Healthy Travel Snack Ideas

Monday, 30 January 2017

Part of the fun of traveling is always to do with the food. Whether you're on a road-trip and you have to find new places to try, or stocking up for a plane flight, it's always fun to get away from your normal routine. I'm someone who LOVES to snack and have little things I can pick at. And since meals are hard to fit in on travel days, all those nibbles are what will keep your spirits up.

Despite my best efforts, I usually end up giving in to the temptation of the peanut M&Ms staring at me from the shelf (that's still protein, right?) And my healthy eating gets suspended for a few hours to help ease the stress of travel. But never fear my friends, I have finally put together a list of healthy, yet satisfying snacks that will keep the good habits right where they should be. These are easy to make and easy to travel with too! 

You really want to concentrate on snacks that are high in protein and low in carbs. The protein will keep you feeling full (hungry car rides are not fun!) and avoiding carbs will prevent your body having built up energy while you're stuck in one place for a few hours. Eating right on travel days can make it a whole easier in the long run.

Hummus dip with carrot sticks & grain crackers

Dark Chocolate Dipped Pretzels


Banana Muffins 

( I used this recipe and it was a big hit!)

Fruit: Grapes, Bananas, Apples

Vegetable Chips

These are a recent discovery of mine and I am obsessed! You get the crunch of normal potato chips but without all the bad stuff added. 

Homemade Chex Mix

My long-distance fitness buddies, Lucy & Kelly, shared this recipe on their blog recently and I've been dying for an excuse to make it! It's going to be something that will satisfy your sweet tooth but give you a nice boost of protein too! Super-easy to make and carry in a container wherever you go. So delicious!

Filled Wholemeal Pita Breads

Protein Bars/Cookies 

Meal Prep

Proof that you don't have to give up a healthy lifestyle when you travel. It can be hard to fight the temptation of petrol station goodies (the selection of potato chips gets me every time) but if you take plenty of healthy options with you, you'll have no excuse to stray to bad options.

What are some of your favorite travel snacks?
Steph x.

Three Days of Blogger's Burnout

Thursday, 26 January 2017

I was happily re-setting my goals for the next two weeks, when I slowly found myself losing any and all motivation to work on the posts I had set for myself. It got to about 2pm when I realized why: I had burnt myself out. 

Day One: Acceptance

It's not like I had been working around the clock for days on end, but all I could bring myself to do was play episodes of the Big Bang Theory back-to-back and scroll Pinterest for birthday ideas (even though mine was only in December, but I can't deny the idea of a brunch party!) Don't get me wrong, it was great just doing that for a few hours, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I hate feeling unproductive. Being a workaholic serves me well as a blogger and most days I can be self-motivated enough to get my to-do list all crossed off. But this day, I knew I wanted to write, only my mind felt too exhausted to write more than a sentence. Oh brain, why do you betray me so?

Day two of my blogger's burnout started out with 6.30am CrossFit class. We were doing 200m sprints and toes-to-bar gymnastics on every odd/even minutes for twenty. I felt great, my sprints were getting faster and they boys weren't so far out of my sight as we ran down the driveway and back again. My coach was happy with me keeping a 45sec mark on each run too. Come time for the metcon and it was the dreaded wall-balls. There's two movements in CrossFit that slow me down because of my lack of confidence: wall-ball shots are one, and box jumps are the other. But I surprised myself and got a good pace going. On my 20th throw I bent down and felt the side of my knee hurting. After some push-ups my coach came over to see what was wrong, and sure enough I had pulled a muscle. Apparently it's a common injury when you do lots of running then switch to another exercise. Well, at least it meant I didn't have to do any more throws.

So here I am, resting my leg with a snoozing dog beside me and my laptop open to get my itch to write out. I think that may be the lesson from the burnout I'm experiencing this time. Despite giving myself topics to write about, all I want to do is open a blank page and tap away at my keyboard until my heart is content. I think planning has taken some fun out of blogging lately and I need to learn to be more spontaneous. Just sitting down and writing out my thoughts for a few hours might be just what I've been missing.

