Red Lentil Dahl

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Lentils are a great source of plant based protein and fibre so they’re super filling and satisfying. This tasty dahl is bursting with Indian spices and flavours which help to lower inflammation in the body. Rich in soluble fibre, folate and magnesium, lentils help to lower cholesterol in the body and support heart health. In addition, lentils are also a good source of iron which makes them a great addition to vegetarian dishes. The perfect meal for a ‘Meatless Monday’ …or any day of the week for that matter!

Ingredients (serves 4-6, freezes well)

  • 2tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 1 tin of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes + 100ml water

Optional extras: some fresh coriander and a little mango chutney to garnish

Serving Suggestion: Serve with a little basmati rice or sweet potato mash. For a low carb accompaniment, try steamed cauliflower or cauliflower rice

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds start to ‘pop’.
  • Add the onion and turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes, follow with the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  • Pour in the lentils, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and 100mls of water and stir.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season to taste then serve with fresh coriander and optional accompaniments above.

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

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Tasty Chickpea Salad

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If you like to meal prep lunches in advance this salad is a great option as it holds well in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s high in fibre and prebiotics which help to maintain a healthy gut. Chickpeas are a good source of plant based protein and iron and keep you full for hours. The olive oil delivers heart healthy fats whilst the colourful veg delivers a variety of vitamins and antioxidants.  Now that’s food to feel good about.

Ingredients (serves 2- 4)

  • 1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • ½ red/yellow pepper, finely chopped (I use sweet mini peppers)
  • ½ sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp. black olives
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp honey/agave
  • A good pinch of sea salt & black pepper

Method

  • To a large salad bowl, add the chickpeas, peppers, sweet onion, cucumber and olives.
  • In a cup stir together the oil, vinegar, honey and seasoning.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to combine.
  • Top with the crumbled feta and chopped parsley and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Note: you can make this a more filling meal by adding some cooked cous cous or quinoa to the salad or serving alongside a piece of chicken/fish etc.

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

Poached Eggs with Avocado Smash on Toast

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This makes for a super filling breakfast or lunch. I love this meal combo as it’s super tasty and satisfying. The combination of protein, healthy fats and wholegrain carbs make for a nutritionally balanced meal that’s bursting with nutrients which fuel our body and mind.  The ultimate ‘good mood food’!

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 slice of bread, toasted (rye, wholegrain or sourdough work well)

Avocado Smash

  • ½ a ripe avocado (or use all & refrigerate the other half of the smash for following day or freeze)
  • A good squeeze of lime juice
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • A sprinkle of chilli flakes/paprika/mild chilli powder

Optional extras

  • 1 tbsp. Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A handful of mixed salad leaves

Method

  • Peel & mash the avocado with a fork, season with salt & chilli flakes, add a good squeeze of lime juice.
  • Poach egg/s in boiling water to your liking (I add vinegar to the boiling water)
  • Spread the avocado smash on a slice of toast & top with the poached egg/s.
  • Add crumbled feta and cherry tomatoes and serve with a mixed leaf salad, if desired

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

 

Apple N Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares

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These soft & chewy oatmeal squares taste and smell like warm apple pie. High in fibre and slow releasing carbohydrates they make the perfect on the go breakfast or mid-morning/afternoon snack. Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fats which support heart health by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation. There’s also solid evidence that oats can help lower blood cholesterol thanks to the power of beta-glucan, a soluble fibre found in oats.

Ingredients (makes 9)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds (I use white chia as less noticeable for kids)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple puree/sauce (stew 2 apples in a little water or buy apple sauce, unsweetened preferably)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp. honey, optional (agave, brown rice/maple syrup work well too)

Method

  • Set the oven to 180 degrees and line an 8X8 inch baking tin with parchment paper. (I lightly rub coconut oil onto the tin to allow the parchment paper to stick and leave overhang on all sides for easy removal.)
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon and chia seeds.
  • Stir the honey into the melted coconut oil, if using. Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and bit by bit, add the melted coconut oil and apple sauce, mixing well as you go.
  • Transfer the mixture into the baking tray. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly throughout the tin, take a minute to do this well for best results.
  • Bake in the oven for approx. 25 mins until firm and golden.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 20 mins then carefully transfer to a wire rack to fully cool for another 30 mins (cutting too early may cause crumbling). Cut into 9 squares and keep in an air tight container for up to 4 days.

