Tag Archives: Fibre

Categories Recipes, Snacking

No-Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
The shelves at the grocery store are packed with granola bars. Why bother making them at home? Because these seriously beat any granola bars I have ever had. They are incredibly delicious, satisfying and simple to make. When feeling like having something sweet and nutritious, these will become your favourite go-to granola bars.
Prep Time 30 mins
Refrigeration 4 hrs

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Small saucepan
  • Medium bowl
  • Baking pan, 9x9 inches
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients
  

  • 200gr pitted date fruits
  • 1.5 cups large oats
  • 1 cup almonds or hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup sesame paste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder optional
  • A pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Place dates in the food processor and pulse until small, sticky crumbs are formed. These may come together to a ball as you process. Move into a medium bowl and set aside. No need to clean the food processor yet.
  • Lightly toast the almonds or hazelnuts. Place in the food processor and pulse into medium-size pieces. Add the nuts to the bowl of dates.
  • Lightly toast the oats. Add to the bowl of dates and nuts.
  • Place the honey (or maple), sesame paste and cinnamon powder (if using)  in a small saucepan and warm up. Stir to combine. Do not boil or overheat.
  • Pour the warm mixture onto the dates, nuts and oats. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well with a fork, ensuring the dates pieces are well spread in the mixture.
  • Allow mixture to cool a bit.
  • Add chocolate chips and mix in with a fork.
  • Line your 9x9 pan with parchment paper leaving enough paper edges for easy removal of the bars after cooling. Pour the mixture in, flattening and levelling it in the pan.
  • Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully remove the bar from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 8-10 even bars. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight glass container for up to a week.

Notes

Nut-free version - Replace the nuts with sunflower seeds. 
Vegan version - Use maple syrup (instead of honey) and vegan chocolate chips.
Categories Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

7 important things to know about protein intake

How much protein do we really need? How do we get enough of it? Should we follow a high-protein diet?
Protein is found in every cell of our body and has many functions. It is involved in many chemical reactions and is an important macronutrient for putting some meat on our bones, making blood, skin, hair, enzymes and more.
To keep our body in a healthy state, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day for an adult is 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. However, depending on our sex, age, lifestyle, frequency and intensity of physical activity, goals and other factors, an individual may need more than that. Let’s look at some important points to consider:

1. Too much of a good thing

Although protein is an important macronutrient, the expression “the more, the better” does not apply to its daily intake. A healthy diet should consist of all 3 macronutrients which are properly balanced and designed to the individual and their personal goal.

2. Remember your personal goal

Different people may have different goals when it comes to weight management, health and fitness. If someone is a bodybuilder, while your lifestyle is sedentary, the amount of protein requirements will be substantially different for the two of you. Your protein intake should be matching your goals, life choices, biology and other factors. Remember we are not all the same.

3. Consider the source of protein

Protein can come from animal and plant foods. When choosing your protein, remember it comes in a package that normally includes other macronutrients or other characteristics. For example, animal protein such as beef, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs, will also include some fats. While fats are an important macronutrient, some animal protein provide high amounts of saturated fats aside from protein. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderation.
On the other hand, protein from plant sources may have a reduced bioavailability. Being aware of that and incorporating cooked veggies and grains into our food intake can help increase bioavailability.

4. Adjust the total food intake

When our goal is to maintain or lose bodyweight, whenever we increase the intake of a certain macronutrient, we should make adjustments so we do not consume more food than we require. Meaning, if you have not changed anything in your diet except increase your protein intake, you may experience some weight gain due to overconsmption of calories. Swapping foods can be a good solution in this case. For example, instead of snacking on a couple fruits, swap with a few carrot sticks and hummus dip, while maintaining a similar caloric amount.

5. Get to know your protein powder

Some people may choose to incorporate protein powder into their food intake. While such powders are a great way to supplement our diet with protein and a great solution when you are in a hurry or on the go, we should learn what is really in our powder. Such powders may come from different sources (dairy, eggs, plant-based) and can often contain other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, thickeners, added sugars or other sweeteners, as well as artificial flavouring. When choosing a protein powder, make sure to read the nutrition and ingredient labels first and see if you are okay with the final product.

6. High-protein diets

A very high-protein diet normally encourages an extremely low carb intake which may translate into overall minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables. While high-protein diets may offer certain benefits to certain people for a limited time period and under clinical supervision, studies have shown over and over again that daily consumption of enough fruits and vegetables contributes to our health in many ways and can be helpful and even preventative for many diseases.

