Fitness for Beginners

Exercise: you can love it or hate it but you cannot deny it has endless health benefits, both physically and mentally. Regular exercise has been link to a reduced risk of disease, better mood and overall body composition. The one thing we all must try and do when it comes to exercise is to find something we enjoy and can keep up for a long period of time. Just because your colleague runs 5km every morning does not mean it’s something you will enjoy and be able to keep doing. Walking, dancing, cleaning, skipping, playing sports, lifting weights.. the list of possible exercises is endless. Maybe you’re a water baby and love swimming or water aerobics! Go for it. Find what you and make it a habit.

Setting goals is important when it comes to fitness as it can help to motivate and reward you. Make sure your goals are measurable and relative to you and your fitness level. For example, if your aim was to run 5km by Christmas you wouldn’t go out right away and pound the pavement. Break it down into achievable steps each week. A journal  is a great way to do this and make sure you acknowledge your achievements. Even if you went a quick 5 minute walk at lunchtime or walked to another bus stop to make your commute a bit longer make sure you say ‘well done me!’

Exercise with a friend or family member. When someone else is involved it can make things much less daunting, make time go faster and can motivate you greatly. Pick one or days per week and book a ‘fitness date’ with a friend. Promise each other not to bail and you’ll be much more likely to keep it up for longer.

Don’t put pressure on yourself! Simply moving more is an amazing way to boost your physical and mental health. Try not to compare yourself to others online, it’s not helpful! They are not the same person as you and do not have the same goals or lifestyle.

Simple tips to move more during the day:

Go for a walk at lunch – even for 5 minutes!

Get off one or two stops earlier if you take public transport to work.

Walk to work if possible or walk part of the way.

Integrate walking meetings into your work schedule. You’ll find you and your team are more creative with this too!

Get up 10 minutes earlier and do some stretching, yoga or a short walk in the morning. It will help to wake you up and you’ll feel better before seizing the day!

Turn coffee and lunch dates into coffee/lunch & exercise dates. Or take that coffee to go and chat and walk instead of sitting down.

Bottom line: move a little more and find what works for YOU!!

 

Emma

 

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Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.

Good4U Top 7 School Night Cooking Hacks

Having dinner ready every evening isn’t always easy, especially at the start of the school year when you’re trying to get the hang of your routine again.

Check out these 7 top tips that should make life a little easier…

1.Keep your kitchen well stocked: Always keep staple ingredients on hand and you’ll find it much easier to throw together a balanced meal quickly. The same goes for flavour, ensure you have all of your favourite seasonings and spices in the cupboard to add that something extra to the simplest of meals.

2.Plan, plan, plan: 6pm on a weeknight is not the best time to try and figure out what to cook for dinner that day. Make a list once a week so that you know what to buy/ take out of the freezer in advance.

3.Cook everything at once:The freezer is your friend! Take a few hours at the weekend and batch cook your proteins or grains for the week so that they can go in the freezer. You can even divide pre cooked meals up into individual portions, meaning all you have to do is reheat each one when you get home from work.

4.Go for frozen veg: Frozen veggies quick and easy to cook and there is very little difference in the nutritional content of frozen vs fresh.

5.Try an all-in-one: Not only are one-pot meals like beef stew or your favourite chili easy to make, but you’ll also use fewer pots and pans, which means less clean-up.

6.Go high-tech: Whether it’s a pressure cooker or a slow cooker, find one that you like and watch as cooking meals comes down to plugging it in in the morning and coming home to dinner on the table in the evening.

7.Plan Leftovers: When possible, make a double batch of your meal so you can have dinner tonight and a second batch to freeze for another night. Chicken stir-fry can be used for wraps the next day. A large batch of Bolognese can be used to make a super quick lasagne the following day.

Good Luck 🙂

Katie is one of our Good4U bloggers and keeps herself busy updating our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram followers on all the latest news from Good4U. When she’s not glued to her phone she is researching the latest food trends or providing her expert opinion on the latest flavours coming from our product development team…especially when there is some Veggie Protein going around!!

8 Top Tips For Eating Well In College

Going to College changes your normal routine and eating habits. This combined with a million choices surrounding the campus and occasionally few too many drinks the night before can lead to some poor food decisions.

Use these tips to help you make good choices and stay healthy.

1.Eat a good breakfast. It is the most important meal after all. When there isn’t time to sit down and enjoy your morning meal, grab some toast with a piece of fruit. Most of these items can be easily stored in your residence hall room.

2.If you eat junk food, choose wisely. Choose pizza with a thinner base or half the cheese or a baked potato or green salad with reduced calorie dressing. Limit the really high fat options like French chips or fried chicken.

3.Keep healthy snacks on hand. This way, if hunger strikes during a late night study session, you won’t be tempted high sugar alternatives. Fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, popcorn, rice cakes or whole wheat crackers are all great snacks that you can keep in your bag until you need them.

4.Eat plenty of foods rich in calcium. Your twenties are the ideal time for building up stores of calcium to prevent osteoporosis later in life.

5.If you are trying to lose weight, be careful. Starvation and/or diets that offer a quick fix are usually unrealistic and can be harmful. Follow a well-balanced diet and exercise- you will see results!

6.Limit your sugar intake – Sugar provides calories in your diet but has little nutritional value otherwise. Try sweeteners in tea/coffee instead and opt for snacks with no added sugar content.

7.Limit your alcohol intake. We’re not saying all alcohol is bad but it is very important to be mindful about what you drink. Alcohol, like sugar, supplies calories but no nutritional value. A light beer, a glass of wine or an ounce of liquor each has about 100 calories. There may also be health problems associated with drinking alcohol.

8.Drink lots of water. Your body requires roughly 2 litres a day, and, if you exercise a lot you may need more. Carry a water bottle along to class and keep it handy during late night study sessions.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to have FUN 🙂

 

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.

Lunch Blox- Build A Healthy LunchBox

Our healthy Lunch Blox were designed by our amazing Nutritionist, Emma as a simple guide to creating a well balanced meal for school lunches. Just choose one item from each of our nutrient blocks and your healthy lunchbox is good to go 🙂

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.

5 ways to make lunch fun for kids

Getting a nutritious lunch in school is not only important for your child’s physical development, but it can help them to stay focused throughout the school day.

That being said it isn’t always easy convincing them to finish their meal when you aren’t around. Research shows that children are more likely to eat something if it has a fun element to it.

Here are a few easy tricks to try to make your child’s school lunch that little bit more tempting:

1.Cut sandwiches into shapes! This can be done so easily with a few cookie cutters. Let the kids help and allow them to enjoy making their own lunch. This way they will be more likely to eat it all up!

2.Pop some fruit, veg or cheese cubes onto skewers. Making skewers with yummy colourful ingredients can make lunches seem fun for kids.. and adults too!

3. Let the children pick their own lunch. If you lay out all of the lunchbox components and the child to pick one carbohydrate source, one protein source, some fruit & veg and some dairy it will allow them to be more comfortable with what they are eating and can help reduce leftovers.

4. Put smiley faces on things! Be creative and have some fun with lunchbox foods.

5. Bake some healthy homemade muffins at home and use decorative muffin cases. These can be made with kids and they can bring them along for lunch in school.

 

Good Luck 🙂

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.

Top 6 Brain Boosting Foods for School Kids

Kids use up a lot of energy and we know that fuelling their bodies is so important to keep them healthy and going all day. Fuelling their minds is just as important. The brain uses glucose as an energy source so the correct foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet will make sure kids stay focused in school and throughout the entire day. Here are some foods to include at meal times which I like to call brain superheroes!

1. Wholegrains– these are a low glycaemic index food which means that when they are eaten they release glucose slowly throughout the body. This is good for our brains as it means we avoid a sharp burst of energy and focus and then a slump and the inability to focus. Try to choose mostly wholegrain sources of breads, cereals, rice, pasta etc for meal times to maintain levels of concentration. Perfect for keeping kids going during school and at home!

