Top Ten Healthy Snacks for your pregnancy

Keep Snacks fresh and low in sugar otherwise you’ll get a quick ‘lift’ followed by a dive into a letheragic wave. That goes for drinks too! Caffeine, milk chocolate, muffins, cakes, any ‘white’ carbs without the fibre and anything else with a high sugar content may give you the pick me up you think you need but only in the short term and it’s a very short term! What will happen is that an hour or so later you will feel sleepy and struggle to concentrate. Choose snacks that will give you a natural energy rather than a ‘buzz’ that lasts to see you through to the next meal. My Top Ten snacks are…

  1. Pear with 1 tbsp of natural yoghurt
  2. Apple, 1 cup or 1 whole
  3. Handful of unsalted almonds/brazil nuts (five or half cup) and freshly squeezed juice.
  4. Rice cakes (2 medium size) with one tablespoon of hummus
  5. Pot of Natural Yoghurt, 1 cup
  6. Homemade Museli Bar
  7. Half Melon and handful of nuts, ½ cup
  8. Handful of berries – blueberries, strawberries, 1 cup
  9. Carrot Sticks, 1 cup with 2 tablespoons of hummus
  10. Green and Black’s 70% or more coca solids – 2 squares (closer to chocolates original state, better quality and you eat less

Some popular “healthy” grab and go snacks may be doing more harm than good..

Ones to avoid and why:

Granola Bars/Special K (or similar) cereal bars

Claim: A great snack made from whole grain oats.
Fact: Nearly 50% of the carbohyrdrates come from sugar, usually in form of high corn syrup and contain less than 1g of fibre, so the content of oats is actually quite small!

Pretzels (often offered on the airplane!)

Claim: “A light snack made from wheat”
Fact: High is salt (often as sodium on the label) and get digested very fast by the body,so you’ll crave more and more of them. You digest them nearly as fast as sugar. Contain no vitamins or nutrients.

Trail Mix

Claim: Nuts and other healthy treats all mixed together
Fact: can often contain sweet pieces with hydrogenated vegetable oils and food colouring dyes. A small handful can contain nearly 200 calories.

Fruit Yoghurt

Claim: Yogurt is healthy part of your diet
Fact: In fruit yogurts up to 50-75% of the calories come from sugar, even with the low-fat varieties. Some contain high fructose corn syrup and poor quality fruit. Go for Natural Yogurt, organic and add your own natural fruit.

Energy Drinks

Claim: Gives you an energy boost!
Fact: Contain high caffeine content for the pick me up (avoid red bull unless you want to buzz for 2 days then crash for a further 4) and a hidden source of sugar – sometimes 8 teaspoons in some brands. Go for green Teas, Herbal of fruit teas instead.

Busy Mum Recipe: Chicken One-Pot.

Easy to prepare and throw in the oven!

Heat the oven to 160°C.

Mix 1dsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander sweet paprika together – then add enough olive oil to make a paste and rub over 1 chicken breast per person.

Heat a large oven-proof dish and add the chicken to it, cooking for 5 mins on all sides. Place the chicken on a plate.

Add a little coconut butter to the pan (if needed) to lightly fry 2 handfuls of finely chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot, until softened.

Add 1 tin of tomatoes, 2 tbsp split red lentils, ½ tin drained chickpeas, 800ml of chicken stock, 1 cinnamon stick and 1dsp fruit chutney. Cook through to a simmer, then add the chicken back in, cover and pop in the oven for 1-1.5 hrs, stirring as you go (you may need to a little more stock if it gets very thick).

Serve with 2 handfuls of cooked veg (the rest of the family can have it with wild rice too) and some finely chopped mint on top.

This recipe is an extract from the Post Baby Belly Blitz Diet by   Stephanie Ridley, nutritional therapist in Muswell Hill.

Juices for Better Abs and Skin: Day Two: Five Star Skin Juice

beetroot_juiceFive Star Juice.
Highly recommended for Pregnancy!
Containing: Orange, Beetroot, Carrot & Ginger

This makes enough for 4 people

x 6 Medium Oranges (Peeled)
x 1 RAW Beetroot (Peel and half – wear gloves!)
4 Medium Carrots
(Peel and cut in half)
½ inch of Ginger

Pop all ingredients into the Juicer and Juice.

