Strawberries are sugar-sweet, irresistible, and omnipresent -- even if you can't pick your own, you'll find pints and quarts of them at roadside
The summer season is here and we're all ready to kick back and relax, enjoying the weather with our friends and family. Pack your blanket and your basket because we have 5 fun new picnic recipes to share this summer! These great recipes are a great way to sneak your veggies in! 1.)Vegan Mushroom Rolls Who needs sausage rolls when you can have mushroom rolls! If Jamie Oliver can eat vegan so can you! Stuffed with a flavourful herby mushroom fulling these vegan mushroom rolls will be irresistible at your next picnic! Check out the recipe here! 2.) Mexican Black Bean, Avocado, Corn and Quinoa Salad Packed full of flavour and topped with refreshing orange segments this Mexican inspired salad will be a hit at your summer picnic! Try topping with some broccoli and pumpkin Giving Tree crisps for added crunchy texture! Get the recipe here! 3.) Easy Sesame Brussels Sprouts Slaw This recipe is so quick and easy you can make it in no time! Check out the full recipe here! 4.) Sweet Potato Burger This sweet potato burger looks so delicious and so easy to take on the go! It's sure to be a favourite among children and adults alike! Check out the full recipe here! 5.) Vegan Pumpkin Brownies These fudgey pumpkin brownies would be a delightful addition to any picnic regardless of the weather! Check out the recipe here! With all these great dishes and desserts your picnic is sure to be a success! Also the great thing about these recipes is they all include a serving or more of fruits or vegetables. Smash in your fibre and your five a day at your next picnic! For more great picnic ideas click here! or here!
There are many reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. Freeze dried or fresh, it doesn't matter as long as they are prepared in a healthy
High cholesterol has become a epidemic of this century, and this century alone. Many scientists believe this is due to the change in our diet over the recent years. In this decade we have reached all new highs in the prevalence rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. What can we do to conquer the diseases of our time? Well we can start by eating more fruit. Why is this an issue? High cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and eventually death. Having cholesterol is fine, we all have cholesterol, however high cholesterol is an issue. An issue with rates at an all time high; high cholesterol is a disease that plagues over 50% of adults in the United Kingdom alone. As this can lead to cardiac arrest and in some cases death, this is clearly an issue that we need to take to heart. Where does it come from? Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance which is necessary for healthy cell maintenance, vitamin D production, hormone production amongst other functions. Cholesterol is made by the body in the liver so we get all the cholesterol we need. However it is also a component in some foods so we need to watch our diets and consuming too much cholesterol. Get low! Get low! One of the most effective ways to keep our cholesterol levels lows to limit our intake of saturated fat, as consuming these foods has been scientifically proven to raise our cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products such as butter, lard, fatty meat and full fat dairy products. Another way to combat our cholesterols is to eat more fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and other beneficial compounds that lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and can help individuals who struggle with their cholesterol levels. Dietary fibre can be seen as a broom that works to sweep cholesterol out of the body naturally. How does this work? and what can we do? Soluble fibre found in plant foods like fruits and vegetables (as well as grains and beans) bind to and remove bile acids from the body. This means that there is less bile acid available to recirculate in the body. However we need bile acid for digestion, so the liver must use up its cholesterol reserves to produce more bile acids. This process of using up our existing cholesterol, lowers the overall cholesterol in the body. Research has shown that individuals who consume higher quantities of fruits and vegetables are at lower risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Additionally, experimental findings have shown that increasing daily dietary fibre intake by "5 to 10 grams have up to a 5 percent drop in cholesterol". Most fruits and vegetables are of high fibre content however some especially high in fibre such as broccoli, apples, strawberries and spinach. Additionally, dried fruits have been shown to also have been shown to offer a whole host of health benefits such as providing a high antioxidant value, help with insomnia and battle cancer. Dried apples have been especially good at lowering cholesterol. Scientists conducted a year long study that tested the cholesterol lowering effect of various dried fruits in a group of 160 older women. They found that just 12 dried apple rings a day helped to significantly drop the overall cholesterol levels! It's time to get crunching! Put simply if we are to trying to reduce our cholesterol levels, reduce our risk of heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure or just live a healthy lifestyle we should limit saturated fat intake and eat more fibre! Each fruit and vegetable crisp pack at The Giving Tree count as one of your five a day! For more information click here!
