Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Lockdown Snacking…..

Lockdown Snacking….. 🍫🍦

Whether you are currently isolating, or just in lockdown, or even still out there going essential work, it’s quite likely that with the increased stress, uncertainty, inability to go out as you normally would etc that snacking and having “treats” is likely to increase.

Now there is absolutely no point trying to avoid snacking completely. It’s not realistic, it’s also putting unnecessary stress on yourself at a time when other things are far more important. Instead some simple, lower calorie, swaps can really help reduce the impact of all those extras.

You can still have “treats” and things you enjoy but you can minimise the impact and hopefully prevent too much overeating. You can make some really simple swaps – swapping your chocolate for something like a curly wurly, a grab bag of crisps for some pop chips, and choosing a a low calorie ice cream could reduce your snack calories by two thirds!

Finding similar tasting treats that are simply lower in calories is a great way to cope with the snacking temptations of being at home more, or the added stress and anxiety without negatively impacting on your fat loss goal.

🤗

Xx

Recipes

Spicy Lentil Soup

Soup is always a good option for a filling lunch or dinner and this one really packs a punch!
spicy-halloween-soup
You will need:
1/2 tsp each mustard & cumin seeds
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
3 x celery stick, sliced
1 tsp each chilli powder & paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric & cayenne pepper
2 cups red lentils
2 litres of stock made with vegan stock powder
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
Heat the oil on a med-high heat & add the seeds. When they start popping, add the onion, garlic & celery and reduce heat slightly.
Cook for 5-10 minutes until soft & then add all the spices and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and mix well.
Add the stock, tinned tomatoes and puree and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Blend before serving and add pepper & cayenne to taste.
Enjoy 🙂
xx
Recipes

Chickpea Chili

Another bowl of warming goodness! This one combines the veggie mince with chickpeas for an added boost. This is a great one to batch cook and then it’s ready for lunches or dinners all week.

chickpea-chilli

You will need:

250g Veggie Mince (Quorn/soya etc)

2 cans of Chickpeas (or equivalent amount of dry chickpeas cooked in vegetable stock)

2 Leeks, sliced

2 Red Chilli’s, finely chopped

4 cloves Garlic

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp Garam masala

1 tsp Celery salt

400 g chopped Tomatoes

1 small can Sweet Corn

4 tbsp Tomato Puree

Salt and pepper to taste

Warm some oil in a pan, add sliced leeks and a pinch of salt, allow to brown gently. Add chilli, garlic and spices. Simmer for a couple of minutes then add the veggie mince, mix well and allow to cook until the mixture starts to brown,  3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato puree. Add sweet corn and chickpeas, gently simmer for about 15 minutes, adding more vegetable stock if required. Make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the pot. Cook until the chickpeas are cooked through.

Serve with fresh rocket and a dollop of 0% greek yoghurt or hummus.

Enjoy! 🙂

xx

Recipes

Spiced Lentils

This is another perfect comforting meal. It’s filling and spicy and the combination of sweet, aromatic spices with the hot spices really gives this a wonderful richness. I used the spices I had in the cupboard, and yes, there are a lot, but you could use whatever you want so don’t stress if you don’t have them all.

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1 cup Brown Lentils
1 Onion
1 Red Chilli
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Carrot, 1 Courgette, 1 Stick of Celery (whatever veg you have can be used!)
½ Red Pepper
2 tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
10 Plum Tomatoes
1/2 cup Tomato Puree/Passata
1 cup Vegetable Stock
2 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Mustard Seed (fenugreek seed is better but I didn’t have that!)
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
¼ tsp Chilli Powder
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Saute the onion, red pepper, garlic and chilli in a pan with a little oil. Add the ginger and spices and sauté for another 5 mins. Add in the carrots, celery and courgette and sauté for another 5 mins, then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and lentils. Simmer until the lentils are tender. Serve with baby spinach leaves and a dollop of natural yoghurt.

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Recipes

Squash and Bean Chili

If you’re looking for a healthy, comforting dinner or lunch then this is it. It’s a yummy bowl full of love and comfort – full of taste, texture and a bit of heat!

