Keeping your food interesting

If you are trying to lose weight one of the things that can make life difficult is eating the same things over and over again.

This is why it is good to try different things.

This Beef Goulash, which I adapted to be healthier than the recipe given to me by my Hungarian Uncle-in-Law, is absolutely delicious and so easy to cook so why not try it.

Beef Goulash


Serves 4

475 calories per portion

20 minutes to prepare cook for 2 hours


450 Grams lean stewing beef

1tsp olive oil

I tablespoon of flour

2 tablespoons of paprika

1 red pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes

100 grams of mushrooms chopped

1 beef oxo cube

2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

300 grams of uncooked pasta

To Cook

Cut the meat into cubes then cover in the flour and season.  Add the olive oil to a pan and brown the meat for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from pan and put in a casserole dish.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan for 1-2 minutes then add the chopped red pepper and sauté for a further minute.

Then stir in the paprika, tomato puree, beef oxo cube and a splash of water so you can coat all the vegetables. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute then finally add the tin of tomatoes and stir until all mixed together.

Add all this to the casserole dish and place in an oven at 180 degrees or 160 fan and cook for approximately 2 hours.

To serve cook the pasta according to instructions divide between 4 servings plates then top with the goulash and spoon a blob of natural yoghurt to finish.

The goulash dish will freeze so if you are serving one portion each has 75 grams of pasta.


Spice up your life without the calories

If you love spicy food and think you can’t have it because it is high in calories then you might like to try the meal I cooked on Friday.

This is a starter and a main course all for 500 caloriesThe way to do this is to think about how you cook food.  Make the most of vegetables which are great in curries and if you can’t control your portion sizes buy packet rice that you just microwave, where you are not frying it and you will not over do the rice.  For this meal I used Morrison’s Basmati Rice which is usually 2 servings but I divide this by 3 so the rice was just 125 calories per person.

The starter is Tandoori Salmon with Salad

Which you can prepare and cook as follows and both meals are for 2

Take a 75g salmon fillet and marinate it with 1 tablespoon of natural yogurt mixed with a heaped tablespoon of tandoori curry powder and the juice of half a lemon for a least an hour

Then break in to chunks and dry fry in a pan until cooked and slightly charred about 5 minutes in total serve with a green salad and chunks of lemon.

The main is a Keema Curry.

Take 300g of lean steak mince and make into burger shapes and grill until cooked through. Set aside.

Meanwhile finely chop 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, 2 cloves of garlic and add them to a pan with 1tsp of olive oil and a heaped tablespoon of curry powder.

When cooked through add half a tin of chopped tomatoes, 100g of chopped mushrooms and a beef oxo cube mixed in a cup of hot water.

At this point you can add additional flavouring such as ground coriander, cumin, and/or ginger to flavour to your taste.

When this has all cooked through break up the beef mince and add to the pan stirring the meat in so it can absorb the flavours.

Microwave your rice and serve the curry with fresh coriander.  I allow 80 grams of rice per serving for the calories I have shown which is approximately 100 calories for the starter and 400 calories for the main per person. meaning that the whole meal comes in at 500 calories per person.







7 Reasons Why You Should Exercise

I often hear people saying that they feel they should get more exercise but can’t find the time but here are 7 reasons why you should

  • It can reduce your blood pressure. Exercise helps reduce your blood pressure because as you exercise your arteries will widen your blood flow more freely and your blood pressure eventually starts to drop. Also as you build up strength your heart muscle will work better which can also reduce blood pressure.
  • It can lower your Type 2 diabetes risk. If you exercise as part of an overall healthy approach to eating you can improve the way your body processes sugar and reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • It can reduce your body fat. If you are overweight or obese now,  regular exercise can help to bring your BMI down by effectively speeding up your metabolism, but exercise alone is not the answer you need to eat healthily as well.
  • It can keep your bones stronger. If you are worried about your bone density as you get older, doing some sort of lifting resistance exercise can help to maintain your bone strength. This does not mean getting any special equipment just spending some time lifting things from around the house can help.
  • It can boost your energy. Once you build exercise into your daily routine, this will help your body to function more efficiently, and you will have more oxygen to fuel your body’s cells. You will also feel fewer aches and pains and have greater strength.
  • It can lower anxiety and stress.  As you exercise you will release endorphins and this helps to reduce levels of anxiety and stress. You might even find new ways to solve problems or overcome emotional eating.
  • And finally it can improve your mood  Aerobic exercise improves your mood by causing your body’s endorphins to kick in. These are the natural “feel good” neurotransmitters that start to exert their effects after about 20 minutes of training. In you exercise regularly you can improve your overall mental health in the long term.



