10 healthy swaps for the foods you crave

So it’s been a long bank holiday weekend filled with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate thanks to Easter and the joys of Easter eggs. But now the joy of chocolate has subsided and you’re back to work with the harsh reality of knowing how many calories you’ve consumed over the past few days. So you might be thinking right lets start a super strict diet that cuts out all sugars, carbs and basically anything nice. While this might work for some people, this definitely does not work for me as I’ll be really good for about a week or so and then the cravings start to kick in and in the end I just give up, resulting in a massive binge of anything sweet and naughty basically. Then I’m right back where I started in the first place. Instead I prefer to take the more controlled and healthier route while still allowing myself some treats from time to time as I know my body and I know that I can’t live without sweet things. Cravings are my worst enemy so here are a few healthier alternatives to my ultimate mouthwatering foods.

  1. Chocolate for hot chocolate. Now the reason this is number 1 is because chocolate is something that I crave pretty much once a day and I can amazingly trawl through whole 200g bar in one sitting (which isn’t really that amazing now I think about it because it’s not good for my body). So instead of devouring a whole bar of chocolate I get my chocolate fix with a hot chocolate instead as they contain a lot less calories but you still get to taste that chocolatey goodness.

2.  Ice cream for frozen yoghurt. Everyone has the same two best friends in this world and they’re called ‘Ben’ and ‘Jerry’. This is the king of all ice creams, the best of the best and they just keep getting better with all their new and exciting yummy flavours. But I’m not here to promote ice cream, instead if you fancy something cold and creamy why not try frozen yoghurt. Frozen yoghurt is a great alternative, there are so many flavours, even chocolate! Just make sure you scoop a reasonable portion into a bowl instead of eating out of the tub because we all know eating out of the tub means finishing the whole tub.

3. Sweets for dried fruit or just fruit. Sweets are something that I never seem to crave but if I come across some then I end up eating and eating until the bag is finished; I simply can’t stop. So to tackle this I introduce to you my favourite snack ever….. DRIED FRUIT and more specifically dried MANGO! I am obsessed with dried mango because it genuinely does taste like sweets without all the added rubbish. Yes I am aware that dried mango and other dried fruits can be a little high in sugar but its a whole lot better than eating an entire bag of Haribo. But if dried fruit isn’t your thing then just simply go for normal fruit instead as this should satisfy your sweet tooth cravings and you know what they say if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple then you’re not hungry at all.

 

4. Crisps for crackers/carrots and salsa dip. If you’re craving crisps then you’re craving something crunchy and perhaps salty, so to overcome this you need something that will fulfil this texture and satisfy your needs. My answer to this is either crackers or carrots dipped in salsa (or without salsa if you prefer). Now the reason behind salsa and not sour cream and chive or any other creamy dip is tomato based dips are a lot better for you than the creamy ones. As for the crackers, I tend to use are either multigrain crackers or melba toasts which are great for that crunchy texture. I usually limit myself to 4 crackers or 1 carrot so that I’m not over dipping.

 

5. Chips for roasted vegetables. This swap is not only a healthier alternative but can be a cheaper alternative too which is always a bonus. Instead of buying frozen chips and wasting more valuable freezer space why not buy a load of veg bung it in the oven to roast with some herbs and olive oil and you got yourself a pretty good healthier alternative. Whether it be broccoli, peppers, onions, sweet potato, butternut squash or carrots, you can chuck practically any vegetable in there. This is also a great way to use up any veg that might be going off and avoid waste. So not only is this healthier and cheaper, it also helps the environment.

6. Pizza for tortilla pizza. I LOVE pizza. Whenever anyone asked me the famous get to know you question of ‘What’s your favourite food?’ My answer would always be pizza and still always is pizza. But unfortunately it isn’t the healthiest thing on the menu so to overcome this and satisfy my pizza needs I make tortilla pizzas which was a household fav when I was at home. All you need is a tortilla wrap (wholemeal is preferred), tomato purée, cheese (low fat or not any at all if preferred) and then any toppings you like.

