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Showing posts from tagged with: kids snacks

Back to the basics – healthy food for everyone!

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05.05.16

All year round healthy foods for everyone!

We are so often bombarded with contrasting information regarding foods and drinks we should or shouldn’t be consuming, however once things are made simpler and we get rid of some of the complicated ingredients and recipes, and take it back to basics with some simple ingredients and foods that are fairly easily accessible.

COCONUTS

It’s no secret that coconut oil and well, everything coconut, is the what everyone is going mad for!  There are so many brilliant uses for this lovely nut including coconut milk, cream, water, oil and the meat itself. Coconut holds many beauty properties, doing wonders for your skin in turn, and absolutely creates the most deliciously healthy flavour when used in cooking. Coconut cream is brilliant for baking, while coconut water is filled with electrolytes, hydrating you no end, and coconut milk is a wonderful alternative to cow’s milk. Try Chi coconut oil, 100% organic, raw and cold pressed!

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GREENS

OK, so we all know that including greens in our diet is good for us, however it’s not necessary for you to sit with a bowl of spinach and expect to thoroughly enjoy munching your way through it. There are so many ways you can include greens in your daily diet, in pasta sauces, casseroles, in a smoothie, or even just stripping things back to basics and enjoying them as part of a colourful salad, this is one of the most important ways for anyone who refrains from eating meat and fish to get in a good source of protein in their diet. Try Giving Tree broccoli crisps as toppings for salads and soups as well as a healthy and nutritious on the go snack!

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BERRIES

Just as raw chocolate is brilliant for upping your antioxidant intake, so are the berry family. They are best when they are completely ripe and in season, however if you buy the frozen kind from any local supermarket, they make for a fantastic ingredient within a morning smoothie, on top of a breakfast bowl or even just on their own. Don't forget to try our Strawberry crisps from the Giving Tree which make amazing toppings for yoghurt, cereal, porridge and so much more! mmm!

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OATS

Oats are a brilliant way of consuming something delicious that will give you an extremely slow release of energy, meaning that it will keep you going for hours. They are so versatile by nature within recipes too, going from being able to be ground into a flour, as the nation’s favourite brekkie, porridge or as a substitute in many baking recipes. They work really well with bananas in smoothies as well, and are guaranteed to keep you going right through until lunch.

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RAW CHOC

Now for people who love a caffeine fix but want it without the sugary additions usually included in coffee shop concoctions, or for those who simply want something a little different, raw chocolate is a brilliant way to have this fix minus the nasties that come in normal chocolate bars. This form of chocolate is extremely high in antioxidants and is a brilliant way of getting your caffeine fix, totally naturally! There are so many different bars on the market that there will undoubtedly be a flavour that will take your fancy.

NUTS

Nuts create much controversy for many due to their high calorie content, however when portion control comes into play, the most important thing to do is know when to eat them, how to eat them and to remember that when food is in its’ rawest form, like nuts generally are, they are full of protein and healthy fats, which are both essential for maintaining our energy levels and giving us a gorgeously envious glow. If having them on their own just isn’t on the agenda though, combining them with dates to create a raw bar, or using them in a flour are all ways of including them in your diet without having to sit down with a bag of almonds.

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Say YES to the Slow Cooker..

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19.02.16

With all the latest health gadgets on the market, from the Spiralizer to the Nutribullet, some of the old favourites can be forgotten! The slow cooker is one of those staple pieces of equipment that can benefit you in so many ways - for the health conscious, busy mums and just those of you that love locking in flavour, everyone should invest in one (at such budget prices too!)

Why the slow cooker?

How the slow cooker can help: Cooking at home is a great first step in trying to get your health eating under control. Since slow–cooked food relies on long, moisture-rich cooking, you can use less oil than if you were cooking with dry heat in the oven or on the stove. Using your slow cooker to make dinner means that dinner is ready when you get in the door—no more hungrily snacking on other food while preparing dinner.

Using a slow cooker can save you major time preparing meals. By prepping ingredients and putting them in the pot before you leave for work in the morning, you know that when you come home dinner will be waiting. Bonus: Use the extra time you save and hit the gym after work.

Slow cookers lend themselves to stews and other one-pot meals that let you stretch more expensive ingredients, like meat, further.  such as Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions. Chances are a slow-cooked meal will yield leftovers ..Bring leftovers for lunch the next day and you’ll save on lunch money too! BONUS!

Recipes to Try:

1. Slow cooker Three bean & Barley soup 

Serves: 4-5

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon chi coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1.4l water
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 100g dried black beans
  • 100g dried great northern beans
  • 80g dried kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Method:
  1. Heat oil in a slow cooker on a medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours (adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.
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2.

5 a day Vegetarian Ratatouille and cous cous - (we added a mozzarella stuffed chicken breast on the side too!)

