Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

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This lovely recipe comes from one of our amazing Balgowlah clients Pam. Pam reports that it absolutely delicious! Pam has been enjoying eating the soup as a good way to pack more veggies in. Thanks for sharing Pam :)

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g pumpkin, peeled, chopped (oven roasted)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped (or 1 leek, sliced)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large carrot, grated

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed, drained

3 cups reduced-salt vegetable stock

400g can no-added-salt diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Pepper to taste

4 slices grainy sourdough bread

1 small avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve 

Instructions

1.     Preheat oven to 200oC / 180oC fan-forced.  Place cut pumpkin in a bowl and mix with a little olive oil.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper and add pumpkin.  Bake for 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. 

2.     Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion / leek and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, carrot, lentils, stock, 2 cups water, tomatoes and pepper to taste.

3.     Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add warm cooked pumpkin and simmer for another 10 minutes.

4.     Remove from heat and puree using a stick blender.

5.     Meanwhile, toast bread and top with sliced avocado. Sprinkle soup with parsley, dollop with yoghurt and serve with avocado toast.

Nutrition:

Kilojoules: 1,842kJ               Total fat: 16g                           Dietary fibre: 12.8g

Calories: 440cal                   Saturated fat: 3.6g                Sodium: 958mg

Protein: 23.2g                        Carbohydrates: 45.3g         Calcium: 138mg

Sugars: 15.2g                         Iron: 5.1mg

Three top nutrition trends and their impact on Sports Nutrition: Ketogenic Diet, Alternate Milks & Veganism

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Instagram. Google. Facebook. Television. Every day we are bombarded with information about food and nutrition. Not only can this be confusing! If we act on wrong information it can end up impacting negatively upon both our sports performance as well as our health.

Accredited Sports Dietitians are trained in best science and have to keep up to date to provide safe recommendations to the public about nutrition on a daily basis. About time you stopped listening to the girl on Instagram who tells you skinny tea to lean up or that to be a great athlete you have to be vegan? We think so! 

Today we share some recent health “trends” we seem to be seeing in common media and why this would potentially not be appropriate for athletes. Many of these are diet not lifestyle approaches which can be very unsustainable and unhealthy.

“There are no magic bullets when it comes to optimal performance, following the key fundamentals of sports nutrition through sound education and individual integration is what is going to set you up for success”

The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a low carbohydrate (<20g/day), high in fat and adequate protein diet. When the body is starved of carbohydrates it has to look for another source of energy, so the liver turns fats into “ketones” which can be used as energy. This diet was originally designed for epilepsy and has been commonly used to try and lose weight.

Why it doesn’t always work for athletes? 

Firstly, let’s think about how practical this actually is... 20g of carbs is as much as you find in banana. Day over after that – No more… cereal, fruit, milk, yoghurt, bread, pasta, chickpeas, lentils, crackers or yummy home-made protein balls. Suddenly we are also cutting out a bunch of different food groups and missing out on key micronutrients, compromising body function.

Additionally as athletes, your body NEEDS carbohydrates, especially for high intensity exercise. If there is none there at all we feel flat, have a greater risk of getting sick and lack energy to get the most out of our training.

Did I also mention that carbohydrates fuel our brain? As athletes we also be sharp with our attention and memory to assimilate information and improve our skill, technique and competition decision making.

Lastly: Keto is also low in fibre and can mess with our digestion leaving us feeling bloated and uncomfortable for training and competition.

Dairy vs. Alternate Milks 

I went to order a coffee the other day and was offered either skim, soy, almond or macadamia milk! With many new milks popping up in the supermarket, it seems everyone is getting curious.

The point stands that original dairy milk is still wholesome and appropriate for athletes as it provides calcium and phosphorus (for strong bones and teeth), protein (for recovery), iodine (for metabolism), potassium (for blood pressure regulation), and vitamins B2 and B12 (for brain function).

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Unfortunately many alternate milks are:

a)     Low in protein

b)    Low in calcium or not even fortified with calcium

We usually recommend skim, light milk or high protein milk to our athletes as it digests better when lower in fats. Remember that we recommend ~20g of protein within 30 minutes of exercise completion for recovery too, and dairy has the perfect blend of amino acids for repair.   

Plant Base Diets/Veganism 

It seems the modern world is started to gravitate towards many more plant-based options or diets. First of all, these diets can be great and adequate IF DONE CORRECTLY.

