clean eating

Vegetables – The Miracle Fat Loss Food


Roasted Butternut Squash

2, 3, 5, 10 a day? How many portions of vegetables do you eat on a daily basis? My guess is that it varies from day to day but averages around 3-6, a portion being approximately half a cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw veggies. If you’re reading this post, the chances are that you are healthier than most, or at least have a greater awareness of what healthy eating looks like (or you’re my husband, who is forced to read all my posts anyway!). I want to take a few moments to try to spell out the beauty of vegetables, not only how good they are for your health, but how even more valuable they are when on a weight or fat loss plan. Later on in this post I will show you how you can use vegetables to your advantage to help you in your quest to shed the fat!

Vegetables have some really great culinary and nutritional properties, such as:

  • having very varied flavours and textures
  • containing many vitamins & minerals
  • containing lots of fibre
  • having low amounts of sugar, helping keep blood sugar levels stable
  • being easily digestible
  • containing very few calories per portion compared to similar amounts of other foods

That last point above is the killer punch that vegetables pack, which makes them a very powerful tool in your arsenal when planning a menu for weight-/fat-loss. I’ll say it again – cup for cup, vegetables contain fewer calories per portion than other foods. What this really means is you can eat a shed load of vegetables for not a lot of calories. And who wouldn’t want to eat large amounts of food that has no adverse effect on their waistline?! One cup of vegetables contains just 30 to 80 calories, depending on the variety (to be clear, we are NOT including white potatoes in this discussion – yes they are a vegetable but they are another story – useful in your diet possibly yes, but not for the context that I’m talking about). Vegetables are also nutrient-dense – you get the most amount of nutrients packed in small amounts of food. So not only can you pile them onto your plate without adding hundreds of extra calories, you are also getting the maximum amount of nutrition at the same time. Vegetables are sounding even more attractive aren’t they?

So let’s assume you agree to put more vegetables on your plate in place of other less-nutritious items, what other positive effects does this have? (more…)

Blackcurrant, Banana & Chia Layered Breakfast Recipe


Yesterday I spotted a tub of frozen blackcurrants at the supermarket and could NOT resist buying them, as they are one of favourite fruits ever. I remember eating them in a not-so-healthy way when I was young, when I would buy a blackcurrant pie from the bakers and devour it as I walked around town, but these days I can do without all that pastry around the berries and just appreciate the fruit by itself!

Blackcurrants contain a high concentrations of vitamin C, with just 100 g of fresh blackcurrants providing more than 3 times the recommended daily intake. They’re also packed full of phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, providing health benefits such as protection against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases. So what’s not to love about these deep purple packets of yumminess?

In this recipe I also use chia seeds, which are powerfully healthy little seeds of wonder! They contain a high concentration of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and are also full of amino acids (protein building blocks), providing another highly nutritious and important layer to this recipe.

I’m guessing (hoping!) that as you look at the picture below, you’re thinking, “Ooh, how do I put together that absolutely delicious looking breakfast dish?”.

Well wait no longer, the recipe is right below. I have split it into sections to make your preparation easier. It’s a great idea to make the blackcurrant jam and the chia date pudding at least an hour before you’re due to assemble the layered breakfast, so that they have cooled and absorbed the liquid respectively, in time. I made these two parts of the recipe in the evening then just layered everything up in the morning ready to eat.

Blackcurrant Banana Chia Layered Breakfast

Ingredients (serves 2):

Blackcurrant Jam Layer

  • Half a cup of blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp. sweetener of your choice, eg. agave nectar, maple syrup, stevia, date syrup etc.

Chia Date Pudding Layer:

  • 200ml (almost a cup) unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 3-4 dates
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds

Other layers:

  • 1 banana
  • 170g pot Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage but any will do)
  • ⅓ cup of your favourite granola mix (I used Lizi’s Low GI Granola)

Method:

  • Make the blackcurrant jam by heating the blackcurrants and sweetener in a pan on the stove top on a low heat, stirring until the blackcurrants fall apart somewhat, then tip the mixture into a food processor and whizz up until smooth. Set aside to cool then refrigerate.
  • Make the chia date pudding by whizzing up the dates with the milk in a blender or food processor (it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth), then pour into a bowl with the chia seeds, mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour or overnight.
  • Layer up the breakfast by adding layers of sliced banana, Greek yogurt, blackcurrant jam and chia date pudding, until you are almost to the top of your dish/glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola and there you have a beautiful breakfast that will keep you full for hours and provide many nutrients, protein and healthy fats to start your day with.

Nutritional Info:

Per Serving: 403 calories 49g carbohydrates 14g fat (2g saturated) 12g protein

Of course if you can’t find blackcurrants you can swap them for blueberries, blackberries or raspberries and they will provide an equally tasty jam.

So there you have it, now there’s nothing stopping you from having a nutritious and delicious breakfast any day of the week!

Enjoy!

Janice.