MY BIG FAT GREEK YOGURT BOWLS – BREAKFAST

Greek yogurt or ‘the yogurt of the Gods’ is a superfood in itself with more than double the amount of protein and gut-friendly probiotics than regular yogurt.  It makes an ideal breakfast as the protein and fat content keep you fuller for longer.  I recommend using an authentic full-fat Greek yogurt such as ‘Fage Total’ which is simply milk and live active bacteria – no preservatives, no powdered milk or powdered anything!

For breakfast I like to customise my yogurt with a variety of toppings. Try fresh orange chunks with chopped 85% dark chocolate and chopped almonds, strawberries with pistachio nuts or walnut, fig and cinnamon.

Superfood Add-Ons: I don’t use the word ‘superfood’ lightly. Any food listed here has pretty hard evidence to suggest its particularly beneficial to our health. Here’s a line up of some evidence-based options….

  • Spirulina powder: a powdered blue-green algae that contains 55% to 70% protein. There is firm evidence that spirulina can improve fat (lipid) and sugar (glucose) metabolism, whilst reducing liver fat and protecting the heart! Spirulina has also been shown to reducing sneezing and stuffy nose. It can taste like pond water on its own but its great in smoothies or stirred into yogurt with a little honey and dried fruit.
  • Hulled Hemp Seeds: contain all the essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9), are high in fibre and contain about 33% protein. Because of their rich nutrient profile, hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve skin health and reduce symptoms of PMS or Menopause, making them a great little all-rounder.
  • Raw Cacao: I love when science justifies my love of a particular food! Cacao is rich in fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous and zinc. It is listed amongst the Top 10 most nutrient dense foods on the planet and is a powerful source of antioxidants. Dig in!
  • Blueberries: Dark berries are rich in anthocyanins that have antioxidant properties found to reduce damage to our cells. They have been shown to improve memory in older people and are rich in fibre whilst having low levels of natural fruit sugars.
  • Raw Honey: A tablespoon of honey contains about 17 grams of sugar but it hands-down beats refined table sugars when it comes to its antioxidant content and plant compounds found in high quality honey such as Manuka honey or unpasteurised raw honey that hasn’t been exposed to heat. Go easy on serving sizes, a teaspoon should suffice!

YOU WILL NEED: Full fat plain Greek yogurt (about 125g per person) or 100g dairy-free alternative such as CoYo; a selection of nuts, seeds, nut butters, berries and ‘superfood’ add-ons.  Featured bowls…..

MANGO + SPIRULINA:

  • 125g Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp spirulina powder or Superlife Superfood Mix*
  • 1 tsp raw honey or Manuka honey
  • 1 ounce dried mango (I like ‘Crazy Jacks’ with no added sugar or preservatives such as sulphites)
  • 1/2 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt, spirulina powder and honey to create a creamy-green consistency. Add toppings.

COCONUT YOGURT, MACA + BLUEBERRY (V)

  • 100g vanilla coconut yogurt (I use Coyo)
  • 1 teaspoon nua naturals maca powder*
  • 1 ounce coconut chips*
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions: Combine the coconut yogurt and maca powder. Add toppings.

BANANA, CACAO + COCONUT BUTTER: 

  • 125g plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Nua Naturals raw cacao powder*
  • 1 tsp Nua Naturals raw cacao nibs*
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp melted coconut butter (or peanut / almond butter)*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt and cacao powder.  Add toppings.

CACAO-QUINOA-CHIA CRUNCH (more preparation required!)

To make the Cacao-Quinoa-Chia Crunch topping: in a bowl combine 40g quinoa pops, 20g chia seeds*, 35g cacao powder*, 2tbsp cacao nibs*, 40g coconut chips*. Melt 6 tbsp coconut oil* with 4 tbsp maple syrup and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread onto a baking tray and let set in the fridge until hard and crumbly. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 10x 40g servings.  Serve sprinkled over your Greek yogurt or as a cereal with your favourite nut milk (I like hazelnut milk for this).

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Option Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Mango + Spirulina 275 7g 15g 43g 21g 1g
Vanilla Coyo, Blueberry + Maca 367 30g 5g 19g 11g 5g
Banana, Cacao + Coconut Butter 318 19.4g 13g 24.1g 14g 4.1g
Cacao Quinoa Crunch 278 18g 14g 17g 10g 3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

 

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

‘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

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

ENERGISING GREEN SMOOTHIE – BREAKFAST

This smoothie will “give you wings”. So grab your halo and prepare to fly through your day!

For a nourishing boost I used one of my favourite supplements, Superlife Smoothie Mix (Energy Boost), available from your local Lloyds Pharmacy. It is packed with exotic-sounding organic superfoods such as maca, hemp, cacao, spirulina and chlorella. This unique blend offers an abundance of antioxidant nutrients, iron, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein.

Combined with fibre- and vitamin C rich greens, over 11g protein per serving and essential fats from creamy avocado, this smoothie is an ideal breakfast and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 50g cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls leafy greens e.g. baby spinach or rocket leaves
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped (or 1/2 for less sugar)
  • 1/2 avocado, stone removed and flesh scooped out
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Superlife Smoothie Mix Energy Boost*
  • 1 cup water or coconut water
  • 2-3 cubes of ice

Instructions

Put all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whizz until silky smooth. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Prepare your vegetables the night before and pack them into the smoothie cup. Store in the fridge. The next morning just add water and ice cubes and blend.
  • Divide the mixture into 3 or 4 small glasses and serve to your kids as a snack or as a nourishing accompaniment their normal breakfast.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley to hand, just add an extra handful of greens. Choose from spinach, rocket, chard, lambs lettuce or chicory leaves.
  • Instead of ice cubes, peel and dice a few bananas and store in a sealed container in the freezer. Use these in place of ice cubes (but as part of your fruit portion).
Nutrition Information per Serving.
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
326 11.9g 11.4g 48g 25g 16
A source of vitamin C, vitamin A, Iron, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores