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Nutrition and wellness coaching - oat bread

Fruity Oat Yogurt Bread

This is a dead handy loaf that can be thrown together in mins with some store cupboard essentials. A great snack for after-schoolers, perfect breakfast or loaf for lunch! A real all-rounder!

Ingredients:

220g oats ground in a blender

100g ground almonds

4 tbsp ground flax

4 tbsp whole chia seeds

Handful raisans or other dried fruit e.g. chopped figs/apricots

Handful chopped nuts (optional)

1/2 tsp bread soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp honey

500g tub natural probiotic yogurt

Method:

Mix all ingredients well and place in a lined loaf tin, bake for 40 mins until golden on top and then remove carefully from tin, place loaf unpside down on baking tray and bake a further 10 mins. Leave to cool and then slice. Perfect for freezing or enjoying right away!

Enjoy!

 

Nutrition and wellness coaching - healthy nutella

Hazelnut & Cacao Spread

This is a great alternative to the kids favourite Nutella, minus the sugar and palm oil. I’ve been playing around with it to get the consistency right! Give it a try!

Ingredients:

150g Hazelnuts roasted

4 tbsp Cacao powder

3 tbsp honey

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

2 tbsp hazelnut milk or goats milk

Method:

Blitz hazelnuts until a powder. Add all other ingredients together in Nutribullet and blitz again until smooth, this could take a while. Its good to add honey and milk gradually until you get the sweetness & consistency just as you like it. You may like less honey, kids might like more!

Enjoy!

Nutrition and wellness coaching - healthy crumble

Nutty Chia Apple Cinnamon Crumble

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean denying yourself the things you enjoy or the odd treat or dessert! Swopping in some nutrient dense ingredients into your old favourites is a great way to get your treats with added benefits! The stewed apple cinnamon mix in this is great for gut healing and the crumble is packed with good fats with the almonds and chia and you have manganese, copper & magnesium in the buckwheat! A treat and all those benefits, now thats a win-win!

Ingredients:

Stewed apple:

4 Cooking apples

Handful of raisans

2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble:

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

3/4 cup ground almonds

4 tbsp whole chia seeds

2 oz real butter/coconut oil melted

Dash of honey

Custard:

4 egg yolks

3/4 pint goats milk

1/4 tin coconut milk

1oz muscovado sugar

Vanilla extract

2 tsp arrowroot powder (to thicken)

Method:

In a pot stew the apples with the cinnamon & raisans and a small amount of water to cover the bottom of the pan, bring to the boil then leave on a very low heat, with a lid on, to steam for 10 mins, keep an eye on it and stir once or twice, so it doesn’t stick to bottom of the pan. Transfer to a pie dish.

For the crumble simple mix flour, almonds and chia in a bowl. Melt the butter/ coco oil and honey and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well and tip on top of the apple mixture & flatten. Bake at 180 until the crumble is golden.

For the custard simply mix the egg yolks, sugar, arrowroot and vanilla in a bowl to a thick paste. In a pot bring the milk & coocnut milk to the boil. Allow to cool slightly then add to the egg mix slowly, whisking all the time. Return to the pan to simmer gently, until thickened, whisking all the time so it doesn’t curdle.

Enjoy!

Nutrition and wellness coaching - healthy baked beans

Baked Beans

A great alternative to the traditional tinned variety these are a winner with all the family!

Ingredients:

1 Onion

1 Garlic clove

1 tin Cannelini Beans, rinsed well

500ml passata

Seasoning

1 tsp sugar

Rosemary, finely chopped

(Chilli optional)

Method:

Finely chop onion and garlic & fry in coconut oil or butter until very soft. Add the passata, sugar, seasoning and rosemary and simmer on a low heat for 10 mins, blitz the sauce till smooth, place back on the heat and add cannelini beans, simmer for a further 10 mins or transfer to the oven at 180 for 10mins. The sauce should thicken nicely, if too thick just thin with a drop of water (or great place to stick in a little stock!). For a spicy version simply add fresh or dried chilli. Mix up the recipe another day with different beans, different herbs, or even a little chorizo or bacon for a tasty twist.

Enjoy!   

Nutrition and wellness coaching - fussy eaters

Worried about fussy eaters?

Dealing with fussy eaters can be very frustrating! Trying day in day out to get them to eat the meals you make, constant dinner battles, worrying about their nutrition and even feeling guilty, it’s not pleasant. Well don’t lose hope! The first thing to remember is there is a lot you can do with kids as regards nutrition, without even going near their food! Leading my example, surrounding them with positive influences and educating them in a fun way about nutrition can set a seed with them and get them thinking (even subconciously) about food and health and can lead to better decisions down the line. Heres our top tips for handling fussy eaters and your stress levels!

Lead by example

The absolute best way to convey any message to kids is by letting them see you do it yourself. So focus on your own food first and that change alone is going to be a great education for your kids. They want to be like you and do what you do, so even if its not an instant change it is definitely passing a good message on to them, even subconsciously.

Get them involved

Getting kids to help with the shoping, prepping, cooking, baking is a great way to get an interest up in them around food and cooking and it reduces the mystery and fear around it all. With no pressure on them to even taste if they dont want to, but just to get involved and it can be a fun family activity too. Making a game out of identifying different veg in the supermarket or simple tasks like peeling veg, kids will love taking part.

Country Markets

An outing to a country market can be a nice family activity for everyone and a great learning experience. There are markets running in most areas now one day or other in the week. This can be a great outing for all ages, with loads of great produce on offer, you can even talk to the producers, kids can really get a feel from where the food comes from and what is involved in producing it. Other options like local producers, farm shops and open veg gardens, usually welcome visitors and this can be a great place to get great quality food at good prices.

Ohiopyle-Country-Market-074-web

Positive influences

Simple things like reading books about nutrition and health can be a fun activity to get kids thinking about food. There are loads of kids books out now. Also on TV or online now there are cartoons and on devices loads of kids apps. As they get a little older then there are any amount of interesting movies and documentaries that you can watch together. Even colouring pictures, games, quizzes, there is so much available online nowadays and these will all be instilling a positive message.

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Grow your own

A fantastic project to start with kids is to grow something yourselves. Anything at all, no matter how small the garden, even a pot of lettuce or parsley, they will be amazed to see it grow and they will be so proud to see something they grew from a seed going into dishes!

herbs

Reading labels & other activities

An activity kids can find fun is comparing labels of products, purely for interest sake, they will be amazed to see one pack has more sugar than another for example. A good way to do it is to get products that they like and then a similar more healthy alternative and compare products, it can get a discussion going and you never know where that might lead! A simple sugar demo is another activity that is very visual and effective with kids. Simple lay out products on a table, check the label for sugar content (4g=1 tsp) and spoon out that amount of sigar in front of the product, different cereals, biscuits, yogurts work well.

Classes

A cooking class or grow your own veg class could be a fun kids or family activity. There are classes like these running all over the country, if you do a search online or ask in your local area or health shop. Grow HQ in Waterford is definitely worth a visit, they offer great classes and information and you could visit the cafe and veg gardens too!

Tips on actually getting them to eat:

Well this could be another blog of its own, but heres some helpful hints!

Quality – focus first on what they are actually willing to eat and try to improve the quality of that. So if its chicken nuggets, make your own. If its a ham sandwich, try better quality bread (even get them involved in making your own!), boil a ham and sqitch spreads back to plain old butter. Yogurts, switch to a good quality natural probiotic yogurt and add your own fruit or blitzed berries and as little sweetness as you can get away with, whittling it down as their taste buds adapt. The better quality produce is going to be higher in nutrients and less damaging to their gut and health.