Day three has come around and I am feeling positive about how things are turning out. I showed up to CrossFit class as per normal and just let my coach give me alternatives that wouldn't strain my knee. I got to do bench press and felt stronger than the last time I did it. And I still got to practice kettlebell snatches with everyone else. I loved working on technique, so with minimal weight class was fun.

As I was sitting down to eat my porridge (with banana and home-grown strawberries I picked myself) I got a call from another workplace that is with the same company I'm with now. I had put my name down for extra shifts since they needed workers and what do ya know? With travel plans on my brain, this was great news for my bank balance. I got to earn some extra cash for a few hours and it's in an environment that I'm used to, so no anxiety. I'm going back tomorrow too!

I left in a good mood, happy about possibly starting a new chapter. But my day was about to get even better, because I was driving straight to a toy store.

Has anyone else ever wanted to have Nerf gun fights with their partner? Or just enjoy seeing how good they are at shooting targets? Because I definitely have and I'm so excited about it. The boyfriend already has one, so I thought it would be fun to buy one for myself. After looking through the whole range, I couldn't deny the bad-ass fairy crossbow that was staring at me from the shelf (although, I will go back for the Star Wars blasters soon!)

My lesson from day three of my burnout is: break routine and make things fun. Sometimes I have the habit of saying no to someone because I'm too comfortable to do something different, or I'm just letting fear stop me. Breaking routine can get you out of a funk by showing you that things aren't as bad as you play them out to be in your head. The same goes for blogging; trying new ways to get inspired or even taking your laptop somewhere new to write a post, might be a breath of fresh air for you. Making things fun has eased my burnout too, and brought a smile to my face. We all know that when we feel good, writing becomes easier and we want to get more things done. I'm telling you, toy stores and Kinder Eggs are the key to true happiness.

Other ways to make blogger burnout better:

Read other blogs and offer support

Find new blogs to follow while you're at it

Get out of the house and have a catch up

Don't be hard on yourself, burnouts happen

Be productive in other areas of your life: wash your makeup brushes, prep some meals, so the washing etc.

I've been burnt out before, and I know I will be again. It's all a part of the blogging experience. Let's face it, running a blog is a lifestyle and it can be hard to switch your brain off from it. It's the best thing in the world to have a passion that I can work on every day and want to succeed at in life. But it can be incredibly useful to take a step back and re-evaluate how you approach it. We can get so stuck in our routine that we miss some important cues that could make a world of difference. We always need to grow with our blogs and burnouts can show us which areas we may need to change.

Have you ever experienced blogger burnout? Let me know how you got through it and your thoughts.
Steph x.

Tips For Happier Blogging!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Hello, Everyone!

It struck me the other day that blogging, like everything in life, can be both positive and negative. I think we have all seen both sides of this coin. I got to thinking about all the ways we could practice happier blogging and avoid the stresses that sometimes comes with it. I'm sure we can all relate to feeling like we could be a better blogger sometimes. But none of us are perfect and there are tonnes of ways we can keep the blogging world a positive one.

Unfollow those Negative Nancies

I've personally always kept a POSITIVE VIBES ONLY rule to my blog, Twitter, and Instagram. Whether it's the topics I talk about or the people the follow and what they're posting. Occasionally, I'll come across a tweet that is straight-up bullying to either a celeb or other bloggers. I don't think people always realize the way it comes across, but if I see it, they get unfollowed immediately. It keeps my feed full of the amazing bloggers that cheer me up on bad days and keeps the community feeling positive. If you see people being negative at all online, you have no obligation to follow them. Keep it positive lovelies.

Stick to posts you're excited to write 

Is there anything better than getting a spark of an idea and running to your laptop or notebook to get started? I love coming up with a post idea that just sets my brain spinning with words to write. It's also those posts that you feel incredibly proud to share and make you feel like you're progressing as a blogger. I've made a habit of discarding any posts that I can't give 100% to, because at the end of the day it's the quality that matters. Write about your favorite movie, a new cafe you love, or share your favorite memories with someone. You can always tell when the author loves the topic they're writing about, the passion is clear on the page.

