Dark-chocolate

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

Can’t quite keep away from snacking at your desk? Get rid of all the garbage in your drawers, handbag and other compartments and try some of these healthy snacks instead. They are sure to keep you feeling fuller for longer and taste amazing!

RELATED: Healthy Snack Alert – Hummus

Dark chocolate

A few pieces of dark chocolate is the best way to curb those sugary cravings when 3pm hits. Choose anything higher than 85 per cent since it’s healthier for you and isn’t packed with nearly as much sugar. Enjoy a few pieces with your green tea to unwind in the afternoon.

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

Blueberries

Not only are blueberries a healthy snack, they’re also easy to find at all supermarkets! Simply rinse them with water and keep them at your desk the entire day.

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

Edamame beans

Enjoy a handful of crunchy edamame beans the next time you’re feeling peckish. They are packed with fibre, protein and antioxidants, which all contribute to a healthy body in the long-term. Sprinkle with sea salt or even use them in your salad!

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

Unsalted pistachios

Swap the potato chips for a handful of healthy pistachio nuts. Choose the variety which are unsalted since they taste even better raw and roasted. Yum!

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

Dried fruit

Any type of dried fruit including mangoes, pineapple and apple is a great snack to stash on your desk or in your handbag. It doesn’t need refrigerating, tastes amazing any time of the year and is so yummy!

5 Healthy Desk Snacks

What are some of your healthy desk snacks?

Images via Nuts, City Nut and Candy Online, The Kitchn, Gimme Some Oven, Super Food Lab

June 3, 2015

The Ultimate Chocolate Muffin Dessert

Despite what you might think, dark chocolate does have some health benefits, except when combined with sugar, eggs and white flour we can’t exactly say that it’s ‘healthy’.  So I’m not going to lie, this recipe is definitely NOT healthy but it’s a fabulous treat if you have friends coming over for dinner or you simply need to indulge in some chocolate.  They take less than thirty minutes to make and I can guarantee they won’t disappoint!

RELATED: Find out the health benefits of dark chocolate here

Ingredients

300g of good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

125g butter, roughly chopped

1¾ cups self-raising flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

¾ cup milk

2 eggs

3 80g Mars bars, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease a six hole jumbo muffin pan.
  3. Place half of the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and place over a gently simmering saucepan of water without letting the bowl touch the water.
  4. Stir occasionally until melted then set aside to cool.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl then add sugar.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk milk and eggs together.
  7. Combine milk and egg mixture with dry ingredients and then add the melted chocolate.
  8. Stir together then divide the mixture between the six muffin pans.
  9. Bake for twenty minutes or until cooked through.
  10. Remove from muffin pans and set aside to cool.
  11. Melt remaining chocolate in a bowl over a gently simmering saucepan of water.
  12. Cool slightly then drizzle some chocolate over the Mars bar slices before piling them on top of the muffins.
  13. Drizzle muffins with the last of the chocolate and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
  14. ENJOY!

Image via taste.com.au

September 22, 2014

Foods To Feed The Brain

They often say that you’re only as young as you feel, but what if your brain feels sluggish and your memory seems to be getting worse, making you feel a lot older than you actually are? The good news is that there are certain foods you can eat which should help to slow these signs down and perhaps even improve brain function.

Here are some of the best brain foods around:

Blueberries

They may be small but these tiny fruits pack a lot of punch when it comes to nutritional value and some might say that they are the best brain food that money can buy. Blueberry compounds are easily absorbed into the blood and their huge number of powerful nutrients can improve brain function and protect the brain from oxidative damage. They can also protect the brain from free radicals, inflammation, aging and radiation, so eat up!

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and in many studies has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, cognitive function and verbal fluency. If you’re looking for something to awaken your brain in the short term then consider reaching for some dark chocolate which has more caffeine than milk or white chocolate.

