The fit foodie: Quinoa power bowl and super soup

This week I’m sharing one of my favourite circuit workouts and I’m focusing on nailing lunch with a recipe.

For this workout I’ve used a 15kg bar but substitute this for a pair of dumbbells if you like.

If you prefer a home-based workout get creative with what you have at home, consider using a couple of one-litre water bottles. I regularly find myself doing a quick circuit at home when I can’t make it to the gym.

I love to mix up my training and am always on the hunt for new and challenging workouts. This arm workout is a toughie but is great to build up muscle and strength in your upper body.

I train with a couple of friends and we love this circuit to give our arms a good burn!

Super Circuit:

Exercise 1 - Bent over row:

Take an overhand grip on the barbell (palms in towards you), bend at the knees and bring your torso forward. Aiming to keep your spine flat and head up.

Lift the barbell towards you, keeping the elbows close.

At the top, squeeze between the shoulder blades and hold for a brief pause (count to two).

Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

x10 reps

* This exercise is not recommended for people with back problems.

Exercise 2 - Straight/ upright row:

Hold the barbell with a grip that is a little narrower than shoulder width apart. Again use an overhand grip where your palms face in towards your body. The bar should rest on your thighs.

Keep a slight bend in elbows and keep your back straight

Raise elbows up towards ceiling and out to the side. You want a straight line from your shoulder out to your elbow.

Keep the bar close to your body as you raise it and continue until it nearly touches your chin.

Stop at the top momentarily before slowly lowering down to the start position.

x10 reps

Exercise 3 - Overhead press:

Hold the barbell with a grip that is a little narrower than shoulder-width apart. An overhand grip is best.

Place the barbell so it rests on your shoulders with your elbows high and close to your body.

Bend your knees slightly and push through the heels as you press the bar over-head.

x10 reps

Aim to repeat each of these exercises X10 reps. Repeat the circuit three times.

Take one minute recovery between each
circuit.

Top tips

The most important thing to remember when doing these circuits is that form is key. Be familiar with the exercises and perform them safely to avoid injury and to get the most from your efforts. Be cautious as well with the weight used; in case of doubt, use less weight rather than more.

It’s also vital to breathe. Breathe through the movement instead of holding your breath as this can
create unwanted tension. Breathing out on the hard part is generally recommended.

Fitspiration

Tally rye is a personal trainer and co- founder of the Girl Gains movement. I love her balanced approach to food and exercise and especially like following her ongoing #BestMe journey. Take a look at her account for some great gym and home-based workout ideas @Tallyrye

Pictures: Miki Barlok

 

Quinoa, spinach and avocado power bowl

This one isn’t called a power bowl for nothing; it’s quite literally bursting with goodness. Quinoa is a complete protein source, rich in fibre and nutrients like magnesium, iron and calcium.

It’s a naturally gluten free and lower GI option too. I’ve given it a twist by adding a delicious coconut lime flavour. Spinach is packed with folate, iron and vitamins A and K. 

It gives the dish a vibrant pop of colour. Avocado is full of good fats plus vitamin E for skin and heart health. I love it as it adds a delicious creaminess to the dish.

The honey lime dressing is a great one to add to the repertoire and tastes
delicious on any salad. Serve this with some chicken or a dollop of hummus for an extra protein hit.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

100g uncooked quinoa, rinsed under cold water

200ml low sodium
vegetable stock or water

Tbs coconut oil

1 lime, juiced and zest finely grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

Tbs olive oil

1 lime, juiced

Half tbs honey

To serve:

1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 handful of coriander, roughly chopped

4 scallions, sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)

1 small bag of baby spinach

2 avocado, diced or sliced

Method

To make the quinoa:

Add the quinoa and the stock (or water) to a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the coconut oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.

To make the dressing:

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and honey. Set aside with the quinoa.

To serve:

Stir the quinoa, halved cherry tomatoes, coriander, scallions and jalapeno pepper, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the spinach between four bowls, place the quinoa salad on top and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the avocado and serve.

This salad can be eaten immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not cut the avocado until just before serving as it may turn brown.

 

Pea and mint soup

I love soup; this is my go to during the summer, especially when served with some buttery brown bread.

This soup is a real ‘souper hero’.

The ingredients are inexpensive, it’s tasty and packed full of nutrition.

I cook soup in big batches and freeze it in individual portions so that I’m never stuck for a nutritious lunch or light dinner.

The addition of the Parma ham and creme fraiche adds a little bit
of indulgence to the
dish.

Prep time: 1 minute

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 litre of cold water

A large handful of fresh mint, leaves only

500gm peas (fresh or frozen are perfect)

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

200ml creme fraiche

4 slices of Parma ham, fried or grilled until crisp (optional)

Method

Bring the water to the boil in a large and add a generous pinch of salt.

Add the mint leaves and bring the liquid back the boil.

Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender and bright green.

Strain the mint and peas, reserving the cooking liquid, and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes.

Once cooled, transfer to a food processor with just enough of the cooking liquid to cover the peas and mint. Blend for 1-2 minutes to create a smooth, bright green puree.

Season to taste with salt and pepper plus a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Add 140ml creme fraiche and pulse in the blender for a few seconds, until combined

To serve, divide the soup between four warmed bowls. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and the crispy Parma ham if using it.


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