Serves:2

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste (we used Discovery)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 pack of button mushrooms chopped roughly
  • 1  can of chickpeas
  • a few coriander leaves
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • splash of water
  • 150g wholegrain cos cous

FullSizeRender Method;

1. roughly chop both onions, garlic, courgettes, mushrooms and peppers into medium sized chunks

2. In your slow cooker add the coconut oil and all the chopped ingredients, stir once to coat all vegetables.

3. Leave for 10 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, chickpeas and chicken stock cube and a splash of water

4. Leave to simmer for an hour.

5. Now add the cous cous to the pot and cover.

6. Meanwhile, make a fairly deep incision into the side of each chicken breast, but be sure not to cut through to the other side completely!

7. Stuff with mozzarella, add salt and pepper to the top of the breasts and roast for 30 mins in oven.

8. Serve with the cous cous medley and any other veg!

Coconut Milk rice pudding with Giving Tree Strawberries

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

 Combine the rice, sugar and coconut milk in a large bowl. Stir well, then transfer to the slow cooker with a teaspoon of coconut oil and add the vanilla pod. Leave on a low heat in the cooker for an hour and three-quarters, stirring three or four times during cooking, until the rice is tender. There should be no golden skin on top. To keep the pudding relatively light and also dairy-free, leave it as it is. To make it a little richer and more indulgent, stir in some more coconut milk.

Serve in glasses or bowls with Giving Tree fruit crisps and extra fresh fruit too seasoned with a squirt of lime juice.

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Half-term fun with Giving Tree

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16.02.16

The kids are on half-term and you need to keep them entertained.. what better way than with some Giving Tree heart healthy and fun-filled half term tips!

Childhood is a crucial time for teaching your children about eating healthily, exercising regularly and instilling in them the healthy lifestyle habits that will see them through to a long, happy and healthy adulthood.

Teaching your children how to follow a heart healthy eating and exercise regime is particularly important nowadays, especially in light of new research showing that over two thirds of obese children show early signs of heart disease.

So, if you find yourself at a loss for things to do whilst looking after your kids this holiday, take a look at these fun-filled ideas that will not only keep your children entertained, but also help them get into the habit of eating and living healthily.

OUR TOP TIPS FOR A HEART HEALTHY HALF TERM :)

1. Eat breakfast: It’s true what they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day – even more so for growing kids! Make sure your children (even if they’re having a lazy at-home holiday) start the day with a nutritious, heart-healthy breakfast packed with protein and complex carbs (whole grain cereal, porridge oats, wholemeal soldiers and eggs and granola and  milk all make great breakfasts!) You can add our delicious Giving Tree fruit snacks onto nearly any breakfast recipe for added nutrients, crunch and  flavour!

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Steering clear of sugar-laden cereals and pastries first thing will avoid your children having a sugar slump (and craving more sugary foods) later in the day.

2. Indoor Olympics: Create your own DIY indoor Olympics during those inevitable rainy days stuck indoors during the holidays. Why not tie a piece of string across the room and let your kids bat a balloon over for a house-friendly alternative to volleyball? Use your imagination!

3. Let your kids play chef: Whether it’s chopping the carrots or peeling the potatoes, encouraging your kids to get involved in helping cook the family meals allows them to get hands on and familiar with the various healthy foods that make up each meal. Plus, they’ll more than likely be tempted to scoff the odd tasty carrot slice along the way!

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.06.424. Allow the odd sweet treat: When teaching your children to make heart-healthy food choices, this doesn’t mean never allowing them the odd chocolate bar as a little treat every now and then. In fact, letting them enjoy the odd treat should help make them aware of the importance of a varied diet.

5. Walk the dog: Dog-walking is a great way to get your animal-loving kids enjoying outdoor activities. Don’t own a dog? Then borrow your neighbour’s pet pooch! We’re sure they’d secretly be only too glad of a day off from walking their dog. Not only is this great exercise for your child, it’s also a really good fun

6. Go supermarket shopping: Chances are you don’t tend to take your children to the shops during school time when you just want to quickly whizz round the aisles and pick up dinner. Taking your child shopping, however, is a great way to introduce to and to explore new foods for themselves.

Make sure you spend lots of time in the fresh produce section to see which of the brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables your child’s attention is drawn towards. Get them to choose a piece of fruit or vegetable to try at home – who knows, they may even quite like the taste of the mango that they picked up!

So, which of these fun, heart-healthy half term activities will you be trying out with your children first? And remember, you don’t have to wait until the holidays to do these with your children – these are perfect for any weekend spent with your kids!

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The great debate.. to snack or not to snack?

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27.01.16

There seems to be a big divide between those who think snacking is a good thing and those who think snacking is bad.

Here at Giving Tree HQ, we've always been solidly in the pro-snacking camp (for reasons which we will get on to..)

Some of you will often be the ones to be totally avoid snacking and stick to a strict three daily meals, or others will admit to snacking two or three times throughout the day.

'Snacking', to some means 'eating when you're not truly hungry' and has bad connotations. Others, may see it as 'snacks' are generally unhealthy, empty calorie foods and explain the defensive side!

But here we are loud and proud that snacking is OK! When it’s done right, snacking can be a healthy habit that may help you manage your weight and balance your diet.

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Six Reasons Why Snacking Can Be a Healthy Habit

1. Smart snacking may prevent you from overeating at meal time. Most of us get hungry every 3-4 hours. So, if there’s a long stretch between meals, you’re likely to get hungry – which is why a snack would be appropriate. But if you resist the urge to snack and try to “tough it out”, there’s a good chance you’ll just make up for it by overeating at your next meal.

2. Smart snacking can help you reduce your overall calorie intake for the day. Healthy snacking can help certain people control their total calorie intake for the day – rather than thinking that you're going to add calories right on top of everything you're already eating. But if a well-planned, healthy snack helps you eat less at mealtimes, then you’ll cut your daily calories overall.

3. Smart snacking can help you to work more healthy foods into your day.  The more often you eat, the easier it will be to work in your daily servings of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and calcium-rich dairy products.

4. Snacks can help you maintain your physical and mental energy. When you eat regular meals and snacks, it can help keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day – a good defense against between-meal dips in blood sugar that can sap your mental and physical energy.

5. A substantial afternoon snack can help control portions at dinner – which tends to be the largest meal of the day. Lots of people manage to control their eating pretty well during the day, but really cut loose at night and eat a huge dinner. For those, a larger afternoon snack – almost a small “second lunch” – makes it much easier to cut back at the evening meal.

6. Encourage children to associate snacking with healthy foods and veg from a young age, and when serving children with treats such as chocolate, make a point of this not being a 'snack' but something that shouldn't be eaten regularly.

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(picture courtesy of @rachel_hosie)

When Is The Snacking Habit Not Healthy?

You might want to take a closer look at your snacking habits if:

– You’re eating unhealthy, high calorie foods like sweets, crisps, and fizzy drinks. Not only can these high calorie snack foods contribute to weight gain, they offer little nutritional value. – You’re eating for reasons other than hunger. Snacking wisely means that you choose healthy foods to eat in between meals to help control your appetite and meet your nutritional needs. But if you tend to snack when you’re not hungry – maybe you’re bored, stressed, angry or tired – it’s a habit you might want to think about breaking.

What Makes a Snack Healthy?

One reason snacking has gotten such a bad reputation is because so many common ‘snack foods’ are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. You’ll want to steer clear of those, and instead put together a snack that will provide a mix of low fat protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Healthy Snack Ideas

– Protein shake made with nonfat or lowfat milk, protein powder and fruit. You can scale the size down a bit for a ‘snack-size’ shake and try adding Giving Tree strawberry crisps.

– Plain nonfat yogurt, sweetened with a little honey and cinnamon, topped with fruit. – Giving Tree pumpkin and broccoli crisps dipped in hommous

–  Cottage cheese topped with diced veg or fresh fruit

– Small handful of nuts – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans or soy nuts

– Sliced hard-boiled egg on tomato slices with a twist of fresh ground pepper

– Edamame soybeans – heated up, drizzle with a little low-sodium soy sauce

– Canned tuna mashed with avocado and spread on a few whole grain crackers – Few slices of turkey or smoked salmon wrapped around Giving Tree broccoli crisps

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Let us know what you think of our snack ideas, we love to hear from you!

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January, let there be moderation!

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19.01.16

Dry January, you've most likely heard someone at work, University or a friend/family member talking about this wonderful concept..

But what actually is it?

We know so many of you will have over indulged on the booze over the Christmas period and therefore what a great idea to banish the booze for a whole month. Now we know the month is nearly over but don't give up.. you still have 12 days left! Last year over 2 million people cut down their drinking for January. From significant health benefits including weight loss and better sleep, to more money in your pocket – what have you got to lose?

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You’re more likely to stick with it and feel the benefits if you sign up, so take the challenge, banish the booze and feel like a new you!

Plus the money you donate will help Alcohol Concern, the national charity dedicated to tackling the harm caused by alcohol to individuals, families and society.

Government guidelines recommend that we should be aiming for at least two alcohol free days each week, in order for our livers to repair and detox. Andrew Langford, the chief executive of the British Liver Trust says, “One in four people tested were showing the early signs of liver disease. Caught at this early stage, lifestyle changes allow the liver to repair itself. Having an alcoholic drink every night, overindulging in rich food too frequently and not making time for regular exercise are major contributing factors for liver disease. As everyone is affected differently, and symptoms are almost unrecognisable until the damage is beyond repair”. In fact, liver disease is now the fifth biggest killer in the UK and figures are rising.

