Easy peasy banana ice-cream

Easy banana ice-cream – serves 1, 130 calories

Bananas are a great food choice for anyone wanting to maintain their cardio vascular health; due of its high levels of potassium, which is an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function They are also great for keeping you fuller for longer because of their high fibre content

This recipe is so easy I can’t believe I’ve never tried it before!

IMG_1466Peel a ripe banana – the ones that you usually throw away because they are so soft!, cut into 4 thick slices and wrap in cling film or place in a bag and put it in the freezer.  Once frozen (about 2 hours or longer) take out place in a beaker, measuring cup etc add a few drops of vanilla extract and blend with a hand blender until smooth. You may need to wait a few minutes for the banana to soften just a bit

IMG_1460Scrape out into a bowl and eat with some fresh berries  (handful of fresh berries is about 60 calories) and a small grating of dark chocolate (½ a square of dark chocolate is about 25 calories)

This ice cream is so creamy your friends will never believe it is just frozen whizzed up banana – Delish!

 

For a bit of something extra, serve with a broken up meringue nest (50 calories) and a few raspberries (80g 25 calories)

5 foods for the best beach body

5 foods for the best beach body

imagesAs we think about sunscreen, sandals and siestas we much also spare a thought for our bodies.  There’s still time to get that beach beautiful body you’ve always wanted

Just make sure you eat plenty of the 5 foods listed below.  It would also help if you did some exercise, watched your portion size and for the time being cut down on the alcohol

 

Lower fat dairy products

One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A, and one of the best places imagesto get it is lower-fat dairy products. If you are vegan oat milk contains this useful vitamin. Have a vitamin packed milk/yoghurt shake using skimmed milk or low fat yoghurt with your favourite fruit

Another chief source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) are carrots, which can be juiced and blended into a smoothie, as well as numerous other culinary ways.

 

Fruit

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and plums are not only bursting with fibre to keep you fuller for longer but they are also packed with healthy antioxidants.  They imagesmop up free radicals – produced for example when you have sun exposure.  They also contain good amounts of viatamin C, which will help with collagen production so your skin will look firmer.  Add these fruits to your cereals, eat with low fat yoghurts or bake into a crumble made with a healthy selenium packed oaty topping

 

Water.

imagesWater has a vital role in skin hydration; keeping it looking healthy and even younger. The recommendation is to drink about eight glasses (2 litres) every day.  In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which will automatically leave skin looking better.

When you are properly hydrated, you also sweat more efficiently. Doing this helps keep skin clean and clear as well.

Avocados

Avocado’s are a great food for the body they contain monosaturated fat which means they imagesalso contain Vitamin E (along with Vitamins B and K), which is great for skin tone it also is known to slow the aging process.  The fat in avocados can also lessen your LDL cholesterol (the bad sort!).  Half an avocado contains 180 calories and is great with prawns in a salad or blitz into a dip with chillies, lime juice and coriander.

Beauty Tip:

Don’t throw away the avocado skin; turn it inside out and rub it on your face and hands.  Don’t worry you will look like Shrek but it will be worth it.  Leave to do its magic for 5 minutes then rinse off with warm water.  The vitamin E that is at its most concentrated just under the skin of the avocado will make your skin looks hydrated, plump and soft

 

Mint

This humble herb is great for any beach preparation.  It has a cooling effect on the body, so ideal for this lovely hot spell we are having!  It is also packed with vitamin A, which is imagesgreat for firming the skin.  Its anti-bloating effect will also make your flatter stomach the envy of others on the beach

Add a handful of washed leaves to a pot of hot water and you have a delicious, refreshing cuppa, or sprinkle chopped mint on salads for a fresh minty zing or add to fruit salads to bring out the natural flavours of strawberries, raspberries, pineapple and mangos

imagesSo don’t delay, start today and you will be the owner of a beautiful beach body!

