Mexican Partayy

Hey! So it was my birthday last week and in pure cookandcontemplate style I had a massive Mexican make-your-own chicken burrito buffet. Here are the recipes making up the meal – just add all to a wrap with some tortilla chips on the side and you have got yourself a fiesta!

Spiced chicken:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp mild chilli powder

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Mix the olive oil and spices with the chicken and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until white all the way through.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Tomato Mexican-style rice:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g wholegrain rice
  • 2x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 white onions
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, rice and spices and reduce to a low heat.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, adding hot water if needed, or until the rice is soft and has absorbed all liquid.
  5. Season and serve!

NUTRITION:

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Homemade guacamole:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 3 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime

METHOD:

  1. Mash the avocados with the other ingredients and season.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Corn salsa salad:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2x 326g can sweetcorn, drained
  • 200g tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1/2 green chilli, chopped and deseeded

METHOD:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a serving dish and mix – leave to marinate in the lime juice for 30minutes in the fridge if you have time.
  2. Season and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Curtido (Mexican coleslaw):

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped

METHOD:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving dish with a pinch of salt.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Lighter Swedish Meatballs

Bring them Ikea meatballs home with you with this easy, healthier version! Using yoghurt instead of the double cream which is normally used, and lean mincemeat, this recipe reduces the fat content significantly from regular versions whilst still tasting AMAZING.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g pork mince
  • 250g 5% fat beef mince
  • 4 tbsp fat free greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp Hendersons relish or Worcestershire sauce
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 800g cooked wholewheat fusilli pasta, to serve

METHOD:

  1. Combine the meat, onion, egg, breadcrumbs and dill in a large bowl and shape into balls – there should be 16.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a high heat and add the meatballs to brown. TIP: limit the turning of the meatball so that they do not fall apart. When no pink meat can be seen, remove from the pan.
  3. Mix the cornstarch in a bowl with 1-2 tbsp of cold water or until a thick consistency has been formed.
  4. Add 200ml of the stock to the pan used for the meatballs and simmer; slowly whisk the cornstarch mix into the stock, creating a thick gravy. Whisk the remainder of the stock in and add the browned meatballs, reducing to a medium heat. Cook for 15minutes or until the meatballs are brown inside.
  5. Whisk in the mustard, Henderson’s relish and yoghurt and heat for a further 2 minutes – this may alter the consistency of the sauce so cook until preferred thickness.
  6. Serve with pasta.
  7. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Beef – High in protein and low in fat, when the lean version is bought. It is also high in vitamin B3, B6 and B12 for energy release in respiration, and iron for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis and immune function.

Pork – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Yoghurt – Contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

Wholewheat pasta – High in carbohydrate and low in fat this base will keep you full, providing fibre for digestion and energy for those long working days!

Eating Disorders: Myth vs Reality

Let me define an eating disorder for you:

“A psychological condition centred around abnormal or detrimental eating patterns”

Despite definitions like this and further information surrounding eating disorders being easily accessible, there are still false perceptions present which are having negative effects on eating disorder awareness.

I want to put to rest these myths and perceptions in hope to increase awareness for those in need. Please please read through this whole post and feel free to contact any helplines that I have linked at the end if you feel like you or another need someone to talk to.

Myth 1: Anorexia and Bulimia are the only eating disorders

In a society obsessed with criteria and categories, it is easy to focus on the well-known eating disorders and dismiss someone’s issues if they do not fit in a particular diagnostic box. Eating disorders, as with any mental illness, are not as easy as ‘black or white’, or ‘anorexia or bulimia’. There is a large grey area that people should be more aware of so that sufferers not ticking all the boxes can still access appropriate treatment.

This grey area may be easier to explain numerically. BEAT, Britain’s largest eating disorder charity, predicts that 40% of people with an eating disorder have bulimia, 10% have anorexia, and 50% have OSFED[1]. Please click below to read more about what the different eating disorders are and their signs.
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Myth 2: Eating disorders only occur in young women

Stereotypes are often exaggerations of the truth, and here is no exception. The stigma that eating disorders occur in young women is somewhat accurate; in fact, they are considered ‘high-risk’ compared to other societal groups. This is supported by statistics showing that 89% of people with eating disorders are female [1], and the illness often begins between the ages of 12 and 18, with 14 to 16 being the most common [2].

