Recipes

Courgette, leek and spinach soup

The clocks have gone back and it’s chilly out there today, so it’s definitely soup season!

This is a quick, easy, light soup for these cooler days. It is ridiculously low calorie – at around 100 cals a bowl (less if you leave the goats cheese out)! I made a massive batch as we had an over-grown courgette (basically a marrow) that I wanted to use up so it made over ten servings but the amounts below will make at least 5-6 portions.

You will need:

500g Courgettes

250g Leeks

400g Spinach

75g Soft Goat’s cheese (optional)

500ml strong vegetable stock

Mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leeks thinly and pop in a large pan over a low heat and allow to soften.

Chop the courgettes thinly too and then add them to the pan and allow to cook through for around 5 mins with the lid on.

Add the stock and herbs and cook for a further 5-10 mins. If your vegetable stock isn’t very strong it’s worth adding an extra stock cube too.

Add the spinach and stir thoroughly, and then cook through for 3-5 mins.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 mins and then blend thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper to taste and then, if you’re using it, add the goat’s cheese and blend again to combine.

Serve immediately or you can keep it in the fridge or freezer for handy lunches or dinners in the week!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein?

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein? 🍗

Protein is all the rage right now – pushes for its ability to aid weight loss, help keep you full, build muscle and added to pretty much everything in the supermarket now! But is it possible to eat too much?

Yes and no!

It’s important to get enough protein – not only is it essential for health (Amino acids in protein are the building blocks for your body), it’s also great at keeping you fuller for longer, but do we really need as much as it seems? The recommended amount is around 0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight. So if you weigh 65kg you need around 49g a day – a chicken sandwich, porridge with milk, and a veggie chili will give you well over that easily.

Studies do show that higher amounts of protein keep you fuller for longer and there’s also evidence to suggest that higher intakes of protein can help preserve muscle mass when losing weight. If you’re trying to build

Muscle then higher protein is also important(1.2g to 1.6g per kilo).

But…. just because slightly more protein is good that doesn’t mean loads is better.

Studies have shown over 2g per kg brings very little benefit. There’s no way to store protein so any surplus is used for energy – which means of course if you’re consuming more calories than you expend you will store it as fat. Despite scaremongering about excess protein and kidney issues there is little evidence of this in healthy adults. There is evidence though that excess protein causes changes in gut bacteria and digestive issues.

It’s also worth considering what you’re cutting out in order to get extra protein in. If you’re swapping grains for protein you’ll be consuming less fibre which can lead to gut issues.

For the majority of people, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, you’ll be getting plenty of protein. So if you’re reaching for ‘protein’ laden snacks just because you think they’re better then don’t bother, have what you enjoy instead. If you’re adding protein powder to everything just for the sake of it – stop and think whether you really need to. Are you just adding extra calories for the sake of it? As always, balance is key! 🙌🏼

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Let them eat cheese!’ 🧀

‘Let them eat cheese!’ 🧀

We’re often told that high protein is a better option when it comes to snacking. Brands capitalise on this by marketing their products based on their protein content. There is evidence that higher protein can help with weight management – but only because it helps to make you feel fuller, which thereby makes you less likely to consume more calories later. The end result is hopefully that you stick to your calories and are able to maintain or lose weight. Total calories are however the most important factor.

This is a great example of that marketing. The protein balls are delicious and do make a great snack if you’re wanting something sweet – but they actually only have 7g protein for 170 cals. The light babybels on the other hand give you a whopping 10g of protein for only 84 cals! And fat too to keep you full!

So if you’re partial to a bit of cheese, fancy something savoury or are really focusing on higher protein snacks then the babybel is definitely a better option. If you fancy something sweeter then go for the protein balls but just be aware they’re not as high protein! Both make great snack options – just read the labels and then make your choice!

🤗xx

Recipes

No-meat meat ball ragout!

This is another quick and easy lunch or dinner recipe – it can be served with pasta, rice, cauliflower rice or just on its own! There are lots of veggie meat balls out there – I’ve used the Birdseye ones for this but I’ve also used the Quorn ones in the past. Even if you’re not vegetarian they’re a great way to cut calories without feeling like you are!

I cook up a batch for the week and then it’s nice and easy to quickly heat it up for dinner (or lunch!).

Use fresh or frozen veg (or any leftover veg you have will work well) – I happened to have peppers and mushrooms so they went in, but courgettes, aubergines etc would also work well.

Also it’s worth noting that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies so if you’re vegetarian then double check – Biona and other companies make one without the use of animal products and it’s widely available.

This serves at least 6 at about 227 cals per portion.

You will need:

2 packs of no-meat meat balls

2 cans chopped tomatoes (400g each)

2 small onions (or 1 large)

2 peppers

Handful of mushrooms (or any veg you like)

1 tbsp concentrated tomato purée

1/4 tsp smoked Paprika

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 vegetable stock cubes

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 tbsp marmite (optional)

A dash of Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Chop the veg. Heat a little oil in a pan, add onions first and allow to soften, then the peppers, mix and allow to soften.

Add the no-meat meat balls to the pan allow to brown. Then add the mushrooms and any other veg you’re using. Be gentle with the mixture as otherwise the meatballs will break up.

Cook for a couple of mins until the veg start to soften and then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée . Stir well and bring to a slow simmer. Add the stock cubes, all the spices, balsamic vinegar, marmite and Worcestershire sauce and stir well.

Bring to a simmer and allow to cook through for about 10-15 mins.