Typical vegan and vegetarian diets can make it harder sometimes to reach protein requirements for an athletes recovery, immunity and generating healthy hormones. It can also be a struggle to meet iron requirements. Iron is used to deliver oxygen from your lungs to tissues whilst exercising.

If you decide to follow a purely vegan diet, you can compromise other nutrient intakes such as B12 which is only found in animal-based foods. 

And guess what?! You can still increase your intake of plant-based foods to get healthy benefits such a high-amounts of fibre for gut function, immunity and vitality whilst you are eating meat. All it involves is a little creativity such as learning how to integrate things like chickpeas into your diet, trying some traditional dahl, or incorporating tofu into a meal or two every week.

Dietitian's are great with guidance in this area, so never be afraid to check in whether you are already vegetarian/vegan, considering a change OR just want to balance your diet with some more plant-based foods. It’s a great idea to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need for your training evaluated by a professional. 

And there you have it! Three top nutrition trends/myths laid out with the right science so you can make informed decisions to make sure that nutrition is always supporting you to train and compete to the best of your ability.  

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Shakshuka Recipe

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Ingredients

·     1 red onion, finely diced

·     1 garlic clove, crushed

·     1 small chilli, finely diced

·     1 teaspoon paprika

·     ½ teaspoon ground coriander

·     ½ teaspoon ground cumin

·     2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces

·     400g chopped tomatoes

·     ½ large eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes

·     4 eggs

·     Fresh coriander, to serve

Method

1.    Preheat oven to 2200C.

2.    Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat and add onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and stir, cook for a further minute. 

3.    Add the capsicum and tomatoes to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until capsicums are softened. Turn the cook top off, then blend the sauce and return to the pan.

4.    Meanwhile, spray another pan with cooking oil and heat over a high heat. Add eggplant and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally.

5.    Stir the eggplant through the sauce. Make four wells with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each well, then bake in the oven until eggs are cooked to your liking.  

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with wholegrain bread.

Nutrition benefits:

High in Vitamin C to assist your immunity and glowing skin

A good source of protein to keep you feeling full and lower the overall GI of the meal

Can be shared with friends (Always a benefit too right ;))

This recipe was brought to you by our amazing Kirrawee Dietitian Melissa - give her a call to get your health sorted down in the South of Sydney!

 

Flour Guide: Nutrition, Baking & Best Uses

With the number of flours available in the supermarket today, it can be overwhelming (What the hell is TEFF?!). This guide looks at some of the most popular flours used in everyday cooking and mentions some new flours that are available in stores. We share our top picks at the bottom of the blog to keep your delicious baking producing healthy outcomes too!

Grains 101

·       In Australia, wheat based flour is commonly used by food manufacturers and individuals at home. Wheat grains are ground down and sifted in a process called milling, to produce flour.

·       There are three major parts of a cereal grain: the endosperm, bran and germ.

·       Different components of any grain may be left in or taken out depending on how it is milled. This will produce different kinds of flour.  

WHITE FLOUR

In white flour, both the bran and germ have been removed via milling. As the bran and germ contain more dietary fibre than the endosperm, white flour has a light consistency. Many micronutrients including B vitamins, iron and magnesium are found in greater concentrations in the bran and germ layers of the grain. Therefore, white flour contains less of these nutrients. However, flour may be restored with some of these lost nutrients and may also be fortified with additional nutrients such as folic acid and iodine.

Uses: White flour is commonly used to make bread, pizza dough or sweet bakes such as cakes, muffins and scones. White flour is often used as a thickener for gravies and sauces.

Nutrition

 WHOLEMEAL FLOUR

Incorporates the bran layer of the wheat grain, which makes this flour higher in fibre, protein as well as vitamins and minerals (e.g. niacin (B3) and iron). This flour may also be fortified with additional micronutrients.

Uses: Like white flour, wholemeal flour may be used to make sweet/savoury breads or doughs or cakes, muffins and scones

RYE FLOUR

Derived from the rye grain, rye flour is milled in a similar fashion to wheat. A little harder to find and more expensive than wheat flour, you may have to venture outside major supermarket chains to find rye flour. Rye flour comes in both dark and light varieties. Light rye is lighter than dark rye and contains less calories, fibre and protein per.

Uses: Rye flour may be used to make breads, pumpernickel, crispbreads, or biscuits.

