These recipes have been provided by The Health Boost, a website dedicated to family friendly solutions to healthy eating. The Health Boost is run by local sports and nutritionist enthusiasts Katharine Bright and Val Simpson.
Black Bean Chilli
We like to include a couple of vegetarian or meat-free days in our week. This helps to keep the weekly food budget down and gives our digestion a rest from processing meat. This bean chilli is a perfect recipe for those meat-free days. It’s great on its own, but could be served with some brown rice if you are particularly hungry. It’s best prepared with dried beans – see tip below, but you can use tinned if you prefer.
• 250g black turtle beans or 2x 400g tins of black beans
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 large onion or 2 leeks
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow or green pepper
• 1 fresh chilli or 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 tablespoon tomato puree.
• 680g jar of tomato passata. Make sure there’s no added
sugar. We use the Biona Organic Rustica Passata, which
you can buy from Ocado.
• 200ml hot water
• 1/2 lime
• 1 bag of baby leaf spinach
If you are using dried beans then wash well and soak for 4-8 hours. Then drain, rinse and put in a saucepan with lots of cold water. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes and then simmer at a very gentle heat for 45 minutes. When cooked, drain, rinse well and leave while you get on with the rest of the dish. This step could be done the day before or in the morning.
1. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish
2. Gently fry the onion or leeks for 5 minutes until soft making sure they don’t burn.
3. Crush the garlic clove and add to the pan for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the chopped peppers and stir.
5. Add chilli, cumin seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, and smoked paprika and give the pan a good stir.
6. Add the tomato puree, passata and hot water.
7. Add the black turtle beans, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Add the juice of the lime, then stir, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
9. Add the bag of spinach and stir until wilted.
THE HEALTH BOOST TIP!
Beans often get a hard time. They are blamed for flatulence and those on a paleo diet shun them for containing phytates and lectin. However, if prepared properly, they can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet with benefits that include blood sugar regulation, phytonutrients, digestive health and anti- inflammatory protection. By buying dried over tinned you can ensure they are prepared correctly. By soaking the beans overnight you reduce raffinose- and stachyose- type oligosaccharides (sugars that are associated with flatulence). Rinsing well after cooking to remove all the bubbles also helps reduce the levels of oligosaccharides. You also reduce the lectins by soaking the beans.
Nutty energy bars
Healthy snack bars are very hard to find and can sometimes be deemed healthy or advertised as such but beware! When possible, we try and make a batch on a Saturday or Sunday to get us through the hectic schedule of after school sport. Packed with essential fats and protein, gluten free and with no refined sugar, they will keep you going steadily throughout the day.
• 1/2 cup gluten free oats (we use Rude Health Sprouted porridge oats)
• 1 cup unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
• 1/4 cup roasted coconut flakes
• 1/4 cup pistachio kernels
• 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 4 tbsp nut butter of your choice
• 1 1⁄2 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 100g 85% dark chocolate
1. Grease a glass or ceramic 8 x 8 inch dish with coconut oil
2. In a food processor bowl, add all the dry ingredients and blitz roughly
3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until forming a paste like dough but making sure you keep some chunks for texture.
4. Pour the mix into the prepared dish and press the mixture down evenly with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to set for 30 to 45 minutes or until hard.
5. Once out of the fridge, cut into squares while still in the dish.
6. Place the squares onto a tray lined with baking parchment and keep in freezer while you prepare the chocolate coating
7. Melt the chocolate in a glass or ceramic bowl over a pan of warm water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. It will take up to 20 minutes to fully melt the chocolate.
8. Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the heat. Leave it to cool a little but stir occasionally
9. Dip the frozen nutty bars into the chocolate, all around or just one side. Carefully place back on the cold tray and leave to set.
10. They will keep really well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. Can be frozen too.
THE HEALTH BOOST TIP!
These bars are raw and use simple, wholesome ingredients. They are quick to make and keep well in the fridge. Nuts and seeds are well-documented sources of protein as well as “good fats” such as the omega 3 fatty acid, alpha-lipoid acid. Nuts and seeds are also rich in vitamin E, copper, manganese, magnesium and zinc. They may be small – but they are big players when it comes to nutrients! Nuts and seeds also provide long lasting energy that can help fuel you throughout the day and help to maintain stable blood sugar levels.