Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.

 

 

 

IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds

 

 

Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes add the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water

 

After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly

 

In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water

 

IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix

 

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

 

Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Eat together eat better

Eat together eat better

 

dinner tableAccording to the latest figures from Gem 106 families eat together as few as 7 times a month. Does that surprise you, are you one of those families, do you eat every main meal at the table, or do you prepare meals at different times of the day for your household?

 

Do you remember when you were young and meals were always noisy family affairs with squabbles, chatter and laughter around the table. Well just over third of us do that now and nearly a quarter of us sit in front of the TV to have our meals.

I was asked by Gem106 radio if I was surprised that just under half of people aren’t eating at the table each night. Here’s a 2 minute clip

 

There are many reasons why eating at the table can benefit the whole family.

It’s a great time to bond as a group; to talk over what each has done during the day, what’s troubling someone, to share happy stories and to seek reassurance and security.

 

IMG_4069Children can get involved in the planning, cooking and serving of meals (even if you eat different things) and appreciate the time and effort involved in that process. Fun dishes like pitta pizza’s, spiralised veggies, fruit kebabs and tomato spaghetti could encourage then to get involved. Home cooked simple meals are generally lower in sugar, fat and salt than ready meals and takeaways. And the parent can moderate the amount of food that is consumed so that healthy portions are served, including the children’s five-a-day.

Some studies have suggested that family meals may reduce the risk of childhood obesity and may help the whole family to develop healthier eating patterns. Parents can lead by example choosing healthier meals like grilled chicken with sweet potato wedges and vegetables, oily fish (sardines on toast or tuna pasta bake) or a vegetable and cheesed filled omlette with baked beans.

 

It has also been suggested that a child’s development in particular their vocabulary can be improved by listen to and taking part in family conversations.

 

spiraliseWhen eating in front of the TV or being distracted by other gadgets, the brain often fails to register when you’ve had enough to eat, until its too late and you’ve overeaten, feel bloated or sick.   Family meals can have the opposite effect; time is taken to eat, chewing and digesting can be done at a slower pace and the bodies “I’m full’ signals can be recognised. This can lead to a reduction in calories consumed.

Maybe what’s stopping families is a lack of cooking confidence or maybe someone in the family has special dietary requirements like gluten free, vegan or vegetarian. If that’s the case then maybe coming to my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes could give you the confidence and support you need

vegan cookery poster jpeg

This is a short 2 minute clip of Nicky, who came to one of my classes and what her experience was like

Has any of this made you think and appreciate that family meals can be so much more than just a chance to refuel?!

Burns’ night

Burns’ night at the Embankment

Let me get it out there straight away, I’m not Scottish but I was drawn by the idea of veggie haggis and whisky – well who wouldn’t be!

So a quick walk over Trent Bridge and saw the welcoming lights of the Embankment Pub

IMG_9581It was going to be a busy night as ‘reserved’ boards were on most of the tables. Happily for us we were one of them; a little table by the window including details of the whiskies on offer. Good start. James the manager came over and explained how the night would pan out. So on to the first of our four specially chosen whiskies (Courtesy of the guys from Gauntleys); a very light, mellow and totally tasty Campbeltown Loch, the only blended whisky. When we returned to our table a veggie cheese board was ready and waiting. Who knew whisky and smoked cheese would work so well. Tipple two was Glendronach the ‘Heilen’, a step up in terms of ABV but lovely none the less. And it arrived just in time to accompany a very generous portion of veggie haggis, tatties and neeps. The haggis was really tasty and was bursting with fresh veggies and nutty barley. The texture was perfect and worked really well with the soft mash and neeps.

 

veggie haggis

veggie haggis

fantastic piping

fantastic piping

 

 

Whisky #three was a 10 year old Glen Moray, and had the more familiar caramel colour and peaty taste. But the star of the show was the piper who took centre stage at the ‘Address to the haggis’ (sadly not a veggie haggis!).

 

 

 

 

Oh dear!

Oh dear!

I left whisky #four to my companion (I know I’m a light weight). It was a 10 year old Benraich Curiositas and I’m assured it was delicious and peaty.

My favourite by far was the first one; Campbeltown Loch.

The whole night was a huge success, from the whiskies, the Piper, the poem, the atmosphere, the food and the live music. It was a wonderful celebratory night, if slightly boozy for a ‘school night’!

