Lentil and carrot soup with cavolo negro
Welcome to Your Recipe FriYay! Every Friday, I will be posting a new recipe.
Because it’s Veganuary this month I will post vegan recipes. I’m not advocating veganism but instead the consumption of more fruit and vegetables.
On cold winter days, a soup can be so comforting, delicious and nutritious. The good thing about soups is also that you can cook a big batch, put in the fridge or freezer and then becomes your "fast food" for those days when you arrive late home and there isn't match time for cooking. This way you can guarantee that you will have a healthy, nutritious and comforting meal.
6 Top tips to lose weight in 2019
Is being healthy or losing weight one of your resolutions for the new year? Then this article is for you!
The following 6 tips are intended to help your weight loss journey in 2019.
1 – Set a realistic goal
To set up a goal, it’s important to know what your desired weight is. This weight should be a weight that you had previously which made you feel good. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your desired weight must be within the range of a BMI for healthy weight (which is between 18.5 and 24.9 Kg/m2) if you never had a weight in that range before. The most important thing is that your desired weight it’s a weight that makes you feel at your best.
Don’t aim for a rapid weight loss. Usually the quicker you lose weight most likely it is to put on weight again. A healthy weight loss rate varies between 0.5Kg to 1Kg per week. If you lose 0.5kg to 1Kg per week means that in one month you will lose 2kg to 4kg. Aiming to lose more than that could compromise your health and it’s also more difficult to achieve which might cause frustration.
2 – Make a plan and stick to it
The secret is to plan! Planning your meals and your days in advance are key for success. It will avoid last minute meals and eating whichever food is in front of you. At the end of each week plan the following week by writing your diet plan and times of the meals for each day of the week (you can get a personalised diet plan written by a Dietitian), then get all your shopping done according to your diet plan (don’t buy any other food that isn't a part of this plan!). If your week will be very busy with not much time left for cooking, you can do batch cooking at the weekend and freeze your meals in little containers. If you are spending most of the day outside home, take healthy snacks and water with you, this will help you be in control of what you eat and stick to your diet plan.
If you are meeting a friend for dinner at a restaurant, you can take the lead in choosing a restaurant with more healthy and delicious options, if not at least try to look for the menu online and choose a healthier option. Some restaurants highlight the healthier options to help customers.
3 – Get support
Losing weight is a journey and for any journey in our life you need people beside you. Specially for those times where you might feel demotivated and want to give up. Or for those times when perhaps you feel lost and don’t know which path to go. You can get support from your family or friends, budding up with someone who also wants to lose weight for example, it’s important to share experience and motivate each other. Get support from your family at home and create a healthy environment. You shouldn’t feel any different from anyone else just because you are on a journey to lose weight. Creating a healthy environment by eating healthy meals together and getting rid off fast food will just help everyone become healthier and happier.
It’s also extremely important that you seek support from a registered Dietitian. They are the experts in diet and nutrition and will help you by assessing your nutritional needs and designing a personalised meal plan with practical meal ideas taking into account your goal and lifestyle.
4 – Stay focused
Focus on your goal every day. Don’t forget the main reason that made you start your weight loss journey. Whatever reason is, for better health, to be fit, to improve your physical condition, or to just improve your self- esteem, never forget that reason. It helps keeping focus on your goal by having a picture of you from when you had your desired weight so you can start visualising your body at its best. This will help you staying motivated and continue working every day for your goal.
If for some reason you had a festive occasion which you ate a little bit more or ate a piece of cake, don’t blame yourself, don’t loose your focus! You will be successful in your weight loss if you continue focused on your goal and follow a healthy lifestyle most of the days.
5 - Be active
Any physical activity counts. If you are not a big fan of gyms, don’t worry. Try to find something that you like to do, it could be walking the dog in the park, gardening, dancing around the kitchen, having a chat with your friends while walking or choosing the stairs instead of the escalators or lifts. If you feel more adventurous why not trying jogging or trying a yoga class for example? Physical activity will make you feel energised, with a better humour and less stressed! Not just that will also help you to burn calories and get fit.
If you are looking for motivation to exercise, read my article here.
6 - Celebrate your achievement
Any small steps towards your goal counts. Don’t underestimate your efforts. Each week celebrate your success by praising yourself for your dedication during the week. Even if on that week perhaps you didn’t achieve the desired weight loss but you felt improvements on your physical condition, be grateful for your dedication and health. Feel proud of your achievements, this will keep you motivated to continue on your weight loss journey - a journey for a healthier and happier life!
Leave your comments below in how this information was useful and if you would like to know more about weight lost.
Are you looking for practical diet advice in how to eat healthier? Read my article here.
Do you have other tips to lose weight?
Your Diet Advice by Joana Jardim RD MSc
Mushroom and Pea Quinoa Risotto with Asparagus
Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish made from a short-grained, starchy variety of rice called Arborio rice. The technique for making it is called the risotto method, which involves stirring small amounts of hot stock into the rice a little at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed slowly and during the whole process of cooking. For a perfect risotto, start by adding the rice to a non-sticky pan and let it get brown, stirring continuously. The Italians name this process “tostatura”.For a healthier twist add quinoa or barley, for example. These cereals are good sources of protein and fiber, and by adding these you can reduce the amount of risotto rice and increase the variety of food in your plate. They also add an interesting texture and flavor.
