This lentil soup recipe is so easy, comforting and so good for you! It’s a perfect option for lunch, and it tastes even better the next day.
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein … plus this soup packs a whopping 13 grams of fiber into one serving (which will keep you going!). And it’ll keep you feeling full for hours!
Easy Lentil Soup 🥣🍅🥕
(Makes 6 to 8 servings)
Over medium heat, drizzle the olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot. When it’s hot, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the garlic cloves and saute for about 1 minute. Next add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, broth and spices, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, and cook until the lentils are done, about 40 minutes.
You can serve as-is, or if you want a smoother consistency, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Optional: Serve topped with a splash of fresh lemon juice and your choice of fresh herb.
Now that the peak of New Year's resolution season has come and gone, many of us have abandoned our grand visions for 2020. Big-picture goals, which are often vague and too ambitious, sometimes fall by the wayside as life inevitably gets in the way.
But that's no reason to give up on better health this year. In fact, February – also known as Heart Month – is the perfect time to focus on improving your heart health. The key is structuring that goal in a way that keeps you motivated throughout the year.
Now, we know what you're thinking: So, you just want me to lose weight, eat right, exercise regularly, quit smoking and keep my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar down? Fat chance!
But the truth is, each objective really is attainable through manageable behavioral changes. The first step is to find out where you stand. Go to the AHA's website and complete the simple assessment to find out what areas you already excel in, where you need to make improvements and what information you may want to ask your doctor about. For example, if you don't smoke, you've already achieved one of your seven big-picture goals. Don't know your blood sugar levels? That's something you should probably discuss with your doctor. In addition, the assessment will reveal areas where you can improve your diet, how much exercise you need to add to your day and where you stand in terms of body weight and other variables.
Now that you know your long-term goals, it's time to incorporate behaviour changes throughout your day and week to help you progress. Need to get moving? Consider joining us for a gym membership and/or trying some of our fitness classes. Or start with a commitment to walking a 2 km loop in your neighbourhood several days a week. Short on fruits and veggies? Start by adding one piece of fruit to your breakfast each day and eat a salad as part of your dinner three days each week. You can also boost your vegetable content with VegeGreens super food powder, which is availble at the club. Is your blood pressure too high? Talk to your doctor about ways to control it - there are many natural ways to do this. As those new behaviours become habits, you can modify them as needed.
Eventually, small behaviour tweaks will become big changes. They'll also provide frequent successes that keep you motivated throughout the year. Every time you join a fitness class or walk that 2 km loop, for instance, you've achieved another goal!
Remember, lifestyle change is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It may be quite some time before you meet every aspect of the dietary recommendations, or achieve every one of the 7 steps – if ever. But every improvement counts, as does every pound lost. For instance, losing 50 pounds to get back down to your college weight may not be achievable right now, but losing 10 percent of your body weight could lead to dramatic improvements in your health. Likewise, you may not be able to exercise every day, but every moment of physical activity counts. The successes will accumulate and become their own type of habit. It's all about perspective and acknowledging your achievements along the way. You CAN do it!
This salad requires no cooking and is made with just a few healthy ingredients. This crunchy broccoli salad with lemon tahini (sesame paste) dressing is a simple healthy twist on a classic dish! This simple salad only has 9 ingredients and takes 5 minutes to make! It's plant-based, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, low in carbohydrates, and keto- friendly. It's perfect for weeknight dinners, and meal prep.
To make this a full meal, add your favourite protein! You can easily mix in your favourite protein, like:
This healthy broccoli and lemon winter salad is the perfect nourishing bowl for winter. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower drizzled with a lemon garlic dressing and topped with the winter essentials; pomegranate and toasted almonds.
Winter salads are such a great way to get a nutrition kick and to use up some veggies you probably already have in your crisper drawer. Use what you have available! This is an easy salad that whips up pretty quick, but is loaded with taste and nutrition. YUM!
With all the celebrations and family gatherings this holiday season, are you concerned about maintaining your current weight? If you think about your energy balance (energy in vs. energy out) it is very easy to see how over the holidays you eat a little more and move a little less, which leads to some weight gain.
