I Carrot encourage you enough to eat your fruit and vegetables, A Berry good reason to Munch yourself to Health This Summer

Beach. Heat. Sun. Night swims. Barbeques. Cocktails. Yep, that’s right, Australian Summer is here along with a brand new 2015!

With a new year comes new motivation to shake (or run!) off those extra couple of kilograms or get back to treating our bodies with some love so we feel like happy humans again. This means nourishing fuel and adequate exercise, enough sleep and reducing those delicious beers, sneaky ciders or sparking wines.

In January everyone gets bombarded with exercise and nutrition programs, social media posts, gimmicks, gadgets and fad diets. It can all get a little overwhelming. Which one will you choose? And importantly, I am reminding you, which ones are credible!? I saw a post the other day online which read, “Having a six pack does not make you an authority on nutrition”. I am with this philosophy 110%! Make sure you do your research. I suggest following or booking in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I heard that they are pretty awesome ;)

Enough of all this bananas, although these options are all appeeling – time to get back to some nutrition basics – Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake!

Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and various vitamins and minerals. The good news is that we are receiving more positive evidence that adequate intake in align with guidelines is associated with reducing disease risk. Recently (2014) the College of London found that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. WOW. Give me another carrot!

This isn't the only benefit. Fruit and vegetables can help fill us up whilst reducing the energy density (total amount of energy) of what we are eating. If you are looking for weight loss, getting your 2 fruit and 5 vege everyday can definitely assist your efforts!

Eating fruit and vegetables in season is often CHEAPER and they taste BETTER. Wondering what fruit and vege is in season currently?

Taken from the Australian Seasonal Produce Guide

Summer Fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries cherries, grapes, melons (watermelon, rock melon, honeydew), nectarines, peaches, plums, Valencia oranges, tomatoes

Summer Vegetables

Asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, chilies, cucumbers, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, pumpkin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, turnips, zucchini

 Some Nutritional Benefits of summer fruits

·      Berries: High in antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, these guys are bursting with health. They are also low in calories!

·      Melons: Watermelon being ~92% water is a great hydrator during summer. Similar to tomatoes, watermelon is also high in lycopene, a compound linked to reducing the risk of prostrate cancer. Watermelon is one of the only foods that is high GI however (releases sugar quickly into your blood steam), so I would eat it in conjunction with other fruits or some yoghurt. Rock melon and honeydew are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

·      Orange and yellow fruits are excellent sources of vitamin A for glowing and strong skin, vision and immunity.

 A serve of fruit (2 per day recommended)

     · 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear

· 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums

· 20 grapes/cherries, 1 cup blueberries or raspberries, 3 cups strawberries

· 30g dried fruit, such as 4 dried apricot halves; 1 ½ tablespoons of sultana

· 1 cup diced pieces of canned fruit

               Or only occasionally

· 125mL (1/2 cup) 100% no added sugar fruit juice

 

Some Nutritional Benefits of Summer Vegetables

·      Beetroot helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels

·      Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory

·      Pumpkin and carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A

·      Spring onions contain a valuable flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant linked to preventing cancer. Their use also means you don’t have to add sugar and salt to your cooking!

 A serve of vegetables (5 per day recommended)

· ½ cup of raw or cooked orange (such as carrots or pumpkin) or cruciferous (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage) vegetables

· ½ cup of cooked or canned (no added salt) beans, peas or lentils

· 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or green salad vegetables (raw)

· 1 small-medium tomato

· 1 small or ½ a medium potato or equivalent starchy vegetable such as sweet potato, sweet corn, taro or cassava.

5 ways to get munching more

·      Have fruit smoothies or cereal with fruit for breakfast instead of toast

·      Make sure you include vegetables in both your lunch and dinner

·      Have fruit as a snack or as a dessert if you are hungry after dinner

·      Snack on vege sticks or cherry tomatoes during the day

·      Incorporate more interesting salads into your day

 Orange you glad I posted this?

 Enjoy, Ash xx

Banana Crunch Cookies

image.jpg

This experiment happened on a very rainy and dreary Sunday afternoon after I was thinking ahead for my work week and the fact I was completely over my current snacks! Sick of super sweet muesli bars that are packaged and coat your mouth with sugar? These are quick and delicious! Get baking. The fruit naturally sweetens them, and there is lots of fibre in the oats, seeds and banana to fill you up. Nuts and seeds help balance your hormones between main meals and give these delights a crunchy fabulous texture.

Ingredients

2.5 cups oats

180g pecans (baked at roughly chopped)

1 large banana (mashed)

2 tbsp linseed/flax

1/2 cup maple

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla essence

6tbsp pepitas

1/3 cup dried raisins or cranberries

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp olive oil

Method:

1. Put pecans on baking tray with light drizzle of olive oil, mix to lightly cover with the oil and then leave to cook for 10mins or until golden on 180 degrees celcius

2. Blend 1 cup of the oats in the blender to make some oat flour. Add all oats, cinnamon, linseed, pepitas, dried fruit and vanilla to bowl and mix with spoon

image.jpg

3. Add maple and honey, mix

4. Lastly add baking soda and mashed banana, mix

5. Line a baking tray with baking paper

6. With a spoon spoon out a small amount that fits in your palm and round it into a ball. Continue until your tray is happily full

image.jpg

7. Cook for 20-25mins on 180 degrees Celsius or until lightly brown on top

8. Enjoy guilt free :) 

 

image.jpg

Top Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season

It’s the end of the year. We are all tired, if not exhausted.

