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

How To Boost Your Metabolism

Your metabolism or the rate at which your body burns calories, is like an engine, for instance the more often you give it fuel the better it works. Here is some simple facts for you to consider on how to boost your metabolism. Make one or two changes a week so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up before you have started properly.

What happens when you deprive your body of food

  • Your metabolism slows down to hang on to the energy to preserve it.
  • A slowed metabolism makes it far more difficult to lose weight and much easier to gain weight.
  • An irregular eating pattern, for instance not consistent in calories and nutrition intake will lead to a more rapid loss of muscle because the body is forced to take its energy from elsewhere.
  • Muscle loss is ageing.
  • Never skip breakfast because it gives your metabolism a boost.
  • Eat to keep your energy up and your blood sugar levels on an even keel. By doing this you will avoid overloading your system and in addition you should not feel hungry and therefore shouldn’t affect your performance.
  • Chew your food slowly because this enables more nutrients to be released and in addition helps to digest food.
  • Eating slowly helps you feel fuller faster and will help prevent overeating. When you eat too quickly your stomach doesn’t register that it is full until too late.
  • Replace normal dinner plates with a smaller one this will enable your portion sizes to go down, but your plate still looks full.
  • Try not to eat on the run. Sitting down to eat a meal means you enjoy your food more and you avoid upsetting your digestion.
  • Go to bed early because people who don’t have enough sleep have lower levels of leptin, a hormone that tells your brain you are full and higher levels of ghrelin a hormone that triggers hunger.
  • It takes 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach lining to send a message to your brain registering food.
  • You may also find this helpful. Are You Always Feeling Hungry?
  • Or this is easy to read information to help start you on your way to a healthier you The Basics Of Healthy Eating

For a range of affordable online courses. Centre of Excellence | Online Courses & Distance Learning Centre

How To Stop Feeling So Tired

Feeling tired can be a common problem for many people, I think even more so at the moment.

What could be making you feel so tired?

There are some diet and lifestyle changes you can make to help, but it is always best to checked out by your GP to rule out any medical conditions.

Start your day well

Start your day with breakfast, I know some people don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning, but it is important to give your body the energy it requires to face the day. You don’t have to make a full English breakfast, it can be a simple bowl of porridge, a smoothie, make your own granola or eggs on toast are just a few ideas.

Are You Giving Your Body Enough Fibre?

If you are not having enough fibre it can cause constipation which can make you feel really sluggish. Fibre helps to regulate the amount of glucose in your blood, keeping your energy levels up and helping your ability to concentrate and learn. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

Make Sure You Are Eating Enough Iron-Rich Foods

If your body is lacking in iron, your body won’t have enough red cells to carry oxygen round your body and this can make you feel tired and listless. It could eventually lead to anaemia. The best sources of iron include liver, lean red meat, egg yolks, canned fish, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, pulses and dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and figs.

It Isn’t Just What You Eat What You Drink Is Very Important Too

Water is essential to energize you. Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day. Avoid sugary drinks as they have high GI which will give you a burst of energy followed by a slump. Also think about what you are drinking at night as having caffeine or alcohol can impact your sleep, which will affect how you feel the following day.

Vitamins And Minerals

If you eat a healthy balanced diet then you should be getting enough vitamins and minerals. If you are not sure do a food diary for a week and look at all the foods you are putting into your body. Also think before you eat and ask yourself how will I feel after I have eaten it. Try to ensure your diet includes foods containing Zinc, phosphorus, potassium and some of the B vitamins as these all play an important part in making and releasing energy. Magnesium can help you to sleep better so that is another important one to consider.

Are You Exercising?

This can be hard when you don’t have any energy. Exercising in a morning is a natural energizer and will set you up for the day. This can also help you to sleep better at night. I try to do either yoga or hula hooping in the morning. Going for a walk in the first thing is an excellent way to start your day. If you don’t have time in a morning, just try to ensure that you don’t do it too late in the evening as this again can impact sleep.

Hope this helps to give you more energy and feel less tired.

Karen x

Easy To Make Energy Balls

These energy balls are really easy to make and they are great if you fancy a healthy sweet treat.

A good little snack if you are getting the afternoon slump.

