How to Make a Healthy Burrito

This post will give you step by step instructions on 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 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.

Burritos Can Be Healthy – Here’s How

The ingredients for a healthy burrito - lean ham, tomatoes, corn, spinach, cucumber, low fat shredded cheese, tortilla
This burrito uses the Super Spinach Salad, lean ham, shredded low fat cheese and corn kernels in a white wrap

Step by Step – 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 healthy burrito - put fillings on 1/4 of tortilla
Step 1: how to make a burrito

Fold the bottom half up

Step 2 Fold bottom half up
Step 2: how to make a burrito

Fold sides in

Step 3 fold sides of tortilla in
Step 3: how to make a burrito
Step 4 how to make a healthy burrito - fold sides in.  Burrito may be toasted in a sandwich press
Step 4: How to make a burrito

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

Step 5 Eat your burrito with the opening to the top.
Step 5: How to make a burrito

Ideas for healthy burrito 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

A Healthy Burrito Recipe

How to Make a Healthy Burrito

midlifestylist
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
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Healthy
Servings 1
Calories 289 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • One tortilla per serving

IDEAS FOR FILLINGS:

  • lean meat or chicken;
  • omelette;
  • any salad ingredients;
  • sauces and salsas;
  • shredded cheese;
  • chili con carne;
  • beans e.g. kidney beans nachos-style re-fried beans;
  • Asian stir-fried greens and vermicelli

Instructions
 

  • Put a tortilla on to a dinner sized plate. Assemble the filling on the wrap as shown in the photo. Don’t overfill it
  • Step 1: Fold the bottom half up
  • Step 2: Fold one side in
  • Step 3: Fold other side in
  • Step 4: Pick it up and enjoy! Use a sandwich press if you want it toasted

Notes

Total Calories for Burrito as shown in photos: 289KCal, Carbs 30.8g, Fat 11.4g, Protein 16g
Keyword Easy, Healthy, Lunch, Snack

If you enjoyed this recipe, check out the other healthy recipes here.

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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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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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How to Keep on track with your health goals during holiday season

One of the hardest times to keep on track with our health goals is during the holiday season – Christmas and New Year, up to Australia Day at the end of January and even up to Easter. In the US and Canada, Thanksgiving Day in November is the start of the holiday season. Summer in the Southern Hemisphere is a time of beach, school holidays, barbecues and celebrations, while winter in the Northern Hemisphere is a time for hearty meals, staying indoors in front of the fire and eggnog!

It has to be the most challenging time of the year for people trying to keep to their health goals. This post will discuss some of the ways you can manage temptations during special events. It will also help you to prepare some strategies before the holiday season.

A collage of tempting, unhealthy food that people may face over the holiday season.  Pancakes and icecream, fried  food, alcohol and large servings of Chinese food
So many temptations during holidays and celebrations. A collage of tempting, unhealthy food that people may face over the holiday season. Pancakes and icecream, fried food, alcohol and large servings of Chinese food

How to Manage Temptations at Events

If you are having a celebratory meal or gathering of any kind, inevitably the menu includes food that is high in calories and alcohol, and wouldn’t be normally in your day to day diet. Some suggestions to deal with these situations are:

