Mental health is now beginning to take a prominent place in our lives and as a society we are talking about the importance of this to our overall wellbeing. There is a lot of research emerging looking at how a well-balanced and healthy diet ties into the way we feel. The age old saying of “you are what you eat” comes to mind.
More and more nutrition gurus are talking about good gut health and how this is important for both mind and body. We can do this simply by adding certain foods to our diets especially those that are high in fibre. These include lots of vegetables, beans and fruits such as peas, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils and raspberries. We should also try to eat more fermented foods that are rich in lactobacilli-a type of friendly bacteria. These are things like Kombucha, Sauerkraut and live yoghurts. In Punjab and Punjabi households worldwide live yoghurt is a staple and is made daily. Another tip is to try and avoid processed foods and refined sugars, these can be the cause of the all too familiar sugar rush and crash. Over time this cycle perpetuates which can leaving us feeling low in energy and it can have a negative effect on our mood. This is all the more reason to eat foods that release sugars slowly into our bloodstream (low GI foods), typically they are also foods which are high in fibre.
Ingredients in Hiya bars like chickpeas, mixed seeds and unrefined sugar means that they are both low GI and high fibre, so, a win win for your health! These really are one of the best low GI snacks available!
Read more about the importance of diet and making us feel good on the inside!
This week marks a year since the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic and how our lives have changed! We have lived in some form of lockdown since then. This has meant the home office is our new norm. Donning Sweaty Betty with dumbbells in hand and the home workouts have become our outlet. Dressing up has been swapped for loungewear. Learning the latest TikTok dance to Blinding Lights or Oh Naa Naa has become our entertainment. Zoom dinner parties and pub quizzes have become the Friday night in. Baking cakes (that even Mary Berry would be envious of) have been substituted for afternoon tea.
The lockdowns have given us the perfect excuse to learn something new, or, to start the hobby that we have always wanted to do. Some of us have learnt the piano, or a new language, whilst some of us have finally managed to finish the book that has sat on our bedside tables for as long as we care to remember.
Looking at the positive, lockdown has not been all that bad! For some of us it has been a healing experience, an opportunity to reset and reflect and the start of a new journey into better health and wellbeing. Some of us have started to make better food choices like cutting out or reducing meat and dairy products. In the quest to find healthier options we are turning to plant-based alternatives. Did you know that chickpeas are a great plant-based protein, and they are also high in fibre? As there is a trend and shift towards less meat consumption, the supermarkets and food manufacturers are responding and there is more and more vegan food available. However, some of these are masked with additives and preservative. You will be pleased to know that Hiya is one of the best vegan snacks on the market because we are all natural and we don’t have any refined sugars!
Fingers crossed we will return to our pre-pandemic lives but do look back on this time and be kind to yourself about how we have managed and adapted to a new way of life.
Celebrate the small wins and let’s look forward to the future.
Did you know that chickpeas have been used since 6790 BC? Wow, that’s a long time, but not surprising as this is such a good wholesome food! It has great health benefits like boasting low G.I, which means that your body absorbs and digests them slowly helping control blood sugars. They are also full of soluble fibre, this is known to reduce cholesterol absorption. Soluble fibre also aids digestion and helps promote good gut bacteria. Chickpeas are also a good source of calcium and magnesium, giving you stronger bones. All in all it is a very wholesome food and a great source of nutrition for a plant based diet!
This amazing legume has a delicious buttery and nutty flavour and is used in so many Punjabi recipes. Most people are familiar with hummus, which is a savoury chickpea snack made with olive oil and tahini. However, in Punjab (India) there are so many sweet dishes that are made from chickpea flour (known as gram flour). It is such a versatile flour, as it is gluten free and a great source of plant protein, and so it’s a great choice for vegan snacks. Hiya bars are a chickpea based snack bar unlike any other bars which are made from dates and oats as the base ingredients. Why not give our chickpea snack bars a try?
Lastly, did you know that you could use the water from a tin of chickpeas (also known as aquafaba) as an egg alternative in meringues? Check out our recipes for Eton Mess to find out more.
Did you know that our love for getting out and about on our bikes as a nation has grown hugely over the last decade. More and more of us are choosing to cycle to get around, or just to explore the countryside. and with this is the added benefit of increasing your fitness and improving your overall health.
So, what type of food is good for taking out with you on your next ride? It is important to get your energy from healthy nutritional sources. Think of foods that are made up of carbohydrates protein and good fats. Some great news for cyclists is that our Hiya bars are all of these! The difference between a Hiya snack and other snack bars is that we don't use lots of dates and dried fruit as our base, instead we use chickpea flour with lots of seeds, making them low GI and releasing energy into the body slowly over time. This mixed with the good fat from coconut oil and flaxseeds gives you the bursts of energy needed for long and short rides.
