Four Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen

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Are you tired of spending hours in the kitchen?  Are you feeling guilty that your kids sometimes get takeaway meals instead of home-cooked?

Gone are the days when mum would be at home all day baking bread, preparing dinner and baking goods for the childrens’ school lunches – we are all busy mums and partners, running errands all day, some of us working half-time or even full-time.  Here’s a few simple tips to help you reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen – so you can serve up a delicious homemade meal and have more time to spend with your beautiful children!

1. Read the recipe before you start

By reading the entire recipe before you start, you can figure out any times where you can have two parts happening at once.. E.g. boiling the water while you cut up the veggies and prepare the meat.. By not looking ahead, you could be spending twice as much time in the kitchen!  Don’t trust that all recipes will give you a heads up for things like boiling water or pre-heating ovens, read ahead and you could save yourself some time!

2. Cut and freeze veggies in advance

A really good habit to get into is freezing your own ready-to-cook veggies.  Simply cut up some veg, place it in a freezer bag or zip lock bag, and use it on those nights you are just too exhausted or too time-poor to cook healthy food.  How easy is a stir fry or steamed veggies when they’re already prepared?  Simply heat in a wok or saucepan, or place in a steamer, and cook up a good source of protein to go with it. It’s super easy, and it saves you money by doing it yourself rather than buying frozen pre-cut veg.

3. Use your food processor

Okay, so you spent a decent amount of money on a fancy food processor, but you don’t use it?  Why are you wasting your time preparing everything with a knife when you’ve got a machine to do it for you?  Food processors are great at chopping up onions, carrots, and other hard vegetables.  You can slice veg for a coleslaw, ground nuts, some will even grate cheese for you!  Have another read of your food processor’s manual and make sure you’re utilising all it’s features – I promise, the clean up is worth it when dinner takes you half the time to make!

4. Stop peeling all your vegetables

This one sounds just downright lazy, but hear me out – the skin on a lot of your vegetables actually contains a significant amount of fibre (for healthy digestion) and a heap of vitamins and minerals.  The only reason most of us peel our veggies is to make them look better, but it means that we’re missing out on a lot of goodness that is in the skin!  Plus, it takes up more time in the kitchen.  Vegetables like carrots, zucchini and potatoes can usually be eaten with their skin on – just give them a good scrub, and prepare as usual.

Healthy eating does not have to be time-consuming!  Small changes to your kitchen routine can make a big difference and save you heaps of time in the long run.

Keep an eye out for my new recipe book ‘Healthy Shortcuts’ set to be released in March 2018 for more time-saving kitchen tips & tricks, and super simple, healthy and budget-friendly recipes.

The average daily diet of a yo-yo dieter

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If you’ve ever tried to diet in order to lose weight, chances are you can relate to this common scenario.

Here’s the original plan:

And here’s what actually happens:

Does that sound familiar?  You manage to eat super healthy all day, and by the time 3pm comes around you have the uncontrollable urge to snack and you just can’t stop!

There’s a number of reasons why this happens, including:

  • not eating enough calories earlier in the day, causing excessive hunger
  • inadequate consumption of protein, causing a tendency to overeat
  • consuming sugar and carbs, whether natural (from fruits etc) or refined (processed foods) without adequate protein and/or fat content

You don’t need to follow this unhelpful pattern any longer.  Work with me and find out why diet’s don’t actually work, and how to balance your blood sugar to reduce sugar cravings.  And get off the dieting merry-go-round!  I coach women all over the world and help them to lose weight, eliminate food cravings, heal their relationship with food and learn to love their bodies again.

 

 

You Don’t Need to Exercise if You’re Skinny

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“You don’t need to exercise, you’re already skinny.”

The words seemed to echo as they were said to me.  When did exercise become all about weight?  When did exercise become something that only overweight people need to do?

Let me clarify: I am not at all denying that exercise is an important part of long-term, sustainable weight loss.  I always work with my clients to help them find a form of exercise that they want to do; something they enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.

But exercise is about so much more than weight loss.

Exercise is about physical health, AND mental health.

Did you know there have been studies proving regular, low-to-medium-impact exercise to be as effective in treating depression as certain anti-depressant drugs?

A study of over 12,000 men found that at least 30mins of vigorous exercise per week was clearly linked to a longer life, regardless of the participant’s weight, family history and smoking status.

It has long been accepted that exercise plays an important preventative role in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.

Exercise also helps to maintain bone density, reduces bone loss, and post-menopausal women who are regularly exercising have a significantly reduced risk of bone fracture than those who do not exercise.

Honestly, I could keep listing statistics forever.

The key message that I want to get across to you is this: exercise is not a punishment for being overweight.

Exercise to keep your bones healthy.  Exercise to improve your memory and prevent Alzheimer’s.  Exercise for happiness.  For goodness sake, exercise to LIVE LONGER.

Don’t just exercise because you’re fat.

