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.

 

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.

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.

Nectarine crumble with vanilla yoghurt

Beautiful juicy nectarines would have to be one of my favourite fruits. I made these absolutely scrumptious little nectarine crumbles last night I thought  I just had to share with you. They are so quick and easy, they only take 15 minutes to whip up. And the best thing is they only contain good wholesome ingredients and no added sugar. You might want to make a double batch though, as I did have a few complaints from my family last night that there wasn’t enough for seconds 🙂

 

Nectarines are loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are two super important nutrients needed for a strong functioning immune system, and for healthy, youthful looking skin. Brazil nuts are packed with protein and healthy fats, and they’re one of the best sources of selenium around, which is an important antioxidant mineral that helps protect us from cancer. Pepitas are a great way to boost your zinc levels along with supporting healthy immune function and wound healing.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup shredded coconut

10 brazil nuts

3 Tablespoons of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

2 Tablespoons raw honey

5 nectarines

Vanilla yoghurt and 4 strawberries to top

 

Method:

Place oats, coconut, brazil nuts, and pepitas in food processer and blend well. Pour into a small bowl.

Add honey and combine well.

Peel and cut nectarines and place in 4 ramekin dishes, then top with crumble mixture.

Place in a 200*C oven for 10 minutes.

Top with a spoonful of vanilla yoghurt and a strawberry and serve.

Makes 4 individual crumbles.