Holiday Health

This weekend, Libby and Caitlin,  from the Jane Plan office, were fortunate enough to take a weekend break to Devon, to escape the busy London bustle and soak up some sun (finally!). Going away with friends, especially at this time of year, can mean inactive days of lying on the beach, ice-cream, and Pimms. Holidays and mini-breaks are times when it becomes easy to lose sight of your weight loss goals, setting you back a long way. Fortunately, we’ve put together a few handy hints and top tips for going away, to ensure you come back from your holiday healthier (and happier) than before and maintaining the ‘bikini body’ that you’ve been working hard for . These tips are small and easy swaps, that will hardly affect your holiday but will have a positive effect on your weightloss goals.

IMG_0350.JPGThe ‘English Riviera’ is a
perfect spot to catch some Vitamin D when the sun is shining and enjoy an afternoon at the beach. Here are a couple of our beach-side tips to ensure a healthy break by the sea.


1. Skincare
Ensuring you always wear suncream is an essential part of keeping your skin healthy and avoiding long term damage. We would recommend SPF30 but this can vary depending on skin type. Keeping yourself hydrated in the sun is not only important for your weightloss goals but dehydration can also cause serious damage to your skin. Finally, both of us said goodbye to our foundation for the weekend and let our skin breath- the salt in the sea can do wonders and we would highly recommend! Although skin does not seem a priority to weightloss, it adds to your overall image and self-confidence, as well as also being an indicator of your general health!

2. Exercise
Although we may all love an afternoon lazing about on the beach, this lack of activity can sometimes affect our weightloss goals. We have to admit we did our fair share of lying around but there are ways to ensure this isn’t detrimental. The latest craze with our friends is ultimate frisbee, an easy game for any group to play.

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A small stint of exercise for 30 mins a day, be it a game like this or going for a beachside run, can not only be relaxing but also ensure you are staying on target. Running on the
beach is much more challenging than any paved surface but rewarding, burning up to 30% more calories.
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3. Routine
Being away from the office, be it for a weekend break or a holiday, can often mean we lose  our daily routine by way of relaxing. Although we would recommend trying to get more sleep, maintaining a routine in some capacity can be helpful for keeping on track with balanced meals and a healthy lifestyle. We would recommend, even if you are getting out of bed later, to try and keep to some sort of schedule and ensuring you are still getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

4. BBQs
In reference to our recipe this week, grilling on a BBQ can be a healthier and a much more enjoyable alternative in the summer, particularly to frying. Although at first look, a BBQ may not seem healthy, we have put together a few tips and tricks to ensure you can enjoy the sociable and al fresco aspect  whilst striving to achieve your weightloss goals!IMG_0133

  • Meat – Fresh meat and fish is always the best, and we would recommend monopolising on your location, looking out for good local markets or fishing ports, particularly on the coast. The leaner the meat the better and avoiding fattier parts of any animal is advisable.Moreover, ensuring the use of herbs and spices, when marinating the meat, can mean a stronger taste and therefore it is much less likely you will overeat!
  • Veg – Grilling Veggie Kebabs is a great addition or alternative to any BBQ- we used peppers, mushrooms,courgettes and red onion! Making some healthy salads to go with your BBQ can also mean less meat being consumed, as a side of salad will fill you up! See our recipes and social media accounts for salad inspiration.
  • Bun Free- Avoiding bread with your BBQ can be a healthier alternative, to cut down on calories. If this isn’t possible, we would recommend a wholemeal and seeded bun!
  • Ketchup- For those who can’t resist, a perfect way to ensure a healthier ketchup is to make it yourself! We fried some marinated onions and chopped tomatoes and then blended it together with a dash of oil.

5. Sipping Pretty
If you’re soaking up the sun all day, it’s very easy to become dehydrated. Not only can this be dangerous to your health in the heat, staying hydrated is very important when aiding weight loss. We made sure to always have big 1.5l water bottles on us at all time, meaning that we were able to quench our thirst whenever we needed. By drinking at least 2l of water a day, the rate at which you burn calories is increased. It’s also very easy to confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger. So before you get tempted to reach for an ice-cream, drinking some water and waiting 10 minutes can ensure you’re not snacking unnecessarily!

6. Alcohol
Long lazy afternoons, BBQs and sun all go hand in hand with summer classics like Pimms. While there’s no harm in treating yourself once in a while, it’s worth bearing in mind that a 300ml glass of Pimms can have up to 180 calories! Moreover, by starting drinking early in the day, it’s easy to clock up several glasses in a single afternoon, leading to lots of empty calories. When following Jane Plan, we advise that you cut out alcohol completely. That said, one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance and there’s no harm in treating yourselves once in a while.