Try and try again – when introducing new foods, it can take up to 20 times trying something for a child to come around to it, sticker charts, little rewards can work really well to intice them to try, or they find Youtube clips on tasting foods, blindfold tasting etc very entertaining so maybe you could try an activity like that at home

Hidden goodies – a great way to boost nutrition, is in some food that they do actually like, start to ‘hide’ a small amount of something healthy, maybe blended veg or fruit or even bone broth, building it up very slowly, up are seriously boosting the nutritional value of the meal and their tastebuds will actually start to change over time. A tomato pasta sauce with a little hidden onion, garlic, courgette, pepper, carrot can give them a serious nutrient boost

Take your opportunity – we are all talk about mindful eating, not eating in front of screens etc but when it comes to very fussy kids this could actually work in your favour the odd time. Those moments when they are slightly zoned out watching TV slip a little bowl of chopped veg or fruit in front of them and you might be surprised they they might start munching when they are distracted!

Renaming – Homemade juices and smoothies are a great way to hide some goodies also, renaming a veg & strawberry smoothie with a (little avocado & coconut oil!) a ‘nice strawberry milkshake’, even the tiniest amounts of the good stuff you add in are going to have a benefit.

Good luck!

Nutrition and wellness coaching - healthy muffins

Fruity Muffins

A great little afternoon snack for smallies or perfect for a coffee morning, these buns are a lovely healthy alternative for all ages!

Ingredients:

Blitz in Nutribullet or food processor-

3-4 ripe bananas or a mix of banana & apple

3oz goats butter

1 egg

4 tbsp Honey/Maple syrup

Add this mixture to:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup ground almonds

1 heaped tsp gf baking powder

Pinch salt

Method:

Add berries of your choice. Mix well. Place in lined muffin tray and bake at 180 for 20 mins or until golden.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gut health – the basics

‘Gut’ is a real buzz word at the moment. There is so much information flying around it can be easy to get bamboozled and even the terminology can sound so complicated, it can be hard to get your head around it. But it need not be too difficult, hopefully this blog can simplify it for you.

Our gut is an extremely important part of our body for a number of reasons:

  • the gut holds trillions of bacteria, approx ten times more bacteria than cells, we are literally more bacteria than human
  • there are thousands of different types of bacteria, and the specific balance of them is very important for good health
  • our gut lining contains its own immune system, which can have an impact on the rest of the body
  • a gut-brain link is being widely researched in recent years

Our gut lining is made up of tight junctions which is built to let through only the tiniest particles and nutrients. So in an ideal world with nothing to irritate the gut lining and food being chewed sufficiently, the gut would work just fine. Unfortunately this doesn’t describe the modern world we live in. Todays busy lifestyle, means rushing our food, insufficient chewing and poor digestion. As well as a constant stream of toxins, alcohol, smoking, medications, antibiotics, stress all of which can have a detrimental effect on our gut lining.

With these factors weakening the gut wall, the once tight junctions begin to loosen, this is known as leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Chewing our food well is a very important part of digestion. Insufficiently chewing our food puts stress on the digestive system, adding to its workload and the result is that bigger particles of food than are desireable arrive in the gut. The loosened junctions then make it possible for these bigger food particles, as well as toxins and microbes to pass through the gut wall and these can cause inflammation in the body, due to an immune reaction being initiated. The immune system sees these particles as foreign invaders and starts to attack them. These particles can even get lodged in our tissues and then the immune systems starts to attack the tissue also, and this is where we get into the scary area of autoimmunity, the body attacking itself.

Maybe you have low energy or mood issues, food sensitivities or even food intolerances or  digestive issues. Poor gut health could be causing you problems! So what can be done? Well a great place to start is with gut repair and healing the gut wall.

