Healthy, delicious lunches in 5 minutes – perfect for meal prep!

When you’re on a restricted diet or trying to eat well meal prep is key. It also saves so much money, and fills you up far more than anything you’re likely to grab out and about.

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This isn’t really even a recipe as such – just a one of the tricks I’ve picked up! I’ve been meal-prepping for years – as an elite athlete it was very important to eat well, and even though I’m retired now old habits die hard. And it’s definitely given me lots of tips that I can use when following the low fodmap diet, as it can be very hard to find good meal options on the go!

So easy and simple…

  1. Take a packet of microwave rice (we’re all about timesaving here, but you can cook your own!), frozen vegetables (roasted or normal) and a protein source (see below for some ideas!). Cous cous is another option (gluten free if required!).
  2. Cook the rice and veggies in the microwave, and mix with your protein of choice.
  3. See below for some optional add-ins.
  4. Add any herbs and spices you want – smoked paprika goes really well if you use chicken.
  5.  Takes about 5 minutes start to finish, and makes two meals for me. Easy peasy! Double, triple etc for a whole weeks-worth of meals!

Protein ideas:

  • Tin of:
    • Tuna/Salmon/Sardines/Mackerel (either plain, flavoured or in tomato sauce works well!)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Ham/Bacon
  • Kidney beans, Chickpeas, Butter Beans (note none of these are low fodmap!)
  • Boiled eggs

Optional add-ins

  • Chopped nuts – roasted almonds is a favourite of mine!
  • Avocado (beware of quantities if you’re low fodmap!)
  • Cheese (beware of lactose content if you’re on the low fodmap diet!)
  • Anything you can think of really!

Would anyone be interested in more meal prep posts? I’ve got a few more tips and tricks up my sleeve!

Let me know if you give it a go – tag me on instagram @learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think!

Double layered baked oats – peanut butter and banana and dark chocolate chip and raspberry flavour 

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I absolutely love baked oats – they’re one of the best breakfasts for when you need something quick. I go to the gym before work and so need something I can grab and go. Baked oats can be made the night before, you can make a big batch for a few days and they taste great hot or cold! You can also cut them into bars and eat them as a snack rather than as a breakfast! They’re packed full of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates, making them really filling.

Cut into bars for an on-the-go snack!
Cut into bars for an on-the-go snack!
The flavour combinations are endless – so far I’ve posted

But sometimes I’m indecisive and can’t decide which flavour I’d like! This led to a new creation – double layered oats! One layer of peanut butter and banana oats, and one layer of dark chocolate chip and raspberry.

The recipe below is for one serving, but I’d recommend doubling or tripling to make it perfect for a few days. And the recipe can be a bit more effort for just one serving!

Let me know if you give it a go – tag me on instagram@learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think!

Per serving

380kcal

Carbs – 39g Fat -15g Protein – 27g

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Overnight oats

I’m a massive believer in a good breakfast (I couldn’t function without it!). However, I also like going to the gym in the morning before work, which means time can be a bit tight now and again. My baked oats are one of my favourites – another is overnight oats.

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They are so adaptable! Simply add whatever you want to the base recipe. Mix it all together in a mason jar/jam jar/tupperware, leave it in the fridge and then grab it and eat it at home or on the go! They’re packed full of protein, and healthy fats – perfect to keep you full and they’re so tasty too!

I’ve done loads of variations. One of my favourites is mixed berry, peanut butter and sultana. The sultanas become really plump and full of flavour, and I use the hard parts at the end of a jar of peanut butter – they taste like cookie dough to bite into!

You can add flaxseed and/or chia seeds for some extra fiber and healthy fats too! You could also mix in protein powder – I personally don’t as I prefer them as they are but it’s an easy way to add in protein for a great post workout refuel! They’re high in protein without the powder though. I have recently started adding Muscle Food protein crispies to my oats – you can’t taste them and they’re made with whey isolate so I am able to tolerate them! If you do fancy making a purchase, use my code AT75018  to get a great freebie – I’d also recommend their pizzas (review coming soon!) and a few other bits and pieces (stay tuned for that post!).

Let me know if you give it a go – tag me on instagram@learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think!

Base recipe:

  • 40g oats (or as many as you want!)
  • 150ml yoghurt of your choice (I use alpro soya plain as it is lactose free, but greek yoghurt would be great too!)
  • 50ml milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

NOTE – this makes a very creamy mixture – if you prefer a thinner consistency play around with the quantities. If you use greek yoghurt you may need to add some sweetener – soy yoghurt is sweeter in general so I don’t add any.

