Hi everyone, I’m Helen from Cook, Bake and Live and I’m so grateful that Jess has allowed me to write a guest post. Over on CB&L I show how you can live a balanced lifestyle and make healthy choices whilst leading a busy lifestyle, without spending too much money and feeding a hungry man! Here are a few of my tips:

1) Fitting in exercise around a busy lifestyle

Both my boyfriend and I work long hours and always have things to fit the weekend. Sometimes the last thing I want to do after a hard day at work is to get myself down to the gym. However, exercise doesn’t always have to happen at the gym, here are a few ways I fit exercise into my day:

  • In the morning I get up at the same time as my boyfriend, but whilst he’s in the shower, I fit in 15 mins of sit-ups, press-ups and dips on the edge of the bed. This gets the blood pumping round my body and wakes me up!
  • At lunch, instead of sitting in front of my computer, I try to take 30 mins away from my desk and go for a brisk walk. This is a great way to clear my head of my work worries and get my heart rate up slightly.
  • Finally, now the weather is getting warmer, on the days where I get home later than normal and don’t have time for a long run or a gym session, I pull on my running gear and go for a quick 1.5m run. This really helps to clear my mind and get me relaxed for the evening ahead. Plus as it’s only 1.5m I am back within 15 mins and can still make dinner!

2) Making healthy choices on a small budget

On the blogs that I read there is a huge variety of healthy foodstuff that makes an appearance – a lot of fresh vegetables, flax, chai seeds, Xantham Gun…etc. Unfortunately you won’t find much of this on CB&L. I know a lot of you might say that if you choose to live a healthy lifestyle you should do as much as you can to achieve this and if it means trying the latest health food why not? However, as I am not earning a huge amount I can’t afford to spend my money on these foods every week (a one off is fine though) and I know a lot of other people are in this position too. However you can still make healthy choices and not blow your budget.

Our budget for our weekly shop is £60 (£30 each) – this has to include household things and one off buys, like shampoo, as well as food. Here are a few things we do to shop wisely and healthily:

  • Write a shopping list – decide on the meals that you want to make, write down what you need and stick to it. Of course include basics like bread and milk but stick to the list so you won’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need.
  • Buy two different types of fruits for snacking on – a bunch of bananas, a bag of apples or oranges, a few kiwis. If you keep these in a fruit bowl they will always be within easy reach when you want a snack.
  • Buy healthy living mince – we use a lot of mince in our cooking as it’s so versatile (chili con carne, burgers, spaghetti bolognaise…) Healthy mince has far less fat in it so gives off less oil when cooked.
  • Finally, if there are special offers on any kind of healthy food, go for it!

3) Eating healthily and feeding a man!

Living with my boyfriend is the best thing in the world….except when it comes to eating! He is a ‘real man’ and loves food. He works out at the gym four days a week so really needs his food. It amazes me how much he can eat – breakfast, a large box of leftovers for lunch, a selection of treats throughout the day AND 2 portions of dinner! I often feel as if I can eat the same things as he does and the same portion sizes – this is obviously not true! As mentioned above, we are on a small food budget so I can’t afford to cook different things for myself. Plus, I wouldn’t really want to as I love cooking a meal that we can both enjoy. I have learnt quickly though of a few ways I can eat differently to him but still enjoy the same delicious meals:

  • Breakfast – I love cereals that sustain me like oats and wholegrain cereals whereas he often has loves sugary cereals that leave him hungry 2 hrs after eating it! He’s been good recently but I’m sure that the next time Sugar Puffs are on offer again he’ll get them!
  • Lunch – The boyfriend often takes leftovers of the night before for his lunch the next day and heats them up in the microwave. Even though this is tempting, it’s not the best thing for me. I vary my lunches and always make sure I include fruit and vegetables in it eg. Chicken salad sandwich or a large salad.
  • Dinner – This is where temptation lies! We take the pot/dish that dinner in is to the table and serve from there. That means that extra food is always within reach. The boyfriend always has a second portion of dinner, always (!), but I know that I don’t need it. Of course, if I want a bit more I’ll take it but my first portion is usually normal sized! I know that all I need is one portion and I’m usually satisfied after that.
  • Snacks – The boyfriend snacks on biscuits / sweets / chocolate / cakes and he has no adverse effects! To stop me snacking on these too, I have my own healthy snacks – cereal bars, fruit, nuts, raisins etc.
  • Eating out – choosing food in restaurants is always the best way for me to eat foods I couldn’t eat at home. I am not a vegetarian (as I love meat too much!) but I like ordering veggie food when we eat out. This is another great way of eating different food to the boyfriend and as long as he has a burger, he’s happy!

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my life and blog focus. If you want to know more please head over to CB&L to find out more!