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Swap Lemonade and Pimms for Sparkling Water

If you’re going away for a week or so, we’d suggest you pick a particular evening where you’re allowed to have a drink. By saving yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy that cocktail or glass of wine a great deal more; plus you’ll avoid piling on the pounds as the week goes on! While we were away, Caitlin and I were able to avoid drinking our calories by filling up jugs of sparkling water with fresh mint and strawberries.
This is a great swap for calorie-laden cocktails, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out!

7. Snacks
Come mid-afternoon, it’s easy to be tempted by a trip to the ice cream van to cool off. However, with 280 calories in a Magnum Classic and nearly 18g of fat, this can set you back a long way when trying to lose weight. Luckily, there’s a range of simple swaps you can make, meaning it’s still easy to enjoy the sun without feeling guilty! For example, frozen grapes are a delicious bitesize snack that are low in calories and great for cooling off. Moreover, a portion of 80g has only 54 calories and are full of antioxidants, making them an ideal summer snack. Watermelon is also a brilliant alternative. With high levels of vitamins A, B6 and C and high water content, it’s a refreshing and healthy option. You could even try popping a lolly-stick inside a slice and freezing to make your own ice-lollies!IMG_0231.JPGWe hope these tips prove useful and you can find ways to incorporate these handy hints into your lifestyles as much as possible. Whether in sunnier climes or staying at home this summer, eating healthy even in the heat is easier than you think!

Caitlin, Libby and all the Jane Plan team xx

 

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Add Asparagus Into Your Diet!

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Hello everyone,

I’ve already done a blog in praise of seasonal greens, but I thought I’d pick out my favourite veggie as it comes into season – asparagus!

Asparagus packs a nutritional punch, not only is it a great source of fibre, it also has high levels of calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. Plus it contains more folate than any other veggie. Wondering what that is? Well folate is essential in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Those neurotransmitters are responsible for maintaining and improving your mood, so they’re pretty important!

Asparagus can be pricey, but it’s unbeatable flavour makes it worth it at this time of year! Whilst imports are available all year round, British asparagus isn’t in season for very long, it’s best between April and July. So snap it up whilst you have the chance!

If you’re looking to add some asparagus into your diet, I’ve got a few recipe ideas for you!

1) Asparagus, Poached Eggs and Parmesan

Calories: 313 per serving

This is a lovely way to start the day, and will keep you full all morning! At 313 calories I do recommend that you have a lighter lunch if you’re watching the calories. Plus eggs are really nutritious as well!

Ingredients:

  • 600g asparagus
  • 8 medium free-range eggs
  • 120g Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Snap off any woody ends from the asparagus stalks at the point where they break easily and discard. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the asparagus, return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender
  2. Pour about 2.5cm boiling water into a small saucepan. Return to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-high, crack the eggs open then carefully tip them into the pan, keeping them well apart. Cook for 3-5 minutes until done to your liking. (Alternatively, use an egg poacher according to the manufacturer’s instructions.)
  3. Drain the asparagus in a colander and divide among four warmed plates. Top each plate with 2 eggs and scatter with the cheese. Season and serve.

2. Asparagus

This dish is so easy and quick to make, it can been done in 2 minutes! Perfect for lunch at the office.

Ingredients:

  • 8 asparagus spears
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped olives
  • 5 tomatoes
  • Pine nuts

Method:

  1. Place the asparagus spears on a plate and drizzle with lemon juice. Then sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, chopped olives, and top with pine nuts.

 

I hope these recipes will help inspire you!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx

 

My Favourite Seasonal Spring Greens

Hello everyone,

The first three months of 2016 have absolutely flown by, I can’t believe it’s already April! Now that the clocks have gone forward and the days are getting longer, it’s really beginning to feel like Spring. It’s my favourite time of the year, I always feel so much more energised once I’ve ditched my Winter coat.

I also love this time of year because of the veggies that come into season. Seasonal foods are fresher, so they tend to be tastier, more nutritious and cheaper. Your local farmers market is a great place to source fresh fruit and veg, plus you’ll be supporting local businesses and making sure that the food hasn’t travelled too far to reach you (which is more environmentally friendly too!)

Now it’s April, there’s no excuse not to buy nutritious veggies! If you need some inspiration, here are my top four seasonal spring greens:

 

  1. Purple sprouting broccoli

Versatile and vibrant, purple sprouting broccoli will add a great crunch to your meals! It’s packed with vitamin C and is a great source of vitamin A, calcium, fibre, folic acid and iron. On top of that, it contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane which is thought to help prevent certain cancers and may also provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.

Serving suggestion: purple sprouting broccoli can be used in a similar way to its cousin. I like this Delia recipe for steamed purple sprouting broccoli with a chilli and sesame dressing.

