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.

 

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

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.

10 Top Foods For Beautiful Healthy Skin

The health of your skin is a good indicator of your internal health. Drinking plenty of water and eating a nutritious diet rich in particular vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will help to nourish your skin and keep it looking healthy and youthful. Important skin healthy nutrients include omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, and silica.

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon

Salmon, like other oily fish, is a rich source of healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help keep the skin soft and supple and helps to prevent wrinkles. Anyone suffering dry or inflamed skin, including eczema and psoriasis, will benefit from increasing their omega-3 intake. You will also find omega-3’s in other oily fish such as trout, mackerel and sardines.

 

Green tea

Green tea contains high levels of health-promoting antioxidants that fight free radicals, which cause damage to cells in the body, including skin cells, and helps fight premature aging and reduces the risk of cancer. Green tea helps reduce skin damage caused from sunburn and overexposure to ultraviolet light. Catechins in green tea inhibit the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, which causes wrinkles.

 

Berries

Berries, especially purple and blue berries are rich sources of powerful antioxidants, which can help protect against free radical damage caused from overexposure to the sun and inked to premature aging and wrinkles. Berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an important nutrient needed for the skin’s collagen production. Adding acai or camu camu berry powder to smoothies and juices is a great way to increase your vitamin C intake.

 

Avocado

Avocados will supply you with plenty of vitamin E, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals that cause damage to collagen and cause wrinkles. Also applied topically vitamin E helps soothe dry skin and can help prevent scaring.

 

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

These nutrient rich seeds will provide you with a good dose of zinc, which is important for good skin health. Zinc is needed to help the skin heal properly, to keep the skins oil production balanced, and it’s useful in the treatment of many skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

 

Chlorella

Chlorella is a nutritionally dense super food that can help improve the look and health of your skin. Chlorella is abundant in beta-carotene, which is a highly effective antioxidant, and important nutrient needed for healthy skin and protection from the suns UV rays.  Chlorella also contains zinc, vitamin C and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are all vital skin nutrients. Chlorella has the ability to assist with detoxification. Adding chlorella powder to a fresh vegetable juice is a great way to help remove toxins from the body, which will have a beneficial effect on your skin.

 

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium, which is needed for good tissue elasticity. It also acts to reduce cell damage from free radicals, and may play an important role in reducing the risk of skin cancer. Add a few raw Brazil nuts to a trail mix for a healthy snack.

 

Banana

Banana contains the trace mineral silica that is essential for healthy skin, as the body needs silica to make the connective tissue collagen. Silica is essential for healthy skin.

 

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and beetroot greens are packed with beta-carotene, a presursor to vitamin A, which helps to promote healthy repair and maintenance of the skin. Deficiency in vitamin A usually results in dry skin. Green leafy vegetables also contain skin friendly vitamin C and antioxidants.

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are one of the best plant sources of beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help promote healthy skin and prevent dryness. To get the most out of your chia seeds grind them first and then add a good spoonful to porridges, muesli, smoothies, or yoghurt. Ground seeds are easier to digest and to absorb their omega-3 goodness.

 

 

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.

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.