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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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

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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

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 container plain yoghurt (227g or 8 oz)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup 2% reduced fat milk

⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

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

340kCal per serve

Overnight Oats

⅓ cup instant oats

2 teaspoons oat bran

2 teaspoons milk powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

⅛ 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

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

Multiply quantities to make a batch (the quantities above are for one serve)

I usually make one week’s worth at a time

Dry ingredients store well in the pantry

Approx 160 kCal per serve

Spinach and Egg Muffins

1 egg

20g feta cheese crumbled

1 tablespoon shredded tasty cheese

¼ cup baby spinach

1 teaspoon milk

Salt and pepper to taste

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

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

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shared at this link-up party - Life this week #202 at Denysewhelan.com.au
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Inspiring a Healthy Lifestyle Series

A guest interview with Morgan Fitchett

Meet Morgan Fitchett, Vegan Life and Wellness Coach. She is the second guest for my Inspiring a Healthy Lifestyle Series. I felt inspired just by reading her story and I hope my readers are inspired as well.

Morgan Fitchett, Vegan Life and Wellness Coach

Tell me about yourself. 

Hi, I’m Morgan Fitchett. I’m a Vegan Life & Wellness Coach. I help women adopt a vegan lifestyle with confidence. People often worry about what they are giving up or leaving behind. They can’t imagine fitting veganism into their social, home, family or work life. So I work with women to find ways to fit veganism in without losing or compromising what is important to them.  

What is your background and how does that impact what you do now?

I have a background in law, administrative and clerking work. After the birth of my son (he is now 2), I decided that I didn’t want to return to that life. 

I’ve been vegan for nearly 7 years, and I wanted to reach others and help them connect and make the swap. I started blogging as a way to reach more people. That then evolved into mentoring for Challenge 22(a free Facebook support group for those looking to transition).

I found that I wanted to be more involved and get one-on-one with people. I had considered mentoring, and through exploring that idea, I discovered coaching! 

I then dove in and took some certification programs on both life and wellness coaching. I added in a vegan nutritionist diploma program for good measure! 

Honestly, I am always learning. I am currently taking even more programs on coaching methods to further expand my knowledge and help others more effectively!  

What drives you? Where do you get your passion?

Well, veganism transformed my life in a lot of ways. It helped me take control of my health and weight and find a cause that was bigger than myself. I see a lot of people struggling in life with things a plant-based diet could help better or even eliminate. 

Plus, there are all the environmental, ethical and personal benefits to veganism. I think spreading the word and showing veganism is practical, fulfilling, and affordable is important! 

What is the defining moment that set you on this course of interest? 

I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and work at something I loved. I took the first plunge with my blog, and then I joined Challenge 22. I enjoyed interacting with the Facebook group and the environment they created, but I felt like it wasn’t enough for me or others. 

I kept thinking I would move into something more “one day,” and then I realized there is no such thing as “one day” – I needed to take action now. That shift in mindset really propelled me. Once I discovered the benefits of coaching, I knew I wanted to apply this to veganism. There are so many people that can benefit from working with someone one-on-one. 

Who or what inspired you?

Seeing other strong women being visible and confident in themselves and their veganism has been very inspiring. I started following more women online and really loved the way they used their platform to shatter stereotypes and myths. 

I also joined a plant-based dragon boat team last year, and being a part of a bigger cause and connecting with so many like-minded people was really inspiring. It was a combination of both those things that pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone and start something! 

What are your goals in life?

Wow, big question! I think my goals are always changing and evolving. They shift and become more clear with time. 

But right now, my main goals are:

  1. To support women who are interested in starting a vegan lifestyle but just don’t know-how or have beliefs they are holding back
  1. To help others no matter where they are in life or their financial constraints. I’ve been trying to make sure that help is available in my blog posts and other free content in addition to my paid coaching.
  1. Create a successful business, so I can stay at home with the kids and be my own boss!
  1. Continue learning, evolving and exploring new things!

What message would you like the world to hear?

Eat more plants! Your body will thank you, the earth will thank you, and the animals will thank you. It’s easier than you think.

In your opinion, what does the world need now that would improve it?

More plant-based eaters! So many of the world’s problems could be improved or solved with the adoption of a plant-based diet. 

You won’t need fad diets to stay thin, or pills to control your blood pressure (though, don’t stop taking them unless you get an okay from your doctor!). Our environmental impact on the planet will be slashed, and the animals will no longer have to live in the worst conditions for food that’s making you sick. 

You don’t have to give up anything, you just have to make a shift. All your favourite items and comfort foods are available in plant form.

Morgan can be followed on her website The Veg Query, and social media:

thevegquery.com

facebook.com/thevegquery

instagram.com/thevegquery

twitter.com/thevegquery

pinterest.com/thevegquery

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfQMMuuY_JCA7p42peUMgnQ

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Inspiring a Healthy Lifestyle Series

A guest interview with Sevinj Ahmadova

Meet Sevinj Ahmadova, founder of Healthy Recipes Guru


Sevinj Ahmadova, founder of Healthy Recipes Guru

Inspiring a Healthy Lifestyle Series is a series of interviews with people whose life goal is to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle. Since I began Midlifestylist I have been privileged to “meet” many people who are passionate about health, diet, and lifestyle so I invited some of them to be interviewed (online). My aim is to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle, and seeing some of the websites and social media posts of my guests shows that they have the same ultimate goal.

My first guest is Sevinj Ahmadova from Hungary who is the founder of Healthy Recipes Guru. Her website has the most mouth-watering recipes and the best thing is, they’re all healthy. Read on to be inspired by her passion for healthy food.

Tell me about yourself. What is your background and how does that impact what you do now?

