Tag Archives: calcium

3 Courses of Chocolate

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY!!! To celebrate, I have created 3 courses of chocolate – all healthy recipes which provide numerous vitamins and minerals: spinach and pear salad with a chocolate vinaigrette for starter; steak with a chocolate and coffee sauce for main; and chocolate fruit pudding for dessert. I use 85% dark chocolate in all the recipes, which is high in antioxidants and minerals such as copper for iron metabolism and blood clots; and manganese for bone health and reducing inflammation. Enjoy!

Starter: Spinach and Pear Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pear
  • handful of spinach
  • 10g 85% dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 slices parma ham
  • 1 tsp honey

METHOD:

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30s-1min, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey, season, and whisk to create the vinaigrette.
  3. Arrange the spinach, pear and pancetta on a plate, and cover in dressing.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Pear – High in vitamin C for immune and antioxidant function, K for cell signalling, and potassium for fluid balance and electrolytes.

Spinach – providing vitamin K for cell signalling and vitamin A for eye function, as well as fibre for digestion.

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

Main: Steak with Chocolate and Coffee Sauce

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g (1 average) lean trimmed steak
  • 1 medium potato, cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 slices parma ham
  • 50ml white wine
  • 50ml fat free creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp coffee (I used 1 tsp instant made up with water)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 10g 85% dark chocolate

NUTRITION:Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 09.29.56.png

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.

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

Creme fraiche – contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

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

Spinach – providing vitamin K for cell signalling and vitamin A for eye function, as well as fibre for digestion.

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/ 6.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of olive oil with the potato wedges and season. Bake for 40minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and sauté the onion until caramelised for 5minutes. Blitz in a blender with the white wine into a paste.
  4. Add the steak to the pan and fry on each side for 2 minutes on a high heat. Remove from the pan.
  5. Add the parma ham and fry until just crisping, then add the onion paste and heat through for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Return the beef to the pan along with the creme fraiche and peppercorns and cook until bubbling, then add the coffee, chocolate and thyme until simmering.
  7. Serve with spinach and the potato wedges.
  8. Enjoy!

Dessert: Chocolate Blueberry Pudding

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 150ml fat free greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 60g blueberry
  • half a banana
  • 1 tso 85% dark chocolate, grated
  • honey (optional, to make sweeter)

METHOD:

  1. Mix half the greek yoghurt with the cocoa powder.
  2. Serve in a tall glass tumbler, layering the cocoa yoghurt, fruit, and plain yoghurt.
  3. Top with chocolate shavings and a mint leaf.
  4. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 09.31.43.png

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

Blueberries – Containing iron for oxygen transfer, phosphorus for bone structure, and magnesium for nerve transmission and DNA replication.

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

Homemade Squash Gnocchi

This is the first time that I have made gnocchi and its actually went so well! I am pretty proud of myself (as you can tell). This vegetarian main tastes DELICIOUS, contains 3 of your 5-a-day, and is low in fat and salt!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole squash
  • 6 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sprigs of thyme
  • 200g white mushrooms
  • 150g broccoli
  • 1 400g can butter beans
  • 40g parmesan, grated

METHOD:

  1. Cut the squash into pieces and put in the microwave for roughly 5 x 2minute blasts, or until the flesh is soft.
  2. Meanwhile cook the broccoli and beans for 5 minutes in a pan of boiling water, and dry fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze the flesh into a bowl and mash up, add the nutmeg, sage, garlic, and flour – this should form a dough, if not, add more flour.
  4. Roll out the dough into a thick strip and cut into gnocchi-sized pieces.
  5. Add to a pan of boiling water and cook for roughly 4 minutes or until the pieces are floating on top.
  6. In an oven-proof dish, add the gnocchi, mushrooms, broccoli, thyme, and sprinkle with parmesan.
  7. Oven-cook on 220/8, or grill, until all the cheese has melted on the top.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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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.

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

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!

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.

    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.

    Tuna Sweet Potato Jackets

    Tuna and sweet potato? Although an odd combo, it is delicious! This easy-to-make tea only needs the sweet potato to be bake and the tuna ‘mayo’ to be made and voilà! Yummy tea…

    Serves 2

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 large sweet potato, halved
    • 2 cans tuna in brine
    • 4 tbsp fat free greek yoghurt, plus more for topping
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 2 handfuls of spinach
    • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
    • 1 spring onion, sliced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Seasoning

    METHOD:

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
    2. Pierce the sweet potato halves, and rub with the olive oil and seasoning. Cook for 40minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, drain the tuna cans and combine with the greek yoghurt and mustard.
    4. Make the salad by mixing the pepper, onion and spinach.
    5. Top the cooked sweet potato with tuna and a dollop of greek yoghurt, serve with the salad.
    6. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 16.17.33.png

    Sweet potato – one of your 5-a-day, and a useful source for many vitamins and minerals including: retinol needed for vision, growth, immune function and is a key antioxidant; thiamin for energy production; and vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis, detoxification and acts as an antioxidant.

