The Fit Foodie: Fruity Frozen Yoghurt and Chia Ice Pops

This week has been a busy one for me. I’ve been travelling up and down to Dublin for events and meetings, shooting photos and finalising recipes for the column all while trying to balance family life and office life. There is no rest for the wicked!

This week’s recipes include my healthy take on an ice lolly and a great alternative to mashed spuds.

Staying adequately hydrated is something I’m always trying to be aware of especially when I’m busy.

Drinking water is one of my top health hacks. We often focus all our efforts on eating well and exercising but ensuring you get in enough fluids is a key part of a balanced diet.

Our body is roughly 50% to 60% water. It has a number of vital roles to play in the body; the fact that we can survive weeks without food but only a few days without water, is testimony to how important it is for our health.

Water is a component of the blood which carries oxygen around the body, it’s part of the digestive juices in the stomach and also forms part of the saliva which is involved in swallowing and it helps to keep the mouth, nose, skin and eyes moist.

Water also forms part of sweat, which helps prevent the body from overheating during exercise. A key point for all you fit foodies working out!

When we sweat we lose water and electrolytes, both of which need to be replaced to prevent dehydration.

Being even slightly dehydrated can have a negative impact on aspects such as decisionmaking, concentration and reaction times. For example, losing more than 5% of your body weight in water reduces your ability to move and work by as much as 30%. Yikes!

Here are my top tips for staying hydrated:

  • Invest in a BPA-free (bisphenol-a) water bottle. Plastic bottles have been found to leach toxins into water but you won’t have this problem with a BPA-free bottle and they are also kinder to the environment.
  • Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Keep it on your desk in the office to stay happy and hydrated.
  • We all love our tea and coffees but try to reduce your intake as they contain caffeine which acts as a mild diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid and increase the need to use the toilet. To help combat this, try ordering a glass of water with your coffee.
  • Set reminders on your phone to drink multiple times a day. The same reminder may also tell you to get moving!
  • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink, thirst is a sign that your body has needed fluids for a while. Take small sips throughout the day.
  • A key factor affecting your water requirements is your activity level.

No matter what level you are training at or what your activity of choice is it is important to hydrate before, during and after every session.

Staying hydrated will make you more focused and productive.

Let’s face it though; plain water can be a bit boring so why not try one of the recipes below to jazz it up a bit.

Lemony water: 500ml boiled and cooled water plus juice of half lemon squeezed in.

Vitamin C boost

500ml water boiled and cooled plus half a lemon, half a lime and half an orange sliced and added.

Minty lime

500ml water boiled and cooled plus the juice half lime and little mint.

Fitspiration

It’s fitting to give a shout out to one of the great Irish Olympic athletes that spends lots of time in water! Go check out double Olympian Aileen Reid @aileenmorr on Twitter

Fruity Frozen Yoghurt and Chia Ice Pops

I love a summer ice lolly. They are super refreshing and bring out my inner child! These are a great natural alternative to shop

bought lollies but still taste amazing. 

They are super easy to make and packed with goodness, perfect for any summery events you might have lined up.

My daughter Dafne is almost two and she devours these. This is a good recipe for all of you out there catering for little people!

Prep time: 5 mins

Freeze time: 2-3 hrs approx

Makes: 4-6 pops

125g natural organic yoghurt

2tbsp agave syrup or honey

1/2 banana, 4 fresh strawberries, 4 fresh raspberries, 6 blueberries

50g chia seeds (soaked overnight)

Roughly chop the fruit. Stir in the yoghurt. Add the chia seeds and agave syrup. Pour into the ice pop moulds.

Put in freezer for 2-3 hrs. Remove and enjoy!

Cauliflower Creamed Spinach

This is a great side dish recipe to have up your sleeve. It’s great with roast chicken or fish and it’s full of nutrition. 

The almond milk adds a lovely subtle taste to the dish, it will work equally well with regular milk. It’s a nice lighter alternative to the classic mashed potatoes side.

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 35 mins

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

1 head cauliflower

400g baby spinach

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

Pinch nutmeg (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

150ml almond milk

1 tsp coconut oil

400g baby spinach

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

Remove the heart and stalk of the cauliflower and cut up into florets. Add to boiling water and simmer until quite soft (20-30 mins)

Strain the cauliflower and add the other ingredients except for the spinach.

Blend until a smooth creamy texture

On a medium heat melt the coconut oil in a large pan/wok.

Add spinach until starts to wilt. Quickly stir in the cauliflower mixture and serve.


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