Ingredients

70g Almonds

200g Dates

2tsp honey

3tsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Method

If your almonds are whole blitz them in a food processor until they are fine breadcrumbs.

Add the dates, honey and cocoa and blitz in the processor.

Tip the mixture into a bowl.

Place the coconut in a separate bowl.

Roll and compress the mixture into balls, then roll each ball in the coconut.

Give them a try, no cooking involved.

Discover How To Get More Energy

Do you find that your energy levels drop throughout the day or do you find it hard to get out of bed in a morning?

Living an on the go lifestyle often results in burnout or recovering from an illness can greatly impact your energy which is very true for me at the moment.

A lot of people reach for pick-me-up snacks or energy drinks and wonder why the effects don’t last for a long period of time.

There is so many things you can do to improve or hep maintain your energy.

Some of the main causes of low energy are………..

Poor Dietary Choices

Our bodies are not designed to consume a lot of the processed foods we eat today in the Western Diet. This also includes fizzy drinks, alcohol and extra caffeine. A lot of these foods also contain high amounts of sugar. Eating lots of white foods such as white bread and pasta can create ongoing stress for the pancreas causing it to release high levels of insulin which is required to lower the blood sugar levels by pushing sugar out into the cells. This is what creates the high/low energy crash cycle. This can lead onto you craving more sweet foods.

Another diet related energy problem is candida , this is a fungus that belongs to the yeast family. When your body is healthy, it will maintain small amounts of the fungus in the digestive tract. Poor dietary choices can lead to a candida growth to spiral out of control. When this happens it can be a major cause of fatigue.

Stress

Most people deal with some sort of stress on a daily basis. In today’s busy lifestyle many people are multi-tasking and struggle to find time to have relaxed mealtimes and stop working while they are eating. This will continue to deplete our energy.

What Can You Do to Nourish Your Body??

First of all do not skip breakfast. Having a good breakfast is key for balancing blood sugar. Try to avoid sugary cereals especially ones that change the colour of your milk.

Try to ensure that all your meals and snacks include some good quality protein. Don’t forget this can include nuts and seeds.

Consume plenty of green vegetables and most non-starchy vegetables give nourishment without causing blood sugar spikes. Non-starchy vegetables include asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and celery.

Eating some raw foods will also help in a great way as these are bursting with energy and enzymes which are normally destroyed during cooking. By eating raw foods means that your body doesn’t have to use a lot of energy to produce enzymes for the digestive process, reducing in more energy available for daily activities. If you don’t fancy eating raw foods you could try them in a juice first. Add in chlorella or spirulina for an extra protein boost.

Hydrate

Drinking water is so important, if you make one change today drink more water. Try to have two litres per day this does not mean two litres of coffee. If you struggle drinking cold water include herbal teas or add some fruit to your water. I start the day with a cup of boiled water. I am not saying completely stop other drinks just be aware of how many you are having. It is all about balance I have one coffee mid morning then change to herbal teas or boiled water.

Exercise

Our bodies are designed to move all day long. Eventually lack of exercise will impair multiple physical functions necessary for health. Think of your body as a car that requires fuel from food and water and plenty of exercise to keep the engine running at optimum level.

It is important to get regular exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. I personally don’t like gyms. I enjoy yoga, cycling, walking and hula hooping. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy is really important then it doesn’t feel like a chore. I do 10 minutes of yoga or hula hooping in a morning and it makes me feel so much better after I have done it. I won’t lie some mornings it can feel like a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth it. If you haven’t done any exercise for a while then build it up slowly. I haven’t been able to exercise properly for a few months and it has made a huge difference to my fitness levels. Set yourself small achievable goals.

Time For You

Mindfulness is good for stress, if that’s not for you do ensure that you take some time out just for you. Have a brew in peace on your own, read a magazine, phone a friend for a chat or go for walk. Even if you only have 10 minutes to remove yourself do it, it will make a difference if you are feeling stressed.

Try to make small changes don’t do everything at once or you are setting yourself up to fail. Change one thing a week and see how you get on. Before you eat something stop and think how will I feel after I have eaten it. Also I am not saying stop eating chocolate or your favourite foods, its about moderation. I eat chocolate and enjoy it, but I don’t have it every day.

Your can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – Inspire To Nourish

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