CHOCOLATE FRUIT & NUT SQUARES – SNACK

Combining nuts and dates to create tasty raw treats is nothing new, a very well known chocolate confectionery brand has been doing a fruit & nut bar since 1926 and we all remember the ad campaign slogan sung to the tune of The Nutcracker!  I understand that the point to snack foods is that they are convenient. That being said putting an hour’s effort into making your own treats means you have a ready supply in the fridge for weeks, but more importantly you are avoiding ingredients such as artificial flavourings, emulsifiers and inflammatory vegetable fats, as well excessive sugar and trans fats.

A standard shop-bought fruit & nut bar will serve up 270 calories and 30g of sugar, which is  listed as the second ingredient after milk. In comparison this recipe provides 182 calories per serving and only 8g of sugars. There is no added vegetable oils with the only fats coming from the natural fats found in whole nuts and seeds that are linked to improved cognitive function, lower body fat, better blood lipid profile and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Using whole, natural foods provides fibre and a range of nutrients including antioxidant vitamin E, biotin for healthy skin, hair and nails, magnesium, manganese and copper. Even chocolate has its benefits but you must choose the darker kind. The darker the chocolate, the less likely there is to be added ingredients such as soya lecithin and other emulsifiers. I like either Green & Blacks Organic 85% or Lindt as ingredients are simply cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla.

Given the sheer variety of nuts, seeds and superfood powders available these days there are endless options to cater for everyone’s tastes. Chocolate and hazelnuts are an age-old match made in heaven but you can use equivalent quantities of other nuts and seeds depending on your preferences or whatever you have available. You can also leave out the chocolate (but why would you want to do that?!).

(makes 16 bars)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) whole almonds
  • 1 cup (135g) whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup (40g) hulled hemp seeds (NUA NATURALS)*
  • 10 dates (sulphur-free, pitted)
  • 1/4 cup (3-4 tbsp) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) jumbo oats
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour(NUA NATURALS)*
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • Coconut oil for lining the baking tray (OPTIMA)*

Topping Options: toasted coconut flakes, cacao nibs, chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. Line a bakingtray with parchment and spread with a little melted coconut oil.
  2. In a blenderpulse the almonds and hazelnuts until they look like a coarse sand.
  3. Add the hemp seeds, dates, maple syrup, salt, oats andcoconut flour. Blitz again until well combined. The mixture should ‘stick’ a little when pressed.
  4. Dump the mixture onto the lined baking tray and use your hands to press down until its about an inch thick. If the tray is larger than normal, fold the parchment in over the free edge of the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
  6. In the meantime break the chocolate into small pieces and place into aPyrex dish over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and then remove from the stove.
  7. Remove the nut mixture from the fridge and pourthe chocolate over the top, tilting the baking tray around until the chocolate is evenly spread.
  8. Sprinkle with your chosen topping and place back into the fridge to set.
  9. Once set use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 8 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
182 13g 5g 13.3g 8g 3g
An excellent source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium & antioxidants

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

CHILLI STUFFED SWEET POTATOES – MAIN

I love chilli any time of year! In summer enjoy it spooned into large cooling iceberg lettuce leaves with natural yogurt and cucumber on top.  In winter however, there is no better way to serve chilli than the way my Mam did when we were kids – piled high on top of baked potatoes.

I’m using sweet potatoes but you can substitute with white potatoes if you prefer them – they are no less nutritious, but they don’t have the impressively high antioxidant content of sweet potatoes. Either way, potatoes are a fantastic source of natural, unadulterated complex carbohydrates that provide energy and leave us satiated for a long time.

This chilli is meatless. Instead of meat I use two kinds of beans – black and aduki (good-quality canned, pre-cooked beans are fine and save time). Unglamorous as they may seam, beans are one of the best, most affordable sources of plant-based protein and dietary fiber. Consumption of fibre is associated with reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes as well as colon cancer. It’s no coincidence therefore that research into the diets of the longest living populations in the world confirms a regular dietary consumption of beans.