 

7. Cake for banana oat cakes. If you’re a banana fan then this is the swap for you! There’s nothing complicated about banana oat cakes, its just bananas and oats, mash them together and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes and thats it! (I added chocolate chips to mine which is naughty I know but its all about balance and moderation)

 

8. Biscuits for popcorn. We all know biscuits are one of those snacks where you can’t just have 1 or 2 because it always develops into 4 or 5 until suddenly the whole pack is devoured. To battle this biscuit devouring, swap this for popcorn but be careful not to eat the whole bag of popcorn too. Take a handful or two and pop it into a bowl then put the bag BACK or buy a multipack of popcorn if you don’t trust yourself in the portions department. The propercorn sweet coconut and vanilla is one of my favourite flavours of all time!

 

9. Pancakes for banana oat pancakes. Another swap for you banana lovers. I love bananas they’re so versatile and you can use them as a basis for so many recipes whether they’re ready to eat or ripe, plus they’re pretty cheap. So instead of loaded maple syrup pancakes, why not make a banana oat pancake drizzled with honey and some fruit for toppings. All you need is banana, oats, eggs and baking powder, mix it all up and fry it in a pan until golden brown.

 

10. Burgers for veggie burgers. Last but not least if you don’t want your last meal of the day to be a heavy one then swap your normal burger for a veggie burger. I was always skeptical of vegetarian food before trying vegetarian bean burgers which are honestly so delicious and have a lot more flavour than anticipated. My recent favourite bean burgers are from Morrisons with their spicy bean burgers which kind of taste like a samosa in a weird way but I love them.

 

*Disclaimer. I’m not saying any of these alternatives are the most healthy option but these are healthiER alternatives that work for me and satisfy my cravings. This is always open to interpretation as its just about finding what works for you and your body. We’re all unique so what works for one person may not work for another, just do YOU.

Booty workout outside

Today I’m going to share with you one of my booty workouts which is my fav area to train! You can do this workout anywhere you like as you don’t need any equipment. Since it was such a lovely day I decided to go to my local park and have a quick session outside as I didn’t feel like going to a stuffy gym, plus I have a cold so didn’t want to contaminate anyone but I needed to do some sort of exercise. I decided to biked there and back which acted as my warm up and cool down and then got straight into my workout. Also I discovered that biking on thick grass is quite challenging.

With every exercise I do in this routine I do 3 sets of 10 reps with a 30 second rest in-between. The amount of reps and sets are completely up to you, this is just what works for me. If I’m feeling up to the challenge I will sometimes complete these exercises with no rest in-between to create a sort of circuit routine. Click HERE for the video of my workout (I had to upload it to Youtube as I can’t upload videos on here… apologies)

  1. Sumo squats. Sumo squats are slightly different to normal squats as your legs should be just past your shoulders and your feet pointing outwards slightly, just like a sumo wrestlers position.
  2.  Jumping lunges. I find these rather difficult to do as you can really feel the burn but I feel so good after completing these. Sort of a love hate relationship.
  3. Jumping squats. By the end of this exercise you’ll really feel it in your legs. Remember to squeeze those gluteus and jump as high as you can.
  4. Curtsy lunges. These are similar to normal lunges but you place your foot back in a sort of diagonal position instead of straight, like you would if you were to curtsy.
  5. Hip ups/bridges. Simply lie on the floor with your legs should width apart and lift your bum up squeezing those gluteus each time you lift.
  6. Donkey Kicks. Get down on your hands and knees and lift your leg up to the sky until you reach a right angle position, then push your foot up whilst squeezing those gluteus.
  7. Fire Hydrants. Get down on your hands and knees and lift your leg up to the side until you reach a right angle position then bring your leg back down again. Repeat this whilst always squeezing your gluteus.