My teachers are coming in pulling their hair out after being slammed with reports, candy cane and chocolate presents. Corporates are struggling to meet deadlines with a string of boozy client lunches and parties following. Parents have been up late for one too many school ballet or presentation night. And the university students are about ready to check in to detox programs after all their nights out!

To accompany all this it seems that EVERY person you have ever known in your whole life has decided to catch up… all at once, right now, before Christmas! Your Facebook inbox is flooded with group conversations and you feel like you need a PA to remind you what’s on which night.

DO NOT PANIC. I am here to give you some practical advice to keep you on the straight and narrow just when you thought everything was getting a little overwhelming and pear shaped.

If you are serious about your health, now is not the time to discredit all the hard work you have put in all year. A couple of weeks damage can take you back a couple of months. So not worth packing back on that 6kg!!

This is all is comes down to:

Organisation and Planning

Mindful Eating

Portion Distortion

Organisation

An army doesn’t go into battle without a plan, and neither should you. You need a plan and strategy to navigate your social calendar. Write a list of each social event, potential barriers to you eating well and some ways to attack these barriers. For example:

Event: Work Christmas Party

Barriers: At a Thai restaurant, portions hard as sharing, unlimited alcohol provided, range of desserts available

Strategies: Small snack before dinner so not ravenous when I arrive. Research menu before attending and choosing healthier dish. Get waiter to take plate away when I have finished meal so I can’t eat anymore. Drink vodka lime and soda (less calories) or offer to drive, have a sensible portion of my most favourite dessert and don’t feel guilty about it.

Will you be hosting a party? Why not make it easier and organise a healthy meal?

Smart swaps. Just as delicious!

Smart swaps. Just as delicious!

 Mindful Eating

 Mindfulness includes noticing the colours, smells, flavours, and textures of your food. Studies have shown that people overeat when they neglect to pay attention to what they are eating. Imagine what happens when you introduce a couple of glass of champagne or beer to the mix? Where did those mince pies go? How many did I even have? You should be able to recite exactly what you had for Christmas lunch, this means even if you are being a little more indulgent at least you ARE paying attention.

Some other mindful tips:

Always eat when you are sitting down with minimal distraction

Slow it down: Eat with your fork in your non dominant hand

Use smaller plates and bowls

Use taller glasses, people perceive they are drinking more

 Portion Distortion

Ever heard the expression “French women never get fat?” Don’t worry I am impressed too. For a country that specialises in croissants, pastries, baguettes and cheese I think they are doing well! Want to know their secret? Portion control. They look for QUALITY and control their QUANTITY. This applies at Christmas time even more so when we are surrounded by temptation.

Remember when you have a greater amount of options available; more of those options are going to walk their way happily onto your plate. After they’ve had their own Christmas party in your mouth there is no escape and it’s straight down to the stomach.

With your portions I offer these tidbits of advice. Be reasonable about how much you should have on your plate. At least half should be salads. And if it’s too much don’t feel obligated to finish it! Remove your plate from your reach or clear it from the table. Studies have proven that leaving dishes on the table in group situations leads to men eating 29% more and women 10% more.

 With your desserts. Choose the one you want MOST (your favourite), and have that only without guilt. Savour, savour, savour.

Reality is if you do eat a bit more over Christmas and Boxing Day it won’t have a huge influence on your weight. It’s when you continue to eat huge portions of leftover food and alcohol consistently for the whole month surround Christmas that this becomes a problem. Offload leftovers to guests and try and get back to your usual healthy routine as quickly as you can.

DSC02147.JPG

Enjoy your Christmas everyone!

Healthy Sausage Rolls

Sounds naughty but tastes delicious! The best way to go about a healthy eating plan is to enjoy new ways to nourish your body. Last week I found myself at home with limited ingredients yet wanting to be creative! This is what I was able to rustle up in a matter of minutes and it turned out delicious.  Choose one or the other, both good!

Ingredients:

Chicken Sausage Rolls

400g lean chicken mince, 1 egg, 1 x grated carrot, 1/2 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic chopped, 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil/parsley/coriander, 1 tsp garam masala/curry powder, 1 pack mountain bread (8 sheets)

Serve with sweet chili sauce

Beef Sausage Rolls

400g lean beef mince, 1 egg, 1 large can red kidney beans (drained), 8-10 medium mushrooms, 1/2 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic chopped, 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil/parsley/coriander, 4 tbsp. pasta sauce, 1 pack mountain bread (8 sheets)

Serve with tomato sauce

Method:

1. Heat up onion and garlic over medium heat in saucepan.

2. Add in meat and brown. 

3. Add in the rest of the ingredients, mix and cook for a further couple of minutes

4. Cut mountain bread lengthways into 3 strips  

5. Spoon mixture along length of each mountain bread and roll into a cylinder(not too much! and make sure you drain otherwise will be too much water which could make it go soggy)  

6. Give it a light spray or brush with oil

7. Bake on 180 degrees for 15-20mins  

8. Enjoy with your choice of dipping sauce and a beautiful side salad