If you’re time-poor and bored of your at-home menu, read on.
They’re good for more than just guac.
How many of these can you check off the list?
Sometimes you just want to indulge.
One of our life savers during the day is the promise of a lunch break. Besides Friday afternoon, looking forward to our lunch hour and what we’ll be gorging on is something that undoubtedly crosses our mind every day. Even when you absolutely adore your job, that hour to do as you please is a slice of heaven.
When work and life stresses get the best of you and things like exercise and healthy eating take a sideline, it’s easy to fall back into bad habits that can be detrimental to health. An example of that is the mid-year spread, when winter becomes the time of creamy pastas, hot chocolates and a whole lot of sitting on your butt, both in the office and at home.
That’s why using your lunch break as a health boost is a great way to save yourself time and get yourself in a great mood for the afternoon and the three o’clock slump ahead. Simple things that you can do on your lunch hour can give your physical and mental wellbeing a good kick and you can get yourself into the habit of having yourself a healthy lunch break.
Get some sun
Give your Vitamin D a boost by getting out of the office and taking a walk in the sun. Not only will getting fresh air clear your mind, getting enough Vitamin D also increases your resistance to some diseases and to bone issues. Getting out of the office all takes your mind off work for a bit and allows you to think about other things in life that you are grateful for.
Swap processed for organic
Swapping your microwave dinner for a fresh, green salad or some grilled salmon and veggies is the way to go. Keeping your lunch light, but filling, will keep you alert for the rest of the day and will help you to avoid the sugar or carb slump that can affect your productivity.
Sneak in a quickie
A quickie workout, that is! Unless you’ve got a broom closet to be in. Sneak in a half hour workout before enjoying your lunch, or pack your flats and take a walk during your lunch hour. Even doing shopping counts as exercise, so get your wallet working!
Image via sheknows.com
Mudcake has never tasted so good or been so healthy!
This plant-based chocolate mudcake recipe by chef, Cynthia Louise is dairy-free and packed with naturally sweet ingredients including beetroot, coconut and cocoa. The best part is it’s freezer friendly, meaning you can have a perfectly balanced dessert on hand 24/7!
2 medium sized beetroots (unpeeled and grated)
1 carrot (unpeeled and grated)
2 cups shredded coconut
2 tbsp psyllium husk
15 dried dates
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup cocoa powder
200 g soaked almonds (soaked overnight in 2 cups of water, then rinsed well and drained)
1/4 cup chia seeds
pinch of salt
1 cup soaked cashews (soaked overnight in 2 cups of water, then rinsed well and drained)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
250 g cocoa butter (melted)
- Combine all ingredients for the base in a food processor and process until well combined.
- Transfer into a round spring-form cake tin, pressing down to get an even layer. Set aside in the fridge while you make the icing.
- For the icing combine the first five ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Once creamy and smooth, turn the blender down to medium speed and pour in the melted cocoa butter. Blend for 5 seconds.
- Pour onto the cake, and set aside in the fridge for the icing to set and the cake to firm up.
Porridge might be one of the most underrated breakfasts ever. Not only is it delicious and filling, but it’s also high in fibre and protein, which makes it ideal for starting the day right.
I have to confess that I usually opt for quick oats prepared in the microwave, but whenever I have a bit more time in the morning, I make sure to prepare the perfect breakfast porridge, which is a million times better than your quick oat sachets. Here’s how it’s done:
The first important thing is to get the right oats. Rolled oats take longer to cook than quick oats as the grains are not as thin, however the texture of your porridge will be much better with rolled oats. If time is an issue for you, simply soak the oats in water overnight. This will make them cook within 5 minutes.
Use 1/2 cup of oats per person and 3 times the amount of water, so for one person, you would need 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring oats and water mixture to a boil in a pan or pot and then turn down to simmer, all while stirring with the “wrong” end of a wooden spoon. Keep stirring for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the creaminess and texture you like.
Now here comes the secret: salt. Add a pinch of salt to your oats and you’ll be surprised how much more flavour you’ll get from whatever you add to your oats. This could be fruits, peanut butter, cinnamon, nuts – the possibilities are endless!
During cooking, you might have to add some more water if your porridge gets too thick. Remember that it will thicken even after you have turned off the stove so if it’s a bit runny while still hot, it should be perfect once cooled down.
