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.

Nut & Seed Energy Squares

 

If you’re looking for a nutritious protein-rich snack to keep you going until your next meal, these tasty little ‘nut and seed energy squares’ are just what the nutritionist ordered. They’re loaded with protein and fibre to help balance your blood sugar levels and keep sugar cravings at bay. They also contain beneficial fats for good cardiovascular health and brain function. Chia seeds and dates are both great for helping keep you regular too.

 

Ingredients:

16 Medjool dates (seeds removed)

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 heaped tbsp chia seeds

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup cashews

2 heaped tbsp tahini

1/2 cup puffed brown rice or puffed quinoa

 

Method:

Pulse all dry ingredients in a food processor until ground. Transfer to a bowl.

 

Add Medjool dates and tahini to the food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Add dry ingredients and pulse until well combined.

 

Use your hands to press the mixture into squares and top with a whole almond and some pumpkin seeds.

 

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Makes around 12-14 squares

Stewed Rhubarb With Orange And Ginger

Today I bought a lovely bunch of rhubarb from the markets and couldn’t wait to get home to make some ‘stewed rhubarb with orange and ginger’. Rhubarb, which is in season now, is packed with vitamin C. This vital nutrient is a powerful antioxidant, and is important for producing collagen in the body, needed for healthy and youthful skin. We also need vitamin C for a strong functioning immune system, and for healthy adrenal function. Rhubarb is also an excellent source of fibre to keep your digestive tract healthy and to maintain bowel regularity. I often prescribe rhubarb as a herbal tonic for my clients who suffer from constipation as it has a natural laxative effect. This recipe is free from added sugars and has a delicious ginger and orange zesty zing. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory food, that is beneficial for easing arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Ginger is also used to help boost circulation and relieve excessive wind. In our house we love stewed rhubarb stirred through yoghurt or served with muesli or porridge. This is a lovely winter recipe. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

 

Ingredient:

Bunch of rhubarb

Zest and juice of one small orange

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

3 teaspoons xylitol (natural sweetener)

2 Tablespoons water

 

Method:

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for 5 minutes, covered.

Delicious served warm on muesli or porridge, or with yoghurt and crushed nuts.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Green Pea Shepard’s Pie

My little green pea shepard’s pies are one of my kids favourite dinners. They’re great because you can use up any vegies you have left in the fridge. I’ve also added a tin of organic lentils to my lamb and vegetable mix to give these pies an extra iron boost. Iron is extremely important for healthy immune function and strong healthy muscles, and is vital for transporting oxygen to every cell in our body. Green peas not only make this dish look more appealing to kids but they are a fabulous source of fibre, to promote good digestive health, and B complex vitamins and iron to help increase your energy levels.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of lamb mince

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tin organic lentils, drain well

Handful of broccoli florets, cut into small pieces

1 carrot, diced

Kernels from 1 whole cob of corn

1 tin organic tomatoes

4 large potatoes, peeled and washed

1 1/2 cups of frozen green peas

Some grated cheese for topping

 

Method:

Place diced potatoes and peas in a steamer and cook until tender.

In a large frying pan add a little olive oil, and add lamb mince and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes until starting to brown.

Add broccoli, carrots, corn kernels, and lentils and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a tin of tomatoes and allow to simmer with lid on until tender. Cook for a further few minutes at the end with lid off to reduce fluid.

Place cooked potatoes and peas in a food processor and blend until a smooth consistency.

Add lamb mixture evenly into 4 ramekin dishes, top with pea mash and sprinkle with cheese. Place under the griller to melt cheese and then serve.

Fig & Apple Bircher

Here’s a lovely weekend breakie bircher using sweet succulent figs. Figs are a good source of potassium, an important mineral that helps control blood pressure. Eating figs regularly is also a fantastic way to increase your dietary fibre intake, which will have a positive effect on your digestion and help keep you nice and regular. Figs are a heart friendly fruit as they contain a type of soluble fibre called pectin, which helps keep your blood cholesterol levels in check. Figs are in season now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk

2 Heap Tablespoons organic natural yoghurt

2 Tablespoons shredded coconut

1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 apple

2 whole figs

 

Method:

Place oats, coconut, sunflower seeds and almond milk in a container and place in the fridge to soak for an hour or so. You can make this the night before and soak them overnight.

When you are ready to eat, grate apple and stir through oat mixture. You can leave skin on for extra fibre. Then mix through yoghurt and serve a fig halved, and sprinkle some sunflower seeds and coconut on top.

Serves 2.