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5 quick healthy lunches for busy mums (and people!)

If there is one meal that I am asked about the most in my nutrition consultations it’s lunch. Everyone needs my quick healthy lunches for busy mums! This seems to be the meal that busy people struggle with the most. Whether you are a mum with other small mouths to feed at lunchtime, or you’re working from home, or working in an office, somehow lunch is a tricky time of day. Unless you’re being taken to The Savoy in which case it’s a marvellous affair, but sadly those days are long gone. *Sigh*

Anyway. By lunchtime you are generally pretty hungry and you want something to not only fill you up, but to keep you going for the rest of the afternoon. It has to be quick and easy to prepare and, if you’re like me (which I hope you are since you’re reading my blog) it has to be packed full of nutrients! 

And yet the importance of this meal is often completely underestimated. If you get lunch wrong, you’ll be on the coffees and cakes by 3pm. A...

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil and Spinach Curry

This hearty and warming butternut squash, lentil and spinach curry was one of those dishes that came about from having next to nothing in the fridge and a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer. I have just discovered frozen spinach (no, really), and I am using it in everything at the moment from soups to curries to smoothies. The days of giant bags of spinach taking up my whole fridge and always going off too early may well be over!

I just love easy, midweek one-pot suppers, especially if there is enough for lunch the next day as well. Just knowing that I haven’t got to think about what to make for lunch in between school pick-ups, swimming lessons, nutrition consultations and keeping up with my blog is a big weight off my mind. I am just not a ‘throw together a ham sandwich’ kinda gal. In order to avoid the mid-afternoon tea and cake slump, lunch has to be hearty!

This butternut squash, lentil and spinach curry is my idea of a Ready, Steady, Cook challenge heaven....

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My top 10 protein snacks for kids

'Mum, can I have a snack?' If you too are regularly plagued by this question, then read on for my top protein snacks for kids.

If I had a penny for the number of times I am asked this in one day, well, I would have lots of pennies. I have a very busy, bright and active six-year old boy who seems to be permanently hungry. No sooner has he finished a meal, than he's asking for a snack. It doesn't seem to matter how much he's eaten at his main meal (which is usually a fair amount), he still wants something else. It's a good job he's at school during the day and asleep at night or he'd be eating constantly.

So, it is a challenge to feed this starving boy the whole time. Even doing what I do for a living, I struggle to always get healthy snacks into him. Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend all my time creating home-made paleo bars. I am a busy mum too! 

I don't deny my kids treats. They eat crisps, chocolates and sweets like other kids. I would prefer it if they...

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Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate and Almond Cake

A gluten-free chocolate and almond cake that is also guilt-free, but still tastes totally decadent? Yes!

I will be the first to put my hand up and say that my forays into gluten-free baking have not always been hugely successful. So I am shamelessly proud of myself for producing this totally delicious Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate and Almond Cake today which was a resounding success. 

The occasion? My husband’s birthday. Why on earth, I hear you cry, would you risk your previous track record in baking on such an important day? Because I’d got it into my head that I wanted to create this cake and he said it was OK if I fluffed it up and I wasn’t allowed to have a tantrum if I did. So there we go, carte blanche for me to crack on with the creation. 

Well it had to be gluten-free, no wheat flour in this house if we’re looking for a guilt-free cake. Ground almonds are a perfect alternative to flour in cakes, as they create a rich flavour and a gooey...

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Green Smoothies

detox Jan 19, 2015

January – I realise that green smoothies are not technically one food, but several foods blended together, however I’m completely in love with them at the moment and I want you to be too.

I was obviously a very good girl last year because Santa bought me a Nutribullet for Christmas. I did already have a blender, and a juicer, but the Nutribullet claims to be neither a blender nor or a juicer but an ‘extractor’ which is clearly completely different! Don’t juice it! Don’t blend it! Extract it! 

Ok! 

You can of course make green smoothies in a normal blender so don’t be put off if you don’t have a Nutribullet (although you are allowed to be extremely envious).

Since I have been drinking a green smoothie on a daily basis, I’ve noticed that I have more energy, my belt is back to its pre-Christmas notch, and my skin feels a lot clearer. I haven’t really changed anything else, just added in a green smoothie every...

