Health Tips to Promote Women’s Health Week

Women's Health Tips

Promoting Women’s Health

Women’s Health Week is from 7 – 11 September this year. Women’s Health Week is a week dedicated to all women across Australia to make good health a priority. Every day this week I have been publishing Women’s Health tips to promote women’s health. This post will discuss each tip in more depth and provide links so that you may learn more. I am passionate about promoting health and have been using social media posts for this. Links to my social media accounts are at the top of the page.

Women’s Health Tip 1 – Exercise Regularly

Improve your health by exercising regularly. Find an exercise you love and stick to it. That may be a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, a yoga session, or a dance lesson. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you enjoy it and do it on a regular basis. If you are moving your body daily you will reap the benefits, both mental and physical. Don’t let health issues hold you back. In this post I explain how I overcame my health issues and don’t let them stop me from maintaining my exercise.

Exercise Regularly.  Regular exercise is essential for mental and physical health.  Find an exercise you love and stick to it
Exercise Regularly. Find an exercise you love and stick to it. Regular exercise is essential for mental and physical health

Women’s Health Tip 2 – Eat a Healthy Diet

Eat a healthy diet that is balanced and doesn’t cut out whole food groups (unless you have specific health reasons to avoid them such as allergies). A healthy diet includes food from all food groups – protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, whole-grains and dairy or it’s alternatives. Diets that cut whole food groups out are fad diets and can’t be sustained without health issues. One of the most important indicators of health is your waist size. Eating a healthy diet can be seen to reduce the amount of fat stored around your waist and reduce your risk of health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Read more about it at this post.

Eat a healthy diet.  A healthy diet includes protein, fruit and vegetables, wholefoods and healthy fats.  Maintain a healthy weight without fad diets
Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes protein, fruit and vegetables, wholefoods and healthy fats. Maintain a healthy weight without fad diets

Women’s Health Tip 3 – Take Time for Self Care

Taking time for self care is important for your mental and emotional health. You may find yourself caring for others, and being so busy you don’t have time for YOU. Make self care a priority in your routine. Find something you enjoy – try meditation, singing, hobbies, dancing, yoga, massage, beauty treatments or just relaxing with a good book. Our emotional health is being tested this year, with many people finding they are more stressed than usual due to the pandemic. That means it is even more important that you prioritise your self care, which you can read more about in this post.

Take time for self care.  Self care is important for your emotional and mental health.  Take time for YOU.  Try meditation, talking to a friend, relaxing, beauty treatments, hobbies ... find something you enjoy
Take time for self care. Self care is important for your emotional and mental health. Take time for YOU. Try meditation, talking to a friend, relaxing, beauty treatments, hobbies … find something you enjoy.

Women’s Health Tip 4 – Get Health Checks Done

Make sure you are aware of what health screening is recommended for women in your age group. This may differ according to your place of residence. Ensure you attend to monthly breast self examinations and check your skin for changes. Maintain a regular schedule of screening for your breasts, dental health, eyes, and heart (blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood tests). Depending on your age, you may need bowel cancer screening, regular pelvic examinations, bone density test and mammograms. Your doctor will advise you of any further tests you may require depending on your personal and family health history. More information is in this post and I will have a post in the future on health checks.

Get Health Checks Done.  Screening for breasts, skin, teeth, eyes, heart, bowel, gynae, bone density etc.  See your doctor - find out what screening is needed for your age group.
Get health checks done, including screening for breasts, skin, teeth, eyes, heart, bowel, gynae, bone density, etc. See your doctor to find out what screening is needed for your age group

Women’s Health Tip 5 – Be an Advocate for Your Well-being

You are your own advocate. Speak up if you are concerned, or if you feel your concerns are not being addressed adequately. Those niggly feelings that something is wrong should not be ignored. See a doctor if you are worried. This post will help you decide whether your symptoms mean you should see a doctor. The head in the sand approach does not work with health. It’s easier to treat things if they are in their early stages, and it’s far better to prevent disease than treat it.

Be an advocate for your well-being.  Don't hesitate to see a doctor if you suspect something is wrong.  Your well-being is important.
Be an advocate for your well-being. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you suspect something is wrong. Your well-being is important.

Women’s Health is Important

Women make up over 50% of the population. Women’s health is important because we are often the main caregiver of others. We often put our own needs last and ignore health issues until we are really unwell. Stay in tune with your body, and look after it. Don’t take your health for granted because it takes all the joy out of life if you are in poor health. By following these women’s health tips, hopefully you will feel inspired to prioritise your well-being. For further information about Women’s Health Week visit the official website.

I love to hear from my audience, so feel free to comment on my posts or contact me via my contact form. I would love to know if there’s any subject you would like me to discuss in a future post. If you would like to receive my newsletter, please sign up for it in the box below.

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How to Eat a Healthy Diet on a Budget

How to Eat a Healthy Diet on a Budget

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure.

This article will tell you how to eat a healthy diet on a budget. We all want to eat well.  Most of us want to eat a healthy diet.  One of the barriers to eating a healthy diet is the cost of healthy food compared to junk food.  The cost of buying individual ingredients, and the time taken with cooking something healthy as opposed to buying fast food on the way home from work can often lead us to consuming unhealthy junk food.

It is a fallacy however, that you can’t eat a healthy diet on a budget.  The key to eating a healthy diet lies in planning for the long term.  Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget:

Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Grocery Shopping Tips

  • Stock your pantry so that you have the ingredients for easy meals on hand. This means you’re less likely to order Uber Eats or takeaways. See my guide to stocking your pantry below.
  • Buy in bulk, especially staples that last a long time if stored correctly.
  • Buy when the specials are on, but only food that you know you will use.
  • Only eat in season fruit and vegetables.  For example, a cauliflower can cost $2 in season or $8 out of season.  The other advantage to buying fruit and vegetables in season is that they are fresher and often have less chemicals and packaging than store bought ones if bought from the markets.
  • Buy frozen fruit and vegetables when they are out of season.  Frozen fruit and vegetables retain their nutrients as they are snap frozen straight after harvesting.  They last a long time and are often cheaper than fresh.
  • Only buy what you need.  I buy two tomatoes per week because I would waste a whole bag.
  • Plan what meals you will be cooking for the week and only buy the ingredients for those recipes.  This reduces waste.  We have stores where you can take your own containers and buy foods such as wholefoods by the weight.  Some supermarkets offer this service as well.
  • Buy generic brands.  They are often a similar quality as branded versions, and are often hard to distinguish from the more expensive brands.
  • Buy alternative protein sources such as tofu and legumes. They can be very cheap compared to meat and chicken. Try to have two meat-free meals per week.
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook them in a slow cooker.  Slow cooking is a fantastic way of making tougher meat such as chuck steak, into tender, melt-in-the-mouth meals.
  • Avoid buying food that you already have.  Check your cupboards and make a list of what you need before you head to the shops.  I have found since I’ve been doing online grocery shopping that I’ve saved money.  Instead of buying something unnecessarily I can check my cupboards to make sure I need it.  I also do less impulse buying of unhealthy treats.
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!  You will be likely to put more into your trolley, and it would most likely be unhealthy food.
  • If you do go to the shops, avoid aisles that have unhealthy food.  I don’t even walk down the chocolate, sweet and soft drink aisles.  Stick to the perimeter of the store as this is where the wholefoods are.

