Archive for November, 2010

Keep Warm with Winter Soups

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Squash and chilli soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • Vegetable stock
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

Sauté the squash, onion and chilli in a little oil for a few minutes then cover and leave over a low heat to sweat gently for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and enough stock to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil and cover. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Season generously and whizz in a blender until smooth.

Bacon and lentil soup

  • 6 oz lentils
  • 2½ pints stock
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 7 oz bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • Small can tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash the lentils before placing them in a saucepan with the stock, garlic, pepper, bacon, tomatoes and onion. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the lentils and bacon are soft. Add the potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes. Whizz in a blender. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Serve hot garnished with crispy fried bacon or grated cheese.

Why bother with breakfast?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Breakfast means “breaking the fast”. After a nights rest, eating gives you energy to spark the body into life again.

Breakfast also cuts down on mid morning ‘snack attacks’.


No time for breakfast?

  • Set the alarm 5 minutes earlier.
  • Make the sandwich the night before, pop it in the fridge, and eat it when you get to school / work with a carton of orange juice.
  • A glass of milk and a banana are very quick and easy to eat.
  • Fruit can be eaten on the way to school / work. Try bananas, apples, pears, peaches, etc.

Cereal and Milk

  • Healthy choices – Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, Shreddies, Puffed Wheat, Fruit ‘n’ fibre, Porridge, Ready Brek, Rice Krispies, Cornflakes.
  • Try not to add sugar, have sliced banana or sprinkle raisins instead. If you can’t do without, sprinkle less sugar or try an artificial sweetener instead.
  • Sugar coated cereals may damage your teeth, so have these only as an occasional treat.

Toast, bread or muffins

  • Choose wholegrain, high fibre white or malted grain varieties.
  • Try peanut butter, sliced banana or just a thin scrape of jam or marmalade.
  • Easy to eat on the move or on the way to school / work.
  • Use only a thin scraping of butter, margarine or a low fat spread. 

Cooked breakfast

  • Can be healthy, but choose wisely.
  • Try grilled tomatoes and mushrooms or baked beans on toast.
  • Don’t fry your breakfast – try grilling bacon or low fat sausages and scrambling the egg.

How much water should we be drinking?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Water makes up about two-thirds of our body weight. Water is essential for the body to grow and maintain itself, as well as being involved in a number of bodily processes e.g. it helps get rid of waste and regulates temperature.

Water is lost from the body through urine and sweat. To stay healthy, you need to replace the fluids you lose by consuming them through your diet. If you don’t consume enough you can become dehydrated.

One of the first signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty. If you think you might not be getting enough fluids, check if you are showing any of these other common signs of dehydration:

  • headaches
  • confusion and irritability
  • lack of concentration and tiredness
  • dark coloured urine and not passing much when you go to the toilet

In climates such as Ireland, we should drink approximately 6 to 8 glasses of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. In hotter climates the body needs more than this.

How to maintain fluid levels – 

  • Have a glass of water when you wake.
  • Regular drinks during the day – don’t forget that tea, coffee and juices can count.
  • Keep a bottle of water in your bag for convenience.
  • Get into the habit of having a glass of water with every meal.
  • The sensation of thirst is not triggered until you’re already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink before you get thirsty.
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as they too have a high water content.