Cooper Smith_Orthorexia nervosa_Flickr

A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle: Why You Should ‘Detox’ Your Attitude and Goal Setting Criteria & Not Your Body

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise, Healthy Mind

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE! ūüėÄ

We’ve had a relaxing break and hope that you’ve all had a safe, happy and healthy festive period too!

As we transition into this sparkling New Year, it offers the chance of promise and a ‚Äėclean slate‚Äô of fresh opportunities. What are you planning; resolutions to rid yourself of bad habits, drastic diets or some realistic permanent and positive changes?

 

This is a cheeky picture of us during Christmas and no we hadn’t been drinking, but we were still enjoying the moment! You do not have to drink to enjoy social occasions, and having preconceived ideas of what you need to do to have a good time can set you up for a bumpy ride. This can also apply to ‚Äėgetting healthy‚Äô, especially at this time of year.

January usually brings a flood of clich√©s and crazy regimes, including ‚Äėdetox diets‚Äô. We have previously mentioned how we feel about ‚Äėsuperfoods‚Äô, ‚Äėdetox/BS Health Terms‚Äô and ‚Äėdiets‚Äô and to recap, it‚Äôs unnecessary and typically diets will set you up to fail. Instead of trying to ‚Äėdetox‚Äô your liver, gut, or your right foot, maybe you should try ‚Äėspring cleaning‚Äô your attitude and goal setting criteria instead.

 

 

 

…So here are five areas which we recommend you concentrate your energy on:

 

1. Give Up On Quick Fixes & Following Fad Diets

Photo by: Steve Davis, Fad diet stock photo_flickr

Photo by: Steve Davis, (Fad diet stock photo) Flickr

We all know that quick fixes and fad diets do not work long term and yet a great many people convince themselves that this time they’ve discovered the secret to easy and rapid weight loss. The only secret is the one kept by the marketers of these diets, which is that you’ll regain the weight as soon as you stop following the diet. However, this isn’t much of a secret, as we’re sure many followers of these quick fixes have been through this cycle at least once already. So what we should be doing is retraining our brains and attitudes.

Creating bad, good or even easy habits can be addictive by nature, but when it comes to creating long term and permanent commitments, we should be seeking only positive ones. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses when modifying your diet and lifestyle and realise that it’s a long-term commitment, not just an intermittent hobby; meaningful changes will not occur overnight.

We have previously talked about ‚Äėfad gluten free diets‚Äô, but the principle can be applied to most fad regimes. You might think you need to give up carbs, gluten or go on a seven day detox to lose weight, but why has this become ingrained into your thought processes? The important question to ask yourself is why no accredited nutritionist and/or Dietitian worthy of the name would suggest a quick fix or unscientifically based mantra?

So if someone and/or a product suggests that you can achieve meaningful weight loss through a quick fix (a.ka. a fad diet!), you should put as much distance between them and yourself as possible… and query any other health advice they have to offer.

Which leads us to‚Ķ.‚ÄėDetoxing‚Äô.

The term ‚Äėdetox‚Äô is very real, especially if you‚Äôre suffering from alcoholism. When it comes to ‚Äėdetoxing‚Äô, there isn‚Äôt enough credible scientific data published to show that we should take it upon ourselves to ‚Äėcleanse‚Äô or detoxify our bodies in the absence of any genuine addictions. Eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods is a lifestyle change that will benefit anyone. A healthful diet and lifestyle helps our liver, kidneys, colon and other organs to preform our natural mechanisms of ‚Äėdetox ‚Äôto help keep our bodies running without fail; detox kits and/or regimes do not offer us any substantial benefit and can cause diarrhoea, short term water loss, nutritional deficiencies and a dent in our wallets.

 

2. Be Realistic About Exercise

Photo by: Randy and Sarita, Shoemakers Photostream (ReneeB_Crunchy time) Flickr

Exercise can help reduce our risk in developing heart disease, dementia and other chronic conditions but it does not always promote weight loss, especially if we disregard food portion controls and other healthy eating advice! It can be a great way to improve our mental and physical fitness, but don‚Äôt expect it to provide you with a ‚Äėdetoxing‚Äô solution. When we sweat, we release sodium, not toxins; as mentioned above, our body has other processes to deal with this. Don‚Äôt get us wrong, you can work up a great sweat and detoxify your mind of negative and destructive thoughts, which is great a way to de-stress your mind of day-to-day anxieties and fears.

Developing a realistic exercise programme (one that we¬†can easily fit into our day-to-day lives and enjoy!) can take time and a lot of trial and error. As we are hardwired to conserve energy, we can naturally procrastinate, trying to put off the inevitable… including regular exercise.

If you are new to exercise, it might be worth checking with your healthcare professional first. Embarking on a new exercise regime will take persistence and patience and there are ways to make it easier, but quite honestly it won‚Äôt always feel ‚Äėfun‚Äô. There have been times where we have felt that exercise was a bit bothersome or that prior to the session it just wouldn’t be ‚Äėgood‚Äô. All of this pessimistic thinking only leads to failing before you have begun. Putting it into perspective, you wouldn’t expect that going into your office everyday would be prefect, bad days happen, but you do get through them; no one calls in sick because the day in question might be rubbish, so why treat your exercise sessions any differently?!

 

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Photo by: Comradehomer (Easy tricks to help you lose weight fast) Flickr

Genetics, age, personal circumstances… we are all different, including the way that we lose weight. For example, Alex has the metabolism of a jet engine and struggles to gain weight, whilst my metabolism needs regular exercise and meals to make sure it’s running efficiently and to help keep my health (and waistline!) in check.

When it comes to meaningful weight loss, there are no quick fixes and there is definitely not a ‚Äėone size fits all approach‚Äô; one method that will allow everyone to lose weight in the same timespan or manner.

Additionally we all come in different shapes and sizes; not everyone is designed to be a size 4! We need to appreciate our own circumstances, bodies and cast aside any unrealistic or unhealthy ideals.

A picture of a skinny body does not necessarily depict a healthy diet, it might be down to genetics or a case of someone having high levels of will power and/or potentially disordered eating behaviours.

So don‚Äôt compare yourselves to others, we all have our own journey and it is never truly finished; healthy living continues beyond ‚Äėweight loss‚Äô, which is only one of many steps.

 

4. Manage Negative Influences

Photo by: Beauty Playin 'Eh's Photostream_img8564_digging for more_Flickr

Photo by: Beauty Playin ‘Eh’s Photostream (img8564_digging for more) Flickr

Negative influences can include anyone or anything that provokes or causes unnecessary stress, roadblocks and/or illness in our lives. Remember it is OK¬†to say NO to people, especially to those ‚Äėoffice feeders‚Äô, a friend that always gets you to skip your gym sessions, a spouse that does most of the cooking but refuses to cook vegetables or to fad health enthusiasts or even your friend‚Äôs mother that advises you to give up carbohydrates or that you shouldn’t eat after 6pm‚Ķ these are all examples of negative influences.

 

Social Contagion Theory

It‚Äôs been shown that social networks can influence the size of your waistband. According to a study (regarding obesity in large social networks) published during 2007 in the New England Journal of medicine, their analysis showed that a person‚Äôs risk of obesity has a greater influence from their social networks than their genetics. When a study participant’s friend became obese, that first participant had a 57% greater chance of becoming obese himself. We guess that it can be put down to social norms or preconceptions of what is ‘normal behaviour’.

To paraphrase a leading psychologist speaking on a BBC Radio 4 programme last month ‚Äúwe normalise our own behaviours and attitudes based on the averages of our social groups.‚ÄĚ E.g. If your entire social network is overweight, you are unlikely to believe that being overweight yourself is unhealthy and/or a problem and are likely to avoid examples, groups and messages to the contrary. You may have heard the saying ‚Äėwe create our own realities‚Äô!

It’s not all bad news though; a study published during 2013 in Public Health Nutrition looked at weight-control strategies among adolescents with the assistance of family support. It showed that 50% of the group reporting sustained weight loss seemed to have more familial support.

Quite truthfully, you might lose friendships as you adapt and change your lifestyle because¬†not everyone is ‘game to being a fitness buddy‚Äô or ready to make permanent lifestyle changes themselves. However, true friends should understand your principles about making these healthy changes and should not be out to sabotage your good intentions.

 

5. Create Regular Consolidation (a.k.a Zen & Realistic Problem Solving!)

Photo by: Hannah Johnson_yoga_flickr

Photo by: Hannah Johnson (yoga) Flickr

It’s important for us to be diligent and create regular ways in which to reflect, focus on the positives and generate our own bespoke plans; allowing us to change our attitudes, behaviours and/or thought processes that could inhibit us from leading a healthier life, particularly one that we truly desire and deserve!

Plans might be set in motion in order to:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce our alcohol consumption.
  • Improve¬†our cooking skills so that we can eat healthier meals.
  • Go to our GP to see why we are having intestinal cramps (not just putting ourselves on a GF diet!).
  • Understand what the potential reasons are as to why we are overweight.
  • Learn how to control our emotions- jealously, anger, fear or sadness could all be a recipe for disaster!
  • Exercise to improve our total quality of life- but hey, that could mean spending more time in the bedroom too! ūüėČ
  • Learn how to unplug from the mainstream (saying goodbye to long hours spent in front of a computer or iPhone!).
  • Become more social- spending¬†more quality¬†time with the people that matter.
  • Reduce frivolous spending, learning how to¬†budget and/or reduce debt.

 

It could also include ways to help us unwind and deal with the stress in our lives, such as: meditation, yoga, trying not to overcommit to social engagements or making time to read in our bedrooms without any interruptions for one hour a week. Another trend is expressing your thoughts on paper; daily or weekly gratitude journal entries. Planning can help instil positive and long term behaviours, helping us to avoid temptations, distractions and/or being able to find the best time(s) in order to start modifying our diet and lifestyles.

It can be recognising that changing one thing in our life may not create the happiness that we have been craving, e.g. losing weight will not necessary make us happy. If you were depressed before the weight loss, it might be there afterwards. Sometimes it’s not only about weight loss- it’s about finding ways to enrich our lives, becoming happy, healthier and hopefully blessed with more friendships and positive experiences as a result.

 

So let’s remember that everyone has the ability to lead healthier and happier¬†lives (no ‚Äėdetox‚Äô pills, drinks or crazy regimes needed!)… we just need to focus on the right decisions, methods and actions to do it!

Are you feeling optimistic? Are you ready for some permanent
and positive changes this year? What are your SMART goals?

 

Article written by:
A. Risby BSc, RD and L. Risby BSc, Nutritionist

 

Sources:
BDA-Detox Diets
NHS Choices- Benefits to Exercise
NHS Choices- 10 Minute Workouts
PubMed
The New England Journal of Medicine
BBC Radio 4 Programme РA leading clinical psychologist !
Public Health Nutrition
BDA-Weight Wise (SMART Goals)
Feature Image by: Cooper Smith (Orthorexia nervosa)_Flickr

 

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8 Modern Fitness Hacks That Are Making Your Workouts Easier

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise

Avoiding exercise is like trying to avoid the tax man, it may be possible in the first instance, but both have unavoidable repercussions in the end!

We should all know that having a daily fitness regime will have a huge and positive impact on every aspect of our health. Most of us know that this can be difficult and even contemplating a jog around the block can seem like too much effort, but it is possible to go from your ‘Couch to 5k‘ within two to three¬†months. It takes motivation, dedication and plenty of will power, and there are not any short cuts to getting in shape, but they are things that can help.

…So let’s look at some modern fitness hacks that are allowing us to¬†lead healthier and easier lifestyles as a result!

 

Workout Kits

Apparel That Holds Your House Key!

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Particularly during the summer months, I find that not all of my workout kit has appropriate pockets… so this hack is essential! Gone are the days where keys were placed under door mats, or in our shoes or sports bras! Modern key holders¬†come in many forms, including:

  • Pouches that attach to your waistband or trainers (as shown above).
  • In the form of wristbands.
  • As part of your armband that holds your phone or Mp3 player.
  • Devices that allow your key to be clipped to your finger!

 There is something for every budget!

 

 

Specialised Sport Trainers!

saucony-ladies-hurricane-15-shoes

Image: courtesy of Barrington Sports

Personally, this modernisation has been a lifesaver! As an adult, I’ve felt the effects of having predominately flat feet; they’re great for swimming (ha!), but unfortunately¬†nature is not very forgiving towards those that lack arches!

Specialised trainers have allowed me to enjoy the activities that I love whilst preserving my knee and hip joints. Variable to your sport and personal needs, they have really come a long way, both from a fitness and design perspective. When it comes to workout kits, you should only invest in the essentials (trainers being at the top of the list!). The phrase that I am familiar with goes like this, “spend ¬£80 on your trainers and a fiver on your t-shirt”!

This is partially true, apart from the next couple of items.

Such as…

 

Sports Bras!

Image by: Heikki Siltala_Flickr

Whether you’re well-endowed or not, all bosoms need some TLC when it comes to sports and leading an active lifestyle! Expect to forgo at least ¬£30 for anything decent. It’s a small price to pay considering¬†what the alternative is, but¬†can you really imagine a world without this fitness hack?!

 

sports-bra_BBC image

Image: courtesy of the BBC

The first sports bra was developed nearly¬†40 years ago! It was initially called ‘The JogBra‘, developed by¬†Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Palmer Smith. It’s certainly come a long way since then and¬†our appreciation and recognition for this light-bulb moment¬†has definitely not been loud enough!

Many major brands offer support to all shapes (big and small), even for nursing mothers. ¬†However, a lot like well-used trainers, they will lose their shape and support over time (especially if you skip the handwash cycle girls!) and will need to be replaced…but this item is indeed priceless. No?

 

Specialised Clothing (and we’re not talking brand names)!

SION Apparel_Trapani_BSO_Flickr

Image by: SION Apparel_Flickr

Thermal or moisture absorbent tops, bottoms, socks and/or hats can be a lifesaver for die-hard runners and/or year-round fitness enthusiasts. Helping to regulate your body temperature and/or draw moisture away from your skin is a modern day fitness hack that most people take for granted. Definitely worth spending the pennies if it keeps you active and enjoying the outdoors all year round! Some general advice regarding fitness attire, wear something fun but skip the name brands unless it’s really offering you something of substance; the words ‘Do it!’ across your chest is free advertisement at best and only professional athletes reap the benefit of that one!