7. Protein for vegetarians and vegans

Getting enough protein from non-animal sources is possible. Although a bit more planning may be required, achieving the protein intake requirements only through plant protein can be done. While vegetarians who eat dairy, eggs or fish can meet their protein intake requirements quite easily, vegans need to plan a bit more but can still get enough protein regularly. A common concern in some vegetarian diets or a vegan lifestyle is unintentionally creating a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. If you plan to become a vegetarian or vegan, a professional nutritional guidance or in-depth planning should be done to avoid such deficiencies.

Categories Recipes, Snacking

Chocolate-Hazelnut Energy Bites

Chocolate-Hazelnut Energy Bites

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I love chocolate. So if I can have both a nourishing and chocolaty snack - now that’s a bonus! These little bites are definitely my go-to whenever I have these cravings. I keep them in the freezer in a container to grab as a pre- or post-workout snack. Sometimes they just call my name and I just have to answer. Wouldn’t you?
Prep Time 15 mins

Equipment

  • Food processor or a powerful blender
  • 2 small bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 15 Medjool dates pitted
  • Some boiling water
  • 1.5 cup raw hazelnuts
  • ¾ desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional

Instructions
 

  • Place the dates in a heat-proof bowl and carefully cover with boiling water. Allow the dates to soak for about 20 minutes.
  • While the dates are soaking, place the raw hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake at 350 F or 180 C for 5 minutes or until hazelnuts are warm to the touch. Carefully remove from the oven and divide hazelnuts into 1 cup and 0.5 cups.
  • Place 0.5 cups of hazelnuts in the food processor and process to a meal texture. Place the hazelnut meal in a small bowl and set it aside. No need to clean the food processor container before the next step. Simply place it back on its engine.
  • Drain the softened dates discarding the water.
  • In the food processor place dates, the remaining whole hazelnuts (1 cup) and the desiccated coconut. Process until a crumbly mixture has formed.
  • Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon and vanilla extract (if using). Blend until a sticky dough-like texture has formed, and most of the mixture is coming together. Stop blending to scrape the sides if needed.
  • With a teaspoon, scoop enough mixture to create 1-1.5 inch size balls. Roll the balls in the hazelnut meal.
  • Keep bites refrigerated or place in a freezable container to enjoy later.

Notes

For additional coating options, roll the balls in a ⅓ cup cocoa powder or desiccated coconut.
Categories Dining, Recipes

The world’s quickest vegetarian meal

The world’s quickest vegetarian meal

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins

Equipment

  • A medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl
  • A large plate or lid to cover the bowl
  • A medium-sized pot
  • Fork

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup dry couscous fine or medium
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups water boiling
  • 1 can organic chickpeas or beans of choice
  • 1 jar high-quality, organic pasta sauce, 650 ml
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the dry couscous in a medium bowl. Add the salt and olive oil. Mix well with a fork until all the couscous turns a bit shiny.
  • Add the boiling water, quickly stir with a fork and cover with a large plate, lid or plastic wrap. Bowl must be completely covered. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, pour the pasta sauce into a pot and bring to simmer. Add drained chickpeas or beans and mix. Bring to simmer again. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder if needed, to taste.
  • With a fork, fluff the prepared couscous to separate the grains as much as possible.
  • To serve, place the desired amount of couscous in a small bowl, top with the prepared sauce.

Notes

For a spicier version, replace the pasta sauce with an Indian-style cooking sauce such as Tikka Masala sauce or a prepared sauce for butter chicken (a vegetarian version).
Categories Free Resources, Health Boosters, How To’s, Wellness

How to Make Healthier Choices on a Budget

A common misconception is that a healthy lifestyle is expensive and only a minority can afford it. Often, when picturing a healthy lifestyle, images of expensive gym memberships, pricey organic produce and some high-cost environmentally-conscious products. While there is definitely a lot of money in the health industry, the wonderful news is that living a healthier lifestyle can be done with little financial investment. In fact, you will find the investment is more of a time & effort one, rather than financial.

The important thing is to be willing to make small changes, start making them and keep consistent. With time, these can help you improve your current situation. It is the little changes we do that slowly and gradually impact our own lives for the better, our community and if we are patient enough, the environment we live in.

I came up with a list for you to have. You are more than welcome to adopt one or multiple suggestions. Please share this with people you think could benefit from it.

