Healthy Alternatives to Help You Bloom This Season
As Spring is the season of renewal and growth, there seems to be no better time than now to re-vamp your eating habits.
During the chilly winter months it feels almost impossible to not fall into a comfort food frenzy (I am all too familiar with this habit). If you’ve emerged from hibernation feeling sluggish and regretful , it might be a good time to take a fresh look at what you eat and give those eating habits a good spring clean.
But “spring-cleaning” doesn’t have to mean calorie restriction and rumbling stomachs. Several studies have shown that by sticking to a wholesome, nutritious diet and keeping processed foods, meat and dairy to a minimum, you will feel 100 times better. Here’s a few recipe ideas which I have tried and enjoyed to get you started:
The Spring Time Smoothie
I adore the contrast of the sweet and spicy flavours in this smoothie. Not only does it taste refreshing and have a wonderfully vibrant colour, it’s also packed full of health benefits! The vitamins C and A in this smoothie support your immune system, whilst the folate works to keep you energised and alert. The fibre reduces cholesterol levels, prevents blood sugar spikes and helps you stay fuller for longer. Last, but definitely not least, the turmeric is famous for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong, natural antioxidant. All that goodness just from one smoothie, who would have thought it!
So how do you make it? Simply blend all these ingredients together and you’re good to go:
- 2 peeled oranges
- 2 handfuls of frozen mango
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 250 ml oat milk -you can vary this slightly, depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be.
- pinch of cayenne pepper
The ‘Buddha bowl’ is a current trend that I’ve seen popping up all over Instagram and Twitter. It’s a hearty, filling bowl of greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans and a healthy grain. They’re often topped with nuts, seeds and dressings for added texture and flavour. I couldn’t resist trying one out for myself! I love the crunch of the spicy chickpeas combined with the creamy avocado. The zesty lemon in the sauce gives it a tangy kick. Why not try it for yourself?
For two portions you will need:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 1 400g can cooked chickpeas
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp oregano
For the dressing:
- 1 red pepper
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Handful of chopped fresh chives
- Two handfuls of mixed greens (I used spinach and kale)
- 1 avocado
- Seeds of choice to garnish (sesame or sunflower seeds work well)
How to make this bowl of goodness:
Preheat the oven to 200c
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add in the quinoa. Simmer this for about 15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed, then remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes so any excess water is absorbed.
In a bowl, mix together the drained chickpeas with the oil and spices until all the chickpeas are coated.
Place grease proof paper on a baking tray and bake the chickpeas on this for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool.
To make the dressing, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
Lastly, create your Buddha bowls by assembling the greens, quinoa, chickpeas and avocado in your favourite pretty bowls and then finish them off by garnishing them with the red pepper sauce and seeds. Lovely!
No-Bake Fruit & Nut Granola bars
I couldn’t believe how wonderfully tasty these were. In fact, my family demolished them within an hour of me making them!! They’re quick, simple and faff-free to make. With a gorgeously sweet and nutty flavour, they’re also packed full of nutrients! The sunflower seeds contain bone-strengthening minerals, as well as Magnesium and Copper, which your body needs to stay strong. The oats are rich in antioxidants, and contain a powerful soluble fibre. The various nuts used are high in protein, omega-3s, and the energy boosting B and E vitamins. To put it simply, this snack is sweet, satisfying, and a much better option than a chocolate bar. Why not give them a go? Your body will thank you.
(The following recipe makes around 20 bars)
- 4 tbs Almond butter
- 5 tbs Agave nectar
- 200g dairy free chocolate buttons
- 10 Dates
- 150g chopped nuts of choice (I used almonds and walnuts)
- 200g seeds of choice (I used sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds)
- 250g oats
- Water for soaking the dates
To make this scrumptious spring time snack:
- Pit the dates and soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes
- Drain the dates and cut them into small pieces
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, leaving some chocolate aside.
- Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into a rectangular baking tray
- Melt the chocolate carefully on a low heat in the microwave, taking care not to burn it. Drizzle it generously over the top of the mixture.
- Place in freezer for 25 minutes
- Turn it out carefully onto a chopping board
- Using a sharp knife, cut it into bars
I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with these recipes. I love finding new things to try which are healthy but fun and quick to make, and these certainly tick all those boxes! Why not give them a try this spring to help you revitalise and reenergise after the long winter months? Happy cooking 🙂