Hiya bars aside, there are also some other particularly good suggestions for snacks or food on the go to take out on long trails. It might also be a good idea to start your day with a good breakfast of oatmeal or fresh fruit with some nut butter and milk or dairy alternative. Another good option for breakfast is peanut butter on wholemeal toast with some honey.
Bananas are nature’s answer for endurance athletes and a superfood for everyone. They are filled with potassium and complex carbohydrates which provide fuel for the long hours of pedalling. One large banana can contain up to 30 grams of carbs and 400 mg of potassium, making this yellow fruit a superfood for cyclists.
Nuts and seeds: almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, melon seeds, brazil nuts – the options are endless with these little energy boosters! Even though the carb content in these is lower, even so, they contain lots of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants that aid in keeping you fuelled for the ride ahead. You can create a nut and seed trail mix or add them to your granola for your morning breakfast. We hate to keep talking about the goodness of our bars, but, Hiya bars are full of seeds 😊
Dried fruit: there has been research suggesting that dried fruits like raisins and dates can improve endurance-related performance substantially. They are high in potassium, carbs, and sugar, all of which can add a super-charge to your endurance during your more lengthy rides.
Trail mix is so easy to make, just add some dried fruit and nuts and seeds into a container. Also, add some cacao nibs or chunks of dark chocolate. Mix these through and this is a great trail mix to take out on rides with you.
Check more information on healthy eating at cycling UK and bicycling.com…
A few years ago, I used to run around 8 miles a day. I loved it! There was nothing like getting my trainers on, playlist at the ready and trainers on. The weather never phased me - in fact, some of my most enjoyable long runs were in the rain! As a new year’s resolution, and now that the gyms are closed, I am keen to get out again and start running.
But with long runs came the constant feeling of hunger and I realised that I needed to re-fuel and eat snacks full of good calories. One of the benefits of running is that you can get away with eating sweets and other high-calorie snacks in your diet every so often. You'll definitely run and feel better though, when you're eating healthy, nutritious foods, including snacks.
I was always trying to find good healthy pre run and post run snacks that were an excellent source of protein and full of good fats and above all easy to prepare or just easy to carry - a Hiya snack bar is just the ticket! Our all natural snack bars are the perfect snack for runners. They are low GI, releasing energy slowly, this is essential for those long runs just to help you keep your momentum and especially on those runs when you hit a wall! Here is a good article about low GI and why as runners we should try and get low gi foods into our diets.
The other great thing about Hiya bars is that they are full of good fats, these come from the flaxseeds, melon seeds and coconut oil. These good fats are great for providing immediate energy.
Read more about the importance of good fats for runners.
The mix of gram flour and seeds make Hiya bars a source of protein, essential for muscle development and repair for runners. Protein in a snack is so important as it helps keep you fuller and satiated.
Other Suggestions for Running Snacks
Apple or Fruit Slices With Nut Butter
Everyone knows apples are good for you, and they are low GI and full of fibre. Try eating apple slices, (or you can opt for a pear) with a little bit of nut butter, either peanut or almond, which is a great source of healthful fat and protein.
Cheese and Crackers
The cheese and crackers combo is a nutritious way to curb your in-between-meals hunger. The crackers provide fibre and good carbs, while the cheese is a source of protein.
This simple fruit is so versatile! You'll get carbs from bananas as well as potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps. The simple sugars and low amount of fibre make bananas especially easily digestible, which means they are a good choice as a pre run snack.
Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins which may make it a great post run drink. Cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a run. Another benefit, the calcium will help keep your bones strong.
Running is the perfect excuse to get outdoors during the winter months, just a fabulous workout for the mind and body! Whether you are a marathon runner or a short distance kind of person, it is advisable to have a pre run and post run routine. Most importantly don’t forget to warm up and cool down which helps prevent injuries. It’s also important to get some very good nutrition, the body needs high-quality energy - this means good fats, a good source of protein and carbohydrates. Our Hiya bars are the best snacks for running, as they are a combination of all of these. The good fat comes in the form of the flaxseeds and also the coconut oil. If, like me, you like short sharp sprints, these good fats are great for a burst of energy. They are also great for post run as they help when you need instant energy after a long run. The mix of the seeds with the chickpea flour means that they are low GI, and keep you going for longer. Share with us what your post and pre run food is?
There are so many great apps to record your performance, our favourite is Strava. It records your routes, run speeds and you can share it with friends who are also on it, it’s a great way of staying on track! You can also find local running clubs which are an excellent way to get into the sport.
By the way, we went to Guildford Vegan market a few weeks ago and met a fantastic gentlemen who was really into long distance running. He tasted our bars and was so enthusiastic - who knew that it was so hard to find something tasty and different for long distance runners?!!
Hiya - this is Surinder and Sharon living a HIYA life!!