Tag Archives: pulses

Vegetable Beany Bake

I love vegetarian meals and we actually eat more vegetarian meals in our house than meat containing ones. However it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut. I realised that I haven’t used many beans for a while and I have a store of dried ones of all varieties. Partially this is because I don’t cope too well with having large portions of them in my diet. Also I wasn’t sure my boy would be best impressed with me. How wrong I was, tthe dish was emptied, plates all cleared and everyone had seconds!

Beans and Pulses are a Fodmap so they can cause issues for some people… the trick is to work out how much you can tolerate, I know my limit is a small portion (2 tbsp) about once a week. As with many things it is all about tolerance and moderation. 

Apparently 2016 is the year of pulses. This group of foods includes beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, they are probably best know for their fibre content and wind producing abilites! It is recommended that we eat 30g a day of fibre, which is actually a fair amount to fit in and requires a healthy, well thought out eating plan for your day. Pulses can be a helpful way to get that fibre content up, 3 tbsp is about 6g fibre. They are a great source of insoluble fibre to help sweep the system through and helps with constipation issues. They also contain soluble fibre, which binds with cholesterol stopping it being absorbed and can help control blood sugar levels too.

A great protein source for vegans and vegetarians too. However they do not contain all the essential amino acids that our body needs to build proteins, so my advice is to always eat a variety of protein sources and a variety of different pulses. In this recipe I included cannellini beans and chickpeas.

Added bonus 3 tbsp (80g) also counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables. This recipe contains 400g beans so 5 adult portions. Along with the vegetables this works out at 3 portions of vegetables in a meal.

Dietitian UK: Beany Bake1

Dietitian UK: Beany Bake 2

Vegetable Beany Bake
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
284 calories
51 g
0 g
5 g
12 g
1 g
302 g
250 g
8 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 284
Calories from Fat 39
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 250mg
Total Carbohydrates 51g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 8g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion sliced
  3. 2 galric cloves crushed
  4. 2 carrots peeled and diced
  5. 2 peppers chopped
  6. 2 sweet potatoes peeled and in small chunks
  7. 1 tsp paprika
  8. 1 tsp cumin
  9. 1 tsp mixed dried herbs or a large handful of fresh herbs
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 400g chopped tomatoes
  12. 100ml water
  13. 400g mixed pulses (I used cannelini beans and chickpeas)
  1. 2 slices of bread (wheat/gluten free if needed)
  2. 100g oats (gluten free if needed)
  3. Fresh parsley
  4. mozzerella
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and peppers and cook for 5 minutes on a gentle heat.
  3. Mix in the paprika and cumin then the sweet potatoes and cook for a minute.
  4. Now add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until everything is soft.
  5. Mix in the cooked/tinned and drained pulses along with the herbs.
  6. Break up the bread into crumbs using your hands or a food processor.
  7. Mix with the chopped fresh parsley and oats.
  8. Place the beany mix in an overproof dish and top with the oats and breadcrumb mixture.
  9. Dot with mozzerella if wanted.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 6.
  1. If using dried beans use 200g, soak overnight, drain the water and then cook for 40 minutes or until soft.
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Carbohydrates, the Good Guys.

Carbohydrates are often seen as the baddies of the nutrition world. There are so many low carb diets out there and lots of claims about carbohydrates being the reason people can’t lose weight.


Carbohydrates are actually the bodies favoured energy source. Given a choice of protein, fat and carbohydrate the body will always choose to use the carbohydrate first. Why? Because carbohydrate foods easily break down to simple sugars that are the fuel the body needs. Proteins and fats needs to be converted to sugars in order to be used, a time consuming process that uses energy up. However you will put on weight if you OVEREAT carbohydrates or eat too much of the wrong kinds.


So where do these anti-carbohydrate claims come from? 

After we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar levels increase and insulin is released. Insulin moves the sugar in the blood into the bodies cells and it will be used as fuel or stored as glycogen to be used later on. Eating too much carbohydrate in one go or more white, processed carbohydrates cause a larger, rapid peak in blood sugar levels. In response lots of insulin is released, which can cause a problem. After the insulin has done it’s job it takes a while to drop back down to normal levels, so you have insulin in the blood stream asking the body for more sugar. It’s this lag phase that can lead to you craving sugary food or wanting to eat a short while after a meal.  If you eat like this you are likely to put on weight. Those hunger cravings will get the better of you and you’ll eat more than you need.


What happens if you avoid Carbs:

If carbs are the bodies preferred energy source then it makes sense that avoiding them can lead to you feeling tired, grumpy, lethargic, perhaps dizzy and shaky. Ever had that energy slump after skipping a meal?


How to eat Carbohydrates without gaining weight:

  1. Eat carbohydrates at every meal. Just watch your portion size. If you are trying to lose weight keep those carbs to 1/3 of your plate, steer clear of adding creamy sauces, butter and oils to them.
  2. Go Wholegrain. Wholegrains have been shown to protect against cancer, obesity, diabetes and obesity. Choose wholemeal, granary or multi-grain bread, whole oats, weetabix, shredded wheat, bran flakes, rye bread, oatcakes,brown rice and pasta, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley and anything with the word whole/wholegrain in from of it!
  3. Lower the glycaemic index of meals. Adding lower GI foods (many of which are wholegrains too) will help stabilise your blood sugars, preventing the peaks and dips that can cause those sugar cravings. Also try adding beans and pulses to your main meals.

This post was written for Slimsticks and can be seen on their website here.

Eating for Energy.

If you often wake up feeling tired or hit that mid afternoon slump then this post is for you…. if you’ve been up most of the night with a little one, you’ve been working long hours or just need a pick me up, read on!

Eat Frequently:

If you want to have more energy you need to give your body regular energy, through food – so eating 3 meals a day at the very least and actually snacking can help keep you going. It’s just important to make sure your overall calorie intake is not too high and that those snacks are healthy.

Breakfast is Key:

Skipping breakfast has been shown to increase fatigue, which makes a lot of sense. Overnight you fast, which means our blood sugar levels come down, as sugar is the body’s energy source when levels are low you can feel tired, moody and out of sorts. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism so not only will it boost your energy but it can also help you lose weight. Good  choices include wholegrain breakfast cereals with fruit and yoghurt, poached egg and tomatoes on wholemeal toast or porridge with fruit and nuts. The B vitamins in bread and cereals help you release and use energy.



Eat Carbs:

Many people I meet have cut the carbohydrates out of their diet. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source, much like the petrol in a car they fuel you. Yes if you overeat them you will gain weight but sensible portions of them at your meals will help boost your energy. Choose wholegrain versions as research shows these are the healthier options and links them to increased energy.

Get your Fruit on:

Fruit and Vegetables are the true superfoods. They provide vitamin C, magnesium and other micronutrients that help your body release energy from food. Vitamin C deficiency is linked to fatigue….so eat more to energise yourself. Aim for over 5 portions a day, do this my having at least 1 portion per meal and then snack on them too. Add fruit to cereals, vegetables to omelettes, salad with meals, fruit and custard as dessert, dried fruit and nuts as a snack.

Steer clear of sweet treats:

It can seem like the best thing to do is to eat more sugar to get more energy, but in fact the opposite is true. Eating sugary snacks raises the sugar levels too fast causing a temporary energy boost followed by a sugar slump. Instead stick to regular meals and healthy snacks….sounds a bit boring but it really does work!


Eat Low GI:

Eating foods that keep your blood sugars lower for longer can keep your full up for longer. Try wholemeal foods, oats, yoghurt, lentils beans and pulses.

Give it a try…it may just surprise you 🙂