Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Crunchy Coating

Looking for a starchy vegetable to satisfy your veggie quota for the day? Then you don’t need to look any further.  We’ve found a delicious recipe using sweet potatoes (the healthy alternative to using the good ol’ potato). So try this recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Crunchy Coating, that’s not only delicious but good for you (in moderation of course!)

This recipe is from Paleo queens and bloggers, the Merrymaker Sisters so enjoy!

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Ingredients

200 g sweet potato, peel and cut into chip wedges.

2 tablespoons macadamia oil.

1/3 cup coconut flour.

1 tablespoon paprika.

1 tablespoon arrowroot (tapioca) flour.

salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Toss the sweet potato with the macadamia oil in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut flour, paprika, arrowroot, salt and pepper until combined.
  4. Roll each chip in a thin layer or the dry coating mix and place onto a lined baking tray in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the chips and bake for a further 20 minutes.
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Kicking the sugar habit

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This is the time of year that can be particularly difficult if you’re on a diet or a recovering sugar-holic. With Halloween around the corner and the festive season not too far away, it’s virtually impossible to avoid sweet treats so I thought I’d look at ways to fend off sugar cravings. But before I begin talking about ways to stop you from giving into your sweet tooth, I must admit that sugar is my weakness when it comes to food so I understand firsthand how hard it can be to give up this sweet addiction. I say addiction because scientists have acknowledged that sugar has addictive properties which can make it extremely difficult to give up.

While there’s nothing wrong with having something sweet on the odd occasion, making it a regular habit isn’t great for your waistline or your health. There’s no sugar-coating it, over indulging in sugary treats can contribute to obesity and tooth decay and as you may be aware, refined sugar is high in calories and has absolutely NO nutritional value (yep, none whatsoever!). So next time you reach for that chocolate bar, remember there’s no real benefit in getting that sugar-fix other than a temporary ‘high’ which will soon fade, leaving you feeling pretty crappy. So as someone who is trying to wean themselves off sugar, I have found some ways to help you kick sugar-cravings to the curb:

Eat regularly: Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.

Prepare for withdrawal symptoms: I know this sounds crazy but sugar addictions are real and if you have become sugar dependent, you may possibly experience withdrawal symptoms (no, I’m not joking). Research has shown that sugar affects the brain the same way that morphine and other opioids do, and quitting cold turkey may lead to symptoms such as anxiety.

Understand your cravings: When you have a sugar craving your body might be trying to tell you something. You might just be hungry, tired or lacking an important nutrient (just to name a few) so listen to your body.

Know your emotional triggers: I don’t know about you but when I’m stressed, I’m more likely to chew on a Mars bar than when I’m not. Knowing your emotional triggers is important so you can address the reasons behind your cravings and find alternative ways to cope.  Tip:  Instead of reaching into the cookie jar, grab a handful of raw nuts or fresh berries to munch on to see if this satisfies your sweet tooth.

Go for a walk: If eating a sweet treat has become part of your daily routine, then try going for a 10 minute walk when you feel the urge to indulge. I can almost guarantee that you won’t feel like that cupcake/cookie/chocolate bar when you get back.

How to eat healthy without breaking the bank

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There is a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive. Take away is considered cheap and fast food outlets are literally around every street corner so it’s no surprise that Australia is fast becoming one of the fattest nations in the world. Research shows that the average Australian eats out four times a month with 55.1 million visits to fast food restaurants recorded every month. Common sense tells you that a greasy burger with a side of chips is no substitute for a healthy home-cooked meal yet we still give in to the temptation and convenience of fast food. While eating fast-food may seem affordable in the short-term, a poor diet can have serious implications for your health in the long run.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and it definitely doesn’t have to be expensive so here are some ways you can save money at the check-out and reap the rewards of healthy eating:

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it

Planning ahead is the number one rule. Make sure you have a meal plan set out for the week ahead and buy ingredients accordingly. Jotting down what you need on a piece of paper is a good way to ensure that you don’t deviate from your meal plan and saves you from making unhealthy food choices in a rush. However, if you still think temptation will get the better of you while shopping for your groceries then steer clear of the junk food aisles altogether!

2. Never shop on an empty stomach

Okay, so we’re all guilty of this: you’re strolling through the supermarket and shoving everything in sight into the trolley because you haven’t eaten all day. At this point your judgment is impaired by this overwhelming urge to satisfy your hunger and everything seems like a necessity (especially anything that is deep-fried or drenched in sugar). Remember that shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Ever.

3. Buy in bulk

No, I don’t mean junk food. Have you ever wondered why junk food is always on sale? Well, because it’s mass produced, lacking nutrients and full of nasty stuff (preservatives, additives and colourings) that your body just doesn’t need. When I say ‘buy in bulk’- I mean seasonal fruit and veggies that are on sale. Seasonal produce is usually plentiful and less expensive than produce that isn’t in season. Try to stay away from pre-sliced, pre-prepared fruits and veggies because while they may offer convenience, they are usually more expensive.

4. Prepare your meals in advance

If you’re really short on time then cooking your meals in advance is a great option. Consider setting aside one day on the weekend to cook your meals for the week ahead. That way you can store individual portions in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will ensure that you’ll have plenty of healthy meals waiting in the fridge and help you save time on cooking during the weekdays.

