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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Living the Healthiest Version of Your Life

I was asked to contribute a guest post by Sue Loncaric for her Website Sizzling toward sixty. Sue’s passion is “helping and encouraging women in midlife to reach their full potential living a healthy & active lifestyle”. I encourage my readers to have a look at her website because it has so many resources for women in their midlife. It aims to inspire and guide them to live a healthy life. Sue lives on the Gold Coast like me. We’ve never met in person but I look forward to having a coffee and a chat with her when we are no longer social distancing.

This was my first guest post. I feel very honoured to have been invited to take part in her series Aging Well Living Well. I talked about some of the challenges I have faced in my life and how I overcame them to arrive at this point in my life. Here is an excerpt:

I want my remaining years to be as healthy as possible so I strive to overcome my health issues and live the healthiest version of my life as I canNo matter what your issues are, whether they are physical or mental, a lack of money or support, it is possible to live the healthiest version of yourself. Do what you can rather than focusing on what you can’t.

Christina Henry 2020

Take a look at my guest post at this link:

Living the Healthiest Version of Your Life

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Healthy Snack Ideas

Keep on Track with your Healthy Diet with these Ideas for Snacks

It can be very difficult to keep on track with your healthy diet and often the biggest blow-out is caused by the snacks we eat. Some snacks have as many calories as a full meal and the food is often high in salt, saturated fat and sugar. Before you know it, you are hungry again and reaching for another packet of chips. This post will give you some healthy snack ideas that are easy to prepare.

I have put together a list of snacks which are filling, nutritious and healthy. Snacking on each of these options will improve your diet, rather than detract from it.

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.

Healthy snack ideas, nutritious and filling snacks
Healthy snack ideas, nutritious and filling snacks

Snacks under 200 Calories

  • 28 grams mixed nuts
  • Capsicum cut into strips with 85 grams guacamole
  • 100 grams Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup berries
  • 1 cup cucumber slices with 100 grams hummus
  • 1 piece of fresh fruit
  • Chia pudding – see my recipe for directions
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 cup Edamame (steamed unripened soya beans)
  • 25 mixed olives
  • Miso soup
  • 1 tomato, 28 gram feta cheese, drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg on toast
  • Homemade vegetable soup – see my recipe for directions

Snacks under 300 Calories

  • Apple slices and 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 5 celery sticks and 60 gram cottage cheese
  • 3 corn thins with 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes and 60 gram mozarella cheese
  • 60 gram piece of cheese
  • 100 gram ricotta cheese and sliced pear
  • strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate
  • Banana, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons nuts

I hope you enjoy these healthy snack ideas. You may also like the following recipes and guides:

You can also find more information on eating a healthy diet, and weight loss, at Healthy Diet and Recipes.

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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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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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My favourite apps for a healthy lifestyle

I’m one of those people who needs to keep a track of everything. I like to be organised and plan things in advance. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I use a few apps to help me and give me incentive. I would recommend them to anyone who wants to keep a track of their exercise, weight, and dietary intake amongst other health goals. This post will explain why I use these Apps for a healthy lifestyle and how they can help you with your goals as well.

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

Fitbit

This is an obvious first choice for me because I wear my Fitbit all day and night apart from showering and charging it up. It counts my steps, number of floors I’ve climbed, how many calories I’ve used, my heartrate and how many hours I sleep per night. I also use mine to track my calorie intake and my weight and water intake. Every week it sends me a summary of everything and gives me incentive to continue with my goals.

I do challenges every week with a group of other people and am in a few support groups such as the Healthy Eating forum. The most helpful aspect of the app is the calories in vs. calories out section. As long as my calorie intake is less than what I burn off every day with exercise, I’m on track to maintain a healthy weight. I also like the weight tracker where I can see graphs of my weight and fat percentage over time.

Fitbit App weight graph.  This is an App for a healthy lifestyle that I recommend.
Fitbit App weight graph. This is an App for a healthy lifestyle that I recommend.

Fitbit Macros graph.  Calories in vs Calories out.  These graphs on the Fitbit App help me to keep my food intake (calories in) lower than the energy I use up (calories out)
Fitbit Macros graph. Calories in vs Calories out.
These graphs on the Fitbit App help me to keep my food intake (calories in) lower than the energy I use up (calories out)

Samsung Health

I have a Samsung mobile phone which came with a free health tracker called Samsung Health. It is very much like the Fitbit App where it can track steps and exercise sessions, weight and sleep. The reason I like it is that the calorie intake section is better than the Fitbit App. While the Fitbit is more accurate in counting steps and sleep, the Samsung App. has an easier calorie counter to use.

