Overnight Oats

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Rushed in the morning; no time to make breakfast?
Want something quick, convenient and tasty that will keep you going till lunch?
Enjoy porridge in the winter but not so keen on hot breakfasts through the summer?

It’s your lucky day!

This recipe can be prepared the night before, saving you loads of time in the morning! It’s healthy, tasty and can be varied by adding different toppings so you don’t get bored.

INGREDIENTS
Porridge oats (40g) (use gluten free oats if necessary)
Milk (120-150ml) (The nutritional values below are for semi-skimmed cow’s milk, but you could also use soy, almond or any other milk!)

METHOD
1. Put the oats into a bowl (or a sealable jar if you have one!)
2. Pour over the milk.
3. Cover with cling film or close the lid, and leave the oats in your fridge overnight.
4. The following morning, choose the toppings of your choice and enjoy. (You can also pop the bowl in the microwave for a minute if you prefer it warm.)

NUTRITIONAL INFO:
Calories
: 220kcal
Carbs: 33g
Protein: 11g
Fat: 5g
Saturated fats: 2g

20140730_083037 (2)Topping ideas:
– Banana (or just about any other fruit!)
– Frozen berries
– Chopped apricots
– Yoghurt
– Chopped nuts
– Seeds
– Honey
– Peanut butter

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Summer Breakfasts

I guess a lot of you, like me, feel that your appetite decreases when the sun is out. Sometimes, I really don’t feel like breakfast but I know if I don’t have it, I’ll feel rubbish later on and probably end up picking.

If you need some ideas for fresh, light breakfasts that still keep you feeling full till lunchtime, look no further!

Here are my top 5;

Homemade Granola with yoghurt and fresh fruit
20140720_141349Crunchy, yummy, sweet, light and refreshing; this breakfast has it all! I use natural and fruit yoghurts depending on what I fancy and also change up the fruit – it’s not a breakfast I get bored of because of the endless combinations. Nutrition wise, this is packed with minerals and vitamins, you’ve got the oats to provide long lasting energy, the protein (found in nuts, seeds and yoghurt) to keep you fuller for longer and one or two of your 5-a-day in the dried and fresh fruit. What’s not to love?!
See my Homemade Granola recipe here.

20140730_083037 (2)Quinoa porridge with grated apple and cinnamon
Who says porridge is only for winter?! I know there’s still some days where I just fancy a hot breakfast, and this is my go-to. The porridge oats keep you going all morning and I normally make this with milk for my protein source (sometimes adding a dollop of yoghurt on top too). My recipe’s here. I’ll often add seeds for a bit of crunch (and more protein!) and then the apple for sweetness and one of my 5-a-day. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly sweet-toothed, I’ll add in some honey.

Banana Pancakes

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If you haven’t already, you NEED to try this recipe. Find it here. It has changed my life. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but it’s certainly changed my perspective on pancakes!

Oats, fruit (banana) and protein (eggs)…are you sensing a theme here?!  This recipe will make you want to get up earlier in the morning so you have time to make them!

 


20140804_105200Overnight oats with apricots and seeds

Want to get up and have breakfast ready prepared? Enjoy porridge but don’t have the time in the morning to prepare it? Overnight oats are a simple alternative to hot porridge. To make, simply put 40g of oats in a dish/container and cover with milk (around 100-125ml). Replace lid or cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight. The possibilities for toppings are endless, but I love the crunch of seeds with apricot sweetness. Mmmhmm!

20140803_132942Smoked salmon and scrambled egg on homemade oat bilinis
When I’m feeling like an indulgent brunch at the weekend, I’ll always opt for scrambled egg and smoked salmon. Firstly, I’m not really a fan of a fry up and secondly, I love salmon! This is a really easy dish to make at home, especially if you’ve made the bilinis beforehand, just heat them through for a minute. Check out my oat bilini recipe here.

Serve with a glass of orange juice – it counts towards one of your 5-a-day!

 

So I hope this gives you some ideas for healthy breakfasts. These all should keep you full until lunch time and give your morning a great start! Start as you mean to go on!

TOP TIP: Mix up the toppings and fruits so that you don’t get bored eating the same thing every day.

Do send me your images, suggestions or tweaks, I love hearing from you!

Till next time!

Oat Bilinis

20140801_131650I am a big fan of pancakes. Savoury, sweet…it doesn’t bother me, in fact one of each is just about perfect! In university, we used to have big pancake parties, I must have made about 100 pancakes – not all for me I must add! It was great fun though, and I have some lovely memories of pancake days!
I’ve adapted a pancake style mix to make these bilinis. I’ve added oats for a little texture and to promote a feeling of fullness. I make these bilinis so they’re on standby for snacks, canapes or starters, and you could incorporate them into a dessert too. They’re great sweet or savoury. Plus they’re so cute!!

Ingredients
100ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml water (you could use 250ml skimmed milk instead)
1 egg
100g flour
50g oats

Method

1. Mix together egg and milk/milk and water.

2. Add oats and flour and mix well. The mixture will be quite runny.

3. Heat frying pan and add a little oil (I used spray oil, or you can use kitchen paper to grease it with a little margarine/cooking oil).

4. Using a ladle, pour the mix into the hot pan ensuring whole pan is covered.

5. Cook on a low-medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the pancake is solid enough to turn over (I use a spatula for this as it’s not as ‘flippable’ as a normal pancake).

6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

7. Remove from pan, let cool. Then, using a circular shaped cutter, cut out the bilinis from the pancake.

This mix should make around 3 pancakes, each making around 8 bilinis. Nutrition info below is per bilini without topping.

CALORIES: 30 kcal
PROTEIN:
1g
FAT:
0.5g

They’ll store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Perfect for when you’re peckish! Top with some cream cheese, cucumber and salmon or some peanut butter if you’re fancying sweet.

Remember a snack is only a snack if it’s less than 100kcal, so keep it to 2 or 3!

Quinoa Porridge

20140730_082855 (2)As you’ll see in my post all about Quinoa, I’m a newbie. But, one of the first things I had to try was getting a good recipe for quinoa porridge. I have tweaked and mixed the method round a bit and I’ve finally found one that works for me. Quinoa has a subtle nutty flavour which makes it taste comforting and indulgent – but you’ll be pleased to hear it’s healthy too!

This recipe is really simple, easily adapted and can be eaten hot or cold. So, if you’re in a hurry in the mornings just make it the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight!

 

Ingredients
50g uncooked quinoa
100ml of milk (I used cow’s milk but try almond/soya milk for a vegan alternative)
Topping of choice

Method
1. Place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse under a cold, running tap for 5 minutes. You need to make sure the quinoa is well rinsed otherwise it has a bitter taste.

2. Put rinsed quinoa into a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil, once boiling, reduce heat.

3. Let quinoa simmer in saucepan until quinoa is cooked* (look out for the grains splitting open slightly).

4. Drain the water from the saucepan, and mix together the cooked quinoa and the milk.

5. Now you have two options:
a) To make your quinoa porridge hot, continue to heat the quinoa and milk until the milk is       absorbed and all of the quinoa is cooked.
OR
b) For cold, ‘overnight oat’ style just cover and place in the fridge overnight.

6. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

*If you want your porridge warm, drain off the water just before all the grains are thoroughly cooked – they should absorb the warm milk better!

20140730_083037 (2)CALORIES: 170kcal
PROTEIN: 7g
FAT: 4g

(Values are for a 50g (raw weight) serving of quinoa with semi-skimmed milk. Nutritional values will vary depending on ingredients used)

TOP TIP: Quinoa can be quite plain tasting so it definitely needs something to compliment the subtle nutty flavour; fresh orange and seeds, ginger, honey and raisins or apple and cinnamon are all yummy!

Healthy Crunchy Granola

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As you might have guessed, I am a big fan of oats. So, I LOVE granola. Sadly, since I’ve moved to Belgium I’ve been unable to find a granola that doesn’t have stacks of added sugar and unnecessary ingredients. As a result, I’ve taken to making my own. It’s super easy and literally takes 5 minutes, so I’ll never buy shop-bought again!

Granola is basically cooked oats with all sorts of fruits, nuts and whatever other yummy healthy treats you decide to chuck in. So with wholegrains, protein and fruit it’s got everything you need to keep you going all morning. Plus homemaking your granola means you know exactly what’s in it.

This particular recipe is an mixture of a couple of recipes I’ve found online, but as it’s so easy to tweak, it tends to differ slightly every time.

Ingredients
200g of oats
Two tablespoons of oil (I tend to use coconut or olive oil)
Two-three tablespoons of honey/maple syrup or a mixture of both
One tablespoon of water
One teaspoon vanilla extract
200g of dried fruit
50g seeds and/or nuts
Optional: cinnamon, chocolate chips, ginger etc

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and lay greaseproof paper on a large, flat baking tray.

2. Mix together the oil, honey, water and vanilla extract.

3. Pour the oats into the mixture and stir well, ensuring every oat is covered. It may be easier to get messy and use your hands!

4. If you want to cook the nuts, seeds and dried fruit, add them now. I like my raisins slightly crunchy so cook them! Alternatively they can be added after cooking.

5. Place the mixture onto the greaseproof paper and place in the hot oven for about 10 minutes.

6. Stir the mix and bake for 5-10 minutes more until the oats are golden.

7. Let the oats cool and, if you haven’t already, add in the nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

8. Store in an airtight container!

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CALORIES: 170kcal
PROTEIN: 5g
FAT: 5.5g

(Values are for a 40g serving. Nutritional values will vary depending on ingredients used)

I like my granola with yoghurt and fruit. It makes for a quick, healthy and easy breakfast that I really enjoy.

 

I’d love to hear your adaptations so let me know how yours goes!

 

Banana Pancakes

20140718_144950Who doesn’t love pancakes?!

These are fantastic; versatile, so easy to make AND they taste incredibly naughty but are oh-so-good! One of your 5-a-day, a great source of protein and oats to keep those hunger pangs at bay!

Ingredients
One banana
Two eggs
Teaspoon of cinnamon
Two tablespoons of oats

Method
1. Whisk the two eggs in a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.

2. Slice the banana into the eggs and mash with a fork, masher or blender. Make sure both ingredients are well combined.

3. Add the cinnamon and oats and whisk until you have a smooth mixture.

4. Heat some oil in a pan (I use spray oil – you need very little) and add a small amount of mixture to the pan. (*TIP: Pour mixture slowly to keep a circle shape*)

5. Cook on a low-medium heat til the pancake is solid enough for you to flip it (around 2-3 minutes per side).

6. Keep going until you run out of mixture and top with whatever your preference!

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CALORIES: 300kcal
PROTEIN: 13g
FAT: 8g                                                                                                              

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If you have a sweet tooth, try making them with a ripe or overripe banana, these taste naturally sweeter and you won’t need any added sugar.

My favourite topping is low fat natural yoghurt and fresh fruit (making it 2 of your 5-a-day!). This morning it was blueberries!

Do let me know what you think!

I love receiving your pictures of my recipes, thank you!

pancakes

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How to prevent weight gain on holiday

When on holiday, it’s so easy to abandon all principles of healthy eating and forget everything we know about moderation. Holidays are definitely a well-deserved time to relax but being too relaxed about what we eat can set us back weeks on weight management plans. Whilst holidays are not a good time to try and lose weight, preventing weight gain is a positive goal that is achievable!

I’ve put together my 5 top tips, so you can relax and feel spoiled but without relaxing the rules (too much) on your healthy diet.

1. Have a healthy breakfast

bfastBreakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It sets you up energy wise, kick-starts your metabolism and prevents you getting peckish through the morning.

Healthy options include; fruit, yoghurt, oats, muesli or granola. Or, if you’d like something warm; scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and toast, or an omelette. Try and have a source of protein (milk, eggs, yoghurt) mixed with a source of carbohydrate (bread, oats, muesli) as this combination will help keep you fuller for longer and prevent those mid-morning munchies. Make it even better by adding in some fresh or dried fruit for one of your 5-a-day!

2. Get active

tennisMost holiday destinations provide guests with ample opportunities to burn some calories. Whether it be a swim, a gym session, tennis, a walk, whatever your preference. Look into what the place you’re staying offers before you go, and make it your goal to do 30 minutes of something active every day.

Why not try something you don’t usually do! You’ll feel much better for it.

3. Make sure you drink enough

waterNormally, an average adult should be drinking 35mls of fluid per kg of body weight. So, for a 70kg individual, that’s (35 x 70) 2450mls, or nearly 2.5 litres per day. Add in the heat and sight-seeing, and you’re likely to need even more than that. The easiest way of telling if you’re hydrated enough is by checking the colour of your urine, anything darker than a pale straw colour and you need to drink more.

I would always suggest carrying round a bottle of water. It’ll help keep you cool and hydrated. In addition, the brain can confuse hunger and thirst signals. So, when you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty. Have a drink, and if you still feel hungry 30 minutes later, then it’s probably time to have something to eat.

4. Take some snacks

nutsDon’t go hungry and then pick something unhealthy to snack on just because it’s more convenient! If you know you’re going to get hungry, be prepared and take some healthy snacks with you. Fruit and nuts are great things to nibble on to see you through to the next meal.

Or, if you’re off for the day, see if you can take something for lunch from the breakfast buffet; a wholemeal chicken salad sandwich and some fruit is going to be so much better for you (and your waistline) than grabbing a quick kebab or portion of chips!

5. Portion control

Don’t go piling the plate up just because it’s there. Remember all the hard work you put in at home and try to eat similar portion sizes. Stick to a similar dietary pattern to what you have at home. If you have 5-a-day at home, aim for 5-a-day on holiday too.

If you know you’re going to be eating out regularly, do some research on what dishes are popular for your destination and get calorie wise. It’s a great excuse to try some of the local cuisine! Also, don’t be afraid to ask waiting staff for more information about a dish. Most restaurants will oblige if you ask for the fish to be grilled rather than fried, or for new potatoes rather than chips.

Need something to cool you down? Some ice lollies are less than 100 calories (check the packet). Really want that ice cream? Fine…have it, but have one scoop and do an extra couple of lengths in the pool tomorrow.

Don’t deprive yourself completely. Holidays are an important time to forget the stresses of work and enjoy company of your loved ones so it’s important to have a little bit of what we enjoy. Good news is there’s some easy ways that this is possible without piling on the pounds; MODERATION AND COMPENSATION!

 

I hope you find my tips helpful. Please comment with any added suggestions you may have!