While buying fresh produce and preparing nutritious meals can seem time consuming and costly, there are countless benefits of eating healthy that your body will thank you for later.

Do you have any tips on how you eat healthy without hurting the hip pocket? If so, please share!

Why you shouldn’t skip breakfast this morning

I am not a morning person and to be honest, I’d rather get an extra 15 minutes of sleep than prepare and eat breakfast in the mornings. But on the days I don’t have breakfast, there is a noticeable difference in my mood and eating patterns compared to the days I do have breakfast. For starters, I am grumpier and hungrier throughout the day and by mid-morning those sugar cravings really start to kick in. Suddenly, that almond croissant doesn’t seem like such a bad idea when I’m ordering my morning coffee.

While skipping breakfast in exchange for a sleep-in often seems like a good idea, the reality is that ditching brekkie may mean that you are compromising on your health in the long run. Remember when you were a kid and your mother used to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, it turns out she was right. Research has shown that eating a nutritious breakfast helps to fend off junk-food cravings and helps to control weight. Eating breakfast could also cut several risks associated with heart disease and diabetes.

According to a study conducted by Harvard researchers, men who routinely skipped breakfast increased their chances of developing T2 diabetes by up to 21%. Researchers in the UK have also found that children who skip breakfast are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in adulthood than children who regularly have nutritious breakfasts.

So why is skipping breakfast so bad?

Well, if you skip meals you’re more likely to snack throughout the day or even worse, binge later on in the day-which over time can lead to weight gain. Skipping meals also slows your metabolism, leads to unbalanced blood sugar levels and increases your chances of making poor food choices throughout the day. So unless you want to sabotage your weight loss efforts, skipping breakfast is a definite no-no.

Liquid breakfasts:

Don’t feel like eating in the mornings? Then a liquid breakfast (and no I don’t mean coffee) is a great option for those of us who are time poor and have little or no appetite in the mornings.

For a quick and easy brekkie, get your blender out of the cupboard and blitz your favourite fruit and veggies for a nutritious start to your day. To get started, try the Blueberry Delight (recipe below) and then experiment with other greens, fruits, herbs and even spices.

Blueberry Delight smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach, fresh

1 cup water

1 chopped kiwifruit

1 cup strawberries

1 punnet of blueberries

2 chopped bananas

1 handful of almonds

fresh mint leaves

Method:

Process the spinach, kiwifruit, strawberries, blueberries, banana, almonds and 1 cup of water in a blender until smooth. Divide between glasses and garnish with mint leaves.

Remember that the extra sleep-in might not be worth it after all!

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Food for thought: mindful eating

How often do you take time out to think about the food you’re eating and why you’re eating it? Let’s face it, most of the time we chow down on food without thinking much at all.

Meal time should be a natural, healthy and pleasurable activity to satisfy hunger. However, in a fast-paced society where we have an abundance of food available and little time at our disposal, most of us tend to consume food without thinking through our food choices or enjoying what we’re eating. This can lead to overindulging, overconsumption and an unhealthy relationship with food in general. Junk food is not only easily available (just look around you) but it is cheap, fast and tasty so why not settle for the easy option? Well, because that guilty feeling you have after you’ve mindlessly downed a packet of Tim Tams might slowly subside but that spare tyre around your waist probably won’t.

The problem here is that we often focus too much on what we eat, rather than how we eat. Instead of focusing on counting calories or restricting ourselves, mindful eating teaches that your undivided attention should be given to the food you’re eating.  According to psychologist and Food Addiction Therapy author Kellee Waters, one of the worst things for weight control is multi-tasking while eating. Think about it: when was the last time you ate food without checking emails, reading a newspaper or engaging in conversation?

More often than not, our eating practices are driven by emotional cues rather physical ones- such as our bodies’ hunger signals. We may use food for comfort when we’re feeling sad, stressed or even bored even if we’re not actually hungry. This can be best described as eating mindlessly.

However, you can change your attitudes and practices around meals for the better by implementing mindful eating or consciously thinking about the food you are consuming. Simply put, mindful eating is about being aware of what you’re putting into your mouth and considering why you’re eating in the first place. Mindful or intuitive eating stems from Buddhist teachings and aims to reconnect us on a deeper level with the practice of eating -and enjoying-food. Mindful eating allows you to better appreciate the food you are eating and listen to your body’s cues so here are some tips for meal time:

1. Eat slower:

Take the time to enjoy your food and your body’s cues. Eating is not a race.

2. Enjoy the silence: 

While complete silence is virtually impossible, try and implement ‘quiet time’ during meal times to reflect on the food you are eating.

3. Switch off:

Now this one is extremely important. Turn off your electronic devices ( mobile, PC and TV)  while you’re eating because these are unnecessary distractions that interfere with quality family time and your body’s hunger signals, leading you to eat too much and contributing to weight gain.

4. Savour the taste:

Mindful eating is all about enjoying the flavour of your food. You should take the time to taste the tartness of the lemon, the spiciness of the paprika and the crunchiness of the pastry.

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