Prepare Your Own Food as it is Cheaper

  • Wholefoods are cheaper than heavily processed foods.  A bag of rolled oats is much cheaper than oat based muesli with fruit.  You can make your own muesli, or try my overnight oats recipe.
  • Make your own stirfry sauces and recipe bases from scratch.  Ready-made ones are often full of sugar and salt and are very expensive.  Use fresh ginger, garlic, onion and low sodium soy sauces for your stirfry sauce instead.
  • Grow your own vegetables – even a few plants in containers for herbs and easy-to-grow vegetables, can save you money and provide nutritious and fresh additions to your diet.
  • Invest in a bread maker.  I can buy a huge bag of baker’s flour which lasts a few weeks.  Our own sweet and savoury loaves such as fruit and nut bread, banana bread, focaccia and pizza bases are easy to make and save us heaps of money.  
  • Other things I make myself rather than buy ready-made are Greek yoghurt and salad.
  • Since my sons moved out I find I’m still cooking enough for four people.  I freeze the remainder in meal-sized portions so there’s always a meal that we can defrost and heat if we’re too tired to cook.
  • Save $5 per day by making your own coffee at home. I have a fantastic Delonghi coffee maker that grinds, and brews the coffee, and even froths the milk. The initial cost of the coffee machine is high, but it pays for itself quickly if you have 1-2 cups per day rather than going to the cafe.
  • Prepare your lunches for the week ahead.  Some ideas are:
    • A large salad you can take daily for 2 – 3 days
    • Portions of healthy snacks e.g. nuts and dried fruits
    • Healthy muffins can be made and frozen
    • Cut up carrot sticks, celery sticks with a portion of hummus or salsa
    • Vegetable soup divided into meal-sized portions.  It can be frozen until needed
    • Try my healthy burrito recipe for easy, healthy meal prep.

How to Stock Your Pantry With Healthy Food on a Budget

This is a guide for stocking your pantry.  If you have the following in your pantry you will be able to cook most recipes and avoid having to buy takeaways.  A well stocked pantry will help you to eat a healthy diet on a budget. I always have the following in my pantry:

Pantry

  • Tins of tomatoes, beans (kidney and cannelloni), corn
  • Dried lentils
  • Herbs, spices, stock powders and gravy powders
  • Olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and oil spray
  • Longlife milk – almond, skim, coconut
  • Flours – baker’s, wholemeal, cornflour
  • Oats, oat bran, chia seeds, couscous
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Rice – long grain, arborio
  • Pasta – spaghetti, penne, Singapore, vermicelli
  • Vinegar – white, balsamic, cider, red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sauces – soy, oyster, chili, tomato, barbecue, mustard
  • Pesto, salsa, tomato paste
  • Sugar – caster, raw, brown
  • Soups – tomato, mushroom
  • Curry paste and powder
  • Taco shells and burrito / tortilla wraps
  • Honey, maple syrup, Vegemite, peanut butter
  • Rice crackers
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Cereal – Weetbix, Plus
  • Tins of tuna (small and large)

Refrigerator

Stock your refrigerator with the following:

  • Milk (low fat)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese – feta, low fat shredded, parmeson
  • Hommus
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables in season.  I always have potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onions, carrots, apples, tomatoes
  • Mayonnaise

Freezer

Stock your freezer with the following:

  • Chicken breast, chicken thigh fillets, low fat mince, lean beef.
  • Other cuts of meat in season
  • Peas, blueberries, mixed vegetables
  • Puff pastry

Eating Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Eating Healthy Food Doesn't Have to Be Expensive
Eating healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive

Does the cost of healthy food put you off buying it? It is actually a fallacy that healthy food is expensive. That is because we are bombarded with messages about super-foods. These so-called super-foods are trendy, and the price is bumped up accordingly because the demand for them is high. There are other foods that are much more readily available, and offer the same health benefits at a much lower cost.

I have compiled a list of the healthiest food you can buy. These foods are not only healthy, they are versatile, easy to prepare and cheaper than so called super-foods. These foods are usually well tolerated by most people, and are nutrient dense. That means you get more buck for your dollar. If you would like a copy of the list, plus a handy shopping list template and a guide to buying healthy food, the link is below:

Money-saving Appliances

The right kitchen appliances can help you to eat a healthy diet on a budget. Here are my recommendations for appliances that can help you save money:

Delonghi Coffee Machine

I save $5 – $10 per day by brewing my own coffee. My son and I bought this coffee maker and when he moved out he took it with him. I loved it so much I bought another one. I like that it uses coffee beans, not pods which are bad for the environment. It grinds and brews the coffee as required, and it also can froth milk for a cappuccino. There is a power-saving mode so it switches off when not in use. I use the coffee grinds on the garden so there is very little waste.

Breville Slow cooker

A slow cooker is one of the best money saving appliances you can buy. I still use my crock pot, the original slow cooker, which I received as a gift in 1987! That version is long gone, but you may still buy the Crock Pot brand slow cooker. The Breville Slow Cooker is my husband’s and it is almost as good as my ancient one. It just shows you how long quality appliances last if you look after them. A slow cooker transforms cheap cuts of meat into beautiful, melt-in-the-mouth meals with very little fuss. Just put all the ingredients in, and turn it on for 4-6 hours and your meal will be ready to serve.

Breville bread maker

My bread maker is my new favourite appliance. Because I have spent much more time at home than usual this year, I have been experimenting with many different types of cooking. Making bread is so incredibly easy in this bread maker that I make at least two loaves per week. You just add all the ingredients to the bread maker bowl, program the machine, and it does it all – kneads, proofs and bakes the bread. We’ve made fruit and nut loaves, pizza bases, foccacia, wholegrain and white bread and they’re all amazing.

Panasonic Microwave Oven

My microwave oven is perhaps the most utilised appliance in our kitchen. I really don’t know where I’d be without it. This particular model is an inverter oven so it defrosts, cooks and heats food with more precision than an ordinary oven. The reason it is such a great appliance is it is fabulous for cooking a quick healthy meal, or to defrost and heat one from your freezer. This means you’re not resorting to buying takeaways.