Asthma is the most common chronic illness amongst children today and prevalence rates are quickly on the rise worldwide. We cannot let constant coughing and wheezing cripple our nation! To remedy this issue we should look to our diet and turn the table to more fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that there is a link between low consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and increased prevalence of asthma amongst children. This helps to make sense of the finding that populations that eat a traditional diet, where the majority of their caloric intake comes from plant sources have lower rates of asthma. An apple a day keeps the asthma away? Recently British researchers have found that individuals who ate between 2 to 5 apples a week have lower rates of asthma. They speculate that it may be due to the flavonoid components involved, in particular, khellin which has been shown to open up airways. At The Giving Tree our fruit crisps make an excellent snack with all the nutrition preserved by our freeze drying process and vacuum packaging. A call for the 'C'? We have all heard of the wonders of vitamin C. Pirates out at sea that lacked vitamin C got scurvy. Whilst nowadays scurvy is not so common, asthma however is. One study of preschool children conducted in Japan found a link between vitamin C intake and lower rates of asthma. Some fruits with the highest antioxidant vitamin C content include papayas, strawberries and kiwis. Additionally, research has shown that there is increased risk of airway hypersensitivity in those with the lowest vitamin C intake. Veggies to the rescue? Another study on a sample of children has shown that high dietary vegetable intake to be protective against asthma, reducing the risk up to 50%. This may be due to the high antioxidant content of many vegetables which serve a protective effect on our overall health. To test this theory researchers conducted an intervention study where they experimented adding and then removing antioxidant rich foods from the diets of their experimental sample. The results showed that when the antioxidant rich foods were removed from the participants' diets they experienced "significant worsening of lung issues and asthma control". This suggests that antioxidants play a key role in the functioning of our lungs and breathing and can be considered as a treatment option for asthma in adults and children alike. Our vegetable crisps are a great to eat your veggies when you're on the go! Grab a pack of our broccoli crisps for your next snack! Even if we don't have asthma we should all eat an abundance and variety of fruits and vegetables to better our health! For more information on how asthma can be treated using fruits and vegetables click here or here!
Who would have thought these drool-worthy desserts are in fact actually made up of the majority being vegetables, whole grains and tons of nutrient rich foods.
Our nation has such a sweet tooth, which is constantly growing with everywhere you go finding sugar loaded, baked goods. You can buy flapjacks, muffins, chocolate bars and so many more tasty snacks but they're generally all full of refined sugars.
Why not try DIY vegetable desserts.. Yes they sound a tad scary, but don't be put off!
They're packed full of fresh vegetables, fruit and nutrients and would pass as your favourite sweet treat, if not better! The vegetables add moisture, colour, texture and flavour to your favourite sweet treats making them irresistible.
Don't take our word for it—whip up one of these sweet treats and see for yourself!
Courgette and apple muffins - If you haven't yet tried courgette in sweet recipes, you're in for an absolute treat. Deliciously moist and packed full of wonderful nutrients!
- 12 thin strips of courgette peel
- 320g plain flour
- 3tsp baking powder
- 50g walnuts, finely chopped
- 50g raisins
- 2tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 150ml chi coconut oil
- 150g peeled, cored and grated apples
- 150g grated courgettes
You can't taste the courgettes in the cake, they just produce a deliciously moist sponge
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together then mix with the other dry ingredients, saving a little of the sugar to sprinkle on top of the muffins.
- Mix the eggs and oil together. Add the grated apples and courgettes.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together without overworking them.
- Divide the mixture between the muffin moulds. Decorate each with a strip of courgette peel and a pinch of sugar.
- Cook the muffins for 20−25 minutes until they are firm and golden. Check they are cooked through with a skewer; if it comes out clean, they are done.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake - super moist, the addition of the beetroot deepens the flavour of the chocolate and makes this cake absolutely scrumptious
- 3 medium beetroot (approx. 300g)
- 300g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 250ml chi coconut oil
- 75g cocoa powder
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 1tbsp cocoa powder, sifted with 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2tbsp cold milk
- 2 generous tbsp cherry jam
This cake should keep for up to a week in an air-tight container
- Boil the beetroot in water until it’s tender to the point of a knife, probably about 30 minutes. Drain and allow it to cool for 30 minutes or so, then remove the skin and coarsely grate the beetroot.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4, and prepare two cake tins (20cm in diameter) by lightly buttering them and lining with baking parchment.
- Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together, either by hand or in a food processor. Add the grated beetroot and cocoa and blend well. Finally, sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix again. Divide the mixture between the cake tins, smoothing down flat.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, let them stand for 15 minutes and then gently turn out on to a wire rack.
- While the cakes cool, make the butter-cream filling. Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa together, then drizzle in the milk and beat some more. Add a little more milk if you think it’s needed: you want the filling to be very smooth and to hold its shape.
