Healthy-foods

Fresh Ricotta and Blueberry Ciabatta Recipe

Who doesn’t love a fresh punnet of blueberries on a lazy Sunday morning?

This recipe takes tasty ricotta cheese, crunchy ciabatta bread and a handful of blueberries to the next level. You could also substitute them for fresh strawberries or raspberries. Or both!

RELATED: Healthy Blueberry Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

1 large oval ciabatta loaf

500g ricotta cheese

1 cup fresh blueberries

Honey

Mint leaves

Method

  1. Slice the ciabatta into 4 slices, and grill on both sides until golden brown.
  2. If you want to make the bread extra infused, grill it with the ricotta over the top. If not, spread it generously after it’s cooled down.
  3. Top off with blueberries, mint, and drizzled honey for extra flavour. Yum!

Image via Heather Bullard

May 31, 2015

Where Sugar Is Hiding In So-Called Healthy Foods

Our biggest enemies when it comes to losing weight? Fat and sugar. While it is relatively easy to control your fat intake, doing the same with sugar is a different story. You might be thinking that you don’t eat a lot of sugar because you stay away from sweets and sodas. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but the sweet white weight-loss enemy, often hidden as a word ending in ‘-ose’ (lactose, glucose, etc) can be found in pretty much every food nowadays.

From sauces to fruits and everything with the label ‘low fat’, sugar is the food industry’s favourite ingredient to create flavour and make you come back for more.

RELATED: Why Sugar Is Worse For You Than You Think 

Remember, females should eat no more than 6tsp of sugar a day and men no more than 9tsp.

If you are serious about eating less sugar or even quitting sugar altogether, here is a list of hidden sugar foods:

Off-the-shelf smoothies: You know those healthy looking fruit smoothies that you can buy at any supermarket nowadays? Some of them contain up to 7tsp of sugar! Better make your own.

Fruit yoghurt: Ever wondered why yoghurt makes for such a great dessert? Because it is very, very sweet with most fruit yoghurts containing between 5 and 7tsp of sugar, especially low-fat versions, in which fat is substituted by sugar.

Breakfast cereal: There are the healthier all bran versions that aren’t that bad, but most breakfast cereal is loaded with sugar to make it tastier and give you that quick energy kick (that doesn’t last) in the morning. A 100g portion can have up to 8tsp of sugar!

Bread: Stay away from white bread as it contains up to 1tsp of sugar per slice! Instead, opt for wholemeal bread which will make you feel full for much longer.

Salad dressings: If you think you’re being healthy by eating salads for lunch, you’re only right if you choose the right dressing. Most popular bottled dressings contain sugar, and lots of it! A generous portion size can easily contain a whole tsp.

Bananas: It is still better to eat a banana than choose a chocolate bar but, unfortunately, bananas are the type of fruit that contain lots of carbs and up to 4tsp of sugar per fruit (depending on the size). Opt for berries instead.

Image via womenshealthmag.com

February 24, 2015

How To Naturally Boost Your Memory

Sometimes your memory might not feel as good as it once did; you’re constantly forgetting to grab some groceries from the supermarket, or mixing up appointments – nothing too big.

This doesn’t mean you have to resort to extreme measures to refresh your memory! Try just a few of our tips on how to boost your memory the natural way – through your diet.

RELATED: 5 Tips To Help You Catch More ZZZs

Chinese sage

This powerful plant contains vitamins and minerals that are used to treat people suffering in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Sage has been used for over 1000 years as a natural alternative to traditional western medicine.

Avocado

Delicious avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet and can be found at any green grocer or supermarket. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats which actually increase blood flow to the brain, they are the perfect pick-me-up if your mind is feeling a bit groggy.

Dark chocolate

The darker, the better! Dark chocolate is known to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the brain, which diminishes the chances of any neurological diseases. Just a few pieces a day could really change your life, and the way you think.

Apples

Doesn’t matter if they’re Fuji, Pink Lady, or even Granny Smith varieties, apples are a great afternoon snack if you’re feeling under the weather. Apples in general help to fight Alzheimer’s which is the leading cause of neurological illness in Australia.

Green tea

Just one cup of green tea a day is enough to decrease high levels of protein in the brain, which can potentially build-up and cause memory loss. If you don’t like the bitter taste of green tea, just one teaspoon of honey will make it so much sweeter.

Blueberries

Blueberries help to delay any age-related problems which can directly disrupt healthy brain function, motor skills, and even vision. Keep a pack of blueberries in your freezer so they’re always fresh for you to snack on.