My mini workout at home

You know the days when you really don’t want to brave going to the gym or even worse going outside for a RUN but you still want to do some sort of exercise… well my answer to this is to do a mini workout at home. Even though you might not think it will do much, its not all about wearing yourself ragged with a massive long run or sweating it out at the gym for hours on end, its more importantly about sticking to some sort of exercise regime whatever that may be because progress and results only occur with consistency. My mini workout doesn’t really involve any fancy equipment, the only fancyish thing I use is a 5kg kettle ball for some exercises but you can improvise with things you have at home, whether that be a big bag of sugar (although that could be a recipe for disaster if a spillage occurs now I think about it) or simply anything heavy enough to make your arms work a little harder after a couple of reps. Or, you don’t have to use the kettle bell at all and just rely on your own bodyweight. I must point out that I am no fitness expert but these are just a few exercises that work for me and ones where I can really feel the burn the next day. So lets get started!

First up is the fire hydrant which really gets those glutes fired up (get it because its called a FIRE hydrant… not funny Molly). All you do is get on your hands and knees and lift one leg up at a time till you reach a right angle position or as far up as you can go. I do 3 sets of 10 reps and then on the last set of reps I will hold my leg up in a right angle position and do 15 mini pulses/reps which really sets my glutes on fire!

Still on your hands and knees, next are donkey kicks which again make your glutes really work for it. Instead of lifting your leg up to the side, you lift your leg up to the ceiling still in a right angle position remembering to squeeze those glutes all the way to the top and back down again. I do 3 sets of 10 reps for these as well and sometimes (if I’m feeling energetic) I will repeat the mini pulses/reps with this exercise as well, whilst holding my foot up in a right angle position towards the ceiling.

Sticking with the glutes theme, next is one of my favourite exercises to achieve that plump booty… SQUATS! I squat with a 5kg kettle bell, just to add a little bit of weight and make things slightly harder for myself. Remember when you squat to keep your chest out, shoulders back and look straight ahead to avoid injuries from bad posture. Also the wider the stance the more your glutes and hamstrings have to work, compared to a narrower stance which focuses more on the quadriceps. I usually opt for a wider stance as I aim to get that peachiness! I do 3 sets of 10 reps of these and sometimes will do a couple of pulses at the bottom of my squat before coming back up to really feel the burn.

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To get my heart rate up a bit I will then do 30 jumping squats which really takes it out of me and my complexion then resembles that of a bright red tomato!

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Another amazing exercise to work your quads, glutes and hamstrings are lunges. I do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg whilst holding a kettle bell in one hand and believe me when I say my legs are burning after this exercise.

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Like many other people I want to be able to do a decent amount of consecutive press ups the ‘man’ style way, but for now I’m sticking to 3 sets of 10 reps with the ‘girls’ style press ups and a 30 second break in between and that suits me just fine. I can still feel the burn but I’m not collapsing every time my nose touches the floor. I need to walk before I can run.

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Now onto abs… the hardest part of this workout and also the weakest part of my body which doesn’t help matters. To get those abs engaged I do 50 crunches one after another and then lie on the floor for a bit until my abs stop burning.

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Then when my abs have recovered a little bit, I do 30 russian twists which really get those muscles working. I hold a kettle bell whilst twisting my abs from side to side but you can also do this without one. The further you go back the harder your abs have to work, so when you’re feeling like you can conquer the world you lie on back until you nearly touch the floor!

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And finally what better way to finish your abs off than the PLANK… my best friend and also my worst enemy. I tend to hold it for 2 minutes in total, but turning to the side every 30 seconds. So straight on for 30 seconds, then the left side for 30 seconds, then the right side and back to the front again for the last 30 seconds. This is one of those exercises that you really dread doing beforehand but just feel so good afterwards. I admit I have to force myself every time to commit to this.

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Lastly to round the whole routine off I do my favourite exercise of all time… WALL SITS! I usually pretend that I’m just about to sit on an imaginary chair, get really low and hold it for about 2-3 minutes depending on how badly my legs are shaking by that point. Trust me sometimes they shake so uncontrollably that I’m amazed myself.

