Tag Archives: low carb

Healthy Pork and Bean “Tacos”

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A slightly healthier take on one of my all time favourite dishes….Tacos!! These little babies are not only LOADED with protein, fibre and other essential nutrients but they are also very low in carbs and fat yet still taste pretty damn out of this world! They’re also super easy to prepare and make great leftovers! And yes if you haven’t guessed already, I am a pretty solid Mexican food fan! But then again..who isn’t?!

Pork, Bean and Vegetable Tacos with allll the trimmings…only a much healthier version! 

(For 4-6people)

What you need…IMG_6828

  • 1 iceberg lettuce, washed and leaves seperated
  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 carrot, diced or grated
  • 1/2 red or yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1 zucchini diced or grated
  • 5 button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 tin brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain greek or natural yoghurt

For the salsa:

  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 lebanese cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • lemon

What to do…

Heat a large non stick fry pan or casserole dish over med-high heat. Add a dash of oil and then add then add the pork mince. Once just cooked through, remove from the heat and transfer the mince to a bowl and set aside.

Place the fry pan back on the heat and add another dash of oil. Sauté the onion until soft then add the garlic and taco seasoning. Cook for a further 2 mins. Throw the mince back in, followed by all the vegetables and stir over medium heat until well combined. Then add in your tomato paste and mix through, followed by the tinned tomatoes.

Finally add the beans and lentils and then allow to simmer over medium heat for 5-10mins.

Meanwhile, throw all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Place on the table along with the lettuce cups and  bowls of diced avocado and natural yoghurt.

Once the taco mix is ready, remove from the heat and you are ready to dig in!

Enjoy!

A

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Zucchini Noodles with Healthy Bolognaise

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IMG_4663MMMmmm MMMMMmmm a big bowl of steaming spag bol on these chilly winter nights? Yes please!!! Traditionally not always considered the healthiest of evening meals, my healthy spag bol is low in fat, “carb friendly” and packed full of veges making it sure to please even the most health conscious of guests! Swapping the traditional wheat based spaghetti for some green goodness this veggie based “pasta” dish is gluten free and looooaaaded with fibre and essential nutrients to help keep us looking and feeling our best from winter’s beginning til end! Give it a whirl..I promise it wont disappoint!

Zucchini Noodles with Healthy Bolognaise

(Serves 4 people)

 

–       4x zucchinis

–       1 large red chilli, seeds removed, finely diced

–       2 cloves garlic, crushed

–       1 brown onion, diced

–       400g lean beef or pork mince

–       2 tbsp salt reduced tomato paste

–       1 can diced tomatoes

–       1 large carrot, grated

–       ¾ cup brown lentils

–       ½ capsicum, diced

–       1 cup mushrooms, chopped

–       ½ cup torn basil leaves

 

Firstly, to prepare your zucchini noodles use either a peeler, julienne peeler or mandolin. For wide fettuccini style “pasta” use a standard vegetable peeler. Spaghetti-like noodles can be achieved using a julienne peeler or mandolin.

Whichever you choose, cut the ends off the zucchinis and start peeling lengthways. When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and continue slicing. Discard the middle section with the seeds, as they will prevent the noodles from holding together. Once you have finished, set the noodles aside until ready to serve. Note: You do not need to cook the noodles, as the hot bolognaise sauce should warm them up nicely!

Place a large heavy based saucepan over high heat on the stove and add a dash of oil before browning the mince. Remove mince from the saucepan before returning pan to the heat.

Next sauté the onion until soft before adding the crushed garlic and the chilli. Once fragrant, add the mince back in and cook over medium heat for 1-2mins.

Then add the mushrooms, carrot and capsicum, followed by the tomato paste. Stir to combine and then add the tin of crushed tomatoes. Throw in the lentils and allow to simmer on low heat for as long as you desire. Just before you are ready to serve, season well with salt and pepper and add in the basil leaves.

Serve on a bed of fresh zucchini noodles and garnish with some fresh parsley and parmesan cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

A

 

Easy Peasy Zucchini Slice

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slicePacked full of flavour, essential nutrients and good quality protein, this slice is a winner all round! This slice is super quick and easy to whip up and makes the perfect simple mid week dinner or convenient lunchbox option! Though it does contain a few less healthy ingredients (uhmmm bacon) the amount used is minimal and is really only in there for flavour, so not too much too worry about there! This slice is also perfect for all you carb conscious people out there! Recipe as follows…

What you need…

  • 2 large zucchinis, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 slices short cut bacon, diced (or you can use ham for a slightly healthier version!)
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal SR flour (or gluten free self raising flour for a gluten free version)
  • 3/4 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 extra large eggs

What to do…

Preheat oven to 170°C.  Grease and line a non-stick baking tray.

