After preaching eternal indulgence and throwing two fingers up in the face of January diets and the chastising of calories, I am succumbing to the cliche and making an effort to clean up my act somewhat now the festive season is kaput. By no means will my hot chocolate habit or my penchant for afternoon tea be getting the boot – no siree – I just want to ensure I’m getting my five a day, eating enough protein, balancing my carb consumption and keep an eye on those fats.
Yada yada yada, yawn yawn yawn – I know – but hey, a girl needs to be able to sit down in her jeans without being sliced in half like a not-so-glamourous magician’s assistant. *Shouts to the 1kg jar of Nutella in my kitchen*: Don’t worry you’re going nowhere, my pretty.
So with all of the above in mind I thought I’d share my super simple homemade vegetable soup recipe and a bit of food for thought for you to digest while you’re eating it.
You will need:
1 whole broccoli
2 sweet potatoes
2 normal potatoes
4 large carrots
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Roughly 1.5 pints of stock (I use the Kallo Organic Chicken cubes)
Chilli flakes for seasoning
For the optional garlic crouton and shredded bacon garnish:
- 2 large slices of slightly-stale wholegrain bloomer bread
- Garlic-infused olive oil
- 4 rashers of smoked or streaky bacon
Here’s what you need to do:
- Preheat your oven to 180°c (gas mark 4)
- Peel all of the potatoes and carrots then chop ’em into bitesize chunks.
- Chop your broccoli into similar size chunks (stems ‘n’ all).
- Dice your bread into chunks, including the crusts and lay out onto a baking tray.
- Drizzle with garlic-infused olive oil and season with salt and pepper then toss ’em up to make sure all chunks are coated.
- Bake in the oven for around 10-15 minutes (or until golden brown and crunchy) turning half way through.
- Dissolve a stock cube into about 1.5 pints of boiling water (check the packet for full instructions and yes this is the cheat’s way to stock success).
- Boil all of your vegetables until soft in the stock.
- Chuck your veggies and stock into a blender and whizz up (or use a hand blender).
- Blend until you reach desired consistency.
- Simmer on a medium heat, stirring in some salt and pepper to taste.
- While the soup bubbles, fry your bacon rashers until crispy and snap-able.
- Serve your soup in some big old bowls and sprinkle on some more black pepper and a just few chilli flakes for a kick of heat.
- Plonk your croutons and bacon on top.
(Top tip for an extra boost of protein: add in a scoop of pea protein powder before blending!)
While you’re enjoying your steaming bowl of hearty goodness, give these quick pointers a mull over if, like me, you’re trying to make some easy and sustainable changes for the good of your waistline and wellbeing…
Set yourself some realistic goals
Sure, I’d like to wake up with the body of Rihanna and the athletic endurance of Mo Farah but sadly, it ain’t going to happen. These things take time, energy and a set of achievable targets to work towards. Start small and work your way up as you gain momentum or you’ll just be setting yourself up for a fall before you’ve even got started.
Be a bit crafty with leftovers
Leftover chocolate, surplus snacks and months worth of cheese still hanging around from the festive feasting season are usually the first to lure me off the rails. Coming up with some creative recipes to use up things like selection box chocolate and Christmas cheese will help you consume them as rewards or treats rather than bingeing all at once. Failing that, you could always donate things like cake and biscuits to your local food bank.
Be conscious of your calories
This isn’t something I can ever commit to with any conviction but if you are planning on trimming down or gaining a bit more control over what passes your lips, clocking calories can be a good way to gain some insight into your eating habits. Calorie control is also a great means by which to lose excess weight or build extra muscle but I’m no professional so this may help you out:
Shake That Weight Explains How Many Calories Do You Burn