Brown rice and whole grains    

Whole grains including oats, millet, some breads and cereals and quinoa contain essential vitamins and folic acid that help improve memory and circulation. They can also prevent the amino acid homocysteine from building up in the body which can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Also, the carbohydrates found in whole grains release energy slowly, meaning you’ll be mentally alert throughout the day.

Nuts and seeds

Vitamin E has been shown to stave off cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly, so consider eating a handful of nuts each day to keep your mind sharp. Cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seed and flax seeds are all great sources of vitamin E. This vitamin can also help prevent the blocking of blood vessels and reduce the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Oily fish

Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids found in some types of fish could prevent damage to brain cells so tuck into salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines to reap the benefits. The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish have also been linked Alzheimer’s and memory loss so by eating more of them you could reduce the risk of developing these diseases.

Image via appforhealth.com

August 26, 2014

6 Healthy Late-Night Snacks

Can you count how many times it’s late at night and you’re craving something to eat just, well, because? Eating past 7-8pm is not recommended since the body won’t get enough movement and instead the food is stored as fat. What if you’re really hungry and can’t quite resist a snack? Here are some foods which won’t cause a whole lot of trouble at night, but try to wait an least an hour before hitting the sack!

Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and are full of fibre so enjoy a handful if you’re feeling peckish. Blueberries are also a superfood full of vitamin C and vitamin E, and have a relatively low sugar intake compared to other fruits. Enjoy over a cup of yoghurt if you’re feeling extra hungry.

Veggie sticks

If you’re craving a packet of dry chips late at night, try some chopped carrot pieces instead. The munching will make it seem like you’re eating chips, but with all the added health benefits of this versatile vegetable. Carrots are filled with vitamin A, help to improve vision and contribute to clear skin. Enjoy with some hummus for extra flavour.

Green tea

Most of the time, many people confuse the feeling thirst and hunger. This almost always ends up in eating a big meal when we aren’t even craving it! Green tea is a fantastic option since it will relax your body right before bed, and is packed with L-theanine which is also a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.

Natural popcorn

A handful of air-popped popcorn is sure to do the trick if you’re feeling peckish at night. Don’t even think about adding salt and butter, rather sprinkle a bit of cinnamon to keep it sweet.

Apple

Apples are a great option if you’re craving something sweet at night, since they are low in calories and also have a low GI. They are a naturally sweet fruit, and will surely keep you full and snack-free for the rest of the evening. If you just can’t resist, spread a small amount of peanut-butter for a sweet topping.

Dark chocolate

Unlike milk or white chocolate, remember that darker is better. Aim for dark chocolate which is higher than 70% since anything below that mark contains more added sugar per bar. Dark chocolate is filled with healthy antioxidants, so enjoy a few pieces if you aren’t afraid of the bitter taste.

Image via Stir Food

By Felicia Sapountzis

June 25, 2014

7 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

Most of us spend a lot of money on skin care products, but you may be ignoring the real secret to healthy skin—what you eat. Some foods are high in nutrients that prevent acne, soften wrinkles and promote clear, younger-looking, radiant skin. Here are seven favourites that can help you glow from within.

Yoghurt

Just one serving each day of this delicious dairy food can make your skin smoother and softer. The secret ingredient is protein, which helps skin become firmer and more resistant to developing lines. The best choice for skin is Greek yoghurt, which can have twice the protein of the regular kind.

Walnuts

Snacking on these tasty nuts can improve your skin’s texture in several ways. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids that can improve the elasticity of your skin, plus they’re full of the mineral copper, which can boost the production of collagen. Eating walnuts can also reduce skin inflammation for fewer breakouts.

Soy

If you’ve been troubled by brown spots on your skin, try snacking on edamame or adding soy milk to your latte. Soy has proteins and minerals that can reduce hyper-pigmentation of the skin. Consuming soy can also benefit the hair and nails.