Add crushed ice or ice cubes if you like.


Why it’s TheBeezKneez..

Oranges. Improve appearance of your skin. Oranges are a well known source of Vitamin C required to boost immune system to fight infections and disease. Plus it helps increase iron absorption to improve energy. Oranges also help improve your complexion!

Beetroot. Perfect if you feel fatigued. Much better than a bottle of pills! A powerful blood cleanser and tonic. It really helps boost immune resistance and is often used in treating anemia, iron deficiency.   Make sure to use and eat RAW beetroot as the properties are more powerful as the nutrients have not been depleted in the cooking process, like the vacumn packed beetroot. Also has a long history of use in the treatment of cancer. Some studies have shown specific anti-carcinogenic substances in beetroot.

Ginger. Helpful in providing morning sickness relief and aids digestion. Good as you can’t take many medications during pregnancy.


Carrots. A single carrot will give your body your daily Vitamin A requirement. Near the top of the list of vegetables that help protect against cancer. If you want to stay looking young (yep) and wrinkle free eat plently of carrots. Extremley high in Vitamin A, C and E for your skin, eyesight and circulation.


The Post Baby Belly Blitz Programme with The Pure Package, your food and exercise all taken care of..

Flatten your abs, restore your core, pelvic floor and lose the baby weight.
When you become a new mum finding time to exercise or eat well is a real challenge. Looking after your new baby is 24/7 and there is little time for yourself. Yet one of the things you want to do is get your tummy back!  So we have teamed up with The Pure Package, the gourmet diet delivery company to bring you a perfect solution, without having to leave the house or find someone to look after your baby. We take care your exercise, diet and daily nutrition so while you take care of your baby.

Twelve postnatal home personal training sessions at your home or park, taken in one month with a leading TheBeezKneez specialist post natal trainer – combined with
Ten days
of having all your meals prepared, cooked and delivered to your door, by The Pure Package, London’s leading Diet Gourmet Delivery Service.

Exclusively for the New Mum you simply cannot fail on this programme with thoroughly researched exercise plus healthy, nutritious meals to:

  • Provide exceptional results in shifting body fat
  • Sculpt and tone up your body
  • Improve metabolism to burn more calories
  • Increase energy, helping with sleep deprivation
  • Dramatically improve body confidence
  • Establish a consistent routine, key to fat loss success
  • Buy you more time
  • Reduce post natal depression by restoring hormonal and emotional imbalances

Plus receive the ‘Post Baby Belly Blitz’ Menu of postpartum exercises e-book fully downloadable e-book with full exercise descriptions and photographs.

Cost of Programme: £1198.50
*This is less than half of the price of one night’s private maternity care in London at the Portland Hospital in London!

Why I cancelled my Gym Membership

A stressful yoga class and an over enthusiastic Personal Trainer was Vicky Warr’s experience of the Gym..

Bounding with enthusiasm and well before Christmas, so it
certainly wasn’t a new year’s whim, I joined my local gym.  Two goals – one to take my two and half year
old son to swimming lessons and second to go to a regular Yoga class or fitness

So, signing up to a shorter contract (which cost more but
meant I was not committing to twelve months), I checked out the timetables and
swimming lessons.

Working a four day week, meant Friday was the day I wanted
to take Luca to swimming lessons. There was one class but on becoming a member
they told me I had to wait until the new term started. I was then informed, by
the jolly receptionist, that as he had not attended swimming lessons there
before, I wouldn’t be able to book until a week or so before the lessons started
(by which time it was likely to be fully booked as all previous swimmers got
priority).  As I was now a member, I was
slighty miffed by this fact, whatever happened to first come, first booked! Moreover
the lessons aren’t free – they are extra to your membership! So goal not met,
one to go.

