Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Vegetarian, Vegan

There is nothing more satisfying on a cold day than a warm bowl of soup. Unlike many vegetable soup recipes, this one has no added fat. A bowl of this soup is only 93 calories so you can eat it as a snack without spoiling your diet. When blended it is easily mistaken for pumpkin soup without the added cream! It is an easy way to add vegetables to your diet, and will provide approximately 2 serves of vegetables. The best part is, it is so easy to make and may be changed to suit your taste.

Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 100 grams dry red lentils
  • 1 leek
  • 500 grams pumpkin
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Method

Remove skin from pumpkin, carrots and potato. Chop all vegetables up

Into a large stockpot, put the soy sauce and leeks. Heat on high heat until soy is bubbling, then add the washed and strained lentils. Stir to stop it sticking on the bottom of the pot. Cook for 5 minutes

Pour in the stock and stir

Add all the vegetables and seasonings. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour

Taste test as it cooks – you may want to add more seasonings. I usually use much more salt, pepper and paprika than this but that may not be to everyone’s taste. You could also add dried or fresh herbs to boost the flavour

Eat it just as it is, or blend it once cooled – it will look like pumpkin soup without the calories!

May be divided into 8 serves and frozen for lunches or quick meals

Recipe variations

You can add any other vegetables e.g. celery, potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli. I use up a lot of my vegetables that are getting a bit soft, just to use them up.

The vegetable stock may be substituted with chicken stock if you are not vegetarian.

Vegetable soup - vegetarian, vegan recipe

Nutrition information

Servings: 8

Calories – 93
  • Total fat 0.6g (1% daily value)
  • Saturated fat 0.1g (1%)
  • Cholesterol 0mg (0%)
  • Sodium 611mg (27%)
  • Total Carbohydrates 18.3g (7%)
  • Dietary fibre 5.3g (19%)
  • Total Sugars 3.6g
  • Protein 5g
  • Vitamin D 0mcg (0%)
  • Calcium 41mg (3%)
  • Iron 2mg (13%)
  • Potassium 484mg (10%)

The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice

Easy Vegetable Soup

Easy Vegetable Soup

midlifestylist
Easy Vegetable Soup – Vegetarian, Vegan An easy, healthy soup recipe that is sure to please the whole family.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, Australian, British
Servings 8 people
Calories 93 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan with Lid
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Blender (optional)
  • Measuring Jug and Spoons

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 100 grams dry red lentils
  • 1 leek
  • 500 grams pumpkin
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Instructions
 

  • Remove skin from pumpkin, carrots and potato. Chop all vegetables up
  • Into a large stockpot, put the soy sauce and leeks. Heat on high heat until soy is bubbling, then add the washed and strained lentils. Stir to stop it sticking on the bottom of the pot. Cook for 5 minutes
  • Pour in the stock and stir
  • Add all the vegetables and seasonings. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour
  • Taste test as it cooks – you may want to add more seasonings. I usually use much more salt, pepper and paprika than this but that may not be to everyone’s taste. You could also add dried or fresh herbs to boost the flavour
  • Eat it just as it is, or blend it once cooled – it will look like pumpkin soup without the calories!
  • May be divided into 8 serves and frozen for lunches or quick meals

Notes

Recipe variations
You can add any other vegetables e.g. celery, potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli. I use up a lot of my vegetables that are getting a bit soft, just to use them up.
The vegetable stock may be substituted with chicken stock if you are not vegetarian.
Keyword Easy, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetable Soup, Vegetaria

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it. You may also like:

Healthy Vegetable Soup Recipe
Continue Reading

You may also like

What’s with the Middle Aged Spread?

Why do People Get a Middle Aged Spread in Midlife?

What is Middle Aged Spread?

We’ve all heard about the middle aged spread. Many of us in our 40’s and 50’s start to put on weight which seems to cling to our abdomen, hips and thighs. But why is that, and what can we do about it?