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I hope you enjoyed my mini workout routine and maybe even found it useful. I just want to say that I’m well aware you can see my roles in some of these photos, my skin is a weird complexion and there are some pretty unflattering angles of my body but thats me and I don’t intend to hide that. This is simply me in my room just showing you the exercises that I usually do if I don’t go to the gym or go for a run. None of these images have been retouched or photoshopped in any way as thats not how you would see me in real life so why should I portray to you someone that I’m not? Like always I stick by my motto Be True Be You.

Healthy eating as a student

So if you don’t already know I am currently a student, which means I can’t splash out on luxury food, organic fruit and veg or even chia seeds (which are ridiculously expensive for a seed I must add) and basically anything that your average healthy Instagramer promotes on a daily basis. So here is my solution to being healthy whilst also being a student…

First up is breakfast and lately I’m really into making smoothies because A its a way of loading up on your fruit AND veg, which many students lack, plus its a way of getting rid of that mouldy fruit you haven’t quite got round to eating as its right near the biscuit tin and lets face it biscuits come first.

I tend to just mix and match my smoothie flavours with basically whatever fruit I have at that time so the one on the left was mango, blueberries, spinach and apple juice and the one on the right is my newest obsession with banana, mango, raspberries, desiccated coconut and apple juice. It’s seriously da bomb! Plus its a cute pinky colour so looks appetising as well. Now you maybe thinking well how can she afford all this fruit when she’s a student…? Well my friends here is where frozen fruit comes in, not only is it cheaper than fresh fruit but lasts a whole lot longer and all you have to do is just pop it in the blender and let it do its thang. Same great taste but way cheaper. Also I am a rather avid bargain hunter/yellow sticker seeker (thanks dad) so when those bananas are reduced because they a lil ripe I’ll snatch those bad boys up for my smoothies.

Now onto actual food for breakfast, I tend to either have a bagel or toast or if I’m feeling a little fancy and creative then I’ll replicate a salmon and cream cheese bagel but we all know that smoked salmon is very expensive and frankly way out of a students league. So instead of using smoked salmon I use this cooked ham from Lidl and grill it. You could use bacon but because I’m a cheapskate and I am partial to a little ham to snack on every now and then (don’t judge) this works a lot better for me. Plus it kind of tastes the same anyway! Also in winter if I’m feeling a warm hearty breakfast then I’ll opt for porridge as you can’t go wrong with a good ole bowl of porridge. To add some chocolatey flavour I mixed a spoonful of Nutella into the mixture and added some slices of banana on top to create a scrummy morning meal.

Next up is lunch and this varies from day to day and is very dependant on how much time I have. I love salads but I’m so put off by the actual preparation and creation of salads which is so lazy I know so this is probably one of student luxuries buying pre-prepared salad kits. My favourite one is the caesar salad kit from Lidl for £1.69 which isn’t too bad as I can get two servings out of it and its the only way I’m going to actually eat salad so its worth it. The salad on the left below is one of my more upmarket salads containing avocado and super grains which is by far the best salad I’ve ever made (if I do say so myself). Another lunchtime fav is for when I’m craving something naughty but don’t want to indulge too much as its only lunchtime… tortilla pizza. This is something my mum used to make all the time for lunch when we were growing up and its such an easy, cheap and quick way of satisfying those midday urges. All you need is simply a tortilla wrap, tomato puree, cheese and anything else you want to put on top. I opted for tomatoes, peppers and some herbs on mine which was absolutely scrummy.

Tea/dinner (whatever you want to call it) can be challenging for a student as this is where the protein comes in and meat isn’t cheap nowadays. My solution to this is load up on veg and potatoes (but not too much potato I must add). My absolute go to is roasted veg because all you do is chop up a load of veg, add a splash of oil and in the oven it goes. Then all you have to do is add a little bit of meat to accompany the veg mountain. In the photo on the left I actually had breaded cod as you can get four from Lidl for under £2! If I’m feeling a lighter tea/dinner then I’ll opt for salad instead of veg and bung in some sweet potato wedges as who doesn’t love sweet potato.

