Archive | August, 2012

Snack ideas when you are on the run!

I am travelling back home to the UK for a three week holiday on Thursday and I am sooo excited about it! Obviously the actual holiday part is the most thrilling bit about the trip but I can’t deny that I also really enjoy the travel bit too. I know that this may sound a little strange to some but I really relish in the excitement of the long journey… the whole experience of getting from A to B. I love to make an occasion of things!

Ask my husband, who has to experience it all first hand! I love the early morning starts, I love being organised, I love the excitement of airports, I love the huge pile magazines that I buy, guilt free, before I get on the plane (a 24 hour flight definitely warrants it!), I love the people watching, I love aeroplanes, I love the feeling of cosying up with an endless supply of movies and backgammon, I love the fact that you have no choice but to relax and have some proper thinking time and of course most importantly I love touching down  at B… especially when B is the UK,  my wonderful home country and I see my amazing, smiling, family waiting for us as we go through customs!

The only thing that I don’t however love about travel is the food. More often than not both at the airport and on the plane the food is white, stodgy, full of hidden sugars, full of salt and lets face it pretty tasteless. These kind of dehydrating foods can also make your jet lag worse!

To avoid feeling sluggish I tend to eat the meat/fish and vegetable sections of the airplane food but leave the white bread/pasta/rice/potato and puddings and I drink as much water as possible. Although the trays of juices they bring around might seem appealing I avoid these as they are packed full of sugar which can leave you with sugar highs and then lows and I either stick to the water or opt for a herbal tea.

As part of my pre travel plans I also put together a little snack box of easy, healthy treats that will fill me up if the plane food isn’t great or if I get hungry in between meals.

Here are a list of some of my easy to travel snacks, these can be used anytime of course, for work or just when you are running around doing errands and are worried about the finding healthy food choices….

  • 2 x oatcakes sandwiched together with a thick layer of natural peanut/almond butter and a sprinkling of seeds (make sure the peanut butter is 100% peanuts nothing else!)
  • Chopped celery, carrot, pepper broccoli  anda tablespoon of tablespoon of peanut/almond butter
  • Trail mix made with almonds, cashews and your choice of seeds.  Roast for a few minutes in a little coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon (cinnamon is very good at stabilising blood sugar levels)
  • A slice of healthy, low carb banana bread…
  • Natural yogurt with some almonds and again a sprinkling of cinnamon
  • A hardboiled egg with chopped tomato
  • A can of tuna mixed with a little natural yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, chives and some chopped cucumber
  • A cup of cottage cheese with some chives a very thinly sliced celery
  • Sliced organic chicken pieces with carrots

Obviously some of these treats are more perishable than others so pick the ones that go off easily for the shorter journeys or for the beginning of the flight!

‘Feel Good’ meals that actually make you ‘Feel Good’!

There are certain staple meals that I know I can’t live without! Those meals that you always look forward to, those meals that are saved for a cosy friday night in with a good film. Those comforting, warming, feel good meals that smell sooooo good when they are cooking and taste even better the next day cold.

But unfortunately with many of the ‘traditional forms’ of these meals you are left with that horrible sluggish, bloated feeling afterwards thanks to the high levels of refined carbs, often in the forms of stodgy white pasta’s, pastries and potatoes. Plus all these hidden sugars means that they are also not that great on the waist line either!

So, what if I told you that you can still have these wonderful ‘feel good’ meals but actually ‘feel good’ and not guilty afterwards! Here are some of my favourites:

Guilt free – Spaghetti Bolognese

Make your usual bolognese sauce and then instead of using pasta, julienne some courgettes (zucchini) – in other words slice the vegetable  into long thin noodle shaped strips. Then blanch in hot water for about 1 min. The courgette (zucchini) will have the same kind of consistency as real pasta spaghetti and taste awesome with the topping too.