It is possible to save numerous types of food in the data bank which makes it easier to track your diet as you go along. I generally eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch so it’s very easy to save a whole meal in the favourites section, or to work out how many calories are in a meal. Calorie counting is very tedious for most people but I find this App. makes it really easy for me to keep control of my eating. Keeping to 1500 – 1800 kCalories per day has been the way I’ve lost 17kg and been able to keep it off. The breakdown of my diet into macros (percentages of carbs, protein and fat) is very useful. It goes into further detail by telling me how my diet is in relation to vitamins and minerals.

Samsung Health App is another App I use for a healthy lifestyle.  This shows the Samsung Health Macros chart and my intake of vitamins and minerals.
Samsung Health App is another App I use for a healthy lifestyle.
This shows the Samsung Health Macros chart and my intake of vitamins and minerals.

Smiling Mind

I have been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. Doing shift work doesn’t help because I feel permanently jet lagged. Even with pretty strong sleeping pills I still have a lot of trouble sleeping. The Smiling Mind App. has been a Godsend to me because I’m usually lulled into sleep within minutes of listening to one of the sleep meditations. There are programs for Mindfulness, Stress reduction and improving relationships amongst other things. There are other Apps designed for meditation but this is the one I return to time and time again.

This is a screenshot of the Apps I use every day for tracking, inspiration and ideas.
This is a screenshot of the Apps I use every day for tracking, inspiration and ideas.

Clever Guts

If you’re a fan of Michael Mosley then this is the App. for you. My brother and I have both lost weight using his programs, my brother with Intermittent Fasting and me with The Clever Guts diet and Mediterranean Diet. There are recipes, videos and podcasts on this App.

Health Calculator

I use this App. to work out my BMI ( body mass index). There are also calculators for body fat, ideal weight and basal metabolic rate. I find that the body fat and ideal weight calculators aren’t very accurate but the BMI is easy to calculate using your weight and height. I use a website called calculator.net to calculate my body fat percentage, as I find this much more accurate. To compare, my body fat percentage is calculated as 35.55% on the App, and 28.5% on the website. The website uses gender, age, weight, height, neck size, waist size and hip size while the App only uses waist size and weight. That is why I prefer the website. It’s a handy App to use but I’d recommend only using the BMI calculator.

Pinterest

While not strictly a health App, Pinterest is a great source of information. I can look up thousands of recipes, ideas on food prep, motivation for exercise and self care. It links to bloggers around the world who talk about a myriad of different topics from plant sources of protein to growing vegetables. I follow many different Pinterest boards focused on living a healthy lifestyle. They have opened my mind up to many different ways of thinking, especially about diet and self care. I doubt if I’ll ever buy another recipe book because I can find exactly the recipes I need on Pinterest.

A Pinterest search for healthy recipes.  I use Pinterest for ideas on healthy recipes and other health related information
A Pinterest search for healthy recipes. I use Pinterest for ideas on healthy recipes and other health related information

Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

Recipes have been created by many different contributors so there is a huge range of great recipes on this App. I can collate favourites and create a collection under different headings. I can also create a shopping list for the ingredients. It’s a handy App to use on the go. For example while I’m out shopping I can quickly look up the ingredients I need to make a particular recipe.

We use our phone continuously throughout the day so try using Apps to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle
We use our phone continuously throughout the day so try using Apps to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle

In summary, these are my favourite Apps that I use to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would love to know if you find any of these Apps useful, or can suggest Apps that you use. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read:

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My Top Posts of 2019

My healthy lifestyle blog has been my biggest achievement this year (apart from losing 17kg!). I’ve really enjoyed writing about a topic that I’m passionate about. The hardest part is the self promotion which goes against my introverted nature but it’s vital to gain followers if I want people to read my articles. I would like to share my top posts 2019 with my readers.

MY TOP 9 POSTS of 2019


In order, they were:
1 How to make goals that will stick,
2 Why your waist measurement matters,
3 My Weight-loss Journey,
4 Slow and Steady wins the race,
5 13+ ways to get more colour in your diet,
6 Gifts that Inspire a Healthy Lifestyle,
7 How to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season,
8 Just change one habit at a time and
9 Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint.

Read them now to gain some inspiration! Live your healthiest year in 2020.