 

Fitness Aids

Image by: Fitness Crazy_Bosu Ball_Flickr

Fitness devices might sound ‘gimmicky’ to some, but I cannot stress enough the importance of a core (aka our back and abs) workout! Ever suffer the result of bad posture and/or weak core muscles? Well naturally slumping forward in a chair, being struck down with sciatica and/or slipping over wet rocks/leaves on a nature hike might ring a few alarm bells! Some of you might regularly practice yoga or Pilates, whilst the rest might be doing nothing or relying on these fitness aids! None the less, as we rely on our core for a variety of everyday movements, it‚Äôs especially important that we develop our own core workouts in order to improve our mobility, balance and overall muscle strength and fitness.

I was first introduced to this gismo over eight years ago and it was love at ‘first step’, particularity because I hate ‘standard’ sit-ups! It was an overdue awakening, highlighting that I was not truly as fit as I would like to think. It’s just so much fun too- no matter how silly I looked doing it!¬† How it works, you will simply wobble so much on it that you will really have to engage your core muscles, keeping them iron-tight so as not to wobble off!

The Bosu company provides a range of products (research before buying!), but the Bosu Ball offers a multitude of exercise platforms:

  • Dome side up: to build lower body strength, work on your core and for cardio workouts (which will have you in a pool of sweat)!
  • Platform side up: for upper body workouts and some ab work.

It’s great for all levels and if treated with respect, it can last a very long time! Unless you already have a rock-solid core, your legs will start to ‘shake like a leaf’ initially, but over time you will grow stronger and really feel and see the positive affects it has on your body (as long as you consistently use it!).

Thinking back, the infamous eighties ‘Pogo Ball’ (for those lucky enough to have one) got children active whilst strengthening their core muscles at the same time!

Now that's a happy face! :D Ignore the iconic stone wash jeans and '80's phrase shirt'.

Now that’s a happy face! ūüėÄ Ignore the iconic 80’s stone wash jeans and ‘phrase shirt’.¬† Image by: Billy Lane_Flickr

 

 

Home Cardio & Strengthening Equipment 

Image: courtesy of Review-fr.com

This has always been an area of debate! Some might question why we would want to exercise indoors when we have nature on our doorstep¬†(particularly those lucky enough to live near a lot green space or parks)?! Well sometimes it’s just not that clear cut; professional and/or personal circumstances (had a baby recently?!) don’t always allow us to have our dream or even the ideal and frequent workouts that we desire! Sadly, sometimes the things that we can afford (aka nature walks) do not offer’ the same benefits as, e.g. a cross trainer, some dumb bells and a yoga mat will.

I’ve owned my cross trainer for nearly four years and it’s been bliss, particularly for the times where I’ve finished work late, couldn’t afford leisure activity, the weather has been less than desirable or when I wanted a joint-friendly/diverse exercise; it’s really facilitated the momentum of my healthy lifestyle. I initially bought it and lost about ten pounds of laziness (bonus!) and it has not become a coat rack, dust magnet or a nuisance to my neighbours (its’ very quiet when in use)!

If you consider the cost of an average gym membership, it’s paid for its self in less than a year and a half (given that you use it frequently- and I have!).

My top tips, as long as you do try and make this your sole source of cardio and keep updating your music and the exercise programmes that you use on it, home exercise equipment is never boring.

Oh, and do not skip on doing some research before you invest in one!

 

 

‘You Got Music In Your Step (Literally Whenever You Feel Like It)’!¬†
Xnet Online_Flickr_Mp3_Mp4 Player

Image by:Xnet_Flickr

Kids today (yes, I’ve¬†said it- I must be getting old!) don’t fully appreciate the handicaps¬†of their predecessors! Walkman’s and portable CD players were not the best mediums for fitness (our struggle was very real)! Previous¬†generations¬†did not only endure the stress of manoeuvring them throughout¬†their workout, with occasionally poor and inconsistent sound quality, but we had to source the music first! Recording music off the radio, creating ‘mix tapes’ or purchasing expensive CD’s ring any bells?? Torrent sites and Spotify were non-existent!

Ash Dowle_vintage sony walkman_flickr

Image by: Ash Dowle_Flickr

Mp3 players and modern mobiles that act as music players have limitless music supplies (ahem! large storage capabilities and internet connections!), enabling us to create timeless and/or addictive work-out playlists; not to mention that we can also source audio books to listen to whilst cycling at our local leisure centre (score!)

These devices are obviously a lot smaller and/or compact, making listening to music easy for everyone.

Some studies have shown that listening to music whilst working out can be moderately healthful… and I for one could not imagine workouts without music!

 

 The Internet
Computer screen macro

Image by: Cvrcak1_Flickr

The internet, for good or the bad can offer a huge range of information that can facilitate us with healthy eating and fitness hacks. Some areas of interest includes:

  • Your local markets for cheap produce and other food items.
  • Free workout videos (*but consult your GP before embarking on a new regime).
  • Food and fitness apps: making us accountable for our calories and fitness (as mentioned below!).
  • VLOGS:¬†informative¬†food prep and cooking instructions for all levels.
  • Blogs and health sites: that offers a tonne of free recipes and ‚Äėhealth advice‚Äô. ****Click¬†here for some tasty plant-based recipe ideas!****

In terms of health advice, just¬†make sure to access quality information. For the love of God, use evidence-based information over someone’s opinion, pleaseee!

 

Fitness Trackers and Apps 
Karlis Dambrans_FitBit_Flickr

Image by: Karlis Dambrans_Flickr

For the tech-savvy or those that are motivated by having the facts and figures staring them straight in the face, these type of gadgets could possibly assist you in reaching your fitness goals and developing a more positive and permanent quality of life!

¬†Making yourself accountable for what you are eating (at the touch of a button!) and the rate at which you are ‘actually’ burning it off, could be the¬†wakeup call and¬†motivation that you need to¬†make some informed choices about your health.

These devices and apps can aid a better workout (as some studies have shown) by tracking your fitness and helping you to meet your fitness goals. Personally, I think that  they could also help to bring out our competitive sides, pushing us to go on and be a healthier version of ourselves!

Unfortunately, unless you use them more often than none, it could end up being expensive paperweight.

 

The World Around Us Has Changed to Facilitate Our Health

Image: Eat2Health Blog Photography ©2015

It has been show that sitting for extended periods can have a¬†negative effect on our health; it’s linked with¬†chronic diseases and premature morality- as shown here.

Luckily the modern world has facilitated us to get off our bottoms by:

  • Modernised trails (some of which used to be rail lines, now allow for on-road and off-road cyclists and easy walking).
  • Modernised parks with free fitness equipment for all ages.
  • Free tennis and basketball courts (although we still need more!).
  • Dirt cheap and (occasionally 24 hour) gyms and¬†leisure centres; some of which have childcare!

…just to name a few, all of which can help us to lead healthier lifestyles! #change4life

It’s also worth considering modern day architecture! Yes, odd structures and buildings, e.g. sports stadiums in the heart of our cities can allow us¬†to make use of their design (and space) as part of our daily exercise regime.

Herrett_061015_0036 Steps leading to the new Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium London UK Copyright © Roberto Herrett. All rights reserved.

Image by: Roberto Herrett_Flickr

For instance, we used to run up and down the Arsenal Stadium’s front and posterior steps as part of our half marathon training (many moons ago)!

This particular stadium also allows for people to run or skate around it’s outside…just please do not do it when¬†matches are on- unless you want possible confrontation with¬†angry football fans!

And finally…

 

Inventive Workouts- Something for everyone!
Kevin__Flickr

Image by: Kevin_Flickr

I think that most people would agree that workouts have the nature of becoming very repetitive and boring. Changing our¬†workouts is¬†great for continued motivation, (keeping our¬†sanity!) and partially because our body has an amazing ability to adapt, and exercising is no exception. Over time, doing our ‘go-to’¬†exercises over and over will decrease the effectiveness of our workouts. #weightlossplateau

This is why, if you are able, you should have a variety of strength and cardio workouts.

It’s a great feeling to do a new regime, testing our abilities and feeling ‘new muscles’… ones that might even keep us¬†walking like a cowboy for three¬†days! Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been there, the realisation that we have not utilised¬†our inner thigh or glute muscles as much as we¬†should of in the past. One sure solution, make sure you ‘stretch it out’ after each workout to help prevent your muscles from seizing up.

It’s worth looking at local bulletin¬†boards or having a quick internet search; these should highlight¬†a variety of fitness classes (there is something for everyone, no matter how young or old!) that should help to spruce up your current regimes.

If all else fails, you can literally¬†exercise anywhere…

  • At your work desk: ‘glute flexing’ or bicep curls with water bottles anyone?!
  • In your kitchen: dance or do some squats whilst your waiting for the kettle to boil or your pasta to cook!
  • On your way to your local shops: speed walk¬†or take longer strides… even break into full-blown lunges if you dare!
  • Whilst talking to your friends or family on your mobile: hands free options allow you to go lift some dumb bells and do leg lifts (Jane Fonda style if you like!).
  • Especially in front of the TV: cardio equipment or yoga poses can be easily positioned in front of your tube!
  • Utilising tried and true fitness hacks: walking whenever you can, e.g. getting off the bus, train or tube a couple of stops early, cycling to work, using the stairs instead of the lift or limiting the time spent in front of electronic devices.

Just go for it (30mins every¬†5/7¬†days if you can)! The only thing that can truly stop you from enjoying fitness and a healthy lifestyle is yourself…

…well, maybe your boss?! exercise with discretion!.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices
Nike.com
Flickr
BBC
Bosu.com
NCBI
Written by: L. Risby BSc Nutritionist

Beetroot & Orange Salad

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and is low in salt, (added) sugars and fats!

This salad is an oldie but a goodie…but now with the addition of quinoa! Our¬†recipe is not only great for the lovers of quinoa, beetroot and orange, but perfect for when it’s too hot to turn on your oven, you don’t have time to¬†spend hours in the kitchen and/or you simply fancy something light, fresh and delicious!

Annoyingly our local shops¬†did not have any fresh mint or fresh beetroot last week when we prepared this salad… but considering¬†‘beetroot season’ is normally July-October (at least in the UK), we shouldn’t have been¬†surprised! Apologises for the lack of colour; fresh mint would have not have gone a miss! If you are¬†fortunate¬†enough to source fresh beetroot, cook it for approx. 30-35 minutes in a¬†saucepan (or until fork ready)! Although precooked (but not pickled!) beetroot is still delicious, like most ‘fresh’ varieties¬†of¬†food…its taste is unparalleled. ūüôā¬†

Enjoy this nutritious salad with a drizzle of agave and/or olive oil, or perhaps a homemade mustard vinaigrette dressing! Although in all¬†honestly, we won’t be using any ‘dressing’ the next time that we make it! The beetroot and orange provides you with volumes of natural flavour and meal satisfaction! ūüôā¬†

 

Quick facts:

  • Beetroot, is a¬†great source of iron, folate, nitrates, betaine, magnesium among other antioxidants and has been a trending vegetable over at least the last six¬†years or so (but that’s no surprises here)!¬†The BDA have highlighted reviews¬†that have suggested that drinking beetroot juice is linked to a¬†modest¬†improvement in exercise performance,¬†as well as producing a modest reduction in ‘lowering blood pressure’¬†(seen in this study and this¬†study!); all from its¬†nitrate content (discussed again here).¬†Additionally, a 2010 study suggested it could help combat the onset of¬†dementia…but like all studies, further research is needed…but there’s definitely no harm with adding more of it into your diet!¬†
  • Oranges contain soluble fibre, calcium, folate, potassium and are naturally rich in the antioxidant¬†‘Vitamin C’! …Which is great in¬†helping to support a healthy immune system and working with other¬†antioxidants¬†to possibly¬†counteract the cellular damage within our bodies!

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++200g             Dried Quinoa
+++++++++++++++++++++++300-400g   Cooked beetroot (not pickled!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++420g             Oranges
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g                  Dried or fresh mint
+++++++++++++++++++++++30g                Walnuts
+++++++++++++++++++++++10ml              Agave syrup (optional)
+++++++++++++++++++++++10ml              Extra virgin olive oil (optional)

 

Directions:

If you are using fresh beetroot, cook this first; drain and allow it to cool before using! Otherwise, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. Allow to cool.

 

 

Meanwhile, open and drain the beetroot (if applicable); chop or slice as desired!

 

 

In the meantime, slices the oranges; remove any thick pieces of pith and the rind.

 

 

Wash, dry and chop the mint (if applicable). Roughly chop and/or gently crush the nuts.

 

 

Assemble the salad. Spoon the quinoa into a serving bowl (or use a plate!). Scatter, layer or toss the orange and beetroot onto the quinoa! Sprinkle over the mint. Scatter over the nuts. Season it to taste (as necessary). Drizzle over the syrup and oil (if applicable).

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Sources:
NHS Choices
NSDA

Baked Beans

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep: 30 minutes ( + 12hrs to soak dried beans!)
Cooking Time: 8 hrs (On a low S.C. setting)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, mg, manganese, potassium, zinc, and (per serving/based on 8 servings) is low in salt, saturated fats and have a moderate quantity of sugar!

Ah, lovely baked beans! As the rain and cooler weather sets in they become even more desirable! 

We’ve tried various slow cooker bean recipes in the past (predominately using ‘white beans’), but we’ve found that the recipes¬†that use¬†a mixture of beans to be far more satisfying! Why limit yourself to one type anyways?!¬†

Our baked beans are not your typical ‘British’ bean that you’ll find in your local supermarket; they are not ‘tomato-based’ and we didn’t use a ‘haricot’ variety, nor do they have excessive levels of salt and sugar!¬†Our slow cooker recipe produces a sauce that is not too salty, sweet or rich, just delicious; the¬†treacle and brown sugar provides a lovely deep flavour!¬†¬†ūüôā

The only possible amendment you may want to make is with regards to the volume of water. With about two hours to spare, we noticed that the sauce didn’t have the right consistency…so we added a slurry of corn flour! The choice is yours; use slightly less water (approx. 400-500ml) or just add¬†the slurry as we have instructed. Also, feel free to adjust the flavours as you see fit; try a spicier or¬†barbecue flavour next time! ¬†

Serve these beans as a main meal or whip up a batch to take to your next family BBQ!