Serve in a bowl and add a splash of milk and whatever topping you feel like. Enjoy your perfect breakfast porridge!
image via the-nutritionista.co.uk
Everyone loves a guilt-free treat, but what about guilt-free treat that’s packed with health benefits? Chef Cynthia Louise’s nutritional spin on carrot cake incorporates turmeric – an anti-inflammatory spice full of antioxidants – plus chia seeds and psyllium husk to deliver exactly what nature requires from you in a cake.
3 large carrots, unpeeled and grated
2 cups shredded coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon powder
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 cups soaked almonds (soaked overnight in 2 cups of water, then rinsed well and drained)
10 dried dates
1/2 cup currants
2 tbsp psyllium husk
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
30 g turmeric, freshly grated
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups soaked cashews (soaked overnight in 3 cups of water, then rinsed well and drained)
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
- Combine all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and process until well combined.
- Transfer to a round springform cake tin, pressing down to get an even layer.
- Set aside in the fridge while you make the icing.
- To make the icing combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Once creamy and smooth, pour onto the cake and set.
Just because the salad season has nearly passed, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an Autumn variation! Zoe Bingley-Pullin’s chicken quinoa salad recipe is the perfect solution to those post-summer blues, and is packed full of vegetables to ensure you meet those daily nutritional requirements.
1 cup tri-colour quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
175g green beans
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
Zest and juice of orange
1 tsp runny honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 x 3 pack chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
- Bring a full kettle to the boil.
- Combine quinoa, water and salt in a small pot. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let steam, still covered, for a further 5 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and set aside to cool slightly.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine parsley, orange zest and juice, honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Mix well, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and slice into steaks. To do this, place your hand flat on top of the chicken breast and use a knife to slice through the middle horizontally to make 2 thin steaks. Heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and fry in batches until cooked through, 2-3 minutes each side. Set aside to rest for a few minutes, then slice.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Trim green beans and halve lengthways; trim asparagus ends and cut into 4cm pieces; cut capsicum into thin strips. Set capsicum aside. Place beans and asparagus into a small bowl, cover with boiling water, leave for 1-2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.
- Toss all quinoa salad ingredients with chicken and vinaigrette in a large bowl.
- Divide salad between plates and serve.
Recipe courtesy of My Food Bag
Forget about buying overly processed muesli bars, because now you can make your own healthy snack with Janella Purcell’s superfood bar recipe.
Not only are the bars gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan friendly, they’re also packed with nutritious ingredients including hemp seeds, spirulina, maca powder and cacao nibs.
1 cup pitted dates, or dried figs
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1⁄4 cup Lifestream spirulina
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup coconut shredded
2 tbsp maca powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
- Cover the dried fruit, nuts and seeds in clean water and soak for at least 8 hours.
- After soaking, rinse them in a colander and let them drain.
- Place the soaked dried fruit and nuts/seeds in your food processor and whiz for 1 minute to get a chunky paste.
- Add in the remaining ingredients. You may need to add a little water to get it to a nice puree, scraping down the sides once or twice – if it’s too dry, add in 1/4 cup more coconut oil and process again (the processing will heat the coconut oil enough to help it blend everything).
- Scoop the mixture out into a large glass pan and press it down firmly with a spoon to even everything out. Alternatively you could also make these into bite-sized balls.
- Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for one hour to harden.
- Cut with a knife and package them individually.
Recipe Courtesy Of Lifestream
Easter is a time of celebration with friends and family, but just like any holiday it can also be a time of overindulgence. And with supermarket shelves loaded with chocolate eggs and hot-cross-buns, not to mention the festive spirit looming, temptation is high. Going without or going all out doesn’t have to be your only option these holidays – you really can have your chocolate and eat it too. Here’s how to have a guilt-free Easter:
Instead of buying milk chocolate eggs this Easter opt for dark chocolate. It’s richer in antioxidants, lower in sugar and is far less moreish. The higher the cocoa content the better it is for your health, so try to go for a 75% cocoa or higher variation to ensure you reap the maximum benefits.
Get into the Easter spirit this year and make your own goodies. There are loads of healthy and delicious recipes available on the internet and it’s a great way to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays. Why not try making your own chocolate eggs with some coconut oil, cacao powder and rice malt syrup? Melt all the ingredients together and place into Easter egg moulds (or any mould) and refrigerate until hard. You can also add things like raspberries, nuts and coconut before cooling to add some flavour and extra texture.