In a large bowl combine the zucchini, carrot, onion, shallots, bacon, flour and cheese and mix together.

In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs add the oil before pouring into the mix of dry ingredients. Mix well to combine and season with a salt and pepper.

Finally pour the mixture into your lined baking dish. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and set.  Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Enjoy!

A

Chilli Chicken, Pumpkin and Cashew Stir-fry

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chilli chicken cashewGetting home late from work last night I needed to come up with something fast, nutritious and tasty based on what i had lurking in my fridge and this is what I came up with! And I’m not going to lie..it certainly did pack a nutritional punch without skimping on flavour!

What you need… (for 2 people)

350g chicken breast, sliced

2 tsp chilli flakes (or 2 dried chillis)

1 tsp grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 large brown onion, finely sliced

handful of snow peas

large handful green beans, halved,

1/2 small capsicum, sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 small pumpkin, cut into thin strips

rice bran or peanut oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp light soy sauce (or tamari for GF version)

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp kecap manis

juice of half a lime

 

What to do…

Add all the sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Secondly throw a handful of cashews into a small non-stick fry pan and lightly toast. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the pumpkin, steam it for 3-4 mins in the microwave then allow to drain.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a wok and add the sliced chicken. Once cooked through, remove from the wok and set aside.

Add a smidge more oil to the wok and then saute the onion for 2-3 mins or until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another 1-2 mins.

Add the mushrooms and capsicum and cook for 2 mins before adding the remaining veggies and then the chicken back in.Pour the sauce over the top, add the chopped corriander and then mix well to combine. Remove from the heat once the veggies are cooked to your liking.

 

Nutritional Breakdown:

Pros:

Low carb, Low fat/calories, high in good quality protein and packed full of nutrients!….

The chicken breast provides a perfect lean source of protein with about 20g of high quality protein per 100g. The cashews on the other hand are not only high in magnesium which is essential for nerve and muscle conduction but they are also made up of 75% oleic acid, the same heart healthy fat found in olive oil.

Meanwhile the mixture of veggies all add their own unique nutritional qualities to the dish. All veggies contain different types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so the more colour on your plate, the better better off you will be from a nutritional perspective! Studies also show that the more variety in colour on your plate the higher your satisfaction levels will be with your meal! Interesting huh?

Firstly, broccoli is hard to beat when it comes to its nutritional qualities, as it is not only a great source of iron, magnesium and folate but like all green cruciferous veggies broccoli contains high levels of “isothiocyanates” which are compounds that help to generate mitachondria (the part of our cells responsible for converting glucose to energy (ATP)…Making them a serious powerhouse when it comes to energy production!

Capsicum is a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene whilst the snow peas are super low in calories, high in fibre and contain important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C,  B Complex vitamins and folate.

Despite its starchy texture and sweet taste, pumpkin is actually quite low in carbohydrates so is a great alternative to high carb veggies like sweet potato and corn! It is also contains impressive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals like beta carotene, vitamins A, E and K and potassium and phosphorus!

So moral of the story? This dish just about covers all bases from a nutritional perspective!

Cons:

Welllll correct me if I’m wrong but I cant really think of any! 😉

Enjoy!

A

Homemade vietnamese rice paper rolls

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One of the easiest meals to whip together, ricepaper rolls have long been one of my go to’s when I’m after something quick, fresh and healthy! Low in fat and packed full of fresh salad veggies and lean grilled chicken breast this meal really can’t be beat in the health department…not to mention they taste amazing!

So what you need….

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1/4 packet rice vermicelli noodles

1 large chicken breast (sliced)

2 cloves garlic

tsp grated ginger

2 tsp fish sauce

juice of half a lime

1 tbs sweet chilli sauce

coriander

1/4 capsicum

half an avocado

1 large carrot grated

a couple of iceburg lettuce cups

1/2 lebanese cucumber (cut into long thin strips)

handful of fresh mint leaves (or vietnamese mint!)

For the dipping sauce….  ricepaper rolls4

juice of a lime

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbs white vinegar

3 tsp fish sauce

splash of sesame oil

sm handful coriander (finely chopped)

1/2 red chili (sliced)

What to do….

For the chicken marinade, crush up your garlic and add to a bowl with your grated ginger, fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and a handful of chopped coriander. Mix together and then add in your chicken, mixing it around to coat all of the meat. Set aside until ready to cook. (if possible try and do this an hour or 2 earlier to give it time to marinate!)