I’ve always put weight straight on to my tummy. Looking at photos of my family, we all have a “pot gut” which we inherited from our father! Weight gain around our waistline is sometimes caused from hereditary factors, and sometimes from just learning about food from our families. We’re all foodies in my family – we love our food, we talk about food in detail, and love to experiment with cooking. Being good cooks means we enjoy it just a little too much at times and all our social occasions are based on lavish feasts. All well and good when you’re young and fit and can keep your weight down with exercise and eating well the rest of the week.

How Menopause Affects Weight Gain

But after the age of 40, the reduction in sex hormones in both men and women (yes there is a “manopause”!) can lead to excess body fat being stored around the abdomen for men and the buttocks and thighs of women. Women and men store fat differently and it can change due to aging.

I went into a sudden and severe menopause when I was about 46 where my ovaries switched off overnight. I suffered hot flushes every 5 to 10 minutes, severe anxiety and insomnia. For me, going on to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was vital for my health. I started to put on weight at the same age, but put it down to lifestyle factors. It wasn’t until this year, at the age of 53, that I managed to slowly wean myself off HRT over the course of about 6 months. It’s only been since then that I’ve been able to lose weight more easily than before. Scientific studies dispute the link between weight gain and HRT, but for me, I believe HRT made it harder for me to control my weight.

How to Control Middle Aged Spread

Because weight gain in middle age is so common, it is important to look at what we can control, especially our diet. I genuinely did not know that the recommended number of servings of protein and grains is lower after the age of 50. Here was I, eating the same amount of food as my sons who are in their 20’s, and wondering why I was putting on weight! It wasn’t until the dietician told me this that I had a light-bulb moment and realised that I needed to change not only how many servings I was eating, but the amount of food per serving as well.

Once I did this, the weight actually came off easily. I could no longer eat 3 stalks of broccoli and call it a serving, and 200g of red meat and think that that was a reasonable amount for dinner. An adjustment in both my number of servings of food, and the amount of food I ate made a huge difference to my waistline.

Recommended Number of Servings Per Day

Here are the recommended number of servings per age group:

Men

AgeVegetables and
Legumes/beans
FruitGrainsMilk, cheese and alternativesLean meat, poultry,
eggs, nuts, seeds
19-506262 1/23
51-705 1/2262 1/22 1/2
70+524 1/23 1/22 1/2
Recommended Number of Servings Per Day – Men

Women

AgeVegetables and
Legumes/beans
FruitGrainsMilk, cheese and alternativesLean meat, poultry,
eggs, nuts, seeds
19-505262 1/22 1/2
51-7052442
70+52342
Pregnant528 1/22 1/23 1/2
Lactating7 1/2292 1/22 1/2
Recommended Number of Servings Per Day – Women

Adjust Your Eating Habits as You Age

You can see from this table, the number of servings changes after the age of 50, so it’s important to adjust our eating habits accordingly. I had assumed that my diet was full of healthy fruit and vegetables, but when I looked more closely at it, I realised that I really wasn’t eating many vegetables at all. It was easy to fix – I just started eating a large salad or some homemade vegetable soup for lunch, and loaded extra vegetables into my night time meals. My serve of meat is now much smaller, and I’ve started incorporating legumes with my meals. My son went vegetarian at the beginning of this year and we’ve really enjoyed cooking sessions where we experiment with different recipes. He’s becoming a good cook as well. His meals look far nicer than our carnivorous ones!

A healthy diet should contain 2 serves of fruit and 5-6 serves of vegetables per day
A healthy diet should contain 2 serves of fruit and 5-6 serves of vegetables per day

There are some great resources on the internet about serving numbers and sizes. The one I use is an Australian Government website, Eat for Health. If you are struggling to increase your number of servings of vegetables per day, read 13+ Ways to Get More Colour in Your Diet.

It really is as simple as that: keep to the recommended guidelines for your age and sex, and you will begin to lose weight. Add in exercise, and you’ll not only lose weight, you’ll feel so much better too.