Some very easy daily tips can really help:

  • start the day with a glass of lemon water with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • make bone broth a part of your daily diet, a great habit to get into is to boil an organic chicken once a week, to keep you in bone broth all week long, add it to dishes or just have as is as a hot drink
  • stewed cooking apples with cinnamon are great for gut healing
  • add more veg and fruit to your diet, both cooked and raw
  • add a green juice to your daily routine (cabbage is great for gut healing if you could squeeze a little of that in!)
  • slow down your eating, chew each bite 20-30 times, remember your gut has no teeth!
  • try to reduce stress, especially around meal times, take a few dep breaths before eating
  • reduce snacking where possible, each 3 good meals and have a good break in between to give your digestion a break
  • reduce alcohol, caffeine and sugar as well as processed and fried foods
  • add fermented foods to your diet, saurkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kombucha, kefir
  • use coconut oil as your cooking oil, it is much more stable at high temperatures and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
  • reduce allergens in your diet such as gluten, wheat and dairy. Listen to your body and if you feel something doesnt agree with you try elminating it for 3 weeks and see if you notice a difference off it, or on reintroduction

Down the line if you wanted to do further investigations into your gut health a Nutritional Therapist can arrange a Comprehensive Diagnostic Stool Analysis, which can tell us so much about whats going on in the gut in terms of the balance of bacteria and even infection

Great books to inform yourself further are ‘Eat Dirt’ by Dr Josh Axe, ‘Gut’ by Giulia Enders, ‘Healthy Gut, Happy You’ by Jennifer Albuqurque, ‘Brain Maker’ by David Perlmutter, ‘The G Plan Diet’ by Amanda Hamilton and ‘10% Human’ by Alanna Collen

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Good Health!

Get the kids into the kitchen

Kids love nothing more than getting involved, getting their hands dirty and doing an activity together with siblings or parents. Sometimes they may need a little nudge, with all the distractions available these days, but once you get started they love it and the love tasting thre results even more!

This is such a great way to get kids learning about food and even to get fusy eaters to try new foods. Having some input into the recipe and the making of the food really empowers kids and makes them feel very grown up.

kids

With 1 in 4 kids overweight or obese, we really need to get down to their level and start showing them basic kitchen skills and teaching them about food from an early age, if they are to have a hope of a healthy adult life.

So some very easy options for you to start off with! All of these are no-bake so you dont have to worry!

Treat Balls

Soak 2 handfuls of dates in  2 tbsp boiling water. Blend 100g nuts, pecans and almonds go down well with kids. Seperately blend the dates & water into a paste. In a bowl mix dates, nuts, 4 tbsp cacao powder, a little honey or maple syrup to taste. You can play around with it, maybe they would like to add raisans or other dried fruit. Have fun then shaping them into balls and rolling in cacao, coconut or ground almonds. They’ll love getting their hands dirty!

ball

Smoothies and Smoothie bowls

Kids love making smoothies. Lay out lots of fruit and veg, nut/goats milk, coconut water and give them the freedom to choose what they want to put in. Try out different combinations. Make one yourself also and show them that things like a little carrots, lettuce, peeled courgette, celery, beetroot don’t actually make that much difference to the taste (try them individually at first and celery and beetroot just a small chunk at first!) If you want to get adventurous, add in avocado, nuts, seeds, milled flax or chia.

For a smoothie bowl simply add less liquid, so its good and thick and eat out of a bowl rather than drinking it. This can be a great alternative to a breakfast cereal. Top with nuts, seeds, raisians, whatever you like.

sbowls

No bake granola bars

Blend 100g nuts and 100g seeds, to a rough mix rather than a fine powder (or go with finer if you want to hide them!). Melt 3 tbsp almond butter and 3 tbsp coconut oil and then blend with a banana. Handful of gluten free oats (optional). Blend 2 handfuls of soaked dates to a paste. Mix nuts, seeds, dates, almond butter, coconut oil, dates and banana. They’ll love mixing this gloupy mess and licking the spoon! Press into a shallow tray/dish and refridgerate. You can tp with a little dark choc if you like. Once chilled cut into bars and store in a lunch box, if you can keep them that long!