Your diet could affect your sleeping pattern

Your diet could affect your sleeping pattern

imagesWith our increasingly stressful day to day lives, problems such as sleep apnoea and insomnia are becoming more common. New technology and deeper research has afforded us many solutions to cure or prevent these sleeping problems, but the newest discovery in sleep research is that our diet can have an effect on our sleeping pattern.

 

imagesThe health benefits of sleep are endless – from better concentration to improved memory, we all feel a little better after having had a good rest. Sleep isn’t just beneficial to your mental health either – it’s also been scientifically proven to lower stress levels by reducing inflammation, which is one of the lead causes of fatal conditions such as heart disease. To make sure you get the best quality of sleep, consider investing in a bed from Bedstar and make sure your bedroom is free of distractions such as smartphones, tablets or televisions.

 

imagesNext up, take a look at what you’re eating – studies have shown that there are a number of foods that can naturally aid our sleep. Consider adding a few more bananas to your diet. They contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy, so they can be a great help in combating insomnia.

 

Your fridge may be the best place to look if you’re having trouble sleeping. It’s not just an old wives’ tale – a glass of warm milk really can help you to relax and unwind in order to imagesget that essential shut eye. Many dairy products, such as yoghurt, cheese and eggs are all rich in the aforementioned tryptophan, so make sure you can implement these into your diet as much as possible. The famous ‘cheese before bed’ tale has also been disproven too, so you can sleep easy without fear of nightmares!

 

Another thing to consider when changing your diet to improve your sleep is to look at your eating patterns. It’s best advised not to eat a heavy meal just before going to bed as this disrupts the sleep-hormone melatonin-production cycle. If your blood flow is too focused on digesting a heavy meal, it will speed up your metabolic rate, which needs to be slowed in order to sleep well. Try to avoid eating three hours before bed in order to maintain an efficient process.

 

imagesFinally, don’t forget to stay away from the cardinal sins of sleep, such as drinking alcohol before bed. Alcohol is a depressant which may make you want to pass out quickly, but once its depressant effects have worn off, it triggers an alertness function in your brain that makes you wake up earlier than natural. Drink water before bed if you must have a few drinks, and keep all sugary snacks to a minimum.

Where is the best veggie food in Nottingham?

Veg out!

imagesThere are some exciting things on the horizon for Nutrition Coach my nutrition and healthy eating business. The past few weeks have been both busy and rewarding!

 

 

imagesIn addition to coaching my clients about adopting healthy eating approaches and running my successful 5:2 fast diet class, one project that has been keeping me busy is working with Nottingham’s local paper the ‘Nottingham Post’.

 

I have been a vegetarian for many years and as a chef and nutritionist I am often frustrated IMG_1411by the veggie options on offer when I eat out.  So I contacted the Post and pitched the idea of ‘Veg Out’; each month I will be dining out at a local establishment and writing about my experience.  I will be looking at the vegetarian options on offer, their nutritional balance and how adaptable the restaurant is to my vegetarian needs

 

IMG_1211I plan to visit a good mix of restaurants from small independents to larger chains, as well as vegetarian specialists. My hope is to highlight all the good veggie food that is out there and to recognise the restaurants that are flying the veggie flag

 

The paper is doing a feature about me to launch the idea this Saturday 19th July with my first review appearing in the paper on Wednesday 23rd July.  I will then publish a review on the last Wednesday of each month

IMG_1455My first veggie review is of the Kiosk in Sherwood, and its now in todays Nottingham Post (23rd July) I will review another eatery on the last Wednesday of every month.  For more info about the Kiosk, why not visit their FaceBook page The Kiosk

 

 

If you know of any restaurants in Nottingham (and surrounding areas) that offer a good choice of vegetarian food, and you think I would enjoy reviewing them. please post your comments

UPDATE

Nottm post feature photo

 

The Nottingham Post feature has now been published

Bon Appétit!

The Spiralizer

My new kitchen gadget – The Spiralizer!

IMG_1356Do an internet search for the Spiralizer and images of stringy ‘noodle’ like courgettes will appear.  This is a new gadget that is sweeping across the States.  I’ve had mine for a couple of months now so I thought it was time to share a few recipes and what works and what doesn’t

 

So what is a Spiralizer and should you invest in one?

