5 make-ahead vegetarian and pescatarian dinners

5 make-ahead vegetarian and pescatarian dinners

Busy? In a rush? Know that you should be eating more veggies and fish but not sure where to start? If you’re flying in the door after a busy day and need something easy to get on the table that’s healthy and tasty for your family here is a round up of my favourite vegetarian and pescatarian meals.

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6 fast, easy and healthy tray bakes

6 fast, easy and healthy tray bakes

For the lazy cook like me, the tray bake has to be the ultimate dinner. I read a lot of recipe books and immediately turn the page if too much chopping or browning is involved. A tray bake is perfect because I can pop it in the oven while I am driving my kids around. And bonus - minimal washing up!

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Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

I love taking classic comfort foods and making them a whole lot more nutritious.  I've added lentils and plenty of veggies to my shepherds pie base and my mash is half cauliflower and half potato.  With the veggies, lean lamb and lentils this is a immune boosting recipe for winter that my kids love!

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Mid-week Mojito

Presenting my mid week mojito...


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 peppermint tea bags
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • plenty of ice
  • maple syrup (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the teabags to 1 litre of boiling water and leave to steep in the fridge for 2 hours 
  2. Half fill a jug with ice, mint leaves and the lime juice.  Add the cooled tea.
  3. Stir through 1 tab table syrup if you like it sweet
  4. Enjoy in the sun!

Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes

Photo by udra/iStock / Getty Images

Could you have insulin resistance or pre-diabetes? Insulin Resistance is a silent condition which occurs when cells in your body stop responding to insulin. Insulin is produced in response to blood sugar sugar - it tells the cells to metabolise the sugar by burning out for energy or storing.  Insulin helps keep your blood sugar levels stable so that sugar can be used as a fuel source in your muscles and liver. 

People with insulin resistance have normal blood glucose levels, which is why it is hard to diagnose.  However although the blood sugar levels are being controlled, more and more insulin is required.  The presence of all this excess insulin in the body is thought to be linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver and even some cancers as well as type 2 diabetes.   

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and CVD, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

A new client of mine came to see as she had a health scare.  Her blood sugars were on the high side.  She was sent for a fasting glucose test which found Impaired Glucose Intolerance with a  level of 8.3 (normal range is 3.6-7.7).  My client saw a diabetic consultant who was helpful but was still confused about an eating plan that would suit her and her lifestyle.  Here's what my client said:

"What I love most about Rachel is she is very positive and encouraging. She kept telling me that there is nothing I cannot eat, but just to watch the amounts. Rachel had me keep a diary of the meals I had everyday for a few weeks.  InitiallyI did have my doubts and worried about keeping to a diary. But it is not difficult.  My family and I even took a holiday to Spain and Singapore in June and I was worried about the foods but it was no problem.
2 weeks ago, I had another blood test for the sugar level and it is now only 4.9, with fasting. Am overjoyed and knew that the plan on the right foods worked. My specialist told me if I stick to this, I will never be diabetic.  Anyone can do this.
 I highly recommend Rachel Eagleton."

I was overjoyed with my client's results.  While weight loss, glowing skin or extra energy might be a measure we can see on the outside I believe it is far more important to invest in your internal health and do everything you can to reduce the risk lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  

Want to know more about designing a way of eating that works for you to manage your goals?  Read more here

Are you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?  Take this test and talk to your GP

Read more about insulin resistance and pre-diabetes here

 

 

 

Moussaka with Cauliflower Béchamel

A few years ago we had an amazing holiday in Greece and although it was the height of summer I still enjoyed ordering moussaka.  It was absolutely delicious but also very rich and filling.  The other day across my Facebook feed came a "paleo moussaka" from Australia'a favourite Paleo Chef Pete Evans.  As a Nutritionist there are a few things I don't agree with about paleo eating (the exclusion of wholegrains and dairy) but there are a few things I love (plenty of veggies and lean protein).  I loved how the paleo recipe included cauliflower in the béchamel sauce and the layer of silver beet (swiss chard).   Cauliflower and silver beet are both a great source of Vitamin C.  Combining this with zinc from the lamb makes this a great immune boosting recipe for winter. I decided to combine the paleo recipe with a more traditional Greek recipe from George Colombaris to create a beautiful healthy moussaka.  


MOUSSAKA WITH CAULIFLOWER BÉCHAMEL

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplant (about 450 g), sliced 1-cm thick
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bunch of silverbeet or kale (about 200 g), central stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600 g lamb or beef mince
  • 1 red capsicum/red pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried organo
  • 2 crushed cardamon pods
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 400g tins of crushed tomatoes

Cauliflower béchamel

  • ½ head cauliflower (about 550 g), processed into "rice"
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot (see note)
  • 80g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook the eggplant in batches in a frying pan with a little olive oil over med-high heat until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan clean, add a little more olive oil and sauté the silverbeet or kale over medium heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the lamb or beef mince and spices, breaking up any lumps with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Add the tinned tomatoes, mix to combine and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower bechemal, bring half the milk to the boil with the cauliflower rice and simmer  for 15 minutes until very soft.  Process with a stick blender.  Whisk the arrowroot with the remaining  milk until combined. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the milk and arrowroot mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
  5. To assemble, lay half the eggplant slices in a single layer in a large baking dish. Spread the silverbeet or kale on top, then pour on the mince mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices. Finally, pour over the cauliflower béchamel.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving with a simple green salad

Serves 6

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