  • Buy a pedometer/Fitbit or use your smartphone to check how much you move each day and try to increase it by 500 steps a day this week and then keep stepping that up as you get fitter. Ideally you should aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
  • Take the stairs rather than the lift whenever you can, this will increase your activity and you will notice, as you get fitter, you won’t be gasping for breath
  • Do things as and when you need to such as putting things away and not letting them pile up to do all at one time (such as taking things upstairs).
  • Take up an activity you think you would enjoy such as
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Zumba
  • Gym
  • Cycling

The list is endless the main thing is that you need to enjoy it or you won’t keep it up.

And finally  here are a few facts about the calories you might burn so don’t be tempted to have a chocolate bar just because you have been to gym !


EXERCISE                                                          CALORIES USED IN 30 MINS

Low impact Aerobics   ……………………………………………..200

Swimming at pace front crawl ………………………………..200

Walking at 3mph ………………………………………………………125


Cycling 10 mph…………………………………………………………..250

Running 6mph …………………………………………………………..350

If you do a regular activity you can use to put in your weight; the activity and the time you are doing the activity for an accurate figure.




Summer is great for salads

The summer is great for having salads but often people tell me that they find them boring.

If you have lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and perhaps some spring onions you will soon begin to find them uninteresting but it is so easy to add things to a salad to liven them up.

Easy things are

  • sliced raw mushrooms
  • celery
  • radishes
  • basil leaves
  • nuts
  • feta cheese
  • olives
  • edible flowers (e.g. nasturtiums)
  • chives and their flowers
  • hard boiled egg
  • tuna
  • spinach
  • raisins or sultanas
  • and of course fruit.

These are just a few of the things that I add to salads to keep them interesting either as a meal or as side for a piece of chicken or salmon for example, so try adding different things and you will soon find them interesting

All Bruton’s recipes were tested to prove that they work

Why to drink water and not fizzy drinks

One of the things that you can do to keep healthy is to drink plenty of water

So do you drink water rather than fizzy drinks?

I know that often when I recommend to people they should drink more water they think they will find it difficult so I thought a few facts might help.

Did you know that researchers estimate that drinking 2 litres of water a day (about 8 glasses) can increase energy expenditure by about 96 calories per day.

Drinking water about half an hour before meals can also reduce the amount of calories you end up eating. In fact one study showed that dieters who drank 500 ml of water before meals lost 44% more weight over a period of 12 weeks, compared to those who didn’t drink water

Increasing water intake can help with constipation.

Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stones.

But why else is it better to drink water and not fizzy drinks such as coco cola? You might think it is because of the sugar, but it is far more complicated than that, although the sugar is an issue

If you look at any can of fizzy drinks you will see that most have phosphoric acid this can be as high as 2.8 pH (very acidic) and this will trigger a massive emergency calcium (alkaline) flush to balance the acid in your body.

So much calcium is used that it takes 5-7 days to ‘detox’, or restore this precious mineral. And these reactions use a lot of water, so in fact the fizzy drinks are not hydrating your body as you might think.

The elevated levels of phosphates in soft drinks leach vital minerals from your body. Soft Drinks are made with purified water that also leach vital minerals from your body. A severe lack of minerals can lead to Heart Disease (lack of magnesium), Osteoporosis (lack of calcium) and many other diseases. Most vitamins cannot perform their function in the body without the presence of minerals so basically you are preventing your body doing what it needs to do to keep you healthy.

Did you know that drinks high in phosphoric acid can do a great job of cleaning corroded battery terminals, remove rust from metal or toilet bowels? Soda can eat through the liner of an aluminium can so why would you drink it?