This recipe serves 4. If you are male, not trying to lose weight, and / or training at a high intensity you might consider adding a second sweet potato. Otherwise I recommend serving with some leafy greens. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil*
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 1 can of Aduki Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 350g of tomato pasata (pureed tomatoes, unsweetened, no preservatives)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of chipotle chilli flakes

To Serve:

  • 1 whole avocado, medium
  • 1 whole lime
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp plain natural yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment.
  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them onto the banking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the sweet potatoes into the oven. They will need between 40 and 50 minutes to cook.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sweat for 5-10 minutes.
  1. When the onions are soft, add the chilli, chipotle, cumin a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans and adzuki beans. Bring to a soft boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. In the meantime slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh out into a small bowl. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl (discard the halves). Season, add half the spring onion and mash with a fork until mixed well but still chunky.
  1. When the sweet potatoes are cooked (they should be soft), remove them from the oven. Transfer them to individual plates and carefully (steam can burn!) slit them lengthwise down the middle.
  1. Spoon the chilli into the sweet potatoes allowing the mixture to pile and run down the sides.
  1. Top with guacamole, a tablespoon of natural yogurt, fresh coriander and spring onion. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
  Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Chilli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes per serv. 360 4g 15g 66g 11g 12g
Toppings per serv. 82 6g 2g 6g 3g 2.6g
  An excellent source of protein, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, iron. 


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PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

IRRESISTIBLE CURRY-ROASTED ALMONDS – SNACK

Whole nuts and seeds are some of the best snack foods you can eat. Despite being high in fat they are incredibly nutrient dense, to the extent that nuts and seeds rank 3rd in the top 10 most nutrient dense foods (it should please you to know that cacao also made the cut!).  In fact evidence indicates that nut consumers have a lower BMI (body mass index) and nuts contribute to weight control due to their strong satiety effects.

Almonds are a favourite due to their impressive nutrient profile. A 1-ounce serving (about 28g grams) provides 6g protein, 3.5g fiber and over 30% of the recommended daily allowance of antioxidant vitamin E and manganese – a mineral with multiple superpowers, including helping antioxidants to function properly and controlling blood sugar levels.

This recipe makes about 10 handfuls and can be stored in an airtight glass jar for weeks. These are deliciously crunchy with a hint of sweet and salt, making them ever-so-slightly irresistible so stick to a cupped handful (which provides an average serving). Squirrel them away in your desk drawer and grab a handful during the afternoon to see you through until dinner.

(makes 2.5 cups: approx.10x 1oz servings)

Ingredients

  • 250g whole almonds
  • 30g coconut shavings
  • 1 heaped tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp optima raw virgin organic coconut oil* (at room temperature i.e. liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or 2 Tbsp nua naturals coconut palm sugar*)
  • 1/2 Tbsp medium-hot curry powder
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 170 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit). Line a large baking tray with parchment.
  • In a large bowl mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, curry powder, chilli and sea salt flakes. Add the almonds, coconut and sesame seeds.  Mix well ensuring the nuts are well coated.
  • Spread the mixture in one layer onto the baking tray and put into the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes (check after 15 minutes to ensure the coconut is not burning, cover with foil if necessary).
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. As the mixture cools the nuts will become crunchy!
  • Store in cool place, in an airtight glass jar.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 1 ounce serving
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
147 12.7g 6.2g 6.5g 3.3g 3.8g
A source of protein, fiber, magnesium, manganese & vitamin E

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

CRISPY TURMERIC & LEMON CHICKEN, GREEN BEAN SALAD & SWEET POTATO FRIES – MAIN

Roast chicken is probably one of the ultimate comfort foods and if you’re staying in at the weekend its nice to have a little more time to prepare a traditional roast dinner. This recipe offers a bit of a twist,  is relatively quick to put together and is great for sharing with friends.

Turmeric, lemon juice and black pepper are my ‘Charlie’s Angels Superfoods’ for this recipe. Earthy, golden turmeric offers its potent anti-inflammatory powers that are enhanced by heat-bearing black peppercorns whilst bright and sunny lemons are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. I’m serving  the chicken with ever popular sweet potato fries and a crunchy green bean salad topped with vitamin E-rich toasted almonds.

This dish is high in protein, low in sugar and rich in fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.

(serves 4)

For the chicken:

  • 8 pieces of chicken (a combination of drumsticks & thighs)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 whole lemons, halved
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil*
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 300g french beans
  • 1 ounce flaked almonds

For the sweet potato fries:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced into strips (chips)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius.
  2. Arrange the chicken pieces onto a large roasting tray. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt and pepper onto the chicken, squeeze over the juice of two lemons (tuck the squeezed lemon quarters between the chicken pieces) and drizzle over the coconut oil.
  3. Put the chicken into the oven for 35 minutes until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
  4. In a separate roasting tray spread the sweet potato chips in one layer, season and add coconut oil. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until crispy and golden.
  5. While the chicken and sweet potato are in the oven, prepare the green beans. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain, transfer to a serving dish and lightly season with sea salt.
  6. Scatter the flaked almonds onto a small frying pan and toast over a medium heat until golden (be careful not to burn). Remove from the heat and toss the almonds with the green beans.
  7. When the chicken and sweet potato fries are cooked remove from the oven and transfer to separate serving bowls.
  8. Place the chicken, green beans and sweet potato in the centre of your table and dig in!
Nutrition Information (Per one serving)
Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g) Sugars (g) Fiber (g)
611 56 35 18.9 5.2 7g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