Create Your Own Schedule 

I think we can all relate to the stress of posting on specific days, and we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves when we don't get something published. But hey, it happens to the best of us! Try not to get wrapped up in how often other bloggers post. Don't rush something just to get content out (I've been known to do this myself.) Take your time on a few posts per week that you're proud of and keep the quality. Set a realistic schedule that you can keep to. And if you get some extra posts in per week then you'll feel great! 

Take A Break

Even though blogging is my passion and I absolutely love doing it, I sometimes need time away. I find it helpful to take a break from my keyboard, from my notebooks, and thinking of what I'm supposed to be writing. Whether it's for a few hours or a few days, taking time away can be just what you need to get inspiration and beat writer's block. When I went on holiday last year, I had run out of ideas for blog posts. I had nothing. But after a twelve hour plane flight and a day in a new city, I was inching to write again! It was impossible not to blog on holiday. Take breaks when you need them and return refreshed with new ideas. 

Have A Design/Layout You Are Proud Of

Whenever I feel unhappy or bored with my blog, getting a new template changes everything! Even if I still love my old one, starting fresh with a new look can be just what you need. There are tonnes of designs available on Etsy that are affordable and you'll be supporting a small business owner at the same time. Have a think about what kind of layouts you enjoy reading on other blogs, and give your own space a makeover!

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

 I've definitely been guilty of this and it's easily done. But lately I've gotten into the habit of turning comparison into inspiration. I look at the blogs I love most and see what works best for them. For instance, Sophie Rosie always has posts that seem to come so naturally to her. They are such a joy to read because every single one has come from her daily experiences. She has inspired me to look around for that writing spark and just let the words flow onto the page. I aspire to be like her, but with my own blogging twist on her fabulous style.
It's important to remember that each and every one of us bloggers has something unique to bring to the our community. Our own niches and our own writing styles are what make the blogging world so amazingly diverse. Comparing ourselves to each other is pointless. Sharing support and complements is much more fun!

 Remember that blogging has no rules (except plagiarism, don't ever do that.) Write about whatever topics you love, write long or short posts, post pictures of you cat just because. Blogging is a way to express your creative side, so don't let anything negative take that joy away. Focus on the good things, the great friends, and getting a perfect Instagram. Remember why you started blogging in the first place.

What do you love most about blogging?
Steph x.

Make sure to check me out on Bloglovin'!

Getting My Eating Back On Track

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hello, Everyone! 

I know I'm usually a health-nut, but I have to confess that lately my eating habits have fallen a little from where they should be. Not far mind you, but enough for me to feel the need to assess how I'm approaching food.

I've been doing a lot of "mindless eating" lately where I'm not stopping and questioning the nutrition I'm getting. Or I'm just eating for the sake of it. I can be an emotional eater too, so if I'm feeling cranky I'll just load up on carbs because I think it will help (which it does for about ten minutes) but I know it's not good for me.

It's definitely normal to have an off-week and I'm not going to punish myself for it. This post is more about getting back on track with good eating habits and fueling myself properly again. I have to listen to my body and use what knowledge of nutrition I have to help me.

Start a meal diary

This is a great idea for keeping track of what you're actually eating and getting a look at the bigger picture. I have plenty of notebooks, so why not? Not only will I write down my day on a plate, but I will also keep track of the amount of protein I'm getting through the day (it should be around 80grams) just to see if any changes need to be made. After a while, keeping this diary will just become a habit and it'll be easier to make healthy choices. Especially on those bad days!

Cut out the dairy 

I've talked about going dairy-free on my blog before, and after trying it for a while I actually saw a difference. Not so much in my body (although that would come with more time) but with my skin. I've been getting more spots lately and I think it's because of having a few sneaky treats, as well as ordering normal milk with my flat whites. I'm going to be more strict with myself and avoid dairy where I can. It's going to be hard because I love my cheese!