These recipe is a good source of:
This recipe is also a:
Ingredients (4 portions):
Suggestion: For the stock, prefer home-made stocks, they are usually healthier. You can use some celery, spring onions, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper to create a delicious stock.
If you are not a vegan, you can make chicken stock from previous juices and gelatin from left overs of roasted chicken. Just simply added some water and adjusted the seasoning by adding some salt, black pepper and bay leaves.
Find your motivation to exercise
Today's post is about finding what drives you to move, how to make it a habit and learn about the innumerous benefits you will get if you do it.
At one stage of my life when I was facing a very decisive period, that was crucial to define my future – I found time to practice a sport. After long days of studying and classes, I was willing to practice volleyball outdoors, in cold days or late at night, 4 times a week for 2 hours. You know why? Because my passion for this particular sport – volleyball was my drive! I would never miss a training session and would fight against my parents’ will to practice this sport.
Then, I went to university, started working and stopped practicing sports – I was having the “sitting disease”. If you are not aware – the “sitting disease” is a term used to describe an individual whom doesn’t engage enough in physical activity to be healthy. This disease is responsible for 20% of deaths on people aged 35 years old or more.
I didn’t know this at that time! What I knew was that I was feeling – very bored, angry, upset, bad humor.
One day, I stopped to think and questioned myself – what can I do to feel better? And started thinking about activities that I used to like and do years ago. I quickly googled it “volleyball in Northampton” and a list of clubs came up. I contacted one of them and on the next training session – I was there. Since then, I’ve been practising volleyball and feeling much better, much happier! After so many years of not practising – around 10 years, I wish I never had stopped.
Now, I want you to find that activity you used to love and practiced before and for some reason you stopped doing it. It could be – jogging, walking, hiking, gardening, dancing…any activity that involves moving.
Think for a few minutes and write it down.
If you are not like me, and never stopped practising the activity that you love, please still write which one is it.
Look at what you wrote – this is what you love doing it! Never forget! This is also what drives you to move.
You need to know now, how to do it. If it’s an activity you did before, you probably know how to physically do but you don’t know how to make it a regular activity, a habit.
To create a habit, you need to commit to it for a period of 30 days. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain.
You also need to keep it consistent – find a day and time that you can commit to it every week.
You’ve now found what drives you to move, you know how to do it…and I will tell you why you should do it!
If you do physical activity, you will gain the following immediate benefits – all of them are medically proven:
During exercise, when the heart rate increases, the blood flow to the brain improves, which helps to:
The brain will start producing brain cells which improves your long term memory. The brain will also increases it sizes – the more exercise you do at longer term the bigger your brain will be. This will have a protective effect on some diseases like: depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Exercise will also help you to maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk of getting heart disease, strokes, diabetes type 2 and cancer.
Last but not least, you will feel happier, with better self-esteem, better mood and more energy.
I want to leave you with one last thought: bringing exercise into your life will not only make you feel happier but it will change the course of your life totally, preventing many incurable diseases!
If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented"
Millet with chicken, courgette and chives
Last weekend my friend introduced me to millet. She is intolerant to gluten and millet is a gluten free grain - a good alternative to wheat. If you never tried, is similar to rice in terms of cooking and can be eaten savory as an accompaniment, sweet as a dessert (similar to rice pudding) or for breakfast (the equivalent of porridge).
Include millet in your diet as an alternative to other grains so you can get the maximum benefit of a varied diet. Each food has its particular benefits, make sure you vary as much as possible.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism, don't eat too much miller because this grain contains goitrogens. These are substances that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goite.
1 cup of cooked millet (136g) contains 206Kcal, 2g fat, 41g carbohydrates, 6g protein and 2g fiber.
Try this healthy and light recipe, for your lunch or dinner and get the maximum benefits of millet.
This recipe works well when you have left overs of chicken in your fridge and want to use them for a different and quick meal.
Ingredients (1 portion):
Salmon teriyaki with rice noodles
Living away from my home country has made me try new cuisines without travelling away from this country. England is a multi-cultural country where many different foods are now part of the daily eating habits of the population. I've been having the pleasure of eating Asian, Indian, Lebanese, Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese food in restaurants but rarely cooking at home this kind of foods.
After a day at work discussing menus with a chef, he mentioned this dish - Salmon Teriyaki which is one of the favourites of the residents. I was quite surprised, because the majority of residents are British. He got me tempted to try this new recipe at home. Sometimes, trying a different dish, specially from a different culture can cause some insecurity however it's always exciting! Breaking the routine on weekdays trying a new recipe can be really one of the best moments of the day.
Diet advice: The WHO recommends consuming at least two portions of oily fish per week. Oily fish is rich in omega 3 which can help to fight inflammation and protect from cardiovascular diseases.
