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23rd October 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Fajita Bowl

img_1675YUM. I thoroughly enjoyed tucking into this and it was way easier to eat than squashed into a wrap. This is a delicious meal if you’re looking for a lower carb option, or equally, it would be amazing with rice in as well (or quinoa for more protein!). Give it a go, spice it how you like it and let me know what you think!

Serves 1

– 1 chicken breast, sliced

– 1 small red onion, sliced

– 1/2 yellow/orange pepper, sliced

– Coconut oil, for frying

– Fajita seasoning

– 1/2 avocado

–  1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

– lemon juice & salt

– Lettuce

– Handful of spinach

– 1 tbsp soured cream

– 1 tbsp salsa

– Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

– Cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Fry the chicken, onions and peppers in the coconut oil and fajita seasoning until the chicken is cooked through. Keep it on a high heat and continue to stir.
  2. To make the guacamole, mash half an avocado with the chopped onion, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  3. Take a bowl and line it with lettuce and spinach, then top with the chicken mixture and add the guacamole, soured cream, salsa, chopped tomatoes and finish off with some grated cheese.

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Enjoy!

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9th October 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Abs & Core Guide

Want to know how to strengthen your core and get a flatter, more defined stomach?

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I have put together a core/abs guide with my advice on what to do to achieve this, including core activation exercises and three full ab workouts. One requires no equipment so can be done at home, and the other two use a range of equipment (bench, swiss ball, TRX, kettlebells) to vary the training for a stronger core and a leaner looking stomach.

Follow the plans alongside my tips for 6 weeks and you will be feeling stronger, more toned and looking amazing.

You can purchase the 10 page eBook here for just £12!

Don’t forget to take progress pictures and please let me know how you get on 🙂

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4th October 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Healthy on a Budget

I teamed up with the lovely people at Aviva to bring you my top tips on how you can live a healthy lifestyle without spending a fortune. You can read the full article here to see my feature as well as other trainers and fitness blogger’s opinions. My full advice is below!

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10 Top Tips for staying fit and healthy on a budget

The health and fitness industry can be a dangerous place for spending money because of the perceived norms of how to reach a certain goal (usually weight loss or building muscle) and the social pressures which contribute to the ideal that you have to buy certain things to look a certain way. This is a fad along with low calorie and juice diets. You do not need to spend a lot of money to be healthy and here is why.

  1. No gym membership? No problem! You can stay active ANYWHERE. Your living room, your garden, the park. There are plenty of workouts you can follow with little to no equipment – search YouTube or social media. I often post HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts on my social media which are great for fat burning and use nothing but your own body weight. Everyone can stay active for no cost at all, you just need a little bit of motivation.
  1. You don’t need to hunt down ‘superfood’ ingredients that you can’t pronounce. (Apart from quinoa.. which you can get in any supermarket for a very reasonable price and is a great source of protein!). Most of the time these raw cacao, goji, matcha, dairy and gluten free-whatever-they-are, aren’t even any healthier or more beneficial than sticking to the basics. Choose natural ingredients that you can get in your local supermarket, and that you don’t have to travel to a WholeFoods for and spend a fortune.
  1. Walk or cycle everywhere. Too often people drive to work, drive to the gym, drive home, drive to the supermarket, drive into town, and it is all in walking or cycling distance. Make a change and start saving money on travel, and improving your fitness in the process.
  1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Plan your meals and make a food shopping list for the week and stick to it. If you don’t have meals and snacks prepared then you will end up spending more money on buying food and drinks out, especially if you are hunting down healthier options like smoothie’s or salads, which can be very pricey. Make your own and save your pennies!

5. Don’t be fooled by the FitBit. Fitness gadgets are taking over and you do NOT need them. Chances are they aren’t that accurate, and you can fall into an unhealthy obsession with tracking steps, calories burnt, calories consumed and so on, turning your health and fitness into something categorised by a number rather than it being enjoyable and sustainable.

  1. Save on supplements. You don’t need to be taking every vitamin and mineral under the sun, pre workout, gels, slimming drinks or protein shakes. You can get all of the nutrients you need through eating well without processed supplements.
  1. Shop smart. Get your fruit and vegetables from a market wherever possible and hit your supermarket late at night when everything is being reduced – meat and fish can be frozen and used throughout the next couple of weeks. I always bulk-buy where possible as well – if something is on offer that you know you regularly buy, stock up!
  1. Your activewear does not have to cost the earth! Invest in a few key pieces (trainers, supportive sports bra for women etc.) and make sure you do your research – sometimes the most expensive brand is not the most practical or comfortable. Many high street shops now do good quality sportswear which is much more affordable, especially for items such as tops.
  1. Don’t feel pressured to compete. Keeping fit and healthy should be fun and for YOU, not something you work towards for only a small part of the year just to tick a box or to prove something to someone else. You don’t have to spend money on entering body building or bikini competitions or signing up to marathons just because there are social pressures to do so. Work towards a goal by all means but this does not need to cost anything.
  1. Change your mindset. Money doesn’t buy happiness. And it doesn’t buy good bodies either. You can stay healthy inside and out for a small cost! Being unhealthy is the expensive one (alcohol, takeaways, smoking etc.), don’t let it win by making healthy expensive too.

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3rd October 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Finding Motivation

IMG_0190MOTIVATION

That annoying word. The word that we don’t fully understand but are constantly trying to find and hold on to. And I’m not just talking about motivation to get to the gym, or to eat healthy. I’m talking about those days when you can’t even get out of bed. When you feel like you don’t want to face the world, the day, or even making breakfast. And I know this sounds all doom and gloom, but this is real life. This post is about feeling low, unmotivated and struggling with daily tasks whether it’s the big things or the smallest things. I want to reach out to those of you who feel like this, or who go through similar phases, and to tell you that you are certainly not alone, that it is okay to feel like this, and that there are ways to get past it.

Whether it’s your job, money, your relationships, bad news or for simply no reason at all, you can often feel like you’ve hit a wall, and you’d rather just sit on the sofa in your pyjamas crying over trashy TV with a box of chocolate fingers in one hand and a bag of Doritos in the other. It’s difficult to pull yourself out of that slump and it’s easier to stay there rather than facing your problems and doing something productive about them; whether it’s taking some simple steps to make yourself feel better or actively tackling an issue to improve the situation, or change your mindset on it. First of all, it is okay to stay in this slump for a little while. You need that time. But you also need to know how to pull yourself out of it and get your sh*t together. Don’t settle for unhappiness, get off your ass and search for that positivity which we all have somewhere. Here are my five top tips on how to do this.

  1. Talk to someone. Family, friends, partners; someone who won’t judge you or think you’re crazy. Talk to them in person, over the phone or message them. Sometimes you just need to get everything off your chest. And you will feel SO much better afterwards. Don’t stress about things on your own. We all have someone who will listen and sometimes, that’s all you need. And you never know, they might be able to offer advice to make you feel better, help you see things in a different light or simply just be that shoulder to cry on. If you really don’t want to talk to anyone (although I urge you to take this step as it will be a breath of fresh air!) then write everything down. Get everything out in the open before your head explodes.
  2. Make to do lists. Sometimes molehills can become mountains and you feel like you can’t climb them. Break it down, and take it one tick box at a time. You will get there, and the organisation will help you feel more sane. Organised mind = organised life. Setting yourself smaller tasks should help you to feel motivated to tick everything off; whether it’s doing your taxes, going to the gym or doing a food shop. Don’t worry if you can’t tick everything off in one day; I don’t think I’ve ever managed this! Make it realistic, and there’s always tomorrow.
  3. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Stay active. I know it seems obvious, but simply going for a walk and getting some fresh air can do you the world of good. If you walk to work, change your route. If you do the same workout in the gym every time, change it up. Don’t let life become mundane. Go out and explore, see new things or rediscover old places. Put your headphones in and lift heavy weights or break a sweat on the treadmill if that’s what you prefer. Exercise WILL make you feel better, even if the initial get up and go is a struggle. You will never regret taking 20 minutes – 1 hour out of your day to walk, run or lift. Do it for your mind.
  4. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, who make you laugh and who make you feel positive. It’s good to have a friend to moan about stuff with, but make sure you don’t bring each other down and that it always ends in laughter. Be with people who are genuinely happy when you’re happy, who support you and who push you higher. I am very lucky to have a few friends who I can always count on to make me smile. Make sure you find these people, hold on to them, and are always there for them too.
  5. Look for the positives and you WILL find them because they are there. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. A positive mind comes only from you so having done the above steps (because you’re only going to feel better, not worse, after doing them, so go do them..) you should be able to look at things differently, be able to set yourself achievable goals (no matter how big or small they are), and take each day one step at a time. We all struggle with feeling positive; nobody is perfect and we are all learning. Think about how you want to feel, what sort of person you want to be, what you want to achieve and this should be enough motivation to make a change. Forget about what other people think. Work on you. Never stop taking those small steps to being a better version of yourself – to feel happier, healthier, stronger – once you get your stride, you’ll be taking those steps two at a time, and the small setbacks will always be overpowered by the drive you have to pick yourself back up again.

You’ve got this.