Here at Giving Tree HQ we realise that everything should be kept in moderation, we believe that its ok to occasionally treat yourself to a glass of wine or your favourite indulgent meal.

However, as much as banishing the booze for a month is fantastic, it's important to remember binging in ANYTHING is not good for your body. Whether it's alcohol or food.

Healthy snacking IS possible though and snacking shouldn't be prohibited, instead before reaching for a bag of salt ridden and fat laden crisps, get your hands on our Giving Tree fruit and veg crisps!

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You can choose from 7 different flavours of goodness. Our broccoli and pumpkin crisps make amazing toppings for salads and soups as well as our fruit crisps which are perfect on porridge and yogurt bowls or even crushed and added to smoothies and juices!

Try yours now whilst they are on offer this month at Ocado and WholeFoods London!

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What makes our fruit crisps so sweet?

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08.01.16

We get so many of you lovely lot trying our Giving Tree crisps and often asking the question what do you add to them for them to taste this good? And what do you add to make the fruit crisps so sweet?

Once you've tasted our Giving Tree fruit crisps, you'll realise they really are a taste sensation. Bursting with flavour but with none of the added nasties and yet they taste SO sweet and flavoursome. So..how do we do it you ask?

Firstly, Freeze drying is the sublimation of ice fraction where water passes from solid to vaperous/gaseous state. Due to very low temperature all the deterioration activity and microbial activity are stopped and provide better quality to the final product.

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Vacuum frying is slightly different in that we use a tiny amount of heat to ever so slightly cook the vegetables and remove water vapour too.

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Along with this, freeze drying means we remove 98% of the moisture in the fruit and veg we use, therefore this means without the water content the finished product is a lot more concentrated and not dispersed through the moisture therefore tasting much sweeter but with the nutrients still retained!

The absence of water and oxygen in our crisps prolongs the shelf-life of our product because these are the two substances in food products that cause food spoilage. Therefore it means you have longer to enjoy them!

So now you know why our fruit crisps taste SO good naturally, and of course we only source the ripest and best quality fruit too. We add no sweetener, sugar or additives and they simply are what they say on the packaging!

Happy munching everyone! :)

We love to hear from you so please pop by and say hello to us on..

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Healthy January Resolutions!

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07.01.16

January, the month of those revolutionary resolutions that we often can’t seem to truly keep! We all know how hard it can be to maintain resolutions and keep up the motivation and encouragement to continue.

Here at Giving Tree HQ we’ve all been discussing ours, and the same topic is brought up post Christmas..healthy eating and getting rid of those pesky Christmas pounds!

Weight loss isn't the most important factor though, we just all want to be a better version of ourselves inside, and out!

Over the festive period it is so easy to over indulge, with selection boxes up to our eyeballs, mounds of cheese and heaped bowls of crisps lying around the prezzies, it’s difficult to eat well and avoid the junk when you’re quite literally surrounded by it!

Not to worry though our lovely friends, as it’s not too late to swap that handful of naughty left over treats for a handful of Giving Tree fruit and veg crisps instead.

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We don’t want to be pushy but our snacks are really very yummy! We aim to provide the tastiest snacks for every age. Children love ‘em and they're the perfect size for lunch boxes or for the busy on the go health conscious consumer or even your granddad who may quite not believe you can now buy fruit AND veg crisps!

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And to help you along the way, our lovely stockists – Wholefoods and Ocado have Giving Tree on sale this month..so now there really is no excuse!

To set you going for the New Year here are two easy recipes to follow for the perfect snack for any time of the day!

Fruity Faces: (this one is great for the kids!)

Ingredients:

1 apple or pear (melon is also great too!)

1 bag of strawberry Giving Tree crisps

Method:

Simply grab your favourite fruit, we like to use apples or pears, carefully cut into even similar shaped pieces. Save the pips!

Now arrange into your favourite faces, perfect for children as a fun and easy way to get 2 of your portions of 5 a day!

Another favourite recipe of ours is one that is ideal for a snack at any time of the day..

Apple, Peanut butter and Yogurt swirl

Ingredients;

1 bag of Giving Tree apple crisps

Small bowl of low-fat natural, plain, unsweetened yogurt

Sprinkling of coconut sugar  or honey (optional)

1 teaspoon of crunchy, natural peanut butter

Method;

Take a bowl and pour a small portion of yogurt (150g approx)

Ensuring the peanut butter has been at room temperature take a teaspoon full (you can add a little more if you like!) and gently swirl into the yogurt evenly.

Add the apple crisps on top and sprinkle with coconut sugar..and hey presto - A filling, fruity and fun recipe for all ages and any time of the day!

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Grab yours now, and let us know what you think of them – we love hearing from you :)

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