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Showing posts from tagged with: healthy living

What to cook this weekend..

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So weekends are meant for indulging right? However, too much indulgence can lead to over indulging and consuming way too much on a weekend!

However, everything in moderation is what we believe, and these recipes are the perfect combination of what feels like a treat but in actual fact, super healthy! With thanks to our lovely nutritionist Rhiannon for the recipes!

1. Breakfast- Coconut milk, pistachio and strawberry giving tree porridge


• 250ml water
• 40g oats
• 4 tbsp coconut milk • 1 tbsp almond butter • 1 tbsp chi coconut oil For a topping: • crushed pistachios Simply add the water, oats and coconut milk  to a saucepan and allow it to heat for about ten minutes, until the liquid has all been absorbed. Then stir in the almond butter and coconut oil and let them dissolve into mix. Once it’s all nicely mixed pour it into a bowl, add all your favourite toppings and then it’s ready to enjoy!


2. Lunch / Dinner - Herby garlic chicken with veggie giving tree topping

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 100g quinoa
  • 600ml hot chicken stock
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
  • Mixed herbs to season
  • Giving Tree Broccoli and pumpkin crisps for topping
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the chicken with the garlic, herbs and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in the chicken stock for 15 mins until tender, blend the vegetables in a food processor in the mean time. Drain and place into a large bowl with the chicken, toss together with the vegetables sauce too.
  3. Top with broccoli and pumpkin crisps!


3. Dessert - Wheyhey Chocolate ice cream topped with bee pollen, chia seed and Giving Tree Peach Crisps! Simple as that


Healthy Snacks for all!

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Try these Giving Tree inspired, easy snacks ideas to help fight mid-day snack attacks.

We can all be snackers, especially at work. When your mind is working hard, your stomach inevitably starts grumbling. While snacking can help get in all the nutrients that your body requires throughout the day, as well as curbing hunger so that you don't eat too much at the next meal, be careful not to engage in too much mindless munching but instead perfectly sized portions like we have shown below!

1. Peanut butter snacks (crunchy or smooth) with Giving Tree Apple Crisps - try fresh apple too for a mixture of textures!


2. Giving Tree Vegetable crisps, carrots with your favourite dips - remember this snacks aren't just great for one but also make a fantastic sharing assortment for parties, celebrations, dinners and lunch boxes too!

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3. Crumpet with coconut oil, cottage cheese and banana or smoked salmon..


4. Miso Soup (buying the ready made soup is fine but check sodium content) feel free to add your own tofu and seaweed as well.


5. Rice cakes with a variety of toppings - we like;

- Tuna & Avocado with a twist of black pepper

- Cottage cheese & chives with fresh tomato

- Smashed boiled egg and cress

rice cak

Giving Tree Easter Recipes

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Easter is round the corner and we are here to bring you the healthiest and tastiest easter recipes to crowd please and of course, they can be enjoyed any time of the year too!

Here are our favourites..

Recipe courtesy of the lovely Rhiannon Lambert - our lovely nutritionist (www.rhitrition.com)

1. To wake you up with a chocolatey Easter twist.. This delicious bowl of Chocolate Proats goodness that's super indulgent yet absolutely guilt free!

1. Grain Free / Paleo Goey Chocolate Brownies with Giving Tree Strawberries (recipe courtesy of @londonpaleogirl / www.londonpaleogirl.com (makes 6 brownies)

  • 1 Large Cooked & Mashed Sweet Potato
  • l 1 Egg 
  • 3 large TBS of @adunaworld Super - Cocoa Powder
  •  2 TSP @pipandnut Almond Butter
  • 2 TSP Honey
  •  1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
  • Mix together until a smooth consistency & pour onto baking paper in a baking tray & put in a 200• pre heated oven for 15 minutes / until cooked •• To make Chocolate Icing mix @chocshot sauce with a TSP @pipandnut Almond Butter l 2 Table spoons Honey l 2 TSP @adunaworld Super - Cocoa Powder ••
  • Served with Coconut Yogurt l Cinnamon l drizzle of @chocshot sauce & a frozen Raspberry on top


2. The perfect evening meal to be shared with family and friends!

Courgetti Meatballs with a sprinkling of Giving Tree Broccoli crisps - recipe courtesy of the lovely Rhiannon Lambert - our lovely nutritionist (www.rhitrition.com)


Giving Tree Easter Eton Mess

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Easter is nearing, meaning family time, plenty of food, bank holiday celebrations and a well deserved lie in or two!