IMG_1381The blurb states that it is a way for you to eat all the meals that you love without the calorie laden pasta carbs.  So move over spag bol and say hello to sweet potato bol!

A portion of spaghetti  (75g uncooked weight) has 265 calories and 54g of carbohydrate, whereas a 125g portion of courgette ‘spaghetti’ has 21 calories and less than 4g of carbohydrate.  And a 150g portion of Udon noodles has 207 calories and 38g of carbs, compare that with a 100g  sweet potato ‘noodle’ which has only 98 calories and 21g of carbs

Generally we eat larger portions of pasta, rice, bread and potatoes than we need, for instance a portion of pasta is 75g (uncooked), try weighing that out and put it into your usual pasta bowl and see how small it looks!

A well-balanced meal should be a quarter protein, a quarter carbohydrate and half fruit and vegetables, so the Spiralizer could play a really useful role in redressing the nutritional balance in a potential carb-heavy diet.

Being aware of the amount of carbs and portion sizes are not only important for those that wish to maintain a healthy weight but for people who need to monitor their blood sugar levels like diabetics; when excessive carbs could have a negative effect on their health

You cannot buy the Spiralizer in the shops (yet) so I ordered mine online for about £25.  It is very straightforward to use, but you must remember to make sure the suction feet are firmly pressed down on to your work surface before you begin, or else your little gadget will ‘walk’ across the kitchen

IMG_1358It is simple to assemble; everything is made of sturdy easy clean plastic, that is also dishwasher safe.  With three different blades to make different shapes – thick noodles, like Udon; thin noodles, like spaghetti; and spirals or shavings just like the ones you get when you sharpen your pencil!

So choose your veg and away you go!  As I say I have been spirialising for a few months now and I find the best fruit and veg to use are -

  • courgettes – all blades work well
  • IMG_1362sweet potato – all blades work well
  • apples and pears – to make spirals, great with thick yoghurt and a few seeds or nuts on top
  • carrots – all blades work well
  • cabbage - to make spirals.  It grates it brilliantly for crunchy coleslaw
  • cooked  or raw whole beetroot – all blades work well
  • cucumber – all blades work well
  • parsnip -  all blades work well
  • Melon -  to make spirals

IMG_1368If you would prefer to follow a recipe rather than experiment then here is a great dish for Japanese broth with ‘noodles’ or what about courgette ‘noodles’? I will add more as I go along

 

Some points to bear in mind

When using beetroot – if you use the vacuum packed precooked versions, don’t use a peeler or Spiralizer ;the  beetroot is too soft and its get IMG_1364very messy.  Just use a sharp knife.  but you can use raw or cook it, have a cloth handy because it can splatter and use rubber gloves because it will stain your hands

When using carrots you need fairly broad ones.  The thinner ones just won’t work.  Try it and you’ll see what I mean

Cut courgettes and carrots into about 3” lengths, any longer and the ‘noodle’ shapes become too long and unmanageable

IMG_1363Make sure both ends of the vegetables are straight so they sit squarely on to the spiked handle and go smoothly through the blade

There is no need to peel or core fruit and veg, just wash them.  Most of the nutrients and fibre are just underneath the skin so its important to keep the skin on and maximize the nutritional benefits

Japanese Style broth with courgette noodles

IMG_1380This recipe uses my latest gadget – the spiralizer.  It turns fruit and vegetables into great shapes that will hopefully encourage the whole family to eat more and eat less pasta, bread rice and potatoes.  If you haven’t got one a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler will work just as well.  Check out my other blog for more information about the spiralizer.  This recipe is really tasty and anyone watching their weight or eating as part of the 5:2 fast diet will enjoy the tastes and textures without the excessive calories.