Despite this, and emphasised in myth 1, mental illness is a grey area – even though eating disorders are more common in young women, it is predicted that 11% of sufferers are men [1], and there is evidence of eating disorders in children as young as 8 and in the elderly [3].

To summarise, eating disorders can occur in anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, upbringing etc etc.

Myth 3: You have got to be thin to have an eating disorder

“If you can’t see it, it is not there” 

The above quote and associated myth is a perception heightened by media coverage focusing on anorexia and malnourishment. The perception impacts negatively on eating disorder awareness by narrowing the public’s focus to the physical manifestations of eating disorders rather than the mental symptoms, meaning that sufferers that are not underweight are often disregarded as having an eating disorder.

The truth of the matter is this: 80-85% of people with an eating disorder are not underweight [4]. There is an increasing link between obesity and eating disorders, with binge eating disorder [5] and night eating syndrome [6] being the most common named disorders associated with obesity, and they both involve distress around food. Equally, eating disorders can occur when someone is of a normal weight and BMI. So, again, the weight of eating disorder sufferers is not black or white, underweight or overweight – sufferers can be any weight or body shape.

It is important to understand this myth because the mental symptoms occur before the physical ones. Treatment still needs to be engaged with if someone is displaying psychological and behavioural signs of an eating disorder, without the physical ones.

Myth 4: Purging only involves vomiting

Purging is a primary indicator of bulimia or other related eating disorders. It is a common misconception that vomiting is the only purging method; there are unfortunately multiple ways that someone can purge.

Purging is the act of physically removing food/ calories out of the body and this can involve[7]:

  • Self-induced vomiting.
  • Misuse of medication which can include laxatives, diuretics, enemas, appetite suppressants, thyroid preparations, insulin etc.
  • Fasting
  • Excessive exercising

Not only the lack of public knowledge about the different methods, but also the lack of knowledge about how dangerous they are, is worrying. With fasting and excessive exercise being a purging method, the binge-purge cycles may be much more common than you may think. Being aware of the different ways someone can purge is important for accurate identification, treatment and recovery.

Myth 5: Eating disorder behaviour focuses solely on food and body image

Eating disorders are often linked to other mental health disorders, with anxiety, depression, and OCD being common secondary illnesses that can develop with an eating disorder. I will be looking into this further in future posts.

Linked below are some helplines which can be used if needed:

https://www.mind.org.uk/#

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

http://depressionuk.org/

Myth 6: Parents and the media are to blame

Nature or nurture? The above myth solely blames the environment that the sufferer has/ is experiencing. In reality, eating disorders are multifactorial – meaning that both nature and nurture can play a part in their development.

Nature – There is research showing that eating disorders are several times more common amongst biological relatives of people that have already had eating disorders [8], and that identical twins are much more likely to share a disorder than non-identical [4]. This, and a vast amount of other research, supports the theory that genetics contribute to eating disorder development.

Nurture – Every person has developed under different circumstances and has experienced different things. This considered, every eating disorder sufferer will have different environmental factors which have assisted their illness’s development. Some of the potential risk factors can include but aren’t limited to [9]: exposure to trauma such as abuse, death or bullying; a predisposition for obesity or leanness; and particular personality traits. 

Despite the extensive research carried out to find the causes of eating disorders, the recovery for sufferers is more important. Read on to find out how you seek help and treatment for eating disorder recovery.

Myth 7: There is nothing that can be done

There are a multitude of things that can be done.

For all other myths around eating disorders, I have collected credible, evidence-based sources and pooled them together to create my posts and increase eating disorder awareness. For the above myth, I want to link sources that have been made by experienced health professionals as I think that they would be more useful.

If you are concerned about yourself, a friend or a family member I would urge you to look at the below sources:

BEAT is the British Eating Disorder Association:

https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

The NHS website is also useful:

https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx

If you are worried and are not from the UK, please give me a message and I can direct you to the correct association.