Save Money with These Appliances for your Kitchen - Panasonic microwave, Breville Bread Machine, Delonghi Coffee Maker, Breville Slow Cooker
Save Money with These Appliances for your Kitchen –
Panasonic microwave, Breville Bread Machine, Delonghi Coffee Maker, Breville Slow Cooker

The Health Benefits of a Healthy Diet

Healthy food fuels your body. You will maintain a steady weight, have more energy, will be able to concentrate better and have less health issues. Eating convenience and junk food should be a rarity. It may be cheaper in the short term to eat something convenient, but in the long term the cost to your health will add up. Using the above suggestions, you will be able to learn how to eat a healthy diet on a budget.

I lost 17kg last year on a Government sponsored program. I had a phone consult with a Dietician regularly throughout the program, which was the key to my successful weight loss. Most of my weight loss came down to my diet because the only exercise I am able to do is walking due to chronic back pain and other health issues. Your diet is vital for maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing illness.

I am a Registered Nurse, but my background isn’t specifically in nutrition.I recommend that you consult a Dietician and a General Practitioner if you have health issues or a lot of weight to lose to get you into the healthy weight range. This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. Please refer to the disclaimer.

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This blog post was shared on Life This Week, a Linkup by Denyse Whelan

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Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad Recipe

Beetroot, Spinach & Feta Salad Recipe

The health benefits of beetroot

We have a thriving garden this year.  One of the vegetables we’re growing is beetroot.  Beetroot is, as the name suggests, a root vegetable.  It has multiple health benefits:

  • Nutrients include folate (Vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron and Vitamin C
  • Improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure
  • Low in calories – one beet has only 43 kCal
  • Versatile – eat raw, cooked or pickled.  The leaves may also be eaten
  • Contains 8-10% carbohydrates, but doesn’t cause a sharp rise in blood glucose levels.  Therefore they are suitable for diabetics.  However they contain fructans, so they are not suitable for low FODMAP diets
  • High in fibre (2-3%)

Source:  Healthline

Beetroot growing in our garden
Beetroot growing in our garden

How to Roast Beetroot

One of my favourite ways to eat beetroot is roasted.  This retains the flavour and doesn’t add fat, salt or sugar to the beets.  Here are the simple directions:

  1. Cut off any leaves, stems and roots.  Scrub the skin with a vegetable scrubbing brush
  2. Wrap the beet in Alfoil.  Use a large piece of Alfoil – it should be enough to wrap the beet in two layers of foil 
  3. Bake in the oven for 45mins – 1 hour depending on the size of the beet.  This large beet took one hour at 200 degrees celsius.  I don’t roast beets on their own, I just put them in a tray and cook them at the same time as other food.
  4. Open the foil up carefully to allow the steam out.  Allow beet to cool
  5. Peel skin of beet with a paring knife
  6. Cut beet into cubes.  Add to salads for colour, texture and flavour
Roasting beetroot, step by step
1. cut off stems and roots.  Scrub skin with a vegetable brush  2. wrap beetroot in a piece of Alfoil (large enough to wrap beet twice)  3. Roast for 45 mins - 1 hour in oven 200 deg celcius  4. Allow to cool then peel with a sharp knife.  Cut into cubes
Roasting Beetroot – Step by Step
1. cut off stems and roots. Scrub skin with a vegetable brush
2. wrap beetroot in a piece of Alfoil (large enough to wrap beet twice)
3. Roast for 45 mins – 1 hour in oven 200 deg celcius
4. Allow to cool then peel with a sharp knife. Cut into cubes

Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 roast beetroot, cubed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 60 g Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, cut into small pieces or cubed
  • 20 ml Greek Salad Dressing or Vinaigrette
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, cubed
Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad - Basic Recipe
Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad – Basic Recipe

Optional Ingredients – choose one or more

  • 1 cup roast pumpkin or sweet potato
  • 20 olives
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, or sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds (roasted)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup snow peas

Combine ingredients.  Serves two

Total calories per serve 130 kCal (for basic recipe)

Carbs 12.6 g

Fat 5.2 g

Protein 9.2 g

Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad with optional Roast Pumpkin
Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad with optional Roast Pumpkin
Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad Recipe

Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad Recipe

Christina Henry
An easy, nutritious recipe which may be customised to suit your taste with optional extra ingredients.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 2 people
Calories 130 kcal

Equipment

  • Vegetable Scrubbing Brush
  • Alfoil
  • Sharp knife
  • Colander
  • Serving Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 2 roast beetroot cubed
  • 2 cups baby spinach washed
  • 60 g Reduced Fat Feta Cheese cut into small pieces or cubed
  • 20 ml Greek Salad Dressing or Vinaigrette
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber cubed
  • OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS: CHOOSE ONE OR MORE
  • 1 cup roast pumpkin or sweet potato
  • 20 olives
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds (roasted)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup snow peas

Instructions
 

  • Combine ingredients. Serves two

Notes

Beetroot, Spinach and Feta Salad Recipe
The basis of this healthy salad is roast beetroot, baby spinach and feta cheese.
Total calories per serve 130 kCal (for basic recipe)
Carbs 12.6 g
Fat 5.2 g
Protein 9.2 g
Keyword Easy, Healthy

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Healthy Breakfast Options to Start Your Day

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

It has often been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  A healthy breakfast can energise you and nourish your body with important nutrients so that you perform at your optimum capacity. 

The morning rush can lead people to choose convenience food which can be a poor choice, or skip breakfast altogether.  I have compiled a list of healthy easy breakfast choices to start your day, so that you perform at your optimum best.

Quick, Easy Breakfast Choices

  • Smoothies (see my favourite recipe below) – 340 kCal
  • Cereal with low fat milk, yoghurt and a banana (see below for the healthiest cereal options) – 300 kCal
  • Smashed avocado on sourdough bread 140 kCal
  • Fruit salad and yoghurt with a sprinkling of granola 250 kCal
  • Wholemeal toast with nut butter and sliced banana – 420 kCal
  • Boiled eggs (may be cooked ahead of time) on wholemeal toast – 270kCal
  • Microwaved porridge satchets – 130 kCal
Blueberry Smoothie Recipe - Blend blueberries, yoghurt, sugar, vanilla extract, reduced fat milk and nutmeg to make a refreshing healthy smoothie
Blueberry Smoothie Recipe (adapted from recipe in Canva)
Blend blueberries, yoghurt, sugar, vanilla extract, reduced fat milk and nutmeg to make a refreshing healthy smoothie

Healthy Breakfast Options that Require Preparation 

  • Poached eggs on wholegrain toast – 356 kCal 
  • Homemade granola or muesli 
  • Healthy feta and spinach muffins (see my favourite recipe below) 167 kCal
  • Rolled oats, skim milk and honey – 242 kCal
  • ½ avocado on a slice of sourdough bread with grilled tomatoes or mushrooms – 258 kCal
  • 2 slices Short cut bacon, grilled with a poached egg, grilled tomato and steamed spinach – 312 kCal
  • Overnight oats (see my favourite recipe below) – 160 kCal
Overnight Oats Recipe
Combine oats, shredded coconut, dried fruit and nuts, oat bran, milk powder, salt, cinnamon, Greek yoghurt and water.  
Leave overnight.  Make in batches, stores well in pantry
Overnight Oats Recipe
Combine oats, shredded coconut, dried fruit and nuts, oat bran, milk powder, salt, cinnamon, Greek yoghurt and water.
Leave overnight. Make in batches, stores well in pantry

