I’m on a personal mission to reduce my biscuit intake. Now there is totally nothing wrong with a biscuit or 2, but these carrot cake energy balls add in variety and nutrition. I find they really hit the spot by giving me something to munch quickly when I’m running from job to job and they are more filling than my usual biccie.
These last for 3 days in the fridge and they also freeze well so why not make a batch and get them out the freezer in the morning, ready for when you need them.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is for healthy snack ideas. Walking around the shops there is a plethora of snack items but so many of them are expensive items that you can make yourself in batches with a little knowhow and patience. Energy balls are one such item. Often sold for £1.50-£1 a portion, these can be made a lot cheaper at home. See my analysis below. Whilst there are a lot of energy ball recipes out there on the internet this one is so delicious that I had to share it. I love having snacks like these to hand for instant snacking and even better, these freeze well. My boy also loves making these with me.
Perfect mid morning snack for me between clients and an afternoon snack for the kids at a much better cost than buying from the shops.
Stir Fry is one of those meals we make a lot at home. It is fast food, easy to make and satisying. This one, made on Eat Well for Less uses frying steak which is quick to cook due to it’s thinness and cheaper than other cuts. Top tip – you don’t want to overcook this so having all your ingredients pre chopped and ready for action is a good idea.
This is one of those recipes you can make your own. Adding bamboo shoots and beansprouts would give it a nice Chinese style touch, or add any other veggies you have.
Use gluten free soy sauce and stock cube to make this a gluten free meal.
Red meat is important for iron and zinc intake, something that we know is an issue for teenage girls and young women. This can then be exacerbated if you become pregnant. So whilst red meat is sometimes frowned upon, this recipe provides a great way to include it in your weeks meal plan.
I’ve modified it from the version on the show, scaling it down to serve 4 people rather than 6.
Rinse and drain the rice. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the basmati, stir well then cook according to the packet instructions.
Heat a wok over a high heat until hot, add half the oil and when it’s just smoking, add the beef. Sprinkle with cornflour and stir-fry until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Stir-fry the cashews until just golden-brown then set aside with the beef.
Carefully wipe the wok until clean using kitchen roll. Bring to a high heat and add the remaining oil. Once hot, add the red onion and fry for 1–2 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute
Half fill the kettle and bring to the boil. Add the broccoli, soy and oyster sauce to the wok and mix well. Add the vegetable stock cube with 400ml/14fl oz boiling water and bring to the boil, stirring well. Cover with a lid (use kitchen foil if you don't have a suitable pan lid) and cook for 2 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender (you don’t want to lose the bright green colour).
Add in beansprouts, bamboo shoots if wanted at this stage.
Stir the cooked beef and cashews through the sauce and heat for a minute. Scatter over the coriander and serve immediately with the cooked, drained rice.
Cheesecake. It’s tasty, but it can be pretty high in calories. Now whilst I totally do not advocate calorie counting regularly, I do like having healthier alternatives to foods like this that mean I can make them without it being an extravagance.
So here is the much asked for recipe for those cheesecakes we made on Eat Well for Less. I made this for Christmas and it made a great lighter dessert.
Here is the video clip of Gregg, Chris and I in action making it.
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin with some oil.
Put the remaining oil and honey into a saucepan, heat until warm and runny.
Remove from the heat and stir in the oats and mixed spice until completely coated.
Divide the oats between the muffin tin holes, pressing down on the mixture to make a solid base.
In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, cream cheese, vanilla extract, lemon zest, stevia, sugar and cornflour. Mix the eggs into the cream until smooth. Spoon evenly between the muffin holes on top of the oats.
Bake for 15 minutes or until just set. (They should still wobble a little.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Carefully remove the cheesecakes from the tin and top with fruit of your choice.
Serve immediately or transfer to a sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Truvia is fine to use in this recipe or you could swap the Stevia for another sweetener of your choice.
Everyone is always after quick, nutritious, filling snacks. So this one shared on Eat Well for Less ticks all those boxes.
If you want to give these a go here is the recipe, you can totally make this your own, add your favourite herbs, veggies etc. These are gluten free, dairy free (if you use dairy free cheese) and nut free.
These freeze well or keep them in the fridge for 3 days. I think they are fab for packed lunches.
Don’t forget to watch the rest of the series – BBC1 Thursdays 8pm. Or get it on BBC Iplayer.
With parents who reside in Spain, paella is something my whole family loves, my mum has been taught how to cook it by the locals. This weekend with my mum in the UK at my home I decided to cook her my version. It’s probably not a true paella but hey, it’s tasty family food and a one pot meal that you can put in the middle of the table so everyone helps themselves.
Of course you could totally add chicken, fish or your own favourite vegetables to this, I used what I had in my kitchen. Make your own version and let me know how it goes.
450ml chicken stock (mine was homemade or use a stock cube and water)
2 large carrots grated
2 medium courgetes grated
450-600ml water approx, judge it on the rice as it cooks
dash of lemon juice
250g frozen prawns
large handful of fresh herbs, chopped
Place the spices in a large wide based pan on a medium heat, add the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the chorizo and allow it to release its oils.
Next add the garlic and rice, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the stock, dried herbs and lime leaf.
Allow this to simmer whilst you prep the veggies, you could use any veggies you like!
