Healthy Granola

 

This nutritious and very moorish granola is an excellent way to start your day. It contains lots of dietary fibre to help keep you regular, and beta-glucan, a type of fibre found in oats, that helps keep your cholesterol levels down. It also supplies you with plenty of zinc to strengthen your immunity, good fats for a healthy heart and good memory, and magnesium and B vitamins which are needed for energy production. Magnesium and B vitamins are also your best ‘anti-stress’ nutrients, that help you deal with being busy and stressed in a healthier way. Oats are also a lovely nourishing and calming food for the nervous system. This granola is perfect served with a handful of fresh berries and almond milk, or with a good spoonful of organic natural yoghurt. It makes a great topping for stewed fruit and yoghurt.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

½ cup pepitas and sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons flaxseeds

1 cup mixed raw nuts (Brazil, walnut, almonds, cashew)

1 cup coconut flakes

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup maple syrup or raw honey

3 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

½ cup dates, sliced

1 tablespoon goji berries

 

Method: 

Set oven to 180*C. Place grease proof paper on an oven tray.

In a small saucepan on low heat melt coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Place all other ingredients (except dried fruit) in a large bowl, then add coconut oil mix, and gentle mix through.

Pour muesli mixture onto oven tray and spread out evenly.

Place in oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.

Allow to cool, then add dates and goji berries. This muesli keeps well for the week in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Cashew And Vanilla Coconut Bliss Balls

These scrumptious little ‘cashew and vanilla coconut bliss balls’ are the perfect guilt-free treat. They are packed with protein to help keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced and keep sugar cravings at bay. They contain plenty of zinc, which is essential for healthy immune function and fertility, and healthy fats to fuel our brains and protect us from heart disease. These balls are also full of dietary fibre to help lower cholesterol levels and promote healthy bowel function. Eating protein and fibre rich foods will also help keep you full for longer so you’re not tempted to overeat or snack on unhealthy foods. Eat them as a snack or an after dinner treat with a herbal tea. They are also great to pop in your kids lunch boxes. If your children’s school has a no nut policy then you can replace the cashew nuts with sunflower or pumpkin seeds and use tahini instead of the nut butter.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews

1 cup coconut flakes

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

10 medjool dates, diced

2 Tbsp flax seeds

2 heap Tbsps almond butter

Sesame seeds (to roll balls in)

 

Method:

Place cashews, coconut, vanilla, flaxseeds and almond butter in your food processor and blend until well combined.

Add diced dates and then blend well.

Roll mixture into individual balls and then roll in sesame seeds.

Place in the fridge in an airtight container.

Makes 7 balls.

5 Super Healthy Snacks for Kids

1. Air-popped popcorn

Popcorn is a great snack for kids. It’s rich in dietary fibre, to help promote good bowel health, and contains plenty of health-promoting antioxidants called ‘polyphenols’. The way you prepare your popcorn is of importance though.  Movie and pre-packed microwave popcorn for instance are very high in calories, unhealthy fats and salt. A large tub of movie popcorn can contain a whopping 1,500mg sodium – close to your daily recommended limit – a huge 60g of saturated fat, and as much as 1,200 calories, which is around three quarters of an adult’s daily recommended calorie intake. Air-popped popcorn with a little sea salt, however, is a healthy low calorie snack for kids.

 

2. Hummus

This healthy dip takes just minutes to make and it’s one of the healthiest snacks around. All you need is one can of chickpeas (drained) or better still cook up some dried chickpeas, 2 Tbsp of tahini, juice of a small lemon, 1-2 cloves of garlic and 1 Tbsp of either cold pressed olive or flaxseed oil (it’s cheaper and healthier to make your own hummus as some brands contain vegetable oils, too much salt and preservatives). Then blend all ingredients together until you have a smooth consistency. Hummus is an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre, as well as B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, and healthy unsaturated fats. Hummus is delicious with vegie sticks, wholegrain crackers, or on toast or as a butter alternative on sandwiches.