What's with the middle aged spread?  Why do we gain weight around our waist in our 40s and 50s and what can we do about it?
Continue Reading

You may also like

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Surely you have heard the saying Slow and Steady Wins the Race. The story of the tortoise and the hare embodies this. The story starts with a race between the tortoise and the hare. The hare was overly confident and decided to take a break, only to have the tortoise win because he plodded along. Plodding along will get you there in the end. The aim is to never give up.

I lost 17kg without setting foot in a gym or running. Due to my chronic back pain I am limited by what exercise I can do. I had to give up running and going to the gym about 10 years ago because of health issues caused by a congenital heart condition. But those limitations have not stopped me from exercising regularly. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I focus on what I can do.

Focus On What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t

I can walk! I walk my border collies nearly every day, approximately 3 – 3.5km. My son and I usually walk them together, and we use that time to talk. The bond we have developed from our daily walks is incredible. We really miss that when one of us is away. The obvious other benefit is seeing how much our dogs love their daily walk. We’re really lucky to have fabulous parks and beaches nearby that are dog friendly.

Slow and steady wins the race.  I may not be able to run, but my daily walk with the dogs has lead to my successful weightloss.  Photo shows Christina Henry with her two border collies on the shore of a lake
Slow and steady wins the race. I may not be able to run, but my daily walk with the dogs has lead to my successful weight-loss.

Regular exercise is the key. It doesn’t need to be high impact or energetic to have health benefits. Even a low impact exercise like walking, swimming or yoga has multiple benefits. Starting with a short walk and slowly building up over time, you will see benefits to your health and well being such as weight loss, improved stamina, and better mood. I also increased my incidental exercise by parking further away and climbing the stairs at work instead of taking the lift.

I use a Fitbit tracker to keep track of my steps, and aim to walk 10500 steps a day. Some days I walk more, some less, but at the end of the week it averages 8 – 10,000 steps per day. I find it is a good incentive, and being in Fitbit challenges spurs me on to walk more.

The key to develop a healthy exercise schedule is to do something you like, do it regularly, and set yourself goals such as walking further, climbing 4 flights of stairs a day, or walking for 10 minutes every hour. Over time you will see the benefits

Slow and steady wins the race.  Regular exercise is the key to long term weight-loss.  Even a daily walk has benefits.  Photo shows a man on the shore of a lake in the mountains
Regular exercise is the key to long term weight-loss. Even a daily walk has benefits.

If you enjoyed this article, you may like these related posts:

All healthy lifestyle articles may be found at this link

Please comment and share if you enjoyed this article.

Continue Reading

You may also like

Getting Support With Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Get support when you are making healthy lifestyle changes

Don’t Try to Do It Alone

This article is about getting support with healthy lifestyle choices. When starting out on your journey of self improvement, whether it is for weight loss, improving fitness, learning to cook or another healthy lifestyle choice, reach out for the support of others. Healthy habits are easier achieve when you have the support of others

The reason why I was able to succeed in losing 17kg this time as apposed to all the other times I’ve tried, is because I had support. Firstly, I was part of a program that matched me up with a coach. I was able to choose out of a dietician or an exercise coach, and I chose a dietician. Secondly, my brother was also on a journey to lose weight and we have supported each other through this.

Why you need Professional advice

Having professional advice regarding my diet was a game changer for me. Even though I’m a Registered Nurse with a background in health, I really had no idea about a healthy diet. I learned so much from the dietician, in particular the dietary requirements for over 50’s are a lot different than a younger person. She gave me advice about incorporating more vegetables into my diet, and cooking food in a healthier way. I would definitely recommend that you consult a dietician because they are experts in nutrition and weight loss, and are trained to be your coach.

