Friday, April 29, 2011

Super healthy snacks

We have placed main meals under the microscope in our last three blogs on breakkie, lunch and dinner. Now it’s time to address the pivotal issue of what we do in between the three biggies, when our tummies are rumbling, our blood sugar has dropped and our minds are wandering towards the full range of Cadbury’s in the nearby vending machine.

What to do?
As with most things nutrition, there are varying schools of thought. Some say snack throughout the day and some say don’t snack at all. We sit somewhere in the middle – and there is a way to find healthy snacks when the next meal is just too far away!

Here are some yummy, super easy snacks for you to try:
Carrot or celery sticks with hummus
Carrot or celery sticks with guacamole
Celery sticks or apple slices with ABC spread (or peanut butter if you’re feeling a bit indulgent!)
Plain bio yoghurt with 10 raw almonds and a handful of berries or ½ a piece of fruit
A lump of cheese with a handful of grapes or a sliced apple (the fat stops that dreaded sugar spike)
A handful of raw nuts – try mixing almonds, brazil nuts and cashews for complete protein
A protein ball containing mixed nuts, seeds etc

If you’re really hungry or have skipped a meal:
Avocado and sliced tomato on one slice (or two) of sourdough toast
A mini-salad with tinned salmon fillets, a small can of mixed beans, a ¼ of an avocado, diced tomato and diced cucumber
A small bowl of additive-free soup (we like 'Pitango')
Two boiled eggs or a small can of salmon for a protein fix

Mars Bars no more! We hope you enjoy some of our healthy alternatives.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Have your chocolate and eat it too

There’s nothing wrong with a little chocolate. Nothing at all.

While we are still delivering over the Easter period (Sydney on Wed & Easter Sun and other locations on Thurs), we recognise that a detox might not be on everyone’s agenda, and rather, chocolate may be the focus.

Chocolate is lovely. Just lovely. The good news is that you don't have to miss out.

Health, not death, by chocolate 
Cocoa contains high levels of flavanoids most commonly known for their antioxidant activity helping to stop those nasty free radicals in their tracks and protecting the body from aging. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly enough, dark chocolate contains nearly eight times the number of antioxidants found in strawberries.

The darker the better
The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa it contains, which means more antioxidants. Opt for chocolate with >70% cocoa. Generally speaking, more cocoa also means less sugar which is definitely a good thing when it comes to chocolate.

Love chocolate in moderation 
Keep your servings of chocolate down to around 20 grams (Easter NOT included). This equates to about half a small Lindt bar. Most larger bars of chocolate are 100 grams, so a fifth of that is an appropriate serving.*

Make your own raw truffles 
If you feel like making your own guilt-free Easter treats, here is a raw chocolate Easter egg recipe from our blog by the lovely Gemma at Naked Treaties.

Book your post Easter cleanse 
If you’re planning an indulgent Easter, get in early and book your post Easter cleanse.

*No chocolate bars were harmed in the writing of this newletter, though a little more than 20g of dark chocolate did go to a good home.

Raw chocolate Easter egg recipe

Here is a yummy recipe from my lovely friend, Jemma Gawned at Naked Treaties.

3/4 cup of raw cacao butter
1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut butter (oil)
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup dark agave

In a metal bowl over a saucepan of steaming water or a double boiler on a very low flame (or in the sun if you’re still lucky enough to have any!), gently melt  cacao and coconut butter. It helps to chop the cacao butter finely.

Once melted fold in the raw cacao powder.

Once combined fold in the agave stirring continuously.

Pour into your favourite chocolate mold, add nuts, goji berries whatever you like! Or leave it simply and deliciously plain.

Place into the fridge to set. For a chunky chocolate that’s even more chocolately omit the coconut butter and use cacao butter only. Yum!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The dinner dilemma

kitchen fairyDinner is probably the trickiest meal to coordinate, unless you have a kitchen fairy, and sadly, few of us do. Most of us work full-time and cooking, especially if you have to shop first, is the last thing we want to do at the end of a long day. So what’s a busy person to do?

Plan ahead
Determine how many meals you need to prepare for the week and write a menu plan. This takes the hassle out of weekly meals if you know in advance what you are going to make. It only takes five or so minutes and will save you lots of time and stress during the week.

Do a weekly shop
Use your menu plan to create a shopping list and do a weekly shop. You can save even more time if you do your supermarket shopping online. Coles allows you to create shopping list templates and then it’s a simple as clicking a button to get all the things you need for your menu plan. It also really helps to reduce wastage if you only buy the things that you have a plan to cook that week.

Prepare easy meals during the week
Some easy options include:
  • Frittata
  • Soup and sourdough bread
  • Casserole
  • Pasta - add lots of veggies and a good quality protein
  • Curry 
  • Grilled fish and vegetables or salad
  • Homemade pizza (use pitta bread)
  • Stir-fry
Don’t feel guilty about using pre-prepared sauces (avoid ones with preservatives and artificial additives) if you’re low on time. It’s still a much better option to have a home-cooked meal using a packaged sauce, rather than eating on the go or getting take-out.

Invest in time saving appliances
A pressure cooker can cook a risotto, soup, casserole or curry 10-20 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum is a slow cooker, which will cook your dinner while you’re at work. A rice cooker will cook perfect rice in minutes. Brilliant.

Make take out a last resort
If you do order take out, then try for healthier options. Check out our blog post on healthy take out tips

Good luck! If you missed them, you might like to check out our previous posts on breakfast and lunch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let's talk lunch

Last week was all about breakfast here at Urban Remedy. In this next installment of our three-part series on meal preparation, we’re giving you the lowdown on lunch.

For many of us, lunch is the meal that we squeeze into a busy day of work or errands – the on-the-go sandwich or, worse still, the unhealthy snacks that we find in our proximity when lunch has gone out the window!

The trick to lunch is planning ahead and, if you make your own lunches, stocking up on lots of healthy food when you do your weekly shop.

The Sandwich

  • The bread: a good quality bread is the solid foundation for a healthy sandwich. Opt for low-gluten grains such as spelt, kamut, and amaranth. If you’re OK with wheat, just go for a nice healthy wholegrain with minimal additives. Sonoma and Bill’s Organic (yeast-free) are great brands for bread. If ordering a sandwich out, go for wholegrain, multigrain, sourdough or gluten-free.
  • The filling: we like tinned salmon fillets, poached chicken or tuna (1-2 times per week to avoid mercury overload) with a good quality mayonnaise (check the label for minimal additives) or a bio yoghurt and herb dressing, and most importantly LOTS of salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, avocado etc). If you like your salt, go for rock over table.

Other healthy options

  • Sushi, preferably with brown rice; add your own tamari sauce (wheat-free version of soy!)
  • Salad with chicken or fish; add avocado and nuts (almonds, cashews or walnuts) and/or a small can of mixed beans to keep it filling
  • Healthy soups for winter (more on this later)

On other occasions, we lunch out for business or pleasure – rich foods, alcohol, bigger portions… all the typical perils that come with ordering à la carte! Choosing your food when eating out can prove tricky if you want to hold onto that waistline… but we could write a whole blog on that, and probably will soon.

In the meanwhile, stay tuned for our dinner tips next week!