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You  can use any squash or pumpkin you like,  in fact, sweet potato would also work well. You can also use any beans you like – I’ve made this a few times and just used the beans I had in my cupboard – kidney beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, butter beans, broad beans… Or even chickpeas!

For the Chili you will need:

3 cans of beans (drained)
2-3 cups chopped Pumpkin/squash/sweet potato
2 cans chopped tomatoes or 600g of fresh chopped tomatoes
1/2 – 1 cup Vegetable stock (adjust as needed)
2 stalks Celery, chopped finely
1 Red onion, chopped finely
1 Pepper (red or yellow work well), diced
2 large Cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp Tomato purée
2 tsp ground Chilli
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
2 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp Cayenne powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

0% Greek yoghurt to serve

Add a little oil to a large pan and add the onion, celery, garlic and pepper and allow to cook until softened. Add all the spices and seasonings, mix well and cook for another 10 mins. You may need to add a little more oil – ensure you keep the heat low and stir frequently so you don’t allow the spices to stick.

Meanwhile, chop your squash into decent sized pieces (approx 2cm square). Bring a pan of water to the boil and drop the pumpkin in. Boil for approx 5 – 7 mins – you don’t want it to soften too much but just to partially cook through. Drain them well.

Add the tomatoes and pumpkin to the stock pot and stir well. Then add the vegetable stock and all the beans. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the beans well. Then pop the lid on and allow to cook on low heat for 45 mins or until the beans and squash are cooked through. I usually remove the lid for the last 15 mins and keep an eye on it so it can thicken up a bit.

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Now grab yourself a nice big bowlful of chilli and add a dollop of greek yoghurt and enjoy! 🙂

xx

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Recipes

Quorn mince (or any veggie mince) and sweet potato shepherd’s pie

This recipe should serve 3 – 4 people. You may find you have slightly too much veggie mince if so then simply add some more spices and chili to the left over mince for an easy lunch time chili 🙂

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140g Veggie mince (Soya, Quorn, etc)

450 ml Vegetable stock

1 Onion

1 clove Garlic

1/2 Red pepper

800 g chopped Tomatoes

1 tbsp Tomato puree

Seasoning (I used salt, pepper, celery salt, oregano, mustard seeds and paprika)

A dash of Balsamic vinegar

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

650 g Sweet potato (peeled)

A dash of milk

Dice the onion and pepper and crush the garlic. Place them all in a large saucepan and soften. Add the veggie mince. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar (only a dash!), Worcestershire sauce and all the seasoning. Leave it to simmer for as long as possible – the longer the better.

Meanwhile chop the sweet potato and place in a pan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Drain well and then mash – adding seasoning and a dash of soya milk to give a smooth mash.

Place the cooked mince in a large dish, fork the sweet potato mash over the top. Place in the oven (approx 180 C) before serving to brown the top slightly and heat through. Serve with veg of your choice!

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy frying…

Healthy frying… 🍳

With most people’s general activity levels lower at the moment and a natural focus on eating more “healthily” to stay well it seemed like a good opportunity to consider how to fry food more healthily.

There is an assumption that coconut oil is a healthy choice for cooking. As with other oils (e.g. olive oil), it does have some health benefits. The oil contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and there is evidence that it could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss.

So many people recommend using coconut oil to cook with – dolloping in a spoonful of the stuff for stir fries, pan frying meat and fish etc. Now whilst it is healthy it’s also extremely calorie dense. A spoonful (15g) of coconut oil is approx 129 cals. If you used this for one meal a day that would give you a total of 3,612 calories over the course of a month.

Thats a lot of extra calories! If you’re using oil simply to ensure the food doesn’t stick then you’d be far better off buying a good non-stick frying pan and using no oil at all! Or if you really need it you can get a 1 calorie coconut oil spray.

By using a non-stick pan you can save those extra calories (which you’re probably not accounting for anyway) and spend them on something else. It’s a small sacrifice for some big savings and assuming you’re having a balanced diet overall then you won’t suffer a decrease in health by cutting it out.

🤗

Xx