Rosemary

Essential oils such as lavender and rosemary are important if you want to get your memory back on track. Although it might be one of the most expensive options on the list, rosemary also helps to improve your mood and keep your brain focused on the tasks ahead.

Olive oil

Foods which are high in Vitamin E are packed with antioxidants which help protect nerve cells in the brain. Cook your food with olive oil or sprinkle it over your salad to keep your brain feeling active and healthy.

Extra tips

Avoid trans fats

Too many fatty foods packed with trans fats can actually destroy your brain one bite at a time. Keep to a balanced diet, and refrain from eating too many sweets which are only harming your body.

Enjoy leafy vegetables

Packed with antioxidants which are good for your entire body, leafy vegetables should feature in your diet at least once a day. Enjoy a fresh salad, sandwich or stir-fry and cook your meals from scratch as much as you can.

Avoid saturated fats

Saturated fats don’t look or sound too appealing once you realise they have absolutely no nutritional content. If your diet still relies heavily on these meals, try and substitute them for a healthier alternative before going cold-turkey.

Image via Examiner

November 8, 2014

Tips For A Top Morning

There’s no getting around the fact that starting your day with a nutritious breakfast is one of the best health decisions that you can make. Here’s some extremely important reasons why you should not avoid it:

Energise: Breakfast literally means ‘breaking your overnight fast’. By the time you wake up your body hasn’t had food for up to 10 hours, so it is important to refuel your body for another day. Only breakfast can provide you with the energy to kick start the day!

RELATED: Low-Calorie Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Perform better at work/school: Enjoying breakfast can help lift your mood and has been shown to help with improving concentration levels, behaviour and learning abilities in school children.

Keep on track with weight loss maintenance: Although many people skip breakfast in an effort to reduce their food intake and lose weight, research shows that enjoying a high fibre breakfast, may lead to eating less food later in the day.This is probably because, high fibre meals can be quite filling so you are less likely to snack on high fat and sugary foods mid-morning. In fact, eating breakfast is strongly associated with successful, well-maintained weight loss maintenance.

Get your essential nutrients first thing in the morning: People who skip breakfast generally find it difficult to achieve their daily nutrition requirements so it really is best to start packing in those nutrients early!

Here are some easy ideas to help you start your day the right way:

Breakfast ideas for those on-the-go:

  • Peanut butter and banana on wholegrain toast or crispbread
  • Low fat yoghurt sprinkled with natural muesli – you can make these the night before and store in airtight containers in the fridge and then have them on the move when needed
  • A chilled liquid breakfast– try Sanitarium UP&GO Oats2Go, it is the only one on the market with a source of real wholegrain oats and it provides the protein, energy and dietary fibre of a bowl of oats and milk, is low in fat and low GI. A pack of three is available for $4.99 – if you break it down, that’s just $1.66 for one serving, substantially cheaper than a cup of coffee. Munch on a piece of fruit or some nuts when you get the chance too and you’ll be doing well!
  • Fruit smoothie with low fat yoghurt and/or milk – again, you can make this in advance and simply pull one out of the fridge when you’re ready to leave.

For those with a bit more time in the morning:

  • Baked beans on wholegrain toast
  • Toasted wholegrain English muffin topped with ricotta cheese and sliced tomato or some chopped up fruit (a bit of apple with a dusting of cinnamon is nice)
  • Weet-Bix or porridge topped with sliced banana and a little honey

Top tips thanks to Michelle Reid, accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist at Sanitarium.

November 8, 2014

Lentil Salad With Feta And Pine Nuts Recipe

An easy meal to prepare after a long day at work or a great summer salad for a weekend lunch, this lentil salad with fill you up and give you the energy you need to power through the rest of your day.

Ingredients

1 can lentils, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

100g wild rocket

60g feta, crumbled

1 aubergine (optional)

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Place lentils, pine nuts, olives, tomato and rocket in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add dressing of your choice (if any) and toss to combine.
  3. Divide between two bowls, over a layer of aubergine (optional), top with feta and season with salt and pepper.

Recipe via The Healthy Mummy

August 21, 2014

Top 8 Heart Healthy Foods

Want to improve your cardiovascular system one bite at a time? Cutting down on dangerous fatty foods is one way to make this happen, but indulging in plenty of greens, fruits and legumes will fill your body with essential nutrients to stay fit and healthy. Here are eight healthy meals which are sure to pull on your heart strings.

Salmon

What isn’t salmon good for? Filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are perfect for maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system. Serve salmon grilled, smoked and seared to gain all the necessary vitamins and nutrients.