Alternatively, you could go and visit your local GP.

Like any disease or illness, it is much better if the signs are spotted and appropriate medical care is initiated during the earlier stages. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you are aware of the potential signs of eating disorders, and how treatment can be sought after. Please spread awareness and the helplines above. This should be talked about more.

Continue reading Eating Disorders: Myth vs Reality

African-Spiced Peach and Pomegranate Chicken

I am stuck in not-so-sunny Cardiff so I thought I would make a summery spiced salad to cheer me up! Using North African flavours, this light and easy meal can be used as a lunch and a tea, and provides a load of vitamins and minerals for health.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 peaches, quartered
  • 1 courgette, stripped
  • 3 Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Mix the spices together and put half on the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the remaining spices to the peaches and add to the oven after the 10 minutes is over. The peaches and chicken thighs should now take a further 20minutes to cook.
  4. When they are nearly done, heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Add the courgette strips and cook until slightly browned.
  5. Plate up the courgette, peaches and chicken thighs, and top with the pomegranate seeds and Brazil nuts.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

Peaches – High in vitamin A for vision, and C for antioxidant and immune function.

Brazil nuts – One of the best sources of selenium which has a massive role in the immune system and in thyroid hormone function.

Pomegranate seeds – Considered a superfood, pomegranate is high in vitamin C for immune function, folate for DNA synthesis, and potassium for fluid balance.

Courgette – High in vitamin A for vision, fibre for digestion, and magnesium for chemical reactions in the body and immune function.

Frozen Pineapple Chocolate Rings

Yummy yummy yummy – a great way to get one of your 5-a-day whilst having a little treat!

Makes 6 rings (I may have eaten one before I took the photo….)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pineapple
  • 100g chocolate
  • Other toppings – see ideas at the bottom

METHOD:

  1. Cut the pineapple into 6 slices, removing the skin and the middle.
  2. Freeze overnight.
  3. When frozen, melt the chocolate in a bowl above a saucepan of simmering water.
  4. Dip the rings in the chocolate, and cover with any other toppings – this will have to be done quickly if the chocolate is to be used as a ‘sticking agent’ as the frozen pineapple will cause the chocolate to harden quickly.
  5. Eat immediately or stick in the freezer for keeping.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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This is the nutrition information per basic ring covered in chocolate – additional toppings mean additional calories and macronutrients so please take this into consideration.

Topping ideas:

  • Desiccated coconut
  • Chopped macadamia nuts
  • Chopped dried mango
  • Chopped glace cherries
  • Coconut and chopped pecan nuts
  • Glace cherries and mini marshmallows
  • Raspberry sauce

Super Healthy Banana Bread

Using no fat whatsoever and minimal added sugar, this loaf is transformed into something that can be enjoyed as a healthy carbohydrate! Plus it is only 104kcal per slice!!

Makes 2 loaves (7 slices per loaf) or 1 large loaf (14 slices)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g wholewheat flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 overripe bananas (plus one for topping)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml fat free plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • METHOD:
    1. Preheat the oven to 160/4.
      Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
      Mix the dry ingredients together.
      In a separate bowl, mush the bananas together, and then mix with the yoghurt, syrup and eggs.
      Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
      Half the extra banana and add to the top (optional), or add any other topping that takes your fancy.
      Bake for 40-45minutes if baking two loaves, or 1hr15-20minutes if only baking one.
      Enjoy warm or store to eat later! It can be frozen if needed.

    NUTRITION:

    Banana – High in potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction, and containing naturally occurring sugars to keep your energy up for longer!

    Yoghurt – contributing towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

    Wholewheat flour – provides slow-release carbohydrate to keep you going for longer and fibre for good digestion.

    Moroccan Chicken and Date Couscous

    A fragrant tea or easy pack up lunch, this Moroccan style chicken uses dates to give it a sweet kick and is super high in protein!

