One Minute For Health

Sapna, one of my best friends whom you have already been introduced to when I spoke about my San Francisco adventures last year. The Dietician (or Dietitian if you’re reading this in America) is a super healthy lady and as we’re in National Health Month Sapna is going to share some excellent tips with you for staying healthy and balanced as well as enjoying a treat or two.

Sapna Patel - One Minute For Health
Sapna Patel - One Minute For Health

Tell my readers how we met….

Believe it or not, we met online when we were 16 and have become best friends over the years.  Though we live thousands of miles apart, you in Nottingham and myself in San Francisco, thanks to technology, we’ve been able to keep in touch all these years.

Tell us a little about ‘Sapna’ 

I’m a fashionista, I love working out, reading, dancing, having fun and enjoying my wine, especially red. I also love experimenting with new recipes as well as cooking and baking in any spare time.

You’re a dietician, what does your job involve?

Being a dietician covers a broad spectrum. Career practices can range from clinical and working in hospitals to sports nutrition to private practices.  Usually, when people hear that I am a dietician, they expect me to help them lose weight.  In addition to helping lose weight, a dietician’s main goal is to help a person live a nutritionally healthy lifestyle.

You’re a vegetarian, how do you incorporate protein into your diet?

There are plenty of proteins that vegetarians can eat.  Dairy such as milk, yogurt and pudding; nuts and seeds; avocado; tofu; peanut butter; beans, lentils and edamame are some great sources.

Share your favourite ‘healthy’ but tasty recipe with the readers of Priya’s Blog:

Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers:

¼ c Quinoa

1 c Black Beans, cooked

¼ c onion, finely chopped

1/4 c tomato, finely chopped

2 Whole Bell Peppers, the top removed and deseeded

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Cayenne Pepper to taste

½ c shredded low fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350F

Soak the Quinoa in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat oil on medium heat.  add cumin and let it roast for 30 seconds.  Add onions and sauté until they are translucent.

Add Black beans, Quinoa, tomato, salt and cayenne pepper.  Mix well.  Add 3/4 cup water, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and water has evaporated.

Spoon the mixture into the bell pepper, layer with some cheese; spoon another layer of bean mixture followed by cheese – continue until bell pepper is stuffed with the last layer of cheese.  Bake in oven for 30 min or until pepper is cooked (note: pierce with knife and if it glides through, the pepper is cooked).

*Note, you can use other veggies in addition to the tomatoes and onions to add to the mix.  I’ve tried celery, broccoli, and spinach – it still tastes good. 

You’re a slim lady, how do you keep your figure as well as staying healthy?

I moderate what I eat and try to workout 5-6 times a week.  I do love my chocolates and carbs but everything in moderation so I can have the best of both worlds.

A picture from my recent trip to Napa Valley with Sapna…

Priya & Sapna
Priya & Sapna

What is your exercise regime?

In the mornings, before work, I usually do about 45minutes – 1 hour on the Eliptical.  I have a set routine of crunches and weights every other day.  I usually rock climb 3-4 times a week in the evenings after work.

What are your suggestions for people that aren’t fond of cooking but still want to be healthy?

Restaurants nowadays have some sort of signs on their menu’s to indicate healthier choices, always pay attention to those.  If you are picking up frozen entrees, look at the nutrition label and pay attention to the amount of calories, sodium, carbs, and protein it is providing.  Also – pay attention to the fact that if a food says Serves 2 on the nutrition label, and you eat the whole package, you multiply the calories listed on their by 2 to know how much you are eating.

i.e. a bottle of Orange Juice serves 2 servings, 112 calories, and you have the whole bottle.  In this case, you have consumed 224 calories. Basically, keep in mind portion sizes and serving sizes.

Your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Balance your foods to eat healthy and exercise.  There’s nothing wrong in indulging in the occasional sweets, cakes, etc.


People think ‘eating salads’ is the only way to lose weight; how do you recommend people lose weight while eating healthy?

“Eating salads” or following fad diets has become a common theme among people who are trying to lose weight.  Fad diets don’t necessarily provide the healthiest foods and if they do, they tend to be missing out on important nutrients.  For example, someone following the Atkins’ Diet is consuming mainly proteins in their foods and the basis of this diet is to cut out carbs because they are supposedly “bad” for you.  This is not true, we all need carbs in our body as they provide energy for our body, the trick is to learn which carbs are healthy and which are not.  Always try to choose grains that are whole wheat and eat in moderation. If you have questions or need help creating a nutritional regime, your doctor should be able to refer you to a dietician.

For general guidelines of what you should eat, visit  It is a great resource which informs you how much of each food group you should be eating based on your height, weight, age and gender.  

Also visit  Here, you can input foods that you are eating and it will break down the nutrients for you and tell you whether you are eating enough of the right nutrients or not.  

In Napa again with my two best girlfriends….

Bharti, Sapna & Priya
Bharti, Sapna & Priya
I’d like to thank Sapna, one of my oldest and best friends for taking the time to take part in my One Minute With series. Love you x

Priya Mulji

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