Veg out restaurant review. Zizzi Nottingahm

Veg out restaurant review. Zizzi Nottingahm

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

 

I love Italian food but as a vegetarian it can sometimes be tricky when it comes to cheese. As regular readers will know just because it says veggie on the menu doesn’t mean it is if the restaurant or chef doesn’t understand the subtleties of vegetarianism and scatters Parmesan over everything.

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I am also supporting veganuary so it was with some trepidation that I booked a table for two at Zizzi’s in town. But happily my concerns were unnecessary.

 

 

vegan ragu on menu

Because as soon as we sat down I saw the ‘specials’ on the wall and there was a vegan lentil ragu; we’re off to a good start! After our drinks order was taken (which included a note of vegan options) the server presented me with the ‘vegan’ menu and it was littered with tasty morsels.

 

 

NP zizziMy review is also online at http://www.nottinghampost.com/other-restaurants-take-note-vegan-menu-at-zizzi-in-nottingham-gets-the-thumbs-up/story-30078916-detail/story.html and will appear in Wednesdays Nottingham Post

zizzi NP

zizzi Vegan menuWhat delighted me the most was the addition of vegan cheese with the pizza and pasta dishes. In other establishments I’ve noticed that the vegan options are just vegetarian minus the dairy or egg. But I could choose from a vegan bruschetta with super green pesto, green goddess salad, pizzas with tasty toppings such as butternut squash, balsamic tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves to name but a few

We decided to go for the Sicilian antipasti, which included non vegan buffalo mozzarella but they kept that away from the rest of the vegan food on the wooden board. The olives, artichokes, peppers and roasted tomatoes were all delicious. And served with ‘little soul’ bread (doughy puffs baked with garlic & smoked sea salt.) Great flavour combinations that tasted really good

vegan platter

For my main course I was very tempted by the lentil rage but in the end I plumped for the vegan margherita rustic, a thinner and crispier pizza with vegan mozzarella, accompanied by a simple mixed leaf salad (just to up my 5-a-day).  Please note the glass of water (along with the red wine) – you have to stay hydrated!

vegan pizza

It was delicious and full of flavour and best of all looked like all the other pizzas being presented to diners. It even came with a pizza cutter clearly marked vegan, so no cross zizz4contamination worries. My companion ordered casareccia pollo piccante (spicy chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes & baby spinach to you and me!), which I’m told was very spicy and tasty.

If I’d had room for dessert I would have tried the vegan coconut and chocolate ripple gelato.

I am really impressed with the effort a chain restaurant has made to offer a wide range of vegan options throughout its menu (other restaurants please take note). And it was a real treat to have food that looked and tasted like everybody else’s. It’s definitely one to revisit and this time I will forgo a starter and have that coconut ice-cream

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Serves 3, 340 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_3874This is a great vegan dish to celebrate veganuary.  It’s also a great way to use up some leftover tinned spinach from making your favourite curry (but fresh or frozen is equally as good).  It is also really adaptable; so you can use your favourite beans like cannellini, borlotti, chick peas etc.  If you like it a bit spicier then add more chilli, pepper and paprika

The beans add some really good quality low fat protein, the spinach is a great source of fibre and vitamins – especially A,E and K,  which makes it great for bone health

1 (75g) onion

½ fresh chilli

IMG_3868200g chopped spinach (fresh, frozen or tinned)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp olive oil

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 tin butter beans

50g pitted olives

1 tsp capers (optional)

½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

1 packet dried gnocchi

Splash of lemon juice

Handful of chopped mint

 

 

Fry the chopped onion gently in a pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes until it softens. Add the chilli and chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes

IMG_3871Add the drained tinned spinach (or the frozen or washed fresh spinach), tinned tomatoes and drained and rinsed butter beans and stir thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat until it all starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer and add in the chopped olives (I prefer the green ones), capers (if you are using them) and the paprika.

 

IMG_3869Have a taste and add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly

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In the meantime put a pan of water on to boil as soon at it starts bubbling tip in the gnocchi. It is ready when each one pops up to the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and tip into the spinach sauce and stir to mix

 

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Add a splash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped mint and serve in 3 warmed bowls

Food Trends for 2017

Food Trends for 2017: What’s in?