During the holiday season, the average person gains 5-12 lbs! Fortunately, though, you don’t have to fall victim to excess holiday bulge with these fitness tips...
Tip #1 – Write it down
Create a plan during the holiday season and write down your goals. For most people, the act of actually sitting down and writing out a plan of action, helps them to stay focused and increases their chances of following through. Make sure your goals are realistic and plan out some daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Make sure your plan contains some of the following tips in it as well.
Tip #2 – Get moving and make exercise a priority
During the holidays, most people cut out exercise because they say that they “don’t have the time.” Wrong–you do have the time! You don’t have to exercise an hour every day to get the benefits of exercise. If you are pressed for time, try some interval training which can burn more calories than an hour of steady-state cardio and can be done in only 20 minutes. Another way to burn extra calories in a shorter period of time is to perform some strength training workouts. Interval training and strength training both create an exercise-after burn which allows your body to continue burning additional calories even while you rest for up to 36 hours or more.
Tip #3 – Drink water
This really isn’t anything new, we all know that we need water to stay hydrated, but it’s more than just hydration. Sometimes the lack of adequate amounts of water in our diet can cause us to feel hungry when we are really not. Many people end up packing on extra calories because they think that they are hungry when really all they need is some water. Water helps keep our metabolism running at peak performance and aids in the digestion of foods so, drink up!
Tip #4 – Don’t skip meals
Holiday season means huge meals and huge appetites. On these days people generally tend to skip breakfast or lunch in anticipation of that big holiday dinner. The problem is that this tends to cause people to overeat and really pack on the pounds. Skipping meals slows the metabolism and aids in fat storage. Make sure to eat a few small meals before your holiday dinner to help minimize overeating and save yourself a 1,000 calories.
Tip #5 – Moderation
Watching what you eat and losing weight doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every now and then. The problem is that when most people go to treat themselves, they over-do it. Go ahead and grab a small piece of the pie, but remember to think in moderation and avoid going for seconds on dessert. Eating a few small meals and a small salad before your holiday dinner can help you avoid those cravings for sweets and help keep you feeling full.
Tip #6 – Minimize alcohol
One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories which is nearly double the amount contained in one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and is only two calories shy of a gram of fat (9 calories). These 7 calories per gram don’t even include all the calories and sugar you may take it if you mix your alcohol with something else. Drinking alcohol is a quick way to pack on excess calories and weight. If you plan on drinking, just remember moderation.
Tip #7 – Get some sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to aid in the accumulation of belly fat which can be very dangerous to your health. Make sure, even though holidays are a busy time of the year, that you are getting enough sleep.
Roasted Butternut Squash – three ways! Try this quick and healthy weeknight dinner with roasted butternut squash as the base. Vegan adaptable and gluten-free!
The filling is made while the butternut squash roasts in the oven, which takes about 30 minutes. Not too bad for a weeknight dinner, made entirely from scratch, based on seasonal produce… our favourite kind of meal!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Persian Lentils
Roasted Butternut Persian Style:
Perfect for Fall, this one pot pumpkin curry is a home run in the flavour department and comes together quickly. Mix and match with veggies and proteins on hand, and enjoy this hearty meal that's also naturally gluten-free. Try this for your next family gathering or get-together! Thanksgiving is just around the corner :)
Remaining pumpkin curry ingredients:
VEGETABLES: Mix and match this one pot pumpkin curry with other veggies such as cauliflower, asparagus, kale or collard greens (added when the broccoli is added), regular or sweet potato (added with the red curry paste), spinach or bok choy (wilted in toward the end of cooking). Baked or fried tofu can also be substituted for the chickpeas. Get creative and have fun with it! Enjoy :)
Mornings can be busy. And once the kids are back in school, this time of day can feel downright hectic. Since breakfast is an integral component to the morning routine, whipping up something that's ultra quick, easy and healthy can go a long way in easing into the start of your day. A protein packed, berry smoothie bowl is a perfect way. You can take this bowl to the office or even drink it during your commute - and the kids will love it too. It's nutritious, delicious and a must-try!
