Wednesday, 12th September-Recipe

Butternut squash soup

You just can’t go wrong with soup.  Whilst it seems intimidating to make, it couldn’t be more simple to throw together.  Even better, you can make a large amounts and freeze or store in the fridge for a few days, ensuring that you have a nutritious, low fat lunch choice close to hand.  Take it to work with you in a hot flask or freeze for an easy Sunday night supper.

Soup is very satisfying whilst being low in fat, provided that you don’t add too much high fat dairy to it.  

Butternut squash soup is a great recipe and what better time to make it than right now in Autumn!

This recipe is considered vegan and gluten free, add a slice or good quality bread to it for a great meal after a workout.

This soup is based on a Dreena Burton recipe.  Probably one of the greatest vegan home cooks around.

*Top Tip – Slowly building up your spice rack is a wonderful investment if you are serious about home cooking.  Whilst I have listed a lot of spices here, you can omit many of them and just add a tablespoon or two of mild/medium or hot curry powder and it will still turn out great.  Always experiment with your own flavour combinations, there are not hard or fast rules with home cooking!  Always taste as you go along to ensure you are happy with the flavours.

Serves 4 – 5

1-2 tablespoon water

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 white onion, sliced

2 stalks of celery, sliced

Pinch of pure sea salt (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 mug of red lentils, rinsed

2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 mugs of water

Lemon/lime wedges for serving

  1. Heat the water in a large stockpot over a medium/medium high heat.  Add the chopped onion, celery, sea salt, cumin seeds, ground cumin, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.  Stir, cover and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the butternut squash, lentils, garlic and 4 mugs of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until the lentils have cooked through and are softened.
  3. Using a hand held blender or a normal blender/food processor, puree the soup until completely smooth.  Add extra water if you find the consistency too thick for your liking.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime.  Enjoy!

Nicola.

Wednesday, 12th September

Cozying up for Autumn

Hello to everyone, brand new and old regulars at the gym. I hope everyone is well and feeling good heading towards Autumn. I’ve not written a nutrition email for a while as I’ve been busily experimenting with my own eating habits and trying out recipes that are both nutritious and great for energy whilst maintaining satisfaction in the taste department.

Autumn is a great time of year as nature naturally sheds the carnival of colours from summer and the process of quieting down begins in preparation for the winter months.

This is the same for us. Autumn and Winter are naturally a time for us to begin looking within and start the process of quieten down for Winter.

The body will naturally begin to crave lovely soothing and warm foods at this time of year. Soups, stews, casseroles are the order of the day!

Delicious warm and inviting hot drinks such as homemade hot cocoa ease us into the colder months and can be made without any additional additives or preservatives.

These types of meals are naturally high in vegetables and are bursting with nutrients and vitamins as it’s very easy to get hold of good quality seasonal produce from the local area.

So look within yourself. Are there times during the day when you feel like you need to slow down and be present? Take the time this week to sit down and saviour a warm bowl of homemade soup and watch the beautiful changes of Autumn unfold in front of your very eyes.

Take inspiration from the following recipe which showcases the type of flavours from this season’s bounty.

Enjoy the rest of the day,

Nicola.

Friday, 13th July

Antioxidants

We have all heard the term antioxidants these days and associate them mainly with fresh fruit such as blueberries.  However, there are many fruits and vegetables that  contain good sources of antioxidants which are highly important in your training diet.

Antioxidants are important in your diet as they prevent oxidation and protect the cells from free radicals.  These free radicals can cause diet related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Free radicals tend to attach to the fatty acids in the body and can cause havoc to your cells.

The foods that contain these valuable antioxidants are rich in vitamin A, C and E and the minerals Selenium, Copper and Zinc.

The following foods contain these antioxidants in abundance and we encourage you to include them at every opportunity in your diet.

Broccoli and other green leafy vegetables

Carrots

Peppers

Olive oil

Apricots

Nuts/Seeds

Whole grains – oats, rice, quinoa, corn

Monosaturated fats and oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil and avocados are much better for you than polyunsaturated fats and oils such as synthetic magarines.

Friday, 29th June

Keep it simple 

Summer is an excellent time to start simplifying the food we eat.  Fresh food in season is delicious and full of nutrients.  Also, keeping food simple means less time wasted in thinking about recipes and trying to find all of the ingredients!

This is one of my favourites for breakfast, snack or simply as an alternative to ice cream on a hot summer’s day.  

There is always greek yoghurt in our fridge, but you can use low fat or non fat if you prefer, alternatively use a Vegan yoghurt such as Alpro vanilla which is also nice.

Greek yoghurt with strawberries and raspberries

Ingredients

3 heaped tablespoons thick greek yoghurt 

1 handful of fresh strawberries

1 handful of fresh raspberries

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Method

  1. Place the greek yoghurt in a nice bowl.
  2. Add the berries on top and drizzle with the syrup.  Simple!

Have a nice weekend,

Nicola