Food Trends for 2017January is the most popular month for giving your diet and lifestyle an overhaul. But what are the 2017 food trends that you will be encouraged to adopt?!

Whichever one (or none) you decide upon to really succeed you need to consider making “small but permanent changes’.  What can you live with from here on in, or certainly beyond the end of February!?

 

As its January (or Veganuary) lets start with veganism or a plant based diet.  There is lots of evidence that a diet rich in fruits and veg can not only reduce your body mass index (BMI) but your risk of getting certain illnesses and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.  I predict there will be more vegan vegancafe’s and restaurants opening up on the high street and more regular eateries will be offering a greater choice of vegan options.  We are already seeing it  in Nottingham; the Peacock Pub has a 100% vegan kitchen, cafe Roya is an upmarket veggie vegan delight, Alma living foods is a small vegan deli and sandwich bar, The Dice cup is a board game and vegan cafe and the screaming carrot is a secret little deli in Sherwood Rise, selling very tasty sos o rolls

 

 

I recently visited Pizzi, an Italian restaurant and found out you can have vegan cheese on your pizzas and pasta dishes.  Witherspoon’s have made their chilli vegan (sadly they don’t have non-dairy milk so your coffee has to be black!) and last Christmas Cafe Nero’s mince pies were also vegan.

protein barsProtein enriched food is also on the increase. Protein is the bodies building block, its helps muscles repair and grow and can help you maintain or lose weight because it can make you feel full.  So of course it is now enriching some standard food items.  It started with protein powders for dedicated gym goers so they could consume protein shakes by the ‘shaker’ full. Yoghurts also got a makeover; Skyr, Liberte and Fage Total yogurts have about 10g of protein per100g,  compared with 5g per 100g for other “Greek’ type yoghurts. Flapjacks were also due an upgrade and are now called ‘protein’ or ‘energy’ bars, being sold at health food shops, gyms and Aldi!  With some containing as much as 22g of protein per bar they certainly pack a punch.  But a word or warning, with increased protein often comes increased calories and sugar.  The 68g ‘Cliff Builders’ bar has 273 calories and 21 g of sugar (or 5 teaspoons)

palm oilPalm oil free or RSPO-certified food and products will come on to our radar because palm oil it is said is one of the major causes of rainforest deforestation.  Have a look in your cupboards and bathroom cabinets and see which of your foods and products contain this plant oil?  Its found in toiletries, packaging, bad goods, instant noodles, sliced bread and ice-cream to name a few.

Is seaweed the new kale? Like its green cousin it’s also low in calories and high in nutrients, particularly iodine, calcium, antioxidants (vitamin A and C) and potassium.  So get nori seaweeddown to your nearest sushi or noodle bar and enjoy some Nori.  But a word of warning don’t over do it; moderation is the watch word, that means about 2 tablespoons of this sea vegetable a week.  And consult your GP if you have any pre existing medical conditions

Curcumin, a super-healthy compound is the reason why turmeric has made it on to the list. It is the root stalk of a tropical plant that’s part of the ginger family and can be brought fresh or dried from most supermarkets.  Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants are just a few reasons why the medical turmericworld is getting excited about turmeric. Its health benefits have been linked to cancer, types 2 diabetes, alzheimer’s disease and dementia and arthritis. Expect to see it appearing more on restaurant menus, in supermarkets and your local coffee shop may offer you turmeric latte or tea!

Say hello to Sauerkraut! Fermented foods could be big in 2017. Its all about good gut health and fermented foods help with the production of good bacteria (probiotics) that can help maintain our immune system. Live yoghurt, sour cream, some cheeses, sour dough bread, pickles, kimchi, kefir, miso soup kimchiare all examples of foods that you may be eating more of in 2017.  We may also be hearing more about pre-biotics; they feed probiotics and therefore help them to multiply and grow. It is also believed they can help with calcium absorption. Bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, beans and asparagus are just some examples of foods that contain pre-biotic properties.  You can also buy products that are boosted with pre and probiotics.

If you believe there are some other food trends for 2017 that I haven’t included then please add a comment

Blue Monday 2017

Blue Monday!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

6389379-largeToday, Monday 16th January is considered to be the most depressing day of 2017; for some pay day is nearly 2 weeks away, dry January is getting harder, credit card bills are dropping on the mat, the weather is miserable etc.  So lets make Monday the 16th January all about being uplifted.  Today’s Meat free Monday recipe has some mood enhancing ingredients, to make you feel better.