 

3. Trail mix

A trail mix of raw and unsalted nuts and seeds and dried fruit is highly nutritious snack for kids. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, which is not only important for supplying amino acids for children’s growth and development, but it will also help keep their blood sugar levels balanced and stop them wanting sugary foods. Nuts and seeds also contain calcium for strong bones, zinc for immune health, and beneficial unsaturated fats to support their nervous system function. Try making up your own combinations of almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sun-dried apricots, apples, goji berries and dates. Dried fruits are rich in fibre. Sun-dried fruits are an even healthier choice as they are free from sulfur preservatives.

 

4. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is an extremely healthy snack for children, which provides plenty of important nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, which is needed for healthy nervous system function. Fermented foods such as yoghurt play a very important role in a child’s diet, being necessary for supporting and balancing their digestive systems and for promoting good immune function. Yoghurt is rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help colonize the digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria are essential for good digestion, for increasing immune cells and immune function, and for the production of vital nutrients such as B12, A and K. A large percentage of our immune system is situated in our gut, so making sure that your child has a healthy balance of good bacteria in their gut will reduce their susceptibility to illness. Make sure you choose a good quality yoghurt, preferably organic, and one that doesn’t contain added sugars. Many supermarket brands contain up to 5 teaspoons of sugar in a small tub. For a super healthy snack mix some fresh fruit through yoghurt, to give it an extra antioxidant and vitamin C boost.

 

5. Fruit

Fresh fruits are an extremely important part of your child’s diet, and something that should always be added to your child’s lunchbox. Kids should enjoy a variety of different types and coloured fruits, and should aim to have around 2-3 pieces a day. Fruit is one of the best providers of vitamin C, beta-carotene, antioxidants, which all help protect our kids from illness and chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Fruit is also a fantastic source of dietary fibre. Red and purple berries, grapes and watermelon are particularly rich in antioxidants; kiwi fruit and citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C; apricots, peaches and mangoes are excellent sources of beta-carotene; and bananas are packed with potassium and energy giving complex carbs.

 

Caution: Whole nuts, dried fruits, and popcorn can be a chocking hazard for very young children.

 

Gluten-free Banana & Walnut Custard Puddings

I was experimenting in the kitchen yesterday for something yummy to give my family after dinner, and I came up with these heavenly little gluten-free ‘banana & walnut custard puddings’. They’re packed with protein and full of nutritious ingredients like almonds and walnuts which are a great source of brain healthy fats, along with calcium and vitamin E. Banana’s are loaded with potassium to help keep your blood pressure down and B vitamins for energy. Using coconut oil is a great alternative to butter and vegetable oils in baked goods. Coconut oil has anti-fungal properties, as well as being a great source of fuel for your body and brain. Coconut oil has the added health benefit of not turning into a harmful trans-fat when heated. If you don’t have any coconut oil you could also use a ‘light’ olive oil (that doesn’t have a strong olive taste). These perfect little puddings are delicious served warm on their own, or with stewed fruit. If you manage to have any leftover they make a great treat with a cuppa the next day…..I’m just munching on the last one now 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cup almond flour

1 Tbsp baking powder (gluten-free)

1/3 cup organic raw honey

3 organic eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 ripe banana

9 whole walnuts

Custard centre:

2 Tbsp of gluten-free custard powder

1 Tbsp of raw honey

1 cup organic milk

extra 3 Tbsp of milk

 

Method:

Preheat oven at 170*C.

Grease and place grease proof paper circles in muffin tray holes.

Mix custard powder with 3 Tbsp of milk in a small bowl, and stir until well combined. Pour into small saucepan over a medium heat and add the cup the milk. Keep stirring until custard starts to thicken. Then turn heat off and leave until it cools.

Place all other ingredients in food processer and blend until well combined.

Pour some of the mixture into 9 of the cup holes, so it fills half the muffin cup.