Guilt free – Cauliflower Cheese or Moussaka

Make a bechamel sauce for your cauliflower cheese or moussaka by combining approx 2 cups of ricotta, approx 1/3 cup of milk (this all depends on the consistency you like, add more for a runnier sauce or less for a thicker sauce) and a good  pinch of nutmeg!

Bake Cauliflower Cheese or Moussaka in the oven as normal, they will be ready when cooked through and golden brown on the top.

Guilt free – Shepherds Pie

Cauliflower Mash

Make your usual filling from either minced lamb or minced beef. For the topping use cauliflower mash instead of the usual potato. Saute a small onion and a clove of garlic in a large saucepan. Add 1 whole head of very finely chopped cauliflower and 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock. Steam for around 5-10 mins making sure you don’t over cook and there is still some bite. Take a hand blender and blend into smooth consistency.

Spread on top of meat mixture and bake until slightly brown on the top.


Butternut Squash Mash

Make your usual filling from either minced lamb or minced beef. For the topping steam cubes of butternut squash until tender. Mash with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and a dash of nutmeg. As an alternative cumin or curry powder also go very well with the squash instead of the nutmeg.

Guilt free – Quiche

This is an awesome Teresa Cutter Recipe….

Serves 12

Pastry Base

400 g ground almonds
3 tablespoons ground linseed
3 organic / free range eggs
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine almonds linseeds, sea salt, eggs and oil into a mixing bowl and mix through using your hands until you form a lovely dough.  Roll out into a round shape between 2 sheets of baking paper then line a 25 cm pie plate that has been lightly brushed with olive oil and coated in almond meal to prevent sticking.


500 g spinach leaves
2 leeks sliced or onions sliced
pinch black pepper and sea salt
pinch nutmeg
handful fresh basil, sliced
400 g fresh ricotta cheese

In a large deep pot, saute onion or leek until soft over a low to medium heat in 1 tablespoon of olive or grape seed  oil.  Add spinach leaves – you may have to add in 2 batches if spinach doesn’t fit it, but that’s cool.  Season with a little sea salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil. Cook only until spinach has wilted then remove from the heat and drain out any excess liquid.

Add the ricotta and mix through until combined.

Spoon the filling into the pastry lined pie shell and bake for 35 minutes in a moderate 180 C oven until golden.


10 reasons to make your own lunches!

10 reasons to make your own lunches!

  • You can ensure that you get a good balance of all the food groups. In other words a good portion of  lean protein, some good fats and lots of vegetables

You 100%  know exactly what is in that lunchbox, no hidden salt, hidden sugar or hidden fats  that creep in, often in the form of bought dressings or fatty/cheap cuts of meat

  • You get to decide on the portion sizes, cutting back on the white carbs and adding some extra crunchy vegetables such as celery or raw broccoli. They take some effort to eat and are full of fibre which means they really fill you up!
  • You won’t have to scrimp on the protein, all too often bought salads have the tiniest portion of protein on the top expecting you to fill up on the something stodgy instead. Making your own lunch means that you can have a decent portion of protein which is essential for rebuilding muscle fibres after exercising and filling you up
  • Save some cash! A decent salad in the city costs around $12 in Sydney or 6 pounds in the UK which is around $60 or 30 pounds per week. You can make your own lunch at home for half the price and put that money towards something much more exciting
  • With a little bit of creativity your own salad will be MUCH tastier than a bought one, add seeds, fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, bean sprouts, a few berries, pulses or lemon juice to create different flavours
  • Avoid those timely salad bar queues by taking your own lunch in, that time could be put to much better use such as catching up on your facebook or even better  a brisk lunchtime walk around the block!
  • You get to decide on the quality of your salad vegetables, picking seasonal ingredients for example or avoiding ingredients that look like they are way past their sell by date!
  • Use up leftovers, they often taste better cold the next day!
  • You need to make sure you re-fuel regularly throughout the day, so, if you are someone who is often so busy that you  forget to eat, having your lunch box in the fridge at work or in your handbag as you do errands means you will be far more likely to eat!

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