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

Balsamic Chicken With Roasted Veg

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This is my kind of food – colourful, flavoursome and nutritious. A nutritionally balanced meal in terms of protein, carbs and fat content and packed with Mediterranean goodness. This is my go to mid- week dinner because it’s all done in the one tray and so requires minimal prep & clean up.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 4 baby potatoes, quartered
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 courgette, halved and cut into chunks
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large flat mushrooms, halved
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • Leaves of 1 rosemary sprig or ½ tsp of dried rosemary
  • Good pinch of Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Place all the prepared potato & vegetables (except the tomatoes) in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Pour the oil and balsamic vinegar into a cup and mix in the garlic powder, seasoning and rosemary. Pour two thirds of the marinade over the vegetables and mix well.
  • Spread the vegetables across a baking tray. Put the chicken breasts in the bowl and pour over the remaining marinade, coating both sides. Nestle the chicken breasts onto the tray of veggies and roast in the oven for approx. 30 minutes. Half way through, turn the potatoes and veggies and add the tomatoes. Once out of the oven, allow to rest for 5 mins then serve immediately.

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

Banana Protein Pancakes

The high protein content of these pancakes makes them super filling so they’ll keep you full & energised for hours. Eggs, banana and oats are rich in mood boosting nutrients so if there is such a thing as ‘good mood food’ these pancakes definitely qualify!

protein banana pancakes instagram(makes 2 large pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Method

  • In a wide bowl, mash the banana very well with a fork. Add the eggs & whisk together until well combined.
  • Add the oats to a blender/bullet and blend to a flour consistency (you can also skip the blender & just use fine/quick oats).
  • Add the oat flour and cinnamon to the mixture and stir to combine.
  • Heat a little oil/butter in a non- stick pan. Pour in half the mixture for a large pancake.
  • Cook for 2-3 mins on each side. Allow to cool for a few mins before tucking in.

Serving suggestion: press blueberries into the pancake during cooking or serve berries on the side with a drizzle of maple syrup.

elsa jones logoElsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

Elsa’s Seven Steps To Better Health

Kieran Harnett

Elsa Jones, Nutritional Therapist

  1. Eat Nutritionally Balanced Meals – A ‘balanced diet’ starts with getting the right balance of nutrients onto your plate at meal times. At lunch/dinner, aim to fill ¼ of your plate with protein rich food such as chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts & seeds. Protein helps you stay fuller for longer and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Adding complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa etc. will provided a slow steady release of energy along with vitamins and fibre. Aim to fill ¼ of your plate with complex carbohydrates at meal times.
  2. Eat A Rainbow Every Day! – For optimal health & disease prevention, aim to eat 5-7 fruit & veg every day  – 5 veg and 2 fruit is a good balance. Eat a wide variety of different colours as each colour offers unique health benefits. Aim to eat something red, green, purple, yellow/orange and white every day and fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch/dinner time.
  3. Embrace ‘Essential Fats’ – Omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids nourish our brain, our heart & reproductive system and are essential for healthy hair, skin & nails. To ensure you get enough in your diet, I recommend you have oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines etc.) twice a week and have  1-2 tbsp. of omega 3 rich seeds per day (flax, chia, hemp) – add them to porridge, salads, bread etc.
  4. Limit your sugar intake- For overall health & weight management, try to view high sugar foods such as chocolate, biscuits, sweets/cakes etc. as occasional ‘treats’ not a daily diet staple. If you have sweet foods regularly, then try reducing your portion size and/or opt for healthier versions e.g. have a couple of squares of dark chocolate instead of a full bar of milk chocolate.
  5. Prioritize Sleep & Stress Management – Getting 7-9 hrs sleep a night and managing your stress levels is essential for good physical & mental health. Exercise is a wonderful way to reduce stress and boost mood, find an exercise you enjoy and do it consistently, even a 30 minute walk a day offers significant health benefits. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are also effective for reducing stress & improving sleep. Sleep experts recommend a ‘wind down’ routine where you switch off all electronics 1-2 hrs before bed to improve sleep quantity & quality.
  6. Watch your caffeine intake – Excess Caffeine can affect our nervous system by revving up stress hormones in the body like adrenaline & cortisol, this can affect our anxiety levels, mood & sleep. I recommend limiting yourself to no more than 2 caffeinated beverages a day, ideally before 2pm.
  7. Alcohol in moderation – The current guidelines from the HSE for ‘low risk’ alcohol intake is 11 units per week for women (approx. 5 medium glasses of wine) and 17 for men. Note – this is a limit not a target! If you have a weight loss goal, limiting your intake further is advisable.

Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

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