Quick Food Facts:

  • Beans, the variety¬†and their health benefits are various and many! However (particularly for those following a plant-based diet), they¬†can be¬†a great source of: protein, complex carbohydrates,¬†soluble¬†fibre, B-Vitamins, iron,¬†calcium, zinc, magnesium,¬†manganese and potassium (just to name a few!). They can also help you meet your 5-A-Day!
  • One serving of our beans (the recipe makes¬†eight!) provides about 2.5 servings of your 5-A-Day; the typical tinned variety only provides you with one! ¬†ūüôā

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

Directions

Place the dried beans into a large bowl of cold water. Soak overnight for 12 hours. Drain and thoroughly rinse.

We used a mixture of beans; 230g cannellini, 130g black turtle and 100g of red kidney beans!

 

 

Peel and dice the onion and garlic. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then dice the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and finely chop the celery. Wash, remove the stem and core and then dice the bell pepper. Wash and dry the thyme and then remove the leaves from its stem.

 

 

  • Heat 1-3 tsp oil into¬†a large, non-stick saucepan or frying pan over a medium-low heat. Tip:¬†Alternatively, use some low-fat cooking oil or a steam-fry technique to soften the vegetables!
  • Add the onion, garlic clove, carrot, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Mix together. Gently fry for 3 mins or until softened.¬†Tip: covering with a lid will also help to soften the vegetables.
  • In the meantime, boil 1.6L water. Prepare 500ml stock according to the packet instructions (unless you are using your secret homemade variety!).
  • Add the thyme. Season it to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir together.

 

 

  • Transfer¬†the beans into a¬†slow cooker.
  • Transfer the vegetable mixture into the slow cooker.
  • Add 2 tsp¬†sugar, 100g tomato pur√©e, ¬ľ cup cider vinegar,1 tsp mustard powder and 2 tbsp treacle.
  • Pour in¬†the stock and 1.1L of freshly boiled water.¬†Stir together. Tip:¬†Always make sure there is enough ‘liquid’ to cover your ingredients.
  • Create a ‘slurry’. Add 50g corn flour into a small dish with equal parts water. Stir until the flour has dissolves. Whilst stirring, pour it into the slow cooker. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  • Cover with a lid. Cook on a low-heat setting for 8 hours. Tip:¬†Cooking with acidic ingredients can cause your beans to have a slightly ‘firmer’ texture. However, we found the majority of our beans to be soft and/or creamy.

 

 

Serve warm. Ladle into a serving bowl. If desired, serve it with a small bread roll and/or additional vegetables!

We used a small GF roll and some steamed red cabbage! ūüôā

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any any leftovers in an air tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Mexican Salad Bowl

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Cooking Time: 45 minutes + 12 hours to soak the dried beans (if applicable!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats! 

Here’s a salad we made two months ago! Nothing really says you desire sunnier weather and a warmer climate more than preparing a colourful salad bowl named after a hot country! Luckily at the moment the SE of England has been blessed with plenty of sunshine and blue skies…let’s hope it lasts!

Let’s sum this recipe up in three words: simple, vibrant and delicious! Give our recipe a go or use it as a guide to create your perfect (wish it were summer!) salad! Keep it vegan or add some grated low-fat cheese! ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++150g   Cooked black turtle beans
+++++++++++++++++++++++++150g   Cooked brown long-grain rice
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Frozen sweet corn kernels
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Kale
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Iceberg lettuce
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1/2       Fresh red chilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1           Radish
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Cherry tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1/4       Avocado
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4           Jalapeno slices (in brine or fresh)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++5           Black olives (in brine)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++6           Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Wedge of lime

 

Directions:

1. Cook your pre-soaked beans (approx. 75g dried) according to the packet instructions (if applicable). Otherwise open, drain and rinse a tinned variety (heat if desired).

2. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. NB: Approx 75g (dried).

3. Wash the kale. Place the kale and sweetcorn into a steamer pot with some cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

4. Meanwhile, wash, peel, trim the ends and then grate the carrot.

5. Wash, dry and shred the lettuce.

6. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (if preferred) and chop the chilli into thin slices.

7. Wash and remove the stem from both the radish and tomatoes; slice the radish.

8. Peel, remove the stone and slice the avocado.

9.¬†Drain the¬†jalape√Īo’s and olives (rinse if preferred).

10.¬†Assemble the salad in any which way you please…or try our method! Place the lettuce into the centre of a large serving bowl. Layer the avocado over the lettuce. Place the kale, jalape√Īo’s, beans, carrot, tomatoes, corn, radish, olives, rice and nuts¬†around the lettuce/avocado. Garnish the rice with the chilli. Lightly season the salad (if desired) or just dress it with a squeeze of lime juice!

11. Serve.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Fancy something a little fruitier?! Consider¬†adding some whole fruit or a fruit-based salsa; try mango, papaya, guava, prickly pear, pomegranate, or mamey!
  • Omit the rice and add a few more beans, vegetables and salsa instead! Use your ‘altered salad bowl recipe’ as a sharing platter for flat breads or a few plain tortilla chips (just make sure to eat them mindfully!)…or try stuffing it into some wholemeal tortilla wraps!
  • Swap¬†the avocado for some homemade guacamole.

Aubergine Dip

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8*
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-80 minutes

Recipe adapted from: All TV Chefs…or in this case, Paul Hollywood!

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and (per serving*) is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats!

Here’s another great dip for summer! Our ‘baba ganoush-style’ dip is delicious;¬†we have referred to¬†it as such¬†because ours is lacking in the¬†‘smokey taste’ that ‘authentic baba ganoush’ is known for!

Baba ganoush is thick Middle-Eastern dip made from¬†aubergines (a.k.a ‘eggplants’!), that can be enjoyed as part¬†of¬†a Middle-eastern meal and/or with flatbreads, or with wholemeal pitta, bread sticks, crudities, salads or as part of a delicious sandwich or pasta meal!

As this was our¬†first time preparing it,¬†we used one of many recipes available through¬†our favourite search engine! We slightly adjusted the quantities and used¬†pur√©ed¬†garlic instead of fresh, but it still turned out great! ūüôā If you want a ‘smoother/less grainy’ consistency, we’d recommend that you remove the seeds before¬†pur√©eing¬†the¬†aubergine… although the seeds do not¬†affect the taste! ¬†¬†

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++780g        Aubergine
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1               Lemon
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Fresh parsley (*optional; to be used as a garnish)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++ 30ml      Extra virgin oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++18g          Garlic paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++22g          Tahini paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt

 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

 

Wash the aubergines. Prick each side gently with a fork. Place them¬†onto the baking tray.¬†When the oven has come up to temperature, place the tray into oven. Bake the aubergines for 30-60 minutes, or until they’re soft and slightly blackened; turn once.¬†NB: If preferred, you can grill the aubergines…as suggested in the¬†original recipe!

 

 

In the meantime, juice the lemon. If applicable, wash, dry and roughly chop some parsley.

 

 

Once, the aubergine’s skin has ‘blackened’ and the¬†flesh is soft, remove it from the oven. Leave it on the tray and allow it¬†to cool slightly.

We baked ours for 50 minutes. NB: Our skins ended up with more of a dark-brown hue rather than a blackened one.

 

 

Once cooled, slice it into halves…

 

 

…spoon out the flesh and discard the skin.

 

 

Place the oil, garlic paste, tahini and lemon juice into a food processor…

 

 

…followed by the aubergine.

 

 

Pulse until creamy and blended together (or until your desired consistency is achieved). Season it with some salt to taste.

 

 

Remove and transfer the dip into a large serving dish (if applicable) or portion out as required. Garnish it with some parsley (if applicable).

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; stir well before serving and it’s best consumed within 3-4¬†days. ūüôā

Oriental Salad Bowl

Exercise, Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Notes:This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and is low in sugar and sat-fats!

This time of year can bring a constant change of weather, mood and life… so let’s help ourselves by keeping our meals reliable, simple and packed full of fresh flavours and healthy ingredients! This vegan salad is delicious,¬†versatile¬†and can be¬†enjoyed at either lunch or dinner. Use any of your favourite cooked and/or raw vegetables. ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

1. Prepare your baked tofu (*use a firm variety); check out this recipe as a guide!. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, drain and press the tofu and gently stir-fry it for  6-7 minutes instead!

2. Wash the kale, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes. Lightly pat the mushrooms dry with some kitchen paper.

3. Prepare the dressing. Place the soya sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and agave syrup into a measuring jug. Add some dried chilli flakes to taste. Mix to combine.

4. Cook the rice according to the the packet instructions. Drain.

5. Meanwhile, place a small saucepan of cold water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add the broad beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

6. Place a steamer pot with some cold water over a medium-low heat. Add the kale and broccoli. Bring to the boil. reduce the heat. Steam for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Drain.

7. In the meantime, heat a small frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the mushrooms. Lightly fry for approximately 3 minutes or until tender.

8. Meanwhile, drain the cabbage.

9. Assemble your salad. Place the rice, tofu, kale, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, pumpkin seeds and cabbage into a large serving bowl. Gently pour the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice.

10. Serve.

 

 

 Enjoy!

 

 

If¬†preferred…

  • Use wholemeal rice, pearl barley, quinoa, millet, or a baked sweet potato instead of the brown long-grain rice!
  • Instead of firm tofu, use another variety of beans, tempeh, or seasoned brown lentils instead.
  • Create¬†your own bespoke dressing; go zesty, tangy, fruity or spicy!

Oriental Vegetable & Rice Bowl

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and is low in saturated fats!

Who doesn’t love a bowl full of ‘colourful goodness’?! This recipe has all the flavours of a stir-fry but without actually stir-frying! ¬†It’s a simple, nutritious, frugal, and tasty meal that you can throw together any time of the week!¬†Use fresh or frozen ingredients; check out our other ideas below for further¬†ways¬†to adapt this recipe!¬†

Quick facts:

  • This recipe contains approx 4.5 portions of fruit/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!
  • This is a high fibre meal (talk about pointing out the bleeding obvious!)!

 

We didn’t use the low-fat cooking oil; we ended up steaming and boiling everything instead!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional Info:

NB: Per serving, this recipe contains moderate amounts (orange traffic light alert!) of fat and salt and low levels (green traffic light!) of saturated fat; there is approximately 1.8g of added sugar/serving (another green traffic light!).

 

 

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Meanwhile, place a small pot full of cold water over a medium-low heat. Bring to the boil. Add the beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until tender. Drain.

It was a freezer ‘clean out’! We used 50g of soya beans and 30g of broad beans.

 

 

In the meantime, cut the stalk off the head of broccoli. Separate the florets from the remaining stem; cut the florets into halves (or quarters if preferred). Discard the stalk/stem (or prepare it and use it in your meal!) and wash the florets.

 

 

Wash, trim the ends, peel and chop the carrot into ‘match-stick’ pieces.

 

 

Place the broccoli and carrot into a steamer pot with some cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Drain.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (keep the seeds intact if you prefer spicier dishes!) and chop the chilli into thin strips. Wash, trim the ends and chop the onion into half (tops & bottoms); finely slice the onion and keep the halves separated. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into cubes.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Place the ginger, chilli, onion (top half only), soya sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice and oil (if using) into a large measuring jug. Mix to combine and dissolve the sugar.

 

 

Place the beans, broccoli, carrot and bell pepper into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Pour over the dressing.

 

 

Mix to coat. Taste and season/flavour it as necessary.

We added a little bit more lime juice!

 

 

Serve warm. Place the rice into a large serving bowl.

 

 

Add the vegetable mixture. Garnish with the remaining onion and peanuts.

We added¬†a sprinkling of sesame seeds on the rice. ūüôā

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally, place the rice into the fridge within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 

If¬†preferred…

  • Make the vegetable medley and dressing your own! ¬†NB: Try making a spicy mustard vinaigrette or sweet chilli dressing- the sky is the limit!
  • Use quinoa, millet, brown long grain rice, wholemeal pasta or buckwheat soba noodles instead of the basmati rice!
  • We recommend washing down this meal with a small glass of unsweetened and¬†fortified almond milk!

 

Mexican Tortilla Salad Bowls W/ Homemade Salsa

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2-4
Prep & Cooking time: 45minutes

Notes:

We have to say that this recipe was a bit of a novelty! We love vegetables (but you probably already know this about us by now!) and enjoy spicy Mexican flavours. We thought that eating a ‚Äėtortilla, salad bowl‚Äô would be quite quirky and fun; we’re not a fan of tacos and thought this might be the best next thing! Unfortunately after about four mouthfuls we gave up and turned it into a wrap (which still worked quite well at this point)! We think that this bowl might work better with your favourite chilli or if your entertaining children. It was a delicious and nutritious meal none the less and we will always recommend meals that are packed full of vegetables!

The salsa was delicious; the last time we made it was during the World Cup last June! The tortilla bowls can be formed using about five different methods (depending on your skills and resources), but this one was the most convenient for us.

Salsa Ingredients: we used two chillies…. but feel free to use one!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

Prepare the salsa. Wash and remove the stem from the chilli (de-seed if you prefer your meals less spicy!). Peel and chop the onion into half. Peel the garlic. Wash, remove the stem and chop the tomatoes into quarters. Wash, dry and then gently rip the coriander into half. Wash the lime; finely grate some zest and then juice it.

 

 

Place the chilli, onion and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until finely minced.

 

 

Use a spatula and push the mixture down into the bottom of the container.

 

 

Add the tomatoes, coriander, lime zest and juice, cumin and the ground coriander. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

 

 

Blend until combined and the mixture is still ‘chunky’.

 

 

Transfer into a resealable container. Cover with a lid. Place into a refrigerator until needed.

Taste and season it as necessary. ūüôā

 

 

Prepare the salad veggies and coriander for the tortilla bowl! Open, drain and wash the beans.

 

 

Place a small or medium-sized, non-stick saucepan or frying pan over a medium-low heat. Pour in one quarter of the quantity of the oil. Spray the sides of the pan with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Once hot, gently press the tortilla down into the pan, forming a bowl shape. Allow it to gently fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the centre has bubbled and the base is lightly browned.

 

 

Remove and transfer it into a bowl (that was a similar size to your pan). Allow it to set for approximately 5 minutes. NB: As it cools, it will take shape of the bowl.

Can you see the bubbles in the centre?

For reference, this was the base!

 

 

Repeat these steps until all of the tortilla’s have been gently fried and shaped into bowls.

 

 

Once cooled, place the tortilla onto a serving plate or just leave it in the same bowl. Add the  salsa, veggies and top with the yoghurt and coriander!

