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