Onto the Yoga. I’d always thought (having instructed at many
gyms) that my membership meant I’d be able to turn up, take my space and launch
into the wonderful poses, stretches and breathing in a lovely stress free environment
(isn’t that what Yoga is about).  On
enquiring about the class, I was told I had to 24 hours in advance. The ‘telephone
lines’ will be open at 8.00am the previous morning.  Unfortunately I booked at 9am and it was fully booked, I was informed by the receptionist. If you didn’t
phone by 8.01 you didn’t have your space!  
So determined the following week to sample the delights of this very
popular Yoga class, I managed to get my act together and book promptly at
8.01am.  The next Saturday morning, with
the boys out at football, I trotted off excitedly, due to the fact I was
actually getting a gold dust hour of me-time. 

I turned up to a class packed full, mirror to mirror (and I
wasn’t late). It also smelt, due to the amount of squashed people into one
room.  Trying not to be deterred or
disappointed by the lack of scented candles, peace and calmness (isn’t that
what Yoga is all about) I attempted to sway my arms as per the instructor to
promptly have the person to my right bash me on the head.  I left with a headache and a constant
reminder of poignant sweat in my nostrils. 
Goal two not met.

The other fitness classes on the timetable started at 6pm or
6.30pm and if you have children, this is the crucial time for the whole
collecting from childcare, bathing and bed routine. Yes I should have checked
this out beforehand so my alternative was the gym floor.  I practised my usual dynamic warm up routine on
the small rectangular space, only to develop social anxiety syndrome as the
other gym goers eyed me strangely.  The
space only really allows for hamstring stretches, a few sit-ups and I was ‘taking
over’! By gym standards, If you want to ‘warm-up’ you need the treadmill or
other cardio equipment and move in a linear fashion doing exactly what everyone
else is doing for their ‘warm-up’.  (Note:
the idea of a warm-up is to mobilise the body and that means moving in
different directions!).  

What I was delighted with though, was the fact that I had
two personal training sessions in my membership.  My trainer was to call me to schedule my
sessions (according to the membership sales manager who recruited me). Silence
for two weeks, so I chased and was appointed ‘Sam’.  ‘Sam’ showed me some great exercises (no
warm-up) within about 35 minutes (the sessions were meant to be an hour) and
took care to listen to my goals. I was slightly put off though by the fact that
asked me to do one exercise only to tell me it was an excuse to put his hand
near my bottom. Flattered yes, bemused by the lack of professionalism, yes!

So my ‘investment’ of seventy-five pounds a month cost me
approximately £20 a week for one class (if I could get booked into it) and a
tap on the bottom.

Now I’m not saying the gym doesn’t work for some people, if you know you can
get there before 7.30pm and you don’t mind replicating what you do on the tube
in rush hour in your peak time gym class it’s fine. Gyms don’t particulary care
if you turn up for your workout or not – has your Gym ever called you to ask
you where you’ve been if you’ve not been for a few weeks?   That’s
why fitness classes in your local area and other fitness clubs – running and
cycling clubs and other physical pursuits are becoming far more popular than
the classic gym environment. Turn up with a buddy and do a six or eight week
course to help establish a routine. Choose one suited to your needs and grab a  buddy for motivation.


Halloween Special: Curried Pumpkin Soup

A very healthy, easy to make soup, that’s delicious. Perfect for Halloween!

  • Good source of Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) for good eyesight
  • High in antioxidants to prevent cell damage that can lead to types of cancer
  • Contains Vitamin E, for good skin
  • Easily digested and the seeds are rich in Iron for energy, phosphorous and potassium for metabolism, magnesium for proper nerve and muscle functioning and zinc, improves immunity and sex drive!

Ingredients (serves 4):

2 tbsps of Olive Oil
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsps of Curry Paste
900g Pumpkin, peeled and diced
900ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock (organic, low salt)
Pinch of Black Pepper

How to make:

  • Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a large saucepan (avoid letting the oil smoke ), add the large onion and Garlic (crushed) and cook for about 5 mins or until onion is softened.
  • Stir in Curry Paste, according to taste and cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add 900g Pumpkin, peeled and diced and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes
  • Add 900ml vegetable or chicken stock and black pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
  • Allow to cool slightly then blend in blender or liquidize in food processor until smooth.
  • Return the puree to pan, adjust seasoning and add a little more stock if necessary.
  • Reheat until hot and serve with warm, crusty wholegrain bread.