Try out this deliciously healthy Giving Tree recipe to tantalise your taste buds!

Strawberry Giving Tree Eton Mess

A mess you'll most certaintly want to clear up!


For the meringues:

  • 300g coconut sugar (if you don't have this normal sugar will be fine)
  • 5 (150 grams) egg whites
  • For the Eton mess
  • 1 batch meringues
  • 150g frozen raspberries
  • 2 large packs of Strawberry Giving Tree
  • 1 tablespoon honey, plus more if needed
  • 600g mix of fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • 400g Vanilla (try get vanilla pod) or natural greek yogurt


  1. To make meringues: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, pour in the sugar, and put the baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the sugar are just beginning to melt. Heating the sugar will help it dissolve in the egg whites more quickly and help create a glossy, stable mixture.
  2. Meanwhile, make sure the bowl and whisk attachment of your standing mixer are free from grease. Pour the egg whites into the bowl. Whisk on low speed at first, allowing small bubbles to form, then increase the speed to high and continue whisking until the egg whites form stiff peaks and the bowl can be tipped upside down without the whites falling out. Stop whisking just before the whites take on a cotton-woolly appearance; if they do, they have been overwhisked, and the egg protein has lost some of its elasticity.
  3. By now, the sugar should be ready to take out of the oven. With the whites stiff and while whisking again at high speed, add one big tablespoonful of hot sugar after another to the bowl ensuring that the whites come back up to stiff peaks after each addition. Don’t worry about small clumps of sugar, but avoid adding large chunks of caramelized sugar from the edges of the baking sheet.
  4. Once you have added the sugar, continue to whisk on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers, and if you can still feel gritty sugar, keep whisking at high speed until the sugar has dissolved, the mixture is smooth, and the bowl is a little cooler to the touch. The meringue will continue to thicken up during this stage. You know it is ready to use when it forms a nice, smooth, shiny peak on the tip of your upturned finger.
  5. Carefully spoon your meringue mixture into the piping bag, rolling the sides up. You need to pack the meringue mixture in tightly, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Pinch the top of the bag closed, gently pushing the mixture in. If using a disposable piping bag, with sharp scissors, cut the tip of the bag so that the opening measures 7/8 inch in diameter.
  6. To get the meringue mixture flowing, twist the top of the piping bag to push the meringue to the bottom. Pipe small dollops onto the four corners of your baking sheets. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper; the meringue dollops will act as glue and stick the paper to the sheets.You are ready to start piping!
  7. Hold the piping bag vertically with both hands, securing the twisted top with your dominant hand and placing your other hand halfway down the bag. Use the top hand to apply pressure and the lower hand to control the flow of the meringue. Squeeze the bag to form a small circular meringue with a 2-inch base, and then lift up the bag while releasing some pressure so that the meringue forms a big peak at the top. Space  them about 3/4 inch apart.
  8. To bake, position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat your oven to 95°C. Slide the baking sheets into the oven, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the meringues are easily lifted off the parchment paper, with their bases intact. Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, these will keep for 1 week.
  9. To make the raspberry coulis: Put the frozen raspberries in a small saucepan, drizzle in the honey, and set the pan over medium heat. Once the berries are simmering, turn down the heat to maintain a gentle bubbling and cook until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly. Taste the mixture and stir in more honey if it needs it, but you want the coulis to be quite tart as the meringues are very sweet. Using a blender, puree until smooth, and then let cool completely.
  10. To assemble: When you are ready to serve — and only then — start assembling the dessert. If you do this too early, you'll end up with a soggy mess, not Eton mess. Divide the meringues among individual bowls. Dollop the greek yogurt around the meringues, and top with the fresh berries. Spoon coulis over everything, and crumble the freeze-dried strawberries over the centers. Serve right away.

Mother’s day recipes to win over her tummy and heart!

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Its Mother's Day this Sunday 6th March, show your mum's how much you care and treat them to some homemade delights made by yourself!

Here are our favourite Mothering Sunday recipes from start to finish yes you heard us, breakfast lunch and dinner.. no excuses!