So many times I felt like giving up, but I felt accountable to my coach. She would phone me every three weeks and was so positive and encouraging that I felt I couldn’t let her down. I’d hear her voice in my head urging me to walk up those flights of stairs even when my feet were aching and I was breathing like a steam train! My successful weight loss is mostly due to that constant support – when I felt like giving up and was full of self doubt, she pulled me through and gave me the confidence to succeed.

Support from non-professionals

Every time my brother and I spoke on the phone it was the same kind of encouragement. We gave each other advice and praised each other’s achievements. I wouldn’t have stuck to it if it weren’t for those two people. My brother used the keto diet and intermittent fasting to achieve his weight loss. We acknowledged that we could still support each other even though we were using vastly different ways to lose weight. No one method suits everyone, and that is another key reason why consulting a dietician is important.

I also had encouragement from a few of my work colleagues which was really lovely. Only a few people at work knew I was trying to lose weight. It actually took months for anyone to notice – I had already lost 10kg before people really noticed the weight loss! I thought it was funny how unobservant a lot of people are. Getting that praise boosted my self esteem, and made me so much more confident in myself.

Find Support Where You Can

My dogs have been great motivators as well because they are border collies who need walking no matter what. If you’re not lucky enough to own a dog, try buddying up with a friend for regular walks. If you normally meet for coffee, try get it to takeaway and drink while you have a stroll.

So my message today is, get support, even if you have to pay a professional or join a program. Lack of money or time? Find a Facebook group or online community that is based on weight loss, exercise, or whatever your area of self improvement is. It’ll make a huge difference.

Don't try to do it alone when you make a healthy change.  Read about getting support with healthy lifestyle changes.  Healthy habits are easier to achieve when you share the journey.  Image is of two young females with arms interlocking, backs towards viewer
Don’t try to do it alone when you make a healthy change. Read about getting support with healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy habits are easier to achieve when you share the journey.

Other Resources

I have found the following resources helpful and they are mostly free:

The first port of call should be your GP. Any weight loss or healthy lifestyle program should only be started after consulting your own doctor. Please read my Disclaimer here – this website is for informational purposes only.

For more inspirational articles on living a healthy life, read the following:

All healthy lifestyle articles can be found at this link.

Advice on a healthy diet can be found here, as well as healthy recipes.

Please comment and share this post if you enjoyed it.

Updated 26 September 2020

Continue Reading

You may also like

Just Change One Habit at a Time

Many people feel daunted by the prospect of getting healthier because the goal seems so hard to achieve. For me, I wanted to lose 10kg. I thought that goal was going to be impossible to achieve. It came down to breaking a bad habit. Just change one habit at a time as this will lead to more success. Small changes in your habits can lead to big outcomes.

I had noticed that the common thing for the slimmest people I knew, was that they ate salad for lunch. One of my colleagues brought a massive salad to work – the size was like a family sized amount to me – and she was really slim. My lunch consisted of sandwiches, a large muffin, a full sized yoghurt and some fruit! So I started by eating a large salad at lunchtime instead. That one habit change meant I swapped a meal consisting of high calories, with one that had healthy vegetables and was only around 150 Calories.

Swap an Unhealthy Habit with a Healthy One

Changing any unhealthy habits, including weight loss, stopping smoking, or reducing alcohol intake, begins with one habit. My one habit was swapping out my lunch with a healthier option. One of my relatives changed drinking beer with a vodka and soda and started losing weight. To stop smoking, many people stop the habit that they do along with the smoking. For example, if they normally drink coffee and have a smoke, they stop drinking coffee and that can help them stop smoking because there isn’t that trigger anymore.

My healthier lunch - a salad and Kombucha.  Swapping my lunch to this one helped me lose a lot of weight.
My lunch nearly every day

New habits can be gained as well. I started walking up the 4 or 5 flights of stairs at work. At the beginning I could barely breathe at the end of it and my heart was racing for the next 15 minutes. Over time I have improved my stamina, to the point that my husband and I could walk up to 19000 steps a day on our recent holiday to Japan, and climb Mt. Mison while we were there.

