Monday, 9 February 2015

How to pack a healthy lunch

We've all seen the horror stories about how many grams of saturated fat and calories there can be in shop-bought sandwich and lunches, and the same goes for snacking on an innocent-looking fruit bar or smoothie when you need a little pick-me-up. So how can you eat on the move - and still stay healthy? The easiest solution (unless you are an absolute whizz at reading nutrition labels) is to pack your own lunch and snacks for the day ahead - be it during the working week or on a trip out with the kids. And as an added bonus you'll likely save money and, with the right lunchbox, cut down on wasteful packaging too.

Where to start

Never skip lunch! It's what gets you through the day - and will prevent you from being so ravenous that you'll pounce on any passing high-fat snacks at a moment's notice as the hours tick past. There's lots of research that suggests taking a break at lunch will also help your brain recuperate, allowing you to 'work smarter' for the rest of the day. Concentrating on what you are eating (rather than your computer screen or smart phone, guilty as charged!) will allow you to enjoy your meal and for your brain to register that its has eaten too, a great way to avoid over-eating. To ensure your lunch is healthy, and sustains you throughout the afternoon, try to pack one portion from each of the five main food groups:

Monday, 2 February 2015

Confident when it matters

In my twenties I spent a night at the Tibetan side of Base Camp Everest, with just a sleeping bag optimistically bought in Thailand for a fiver. The observant among you might notice that there's quite a temperature disparity between Bangkok and the North Base Camp. The 'room' I 'slept' in at Rongbuk Monastery (which has an altitude of 16,340 ft) was made of stone, but the walls didn't quite meet, and neither did the door fit the door frame (where's Nick Knowles when you need him). It was bitterly cold outside, and yes, pretty darn cold on the inside too. At that time of year average temperatures can dip to -12℃. I learnt a lot of things on that trip, and one of those things was to GET THE RIGHT KIT.

Fast forward another a few years (okay decades) and you'll rarely catch me under-equipped. If it's cold I'll have base layers, if it's wet I'll be waterproofed and if it's likely to be hot I'll be in sweat-wicking kit before you can say plyometric lunges. Which is why, when Helly Hansen invited me along to preview its new training range at BARREtoned last week, I said 'ja' (which is Norwegian for yes - geddit?). I said 'ja' because, while already well-respected for its professional mountain and sailing ranges, Helly Hansen now offers workout wear specifically designed for women that looks good and is still properly fit for purpose. We're talking Scandinavian style, fused with professional performance. And I didn't even have to set foot in Ikea. 

Photo credit: Antony Potts

Dressed for the barre

Set apart from the range for guys, Helly Hansen's female kit has a feminine silhouette (drawstring waists on running jackets, scoop necklines on vest tops), and seasonal colours and trends. The collection still uses the Lifa flow moisture-management technology, wind-block fabrics, reflective detailing, mesh for breathability and sun protection expertise as required, but adds in the kinds of fashion-forward colours, prints and shapes you want to be seen in. There's also a stunning range of trainers to complete the look. It would've been rude not too - am I right?!