For the base recipe (with the ingredients I used):

240 kcal

Carbs – 28g Fat – 7g Protein – 12g

You’ve got loads of room to play with mix-ins!

Add-ins

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped nuts
  • Chia seeds/ Flaxseed (you will need more liquid if you use these as they absorb some!)
  • Fruit – banana and berries go well! Sultanas are also great/
  • Orange juice and zest
  • Nut butter (of course!) – I’d recommend meridian nut butters or pip and nut!
  • Medjool dates (these aren’t lowfodmap but add a great sweetness if you can tolerate them/aren’t low fodmap!)
  • Muscle food protein crispies (a great way to add some extra protein without tasting it!)
  • Protein powder

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Another idea – I used orange juice and zest in these, with chia seeds, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds and some sultanas too!

Product review – Tesco Free from Cod Cakes

So I though I’d start a new section on the blog – product reviews! I’m always looking for intolerance-friendly products that are tasty and delicious! And tonight I tried something different for dinner and thought I’d give you guys my opinion!

Supermarkets everywhere are really raising their game when it comes to free from products. I found these gluten free cod cakes in the fish aisle of tesco and was interested to see what they tasted like. However much I love cooking, sometimes even I can’t be bothered/fancy something a little easier! I really like fish, and have made my own chilli and lemon crab cakes before, but fancied giving these a go.

The ingredients list is pretty good (note – if you’re strictly on the low fodmap diet they do contain onion and garlic puree – I have however done my reintroductions and know I can tolerate a little). At 230 kcal per fish cake, with 11g of protein, they’re pretty substantial. I’d have liked to have seen a slightly higher protein content but it could have been worse!

I went for both – you could just do one with a big side salad as a great lunch or dinner for something lighter but I like substantial main meals. I served mine with fresh vegetables and roasted parsnips.

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The verdict?

Overall – I was pretty impressed! A lovely crispy coating (which, let’s be honest, is what we all want from a fish cake!), with a large amount of filling. Not too fishy-tasting if you’re not the greatest fan of fish, and a lovely texture. They’re also extremely filling, but don’t sit heavy on your stomach!

They do need some sort of sauce with them, as they are quite dry. I went for a good squeeze of lemon, which added a good punch to them. Then I used chilli ketchup to mop them up (seriously – you all need to try this!). Hot sauce would also work well, as would sweet chilli sauce if you don’t like spice.

Scoring – 3/5. I think a stronger flavour is needed inside the fish cake. You also need some sort of sauce with them However, they are substantial, filling and pretty tasty! Good work tesco! I’ve been told Marks and Spencer do a pretty awesome gluten free fish cake too. Think that one is next on my list!

Have any of you got any good product recommendations for me to try? Let me know – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Body Power Expo 2015

So the other day I did something completely new – went to my first Body Power Expo! For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s basically a massive health and fitness show. There’s loads of stands there giving you the chance to try out new products, some big names in the health and fitness industry, talks and demonstrations.

It’s an absolutely amazing place to go – the sheer size of the place and the chance to meet and chat to people interested in the same things as I am was incredible. I bought a ticket off of somebody I met on instagram, @healthyandlovinglife. We’ve chatted online but had never met – and I haven’t met many people I’ve clicked with as quickly as her! Within half an hour it was like we’d known each other for ages! This is why places like instagram and twitter have been so good for me – I’ve managed to meet people with similar interests in health and fitness who I can relate to so well! Frankie and I just clicked, and it made the day even better! I was also lucky enough to meet some of the other people I’ve managed to meet on instagram, and to meet one of my idols in the health and nutrition world, Ben Coomber. He’s got an absolutely brilliant podcast packed full of information that I’d recommend everyone to listen to. Frankie and I got to ask him some questions, and I could have quizzed him for hours.

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Frankie and I “on a quest”
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Ben Coomber – such a lovely guy
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I have never felt so small in my life!

The number of samples on offer was crazy – the picture below is just a few of the things I picked up! Being gluten and lactose free meant I did have to be a bit wary – my brother loved me for the amount of samples I picked up for him! I made up for it by trying out all the nut butter on offer!

