Cherryactive ice lollies made to help me sleep.

20130216-131645.jpg

It’s revision month and I’m already not sleeping well so I’ve invested in some Cherryactive. It is made from 100% montmorency cherries which are full of antioxidants and melatonin to help me sleep. The deep cherry flavour and colour makes Cherryactive ideal for making ice lollies which the rest of the family can enjoy.

20130216-133036.jpg

Just dilute Cherryactive to taste, add to favourite lolly holders and freeze. For an extra special treat add halved pitted fresh cherries to the mix.

We should all sleep well tonight zzzzzzzzz.

12 Apps for Foodies that I just love!

20130210-091428.jpg

 

I have been posting on this blog for more than a year. During this time I have found a few apps on my phone to help me with my ideas relating to food and nutrition. I have these in a food group on my phone which I will share as a 1st blog birthday gift. They are listed in no particular order and I use all of them on a regular basis.

1. Pinterest
For me the presentation of food has a huge impact to whether I want to try it or not. Pinterest has so many beautiful images of food that I can spend hours looking through food related
pages for inspiration. I have even started pinning a few images myself.

2. Bloglovin
This app is such a great little tool for keeping up with blogs on your phone. I have many food and nutrition blogs I now like to keep up with. It’s very easy to search and add sites on various topics at Bloglovin.com then keep up-to-date on your phone.

3. Foodnavigator
I like to follow the news and this little app lets me keep up with all the food related news from the site foodnavigator.com

4. How to Cook Everything!
Sometimes you just have an ingredient you would like to cook with. This week I have too much broccoli for example. Using this app I can search for broccoli and find any number of recipes to try.

5. Dirty Dozen
This is the shoppers guide to pesticides in food. It’s a great little app to help you choose your food wisely.

6. Enumbers
This informative app gives details about every Enumber you can find in food. It offers a good way to become educated in Enumbers.

7. Evernote Food
This app allows you to browse recipes, bookmark them and record your own. There are lots of lovely recipes for food inspiration.

8. Green kitchen
You can view a wide range of healthy vegetarian recipes using this award winning app.

9. Good Food Healthy Recipes
This one gives you access to a selection of healthy recipes from BBC Good Food. It allows you to view and search a selection of healthy recipes.

10. Edamam
An app that gives you a daily morsel of food recipes and a search function for many more from over 500 sites also found at Edamam.com. Beautiful images and recipes!

11. Gojee
This app covers not only food but also fashion. There are some amazing food images of recipes to try from blogs at Gojee.com. Only the best at Gojee.com

12. Foodily
Similar to Gojee and Edamam. There is a selection of amazing food blog entries to get inspiration from at Foodily.com.

Valentines Salad

Well it is a long time since I have written a post. I’ve been busy at college learning about vitamins and super foods. It’s not long now until my next exam which I am dreading as usual. Today is my husband’s birthday and I will be at college on Valentine’s night so I made a nice and simple healthy Valentine’s salad for our lunch today. It looks great and tastes yum!

20130208-135758.jpg

It’s really simple to make. The bottom of the salad is a layer of rocket. Then on top are strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers all cut into heart shapes.

20130208-140028.jpg

Finish by adding a dressing of light balsamic vinegar. Optionally add white chicken breast. This dish can be served as a side salad or main meal.

Happy Valentines!

Congratulations, Jelly filled Orange Skins and Orange Sorbet

Yesterday was the Flitton and Greenfield Gala and whilst waiting for the parade to arrive we stopped in The White Hart for some refreshment. I was really pleased to find out that they were listed both in The Good Food Guide 2012 and in The Good Pub Guide 2012. I think this is fantastic news and my congratulations go to Phil and Clare and the team there.

When you dine at sophisticated restaurants such as The White Hart Flitton you are often given sorbets to cleanse your pallet between meals. These are super easy to make. Although high in sugar contents, sorbets are an easy way to introduce an extra portion of fruit into your diet. They are often seen as an adult dessert but kids love them. (At least they do if the way they get eaten in this house is anything to go by.)

By increasing your consumption of fruit and veg you are reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. We all need to eat foods rich with vitamins. Sorbets offer us the option of increasing our Vitamin C levels and antioxidants in our diet through the fruit contained within them.

This weekend I made two desserts in my quest to getting my family to eat and enjoy healthier foods and in particular more fruit. Firstly an Orange Sorbet and secondly Jelly filled Orange Skins.

The aroma of sweet oranges is said to reduce anxiety. I can’t say the consumption of these desserts calmed our house but they were consumed fully within a day of making.

Megan and I started by squeezing 5 oranges of their juice. This juice was set to one side and used for the sorbet later. The shells of the halved oranges were then scraped of the pulp and used as the pots to be filled with a standard raspberry jelly mix and raspberries. Be careful when squeezing and scraping the orange shells not to create holes in the skins. Set the pots in a dish before filling.
20120909-183523.jpg20120909-183542.jpg
For the sorbet place 200g of sugar and 275ml of water in a pan and bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in a freezer proof container and add orange juice squeezed from 5 oranges. Place in freezer and stir every 30 minutes until frozen. Take out of freezer about 20 minutes prior to serving.

 

 

Cucumber Pots – Great for children and adults

20120902-173836.jpg

Are you looking for an easy way to get kids to eat veg?

Here’s a little activity that will keep little hands active but also see a couple of cucumbers disappear quite quickly.

20120902-170849.jpg

Cut 2 cucumbers into chunks and scoop a small amount of the inside out using a melon scoop so the cucumbers can act as pots. Replace this with a healthy filling of choice such as low fat cheese, hummus, peanut butter, or any low fat dipping spread.

