Sunday, 30 April 2017

QUINOA BUTTERNUT SQUASH & FETA SALAD/ & dealing with overeating in the evenings.

First up, so sorry I've been away from this space for so long, and thank you to everyone who has visited the blog in my absence.
I'm back on track now, and Kanga's helping :)

So, in this post I'm talking about a problem that is very common & so many people seem to struggle with. Eating healthy all day, then can't stop eating all evening. Even if this isn't an issue for you, I hope you still enjoy today's recipe.
Overeating in the evenings has never been an issue for me- I tend to lose my appetite after 7pm!- but I know this isn't the case for most people, as I hear it all the time in my homeopathic clinic and also with weight conscious friends.
Bingeing or overeating can be due to so many reasons - boredom, loneliness, working in a stressful environment then needing a coping mechanism when you get home, nutritional deficiencies.........the list goes on.
But for today I'm going to focus on the most common reason - undereating during the day.

If you have a coffee & a banana for breakfast, then salad for lunch- that's not being healthy, it's undereating & guess what? By the time you get home your body will be starving. It's not weak, it's not greedy, it's not lack of willpower - its biology. If you don't eat enough calories during the day, it will catch up with you - your body is keeping count. It's designed this way to keep you alive - if you starve it, it will think there is a struggle for survival and sooner or late it will drive you to eat everything insight.
Then if you binge in the evenings you won't be hungry for breakfast the next day and the whole cycle continues.
Undereating all day and then overeating in the evenings is a sure fire way to gain weight, so even if you're wanting to shed a few pounds, make sure you eat proper, substantial meals throughout the day. It makes such a difference to keeping your appetite in check and also in ensuring you have enough energy to get the most out of each day.

We're heading into summer now (even though if you're in the UK like me, this probably seems like a joke as the weather is freezing at the moment!) - but sunnier days make us think of lighter foods like salad for lunch. There's nothing wrong with salad for lunch, but just a bowl of green leaves will likely see you reaching for the biscuits mid afternoon - so make your salads healthy but hearty.
This recipe is great because you can make it on a Sunday, keep it in the fridge and that's 3 days lunch sorted! - This is the basic recipe but you can add to it, and change it up every day. If you eat meat, then you can add some chicken, ham or tuna, and if you're veggie you could add a can of chickpeas or black beans.  Nuts and seeds sprinkled over the top would also be great additions.
this basic recipe makes roughly 3 servings. More if you add beans, nuts, chicken etc.


200g Quinoa (uncooked weight)
150g Frozen sweetcorn
200g Butternut squash (peeled weight)
1 large red onion (peeled and chopped)
100g feta cheese
large handful of chopped, drained black olives
large handful of chopped, fresh spinach.

6 dessertspoons olive oil
3  dessertspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 dessertspoons maple syrup

1. preheat the oven at 180c
2. place the quinoa in a large saucepan and cover with water. leave to soak for an hour or so.
3 drain the water away from the saucepan. Add in 300g fresh water or stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and leave simmering for about 15 mins. Check on it periodically and if it needs some more water, add some. At the end of cooking time if there is excess liquid, just turn up the heat, take the lid of and cook for a further couple of minutes until its all been absorbed.
If at the end of cooking time the quinoa isn't done, add a little more water, turn up the heat till its bubbling, then remove the pan from the heat, leave the lid on and let it finish cooking in the residual heat for 10 to 15 minutes.  When cooked it should resemble this -

Once cooked, leave to cool
4 chop the butternut squash into bite sized pieces. Place in an oven proof dish, add a tablespoon of light olive oil, rapeseed oil or other cooking oil and mix the butternut squash in the oil so that all pieces are evenly coated.  bake in the oven for about 35 mins (nb I like my squash, cooked but with a bit of bite, not mushy - if you prefer yours softer, then leave for a bit longer (they will be sweeter that way too)
I didn't add salt to the squash as the feta and olives are quite salty.
5 whilst the quinoa and squash are cooking. chop your red onion and place in a frying pan with a tablespoon of light cooking oil of your choice. Stir fry the onion over a medium heat until they are softened and beginning to brown.
6 Almost forgot the sweetcorn! - you could also used canned, but I use frozen, and there's no need to cook it. I just leave it in a bowl to defrost. You retain all the goodness that way and could not be easier!
7. when the squash and onion are cooked, mix together in a big bowl.

8. Add the quinoa, black olives, crumble feta cheese in, add the chopped spinach. Mix together, that's it your done! you can eat it straight away, or store in the fridge - it's just as delicious hot or cold.
9 for the dressing ingredients, just whisk them all together! Give it a taste test (I like dipping romaine lettuce in for a taste test) and add more vinegar, mustard, maple syrup or oil, depending on what you feel it needs.

Not only is it a great "on the go lunch", it's also good to have in the fridge for when you come home starving. Perfect on its own, or a great side with an omelette, grilled salmon or anything else you can think of.

I hope the advice and/or the recipe featured in today's post has been useful. It's such a big subject and I've only touched on it here. If you're not sure how much you should be eating during the day to be healthy, but still want to lose weight I would encourage you to get some professional advice. It can save lots of time, wasted effort & heartache.  Last but not least I did not intend to demonise biscuits in this post! There's absolutely nothing wrong with a biscuit or two....ok three.  It's all about balance and moderation, and only you know if things are out of balance. Till next time friends x

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