Ingredients (serves 4):
Gnocchi with mushroom sauce and spinach
Do you like to impress your other half or your friends with a delicous dish? This recipe could be the one! It's an italian inspired dish with nutritious ingredients and very easy to prepare. It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare...and voila! The final touch is sliced cherrie tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
Nutrition tip: This recipe contains calcium from the cream, vitamin D from the mushrooms and iron from the spinach. These are essential nutrients to keep your bones strong and healthy. Plus the vitamin D will help your body to absorb the calcium. It's a perfect combination.
Diet advice: If you are trying to lose weight, replace the single cream for cottage cheese. It's lower on calories and fat, rich in protein, and will still give a good flavour.
Ingredients (2 portions)
Tuna salad with chickpeas and avocado
Tuna salad with chickpeas is my type of fast-food meal. For those days, where I don't prepare anything for lunch and I'm very hungry. It's a last minute meal but balanced that requires just a few minutes of preparation. It always helps having in the cupboard some tinned food (tuna, chickpeas, beans) for days like this.
This salad brings me memories from my childhood, my mum used to make chickpeas and salt cod salad (in Madeira). It's much more delicious that way! However, far from home, we can't get salt cod so easily. This salad is a different version adapted for the ingredients I can get here in the UK. It also has addition of new ingredients, like celery and avocado. The celery gives a crunchy and fresh flavor. The avocado can be mixed into the salad or served separate (as follow in the picture), it enriches nutritionally the recipe and contributes with a smooth texture which contrasts well with the crunchy of the celery.
Nutrition fact about chickpeas: chickpeas is a legume, high in fiber and protein. They are also a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium - important nutrients for the bone health.
Diet advice: Eating chickpeas and other legumes, like beans, lentils and peas can help you to manage your weight and satiety. This is because these foods are high in dietary fiber. The fiber takes longer to digest, in comparison with plain carbohydrates (e.g. plain rice, pasta or mashed potato), making you feel full for longer, reducing your appetite and thereby lowering overall calorie intake.
Ingredients (serves 2)
Food combinations: is there any food combinations that are a no-no?
Some of you probably heard things like: don't drink water during mealtimes, don't combine protein with starches on the same meal, raw and cooked foods shouldn't be eaten on the same meal, don't eat more than one type of fruit at the same time.
All these allegations are coming from the theory that combining certain groups of foods might make the digestion difficult, because it might require different times of digestion and different enzymes. Foods that are slower digested sit longer in the digestive system, fermenting and causing bloating, flatulence or diarrhea.
The true is, the digestive system it's very complex. The digestion starts in the mouth, includes the stomach and the small and large intestines. During the whole process different kind of enzymes acts at different stages to make sure that all the nutrients are absorbed.
There isn't any sufficient evidence to show that food combining diets improve digestion.
The best diet we can eat combines a wide variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups, and there's no reason why we shouldn't enjoy foods together in the same meal.
A healthy balance diet consist on meals with foods from different groups: carbohydrates, good fats and proteins and a variety of vegetables.
The best diet we can eat combines a wide variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups, and there's no reason why we shouldn't enjoy foods together in the same meal.
The more variety of foods you include in your diet, more complete your diet will be. Different foods contains different nutrients and vitamins in different proportions, and all of them are essential for a good body function. Restrictive diets sometimes caused by the misbelifs of food combinations can have a huge impact in your health. It's always important to seek professional advice when you are in doubt.
However there is scientific evidence that some food combinations can enhance digestion and absorption of some vitamins and minerals, by making nutrients more bioavailable.
On my next post, I will talk about bioavailability of nutrients (what it means) and how to make food choices to enhance absorption of certain nutrients.
Roasted Vegetable & Lentil Lasagna
Vegetarian dishes can be so tasty and fulfilling. You don't need to be a vegetarian to eat vegetarian food. I'm not a vegetarian, but I love vegetarian and vegan food. It requires more thinking, if you are not used to cook vegetarian dishes. However the end result might surprise you! The majority of us eat more meat than we should. The British Dietetic Association recommends we should eat no more than 70g of red or processed meat a day! This is slightly smaller than the size of the palm of our hands. Including vegetarian meals in your diet have some advantages:
Nutritional tip: Beans, peas and lentils (which are all types of pulses) are good alternatives to meat because they’re naturally very low in fat, and they’re high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Diet advice: Try to go vegetarian at least a day a week to cut down your red meat intake. Include different kind of pulses: beans, lentils, peas. Mixing at least two different kind of pulses and adding lots of vegetables will give you the amount of protein your body needs. You don't need to buy just fresh vegetables. It can be a waste, if you don't use it all. Frozen vegetables are also good and you can keep them for longer in the freezer and add to your dishes whenever you need them.
This week, I cooked a roasted vegetable & lentil lasagna. It was delicious! Roasting the vegetables enhanced the flavor and the lentils blended the filling together and also added extra flavor. I used red split lentils, they are very quick to cook and also perfect for soups or stews. I used lots of herbs, like rosemary and oregano - they are my favorites for roasts. I also used onion and garlic powder, however you can use fresh.
To cook this dish, you will need:
Ingredients (serves 6):
9 lasagna sheets
Hi, I'm Joana, a Portuguese registered dietitian in the UK. I am passionate about helping others achieving their health goals.