2. Omega 3 fatty acids– these are essential fatty acids which cannot be made in the body and must be obtained from the diet. EPA and DHA contained in oily fish are super brain boosting foods and can be used very easily by the body. Essential fatty acids can also be obtained from plant foods like flaxseeds, soya beans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. If your child doesn’t like the taste of fish and doesn’t fancy any of the other plant foods listed consider an omega 3 supplement.

3.Green Veg: You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again: EAT YOUR GREENS! Broccoli contains vitamin K which can help to aid concentration and brain function so these little green powerhouses are brilliant for your little one’s mind.

4. Blueberries – beautiful brain boosting berries! These yummy little superstars have been shown to help delay short term memory loss. Who would have thought?! Add them to cereal, yoghurt and salads or as a tasty sweet snack in lunchboxes

5.Nuts and Seeds– these contain excellent vitamins and minerals that help boost memory and thinking function. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are especially powerful as they contain the mineral zinc which has been linked to a positive brain function

6. Avoid foods high in sugar and fat -or those which are highly processed as these will cause a sharp rise in energy levels followed by a slump. Swap the biscuits, chocolate bars and jellies for unsalted nuts and seeds, fresh and dried fruit and vegetable sticks. Of course we can all have a treat now and again, we are human after all!!

Check out our fabulous recipes page for some inspiration when planning meals for all of the family plus some quick, simple and HEALTHY lunches for back to school and work!

Emma

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.

Top 5 key nutrients for growing kids

From around the age of 5 children head off to school and often start making their own choices about food and meal times can become that bit more difficult!

I’ve put together 5 key nutrients to be mindful of at this age. It’s important to remember that these can be obtained from a well balanced and varied healthy diet without causing too many arguments at meal times!

Carbohydrate: Starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, oats, pasta and cereals are required for energy for busy little ones. Where possible, aim to choose wholegrain varieties of carbohydrates for a slower release of energy. Fibre in the diet is especially important to maintain healthy digestion and it also helps to keep us fuller for longer. Ensure kids are well hydrated particularly when consuming fibre. Water and milk are the preferred fluid sources for kiddies.

Protein: Protein is needed for growth and repair of body cells and is particularly important for growth and development in this age group. Protein should come mainly from lean sources of poultry, meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds. Children should be encouraged to consume two portions of fish per week and one of these portions should come from oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Oily fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which are important for brain development. If children are not too fond of oily fish it may be worth considering an Omega 3 supplement. Ensure to contact your GP to assess individual needs.

Fat: Fat is needed for everyone for energy levels, to maintain body temperature and to make hormones. It is important that children aim to get fat from unsaturated sources of fat rather than saturated sources. Unsaturated fat is in foods like oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and rapeseed oil. Too much saturated fat in foods such as butter, biscuits, cakes, lard and fatty meets can lead to health issues and should be limited. Of course, a little bit every now and then is fine.

Calcium: Calcium works with vitamin D in the body to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Some children may not enjoy eating dairy so it is worth noting alternative sources such as leafy green veg, nuts, seeds and fortified foods. Vitamin D can be obtained from cheese, egg yolk and oily fish in the diet and from sunlight.

Iron: Iron is important as it is needed to make haemoglobin which transports oxygen around the body. Iron can be obtained from green vegetables, red meat, eggs, nuts and seeds and dried fruit. Ensure you have enough Vitamin C in the diet also as this helps with absorption of iron in the body. Vitamin C can be readily found in fruit and vegetables.

All of these nutrients can be obtained by providing children with a varied diet. Explore different food sources and meals to find out what they enjoy. Leading by example and allowing children to participate in cooking can be great ways to boost their intake of different foods.

Have a look at our other blogs and recipe page for wonderful family-friendly healthy recipes! Be sure to drop us a message if you have more questions around children’s health.

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.