If I’m out all day and know that I won’t want to cook when I get back then I can always rely on my faithful slow cooker to do the job. If you’re a student and don’t have a slow cooker then I seriously suggest investing in one as they are an easy way to whip up tea/dinner and stop you from ordering that dominos because you can’t be bothered to cook. Some of my favourite things to cook in the slow cooker are sweet and sour chicken and butter chicken as you can whack a load of veg with that too and let it simmer all day. Also to pad out the meal I tend to add some sweet potato which can be a veggie alternative to meat or just an extra if you’re feeling a tad hangry (yes not hungry, HANGRY!)

And lastly its dessert because who doesn’t love dessert. One of my go to desserts is rice pudding. Yes don’t we all remember having rice pudding when we were little, I sure do and still do to this day. It’s cheap (around 30p per can) and fills you up. I tend to bung a load of fruit ontop with some honey and away you go. Another alternative is bananas and custard which may divide people (and rice pudding too when I think about it) but it’s one of my all time favs and I love it! Can’t go wrong with a bit of ambrosia.

So you can eat healthily as a student its just about integrating fruit and veg into dishes where you can and putting on your bargain hunting hat when you go shopping. Also I must point out that portion control is very important as you don’t want to overindulge (well not every day anyway, save that for special occasions.) I know the food I’ve shown you isn’t probably diet worthy but I’m not on a diet and I don’t intend to be, I’m simply eating healthily and living a healthy lifestyle which includes a few treats and naughty things yes. Too many people nowadays have these grand ideas and drastic measures when it comes to “dieting” when in fact its just a mixture of eating healthily and in moderation (as much as I hate saying that word) and exercising. You’ve just got to find what works for you and remember to Be True Be You.

Quick mini workout: Arms, Legs and Booty

So its nearing the end of January now, a time when the new years resolutions start to dwindle and motivation starts to slide a little, especially since its bloomin freezing outside. But I’m not going to let these dark nights and freezing cold days where you can actually see your own breath defeat me because I’m determined to stay motivated and most importantly stay active not just for the summer beach days but also for my health as well. So today I just wanted to share with you one of my quick mini workouts at the gym. I’m no fitness expert by any means but from researching online and watching my youtube fitness videos I’ve been able to find some workouts that suit me. This workout is especially good if you want to workout and feel the burn but you ain’t got much time on your hands as it takes roughly half an hour. There is no cardio in this workout because I literally can’t think of anything worse than running on the treadmill at the gym. I find it soooo boring so instead I aim to tone at the gym and leave the running for outside, plus its good to get some fresh air. In each of these workout moves I do 3 sets of 10 reps with a 30 second rest in between to let those muscles breath girrrrl. Anyway let’s get on with the workout…

Also I must point out that these videos were taken with Boomerang which speeds the videos up so it may look like I’m finding it rather easy but trust me I was shaking by the third set or reps.

Standing shoulder press using 6kg  dumbbells 3 x 10 reps 

Standing bicep curls using 6kg dumbbells 3 x 10 reps 

​Standing side lateral raises using 5kg dumbbells 3 x 10 reps 

Standing front lateral raises using 5kg dumbbells 3 x 10 reps 

Standing tricep extensions using 8kg dumbbells 3 x 10 reps 

Squats with 17.5kg bar 3 x 10 reps 

Leg press with weight 52kg 3 x 10 reps

Then at the end of each set of reps I’ll do 10 mini quick mini pulses which really makes you feel the burnnnn 🔥

​​Then to get those legs working even more I’ll do a 2 minute wall sit

And finally do end the workout I’ll do a 2 minute plank overall but every 30 seconds I’ll change sides so first 30 seconds is on my front then my left side etc…

Oh and here’s a little before and after shot of my run today. I so didn’t want to go but I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I’m going no matter what (I actually did that, Maybe a little sad but it worked!) 