Add in the vegetables one at a time and stir in.
Add the water and place the lid on the pan. Allow it to simmer until the rice is cooked.
Finish with the lemon juice and prawns, allowing the prawns to cook in the pan with the rice for a few minutes.
Finally add the herbs, taste and season.
By Priya Tew, Dietitian UK
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
Check out a little video of us cooking it here. My 7 year old girl was on “sous chef” duty tonight and she totally enjoyed helping out. Her tasks were to measure the rice using the Carb Spoon, to cut the chorizo up, grate some vegetables, add them and stir the pan. She added the stock, picked the herbs and chopped them too. Plus she got the prawns out of the freezer and added those for me.
I’m trying to get my children to each cook with me once a week, making it a scheduled activity and time with mummy all at once. It slows me down and means more planning is needed but it is also teaching them valuable skills.
Usually my children are not so keen on curry, however being half Sri-lankan this is not an option for me! My oldest girl used to eat a lot of spice, in fact at 22 months in Sri-Lanka she was eating curry off my plate. She went off spice and is now age 7 working back onto it. My boy has never been into anything spicy and so he is definitely a work in progress.
So this time I went at it from another angle. A fragrant but mild curry served with rice and optional naan on the side. However I sold it as “it’s not a curry, it’s chicken with naan”. It worked. WIN.
The beauty of this meal is it can either be made in the slow cooker/crock pot or on the hob.
Snacking sensibly for me is a must. I need bucket loads of reliable energy to get me through my day. An average day for me involves 3 kids, much pilates and 1-2-1 dietetic clients. I don’t sit still for long, so crashing mid afternoon is not an option, especially as that’s the school run and my hungry time of day. So one thing I teach my clients and work on myself is balancing my snacks.
Yes fruit is fabulous, however it doesn’t keep me full for long or sustain my energy. So I pair it with protein or a wholegrain, higher fibre carb. Or if I’m feeling outrageous, I mix all three. For me it is not about the calories or the macro’s but the balance.
Satiety is the feeling of fullness that persists after eating. It affects the length of time between eating events and possibly the amount of energy consumed at the next. Protein is filling and can help stabilise blood sugars. Fibre rich foods require more chewing so psychologically take longer to eat, they can displace other energy rich food and slow gastric emptying.
Some of my favs: Apple, cheese and oatcakes Dried apricots, almonds and 25g dark chocolate Oatcakes with nut butter and banana
Then there are these peanut butter cookies. Perfect with fruit and they take just 10 mins to bake. These make me feel like the perfect mum on those days I manage to whip the mix up before the school run and have them ready 10 mins after the kids walk in the door! Better still the kids can make them – I haven’t let them loose on this recipe yet.
My children love granola as a topping for their yoghurt, but often the shop bought versions are super sweet and the lower sugar options are pricey. In my mind making my own sounded like a faff, hence it’s not something I’ve investigated… until I started making a new flapjack recipe and didn’t get the consistency quite right. You know when you know it isn’t right but you keep going regardless. Silly me. As an experienced flapjack maker (and eater) I should have know better. Flapjack intuition.
So when Miss K tried to pick up and eat said flapjack and it crumbled to smithereens we needed a quick rescue as I’m not one to throw away food. Turns out it makes an amazing granola. Sweet enough but not super sweet. I’ve worked out the nutritional info as about a 30g serving.
Heat the honey, margarine and peanut butter (I used the microwave) until it is melted.
Mix in the oats, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Press into the tin and bake at Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.
Stir and break it up, bake for another 5 minutes.
Cool and store in an airtight container such as a kilner jar.
By Priya Tew, Dietitian UK
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
This is one of those foods to watch your portions and to eat with enjoyment. I’m a huge believer in having some sweetness if you fancy and not depriving yourself. I’m trying to model this and teach the children. My boy has a sweet tooth so this granola enables him to have the sweetness but also get a good balance of nutrition in.
Gluten free eating has been bang on trend recently. Why? There is a thought that gluten affects weight, causes bloating and is commonly poorly digested. However, often it is not actually gluten that is the issue. There can be several other explanations, for example: large portions of carbohydrate foods can cause bloating, just because of the amount of food in one sitting. In those suffering from IBS, the issue is unlikely to be gluten, but that of FODMAPS, which include wheat, lactose, beans, pulses, plus certain fruits and vegetables. Another key reason can be the overall diet. Eating a diet that is high in packaged, processed foods can cause symptoms that then disappear when you remove gluten. Why? Because why gluten is removed, your whole diet changes. It is not gluten that is always the culprit, take a look at this clip from Food Truth or Scare for more.
Gluten free foods can be: 👉 lower in fibre. 👉 higher in fat. 👉higher in sugars 👉higher in calories. 👉lower in B vitamins. 👉lower in iron 👉often they are not wholegrain.
Therefore gluten free foods are not healthier! Of course if you are gluten free for medical reasons you may need to have these foods but you can also use grains such as buckwheat and quinoa to provide your wholegrains. So it also doesn’t mean you can’t have a great healthy diet and be gluten free, it just require more planning and thought. Top advice: only go gluten-free if you absolutely need to.
Freelance Dietitian specialising in helping those with Eating Disorders and a Media Spokesperson for the profession.