‘CHIA-LOVE’ BREAKFAST BOWLS – BREAKFAST

Everyone says they don’t “do” St. Valentines Day but secretly we all kind of buy-in to it, if not only to indulge in a little self love. Its not V-Day for another week yet,  but it’s good to be prepared so Im sharing this shamelessly pink breakfast recipe with you in advance.

Truthfully, only after I put the ingredients together did I realise that pomegranate fruit and maca powder are considered in many cultures as natural aphrodisiacs, and have been associated with hormonal health and fertility.  In the interest of science, there is some evidence that can attest to pomegranate juice increasing salivary testosterone levels in men by about 24%; whilst the ingestion of Maca root appears to increase libido in both genders, with three notable studies showing fairly consistent results.

A 30g serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fibre, 4g of protein and 5g of omega-3 fatty acid as well as providing almost a third of the recommended daily intake magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. This is particularly impressive when you consider just 30g has only 140 calories, making chia seeds highly nutrient dense.

This fibre and protein rich recipe is an ideal breakfast option and will provide sustained energy and keep you satisfied well into the day whilst the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in raspberries and pomegranate support the immune system and help to repair cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals.

RECIPE

(makes 2 breakfast servings or 4 small, snack-size servings)

  • 2 cups (475 ml) of unsweetened almond or coconut milk (I use Ecomil or Oatly brands)
  • 1/2 cup (6 level tbsp) whole chia seeds*
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of maca powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder*
  • 1 cup (about 125g) raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp light tahini (I use Meridian)

To serve

  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • A few raspberries and some pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

  1. Put the chia seeds, milk, maca, vanilla and ashwagandha (if you’re using it) into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously, ensuring the chia seeds are well combined. Leave aside either overnight or for 10-20 minutes until the mixture thickens (it will look like frog spawn!).
  2. Transfer most of the raspberries and pomegranate to a blender cup (reserve some of the fruit for a topping). Add the tahini and a splash of water. Pulse the fruit until completely mixed.  It will be quite thick which is fine. If you don’t have a blender you could mash the fruit and tahini together with a fork or use a hand-held blender.
  3. When the chia seeds thick and gloopy, combine them with the fruit mixture and stir well.
  4. Transfer to bowls or airtight glass jars (for portability) and top with coconut and fruit. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Per half portion 420 29g 11g 42g 14g 21g
Per quarter portion 105 7.25g 2.75g 10.5g 3.5g 5.3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

PEANUT BUTTER CINNAMON PROTEIN BALLS – SNACK

I’ve been trying out a new protein supplement from Galway based company ‘Diamond Nutrition’ and I think I’ve found a new favourite! The Vanilla-Cinnamon Slim Lite+ Smoothie is delicious shaken with water or almond milk. Formulated using whey protein derived from the milk of grass fed, free-range cows it gets a major thumbs up from yours truly.  Protein supplements can be a really effective way of promoting muscle growth and encouraging fat loss, and whey protein is particularly beneficial.

Some benefits of whey protein:

  • Absorbed rapidly compared to casein or pea proteins making it an ideal pre- and post-workout supplement. Casein protein on the other hand is a good idea before bed as it provides slow releasing protein to support muscle repair during the night.
  • Contains calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous and vitamins A, C, folate and B12.
  • It contains high levels of the Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAA’s which promote muscle growth and prevent fatigue during and after training.
  • Ingestion of a whey protein supplement before your workout boosts your metabolic rate and facilitates body fat loss.

This recipe has some old favourites…Meridian Peanut Butter as it has no additives and is naturally high in protein (but mostly because it’s so delicious), chia seeds, dates and Irish rolled oats provide omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and iron in that order.

The only drawback of making these protein balls is the painstaking challenge of trying NOT to eat half the dough out of the blender bowl while rolling out the balls…..good luck with that!