Cooked Breakfast Options 

Many people prefer to start their day with a cooked breakfast but often choose fried bacon and eggs over healthy alternatives. Your serving of bacon and eggs can be made healthier by:

  • Poaching the eggs
  • Using short cut bacon
  • Use a non-stick frypan with a spray of olive oil
  • Drain the bacon by placing it on a paper towel before serving
  • Add cooked vegetables to the plate – tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms are popular choices
Spinach and feta egg muffin recipe
Whisk egg, milk and salt and pepper.  Pour over baby spinach and feta cheese.  Top with grated cheese and bake. Delicious hot or cold
Spinach and feta egg muffin recipe
Whisk egg, milk and salt and pepper. Pour over baby spinach and feta cheese. Top with grated cheese and bake. Delicious hot or cold

Healthy Cereal Choices

Cereal is a popular choice, but many commercial cereals are not healthy, because they are high in sugar and saturated fat.  The unhealthiest cereals contain up to 30g sugar per 100g cereal, or 3 teaspoons sugar per serve.  They may be sabotaging your weight loss goals on a daily basis.  Read more in this article by dietician Claudia Cramer.

A healthy cereal provides nutrients and leaves you feeling full for longer.  It is an excellent source of wholegrains, antioxidants and gut friendly fibre.  Many breakfast cereals are fortified with other ingredients such as B group vitamins.  Eaten with dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, they will also supply much of your daily calcium needs.

Choose cereal by reading the food label.  Look for cereals with the following:

  • Low in sugar – less than 10g per 100g cereal.  Watch for hidden sugars which may be listed as fructose, maltose, honey, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, caramel or invert sugar, dried fruit
  • High in fibre – >10g per 100g.  Fibre is gut friendly and fills you up, leaving you satisfied for longer
  • 50% Wholegrains
  • A high health star rating
  • Low in saturated fat – <3g per 100g

The healthiest cereals in Australia are:

  • Barley + Freedom Foods
  • All Bran Kelloggs
  • Simply Fibre Muesli Food for Health
  • Active Balance Buckwheat & Quinoa Freedom Foods
  • 5 Grain & Seed Granola Carmans
  • Plus Fibre Uncle Toby’s
  • Shredded Wheat Uncle Toby’s
  • Organic Honey Roasted Almond Bircher Muesli Macro
  • Wholegrain Mini Bites Be Natural
  • Great Start 5 Grains & Seeds Woolworths
  • Gourmet Porridge Carmans
  • Guardian Kelloggs
  • 10+ Natural Muesli Sunsol

Your morning cereal should be served with protein such as Greek yoghurt to provide a healthy start to the day.  An alternative to cereal are my chocolate chia pots, which combine chia wholegrains with cacao and almond milk for a sweet healthy treat.

Choose healthy breakfast cereal - low in sugar and saturated fat, high in fibre (50% wholegrains) and high in health star rating
Choose healthy breakfast cereal – low in sugar and saturated fat, high in fibre (50% wholegrains) and
high in health star rating

RECIPES

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

A healthy smoothie to start your day
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, smoothie
Cuisine Smoothie
Servings 1
Calories 340 kcal

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar Optional. May use alternative sweetener if desired
  • 1 container plain yoghurt 227g or 8 oz
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup 2% reduced fat milk Use dairy free alternatives if vegetarian or vegan
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Blend the blueberries, yoghurt, milk, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in a blender until frothy
  • Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula occasionally
  • Serve immediately

Notes

340kCal per serve.  Sugar may be omitted.
Blueberry Smoothie Recipe
A healthy smoothie recipe to start your day
Keyword Breakfast, Easy, Healthy, Smoothie
Overnight Oats Recipe

Overnight Oats Recipe

Christina Henry
A healthy overnight oats recipe to start your day. May be made in batches.
Prep Time 10 mins
Resting time in refridgerator 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Healthy
Servings 1
Calories 235 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Air tight containers or mason jars

Ingredients
  

  • cup instant oats
  • 2 teaspoons oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar optional
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons dried fruit or nuts of your choice
  • ¼ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup cold water

Instructions
 

  • Mix all the dry ingredients well
  • Place in a mason jar or other container with lid until you’re ready to use
  • Mix in water and yoghurt. Shake jar/container
  • Leave in refrigerator overnight

Notes

Multiply quantities to make a batch (the quantities above are for one serve)
I usually make one week’s worth at a time.  The dry ingredients are approx. 160kCal,  mixed with yoghurt and water the total is 235kCal.
Overnight Oats Recipe
A healthy breakfast to start your day. This overnight oats recipe may be made in batches and stored in the pantry until needed. Mix with yogurt and water and leave overnight in the refrigerator.
Keyword Breakfast, Easy, Healthy
Spinach and Feta Egg Muffin Recipe

Spinach and Feta Egg Muffin Recipe

Christina Henry
A healthy muffin recipe that may be eaten for breakfast or lunch. Serve hot or cold. Multiply the ingredients depending on how many muffins you need. The ingredients listed are for one muffin. Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Lunch
Cuisine Healthy
Servings 1
Calories 167 kcal

Equipment

  • Whisk
  • Muffin Tin
  • Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 1 egg
  • 20 g feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon shredded tasty cheese
  • ¼ cup baby spinach Wilted in microwave or boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Spray a muffin tin with oil spray
  • Heat oven to 220 degree celsius
  • Whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper
  • Place feta and spinach in a muffin tin (it’s easier if the spinach has been wilted in boiling water and drained well)
  • Pour egg mixture over feta and spinach
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese on top
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold

Notes

Spinach and Feta Egg Muffin Recipe
A healthy recipe for Spinach and Feta Egg Muffins. May be eaten hot or cold, for breakfast or lunch.
Multiply ingredients and make in batches. The quantities above are for one muffin (I usually make 4 – 6 at a time)
I also eat these at lunch time with a salad
Keyword Breakfast, Easy, Healthy, Lunch, Spinach and Feta Egg Muffins

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Why Your Waist Measurement Matters and How to Reduce It

This article will explain the relationship between waist size and your general health. Why your waist measurement matters, and how reducing it will improve your overall health.

According to research, reducing the size of your waist to a healthy size will increase your longevity. Other benefits are that it will reduce your risk for other diseases, such as dislipidemia, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Even if you are relatively smaller everywhere else on your body, the increased weight around your waist will still lead to other health problems.

My Own Health Concerns

One of my biggest concerns with my weight was my waist circumference. My waist measured 109cm (42 inches) when I started on my weight loss journey. This put me at a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. An ideal waist measurement for women is 88cm (35 inches) or less, and men is 102cm (40 inches) or less. Anything above this is classed as abdominal obesity.