 

 

 

How to Stay Focused on Your Health When Life is Hectic

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As modern day women, we can all relate – juggling a career, kids, housework and a relationship is a tough gig!  In the midst of the day to day chaos, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.  The thing is, when we’re not taking care of ourselves we actually become less efficient at juggling all those elements of our lives.  One of my favourite sayings is from Eleanor Brown: “You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”  To be truly present in each and every moment, and to serve those around you (whether at work or at home) you need to have ‘filled’ yourself up with all the essential ingredients for wellness: nutritious food, physical movement, sleep, love, and joy.  How do you manage this when you’ve got 2 weeks worth of washing to catch up on and you’re running on coffee to keep you going?  Read on for a few of my favourite ways to stay healthy when life just won’t slow down.

Put the kids to bed earlier

Are you still wrangling your kids into bed at 10pm?  Bed time is often such a stressful time for so many parents, and stress is the last thing you need at the end of your day.  In fact, stress before you go to bed will affect your entire nights’ sleep!  Children need sleep and they need an earlier bedtime than their parents.  Don’t think you’re doing them a favour by giving in to their tantrums and tears – read them a story and leave them to go to sleep.  I know it’s not easy, but it’s a step you need to take to reclaim your own health and energy!

Change the way you drive

Here’s a great thought – what if you left just 3 minutes earlier each morning, and you could relax in the car on the way to work/school/child care/wherever.  Imagine not holding every muscle in your body tense while you drive!  What a nice start to your day.  Just 3 minutes earlier than usual, and you can drive knowing that you have enough time to get there on time no matter how many red lights you get.

Another tip for driving – listen to music that relaxes and soothes you.  Studies have shown that loud, fast music makes you drive faster, increases your heart rate and heightens your nervous system (in other words, it’s kind of stressful to your body!).  If you tend to spend all day in a stressful state, put on some calming music, leave 3 minutes earlier, and make your car trips a time for you to wind down and breathe.

Try a smart wake-up alarm

Have you heard of those cool alarms that wake you up when you’re in your lightest phase of sleep?  When you’re asleep there’s a few different cycles you go through, some of them are deeper sleep than others. Your lightest sleep cycle is called Phase I, and there are some alarm clocks that are able to analyse your breathing pattern to determine which phase of sleep you are in, and wake you up at the best time – usually Phase I.  Have you every noticed that some days you wake up gently and quite easily, whilst other mornings you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck when your alarm goes off in the morning?  Try a smart alarm and you can avoid those ‘hit by a truck’ mornings.  The alarm clocks are also available as smartphone apps, just search in the app store. (PS. Make sure your phone is set to flight mode if you’re sleeping with in under your pillow, you don’t want to be exposed to high levels of radiation all night.)  A good start to the day usually brings a good day!

Cook and freeze in advance

Cooking large portions and storing in the freezer is the oldest trick in the book, but it’s a really great way to ensure that you always have something quick and healthy on hand.  Don’t know if you’ll find the time to have a cooking day to freeze a whole lot of meals?  Try cooking a little extra each night at dinner time and freeze the leftovers.  This saves you a heap of time and also means that you’ll have a variety of different meals in the freezer to defrost and reheat on those nights you just can’t bear the thought of preparing dinner from scratch.  Being prepared means you’re less likely to rely on take-away foods.

Utilise the benefits of superfood powders

A superfood powder, I hear you say?  What on earth is that?  Basically, it’s a cheats way of getting a whole lot of essential vitamins and minerals into your body easily and quickly.  My favourite brand is Vital Greens, but there are plenty of different ones out there.  You can get greens-based powders, or even beetroot-based or fruit-based!  Don’t be afraid to give them to your kids, too.  By having a dose of superfood powder in the morning, you know that no matter what happens during the day at mealtimes, you’ve had a little boost of nutrition to start you day off right.  With soil depletion a real issue in agriculture and the uncertainty over how long fruit and veg are stored for before you buy it, the nutritional content of much of what we eat is significantly lower than what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago.  Superfoods powders are not to be relied on as your only source of nutrition, but they’re a great way to add extra goodness to your day.  You may find that you have more energy, better moods and clearer skin with regular intake of your superfoods, too!

Move with your kids

Don’t have time to exercise?  Exercise with your kids.  Go to the park and practice soccer with them.  Wash the car together or go out and walk the dog.  Did you know just 15 minutes of exercise each day significantly reduces your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases?  Physical activity is also a great way to reduce stress and low blood pressure.  Don’t wait for half an hour of free time to magically appear so that you can go for a walk – you have to make time to exercise and move your body!

Make your health a priority

Ultimately, you need to make the decision to make your health a priority.  Do you want to be there to watch your children grow up, get married, and have children of their own?  Do you want to be fit and healthy enough to play with your grandchildren and enjoy every moment with them?  Don’t wait until your 50s or 60s to start thinking about health and looking after yourself.  Everything that you do each and every day is paving the way to your future health (or lack of).  Be a role model for your children and teach them how important their health is by making your health a priority.  And remember, you cannot serve from an empty vessel.  When you take care of yourself, you’ll find that you have more energy and clarity of mind, and suddenly everything else that you are juggling doesn’t seem so hard.