(makes 16 balls)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter*
  • 1/2 cup (about 1.5 scoops) Platinum Nutrition Diamond Smoothie Lite Vanilla-Cinnamon flavour*
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Bia Whole chia seeds*
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Topping:

  • Finely chopped raw peanuts or almonds

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients except the water into a blender bowl and pulse until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons of water, pulse again and check consistency. If the dough feels too dry, add another tablespoon of water and pulse. The dough should stick together when pressed between fingers, but it shouldn’t be too wet.
  3. Roll tablespoon-size portions of dough between the palms of your hands to form balls. The mixture makes about 16 balls (assuming you’ve managed to avoid eating most of it out of the bowl!)
  4. Scatter the raw chopped nuts onto a plate and gently toss the protein balls into the nuts so they are lightly coated.
  5. Place the balls onto the parchment and refrigerate. Once hardened transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION per protein ball
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
118 6g 7g 9g 4g 2g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

SUPERFOOD SCRAMBLE – BREAKFAST

Whilst plain scrambled eggs are delicious on their own, adding turmeric, chia seeds and greens is a great way to increase the nutritional density of your breakfast with higher fibre, omega-3 fats, essential minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Truth be told these scrambled eggs are just as good for a quick lunch, brunch or dinner but I find them particularly great for breakfast as they are high in protein and omega-3 fats which sustain energy throughout the day and reduce cravings for sweet, sugary foods.

There is mounting evidence that eating a lower carbohydrate breakfast is an effective way to control blood sugar levels, particularly for people with Type 2 Diabetes. A 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eliminating carbohydrates in the first meal of the day after an overnight fast significantly lowered blood-sugar levels after the low-carb breakfast1.

As elevated blood sugar and blood sugar imbalances may also be responsible for a range of other symptoms and diseases such as inflammation, PCOS, endometriosis and obesity, a low carbohydrate breakfast might also be an effective way to manage symptoms and reduce body fat.

(serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Chia Bia Whole Chia Seed*
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond cream or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • A good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric*
  • 2 teaspoons Optima Raw Virgin Organic Coconut Oil*
  • 2 large handfuls spinach leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, chia seed, almond cream, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the spinach. Cook gently until wilted and remove the spinach from the pan.
  3. Heat a second teaspoon of coconut oil in the same pan and add the turmeric. Stir with a wooden spoon for a minute (be careful not to burn the turmeric).
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and as the eggs start to “catch” the sides, gently pull them across the pan to form soft folds. Add the wilted spinach back into the pan and continue to fold gently for a minute. When the eggs are almost set but still soft, remove the pan from the stove. The residual heat will finish the cooking.
  5. Serve with freshly chopped herbs if you have some available.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
364 28g 21g 9g 0.3g 4g
An excellent source of protein, omega-3 ALA, magnesium, choline, iron.

Reference:

  1. 1. Pedersen, E., Lange, K. and Clifton, P. (2016) ‘Effect of carbohydrate restriction in the first meal after an overnight fast on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomised trial’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(5), pp. 1285–1291. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.135343.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

FANCY GRANOLA – BREAKFAST

Dark weekday mornings in January are gloomy enough without having to face a bad breakfast as well.  My fancy granola may not be for everyday but it really satisfies a craving for something crunchy without compromising your health goals, and it makes Monday mornings feel that little bit special!

Oats are a simple, cheap and nutritious breakfast option but I like to use a combination of oats and buckwheat flakes for added nutritional value and to reduce the proportion of grain (buckwheat is actually a seed). You can just as easily use 100% oats, or try adding millet flakes, quinoa or puffed rice.

Nuts and seeds offer a variety of health benefits, as well as providing essential fats and protein that help to keep you satisfied between meals, regulate blood sugar and sustain your energy levels.

You can pick up a jar of coconut oil in your local Lloyds Pharmacy as well as some other ingredients like chia and hemp seeds.  Nua Naturals has launched a delicious berry mix with cacao nibs that is packed with vitamin B, magnesium, calcium and potassium, so I added a few handfuls for a little sweetness.  You could also just chop some dried apricots, dried dates or dried blueberries or you could leave out the dried fruit entirely to reduce the sugar content.