 

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus packs a nutritional punch, providing great sources of fibre, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. It also contains more folate than any other veggie, which is essential in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Those neurotransmitters are responsible for maintaining and improving your mood, so folate is a great addition to your diet!

Serving suggestion: asparagus can be enjoyed on its own! I like to plate up about 8 asparagus spears, and sprinkle them with chopped tomatoes and chopped olives, I then top it with pine nuts and a drizzle of lemon juice.

 

  1. Spinach

Spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities. Vitamins A and C are present in significant amounts, as are several antioxidants and folic acid. Spinach has a distinctive taste, – I like to think of it as a ‘love it or hate it’ food. It’s available all year-round, but the freshest and tenderest spinach is available in Spring.

Serving suggestion: Milder and younger spinach leaves can be eaten raw in a salad. The older ones are usually cooked. I like backed eggs with spinach!

 

  1. Watercress

With its pungent, slightly bitter and peppery flavour, watercress is one of the strongest-tasting salad leaves available. It’s highly nutritious, containing significant amounts of iron, calcium, vitamins A, E and C.

Serving suggestion: watercress is good in salad (I recommend using it instead of rocket), and can also be delicious in soup.

 

Happy cooking!

Jane xx

The Very First Jane Plan Supper Club

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Hello everyone,

In case you hadn’t heard, we held the first Jane Plan Supper club a couple of weeks ago at The Décor Café, a hub of independent home experts network who come together to share their skills and experiences in decorating homes. Make sure you check them out on Twitter and Facebook! The Supper Club was hosted by the founder of the Décor Café, Debbie, and it was a great evening of delicious food and interesting conversation.

The Jane Plan Supper Club is where a group of people come together to enjoy delicious and healthy home cooked food. I cooked some of my favourite dishes, including a cooling coconut and avocado soup, ‘no rice’ sushi and Malaysian butternut curry, accompanied by cooling cucumber & coriander salads, aubergine with tahini & lime and a deliciously moorish marinated chicken dish. I’ve included the recipe for my ‘no rice’ sushi below!

I really want to encourage Jane Planners not just to eat healthily, but to come together. Jane Plan isn’t just a diet, it’s a whole way of life – a community of like minded people who love food and want to be healthy. We already have a community of Jane Planners supporting each other and swapping experiences on Facebook and Twitter, but I want you to go one step further! We’re hosting a series of supper clubs in some beautiful venues, and we really hope you can join us and meet people who have changed to a healthier lifestyle like you.

Have a lovely weekend and check out my recipe below!

Jane xx

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‘No Rice’ Sushi

This is just one of the beautiful dishes I created for the first Jane Plan Supper Club last Tuesday. It’s sushi without the rice, which means that you savethe calories.

Cut up a cucumber into thick slices big enough to hold between your thumb and index finger (about 2-3cm each). Then make a well in the centre of the cucumber, so that it can act as a canape holder.

Then chop smoked salmon into tiny pieces. Add spring onion, small chunks of avocado, red chilli, natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lime juice into a separate dish. Spoon this onto the cucumber slices and top with zested lime and poppy seeds to finish.

Make dinner more interesting

Hello everyone,

This week I’ve heard from quite a few Jane Planners who want some more exciting ideas of what veggies to add into their diet Plan. So here are two of my favourite veggie substitutes for rice and pasta – they’re perfect for adding into your diet Plan, or even for dieting off-Plan.

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Cauliflower Rice:

Cauliflower rice can be a really good substitute for rice or couscous, and can be great alongside our Asian inspired meals. It’s so easy to make, all you need is some cauliflower, a grater and a microwave.  Plus, an 100g portion of rice is only about 25 calories!

Method:

  1. Rinse the cauliflower well, pull off the outer leaves and break the cauliflower into large florets.
  2. Process in a food processor
    • Break the florets into smaller pieces, put into the large bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Grate your cauliflower florets
    • If you don’t have a food processor you can grate the cauliflower by hand using the larger side of a grater.
  4. Once chopped/grated, you can store the cauliflower until you’re ready to use it. Divide it into 100g portions, and it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  5. Cook your cauliflower rice:
  6. Microwave – Place the cauliflower rice in a heatproof bowl, cover in cling film, and heat for 3 minutes on high, mixing half way through cooking. If heating from the freezer, microwave for 4 minutes instead.
  7. To make it more interesting, you can roast the cauliflower rice. Simply spread it into a thin layer on a tray with a drizzle of olive oil, and then roast for 12minutes at 200C. Roasting it intensifies the flavour, and dries it out to give it a really nice texture.

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Courgette Spaghetti:

People who are trying to lose weight have often told me that they really miss pasta when they try to keep away from it. Courgette spaghetti can help you overcome this pasta craving, and it works well with all pasta sauces. Plus courgette is a good source of vitamin C.