 

 

This is how we assembled ours. Firstly we added some salsa…

 

 

followed by a piece of spring green (collard greens)…

 

 

some iceberg lettuce…

 

 

sweet corn and black beans …

 

 

…and finally some: ¬†jalape√Īos, green bell pepper, avocado, red onion, more salsa!, yoghurt, some fresh coriander and a dash of fake cheese (not recommended).

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate any leftover salsa in a resealable container; best consumed within 2-3 days.

Broad Bean & Spinach Dip/Spread

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep & Cooking time: 15-20minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, no added sugar and is low in salt and fats!

This dip/spread is has a wonderful fresh and zesty flavour that is absolutely delicious…feel free to adapt it with some of our suggestions below. ūüôā

 

Quick facts:

  • Broad beans are also known as ‘fava’ beans.¬†In the UK these beans¬†are normally in season during¬†June-August; don’t worry, you can still buy frozen varieties that are just as nutritious!

NB: To find out when your favourite fruits and vegetables are currently in season, check out this link!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++360g     Frozen broad beans
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     Baby spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g       Fresh parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g     White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g          Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Lemon (Zest & Juice)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g      Plain soya yoghurt (unsweetened)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10ml      Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Water

 

Nutritional Info:

If you’re a fan of using the FSA traffic light system, this is another one of our dips that gets green lights all the way!

¬†This recipe is great for those leading a healthier lifestyle. ūüôā

 

 

Directions:

Place a small saucepan full of cold water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add the beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until tender. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Wash the spinach and allow it to drain (if applicable). Wash, dry and gently rip the parsley into half. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Wash, finely zest and then juice the lemon.

We were only half way through our prep at this point!

 

 

Place the beans, yoghurt, parsley, onion, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oil and as much spinach as you can push into a¬†food processor. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse and blend until the mixture starts breaking down; feed the remaining spinach into the food processor’s feed tube. Pour in the water. Blend until combined.

 

 

The mixture will be ‘chunky’. Taste and season as necessary.

NB: We added a little more lemon juice.

 

 

Remove and transfer the mixture into a resealable container.

 

 

Serve as a dip or sandwich spread.

Ready for sharing! ūüėÄ NB: Our ramekin contained 100g. It was just enough for us to enjoy this whole wheat baguette with.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate in a resealable container; consume within 3 days.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Add a little more oil and some pine nuts…and you’ll have yourself another fun and tasty vegan pesto flavour!
  • Swap the lemon for lime and add a little ground coriander for more of a ‘Mexican-inspired’ taste.
  • Substitute the broad beans for soya beans; our broad beans were cheaper to source!
  • When making this recipe, you may prefer to push the beans out of their skins prior to processing however, by doing this you will reduce the fibre content of this dip/spread. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†NB: Broad beans and spinach are both a¬†great source of insoluble fibre!

Orzo Salad

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time:¬†‚ȧ20-30 minutes.

Notes:

We’ve never experimented with Orzo before, one because it costs more than typical pasta and two it’s a form of ‘white’ pasta. Generally, we prefer to have wholemeal varieties; they provide a good source of insoluble fibre, protein and a range of B-Vitamins!

Orzo (which means barley in Italian) is a small form of pasta that resembles large grains of rice. It can be used in soups, as a side dish or a main course. Typically, cooked orzo is low in fat and salt, has a suitable quantity of protein, but it is also low in dietary fibre.¬† With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to pair it with vegetables, beans and healthy forms of fat (as we have); this will help lower the meal‚Äôs glycaemic index (G.I.) and make it a balanced meal.

This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and of course, versatile. Make it as expensive or as frugal as you desire… by using any (or all!) of your favourite vegetables and beans to turn this recipe into a fibre-licious meal!¬† ūüôā

NB: If gluten is of concern, substitute the orzo for quinoa, millet, GF couscous or your favourite type of rice instead!

We used: frozen broad beans, parsley, courgette, garlic, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, salad tomatoes, artichoke(60g), green olives(20g) and one lemon.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Dried Orzo
+++++++++++++++++++++++++800g     Vegetables (Fresh, frozen and/or seasonal!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++260g     Beans (Fresh, frozen or a tinned variety!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Lemon (Juice & Zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g          Fresh Parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Dried Oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml     Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground black pepper

 

 

Directions:

Cook the orzo according to the packet instructions. Drain. Allow it to cool slightly. Wash and drain (if applicable) and then cook the beans (if applicable). Drain.

NB: Our broad beans took 6 minutes to cook and the orzo took approx 7-9 minutes.

 

 

Prepare all of your wonderful veggies!

We lightly fried the mushrooms, courgette, garlic and onion (using low-fat cooking oil). The tomato, artichoke, olives and oregano where all placed into a small bowl and mixed together (*before being added to the salad).

 

 

Wash, finely grate the zest and then juice the lemon.

 

 

Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.

 

 

Place the orzo into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice and oil. Season it to taste with some salt and black pepper. Stir though. Add the vegetables, beans, parsley and oregano. Stir through.

 

 

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve. NB: Serve on more veggies (if desired!); try a bed of steamed kale or spring greens (collard greens) or some fresh rocket or spinach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; consume within 3 days.

Lentil Wrap (A Quick & Nutritious Lunch)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Preparation:10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Assembly: 5 minutes

Notes:

Being¬†vegan doesn’t imply that you have to rely on faux meat and cheese, nor does it necessarily¬†mean¬†that you have to recreate the wheel when it comes to making food…or in this case, wraps! I completely understand¬†though, sometimes we will have ‘cravings’, but when we can we should strive to prepare healthy, nutritious and authentic dishes. We should take enjoyment in what nature has to offer us- like pulses and legumes…and on that note, we decided to make a lentil wrap!

We took it upon ourselves and completed some meal prep; one batch of lentils and bean and red pepper dip prepared! Check out our recipe for the dip. It took a little bit of time… but it just means that our meal prep for the following days drops from¬†thirty¬†minutes to approximately ten …brilliant!

NB: Wraps¬†can be quick and nutritious, although some do contains higher levels of salt and/ or fats…so make sure to always read the label! We also recommend¬†choosing¬†a wholemeal, wholegrain or¬†seeded variety. ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++50g            Cooked brown or green lentils
++++++++++++++++++++                   Fresh salad veggies
+++++++++++++++++++++1                Stick of celery
+++++++++++++++++++++4               Black/pitted olives
++++++++++++++++++++124g            Butterbean and red pepper dip/spread
++++++++++++++++++++  1                Standard seeded, multigrain or GF tortilla wrap

 

 

Directions:

Rinse and prepare the lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain. Rinse under cool water. Allow to drain. Lightly season (if desired).

NB: Ours took approx. 25 minutes to cook. We used approx. 150g of dried, brown lentils (to use for approx 3 lunches/person); approx. 2tbsp.(50g)/person/wrap.

 

 

 

Wash, dry and prepare all of your intended ‘wrap’ veggies!

 

 

Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery into sticks. Drain and wash the olives.

 

 

Measure and place the dip into a small dish/bowl.

You don’t have to jazz yours up with nuts!

 

 

Warm your wrap in the microwave according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Prepare the wrap

Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the dip (from your dish) down the middle of the wrap. Spoon and spread the lentils over the dip with a spoon.

 

 

Place your smaller salad veggies over the lentils….

 

 

…followed by any lettuce or leaves you’re using.

 

 

~Fold or roll up your wrap!~

 

 

Lunch is served! Place your wrap onto a serving plate or board. Serve with the remaining dip and vegetables. NB: We separated the celery, olives and any leftover veggies from the wrap (to avoid making our wrap soggy from any remaining veggie water!).

Our lunch came to approx. 340Kcal (*Not counting the salad veggies: the lettuce, rocket, coriander, carrot, tomato &¬†cucumber- but that’s negligible anyways, so don’t get hung up on that!). ūüôā

 

 Enjoy!

 

Butter Bean & Red Pepper Dip/Spread

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Preparation:¬†‚ȧ5 minutes
Cooking time : 35 minutes
Assembly:10-15 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, no added sugars and is low in salt and fats.

This recipe strangely gives me hope that those lovely spring days are just on the horizon; hot soups, stews and casseroles become a thing of the past and we can all enjoy colourful salads, dips and delicious meze type meals. 

This is¬†an extremely easy recipe to prepare, especially when you ‘cheat’ and use¬†cooked beans (like we did)! It’s also really tasty and¬†versatile; we think some fresh chilli or smoked paprika would also¬†make great additions or ingredient swaps.The butter¬†beans work well due to their natural creamy consistency- great for dips, baking and¬†maybe even some sort of vegan pate?!¬†

 

NB: The drained weight of our beans was approx. 470g.

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++++++400g    Red bell pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++++             1kcal Fry spray (low-fat cooking oil)
++++++++++++++++++++++++2           Tins Butter beans (unsalted water)
++++++++++++++++++++++++120g     Plain soya yoghurt (unsweetened)
++++++++++++++++++++++++2g          Sweet paprika
++++++++++++++++++++++++1g          Ground cumin
++++++++++++++++++++++++              Salt & ground black pepper

 

 

Nutritional Info:

¬†If you’re a fan of using the FSA traffic light system, our dip gets green lights all the way!

¬†This recipe is great for those leading a healthier lifestyle. ūüôā

*Check out the serving portion guide below- you’ll see that it’s quite generous!

Eating the same quantity (124g) of another dip/spread, e.g.¬†a standard store-bought houmous, could provide you with approximately: 200-400Kcal, 15-35g fat, 1.7g-3g S/fat & 1-1.5g salt. Most people would probably not eat this type of portion size (of houmous!)…but you can see that it’s a big difference for those trying to watch their calorie intake!

 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 180¬įC/350¬įF. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or aluminium foil.

 

Wash the bell peppers. Place them into the tin. Spray with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

Place the tin into the oven. Roast for approximately 35 minutes or until tender and lightly ‘charred’. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

NB: Do not allow them¬†to become cold; the skin is easier to remove whilst it’s still warm.

 

 

In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans under cool water. Leave to drain.

 

 

Peel away and skin the bell peppers. Discard the skin, stem and the seeds.

NB: I didn’t remove all of the skin; the choice is yours!

 

 

Place the beans, bell pepper, yoghurt, paprika and cumin into a food processor. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

 

 

Pulse until ‘smoothish’ and a vibrant shade of red!

 

 

Remove and transfer into a resealable container. Taste and season it as preferred.

We added little more black pepper and cumin. ūüôā

 

 

Enjoy as a dip, an addition to your salad bowl or as a sandwich spread!

Those lovely baked ‘green’ falafels are making an appearance again…sadly they’re the last ones in the fridge ūüė¶ NB: Serving guide: this picture represents approx. 1/8 of the dip.

 

 

Refrigerate in an air-tight/resealable container; consume within 1-3 days.

NB: If you’re using fresh ingredients, than it might keep for approx. 5 days.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Experiment with a wide range of vegetables and/or legumes or pulses and see what wonderful and¬†delicious combinations you can come up with! ¬†ūüôā

Tofu & Veggie Ravioli + 5 Minute Marinara Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Yields: about 24 ravioli
Prep: 60-90 mins
Cooking Time: 3-5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Mixing bowl, silicone spatula, kitchen film, frying pan, food processor, bowl, rolling pin, large plate, large pot(s)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese,potassium, has no added sugars and per serving  is low in salt* and saturated fats*! 

Who loves pasta dishes?! We do! Apart from preparing pasta sauces, we’ve never attempted making our own pasta. It truly is a labour of love- one that needs to be respected; we’re sure we have broken the hearts of many Italian grandmothers‚Äô‚Ķ as they look at our finished product in despair! Sorry! Maybe we should consult with L at Bubblesandbooyah¬† or Kiana at The Italian Vegan way of Life on this matter?!

Our ravioli does not look¬†authentic, that’s for sure…more anaemic! This is because typical¬†ravioli recipes use several eggs, which gives it its standard yellow/beige appearance; not ideal for us following plant-based diets! If this is a big issue for you, try using fresh herbs, spices (make sure it complements your filling) or perhaps some cooled, green vegetable water (from the drained spinach) instead of the plain water the recipe instructs to help colour your pasta.

For anyone that has attempted GF baking or has prepared GF pastry or dough…it’s not very straight forward! To say that it’s daunting might be a bit of an understatement! However, this feeling passes- it’s quite liberating preparing a whole meal from scratch (apart from growing your own foods of course!). We’re¬†not going to lie though; this recipe can be quite time consuming, especially if you do not own any pasta gadgets, are new to the ‘pasta making world’ or using GF dough for that matter.

If you have the patience and the desire to make GF ravioli, then you‚Äôre in good hands! Ours was really tasty (we can’t stress that enough!) and the finished product was ‘respectable’…well, it definitely looked ‘homemade’, perhaps by people¬†that doesn’t really know what they‚Äôre doing?! …Well, that might be partially true! ūüėõ

We¬†admit there is a science to it, one that we are¬†still working on!¬†If you are have stronger, GF pasta making skills than we¬†do, or any advice or tips it would be greatly appreciated!¬†We have also included another marinara sauce recipe. This one is slightly different from our other recipe¬†that we supplied you with last week; it’s ultra-quick and thrifty! If you do decide to use a store bought brand instead, as always, be mindful of the salt, sugar and fat contents!

Happy cooking everyone! ūüôā

 

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Ingredients

NB: If you have a ‘tried and true’ GF or standard dough recipe, feel free to use that instead!

 

 

Nutritional Info (Prepared Ravioli Only)

NB: To reduce the fat content further, omit the olives and the tahini from the filling.

*Low in salt and saturated fats based on eight servings.

 

 

Directions

Prepare the dough. Place 300g rice flour, 60g corn flour, 80g potato starch, 8g xanthan gum, 1g basil, 2g thyme and 2g salt into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Mix until combined. Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the mixture.

 

 

Add 1 tbsp oil and 300ml cold water.

NB: Make sure you use cold water! Hot water will make the corn flour, potato starch and xanthan gum turn into a horrible mess.

 

 

Use a spatula; stir and combine the mixture until the dough is smooth and tacky.

 

 

Place the dough onto the middle of a piece of kitchen film.

 

 

Wrap and completely seal. Place it into the fridge for a minimum of 20 mins.

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling.