 

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3rd October 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Creamy Chicken Pasta

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A much lighter version of the normal creamy pasta, this is quick to make and tastes naughtyyyy.

Serves 2

– 150g high fibre pasta (I get mine from Sainsbury’s)

– Knob of butter

– 1 clove of garlic

– 150g mushrooms, sliced

– 2 chicken breasts, chopped

– Large handful of spinach leaves

– 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

– Handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped

– 300g cottage cheese

– Parmesan, grated (as much as you wish…)

  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the garlic and mushrooms for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken, frying until cooked through.
  3.  Stir in the spinach leaves, mustard and parsley then cook for a further minute.
  4. Stir through the cottage cheese and some grated parmesan, and season to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta then add to the pan and mix everything together.
  6. Serve with some extra parmesan on top!

Enjoy!

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28th September 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies

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I have posted an avocado brownie recipe before but this time there are raspberries in them. What is better than chocolate and raspberries together? NOTHING. So you need to make these. As soon as possible. I used ingredients that are easy to get hold of and not too expensive (none of this coconut sugar business..) You cannot taste or see any avocado for those of you wondering, and they will 100% satisfy your chocolate craving. Rich and delicious, get your bake on and treat yourself to brownies which are a little more nutritious than the usual refined sugar-laden ones.

For those with allergies/intolerance’s these are also gluten and dairy free! There are eggs so sorry, vegans.

 

Makes 8 brownies

– 1 ripe avocado

– 150g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 90%), melted

– 1 tsp coconut oil, melted

– 2 eggs

– drizzle of agave nectar (or honey)

– 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 100g raspberries

– 75g ground almonds

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a baking dish.
  2. Mash the avocado in a mixing bowl until smooth, then stir in the melted chocolate and coconut oil.
  3. Beat in the eggs and mix well, adding the agave nectar, baking powder and raspberries.
  4. Once combined, stir through the ground almonds (mixture should be quite thick), then transfer to the baking dish.
  5. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes then leave to cool before slicing and enjoying!

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28th September 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

When in Rome…

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Travelled in September 2016, after having been in March 2015.DCIM102GOPROG0414039.My boyfriend had to attend a conference so naturally, I jumped at the chance of turning it into a holiday as I had fallen in love with Rome the first time. The second time was even better. Having done all of the main sights before (Colosseum, Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Vatican City etc.), it meant more time for exploring, relaxing and eating ALL of the Italian food (the best part).img_5177 img_4837WHERE TO EAT?

The most important question first, obviously. Three restaurants that you HAVE to try when in Rome are Roma Sparita, La Fraschetta, and Sette Oche Ristorante (get the meat & cheese sharing platter and carbonara). All in Trastevere (more about this part of Rome later) which is home to the best food and nightlife in the city. Make sure that you book these restaurants if on busy evenings. DO NOT go into a restaurant where they are trying to lure you in off the streets. Authentic, traditional and fresh food will come from the places that perhaps don’t look as amazing from the outside or who don’t have waiters waving you in, but they will be busy (particularly with locals), they will be fully booked and they will be delicious. All very reasonably priced, and who’s complaining when house wine tastes amazing and is only 7 euros a bottle…img_5071For ice cream – perhaps not the most authentic gelato, but the most delicious in my opinion is Della Palma near the Pantheon. The frozen yogurt ones were particularly yummy and cappuccino!img_5398img_4841For lunches, by all means tuck into a big bowl of pasta, but for a ‘lighter’, on-the-go lunch, head to Campo de Fiori and find ‘Burro e Formaggi’, a shop selling fresh cheese, meats and every other Italian ingredient under the sun. Ask them to make you a sandwich and watch them cut parma ham in front of you while they give you samples of fresh mozzarella. Then tuck in whilst you walk around the beautiful markets!DCIM102GOPROGOPR4080.img_5225WHAT TO DO?

Apart from the obvious listed at the top (touristy but a must see!), definitely cross the river (just walk over one of the bridges!) and explore Trastevere. We stayed in Trastevere and it was the best decision. Only a 10/15 minute walk across to the main sights (Campo de Fiori, Pantheon etc.), it has a much better atmosphere, beautiful streets, amazing nightlife, lots of locals, and above all, incredible food.img_4973img_5171And if you get knackered from walking the streets all day, eating all of the food, and then wearing high heels on cobbled streets (good one, Lottie) all night, then you can always just sit in the sun reading a book on a fountain the next day. It is definitely possible to relax and unwind in Rome, just make sure you take the time to do so, you will appreciate the city so much more. img_5104Visit the Jewish Ghetto and the Synagogue (including the museum). I learnt so much about the history of the area and Roman Jews: I would definitely recommend this for some extra culture and to learn more about Rome. The Jewish quarter also has some of the most authentic cafes (where I got to try deep fried courgette flowers!), and is a beautiful area with old buildings and a lot of history. There is something very poignant about walking through each day and seeing the same locals sat on the same benches: retired men and women who’s families have lived in the area since it was first built. 
img_4872img_4938Synagogue bottom left, fruit and veg stalls of Campo De Fiori, and Piazza Mastai top right.

