Monthly Archives: January 2014

New Years Resolution # 1: Getting a Handle on Sugar Cravings!

Standard

Sugar cravings.. just about everyone gets them at some point or another, but what can you do to Mixed-lollies_Lge-01override them? For some it is a daily battle to overcome that 3pm sugar craving slump and if this is you, here a few simple suggestions on how you can take control and stop the cravings for good!

1) Make sure you eat every 2-3 hours

Though it may be easy to get distracted at work and before you know it, its 3pm and you still haven’t had lunch, this is a serious recipe for disaster! Going long periods of time without eating causes significant drops in your blood sugar levels, often leading to intense sugar cravings. This is because glucose or sugar (which is what carbohydrates are broken down into in your gut) is your body’s primary energy source. So, when energy levels become too low, your body starts to crave sugary foods as these are easily broken down and released into your blood stream to be used as energy, providing a super quick energy fix. The problem is, the energy release from sugary foods is short lived and you often end up feeling sluggish  and craving even more sugar before you know it! Moral of the story?… eat regularly to prevent your blood sugar levels dropping too low and the sugar cravings from creeping in!

2)    Always keep a packet of minty chewing gum on hand

Popping in a piece of gum after a meal not only keeps your breath minty fresh but it also serves as a great distraction from sweet foods and it also helps to cleanse the palate, making sugary foods seem less appealing.

3) Opt for herbal or black tea between meals

Virtually calorie free and oh-so soothing herbal or black teas are the perfect distraction after meals to prevent those sugar cravings from creeping in! Herbal teas like peppermint are especially effective at curbing the cravings as they help to refresh the palate in much the same way as chewing gum!

4) Curb the cravings with healthier, more nourishing alternatives.

Instead of feeding your cravings with sugar, which will only cause you to crave MORE sugar, try opting for more satisfying, protein –rich snacks like nuts, a slice of cheese or celery sticks with peanut butter. Or, if you absolutely feel you need something sweet, opt for a couple of squares of extra dark chocolate. The richness of dark chocolate should prevent you from eating as much and it is also far less sweet than normal milk chocolate, which may help to prevent a total sugar blow out!

5) Ride it out

Though it may sometimes feel like sugar cravings are going to last a life time and the only answer is to give in, I can promise you those feelings will pass! In fact, studies show most cravings last a maximum of 20 minutes. So, why not try distracting yourself with something non-food related for a few minutes and you might just find those cravings might just pass faster than you think!

Happy New Year!

A

Advertisements

Christmas Highlights Part 3: Healthy Chocolate Ginger Spiced Truffles

Standard

So it’s Christmas day and by this stage you have probably already ploughed your way through hours of pre-dinner drinks and nibbles and then a huge Christmas banquet, I’m sure most of you wonder where on earth you are going to find room for a big serve of Christmas pudding or trifle right?! Well this is a problem I seem to face just about every year anyway, so I find its great to keep some lighter sweet options on hand for anyone struggling to find room for dessert!

In keeping with my passion for trying to create healthier versions of all of our “not-so-healthy” favourite foods I thought why not re-invent the traditional calorie-laiden chocolate truffles into a healthier version?… And here is what I came up with: Healthy Chocolate Ginger Spiced Truffles…Aka My Choc Protein Balls with a Christmassy twist!)

A healthier nutrition packed version filled with heart healthy fats, antioxidants and natural sugars!

Healthy Chocolate Ginger Spiced Truffles

What you need…christmas truffles

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup dried, pitted dates or pitted medjool dates
  • ½ cup raw cacao or good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dried goji berries
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • cocoa or desiccated coconut for rolling
  • Note: you could also add in some chopped glaze ginger for a little extra zing and flavour or even some cacao nibs for an extra chocolatey fix!

What to do….

Place the almonds, oats, cocoa and spices in a food processor and blend to combine. Then add the dates and blend until it forms a dough-like consistency. You may need a splash of water to bind the mixture together. If the mixture becomes too sticky and wet, try adding more oats or cocoa powder.

Next add in the goji berries and mix with a spoon or your hands to combine…Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – its half the fun!

Roll the mixture into small bite-sized balls, roll them in the desiccated coconut and then place in an air tight container in the freezer until ready to eat!

I find they taste best still slightly frozen and firm so keep them hidden in the freezer until time to serve!