My name is Sevinj, I am the founder of Healthy Recipes Guru, I am a master graduate from international economy and currently working full-time for a multinational company as finance specialist. Even though in my background I don’t have any specific study that I can say that is related to food, I could develop myself thanks to my passion to healthy eating by reading a lot and getting the right information. By saying right information, I consider the fact that not trusting each piece information, rather to go and research for empirical clarification of it, because Internet is full of myths that people blindly trust and then get the perception of staying hungry because they “eat healthy”.

What drives you? Where do you get your passion?

My passion had come to me when I started my healthy lifestyle, because I could see the difference in my body, in my skin, in my nails and hair, and most importantly, IN MY MIND! It all starts with brain and thinking. No one wants to prepare burgers, but everyone wants to eat them ready, right? It is because in our mind it is a burden to prepare them (to fry meat, to toast bread, add cheddar slice cucumbers and tomatoes, put all them together, ah nooo, lemme grab Burger King!) and eating them is so satisfying that we can hardly remember the number of preservatives in them (some people do not have even idea of them). But if you think that eating healthy is easy and satisfying and you do not always have to cook, you can even order but the right food or eat outside with making healthy choices, then your mind says: why don’t we try it? So, it all started at this point, when my mind started thinking positively about eating and being healthy.

What is the defining moment that set you on this course of interest? Who or what inspired you?

2 years ago, when I still was a master’s degree student, I had bunch of stuff to do for university such as writing daily assignments, studying for next day, researching the thesis work… So basically, I did not have spare time to cook (or I perceived myself so) and I was eating all the junk stuff that you can imagine on a daily basis. I could eat pizza for breakfast, salami toast for snack, meat sandwich for lunch, Whopper for dinner and chips before sleep. As you can imagine, when I finished school I had 20 kg difference from my weight when I started school, I was 20 kg more than that (and to be honest, I have never been a thin girl, I was just normal before that), and according to overweight calculations based on my height and age, I was already considered overweight. After graduation and seeing my pictures there, it all started.

In the beginning, I want to emphasize that I was very sceptical and not motivated at all “eating healthy” because I had same false perceptions in my head that many of us have. I thought that healthy eating and healthy food are “no more pizzas”, “no more burgers, and especially, “no more enemy potatoes” at all! But then, I have started reading a lot about healthy eating (I think, I will be thankful to myself for this for my entire life) and I realized that all of this stuff were just myths and of course I can eat burgers and potatoes, the only thing I should consider is to change some products to the healthy ones, or if I am going out with my friends and I “have to” eat McDonalds, then I should control my portions!

Even if I could not do this last night because I was too busy with hanging out with my friends, it is not a problem because I can balance it next day with healthy food and not staying HUNGRY AT ALL! Because the most important step in healthy eating is to understand that mixed tomato, lettuce and cucumber salad will not fulfill you, even I am not talking about satisfying. But if you add cheese/chicken and cashews/walnuts and some olive oil with vinegar and lemon or honey-mustard sauce, then it can be your lunch because it is fulfilling and very satisfying. So healthy eating is not about being hungry, eating lettuce and craving burgers, it is about being full, getting satisfied with food and being healthy!

What are your goals in life?

My main aim by creating this blog was to share the best recipes that I have under healthy umbrella because most of the time, people do not really know which food is healthy and which is not and there are some people who consider the food unhealthy when they see that it is dessert (“because you are not allowed to eat dessert if you eat healthy”), or calories are a bit more (“because healthy food is always under 300 kcal, no matter what, and an empty stomach is an indicator of healthy eating and weight loss”). So now, I am trying to create outstanding content and promote my blog basically because I want to make some impact by making a change in minds and to show the real face of healthy food and healthy lifestyle. That turned into my life goal.

Bio: Sevinj Ahmadova, founder of Healthy Recipes Guru.

Take a look at Sevinj’s website Healthy Recipes Guru, and social media sites:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/sevinjahm/

Instagram account: Healthy Recipes Guru

Twitter account: Healthy Recipes Guru

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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.

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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How to Grow your own Sprouts on your kitchen bench

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

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.

Equipment Required

  • 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

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
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How to Make a Healthy Burrito

Burritos are easy to take to work, can be as healthy as you want, and always go down well in my household. I usually serve them with all the ingredients in individual bowls, then everyone can just make them with their favourite ingredients.

To take them to work, I roll the wrap and cover it with Glad wrap. In a separate container, I take the filling. Then I can assemble the burrito at work. We have a sandwich press in my lunch room at work so I can toast the wrap as well.

This burrito uses the Super Spinach Salad, lean ham, shredded low fat cheese and corn kernels in a white wrap

How to Make a Burrito

Put a wrap on to a dinner sized plate. Assemble the filling on the wrap as shown in the photo. Don’t overfill it

Step 1: how to make a burrito

Fold the bottom half up

Step 2: how to make a burrito

Fold sides in

Step 3: how to make a burrito
Step 4: How to make a burrito

Pick it up and enjoy! Use a sandwich press if you want it toasted

Step 5: How to make a burrito

Ideas for fillings

  • lean meat or chicken
  • omelette
  • any salad ingredients – see my recipe for Super Spinach Salad for ideas
  • sauces and salsas
  • shredded cheese
  • chili con carne
  • beans e.g. kidney beans, nachos-style re-fried beans
  • Asian stir-fried greens and vermicelli

Total Calories for Burrito as shown in photos: 289KCal, Carbs 30.8g, Fat 11.4g, Protein 16g

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Super Spinach Salad

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.

Basic 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: 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 with Fetta 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 https://midlifestylist.com/2020/01/10/how-to-make-a-healthy-burrito/

A healthy 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

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