All the extra weight I was carrying was fat, which was surrounding all my vital organs like my heart, liver and pancreas. I had been taking blood pressure medication for a couple of years, and for my cholesterol for at least 6 years. This meant my body was already showing signs of issues caused by this excess fat around my abdomen.

How to Measure Your Waist Size

Along with wanting to lose weight, I was desperate to reduce the size of my waist to prevent any other health issues. I started measuring my waist, hips, bust, thighs and upper arms along with weighing myself 2 – 3 times a week. I used a Body Fat Calculator to assess this. My body fat percentage a year ago was 43.3% which is very high. Now it is around 28% and in the healthy range for my age.

I have found that taking those measurements is more incentive to than just weighing on the scales alone is. Some days I’m quite bloated with my waist ranging between 84cm on a good day to 88cm on a bad day! The “bad day” is usually from working night shifts or having a day or two of eating and drinking unhealthy food. I accept that we all need a day or two like that occasionally.

Image credit for feature photo: Pixabay on Pexel

If you are interested in starting to do the same measurements, there’s a great website called Calculator.net. It has a number of health and fitness calculators that are easy to use, including a Body Fat Calculator. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble, try writing down your waist measurement and weight once or twice a week.

Gauging Your Waist Size by How Your Clothes Fit

The way your clothes fit will also be a good way to gauge whether you’re losing weight off your waist. I’ve had to totally replace my whole wardrobe twice in the last year, down to my underwear! It’s so rewarding to be able to see the results, and know that I’ve improved my health by reducing my waist size.

Another benefit of reducing your waist size is that clothes fit better! I always found it really hard to find clothes that fitted my apple shaped body and was always trying to hide my belly with tunics etc. It’s now so much easier to find clothes that fit, and my body has a better figure. (not quite an hourglass shape though!)

Here are my measurements before and after:

October 2018 / October 2019

Weight 83.5kg / 66.1kg

Waist 105cm / 84cm

Hips 109cm / 95cm

Bust 104cm / 90cm

Thighs 69cm / 59cm

Upper arm 30cm / 27cm

My Weight Loss Success

Before 83.5kg October 2018. After 66.1kg October 2019

Steps to Take to Reduce your Waist Size

The following six steps have been shown to effectively reduce your waist size:

  1. Cut out all sugar, especially drinks that have been sweetened. A high intake of sugar leads to the liver getting overloaded, resulting in insulin resistance. Your body can’t cope with so much sugar (fructose) and stores it as fat in your abdomen and liver.
  2. Increase your protein intake, because this reduces cravings and boosts your metabolism. High quality protein is important, such as that found in eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seafood, meat and high quality protein supplements (whey powder).
  3. Cut carbohydrates, particularly highly refined ones found in cakes, sweets and white bread. Some people cut carbs drastically leading to ketosis (the popular keto diet) which reduces your appetite and leads to rapid weight loss. My brother has done really well on this diet, while I found just dropping all the rubbish like lollies, cakes, muffins etc. was enough for me to be effective. I find that if I have any of those foods now I get a migraine. That just proves to me that this type of food is bad for my health.
  4. Eat food high in fibre, particularly vegetables. This helps to fill you up, and aids digestion. One of the most effective steps I took was to amp up my vegetable intake, replacing a lot of the carbs with vegetables. Vegetables contain plenty of vitamins and minerals which also help our health and well-being. Other food sources of fibre include fruit, cereals and legumes. Adding a fibre supplement like Metamucil would be effective as well.
  5. Exercise, in particular aerobic exercise such as walking, running, swimming and cycling. Spot exercises like sit-ups do not work! Improving your core muscle strength will help you overall but it might not necessarily reduce your waist size unless you are doing aerobic exercise. I can’t do heavy exercise but I have found that regular walking has been effective for me.
  6. Count your calories using a macro counter. I use an App on my phone to record everything I eat. From there I can see my macros (percentage of protein, carbs and fat), and calorie intake. I try to keep to between 1500 – 1800 Kcal per day, and make sure my calories in is lower than my calories out. Even though my weight has been stable for months I still track my intake because I find it helps me stay accountable to my health goals.
Why your waist measurement matters - how your waist measurement affects your health and what you can do to reduce your waist measurement
Why your waist measurement matters – how your waist measurement affects your health and what you can do to remedy it.

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The Skills I Learned from my Parents That I Still Use Today

The Importance of Skills I Learned From My Parents

As parents we hope that our proteges take after us in some way. We try to teach them important skills and values as we raise them. I reflected on this very thing and realised that there are some important skills I learned from my parents that I still use today. It was not until I had my own children that I appreciated that I had been given these skills and values. I regard these skills as a vital part of my life and I value them more as I age.

How Old-Fashioned Skills are Helping Me Now

In my previous post, I explained that I am investigating self-sufficiency as a prospect for a sustainable future. We plan to supply most of our own basic needs, including growing our own food. My parents taught me some important skills as I was growing up, most of which I took for granted and have not used in my adult life. As I am heading into my later years, I am realising that those old-fashioned skills are relevant now.

If we are to supply our own food, we will need to be able to preserve food that we have grown ourselves, so that we have a steady supply during the months that our garden isn’t producing. Plants grown in season are more easily grown – you don’t need to provide an artificial environment (such as a green-house or water sprinkling system) to keep them alive. This means you harvest a large quantity at one time. Learning how to preserve some of the crop is essential.

My sister and I in 1977 with our mum - holding a 9 lb trout.  Our love of fishing and the outdoors stems from our parents.  We always had a boat for fishing on the many lakes around Rotorua, New Zealand
My sister and I in 1977 with our mum – holding a 9 lb trout. Our love of fishing and the outdoors stems from our parents. We always had a boat for fishing on the many lakes around Rotorua, New Zealand

The most useful skills I learned from my parents

My mother was a down-to-earth, practical and savvy woman. She was a stay-at-home mum of four kids under 5. The skills I learned from her were:

