Thursday, 5 March 2015

What's For Dinner?

This is a question that plagues most of us on a daily basis, but I really feel like it has taken over my whole, entire life. I am either making food or thinking about what food I am going to make pretty much every waking minute and I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming about it too! My youngest daughter and I are both trying to follow the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet. This is not as easy as it sounds! I also went sugar-free a year ago and some of the foods allowed on the AIP I don't do so well with, so we are verrrrry limited. However, I'm a sucker for a challenge, so I thought I'd share a little of what we've been eating and how that's going down with the rest of the family!

Scrambled egg with courgette, sweet potato and turkey burger

Everyone I know is trying to eat a little better, cut back here, add in a few healthier foods there. Lunchboxes are a particular concern for a lot of people and there is so much confusion about what constitutes a healthy meal these days that it's impossible to please all the people all the time (especially when they're kids!), but I am not prescriptive and I think each person needs to employ a hearty dose of awareness to their diet and really start to listen to their own bodies to tell them what is working for them and what isn't.

Pesto quinoa with chicken and garlicky green beans

Breakfasts can be super hard for people making the switch as most conventional breakfasts are a gluten-dairy-sugar fest (think cereal with milk, toast with jam, a ham and cheese croissant on the run, pancakes with Nutella…!), so how to begin? Well, most mornings for me start with leftovers. Yep, it's true. It's very weird to start with, but then becomes strangely addictive as you get such a balanced energy boost that lasts a good long way into your day. It's also a terrific way to clear out the fridge!

Fried egg, gut-healing sauerkraut and sweet potato noodles with courgette, celery and avocado

I am completely in love with my spiralizer and make up a batch of courgette/zucchini noodles (courgetti/zoodles) or sweet potato noodles (swoodles?!) once a week to keep in the fridge, ready to chuck into a salad raw or eat lightly sautéed with whatever else I can find, often topped with an egg fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with furikake, always furikake! It makes everything taste special.

Buckwheat breakfast loaf with apricots

And then there are the more traditional breakfast alternatives. I am a huge fan of chia puddings, which I make up about twice a week in a jar large enough for a few portions. They are also great for a wee midday snack with a couple of berries tossed on top or some raw cacao powder stirred through to kill a chocolate craving. My favourite recipe of the moment is from The Healthy Foodie as I am a total coconut addict. And I've had good luck making baked goods, mostly for my daughter, with buckwheat flour (which, as part of the rhubarb family, is not "wheat" at all!). Check out this recipe for Sticky Date Loaf from the amazing Alice Nicholls over at The Whole Daily.

Coconut chia pudding with cinnamon and blueberries

Quinoa is also super useful as a filling, high-protein, grain replacement. I batch cook this as well so that I always have some to hand for a quick meal. I usually prefer it as a savoury, but it also works well heated gently with some coconut milk and then any of the toppings you prefer for oatmeal. And I always, always make a smoothie in my Nutribullet for my husband and I to share. Using the Nutribullet  is also a great way to add in some healthy extras, tailored to your own needs (think hemp protein, maca, flaxseed, spirulina, collagen…), and has also put an end to the problem of slimy, unidentifiable remnants in the vegetable drawer. If it needs eating up, in it goes…!

Spinach, celery, apple, turmeric, grapefruit, frozen pineapple and coconut water

To save this post becoming ridiculously long (frankly, I could go on about food forever!), I will stop here, but keep an eye out for shorter, more specific posts over the upcoming weeks with ideas and recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers. P.S. An unexpected bonus to changing the way I eat was the loss of an entire stone (14lbs) without even trying… if nothing else, that has to be good incentive for giving it a go!

quinoa porridge with cinnamon, coconut milk, pecans and berries

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