So that’s just a little inside into one of my workout routines. As I said earlier I am no fitness expert but I’ve just found a routine that works for me. The most important thing is to do what works for you and remember Be True Be You. 

My many sizes 

So today I’m going to be sharing with you my size/ weight journey. It’s been a bit up and down to say the least but that’s what growing up is all about, its never easy. 

I was always a chubby little kid even from a baby. You might as well have called me michelin man Molly. Though there was less of a worry if I fell as that chub would definitely soften the blow.


So from a child it was evident that I wasn’t a skinny build. This chubbiness/ puppy fat ( which my mum liked to call it) continued right the way up until probably around my early teens which then I suppose the puppy fat is no longer classed as puppy fat and instead it’s just being plain ole fat. I suppose some of my chubbiness is down to my general build but it’s most likely due to my uncontrollable eating. I used to be an avid baker yet I must admit most of it was eaten by me that day, aka the fatness! 


So that was that and I just decided that one day I was going to do something about it finally. I was sick of being the ‘fat’ friend and my breaking point was probably when someone shouted “Molly hatch is FAT!” down the street. I didn’t diet as such, definitely not at the start as I found it really difficult but exercise was the thing that really worked for me, especially running. I used to run to the gym then workout/ do a class and then run back around 4-5 times a week! Exercising was and still is my therapy and a way to generally feel better about myself. Nothing like the release of those happy endorphins. In terms of eating it took me a while to grasp what I should be eating but in the end I mastered it and the solution was healthy eating. I say healthy because I used to and still do eat chocolate, as a girl can’t live without chocolate especially when that time of the month comes around, you know what I’m saying girls! So yeah healthy eating and exercise, what you’ve probably heard a million times before but there’s a reason for that because it really works. 


Now I would say that my body has plateaued, reached its happy place. I no longer gain or lose weight but my body has definitely changed in shape. Now I have hips, a booty and boobs. Oh and of course the booty comes with those mermaid thighs as it’s gotta be supported. For me this drastic change in shape from being a size 8/10 to a 12/14 was quite hard to deal with. I know I’m not massive but when you’ve experienced being a smaller size it’s hard to gain weight and be slightly fuller. Though I don’t see it as a bad thing anymore, I embrace my fullerness/ more womanly figure. It only took me about a year and a half but I’ve managed to love myself like every orher girl and boy should do no matter what they’re age or size. 


My ultimate goal now is to be healthy and fit. I’m sick and tired of trying to fit in with what society deems to be the most beautiful or glamorous. We are all beautiful and glamorous in our own way. Why should society’s opinion influence and more importantly dictate our lives. I am a massive culprit of worrying about what others think of me but now I give up. I’m not going to let society win. I’d say one of my biggest pet peeves due to society’s influence is when people buy clothes that don’t fit them or aren’t comfortable because that’s the size they usually are/ the size they want to be. Sizes don’t mean anything nowadays. You can be a size 10 in one shop and a size 14 in another. A recent experience of mine in Topshop trying on mom jeans proves this. Usually I’m a size 14 in jeans due to my wide hips, booty and mermaid thighs but I couldn’t even get the size 14 mom jeans over my thighs. Now this may be because mom jeans are made from rather stiff denim so don’t have much give in them but I have a pair of H&M mom jeans in a size 14 and they fit perfectly. So if there’s anything you take away from this blog is to definitely not trust sizing and go with the size that feels comfortable and fits you. If the size really bothers you then just cut the label out, that’s what I do and anyway who’s going to know what size it is, it’s not like it’s stitched on the front of your clothes like look at me I’m a size 14!! Anyway I’ll stop rambling… as you can see I’ve been many shapes and sizes and finally found my happy medium. I’m not embarrassed or afraid to say that I’m a size 12/14 and I have thick thighs and a bum anymore because that’s who I am. My ultimate goal is to be happy and feel confident. Be True Be You