Lentil Cottage Pie – Great Vegetarian Option

If you are stuck for ideas on what to cook today, this is a great alternative if you don’t eat meat or you fancy a change from meat.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1/2 red onion

1 carrot finely chopped into small pieces

1 clove of garlic crushed

1tbsp tomato puree

400g can chopped tomatoes

1tsp dried thyme

75g dried split lentils

350ml vegetable stock

white and sweet potatoes for the mash

25g cheddar cheese grated

Method

Peel the potatoes and place in a pan of water, but do not set off cooking yet.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and thyme.

Set off your pan of potatoes to cook.

Stir in the lentils, vegetable stock, then simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is reduced and creamy.

Preheat the oven to 200 / Gas 7

Pour the lentil mixture into an ovenproof dish and spread out evenly.

Mash the potatoes and spread evenly over the lentil mixture.

Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with any other vegetables of your choice.

Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try.

What Does Iron Do For Your Body And Why Do You Need It?

Karen x

Are You Struggling to Get Your 5 A Day?

Fruit and vegetables are key to a healthier lifestyle. They taste great and add variety to any meal. Your 5 a day should consist of as many different coloured varieties as possible.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will give you plenty of vitamins and minerals. Fruit and vegetables are also a good source of fibre and antioxidants. All these nutrients are important for your health.

Fruit and vegetables are generally low fat, low calories food, so eating them instead of foods high in fat and added sugars gets you on your way to keeping healthy and losing weight.

Remember fresh, frozen, canned, chilled, pulses, 100% unsweetened juice and dried fruit and vegetables all count towards your 5 a day.

Buy fresh fruit and vegetables when they are in season, this means that they are not only cheaper, but tastier too.

A portion counts as 80g which is roughly a handful.

A few examples of what counts as a portion.

1 medium apple

3 celery sticks

3 heaped tbsp of canned sweetcorn

7 cherry tomatoes

1 handful of carrot sticks

1 medium banana

3 heaped tbsp of fresh or frozen peas

1/2 and avocado

3 heaped tbsp of cooked kidney beans

2 broccoli florets

2 medium plums

8 brussels sprouts

1/2 a large courgette

1 medium onion

12 chunks of pineapple

3 whole dried apricots

Here are some ideas on how to increase your 5 a day.

Have 100% unsweetened fruit juice (150ml) with your breakfast.

Snack on fruit, dried fruit or vegetable sticks mid morning or mid afternoon.

Add a side salad to your lunch.

Add an extra serving of vegetables with your evening meal.

Add tinned tomatoes to a homemade casserole.

Make homemade soup.

Make your own tomato sauce for pasta dishes, you can hide plenty of vegetables in it if you blend it.

Make your own smoothie or juice drink – just remember they count as a maximum of 2 of your 5 a day.

Karen x

Are You Struggling To Lose Weight?

The first step on the path to losing weight is to recognise that what works for someone else may not suit you. Becoming stressed out about sticking to a punishing diet because some celebrity endorses it is not going to get you anywhere, not at least because feeling ravenous, light-headed and grouchy seriously affects your ability to cope with the demands of a busy life. I know I get really grumpy if I am hungry and have not eaten enough.

Stressed out busy people tend to turn to food and drink as their main source of relaxation at the end of a frantic day. I think most people are guilty of this including myself. If you are trying to lose weight try to build a more life affirming activity into your evenings such as mediating, yoga, exercise, reading or phone a friend for a chat. The more you make your life well rounded the less you will want to take solace in food. The best thing you can do for your body and mind is to exercise. I find putting headphones on while exercising helps as you can totally switch off to anything else going on around you or doing yoga as you have to concentrate and switch off to other things because if you don’t you will lose your balance!!

Rather than becoming fixated on achieving a particular weight, the crucial thing is to stay positive by envisioning your body looking slimmer and healthier. How you feel in yourself is far more important than how much you weigh. Be realistic your body is likely to be an apple or a pear shape and although you can become a slimmer apple or pear you will probably never be able to switch. Record your dimensions this allows you to focus on your change in shape, which is what a lot of us care about. How your clothes feel are they becoming loser? I judge off my clothes a lot of the time.

Some people use diet pills and appetite suppressants to help lose weight, yes they can help you lose weight initially, but they are not a long term solution and they can be damaging to your health. People who lose weight very quickly, tend to put it back on and more once they stop the pills. Yo-yo dieting is certainly not good for you. One of the easiest and best ways I find to start with is to do a food diary, but you must be completely honest or you are just cheating yourself. Many people are shocked by how much they are actually eating. It means writing down every snack and every drink. It can be as simple as that for you to understand why you are not losing weight. People snack when they are bored, learn to recognise the different signs are you actually hungry?

Chew your food slowly and concentrate on its flavours and textures it will also increase your sense of satiety, unlike shovelling down a sandwich while you are on the phone at work, so choose something you will enjoy eating and take the time to savour it. Losing weight takes time there is no quick fix, it is a life change. Set your yourself small achievable goals. Don’t start wanting to lose 5 stone as it will feel like it is impossible break it down and choose rewards when you reach a goal, preferably not a huge meal. Aim to lose half a stone at first.

Remember the body recognises thirst and hunger as similar sensations. Before you grab something to eat have a drink of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you still feel hungry. This will also help you stop overeating.

Focus on what you want to achieve and don’t give up if you have a set back. If you have a bad day with food tomorrow is a new day.

You can achieve want you want!!

Karen x