Oatmeal

The best oatmeal for healthy skin is the less processed steel-cut variety because it retains more vitamins. Also, it helps to keep your blood sugar stable by taking longer to break down in your body. This is important because spikes in blood sugar can elevate your body’s level of androgens—the hormones that contribute to wrinkles.

Carrots

Carrots are chock-full of vitamin A, which is not only good for your eyesight, it can help clear up breakouts. Vitamin A helps to prevent the overproduction of cells in the outer layer of the skin, where dead cells can combine with sebum to clog your pores. Plus, they can slow the development of skin cancer cells.

Dark chocolate

No, chocolate does not cause breakouts, instead it can actually be good for your skin! But look for chocolate with a higher cocoa content, which means more of the good stuff and less butter and sugar. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants called flavonols that can reduce skin roughness and help to protect against sun damage. Just don’t use this as an excuse to binge on chocolate —a few squares a day are enough.

Avocado

This delicious fruit is probably the number one food for healthy skin because the avocado is supplied with essential oils and B-complex vitamins that can soothe and nourish your skin. Especially important is vitamin B3, also called niacin, an anti-inflammatory that can soothe irritated, blotchy skin. Just one avocado can supply more than 25% of your daily need.

What’s your favourite food for healthy skin?

September 5, 2013

Is Chocolate good for health?

Author of Chocolate is Good For Us by John Ashton gives us the low-down on why we should probably pick chocolate now!

  1. What are the health benefits of chocolate?

    The health benefits are quite subtle when it comes to chocolate. We have discovered over the last few years the Glycemic index (G.I); ie, how quickly a food is converted into blood sugar in the body, is more important than sugar in terms of weight gain and diabetes. It has been discovered that chocolate has a low (ie: good) G.I. Similarly it has only recently been discovered that much of the saturated fat in chocolate is converted in the body to ‘good’ monounsaturated fat.

  2. How much could you eat a day really?

    I recommend a maximum of 50 grams per day. This would have the same energy as a single serve of dessert, and if milk chocolate, it delivers the same level of antioxidants as a glass of red wine (Dark chocolate is even richer in antioxidants).

  3. What are the good chocolates?

    The good chocolates are the dark chocolates made from cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and lecithin; and in the case of milk chocolate – milk solids also. (Fruit and nut varieties are good too). The chocolates to avoid are ones made with vegetable oils, which have to be artificially hardened to make them like cocoa butter. These vegetable oils in my view are particularly bad for the heart. The oils are used in the cheaper compound chocolate and some muesli bar coatings etc. Some chocolates have sweet sugary fillings, which often contain glucose, or glucose syrups, which are cheap substitutes for sugar. Glucose has a very high G.I of 100 and these types of chocolate are in my view best saved for special treats – birthdays, anniversaries etc and not eaten regularly. They are also best eaten straight after a meal, again to reduce the high G.I effects.

 

  • You can’t really eat all that much chocolate and stay a healthy body weight, can you?

    Chocolate is an energy dense food that contains a lot of calories per gram. So, we can’t eat a lot of it or we will put on weight – hence a maximum of 50 g per day. However since chocolate has a low G.I it releases the energy relatively slowly and the body tends to use this energy up. On the other hand a high G.I in food will release a surge of energy into the body – and the body will respond by storing some of this excess energy as fat. Then a little while later we will feel hungry again and be tempted to eat even more. I believe that if we can get into the habit of eating just a small amount of chocolate instead of a high G.I dessert or a snack (and most desserts and snacks are high in G.I), our body will deposit less fat and we will actually lose weight.

  • Can chocolate change your moods?

    Chocolate contains a number of natural compounds, which can lift our moods. One of these is phenylethylamine (PEA), a compound that our body itself produces when we fall in love and is responsible for that, “isn’t life wonderful feeling”. There are several other similar compounds in chocolate. Also chocolate is rich in the important mineral magnesium which can help our body make the neurotransmitter dopamine, another compound which helps us feel good and which can help relieve the symptoms of PMT.

 

February 1, 2000