  • Take your own platter with healthy food to share. This is my number one way of dealing with these situations! Try using my recipes for a savoury and sweet grazing platter – or combine both for a really interesting platter
  • Eat a small portion of the food on offer
  • Drink water in between each alcoholic drink
  • Take your own beverages
  • If you don’t want to drink alcohol but feel pressured to, order a drink that looks like an alcoholic drink e.g. mocktail, lemon lime and bitters or soda water. I’m a fan of Kombucha which is really refreshing and doesn’t include many calories.
  • Drink less high calorie alcoholic drinks like a wine spritzer or vodka and soda water. There are low carbohydrate beers and diet mixers as well
  • Order a salad with the dressing on the side. Salads are often covered in dressing in restaurants and that is where all the calories are
  • Many restaurants list how many calories or kilojoules are in their food. Some of them even publish it online so you can research the venue before you go.
  • Don’t go to an event with an empty stomach
  • Don’t order a 3 course meal. Just a main meal is usually ample. My husband and I share an appetiser or dessert if we really feel like another course
  • Don’t stand near the buffet! Take a small plateful and walk away
  • Space out your meal. Give your body time to feel full. Only eat until you start to feel the signals that you’ve had enough
  • Having said that, if I know that I’m about to blow my calorie allowance for the day, I plan for it in advance and eat lightly for the rest of the day. A small breakfast and a salad for lunch counterbalances a blow-out for tea.
  • Learn to be assertive and say “no thank you” when offered food. This was always a challenge to me but I’m getting better at asserting myself
  • Accept that some situations are going to be out of your control. If you’re eating to plan during the rest of the week a day of overeating is not going to affect you long term.
  • Enjoy that blow-out meal! You deserve it.
  • Don’t neglect your exercise regime during holiday periods. You will feel so much better if you exercise on days that you’re consuming a large number of calories. Even a walk in the morning before an event will help
  • Try to make celebrations around activities rather than just feasting and getting drunk. Do something active like a picnic at the beach or a bush-walk. Even active party games can take the focus off eating and drinking. Have a game of cricket after Christmas lunch!

How to Keep On Track With Your Health Goals During Holidays and Special Occasions.  Shows a group of people at a party
How to Keep On Track With Your Health Goals During Holidays and Special Occasions.

I hope these suggestions will help you to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season. The most important thing is to prepare beforehand. Acknowledge that sometimes eating unhealthy food can’t be avoided. In that case, enjoy the meal and get back on track the next day.

Survival guide for the Holiday Season

This is perhaps the busiest time of the year for most people.  Stress starts to build as we head towards the major events of the year.  This year has already been stressful for most people so the holiday season will leave us even more frazzled.  

Even if you love all the celebrations, the added toll you put on your body with parties will lead to fatigue.  Many people end up stressed and broke at the end of the holiday – they feel like they need a holiday to get over the holidays!

Think of all the upcoming events you and your family will have in the next few weeks and months:

  • School – Exams, Graduation, Formal and then Back to School;
  • Work – Completing projects, End of Year Parties.  Some industries are heading into their busiest time, e.g. retail;
  • Events – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year.

An offer for you: free e-book

Survival Guide for the Holiday Season

My Survival Guide for the Holiday Season will help you stay healthy during this busy time.  You will get:

  • A guide to healthy eating, self care and exercise;
  • A planner to guide you to set goals for staying healthy;
  • Weekly trackers – checklists to keep you on track.

Sign up now to receive this survival guide completely free. It will help you to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season. More details at the link.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:

If my readers have some other solutions on how to keep on track with your health goals during the holiday season, please share them in the comments. I would love to know how you deal with social events and the “silly” season.

Shared on Denyse Whelan’s Linkup Life This Week.

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Dessert Grazing Platter

Healthy grazing platter for dessert

Healthy Platter to Serve for Dessert

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

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

Options for Entertaining

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

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

Food to Avoid Serving

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

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

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

Dessert Grazing Platter

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

Equipment

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

Materials

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

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Savoury Grazing Platter

A healthy savoury grazing platter

A Healthy Version of a Savoury Grazing Platter

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

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

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

Options for Entertaining Guests

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

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

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

Savoury Grazing Platter

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

Equipment

  • Decorative Platter
  • Sharp knife
  • Cheese knives

Materials

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

Instructions

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

Notes

A healthy savoury grazing platter
Healthy savoury grazing platter to serve your guests
Serve healthy food to your guests at your next event.  Entertain with a Savoury Grazing Platter and a Dessert Grazing Platter.  Your guests will appreciate it.
Serve healthy food to your guests at your next event. Entertain with a Savoury Grazing Platter and a Dessert Grazing Platter. Your guests will appreciate it.
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13 plus ways to get more colour in your diet

Eating more vegetables every day is a sure way to improve your health by filling you up (more fibre) and providing essential vitamins to aid your body in maintaining vital functions. We should all be eating 5 – 6 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. Some people struggle to eat vegetables because of past experiences with badly cooked vegetables or lack of knowledge of how to prepare them. That is why I have put together this list of ways to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet.

