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.

a week of courgette/zucchini recipes

For anyone that grows their own or has family that grows their own vegetables you will be very familiar with how quickly you can suddenly have far too many courgettes (or zucchini as it's known in the States and Australia) to deal with! A couple of years ago I planted for too many courgette plants and I was making everything with courgettes in from cakes to hummus to curries and salads. Well you'll be pleased to know that lots of our recipes contain courgette and here we've compiled them all in one place just for you. The only thing that's missing from the recipes below is a courgette cake - but don't worry we're working on one!!

spiced chard & sweet potato cakes

This recipe came about after a surplus of chard in the vegetable patch that needed using up. I had previously just steamed the chard and used as a side dish, but the family weren't keen on the earthy taste so I needed to be more imaginative. This is the result and it worked. Husband gave it a big thumbs up!

crumble cake

With it's cake bottom and crumble top - this cake is delicious and was a hit with both big and small in the family. They never guessed that it contained a vegetable! It's got sugar in the form of maple syrup - that means it's a treat and not to be consumed everyday. However, if you want a treat - then this is amazing and will satisfy any sweet tooth. 

lemon, honey & oat bars

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! This lemon honey and poppy seed is a classic favourite in our family. 

fat soluble vitamins

If you follow us on Instagram you will know that we recently posted a series called Nutrient Spotlight, where we took each vitamin and mineral in turn and spoke of how it is used in our body, why we need it and any symptoms of deficiency - also most importantly how you can find these nutrients in your food. The series was so popular that we have added them to our blog so you'll be able to access them easily. This week we spotlight the fat soluble vitamins – Vitamins A, D, E and K. It's very important to remember that these vitamins are stored in our body (in the liver) and so it's very easy to reach high and potentially toxic levels.

mint & cashew rack of lamb

At The Health Boost we love our food of course, and we love to keep it simple with few ingredients without comprising on nutrients, quality and flavours. This simple lamb recipe is just that. A handful of ingredients carefully picked, local, fresh and easy to assemble for maximum effect and foodie pleasure.

provencal stuffed courgettes

If you visit Provence in the summer "Petits farcis" are everywhere. My grandma used to make a large saucepan of the sauce and add to a wide variety of mediterranean vegetables including: courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines, artichokes, red and green peppers and onions! How lucky was I growing up always eating such a delicious rainbow? This simple one pot recipe is my take on it. Merci Mamie.

courgette & chickpea salad

In August we are always looking for ways to use up a glut of courgette from the veg patch! This salad recipe is perfect. It's a good mixture of carbohydrates, green vegetables and fat from the avocado and dressing. This stores well in the fridge (without the avocado and dressing) and so can be taken into work for a healthy packed lunch.

harissa baked cod

At the Health Boost we're here to share quick simple and delicious recipes that you can make and enjoy again and again. This cod is packed full of the aromatic flavours of the Rose Harissa and simply baked in parchment paper. It is ready very quickly and can be served on a bed of crushed new potatoes or wild rice and a rainbow of seasonal veggies!

Let's talk about fat

For those of us growing up in the 70s, 80s and 90s we were told that eating a low fat diet was healthy and we switched from high fat butter to margarine, full fat milk to skimmed milk and we stopped drizzling oil and butter on our salads and vegetables. Thankfully those days are now behind us and finally the message that eating low fat is healthy is starting to be replaced by the message that eating healthy fats is good for you. However, I still find there are many people that cling onto eating a low fat diet and have a fear of eating any fat. The idea that eating fat makes us fat was first touted in the 1950s and since this low fat message we have seen a rise in obesity, a rise in dementia-related illnesses and a rise in heart conditions.​​​​​​​ 

broad bean & mint dip

At the Health Boost we believe that the sure way to sustaining healthy eating on a long term basis is to keep it simple. Few ingredients, inspired by the seasons and available locally. This dip is just that and will make the perfect offering with summer drinks, barbecues served with warm flat breads or corn tortillas.  

cherry & almond ice lollies

When temperatures soar and everyone suddenly fancies an ice cream, turn your smoothies into those amazing ice popsicles. The flavour combination is inspired by the gorgeous Kent cherries abundant in July and August, and the memories of the classic British Bakewell tart!

French Dijon dressing

A classic French vinaigrette was one of the first things my mother taught me to make. We always made a big batch to last the week, and it's a custom I still do to this day. This can be made in any quantity, just remember the 3 part olive oil and 1 part acidic rule. The acidic base can be vinegar or lemon juice or a combination of the two. When we were little I also used to add a touch of honey, but with a good quality olive oil I don't think this is necessary any more, but do add if you prefer.

a week of salads

We love salads at The Health Boost and nearly every day will have one for lunch and in the summer for supper too. However there's no limp lettuce and starving ourselves with our salads. The key to a good salad is to get the right balance of protein, healthy fats and some slow release healthy carbohydrates so that you aren't hungry again by 3pm. Every salad must contain a palm-sized amount of protein.

beetroot, lentil & feta salad

I eat a salad nearly every day for lunch and so am always trying to come up with different varieties. This one has been a favourite for a couple of weeks now. The lentils and feta provide a good source of protein and the feta and dressing some healthy fats - meaning that this salad keeps you full for the rest of the afternoon. It can be made in advance and taken into work as a packed lunch. This can be made with any type of lentil - but I particularly love the nutty flavour and firm texture of the dark speckled lentils.

coconut & berry lollies

What child doesn't like a delicious lolly on a hot summer's day? These are perfect cool down treats. We live just around the corner from a strawberry pick your own and these are perfect for using up the berries leftover from an exuberant pick your own session! Even better this lolly is so simple to make that your children can make it themselves.

making sure your holiday is healthy

With holidays looming now is the time to start preparing your body for its annual holiday. We all need some sunlight on our body to help provide our bodies with vitamin D. This important mineral helps to maintain calcium levels in the body and ensure we have healthy bones and teeth. However it doesn’t take too much time to increase our levels and sunscreen is essential to avoid sunburn. When our skin cells are exposed to too much sunlight, UVA and UVB wavelengths, our skin cells experience stress and shut down. This stress can overload our antioxidant nutrient supplies and so it’s important to make sure these are topped up before we head off on our summer holidays. 

strawberry & mint granita

That sweet taste of summer... belongs to the gorgeous strawberry! We simply can't resist them, especially when you grow your own. This granita is so quick and easy to make and very versatile. Perfect to serve and present as a grown-up dessert for your barbecue with friends or equally loved by kids like a healthy slushy refreshing treat. Perfect for batch making for those summer evenings.

is gluten free healthier?

The gluten free aisle in the supermarket is huge, and is growing larger every month. In 2016 the global gluten free market was worth $14.95 billion and is expected to grow at an annual rate of just over 9% every year. This rise in the gluten free market has also seen a rise in people claiming they are eating gluten free without being diagnosed as coeliac or intolerant to gluten. So is eating gluten free healthier for you?