(makes 18 servings. 1 serving = 40g)

  • 200g buckwheat flakes
  • 200g jumbo oats
  • 100g mixed nuts (I like walnut and pecan)
  • 100g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia*, hemp*)
  • 25g coconut flakes
  • 80g Nua Naturals Super Berry Mix (gogi berries, white mulberries, cacao nibs, black mulberries)*
  • 80ml melted coconut oil*
  • 100ml agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

Equipment: oven, large roasting tray

Step by Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  2. Put the oats and buckwheat flakes into a large bowl. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix until well coated.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly over the baking tray and put into the oven.
  4. After about 10 minutes remove the oats & buckwheat flakes from the oven and give them a quick stir. At this stage you can add the mixed nuts and seeds to the tray, stir again and place back into the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes.
  5. When the oats are nicely golden remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Add the coconut flakes and super berry mix and mix well.
  6. Once the granola is cool transfer it to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. It should last (but probably won’t!) for up to a month.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add 30g to a cup of unsweetened natural yogurt for breakfast.
  • Add a small handful of granola to a cup of full fat greek yogurt or coconut yogurt.
  • Serve with almond, hemp or coconut milk and fresh blueberries.
  • Put a few handfuls into a mini-glass airtight jar and keep in your desk drawer or gym bag for a quick afternoon or post workout snack.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 40g SERVING
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
210 11g 4.7g 30g 13g 2.3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

WALNUT BREAD WITH DATE & CINNAMON ‘JAM’ – SNACK

Not just that little knobbly nut you used the pick off the top of your walnut whip as a kid, walnuts are an underrated, yet nutritious package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Eating just a small handful of whole walnuts every day could help to control body weight as well as helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.

The essential fatty acid found in walnuts is called ALA (alpha linolenic acid). ALA is an omega-3 fat that can significantly reduce fasting insulin levels over a period of about 3 months in people with type 2 diabetes as well as notable improvements in the composition of blood fats.

This is a great recipe to try at the weekend and save individual slices to eat during the week as an afternoon snack. Of course you could very easily just grab a handful of walnuts and a piece of fruit but sometimes we need something a little extra special to keep us on track…especially with the prospect of multiple delicious topping options!

(makes a loaf, approx. 10-12 slices)

For the bread

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*
  • 1 tbsp Chia Bia ground chia seeds (or flax seeds)*
  • 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Equipment: food processor, large bowl, loaf tin, oven

Step by Step

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 F). Grease a loaf tin using a little coconut oil*.

  1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and blend until they form a paste (usually takes about 5-8 minutes).
  2. Transfer the walnut paste to a large bowl and stir in the eggs and maple syrup until well combined (you could also just add the eggs and syrup to the food processor bowl and pulse to combine).
  3. Add the ground almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and baking powder and stir with a spatula (the mixture will still be quite wet).
  4. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. You know its cooked when a skewer comes out clean and a crack forms down the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before slicing.

Tip: the bread stores well in an airtight container the fridge for about 1-2 weeks but you can cut and wrap individual slices in parchment / clingfilm and freeze for up to 1 month, defrosting/toasting them only as needed.

Serving options:  Date & Cinnamon Jam

Soak 20 deseeded dates in a half cup hot water to soften. Add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon and using a hand blender to make a paste.  Store for up to 1 month in an airtight jar in your fridge. Makes about 12 servings (teaspoons).

  • Try this bread with an ounce of good quality mature Cheddar cheese or soft brie cheese and sliced fresh figs.
  • For a quick breakfast spread with a little Meridian almond butter* and top with some sliced banana.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE SERVING (1 slice)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
153 13.6g 5.7g 4.1g 1.8g 1.6g
A source of folic acid, vitamin B6, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

LEMON & MACA CHIA POTS – SNACK

Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses with an abundance of essential fatty acids, protein and fibre. In fact they are the highest source of fibre of all seeds containing 5g per serving!  Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet can help to regulate blood sugar, keeps your gut healthy and reduces blood cholesterol levels.

