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.

Pumpkin, Spinach & Feta Spelt Muffins

It’s hard to top these ‘pumpkin, spinach & feta spelt muffins’ warm straight from the oven. These muffins go beautifully with soups, or eaten warm as a tasty snack. I’m going to pop one in my little girls lunch box tomorrow. The rich orange colour of a pumpkin tells us that they are a great source of beta-carotene, a highly effective antioxidant and immune strengthening nutrient. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which helps promote good eyesight and healthy gums. Spinach provides us with plenty of blood building iron, as well as vitamin K for strong healthy bones, and folate an important vitamin for pregnant women. Cheese is rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D, all important bone building nutrients. Adding some pumpkin and sunflower seeds to these muffins will give them a boost in zinc, which is essential for reproductive health and wound healing. Zinc is particularly important for men, to produce healthy good quality sperm and to prevent prostate cancer. I really like cooking with spelt as it makes a lovely light textured muffin. Spelt is an ancient species of wheat so it does contain gluten, but it tends to be easier to digest than regular wheat, and can be tolerated by many who are sensitive to wheat. Spelt has a higher protein and fibre content compared to wheat too.

 

Ingredients:

Dice up 2 cups of jap pumpkin

A big handful of baby spinach, chopped

½ cup grated low-fat tasty cheese

100g of low-fat feta, cut into cubes

2 Tbsp of sunflower seeds

2 organic eggs

¾ cup organic milk

2 cups organic spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds for topping

 

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 200*C. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray.

Steam pumpkin until soft and put it in a medium bowl. Add grated cheese and feta, sunflower seeds, and spinach, and gently mix.

In another bowl whisk eggs and milk together. Then stir through flour and baking powder, and add mixture to pumpkin mix. Gently combine mixture, making sure you don’t over do it.

Spoon muffin mixture into muffin tray and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top.  Then bake for 20 minutes. Check that a skewer comes out cleanly.

Makes 12 tasty muffins.

 

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.

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.

Lily’s coconut protein balls

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
after eating.

 

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Method:

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.