- When the cakes are completely cold, lay each one flat side up. Spread one with the butter cream and the other with cherry jam, then sandwich the two together. It’s always a bonus when the cream and jam ooze out of the sides a little. Finally, generously dust the top with icing sugar. (recipe courtesy of good to know)
Avacado Choco Brownies - super creamy, deliciously moist and extra healthy decadent brownies!INGREDIENTS Makes 20 brownies
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas mark 6/ 400F (180 degrees C for fan). Line a 25 x 30 cm tin with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water- making sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 5 mins until light and fluffy.
- Mix the cocoa, almonds, vanilla and avocados into the melted chocolate. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and whisk together until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and level. Bake for 25-30min until set.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin before cutting in to 20 squares.
(recipe courtesy of the urban kitchen)
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'Good fats' are a term widely used now on food packaging, social media and also encouraged by health professionals that we need to be eating more of them and less of the 'bad' fats. But what makes a certain type of fat better than another? And what are the differences between the many oils, spreads, fats and sprays used on different food products on the market? Fat, despite much negative press and discussion is essential to the diet. We need fat to protect our vital organs, they can contain essential fatty acids (essential because the body can't make them itself) such as omega-3. Fat helps the body absorb Vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. The main types of fat found in food are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Most fats and oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats in different proportions. As part of a healthy diet, we should try to cut down on foods and drinks high in saturated fats and trans fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats. Of course, too much fat like many nutrients can lead to health problems such as high cholesterol which can lead to atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries walls), heart disease and also obesity. First up, is rice bran oil. This is used to ever so slightly cook our broccoli and pumpkin vegetable crisps at low temperatures (2% of it). However.. there is good reasoning behind why we use this wonderful oil which we think our lovely consumers ought to know! This oil is super high in Vitamin E which is key for strong immunity, healthy skin and eyes. Rice bran oil contains both the tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of the vitamin, whereas olive oil contains only the tocopherol form -- and less of that than rice bran oil. It's also low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats. Additionally, rice bran oil contains significant amounts of the antioxidant oryzanol, whereas olive oil has none. Rice bran oil is also not as readily absorbed into foods during the cooking process therefore ensuring our lovely crisps aren't absorbing to much oil and are left with a light, non-greasy product. A team of scientists in 2012 presented findings to the American Heart Associations High Blood Pressure Research thats showed a drop in blood pressure and a fall in LDL (low density lipo proteins - the bad type of cholesterol) after consumption of rice bran oil! With all those brilliant benefits and not forgetting their AMAZING, unique taste..there's no excuse to not pick up a bag of our vegetable crisps today.. we promise you won't regret it! Try us on Holland and Barrett, Wholefoods, Planet Organic and many more.. Coconut oil is another great fat source, it contains an unusually high amount of medium-chain fatty acids which are harder for our bodies to convert into stored fat and easier for them to burn off than long-chain fatty acids or triglycerides. Many coconut oils aren't Virgin coconut oil.. unlike CHI which is extracted from the fresh mature coconuts without using high temperatures or chemicals and considered unrefined according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, virgin coconut oil has potential antioxidant properties due to certain plant nutrients it contains called phenolic compounds. It is also a fantastic fat source for cooking, frying and even cosmetic benefits such as clearing up dry skin, using as a hair masque and for chapped lips too! Why not try CHI coconut oil?!
We all know once the sun comes out, it's that time of the year where the health kicks swing into full force, and the workouts get much longer and probably more regular than in those chilly winter months! At Giving Tree HQ, we believe when working out, it's important to make sure you have enough energy to achieve a high performance. Our bodies are like a car; they need fuelling up! So when it comes to picking out a snack to keep you going, this can sometimes be a downfall for many of us. It can be easy to slip up and go straight to the energy bars & drinks that will give you that quick and easy burst of energy. However, surprisingly, many of them have a lot of hidden, nasty ingredients in them that will end up making your workout a waste of time. At Giving Tree HQ we prefer to keep you snacking as healthy as possible! That means no more high-sugar and fatty snacks, and Hello Giving Tree snacks! Our mission is to show work-out snacking can be guilt-free and still amazingly tasty. Also our snacks will keep up your health momentum and get you beach body ready in no time! So, next time you are thinking about what snack to have before or after a workout? Why not give our Giving Tree snacks a go! We have a delicious selection of freeze-dried fruits and vacuum fried veggies for you to take your pick. They are super light, crunchy and bursting with flavours making it an easy snack to keep your energy sky high!
This month you have the opportunity to WIN the whole range of The Giving Tree snacks and a yoga session!How do I enter the competition? For a chance to win, it’s very simple, all you need to do is:
- Like our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.
- Share and tag a friend in the competition photo on one of the pages.
- And add the hashtag #yogasphere.