With the weekend finally here (wow this has been a long week), I thought I’d give you a little treat for the weekend. I’m so guilty of getting home on a Friday, crashing out on the sofa and only waking up on Sunday night with Netflix asking me if I’m still there (yes Netflix, stop judging me), which is why I’m making more of an effort this year to do more with my free time. I absolutely cherish my weekends, and while I’ll never be the type to cram every single minute with activities, I’m sure there’s a way I can unwind more productively. Productive unwinding… that sounds nice doesn’t it?
I’ve teamed up with GLORIOUS to bring you the two-day GLORIOUS Healthy Hygge plan to celebrate the launch of their new GLORIOUS Greens soup pot (more on this later), and to prove that hygge doesn’t have to mean overindulgence, eating until your eyes roll back in your head and cementing yourself to the sofa all weekend. Between myself, GLORIOUS and dietitian Nichola Whitehead, we’ve come up with a way to indulge the healthy way this winter. I promise this is a super easy plan, and it won’t leave you feeling deprived or hard done by. This is hygge the healthy way, and I thought I’d tell you how I got on when I followed the plan to show how easy it is.
For day 1 of the GLORIOUS Healthy Hygge plan, Nichola recommends starting the day with a warming bowl of porridge topped with sliced banana, honey, almonds and spices. This is a fantastic way to start the day, as it provides you with slow-releasing carbohydrate (essential to keep you going through the morning), healthy fats, protein and soluble fibre. And of course, if you’re trying to keep your cinnamon bun intake down, the little sprinkle of cinnamon will keep you satisfied.
I started the day with a leisurely swim before all the crowds arrived, and it was a dream beating the rush and getting the pool virtually to myself. It’s gentle on joints and a great whole-body workout, and to me it barely feels like exercise gliding through the water. I recommend finding a soothing playlist and investing in some waterproof earphones for an even more sedate experience.
On the first afternoon, opt for a hearty, healthy lunch of the GLORIOUS Greens soup. A serving contains at least one of your five a day, and packs in broccoli, coconut, mango and spinach for a serious vitamin kick. This year, a massive 48% of Brits voted soup their #1 winter comfort food, and it’s the perfect family-friendly lunch to keep everyone full and warm. Be sure to put away all your distracting devices and enjoy a laid-back lunchbreak filled with conversation and laughter.
Once you’ve finished lunch, it’s time to get outside. I chose walking as my afternoon activity, because I love to explore my beautiful city of Brighton in the winter sunshine. Wrap up warm and take in your surroundings, whether you’re heading out for a seaside stroll, for a countryside ramble or even to your local park. Amazingly enough, some of the spring flowers are starting to pop out already in my area, so why not see if you can spot any pretty little surprises on your adventure?
I was hungry after my morning swim and afternoon walk (though let’s be honest: when am I not hungry?), so I was very happy with Nichola’s suggested dinner of oven-baked salmon topped with Greek yogurt and crushed rye crackers. I served this with roasted sweet potato wedges and tenderstem broccoli. The fatty acids in the salmon are great for the hair, skin and nails, and it only took 30 minutes to prepare, giving me plenty of time to enjoy eating, rather than wolfing dinner down in five minutes like I would after work.
I opted for a cosy film night as my evening activity – ideal after my active day! Wellbeing isn’t just about the body – it’s about looking after the mind too. Laughter is great for the soul, so I went for a few old favourite comedies, lit a few candles and settled down under a blanket with my best friend. In the end, my attention span failed us, and we finished up the evening watching funny videos on YouTube, but the principle was still there!
Day 2 breakfast made me a very, very happy bunny indeed. If you’re doing this plan over the weekend, you’ll be delighted to hear that Sunday morning brings pancakes! Nichola’s healthy pancakes are made with two eggs and a mashed banana, and are topped with raspberries and Greek yogurt for more of those valuable slow-release carbs and protein to help you sustain your energy and not fall into the usual Sunday slump. Nichola suggests pairing your pancakes with green tea, so I went for the rhubarb and vanilla green Hoogly Tea blend for an extra-special weekend treat.
After my light breakfast, I eased into the day with 15 minutes of soothing yoga (you might want to do yours before breakfast, but as a type 1 diabetic I need to keep my blood sugar stable). I did a few yoga classes at the gym, so I do these routines on my own to keep me supple, stretch out sore muscles and relax my entire body with deep breathing. This is invaluable if you spend most of your working week sitting at a desk like me, and it especially helps with my aching back and shoulders.
On day 2, you can jazz up the second serving of your GLORIOUS Greens soup by adding crackers or oatcakes for a bit of extra fibre and crunch. I love oatcakes, and they complemented this soup really well. I also added a few seeds on top for some more texture and healthy fats – the soup itself is low in calories, so it’s perfectly fine to add a couple of little extras to mix things up a bit. It was a nice afternoon, so I took mine into the garden for a leisurely lunch in the sun.
Sunday afternoons are great for trying your hand at a new hobby, so I decided to do a spot of gardening. I love garden centres, and I have a whole stash of seeds ready to be planted. I find growing my own plants really therapeutic, and I planted a variety of herbs in the hope of having my own little herb garden to look after (basil, parsley and oregano, here I come), so this is a really cheap way to hygge out in the fresh air and to do something from which you will benefit for months on end.
For the last dinner of the two-day plan, Nichola suggested treating yourself with a healthy ‘fakeaway’ tortilla pizza. To make this, I spread passata on a wholegrain wrap and sprinkled it with Mediterranean vegetables and mozzarella, and served with a green salad and olive oil dressing. It was SO GOOD, and it’s a great way to bring grownups and children together for a fun, healthy meal.
My Sunday night routine always involves a relaxing bath, and I treat myself to some of my nicer bath products to get me ready for the week ahead. Whether it’s NEOM bath oils, The White Company bath foam or just a cocktail of Lush bath bombs, it’s my little way of creating an at-home spa experience, especially if I turn off the lights and light a candle or two. I also opt for a nourishing body cream to keep my skin soft and smooth to complete my bedtime routine, and to make the week ahead seem less daunting.
While you can’t expect miracles in just two days, making smarter use of my time certainly helped me feel more in control and ready to face the new week. I felt more relaxed and rejuvenated, and eating well and engaging in healthy, productive activities helped lift my mood. Making the effort to incorporate more mindful activities into my day is certainly something I would like to continue, and if I can find more delicious, easy ways to tweak what I eat, I’ll be a very happy girl.
Will you be trying the GLORIOUS Healthy Hygge plan? I’d love to hear how you get on if you do! You can find the limited edition GLORIOUS Greens soup in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Ocado and ASDA until March 2017.