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23 April 2019

Q & A with Sarah's Spoonful

Published by Masuta Matcha Team

Sarah MacDonald started @sarahs_spoonful in September last year to share her passion for health and fitness. At 22, she juggles law studies, running an online blog and recently launched her own e-book! Her talent for developing simple, affordable and healthy recipes has quickly garnered a loyal base of 10,000 followers.


Sarah is a strong believer that health comes from our lifestyle and she's on a mission to inspire people to be the healthiest they can be. She's shared with us some tips on how to eat healthy on a budget and her go-to meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What inspired you to start a food blog?

I've always been a very creative person - as a child, everyone always said that I was going to be an artist when I grew up - and I used to express that with art. I've also always been passionate about food - my family loves good food and it's always been at the heart of how we connect and spend time with each other. As I got older and started studying law, I had much less time to use the creative skills that I'd always loved, so I began getting creative with my food. I was following all these food blogs for inspiration and creating the type of meals that I share now, and I slowly realised that I could share what I was already doing. My blog began as a creative outlet, I suppose.

Have you always been interested in health and fitness?

Yes! It's changed a lot over the years, however. I've had phases of being super interested in yoga, or running, or the gym, and played a lot of hockey in high school. I try not to set myself any rigid guidelines, and go with what feels good an makes me feel happy, healthy and strong at the time. When I have a bit of time off pursuing those interests I definitely feel a lot more sluggish and have less energy, so it's really important part of my life.

Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?

Literally everywhere! What's on sale at the supermarket, what's in season, what I see on Instagram, what I grew up eating with my family (my dad is an amazingly talented cook, so we always had really fresh, exciting meals with interesting ingredients. He also never had the patience for long recipes, so everything was quick and thrown together into something beautiful in a very haphazard way. Definitely a huge inspiration for me!, what I'm craving, even what colours I want to cook with - as I said in my first answer, my blog is my creative outlet, so it really does come from everywhere!

Over the years, you've experimented with plant based diets and you've recently become a pescetarian. For those who don't know, can you explain what that is and why you decided on a pescetarian diet?

Yes! A pescetarian diet is a diet which excludes meat, such as beef and chicken, but includes seafood - so fish and shellfish. It also includes animal products that you would eat on a vegetarian diet, such as eggs and dairy. Personally, the onlu dairy I eat on a regular basis is Greek yoghurt and a little cheese (like feta), but I eat eggs and fish several times a week. I eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals too, so my diet is quite varied. For me, this diet provides the best compromise for my lifestyle, health and beliefs. I started eating this way when I first decided to stop eating meat as a teenager, because I was still living at home and it was easier for my family to adjust to and cater for. Since then, I've found that my body feels best with a little animal protein and a lot of plants , and it's also a very easy diet to healthily maintain. A can of tuna, for example, is a really easy addition once or twice a week as a cheap, instant and quality source of tuna. I also go out to eat a lot, and this means that sharing or choosing something from the menu is never an issue. My boyfriend is a huge seafood lover, so it works well for him too!

Eating healthy can be expensive. What are your tips for eating well on a tight budget?

Firstly, I’d say that healthy eating can be expensive, but it by no means has to be. Many healthy staples – especially plant-based staples like lentils and beans – are dirt-cheap and can be bought in many convenient and long-lasting forms. Secondly, forget about expensive ‘superfoods’, powders and fad food items! Trends come and go, but the basis of healthy eating never really changes: eat more plants, less meat, more variety, and eat things as close to their natural form as possible. Less processed often means cheaper, too: I’m not a huge believer of health food bars and formulated foods. You just don’t need them! Make your own from basic ingredients if you like, or treat yourself to trendy health foods every now and then because you enjoy them, but your staples should just be lots of fresh vegetables (cheap), legumes for protein (also cheap), wholegrains (CHEAP!) and healthy fats, which can be a little more expensive but you need in smaller quantities. You also do need protein, which as a general rule is more expensive, but again there are cheaper ways to do it. Tinned fish, frozen fish or meat, tofu and plain Greek yogurt are all affordable sources.

What are your best recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a budget?

Breakfast has to be oatmeal – it’s so versatile, filling and cheap. I always have a huge jar of rolled oats in my house and make this almost every day.

For lunch, a big salad is a great way to get in a wide range of plants. You can use cheap vegetable like carrot, steamed broccoli or sweet potato, and bulk it up with stables like wholegrain couscous, wholegrain/pulse pasta or soba noodles to make it even more affordable. I always add a cheap source of protein too, like hard-boiled eggs, tinned tuna or tofu.

For dinner, recipes that you can make in bulk like soup, stews, curries or dhal are my go-to. You can make really healthy and wholesome meals from tinned or pantry items and then freeze the leftovers for easy meals later. Serve with some fresh veg and protein for a cheap, balanced meal.

You have a lot on at the moment with Uni, running a food blog and launching your own e-book. For most people, it’s easier to grab takeout or settle for something unhealthy after a busy day. What are your tips for avoiding this and staying on track?

I sure do! For me, what helps keep me on track is planning and bulk cooking. If I know what I have at home and what I can make, it makes it much less tempting to buy easy but not-so healthy options out. I don’t want to waste the food I have at home, and I know I can make something just as yummy! Having single-portion containers of meals in my freezer at all times also helps. It means I can have a healthy meal ready in five minutes, so I can be super lazy and still eat well.

What are 3 foods you can’t live without?

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Almonds

What is your one food vice?

I don’t really like thinking of any one food as a vice, because I really think that with a balanced attitude all foods have their place in a healthy diet. With that said, I love salty, savoury things – I could always go to town on a bowl of salt & vinegar potato chips!

What is your exercise regimen like?

I’ve just gone back to uni so my schedule has just shifted a lot – I’m still trying to figure out a solid workout routine alongside that! However, my weekly routine right now generally includes about 2-3 F45 sessions, 1-2 yoga classes, 1-2 runs and 1-2 gym classes (my gym does Les Mills classes, and my favourites are BodyAttack, CXWORX and BodyBalance). It changes a lot – I really dislike not moving all day, but I’m also mindful of not overtraining or exhausting my body. I’ve found that what works best for me right now is not having a regime – I listen to how my body is feeling, and move it in a way that feels good on that particular day. This means I never end up resenting a workout that I told myself I ‘had’ to go to, and so I truly love my workouts and look forward to them every day. In turn, that keeps me going back – its all about getting yourself into a good rhythm, and sticking with what works for you.

And of course, we had to ask - how do you like to have your matcha?

Very simply! I like to mix 1 tsp of Masuta Matcha with a little cold water to make a paste, and then add a dash of honey and some boiling water. Then I blend up some unsweetened almond milk in my NutriBullet (this makes it super frothy!) and add it to the matcha for a cozy, delicious latte. I like to top it with dried rose petals – they don’t add anything flavour-wise, but they’re just so pretty!

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