SPELT FLOUR

Spelt is an ancient grain, cultivated over thousands of years. This grain is rich in several vitamins and minerals including B vitamins (thiamin, niacin and folate), magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Spelt is a high protein, high fibre flour making it a great alternative to wheat flour.

Uses: May be used to make dense breads, biscuits or pastas. Spelt is quite flavoursome so is best for savoury dishes.

GLUTEN FREE FLOUR

Gluten free flour is generally a mix of various gluten free flours including corn and tapioca starch and rice flour. Due to the ingredients, this flour is quite low in protein compared to other flours.

Uses: Gluten free plain or self-raising flour can be used to make a variety of dishes including breads, cakes, muffins, batters and can be used as a thickener for sauces/gravies.

COCONUT FLOUR

Derived from the pulp of the coconut, coconut flour is a soft, light flour. It is a by-product made during the coconut milk making process. Coconut flour is also extremely high in flbre and a good source of protein. This flour absorbs a lot of liquid, therefore much less is required to make a certain product (e.g. muffins) than wheat flour.

Uses: Coconut flour may be used to make cupcakes or muffins, cakes, biscuits, pancakes and breads. It may also be used as a gluten free alternative for batter.

QUINOA FLOUR

Derived from another ancient grain, quinoa flour is high in fibre and protein, and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, magnesium, iron and phosphate.

Uses: Quinoa flour produces quite a moist bake, and is good for muffins, cakes, pastries or sweet/savoury breads.

CHICKPEA FLOUR

You may or may not have seen chickpea flour in your local supermarket. As this flour is derived from chickpeas, it contains a significant amount of protein along with B vitamins and dietary fibre.

Uses: Chickpea flour may be used to bake cakes, breads and biscuits or for pancakes, fritters or batter

LENTIL FLOUR

Like chickpea flour, lentil flour is relatively new to the supermarket. Made purely from uncooked lentils, this flour provides a nutty flavour to dishes. Lentils are a great source of protein, dietary fibre and micronutrients such as iron, phosphate and copper.

Uses: Like chickpea flour, lentil flour may be used in a variety of dishes including sweet or savoury breads, cakes, muffins, fritters and to make batter.

TEFF FLOUR

Teff has long been used in Ethiopia as a staple grain, but it is relatively new to Western. Like quinoa, Teff is a good source of dietary fibre and protein. This gluten free flour is also rich in several micronutrients including B vitamins, calcium and iron.

Uses: Teff flour has an earthy, nutty taste and is a great gluten free alternative to wheat flour in cakes, muffins, breads and other bakes.

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR

Surprisingly, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. In fact, the buckwheat plant is related to rhubarb. Buckwheat flour is gluten free, and often used as a replacement for wheat. Buckwheat is available as both dark and light flours. Dark buckwheat is more flavoursome than light. Another high protein flour, buckwheat also contains several micronutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Uses: Dark buckwheat flour is great for making crepes or pancakes, whilst lighter buckwheat flour may be used to make biscuits, muffins, rolls and bread. As buckwheat is quite strong, it is best used along with another flour (e.g. rice flour) to reduce the nutty taste.

OUR TOP PICKS NUTRITION WISE

Rye Flour: Particularly dark flour which is higher in protein than the light variety. With 300 calories/cup (vs. 500 in white and wholemeal), 10.5g of protein and 9.1g of fibre as well as being of a moderate glycaemic index it could be a good baking option, particularly if you enjoy making your own bread. Its also relatively cheap $3/kg.

Lentil Flour: With 333 calories/cup (5th lowest out of 15 compared) its high in protein 25.4g and fibre 15.9g and comes in at a medium price range, $9/kg.

Teff Flour: Teff was the flour highest in protein with 39g/cup! It also rated high in terms of fibre (12.5g) and was sitting at 225 calories. However it is a little more expensive, $13/kg

To learn more about the nutritional composition of flours best to talk to us in the clinic - we love baking!!

References/Further Information

Most this nutritional information was obtained from calorieking.com.au. Nutrient information on lentil flour was taken from mckenziesfoods.com.au

Note: The nutritional information provided on this guide refers to uncooked flour

[1] Honest to Goodness foods

[2] https://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/shop/cooking/organic-buckwheat-flour-gf/

[3] https://www.tooshfoods.com.au/shop/cooking-and-baking/organic-teff-flour/