Avoid carbs after 4pm

I was reading a book the other day that had an article from a nutritionist and this was part of her advice. And it makes sense! Carbs (healthy ones like potatoes and grains) should mainly be consumed for energy throughout the day. But unless you're planning on a late workout, your body will have energy and no where to put it. It will make for better sleep if I stick to protein and veggies for dinner, then some fruit and nuts for dessert. It'll be hard, but I'll thank myself later.

Drink water. And lots of it!

 About a month ago, I started getting into a good habit of drinking my water. It usually ended up to be about four liters a day. But I think with Christmas/New Year I lost a bit of my focus and those good habits went out the window. I could really feel the difference in my workouts too (and nobody wants to do CrossFit dehydrated!) I'm determined to up my fluid intake again and make sure I'm staying hydrated. I'm going to set something of a schedule for myself, e.g drink one litre before 11am, a second with lunch, my third by 3pm, a fourth at work, then finish a fifth litre before I go to bed. This way it means that I have goals to focus on everyday.

Preparation is the key to success! 

I'm not just talking about my meal prep here, but also with what I'm stocking in the cupboards and taking with me on the go. I find it handy to have healthy snacks ready for a pre-workout snack or something to have if I get hungry after work. Things like protein bars and pita breads (to fill with peanut butter.) I've even found a supplement store in my city that sells Lenny and Larry's protein cookies! I'm going to make it more of a habit to carry healthy snacks to stop me buying something that's going to set me back.

I don't think I'll be giving up my Thursday night McDonald's dessert runs with Steve (their apple pies gives me life after working hard all week.) But there are ways I can be more mindful of my eating and do what works for me. Also, with the CrossFit Open coming up in February my nutrition will need to be on point if I want to do well. Healthy carbs, lots of protein, and vegetables (all flavored with the best spices) are going to fuel my body to smash these workouts!

What eating habits are you trying to work on?
Steph x.

My Fitness Wish-List!

Monday, 16 January 2017

One of the things I love most about the world of health and fitness is that it's constantly coming out with new and exciting products to try. I get so excited when a brand I've been loving comes out with new designs, or I find an entire new brand to obsess over. With my CrossFit training, I've been writing down a list of all the gear that will help me in class (because you really don't want to share sweaty wrist straps, trust me.) I've been collecting things slowly and it's a been a lot of fun trying new gear that all the big kids have.

I've had a little page in my notebook for me to write down all of the amazing fitness products that I'm hoping to treat myself to one day. Since I know quite a few of you are on a fitness journey too, I thought I would share some of the things on my wish-list and see what you think of them!

I got wondering the other day about whether Reebok make shoes specifically for the Spartan events. And they do! There's quite a few awesome designs to choose from and they all have features that will help in the race, including drain ports to help get rid of water after wading in a river. The American design would be awesome to commemorate the race in Hawaii!

 My awesome CrossFit coach managed to get a bunch of these shipped in from the US for us to use during the daily workouts. You essentially wear it and move a bead along as you get through each round or every 10 reps etc. I know I'm not the only one who gets half-way through the routine and forgets how many rounds they're on, and no one wants to do that extra set of burpees. This band is a lifesaver!

I came across this brand on Instagram a while ago and when I discovered that they stocked my favorite flavor of all time, it was a fit-girl's dream come true! I would add this stuff to everything: pancakes, waffles, iced coffee, cupcakes, donuts. It's a little pricey for 30 serves, but maybe for a once-off treat it could be fun to try. 

I've been following the lovely Zanna on both YouTube and Instagram for a while now, so I was very happy when I heard she was writing a book. Her blog has always been full of amazing advice and her success drives me to stick to fitness/healthy lifestyle blogging. I know this book is going to be full of delicious recipes (like her version of protein waffles!) and advice on setting goals. I know I'll be ordering this one very soon.

There are so many gorgeous designs to choose from, but this one might be my favorite. It's light-weight and breathable, so it would make for a perfect CrossFit tank. I absolutely adore Heidi, she's such a bad-ass and has worked so hard to get to where she is today. Her YouTube channel has saved me on many gym days and helped inspire me on my fitness journey. I'll wear this tank proudly!

