Healthy Easy Lunches…and a Competition!

…PLUS…COMPETITION TIME….KEEP READING…!

Days at work can sometimes get so busy that many of us forget to stop for lunch or just eat at our desks. This results in being overly hungry at night or to a 3pm blood sugar slump which leads us to choose sugary snacks to get our energy back up. Taking a lunch break is not just important for our diets, but is also a critical part of stress management at work. Taking a break away from your desk, even if it’s just for 15 minutes can help reduce daily strain quinoa saladand will actually make you more productive and focused for the afternoon. The ideal work day lunch provides lean protein, a high fiber carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. It is best to bring your lunch to work if you can, so you can control exactly what you are eating and are less likely to be tempted by high fat, high calorie restaurant choices.  Here are some lunch ideas to keep you productive and healthy during a busy day at work:

1. Salmon salad. Canned salmon is an easy, nutritious source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Mix together 1 small can of salmon (approximately 100 grams), 3 cups of greens such as lettuce, baby spinach, kale etc (your choice), ½ cup beetroot,  a whole grapefruit or orange in sections, and ¼ cup of nuts (your choice).  Add a small can of four bean mix or chickpeas for some low GI carbohydrates. Drizzle with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and chili powder for dressing.

2. Leftovers. Leftovers from the night before always make a great lunch the next day. If you are cooking chicken or fish, make a little extra for lunch. Rice and beans or a bean soup keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and makes a filling-high fiber lunch. Make a large batch on a Sunday and eat it all week.

3. Wholemeal pita sandwiches. Pita bread is a great pocket for just about any lean meat, vegetable, or healthy fat. Pita can get soggy easily, so pack the bread separately from the fillers and make your sandwich when you are ready to eat. Some suggested toppings: hummus with roasted red peppers and cucumber slices, the salmon salad above, or turkey with tomato slices, lettuce, and olives.

4. Frozen or pre-packaged meals. Although it may be tempting to just throw a pre-packaged or frozen meal into your lunch bag, be careful with what you choose. These choices can be high in sodium and low in nutrition. Look for choices that have less than 500mg sodium per serving. Choose those that include whole grains and vegetables. Avoid frozen pizzas, pastas, or fried choices. If you do find a healthy option that is low in calories and sodium add a side salad, fruit, or low fat yoghurt to balance out your meal.

5. Quirky quinoa salad. Quinoa is a great whole grain that provides a significant amount of protein and fiber. Our recipe has chickpeas for additional protein and a ton of vegetables. It can be made ahead of time and tastes even better the next day. Get creative with quinoa, toss in leftover chicken and vegetables along with your favorite dressing.  The combinations are endless!

Lunch can give you more energy, help you save money, and make you a more productive worker. Remember lunch doesn’t have to be a traditional sandwich, it can be whatever makes you feel healthy and well-nourished to make your work day more productive. Feel free to start with these ideas and create your own energy boosting lunch.

 

 COMPETITION TIME!

We love food…and we also love quinoa!  To celebrate our love for both of these things, New Life Nutrition has teamed up with a new wholefoods business in Brisbane to bring you a great giveaway.

Andes Mills is a Brisbane based family owned business who source and sell natural products and superfoods traditionally used in South America for their health benefits. Their products currently include maca and amaranth however they have announced that they will be launching their quinoa product at Brisbane’s Good Food and Wine Show in November!  The most awesome thing about this product is that the Andes Mills family actually grown their own quinoa on their farm in South America and  import it for sale.  I love that not only do they know where it came from, they have actually grown it themselves!

Andesquinoa_launching_small-01

To celebrate the launch of their quinoa, Andes Mills and New Life Nutrition are giving you the opportunity to win a double pass to the Good Food and Wine Show in Brisbane (8-10 November).  The winner will receive both a double pass as well as a 500g bag of quinoa (so you can whip up our Quinoa Salad for your lunches!).  Two runners up will each receive a 500g bag of quinoa.

 

good food and wine

To win, tell us what your favourite family food memory is.  Please comment either below or on our Andes Mills competition facebook post .

Competition closes Wednesday 30th October at 10pm (Brisbane time)

 Please also show the love by checking out the Andes Mills facebook page! I love a family business so please support this great business!

Benefits of Beetroot

This is the first of many featured ingredients for our new blog series ‘GOODNESS ME!’.  Each fortnight we will feature a new ingredient and tell you all the amazing health and nutritional benefits and give you some tips of how to use them in your every day diet.  

Comment below or on our Facebook page if there are any ingredients you would love to know more about!

I love beetroot not only for its delicious taste and powerful nutrient properties but also for its ability to add vibrant colour to almost any dish.

There are so many health and nutritional benefits to beetroot. Beetroot is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, potassium and our digestive systems best friend – fibre! The rich purple colour is due to high levels of phytonutrients (a potent antioxidant), which fights free radicals (those nasty things that damage our cells) keeping your immune system strong and body healthy. A recent study also suggested that beetroot juice may assist with maintaining good blood pressure! To boost a juice, ask for added beetroot!

Lucky for us, beetroot is available year round but is most plentiful (and cheap) in the warmer months.

 

How to include beetroot in your diet

Choose small-medium sized deep-coloured beetroots with smooth skin. Grated raw beetroot is a yummy addition to any salad and the best way to keep all of those antioxidants intact – just don’t be alarmed when that wonder juice we were talking about before turns everything pink!