Cucumber itself is reported to have many health benefits. For example it has been suggested its high fibre content aids with digestion so it can help with constipation in both children and adults. Cucumber is also said to contain sterol which helps with the reduction of cholesterol. The large amount of water contained in a cucumber helps in rehydration. Good for those who don’t drink enough fluids. The consumption of fruity vegetables such as cucumber has also been reported to help with Asthma in children (Paediatric Allergy and Immunology. 18, pages 480 to 485. (September 2007))

 

 

10 Basic steps to a healthy lifestyle

This week I went to the British Nutrition Foundation conference on Behavioural Change and have also found time to watch a few food/ nutrition related shows including the BBC series “The men who made us fat”. It became clear to me that I had not discussed some of the main principles of a healthy diet and lifestyle on my blog. These are simple principles but for anyone making changes to their lifestyles they are things that should be addressed.

1. Take time to educate yourself about what’s healthy and what’s not. Learn to read food labels and understand what’s in the products you are buying.
2. Eat a healthy varied diet. Avoid in particular sugar, fats and processed foods. Eat more fruit and veg.
3. Eat smaller portions. It’s easy to eat more than we need.
4. Get into the habit of not snacking between meals. Try not to be tempted by supermarket marketing and buy one get one free offers.
5. Increase your activity levels. This is the basic calorific calculation of not eating more than you expend.
6. Maintain a regular sleep cycle. The quality of your sleep effects your emotional wellbeing which can have an impact on your weight.
7. Maintain a good social circle. Having a good social circle helps with motivation support and general well being.
8. Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast may lead you to be tempted by unhealthy snacks later in the day.
9. Avoid sugary drinks and drink plenty of water.
10. Create mini goals in order to make your overall health goals more attainable.

These 10 points are very simplistic but are core to living healthily.

The importance of water

20120318-220317.jpg

After a walk to Flitwick Moor I began thinking about tonic water and drinking water for good health. I can’t imagine I would ever dare drink the water from the River Flit as I am sure it is full of various pollutions and I have not seen any springs to drink from during my walks.

Since studying at CNM I have gained a better understanding of why water is so essential to life and good health. After eliminating fizzy drinks from this house I found I was drinking more water but still not enough. So I have set myself a new goal to make drinking more water a habit in our household.

To do this I have to first gather my ammunition as Jim likes facts and I will need his support. Here are a few things I feel that are important to know which I have learnt through my studies and further research.

Firstly some stats……

75% of the body consists of water
95% of the brain consists of water
83% of blood is water

Then some reasons why our body needs water……

  • To transport nutrients and oxygen
  • To maintain body temperature
  • To aid digestion
  • To lubricate organs and joints
  • To eliminate toxins
  • To metabolise body fat
  • It is essential for our immune system
  • It is required by each cell in our body to function properly
  • It aids in the recovery of illness

How much water should you drink?

The common response to this is 8 glasses a day. A common formula used to calculate it is to divide your body weight in lbs. by 2. In fact it can vary with how heavy you are, how hot it is and how much you exercise. However if you feel thirsty and tired and/or your urine is dark it is a good indicator that you may not be drinking enough.

Actually a large number of us are dehydrated and this is known to reduce our physical and mental functions.

I used a simple water tracking app called waterlogged over this last week to track my own water intake. The results were not good and my consumption was far less than I expected.

So what can we do in order to increase are water intake as a family?

  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge and on the table at meal times
  • Eat foods such as melon, grapes and tomatoes which have a higher water content
  • Track what we drink
  • Add fruit to water such as lemons, limes and strawberries in order to make naturally flavoured waters
  • Drink herbal teas
  • Drink in the morning and before bed
  • Keep drinking water easily at hand
  • Associate water with good memories and good health
  • Make interesting water based drinks and interesting ice cubes
  • Make drinking water a habit

Megan and I made grape cubes today. They took less than 15mins to make and approximately two hours to freeze. The inspiration for these came from a book by Brian Preston-Campbell called Cool Waters.

We used grapes but blueberries, raspberries or strawberries would be great alternatives.

20120318-230600.jpg

To make these you will need a hand blender, 3 ice cube trays, a fine sieve, a measuring jug, 3 mugs of water and 250g of seedless red grapes.

For each ice cube you will need half a grape. Cut grapes and place in trays. Blend the remaining grapes with one mug of water. Then sieve the blended mix into measuring jug and add remaining 2 mugs of water and stir. Pour the grape water into the ice cube trays and freeze.

No more fizzy drinks for me.

20120306-163632.jpg

It’s been nagging at me for a while now. I remember my friends telling me a few years ago that it wasn’t good for me. I remember the reports way back in 2007 about the cancer risks of aspartame. I promised myself on New Year’s Eve that I was going to stop drinking it. I wonder what it is doing to my stomach if the kids use it to clean their coins with. Today I read a news report which yet again suggested that soft fizzy drinks are really not that good for you. This time the colouring was linked to cancer if you drank vast quantities. I wondered why I just didn’t give up today.

As I pondered on this I wondered how much of our weekly shopping bill went on fizzy drinks. Firstly I calculated the cost on a weekly basis and then on an annual basis. Then I calculated my share of the cost. I was quite frankly shocked by how much we were spending as a family on soft drinks. I drink quite a few cans a week so for me alone the cost was £300 annually. It seemed daft to me that although I don’t smoke and I rarely drink alcohol, I was still ready until today to spend £300 a year on something that most of us know is not healthy.

I have made the choice to finally put a stop to it and drink more water and now I need to encourage the family to stop by sharing the facts and figures with them.

When I was a child, fizzy drinks were occasional treats. I would like to see a move in that direction in our house for the benefits of our health and budgets.