When I first got into CrossFit, I never realized what a market there was for specialized products. Since it's basically a sport and combines so many training movements, Reebok, New Balance, and Nike all bring out shoes designed especially for it. These babies are the latest release and aren't they beautiful! There's been a lot of hype at my gym for them and they're finally hitting New Zealand shelves. 

How cute are these?! I can just imagine myself getting out of bed, grabbing a pair of these and smiling to myself when I read the cute saying. When it's 6am, you need all the motivation you can get!

These are just the dream. Snickers are one of my favorite candy bars, but they're obviously high in sugar. Thank the gods for the genius who came up with these! They're only 200 calories per bar, have 18grams of protein, and tastes just like the real thing. The sugars are still a little high, but no more than every other protein bar on the market. Now I just have to figure out a way to get these in from the States. 

What do you think? I'd love to know what would be on your wish-list for fit gear. Let me know in the comments!

Steph x.

Don't forget to follow my fitness Instagram account :)

Daily Blog: French Toast Friday & Mexi-Bowl!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Friday 13th January 2017 

Good morning! 
Steve has come over for a post-workout breakfast, which is much deserved after our CrossFit class. It's all prep for the open coming up, so we are being pushed harder than ever. 
I'll just give you the workout and you'll see what I mean: 

(As Many Reps As Posible)

5 min Power Snatch
4 min 200m Runs
3 min Box Jumps
2 min Burpee Box Jumps
1 min Thrusters 

Hang Snatch (1 rep max, but I practiced 5 at a lower weight)
1km Run for time

I knew at the start to pace myself, and it was definitely a smart idea. I got 85 reps in total and the run took me 4.48min. I was hesitant on the box jumps after hitting my shin again (when will I learn!) but I still felt good. I've felt less confident this week in class, but today I was quite proud of myself for being smarter about my limits.

Time for French Toast Friday! It's officially going to be a thing and we are pretty excited about it. All I did was mix a few eggs with almond milk and coated the seeded bread. Topped with lots of fruit and a little golden syrup (since we were out of maple.) And just to make it perfect, we watched the second half of Monsters Inc.!

Just catching up on some blog posts and seeing what my favorite bloggers are up to on Twitter. Reading some really great stuff today!

It's about 10am, so of course I'm hungry again. I've put together a little deconstructed sushi bowl with 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 an avocado, and a 95g tin of tuna. Topped with a little soy sauce and done! I've covered healthy carbs, protein, and good fats all in the one bowl. Some toasted sesame seeds on top would have made this perfect.

Just went for our usual run and both of us felt really strong today! We kept a good pace and finished earlier than usual. As a reward, we have come to our favorite place: Pure Cafe Co. I went for my favorite Mexi Bowl and Mum got an avocado bruscetta with kale salad on the side. It's delicious and has all clean ingredients, so my body is going to feel awesome. Milo joined us for a while too.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; the best thing about being an adult is being able to buy myself Kinder Surprise eggs whenever I fill up my car at the petrol station. My inner eight year old is very happy right now.

I got a My Little Pony! She's so cute.

After putting away our groceries that were delivered (how have we not done this before?! Saves so much stress) I published my blog collab with Lucy from The Blossom Twins blog! This has been in the making for a few months and I'm so happy it's finally out. You can go over to Lucy's blog and see the bars I sent her and what she thought.

I'm having a healthy wrap as an afternoon snack, filled with pesto, avocado, baby spinach, yellow peppers, and feta cheese.

Home from another crazy night of work, but thankfully I have this gorgeous plate of food to look forward to! We're having corn fritters (made with buckwheat flour) and a watermelon salad on the side. We also added some smoked salmon and tzatziki dressing to make it even better.

I was craving a smoothie bowl, so I blended frozen blueberries, half a banana, oats, and some natural yogurt. It turned out amazing! Just like fruit ice cream but without the added sugars. I have a feeling that I'll be making this a lot now!

Since I love Kinder Eggs, what treats do you buy for yourself that you loved as a kid? I'd love to know!
Steph x.

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