You can also roast, steam or boil beets for around 30-40 minutes (depending on the size), before consuming whole, peeled, diced or sliced with meals. Beetroot, pumpkin, spinach and goats cheese is a great combination for risottos, salads or pizza toppings. You can also add the leaves to your salad for added nutrients.

Try my beetroot dip, which is perfectly paired with vegetable sticks or crackers for a quick and protein rich afternoon tea or a delicious spread for sandwiches or wraps. If you are feeling creative – try our bean and beetroot brownie recipe.

 

Beetroot Hommus

This recipe is packed with protein, fibre, antioxidants and good fats!

 Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas, drained

3 baby beetroots

1 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ clove garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

 

Directions

  1. Boil or steam beetroots for around 25 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
  2. In a food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Add an extra tablespoon of water if the mixture seems too thick.
  3. Serve or store in small containers for a quick snack on the run!

Quirky Quinoa Salad

We have posted about how much we love the super grain Quinoa before (check it out here) so I thought we should post another recipe for you all to try!  I made this for a family Summer BBQ we had last weekend.  I knew my sisters would love it however I was less certain about the boys in my family.  Our boys love salad – but they are very quick to tell you how much they hate the way we add ‘all that other junk’ (i.e chickpeas, fruit, noodles) to them – they just want normal green salads ‘like mum makes it’.  Time to think outside the box guys!

The result? My husband was at first cautious about this strange looking salad but I think it was proof that he loved it when he scoffed all of the salad leftovers before any of the others the following day!  SUCCESS!

If you’d like to make this more substantial (i,e as a complete meal), add some chicken or boiled eggs. Perfect for lunches as it can be pre-made just leave the dressing in a separate container until ready to eat.

This salad is GLUTEN FREE, LOW GI HIGH FIBRE.  Leave out the white part of the spring onions and the chickpeas to make it LOW FODMAPS.

quinoa salad

What you need…

  • 170g (1 cup) mixed coloured quinoa as desired, soaked in enough water to cover for minimum 30 minutes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tin (425g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ sweet potato or pumpkin (approx. 250g), sliced approx. 1 cm thick pieces
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 4 spring onion/shallots, sliced on the angle
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced thinly
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 100 g reduced fat feta, cubed
  • 100g (approx) mixed toasted nuts and seeds, (I used walnut, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pepitas lightly roasted in the oven on a baking tray)
  • ½ bag mixed salad greens or baby spinach
  • Few Italian parsley leaves (optional)

 

Dressing:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 30g (1-2 tbspn) tamari or soy sauce
  • 40g fresh lemon juice (or juice of approx. 2 small lemons)
  • 30g (1-2 tbspn) extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

 

How the magic happens…

Doing it the traditional way:

  1. Combine water and quinoa in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat chargrill or oven grill on med-high. Spray lightly with oil. Cook the sweet potato/pumpkin for 8-10 minutes or until slightly tender. Break up roughly into large pieces.
  3. Add the all other ingredients to the quinoa.
  4. Blend together the lemon juice, garlic, oil and soy sauce until well combined.  Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture.
  5. Toss salad gently.  Top with extra seeds and serve!

 

Thermomix magic:

  1. Drain quinoa and place into simmering basket. Fill Thermomix bowl to 1L mark with water and set basket into bowl.
  2. Place the lid on the bowl, with Varoma on top, and pumpkin/sweet potato spread evenly in Varoma dish. Ensure it is spread apart enough that steam can get through.
  3. Steam quinoa 18 min/Varoma temp/speed 2. Remove basket from bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the salad by combining all remaining salad ingredients.
  5. Make dressing by placing all ingredients into Thermomix bowl and blending 20 sec/speed 8.
  6. Pour over prepared salad and add quinoa. Toss gently.
  7. Garnish with additional seeds, nuts, spring onions etc.

 

Recipe inspired by Quirky Cooking and Tenina

 

Crunch & colour – Beef, beet, lentil and walnut salad

My sisters and niece came over for a surprise home warming lunch at our new house and I had to whip something up rather quickly.  I found some leftover beef strips in thr fridge and so I tossed together this amazing salad.  It is a very well rounded salad with crunch and colour – plus it is very filling.  Love the lentils and walnuts for the fibre and protein, not to mention the antioxidant punch you will get from the coloured veg such as the beetroot, sweet potato, tomato and baby spinach.  The best thing yet, it tasted even better for lunch the next day.  Enjoy!

 

BEEF, BEETS, WALNUTS AND LENTIL SALAD

[gluten free, low carb, high protein; omit onion and garlic (infuse in oil), beetroot and lentils for low FODMAP option]

Cooking Time   15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 500g beef fillet
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 medium beetroot, trimmed  OR  425g can baby beets, drained, halved
  • 400g can lentils, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 sweet potato, chopped
  • 120g baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. If using fresh beetroot:  Preheat oven to 200°C/180C°C fan-forced. Wrap each beetroot in foil. Place on a baking tray. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Set aside to cool. Remove and discard foil. Wearing gloves, peel beetroot. Cut into 4cm pieces.
  2. Heat small amount of oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or chargrill over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and 1 tbspn balsamic vinegar. Cook for 1-2 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add sweet potato.  Cook until tender.
  4. Add lentils and beetroot. Cook, tossing, for 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove to a plate.
  5. Add beef to frying pan. Cook beef until cooked to your liking. Remove to a plate to cool slightly.
  6. Combine spinach, mint, feta, tomato and walnuts in a      large bowl. Thinly slice beef. Add to salad. Add beetroot and lentil mixture.
  7. Combine vinegars and remaining oil in a jug. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad. Toss to combine. Serve.