Oaty Banana and Date Cookies

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Crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle, with a lovely sweetness from the bananas and dates. These healthy no added sugar cookies are chocca block full of fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium.

Many of my dietetic clients and friends ask me about fruit being full of sugar and therefore being ‘bad for you’. Yes, fruit is sweet, but the sweetness comes from ‘intrinsic sugars’ which the body processes and responds to differently to the sugar found in biscuits, cakes, sweets and fruit juice (extrinsic sugar). Whole fruit is a wonderful source of essential vitamins, minerals and phyto chemicals that are very nourishing for the body. The fibre is also important for the digestive system – not only does fruit keep things ‘moving’ along, it also maintains a healthy micro biome (the beneficial gut bacteria).

 

Ingredients:

2 large ripe bananas

½ cup datesIMG_0866.JPG

¼ cup vegetable oil or coconut oil

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups of oats

small handful raisins or dark

chocolate chips
 

Method:

  1. In a food processor, put the bananas, dates, coconut oil, cinnamon and baking powder and whizz up until smooth.
  2. Mix in the oats and raisins/dark choc chips with a spoon.
  3. Spoon generous dollops (about 2 tablespoons) on to a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Gentle press down so thy splodge out a bit.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes at 170c.
  5. Remove from the hot baking tray and let cool on a cooling rack (no one likes a soggy bottom!)

 

Chilli Con Carne

This chilli recipe works really well for the whole family. Fabulous for protein and iron from the beef mince, lycopene from tomatoes, vitamin C from red peppers, fibre in all the veg…..the list of health benefits could go on.

I’ll make it without the chilli powder for the kids and call it “Children’s Chilli”. It still images-3.jpegretains the chilli flavour with cumin and paprika but without the heat form the chilli powder. When they’ve been served up, I’ll add the chilli for the adults. It’s perfect with a variety of optional extras: rice, jacket potato, tacos, coleslaw, sour cream or grated cheese.

Watching your weight?

You can swap beef mince for turkey mince, cut right back on the rice (or skip the rice altogether) and images-2serve with coleslaw, salad or any other veg you fancy. Filling a few big iceberg lettuce leaves with the chilli and coleslaw is quite delicious. Aim to fill at least half your plate with veg/salad, and about 1/4-1/3 of the plate with the chilli.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beefphoto-5
  • 1 beef stock cube in 300ml boiling water
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • boiled rice or Tacos

 

  1. In a pan, heat the oil, add the onions and cook over a medium heat until soft
  2. Add the garlic, red pepper, chilli powder, paprika and cumin. Cook on low for a few minutes.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the minced beef, stirring and prodding for about 5 minutes to break up the mince.
  4. Pour in the beef stock
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and sugar
  6. Squirt in the tomato purée and stir well.
  7. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring to stop the chilli ‘catching on the bottom.
  8. Turn off the heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and to cool down.

 

3 minute microwave sponge pudding

For a easy, quick comforting pudding………images-1

Ingredients:

50g butter (room temperature)

50g sugar

1 egg

50g self raising flour

2 tablespoons milk

mixed berries (I defrost some frozen ones in the microwave and add a sprinkle of sugar)

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar
  2. Add the egg and mix in
  3. Fold in the flour
  4. Mix in the milk
  5. In the bottom of a microwavable bowl, put the berries.
  6. Pour on the sponge mixture
  7. Microwave for 3 minutes

Easy Pad Thai (that beats Wagamama’s)

My (older) sis came to visit us today. It’s her birthday next week, so we took her to Japanese restaurant Wagamama’s for lunch. The three children had chicken katsu curry (loved the kiddies chop sticks!), and sis and I had pad thai.

Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, but this home made version of Pad Thai is better. It is an adaptation of a much more complex recipe, for my own lazy time-strapped and health conscious purposes. I reduced the peanut butter and sugar, added vegetables  – spring onions and red pepper, and some lime juice for more zing (and vitamin C!). It can also be adapted for anyone with digestive issues (see below for how)

 

Easy Pad Thai

SAUCE:

2 cloves garlic crushed, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar/white wine vinegar

PAD THAI:
2 rice noodle nests
3 chopped spring onions, 1 chopped red pepper
1 large egg, beaten
2 chicken breast, cubed

handful of bean sprouts

Method:

  1. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package direction. Rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium heat and add some oil.
  4. Add chopped chicken breast, spring onions and red pepper. Cook until chicken has browned and cooked through.
  5. Push the chicken and veg over to one side of the pan and pour the beaten egg into the pan in the space you’ve created and use your cooking spatula to scramble the egg.
  6. Add the noodles to the pan and then pour the sauce over the noodles.
  7. Reduce the heat a little and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. The noodles soak up the sauce and it will thicken.
  8. Stir the bean sprouts in once everything has thickened and remove from heat.

 

For anyone who suffers with bloating, IBS or digestive conditions, e.g. Crohn’s or colitis, to make it Low FODMAP swap garlic for garlic infused oil (available in all supermarkets), only use he green part of the spring onions, and use Sainsbury’s own brand chicken stock (it has no garlic or onion)cee3d442a251da650bdbe6e7bacad71a.jpg

Turkey Meatballs

This is one of my ‘go to’ meals. Loved by children and adults alike.

Using turkey instead of beef meatballs significantly lowers the calorie and fat without compromising on protein. I use Dolmio low fat tomato sauce as a short cut, and usually add extra veg e.g. grated carrot. It’s odd that they call it ‘low fat’ as there’s not much fat in tomato sauce anyway, but this one is much lower in sugar than the original version. If you’ve more time then you can make Tomato & Lentil sauce instead of Dolmio.

