Healthy and nutritious oatmeal ideas

Healthy and nutritious oatmeal ideas

If the idea of oats conjures up images of a steaming bowl of porridge to set you up for the day on a winter’s morning, it might not be the first thing on your breakfast list as we head into June. However, perhaps you should think about that again. The nutritional properties of oats make them the perfect ingredient, not just to start the day, but also to give you a boost when you need it most. Oats help you to burn fat and lower cholesterol, while providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium and folate. Getting your fix of oats doesn’t have to mean chowing down a bowl of porridge on a summer’s morning – although given the vagaries of the British climate that might sometimes be a tempting idea, even in June. But here are some other ways to enjoy oats whatever the weather. Make your own muesli The trouble with pre-packaged muesli is that it tries to cater to all tastes. Inevitably, this means some find it too sweet, while others might object to the raisins or some other ingredient. Making your own could not be simpler. Use rolled oats as your base, and continue from there. Try adding chopped walnuts, banana and cinnamon to give your breakfast natural sweetness and just a hint of spice. Try baking Some people shy away from oats because they don’t like the texture. If this sounds like you, a baked oatmeal product, such as this oat flapjack could be just the thing. The recipe for this one is a closely guarded secret that has taken years...
A look at some of the latest health food trends

A look at some of the latest health food trends

Last year, the health food influencers were filling their Instagram feeds with images of activated charcoal and golden milk lattes. However, as the social media generation might say, those are so 2018. The truth is, health food is as subject to the vagaries of fashion and popularity as every other aspect of our lives. So what are the health food trends that are taking centre stage as we progress into the second quarter of 2019? Focusing on the food An encouraging trend is that health-conscious consumers are adopting more of a “food-first” mindset, particularly when it comes to snacks. In other words, they are moving away from artificially processed, nutrient-rich products in favour of natural whole food snacks that are inherently healthy and nutrient rich. No doubt this has been partially prompted by the growing trend towards clean, clear and minimalistic labelling that leaves food manufacturers with nowhere to hide. Who needs meat? A generation ago, vegans were seen as some sort of food extremists, but these days, even the carnivores among us often enjoy a meat free Monday or similar, as there are so many protein alternatives that are meat and dairy free. As demand grows, so do the choices, and this year we are seeing a variety of soy, nut and seed based products on offer across every food type you can think of, including snacks, burgers, sausages, yoghurts cheese and lots more. Oats aren’t just for eating The earlier comments about golden milk lattes might have been a little tongue-in-cheek, but every year there seems to be a new milk trend in the health food world....
Forget detox and dieting – relearn good eating habits for January and beyond

Forget detox and dieting – relearn good eating habits for January and beyond

With the new year well and truly underway, thousands of people are hitting diets, detox plans or “dry January” challenges in an attempt to get back into shape after the excesses of the festive season. Yet deep down, we all know that a month of excess followed by a month of grandiose gestures is no way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Last month, we discussed tips for enjoying the festive season without damaging your health, so it seems only right to look at the flip side of the coin and how good eating habits do not have to mean starvation or missing out on the things you enjoy – and also how they can be maintained all year round. Focus on adding, not subtracting People often see healthy eating as having to do without or give up their guilty pleasures. This is a mindset that presents the whole topic as a challenge. Instead, think about healthy things you can add to your diet, whether it is trying out a vegan recipe one day a week or experimenting with healthy and delicious whole grain snacks. Make sure the fridge is well stocked with low-fat dairy products and try and add something new and different to the fruit bowl every week. Gradually, these healthier foods will oust the unhealthy ones, yet you will feel you have gained in terms of the quality and variety of your diet, not lost out. Eat together Christmas acts as a reminder for many families of just what a precious thing a family meal time can be. How strange, then, that when the festivities are over,...
How to eat, drink and be merry this Christmas without damaging your health

How to eat, drink and be merry this Christmas without damaging your health

Christmas means different things to different people, and debates over “the true meaning of Christmas” are trawled out every year and will run and run. But there are some things that everyone can agree on, from those who are purely celebrating the religious aspects of the festive season to others for whom it is all about Black Friday and Santa Claus. These precepts are that this is a time for celebration, to get together with friends, forget about day to day worries for a little while and to have a good time. There is also a general consensus among all that this is a season in which food and drink can and should flow freely, and we are all at liberty to indulge in those festive favourites. The holiday season is a time when emotions run high and are amplified. For positive emotions like love and happiness, that is wonderful but the same applies to stress, loneliness or financial worry. The net result is that celebrating or stressed, happy or sad, we can all end up over doing the food and drink at Christmas. Research carried out in the USA showed that Americans gain an average 0.5 KG by the end of December. The good news is there are some simple strategies you can adopt to avoid becoming just another statistic, but without dampening down the magic of Christmas. The fundamental things apply A good breakfast sets you up for the day and reduces the temptation to snack on unhealthy treats – this rule applies all year round, and is doubly important to remember at Christmas. A good-sized bowl...
Winter is coming – are you getting your oats?

Winter is coming – are you getting your oats?

The evenings are drawing in, the paths and roads are full of fallen leaves and the supermarkets are throwing us all into confusion as they reorganise the aisles to make way for the festive range. There’s no avoiding the fact: winter is coming. With it come various changes in our daily routine. Coats and heavier shoes are being pressed back into action, the central heating is back in daily use and that yoghurt and fruit that seemed like the perfect breakfast just a month or so ago is no longer quite so tempting. A steaming bowl of porridge is just the thing to set you up for the day. Those of a certain age will remember the TV ad campaign showing the glowing boy heading off to school with the tagline that described a certain well known brand as “central heating for kids.” Pure advertising spiel? Not exactly. In fact, the slow releasing energy that oats deliver do indeed act as an internal heating system and are precisely what we all need. What’s so great about oats? Oats are rich in beta-glucans, a soluble form of fibre that slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This delayed digestive process damps down the spikes in insulin levels and blood sugar that we so often see with other energy-giving foods. On top of that, oats are a great source of magnesium. This is also important for giving energy, and is key to enzyme function. Magnesium has been proven to reduce the likelihood of strokes and heart attacks, as it relaxes the blood vessels, aids the heart muscle and regulates blood...