Japanese Style broth with courgette ‘noodles’ - serves 2, 210 calories per serving

1 ltr of boiling water

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger or ginger paste or ½ tsp ground ginger

1 chilli, 2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tbls miso paste (suitable for vegetarians)

IMG_13831 tsp each of soy sauce, honey and lemon juice

large pinch of black pepper

1 carrot (100g)  – finely sliced

150g of each – leek (or onion),red pepper, both finely sliced

50g mushrooms, 4 spring onions – finely sliced

handful of fresh parsley or coriander chopped

200g of tofu – drained and cut into cubes

IMG_1381140g courgette turned into ‘noodles’ with a spirialiser

In a large pan add ginger, chilli, soy sauce, lemon juice, black pepper, garlic and miso paste to the boiling water. Continue to boil for a minute.  Turn down the heat and add the carrots and leek and cook for 2 minutes, add the pepper and mushrooms .  Cook for 3 minutes ten add the ‘noodles’ until the vegetables are cooked.  Add the tofu – it just needs to warm through. Check the seasoning and adjust.

Serve in to large bowls and scatter over the IMG_1325chopped herbs and sliced spring onions

 

Non-fast day additions

Small handful of unsalted cashew nuts  (28g)- 160 calories

1 tbls sesame seeds – 52 calories

1 poached chicken breast (100g)- 100 calories

Crunchy courgette ‘noodles’ with spicy veg

Crunchy courgette ‘noodles’ with spicy veg – serves 2, 197 calories per serving

IMG_1356This recipe uses my latest gadget – the spiralizer.  It turns fruit and vegetables into great shapes that will hopefully encourage the whole family to eat more and eat less pasta, bread rice and potatoes.  If you haven’t got one a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler will work just as well.  The recipe is really tasty and anyone watching their weight or eating as part of the 5:2 fast diet will enjoy the tastes and textures without the excessive calories.

Enjoy!

Check out my other blog for more information about the spiralizer.
IMG_1358

½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste or ½  thumb-sized piece of ginger  and ½  a clove of garlic, few dried chilli flakes or half a fresh chilli finely sliced, 1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons of vinegar (rice wine, white wine or cider ) or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, large pinch ground black pepper, ½ green cabbage or 300g kale – chopped , 250 g fresh or frozen broccoli  – cut into florets, 100 g carrots – sliced, 150 g courgette noodles – made using a spiraliser (14 calories per serving),  few chopped mint leaves

IMG_1377Add the ginger garlic paste to a bowl, or if you are using fresh ingredients peel the ginger and garlic and finely grate into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, vinegar/lemon juice, sesame oil and a large pinch of ground black pepper, then mix to make the dressing.

 

Add the shredded cabbage or kale, carrots and broccoli florets to a pan with a small amount of boiling water and cook for around 3 minutes (with the lid on), or steam if you have a basket, then add the courgette noodles for a final minute.

 

IMG_1382Drain it all well (reserve the liquid to make stock for another recipe), then toss in the bowl of dressing.

 Divide the noodles between two bowls and scatter over the chopped mint leaves

This is a very versatile noodle dish and can be changed by adding any other fresh seasonal veg, or leftovers you have in the fridge. Mangetout, asparagus, leeks, peppers, cauliflower and Pak choi are all good substitutes.

Also try making the ‘noodles’ out of sweet potato (74 calories per serving), carrots (32 calories per serving), potato (58 calories per serving),

 

 

Non fast day additions

2 poached eggs – 88 calories each served on top of the dish

25g each of cashew nuts  – 146 calories per serving

150g Egg noodles instead of courgette noodles (200 cals) – 274 calories per portion

Are you getting enough fruit and veg?

Are you eating enough fruit and veg? 

imagesOnly about 30% of us are managing to eat our 5-a-day, are you one of them? Take the quiz and find out!