 

Place the spinach into a microwavable bowl; defrost in the microwave. Drain. Place the bread into a toaster. Gently heat until lightly brown and crispy. Place it into a food processor. Peel and dice the shallot and garlic. Wash, dry and finely dice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Wash, peel and finely grate the carrot. Drain, rinse and dice the olives. Wash and chop the basil leaves; discard most of the stems. Place the bread in the food processor. Process it until breadcrumbs are achieved; remove and transfer into a small bowl.

The amount of bell pepper we have advised is approx. half a pepper…so this is why we have suggested to use the other half in the marinara sauce.

 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.

NB: We used four ‘sprays’.

 

 

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Gently fry for 3-5 mins, or until softened and most of the water has been removed. Remove from the heat.

NB: We used two more ‘sprays’.

 

 

Meanwhile, drain the tofu. Place it into in the food processor. Pulse until creamy.

 

 

Transfer it into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Transfer the vegetable mixture into a separate bowl. Allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

Place the spinach and olives into the frying pan. Gently fry for 1-2 mins; allow the spinach to steam-dry slightly. Gently separate/shred some of the fibres with a fork. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Add the vegetable and separate spinach mixture, along with the basil, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme and tahini into the large mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine.

 

Add the flour. Mix to combine.

 

 

Let’s Assemble The Ravioli!

Disclaimer: We¬†will be¬†commentating¬†on the best ‘working scenario’ (based on our¬†previous¬†failures and current mistakes); occasionally the pictures may not seem in sync or an accurate representation of¬†each step. So please bare with us- we’ll get there in the end!

Tip:¬†If you have a ravioli mould/tray or cutters- dig them our of your cupboards and use them!¬†Otherwise let’s prepare these ravioli’s using this ‘freestyle’ method.

 

Prepare a clean and lightly floured work surface. Tip: have a large plate, a little dish of water and some spare flour nearby.

We were  ambitious and thought we could make the ravioli in 2 stages instead of four! Two words- fat chance!

 

Divide the dough into four pieces/balls. Place one piece onto the work surface and re-wrap the remaining dough. NB: This dough tends to dry out quickly, so always re-wrap it!¬†Knead the dough into the flour until it is slightly ‘less’ tacky.¬†Roll the dough into a long and narrow-ish strip (approx. 12″x4″).

We measured the dough and these were the approx. dimensions. Please feel free to experiment! NB: We feel that this is about as thin as this dough would allow without it falling apart!

 

 

Test and try to lift the dough slightly. Tip: you need to make sure it’s not sticking to the work surface (if it is, add a little more flour) and that it’s not going to completely fall apart when moved.

We¬†tested our dough by re-rolling it onto the rolling pin. NB: The dough on this rolling pin represents half the quantity of dough. It wasn’t long after this picture that we¬†divided the dough into four working pieces.

 

 

Roughly mark the dough into six equal squares.

 

 

Spoon and place the filling onto the centre of one side of the dough.

NB: This represents the maximum amount of filling you can use.

 

Cut the dough down the middle. Separate the dough into two strips. Tip: a quicker method would be to fold the half without the filling over the other half of the dough. Press, mould, shape and then cut out the¬†individual¬†ravioli’s.¬†

 

Gently re-roll the strip (without the filling), creating a slightly larger and¬†thinner half. Tip: we¬†have suggested this because GF dough is less forgiving/stretchy than normal wheat-dough (because of its¬†wonderful powers it obtains from¬†gluten) and you have to make sure it’s going to cover all of the ravioli! However, if you are using half of the amount of filling, you may be able to skip this step entirely.

 

 

If you’re brave enough, place and align the re-rolled strip over the top of the other strip (with the filling). Gently press down in-between each piece; helping to shape the ravioli. Gently cup and continue to shape each piece with your hands; allowing the dough to wrap around the filling. Cut and separate the six¬†pieces. Pinch the edges of each ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli. NB: You might have to complete¬†this step with the help of a wet fork.

If your a little clumsy with GF dough or with the ravioli-making process (like myself)….you can do what I did (explained below!)

 

 

After you have re-rolled the strip, cut it into six separate pieces. Cut the other strip (with the filling) into six separate pieces. Individually place each piece re-rolled piece of dough over a piece of the prepared dough (as shown).

i.e. prepared dough with filling.

 

Cup and shape the ravioli dough around the filling with your hands. Pinch the edges of the ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli (as we have previously mentioned, a wet fork is great for this step!).

We’re¬†¬†sorry about the lack of pictures at this stage! Our¬†hands were covered in flour and filling- neither of which you want smeared on your camera!

 

 

Place all of the prepared ravioli’s onto a clean plate. Cover¬†and¬†seal with a piece of kitchen film.¬†Repeat these steps with the remaining three pieces/sections¬†of dough and filling until all of it has been used.

To stop them drying out!

 

Now might be a good time to place two large pots over a medium heat and bring to the boil; it can take some time to heat the water. However, if you are slower at this process, just wait until you’re finished- there’s no need to add more potential stress into the equation!

You can use one large pot….if you have it…and/or if your brave enough to man-handle over ten ravioli’s cooking at once!

 

All twenty-four¬†ravioli’s ready to go!

 

 

If you haven’t already, place two large saucepans over a medium heat and bring to the boil.¬†Meanwhile,¬†prepare our ‘5 minute thrifty marinara sauce’ (if applicable)! Just open the tinned tomatoes and then place all of the sauce ingredients into a blender.¬†Blend until smooth.¬†Pour into a small pot.¬†Place the pot¬†over a medium-low heat. Gently heat the sauce to low-grade simmer and then reduce the heat. Cover with a lid; keep it over a low heat setting until served.

We ¬†saved some for later in the week and some for now… ūüôā

 

Cooking The Ravioli!

Once the water begins to boil, place about 4-5 pieces into each pot using a large, slotted spoon;¬†reduce to a medium heat. Loosely cover with a lid.¬†Once the ravioli’s start to rise to the top and/or the water comes to more of a rapid boil- remove the lid. Cook the ravioli’s for 3-5 mins or until tender.

NB: Ours took approx. 4 minutes to cook.

 

 

Remove them with the slotted spoon. Place them into a large colander (not onto a plate like we have in this picture!). Cover with some kitchen foil and allow them to drain.

NB: They don’t get a chance to drain properly on a plate…which means extra water added to your sauce! :/

 

 

Repeat these steps until all of the ravioli has been cooked.

All in all the cooking process was a success! There were a few that lost a corner on the way out of the pot but that’s trivial! Previously, we’ve had ravioli’s that have disintegrated whilst cooking because we¬†allowed the water to boil too rapidly…lol (it wasn’t really that funny at the time)! ¬†Cooking 101: DO NOT allow you ravioli’s to ride tidal waves in your saucepan!

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the ravioli into a large bowl or pasta dish. Ladle over the sauce. Season it with some black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil and/or chopped tomatoes (if desired).

NB: This picture represents 2 servings (*Based on the ravioli serving 8).

It might be advised to wear a red t-shirt; it depends on how ravenous you are! J/K! We are all ‘mindful’ eaters. ūüėÄ

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in an air-tight/resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 3 months.

NB: Do not store uncooked ravioli in the fridge overnight. We¬†attempted this once (trying to save time with food prep for the next night), but the next day they were all a bit soggy…and cooking them didn’t improve matters! We’re¬†not one-hundred percent¬†sure as to why this occurred…and unless you do, we wouldn’t recommend it!

 

If preferred…

  • The world is your oyster! Make the¬†filling your own! Just make sure to decrease/remove the water content of any vegetables used (by lightly frying/steam-frying) before preparing your ravioli.
  • If gluten is not of concern, try using wholemeal or grade ’00’ flour instead, along with salt, oil and water (and maybe some eggs if you’re not vegan!); adjust the quantities accordingly and omit the xanthan gum.
  • Use our marinara recipe, your own pasta sauce, or drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta¬†(and garnish with herbs) just before serving!

 

 

¬†If anyone prepares this recipe- send us some pictures! We’d love to see¬†how you got on and of course, your thoughts!

Baked ‘Green’ Falafels

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 5-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 70-80 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, has no added sugars and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats*!

This recipe is an example of how fast/processed foods can be healthy! Authentic recipes can use undesired cooking methods, such as deep or shallow frying; these methods are not ideal to use on a regular basis. Our recipe provides you with a healthier alternative to help keep the fat content to a minimum; which is also why we opt for using a little flour and not excessive amount of tahini to help hold our falafels together. The kale provides a nice and healthy twist (and a lovely shade of green!) for this tasty and popular food.

This delectable Middle Eastern food (traditionally Arab) can be made suitable for all types of diets; traditionally they are made ‘vegan’. These little ‘patties/fritters’ are typically served in a warmed pitta or flatbread with ‘Israeli salad’ or some lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles with some houmous, tahini or tabbouleh; cucumber, aubergine, feta cheese, yoghurt and/or tzatziki are also sometimes used. Serving styles can vary as this is now a popular meal/snack in most countries.

NB: Our preparation technique has been seen to alter the texture and flavours slightly (*when compared to authentic cooking methods). However, we think our falafels are still delicious and full of great flavours; reduce the cooking duration slightly if a ‘softer’ falafel is desired.

 

Our kale is busy ‘steaming’ away! NB: If gluten is not of concern, use a plain flour instead. Our drained chickpeas equated to approx. 480grams.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g    Kale
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g    White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g        Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2           Tins Chickpeas (in unsalted water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Tahini paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g       Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++15ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Sweet Paprika
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g       Rice flour
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)

 

 

Nutritional info:

NB: Serve 2-4 falafels as part of a healthy meal or have 1-2 as a healthy snack. 

 * Low in saturated fats when 2-4 pieces are consumed (**Based on 20 prepared falafels).

 

Directions:

 Wash the kale. Place it into a steamer pot with some cold water. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Rinse under cool water.

 

 

In the meantime, it’s time to start using your food processor…

1. Peel and chop the onion into halves. Peel the garlic. Place the onion into a food processor. Process until minced; add the garlic whilst the processor is still running. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

2. Wash the coriander. Ripe it into halves. Place it into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer it into the mixing bowl.

3. Place the cooked kale into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer into the mixing bowl.

4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them into the food processor. Add the tahini, oil and water. Process until almost smooth.

 

 

Heat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, assemble the falafels!

1. Transfer the chickpea mixture into the mixing bowl. Add the cumin, parsley, paprika and half the quantity of the flour. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

2. Using a spatula, mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients.

3. Add the remaining flour. Mix to combine.

4. Divide the mixture up.

 

 

Roll the mixture into balls; use lightly floured hands if necessary. Place them onto the baking tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture is used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil.

We created 20 ‘balls’.

 

Gently press down on them to form ‘patties’ (if desired).¬†Place into the oven. Bake for 15 mins; remove and turn once. Increase the oven temperature to 200¬įC/400¬įF.

Traditional falafels are normally round, but it can depend upon the ¬†utensil used to shape them. ūüôā

 

 

Once turned, lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-10 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Serve your falafels with some salad and a wholemeal (or GF) pitta, couscous or rice.

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. :D

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. ūüėÄ

 

 Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, wrap them in kitchen film and freeze in a resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use dried chickpeas; soak over night, drain and cook before preparing the falafels.
  • Try using soya or broad(fava) beans instead of chickpeas.
  • Use some steamed spinach or swiss chard instead of kale.
  • Adapt the flavours and seasoning’s to suit your personal tastes.
  • Serve these lovely falafels with veggies (of course!) and some plain/minty soya yoghurt, tahini dip, tabbouleh or houmous; check out our houmous¬†recipe as a guide!

Sweet And Sour Battered Tofu With Rice

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Heavy plates, chopping board, sharp knife, small bowls, baking tray, silicone mat or parchment paper, non-stick pot w/lid, frying spatula, steamer pot, food processor or blender, whisk

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

A plant-based lifestyle does not all have to be about celery, steamed tofu and rice… er, but when has¬†that ever really been the case?! This recipe is a prime¬†example¬†of how delicious and exciting vegan meals can be. It’s also¬†a great¬†alternative¬†for those that love Chinese foods but are trying to adhere to a healthier¬†lifestyle…and it’s¬†coeliac friendly. ūüôā

Apart from stir-fry’s, we¬†don’t normally eat Chinese foods; a lot of authentic dishes can be high in salt, fats and/or sugar! However, I was thinking about this the other week when I initially made my¬†battered tofu; the tofu looked a little like ‘battered chicken pieces’… and that got my creative juices going!

…I suppose my love of¬†pineapple may have biased my choices slightly! ūüôā

Happy cooking everyone! ūüėÄ

NB: We used some frozen bell peppers to help bulk out the quantity and some fresh pepper to help keep the meal visually appealing!

 

Ingredients

Battered tofu:
396g Firm tofu (*Serves 4)
See our previous recipe for instructions and a full ingredients list.

NB: Our pineapple tin contained approximately 130g of juice.

If gluten is of concern, double check your vinegar before you purchase it, e.g. in case it contains ‘extra’ ingredients, such as barley malt.

 

 

Nutritional Info (Sauce Only)

NB: 4 grams is approx. one teaspoon!

Store bought varieties can easily contain¬†two to three times the amount of added sugars/serving, whilst ‘take-away’ versions (dependant on the serving size) can contain up to six to eight times as much.

 

 

Directions

Prepare the tofu. Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy and/or weighted plates (or chopping boards) for about 20-30 mins to remove any excess water. In the meantime, prepare the batters. See our other recipe for instructions.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil (if desired).

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables for the sauce. Place the frozen bell peppers into a microwavable bowl; defrost in the microwave. Drain. Wash, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, remove the stem and chop the chilli. Wash, trim the ends and slice most of the onion; set the rest aside (to use as a garnish later). Remove the stem de-seed and chop the red bell pepper into cubes. Open the pineapple; separate the fruit from its juice into two separate containers.

 

 

Drain, chop and slice the tofu into¬†small pieces (about ¬Ĺcm thick rectangles). Place them onto the baking tray.

 

 

Batter the tofu; refer to our other recipe. Once all of the tofu has been coated in batter, place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for about 20-30mins or until lightly golden. Turn once during cooking. Remove.

NB: This tofu has not been baked.

Baked. ūüôā

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the garlic, chilli and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat. Steam any side vegetables in a steamer pot. Drain.

NB: Frozen green beans and broccoli normally cooks faster than cauliflower!

 

 

Add the bell peppers to the saucepan. Gently fry for 2-3 mins.

 

 

Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Place the garlic, chilli and onion into a food processor. Add the pineapple juice, water, sugar and vinegar. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

 

 

Pulse until combined and the¬†chilli and onion have ‘broken down’ slightly.