    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.

    Spinach – providing vitamin K for cell signalling and vitamin A for eye function, as well as fibre for digestion.

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

    Greek yoghurt –  this mayo alternative not only makes the tuna taste AMAZING but also contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

    Prawn Pesto Pasta

    Tasty, tasty, tasty… and providing a whopping 3 OF YOUR 5 A DAY, a solid 32 grams of protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to improve your health.

    Serves 1

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 75g wholewheat spaghetti
    • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 5 spears of asparagus
    • 70g frozen peas
    • 1 tbsp basil pesto
    • 2 tbsp fat-free creme fraiche
    • 60g king prawns
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp olive oil

    METHOD:

    1. Boil water in a pan and add the pasta, set a timer for 10 minutes – with 4 minutes to go, you will need to add the asparagus tips and the frozen peas.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the tomatoes and prawns (you can use either cooked or raw prawns – if cooking from raw just make sure they are pink all the way through when fully cooked) and heat for 3-4 minutes.
    3. Add the garlic to the prawn pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
    4. Drain the pasta, asparagus and peas.
    5. Arrange the asparagus on a plate.
    6. Mix in the pesto and creme fraiche into the pasta and peas, and serve on the asparagus. Top with the garlic prawns and tomatoes.
    7. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 21.46.29.png

    Prawns – high in protein for muscle repair and growth, and low in fat.

    Wholewheat pasta – high in starchy carbs for energy which will keep you going, and fibre to improve digestion.

    Asparagus – high in vitamin A for vision, vitamin B6 for energy release, and folate for 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.

    Peas – providing potassium, vitamin B6 for energy and dietary fibre for bowel moment.

    Creme Fraiche – no fat (as fat-free version is bought), and high in calcium for bone strength.

     

    Cauliflower-Base Pizza

    A lighter meal but still AMAZINGLY yummy and, I would argue, is an even better alternative to regular pizza.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 300g cauliflower couscous
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 3 tbsp tomato puree
    • 60g 30% lighter cheese, grated or sliced
    • 2 sprigs fresh basil
    • 2 tsp green pesto
    • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • Seasoning

    METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
    2. Combine the cauliflower couscous, eggs and oregano to make a ‘dough’.
    3. Spread the olive oil onto baking parchment – this is important as the dough will stick if not (I found this out the hard way!).
    4. Create a ball with the cauliflower and mould into pizza-base form.
    5. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until hard and browning on the outside like a normal pizza base.
    6. Spread the tomato puree on, and add the toppings.
    7. Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
    8. Top with more fresh basil.
    9. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION

    Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 16.37.27.png

    Only contributing 11.89g of carbohydrate per serving, this low-calorie meal provides 21g of protein and is good for a lighter dinner.

    Cauliflower – High in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; and vitamin K for bone construction and cell signalling.

    Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

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

     

    Ham and Cheese Potato-Crusted Quiche

    Can be eaten hot or cold! Leftovers are perfect for a picnic when enjoying the beautiful (but limited) British sunshine.

    Serves 2

    INGREDIENTS

    • Potato, thinly sliced into circles
    • 5 eggs
    • 150ml semi-skimmed milk
    • Cooked Ham
    • 60g 30% lighter cheese, grated
    • 6 cherry tomatoes
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • Seasoning

    METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
    2. Mix the potato slices with the olive oil and season.
    3. Line a oven-proof dish with the thins, including the walls, to cover and make a base.
    4. Bake for 20minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and milk together, and add the ham and cheese.
    6. Once the base is cooked, pour in the quiche filling, top with tomatoes, and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, depending on how deep the base is.
    7. Serve with salad or veggies.
    8. Enjoy!

    NUTRITION

    Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 12.55.25.png

    The fat and salt content of this can be reduced further by not including the cheese, swapping the semi-skimmed for skimmed milk, and swapping out the ham for a lower-salt meat like chicken or tinned tuna.

    Eggs – Eggs are the most useful protein source as they provide essential amino acids (the building molecules of protein), which are also absorbed most efficiently by the body.

    Potato – A starchy, low-fat base they will provide you with energy for the rest of the day.

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

    Ham – A good source of Thiamin for the release of energy from carbohydrates and neurotransmitter synthesis, and high in protein for muscle repair and recovery.