  • Budgeting – she took full advantage of using discount coupons, bought in bulk, never racked up a debt, and seemed to be able to stretch her money so that we never went without;
  • Sewing – mum made all her own clothes. She taught my sister and I to sew and knit. Mum also had a spinning wheel and made her own wool out of sheeps’ fleece;
  • Gardening – my parents were avid gardeners and grew most of our vegetables. They researched alternative growing methods and put them to use through having a greenhouse and hydroponic set-up which could produce out-of-season food in a cold climate. We also learned composting from them. Their green thumb has passed on to the rest of the family and we all enjoy growing our own produce;
  • Cooking – we rarely ate out, and mum cooked all our food. She baked cakes and biscuits, made icecream and other desserts. My dad cooked every Sunday for a house full of guests – he loved to experiment with food and entertain our guests. We all love cooking, and especially love to experiment with new flavours and techniques.
  • Preserving food – My mum used to make chutneys, jam, and preserved fruit. Dad made brawn – preserved meat. These skills are ones I now want to learn as a skill that will be needed for self-sufficiency. I have made pickles and chutneys, but only in small quantities. I am going to learn about bottling food so that it can be stored safely for future use;
  • Smoking food – we have a smoker so we can make smoked fish and meat. I know this has been used successfully to preserve food so we will learn how to do this as well;
  • Fishing – my husband and I both grew up in families that loved fishing. My parents owned a boat and we used to go trout fishing on one of the many fresh water lakes around our city. My husband’s father took him sea fishing and they still enjoy that now on their boat.
  • Health promotion- my mum was into natural therapies throughout her life. She knew every natural remedy known to man! Mum preferred to promote health by having a healthy diet and supplements. She practiced yoga and meditation as part of her philosophy of self-care.
  • Housekeeping and house maintenance – my parents did all their own cleaning, yard work and maintenance. I learned many skills from them and still struggle to hand those tasks over to anyone else. I prefer to do all my own cleaning, and my husband does everything he can in the garden and around the house. We are only able to hire someone else when we acknowledge that the skill required is outside our limits, or would take us too long to finish. As we get older we are realising our bodies aren’t up to doing hard work and sometimes it’s better to hire someone to do it;
  • Researching – my parents passed on their love of reading. They used to research all different things, and that love has passed on to me. My other hobby was genealogy which I learned from my mother – I was able to use her research as a basis for my own. I have another blog, This Is Who We Are about our family history
My father and his tomatoes - grown in New Zealand during the winter in a greenhouse.
My father and his tomatoes – grown in New Zealand during the winter in a greenhouse.

I guess I was like any other teenager and did not really appreciate my parents until I left home and had my own family. My mum passed away when I was 24. I really missed her presence in my life – it was very hard bringing up my sons without my mother to advise and help me. In a way I was lucky that she was such a wonderful parent and I learned so many skills from her as I was growing up. I was able to draw on that knowledge throughout my life. I certainly don’t take it for granted and really appreciate everything my parents taught me.

My sister working in the hydroponic greenhouse my father set up in the mid-80s.  It was the first hydroponic garden in New Zealand and used to attract tourists from all over the world
My sister working in the hydroponic greenhouse my father set up in the mid-80s. It was the first hydroponic garden in New Zealand and used to attract tourists from all over the world

Many of the skills I learned like preserving food will be necessary as we aim towards self-sufficiency. In the next few years I will be researching different skills in order to be able to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

10 Skills my Parents Taught Me that I Still Use Today
10 Skills my Parents Taught Me that I Still Use Today

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How to Grow your own Sprouts on your kitchen bench

This post will tell you how to grow your own sprouts with easy step by step instructions. Sprouts have many health benefits: they are full of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins such as Vit. D, A, zinc, biotin and iron, fibre which aids digestion, and omega-3 fatty acids. The process of sprouting enhances the nutrient value of grains, legumes and beans. They are easier to digest when sprouted, allowing our body to utilise the nutrients easily. While they are full of nutrients, they are low in calories so you can eat a lot of them without worrying about the calorie intake.

To buy them from the supermarket is relatively expensive and they have to be used within a couple of days. I usually end up throwing most of them out because they deteriorate too quickly. By growing my own, I can have sprouts at various stages of growth so that I have a steady supply. They are very easy to grow – you don’t need a garden for these! They can grow on your kitchen bench in a jar and only take about 3 days to grow.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure

Equipment Required to Grow Your Own Sprouts

  • Clean glass jar. You can use any jar for this but a medium sized jar is best
  • A sprouting lid which has wire mesh to allow air to circulate, and water to drain off the sprouts. Sprouting lids may be purchased online separately, or you can buy a starter kit of jar, lid and rack (to aid drainage) from Amazon
  • Sprouting seeds e.g. alfalfa, red clover, mung beans, chia seeds, broccoli, wheat, radish, soybean, mustard, lentil, sunflower seeds and pea shoots. Anywhere that supplies seeds should have them, and they will say sprouting seeds on the packet. Health food stores usually supply them too, and you can buy them in bulk online. It’s best to buy special sprouting seeds because they are free of bacteria and are packaged in a controlled environment. Using lentils or other seeds from the grocery store is not as safe because they are meant to be cooked, meaning that they may not be free of the bacteria that causes salmonella or e. coli gastroenteritis.
  • I use a tea strainer to strain the water off as some of the seeds are very small. The rinsing and draining process is important as you don’t want them to sit in stagnant water.
Equipment used to grow sprouts and sprout seeds

How to Grow Your Own Sprouts

Steps

  1. Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of seeds in the jar. Cover with warm water and leave overnight – 8 to 12 hours
  2. Drain water off (I use the tea strainer to drain it through). Rinse a couple of times until the water runs clear. Do this morning and night. Leave them pointing downwards so that the water drains well.
  3. After a few days the sprouts will be ready to eat. Put them into an air-tight container in the fridge and eat within a few days.
Sprouts growing – day 2 to day 5

You start a new batch of sprouts every couple of days to ensure a continuous supply.

Enjoy them in salad, sandwiches, wraps or stir fries.

Using sprouts in a salad

How to Grow your own Sprouts on your kitchen bench

Sprouts have many health benefits: they are full of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins such as Vit. D, A, zinc, biotin and iron, fibre which aids digestion, and omega-3 fatty acids. The process of sprouting enhances the nutrient value of grains, legumes and beans. They are easier to digest when sprouted, allowing our body to utilise the nutrients easily. While they are full of nutrients, they are low in calories so you can eat a lot of them without worrying about the calorie intake. To buy them from the supermarket is relatively expensive and they have to be used within a couple of days. I usually end up throwing most of them out because they deteriorate too quickly. By growing my own, I can have sprouts at various stages of growth so that I have a steady supply. They are very easy to grow – you don’t need a garden for these! They can grow on your kitchen bench in a jar and only take about 3 days to grow.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Easy, Healthy, Sprouts, Vegan, Vegetarian
Yield: 1 cup
Author: midlifestylist
Cost: $2 per cup

Equipment

  • Clean glass jar. You can use any jar for this but a medium sized jar is best
  • A sprouting lid which has wire mesh to allow air to circulate, and water to drain off the sprouts. I have made do with the foot end of a pair of pantyhose stretched over the mouth of the jar. A piece of muslin or cheesecloth and a rubber band would work as well.
  • Sprouting seeds e.g. alfalfa, red clover, mung beans, chia seeds, broccoli, wheat, radish, soybean, mustard, lentil, sunflower seeds and pea shoots. Anywhere that supplies seeds should have them, and they will say sprouting seeds on the packet. Health food stores usually supply them too, and you can buy them in bulk online. It’s best to buy special sprouting seeds because they are free of bacteria and are packaged in a controlled environment. Using lentils or other seeds from the grocery store is not as safe because they are meant to be cooked, meaning that they may not be free of the bacteria that causes salmonella or e. coli gastroenteritis.
  • I use a tea strainer to strain the water off as some of the seeds are very small. The rinsing and draining process is important as you don’t want them to sit in stagnant water.

