Food & Drink Posts

Three tricks to reduce your chocolate intake

Let’s get one thing straight – chocolate is generally pricey and bad for your health if eaten in excess. This is largely due to its high fat and sugar content, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and weight gain. There’s no need to give it up completely. After all, if eaten in moderation it can have positive effects on your health. With this in mind, here are three tips that should help you from overindulging on chocolate – in the process, improving your health and protecting your finances.

Sweet alternatives

You’re actually just giving into your sweet tooth whenever you purchase chocolate for yourself. However, you can actually satisfy your craving with the right fruit and vegetables. Raisins, for instance, are naturally sweet but also high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Other dried fruit – such as peaches and prunes – are also packed with the same benefits while still retaining that sweet kick you’ll be after.

Flavourings

There’s no need to chow down on a bar of chocolate just because you can’t resist the taste. Instead, you should find that chocolate flavourings meet your needs while containing nowhere near as much fat and sugar. Take, for example, a glass of chocolate-flavoured milk. It will still taste like chocolate but you’ll also get the goodness that comes from mixing it with a fresh pint of calcium-heavy milk.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is typically harder to eat than normal chocolate because of its bitter taste. While it’s difficult to wolf down in excess, what you do consume will actually have many more health benefits than normal chocolate. Why? Well, the flavanols in dark chocolate are capable of improving your blood flow and lowering your blood pressure. In addition, the high level of antioxidants are a great tool to help your body fight disease. Therefore, always try to dig into dark chocolate over the normal kind.

Give it a go!

No one’s saying that you should quit eating chocolate. It’s just that you should try to cut down to a reasonable amount. If you’re keen to discover other amazing tips that will improve your health and protect your budget, check out Voucherism.

The benefits of drinking water between alcoholic beverages

A good old-fashioned knees-up is sometimes mandatory. This is especially true when you’re celebrating a birthday or attending a wedding. Unfortunately, a drinking session can have its downsides – in particular, it can hit you hard in the wallet and throw off your diet. So what’s the solution? Rather than RSVP ‘no’ to an alcohol-heavy social occasion, try drinking a glass of water in-between rounds. Here are four benefits you can expect to enjoy.

Limits the hangover

There is really no way to avoid a killer hangover if you insist on drinking large quantities of alcohol. However, you can limit the likelihood of feeling completely horrible the next day if you refrain from drinking in excess and consume as much water as possible in-between. This is because, whereas alcohol leaves you dehydrated, water keeps you hydrated and allows your body to maintain its function.

Quenches thirst

Admittedly people don’t order another glass of wine because they’re feeling thirsty. However, thirst does play a part in people’s drinking habits. You’ll find that you have an urge to drink less – especially large beverages like pints of beer – if your body feels like it has had its fill of liquid from drinking water. Just one less drink can make all the difference to how much energy you have to exercise the next day.

Keeps social

It can put a real downer on the night when you have to stop drinking. In particular, it can make you feel self-conscious when others point out that you’ve not got a drink in your hand. Rather than feeling like the odd one out, you could potentially go under the radar by ordering a glass of water. This, for all intents and purposes, can masquerade as a clear alcoholic beverage and not arouse suspicion.

Saves money

Tap water is free. Alcohol, on the other hand, is not. If you’re drinking water then you’re not splashing out cash on your beverages. The money that you save from using this trick can be put towards something that will help your diet, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.

Give it a go!

Don’t let your health slip because there’s an occasion coming up when you’ll feel obliged to drink alcohol. Instead, drink water to save money, preserve your diet and maintain your fitness levels. For similar tips, check out Voucherism.

3 things cash-strapped dieters can do if they give up alcohol in 2018

New Year’s Eve is often the perfect time to pop open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate. This, however, shouldn’t be a case of starting as you mean to go on. After all, there are many benefits to giving up alcohol – not least the fact that it can massively help your financial situation in the process. With this in mind, here are three ways that cash-strapped dieters can benefit from giving up alcohol in 2018.

You should find that your finances are looking much healthier once you’ve managed to dodge the alcohol aisle in the supermarket. The trick is to make sure that you divert the funds elsewhere – primarily on to the healthy foods that can sometimes be a little costly. Fruit and vegetables can be pricey, but they’ll rarely equal the cost of the bottle of wine that you’ve left on the shelf.