Enjoy… in moderation!

A

 

Christmas Highlights Part 2: Prawn, Mango & Avocado Salad with Raspberry Sauce

Standard

Nothing conjures fond memories of big family Christmas banquets gone past like the traditional Aussie inspired Prawn, Mango and Avocado Salad! Thanks to the 40 PLUS degree heat us Queenslanders seem to be blessed with at Christmas each year, the thought of the old traditional roast meat and veggies with all the trimmings really doesn’t seem to fit! Hence why this delicious, nutritious and light summer salad makes an appearance on our Christmas table year after year!

Just to spice things up a bit and add a bit of Christmas colour to this Aussie icon dish my creative minded sister suggested a raspberry reduction sauce to replace the traditional creamy based one…creating a culinary masterpiece both aesthetically and taste wise! Recipe as follows…

What you need… (Salad will serve 6-8 people)

– 2x QLD Bowen Mangoes, sliced

– 1 extra large Avocado, sliced

– 200g mixed leavesphoto

– 200g baby rocket or spinach

– 1/2 cup lightly toasted macadamias

– 2kg cooked Mooloolaba Prawns

For the Raspberry Reduction sauce:

– 1 cup frozen raspberries

– 1/4 cup water

– 1 tsp caster sugar

– balsamic vinegar

What to do…

For the sauce, place the raspberries, sugar and water into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow to simmer for 5-10mins, adding a touch more water if necessary. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before straining into a small jug. Add a dash to balsamic vinegar and taste. Add more vinegar if necessary. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Peel the prawns and place in an ice slurry until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, grab a big serving platter and toss the lettuce and rocket leaves across the base. Slice up the mango and avocado into long strips and arrange over the platter. Drain the prawns and add to the salad. Scatter over the toasted macadamias and then pour over the raspberry sauce and you have one seriously delicious fresh summer salad ready for any occasion in less than 30 mins! Yummm!

Enjoy!

A

Christmas Highlights: Part 1 – Healthy Pre-Dinner Snacks

Standard

So Christmas is done and dusted for another year, but I have no doubts the memories (and delicious food) shared amongst family and friends are likely to be treasured for a long time to come! Though it all seemed to whizz past in the blink of an eye, I managed to take a few snap shots of some of the tasty delights that my family and I managed to whip up over the Christmas break which I thought I would share with you, as you all prepare for another exciting year ahead!

Though these dishes will always remind me of Christmas in some way, they can really be made to share amongst family and friends at any time of year! Firstly I thought I would share a couple of my favourite simple, pre-dinner nibbles that were created in our kitchen over Christmas. Though one may conjure images of pre-packaged calorie-laden dips, chips and cheeses when the idea of pre-dinner “nibbles” are mentioned, but I like to keep things light, simple, and relatively healthy, as there is really no need to fill up on loads of unhealthy foods before sitting down to eat a big meal!

So, here are a couple of my favourite, healthier options!

1. Christmas Spiced Almonds with Mixed Olives

spiced almondsWhat you need…

  • 250g raw almonds
  • olive oil spray
  • 3 long sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt flakes

What to do…

Heat a large fry pan over the stove and throw in the almonds. Spray generously with olive oil spray and stir constantly over the heat for 5-10mins.

Sprinkle over the spices and cook for another 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat and add a good sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes. Set aside and allow to cool before serving.

Serve with a selection of mixed olives for the perfect pre-dinner snack to serve with a glass of bubbly or cold ale!

“Papa”-ganoush (Eggplant dip)

What you need…papa ganoush

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • ½ – 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and place in the oven to roast for 15-20mins. Once soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pierce the skins of your eggplant with a fork then place onto a lined baking tray. Roast in the oven until the skin blackens and the flesh is soft and creamy.
Remove from the oven and place the eggplant into a colander to allow excess juices from the eggplant to run out and cool.
Remove the inside flesh from the eggplant and throw into a blender along with the tahini paste, juice and zest from ½ a lemon. Then scrape out the creamy flesh from the roasted garlic cloves and add to the eggplant before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl and add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts for garnish. Drizzle with olive oil and your “papa” ganoush is ready to serve!

Best served with some cut up veggie sticks, home-made pita crisps or some gluten free rice crackers.

Stay tuned, as there is more to come on my favourite Christmas Foodie Highlights!

Happy New Year Everyone!

A