Note down your answers and your scores

 How often do you eat fruit at breakfast?Never, or less than once a week    = 3

One to three times a week              = 2

Four to six times a week                 = 1

Everyday                                         = 0

How often do you eat fruit at lunch?Never, or less than once a week    = 3

One to three times a week              = 2

Four to six times a week                 = 1

Everyday                                         = 0

How often do you eat fruit as a snack?(Ignore if you don’t eat snacks)

Never                                              = 3

Sometimes                                      = 2

Often                                               = 1

Always                                            = 0

How often do you eat fruit for dessert?(Ignore if you don’t eat desserts)

Never                                              = 3

Sometimes                                      = 2

Often                                               = 1

Always                                            = 0

How often do you eat vegetables or salad as a snack?(Ignore if you don’t eat snacks)

Never                                              = 3

Sometimes                                      = 2

Often                                               = 1

Always                                            = 0

How often do you eat vegetables or salad at lunch?Never, or less than once a week    = 3

One to three times a week              = 2

Four to six times a week                 = 1

Everyday                                       = 0

How often do you eat vegetables or salad with your evening meal?Never, or less than once a week    = 3

One to three times a week              = 2

Four to six times a week                 = 1

Everyday                                         = 0

 

 salmon and veg

How did you score?

If you’ve scored 2 or 3 for any question then you are probably not getting your 5-a-day.  Check out the ‘how to add more fruit and veg to your diet’, and start feeling the benefits; on average, people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables tend to be healthier and live longer.

 

How to add more fruit and veg to your diet

imagesAdd chopped banana, strawberries or a tablespoon of dried fruit to your breakfast cereal

Add grilled tomatoes to your scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast

Make a fruit smoothie using skimmed milk, a banana a handful of berries and a tablespoon of oats.  Place it all in a blender and whizz until smooth!

Have a poached egg on a muffin with some wilted spinach

Enjoy some beans on wholemeal toast.  Add ½ a teaspoon of curry powder for a spicy kick!

IMG_0594Or try my 1 egg frittata - a great breakfast for one

Take your left over pasta dish to work and have it for lunch with lots of salad.  Try my pasta dish salmon with wholemeal pasta and spicy tomato sauce its great eaten the following day

Try adding lots of salad to your usual sandwich.  Not only will it be healthier but also more filling

Add extra cooked veg or tinned butter beans to a tin of soup

Snack on fresh fruit or tinned fruit in natural juice, serve with a thick plain yoghurt

imagesAdd lots of veg like tinned tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, leeks to pasta dishes.  You could always use a hand blender to make a smooth sauce.  Or follow my recipes for veggie pasta bake or spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce

Make a tasty omelette and fill it with peppers, tomatoes, onions, courgettes, spinach

Make some fruit kebabs using seasonal ingredients

IMG_1331Serve a mixed salad with a pizza – you will eat less pizza

Try and have at least two different vegetables with your main meal

Try an apple with some wholenut peanut butter – it is delicious!

 

For more information about the benefits of eating more fruit and veg please read my blog 7 a day

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint serves 2

imagesAt this time of year both broad beans and courgettes are at their best and this recipe makes great use of them.  Out of season you can use frozen broad beans, peas or broccoli.  Now you seem to be able to get courgettes all year round but if you fancy a change why not use leeks when they are in season, which is November through to April.   And if you tire of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)  try using giant couscous – I have another tasty recipe using couscous that you could also try giant couscous salad.  Or experiment with freekeh (green wheat), again I have a look at my recent blog for a great recipe using this ingredient freekeh salad

But before you go off piste give this receipt a go and like me, I’m sure you’ll love it!

images90g uncooked quinoa

250 ml of hot stock (made with ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder)

100g of podded broad beans – do try and also take off the outer greyish skin

2 courgettes cut into thick slices

1 tsp oil

handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

large pinch black pepper

 

Put the quinoa in a pan and add the hot stock and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat. Then add the fresh or frozen broad beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the beans and quinoa are soft

imagesIn the meantime brush the courgettes with oil and a few chilli flakes and fry in a pan or griddle

Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and add the cooked courgettes, chopped mint, parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and divide in to two bowls

Sickly sweet

Sickly sweet!