Add a few teaspoons of custard mixture into the centre of each of the puddings, then top with more pudding mixture. Top each pudding with a whole walnut

Bake for 30 minutes, then enjoy warm.

Makes 9 individual puddings.

 

Choc Almond & Seed Protein Balls

These super healthy ‘choc almond & seed protein balls’ are just what you need to beat those afternoon munchies. These balls are packed with protein, which is not only essential for repairing and rejuvenating the body, but is also one of the best ways to stop sugar cravings in their tracks. These little beauties are also rich in fibre for good bowel health. The dates will have you as regular as clockwork. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are both excellent sources of zinc, which is an important mineral for reproductive health for males and females, as well as helping support healthy immune function. Almonds are full of bone strengthening calcium and heart healthy fats. I like to use Sunwarrior fermented brown rice protein powder as it is an excellent source of quality protein, which is easy to digest, and dairy-free so it won’t cause any bloating or wind, which is commonly associated with whey based powders. It is also packed with B vitamins and other health promoting nutrients. I made these protein balls for my little girls lunch box this week. Children need plenty of protein in their diets for optimal growth and development.  If your child goes to a ‘nut-free’ school you can replace the almond butter with tahini, and the almond meal with sesame seeds.

 

Ingredients:

40 dates (sulfur-free)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2  cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 Tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil

2 Tablespoons almond butter

5 Tablespoons of chocolate Sunwarrior brown rice protein powder

Almond meal or sesame seeds to roll balls in

 

Method:

Soak dates in warm water for 5 minutes.

Add all dry ingredients to your food processor and pulse until well combined, then pour into a small bowl.

Add dates, coconut oil, almond butter to food processor and blend well.

Pour dry mixture back into food processor and blend well with date mixture.

Make individual balls with mixture and then roll in either almond meal or sesame seeds. Store in the fridge in an air tight container.

Makes a dozen medium sized balls.

Pear & Grape Vanilla Bean Yoghurt Cups

These absolutely delicious ‘pear and grape vanilla bean yoghurt cups’ make a perfect healthy breakfast, snack or dessert. It is a wonderful source of probiotics, to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. This is important for good digestion and a strong functioning immune system. Around 80% of your immune cells are actually situated in your gut, so eating yoghurt daily is a great way to protect yourself from colds and flu this coming winter. These nutritious cups will also provide you with plenty of fibre, calcium, vitamin C and D, healthy fats, zinc and selenium. You can use any seasonal fruits you like. You can also use stewed fruit for a warm winters breakie. Yum!!!

 

Ingredients:

2 small ripe pears

Handful of green grapes

Vanilla bean yoghurt – I love Barambah organics vanilla bean yoghurt. You can make your own with some natural yoghurt, some vanilla bean seeds and a pinch of cinnamon.

Handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Handful of whole raw almonds

Some Brazil nuts

Spoonful of chia seeds

Handful of coconut flakes

Handful of whole oats

Drizzle of raw organic honey

 

Method:

Dice up your pears and put them into two glasses. Halve the grapes and add some to each glass.

Pour a good serving of yoghurt over your fruit.

In a food processor add all the other ingredients and pulse until you have small pieces. Pour mixture over the yoghurt and then top with some grapes and an almond to make it look pretty. Then enjoy!

Keep any leftover nut and seed mix in the fridge to sprinkle over breakfast cereal, add to smoothies or sprinkle over yoghurt.

Light & Healthy Toasted Muesli

I love toasted muesli, but I don’t love how much sugar and fats are in most commercial brands. This lovely light and nutritious muesli is is an excellent way to start your day. It’s delicious served with a handful of fresh berries and almond milk, or with a good spoonful of organic natural yoghurt. It makes a great topping for stewed fruit too.