1. Cook more at home.

This will save you a lot of money and will provide you with more control over what goes into your food. Eating out or ordering take-out can add up in both money and less healthy choices.

2. Buy seasonal produce.

No one has to have grapes in the winter or oranges in the summer. Imported produce can be pricier and sometimes less nutritious due to longer storage and travel time. Someone has to pay the price of travel and storage and that would be you.

3. Make your own protein/granola/energy bars.

Most recipes available online are easy to follow and most bars freeze well. Most recipes use products that are available at home or can be found in any superstore. Keep a stash in the freezer for you to grab & go.

4. Try frozen veggies & fruits.

There are times throughout the year where the variety of fresh produce is small, or what is available is pricey. Frozen options can often be as nutritious as fresh, and it is better to choose frozen than to not have any fruits and veggies at all.

5. Go for daily walks.

Whether it is a long stroll or a short fast walk, with or without added weights, the benefits of walking are frequently underestimated. It is a great exercise, can be adjusted to any fitness level and can be done by most people year-round.

6. Reduce intake of expensive meats.

Instead of having beef, chicken, turkey or fish daily, consider replacing a few meals per week with a vegetarian option such as lentils and beans dishes, eggs or tofu.

7. At-home cosmetics.

Consider using good quality olive oil or coconut oil to replace some cosmetic products such as hair masks, makeup removers, lip balm and lotions. Often these oils are available at home and are a much cheaper and healthier option than chemically-heavy cosmetics.

8. Double up on your favourite dishes.

When cooking your own meal, consider doubling a recipe to freeze and enjoy later. It will save you time and effort and maybe even help you refrain from ordering take-out.

9. Online exercises library.

Search online for some safe, at-home exercises that require no special equipment or conditions, and use body weight and a small space. There are many completely free options out there that can fit any style and fitness level.

10. Relax for free.

Instead of going to an expensive spa or for pricey massages, try relaxation methods at home, such as meditation, listening to calming music, stretching and/or breathing techniques.

Categories Dining, Recipes

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
It’s a chilly evening, and you are craving a super quick, easy-to-make dish that will satisfy your hunger, nourish you and, most importantly, be delicious. I give you one of my favourite soups to make and eat. It’s high in fibre, satisfying, delicious and super-quick to prepare. Plus it’s vegetarian!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Equipment

  • A medium-sized pot
  • A sharp knife
  • Serving bowls

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 litre carrot juice or water
  • ½ cup red lentils thoroughly washed and drained of access water
  • Optional your favourite chopped herbs

Instructions
 

  • In a pot, heat olive oil. Add the onion and saute until the onion turns translucent. Add garlic, celery, ginger and carrots. Cook until softens.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes until lentils are soft.
  • If the soup is too thick, add some more carrot juice or water.
  • Adjust spices to taste.
  • To serve, place the desired amount in a serving bowl and garnish with your favourite herbs, such as cilantro, basil, parsley, dill or mint.

Notes

For a spicier version, while mixing in the spices add some chilli flakes or a bit of chilli pepper powder.
The quantities here are for about 4 servings. You can double all ingredients to have more as this soup is great the next day too.
Categories Recipes, Snacking

Scrumptious Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Scrumptious Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I love a fruit & chocolate combo. Maybe it is the different flavours and textures that complement each other or because I feel chocolate makes everything better. So I took some ripe bananas I had on the counter and combined them with some rich cocoa powder into these gorgeous, soft, chocolaty muffins. With whole wheat flour for extra fibre and some protein powder for a more filling treat, these muffins will keep you fuller for longer. Plus, all ingredients go into one bowl to save on dirty dishes and work. In about 45 minutes from now, you could bite into your new favourite muffin.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • 12-muffin baking tray
  • Parchment paper baking cups

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ripe, large bananas peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder optional
  • Dark chocolate chips optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  • Line a muffin baking tray with parchment paper baking cups. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl mash the bananas with a fork.
  • Add to the mashed bananas the sugar, eggs, oil and cocoa powder and mix with the fork until combined.
  • Add to the mixture flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add chocolate protein powder if using. Mix with the fork until well combined. Overmixing can decrease fluffiness.
  • Fill each baking cup with the chocolate mixture to reach ⅔ of its height. Top with some chocolate chips, if using.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out almost dry with a few crumbs attached, and the muffins’ top is a bit bouncy.
  • Let cool in the baking tray for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring the muffins onto a cooling rack.

