‘Tis the Season to Eat Comfort Food

‘Tis the Season to Eat Comfort Food

With summer having left the building, (although not that many of us heard it knock in the first place), it is now officially the season of comforting food. Autumn combines grey skies and plentiful food supplies and it’s a great time for a whole range of warm, filling comforting recipes. Not traditionally known for its focus on diet friendly cooking, autumn is a time for stocking up our cupboards and our bodies. In the darker, colder months we all need to keep our energy levels up and while it’s important to eat healthily at all times of the year, this time of year can provide an excuse or two for adding a few extra calories to our plates. As long as you keep an eye on those portion sizes, autumn is a good time to bring into play the old say ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’!

Smashing Mash

For perfect mash every time all you need is a little milk and butter, which does sound a little fattening! It probably is, but a little is the key word here. Once you’ve softened your potatoes mash them with a dash of milk and a knob of butter, plus salt and pepper to taste. Give a final blitz with a whisk to create the perfect, filling, tasty and comfort-food mix. If you really don’t care about the calories add cheese to create cheesy mash.

Perfect Pie

Chicken pie is not only a classic food it’s a great make-do-and-mend dish; it often features as Monday’s Tea, as a way to make Sunday’s leftovers earn their keep. If you’re splashing out on a chicken especially for the pie you’ll need a medium sized one. If you’re being sensible and efficient get a big one for Sunday and don’t let the kids see where you’ve hidden the leftovers. The chicken should be combined with some onions that have been fried off, steamed vegetables, carrots and/or leftover vegetables from the Sunday roast are a great idea. Pastry, unless you’re a die-hard cook, can be bought and rolled out but the classic white sauce should be home-made. Two ounces of butter, two of plain flour and half a pint of milk should be enough to make a good quantity. Place chicken, veg and sauce into your pastry casing, top with more pastry and bake for around twenty five minutes.

Pancake-tastic Breakfasts

A comforting winter addition to the breakfast table is the home-made pancake. Obviously we’re not talking the Monday-Friday breakfast table here. Although simple to make pancakes fall under the “faffy” section in most peoples’ minds, with fairly good reason. For a warming winter twist, add a dash of ginger to the recipe, which adds an unexpected kick. Essential for happy families and a messy kitchen is a good smothering of maple syrup. Again, not exactly calorie counting friendly, but Monday-Friday breakfasts are for that; we all deserve a treat at the weekend!

Bonfires and Bangers

With firework displays and outdoor Christmas markets pressing upon us, one great dish for parents faced with not only their own but several lucky friends and neighbours kids to cater for, consider a mass batch of Toad in the Hole. The big advantage to Toad in the Hole is that it’s not exactly a high-octane cooking event. For large batches it’s best to use several baking trays. The batter recipe is basically the same as Yorkshire pudding batter and can be found easily online. For large quantities use 5 eggs per tray and scale up the other ingredients to match. Ten sausages should hopefully be enough per tray, and once the batter is ready and the oven heated to around 220C it takes no more than 30 minutes to cook. Onion gravy is a welcome addition in most cases. It may be calorie filled and cheap but it is very definitely cheerful!

All of these dishes contain a healthy dose of dairy products, particularly milk, which is a great source of calcium and vitamins for growing bodies. While not exactly low on calories skimmed milk and healthier butter alternatives can be added, without compromising on taste or essential goodness. Dairy products, carbohydrates and protein filled pies may not sound exactly good for your diet, but at this time of year a little comfort food can help your body to build your immune system and keep you healthy.

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Why You Should Substitute White Foods for Whole Grain

With everyone being more nutritionally conscious nowadays, we decided to take a look at why more and more people are swapping white refined flour for wholegrain.

White Flour 

Everything that we remember as a child from buttery toast to our birthday cakes and muffins have always been made with white flour. In fact as adults when we taste these tastes again it’s just like being kids again. (Unless we had particularly nutritionally enlightened parents!) It’s no wonder that we have an addiction almost to these white flour goods but did you know how damaging these foods are to our delicate systems?

The thing with white / all purpose / enriched flour is that our bodies process it like sugar. Enriched sounds lovely but in reality the flour actually gets completely stripped of all its goodness during this process. Yes white bread and related products taste amazing but the actual flour is created by stripping the most nutritious parts of the wheat berry. In fact this is the only starch left in white flour. Not good!

 White flour and digestion

White flour is just no good for your digestion. The starch is digested mega quickly thus causing a spike in insulin production. This then throws your whole body out of balance and can create a whole host of problems. In fact with the constant fluctuation of blood sugar which manifests through eating white flour products you could be potentially setting yourself up for diabetes and weight problems too!

Whole Grain 

Whole grain and whole wheat flour is so much better for you than its white counterpart. This is due to the fact that whole wheat flour uses the whole wheat berry. This means that you are intaking all the goodness – the bran, the starch and the germ. When you eat the whole berry, there are no peaks and / or lows in insulin levels and your body stays healthy and balanced. Another great aspect of eating in this way is that you will stay full for longer than you would if you were eating white bread! No more rumbling tummies in the middle of the afternoon!

Whole grain is great for you if you have stomach and digestion difficulties and there are even studies to say that there is a link between whole grain and the prevention of cancer of the colon. When you buy your products always look for the word, “whole”. That way you know that you are getting the best; there are many brown products which don’t use the entire wheat berry and won’t be as good for you as “whole” products.

It might be hard in the first few months to wean your family, especially the youngsters off white bread and white flour products but over time it can be done. A trick is to make a half and half sandwich, half white bread and half whole grain, this will give your kids time to get used to the different taste and texture. It’s worth making the change for the health of both you and your family.


Eating whole grain foods instead of white foods is a great way to ensure your general nutrition levels remain healthy consistently.

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Eating Clean – The Lifestyle for Your Health!

You may have heard of the concept of eating clean but be unsure as to what exactly this process involves.  To put it simply, clean eating is when you eat food that is as close as possible to its natural state.  Of course this isn’t always possible, but the core idea behind it is to consume natural and wholesome foods.  While there is certainly a lot of talk of the Eat Clean Diet, it is important to understand that it is not intended to be a diet per say.  Rather, eating clean is a lifestyle that should never end.

A key component to this idea is to eat five or six times each day.  Lean protein foods, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts are the core of a clean diet.  Balance is important and each time you have a meal or snack both protein and carbohydrates should be present.  Water is key, and you should drink at least two liters daily.

In order to be successful, you will need to take the time to learn how to read labels.  Ingredient lists should be as short as possible and you should avoid anything that has ingredients that you don’t recognize.  Avoid white flour, sugar, white bread and white pasta.  Instead, choose whole wheat or whole grain versions.  Quinoa pasta and rice pasta are delicious healthy alternatives to highly refined options.  You will also want to stay away from foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats.

You may think that fat is something you will have to stay away from but actually you will want to make sure you get enough of the right kinds of fats each day.  Essential fatty acids are a key component to your health, as are fats from sources like avocados, olives and nuts.

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