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Cleansing Detox Soup

So it's detox season - that's come around again hasn't it? And what better way to celebrate (?) than with this hearty warming Cleansing Detox Soup. I'm just not very good at being hungry so whilst I agree that January is a good time to take stock of your dietary goals, I'm not prepared to starve myself doing it!

There are lots and lots of detox plans doing the rounds at the moment, from full-on juices cleanses, to quitting sugar, to dry January and more. However you choose to take a break from the foods and drinks that contribute to symptoms of sluggishness, fatigue, headaches, bloating etc, do make sure you include plenty of cleansing foods to help your body feel the best it possibly can.

This simple soup packs a real punch in both the flavour and the detoxifying departments, combining a powerful blend of vegetables and herbs which give the liver a little nudge in the right direction. It's also wonderfully hydrating and balancing for the kidneys which could well be...

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Gluten Free Crispy Duck and Hoisin Sauce

By some act of miraculous fate this incredible recipe for Gluten Free Crispy Duck and Hoisin Sauce found its way into my life courtesy of the very clever Natural Chef Ceri Jones and her blog Natural Kitchen Adventures.

In my previous life as a slightly more unhealthy version of my current self, my go-to take-away/dirty meal out of choice would always be a Chinese. And what is a Chinese without Crispy Duck and Pancakes? Not a Chinese I tell you! Even when I was a teenage vegetarian, I would make an exception for Crispy Duck (and spaghetti bolognese on the odd occasion – I was a pretty crap vegetarian). And then sometime in my late teens/early 20s I discovered that I was very sensitive to MSG and it gave me palpitations. Disaster! No more Chinese! Until I found a few restaurants that served MSG-free food and was reunited with my favourite dish again.

However, more recently, since the discovery of my gluten intolerance, Chinese food has been completely off limits altogether as it...

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Quick lunch: Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad

You all know that I love a salad but at this time of year I sometimes fancy something a bit more warming at lunchtime. This warm kale and quinoa salad does just the trick and takes less than 15 minutes to make. If you want to be super lazy, you can even use ready cooked quinoa which is a great staple to have in the food cupboard.

When I’m feeling the need for some vegan or vegetarian inspiration I always turn to Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Her book is packed full of incredible plant-based recipes and tons of advice on following a really clean vegan lifestyle. Not that veganism is for everyone, and nor should it be, but it’s an extremely healthy way of eating so even if you only incorporate one vegan meal into your life every few days, your body will thank you for it.

Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient and can be used in place of rice, couscous or pasta and adapted to any flavour. Just make sure you rinse it before cooking it. The best nutritional...

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Easy Midweek Supper: Lemon and Zatar Chicken with Quinoa

This supper was one of those accidental meals up-cycled from leftovers of the kids’ tea. I love doing this and I do try and create more than one meal out of a single ingredient (in this case, chicken) as much as possible.

‘Up-cycling’ is one of the mainstays of The Fairy Food Mother’s philosophy on making life easier for mums.

We don’t always eat at the same time as our kids, and we don’t always want to eat the same meal as them. Nor do we want to be a slave to our kitchens, churning out meal after meal like a factory line or a fast food restaurant.

So why not use their leftovers and make them into a more grown-up meal for yourself later on?

I often buy chicken leg and thigh portions as these are cheaper than breast, especially when buying organic (which I highly recommend for chicken), and actually more tasty. I roasted the chicken portions and the children had drumsticks with noodles and vegetables for supper. But I fancied something a...

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Grain-free, Gluten-free Chocolate, Almond & Coconut Paleo Bars

Paleo Bars

These sound rather delicious don’t they? Well, they are! There are lots of different ‘paleo bars’ out there at the moment, which are so easy to make at home and are a great snack, pre or post exercise boost, or even an on-the-go breakfast. But don’t be fooled by the fancy title. They are suitable for everyone –  not just gluten/grain free people – even hungry husbands who’ve just got home from work!

I am forever looking for snacks for both myself and the kids (and the husband) that are not totally laden with sugar and unhealthy fats – and are also gluten free. Nakd bars do a pretty good job but they are fairly pricey, and most other gluten free granola bars/snack bars are just loaded with sugar and other ingredients like ‘glucose syrup’, ‘rice syrup’, ‘brown rice syrup’, ‘evaporated cane juice’ which are basically fancy-pants words for…you guessed...

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