Soft drinks steal water from the body. They work like a diuretic which takes away more water than it provides to the body. To replace the water stolen by soft drinks, you need to drink 8-12 glasses of water for every one glass of soft drinks that you consume!

Your body needs 8 – 10 glass of water per day. If you are drinking soft drinks you need to drink an additional 8 – 12 glass. So this would mean you need to drink 16 to 22 glasses of water per day to hydrate and replenish your body’s water requirement.

Of course there is the sugar and the high amount of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a “sugar crash”. Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems.

Soft Drinks severely interfere with digestion. Caffeine and high amounts of sugar virtually shut down the digestive process. That means your body is essentially taking in no nutrients from the food you may have just eaten, even that eaten hours earlier.

Last, but not least, Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illness. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame, that’s 80% of all complaints about food additives.

So my advice is to just drink water;  it is freely available and certainly free of all the problems that soft drinks can cause.

If you want to add some flavour add a slice of lemon and ice cubes and you will find it very refreshing.

Try this for a week and just see how much better you feel!


Have the water not the Coca Cola

Having food in the freezer can help you lose weight

One of the biggest problems when you are trying to lose weight is having things that are ready to eat when you get in and are wanting to eat your evening meal.

I find that when I cook a meal I can often cook more portions and freeze the spare ones, so that when I have less time I have things that I can take out the freezer in the morning and they will be ready to pop into the microwave when I need them in the evening.

One the recipes that is really good for this is fish pie, as it freezes well and reheats to be as good.

You can then just add a salad or some extra vegetables and you can have a meal on the table in just 15 minutes.

I have included my recipe for a great fish pie if you want to try this



This is 2 servings as taken from the freezer then defrosted during the day and microwaved to be served with more vegetables as pictured above.

Fish Pie             Serves 4              Cooking Time 45 minutes          450 calories per serving 

5 sprays olive oil

500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

225g fresh salmon

225g haddock or cod fillets

425ml skimmed milk

3 tbsp 1 portion spring onions (bunch)

200g low fat soft cheese with herbs

100g broccoli lightly cooked florets

50g petites pois frozen, thawed

100g peeled prawns cooked

1 tablespoon parsley or dill chopped 1 pinch

Salt and black pepper freshly ground

Put the potatoes on to cook in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water

Put the fish fillets into a large frying pan with 425ml of the milk. Heat, then cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the fish is cooked.

Cool for 10 minutes, strain off and reserve the liquid.

Spray a large saucepan with olive oil and gently cook the spring onions for 2 minutes, until softened, but not browned.

Add the soft cheese and stir to combine. Philadelphia with garlic and herbs works well.

Gradually add the liquid from cooking the fish, stirring well to mix it in.

Add the broccoli, peas, prawns and parsley or dill, mixing together well and season to taste.

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 7 220c / 425f

Lightly spray a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pie dish with olive oil.

Break up the fish into large chunks, removing skin and bones and put them into the pie dish. Pour the sauce on top.

Drain and mash the potatoes, season, then beat in the remaining 3 tbsp of milk.

Pile on top of the fish mixture and then bake for 25- 30 minutes until piping hot and golden brown.

If you are cooking for two you can freeze the extra portions or if you are cooking for family of 4 then just cook two and freeze one.

Just contact me if you wan to know about how I can help you eat healthily



Does pain stop you exercising?

One of the things that keeps you healthy and supports your weight loss is exercising and this doesn’t mean joining a gym unless of course you want to.

I have struggled over the last few months having broken my ankle which prevented me from doing my usual exercise.  Whilst I am now out of plaster and getting back to my usual walking I am still finding that my ankle swells up and I have been told that it can be up to  year before this stops

I am trying really hard to get back into exercise though because I have felt really sluggish and I have started taking some ‘Musselflex’  Tablets and using the Gel on my ankle and it is really helping. I read about it on the internet and decided to give it a go and I am sure it is working.  These can be found in health shops or on Amazon and are by Optima.

I was very sceptical but if you have aching knees or feet I would suggest you give it a try


Bit late posting the blog after a very busy weekend but back to recipes next week