I'm always on the look out for shelf stable products that are healthy and delicious that I can serve up for a quick lunch or dinner. Since my daughter became vegetarian I've explored some new areas of the supermarket and came across this product in the fridge section which she and I both think is delicious!Read More
Does this sound like you? Can I guess why? Like a lot of the women I see, you've had a coffee and maybe a slice of toast for breakfast. You've chosen a tuna salad for lunch - because you are trying to be "good". By 3 pm you are all about the easy carbs - picking at the kids’ leftovers and in and out of the kitchen after dinner. That's because you've barely eaten enough to make it from your bed to the sofa let alone provide yourself with enough energy to do all the things you need to do in your day! Crowd out the junk food by getting your lunch right.Read More
A tin of tuna is a popular lunch choice as it is a good source of protein, cheap and shelf stable. A lot of people eat tuna for lunch assuming they are getting a serve of omega 3s – essential fatty acids. However tinned tuna is very low in omega3s - tinned salmon or sardines provide much more.Read More
Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids? It's also a rich source of B vitamins, a good source of carbohydrates and easy to digest. For these reasons it is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied space flights! If you've had a quinoa fail before it might be because you haven't washed off the bitter tasting saponins on the outside of the quinoa. Lightly rubbing the quinoa under running water gets rid of the saponins and improves the flavour.
With the lovely warm weather we've been enjoying a tabouli salad most nights. I cook a cup of quinoa and use about 2/3 in the salad and then use the leftover quinoa for quick salads for lunch.
I like to serve the salad for dinner with some seared lamb loin fillets marinated in a little lemon and olive oil, perhaps a touch of sumac or smoked paprika. For a portable lunch the next day the salad is delicious with some feta or almonds.
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1.75 cups of water
- pinch of salt
- generous handful of parsley, leaves picked, roughly chopped
- generous handful of mint, leaves picked, roughly chopped
- two big handfuls of baby spinach
- 4 spring onions, white part only, chopped
- 2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
- 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Seeds from half a pomegranate (optional)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional, if you don't have it omit, do not substitute!)
- Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes in plenty of water. Drain in a fine wire colander and gently rub the seeds to remove any saponins.
- Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, partly covered. The quinoa is cooked when the grain starts to spiral.
- Drain any remaining water.
- Leave in the saucepan with a clean tea towel or paper towel between the saucepan and the lid for 5 minutes or so. You'll need about 2/3 of the cooked quinoa for the tabouli, the rest will keep in the fridge for 48 hours.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper. Add half of the dressing to the quinoa.
- Put spinach, herbs, spring onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a salad bowl. Add the quinoa. Toss and add remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to serve.
Having a rustle around in the freezer I found the ham bone I had saved from Christmas. I asked my husband to make his amazing baked beans and he also wrote down the recipe as we can never quite remember how he makes them. These make a delicious breakfast, lunch or easy dinner. You can cook an egg in the bean mixture as well. If you don't have a frozen ham bone left over from Christmas then you can get a ham hock from the butcher or make a vegetarian version. A diet rich in legumes such as cannellini beans is associated with lowered blood sugar and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol. They’ve been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control. Plus my kids love eating them!
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red onions roughly chopped.
- Splash of olive oil
- Ham bone (frozen from after Christmas) or ham hock.
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes
- 3 tbsp of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp of smokey paprika
- 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes (this gives it just a hint of heat but up to you)
- 1 tsp of dry mustard powder
- 4 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans (drained and rinse beans from 3 of the tins, but use liquid and beans from 4th)
- Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
- Fry up garlic, onions and oil over a medium to high heat (choose a big pot that is also able to go in oven). Whack in the ham bone. Pour in 2 tins of tomatoes and the bay leaves. Then add the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
- Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse off the briney liquid from 3 of the tins, but chuck liquid and beans from the 4th. Give it all a stir.
- Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
- I like to cook it the beans long enough so that the meat has fallen off the ham bone but not so long the dish becomes too dry. I switch off oven and just leave the pot in until I'm ready to serve.
- Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad
You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.
These make a delicious brunch and are perfect for lunch boxes. My children enjoy them after an early morning swim squad or netball session and I love knowing I've got them in the fridge or freezer for an easy lunch.
Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups
6 slices of prosciutto
chopped herbs - parsley, basil and oregano (or herbs of choice)
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
muffin liners - optional but does help with cleaning up
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
If using, line 6 muffin pans.
Cut each slice of Prosciutto in half and wrap into each cup to hold the egg mixture.
Put a few baby spinach leaves on top of the prosciutto
Crack in an egg to each muffin cup. Add a heaped teaspoon of ricotta.
Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chopped herbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until done.
Calories: 188 (792kJ) Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 3 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 776 Protein: 19
I love to make a bunch of these on a Sunday afternoon and freeze in snap lock bags to pop in the kids' lunches. Did you know you can usually modify your standard muffin or cake recipe by reducing the amount of sugar or butter by about half? The only change you will notice is that the muffin goes stale quicker, which is why I freeze them. I've been enjoying using wholemeal spelt flour (available from the supermarket), it has a higher amino acid profile then regular wheat flours, it’s also high in fibre with a low GI for sustained energy.
healthy Lemon raspberry lunchbox muffins
300g plain wholemeal or spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
90g raw sugar
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
zest and juice of 1 lemon
220ml buttermilk (if you don't have butter milk use 1/2 cup plain yoghurt and fill up with milk to 220ml)
80ml olive or macadamia oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g frozen (not thawed) raspberries
Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C fan-forced/gas mark 3.
Mix the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and sugar in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and honey until combined. Don't worry if it curdles!
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined – don’t overmix.
Gently stir through the raspberries
Spoon the mixture into 12 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins lined with paper or silicon cases.
Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked. A skewer should come out clean.
Variations - replace the lemon with orange and add 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Have you been thinking for a while that you would love to find out more about your gut health or why your weight won’t shift no matter what you do? Or maybe you just want to feel less bloated, have more energy and understand what food you are meant to be eating?
I’m offering a free 15 minute call to work out a nutrition action plan to get you feeling your best. There are no commitments just a friendly chat so we can work out if I’m the right person to help you reach your health goals.
Rachel is a university qualified Clinical Nutritionist based in Balmain. She is also the busy working mum of two teenagers, so is practical and realistic with her advice . Rachel offers private on line or in person consultations to improve your family's health and well-being. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.