Thanks to everyone who has read, followed, liked and shared my posts across WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter! I really appreciate your support and all the comments, likes and shares. It keeps me motivated to write more. Please let me know what your favourite article was.

A collage of the top posts of 2019 on the Midlifestylist blog.
The top posts on Midlifestylist.com for 2019
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How to Make Goals that Will Stick

This guide will give you examples of unattainable versus attainable goals. It will guide you to make goals that you will stick to and achieve. The key is to make the goals achievable so that you maintain motivation.

The first month of every year is commonly used to set some New Years’ Resolutions. We start the new year afresh with lofty plans to lose weight, get fit and give up smoking or other vices. But often these plans go out the window by the end of January, leaving us feeling defeated and a failure. This sets us up for failure and we often lack motivation to start a new goal for the rest of the year. How do we avoid this?

Set Goals that are Attainable

Many goals and resolutions fail because they are unrealistic, too broad, and unattainable. Let’s look at the goal “to lose weight” for example. Lose how much weight? By when – next week, next month, next year? How will you achieve it? None of those questions are answered in the broad statement “I will lose weight”. You need a plan, and to set a goal that is realistic.

An unrealistic goal would be to lose 20kg by March. You would be likely to start with enthusiasm, go on a fad diet and starve yourself. It will fail because diet regimes that lose weight quickly are too restrictive, cutting out important nutrients and are unable to be sustained long term. You’ll feel deprived, have cravings, and will want to “cheat” on your diet. As soon as you stop dieting, the weight will pile back on because your body has slowed its metabolism down to cope with the reduced number of calories. As soon as you plateau or fail to lose weight you’ll give up because it’s setting you up for failure by being too hard to stick to. This can be avoided if you set realistic goals.

Unattainable vs. Attainable

Unattainable goalAttainable goalHow I will achieve it
lose 20 kg by Marchlose 3kg by March then reassess goalUse a smaller plate, cut out sugar in drinks, eat fruit instead of a muffin at morning tea
Get fit by walking 5km every dayStart by walking 2km daily and build it up to 5km by MarchWalk on my lunch break, park my car further away
Lose 20cm off my waistLose 3cm off my waist by Easter then reassess goalEat a salad at lunch instead of pasta, use the stairs at work instead of the lift
Join a gymSign up for a trial at a gym with no ongoing commitmentGo to a gym at least 3 times to see if it’s the right one for me before committing to it
Give up smokingCut down over 2 weeks then give up smokingUse nicotine replacement therapy, sign up to a Quit support service
Unattainable Goals vs Attainable Goals

The difference between unattainable goals and attainable goals is that you are cutting the goals down to achievable amounts, setting time frames, and planning out exactly how you will achieve them. You are setting yourself up to succeed by not biting off more than you can chew.

Achieving my Goal of Losing Weight

When I first started on the Get Healthy Program the amount of weight I needed to lose seemed like an unachievable goal. I was doubtful of being able to not only lose 10 or more kilograms, but also lose 10cm or more off my waist. My confidence was low, and I was skeptical of the program because I hadn’t succeeded on any program in the past. I could usually lose the weight easily but I always felt restricted on a diet and as soon as I went off it I packed the weight back on. My coach helped me to set small, realistic goals to achieve and as I reached each milestone, my confidence grew. I kept moving the goal posts and slowly I lost 5kg, 10kg, 15kg … eventually 17kg and it’s stayed off for over 6 months now.

More important to me was the goal of losing centimeters off my waist. My waist circumference was 105cm when I started which would predispose me to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This concerned me more than anything. My goal was to get down to 88cm which would put me in a much healthier range but I was eventually to lose 20cm! By changing my diet to include more vegetables and less red meat and sugary food, I was able to achieve my goal.

Break Large Goals into Smaller Components

Realistic goals are ones you break down into smaller components. Start with small goals and as you reach them, set bigger goals. Your confidence will grow with each milestone, setting you up for success. Because you’re starting with small changes to your habits, you’re likely to incorporate them into your daily lifestyle. For example, parking further away and taking the stairs are easy ways to increase your step count whereas running 5km per day or joining a gym would be harder to incorporate into your life and your enthusiasm may soon die out with the sudden burst of energy when they cause muscle aches and pains.

Define Your Success

Define your success. What is the end goal and how will you know when you are there? My success was getting down to the weight that I am, and maintaining that weight-loss for 6 months or more. I will stay within 3 kg of this weight and not go up in size in my clothes.

What is your definition of success and how will you achieve it in 2020? It’s a new decade and a great starting point to setting some goals for yourself that are achievable.

