of clients talking about wanting to “get their beach body” or to "lean up for the summer".
In previous articles I have talked in detail about the essential importance of diet when it comes to changing your physique. The “Long-Story-Short" summary is that if you want to lose body fat you need to reduce the amount of calories you are taking in. Everybody knows this, the tricky part is finding a way to do it sustainably so that you can maintain a calorie deficit for weeks at a time, rather than yo-yoing back to high calorie foods after 2 or 3 days of starving yourself, undoing all of your hard work. The answer to this utilising foods that are HIGH physical volume but LOW calorie density. These are foods you can eat a lot of but not take in too much energy from it, allowing your body the opportunity use up your excess fat stores to fill the missing energy requirements for survival. For examples of calorie density for different types of foods see this chart here. A natural food that meets this criteria is Celery or Cucumber, both of these foods are mainly water, so the calories content Is low compared to the physical size of the food.
But who could stick to this, when our food environment contains so many more interesting and exciting options to constantly tempt us away from our calorie deficit. The secret is creating “Food Hacks” of treat foods that are classically high in calories, and therefore very filling. By finding ways to make much lower calorie versions of them you can eat till you are full and enjoy what you are eating. All it takes it the time and effort to prepare your food yourself. On a side note this is also psychologically beneficial for weight loss, as we tend to “snack when we are bored”. Spending 15-20 minutes preparing a meal can actually reduce the boredom meaning we tend eat less when we actually get around to serving it.
In order to help you do this, over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting a series of recipes that meet this criteria. Ones I have regularly used myself when trying to reduce calorie intake and I have found to be very successful with my clients, who have really enjoyed them. So lets get to the first recipe….
80/10/10 Raw “Oatmeal" This recipe tastes very similar to my very popular “On-The-Go Oats” Recipe. However it has nearly HALF the calories for the same size portion of real oatmeal, making this a great choice when trying to slim down or cut out a few extra calories! This whole bowl is under 400kcal!
Cooking removes the water content from fresh produce, which makes foods physically smaller and therefore more calorie-dense! Exactly the opposite of what we are going for to lose weight! Therefore the more RAW uncooked foods you can get into your diet, the higher physical volume (from the high water content) meaning you get to eat more. The name “80/10/10” refers to the macronutrient ratio of this meal. That is 80% carbohydrates, 10% Protein and 10% Fat. Pick any food you could find in nature and eat straight away without cooking. If you look up the macronutrient ratios of your chosen food you will find something similar to this ratio: mostly carbs with a very small amount protein and usually even less fat. Whatever you picked will obey this ratio, wether it was a fruit, a berry, a leaf, a tuber, fungi etc, with only the small exception of nuts and seeds which are usually higher in fat, but it is very hard to find large enough amount of these to live off. Therefore doesn’t it make sense that our bodies would evolve to be good at processing these macronutrients in the amounts present in all the foods originally available to us. After all you don’t see many obese wild animals! Thats the principle behind this recipe. It is made entirely from RAW fruit (and possibly vegetables, if you go for my favourite “Fall” flavour combination) so it ends up coming out at something close to this ratio, hence the name. Its super easy and can be made in under 5 minutes!
Ingredients 3 Dates (pitted) 1 Banana 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
50ml Unsweetened soya milk 2 medium Apples
10g Sultanas *Optional: 100g Fresh Pumpkin (for even more volume!)
1) First pit the dates (remove the stones from the middle) and throw into a blender along with the banana. 2) Add the spices and a splash of soya milk and blend until you have a smooth liquid base. It will get messy as the dates are thrown around so make sure you have the lid on tight!
3) Chop the apples (and pumpkin if you're using it) into chunks, the size doesn’t really matter, just needs to be small enough so that they can move inside the blender and add to the smooth banana/date liquid mixture.
4) Blitz this for short pulses so that the apple gets chopped up smaller but is still chunky to give it an oatmeal like texture.
5) Pour in a pour and top with the sultanas and a dash more cinnamon. You're done, it's that easy!
*This base recipe can be topped with many different flavours based on personal preference. Add a tbsp of Cacao powder for a chocolatey flavour, or top with blueberries. My personal favourite flavour combination is to add pumpkin with the apples for a satisfying autumnal flavour that reminds me of my halloween favourite: Pumpkin Pie. As an added bonus I find the pumpkin adds WAY more volume to this recipe without adding barely any calories, double win!