I’m sure you’ll be as pleased as me that we’re almost at the end of January. It’s always a funny month and we’ve had our share of “funny” weather these last few days too – glorious sunshine, then snow, rain and fog, I wonder what comes next!!

One bit of sunshine has been the messages and feedback I’ve had from members. It’s always lovely to hear from you and to know how well you’re doing with your weight losses. My talk to members this week has been all about exercise and how to keep fit …. particularly in the household gym! Do you know how many calories you use up cleaning, dusting, ironing or making the bed!

 At Slimtone, we don’t count calories, but we do have calories that count and that’s why I wanted to remind you to follow your Lifestyle Plan or any of the plans I give you. They are all designed to provide balanced healthy eating and to make sure you’re having the maximum input nutritionally.

 One important element of our nutrition is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for optimum health as it is known to improve our immune system and absorb calcium. It is known as the sunshine vitamin, so with no holidays abroad at the moment, the darker evenings and working from home, we need to make sure we are getting enough Vitamin D.

Luckily Vitamin D occurs naturally in oily fish, red meat, milk, eggs and cheese. You can enjoy all of these as part of your Lifestyle Plan. Here are some recipes to help you boost your intake of this important vitamin.

Jacket Potato with Pineapple & Cottage Cheese
Serves 1 – approx 300 cals

Fill a 280g/10oz jacket potato with 112g/4oz low fat cottage cheese with pineapple (or any other variety). This is delicious mixed with Slimtone coleslaw and wafer-thin ham.

Tuna Melt Toastie
Serves 1 – approx 300 cals

This is one of my favourite lunches!

2 slices granary/seeded bread
One individual processed cheese slice
Small can of drained tuna                                    
Salad to garnish

Mash the tuna and spread over the bread, sandwiching together with the cheese slice. Pop onto the health grill until golden brown and serve with salad.

The Pepper Beef & Pasta Bake recipe on page 44 of your Lifestyle Plan is really tasty and the low fat mince is a good way of having your red meat.

Mushrooms are already a good source of vitamin D, but did you know that if you pop them on the windowsill in the winter sunshine, they’ll absorb a further supply of this sunshine vitamin! Use your ‘super-boosted’ mushrooms in one of these tasty recipes.

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms with Herby Cheese
Serves 1 – approx. 70 cals

Preheat oven to 380C/350F/gas mark 4 and lightly spray a small baking dish with one cal spray. Remove the stalks from 2 large flat mushrooms and finely chop. Place the mushrooms, stalks, 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp water into a non-stick pan and cover. Cook for approx. 5 mins. Remove mushrooms from the pan, (reserve juices) and place into the baking dish.  Divide 50g/2oz low-fat garlic & herb soft cheese between the mushrooms. Top the mushrooms with the stalks, 1 medium sliced tomato and season with salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle the pan juices over the top and bake in the oven for approx. 15 mins. Mmmm, really tasty!

Creamed mushrooms on toast – makes a quick savoury snack meal.  Clean button mushrooms and place in microwave dish, spoon over low fat cream cheese with garlic & herbs and pop into the microwave for a few minutes until cheese has melted. Toast a thick slice of granary bread and top with “creamed mushrooms” – approx 170 cals. 

Garlic MushroomsPrepare button mushrooms, pop into microwave dish, top with fresh or lazy garlic and micro for approx 2 minutes. – Negligible calories.

Salad MushroomsMix 2 tablespoons of extra light mayo with ½ teaspoon mustard (or to taste), prepare a portion of button mushrooms and top with the mustard mayo.  This is delicious with salads. Garlic or sweet chilli sauce can be used instead of the mustard.

Spanish Omelette
Serves 1 – approx 260 calories – 12.6g fat

Preheat the grill. Lightly beat 2 medium eggs with a tablespoon of water and season. Mist a non-stick pan with low-fat cooking spray and sauté a small, sliced onion until soft. Add 84g/3oz cooked diced potatoes and cook until they start to turn golden. Pour in the eggs and add a tablespoon of peas. Stir once to distribute the vegetables evenly and cook until the base is set. Place pan under a preheated grill to set the top of the omelette. 

** MARIE’S TIP:  This makes a delicious breakfast served with brown sauce. Or sprinkle with mixed herbs and chopped wafer thin ham to serve as a pizza with stir fried vegetables or large salad.

I hope you enjoy boosting your sunshine vitamin!
Marie x