Don’t go OTT
Going over the top during the holidays is usually the undoing of healthy habits. Avoid the temptation to overindulge this Easter by moderating the amount of treats you eat. Allow yourself one day over the Easter weekend to eat chocolate, or input your sweets into your calorie count for the day. Remember, moderation is key!
Take it easy
It’s easy to go overboard with chocolate gifts at Easter, particularly if you’re buying for your children. And while the intention is good, the adults usually end up sharing in the chocolate load over the course of the weekend, if not the weeks to follow. This year cut back on the dairy milk and opt for gifts like baking kits and plush bunnies, or if you’re gifting a partner why not try a nice bottle of wine or a cheese hamper?
Get in some extra exercise
If you know you’re going to let your hair down over the Easter break, then try to fit in some additional gym classes in the weeks leading up. You’ll burn extra calories, meaning those sneaky hot cross buns won’t go straight to your hips and you’ll be feeling great, which decreases the temptation to overindulge. If you your schedule is already choc-o-block (pardon the pun), try to get in some exercise between celebrations over the Easter weekend such as a walk, swim or bike ride.
Image via Shutterstock
When we’re looking for an energy boost, caffeine is usually the go-to for a quick fix. There are plenty of other natural ways to increase mental awareness however, and this delicious smoothie recipe is packed with the essentials.
3 tbsp cacao powder
6 frozen bananas
2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
2 big handfuls of ice
pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined, creamy, icy, and smooth.
- Serve chilled!
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Cynthia Louise
If you’re looking for a healthy quinoa bircher muesli that tastes great and fits with your post-holiday meal plan, Simon Ward, Executive Chef at Hammer and Tong, has created a recipe that’s packed with superfood goodness. With a mix of quinoa, oats, goji berries and coconut, this wholesome meal is the perfect way to kick-start your Monday and keep those energy levels high.
2 cups Rolled oats
1⁄2 cup Red quinoa
1⁄2 cup Black quinoa
1⁄4 cup golden raisins
1⁄4 cup goji berries
1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
1⁄4 cup currants
1⁄4 cup shredded coconut
1⁄4 cup slivered almonds
3 1⁄2 tblsp coconut sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 3⁄4 cup Apple juice
1 1⁄2 cup coconut milk
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except for the coconut sugar.
- In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients and coconut sugar. Use a whisk to ensure there are no lumps of sugar, and that it is fully dissolved in the liquid.
- Combine all together, mixing to ensure that there are no areas of dry ingredients separate from wet ingredients. This should resemble a textured wet cake mix.
- Cover with a cartouche and leave to absorb in the fridge overnight – this will stop a crust forming on the top from air drying it out. A cartouche can be made from either using baking paper or glad wrap touching the top of the mixture. The difference in the mixture once it is ready will be visual. You should be able to tell that all of the fruits and oats have absorbed the liquid of which there will not be a huge excess.
- Serve bircher muesli with fresh natural yogurt and some berry compote (a nice reduced sauce of mixed berries and a small amount of sugar).
We could all eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, right? Mmmm… Well, you can indulge all your sweet senses at the Raw Degustation Dining Experience taking place on November 9 at 6.30pm, held by Pana Chocolates.
Seven courses of flavoursome gourmet dishes made only from plant-based ingredients and produced using minimal heat. Dishes that are nutritious as they are delicious.
Brought to you by Pana Chocolate, this will be the most talked-about raw event of the year. An introduction and celebration of handcrafted food that is full of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and without preservatives, that’s low GI, vegan, and free from gluten, dairy and soy.
Tickets are selling fast. Buy yours here: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/pana-chocolate-raw-degustation-dining-experience-tickets-13278078089?aff=Instagram
We all want our bodies to be tight n’ toned for summer, but this can sometimes be a serious effort. Hitting the snooze button is far too easy in the morning, and after work many of us choose the couch over the treadmill.
But as they say, summer bodies aren’t made in a day, and we’re determined to beat the inertia and get our bodies moving in time for the warmer weather. Sportsluxe is ‘in’, so here’s some tips to help you inch closer to your dream fitness and body goals:
Do you sometimes feel like you’re on top of the world when you put a new pair of runners on for the first time? What you wear when you exercise can determine your level of motivation. If you look the part, you’ll feel the part. New leggings, a sports bra and some colourful kicks will definitely make you feel more Cathy Freeman-esque, rather than Olivia Newton John in her “Let’s Get Physical” days.