1. Breakfast - Giving Tree pancakes

Giving Tree fruity buttermilk pancakes

Serves 4


150g self-raising flour (wholemeal flour can be substituted here too)

2 medium eggs

2tbsp honey (2 tbsp coconut sugar if you have it )

150ml chi coconut milk

1tbsp coconut oil + extra for frying

1 sliced banana

1 small pack of Giving Tree strawberries

100g fresh blueberries


Place the flour in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and honey then gradually whisk in the coconut milk and 1 tbsp oil to form a thick batter. Stir in the fresh fruit. Heat a little extra oil in a frying pan and using a tablespoon, spoon some mixture into the pan to make 4 pancakes. Cook gently for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Repeat to make 12 pancakes. Scatter with extra fruit and Giving Tree strawberry crisps!


2. Lunch - You're very own easy version of afternoon tea! Smoked salmon and cucumber afternoon tea loaf

Serves 8


½ cucumber 3tbsp butter, softened 2tbsp dill, finely chopped 3tbsp curly parsley, finely chopped 5 slices rye bread (approx 250g) 125g (4½oz) smoked salmon 1 lemon, zest & juice 175g (6oz) cream cheese


Using a peeler slice the cucumber thinly into ribbons. Layer over kitchen towel to draw out a little moisture. In a bowl mix the butter with the dill and 2 tbsp parsley then season with a little salt & freshly ground black pepper. Spread over one side of each rye bread slice. Place on slice of rye bread on a plate and top with a few slices of salmon, squeeze over a little lemon juice and top with a few slices of cucumber. Mix the cream cheese and lemon zest together. Spread the other side of the remaining rye breads with the cream cheese mixture and place one on top of the cucumber. Repeat this until all the rye bread is gone. Spread the top with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Top with lemon zest & parsley and slice gently with a bread knife to serve. Tip: Make sure you place your salmon and cucumber right up to the edges so you can make a feature out of the sides of the loaf.

& a her favourite cup of tea too and pack of Giving Tree veg crisps!



3. Dinner - Balsamic Roast Chicken

Serves 4


1 medium butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded 2 sweet potatoes, peeled 4 small parsnips (or 2 large), peeled 4 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 large red onion, peeled 4 chicken leg joints Few sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp clear honey Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6. Cut the butternut squash, sweet potato and parsnips into large chunks. Put the oil in a large roasting tin and heat in the oven. Put the squash, sweet potato and parsnips in a pan, cover with cold water and heat until boiling. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the onion into 8 wedges. Put the chicken in the roasting tin, skin side up, and surround with the vegetables, tucking the herbs in between. Roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Mix the balsamic vinegar and honey. Remove the chicken from the oven and drizzle with the honey mixture. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.


Post your Mother's Day recipes and tag us in any Giving Tree creations :)

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Top Fitness Gadgets for Spring!

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Spring is around the corner.. it's nearly time to get yourself exercising outside, enjoying the fresh air and using the top of the range gadgets to help you along the way! We couldn't resist sneaking in a few novelty ones too..

1. Withings Smart Body Scale
If you want to get fitter, it's worth knowing the state of play before you start - and during your programme. The Withings Smart Body Scale will give you that. It's able to accurately track your weight, body fat and various other stats, and sync them to your phone so you can easily monitor progress over time. They're pricey - but they might make the difference.
2. FINIS SwiMP3 Waterproof Headphones
The FINIS SwiMP3 headphones (£93) are a stunning bit of kit which transmit music through your cheekbones via induction. It's one of the only pair of headphones you can wear in the pool, and if you're spending a lot of time underwater and need a boost on your 50th lap, it might make the difference. (£93)
Screenshot 2016-03-03 15.22.40
3. Nike Fuelband SE
The Nike Fuelband is one of the most attractive and intuitive fitness trackers on the market - and the new SE edition is the best one yet, adding Bluetooth LE for constant syncing with your iPhone, 'Session' markers and limited sleep tracking.
Screenshot 2016-03-03 15.21.10
4. The Smelly Alarm Clock: SensorWake

Alarm clocks are like spiders: everyone acknowledges they do a valuable job, but that doesn’t stop most from despising them. The SensorWake aims to lessen that hatred by waking you up not with a piercing shriek but with a smell, like chocolate or coffee or freshly baked bread, depending on which capsule you pop in it. Unless you sleep through the smell, in which case the shrieking kicks in as a back up. Available in June, around £77 sensorwake.com

 5. The Massaging Jacket: AiraWear

The AiraWear jacket grandly promises a massage on the move, a marvel achieved through its built-in inflation points. Controlled via an app, the AiraWear looks like a regular jacket until parts of it start inflating, and runs for three hours on a single charge. As well as offering a massage, it can also be used to support your back and gradually break the slouching habit developed at your desk. around £176, airawear.com

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1st March..spring clean your health!

