My Healthy Snack of the Week – Blueberries

Please share

my-healthy-snack

blog 004

 

This week’s snack is blueberries.  Today is regarded as Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year!  It’s a perfect storm of conditions – we’re all broke after Christmas, tiring of our New Year resolutions and are fed up with the consistently cold, grey weather.

So, here’s some happy facts about beautiful, juicy blueberries.

  1. Blueberries are low in calories and virtually fat free.  They consist of approximately 85% water, so a cup of blueberries is only 84 calories.
  2. They’re the most nutrient dense berries, containing fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese.
  3. They’re packed with antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids, a type of anthocyanin which gives them their blue colour.  These compounds help protect the body from damage from free radicals which can cause aging and cancer.
  4. These same antioxidants help protect the body from heart disease by reducing oxidation of ‘bad’ cholesterols in the blood.
  5. Blueberries can help lower blood pressure.
  6. The antioxidants in blueberries can help brain function and delay age-related decline.
  7. Blueberries do contain moderate amounts of sugar, but the anthocyanins in blueberries can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.  This means a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

So, give yourself a happy boost this week and chase away the Monday blues with a handful of berries in your snack box.

Sources: http://www.medicaldaily.com,  http://www.nhs.uk,

http://www.authoritynutrition.com

 

My Menu Planner for this week

Please share

my-snack-copy

 

Hi, here’s my menu planner for this week.  I hope this menu list gives you some inspiration for the week ahead.

(See my notes below for more information).

 

  1. Lamb steaks, crispy roasted potatoes and a chilli tomato salsa, and green veg.
  2. Asian (Chinese five spice) pork steaks, potato bake and vegetables
  3. Creamy salmon pasta
  4. Chicken fajitas and salad
  5. Honey Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, vegetables.
  6. Beef casserole with Jacket Potatoes and peas/sweetcorn

 

I know for many people the idea of planning your meals for the week seems pretty boring.  But, we all have increasingly busy lifestyles, especially if you have kids and I find this really helps.

Every week I sit down with a cup of tea and flick through my recipe books/magazines and plan out 6 ideas for meals.

I then order all the food online.  This stops me being distracted by treats and offers that I don’t need.  I also know I have all the right ingredients ready in the house.  So, when we get back home from a busy day, I can just crack on with meal preparation.

Give it a try – I think you will be surprised how much easier it makes your life and how much money you save – no more buying and wasting food you don’t need and less temptation to buy takeaways because you don’t know what to cook.

Let me know what you think of my menu choices in the comments below.

My Healthy Snack of the Week – almonds

Please share

my-healthy-snack

almonds-002

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m desperately craving some sunshine and warmth.  As I don’t think I will be getting these anytime soon, I thought I would cheer myself up with some Californian Almonds instead.

These little power houses provide:-

  • Thiamine which helps support heart function
  • Linoleic acid to help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.
  • Unsaturated ‘good’ fats which also help blood cholesterol levels
  • Riboflavin and zinc which help maintain healthy skin – get the glow!
  • Magnesium, thiamine, niacin and folate which all help maintain the nervous system and brain function, and
  • Iron which reduces tiredness and fatigue

About 23 almonds = 160 calories.  As almonds do contain fats, they are quite calorie dense so don’t have too many if you are watching your weight.

I really enjoy a handful of almonds with a cup of green tea when I hit the mid afternoon slump at 3pm.  Give them a try and let me know what you think of them.

 

Source: http://www.almonds.co.uk

 

My Healthy Snack of the Week – Dried Figs

Please share

my-healthy-snack

myhealthysnacksdriedfigsSo – Dried figs.  Yes, I know, they don’t look that appetising but if you give them a try I think you’ll be surprised.  Just remove the little knobbly stem bit and bite in.  They’re actually very squashy and juicy, with a little bit of texture from the tiny seeds in the middle.  They go surprising well with a cup of coffee so you can imagine you are in a Turkish café or something.

So why are they good for you?

  1. They’re packed with IRON, which is great if you’re a vegetarian and need to find some extra sources of iron.  Even if you’re a meat eater, many people suffer from fatigue and lack of energy,  which is a common symptom of  low iron levels.
  2. They’re a great source of POTASSIUM.  Potassium helps to restore the balance in the body of too much salt and it helps to lower your blood pressure.
  3. They’re a good source of CALCIUM – which is helpful for people who don’t eat dairy.  Figs can also help keep bones strong by reducing the loss of calcium excreted when you have a wee!.
  4. Excitingly they also provide a source of COPPER.  Research from the University of California suggests that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells to be used for energy.  The more copper there is available to the body, the more fat metabolism can take place.  Copper is also needed to form red blood cells, absorb iron, develop connective tissues and help the immune system -important at this time of year!.

Make sure you buy the ready to eat packs of dried figs and not the sort used for cooking and baking.  Alternatively, you could give fresh figs a go.

Tell me in the comments below what you think of them when you’ve given them a try.

 

Sources: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/copper-key-burning-fat

http://www.healthy-magazine.co.uk

 

My Healthy Snack of the Week – Plums

Please share

my-healthy-snack

 

As the winter nights draw in there’s something very appealing about the deep, rich purple of plums, making them perfect for My Snack of the Week.

So, how are they good for you? plums

  1. They’re low in calories and contain no saturated fats.
  2. They contain iron which is good for red blood cell formation.  This is important to keep your energy levels up.
  3. They contain potassium which helps control your heart rate and blood pressure.  This can reduce your risk of stroke.
  4. The reddish blue pigment (anthocyanins) can help reduce free radical damage in cells, protecting against cancer.
  5. Plums have a low glycaemic index which helps control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  6. They help relieve constipation (think prunes!) as they are a good source of fibre.
  7. They contain Vitamin A and beta-carotene (especially the yellow varieties) which are good for eyesight and skin.

Enjoy one or two plums along with your morning coffee or afternoon tea to give your body a nutritional boost.

Sources: http://www.care2.com,   http://www.nutrition-and-you.com

A word of warning: In my research I found a note suggesting people with a history of kidney stones should avoid eating plums – so check with your doctor.