All you need is 3 large courgettes per person, for about 93 calories per serving.

Method:

  1. Cut the courgettes into thin slices lengthways, and then cut each slice into thin strips to create spaghetti-like strips.
  2. If you are not that skilled with a knife, kitchen gadgets like a mandolin can help you slice the courgettes into strips.
  3. Boil the spaghetti strips for 2 minutes, and then drain. Take care not to overcook the spaghetti, or the strips will go mushy.
  4. Serve with your favourite spaghetti sauce or alongside a Jane Plan diet meal.

 

I hope these have helped inspire you to jazz up your diet plan!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx

Light Lunch Ideas

With the weather so cold and gloomy in January, it’s easy to make poor choices and comfort eat (I know I’ve been guilty of this!). But now that January is finally over, I’ve been trying to focus on eating lighter and cleaner, and trying to cook with fresh ingredients. So I thought I’d share two of my favourite light lunches, which are healthy and balanced – as well as delicious! They’re so easy and quick to make – so there’s really no excuse for eating unhealthily this February!

 

1. Salmon and Rocket Salad with HorseradishIMG_1620

This salad is a favourite of mine – it can be made in minutes, tastes absolutely delicious and is full of iron. If you’re in a rush, don’t worry about grating the lemon zest or adding the crème fraîche, it’s still gorgeous without. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 generous handfuls of wild rocket
  • 400g smoked salmon slices
  • 2 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
  • 2 gherkins, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Dill springs, to garnish

Method:

  1. Put the rocket at the bottom of your container. Roll up the slices of smoked salmon and arrange them on the top. Mix the horseradish, crème fraîche and chopped gherkins together in a bowl and leave to one side.
  2. In the morning before you leave for work, grate the lemon zest on top of the salmon and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then add a spoonful of the horseradish mixture. Finish with a spring of dill.
  3. If serving at the table, put the rocket on a plate, add the rolled smoked salmon, zest and squeeze the lemon and put the horseradish in a bowl so that everyone can help themselves. Garnish your salad with dill, then serve.

 

2. Avocado SaladIMG_1671

Avocado is packed full of essential nutrients, including potassium, fibre and folic acid, and this recipe is so easy to follow there’s no excuse for not including it in your diet! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful of mixed salad leaves
  • 1 avocado
  • Half tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 8 baby tomatoes

Method:

  1. Remove the pit of the avocado and slice it into ‘half-moon’ shapes, you should have about 10. Place the salad leaves on the plate and add the avocado on top.
  2. Scatter with chilli flakes and add 8 halved tomatoes. Finish by drizzling with avocado oil.

 

Happy cooking!

Jane xx

Fall in love… with yourself

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At Jane Plan we believe that losing weight isn’t about looking good or being skinny, or even fitting into a smaller size of jeans – it’s about being healthier. I sometimes think we’re a lone voice in the weight loss world, trying to get away from the stereo type of a diet company – one who makes women feel insecure because they aren’t built like Barbie and can’t wear a yellow bikini on the beach!  I want women to embark on a journey with us, to feel healthier, more confident and to learn to love themselves. Being a healthy weight is part of that journey – but being able to wear a yellow bikini isn’t!

That’s why I was absolutely thrilled this week when  I came across a great video Weight Watchers UK talking about what makes a strong relationship, with other people and with ourselves.

In the video, several women were asked about what they think makes their relationships strong. It was really lovely to hear the answers that came up, with some of the women having been friends for years. The discussion then moved on to what is special about the women’s relationship with themselves, which was slightly disheartening to see. A statistic then came up that of a poll of 2,000 women, 82% admitted that they need a stronger relationship with themselves.

This video got me thinking about how hard we can be on ourselves and how many women don’t value their relationship with themselves as much as their relationships with other people. It’s almost a strange idea to treat ourselves similarly to how we treat our friends, but why?

This idea really resonated with me and the whole team at Jane Plan and we’re glad to see that another weight loss company is supporting the idea that we all need to treat ourselves better, and not be so hard on ourselves. When we fail at something, whether it’s in our careers or personal relationships, it’s very difficult to draw a line under it in the way that you would if a friend had failed or disappointed you. Well done Weight Watchers!

This is a shame, and whilst it’s easier said than done, we should all try to not be so hard on ourselves. Making time for ourselves, like you would for a friend or family member, should be something that we actively try to do. Trying to think more positively and be more mindful can also be beneficial, and can have benefits for our health and body as well. It doesn’t even need to be that difficult, small things, like carving out an hour of the day to spend by yourself, can make a difference. Stop telling yourself that you’ll start making time for yourself when things have calmed down at work, or on the weekend, and start right now!

Have a lovely weekend,

Jane xx