Raisins

Filled with antioxidants, this snack is perfect to curb any sugar cravings throughout the day. Raisins also have healing properties which fight against inflammation, and help to protect the body from bacteria.

Flaxseed

Sprinkle ground-flaxseed powder onto your yoghurt, cereal and everything in between to get a daily serving of omega-3 fatty acids. Unsaturated fats such as those found in flaxseed and salmon help to fight against heart disease.

Whole grains

Not only are whole grains filled with fibre for a healthy digestive system, but those who eat more are less at risk of suffering from heart disease. Whole grains contain antioxidants and phytoestrogens which also decrease cholesterol levels.

Almonds

Next time you’re feeling hungry, why not snack on a handful of almonds instead? They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fibre, and polyunsaturated fats to regulate the digestive system, clear skin and improve the state of your heart.

Red wine

Yes, you are reading correctly! Red wine is filled with catechins which improves the amount of good cholesterol in your heart.

Broccoli

Sulforaphane is found in broccoli which is proven to unclog arteries and decrease the chance of stroke or imminent heart attack. Add broccoli to your meal at least 2 times a week to enjoy all the benefits.

Beans

Beans are filled with soluble fibre which target the build-up of cholesterol in the heart. These are the same benefits which are also found in red wine.

Image via Dela Casa

July 31, 2014

Best Foods For Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

How much do we spend on beauty products to make our hair shine, our skin glow, and our nails long and strong? But since we are what we eat, we can actually eat our way to a better complexion.

Ravinder Lilly, nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences says, “if you want clear skin, glossy hair and strong nails you need to focus on achieving radiating health and beauty from the inside out.  Eating certain foods that contain the right vitamins and minerals means you’re literally feeding your skin, hair and nails.”

Enjoy a diet rich in the following beauty foods for the ultimate hair, skin and nails.

Hair

Dark leafy greens
Tuck into these for a dose of vitamin C, which is needed to produce sebum, the hair’s natural conditioner. The iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C in spinach for example helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.

Seafood
Omega-3s are important for keeping your hair glossy and hydrated. A lack of these nutrients can lead to moisture loss, and ultimately lacklustre hair.

Skin

Carrots
Think of them as magic blemish wands that can be used (or eaten rather) for clearing up breakouts. You can credit this to vitamin A, which effectively helps to prevent the overproduction of cells in the skin’s outer layer which is where dead cells and sebum combine and clog pores.

Sweet potatoes
The sweet potato is packed with vitamin C which can help in the production of collagen and beta carotene which can give you a healthy glow.

Tinned tuna
The secret ingredient – selenium. This nutrient facilitates the preservation of elastin, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight. The antioxidant is also thought to buffer against the sun by preventing free radicals created by UV exposure from damaging cells (although there is no substitute for sunscreen protection). Go for environmentally friendly line-caught tuna when you can.

Nails

Peanut butter
A lack of B vitamins, specifically biotin, can cause dryness of the nails, so spread your next sandwich up with some creamy peanut butter. Peas, oatmeal, Vegemite and beans are also great B providers!

Eggs and cheese
Both eggs and cheese contain bone and nail-building calcium. They are also a rich source of biotin, a B vitamin that some beauticians have dubbed the ‘beauty vitamin’.

What foods do you eat for healthy skin and hair?

January 31, 2014

4 (Deceptively Fatty) Foods You Should Stop Eating Now

Aussies spend an astounding $745 million on diet products each year and the diet business is booming. So, why are we fatter than ever?

Even savvy consumers are being fooled by ‘diet’ and ‘all-natural’ labels seen on the abundance of healthy food products available – especially on-trend and popular health foods like fro-yo. Often they can pack just as many, if not more calories and fat than most of their junk-food counterparts.

USANA nutritionist Ravinder Lilly uncovers the worst hidden fat and calorie foods.

1. Muffins
Next to a croissant or doughnut, the muffin looks like wholesome nugget of health. However, the giant-sized muffin concoctions commonly stocked in most supermarkets and bakeries are actually classed as being around three to four servings and can contain anywhere from 350 to a staggering 630 calories. In fact, some muffins have more fat and calories than a cupcake or doughnut. Even bran muffins can contain up to 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. Try swapping your sweet treat for one or two toasted crumpets (83 calories each) with low-sugar fruit spread or half a cinnamon and raisin bagel (160 calories).