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Festive Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

This is a special occasion chocolate chia pudding recipe that will fit in with your health goals and is easy to make. Chia is a grain that is healthy and nutritious. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron and calcium. The recipe includes cacao powder, the unsweetened form of chocolate which is very nutritious. Without all the nasties like sugar and fat that are added to it to make milk chocolate, it has many health benefits. It can improve your memory, reduce heart disease, increase immunity and is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. You can find chia seeds and cacao powder in the health food section at the supermarket. I use almond milk for this recipe but you can substitute it for cows milk, soy milk or whichever milk you prefer.

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

vegetarian, vegan skill level: easy

Prep. time 15 mins. Resting time 4 hours Calories: 191kcal

Ingredients (per person)

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the chia seeds and milk together in a bowl
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well
  3. Let the chia seed mixture sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. Stir again.
  4. Pour into decorative glasses, e.g. parfait glasses
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving
  6. Top with your favourite berries, cherries or fruit.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

  • Calories 191kcal
  • Carbohydrates 16g
  • Protein 8g
  • Fat 11g
  • Saturated fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 12mg
  • Sodium 56mg
  • Potassium 259mg
  • Fiber 8g
  • Sugar 6g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Calcium 28.9%
  • Iron 10.3%

IDEAS FOR TOPPINGS:

  • Cherries
  • Berries
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Kiwifruit
  • Passionfruit
  • Purees or sauces made from fruit and/or berries
  • Nut butters
  • Dried fruit
  • Cacao nibs or a sprinkling of cacao powder
  • Spices
  • Shredded coconut
  • Candied ginger
  • Muesli or granola
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Creme Fraiche or whipped cream
  • chocolate nibs, sauce or flakes
This is a special occasion chocolate chia pudding recipe that will fit in with your health goals and is easy to make.  Serve in attractive glasses or bowls and decorate with fruit and nuts
Healthy Chocolate Chia Puddings
This is a special occasion chocolate chia pudding recipe that will fit in with your health goals and is easy to make. Serve in attractive glasses or bowls and decorate with fruit and nuts

Images: Left – Christina Henry; Right Bottom – David Disponett, Pexels; Right Top – Pixabay, Pexels

For special occasions you can make the chocolate chia pudding in a martini glass, parfait glass or glass bowl. Decorate with fresh cherries, nuts, strawberries and mint leaves. Dessert doesn’t have to be unhealthy – you can still have a treat while maintaining your healthy diet.

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

Festive Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

midlifestylist
This is a special occasion chia pudding that will fit in with your health goals and is easy to make. Chia is a grain that is healthy and nutritious. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron and calcium. The recipe includes cacao powder, the unsweetened form of chocolate which is very nutritious. Without all the nasties like sugar and fat that are added to it to make milk chocolate, it has many health benefits. It can improve your memory, reduce heart disease, increase immunity and is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. You can find chia seeds and cacao powder in the health food section at the supermarket. I use almond milk for this recipe but you can substitute it for cows milk, soy milk or whichever milk you prefer. Vegetarian, Vegan. Skill level: easy
Prep Time 15 mins
Resting time in refridgerator 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 1
Calories 191 kcal

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Serving Dish

Ingredients
  

INGREDIENTS [PER PERSON]

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Mix the chia seeds and milk together in a bowl
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir well
  • Let the chia seed mixture sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. Stir again.
  • Pour into decorative glasses, e.g. parfait glasses
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving
  • Top with your favourite berries, cherries or fruit.

Notes

NUTRITION INFORMATION:
Calories 191kcal;
Carbohydrates 16g;
Protein 8g;
Fat 11g;
Saturated fat 3g;
Cholesterol 12mg;
Sodium 56mg;
Potassium 259mg;
Fiber 8g;
Sugar 6g;
Vitamin A 4%;
Calcium 28.9%;
Iron 10.3%
Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe
Festive Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe – a healthy indulgent dessert
IDEAS FOR TOPPINGS:
Cherries;
Berries;
Mango;
Pineapple;
Peaches;
Nectarines;
Apricots;
Kiwifruit;
Passionfruit;
Purees or sauces made from fruit and/or berries;
Nut butters;
Dried fruit;
Cacao nibs or a sprinkling of cacao powder;
Spices;
Shredded coconut;
Candied ginger;
Muesli or granola;
Nuts and seeds;
Creme Fraiche or whipped cream;
chocolate nibs, sauce or flakes
Keyword Dessert, Easy, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

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