Butternut Squash Soup

Last week I ordered a butternut squash on my online shopping and this 1.7kg behmouth turned up!  I had planned having it roasted with chicken but it was so big I decided to turn it into a soup for lunch. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and C and good source of vitamin E. Surprisingly enough it is also a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (not as much as fish or flaxseed but if you are not taking a supplement every little helps)

  1. Turn on oven. Mine is a fan one and appears to have nuclear tendencies but 170 would probably be good.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthways.
  3. Mix 2 tablespooons of olive oil or coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of garlic (I am very lazy and use jar garlic, if you are not then I would crush about 2 cloves)
  4. Baste the tops of the squash with the oil
  5. Add a sprig of rosemary and sprinkle paprika all over
  6. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  7. Bake for about 45 minutes  or until a knife goes in easily, again oven dependent.
  8. Boil a pint of chicken stock, if you have home made it will taste better (after having a roast just boil the carcass with some water for a couple of hours, strain and then freeze)
  9. Remove the rosemary (I find it too overpowering)
  10. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  11. Scrap all the squash into the boiling chicken stock and simmer for about 20minutes.
  12. Butternut Squash Soup Farnham

  13. Use a handblender to blend the ingredients of the saucepan and there you go gorgeous butternut squash soup with a little bit of a kick from the paprika.

P.S I love coconut so if you want add roughly 50g coconut cream to the pint of chicken stock. Also test whilst the soup is cooking and add more paprika/chill if you want a real kick.

Breakfast Smoothie

Now that porridge season is officially over , it’s time to investigate more summery breakfast options. One of my favourite summer breakfasts is the smoothie and several people have asked me about my breakfast smoothie. My cooking style is very much a cross between Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson with a pinch here and a lick of the spoon there however 2 weeks ago I wrote down quantities so I could work out the nutritional information as well as provide a recipe. So here goes.

Amount Ingredient Calories Protein Carb Sugar Fat Fibre
200ml Almond milk 48 1g 6g 6g 2.2g 3.2
12g Sunflower seeds 75 2.9g 2.1g 5.1g .75g
100G Total 0% Fat greek yogurt 57 10.3 g 4g 4g 0g 0g
150g Waitrose Frozen Berries 40 1.5g 7.8g 7.8g 0.15g 6g
40g Organic Jumbo Oats 150 4.4g 26.8g .5g 2.2g 2.5g
370 cal 20.1g 46.7g 11.3g 9.65g 12.45g

Basically put all of the above in a blender (I actually use a cheap hand blender) and blend until smooth. It’s going to be a little rough with the oats/sunflower seeds but I am able to drink it using a straw. Gives me 3/4 pint of delicious breakfast (as long as my son doesn’t see it first). It is quite thick however so feel free to add liquid to get it to a consistency you like.

A disclaimer – my maths is rubbish but I think the above is right(ish).

Seeing as breakfast is the first meal your body has in approx 10 hours I don’t feel 370 calories is a high calorie count. The yogurt gives it a great dose of protein which helps with satiety. The oats are low GI and provide a slow release of energy and not a quick spike like most breakfast cereals. If you are really calorie counting you could leave out the sunflower seeds but first look at the link for all the great health benefits There are a lot of good fats packed into those seeds. I use almond milk but you can use water,skimmed milk, goats milk, soya milk (again it’s an individual taste issue).

What i need to emphasise here however is that this is MY smoothie, it’s tailored to my taste and what I think are my requirements. The absolute beauty of the smoothie is you can tailor it to your taste. If for example this was a post workout drink for me I would leave out the jumbo oats and include a scoopful of protein powder and maybe add a banana, if you don’t like the texture of the oats then you could try this substitution as well (the banana rather than the protein powder!). My next experiment with smoothies is to find a recipe I like that includes spinich! That’s the beauty of smoothies, there is no limit to what you can put in them 🙂

Hope you enjoy.

Pork chops with pak choi, carrots and brown rice.

I am not going to give particularly in-depth nutritonal information in this blog, as part of the personal trainer qualification you do a nutrition module, case study and exam but if you want true knowledge you need to talk to a dietitian.

I believe that different methods work for different people for example some thrive on low-fat diets, some thrive on low-carb diets and others just like a little of everything in moderation. It depends not only on your body but your willpower and what foods tickle your fancy!

Saying all that I picked up a delicious and healthy recipe the other day I thought I would share.

Pork chops with pak choi and carrots served with brown rice.

For 2 people.
Brown rice
2 pork chops (or 4 if you are cooking for my husband)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons of honey
1 pak choi pulled apart
2 carrots chopped quite small
Chopped up chilli (or if you are lazy like me chilli from a jar!)

1. Put brown rice on to cook as it usually takes about 25minutes
2. Mix together in bowl the honey, 1 clove of the garlic crushed & ginger.
3. Slather half the mixture on one side of the chops and put under the grill.
4. When the pork chop is cooked on one side then turn over and smear on the rest of the mixture, put them back under the grill.
5. Heat a (tiny bit) of oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the chilli and another crushed garlic clove. Add pak choi and carrots, stir fry for about 5minutes (it will still all be quite crunchy at this stage so cook for longer if you like it more wilted)
6. When pork chops are cooked thru (and make sure they are) then serve with rice, pak choi and carrots.

So why brown rice?  Well most importantly brown rice tastes nicer! It has a lovely nutty flavour which works well in this dish. Not only that but for health reasons brown rice is better. For example a cup of brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium compared to 19 mg in white rice. For a great factsheet for why magnesium is important then read here. There is also ongoing research that replacing white rice with brown rice may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

As for the accompanying vegetables pak choi and carrots are a veritable feast of vitamins and minerals  especially when it comes to vitamin A which is needed for

  • strengthening immunity against infections
  • helping vision in dim light
  • keeping skin and the linings of some parts of the body, such as the nose, health

(list courtesy of NHS factsheet linked to above)

I hope you find the recipe as tasty as I did.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

Why is vitamin D important for the over 65s

Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some sun. However if you are over 65 the NHS recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is an established risk factor for osteoporosis, falls and fractures.

So what does Vitamin D do?

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.  Without sufficient vitamin D bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Muscles need it to move,  nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.  Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

Why is it recommmended that the over 65s take a daily vitamin D supplement?

The older you get the more you are less likely to particpiate in outdoor activites and if you are outdoors you are more likely to cover up, therefore limiting sun exposure (sun exposure through a window does not count). Of course sun exposure needs to be approached with caution due to the risk of skin cancer.

If you don’t like taking supplements the 5 best food sources of vitamin D are:

  • cod liver oil
  • oily fish
  • margarine
  • beef liver
  • egg yolk

How much vitamin D do I need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg) for both male and female between the ages of 51-70.

There are medications which can interfere with the bodies utilisation of vitamin D therefore if you are on medication it may be worth talking to your GP before taking a supplement.

NHS Choices – Vitamin D

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

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