On the weekend I was doing some experimenting in the kitchen with my daughter, and we came up with these really yummy, and totally healthy, protein balls. They were so quick and easy to whip up, and my daughter and her friend had loads of fun rolling them all in coconut and being my chief taste testers. A good tip, make a double batch because they won't last long.
These protein balls make the perfect healthy snack for work, or to keep in your bag when you're out and about, or as a nutritious treat for your kids. If you replace the ABC nut butter with tahini (sesame seed paste), these balls will then be nut-free and ideal to put in your kids school lunch boxes. These protein balls are an excellent source of good quality protein, using a raw fermented brown rice protein powder, along with protein-rich nuts and seeds. These balls also provide plenty of fibre, found in dates and chia seeds, for good digestive health and to keep you regular. The nuts and seeds used will also supply you with zinc for a healthy functioning immune system, calcium for strong bones, and magnesium to help calm the nervous system and help you sleep. Chia seeds are also one of the best natural plant sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, needed for optimal brain function and heart and nervous system health.
Having healthy protein-rich snacks, like these balls, on hand is one of the best ways to curb sugar cravings, as protein helps to keep blood sugar levels nice and balanced. Protein is important to supply the body with amino acids to build and repair the body. Protein also makes you feel satisfied for longer, so you're not feeling hungry again soon
30 dates (sulfur-free)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seed meal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (plus extra coconut to roll balls in)
2 Tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
1/4 cup ABC (almond, brazil and cashew) butter
3 Tablespoons Sunwarrior vanilla brown rice protein powder
In a medium bowl place dates and cover with hot water and leave for 10 minutes.
Put sunflower and chia seeds, desiccated coconut and protein powder in a food processor and blend. Pour into a large bowl.
Drain the water from dates and then place dates into food processor. Add ABC butter and coconut oil to food processor and then blend. Add date mixture to large bowl with dry seed mixture and then with clean hands mix together well.
Cover a small plate with desiccated coconut. Make individual balls with mixture and then roll in coconut. Place in the fridge for an hour and then enjoy. Store them in the fridge in an air tight container.
Makes 15 balls.
When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables we should be thinking about more than just having our recommended 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegies each day. Having a variety of different types and different colours is the key to getting maximum health benefit from our fruits and vegies. By enjoying these foods from each of the colour groups you will be getting an ultimate balance of potent antioxidants and phytonutrients that will protect you from chronic diseases and promote optimal health.
Red group including tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit contains lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer, heart and lung disease.
Red/purple group including berries, red capsicum, red grapes and beetroot are rich in potent antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are anti-aging, and help prevent chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Green group including kale, broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts, contain sulfur compounds that help the liver detoxify carcinogens.
Yellow/green group including corn, avocado, honeydew melons and spinach are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that can help protect you from age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
White group including onions, garlic and leeks all contain allicin which have anti-cancerous and immune enhancing properties.
Orange group including pumpkin, apricots, carrots and sweet potato will help keep your eyes healthy and immune system strong, as they are rich in beta-carotene.
Orange/yellow group including oranges, papayas and pineapple are excellent sources of immune boosting vitamin C.
So next time your doing a grocery shop fill your trolley with lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Don't just stick to your old favourites either. Why don't you buy a new fruit or vegetable, that you haven't tried before, each shop. Remember a diet full of variety and colour is important for good health.
As I was making my bircher muesli for my family this morning, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favourite breakfasts with you. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A nutritious breakfast is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a healthy day of eating. It will help keep your blood sugar levels nice and balanced, so you don't overeat at other meals, and stop you from craving sugary carbohydrate foods. Breakfast is also important to give you plenty of energy for your body and brain to function properly, without it you will feel tired, crave coffee or sugar to give you a boost, and have difficulty concentrating.
It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and eat the same old breakfast every morning, especially if you are time poor in the mornings, rushing to work, or trying to feed and get kids off to school. Instead of reaching for the usual processed packaged cereals in your cupboard, which contain way too many added sugars and salt, and not usually enough fibre, try some of these super healthy breakies made from unprocessed, natural ingredients that are packed with goodness.
Bircher muesli - The night before I put some rolled oats in a lunch box container and fill with milk. I like to use either almond milk, or A2 cow's milk, or a combo of both. Fill until the milk covers the oats. Leave overnight. In the morning stir through a big spoonful of yoghurt, I like to use a natural one or vanilla. I add whatever fruits I have, which is usually a combination of mango, grated apple, kiwi fruit, strawberries, and blueberries. I then throw in some nuts and seeds, my favourites are almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, linseeds or chia seeds. Gently mix them all through and then tuck in. This is such a healthy breakfast for the whole family. My kids love this one. This breakie is high in fibre, protein, complex carbs, good fats, zinc, calcium, vitamin C and D, and antioxidants - the perfect balanced breakfast.
Pear and seed quiona porridge - I use quinoa flakes to make porridge with when I'm short for time. All you do is put some quiona flakes and your choice of milk in a saucepan - 1 part quinoa and 2 parts milk - and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir though a spoonful of yoghurt to make is lovely and creamy, some diced pear, pumpkin seeds and tablespoon of LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds). Then you have a fantastic healthy breakie loaded with protein, fibre, good fats, calcium, vitamin C and D, and zinc. Other combos I make include banana and almond, mango and linseed, apple, almond and cinnamon.
Pesto scrambled eggs with avocado grainy toast - I love to make my own pesto, it is so quick and easy to whip up. I usually make mine with almonds or pumpkin seeds instead of pinenuts. Make a bigger batch, so you can use some for dinner and use leftovers the next day to make scrambled eggs or mix it through a salad or spread on sandwiches. All you do is add a good spoonful of pesto through your scrambled egg mixture, and serve it with some grainy toast drizzled in flaxseed oil and topped with avocado. This is also delicious with cherry tomatoes. We love making this one for breakie on weekends in our house, or even lunch. It provides you with plenty of protein, zinc, fibre, beneficial monounsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, beta-carotene and iron. Or if you don't have any pesto, have your eggs with a handful of baby spinach. Baked beans on grainy avocado toast is another quick and easy nutritious breakfast. Make sure you buy baked beans that have reduced salt, or no added salt, or you can even make your own.
Breakfast smoothie - Smoothies can make a really healthy breakfast, and perfect for when you're in a rush, you can drink them on the way to work. I usually start with putting almond or an organic soy milk in a blender. Then I add a handful of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), or frozen acai berry pulp, a small frozen ripe banana, tablespoon of LSA and chia seeds, and a spoonful of natural or vanilla yoghurt. I also like too add a tablespoon of fermented brown rice protein powder. This breakie is packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C. Chia and linseeds are also a good sources of fibre. Leftovers make great ice blocks for your kids too.