Materials

  • 2 tablespoons Sprouting seeds

Instructions

  • Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of seeds in the jar. Cover with warm water and leave overnight – 8 to 12 hours
  • Drain water off (I use the tea strainer to drain it through). Rinse a couple of times until the water runs clear. Do this morning and night. Leave them pointing downwards so that the water drains well.
  • After a few days the sprouts will be ready to eat. Put them into an air-tight container in the fridge and eat within a few days.

Notes

How to grow your own bean sprouts
Growing sprouts is easy with these instructions. Sprouts are nutritious and may be added to salads, sandwiches or stir fries
You start a new batch of sprouts every couple of days to ensure a continuous supply.
Enjoy them in salad, sandwiches, wraps or stir fries.

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Super Spinach Salad Recipe

This is the salad recipe that I have used many times over. It is delicious, versatile and healthy. The basis for it is just three ingredients, then you can customise it to suit your taste. I named it Super Spinach Salad Recipe because the ingredients have many health benefits. Full of vitamins and fiber, a serving of the basic salad is only 30 calories. I ate this salad (with variations) nearly every day when I was on my weight loss diet, with excellent results. See this article for more.

Basic Spinach Salad Recipe

  • 60g baby spinach ( or approx. 2 cups, or half a bag of spinach from the supermarket
  • 250g cherry tomatoes (or two large tomatoes cut up)
  • 1/2 continental cucumber (or 1 Lebanese cucumber)

Method

Rinse spinach in a colander. Break off stems and remove leaves that are blemished. Wash tomatoes and add to spinach. Cut up the cucumber and add to spinach. Place in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last about 4 days.

30 kCalories per serving, total recipe 90 kCalories. Serves 3 for mains, 5 for side dish. 2g Protein, 6g Carbohydrate, 0g fat

Super Spinach Salad Recipe:  the basic ingredients are baby spinach, tomatoes and cucumber
Super Spinach Salad: the basic recipe is baby spinach, tomatoes and cucumber

Now Customise!

Optional extras

  • olives
  • feta cheese or shredded low fat tasty cheese (see note at bottom of recipe)
  • red onion
  • avocado
  • roast baby beetroot, skinned and diced
  • celery
  • corn kernels
  • snow peas
  • carrot
  • red capsicum
  • cos lettuce
  • radishes
  • sprouts
  • nuts, e.g. pine nuts, sliced almonds, pistachios
  • seeds, e.g. quinoa, flax seed, sunflower seeds
  • dressings, e.g. vinaigrette, Greek or Italian salad dressing, low fat mayonnaise
  • lean protein – grilled chicken breast, low fat ham or bacon (grilled), tin of tuna in low fat sauce, boiled egg
  • fruit, e.g. mango, apple, pear, dried fruit such as apricots or cranberries
  • herbs, e.g. parsley, chives, mint

My favourite combinations

Basic recipe plus:

  • olives, feta cheese and Greek dressing
  • chicken breast, avocado, snow peas
  • Feta cheese, baby beetroot, celery
  • cos lettuce, boiled egg, low fat mayonnaise
  • small can of tuna in sun-dried tomato and onion (John West brand, 99% fat free)
Super Spinach Salad Recipe with a Mediterranean twist:  Feta cheese, olives and Greek Salad Dressing
Super Spinach Salad with a Mediterranean twist: Feta Cheese, Olives and Greek Salad Dressing

Meal Prep Idea

Make the basic salad, divide into 3 portions. Each portion is your lunch. Take the extras to work separately and add just before you eat it, then the salad won’t go limp and soggy.

Alternative way of serving: take a wrap to work, and combine all ingredients as a burrito

A healthy burrito using the Super Spinach Salad recipe, ham, corn kernels and shredded cheese in a wrap
A healthy burrito using the Super Spinach Salad, ham, corn kernels and shredded cheese in a wrap
Super Spinach Salad Recipe

Super Spinach Salad

midlifestylist
This is the salad recipe that I have used many times over. It is delicious, versatile and healthy. The basis for it is just three ingredients, then you can customise it to suit your taste.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Australian, British
Servings 3 People
Calories 30 kcal

Equipment

  • Colander
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 60 g baby spinach or approx. 2 cups, or half a bag of spinach from the supermarket
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes or two large tomatoes cut up
  • 1/2 continental cucumber or 1 Lebanese cucumber

Instructions
 

  • Rinse spinach in a colander. Break off stems and remove leaves that are blemished. Wash tomatoes and add to spinach. Cut up the cucumber and add to spinach. Place in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last about 4 days.

Notes

Super Spinach Salad Recipe
Consisting of just three basic ingredients, this easy healthy salad may be customised in multiple ways to suit your taste.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
olives,
feta cheese or shredded low fat tasty cheese (see note at bottom of recipe),
red onion,
avocado,
roast baby beetroot, skinned and diced,
celery,
corn kernels,
snow peas,
carrot,
red capsicum,
cos lettuce,
radishes,
sprouts,
nuts, e.g. pine nuts, sliced almonds, pistachios,
seeds, e.g. quinoa, flax seed, sunflower seeds,
dressings, e.g. vinaigrette, Greek or Italian salad dressing, low fat mayonnaise,
lean protein – grilled chicken breast, low fat ham or bacon (grilled), tin of tuna in low fat sauce, boiled egg,
fruit, e.g. mango, apple, pear, dried fruit such as apricots or cranberries,
herbs, e.g. parsley, chives, mint
MY FAVORITE COMBINATIONS:
Basic recipe plus:
Olives, feta cheese and Greek dressing;
chicken breast, avocado, snow peas;
Feta cheese, baby beetroot, celery;
cos lettuce, boiled egg, low fat mayonnaise;
small can of tuna in sun-dried tomato and onion (John West brand, 99% fat free);
Super Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese, Olives and Greek Salad Dressing.
MEAL PREP IDEA:
Make the basic salad, divide into 3 portions. Each portion is your lunch. Take the extras to work separately and add just before you eat it, then the salad won’t go limp and soggy. 
Alternative way of serving: take a wrap to work, and combine all ingredients as a burrito, using the Super Spinach Salad, ham, corn kernels and shredded cheese in a wrap
Note: a serving size of feta cheese is 20g, or a piece the same size as your first finger. This equals 53 calories. 2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese = 74 calories
Keyword Easy, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Note: a serving size of feta cheese is 20g, or a piece the same size as your first finger. This equals 53 calories. 2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese = 74 calories

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Dessert Grazing Platter

Healthy grazing platter for dessert

Healthy Platter to Serve for Dessert

Most dessert platters are heavy on high calorie food such as chocolate, cakes and sweet biscuits and candy. It can add a massive amount of calories to your intake, especially if it’s at the end of a large meal and alcohol. This is a healthier version of a grazing platter to serve for dessert, that will appeal to most of your guests.