So if it seems too hard at the beginning, start by just changing one habit. Start a new healthy habit by swapping one thing with another. It can lead to other changes and the end goal will become that much easier to achieve.

Small Changes You Can Make Today

Some examples of small changes that you can make today, that will lead to a healthier lifestyle:

  • Take a salad for lunch instead of getting take away food,
  • Walk the stairs at work instead of taking the lift,
  • Have fruit instead of a muffin or cake for morning tea,
  • Eat breakfast instead of waiting to eat until mid morning,
  • Don’t eat after dinner,
  • Eat a snack sized chocolate instead of a full sized bar,
  • Don’t drink soft drinks. Drink water instead.
Just change one thing.  How small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.  Motivation to change one habit at a time and achieve long lasting success.  Image shows a man looking over a lake in the mountains.
Just change one thing. How small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Motivation to change one habit at a time and achieve long lasting success.

If you enjoyed this short article, more information is in the following:

All healthy lifestyle articles may be found at this link. Please share and comment if you enjoyed this article.

Updated 26 September 2020

Continue Reading

You may also like

Losing weight is a Marathon not a Sprint

You may have heard the term Losing Weight Is a Marathon Not a Sprint. For long-term weight-loss, a slow and steady decrease in body weight has been shown to lead to a more successful outcome long-term. Many “diets” cause rapid weight loss but this is because of severe reduction in calories and restricting whole food categories. The weight-loss cannot be sustained long-term because the body has been starved of vital nutrients.

This month marks one year since I weighed my heaviest. I have lost over 17kg and managed to sustain the weight loss for 6 months. I didn’t use any fad diet or expensive program to do it. In this blog I will be sharing tips on how to lose weight as part of this blog, but for now I will just say that to lose weight, you need to keep at it. Rapid weight loss using fad diets that cut out major food groups do work, however I believe that they can’t be sustained long term. Using my own experience, I managed to lose weight many times in the past, but as soon as I stopped “dieting” I put that weight straight back on, plus more. My yo-yo weight was not healthy.

Seek Professional Advice Prior to any Weight-Loss Program

I am not a dietician, and I urge anyone wanting to lose weight to see their doctor, and a dietician before doing so. Once you get some professional advice, start your weight loss, and stick to it. I was losing about 500grams per week which is a safe, steady way to do it.

I did get professional advice – my doctor had to give me medical clearance. A free program sponsored by the Queensland Government called Get Healthy gave me all the professional help I needed. My eligibility was due to me being at high risk of developing diabetes. Even if you’re not eligible for their programs, there is a lot of free information on their website. My weight loss success was even featured in their website – see my story here.

The photo that spurred me to lose weight - at my son's graduation in 2018.  I was at my heaviest
This is the photo that spurred me on to lose weight. It was at my son’s graduation in 2018

My final decision to lose this weight forever came about after my son graduated and I saw how hideous I looked in all the photos. I had bought an outfit in Malta and had saved it for this special occasion but when I saw how I looked in it I was deeply ashamed of just how big I had become. Now every time I look at my son’s graduation photos I am reminded of just how far I’ve come. Sometimes that’s all it takes to start you on your journey.

Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint.  How to achieve long lasting weight-loss.  Image shows a young woman working out
Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. How to achieve long lasting weight-loss.

Where to go from here

If you enjoyed this article, there’s more valuable advice here:

For recipes and advice regarding a healthy diet, follow this link

For articles on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, follow this link

Update 24 June 2020 – It’s now well over a year since I reached my goal weight and I have sustained the weight loss using the same principles. In the last year I’ve had several health issues but I’ve stayed at a healthy weight despite being limited in my ability to exercise. If you’re struggling with your weight, or you’d like to mention a method that has worked for you, please comment. It’s an issue that a lot of people battle with and I’d love to support you on your journey.

Please refer to my disclaimer and note that I advise you to get medical advice before starting any fitness or weight loss program. Best of luck on your journey.

Continue Reading

You may also like