When working out having runners that are correct for your feet and type of exercise is integral. The right footwear will prevent injury, ensure you are doing exercises with the correct technique and also support your feet and ankles when they are under stress.
Straight after a workout all you crave is a hit of H20. Don’t forget a sturdy water bottle that can hold at least 1L of water to maintain hydration. Also we must not forget gym etiquette, a towel is always handy to wipe down the equipment after using equipment. No-one likes picking up your sweaty weights!
You can’t deny the power that music has on our motivation to work out, whether it’s fast beats to make you run quicker or slow tunes to help you zone out and relax during a yoga sesh. To ensure your device doesn’t get in the way use an iPod or iPhone holder to keep the cords at bay, and your hands free. Simple!
This article is courtesy of select sporting retailers at Uni Hill Factory Outlets in Melbourne. For more information visit www.uhfo.com.au or follow us on Facebook.com/UniHillFO and Instagram @UniHillFO
Looking for a healthier alternative to the classic pizza recipe? A cauliflower base is an ideal since it is a low carbohydrate alternative – great for those who wish to cut down on gluten or grain-based foods. Finish with your favourite toppings to make the pizza unique and tasty.
650g cauliflower (chopped)
2/3 cup finely grated parmesan
1/3 cup passata
1/3 cup green olives (pitted)
10 fresh thyme sprigs
- Chop up the cauliflower into fine pieces then pop into the food processor. This will help to break it down further and prepare it for the base.
- Place the cauliflower into a small bowl, then into the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Cover with a lid to avoid spills.
- Drain to remove any excess water, and then press down with a wooden spoon. Then combine the lightly whisked egg, and half of the parmesan cheese with the cauliflower.
- Preheat the oven to 210ºC (or 410ºF) and line a pizza tray with baking paper. This will avoid the chance of the base sticking to the tray. Then press the cauliflower mixture well onto the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown.
- Finally spread the passata over the entire base, then sprinkle with your favourite choice of toppings. In this case the olives, chorizo, thyme and remaining ingredients before baking for another 7-10 minutes.
Recipe and image via Taste, The Vintage Mixer
Whether you’re planning your next dinner party, or looking for something new and exotic to try out, Mediterranean cuisine combines taste and flavour for a truly unforgettable dining experience. Using many delicious seasonal vegetables, olive oil and meat products, there is a reason why many people turn to a Mediterranean diet to maintain their weight and enjoy healthy, wholesome food.
1. Yemista (stuffed tomatoes with rice)
Made all year round, yemista is a staple amongst Greek families around the world. Usually made with tomatoes and stuffed with white rice, herbs and minced meat, the recipe is full of flavour and can be moderated to your particular taste. Feel free to use the same filling with peppers, and other large vegetables such as zucchini. Then simply pop into the oven and bake until golden brown.
This healthy salad is packed with cucumber, capsicum, olives, red onion, feta cheese and tomatoes which makes for a nutritious but tasty meal if you’re on-the-go. As per tradition, no lettuce is used in these salads, but that doesn’t mean it’s not healthy! Seasoned with plenty of olive oil, red vinegar and oregano for a distinct and delicious taste.
3. Neapolitan pizza
This classic margherita pizza is a staple in Italy due to it’s simple ingredients and yummy taste. There are many variations out there stemming from this traditional recipe, but it’s better to keep it simple and so you can really enjoy the meal in it’s entirety. Less is more, with most pizzas only consisting of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and a pinch of freshly ground pepper, (and of course a freshly home-baked pizza base).
4. Dolmades (Stuffed vine leaves)
An extremely popular summer dish across the Mediterranean, dolmades are simply vines leaves stuffed with rice and meat. This dish is quite similar to yemista, but is traditionally eaten cold as a perfect summer snack during the warmer months in Europe. Cabbage leaves are often used instead since they can hold more filling and are great for beginners because they’re more durable and easier to wrap and cook at home.
5. Avgolemono (egg-lemon soup)
Another popular dish amongst Mediterranean countries is egg-lemon soup. This dish is known for its distinct taste and healing properties especially if someone is suffering from a cold, throat infection or tonsillitis. Other than, it’s health benefits include generous servings of olive oil, protein from the chicken pieces and the way the egg makes the dish smooth and tasty for even the pickiest of eaters.
Image via Kalofagas
By Felicia Sapountzis