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Some of the favourite things I purchased/managed to blag:

  • Pip and nut butter – just one of the best nut butters on the market. They come in a set of three. Almond, Peanut and Coconut Almond. Try them out if you haven’t – I visited the stand four times… – you never know, the nut butters may have changed taste!
  • Quest bars – before I was low fodmap I had these quite a bit. I managed to blag three. They’re not strictly low fodmap thanks to the erithrytol, and personally the last time I ate them I wasn’t the biggest fan. However, people rave about them so I thought I’d try again.
  • Ugg foods – I was seriously impressed when tasting samples of these. They produce dairy and gluten free bread, loaf and muffin mixes that you only need to add eggs, oil and a few other bits and pieces to. Then you’ve got delicious-tasting, healthy treats! I picked up the lemon chia seed muffin mix, but the fruit and seed loaf was incredible too!
  • Munchy seeds – I’ve heard a lot about these but never tried them! They were incredible! I went for the choccy apricot pot – sunflower and pumpkin seeds with pieces of dried apricot (be careful if low fodmap!) coated in chocolate! These are seriously addictive… I’ve been eating them by the handful. The chilli bites would also be a great addition to stir fries/salads.
  • Meridian bars – Keep an eye out for the new meridian bars – the banana and peanut bar and the berry and peanut bar were absolutely delicious – coming to a Holland and Barrett near you soon!
  • Muscle food – I was so impressed by all the sample on offer! They did some chicken on a stick that was full of flavour and went great on the salad I made myself when I got home (was craving some veggies after all the protein!). I also picked myself up a chicken and pepper protein pizza – gluten free, it’s the best tasting pizza I’ve found! And with 67g of protein it’s also a healthier way to treat yourself! I’m definitely going to be making more orders with them (and if you’re interested in getting four free chicken breasts with your order, use the code AT75018!).
  • Koko chocolate coconut milk – personally I’m not the biggest fan of strong coconut flavour. However, this stuff is incredible! Really creamy, and the minute I tasted it I knew it would go great in baked oats – and I was right!

All in all it was a fantastic day. I got the chance to meet some of the lovely people I’ve been chatting to on instagram, learnt a lot and picked up some goodies too. There wasn’t much for me in the way of protein powder – being lactose-free means whey protein is out of the window and I’m still on the hunt for a palatable vegan whey… Any suggestions let me know! I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from the day! I’d definitely recommend going next year – I can’t wait already. It was a great experience, and I’m so glad I went!

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Tips for coping with a flare up

Hey everyone! So I get a lot of questions asking how to cope with an IBS flare-up. Bear in mind that everyone has different has different methods, these are just a few of things I do. Let me know yours – I’ll add them to the list!

Keep eating

I loose my appetite massively during a flare up. With all the bloating and pain, eating is the last thing I want to do. However, it’s so important. I generally always feel better after eating. Especially with things like “brain fog”, eating really helps!

  • Stick to neutral foods, that you know don’t cause you any issues. For me that’s things like basmati rice, chicken, oats, nut butters on rice cakes. Your body needs the energy!
  • Avoid trigger foods. Self-explanatory but you don’t want to make things any worse!
  • Listen to your body and eat what it’s craving – this helps me. I find sometimes it’s things I don’t normally crave – last time it was croissants bizarrely! I personally think it’s my body’s way of getting what it needs in me (in this case – calories probably!).
  • Drinks like peppermint or ginger tea can soothe the stomach.
  • Keep drinking lots of water!

I also take paracetamol and/or buscopan (a cramps medication) if the cramps are extremely severe!

Look after yourself

Flare ups can leave you feeling very low. Your body image is to pot thanks to bloating, mentally you’re exhausted and drained and it’s just not a good combination.

  • Wear the comfiest clothes you can find (my trackies are a lifesaver, or I have a few “flare-up” dresses for work).
  • Put on some make-up – for me doing things like that make me feel more presented and better about myself.
  • Listen to your body. I’m a big fan of the gym, but I become so drained and fatigued during a flare up that it’s not productive to go at all! I try and get out and do some light walking if I can – getting out and about helps,
  • Sleep – so important! Make sure you’re getting enough!
  • Do things that make you feel good – baths, painting your nails, watching TV on the sofa in your PJ’s. You need to just look after yourself.

Remember, it won’t last forever.

Even if it can feel like it is going to! Stay positive, remember that you won’t always feel this bad and you will get past it.

More specific tips for IBS-C

I suffer from IBS-C. That can make things very uncomfortable after a couple of days. A few things I’ve found to get things moving…

  • Water – lots and lots of it. Far more than you might think!
  • A tablespoon of flaxseed a day can work wonders too (but you need to make sure you drink even more water then!).
  • Light exercise – depending on how severe the flare ups!