Why is the amount of sugar we eat a cause for concern?

imagesIn UK 62% of adults and 28% of children are either overweight or obese. Action on sugar – a new group made up of leading health experts will tackle obesity and diabetes’s by looking at the amount of ‘free sugars’ in food and drink.  Free sugars are those added to food or contained in fruit juices, honey, syrups and sweetened drinks. They do not include the sugars locked inside fresh fruits, vegetables and milk.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also said people should aim to get just 5% of their daily calories from the sweet stuff.  Currently the suggestion is 10%; that works out at about 50g of sugars for a woman and 70g for a man, depending on how active they are

 

imagesThere is now a clear message (as if there wasn’t before!) that sugar is aiding the obesity epidemic, as well as increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.  You can read more about obesity in one of my earlier blog posts

 

 

Do you really know how much sugar you consume?

Its obvious when you put a spoonful of sugar in your tea that you are eating a spoonful but what about the biscuit that goes with it or your cereal in the morning?

 

The foods below contribute to our whopping addiction to sugar

  • imagesHidden sugars in foods and drinks that are manufactured and are often termed “free sugars”
  • Foods that we eat or make that we add sugar to – tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits
  • Foods that naturally contain sugar – fruit and vegetables and milk

The ‘free sugars’ are the real danger because more and more food in our supermarket trolleys is processed.  Sugar is a relatively cheap ingredient and it can often be added at the expenses of more healthy but costly ingredients.  And more importantly it is not always clear how much we are eating.

imagesTake a look in your fridge and cupboards at your everyday foods and quickly add up the sugar you might consume in a day.  Does it exceed the 50 – 70g that is currently advised and how far is it above the 25 – 35g that WHO are now recommending?

 

This is what an average day could look like

Breakfast: A 125 ml glass of fruit juice (15g of sugar), a bowl of Frosties cereal with skimmed milk (17g of sugar) or a bowl of Cornflakes (9g)

imagesLatte on the way to work (17g)

Mid-morning snack:  A cup of tea, no sugar with a cereal bar (12g) or two digestive biscuits (5g)

Lunch: Chicken club sandwich (5g), packet of crisps (1g), can of Lilt (15g), I apple (15g)images

Mid-afternoon snack: cup of tea (no sugar) with a kitkat (23g)

Dinner: ready meal lasagne (15g), salad and ready made garlic bread (2g). Bowl of fresh strawberries (6g) with vanilla ice-cream (9g) 1 glass of white wine (1g)

The total amount of sugar consumed during the day is 149 -157g or 37-39 teaspoons; way above the 50-70g (12½  – 17½ teaspoons) suggested by World health experts

 

So what do you do if you are serious about cutting down sugar?

  • CadburyDairyMilk (21)It’s essential to read food labels

–     Ingredients must be listed in order of weight, with the main ingredient first.

–     Sugars are found under ‘carbohydrates’

–     High – have over 22.5g of total sugars per 100g

–     Low – have 5g of total sugars or less per 100g

  • unnamedTry and convert grams of sugar into teaspoons.  For instance the bar of chocolate above has 22g of sugar divide that by 4 (number of grams in a teaspoon) and it means the chocolate has 5 ½ teaspoons of sugar.  Will that make to less likely to eat it? look at the everyday ingredients in these products are you surprised by the number of teaspoons of sugar they contain?
  • Eat less processed food – try and make your evening meal from scratch.  Have a look at my other blog posts under recipes for healthy and nutritious meal ideas
  • BrUJz82CAAA-NK_The main way to stay hydrated should be by drinking water.  Consider fizzy drinks and fruit juice as food and therefore limit their consumption
  • Change your breakfast cereal to lower or no sugar versions like porridge, shredded wheat, Weetabix
  • Limit the number of takeaways you eat
  • If you love chocolate try the dark variety, not only does it have less sugar but you eat less of it
  • look at your portion control – are you eating too much? My blog portion distortion has more advice and tips

IMG_1141Lets hope that Supermarkets also make it easier for shoppers to make healthier choices.  So far they don’t seem to be!