Energy balls

Makes 25 – 30, which are approximately 70-80 calories per ball

ingredients200g pitted dates (preferably Medjool)

2 tbls chia seeds

2 tbls oats

1 tbls melted coconut oil

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbls raw cacao powder

100g almonds

100g other nuts (cashew, walnuts, pistachio, hazel, brazil, peanuts)

 

 

  • blendFirstly place all the nuts, oats and chia seeds in your food processor or nutribullet. Blend for 1 minute, until a powder forms and the nuts have crumbled.
  • Secondly add the remaining ingredients. Blend for another minute until a sticky dough forms. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the mixture so it all blends
  • Wet your hands with water and use them to roll the mixture into little balls. Or use a chocolate mould to make different shapes. This short video will show you how its done
  • At this stage you can place them in a container and store in the fridge. Or you can coat them in desiccated coconut, sesame seeds or cacao powder before placing them in the fridge
  • Now that should put a smile on your face!

energy balls

Additions or substitutions

Use pitted prunes instead of dates

Use ginger powder instead of cinnamon

Use toasted puffed rice instead of oats

Use quinoa flakes instead of oats

Use 1 tbls pea, soy or hemp powder instead of oats

Use sesame seeds instead of chia seeds

Use linseeds/flaxseeds instead of chia seeds

energy balls1

 

And these were the energy balls made by a Twitter follower @SNottsExplorer

Snotts

 

Healthy eating

Healthy eating – what do you want to know?!

 

NY resolutionsNew Year is usually about new resolutions, getting fitter, healthier and more focused. So I decided to ask my clients and social media followers what healthy eating questions they had for me so they could get on track and stay there.

 

Here’s a selection

What generally constitutes a healthy balanced diet?

I tell my clients and cookery class guests that its all about variety i.e. eating a rainbow of colour, so lots of different coloured vegetables and fruits will small amounts of wholegrain pasta, bread and rice. Moderation is also key and by that I mean portion control.

healthy eating

A good guide is to use your hand; protein should fit on the palm of your hand, potatoes (also rice, bread and pasta) should fit in to a cupped hand and veggies in both open hands. That brings me to balance; no one food should dominate your plate, meal or daily diet i.e. wheat or sugary foods/drink. We often hear about people cutting out food groups (wheat and dairy are the obvious ones) but I prefer substitution not elimination. That means having rye or oats instead of wheat and replacing cows milk and cheeses with non-dairy substitutes. And finally for a healthy diet it’s essential that you curb your caffeine, alcohol and sugar intakes.

 

Best vegan cookbook?

vegan cookbook

 

vegan cookbook2These two books come highly recommended: Eat vegan, Smith & Daughters by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse for a Spanish vibe to vegan recipes, and Super Foods Super Fast by Julie Montagu. Does what it says on the tin!

 

Any foods recommended that help combat dementia?

Firstly I’d start with a healthy balanced diet that’s low in sugar, salt, saturated fat and processed foods.

fruit-and-veg

More specifically include vegetables (especially dark skinned versions like aubergine, courgettes, spinach, kale and peppers), berries/fruits, nuts, green tea, olive oil, fish (especially oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel) and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads. Think Mediterranean diet.

 

How do I ensure my vegan teenager gets enough protein?

beansNuts and seeds, tofu, tinned beans (chickpeas, borlotti, cannellini, butterbeans etc), hummus, vegan cheese/dairy, edamame beans, peas, vegan quorn are all great protein sources

 

How does 5:2 fasting work?

When we eat a lot of carbohydrate (like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) or foods high in sugar, it causes our blood glucose levels to rise. Our body produces the hormone insulin as a reaction to eating to keep our glucose levels stable.

Insulin also encourages fat cells to take up fatty acids and store them, the way it encourages liver cells to take up sugars and store them.

fastingStudies have shown intermittent fasting increases the effectiveness of insulin to store glucose and break down fats. This process will reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline

Another way fasting works is by reducing the amount of insulin-like growth hormone, which has been shown to reduce your risk of many age-related diseases, like cancer.  High levels of this hormone later in life appear to lead to accelerated ageing and cancer.

