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Getting back on the bandwagon

It's been an intense time in our household since April this year! We decided to go ahead with a fairly thorough renovation of our house and that saw us tearing out bathrooms, kitchens, flooring and more. We've lived at home throughout the renovation, with the exception of staying a good few nights with my folks when we've had the kids, or when the painters were in this past week. My parents have been angels; feeding us, housing us, doing our laundry and being the step-grandparents from Heaven. Thanks, you two!

It has been a bit chaotic for us, though. Effectively we have moved the entire contents of our house to various different rooms in our house, over and over, for about five months.

Every item in our linen cupboard has been washed three times. Between tiles getting ripped up, bathroom demolitions, new flooring going down and SO.MUCH.PLASTERING....dust has been our constant companion.

For about four to five weeks over July we didn't have a functioning kitchen. This coincided with me being on an exercise ban post appendectomy and Dylan having a horrible bulging disc in his lower back so neither of us were moving all that much. It was a pretty fantastic recipe for getting out of shape, fast!

We mitigated some of the damage by order You Foodz four weeks in a row. We found this to be the best meal delivery we've tried and would 100% recommend it to people renovating, with a new baby, time poor, or who want to manage their intake without as much meal preparation and grocery shopping. At $9.95 per meal they're not cheap, but they're not as expensive as some of the other meal delivery 'dinner' options either. We chose more of the 'hearty' options - lamb shanks, beef ribs etc as they were more bang for buck in terms of volume and being filling. The satay chicken with pesto risoni was my favourite. The leaner chicken and vegetable ones were nice too, though. Recommend.

Exacerbating the effects of the renovations, injuries and exercise bans were the usual round of winter colds and viruses. August was particularly rubbish, as I hear it was for everyone in Brisbane! Jerk month, Ekka winds, etc!

So here we are, sunny September and I'm not feeling my best self! Surprise, surprise.

What I can say is that I'm back at the gym and although some illness saw me have a few false starts, I can honestly say I'm really enjoying it again.

I've got a big birthday coming up in 7 weeks and I want to feel good, as I always do for milestones! I really like to mark that special moment in time and feel as fabulous as possible. With that in mind, I know my focus has to be on food.

Which is fine, because I love food! Haha!

But seriously, time to rein in the indulgences and feel good for that party dress I've got hanging in the cupboard.

As I've re-introduced some really healthy, goal-friendly foods over the past two weeks, I've remembered just how much I enjoy them. Isn't it funny how that happens sometimes? It's so easy to convince myself that only cheeky things taste good, when in fact, I really love healthy, light, fresh foods and how they make me feel.

Here's a few foods I've rediscovered lately in my quest for Birthday Hotness:

- Egg White Cartons (stay with me!)

I really enjoy pan fried or microwaved eggwhites, as long as they're fancied up a bit. My go to ingredients for an egg white omelette is a snipped shallot, a piece of shortcut bacon diced and some baby spinach or diced zucchini. I saute the goodies in a non-stick pan, then simply pour the egg whites on top. When it's set, I flip it out on to a plate, add some homemade tomato relish and heaps of seasoning. Delicious and filling, but not in a heavy way. This has been keeping me so much fuller than some of the breakfasts I was resorting to when we only had a toaster and a kettle in the bathroom! This has meant less snacking throughout the day. My only beef with this product is wondering what on earth they do with the egg yolks. I really hope there's a custard factory next door to where they process it all!

Finally, these cartons have a long life in the fridge and freeze/defrost easily. Brilliant protein, zero fat, super easy, super versatile and filling!

- Tom Yum soup

I love going out for Thai food; it is my absolute favourite. The colours, flavours and textures are wild! The only challenge is, it's really easy for me to get excited in the company of loved ones and over order. Cue overeating and feeling bloated afterward. However, Tom Yum soup doesn't do this. It's got all the colours and flavours of Thailand I love, with very few calories. It's hot, spicy (upon request), satisfying and the vegetable versions are often so chockas full of veg that I'm full by the end of a bowl. It's one of my old faithful orders I had forgotten about - great for a low-key Thai date where everyone is eating their own meals rather than sharing. This is also great if you're going to Thai and you're not particularly starving. It'll take a while to eat, be filling but not heavy.

At home, you can use Tom Yum paste in a jar from the Asian section of the supermarket and some good stock. It also makes a great flavour base for stir-fries!

- Chobani Fat Free Yoghurt

This yoghurt is amazing. I mean it's a bit sour, but it's amazing. It is super high in protein, super low in fat and carbs and is practically a protein shake but it's actually FOOD. 180grams only packs 100 calories and that is quite a decent volume. I love it with any fresh or frozen fruit and a bit of something sweet like honey. Some cinnamon is good, too. Even the fruity Chobanis have pretty great nutritional panels. Also the yoghurt seems to have a ridiculously long use-by date. It nearly never goes off. Black Magic.

Oh! Oh! AND, I'm completely lactarded but somehow this doesn't upset me? HOW!?

Black Magic.

Recommend using this yoghurt as a sour cream substitute too, btw. Also great in breakfast smoothies.

Do you ever forget that you love lighter foods? What are your go-to foods for when you're on a mission? Give me ideas!

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