Let’s talk about lunch for a minute

Of all the meals the one that often gets the least amount of planning is lunch, this often means that the options that we tend to gravitate towards are often ones that are convenience based and have a low nutritional density profile. This means that many of us end up feeling a bit flat in the middle of the afternoon looking for a quick pick me up (namely sweet!).




To strengthen the pillar of healthy eating, we need to have strong food parameters in the household that are best if they are decided in advance. If we have wobbly rules around what foods our family should and shouldn’t eat, then we lose our focus on wholesome meals. Our “Just this once” approach morphs into a “Does it really matter?” mentality and pretty soon there is a ripple effect of ill health.


Now is your chance to be a model!

What our children do is often a result of what they see and how that translates into their normal. Be aware that there is enormous power in modelling and that when your children observe you eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, choosing to drink water or eating a nourishing breakfast every day, they will likely follow suit. When you eat well, drink well, exercise and take care of yourself, it’s visible even to their little eyes.


It’s a BIG problem.

With over 50% of the total world population (yes everyone in the world including third world countries) now falling into an obese category. Think about the level of sugar and refined food products that find their way into our pantry. Have a food audit and then check in to see how your are tracking overall, do you have more fresh produce coming into your home that refined food? Simply choosing to have more whole foods based ingredients in your home means that you will tend to eat more of them.


If you fail to plan you plan to fail:

One way to ensure you avoid convenience foods is to plan ahead. Look through cookbooks, make shopping lists and take time to purchase plenty of fresh produce that will see you and your family through a number of meals. Thinking ahead like this ultimately saves time spent shopping for last-minute incidentals. Better still, when there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the house there is also an abundance of healthy snack items available for family members.


MINI VEGETARIAN QUICHES WITH QUINOA BASE

“Using quinoa as a base for these quiches is a fabulous way to reduce your grains—remember quinoa is a seed not a grain. This base gives the quiche a wonderful texture and beautiful taste. Mix and match your fillings and create ready-to-go protein snacks.


INGREDIENTS



Quinoa base:

• 1 tablespoon coconut oil (to grease moulds)

• 4 eggs, beaten

• ¾ cup gluten-free plain flour

• ½ teaspoon of honey

• ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

• 2½ cups quinoa cooked (approx. 1 cup raw)


Filling:

• ½ medium sized onion, finely chopped

• 6 eggs, beaten

• 1½ medium sized zucchinis (courgette), grated

• 1 medium sized carrot, grated

• 1 cup of corn (canned or fresh)

• 1 cup cooked, diced sweet potato (2 cups of uncooked sweet potato)

• 1 cup of rice, oat, millet or quinoa milk

• 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

• 80 grams (3 ounces) parmesan cheese, grated

• ½ teaspoon nutmeg

• 2 teaspoons sea salt

• Pepper to taste


METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

2. Start by making the quinoa pastry base.

3. If using uncooked quinoa, please refer to preparing quinoa and cooking quinoa.

4. Prepare muffin trays by greasing the moulds with melted coconut oil. Fully line each muffin mould with grease proof baking paper, as this is the best way for them, or any pastry, not to stick. Pull a large square of grease proof paper from its container (40cm square), fold in half to a rectangle, and then fold in half again so it is a square. Then fold again and again until you end up with a smaller square of around 10cm x 10cm. Then with a knife, slide between the folds and slice, creating enough square size pieces to fit into each mould.

5. In a medium bowl, place eggs, flour, honey, parmesan and mix together well. When combined, fold in the cooked quinoa. Mix until well combined.

6. Place a tablespoon of the quinoa base in each of the pre-prepared moulds (or if using, spoon into the standalone baking cups). Spread the quinoa base mix around the base and sides of the lined muffin tin or cups and let it sit whilst you make the filling.

7. Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended.

8. Place a generous amount of filling into the lined muffin cups (the greaseproof paper helps to keep the muffins shaped beautifully, so don’t be scared to make the mix a little higher than the actual tray itself as the paper will hold the muffin together).

9. Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 40 minutes until brown, and/or an inserted knife comes out clean.

10.Remove from the oven and allow the quiches to cool a little before removing from the pan.

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