Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
I love to eat. I like nothing more than a tasty meal, or snack..or two. I am definitely not one of these “Food is only fuel” kind of trainers. I eat well because I enjoy eating. Ever since I started my personal training business and had to get myself in better shape I have continued to eat nice food. My meals are bursting with flavour. Why only eat brown rice, broccoli and chicken when bulking up? Why go low carb, low fat, low taste when dieting? Why sign up for some mad diet club that doesn’t teach you anything? We’re looking for a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and neither of the previous options provide this for 99% of people.
So, I am not going to tell you to eat food that’s not tasty just because you want to eat a bit healthier. There’s no reason to! You can eat food that’s full of flavour, packed with nutrients and that doesn’t cost you a fortune!
Obviously being a personal trainer means I get asked about food a lot and I’ve found out that there are still loads of misunderstandings when it comes to eating well. I am not talking about the “But aren’t carbs bad for you?” kind of stuff that popped up thanks to a certain Mr Atkins, like I addressed in this blog.
I am talking about things that we were told growing up, things that are still engrained in the minds of most of the population. Things that have been proven to be wrong and yet the myths are perpetuated by the supermarkets and comments by prominent politicians, Shadow health ministers even.
So here is the list of the top 5 items that I buy, and eat, regularly that might surprise you.
1; Tinned, or canned if you’re American, tomatoes. We all know tomatoes are good for us. They are a great source of anti-oxidants as they contain something called lycopene, and we all like our anti-oxidants. So are fresh tomatoes not better for you? No, not really. Check out just what a tomato contains in fresh, vitaminy and yummy goodness; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato#Nutrition This is not all magically taken away by the canning process. The great thing about the process of tinning tomatoes is that they are usually tinned within a few hours of harvesting. Compare that to fresh ones which will still have to be transported to the supermarket, this is why they are usually picked well before being ripe and why they taste watery. Tinned tomatoes are cheaper than fresh ones, they taste better than most fresh ones bought from the supermarket, have the same nutritional value of fresh tomatoes and they definitely last a lot longer. Use tinned for your tomato sauce and chilli, don’t buy the ready made sauces there is no excuse for it. Just make sure you don’t by a deeply dented tin, and try to find one without added sugar.
2; Frozen vegetables. I like frozen veg. Peas are obviously very popular to buy frozen, hardly anyone I know buys them fresh. But there’s nothing wrong with buying other veg frozen. In fact, if you’re eating for health benefits only, frozen is much preferred. Wiki, an ever ready source of information already states this and NCBI has various articles if you like to read actual studies. The main reason for eating fresh is, essentially, texture. For instance; I prefer eating carrots fresh and raw, I don’t particularly enjoy them cooked but accept that they are not necessarily healthier than their frozen counterparts. If you don’t mind the texture of frozen food, feel free buy frozen rather than fresh. It’s a lot cheaper and, again, it lasts a lot longer.
3; Canned Salmon!
I can almost hear you crying out loud in confusion; “What?!! How on earth can canned fish be better than nice fresh fish?!?” Well, hate to say it but, it kind of is. We all know salmon is great for Omega-3, and we all need Omega-3. One of the reasons people don’t eat a lot of it is because they can’t afford it. Fresh salmon is horrifically expensive. 2 little fillets, total 280 grams, were going for £5 at Tesco today. whereas their tinned counterparts, John West so I’m not comparing expensive fresh with cheap brand tins, was going for £1.50 for 230 grams. That’s a ridiculous price difference. there’s another benefit to eating tinned salmon; When the salmon is canned they leave the bones in. The bones are chockablock with calcium and this is fantastic news for us according to studies. Does a salmon fillet look better on your plate? Depending on what you cook; Yes, it does. But there are plenty of canned salmon recipes that can be found online and some are very nice. You are, however, looking for “wild-caught” fish. IOW, not farmed salmon. Wild salmon has been found to be much better than Atlantic farmed salmon, according to this study published by Cornell uni.
4; Frozen fruit.
Oh yes! Admittedly I also still haven’t quite come round to the idea of buying my fruit in the frozen isle but several studies have shown that the benefits of buying frozen fruit is similar to those of buying frozen vegetables…only the benefits are greater.
You see, your fresh fruit is picked several days before it’s actually ripe. This is so that it will look “ripe” by the time it’s in the shop. They pick it early so it’s firm and doesn’t bruise as easy. It also means that the fruit isn’t as tasty and nutritious as it should be. This is why strawberries are nicer when you pick them yourself, because you pick the ones that are the freshest. Frozen fruit is usually picked at it’s peak ripeness and then, within a few hours of picking it, it is blanched and flash-frozen. This keep the flavour, nutritional value etc. as much in tact as possible. You can easily spend £20 a week on fruit, probably £40 if you like making smoothies. Raspberries are going for £2 for a small tray (150g) or the same price for 350 grams of frozen ones. That’s some value.
5; Kidney, Pinto and other beans. I love my chili. Whether it’s a vegetable or with mince, I love a good bowl full of spicy beans. And, obviously, I buy mine tinned. To be honest, I only do this because it’s easier. Dried beans are tastier and have a nicer texture but I prefer not to have any hassle when I do my cooking and I think they work nicely enough. There are only 2 nutritional downsides to tinned beans. For one, they are much higher in sodium content. So you have to rinse them properly. Rinsing beans properly can wash away approx 45% of the sodium on them. Two; they are lower in Folate and Iron than dried beans are. This should not be an issue really if you have a healthy enough diet but it is something to consider. It has to be said though; tinned beans are amazing when looking at their nutritional value. They contain loads of protein and are lovely and cheap. Obviously you can do a lot more with beans than just throw them in a chili. Just think of the lovely fajitas, curries, soups etc. you could make. Low in calories, high in protein, high in flavour, low in cost. I would be lost without them.
Finally as an overall point; Think about how much food you throw away each week simply because it’s gone bad. Buying tinned and frozen will stop that, unless you don’t plan on eating those tomatoes till 2018.
We hear people say it a lot; “Eating healthy and eating well does not have to be expensive.”
They are right but they should also say that it doesn’t need to be “fresh” in the way that you understand it to be. Should you buy everything tinned and frozen? No, of course not but there are many things you can buy that way.
Get some tins and fill up that pantry, get some frozen fruit and veg and fill up the freezer. It will safe you a tonne of money, and you don’t need to pop out to the supermarket when you don’t feel like it.