What other tips do you have? I’d love to know – we can learn so much from each other and our experiences!

Cajun chicken gumbo – Gluten free, lactose free and low fodmap!

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Cajun chicken gumbo – this has loads of flavour, whilst being packed full of protein, low in calories and a lovely rich sauce that tastes great mopped up with rice. It can also be made in 30 minutes, making it great for a weeknight meal!

I’m big on meals the whole family can enjoy at the minute – whilst I’m living at home we all tend to eat together, which I love! I like adapting recipes to make them gluten free, lactose free and low fodmap without compromising on taste. No-one can ever tell that it’s intolerance-friendly, they all just love the taste! And it’s so nice eating the same as everyone else and not feeling deprived/left out. This cajun chicken gumbo is a family favourite. The original recipe is from good food – my version is adapted to suit my needs! Make it for your family and friends and see if they notice anything – all they’ll say is how good it is!! If you don’t want as much, simply half the recipe or freeze some.

Let me know if you give it a go – tag me on instagram @learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think! Nobody can tell it’s intolerance-friendly. I think it’s best served with rice, but a nice crispy jacket potato or mash would go well too!

Per serving of the gumbo (Serves 6):

290 Kcal

Carbs – 15g Fat – 8g Protein – 41g

Note these values will depend on the size of your chicken breasts – mine were of a medium size.

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Beef goulash – gluten free, lactose free and low fodmap but you’d never know!

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I love classic comfort food for dinner. And beef goulash is definitely that! It’s also a healthier and lower calorie version than others around! And so high in protein – keeping you fuller for longer!

This makes loads of servings – perfect to serve for friends and family or as a meal prep for yourself. It’s gluten and lactose free, and low fodmap minus the beef stock cube used, which has onion and garlic amongst the last few ingredients if you choose a gluten free brand. So if you can tolerate a little you’ll be fine, and as the quantity used is so small even if strictly low fodmap there should be no issues! I adapted this recipe from Mary Berry to make it intolerance friendly (that cookbook is incredible, I’d definitely recommend it!).

Let me know if you give it a go – tag me on instagram @learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think! Nobody can tell it’s intolerance-friendly. You could serve it with a nice crispy jacket potato as I did, with mashed potato, over rice – so many options!

Per serving of the goulash (Serves 6):

357 Kcal

Carbs – 11g Fat – 17g Protein – 42g

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Baked banana, sultana, almond butter and flaxseed cupcakes/oats

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My doctor recommended that I include more flaxseed in my diet. They’re full of healthy fats, protein and most importantly, fibre. So I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate them into my daily life. Baked oats and baked oat cupcakes are two of my favourite breakfast recipes, especially when you need something on-the-go. So I got experimenting with using flaxseed as well. Banana and sultana is an amazing combination, and in my world nut butter goes with everything! I use the chunks at the end of a jar – they taste like cookie dough when you bite into them! You could bake this recipe in a big block, or in silicon cupcake cases as I’ve done above. It’s up to you! And you can eat them hot or cold – topped with yoghurt, milk or by themselves!

They’re lactose free, low fodmap, full of protein and fiber and so tasty. Let me know if you give them a go – tag me on instagram @learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use the hashtag healthywithamy. I’d love to see what you think! This recipe could easily be doubled/tripled and could make breakfast/snacks for a few days!

Per serving (with no toppings):

372 Kcal

Carbs – 41g Fat -15g Protein – 18g

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Fudgy dark chocolate cupcakes

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It’s been a while since I’ve baked! And my high protein, 55 calorie dark chocolate and raspberry cupcakes are one of my most popular blog posts! So when Scott Edmed asked me if I wanted to contribute something to his blog, I couldn’t say no! He has some awesome content on it that I’d definitely recommended

These are fudgy dark chocolate cupcakes with a secret ingredient. They’re gluten free, low in lactose and paleo. Full of healthy fats, each cupcake is around 135 calories, with 9g of healthy fats and 4g of protein. Both of these things mean these will keep you full. They’re an incredibly indulgent-tasting healthy treat! With a secret ingredient that you’d never guess to look at them!

So head on over to his blog for the recipe. The link is https://wingsnfitness.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/fudgy-dark-chocolate-cupcakes%E2%80%8F/.

As always, let me know what you think! Tag me on instagram @learningtolivewithibs, on twitter @amytodd93 or use #healthywithamy. I hope you enjoy them 🙂