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Simple chocolate dipping bowl

Cocktail sticks, fruit and dark chocolate, this is the easiest crowd pleaser around! Prepare chunks of fruit, kids can get to work on peeling bananas picking off grapes, washing thr fruit, etc, while you do the chopping. Melt a bar of dark chocolate in the microwave, taking care not to burn, or over a banemarie (pot of boiling water on the hob!). Add a touch of honey or coconut oil to taste if its too bitter. Set up the fruit around the bowl of chocolate, give every one a cocktail stick or fork and dig in! This one doesn’t last too long!!

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Fruit Stacks

These are great little snacks. Simply slice banana, apple of pear and stack with a nut butter spread between each slice. Top with a little chopped nuts, chia seeds or sesame seeds. Berries work great too. Fill raspberries with almond butter or strawberries topped with a little coconut cream are great! Great fun playing around with different combinations!

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Nicecream

Banana based icecream is a great one if you have any dairy intolerance in the house. But regardless this is a tasty easy to make icecream substitute that the kids will love! Chop banana and freeze. Blend from frozen, adding whatever flavour you prefer, vailla extract, fresh strawberry or cacao powder. Sweeten as you need with a little good quality local honey or maple syrup.

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Chocolate Bark

Another quick and easy one, simply melt dark chocolate and add whatever takes your fancy, chopped nuts, seeds, chia, dried fruit, fresh fruit, anything. Lay flat on greaseproof paper and refridgerate. Once chilled, crack into sections and enjoy!!

choctreats

Down the line if you want to start getting more adventurouror as they are getting older and are able for more, the possibilites are endless:

  • Oat Cookies are a great one, just a one bowl mix, make a log, chop into cookies and lay on the tray
  • Healthy Buns are the same, bung the mix in the food processoror Nutri Bullet and into the muffin tin
  • Buckwheat Pancakes are a real winner, again make the mix in the Nutribullet or blender, add some extras at the last minute like raisans, blueberries or dark choc chips and into the frying pan, supervising of course!
  • Helping to prepare the dinner, prepping veg etc if they are old enough to use a sharp knife!
  • Making salads, using a grater is a handy way, or a grater in a food processor can be so quick and. Grated beetroot, carrot and apple goes down very well with smallies!
  • Play around with making dressings can be good too, all you need is a jar with a lid, 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part apple cider vinegar, and then whatever else you want to add e.g. honey/maple, tamari/soya sauce, salt & pepper, herbs, spices, coconut milk, tahini, lemon, lime, orange. Experiment!

Have Fun!

 

Nutrition and wellness coaching - bounty bars

Gooey ‘bounty’ protein bars

These treat bars are a hit with biggies and smallies, chocolatey with a gooey centre, the perfect treat, but with health benefits of course, full of good fats, antioxidants and nutrients!

Ingredients:

100g dessicated coconut

50g ground almonds

2 scoops good quality whey protein powder (vanilla flavour or plain)

1 tin coconut milk, use just the cream and 3 tbsp of the water

1 handful raisans

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vailla essence (2tsp if whey is plain)

To coat: 1 bar dark chocolate 70-90%

Method:

Mix all ingredients, except the chocolate, very well in a bowl. Then press into a shallow rectangular dish lined with greaseproof. Refridgerate for 1 hour. When chilled, cut into small bars. Melt the dark choc and dip each bar into it until covered. Refridgerate again for another 30 mins.

Enjoy! 

Sesame, Almond & Cacao Boost Balls

These little guys are bursting with micronutrients and good fats! Tahini is a fantastic source of non-dairy dairy and with all the nuts, seeds and cacoa you’ve got a nice dose of protein in here too.

Ingredients:

2 cups Cacao Powder

2 heaped tbsp Dark Tahini

2 heaped tbsp Almond Butter

1/2 cup Ground flax mix (any ground seed mix)

1/2 cup Ground Almonds

2 tbsp whole chia seeds

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

3 tbsp Goji Berries

2 tbsp honey/maple syrup

Toasted sesame seeds for rolling

Method:

Mix all ingredients really well. Mould into balls with damp hands and roll in the sesame seeds. Refriderate for an hour and then… Enjoy!