Serve on its own, with green veg and grains, pasta etc.

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Mushroom and Tomato Tofu Scramble

This is a great easy lunch, light dinner or brekkie option. It’s filling, high protein and low fat and so easy and quick to make. You can use any veg you like – I often put pepper and courgette in if I have it.

This makes a large serving at approx 245 cals or a smaller (enough for lunch) serving at only 123 cals! You can keep leftovers in the fridge to be re heated the following day. Best served on toast – either a nice bit of sourdough or if want to save on cals go for one of the sandwich ‘thins’ at only 100 cals per thin.

Tofu only tastes as good as the herbs and spices it’s cooked in so adjust these to your taste.

You will need:

1 packet of Silken tofu (approx 350g)

100g Mushrooms

100g tomatoes

Spices and herbs to taste. I used :

Worcestershire sauce

Paprika

Mixed herbs

Cayenne pepper

Salt

Pepper

Chop the mushrooms and tomatoes. Add a little oil to a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until starting to brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook them down.

Open the tofu and drain off any obvious liquid, then add to the pan and break it up with a spatula.

Add all the spices and herbs and cook through.

Continue to cook for a couple of minutes and then serve on a piece of toast!

Enjoy 🙂

XX

Recipes

Veggie ‘steak’ casserole

I spotted these quorn veggie steak strips in the supermarket so thought I’d whip up a quick casserole. This is a another easy weekday dinner option, perfect for the cooler evenings. I cook up a batch for the week and then it’s nice and easy to quickly heat it up for dinner (or lunch!).

I’ve used frozen veg for this one as I was running short on time. Never be afraid to use these sorts of frozen veg – they actually have more vitamins and minerals in than the fresh variety so you’re not doing yourself any harm and they’re brilliant if you’re busy and short of time. Obviously use fresh veg if you prefer. Also it’s worth noting that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies so if you’re vegetarian then double check – Biona and other companies make one without the use of animal products and it’s widely available.

This serves at least 8 at about 223 cals per portion.

You will need:

2 pack of quorn steak strips (or any alternative vegetarian product you fancy)

1320g passata (2 bottles at 680g each, but just get approx the same amount)

1 kg mixed vegetables (either 2 packs (500g each) or 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 sticks celery, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 1 small aubergine)

1/2 tsp Paprika

1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional – adjust for taste)

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 vegetable stock cube

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

A dash of Balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of sugar

Salt and pepper

If using fresh veg then prepare it and chop it up. Heat a little oil in a pan, add onions first and allow to soften, then the carrot and celery. Otherwise add the frozen soffito (onion, carrot and celery) mix and allow to soften.

Add the steak strips to the pan and allow to brown. Then add the pepper, courgette and aubergine (if using a pack then just throw it all in at once once the steak strips have browned).

Cook for a couple of mins until the veg start to soften and then add the passata. Stir well and bring to a slow simmer. Add the stock cube, all the spices, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Add the sugar (this brings out a richer tomato flavour).

Bring to a simmer and allow to cook through for about 10-15 mins.

Serve on its own, with green veg and grains, or with a jacket potato etc.

enjoy 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Chilli con veggie!

This is another great option for weekday dinners as the weather gets colder. I make a big batch and it’s fab for a lovely quick meal. It is super versatile too – you can use it for spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, or as a chilli with rice or jacket potato, or just on its own! It will keep in the fridge for at least a week (I’ve kept it for 2 but usually I’ve eaten it all by then!) or you can freeze portions too.

This is really easy to make and if you’re busy you can speed it up even more by using bags of frozen veg. Waitrose/Ocado do a bag of mixed onion, celery and carrots (‘soffritto mix’) and a great bag of frozen mixed grilled veg (onion, aubergine, courgette and pepper) which work brilliantly. Don’t be afraid of using the frozen veg – often they’re actually higher in nutrients than fresh as they’re frozen immediately rather than sitting in warehouses for months. I’m very much a believer in making eating healthy as easy as possible so this is a really easy option.

Even if you’re not vegetarian I’d definitely suggest you try this – it’s a lot lighter in calories and just as tasty. And if you’re worried the family may not want a meat substitute i’d suggest trying it and not telling them – I bet they don’t notice! Loads of my clients have found that their other halves and children haven’t even realised it’s not meat (though obviously you could use turkey or beef mince if you wanted to).

This makes approx 8 generous servings at 245 cals per serving!

You will need:

1000g of Quorn mince (or ‘meet the alternative’ or any other meat substitute)

1500g Pasatta

Either – 1 bag of soffritto mix OR 1 onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1 large carrot all finely chopped

Other mixed veg – pepper, courgette, aubergine (your choice, or 1 bag of the frozen veg)

3 vegetable stock cubes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp of chilli (to taste)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Mixed herbs

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian brand if necessary)

Spoonful of marmite (optional)

Salt and pepper

Heat a little oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few mins.

Add the mincemeat and mix well and let it heat through (if using turkey, beef etc then ensure the meat browns at this point). Add the stock cubes and mix well.

Add the other vegetables and stir well. Heat for a few mins.

Stir in the passata and then add all the spices, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and marmite. Mix well and allow to simmer.

Taste it during this phase and adjust seasoning to taste.

Once it’s cooked for at least 20 mins, if you can let it cook a bit longer do as it helps to give a better flavour. Then it’s done!

Serve with spaghetti, jacket potato, rice, or as a chilli with a dollop of yoghurt and spinach!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx