Pancakes with a difference… for any day not just a Pancake Day

The tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday has been around since the 15th century, when certain produce, especially perishables like eggs and butter, had to be used up before fasting began a day later in Lent. Saying that, anything else could go in, therefore, pancakes could possibly be made with anything, not just eggs, butter and flour. And I like that idea a lot. Hence, I had an idea of spicing up my pancakes a bit and, when researching for savoury pancake ideas, I could see I was not the only one.

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Poached Egg Parcels

Eggs are a great source of protein, around 6 grams per egg, and all nine essential amino acids. They could also be an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin. Poached eggs are a great way to enjoy them. I have never attempted poaching them until recently, however, have not done very well as they need to be very fresh and freshly bought does not necessarily mean fresh. I even got a special pan, but did not like the fact that eggs were sticking to it. Then some swear by adding vinegar to the water – I can not think of anything more revolting then for my eggs to taste of vinegar.

So, I am forever thankful to the maestro everyone knows, called Jamie Oliver, for coming up with poached egg parcels idea. By adding some veggies to it, they are quite an exquisite experience. I tried them today for the first time and they are a winner! I made egg muffins before, but this was even quicker and less messy.

  • place a piece of cling film over a glass, cup or a small sieve
  • break an egg into it
  • add some chopped veg (I used spinach and red pepper)
  • add salt, pepper and even chilli flakes to taste
  • close the parcel and place in hot water
  • for one egg alone – they are perfect at boiling for 3 minutes; 4 minutes or longer with veg
  • take them out of a wrapper once done and enjoy on its own as a snack or as a part of a balanced meal

For more protein, I would suggest 1 egg and 2 egg whites per parcel (around 16-18 gr protein) and extending cooking time to 5-6 minutes.

My boys already ordered some today after school with cuts of turkey rushers in it. I bet it would go great with some smoked salmon too.

So, they are fun to make and delicious to eat. 

Enjoy!


Soups – winter’s little warmers

Soups could be a great healthy meal or a snack at any season, however, they really “hit the spot” in cold winter days. I personally enjoy them throughout the year especially as my children do not seem to like all the vegetables that I normally eat and I would like them to have in their diet. Soups are a great way to disguise them so boys get their fair share of “unloved” vegetables regularly through soups, whether they know it or not.Β  And they happen to really like soups, which is a bonus.

Home made soups are a much healthier option compared to canned soups that are usually high in sodium and some in sugar too, like tomato soup, as well as a chemical BPA. They are easy to make and cheaper too than store-bought ones. So, win on all counts.

I always make my own and I alternate between vegetable soups and chicken bone broth soups. Bone broth in particular has been found to have incredible benefits on our health:

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Snack on this… 20 Healthy Protein Snacks

Healthy snacking is an important part of our diet and lifestyle for many reasons:

  • It prevents us from being too hungry and over-eating for lunch or dinner by helping keep blood sugar levels stable;
  • It is an opportunity to sneak in some veggies or fruit to increase our nutrient intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre;
  • Keeping our lean muscle on throughout life depends, apart from exercising, also on eating enough protein, therefore, balanced, protein snacks are a great way to help us reach our daily protein requirements.

When creating meal plans for clients, snacks play an important part for all the reasons mentioned above. For a snack to be considered healthy, we need to take into consideration both energy it gives us (we want just enough calories to keep hunger at bay until next main meal) and balance (low in carbs and high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, which all nourishes, but combined, also keeps blood sugar levels stable).

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Protein Balls as a Healthy Snack

Protein Balls seem to be in fashion at the moment and there are many recipes – some I tried and they are to die for, but not all would constitute as a protein snack, in my humble opinion. I have seen many with over 200 calories and under 5 grams of protein. Just adding nuts does not hugely add to protein but it can add hugely to calories. And this does not work for me. So, based on some recipes I have seen, here is the one I came up with, but promise to keep trying improving on the protein v calories ratio:

  • 150 gr of almonds (944 calories/ 32 gr protein)
  • 100 gr Herbalife 24 Powder (380 calories/ 51 gr protein)
  • 20 gr coconut oil (172 calories)
  • 30 gr of raw honey, the one that bees actually make, not industrial (92 calories)
  • tablespoon of vanilla extract or (for adults) some rum
  • for garnish: sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and/ or raw cocoa powder

Mix it all in a chopper or blender until you get thick paste and using a bit of coconut oil on your palms – mould into balls and then roll in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and add a sprinkle of raw cacao powder and, voila, they are done. Put your feet up and enjoy… one! (I know!)

I decided to use Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength, normally used for a recovery shake after a strength training, because it contains array of essential nutrients, but also because I just love its distinctive chocolate flavour, reminding me of Baileys. Next time, and there will be next time, I will try with our Protein Drink Mix (Vanilla) and perhaps some other Formula 1 like Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies & Cream or Cappuccino, or perhaps even some fruity flavours.