This magical seed is also incredibly versatile and can be used in porridge, smoothies or as chia pudding or snack pots that are both satisfying and portable, so you can take them to the office or pack them in a kid’s lunchbox.

There is nothing better than vibrant citrus to invigorate the senses and counter the affects of the afternoon slump. I created this superfood snack-pot with maca powder for a nourishing boost. Maca is considered an ‘adaptogen’, as it can help the body to naturally adapt to stressors such as a demanding job, a busy schedule or intense physical exercise. Instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or biscuit tin during a sluggish afternoon, try this ultra-low sugar snack and sail through the rest of your day!

(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Chia Bia whole chia seeds*
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nua Naturals Vanilla powder*
  • 1 teaspoon Nua Naturals Maca powder*
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoon plain greek yogurt (or plain coconut yogurt)
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia (optional)
  • Coconut flakes (optional)

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

Instructions

  1. Pour the chia seeds into a a container with a lid (I use a glass jam jar) and add the lemon juice and almond milk and stir.
  1. Add the vanilla and maca, fasten the lid and shake vigorously and then leave aside for 30 minutes (or overnight) to thicken.
  1. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and stir in the yogurt and stevia drops. Divide the mixture into two small glass pots and sprinkle with the lemon zest and some coconut flakes.
Nutrition Facts (per 1 Serving)
Calories 159
Fat (g) 10.4
Protein (g) 5
Carbohydrate (g) 11.8
Fibre (g) 5.5
Sugar (g) 1.2

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – Cacao Tahini Protein Balls

This weeks recipe by nutritional therapist Pamela, is Cacao Tahini Protein Balls. Perfect for gym goers and athletic folk, pre or post training.

I’ve been getting lots of requests from my athlete friends for some decent protein/energy balls.  Tired of spending a small fortune on processed protein bars, and not so much fans of sugar-laden chocolate milk drinks, I have been tasked with the job of creating some tasty protein balls with enough carbohydrate for replacing post-training muscle glycogen. To make things more difficult, there was a specific request for a nut-free recipe!

These Cacao Tahini Protein Balls are just sweet enough without being sickly-sweet. In place of nut butter I use light tahini (a calcium rich sesame seed butter) and coconut oil (coconut is not a true nut…botanically its a ‘drupe’ or fruit, nut & seed!). Nua Naturals raw organic cacao powder and cacao nibs provide a gorgeous rich chocolatey flavour. Cacao provides a natural (and less potent) caffeine hit which can be useful pre-training, but is also rich in blood oxygenating iron and chromium, which regulates blood sugar.

Dried dates lend their sweet caramel stickiness into the mix, whilst scoring additional points for being particularly rich in potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc…all of which are vital co-factors involved in cellular energy production. Chomp these pre- or post-training. The recipe makes about 16.

INGREDIENTS

To make the balls:

  • 10 dates
  • 2 scoops (50g) of vanilla pea / hemp protein powder
  • 1 cup Nua Naturals raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaped Tbsp Nua Naturals cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup light tahini
  • 1 heaped Tbsp coconut oil (room temperature/unmelted)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Coating options:

  • Chia Bia whole chia seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Cacao Powder
  • Ground almonds

Step-by-Step:

  1. Put the dates in a glass bowl and pour over a half-cup of hot water. Allow to soften for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor briefly blend all of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Blend the mixture until it resembles a slightly moist gravel or clay that when pressed together, will hold.
  4. Roll into individual balls (should make about 16 balls).
  5. To coat the protein balls, spoon out your chosen coatings onto individual saucers and get rolling.
  6. Chill the balls in the fridge for an hour before eating.
  7. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist