the perfect salad

During the warm spring and summer months we look at salads as a delicious way of packing in the vegetables. However there’s a real difference between a salad that consists of some iceberg lettuce and a piece of tomato and a Health Boost salad. We use salads as a way of packing in lots of nutrients and making them nutrition powerhouses.

buckwheat tabbouleh

I love the lebanese salad tabbouleh and it works brilliantly with buckwheat rather than bulgar wheat. Buckwheat is a gluten free grain despite the name so this salad is a fabulous gluten free alternative to tabbouleh. This might seem a lot of parsley - but tabbouleh is traditionally a parsley salad with a small amount of bulgar wheat. Parsley is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants and so very good for us.

building a perfect smoothie

If you go into a supermarket the array of smoothies you can now buy is overwhelming. We find more and more people are reaching for a smoothie as a healthy choice. However, many of the shop bought smoothies are very high in fruit and contain very small amounts of vegetables. This makes them very sweet and palatable. While this is great for increasing the amount of fruit in one’s diet, it does mean that we often get a blood sugar spike. Without any protein or fat to slow down the absorption you get the same effect as reaching for a sugary drink. A blood sugar spike results in an evitable blood sugar crash a few hours later, which leads to cravings for more food (often unhealthy food) as your body needs the energy fast!

Easy summer gazpacho

This very easy gazpacho is all about enjoying and embracing summer ingredients. Full of gorgeous mediterranean vegetables and flavours, totally refreshing and perfect to make in advance. No cooking is involved and pretty much any blender will do the job. Just make sure you allow a couple of hours to refrigerate it. An absolute keeper to make again and again as a starter on a summer’s evening.

spiced green falafel

Deliciously spiced, easy tomato and very green these falafel are sure to be a hit. Falafel are traditionally deep fried, but we have baked them with just a brush of olive oil to make them healthier. We have spiced them using a Zhoug paste from Belazu that is seasoned with coriander and jalapeño. It’s easily available from supermarkets.

raspberry & coconut flapjacks

Most flapjack recipes are packed with sugar - but if you include some sweet fruit, such as raspberries then you can really cut down on the sugar content. We have used honey as well as the berries to sweeten these flapjacks. The first time I cooked these I left them on the side and when I came back to them my daughter and husband had helped themselves to quite a few squares. So these were definitely a hit and as they are super easy and nut free make a great school snack!

Berries & coconut nice cream

That sweet taste of summer... Yes I am talking berries and ice cream combination in any way possible!! Except that this ice cream has no milk! It’s the power of the humble banana striking again. We always have bananas in my house, fresh in the fruit bowl for those quick energy refuel moments. I also usually have some sliced frozen bananas in my freezer to add to smoothies or make this nice cream. Once you’ve done this one…do experiment with your favourite flavours!

Green buckwheat salad

I first started using buckwheat in a salad after trying the delicious pink tahini buckwheat salad from Ceri Jones of Natural Kitchen Adventures, which is featured in her app. This green buckwheat salad has been inspired by Cert’s pink salad! Buckwheat is a gluten free seed and is very useful in a gluten-free diet as it gives a grain-like texture. For the health benefits see tip below. Serve this salad as it is or you can add crumbled feta cheese if you want to increase the protein content.

creamy green smoothie

When the weather gets warmer we love nothing better than a smoothie for breakfast. This smoothie is deliciously creamy due to the addition of avocado and banana. Suitable for children - the first time I made this my daughter drank most of it! There is some protein from the avocado, but not much, so if you want to drink on its own then you might want to add a few nuts. I often like a smoothie post run and then I’ll have lunch a few hours later.

spicy aubergine pasta

Enjoying and embracing a balanced healthy diet means there is a place for everything and that’s exactly why a good pasta recipe or two is essential for those weekends when comfort food and family crowd pleasers are required. The base for this is vegetarian and full of gorgeous mediterranean vegetables and flavours and so a little chopped chorizo works wonders added to it.

mango & coconut oat cookies

Rolled oats are THE staple ingredient I run out of the most often! I use it for everything, savoury or sweet, breakfast or dinner!. High in fibre, naturally gluten free if you chose the right brand and so so versatile. If you have oats and bananas you can always make cookies! Yes, bananas are another twice weekly must buy on the shopping list . The base recipe for these delicious cookies is just the 2 ingredients. You can add your choice of extras (seeds, nuts of choc chips) and make a thumbprint in the centre ready for a jammy filling. Mango and coconut it is today!

roast tomatoes with chorizo and red rice

This dish uses camargue red rice, which has some great health benefits and is even more nutritious than brown rice (see tip below). We have added choirzo to this dish as it goes so well, however to make this dish vegetarian simply leave it out - it will still be delicious. Look out for nitrate/nitrite free chorizo in your supermarket. This is a great dish for using up a glut of tomatoes or turning large and sometimes rather tasteless supermarket tomatoes into something delicious.

ginger prawns with coconut black rice

So incredibly easy to throw together, this bowl is such a quick, simple and delicious dinner for 2 or a crowd pleaser for a dinner party. Packed full of bright, colourful, zingy and nutty flavours, since making it for the first time I have come back to it serving it cold as a starter or warm as a main, perfect for a Friday night with friends. Despite being quite simple to prepare it wows every time with its exotic asian flavours. I have made it with prawns here but panfried salmon works brilliantly too.

beetroot and herb quinoa salad

I love a salad. In the spring and summer I make sure I have one at least one a day and in the winter I just warm up a few of the ingredients to make a warm salad. To stop myself getting bored I am always changing the ingredients. My salads are never boring with just lettuce and cucumber - I make sure I pack them with lots of delicious vegetables. They are always colourful and contain at least four different vegetables or herbs.

buckwheat turmeric soda bread

Making bread is something I used to do a lot when living in London to relax from the stressful city job! Kids used to join in the mess! When it appeared I had become gluten intolerant I lost interest in bread all together. But here we are 7 years later, now living in gorgeous Kent, I have rediscovered a passion for traditionally made bread and baking. I usually enjoy my sourdough bought from a local artisan bakery but decided to have a go at soda bread. Very simple to make at it requires no proofing or waiting. Adding turmeric to the dough proved a great call. Delicious served with a poached egg and some mashed avocado.

Butternut squash chunky oven fries

One of our aims at The Health Boost is to help families with everyday simple tricks to eat more healthily, and adding more vegetables and fibre in our modern diet is up there as a priority. So what if I told you that you could tell the kids that there’s chunky chips on the menu today but still get an extra portion veg in the process? Here comes the butternut squash chunky oven fries, made tasty with the help of a little oat flour, parmesan and rosemary! To make these dairy free replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast.

mango cashew & coconut granola squares

Snacks are part of life for our busy active families. I don’t mean the ones you grab from the supermarket shelves or in a rush. We prefer making our own for the week ahead. These are a great quick and easy no-bake option and made with 6 real and wholesome ingredients only. Mango can be swapped for another dry fruit ( make sure they are just that, fruit and no sulphate or added anything) and cashews can be replaced with almonds or Brazil nuts if you have them in your cupboard. Using maple syrup make those granola bars vegan too if that’s important to you.

sweet potato rosti

These are so tasty that even my husband who has decided he doesn’t like sweet potatoes loves them! And for him to go back for seconds on a veggie dish is high praise indeed! They could be served for breakfast with a poached egg on top or alongside a green salad for lunch. For most people 3-4 rosti would be enough for lunch – although my husband did eat 6 the first time I cooked these for him!!

Banana & date crumble bars

These snacks came about due to a brown banana and some dates that needed eating. I usually make our very popular banana bread with these. However I was looking for a snack to make that my daughter could take into her nut-free school. The banana bread contains almond flour so is a no-go. These crumble bars are the result. My daughter has declared them even better than the banana bread, which is popular with her and her friends! The banana and dates are combined into a consistency that resembles caramel. Seriously delicious!

chickpea, aubergine & courgette easy curry

This is NOT just another vegetarian curry option. It is one of those really satisfyingly easy dish to pull together for a mid week meal or a Friday night with friends. Packed full of flavours, purple and green vegetables, good amounts of protein and fibre. What’s not to like? I have previously served it as a main or side dish, with brown rice or quinoa or simply flatbreads. Chicken or lamb are the perfect meat to accompany.