For my snacks, I am always looking for around 8-10 grams of protein under 150 calories and this snack just about does it. Above makes 12 balls each 25 grams and they are under 140 calories and 7 grams of protein. Not too shabby at all and makes a lovely difference. I think I still prefer my Herbalife Protein Bar with an optimum amount of protein (10 gr) and calories (140gr) per 35 gr snack as they are quick and handy and already done for me, but, if you do not mind a bit of fuffing around in making them, these protein balls are amazing and will be loved by everyone in the house.

The only two questions that run through my mind are where to hide them safely so they do not disappear in a flash and how to stop myself from not eating more than one in one go as they are superb and literally each is just one bite? Hmmm… But, mmmmmm….


Watermelon Protein Snack Smoothie

If you read any of my earlier posts, I think you will get the sense of a recurring theme – protein is the king. Meals and snack with the right balance of protein are essential to our well being as protein is a macro nutrient, nutrient we need in large amounts, as it performs major roles of building and maintaining lean muscle and maintaining normal bone, amongst other roles.

There are many sources of protein, like dairy, meat, eggs, fish, pulses, nuts. For the amount of protein we need on a daily basis (1 gram per 1 lbs of lean muscle is the figure I go with, unless we are building leans muscle, in which case the ratio is more 1.5:1) – it is a good advice to try to get at last 50% of it from vegetarian sources. Soya is a complete protein unlike beans and other plant sources. This means it has the same amino acid chain as meat proteins do, but it is a lot easier to digest as it comes from plants, making it a truly super form of protein.

So, here is another example, whilst my boys were happy with a watermelon chunks for their snack, I had to be a little bit smarter for myself and used a few chunks with Protein Drink Mix to make 15 grams of protein under 150 calories Watermelon Protein Snack. Absolutely delicious. Never tried it before using watermelon and I surely will again!

Watermelon is not just full of water, it also helps water be absorbed faster. It is also dense in nutrients. Little goes a long way as it still is a source of sugar, so, whilst healthy, slice is enough, around 1 cup (1 cup is 154 grams, 46 calories and 9.6 grams of sugar). πŸ™‚


Our Gourmet Tomato Soup – taste and feel the difference

Winter is coming (and as a Game Of Thrones fan, it gives me a great pleasure to announce it)!

Our Gourmet tomato soup is a delicious way to enjoy a hot, balanced snack that offers 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fibre. As you can see from below pictures, I can not help to add a few veggies to it as I love a bit of crunch too. This is probably my husband’s favourite product and he could have it every day. Unlike supermarket alternatives, apart from high protein and fibre (inulin) content, our soup is also low in sugar and salt too. Fabulous addition to your healthy snacking arsenal! Bon Apetit! πŸ™‚


Soya Bean Dip

We all know how amazing humus is: dip some carrots or cucumber into humus and you have a great mid morning and mid afternoon snack. My only issue, when creating a meal plan for my clients and personalising their protein, most struggle reaching their targets if they start including humus every time as humus, whilst made out of chick peas that does contain protein, it is not exactly a lot of protein, only 2-3 grams if we wish to keep it around 100 calories, even if it is a low-fat humus. So, I had an idea… instead of chick peas, how about making a similar dip with boiled from frozen green soya beans as 80 grams are around 11 grams of protein and only 100 calories.

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Courgette and Feta or Goat’s Cheese Curls

Whether we need to lose weight or just mintain healthy metabolism and energy, science proves that eatingΒ  five smaller meals in proper balance and frequency is of what makes the difference. It certainly works for my weight management clients. Proper balance is reached where snack has on average 10 grams of protein and is under 150 calories. This is one of those examples. 3-4 courgette strips with a small cube or slither of goats or feta cheese, seasoned and then curled and baked for 10 minutes and served on its own or even 1-2 egg whites for even more low calories protein. This is very tasty and very easy to make. Also, could be a great party finger food. Enjoy! πŸ™‚


Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These are an ideal snack as well as a side to your meal. A couple of Portobello Mushrooms, stuffed with some cottage cheese or spinach with goats cheese, placed under a grill for 10 minutes and, voila – couple of them are under 150 calories snack with over 10 grams of protein and some fibre. Fabulous snack when at home and really being keen on having something different. This is it! Sprinkle with some chilli flakes, sit back and enjoy! Break time! πŸ™‚


Jacket Aubergine

Yes, you’ve heard me! I have actually seen a similar recipe in one of my favourite cook books after discovering Yotam Ottolenghi. One of my best friends and clients from the United States and her friend (both called Maida) introduced me to Ottolenghi and even sent me his PLENTY, Vibrant Vegetable Recipe from London’s Ottolenghi all the way from USA as his cooking is absolutely superb. I just love the colours and ingredients he uses.

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Spinach and Feta Cheese Frittatas

These are lower fat frittatas, full of protein, calcium, Vitamin A & riboflavin. You will need 150gr of spinach steamed, drained and chopped, 1 garlic clove chopped up, 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 60ml skimmed milk and 6-18 cubes of low-fat feta cheese, salt and pepper. Mix everything except feta, put it into 6 muffin holes, add 1 – 3 feta cubes on top. With 3 feta cubes – each frittata has 8 grams of protein and only 80 calories! Fantastic snack! Even 2 will not break a bank! Enjoy!