Notes

These muffins freeze well. To freeze, muffins should be completely cooled to room temperature and kept frozen in an air-tight container.
Categories Recipes, Sipping - Warm

Naturally sweetened hot chocolate with spices

Naturally sweetened hot chocolate with spices

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Hot chocolate goes together with cold nights, a cozy blanket and a good book, Christmas time etc. The store-bought version may be full of sugars and additives, so here is a healthier, nourishing and satisfying version.
The spices listed can be omitted or personalized based on your preferences. The use of dates to sweeten this hot chocolate provides many benefits. Dates are a good source of iron, magnesium, fibre, vitamin B6 and potassium.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 mins

Equipment

  • A small pot
  • Blender with a lid
  • Your favourite mug

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup of preferred milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 3-4 Medjool dates pitted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • A pinch of ginger powder and grated nutmeg optional

Optional

  • Whipped cream dairy or plant-based
  • Grated dark chocolate regular or vegan
  • 1 cinnamon stick for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place the pitted dates in a small bowl and top with about ½ cup of boiling water. Set aside.
  • In a small pot, place your milk of choice and heat until small bubbles form on the surface. Remove from heat and carefully pour into your blender.
  • Drain the dates and add to the blender. Add the cocoa and spices.
  • Start blending on a low and carefully increase speed to allow all ingredients to blend and for the mixture to be smooth.
  • Carefully pour into a mug.
  • To serve, garnish with whipping cream and a cinnamon stick, top with grated dark chocolate, sprinkle some cinnamon powder.

Notes

*This beverage can be made dairy or plant-based. You can increase or decrease the number of dates used to adjust the sweetness to your preference.
Categories Dining, Recipes, Snacking

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
As a mother to two athletic boys and as an active person myself, I had to find creative ways to incorporate more protein in each meal. Here is an easy way to turn a breakfast favourite into a high-protein meal that will keep anyone feeling fuller for longer. You can make these pancakes gluten-free if you ensure the ingredients provided are GF such as the oats and the baking powder.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 39 mins

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender
  • Frying pan
  • Small ladle
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups large oats (GF if preferred)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup water or milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (GF if preferred)
  • Coconut oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Place oats in a food processor or blender and process until the texture resembles sand.
  • Peel the bananas and chop them into bite-size pieces. Add to the processed oats.
  • Add the eggs, yogurt, water or milk, honey or maple, and salt and blend until smooth.
  • Add the baking powder and blend for another 20 seconds. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mixture should be slightly runny and not too thick. Add more liquid if necessary.
  • Heat a large flat frying pan or a pancake pan on medium-high heat. Place a teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan and let it melt. With a heat-proof baking brush, spread the oil to cover the cooking surface of the pan.
  • With the ladle, place the desired amount of pancake mixture and fry until a few small bubbles form at the top of the pancake, and the bottom is golden-brown. Flip the pancake and fry for another minute on the other side.
  • Place the cooked pancakes on a dish and cover them with tin foil to keep warm while the other pancakes are being cooked.
  • Repeat the frying process with the rest of the mixture.

Notes

These pancakes are more on the neutral side - not sweet or salty, so any toppings of your choice would work well. Here are some options:
Maple syrup, honey, Blueberry sauce, whipped ricotta, nut butter, chocolate sauce, cocoa nibs, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or coconut flakes.
Categories Dining, Recipes

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I hereby give you your new go-to summer salad. Seriously, it doesn’t get better than this. This salad truly has it all - it’s filling, crunchy, satisfying and colourful. For lunch or as a side for dinner, you pick!
This vegetarian salad provides a nice balance between healthy carbs, fats and protein. It is high in fibre, good nutrients, and the whole family can enjoy it.
Bonus: If you don’t have a certain vegetable, just swap it with whatever you have in the fridge.
Prep Time 20 mins

Equipment

  • Sharp knife
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup chilled, cooked grain of choice: quinoa, whole-wheat couscous or bulgur
  • ½ can pre-cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cubed
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cubed
  • ½ cup fresh peas
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • Black olives pitted and halved, optional
  • Dried cranberries or raisins optional for some sweetness

Dressing

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Begin with preparing the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, close with a lid and shake until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, place the chilled grain of choice, chickpeas, bell peppers, carrot, tomatoes, fresh peas and parsley.
  • With a tablespoon, mix all ingredients. If adding black olives, cranberries or raisins, add them now and mix.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to set.