Ride the wave

January is the best time of year to put down the booze. This is because many people temporarily give up when they take part in ‘Dry January’. Ultimately, you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on drinking with your friends and family – and in turn, you can suggest non-alcohol-related activities such as winter walks that will help you shed the pounds and save the pennies! Hopefully, such cheap activities will remain popular in your social circle as the year progresses.

Use your energy

Alcohol will generally hit your immune system hard, making you susceptible to numerous illnesses. It can also leave you feeling tired and fuzzy-headed. On the other hand, you’ll feel the best version of yourself when you’re free from booze. This should mean you’re feeling more energetic and can partake in more exercise. For instance, when you’re free from hangovers you can start routinely exercising in the mornings with a jog or run. The more physical activity you are able to take part in throughout the day should reduce the need to fork out for a gym membership to encourage you to go at certain times.

No regrets!

There are numerous ways that your health and fitness will benefit, even by just reducing your alcohol consumption. It’s just one reason why cash-strapped dieters won’t regret their decision to give up booze in 2018. For more information on getting fit without breaking the bank, visit Collect Britain.

How to host a healthy family dinner without breaking the bank

Christmas dinner can be expensive enough when you’re just cooking for a family of four, but when the entire extended clan descends upon you for Boxing Day lunch and you’re expected to feed 12 people on a shoestring, things get even trickier. Luckily, with some advance planning, it is possible to feed every aunt, uncle and cousin without resorting to sodium-stuffed ready meals. Here are our top tips for feeding your family healthy home-cooked meals this Christmas.

Ask everyone to bring a dish

The concept of the ‘pot-luck’ gathering is much more popular over in the US, but it’s a great way to take the pressure off hosting. Ask everyone to bring a dish – leave it up to them to decide what they bring – and delight in the surprise of your unique lunch spread on the day. It’s a fun way to include everybody and get everyone sharing their best recipes, and it spreads out the cost of the meal fairly. You should also get enough variety on the table to suit all diets: low cal, gluten-free, veggie, you name it.

Make plans for leftovers

When’s the last time you fed more than six people and didn’t have food left over at the end of the meal? It’s always better to make too much food than risk letting your guests go hungry, but make sure you’ve got some healthy meal plans at the ready to ensure Aunt Marge’s leftover parsnip mash doesn’t go to waste. Quiches, omelettes, pasta sauces and risottos are all great, nutritious ways to use up bits and pieces that you don’t have bigger plans for.

Lots of vegetables

If in doubt, the answer is always ‘lots of vegetables’. Did you know around half of your plate should be filled with vegetables, and only a quarter each with meat and starchy carbs? Sticking to these portion sizes will not only ensure your family get plenty of minerals on their plates this year, but will also keep your food bills down, too; just try comparing the cost of carrots per kilogram to turkey breast and you’ll be munching down your greens in no time.

4 top budget tips when cooking Christmas dinner

There’s no need to compromise on flavour, quality or abundance this Christmas, even if you’re on a budget. Just follow these simple tips for a budget-friendly healthy Christmas dinner.

Make your own canapés

Shop bought canapés can be over-expensive, and whilst they may save you time, making your own can save you a significant amount of money. Not only that, pre-packaged foods tend to be more unhealthy, and considering we constantly overindulge during the Christmas period, there is no harm in trying to improve our diets a little!

Canapé making can be a family activity and children will love to help. Try wrapping sausages in bacon or add delicious toppings to crostini. Using bread or pastry-based products should help with keeping the cost down.

Be flexible when buying your bird

When it comes to choosing your Christmas turkey, if you consider yourself disciplined and thrifty when using up delicious leftovers, then you could make your turkey stretch to many other meals during the week. You will find it costs less per kilo to buy a bigger bird. Or, if you don’t like using leftovers, save money and get great value by choosing a smaller bird. The most important thing is that you buy the right bird for your family size.

Make your own gravy

If you’ve been tempted to purchase shop bought fresh turkey gravy, then why not try and save a few pounds by making your own? The roasting juice and giblets provide all the flavour you need, and all you have to add is a chicken stock cube, a spoon of flour, and a splash of wine – if you can spare some from the Christmas meal!

4. Shop around

While this may seem a obvious, during the hectic nature of Christmas we can often forget to shop around. Lots of supermarkets and smaller shops offer wonderful discounts during the festive season, and you’ll be able to view most of them online to compare and find the best price and value. You’ll often find one place might be offering a bargain price for vegetables and another has the best value meat. If you have the time to shop around, you can save a pretty penny.

For more ideas on saving money this Christmas, check out the Voucherism blog today.