For all recipes, we recommend adding a scoop of natural plant based or whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla flavour). We carry a variety of all-natural protein powders at the club for your convenience. Protein is essential for everyone. It fuels your body, helps you build lean muscle, accelerates recovery, keeps you satiated and so much more.
Makes 1-2 Serving
Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
For all smoothies:
This gorgeous and healthy summer vegetable salad is loaded with produce, including golden beets, avocado, corn, micro-greens and radishes. Chickpeas and edamame add substance, and an herb-filled avocado dressing makes this salad really special. Serve it on its own for a light vegetarian meal or add grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.
There is no shortage of healthy activities that can be packed into these last few weeks of summer to help make up for lost time! Here are some ideas:
1. Up the intensity. Don’t just go for a leisurely jog on your usual neighbourhood circuit; quicken your pace and feel the burn! If faster doesn’t seem possible, then add 10 minutes to your usual workout. Walking, jogging, hiking, inline skating and cycling are all great activities in which you can up the intensity.
2. Get out and explore. Discover park trails and open roads and take in some new scenery.
3. Hit up the water. If you live near the beach, get out and play volleyball, throw the Frisbee or football around, beach comb, or play an energetic game of fetch with your dog. If you’re near a lake, try rowing for an unrivaled total-body workout and a change of pace. Late summer is a great time to do beach and water activities because these areas tend to be less crowded.
4. Think outside the box. Always wanted to stand-up paddle board, take a whirl on a skateboard or ballroom dance? Ask any schoolchild – the beginning of the school year is a great time to try something new. Plus, you’ll likely discover muscles you didn’t you know had and you’ll see a new level of tone in your body.
5. Integrate exercise into your life. In addition to the obvious suggestions – like parking your car farther away from your destination and taking the stairs instead of elevators – here are a few that are less obvious: While at the kids’ soccer practice, instead of reading a book or visiting with another parent, why not walk around the outside of the field while they practice, or even warm up and cool down with the team? Schedule a ‘walking meeting’ instead of an in-office discussion. Swap the cart for your legs when golfing. You can also transform your commute by walking or biking to work, or taking a bus and hopping off a few stops early.
6. Playgrounds aren’t just for kids. Adults can rekindle their inner child and enjoy these outdoor play spaces, too – and get a great, affordable workout at the same time. Slides can be used for challenging push-ups or sit-ups, monkey bars can be used for pull-ups, and holding yourself stationary on a swing in plank position can provide an incredible core workout.
7. Plant a late-summer garden. If you’re looking to spice up your lawn or garden, August is a perfect time to plan a fall harvest. You can also keep your garden ablaze with color through the end of summer with a mix of fall-blooming annuals and perennials. The simple fact is that gardening is exercise, and done properly, can burn as many calories as more traditional exercises.
8. Farm your way fit. Find a local farm and volunteer to spend a day or more learning about farming, harvesting, picking and general farming chores. In return, you usually get fed locally produced, healthy meals!
9. Schedule breaks. We believe that an hour of sitting is too long, so make time to get up and stretch! Take a lap around the office or outside parking lot after each hour of sitting and stand while talking to a coworker. Use part of your lunch break to go for a stroll or pick up lunch at a place within walking distance. Just can’t get away? Take a call on your mobile phone and head outdoors – they’re called mobile phones for a reason!
10. Practice yoga, Pilates or meditation outdoors. Put the tree back in tree pose and swap the mat for grass. The only thing more peaceful than a mind-body session is spending time in the beauty of nature.
As summer days start to get shorter, we tend to return to a more sedentary routine. Challenge yourself to not let your fitness level fall with the end of summer! Incorporate some of these ideas into your summer fitness routine and you'll be a lot more likely to continue with the momentum of these habits come Fall.
I'm Natatia Gemmell. No matter how busy life gets, eating well and exercising is always a priority! I LOVE fitness, and I teach my clients how to stay on the health & fitness path by exercising, eating better and staying healthy!