This muesli is packed with dietary fibre, including beta-glucan found in oats, to help keep your cholesterol levels down and digestive system working efficiently. This healthy breakie will also deliver a good dose of unsaturated fats essential for cardiovascular health, and medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil, which is a great source of fuel for the body and brain. The variety of nuts and seeds in this muesli are also rich in calcium, zinc, and magnesium, needed for healthy nerves and bones, and to strengthen your immunity.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole oats

1 cup raw whole almonds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pepitas

¼ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup sesame seeds

1 cup puffed brown rice

16 dates (sulfur-free), diced

1 Tbsp cold pressed coconut oil

2 Tbsp raw organic honey

 

Method: 

Set oven to 180*C. Place grease proof paper on an oven tray.

Place oats, nuts, seeds and coconut in a medium size bowl.

In a small saucepan on low heat melt coconut oil and honey and stir together.

Mix honey mixture through oat mixture until all coated.

Pour muesli mixture onto tray and spread out evenly.

Place in oven for 10-12 minutes, tossing after 6 minutes.

Allow to cool, and then add dates and puffed rice. This muesli keeps well for the week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Gluten-free Almond & Cacao Banana Loaf

If you love banana bread, like I do, well you are going to absolutely love my ‘gluten-free almond & cacao banana loaf’. It makes an excellent nutritious snack with a cup of tea, or healthy after school treat for your kids. This loaf is packed with protein, which we need to rejuvenate, repair, and to produce hormones in the body, as well as promote the growth of lean muscle. Eating protein with meals is one of the best ways to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels balanced, as well as sugar cravings at bay. This delicious banana loaf is gluten and dairy free so it’s ideal for coealiac and lactose-intolerant individuals. I’ve used coconut oil in this recipe instead of butter which is the perfect brain fuel due to it being abundant in medium-chain fatty acids, which is a fabulous energy source for the brain. Bananas are abundant in potassium, which is vital for cardiovascular health, and high in fibre to help keep you regular and protect you from bowel cancer. Bananas are also one of the few fruits that contain a type of fibre called resistant starch, which supports  the health of the colon by promoting healthy levels of “friendly” intestinal bacteria. Adding cacao to this loaf not only gives a lovely chocolate taste but it gives it a super antioxidant boost.

 

Ingredients:

2 large ripe bananas

¼ cup raw organic honey

3 organic eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 Tbs baking powder (gluten-free)

2 cup of almond meal

3 Tbps cocao powder

Topping:

¼ cup roughly chopped almonds and pepitas

extra 1 tsp raw organic honey

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160 *C

Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined.

Pour into a loaf tin.

Then to make the topping use a small bowl to mix a teaspoon of honey through roughly chopped almonds and pepitas, then place on top of loaf.

Bake for 60 minutes, until skewer comes out cleanly from center. If banana loaf starts going too brown cover with foil.

Gluten-free Lemon & Chia Cakes

These gorgeous little gluten-free lemon and chia cakes make the perfect healthy treat with a cup of herbal tea or nutritious snack for your kids.

Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fats around and exert a number of mighty health benefits.These tiny super seeds contain around 32% omega-3 fats, which are essential for cardiovascular health,  optimal brain and nervous system function, and for soft and supple skin. Chia seeds are also packed with dietary fibre to help keep you regular and to promote good digestive health. These delicious cakes will also provide you with plenty of protein, calcium, and zinc. Coconut oil is a fantastic source of fuel for your brain, which can help boost your memory.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup almond flour

¼ cup chia seed meal

1 ½ Tbsp baking powder

½ cup organic raw honey

4 organic eggs

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4  cup natural yoghurt

1 Tbsp organic lemon rind

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, for top

 

Topping:

1 Tbsp organic raw honey

1 Tbsp organic lemon juice

 

Method:

Preheat oven at 160*C.

Grease and place grease proof paper circles in a 12 hole muffin tray.

Place all ingredients in food processer and blend until well combined.

Pour mixture into cup cake holes and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Bake for 30 minutes, until skewer comes out cleanly from centre.

Mix honey and lemon together.  Pour 1 tsp over each cake while hot.

Let sit until cooled and then enjoy.