simple braised Puy lentils

In an effort to simplify good home cooked family food without compromising on taste or essential nutrients, having a few recipes for versatile delicious sides is key. This is a dish I used to make with my grand mother as a child in France. She used to serve it with Toulouse sausages, or roast chicken. Should you have leftovers( I doubt it unless you save yourself a portion) I have found that cold the next day it makes a delicious salad, topped with crumbled feta.

weekly make aheads

Making life easier in the kitchen is what we are all about. There are several items that we make on a regular basis so that we always have something tasty to snack on or reach for to pull a meal together. They are a bit like the backbone to our cooking. Helping us to speed things up in the kitchen when we are busy. You could set aside some time each week to make these, say a Sunday afternoon when things are less busy. Or make them throughout the week, whatever suits you. If you want to make sure you always have a well stocked kitchen to assist with getting ahead then do check out our blog post stocking a healthy kitchen.

stocking your healthy kitchen

Changing your habits can be hard and making healthy choices when your kitchen isn’t stocked can be very hard. If your kitchen is well stocked with healthy ingredients then you will find is much easier to rustle up healthy dishes. Our tips below will make sure that your kitchen is stocked with all you need.

stuffed butternut squash

This is a perfect dish when you want a vegetarian meal that looks a bit special. Can easily be doubled to provide a meal for four if needed. It’s very easy to make, but still looks impressive. I am always looking for ways to include more mushrooms in my diet as they are so highly nutritious for us. See the tip below for all the benefits.

Chai, cherry & almond cookies

Cookies are part of life as a foodie…They are also most kids favourites so let’s enjoy them for what they are… a fab treat. They sometimes get a bad reputation but it doesn’t have to be that way. Dried fruits also get a bad rep but as long as they are used in moderation and are just that, fruits, no additives, no added sugar, just fruit, they are delicious and count towards your portions. These oat cookies went down a storm in my house.

squash & cauliflower korma masala

More and more foodies show an interest in vegetarian options, so as big advocates of including lots of vegetables in our daily diets we like to ensure that we always add lots of recipes to our offering. A veggie curry is so versatile. Served on its own, this squash and cauliflower curry is heartwarmingly delicious. For a more filling meal, add chicken or serve with brown rice or your choice of whole grains.

Smokey winter one-pot

This recipe is for all of you out there with foodie families and those who enjoy entertaining! We all need those One-Pot recipes in our repertoire. Simple, yet delicious heart warming, ideal to prep in advance and…packed full of vegetables and all round goodness. Leave the chorizo out for a vegetarian option, serve with roast chicken or slow roast lamb for a winter’s cosy Sunday lunch.

sweet potato & lentil soup

This chunky soup is really hearty and could probably fall into the stew category! If you need warming up then this will work. Despite the spices it’s kid-friendly too - my daughter enjoys it although as she prefers a smooth soup I blitz all of hers up rather than leaving half chunky. The cooking of this soup is very hands off and easy to rustle up for a quick lunch. I sometimes like to add a dark green leafy veg such as chard, kale or spinach to the soup and I just stir this in at the end to wilt.

carrot, parsnip & ginger soup

Soups are perfect for warming you up during the Autumn and Winter months. They are also a great way of boosting vegetable intake into any reluctant vegetable eater! This soup is very child-friendly with naturally sweet root vegetables. This soup is ideal if you are suffering from a cold or want to boost your immunity. The garlic and ginger are both anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.

The real superheroes

As the health industry continues to boom, there are more and more products claiming to make you healthier and it’s easy to be seduced into thinking that taking a daily ‘superfood’ will help to make you healthier. However if you are sedentary and consume a typical Western diet that is high in saturated fat and low in fibre and phytonutrients then a glass of wheatgrass a day will not protect you from cancer or cardiovascular problems. 

Are you riding the blood sugar rollercoaster?

We all know that sugar is bad for us and does us no favours in our quest to being healthy. However it’s not just sugar in tea and coffee or fizzy drinks that is affecting our blood sugar levels. White bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and fruit juice all convert to sugar within a few minutes of being eaten. Now you might think this is not a problem and you exercise loads so you’ll burn it off right? Unfortunately it’s not as easy as this. If you suffer from mood swings or find yourself becoming ‘hangry’, have low energy or weight that gathers around your belly then you might feel much better by cutting back on the sugar and white refined carbohydrates.

Lemon & ginger energy snack

Not another snack requiring NO BAKING… said no-one ever! Whenever we are invited to talk at an event, be it a wellness event, nutrition talk or workshop at a school it seems most families struggle with choosing healthy snacks. They are not always necessary or even recommended, but when trying to manage a busy schedule and aspiring to a healthier regime it is really important to have the right balance of nutritious and flavoursome ingredients to keep us going. These snacks taste just like lemon drizzle cake!

slow cooked moroccan lamb

One of the difficult things about a busy hectic family life is managing time and meal planning. That's where your AGA or equivalent or like me a “Crockpot” slow-cooker is a saviour several times a week. This shoulder of lamb is quick and easy to prepare first thing in the morning and will welcome you in the evening with warming spiced aromas and a healthy hearty family meal ready to serve, and hopefully leftovers for lunch the next day.

Boosting your immunity

As the seasons change and the nights draw in it’s the return of the coughs and colds. I always find it’s when the children go back to school after the summer holidays that colds start to make a reappearance. It always amazes me just how quickly someone in the class gets a cold and passes the germs around.

plum & berry chia compote

Who would say no to a better healthier breakfast, naturally sweet, nothing processed and so nourishing? Let’s all say yes and add this amazing fruit compote or jam. only 5 minute to prep and it will fill your kitchen with the sweet aromas or an old fashioned jam making kitchen! It is THE all round perfect breakfast partner to your overnight oats, porridge, or yoghurt topped up with nuts and seeds! Great with homemade waffles too!

mushroom, spinach & coconut curry

While Val, the French half of The Health Boost is all about blue skies, hot sun and Mediterranean flavours, I am a huge fan of Autumn. Cosy jumpers, snuggling under a blanket, log fires and slow cooks, stews and spicy curry. Well to me this wild mushroom curry sums up those Autumn flavours. So easy to make and totally delicious. Eating out of a large bowl in front of a log fire while wearing a cosy jumper is optional! While most of our recipes are suitable for families my children won’t even touch mushrooms so this only serves 2.

kitchen garden soup

Including lots of green in our diet is always top of our list. Soups along with curries are a perfect way to up the daily portions with reluctant eaters. The addition of ground cumin to this otherwise simple soup gives it that extra warmth and comforting quality. The apple and peas work wonderfully to balance out the strong Cavalo Nero and celery flavours.

apple & cinnamon bread

With autumn (fall) upon us as I write, we all suffer a little more urge for comfort foods. This apple bread is perfect for using up all the apple around at this time. It is gluten free and contains not other sugar than what the apples contain. Delicious served with a berry fruit compote and a dollop of nut butter.

a week of healthy snacks

Kat and I are not really snackers, but with 5 children between us and busy schedules we know that they are often a necessity to keep us all going, mums and children alike. However, with so many supermarkets and health shops increasing their range of so called "healthier option" snacks, it is easy to get confused with the often misleading claim on the front of the packets.The nutritional labels at the back are so often just as confusing. The solution to ensure you know exactly what you eat? Make your own snacks and get the kids involved with flavours. Many of the snack bars sold in the supermarkets or health shops as "healthy" are often still very high in sugar due to the dried fruit content or sugar alternatives used. We have so many great options on the website, baked snacks, raw options, all gluten free and mostly nut-free for a school policy compliant lunch box. We believe that a good nourishing snack should always include protein.