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So meteorologically speaking..we are finally into Spring! That's not to say Winter's temperatures are not still around though...

Are you still finding that you're often getting ill, aching and pretty exhausted! Instead of popping pills and vitamins to give yourself a health boost for spring, take a closer look at the habits that are making your health suffer and start feeling better today…


Seven in 10 Britons have lived with neck pain or back twinges for more than a decade according to a survey by the British Chiropractic Association, and these have been linked to insomnia, weight gain and depression. Sitting for extended periods could be the culprit. Get a standing desk so that you’re naturally moving around more – you should aim to take 10,000 steps a day. Using a treadmill desk and “walking while working” has been found to improve muscle pain, or just get up and move about as much as possible throughout the day.


Most of us know what we should be eating in order to stay healthy and keep our weight down, but are we kidding ourselves about how healthy our diet is? For example, knowing that oatcakes and nuts are far healthier options than, say, a Mars bar as a snack does not mean you can eat a handful of them whenever you feel peckish. If you can’t seem to lose weight, you’re probably eating more than you need. “Keeping a food diary can double your weight loss,” as it forces you to get real about the frequency of your food intake.

And be more realistic about quantities. According to the British Heart Foundation, our portion sizes have increased by more than 50 per cent in the last 20 years. Try using your hand to measure your portion sizes: A portion the size of the palm of your hand should be your protein, two fist-size portions for your vegetables/salad, one fist or less is your carbohydrates (potato, rice, pasta etc) and one fist for fruit. Follow this rule and you won’t overeat! To improve nutrition and save costs too, aim to buy food seasonly, a great Spring veg now in season in the UK is asparagus and rhubarb too!

Screenshot 2016-03-01 15.21.16


Always feeling overwhelmed by stress? Staying positive and counting your blessings can actually reduce those stressful feelings. Taking time – say, when brushing your teeth – to contemplate all the good in your life has actually been found to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 23 per cent.And give your brain a break by having a tech amnesty – no mobile phone, laptop or tablet – after 9pm in the evening. Many of us check our emails in bed before going to sleep, which makes it difficult to really unwind and get a proper rest.A great technique for finding balance in your life is a “rainbow diary”, advises confidence and presentation expert Emma Stroud (pitchperfectclub.com). Take a box of felt-tip pens and designate a colour for each of the different areas of your life – green for health, blue for family, yellow for fitness, purple for fun etc.“As you ‘rainbow’ your diary, ie write down all your upcoming activities with the designated pens, notice if there’s any colour lacking. Not enough purple? You need to plan something fun. In this way, you maintain a healthy balance that enables you to get a real sense of wellbeing,” says Stroud.Screenshot 2016-03-01 15.27.26


We know that regular exercise boosts energy, improves sleep, combats all manner of health conditions and even protects your bones. Studies show that after your mid-twenties, bone density starts to diminish year on year, but doing exercise helps keep bones healthy and strong and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

But far too many of us veer between over-committing to a fitness plan that we only manage to stick to for a few weeks and total inactivity, followed by weeks of guilt.

The crucial thing is to find an exercise routine you can actually stick to – and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) might just fit the bill, as you only need do it for a few minutes each session.  Google “HIIT workouts” – anything from seven to 30 minutes, and from full-body to specific areas such as legs, arms and chest.

Or take a particular exercise such as bicep curls and push yourself hard for 20 seconds then have a 10-second rest, repeating this eight times for optimum results. Get a HIIT app for your phone to take all the hard work out of timings. No excuses now, especially when we are getting more and more daylight every day and during Spring we have more hours daylight than darkness YAY!

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 Tag us in your favourite Spring Spots with Giving Tree snacks

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week – Its importance to us..

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It's Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week, an international awareness event, fighting the myths and misunderstandings that surround eating disorders.The theme this year is eating disorders in the workplace. Beat (the UK's leading eating disorder charity) will be concentrating on the impact eating disorders can have in the workplace and highlighting what individuals, colleagues and employers can do to support someone's recovery at work.

In the UK, around 725,000 people are affected by an eating disorder, according to the charity Beat. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder as the most common illnesses. While women are more likely to suffer than men, 11 per cent of males struggle with such conditions. We received this heartwarming email a few months ago from a Giving Tree fan who shared with us her love with our snacks and how they have helped her in her recovery from Anorexia Nervosa. To know we have been able to contribute to this overwhelmingly difficult battle with someones eating disorder made us so happy. "Dear whom it may concern, I guess I just wanted to say thank you so much for making your products available - I'm currently in recovery for anorexia nervosa, and things like the fruit crisps have been so helpful with the process of introducing proper food back into my diet - they're the perfect size and feel healthy which is beneficial since eating still comes with a lot of guilt. There's nowhere near me that stocks them, but I order lots and lots online! I'm sorry for this really random email, I just felt I had to thank you. Thanks for taking time to read this, I really appreciate it." EDAW-2016

A story this week from the Telegraph describes the heartbreaking moment a 10 year old girl became anorexic and battled with deeply saddening weight issues. It truly highlights the influence of messages that 'healthy eating' can give off to younger children. Influences are everywhere, with social media filled with motivational images and videos of healthy lifestyles and exercise regimes. Schools are doing the right thing in installing into children the importance of healthy eating choices which by all means is a positive, however some crucial points to take out of this.. ‘Living healthily is about moderation not exclusion.’ Children need to be reminded that yes obesity is something that should be avoided and to ensure a healthy lifestyle, however not to be scared of occasionally enjoying a 'treat' whether that be the occasional chocolate bar or slice of pizza.

Teach your child that appearance is not the most important thing. ‘Talk about kindness and compassion rather than weight and shape as key values,’ says Alexia Dempsey (dietitian at Priory hospital) If obesity is your concern, ask your child if they really are hungry when they ask for food. Often we use food to combat boredom, says Dempsey. ‘Think about fluids, too. Dehydration can often be confused with hunger.’ And don't forget parents.. as important as it is to insure your children eat heathily and well, be careful with your own language and avoid always talking about your weight or complaining about body issues as these can easily be transferred onto your child.

Alongside this, many health bloggers and food fanatics are creating artistic and deliciously healthy looking recipes all over social media. However, the issue is so many of these recipes  are lacking in essential macro nutrients such as carbohydrates and essential fats. Many of the health bloggers and wellness coaches actually have no nutritional qualifications and therefore fairly concerning when they have such large followings and such an impact on followers.

We can't say that the media causes eating disorders; however, it is evident that the limited representation of beauty has lingering effects on the way we view our bodies.  Even Barbie, who was the pinnacle of unattainable beauty for the last 50-plus years with her tiny figure, is acknowledging the range and diversity of beautiful women now with a redesign consisting of three body shapes — tall, petite, and curvy — and seven skin tones. Although someone might not “look like they have an eating disorder,” it is important to note that eating disorders do not discriminate; you cannot tell anything about a person’s relationship with food based on their age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or even weight. Moreover, eating disorders are not just a “fad” or a “phase,” they are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s health — emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

 The recovery statistics currently shows around 46% of anorexia patients fully recover, and 33% improving. Similar research into bulimia suggests that 45% make a full recovery and 27% improve considerably, a positive and promising figure that these disorders can be overcome with the right support, encouragement and understanding too.


Snack O’Clock and the science behind it!

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Do you find it harder to stick to your diet at certain times of the day? You’re not alone, according to a survey conducted by Forza supplements

The th-ree most dangerous moments have been identified as 11.01am, 3.14pm and 9.31pm • Dieters can consume as many as 750 calories during these three vulnerable times – wrecking their chances of losing weight; • Coffee shops were identified as the biggest danger to dieters because even a simple latte from a high street chain is worth 190 calories;

Nutritionists say dieters should opt out of drinks rounds at work because they put themselves under peer-group pressure to consume unnecessary calories with colleagues.

The results are revealed in a new survey of 1,000 people by diet firm Forza Supplements.

The research demonstrated that there are three specific times in the day when we’re likely to throw out the healthy eating rule book: 11:01am, 3.41pm and 9:31pm. As much as 750 calories are consumed at these times of the day – enough to ruin even the strictest diet plan.

The findings point to key mistakes that dieters make. These include skipping breakfast (leading to making poor nutritional choices for an elevenses snack), tackling post-lunch stress with food, and succumbing to temptation late at night. The report also highlighted the high calorie count of an average coffee shop latte (190 calories).

Forza’s managing director Lee Smith, adds: ‘We are all becoming much more knowledgeable about nutrition and how to eat more healthily at traditional meal-times. It is at other vulnerable moments during the day – these Snack O’Clocks – when all the damage is done in diets.’


While there’s nothing wrong with snacking to keep energy levels up during the day, the study is useful in pointing out when we might make bad food decisions. Remember: preparation is key when sticking to a healthy eating plan. Be inspired by our round-up of nutritious snack ideas, instead.