Serve with some high fibre pasta, and extra veg like steamed broccoli, peas, Coleslaw or Veggie Spaghetti

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0000001668452_LIngredients:

Turkey meatballs

Dolmio Low Fat Sauce (lower in sugar)

High Fibre Spaghetti

 

Cook the meatballs in a frying pan with a little olive/rapeseed oil until brown on the outside, add the Dolmio, simmer for 15 minutes or until meatballs cooked through. Cook the spaghetti as per instructions.

Adaptions for:

  • weight loss: skip the pasta, serve with lots of veg (homemade coleslaw, lettuce, broccoli)
  • weight gain: a plate full of pasta, a few extra meatballs and grated cheese
  • low FODMAP: swap Dolmio for a carton of passatta with some basil added, use garlic infused oil to fry meatballs and use gluten/wheat free pasta

 

Creamy Chicken Coconut Curry

 

An easy, healthy, child friendly chicken coconut curry is the answer to my dinner prayers. Although I love recipe books, and I love cooking, I need quick and easy meal ideas that don’t have long lists of tedious ingredients. And if I can find a short cut product then I will be doing a merry dance in the supermarket aisle.

Here is my most recent short cut: Knorr Curry Flavout Pot for using in curries. After reading about it somewhere (I can’t remember where), I was unable to hunt it down in my local supermarket.  But lo and behold, the next week, after some serious detective work (I asked someone who worked there) I got to dance my jig in the herb and spice aisle.

The list of ingredients isn’t too scary, and it even has some top anti inflammatory spices (cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger). The ingredients are suitable for those with IBS on the Low FODMAP Diet

Ingredients: Water, Curry (Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Pepper, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Lovage Root, Cayenne Pepper, Allspice) (18%), Salt, Spirit Vinegar, Glucose Syrup, Palm Oil, Sugar, Cayenne Pepper (1.5%), Citrus Fibre, Turmeric (0.8%), Pineapple Juice Powder, Gelling Agent (Xanthan Gum), Dextrose

Here’s a recipe for Easy Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry (this should serve 2 adults or 3 kids).

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1 clove garlicUnknown-5

2 Chicken breastsUnknown-1

4 spring onions

1 red pepper

1 Knorr Curry Flavour PotUnknown-4.jpegUnknown-3

Unknown.jpegTin of
coconut milk
Tablespoon of peanut butter

  1. In some olive or vegetable oil stir fry the cubed chicken breasts with chopped spring onion and chopped red pepper.
  2. Add the curry flavour pot, a tin of coconut milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter and some chilli flakes if desired.
  3. Serve with rice or rice noodles

 

Tips for making it healthier:

  • If you’re watching your weight: use half the coconut milk, as there is 600kcal in a whole tin (you can add some chicken stock if this makes it too dry). You could also use light coconut milk as an alternative. Leave out the peanut butter and serve with less rice (about 1/4 of a plate). This cuts about 300kcal from a serving.
  • Add extra vegetables e.g. spinach
  • Use wholegrain rice
  • If you have IBS/Crohn’s/colitis/bloating issues: swap garlic for garlic infused oil (available in most supermarkets), just use the green part of the spring onion, and limit the coconut milk to 125ml or 1/2 a cup.

Super Healthy Flapjacks – no butter or sugar

It can be frustratingly difficult to find a healthy flapjack recipe that isn’t loaded with butter, sugar or syrup. If you would rather not load up on these ingredients, here is an alternative recipe to try.

Here’s why they are so great:

  • Super quick to prepare the mixture
  • No sugar, syrup or butter.
  • Ripe bananas and raisins add the sweetness.
  • If you feel the need for some extra sweetness, you can some honey, but you really don’t need too much.
  • Oats provide soluble fibre to keep you feeling full up, reduce cholesterol, keep your digestive system healthy and blood sugar levels steady.
  • Berries/Raisins are choca-block full of antioxidants and fabulous phytochemicals
  • Seeds/peanut butter are full of protein and healthy fats.

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Top tip 1 For a seriously healthy and delicious Bircher Muesli breakfast, keep a few tablespoons of the pre cooked mixture in a bowl overnight in the fridge. In the morning, loosen with more milk.

 

Top tip 2 Did you know that the chunkier the oat the slower it is digested and will keep you full up for longer?

 

Basic Flapjack Ingredients  (makes about 9): each provides 90 calories, 1.5g fat, 15g carbohydrate, 3g protein

150ml milk – or a milk alternative e.g. soya, almond, rice milk etc.

2 mashed bananas – the riper the better as sweeter and easier to mash

150g porridge oats (about 2 handfuls)

 

Ideas for optional extras:

  • a handful of whole/chopped/ground up sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • a handful raisins or cranberries
  • a few tablespoons of dessicated coconut
  • 1 cup frozen berries (defrosted)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with a little extra milk (very good for constipation!)
  • For extra protein e.g. as post exercise snack, you can add a scoop of protein powder

 

Mix all the ingredients together. Put in to cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, or silicone bun cases. You can also make them in to cookies by placing the mixture in cookie shaped blobs on the greaseproof paper.

It can sometimes be a bit tricky to peel the greaseproof paper off, so you can grease the paper first with some oil.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 170 degrees C. Or until they are browning and you can smell the lovely aroma……..this is my method to check for readiness as I usually forget to look at the time I put them in! Enjoy playing around with variations of ingredients 🙂

 If you like these, you’ll also LOVE Seriously Healthy Pancakes (2 ingredients), and Low Sugar Biscuits