 

 

Transfer the mixture into the non-stick saucepan. Add extra dried chilli flakes (if desired). Add the potato starch and bell peppers. Whisk together.

 

 

Chop all or half of the pineapple slices into cubes.

NB: Save some for serving or chop all of it and add it into the sauce.

 

 

Add the chopped pineapple. Stir to combine.

 

 

Place the saucepan over a medium-low heat. Whisk until the sauce has thickened; approx 1-2 mins. Add a little water if a thinner consistency is desired.Remove from the heat. Cover with a lid to keep warm.

 

 

Meanwhile, shred or chop the remaining onion (if applicable) .

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the rice onto a large serving plate (or into a small bowl); garnish with the onion. Transfer the tofu next to the rice and ladle over the sauce. Serve with the accompanying vegetables and a piece of the remaining pineapple (if applicable). Season it with some black pepper to taste (if desired).

NB: This shows one portion of tofu, rice and sauce. Add a dash of low-sodium soya sauce to the rice (if desired).

Leftovers!

 

Enjoy!

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days.

NB: This container shows all of the sauce. I made my sauce in advance and reheated what we needed later on.

NB:

  • When reheating the sauce, do so in a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. The sauce can be a bit¬†gelatinous after being refrigerated; add a little water to loosen the sauce (if desired).
  • The tofu can be gently reheated in the microwave; approx. 1-2 minutes on a high heat setting.
  • Store the tofu and sauce in two separate resealable containers.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use standard baked tofu or temph, or some cooked white beans instead of my battered tofu.
  • Serve with rice, millet or quinoa.
  • Use dried chillies instead of fresh; feel free to use more or less than instructed!

Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa ‘Meatballs’ [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep, Cooking & Assembly: 75 Mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pots and lids, roasting tin, silicone mat, food processor, colander, silicone spatula, casserole dish, baking tray, parchment paper, ladle, blender

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats! 

So we made this recipe a week ago. Al came home and asked if I had been ‘cooking meat’?! I burst out laughing and said, “Of course not!”…quickly followed by, “mission accomplished babe”!

This is a recipe that we have adapted from the days when we used to make turkey mince meatballs …so I¬†guess I am not totally surprised that¬†I received the reaction that I did; it’s funny how our minds¬†perceive¬†things…storing sounds and smells as triggers for certain memories, or in this case food!¬†

We’re very happy about how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are not dry and horrible ‘meat’ substitutes; they are lovely little ‘veggie balls’ that are packed full of protein, fibre, and plenty of vitamins and minerals! Obviously it’s¬†another¬†great recipe that can be adapted to your own personal taste and shared with your family and friends.¬†

I took the executive decision to use two tins of kidney beans instead of one… but other than that, the recipe went to plan and we are happy to be sharing it with you. We have also provided a recipe for a homemade marinara sauce, but feel free to use your favourite tomato-based sauce instead; if you plan on using a store bought variety, be¬†mindful¬†of the fat, sugar and salt¬†contents! ūüôā¬†

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • One serving of meatballs (based on 6 servings)* provides you with approx. 1 serving (of fruits/vegetables), towards your 5-A-Day; so make sure you have a veggie packed sauce (like ours) to help increase your servings!

 

‘Meatball’ ingredients; we used our homemade GF bread.

 

Ingredients

¬†Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Nutritional Info (‘Meatballs’ Only)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some aluminium foil.

 

In the meantime, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sieve; rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness. Cook according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat.

NB: Cooked quinoa! Ours took 15 mins.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, start preparing the marinara sauce (unless you are using another sauce; just start preparing the ‘meatballs’ instead!). Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and then chop them into halves.¬†Peel and quarter the onion.
  • Place the tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and the garlic into a¬†roasting tin. Drizzle over 15ml olive¬†oil and 10ml of the balsamic glaze. Tip:¬†If you do not have any glaze, use balsamic vinegar instead. Sprinkle over 1g¬†dried basil (if desired). Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place the tray into the middle oven shelf. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Do not turn off the oven.

 

 

In the meantime, line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Prepare the ‘meatballs’. Get out a large casserole dish. Wash, trim the ends and finely grate the courgette. Wash, trim the ends, peel and finely grate the carrot.¬†Place the courgette and carrot into a casserole¬†dish (or large mixing bowl).

  • Peel and chop the onion into halves; place it into a food processor. Pulse¬†until minced.¬†Remove and transfer into the dish.
  • Lightly toast the bread. Place it¬†into the food processor. Pulse and process until bread crumbs are achieved.¬†Place them¬†into the casserole dish.
  • Open, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer¬†them into the food processor and pulse¬†until almost smooth. Transfer it into the dish.
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the basil; add it into the casserole dish.¬†Fluff the grains of quinoa with a fork and add it into the dish.

 

Here’s what our casserole dish looked like…

Add 20g¬†tahini into the casserole dish and¬†sprinkle over 2g¬†Italian seasoning and 2g sweet paprika. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix¬†together the ingredients; until it’s fully combined-like a giant ‘meatball’!¬†Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Tip: We¬†shaped three¬†‘meatballs’ out of each segment (so twenty-four¬†in total).¬†

Dust your hands with a little bit of flour (if necessary) to shape them.¬†Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the tray.¬†Repeat this step until all of the mixture has been used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired).¬†Place them¬†onto¬†the middle oven shelf. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pasta according the packet instructions. Drain.

We recommend (and have used some) wholemeal pasta; if being GF is not of concern.

 

 

Meanwhile, finish preparing the marinara. Wash some basil. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and discard them.

Garlic skins and a few bits of onion that were too crispy!

 

  • Place the roasting juices (if desired), tomatoes, onion, garlic, the remaining¬†10ml¬†of balsamic glaze, basil, 20g tomato pur√©e, 100ml water and 30ml lemon juice into a blender. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer it into a small, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat and gently warm. Cover with a lid; keep it over a minimum heat until it’s served.

 

 

Once you have removed the¬†meatballs after the initial 15 mins, increase the oven temperature to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired).¬†Place them back onto the middle oven shelf and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 mins (if possible).

 

Serve warm. Transfer the¬†pasta into a large serving bowl or lipped plate. Pour over the marinara (or sauce of choice!) and top with the ‘meatballs’. Garnish with some fresh basil or oregano (if desired) and enjoy!

See, it’s not dry and crumbly, just packed full of ‘goodness’!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.Tip: We covered ours with parchment paper and cling film before sealing it with its lid.

Recipe updated: 23/02/16 

Leading A Healthy Lifestyle & Weight Loss: A Personal Account

Diet & Weight Loss

When it comes to leading a better quality of life, we all have a journey, a story to tell, one that most can relate to‚Ķ including mine. I am not searching for empathy or a pat on the back, nor am I trying to be your go-to health-nut guru. I’m just trying to express my views, my personal account of the pitfalls and harsh realities of weight loss and healthy living; an account that not everyone is capable of or willing to divulge. So, before you judge a book by its cover, let me tell you about some very candid personal truths.

 

Photo by: alyssa kirby_flickr

Photo by: Alyssa Kirby (Flickr)

I too can empathise with you…if you’re trying to lose weight…trying to find a balance of diet and exercise, or mindlessly eating without reflecting on the contents of your food. You may not believe it to look at me now, but I too have overcome my own personal demons and moved on with my life.

I‚Äôm someone who could put on and lose weight fairly easily- if I put the effort into it; whether it is eating too many snacks, having frequent/large portions or exercising 4-5 times a week with sensible meal planning. Genetically speaking, I am predisposed to a number of ailments‚Ķ.but so is everybody else‚Ķbut this doesn’t mean that my health or future is completely mapped out.

Avoiding type two diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity is in my hands; I do not wish to live a life dictated by chronic illness and prescribed medications.

 

As our blog has mentioned before, we all have to take personal accountability; there is always a price to pay for lack of awareness and ignorance. Obviously one shoe does not fit all‚Ķ but we can all take similar steps to lead healthier lives; as we’ve mentioned in a previous article¬†in January.

There were periods in my life where my weight yo-yoed. I‚Äôve never been clinically overweight or obese, but my BMI was 24.5kg/m2; the cusp of being overweight. ¬†Some may think that it‚Äôs not that significant, but the revelation of deciding to change is the same…no matter what weight you are.

 

The truth is a bad diet, lack of exercise, or trying to out exercise a bad diet wreaks havoc on mental and physical health…and I was caught up in this vicious circle like all the other serial dieters…up until about my mid-twenties.

Photo by: Rose Waterman_Flickr

Photo by: Rose Waterman (Flickr)

During this time I tried these types of diets/ideas:

-A Very-Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)
-High protein, low carbs (or more commonly known as ‚ÄėAtkins‚Äô)
-Loads of exercise, low calorie but a high protein intake
-No-sugar, low-fat
-A Smoothie/juice cleanse

 

I don’t need to tell you that these types of fad diets are all rubbish and some are potentially dangerous… and for good reason. Obviously this was before I saw sense, took responsibility and of course when off to university to study human nutrition.

 

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago_Flickr

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago (Flickr)

I took a dogmatic approach towards health, an all or nothing view, and I could never find a healthy and happy medium; a common mind-set I’m sure.

I am not even going to try and justify why I attempted any of these regimes‚Ķ because I can‚Äôt and equally I know the reasons why these diets did not work; I didn’t and couldn’t comply with them (especially long term) and I did not educate myself on portion sizes and general healthy eating. I just bought into the same hype a lot of young health-enthusiasts do, e.g. carbohydrates are bad, don‚Äôt eat after 5pm, everybody juice! and your body needs to be detoxed; nonsense. These types of myths and poor insight still exist which fuels similar diets; check out our article on ¬†gluten free diets.

I also bought into media images; this was before the massive trend of social media and the dreaded skinny selfies…and perhaps there was less fat shaming and instant victimisation of those that were not a size two as a result, perhaps not? But I think that seeing any picture of yourself (fat or thin), or of a thin celebrity, when your mindset is that skewed can bring it all home and produce black and white thinking; creating distorted body images and a shit storm of dieting. It’s funny though, when I look at some of those pictures now- I wonder what I was complaining about?!

 

None of these types of behaviours or drastic thinking sat comfortably with me, and taking my health into my own hands without being properly informed only meant one thing, doomed to start again! Whether that be in a week, a fortnight or in a month‚Äôs time‚Ķ.and I don‚Äôt know about you, but I was tired of it and completely aware that it was my own fault. I needed to take a step back and analyse ‘what was the driving force behind my behaviours’… what steps did I need to take¬†in order to change… and who do I turn to for some sound advice?

Photo by: Oliver Symens_Flickr

Photo by: Oliver Symens (Flickr)

 

When it comes to weight loss, there are some that say ‚ÄúI’ve tried everything and nothing has worked‚Ä̂Ķwell it‚Äôs because they¬†are going about weight loss the wrong way and potentially they’re not dealing with any¬†underlying (personal) issues. The dynamics of weight loss and good nutrition isn’t complicated, but humans are‚Ķ by nature we can over complicate everything! If more of us would just comply with our healthcare professional‚Äôs advice, we would see results‚Ķthis might sound trite, but it‚Äôs true; sadly (healthy & permanent) weight loss won‚Äôt happen overnight, and it takes complete compliance and most of all patience‚Ķso don‚Äôt be too hard on yourself.

As I have mentioned in a previous article, there are too many reasons to be fit and healthy, but ultimately it’s just easier to take the whole healthy lifestyle approach and just run with it! No more fad diets, no more excuses.

Photos by (starting from top left/clockwise): Sam (Flickr), Mikey Sklar (Flickr), Nadyana Magazine (Flickr) & Karyn Bosnak (Flickr).

 

From June last year my husband I started to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but we still ate fish on occasion; that aspect has now diminished. Doing this really helped give my whole outlook on food (ethically and medically) and my health a ‚Äėfull 360¬į‚Äô; I never thought my digestion would improve so much, or that I would be able to get off the unpleasant ‚Äėsugar-train‚Äô‚Ķ and now I have. If you‚Äôre worried that your vitamin and mineral levels will decline, then don‚Äôt. A recent blood test showed my iron and Vitamin B12 levels were thriving; plant-based lifestyles are sustainable! Check out our article on Plant-based proteins for more persuasion and read our articles on Supplements and ‚ÄėSuperfoods‚Äô before you part with your cash! I‚Äôm not saying that this type of approach is suitable for everyone, but countless studies offer evidence to support it. Check out our article on veganism to help you digest some further reasons why people might adopt this type of lifestyle. As always,¬†everybody should consult¬†with their health care professionals before making¬†any drastic changes to their health.

 

As far as healthy eating goes and what foods to buy- everybody has their own individual considerations. Social media, time, cooking skills and affordability can all dictate and influence what we will choose to buy, e.g. buying ground flaxseed may be expensive to some but not for others…and that goes for just about anything on the supermarket shelves.

Photo by: Thinkpanama_flickr

Photo by: Thinkpanama (Flickr)

 

‚ĶBut I‚Äôm telling you right now, everyone can eat healthily on a low-income. We did it when we were students and we do it now because we‚Äôre frugal and trying to prevent food wastage! The ‚Äėfrugal diet‚Äô can put everything into perspective. Try checking¬†out some of our recipes!

Plant-based diets are relatively cheap; on average, we spend £50-70/week (and I’m sure we could reduce it further if we tried). This feeds two people (three meals and one a snack a-day/ 7 days a week). As long as you meal plan, then there really isn’t a problem…and hey, anything to prevent food wastage right? BBC1 has recently started a miniseries on healthy eating & food wastage (Eat Well for Less?); assisting families with how much they spend on the weekly shops by encouraging them to do more of their own food prep (and therefore improve their health), eliminating brand biases (sometimes value brands are OK!) and reducing their food wastage through meal planning; very apt and things everyone should reflect on. It’s also worth checking out thecountyfare.net, they have written a great article recently that touches on meal planning; definitely worth a read. What’s in your supermarket basket? Are you making the most of you pennies? Do your current choices depict your current health status? That reminds me of a post  the Life is Good blog put out last year; check it out!

 

Photo by: Diabetes Care_Flickr

Photo by: Diabetes Care (Flickr)

 

I know, sometimes jumping through these hoops is quite mundane, especially when it comes to chopping vegetables and potentially spending a chunk of your Sunday prepping for the week ahead…but it is worth it in the end.