 

Is Agave a good alternative to sugar?

agaveIt has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener (90%). Fructose causes insulin resistance and significantly raises triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease). It also increases fat around the middle, which in turn puts you at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease. It also has the same calories per gram as all other sweeteners (4 calories per gram). So like all sugars use agave with caution and moderation.

 

Could you suggest some healthy cooking oils for a vegan diet?

It depends on how high you are getting the oil, as some degrade and de-nature which will not only alter the taste but make it harmful. For high temperature cooking i.e. stir-fries or deep-fried I’d go for rapeseed or coconut oil. Sunflower oil should not be used for high heat cooking as it breaks down and forms aldehydes and lipid peroxides, which are harmful.

For general frying both coconut and rapeseed oils are also good and you can add olive oil to the list. But again not sunflower. But be aware that all oils contain the same calories per gram i.e. 9 cals. So whichever you choose try and use as little as possible and pat the food dry after frying. Also do not re-use the oil and keep the bottles out of direct light.

 

 

Let me know if you have some burning healthy eating question that you’d like some help with. Or maybe something’s caught your eye in the paper but you’re not sure about it?

 

Asian Parsnip soup

Asian Parsnip soup – serves 6

This is a great way to use those wonderful sweet and seasonal parsnips. Not only are they full of slow releasing fibre to keep you nice and full but they are also jam packed with immune boosting vitamin C.

2 or 150g small onions

2 tsp olive oil

img_93881 tbls garam masala and ginger/garlic paste

1 tsp chili flakes

1 ½ ltr veggie stock, either made with 3 tsp bouillon powder or 1 stock cube and boiling water

6  or 600g parsnips

Handful of fresh coriander or parsley leaves

Soya/oat cream (optional)

1 tin of chickpeas (optional)

 

In a large saucepan add the oil and heat. Peel and chop the onions and fry in the oil until soft but not coloured. Add the spices and paste* and cook until its smells really aromatic (about 5 minutes). Keep moving the onions and spices to stop them sticking or burning

* You can also use a clove of garlic and 1 tsp ground ginger or fresh ginger instead of the ginger/garlic paste

img_2094-768x1024Add the chopped parsnips (it’s not necessary to peel the parsnips, although you can if you want) and the stock. Stir, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are soft.

 

Using a hand blender (or food processor, blender or nutribullet), blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

This little 15 second video shows you how easy it is to blend the soup

Soup

 

The soup can now be served. However to make it more substantial and to increase the fibre and protein content add a tin of chickpeas (and their water). Finish with a swirl of non-dairy cream

How much did you put on over Christmas?!

How much did you put on over Christmas?!  Counting the (calorie) cost of Christmas

So the festivities are over, the christmas tree has been packed away for another year and you are trying to get through all the chocolate, biscuits and treats that were either bought or received as gifts

Is it now New Year resolution time; get fit, get slimmer, get active, get alcohol free?! Why do we make these kinds of resolutions in January?  Well, maybe my game of festive bingo may provide some clues!

Have a look at the bingo card below see how many items you consumed over the last few weeks, then count up the calories.  Shocked?!

 

festve-bingo

 

In true bingo style lets see if you got

  • The four corners; 870 calories in total
  • a line across; 950 calories in total
  • a line down ; 1,120 calories in total
  • a diagonal line ; 1,170 calories in total
  • A FULL HOUSE is 4,360 calories in total

weight-gain-over-xmas

You could consume 3,289 calories from your Christmas day dinner alone.  And maybe after completing the festive bingo card you can see where those calories have come from

If you are one of the many who stepped on the scales this week and quickly stepped off again I can help.  I have many clients who want to see me in January so I can help motivate and support them to shift the pounds, make healthy eating goals or adopt a healthier lifestyle

dry-january1

 

 

vegan cookery poster jpegYou might want to see me for one to one healthy eating advice, how to survive Dry January or join one of my healthy eating cookery classes.  My one to one sessions last 50 minutes and cost £40, but I have a special offer of 3 sessions for £100.  If you need cooking inspiration my classes cost £25 or 6 sessions for £125 (6 for the price of 5). Click on this link for more details about my classes

A pervious client was kind enough to write these words

ryans-testimonialSo if you want to be lighter, healthier and more motivated in 2017 give me a call

07946 301338