Benefits of exercising to music

Today I went swimming with my mp3 player and felt the flow of the music lift me and my pregnancy hormones!  The music helped me move and switch of from recent stresses!

We play music in our group classes as we know both how motivational it is but also how it provides a positive effect on our class participants. Research has shown that exercise to music benefits and influence you in the following ways:

  • Music can focus your attention, and take your mind off sensations of fatigue.
  • Positive aspects of mood such as happiness and energy are increased.
  • In turn, negative moods such as tension, depression, anxiety and anger are eased.
  • Upbeat energetic music is used during the main workout of our classes to stimulate you and get you into action, but softer music as part of our stretch sequences help relax and calm you down.
  • Tempo of the music can regulate movement and thus prolong performance. Synchronizing movements with music also enables exercisers perform more efficiently – getting more from their workout!
  • Scientific studies have shown that by choosing purposefully selected music helps you improve co-ordination and motor skills as your body learns to move in time with the beat.

Choose music for what you would like it to help you with – relaxing music when you feel anxious about the birth of your baby or want to stretch out tight muscles,  According to Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist who studies fetal development at University in Maryland, US.  “When a woman relaxes, that’s good for the fetus and that’s an indirect effect of music on the fetus,”

Or you can put on some up tempo tunes, kick up your heels, dance around and have fun!

Get energised today – with three easy steps

I know how vital it is to feel energised as my job does not allow me to look like I am feeling lethargic and lacking vitality!

What is energy?
According to your boss (working mums!) it’s the ability to be able to do more…
According to your other half it’s having a lively, vibrant, dinner on the table wife/girlfriend/partner…
And for you it’s being able to function properly, think straight, tick things off your to-do list, look after your little one, yourself and have the energy to exercise, cook good food and feel upbeat!

When I am low on energy I can put it down to:

  • Not having enough sleep or having poor quality sleep
  • Not eating regularly enough (going long periods without some fuel to the brain and body so my blood sugar levels go down
  • Not eating smartly enough (eat well – feel well!)
Since having my son Luca and running a business and family there is a lot of juggling to do. I need energy and cannot function without it, so I’ve had to make sure I address all the factors that leave me deprived!

Getting more or better Sleep

Am I joking I hear some of you say! Little ones calling your name out, admin and chores to be done and it’s 9pm already! According to Web MD most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. In the first few months (or even year) with a baby, that’s tricky to achieve..

  • I really recommend taking a nap when the baby naps (do not feel guilty about this and forget the chores for thirty minutes)
  • Avoid working on the computer or emailing late in the evening (this keeps your mind stimulated and has your head buzzing into the night. I’ve now resorted to turning off the computer to avoid my email checking addiction (that was leaving me fatigued as I worked into the night!)
  • Try to do a relaxing activity – read your favourite book, this will hep switch off the permanently switched on brain

Did you know, seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to having about 4 drinks. So, getting 5 hours of sleep a night (as many of us do far too often) is like being drunk!

Here are three other quick, small tips to energy you today:

  • Drink one glass of water as soon as you wake and stay hydrated (dehydration causes fatigue) Add a slice of lemon to ward of colds
  • Eat a high protein breakfast – amino acids in protein to boost your brain power. A boiled egg, slice of wholegrain toast and half a grapefruit or a bowl of berries will give you a very good start to the day.
  • The other best tip is to make time to exercise. Tired people generally don’t want to put on their trainers and go for a jog, the gym or a class. However – exercise releases endorphins, that make you feel good and relieve any unhappy, down feelings. Even a little bit of increased activity is helpful. You don’t need to walk miles and miles over hours a day or run for 45 minutes to feel more energised. A few ‘resistance’ exercises fitted into 15-minutes can do wonders plus this type of exercise boosts your metabolism far quicker than long, slow cardio. Plus it makes you feel good afterwards. Our Beez Kneez sessions are broken up into sections so that you have a cardio section, strength section and core exercise section. Doing just some of these exercises (even if you do not manage all of them) will make you stronger, more toned and energised.