2. Frozen Yogurt
The clever marketing of fro-yo as the go-to dessert for weight watchers has consumers under the impression that they can eat as much as their heart desires, guilt-free. Most non-fat ‘plain’ fro-yo however is 30-35 calories per 20 grams with around 20g of sugar – meaning that a large serve can crank up to 304 calories and 76g of sugar before you add any toppings. Most frozen yoghurts contain similar amounts of fat and calories as ice cream and fat-free versions are padded out with extra calories in the form of sugar. So, if you prefer it, you might as well enjoy a scoop of your favourite flavour of ice cream! Add sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries for an antioxidant explosion!

3. Veggie chips
Veggie chips are crispy, salty and delicious just like their wicked cousins, potato chips. They are made from super healthy vegetables making them the perfect unity of taste and nutrition, right? Sure, veggie chips are made from real vegetables rich in minerals and antioxidants, but when it comes to the fat and sodium content they’re actually in the same ball park as regular potato chips.

Make your own chips and wedges by chopping up some delicious young kale, spraying it with olive oil and oven baking it until it’s mouth-wateringly crispy. Or, slice some peeled sweet potato and cook with some olive oil until crisp. Yum! 

4. Supermarket salad kits
Salad dressing is one of the leading mischief and supermarket salad kits are high on the list of deceptively unhealthy meal options. For instance, one cup of a Caesar salad, adorned with shaved cheese, roasted croutons and dressing can contain nearly 400 calories and 26 grams of fat. In fact, when it comes from certain fast food chains, Caesar salad contains more fat than a burger!

Instead, choose a simple salad with a sprinkle of grated or reduced-fat cheese, opting for fuller flavours to add some bite. Add cooked beetroot and some red kidney or black beans – your body will thank you for the extra antioxidants and filling fibre.

What are your favourite healthy snack ideas?

January 24, 2014

5 Foods You Should Make, Not Buy

We lead busy lives, and sometimes convenience rules the way we shop. We show you how to transform 5 everyday foods that are quicker, cheaper and healthier to make at home than buy.

Hummus

We know what it’s like: friends are coming over and it’s easy to pick up a few dips and chips. But it’s even quicker – and cheaper – to make your own fresh hummus.

1 minute hummus: Place a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp tahini, the juice of 1 lemon and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and blend in a food processor till smooth and fluffy. Sprinkle over a dash of smoked paprika and chopped coriander.
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Salad dressings

It’s January so a lot of us have salad on the brain. Commercial salad dressings might seem like an easy way to perk up that bowl of vegetables, but most are laden with fats, preservatives and other nasties.

Make it at home: For a classic, zingy dressing, whisk together the juice of 1 lemon with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Making a potato salad? Whisk together a small tub of plain yogurt, 3 tbsp capers, 1 tsp sambal oelek or chilli sauce and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Or for a lighter Caesar salad dressing, pound 2 garlic cloves and 2 anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar, then incorporate 1/2 a cup buttermilk and 2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise. Loosen with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Each dressing takes less than 2 minutes to make.

Popcorn

Have you noticed that microwave popcorn leaves a whole lot of popcorn – unpopped? What a waste! Not to mention the huge amount of artificial butter flavourings and salt! Buy popcorn kernels (much cheaper than microwave popcorn) and with only 1 tbsp of oil and 5 minutes on the stovetop you’ll have a bounty of super-crunchy popcorn that you can season to taste.

Seasoned popcorn ideas: Melt truffle butter while you cook the popcorn, then toss in a large bowl to combine. Grate parmesan cheese over hot popcorn with a handful of rosemary spears. Or sprinkle shimichi togarashi, an aromatic Japanese 7-spice seasoning, for the ultimate movie snack.

Fruit salad

When I switched from chocolate bars to shop-bought fruit salad as my afternoon snack, I felt like I deserved a huge pat on the back for eating healthier. And while hitting your local juice bar for a container of fruit salad is convenient, it’s not very smart for your wallet. Shop-bought fruit salad has a mark-up of around 500%, and making your own fruit salad takes less than 2 minutes.

Sexy fruit salad: Chop up your favourite fruits into bite-size pieces. Aim for different colours and textures – passionfruit pulp, halved cherries, tangerine segments – then add some finely sliced mint or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Burger patties

In desperation for a quick meal, I’ve stocked my freezer with pre-shaped burger patties. But at around $6 for 4 thin patties, that’s at least double what making them from scratch are, and I love adding my own seasonings.

Tasty burger patties: Use any mince you like – turkey makes a healthy alternative to beef, or mix up lamb and pork for a really succulent burger. To 500g mince, add 1 egg, 1/2 grated onion, 1 tbsp chopped thyme, 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs. Shape into patties, then push a cube of mozzarella or feta cheese into the centre, enclosing meat around the cheese. Refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes, then cook on the BBQ or pan-fry.

January 19, 2012