A serve of vegetables is about 75g or:

  • 1/2 cup cooked green or orange vegetables, e.g. broccoli, spinach, carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 medium potato, sweet potato, taro or other starchy vegetable
  • 1 medium tomato

Depending on the vegetable and the cooking method, a standard serve of vegetables is only 100 – 350kJ (24 – 84kCal). Compared to a small ham sandwich (approx. 271kCal), a meat pie (445kCal) or a Big Mac from McDonalds (520kCal), a large salad will only set you back 50 – 200 kCal depending on the ingredients. Eating a diet that includes plenty of vegetables is essential for healthy weight control. One of my strategies to lose weight was to increase the number of serves of vegetables. I credit that one dietary change for most of my successful weight loss.

Here are some ways to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet:

  • A large salad for lunch, like my Super Spinach Salad recipe
  • A smoothie with vegetables e.g. spinach, kale, carrot, zucchini, beetroot. Try my Blueberry Smoothie recipe
  • Load other meals such as stews, bolognese, and pasta bakes with vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, carrots etc. If you have fussy eaters in the family, try grating carrots, zucchini etc. so that they’re barely visible
  • A large stir-fry
  • Soup loaded with vegetables, like my healthy vegetable soup recipe
  • Sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, cucumber etc. and meat or cheese.
  • Mexican food like tacos, burritos, nachos can be loaded with legumes such as kidney beans. We have grated carrots, shredded lettuce, corn, tomatoes and guacamole on ours as well
  • Try having a meatless day at least once a week. There are so many options for vegetarian recipes online these days that it’s not difficult to think up ideas for meatless days
  • Carrot or celery sticks with hummus
  • Add spinach or grilled tomato or mushrooms to your breakfast, e.g. in an omelette
  • Potato or sweet potato wedges with tomato salsa
  • Potato salad or bake
  • Make or buy zucchini noodles to use instead of pasta.

Vegetables don’t necessarily have to be fresh. Frozen, canned and dried (legumes like beans or lentils) are all an excellent option. In our supermarkets we can buy vegetables pre-cut and ready to cook which is a great time-saving idea. I prefer to steam most of my vegetables in the microwave for a couple of minutes, or stir fry them. This retains the crispness and flavour.

These are just some of the ways you can incorporate vegetables into your diet. I’d love to hear from you some other ideas because I’m always interested in healthy options! If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy Why Your Waist Measurement Matters.

My weekly haul from the markets includes a variety of fruit and vegetables
My weekly haul from the Markets includes a variety of fruit and vegetables

Main Image from Amroon Ra, Unsplash

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Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Vegetarian, Vegan

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

Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

Pour in the stock and stir

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

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

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

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

Recipe variations

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

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

Vegetable soup - vegetarian, vegan recipe

Nutrition information

Servings: 8

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

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

Easy Vegetable Soup

Easy Vegetable Soup

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

Equipment

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

Ingredients
  

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

Instructions
 

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

Notes

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

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What’s with the Middle Aged Spread?

Why do People Get a Middle Aged Spread in Midlife?

What is Middle Aged Spread?

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

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

How Menopause Affects Weight Gain

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

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

How to Control Middle Aged Spread

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

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

Recommended Number of Servings Per Day

Here are the recommended number of servings per age group:

Men

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

Women

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

Adjust Your Eating Habits as You Age

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

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

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

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

What's with the middle aged spread?  Why do we gain weight around our waist in our 40s and 50s and what can we do about it?
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Losing weight is a Marathon not a Sprint

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

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

Seek Professional Advice Prior to any Weight-Loss Program

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

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

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

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

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

Where to go from here

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

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

For articles on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, follow this link

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

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

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