It‚Äôs the same with exercise, it’s something that we should all partake in‚Ķbut do you opt for more sitting and serial munching or walking and eating healthily? Your waistline and your overall disposition will reflect your choices. A recent article I saw on the blog ‘The Zeit‘,¬†emphasises how we all should have a healthier relationship with exercise; don‚Äôt use it as an escape from your problems. By doing this, exercise can fast turn into a chore and a military style punishment‚Ķbut I was guilty of this. Guilty of pounding the pavement to forget or suppress unpleasant feelings or events‚Ķ. Pounding the pavement (at times) to try to out exercise a bad diet! I started running when I was nineteen and quickly clocked up a lot of mileage. Unfortunately my knees aren‚Äôt built for long term running, but that‚Äôs besides the point. I have now developed a healthier relationship with exercise too.

Photo by: Patrick Marella_Flickr

Photo by: Patrick Marella (Flickr)

 

We should all remember, the three P’s: patience, persistence and a positive attitude, along with having the ability to stay motivated and applying/adapting realistic expectations into our health and well-being. This outlook will carry you through to help you meet your weight loss goals and guide you into that permanent healthier lifestyle that you desire.

We have to remember that were only human and we’re all fallible; even those with health credentials smoke, drink and can be generally hypocritical with the health advice they supply us with.

Life is there to be lived and we all need to find a healthy balance; negative thoughts and filling our heads with nonsensical information isn’t living. We just end up punishing ourselves through gruelling exercise and nightmare eating regimes, making life a lot harder than it needs be.

 

So…

  • Don‚Äôt set yourself up to fail‚Ķ
  • Don‚Äôt torture yourself over small mistakes (this journey is not perfect)‚Ķ
  • Don‚Äôt be afraid to ask for help (especially if you feel a bit blue or recognise that you are an emotional eater)‚Ķ
  • Don’t give up too easily. It can take time to develop a permanent and healthy relationship with food and/or exercise again… to be able to ‘trust your body’…
  • Don‚Äôt take everything at face value, whether that be about what you read about health or how you feel; people can be quite good at suppressing emotions‚Ķstiff upper lip and all‚Ķ

…just follow attainable and informed/accredited health advice and remember to embrace life.

 

This may just be only one person‚Äôs opinion and personal account‚Ķ but I am offering you some informed advice that will hopefully set you up for life and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I’ve made; some of my thoughts and experiences may resonate with you‚Ķor you may choose to ignore them…

Just remember though that healthy living and healthy weight loss is achievable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of; I got there and so can you.

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Katherine Of Chicago (Flickr)

Slow Cooker Pad Thai Soup W/Tofu (V,GF)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep duration: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 7-8 hours

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, K & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, has minimal added sugars and is relatively low in salt* and saturated fats*! (*NB:orange traffic light ratings). 

I think the main¬†thing that enticed¬†us to prepare this¬†recipe (well, me especially) was¬†the peanut butter. Authentic¬†pad Thai soups and/or noodle dishes¬†normally have vegetables, noodles, poultry, shellfish¬†and/or eggs with some nuts….but when your vegan, what are you left with?! Lovely noodles, vegetables and peanuts… so we took the peanut aspect and ran with it!

We’re both peanut butter lovers, me probably more so, but only because I grew up in North America…but my palate and awareness¬†has evolved a millionfold¬†since childhood; no more¬†¬† hydrogenated¬†oils or glucose-fructose, corn¬†syrups! I’ve said it before¬†and I’ll say it again, peanut butter is a love affair most people have for life…so we all just have to be smart about it.¬†Nut butters (in their natural form) can be quite nutritious…but also high in calories and fat (some more than others)- so please consume them within moderation as part of a healthy diet!

As for the recipe, it’s quite versatile and can be made on the ‘cheap’! For this reason we have excluded¬†tamarind¬†paste (a typical ingredient found in this type of recipe); this item isn’t necessarily expensive (especially when bought in its ‘pulp’ form) but¬†for those that do not attempt¬†a lot of ethnic cooking, it may be a waste of money… it does provide a lovely depth of flavour though, if you do decide to treat yourself! Check out our butternut squash curry;¬†we show you how to prepare¬†tamarind¬†pulp (but this is also a great recipe)!

We have also omitted the use of fish sauce and chicken stock for obvious reasons…and soya¬†sauce; just trying to keep the salt content down! Some recipes request using fried noodles- but we thought we’d give that a miss! Using chilli, lime, ginger and the peanut butter provided a lovely vegan/Thai alternative. Feel free to add¬†more veggies- this soup only offers approx. 1.5 servings (fruit/vegetables)/serving, towards your 5-A-Day; considerably¬†less than our other¬†recipes!

We hope you enjoy it!

 

The tofu is off ¬†being ‘pressed’… and we decided not to use the mirin.

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:
Step One

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 15-20 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

 

Heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

We sprayed the mat with a little low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the spring onion. Peel and dice the shallot and garlic.

 

 

Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into matchstick pieces. Wash and zest the lime.

 

 

 Drain and chop the tofu into cubes. Place them on the baking tray. Spray them with a little low-fat cooking oil. Place it into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove.

Through the magic of time….we give you baked tofu! ūüôā

 

 

In the meantime, wash, dry and slices the mushrooms…

 

 

…. and juice the lime.

 

 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the ginger, spring onion, garlic and shallot. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Remove from the heat.

 

 

Transfer the tofu into the slow cooker.

 

 

Add the ginger, spring onion, garlic and shallot and mushrooms…

Opps! We forgot to add the mushrooms… until about 10 minutes after it started cooking! Add them now!

 

 

…the carrot, lime zest and juice, sugar, chilli flakes¬†and peanut butter…

We added our mange tout at this stage…but do not recommend it. Add it right before serving to help keep its vibrant colour!

 

 

…followed by the stock and boiling water. Stir together.

 

 

Cover with the lid. Cook on low heat setting for 7-8 hours.

 

 

This soup is great to make overnight or first thing in the morning (for those that have time)!

Whether you decide to make this soup overnight or before you go off to work, there will be minimal work required to get this dish on your table.

 

Step Two

Cook some pasta according to the packet instructions (this is only going to take 10-14 minutes!). Drain.

In the meantime, place the soup into a large, non-stick saucepan (if applicable) and gently reheat over a medium-low heat; add the mange tout. Taste and season it as desired; we added a little more lime juice. Add the cooked pasta to the soup just before serving; stir together and serve.

Meanwhile, wash and chop some fresh coriander and chop some peanuts (if desired).

¬†NB: We snapped our spaghetti into halves before cooking.¬†Once you turn the slow cooker off, your food can remain a good temperature for at least 30 minutes¬†afterwards; just don’t remove the lid.

 

Ladle into a large serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and chopped peanuts (if desired) and serve.

See, don’t make the same mistake we made with the mange tout- it looks so washed out! NB: This picture shows one serving (based on six servings). One serving provides approximately: 208kcal, 11g Protein, 9g Fat, 1.6g S/fat, 3.8g Fibre, 0.5g Salt, 383mg Calcium, 2.2mg Iron & 16mg of Vitamin C! To help reduce the fat content, use half as much tofu..and maybe a little less peanut butter!

 

Enjoy!

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days.

 

If preferred…

  • Our bag of mange tout was only ¬£1, but please feel free to use bean sprouts, shredded kale, or some frozen/defrosted spinach, green beans, bell peppers, green peas, or sweetcorn instead…or in addition (let it provide 3 of your 5-A-Day)!
  • Swap the shallot for white onion.
  • If you’re short on time, you can try adding the tofu to the slow cooker ‘unbaked’…but we’re not too sure of what the end product will be like; we’ve never tried it. If anyone has, please feel free to fill in the blanks!
  • If being GF isn’t a concern, try using wholemeal pasta;¬†alternatively¬†use soba noodles or some rice¬†noodles or vermicelli instead.

Battered Tofu & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Heavy plates, chopping board, sharp knife, small bowls, baking tray, silicone mat or parchment paper, large measuring jug, whisk, non-stick pot w/lid

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and is low in added sugar and saturated fats.

Stir-fries can be a great way of eating a quick and low-fat meal (packed full of lovely vegetables of course); just be mindful of how much salt, sugar and oil you use.

This¬†is a great stir-fry recipe…. and if you love tofu- read on!

There are various ways to prepare tofu, but baking it is one of the healthier methods; it’s great for those that do not like ‘soft and squishy tofu’. If you drain and then stir-fry your tofu, this is often the end result….but if you have the time, this battered tofu recipe adds a little something extra and tastes great;¬†it’s fantastic at absorbing all the delicious flavours in your meal, just place it into the sauce towards the end of cooking!

A few other good things to note include: 

  • The batter we have prepared is fairly basic and bland. Please feel free to change it as you see fit.¬†Also, you can make the tofu in advance; just refrigerate¬†it in a resealable container for 3-5 days and reheat it before use.
  • The vegetable list is just a guide and the sauce can be adapted to suit your personal¬†taste; if you plan on using frozen vegetables,¬†defrost¬†them first.
  • Our vegetable list provides you with about¬†2.5 servings¬†of vegetables/serving towards your 5-A-Day!

Happy cooking everyone! ūüôā

 

Batter ingredients…

 

Ingredients

 

Directions

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy or weighted plattes (or chopping boards) for about 20-30 mins to remove any excess water.

 

In the meantime, prepare the batters. Place the flour, cornmeal, onion and garlic powder and sweet paprika into a bowl. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Stir together to form the dry batter.

 

 

In a separate bowl, add the potato starch and milk. Stir until dissolved.

Wet batter.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the stir-fry sauce.

Sauce ingredients…

 

 

Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem and finely chop the chilli (remove & discard the seeds first if you can’t stand the heat!). Peel and dice the shallot.

 

 

Place the corn flour and water into a large measuring jug. Stir to dissolve.

 

 

Add the soya sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and sugar. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.

 

 

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and shallot. Stir to combine.

 

 

Meanwhile, place the broccoli into a microwavable dish; defrost in the microwave. Drain.

 

 

Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the spring onion; set a little aside for a garnish (if desired). Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into slices. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into ‘matchstick’ pieces. Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Wash the corn and mange tout.

We used some green and red bell peppers…

 

 

Heat oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

 

 

Drain, chop and slice the tofu into¬†small ¬Ĺcm thick rectangles. Place them onto the baking tray.

 

 

Take a piece of the tofu and¬†dip and coat it in the ‘wet batter’ mix…

 

 

…and then dip and coat it in the ‘dry batter’ mix.

 

 

Place it onto the baking tray.

 

 

Repeat these steps until all the tofu has been coated in batter.

 

 

Place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for approx. 20-25 mins or until lightly golden. Turn once during cooking. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook rice according to the packet instructions. Drain.

 

 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, non-stick wok over a medium-high heat.

 

 

Add most of the spring onion (or all of it if you are not saving any for a garnish), bell peppers, carrot, mushrooms and corn. Gently stir-fry for 4 minutes.

 

 

Add the broccoli and mange tout. Stir-fry for a further 1-2 minutes.

Yes, we are missing our broccoli; epic fail!!! We forgot it in the microwave…so had to cook and add it to the stir-fry at the end. ūüė¶

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Stir together. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens; approx. 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

NB: You can add & stir in the battered tofu if at this point (if desired) or wait and serve it on top of the stir-fried vegetables and rice.

Finished. ūüôā

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the rice onto a lipped plate or into a large serving bowl.Top with the vegetables; sprinkle over the remaining spring onion (if applicable) and some seeds.

 

 

Finish with the tofu (if applicable).

Obviously we ate more than three pieces (more like 5- 6!)

 

 

Serve it anyway you desire!

This was our next-day leftovers- lot’s and lot’s of vegetables! ūüôā

 

 

 Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • As always, use lot’s of fresh, frozen and/or seasonal vegetables!
  • Make it as spicy as you desire; use fresh or dried chillies.
  • If you really can’t get on with tofu, try using cooked beans or brown/green lentils instead.
  • Brown basmati rice is great, but if you prefer, try using wholemeal or a GF pasta instead.

NB: We definitely prefer this meal with rice!

A Meal For Two

Healthy Recipes

We hope everyone’s had a fantastic weekend? They always go by so fast and this one has seen Valentine’s Day come and go; we decided to keep ours low-key.

Extravagance doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’… and you don’t need one specific day to declare your love to your significant other either… but good food always helps! ūüėÄ

We decided to create a nice, healthy meal for ourselves that wouldn’t break the bank, wasn’t typical of our day-to-day meals and of course would leave us satisfied; we don’t normally make three course meals- who has the time for that?! We spent approx. ¬£14 on top of our weekly budget to prepare this meal, but estimate it would cost approx. ¬£30-35 if you had to buy all of the ingredients. In the grand scheme of things, our three course dining experience wasn’t very expensive; considerably cheaper than dining in a vegan/London restaurant! We do not end to eat out anyways; who wants to pay ¬£3 for three strawberries when you can buy the whole box?

Here’s a breakdown of what we ate.

 

 

Our Valentine’s Menu

 

Mini bruschetta’s¬†with a mixed plum tomato medley, marinated with fresh basil, olive¬†oil and¬†a balsamic glaze.

 

 

A grilled & marinated portobello mushroom nestled over baked potato & daikon latkes and creamed leeks, with steamed asparagus spears.

 

 

 

A DF, GF and low-sugar chocolate cake, topped with a medley of fresh fruit & crushed hazelnuts.

 

Some elements of this menu are still in the making, but overall we enjoyed it! We hope to put up some of these recipes at a later date.

 

Have a great week everyone and as always… let’s try and¬†Eat2Health!

Avocado & Spinach Soup [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Type: Main Meal or Side Dish
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, large pot, frying spatula, blender or food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!. 

If¬†you’ve never have an avocado-based soup before, you’re in for a treat.¬†It’s creamy, delicious nutritious and it literally¬†only takes about 5 minutes to get this recipe cooking on your¬†stove top! Cooking really doesn’t get any easier than that!

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • This soup provides you with about 2.5 servings of vegetables/serving towards¬†your 5-A-Day!
  • Avocados are actually a fruit, or more¬†specifically, a single-seeded berry! They are a great¬†source of: B-vitamins, Vitamin E, protein, fibre, potassium, zinc and mono-unsaturated fats (‘good’¬†fats that can help lower LDL cholesterol if combined with a healthy diet and¬†lifestyle); among some other nutrients that are all great for maintaining a healthy body!

