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

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

11 Superfoods You Need To Be Eating!

Ruth Burke, Pharmacist Manager of LloydsPharmacy Churchtown, is a fitness fanatic with a passion for healthy cooking and nutrition. So we asked her to give us her take on Superfoods and tell us which ones she recommends for her customers. There are just so many superfood lists available; we wanted one with realistic, easy-to-use and easy-to-find items, demystifying the whole thing!

Everyone is talking about superfoods these days!

A superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered especially beneficial for health and well-being. They are foods found in nature that are calorie-sparse and nutrient-dense. They contain anti-oxidants and essential nutrients that our body cannot always make itself.

Superfoods are often marketed as having almost super powers to prevent and cure many diseases. However, nothing can substitute a healthy and balanced diet, and you must always consult a health professional if you suffer from any illnesses or are taking any medication.

Here are my top everyday superfoods that are easy to find and easy to use in everyday meals.

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Eggs: My absolute favourite superfood. They are just so versatile. They are one of the most nutrient dense foods available. They are low in calories and high in protein each egg has 6 grams of protein but only 72 calories. Protein is essential for building muscles and promoting proper body function.

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Beans & Lentils: A great alternative source of protein instead of using meat or fish, which can be expensive. Studies have shown that they are high in soluble fibre, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Beans are also rich in phytochemicals that help prevent cell damage.

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Almonds: They contain Vitamin B2, which helps energy production, and potassium, a mineral needed for a healthy heart. They are also packed with Vitamin E, which prevents damage caused by free-radicals, cells that injure healthy cells.

Orange

Oranges: Oranges are LOADED with vitamins: Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B and Fibre. All which help immunity, protect the heart and keep the body functioning properly. They contain antioxidants which help fight against signs of aging. However, please remember, orange juice you buy can contain high quantities of sugar so fresh oranges are best for making juice.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes: These are super tasty and full of vitamin A, which protects your vision and immune system. You’ll see a lot of sweet potatoes used on our Recipe Blog!

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Broccoli: Broccoli, amazingly, contains as much calcium as a glass of milk and more vitamin C than an orange!

Spinach

Spinach: Spinach is in antioxidants to help build the immune system. Flavonoids found in spinach can even slow the signs of aging.

avocado

Avocado: An excellent source of potassium, fibre and other vitamins, so has loads of cardiovascular benefits. They have a high fat content virtually more than any other fruit, but it’s all good monounsaturated fats which protect your heart from disease. They also help lower cholesterol.

Kale: Rich in fibre and beta-carotene. It is an excellent source of calcium, iron and vitamin A, C and K. Kale contains antioxidants that fight inflammation and detoxify the body.

Coconut: Full of healthy fats. Great for protecting your heart, as well as your bones and joints. It is high in natural fibre so it makes you feel full for longer. It is a great energy boost and is great for the immune system. Coconut oil is a must for cooking. I use it for everything.

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Quinoa: This super grain is high in fibre and is also gluten free. So is a great substitute for those with a gluten intolerance. It is high in iron and magnesium. It is also extremely tasty!

I hope you’ll agree that these foods are easily obtainable and easy to use in everyday meals. And of course, they taste good too! Check out our recipe blog for some ideas on how to use them!

Written by Ruth Burke, Pharmacist Manager, LloydsPharmacy Churchtown