Last but certainly not least, you MUST go on a food tasting tour around Rome. I booked mine with Viator and it was the best thing I did on the whole trip – of course, it had to involve food… It was a small group and our tour guide was amazing; speaking so passionately about traditional, Roman food and teaching us so much about the history of Rome as well. From cheese and cured meats, to pizza, pastries, risotto balls, deep fried courgettes, pasta, wine and ice cream, we quite literally ate our way around the city. We started in the Campo De Fiori markets and made our way through the Jewish quarter and then into Trastevere. I would recommend doing something like this at the beginning of your trip, as not only does it help you to know where things are, but she also gave use loads of recommendations as a local, of the best places to eat and we got to taste for ourselves how amazing they were. These recommendations tried and tested by me are the ones which I have passed on to you in this post!DCIM102GOPROGOPR4366.img_4893Rome is easily my favourite city. Don’t be put off by the tourists and the crowds.

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There are plenty of hidden gems. And when you find them, you will never want to leave.img_5355Trastevere

I hope that you have found this post helpful – whether you are planning on going to Rome, or have been already and are wondering whether to go again (DO IT!), or whether you just like looking at pictures of Italian food!
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Ciao, until next time x

Oh.. and in case you’re wondering how I managed to get a few vitamins in – there are loads of ‘corner shop’ type places which are also cafes where you can have coffees and pastries etc. but they usually have a counter with loads of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables where they can make you a smoothie/juice. When in Rome, DO NOT worry about food and calories and macros and blah blah, but if you need a pick me up, then you will easily find it 🙂img_5462

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21st September 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

How to be a Personal Trainer

IMG_0184I am finally getting around to writing this post – and I think this is the best time, having been a PT for a year now!

When I started my PT course and just after qualifying, I had a lot of questions about how to go about it so in this post I will try and cover all of the information that I think will help you, as well as some of the pros and cons of the job – as with any, it’s not perfect, and I think it’s important to give you my balanced and honest opinion.

Personal Trainer courses cost a decent amount of money (I think mine was just over £3000), so having just graduated from uni, I realised I could not afford that (even though there is an option to pay it in instalments if you need to). I worked in marketing for a year so that I could save some money to pay for the course – I would highly recommend being prepared financially. I think this is the most important thing to consider; especially if you are young and just out of school or university and don’t have much money saved. Not only is there the course to pay for, but you are of course not employed or paid to be there whilst you are doing the course which means no income. I did the fast track 6 week course so I knew that for at least 6 weeks, plus the amount of time to get my business up and running (a long time) I would have no income. You have got to be prepared or have support behind you. Do not expect that you will come out of the course and be on a high salary straight away, it probably won’t work out like that. My biggest word of advice is to be realistic.

A lot of people do the part time course which runs over a few months and therefore can continue to work alongside it, so the financial side of things isn’t too bad. I can’t really give my opinion on this since I haven’t done it, but I just wanted to focus on it for 6 weeks rather than going back and forth every so often and learning in dribs and drabs.

I did mine with The Training Room in Nottingham and the price includes the full 6 weeks (Mon-Fri), uniform (t-shirts) and all of the textbooks that you need (and there are a lot).

You cover Level 2 Fitness Instructing first, as you need to pass this to then move on to become a Level 3 Personal Trainer, so the course is split into 3 weeks of each. There are exams – both written and practical, throughout the 6 weeks.

Depending on your knowledge already (e.g. biology or sports science), the course content may seem easier to understand or more difficult. I remember someone telling me that it would be really easy and anyone could pass it (hence why there are some very questionable PT’s out there), but those people do the bare minimum. They learn the very basics and learn what they need to scrape the passes in the papers and the practicals. They are not the ones who go far. I know that sounds really harsh, but my point is that if you WANT to learn, you WILL learn as much as you possibly can, and it will be a lot of information to take in and it will be a challenge. Our tutor was amazing – really knowledgeable and experienced, and he went above and beyond to make us learn the science behind everything, rather than just the basics that you need to know to tick the right boxes (yep, the papers are all multiple choice!) The quality of the PT course that you are on, really depends on the quality of teaching, and the tutor that you have.

The course was really fun, however, I learnt a lot, and it massively helped to grow my confidence, as well as being pushed in some physical challenges (spin and boxing to name a few..)

In terms of securing a job afterwards, The Training Room are affiliated with a range of gyms – at the time our options were DW, Fitness First and David Lloyd. I really wanted to work at Virgin Active so contacted them about a position and got an interview there; but The Training Room still sorted out my interview with PureGym as well which was the worst interview ever – when the person calls you in by the wrong name and you are sat in there bored, you know that that is not going to be the job for you. But, The Training Room do offer you a good amount of support in making sure that you have secured a job. My advice would be, however, to make sure you do your own research and contact gyms yourself, and do it early as well; I had my interviews before I had qualified and got the job on the condition that I would pass my level 3 exams. Be prepared, and make sure that you have something lined up to start straight after the course!

I am now still at Virgin Active Nottingham, as well as growing my online business. I love my job because I love my clients. I meet and get to work with so many amazing people who I am lucky to call my friends, and get to help them feel more confident in the gym, learn to love their training, and feel happier with their bodies and overall health.

The reward of the job is 100% worth it, and it outweighs the some-what rocky financial side. As they say, do what you love and the money will come.

Be prepared to be very flexible. Early starts, late nights, weekends. Client cancellations and session changes. Not every day is a great day, as with any job. Sometimes you might feel under valued, like the work you’ve put in for that client or that particular session has not been recognised, but that is life, and most of the time it is a rewarding job.

If you are passionate enough about it, and have considered the practical and realistic aspects, then go for it! What have you got to lose? Changing from my boring office job that I had no passion for, was the best thing I ever did.

If you have any questions, or would like me to do any similar posts going into more detail, then please feel free to comment or drop me a message on my social channels (links at the top). The best way to contact me is probably through Snapchat – follow me on ‘lottierainbow’, and you can just drop me a message 🙂

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17th August 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Panasonic Wings Headphones

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Push harder. Aim higher. Take flight.

In the height of the Olympics, I am thrilled to be reviewing the Panasonic Wings headphones designed specifically for the most enduring of sporting activities. Of course, the biggest appeal to me is the fact that I now won’t be getting my headphone wires tangled in the bottom of my bag or stuck on practically everything in the gym when I’m bending down to pick up my weights. The gym may not be the running track, but it is a nightmare for headphones so these wireless earphones which work through bluetooth to your phone or ipod, are amazing.

The Panasonic Wings come with a case which is the perfect size to fit in any bag, as well as a charging cord and three different sizes of earbuds (great for me since I have the tiniest ears ever!). They fit really snug in and around the ear thanks to the 3D-flex sport clips so you can have faith that they will not move or fall out during your workout, and the sound quality is so much better than the cheap, basic headphones that I have been using recently.

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The #PanasonicWings linked up perfectly with my phone via bluetooth, as well as with this iPod nano which was kindly sent to me for extra motivation. This quote just highlights everything that staying active and working towards any goal in life is all about. I will definitely be using this paired with my Panasonic Wings so that I am always motivated to smash my workouts.

Other pro’s of these earphones are the quick charge (only 15 minutes to get 70 minutes of use!), as well as being water resistant so that they can be easily cleaned (for after those ultra sweaty sessions), and of course, the sleek design that you can see above. Make sure you follow my Instagram (links at the top of the page) to see me wearing the Panasonic Wings in action – coming soon!

Now comes the best part – I have a discount code for you all to receive 35% off the headphones.

It is valid until the 31st March 2017 so would be great to use even for Christmas presents if you know someone who would love these.

Simply use the code ‘WINGS35‘ on the Panasonic website at the checkout!

I hope that you love the Panasonic Wings as much as I do, and that you are all feeling motivated thanks to Rio 2016 and how amazing Team GB are doing.

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14th August 2016
by Lottie
0 comments

Courgetti with Avocado Sauce

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So quick and easy to make with minimal ingredients – full of protein, good fats & green veg without even tasting like courgette (bonus)!

Serves 1

– 1 courgette, spiralised or shop-bought courgetti

– Coconut oil

– 1 chicken breast, sliced

– 1 red onion

– Seasoning

– 1 ripe avocado

– Juice from 1/2 a lemon

– Parmesan or feta, for sprinkling on top

 

  1. Fry the chicken in some coconut oil until browned, then add the onion and season. Cook for another few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the avocado sauce, simply mash the avocado with the lemon juice in a bowl using a fork until completely smooth. Season to taste.
  3. In another pan, heat some butter or coconut oil and warm through the courgetti for a minute, then stir in the avocado sauce and heat for a further minute.
  4. Serve the courgetti, then top with the chicken, onions and cheese of your choice!