These oaty bars are unbelievably easy to make and perfect for pack-ups or snacks.
The oats provide fibre and B-vitamins, while the apricots are a valuable source of plant-based iron and beta-carotene. Nuts and seeds are packed with vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and fibre; and if you opt for good quality dark chocolate you’ll be getting a bit more magnesium and some antioxidant polyphenols!
You will need:
8-10 dried apricots (opt for unsulphured apricots if you have sulphite sensitivities)
50g oats / gluten-free oats
30g of chopped mixed nuts and seeds
30g dark or white chocolate
A greased and lined baking sheet
Oven set to 180*c
Here’s how to make them…
Soak the apricots in water for at least 3hrs until soft. Drain, and puree them in a blender.
Put the oats in a saucepan with the apricot puree, 50ml water, and the chopped mixed nuts and seeds, mix them well and gently heat for a few minutes until the mixture is soft and mushy.
Grease and line a baking sheet. Press the mixture evenly onto the sheet – it shouldn’t be too thick, about 1-1.5cms is about right.
Bake in the oven at 180*c for around 15mins, or until firmly set.
Remove from the oven and carve into fingers before it cools. One cooled, remove from the tray and set onto a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the oat & apricot fingers. Allow the chocolate to set (pop the fingers in the fridge to speed this bit up), then store them in an airtight tin.
Resilience is our ability to bounce back and keep going even during the most challenging times. Building resilience doesn’t mean never stopping to rest or take time out; quite the opposite. It means being aware of your capacity to cope, and taking steps to support this.
We can build our resilience by establishing and nuturing some simple nutrition and lifestyle habits.
Positive habits include:
– Making good food choices; limiting refined sugary foods, including good quality protein and healthy fats, getting those 5 colourful veggies + 2 fruits per day, reducing caffeine and drinking plenty of water…you know the drill!
Use this plate diagram to create balanced meals.
Not every meal will fit the template, but as a general rule aim to cover half your plate with colourful veggies and leafy greens, and divide the other half equally between wholegrains/root veg, and good quality sources of protein.
– Being protective about rest & relaxation time and scheduling in downtime every day. It’s so easy to end up staring at the TV or scrolling Facebook at the end of a busy day. But this isn’t relaxation time; your brain is busy processing all the information coming at it through the TV or internet. To give your mind a break try: – relaxing in a warm Epsom salt bath – listening to your favourite tunes – following a guided meditation – or immersing yourself in a good book instead.
– Getting outdoors in the fresh air and natural daylight every day. This may be for a gentle walk / jog / run / outdoor Yoga / Qi Gong – whatever type of movement you enjoy. When possible, get outdoors for at least 30mins before midday. Enjoying natural daylight in the morning helps the brain to register the change in light at dusk and start winding down for sleep.
Nutrition-wise, two key nutrients that support our resilience are vitamin B5 and vitamin C. These two vitamins are used in energy production and manufacture of stress hormones in the adrenal glands. When we’re under a lot of ongoing stress we need to ensure plentiful supplies of these nutrients to support the adrenals.
If you’re feeling the strain of ongoing stress think about which of these tips you can start to implement in your daily routine. Pick one that resonates with you the most, then after a few days of practising it add in another. And do let me know how you get on.
For real bread lovers, giving up the loaf is one of the hardest changes to make when going gluten free. The smell, texture, crust, and crumb are impossible to replicate in gluten free versions, and the results can be disappointing.
So what to eat instead?
Here are 6 interesting and tasty naturally gluten free alternatives to bread…
Sweet potato toast – simple and ever so easy to make. Slice a sweet potato lengthways into 5mm thick slices. Pop them in a toaster or under the grill, and toast until golden and slightly crispy. Top with nut butter, butter, tuna mayonnaise, mashed sardines, poached egg…
Nori sheets bring some sushi flavours to your meal with nori wraps. Nori, like all sea vegetables, is rich in iodine, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, plus several different B-vitamins. It also contains fucans, a type of carbohydrate unique to sea vegetables that has anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting benefits. To use the nori sheets, lay them out flat and top with shredded vegetables, meat or fish, houmous, salad leaves, and maybe some pickles or sauerkraut. Or go full on sushi and make your own sushi rolls!
Socca – also called farinata, this is a simple flatbread made from chickpea (garbanzo) flour, oil, water, and a dash of salt. Add herbs and spices as you wish for extra flavour. There’s recipes available here and here.
Crackers – there’s so many to choose from now; rice ,corn, oat (make sure they are certified gluten free), buckwheat – we need never get bored with crackers again.
Flaxseed muffins – packed with fibre, protein, essential fats, and phytoestrogens, ground flax is your hormone-balancing friend. These muffins are ideal for breakfast or a light, balanced, snack. This recipe is from There Is Life After Wheat
Gluten free scones can be savoury or sweet, as these recipes from Jody Vassallo on the Jamie Oliver blog show. For the savoury version, if pumpkin isn’t in season try using mashed sweet potato or butternut squash instead.
Do you have a favourite gluten free alternative to bread? Let me know in the comments below or over on FB or Twitter!
Gluten-free bread has gained a bit of a reputation for being crumbly and tasteless.
Because of this, many gluten-free home bakers have taken matters into their own hands and created their own delicious recipes.
Step forward Reg. Nutritionist Abby Foreman and her gluten-free seeded bread rolls!
As a Coeliac, Abby knows only too well the pitfalls of gluten-free breads. In the quest for better breads, she’s created these seeded bread rolls packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They can even be batch cooked and frozen. Simply reheat in a warm oven – perfect for when you really need a bread bun with your lunchtime soup!
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp psyllium husks – this is the vital ingredient for making the dough sticky and held together
2 tbsp mixed herbs
2 tbsp whole chia seeds
2 tbsp whole flax seeds
2 tbsp salt
600ml fresh water
Put the quinoa flakes and 1 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processed. Blend into a fine flour. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl with the flour and combine well. Stir in the water, and mix everything together well. Let the mixture sit for an hour to absorb the water.
Preheat the oven to 180 c fan and line a baking tray (or two) with some greaseproof paper. Take a fist full of the dough and shape into a bread roll before placing it on the baking tray.
Bake the rolls for around 45 minutes until golden and crispy on the outside.
The rolls are best eaten when warm. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a couple of months. Simply place the roll in the oven to heat through.
For more recipes from Abby and to find out about her 1-1 consultation services and online packages go to www.afnutrition.co.uk
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