HAM & SPINACH TART – MAIN

Many people tell me one of the things they miss most about reducing refined carbohydrates in their diet is baked goods, especially pastry.  This versatile grain-free (or dare I say, ‘paleo’) tart crust is made using coconut flour, coconut oil, egg and a little salt. There are lots of variations on this recipe, and you could even add a little coconut sugar for a sweeter crust to use for a dessert filling. Speaking of which, the filling is wide open for experimentation (for this recipe, I squirrelled some of my father’s leftover Christmas ham while he wasn’t looking!)…you could try mushroom & kale, asparagus & white crab meat or even a rich chocolate filling using cacao powder and coconut cream.

This delicious tart takes a little effort but makes a great main meal served with a side of greens or for lunch with peppery rocket & watercress salad.

(gluten-free, grain-free, low sugar, source of vitamin A, C, calcium and iron)

(serves 4 generously)

Equipment: 8 1/2” or 9” tart tin

For the crust

  • 3/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (plus extra for greasing)*
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Pinch of sea salt

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores & Online

For the filling

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 generous handfuls baby spinach
  • 85g cooked ham, shredded
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Put the coconut flour, coconut oil, eggs and sea salt into the bowl of a food processor and mix until well combined. Remove from the bowl, press together into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  1. Grease the tart tin with coconut oil. Pre heat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap the clingfilm and place it into the tart tin. Its quite malleable so you can use the back of a spoon to spread and press it into the tart tin. Then use your fingers to lightly press it into the edges and work it up the sides of the tin (the smaller the tin, the higher your edge will be, but don’t worry if its only about 2 1/2 inches).
  1. To make the filling, beat the eggs, almond milk and grated nutmeg together. Arrange the ham, spinach leaves, spring onion and thyme onto the pastry and then pour the egg & almond milk mixture over the top.
  1. Put the tart into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the filling is just set. Leave to stand for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Delicious served warm, or cold for lunch with a peppery green salad.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE SERVING (1/4 Tart)
Calories Fat Carbs Protein Sugar Fibre
395 28g 15.1g 16.1g 4.4g 8.8

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – (Golden) Milk & Cookies!

How time flies when you’re having fun (and eating great food)… can you believe it’s our 12th and final week of recipes by nutritional therapist Pamela! We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. But fear not, you can still find more amazing recipes on Instagram @the_healthonist and at  www.thehealthonist.com

This weeks recipe is (Golden) Milk & Cookies, enjoy!

Turmeric. The golden spice associated with Indian cuisine has been used for centuries, particularly in Ayurveda (the ancient healing system of India) for its powerful healing properties. It’s no surprise then, that scientists soon became interested in the seemingly magical medicinal properties of this golden root.

Curcumin – the main bioactive compound found in turmeric root is probably one of the most heavily researched compounds in the world in relation to its potent anti-inflammatory effects.  This compound has been proven effective in treating inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline and multiple sclerosis as well as being effective in preventing the progression of some cancers. I love when science and ancient wisdom agree!

As curcumin is not easily absorbed into cells on its own,  it is often taken with black pepper and coconut oil or milk to enhance absorption so the recipes here optimise the bioavailability of  curcumin. Whats more, golden milk is a particularly effective tonic for balancing female hormones and may be an effective in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with PMS, PCOS, Uterine Fibroids and Endometriosis and for balancing blood sugars.   This is my version of milk & cookies – no dairy, gluten or refined ingredients….

Turmeric & Ginger Cookies (Makes about 12)

  • 125g ground almonds
  • 100g organic gluten free oats, ground into a coarse flour using a food processor
  • 1/3 cup organic maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons organic ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment and pre-heat the oven the 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients to form a crumbly dough that sticks together easily when pressed.
  3. Take heaped tablespoons of mixture and shape it into balls using your hands. Place onto the baking tray and press down lightly with the base of a small glass.
  4. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire wrack. As the cookies cool they will become more crunchy.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Golden Milk (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened nut milk (almond, coconut, hazelnut, hemp etc)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic maple syrup, raw honey or coconut palm sugar.
  1. In a small bowl mix the turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and coconut oil to make a paste.
  2. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently for a minute then pour in your chosen milk.
  3. Heat gently for about 5 minutes (do not boil).
  4. To serve, pour the golden milk into a cup and add a 1/2 teaspoon organic maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar to taste.