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 40g couscous
    • 1 brown onion, chopped
    • 2 chicken thighs
    • 5 dates
    • 1 clove garlic, diced
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 120ml boiling water or chicken stock
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • Bunch of parsley, to top
  • METHOD:
    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
      Heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat and brown the chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes, or until crispy.
      Remove and add to a roasting tin, along with the dry couscous.
      In the same pan that has just cooked the chicken, reduce the heat and soften the onion and garlic for 5minutes.
      Add the dates, cumin, cinnamon and stock to the onion mix, and bring to the boil.
      Mix the dates and stock to the dried couscous and chicken in the roasting tin, and cover with tin foil.
      Bake for 25- 30 minutes.
      Serve with parsley and enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

    Couscous – high in protein (5g per portion) and providing a good base for this dish.

    Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

    Dates – a good source of carbohydrate and high in calcium for bone strength.

    Goats Cheese, Butternut Squash and Caramelised Onion Pizza Naans

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 plain naan breads
    • 1/2 cooked butternut squash, cut into cubes
    • 60g soft goats cheese
    • 2 red onions, sliced
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 5 tbsp tomato paste

    METHOD:

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8
    2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a low heat and add the onion. Cook for around 10minutes, until softened and then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10minutes.
    3. Top the naan with the tomato paste, then the squash, goats cheese and balsamic vinegar.
    4. Cook for 10minutes in the oven, or until the cheese has melted and gone slightly crispy.
    5. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.27.00.png

    Butternut squash – despite the large natural sugar content, squash provides LOADS OF B vitamins, which have functions in energy release in respiration, and is massively high in potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.

    Goats cheese – even though it has a relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

    Onion – High in vitamin C for immune function, folic acid for DNA synthesis, and fibre for digestion.

    Banana Chocolate Lollipops

    These healthy alternatives to ice cream are both delicious AND fun to make!

    Makes 6 lollipops

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 3 bananas
    • 100g chocolate
    • Other toppings – see ideas at the bottom

    METHOD:

    1. Cut the bananas into halves and push lollipop sticks or skewers into the bottom.
    2. Freeze overnight.
    3. When frozen, melt the chocolate in a bowl above a saucepan of simmering water.
    4. Dip the bananas in the chocolate, and cover with any other toppings – this will have to be done quickly if the chocolate is to be used as a ‘sticking agent’ as the frozen banana will cause the chocolate to harden quickly.
    5. Eat immediately or stick in the freezer for keeping.
    6. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.09.27.png

    The above information is for just the banana dipped in chocolate, additional macronutrients and calories will be added with additional toppings.

    Topping ideas:

    • Peanuts and melted peanut butter (in picture)
    • Honeycomb and chocolate pieces (in picture)
    • Peanut butter and salt (in picture)
    • Sprinkles
    • Crushed pistachio nuts
    • Crushed hazelnuts and Nutella
    • Lotus spread and crushed lotus biscuits
    • Nut butter and jam

    Peppery Tuna Pasta bake

    Providing 3 of your 5 a day, and so many vitamins like A, B3, B6, C and minerals like selenium, phosphorus, folate, potassium and calcium, this dish is perfect for a super healthy dinner!

    Serves 2

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 cans tuna in brine, drained
    • 160g wholewheat dried pasta
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 sprig fresh parsley
    • 2 onions, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 60g 30% fat lighter cheddar, grated

    METHOD:

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
    2. Boil some water in a pan and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and sauté the onion for 2-3minutes until nearly softened.
    4. Add the garlic and the pepper to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes.
    5. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, tuna and cooked pasta, and heat through.
    6. Move the pasta mix to a heatproof dish and top with cheese.
    7. Cook until the cheese has melted and is browning, top with parsley, and then serve.
    8. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 15.11.27.png

    Tuna – high in protein and low in fat, tuna also provides selenium for immune function, vitamin B3 for energy utilisation, and phosphorus for bone structure and energy storage.

    Wholewheat pasta – high in carbohydrate and low in fat this base will keep you full, providing fibre for digestion and energy for those long working days!

    Pepper – high in vitamin A and C, but also B6 to release energy and folate which helps DNA synthesis.

    Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

    Cheddar – Despite the relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

    written by a student dietitian