Giving Tree snacks are here to help, the perfect snacks to try during your day are our 7 different varieties of fruit and veg crisps. When reaching for a chocolate bar, packet of crisps or cheese and crackers we have the perfect alternatives for those both sweet and savoury cravings!

Why not try our vegetable crisps dipped in reduced fat humous, tzatziki or guacamole or just as good on their own!

Our fruit crisps (apple, peach ,strawberry and mango) all make fantastic toppings for a bowl of natural yogurt or ontop of some fat free coconut yogurt..we love cofro! Take a look at the mouth-watering picture above, this was a fat-free, dairy free, gluten and refined sugar free coconut frozen yogurt with our yummy Giving Tree fruit crisps on top mmm!

Let us know your favourite healthy snacks and how've incorporated Giving Tree into your healthy snacking!

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Don’t banish the carbs.. embrace the right ones!

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Giving Tree gives the low down on carbs..

When out for dinner, it's often now perceived as a bit of a taboo to grab those hot crusty bread rolls from the middle of the table, and asking for wholegrain rice or quinoa as a side is quite the norm.

Thanks to popular carb-avoiding diets such as the Atkins and more recently the Paleo lifestyle, the once well loved staples such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta – even poor old porridge, once considered breakfast of champions are slowly diminishing..

But are theses cupboard staples really so bad for us? Or are we just getting ployed into a big old marketing ploy of the new power grains?


In the last 12 months, sales of bread in Britain’s supermarkets has dropped by 8.9 per cent, according to a report by market analysts Nielsen. Even in Italy, pasta the staple of Italians.. has dropped by a staggering 25 per cent since 2009.

So what is the science behind all the talk.. Well first of all, carbs play a crucial part of giving us energy which when we're active in particular, is so important. Often getting rid of carbs can make people feel fatigued. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles which is the fuel that keeps us going during exercise and when we are working out.

Not only that though, when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles, which is the fuel that gives us the kick we need for maintaining exercise.

Carbohydrate-free diets have now been found to affect gut health, too. “Eating no-carb, high-protein can lead to the production of potentially harmful compounds called n-nitroso produced in the gut,” says Dr Johnstone. Indeed, studies have found that very high protein diets may increase the risk of colonic disease thanks to their production of such compounds. “Eating slow-release carbohydrates, can act as a buffer to help protect the gut from these.”

Nutritionists and health care professionals will always advise that eating the right types than none at all could be the key to keeping us more satisfied, increase our energy and actually aid weight loss.

For these experts, white and processed carbohydrates such as sugars, pasta, commercial breads, rice and potatoes should be replaced by slowly digestible complex carbohydrates, served in their most natural states.

These types of carbohydrates are low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) which relates to how quickly they turn to glucose in our blood stream; low is usually considered 55 or less (you can find a list at glycaemicindex.com).

Along with slow release carbohydrates comes the famous and fashionable quinoa, a healthy grain much loved with many foodies. These super grains are high in fibre, meaning you're likely to get fuller with smaller portions, very useful for weight loss! Not only that though, they're higher in nutrients for example - a sweet potato contains more betacarotene than a white potato.

Here are a few other top complex carbs that you're most likely going to start seeing a lot this year of..



A tiny grain – whose colour can range from white and beige to deep red and black – is gluten-free, high in protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Great in stews or salads, it boils like rice and can be popped to achieve a popcorn-like effect. When cooked with coconut milk, it makes for a soothing porridge – as recommended by Hemsley & Hemsley.


Similar to barley. Rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamins A, E and B, its wholewheat kernels are sweet and chewy, with a higher carb content than quinoa but with more calcium. Simmer on a low heat to make a nutty risotto.


An unprocessed form of wheat but higher in protein and B vitamins, the high-fibre flour is great for general baking.


Wheat and gluten-free, with all essential amino acids, high in protein and magnesium. The flour makes great pancakes and studies have found it helps lower blood sugar so might be helpful for diabetics.


A young green wheat that tastes smoky and is great used as a stuffing for poultry or side dishes.


Lastly, don't forget fruit and veg are carbohydrates too - aim to eat 5-7 varied portions of fruit and veg combined a day and ensure when consuming fruit you remember fruit is high in sugar too but in moderation this type of sugar is much better than having refined, processed sugared foods.

Try our Giving Tree fruit and veg snacks in 7 different varieties!