They are known for their high calorie and fat content; unlike other plant sources (e.g. coconuts!) they contain less saturated fat and more mono and poly unsaturated fats! Yay for healthy fats!

  • This¬†is a great soup in moderation- for your waistline and wallet! If you’re like us, you probably only buy them on occasion, as they are a fruit native to central America- which means their carbon footprint does not always come cheap!

We also think that soup is a great example of how¬†processed foods can deceive us¬†if were¬†not careful, even healthy ones.¬†It is possible to have¬†too much of a good thing, e.g. eating a homemade fruit smoothie can easily contain over 30 grams of sugar. Fruit sugar is great, when you are eating ‘whole pieces of fruit’… but not necessarily when you break down all of its lovely¬†intrinsic sugars (a.k.a¬†when you throw¬†all of your delicious¬†fruit¬†into a¬†blender)! Breaking down all the wonderful¬†insoluble fruit fibre makes the fruit sugars (fructose) more accessible to your body;¬†which increases the glycaemic index value (*see our article on sugar here).

This is why the BDA advises we only drink 150ml of fruit juice/day and why it should never be a used as a replacement to fruit; it only can be counted as one of your 5-A-Day.

… But we have digressed; let’s get cooking!

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g     White Onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2             Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Low-Fat Cooking Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400ml   Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Vegetable Stock (low sodium/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1              Bay Leaf
+++++++++++++++++++++++++15ml       Lemon Juice
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Frozen Spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++320g      Avocado Pears
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml    Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Nutritional Info

NB: This soup receives an orange traffic light rating for its fat and sat fat contents, and a green one for its salt; which makes it an OK choice. To lower the fat content, just use one avocado and some more lovely spinach instead!

 

 

Directions

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.

We used some leftover banana shallots and a white onion- anything goes! If you have a food processor or food mandolin (that you don't mind washing up later)- this step will be even quicker!

We used some leftover banana shallots and a white onion- anything goes! If you have a food processor or food mandolin (that you don’t mind washing up later)- this step will be even quicker!

 

 

  • Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Spray it some low-fat cooking oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the water, stock, bay leaf and lemon juice. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.
  • Add the spinach. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Return to the¬†boil. Simmer and cook for 3-4 mins or until cooked. Remove from the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, chop the avocado into halves, remove the stone and then peel away the skin. Tip: If you are using frozen avocado, make sure it has thoroughly defrosted first! 

 

 

 

  • Remove the bay leaf from the saucepan and discard. Transfer the soup into a blender.
  • Add the avocado.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or into a resealable container.¬†Pour in the milk. Mix to combine. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper (if necessary). NB: Add a little more¬†water if a thinner consistency is preferred.

 

 

Place the saucepan back over a medium-low heat and gently reheat (if applicable).

 

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some soya yoghurt, fresh herbs, nuts, seeds or simply enjoy it as it is!

We used some fresh chives and seeds. :)

We used some fresh chives and seeds. ūüôā

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month.

NB: When reheating, allow the soup to become hot, but do not allow it to boil. 

Jerk Vegetable Skewers With Rice and Peas!

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4-6
Prep & cooking time: 60-80 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and is low in salt and saturated fats!

Rice and peassss anyone?? Or should we say rice and kidney beans?! In the Caribbean and some parts of the U.S.A, kidney beans are¬†refereed¬†to as peas; for most people, the word peas evokes the image of ‘little green garden peas’!

…So here’s us trying to adapt a¬†Jamaican¬†vibe with jerk seasoning, vegetables and of course, plenty of rice!

Our rice and peas¬†(although¬†not 100%¬†authentic) is significantly¬†lower in¬†saturated¬†fats than original¬†versions that use tinned¬†coconut¬†milk! Our¬†milk acts as more of a ‘flavouring’ than whole ingredient; it makes¬†a ‘perfumey’ and creamy rice that has an enjoyable taste… without the added calories! Our marinade is pretty tasty too! As we have recommended (see below!), try using it as a marinade or as a ‘rawish’ sauce!

 

Quick facts:

  • This recipe provides you with approximately 6 portions of fruit/vegetables/serving(*based on 4¬†servings) towards your 5-A-Day!
  • Our milk provides approximately 0.9g of saturated fat/100ml vs. 15g/100ml from¬†tinned (full fat) coconut milk.
  • Kidney beans¬†can be a good source of protein, fibre, calcium and iron (among other nutrients!) for those adapting a plant-based lifestyle.¬†¬†
  • Rice and peas is a great example of¬†protein combining! Check out our¬†previous article for more details and great advice on plant-based proteins!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

 

 

Place the ginger, shallot, garlic, chillies, spring onion, lime zest and juice, pineapple juice, soya sauce, allspice and oil into a food processor.

 

 

Blend until a chunky paste is achieved.

 

 

Remove and transfer it into a shallow bowl.

 

 

Dip and coat the skewers into the marinade; use a pastry brush to help spread it evenly.

NB: Alternatively- spray the skewers with some low- fat cooking oil and roast them; pour over the marinade when serving as a¬†‘rawish’ type of sauce instead!

 

 

Transfer the marinaded skewers back onto the baking tray.

 

 

Continue this step until all of the skewers have been marinaded. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired).

 

 

Place the pineapple over the skewers.

 

 

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Rinse and drain the rice. Drain and rinse the beans.

 

 

Place the baking tray into the oven. Roast for approximately 20-30 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Remove.

Finished! We roasted ours for 25 minutes. ūüôā

 

 

In the meantime, place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the onion. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the rice. Stir to combine.

 

 

Add the milk and water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.

 

 

Add the beans, thyme and garlic powder. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Reduce to a simmer.

 

 

Cover with a lid. Cook for 15-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Remove.

 

 

Serve immediately. Ladle the rice onto a serving plate. Top with the skewers and pineapple.

 

 

Enjoy the great flavours and a full belly!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B3 (Niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin C, protein, fibre, beta carotene, iron, potassium, no added sugar and is low in salt and fats! 

We love sweet potatoes but think that it’s sometimes an undervalued ingredient; its¬†list of cooking and baking¬†possibilities is¬†endless! This soup¬†has a delicious and¬†creamy¬†texture with a wonderful spicy kick! It’s a great recipe that’s¬†incredibly easy to prepare, wallet-friendly and of course versatile! Prepare it for lunch or as a dinner (just add a few extra ingredients- see below)! ¬†

Help and stop food wastage by meal planning and make sure to use up any remaining ingredients in your fridge…like celery! Celery can be an annoying one… as you¬†cannot just buy a single stalk of celery! We all have to be a bit more proactive about using it. Our leftover celery went unnoticed in this soup, but it was a simple way to prevent it ending up in the bin!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++500ml    Vegetable stock (low salt/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2L            Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++860g       Sweet potatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g        Banana shallots
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g        Celery
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g        Red bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++50g          Raw ginger root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g          Red Chilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g             Ground coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                 Salt & Ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock and water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel and chop the potatoes. Peel, trim the ends and roughly chop the shallot. Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the ginger. Wash and trim the ends off the chilli.

NB: Remove and discard the chilli seeds if you prefer your soup with less heat!

 

 

Place the potatoes, shallot, celery, bell pepper, ginger, chilli and coriander into the saucepan. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove from the heat.

 

 

Allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

 

Transfer it into a blender.

If necessary, complete this step in batches.

 

 

Process until smooth.

 

 

Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or a resealable container.

 

 

If desired, season it to taste with some salt, black pepper and some more ground coriander. Stir together.

 

 

Place the saucepan back over a medium-low heat and gently reheat (if applicable).

 

 

Ladle it into soup bowls.

 

 

Garnish as desired…

We added some rice vermicelli, crushed cashews, spring onion and a pinch¬†of dried coriander and chilli flakes! ¬†NB: Based on 6 servings, the soup (without any additional ingredients) provides <150kcal & 1g fat/serving!¬† ūüėÄ

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Try adding a Thai twist! Add some fresh coriander or Thai basil, pur√©ed or fresh lemon grass, pea aubergines, lime (juice/zest) or kaffir leaves, some galangal root instead of ginger, tofu and/or a splash of UHT (unsweetened & fortified) coconut-flavoured DF milk !

Vegan Lancashire HotPot

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: 40-45 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, colander, non-stick pots w/lids, wooden spoon, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, casserole dish

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and fats!

Like some other great British recipes, a hotpot is somewhere between a stew and a casserole topped with potatoes! We know ours does¬†not depict a true representation of a¬†British hotpot; there’s no use of butter, beef, offal, lamb or mutton in this one were afraid to say! It¬†is however still a very¬†hearty, cheap and versatile dish that is not lacking in¬†great flavours! Perfect for those that crave healthy, stodgy winter meals that can be shared by the whole family.¬†

Admittedly, we did overestimate the¬†content…as you’ll see we needed more than one dish to bake it! We recommend that everyone should¬†either: A) use a bigger casserole dish,¬†B) use a deep¬†ceramic/oven-proof¬†dish¬†instead¬†or C) reduce the quantity of the water used by 400-600ml.¬†

A few other good things to note include:

  • You can use your favourite type of white beans or a variety of beans, lentils, pearl barley or some dehydrated soya mince in this dish!
  • Make the vegetables, fresh, frozen and/or seasonal as always!
  • If you’re short on time, do not peel the potatoes; we promise that you won’t enjoy this meal any less! NB:¬†Potato skins will help provide you with additional insoluble fibre (which is great to help support¬†a healthy bowel!) and further vitamins & minerals!
  • Perhaps you can try¬†substituting some of the water with a tin of chopped tomatoes; if anyone tries this, please let us know!

Quick Foodie Facts: 

  • This recipe provides you with 167% of your RDA for Vitamin C/ serving!
  • Once again this is a meal that helps you become the king or queen of vegetables…as it provides you with approximately 3.5 portions/serving of¬†your 5-A-Day! Try having a portion of fruit¬†on your morning porridge/cereal, a banana as your mid-day or¬†afternoon¬†snack and your set! Plan ahead folks- it’s really not that hard!

Happy cooking everyone! ūüôā

 

 

Ingredients:
200g     Dried brown lentils
120g      Frozen cabbage
200g     Brown onion
6g          Garlic clove (1 fat one!)
140g      White mushrooms
420g     Carrot
120g      Celery (about 2 stalks)
130g      Red bell pepper
1kg         Baking potatoes
+++++++Low-fat fry spray oil
300g    Tin Cannellini beans (in water)
2g          Dried parsley
6g          Herbs De Provence
1 tbsp    Soya sauce(low-salt/or Tamari)
60g       Tomato puree (no added salt)
500ml   Vegetable stock (low-salt/DF)
1.4L         Water
30g        Corn flour
+++++++ Salt & ground black pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. ūüôā

 

Nutritional Info:

 

Directions:

Place the lentils into a sieve. Remove any seeds or stones and then rinse them under cold running water. Cook them according to the packet instructions. Drain. Tip: Ours took 20 minutes to cook.

 

In the meantime, place the frozen cabbage into a microwavable bowl. Place into a microwave and defrost. Drain the excess liquids.

Defrosted!

Defrosted!

 

Meanwhile, peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Wash, peel, trim the tops¬†and then dice the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and chop¬†the celery into small cubes (slice vertically into a few strips and then horizontally). Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ¬ľ-¬Ĺ cm¬†cubes.

 

Wash, peel (of desired) and then slice the potatoes into thin slices.

 

Open, drain and wash the cannellini beans in a colander.

You can see that by this point our lentils were cooked!

 

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Stir together. Gently fry for 4-5 mins or until softened.

 

Add the cooked lentils, defrosted cabbage, drained beans, 2g dried parsley, 6g Herbs De Provence, 16g mustard powder, 1 tbsp soya (or tamari) sauce, 60g tomato puree, 500ml vegetable stock and 1.4L water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 mins.

We simmered ours for about 8 mins.

 

In the meantime, heat the oven to 200¬įC/400¬įF. Also, prepare a slurry! Place 30g corn flour into a small dish. Add equal parts water. Whisk with a fork¬†until it’s dissolved.

 

 

Season the gravy with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Re-whisk the slurry. Whilst stirring, pour the slurry into the pot. Keep stirring for about 2-3 mins or until the gravy has thickened. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Transfer the mixture into a large casserole dish.

 

Top with a layer of potato. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil. Repeat this step until all of the potato has been used.

 

 

Place the casserole dish onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 25 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are tender and slightly browned. Remove. Allow it to cool slightly (as it will be boiling hot!).

 

 

Use a large kitchen spoon and serve the hotpot in a lipped serving plate. Serve with additional vegetables if desired (maybe some delicious steamed green beans, kale or broccoli for some added nutrition and to help brighten up the dish!)

Enjoy!

 

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container or securely cover with a layer of kitchen film; reheat and consume within 3 days. Alternatively store in an air tight and resealable container(s); defrost/reheat and consume within 1-2 months. NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the dish is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat it more than once. 

Fiery Butternut Squash & Tofu Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 50 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, no added sugars and is low in salt and fats!

This is a squash and tofu soup flavoured with fiery ginger and other earthy spices. Not only is it delicious, but it’s easy to prepare; the finished product provides you with¬†a soup that has a very creamy and velvety texture!¬†

 

Feel free to use more spices if desired!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++600ml    Vegetable stock (low-salt/DF; GF if needed)
+++++++++++++++++++800ml    Water
+++++++++++++++++++800g       Butternut squash
+++++++++++++++++++60g          Raw ginger root
+++++++++++++++++++140g        Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++130g        Red bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++10g          Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++6g            Ground cumin
+++++++++++++++++++6g            Ground coriander
+++++++++++++++++++340g       Silken Tofu
+++++++++++++++++++                Salt & ground black pepper

 

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock and water. Bring to the boil.

 

 

In the meantime, trim the ends, de-seed and chop the squash into small cubes. Wash, peel and roughly chop the ginger. Wash, peel, trim the ends and and roughly chop the carrot. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper. Peel and mince the garlic.

We used some of our roasted garlic that we saved from last week! Remember our baked rice?! Feel free to use a raw or roasted variety!

 

 

Place the squash, ginger and carrot into the saucepan. Cover with a lid. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the bell pepper, garlic, ground cumin and coriander. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.

 

 

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, drain and place the tofu into a blender.

 

 

Ladle the soup into the blender; if necessary, process in batches.

We completed this step in 2 batches.

 

 

Blend until smooth.

Nice and creamy!

 

 

Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or a resealable container.