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.

 

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

Just Juicy

It’s the frantic run up to Christmas and stress levels can be running high. I’m a great believer in keeping things as simple as possible. Back to basics.

When we are bombarded by the 1000s of supermarket products to feed ourselves and our children, it easy to get caught up in the idea that food

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has to come from a packet. From an early age, many parents think that to nourish their kids, they have to buy the pouches and packets of fruit and veg off a supermarket shelf. Food is a multi billion pound business and there are profits to be made.

Buying and preparing food in it’s natural form is a basic life skill and fundamental to healthy living.

Just peel a juicy satsuma for goodness sake 🙂

Real delicious simple

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Chicken Curry in a Hurry

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A quick, easy, healthy and tasty recipe for chicken curry.

 

When time and energy are in short supply, but you want a super healthy dinner, this is perfect. I usually knock this up in about 20 minutes (in-between refereeing bickering children and negotiating their homework)

  • 4 ingredients: onion, tinned tomatoes, chicken breasts or roast a chicken and shred, Patak’s Korma Spice Paste
  • very quick and very easy
  • chocablock full of anti inflammatory nutrients (quecertin from onions, vitamin C and lycopene from tomatoes, and turmeric,  cumin, garlic in the spice paste)
  • High protein: from the chicken, excellent for your muscles and keeps you feeling full up
  • Not too spicy: my children will even eat it

What to do:

  1. chop up a large onion, fry on a medium heat in a tablespoon on vegetable or coconut oil for a few minutes until soft.Unknown
  2. add the 1 tablespoon of the spice paste (more if you like a stronger flavour)
  3. add the diced chicken breasts/chopped up roast chicken – coat in the spice paste, cook for a few minutes
  4. add the chopped tomatoes – allow about half a tin or carton per person
  5. simmer for about 20 minutes, longer if you prefer a drier sauce

Serve with rice or in a jacket or sweet potato……lovely to soak up the juices 🙂

Short cuts for when you’re too knackered or just don’t have the time: use frozen chopped onions, ready cooked chicken and microwaveable pouches of riceUnknown-5

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To add some extra nutritional oomph:

  • coriander/spinach, stir in at the end. If you cook it for too long it wilts away to nothing. Lots of antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • tomato puree – for some concentrated lycopene
  • wholegrain rice – extra fibre, more filling and more slowly  than white rice so keeps the blood sugar levels steadier

Super Simple Smoothie

Here’s a super healthy smoothie using REAL food……a complete breakfast containing protein, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C and soluble fibre. Nutritionally, this is an incredible combination of ingredients. It’s also an easy way to get fruit in to kids!

Unknown-2IDShot_90x90-2Shop bought smoothies tend to be very high in fruit juice, and therefore high sugar.

150ml milk (normal cow’s/Lactofree/almond/rice milk etc.)

1 tablespoons natural yogurt e.g. Total is high in protein

1 banana/handful of oats

Low fat, high protein yogurt

Low fat, high protein yogurt

handful frozen berries

dollop of honey

Whizz the lot up and serve!

5 reasons Mums can’t lose the weight

In the past week, I’ve had at least 5 conversations with other mums about their weight, and how to lose it.  It’s one of those things that just seems to happen…….after each child you don’t quite manage to get to your pre pregnancy weight, then over the years the weight creeps up even more. You feel that you’re not over eating, in fact sometimes you can go most of the day without a meal. And you’re on your feet all day so you must be burning up loads of calories.

So why are the scales not going down? What is going on? In a nutshell, you are eating more calories than you are burning. This can be for a number of reasons:

Here a the top 5 reasons why you can’t lose the weight:

  1. Skipping meals: you wake up and are met with the insane and constant demands of your children. Not only do you have to get yourself ready for the day, but all of the children too. If I include myself, I’ve 4 sets of teeth to clean, 4 hairs to brush, 4 bodies to dress, and 4 mouths to feed. It’s easy to miss breakfast! Before you know it’s 10am and you are starving, so you grab a muffin in Starbucks (a skinny one, must be Unknownhealthy right?), or a croissant, and a latte.  At lunchtime, you’re not that hungry, so a biscuit or two or a a packet of crisps is fine, and so the inconsistent grazing continues through the day. By not eating regular meals, you snack on less than nutritious, high calorie food. This is ‘mindless’ eating. Not only are you depriving yourself of nutritious food, you are stacking up the calories. Take 2 minutes in the morning to tell yourself that today, you are going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. ‘Tasting’ while cooking: I am certainly guilty of this. I love cooking and baking, and Unknown-1can easily spend a few hours each day in the kitchen. I like to taste the food, so I’ll have a munch here and there, a taste of this and that to gauge the flavour, and the final product of course.
  3. Finishing the kid’s food: Kids eat until they’ve had enough, so more often than not there will be left over food on their plate. Half a sausage down your hatch with out even thinking about it – that can be nearly 100kcal. Some yoghurt left in the pot (hey, it’s healthy and we can’t let that go to waste can we, and it there’s less mess to clean up!). Half a banana on the walk home from school because daughter didn’t want it, in it goes! All these add up to 100s of calories per day. You are not a human dust bin!
  4. Over eating/drinking in the evening: I understand the immense relief that comes with the children finally being in bed. The peace is something to behold. It’s ‘me’ time, time for a lovely meal and a glass of wine to wind down. You need it, and you deserve it. It is what has been keeping you sane all day. Just be aware that this is a form of
    Better get cracking on this lot!

    Better get cracking on this lot (7200kcal)!

    emotional eating and drinking, and often is a major contributor to weight gain. Look at your portion size of pasta or rice – does it fill the plate? 1/4 plate of pasta, or a fist size amount provides about 250kcal. Fill your plate with salad and veggies. I’m not going to lecture about the health dangers of regular alcohol intake, but one bottle of wine has about 600kcal, the equivalent to a meal.

  5. Reduced metabolism – as we age, our metabolism slows, probably due to loss of muscle. As well as reduced metabolic rate, although you may be active all day, the calories you are using up through exercise is not enough. You need to boost your metabolism by getting some strenuous exercise that gets you sweating! Just pootling up and down the swimming pool or sitting on the exercise bike for twenty minutes isn’t enough. HIIT training is fabulous for those who don’t have much time. Building some muscle by doing weight bearing exercise will also help.