  • Plenty of fresh fruit like grapes, melons, strawberries and mango cheeks
  • unsalted nuts like almonds and cashews
  • dark chocolate is healthier than milk or white chocolate. I included cranberries dipped in dark chocolate by Angas Park. They contain antioxidants and have no added artificial colours or flavours, or preservatives.
  • Greek yogurt
  • dried fruit such as apricots or figs

Options for Entertaining

If you plan to have just one grazing platter, you can combine the above with the savoury grazing platter – cheese, fruit and olives go very well together. At Christmas time, cut the melon with a star or Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter to add a festive touch.

Dessert Grazing Platter - a healthy option to serve your guests.
Dessert Grazing Platter – a healthy option to serve your guests.

Food to Avoid Serving

Try to avoid serving food high in sugar and fat. While being moreish and a crowd pleaser, the aim is to feed your guests healthy food. Avoid serving the following:

  • Chocolate mousse or puddings. Serve my healthy chocolate chia pudding instead
  • Blocks of chocolate or candies. Serve strawberries dipped in dark chocolate instead.
  • Pastries, cakes and sweet biscuits. Serve healthy protein balls or sugar free versions of your favourite cakes and muffins.
  • Salted or caramelised nuts. Serve raw nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds

Delight your guests at your next gathering by serving them healthy food. They will appreciate the care and attention you make to their health.

Dessert Grazing Platter

Most dessert platters are heavy on high calorie food such as chocolate, cakes and sweet biscuits and candy. It can add a massive amount of calories to your intake, especially if it’s at the end of a large meal and alcohol. This is a healthier version that will appeal to most of your guests.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Grazing Platter
Cuisine: Entertainment, Healthy
Keyword: Dessert, Easy, Entertaining, Grazing Platter, Healthy
Author: midlifestylist
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • Decorative Platter
  • Sharp knife
  • Christmas cookie cutters (optional)

Materials

  • Plenty of fresh fruit like grapes melons, strawberries and mango cheeks
  • Unsalted nuts like almonds and cashews
  • Dark chocolate is healthier than milk or white chocolate. I included cranberries dipped in dark chocolate by Angas Park. They contain antioxidants and have no added artificial colours or flavours or preservatives
  • Greek yogurt
  • Dried fruit such as apricots or figs

Instructions

  • Assemble the ingredients on a decorative platter. Adjust the quantities according to the number of guests. You may like to serve a Savoury Grazing Platter as well, or add some of the savoury ingredients to this platter

Notes

Healthy grazing platter for dessert
A healthy version of a dessert grazing platter
If you plan to have just one grazing platter, you can combine the above with the savoury grazing platter – cheese, fruit and olives go very well together. At Christmas time, cut the melon with a star or Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter to add a festive touch.

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Savoury Grazing Platter

A healthy savoury grazing platter

A Healthy Version of a Savoury Grazing Platter

Everybody loves a cheese board! They can turn a buffet into something special, and look amazing. This is how to make a savoury grazing platter that is healthy and appealing to most people.

Most grazing platters are heavy on processed meat, cheese and crackers. While tasty, they are high in calories and saturated fat. By serving healthy alternatives, your guests will leave at the end of the evening feeling pleased that they were eating nutritious food rather than ruining their healthy diet. Instead of serving the usual high fat, high calorie cheese platter, try using these healthier versions:

  • low fat ham or roast beef, thinly sliced
  • chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • carrot, capsicum, celery sticks
  • one or two cheeses – I usually use Brie for the soft cheese and a hard tasty cheese. The one shown in the photo is a vintage cheddar cheese I picked up from the Good Food and Wine show. Because it’s a tasty cheese, a small amount packs the flavour in which means you’ll eat less of it
  • cherry tomatoes
  • low carb crackers like these Tribe Organics rice crackers and baked pea crisps from Harvest Snaps
  • Dips and spreads such as hummous and salsa which are healthier than a lot of other dips such as french onion.
  • olives, sundried tomatoes or pickles

Options for Entertaining Guests

You can increase the size to cater for the number of guests you’ll have. You can also put some sweet flavours in like dried apricots, grapes and honey. Nuts such as cashews and almonds go well too. Alternatively, you can make a separate platter for dessert, like my dessert grazing platter.

A healthy savoury grazing platter includes a range of healthy options, and adds nutrients to your overall diet. Options for your cheese platter include vegetables, low fat cheese, salsa and hummus and leave out processed meat, crackers and high fat cheese. Experiment with different combinations of flavours, adding in food that you enjoy. That way, your guests leave your event feeling satisfied, without that ill feeling that comes from eating greasy food.

A healthy savoury grazing platter - healthy options for your cheese platter include vegetables, low fat cheese, salsa and hummous and leave out processed meat, crackers and high fat cheese
A healthy savoury grazing platter.

Savoury Grazing Platter

Everybody loves a cheese board! They can turn a buffet into something special, and look amazing. This is how to make a savoury grazing platter that is healthy and appealing to most people. Most grazing platters are heavy on processed meat, cheese and crackers. While tasty, they are high in calories and saturated fat. Instead, try using these healthier versions
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Grazing Platter
Cuisine: Entertainment
Keyword: Dinner, Easy, Entertaining, Grazing Platter, Healthy, Lunch
Author: midlifestylist
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • Decorative Platter
  • Sharp knife
  • Cheese knives

Materials

  • Low fat ham or roast beef thinly sliced
  • Chicken breast grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Carrot sticks, capsicum, celery sticks
  • One or two cheeses – I usually use Brie for the soft cheese and a hard tasty cheese e.g. vintage cheddar cheese A small amount packs the flavour in which means you'll eat less of it
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Low carbohydrate crackers e.g. rice crackers and baked pea crisps from Harvest Snaps
  • Dips and spreads such as hummus and salsa which are healthier than a lot of other dips such as French onion.
  • Olives
  • Sun dried tomatoes or pickles

Instructions

  • You can increase the size to cater for the number of guests you'll have. You can also put some sweet flavors in like dried apricots, grapes and honey. Nuts such as cashews and almonds go well too. Alternatively, you can make a separate platter for dessert, like my Dessert Grazing Platter.
  • Experiment with different combinations of flavors, adding in food that you enjoy.

Notes

A healthy savoury grazing platter
Healthy savoury grazing platter to serve your guests
Serve healthy food to your guests at your next event.  Entertain with a Savoury Grazing Platter and a Dessert Grazing Platter.  Your guests will appreciate it.
Serve healthy food to your guests at your next event. Entertain with a Savoury Grazing Platter and a Dessert Grazing Platter. Your guests will appreciate it.
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