Toast. Pretty much universally adored and missed most by low carb aficionados (though they would completely deny it!!). The fact is bread is perfectly fine as part of a balanced diet. But I have only one rule. Please get yourself a decent loaf of real bread! That is, bread that doesn’t have a ‘best before’ date or more than 3-4 main ingredients (unless you are buying gluten-free). My top recommendation is a good quality sourdough.

Sourdough is more digestible and nutritious than industrial loaves thanks to naturally occurring acids that ferment the dough to bread down phytates (which impair nutrient absorption) and gluten (which may cause intolerances, though not to be confused with celiac disease). This fermentation process makes nutrients more available for absorption, and renders simple sugars less available, which may help to control blood sugar, particularly for people with diabetes.

This is not so much a strict recipe as it is a source of ideas for making a slice of toast into a nutritious, energy sustaining, mid-afternoon or evening snack. My advice is to stay away from overly processed shop bought spreads and try to make your own, or purchase whole, nut or seed spreads with no added sugars or oils. Real Irish butter, goats butter, olive oil or even coconut oil are also perfectly fine options if you’re not a fan of nut and seed spreads.

Serves: one to multiple

You will need:

  • Bread: 1 slice per person (I used a small loaf of german-style rye sourdough bread).
  • Nut Butters* (1 tbsp per person): choose from Meridian Almond butter, Meridian Peanut Butter and Coconut Butter.
  • Fruits: choose banana and avocado (3-4 slices per person), or blueberries (2 tbsp per person).
  • Nuts, Seeds & Sprinkles (1/3 tbsp) per person: 85% cacao dark chocolate (grated), black sesame seeds, coconut flake, ground cinnamon.

Topping Combinations featured:

  • Savoury: Crunchy Almond butter, Avocado & Black Sesame Seeds
  • A bit posh: Coconut butter, Crushed Blueberries & dark chocolate
  • Old-school: Crunchy Peanut butter, banana, cinnamon & coconut shavings


  1. Simple! Lay out small bowls and jars of your favourite toppings. Toast the bread and get creative!

To make your own coconut butter: dump 250g unsweetened desiccated coconut into a high-speed food processor and pulse for 8-10 minutes until smooth and runny. Decant into an airtight jar and store at room temperature. Note: coconut butter tends to harden even in the warmest cupboards. To soften, submerge the jar in warm water for 10 minutes before use.

To make other nut butters: you only need ONE ingredient to make any nut butter! Nuts! If you roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150C (350F) you will get a lovely creamy texture as roasting helps to release the natural oils in nuts.  My favourites are walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Macadamias are also great but quite pricey! Cool the nuts slightly before tossing into a food processor and blending for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Store in an airtight jar.

Option Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Almond Butter, Avocado + Black Sesame Seeds 1 slice 266 15.7g 8g 26.7g 2.6g 5.8g
Coconut Butter, Blueberry & dark chocolate shavings 1 slice 239 13g 3.5g 28g 6.2g 3g
Peanut butter, banana & coconut 1 slice 259 11.1g 8.1g 32.6g 9.3g 4.4g



Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores


Coconut Oil is not just for cooking; 8 ways it can make you beautiful on the outside too!

avrilHi everyone! Welcome to this week’s Change your Health Direction blog with me, Avril Reilly. I have been talking to my customers a lot about Coconut Oil these days; it’s one of the first small steps I encourage my weight-loss participants to take. Our programme is all about make small, manageable changes that can make a real difference. And adding Coconut Oil to your life WILL make a difference, I promise!

This oil has numerous health and beauty benefits but the most important aspect that I wish to highlight to our participants is its use in cooking and baking as it is ‘heat-stable’. Other oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil should not be used at high temperatures as they are converted to free-radicals which can be detrimental to long-term health. Free radicals are seriously bad news to our bodies and have been linked with numerous chronic medical conditions as well as cancers. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to use a heat-stable oil such as Coconut Oil when cooking. It also adds a beautiful flavour so its win-win!

I often recommend Coconut Oil to those who are struggling with cravings as a teaspoon just taken off the spoon can be so satiating. And for those in need of a chocolate hit, just mix in a little organic cocoa powder.

There is also a lot of evidence to suggest that Coconut Oil can contribute to weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and boosting metabolism by improving thyroid function. Unlike other saturated fats, Coconut Oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides which are rapidly metabolised to provide an excellent source of energy, rather than being stored as fat. Personally, I love to stir a spoon of Coconut Oil into my herbal tea when I am in need of a tasty energy boost!

Not only is Coconut Oil amazing for stir-frying but it can also be used as a substitute for margarine or butter when baking, as well as being a great spread or a healthy boost in smoothies.

As if it all that wasn’t good enough, Coconut Oil also has numerous beauty benefits, most of which I have tried and tested myself!

  1. It can be used to remove eye make-up; just rub some between the hands to turn it into a liquid and smear over the eye-lids, then remove with cotton wool and rinse if desired.
  2. It can also be used as a moisturiser although some people do find it a little heavy on the skin.
  3. Some say it’s amazing for preventing stretch marks when used as a body moisturiser.
  4. Super-smooth shaving is simple – just use in place of shaving gel.
  5. Excellent for dry, chapped hands, and there is evidence to show that it can help to heal small wounds and abrasions.
  6. Use it as a lip balm – tastes amazing!
  7. Mix it with sea-salt or sugar for a very effective, inexpensive body scrub.
  8. Use it as a hair mask – just use it in place of a conditioner and leave in the hair for 20 minutes before rinsing well. You can wrap your hair in a hot towel to help it to absorb into the hair. I actually apply it to my hair and scalp once a week and leave it in overnight. (Just make sure to leave yourself time to wash it out the next morning or you are in for a seriously bad hair day!!!)

We are now stocking Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil 500ml online and in selected branches of LloydsPharmacy for the great value price of €9.99. This is an exceptional, high-quality, multi-use product which every household should have!coco

Make sure to check out our new Recipe Blog, where LloydsPharmacy colleagues share their very own Healthy Meal ideas. Coconut Oil of course features in lots of them!

Best of luck to everyone changing their own health direction this week!

Written by Avril Reilly, LloydsPharmacy Governy Square Carlow