Do you Want An Energy Packed Snack?

When you are hungry and looking for a quick snack it is very easy to grab some chocolate or crisps.

It is far better for your health if you make your own snacks.

I use these if I am getting an energy slump in the afternoon or fancy a sweet treat with my lunch.

This is a super quick, easy to make snack, packed full of energy and tastes delicious.

You will know exactly what ingredients are in it.

Ingredients

250g Dried dates

250g of mixed nuts and seeds

2 teaspoons of cocoa powder

Method

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it has formed a soft dough.

Roll the dough into small balls.

Place in a container in the fridge.

I used almonds, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds.

The recipe makes more than is shown in the picture.

Lentil Cottage Pie – Great Vegetarian Option

If you are stuck for ideas on what to cook today, this is a great alternative if you don’t eat meat or you fancy a change from meat.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1/2 red onion

1 carrot finely chopped into small pieces

1 clove of garlic crushed

1tbsp tomato puree

400g can chopped tomatoes

1tsp dried thyme

75g dried split lentils

350ml vegetable stock

white and sweet potatoes for the mash

25g cheddar cheese grated

Method

Peel the potatoes and place in a pan of water, but do not set off cooking yet.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and thyme.

Set off your pan of potatoes to cook.

Stir in the lentils, vegetable stock, then simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is reduced and creamy.

Preheat the oven to 200 / Gas 7

Pour the lentil mixture into an ovenproof dish and spread out evenly.

Mash the potatoes and spread evenly over the lentil mixture.

Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with any other vegetables of your choice.

Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try.

What Does Iron Do For Your Body And Why Do You Need It?

Karen x

How To Stop Feeling So Tired

Feeling tired can be a common problem for many people, I think even more so at the moment.

What could be making you feel so tired?

There are some diet and lifestyle changes you can make to help, but it is always best to checked out by your GP to rule out any medical conditions.

Start your day well

Start your day with breakfast, I know some people don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning, but it is important to give your body the energy it requires to face the day. You don’t have to make a full English breakfast, it can be a simple bowl of porridge, a smoothie, make your own granola or eggs on toast are just a few ideas.

Are You Giving Your Body Enough Fibre?

If you are not having enough fibre it can cause constipation which can make you feel really sluggish. Fibre helps to regulate the amount of glucose in your blood, keeping your energy levels up and helping your ability to concentrate and learn. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

Make Sure You Are Eating Enough Iron-Rich Foods

If your body is lacking in iron, your body won’t have enough red cells to carry oxygen round your body and this can make you feel tired and listless. It could eventually lead to anaemia. The best sources of iron include liver, lean red meat, egg yolks, canned fish, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, pulses and dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and figs.

It Isn’t Just What You Eat What You Drink Is Very Important Too

Water is essential to energize you. Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day. Avoid sugary drinks as they have high GI which will give you a burst of energy followed by a slump. Also think about what you are drinking at night as having caffeine or alcohol can impact your sleep, which will affect how you feel the following day.

Vitamins And Minerals

If you eat a healthy balanced diet then you should be getting enough vitamins and minerals. If you are not sure do a food diary for a week and look at all the foods you are putting into your body. Also think before you eat and ask yourself how will I feel after I have eaten it. Try to ensure your diet includes foods containing Zinc, phosphorus, potassium and some of the B vitamins as these all play an important part in making and releasing energy. Magnesium can help you to sleep better so that is another important one to consider.

Are You Exercising?

This can be hard when you don’t have any energy. Exercising in a morning is a natural energizer and will set you up for the day. This can also help you to sleep better at night. I try to do either yoga or hula hooping in the morning. Going for a walk in the first thing is an excellent way to start your day. If you don’t have time in a morning, just try to ensure that you don’t do it too late in the evening as this again can impact sleep.

Hope this helps to give you more energy and feel less tired.

Karen x

New Year New You

As New Year approaches many people think it’s time for changes and rush to start a new diet. There is quite a few fad diets out there.

You don’t need to start a very restrictive diet and if you do it will be probably be very difficult to keep it up.

I strongly believe in everything in moderation.

Think about your portion sizes.

Think about what foods you choose to have as snacks and do you take notice of how much you are snacking in a day. This is where a food diary is good, it can be a real eye opener.

Are you really hungry when you are eating or are you just bored?

Make sure your food is like the colour of a rainbow to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need.

Most importantly if you have recognised you want to be more healthy then make small changes that you will be able to keep doing. Dont change too many things at once.

A great place to start is look at how much water you drink in a day. Water makes such a difference to how you feel and look. I can tell in just one day if I haven’t drank a lot of water.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve.

Karen x

Cheesy Stuffed Pimentos

This can be served as a main meal or side dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Rapeseed oil for griddling

6 long thin pimentos Peppers halved lengthways and seeds removed.

175g ricotta cheese or dairy free spread of avoiding dairy.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Small bunch of fresh tyme

Few fresh basil leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

Method

Heat a griddle pan and brush with a small amount of oil.

Griddle the Peppers on both sides until lightly charred.

Mix together the ricotta, thyme, lemon juice and seasoning.

Spread the mixture into the Peppers while they are still warm. Sprinkle with a few basil leaves and serve.

Karen 😀

Potato And Chicken Bake

This is a lovely warming meal, perfect to have in the evening as the colder nights are drawing in.

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

1 red onion

50g butter

1 carrot chopped into small pieces

225g button mushrooms sliced

900g potatoes finely sliced

16floz milk

1tbsp olive oil

25g plain flour

1tsp wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper to season

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / Gas 4.

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken for 5 minutes until browned.

Add the onion and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add half the butter to the pan and allow it to melt.

Sprinkle the flour in the pan and stir in the milk.

Cover over a low heat until thickened, then stir in the mustard.

Add the carrot and mushrooms and season to taste.

Line the base of a 3 pint ovenproof dish with a layer of potatoes.

Spoon over one third of the chicken mixture on top of the potatoes.

Followed by another layer of potatoes, repeat with chicken mixture.

Cover with another layer of potatoes carry on with layers and finish with a final layer of potatoes.

Top with the remaining butter in knobs.

Cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. \cover the dish with a lid or foil after 30 minutes of cooking.

Serve and enjoy.

Karen x