With more energy, you can tackle more each day … and get more enjoyment after the day is done!

If you want even more energy, take a good look at your nutrition and how you eat. Our new Nutritionist, Steph is a mum of two and knows about the demands of family life and the challenges of shopping, what to eat, and getting prepared. Her meal plans are easy to follow, effective and have you feeling far more energised and productive.

Reach steph on or call us on 020 8 354 1583 for more information



Recipe of the week, Energising Calamari Stew

Energising Calamari stew

This recipe from Steph, our nutritionist, is really easy to make. The stew will simmer for 30 minutes, just enough time to feed your little one!

  • Clean and prepare approx 2 large handfuls of calamari per person. Quick Tip: Use Frozen – ensure you defrost properly beforehand.
  • Put ½ cup per person of brown rice on to cook, as per pack instructions
  • Heat 1dsp coconut oil in a pot over a low-medium heat – add 1 chopped onion and cook until soft
  • Add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and cook for 1-2 mins, but not until brown
  • Add the calamari and sauté gently for a couple of minutes
  • Add ½ glass dry white wine, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes/ ½ jar passata and 1 handful of chopped parsley. Mix well
  • Cook over a low heat, lid on for approx ½ hour until the calamari is done and sauce is tasty.
  • When 10mins from being done, steam a large handful of broccoli per person for approx 8 mins, until just done
  • Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce
  • Serve with the steamed broccoli and brown rice
Calamari has a very low level of saturated fat and contains vitamin B1, iron, zinc and magnesium. All these vitamins and nutrients provide energy and vitamin B1 helps with fertility. Zinc is great for healthy eyes,skin, nails and hair and also helps boost your sex life!


How to get started with your New Year fitness Resolution

This year is going to be different you say to yourself! Whether you are pregnant or just had a baby – it’s still vital you get a fitness programme that works and you do it!

Here’s how to get started (and I’m going to be frank!) No more excuses, no more easy options…

1. Forget going for more walks in the park. Please don’t kid yourself on this one. Jogging or fast paced walking for long periods of time with a buggy is not going to get you results. There are a lot of buggy and pram workouts springing up and whilst they are great for a chat with your mates from the feedback and research we’ve done, the trainers have not updated their workouts for years and the exercises are a little dull and basic! Honestly, the best exercises  are ‘functional’, ones which work your abdominals in all directions standing, turning, on all fours and moving through different ranges of motion get results. Interval cardio sessions are also key to burn as many calories in as short as time as possible.  Plus – upper body and lower body moves to tone and condition all body parts and boost the metabolism so the body burns calories faster. We use exercise bands to lengthen and stretch any tight muscles to avoid bulking up and get a toned, leaned physique.

2. Missing meals, counting points (pro points hello?) and cutting down on calories is NOT going to work in the long run. Be smart with food choices and do prepare your own. Eating plenty of lean protein at each meal choosing organic varieties is vital to boosting metabolism. Include essential fats and cooking with avocado oil or coconut oil at high temperatures for stir fries to really improve your skin tone.

3. Fitness is THE thing to be doing. “I’m going to join a gym!” I’ll start next week (I’ve got a cold this week) “I’m busy at work” are all excuses. Take action and get into the rhythm! Watching the fitness DVD with Gin and tonic in one hand is best after you’ve done it! Get good at exercising and you’ll feel strong,empowered, more confident and look amazing in weeks of getting going.

4. Decide your ‘thing’ and make it realistic. If you’ve not run before, don’t start six weeks after having a baby or enter a half marathon at the end of February. It’s not feasible and you’ll get demotivated. Choose your goal and then a realistic time scale (giving yourself a final end date so you have something to work to.

5. Take care. Condition and strengthen your body and joints first, improve your posture with corrective exercises and dynamically stretch to improve mobility and energy.

6. Ditch the scales and start measuring up. The scales weigh your whole body composition – muscle, water, fat and vital organs so they do not give you a real picture of your size. Muscle weighs more than fat so you’ll appear heavier. Taking your measurements will show you where you are loosing the inches and dropping dress sizes which is far more motivating!