Then for the dipping sauce, add all your ingredients to a small serving bowl..and you’re done here!

Place your noodles into a bowl and pour over boiling water until they are all covered. Set aside for a couple of minutes until they are cooked through and then pour into a drainer and leave aside to drain well. For the salad veggies, grate your carrot, and slice up your avo, capsicum and cucumber into thin slices. Put on a serving tray/plate with the lettuce and herbs.

When you’re almost ready to serve heat some ricebran or canola oil in a fry pan and pan fry your chicken in batches.

Annnd that’s about it! Next time you’re feeling like something light and fresh while spending minimal time in the kitchen I highly recommend giving these a go! They are delicious!

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What’s your poison of choice?

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images2Ok everyone, so it’s Friday and I know this usually only means one thing…healthy diet out…countless friday arvo drinks and “nibbles” (followed by a nice greasy slice of pizza on the way home at 2am) IN! and as much as we all like to think it’s not going to happen this weekend..9 times out of 10 it is inevitable! We almost don’t have a choice..we live in Australia and that’s what we like to do..DRINK! and I have to say we’re damned good at it!

So to help you all out and try and reduce the self loathing and regret you are bound to be hit by tomorrow morning as you awake from your drunken slumber and you realise your health kick is officially ruined, I thought I would be so kind as to at least give you all a few tips on which of your favourite beverages score best in the calorie count department!

Ok so first up for all you wine lovers out there I have some good news..your poison of choice comes out as number one as the best choice for those of you want to get drunk, not fat! With an average of 284kJ per 100ml glass (Remembering that a standard drink is only a 100ml whilst most bars pour glasses that are at least double that!) Also remember I am only talking about one glass here.. if you add up those kilojoules over another glass and then another it kinda all adds up. If we’re looking at a standard bottle of wine those numbers creep up pretty fast with a around 2130kJ per bottle! Which equates to about a quarter of your daily engergy(kJ) needs) and we haven’t even got to the slice of pepperoni pizza that’s devoured on the way home yet!
But all in all, wine is a much wiser choice than some of the other drinks we all love a bit too much!

Next on the list is your spirits WITHOUT mixers. So for those of you who like it “on the rocks” you are a one step ahead of your rum and coke buddies!  A standard 30ml shot of spirits usually equates to about 280kJ, which doesnt seem that bad huh? but then you add in your fave mixer and its suddenly shot up to about 750-820kJ! So if you want to try and cut down on that calorie count the obvious choice is good old soda and fresh lime or your diet mixers! (clearly not rocket science right?!)

When it comes to cocktails there are some winners and there are some real losers but they are all generally fairly high in kilojoules. Obviously your tall cocktails are going to be laden with hidden calories so if you really are a cocktail gal then try and stick to the good old fashioned martini or those made on soda water/diet mixers.

As for beer…ahhh I wish I could offer better news to all you beer drinkers out there but unfortunately beer doesnt rate so highly on the “healthier” alcohol list! To give you an idea your standard full strength beer contains around 570kJ per stubbie, so after a 6pack we’re climbing to over 3400kJ!!! and so on… While your standard mid-strength comes in at 430kJ per stubbie/can and your light beers being the best choice at around 390kJ per stubbie (no surprises there!) and for all you who have been kidding yourselves that the low carb beers are way better for you..I have some bad news..you’re standard mid-strength low carb beer contains just as many kJ as the normal ones! SORRY!

And lastly, for those of you who drink pre-mixed drinks..DON’T! I would actually call them a calorie catastrophe and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that they are on the bottom of the pecking order with a a small vodka cruiser bottle containing up to over 880kJ or a lemon ruski containing 920kJ!

Sooo in summary if you’re going to drink this weekend (and any other weekend there after) try and follow these few simple rules:

1. If you are a wine drinker (including sparkling) or are thinking of becoming one – continue

2. If you like spirits – be a man and drink it on the rocks..or at least top it up with soda water or a sugar free mixer!

3. If you cant go past the cocktails think martini martini martini..or if thats not your thing at least go for the ones made in short glasses or are made on soda water (did someone say mojito? or perhaps a caprioska?)

4. If you are a beer drinker, always have been and plan to always be one… well I cant really help you there other than say try and stick to light beer. Oh and stop kidding yourself into thinking that drinking the low carb ones is going to help you curb the curves! It’s just a massive marketing scam!

5. And finally if you’re a pre-mixed drink person…RE-THINK YOUR DRINK!

Happy Friday Peoples!

A

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