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I am Louise O'Driscoll, founder of Natural Balance. I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, helping people find their way to a healthy and happy relationship with food and body.

By louiseodriscoll, Sep 8 2014 12:37PM

Today's lunch is actually leftovers from last night's dinner. It was the first recipe I have tried from Anna Jones' vegetarian recipe book 'A Modern Way to Eat' and I can't wait to try some more!

Serves 4 (or, as it turns out, 2 greedy people with enough left over for lunch for one the next day)

For the salad:

6 medium beetroot, peeled and quartered

2 tbsps red wine or sherry vinegar

salt & pepper

olive oil

2 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths

6 smallish carrots, peeled and halved lengthways (to save time and effort buy ready prepped)

1/2 a butternut (or any) squash, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes

a few sprigs of fresh sage

3 slices good seeded bread

a handful of toasted sunflower or pumpkin/squash seeds

1 unwaxed lemon

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

small bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Preheat over to 200deg/fan 180/gas 6

Put the beetroot into a deep roasting tray with the vinegar, salt and pepper and a good splash of olive oil. Turn to coat everything, cover with foil and put in the oven for 15 minutes

Next lay the onions and carrots on a second tray and the squash on a third. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, then scatter the sage over both. After the beetroot's 15 minutes are up, add these trays to the oven and roast everything for a further 40 minutes.

Once the veg are roasted, tender and golden, take them out and scrape the onions and carrots onto the tray with the squash. Tear the bread into small chunks, tumble them onto the now empty tray and scatter over the seeds. Season and zest the lemon over it all, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 5-10 minutes until just starting to crisp.

While the bread is in the overn, make the drrsssing. Carefully tip the juices from the beetroot pan into a jug and add the olive oil, mint and mustard. Season and mix well.

Tumble all the veg into a big bowl, top with the bread and seeds and stir in the dressing.

Serve as an accompaniment as part of a main course, or for lunch, alone or with some goats cheese, lemony yoghurt, maybe some green leaves

By louiseodriscoll, Jun 30 2014 11:47AM

This recipe is so simple and delicious - the chorizo can be left out if you prefer but just a few bits give an extra kick and a Spanish flavour. The meal packs in the protein with the fish and chickpeas, together with the nutrients and antioxidants of tomatoes and spinach. Serve with some steamed green veg on the side for extra veggie points!

Serves 2.

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 onion, chopped

2-3" of chorizo, cut into small chunks

1 400g tin of chickpeas - drained and rinsed

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 bag of washed spinach

2 generous cod fillets, skin off

Pre-heat the oven to 180deg. Using an oven proof pan if you have one, gently fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and starting to colour, Add the chorizo and increase the heat, fry for 2 minutes (do not over cook as it becomes too tough). Add the chickpeas and the tomatoes and heat for 2 minutes. Add the spinach to the pan and allow it to wilt into the tomato and chickpea mixture - if it seems a little dry you can add a little water to loosen at this point.

If you are not using an oven proof pan, transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Season the fish fillets and place on top of the chickpea and tomatoes and bake for 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and serve.

By louiseodriscoll, Jun 24 2014 03:21PM

One of the things people often ask me when discussing food and eating more healthily is the subject of snacks. Some nutrition/health experts swear by a no-snacking approach but this really doesn't work for everyone. On balance I'd be happier if someone snacked on something nutritious mid-morning or mid-afternoon than feel grumpy and deprived and get to their next meal in such an advanced state of hunger that they end up eating far too quickly and too much.

So here are some suggestions for snacks that will really keep you satsified and energised until the next meal, without playing havoc with your blood sugar!

Sliced apple or celery spread with nut butter - choose almond butter with no added ingredients, a better choice than peanut butter because it has higher levels of magnesium and vitamin E and, according to some studies, is more satisfying (so you'll eat less!).

Oatcakes or a small slice of wholegrain or sourdough toast spread with houmous or mashed avocado with chilli and a squeeze of lime or lemon.

A big handful of blueberries and a palmful of raw nuts.

Crumbled feta with watermelon or with beetroot is a fantastic combination.

A few squares of dark (70%+) dark chocolate

Homemade flapjacks with plenty of seeds and minimal sugar.

A green smoothie that includes some chia seeds and avocado.

Some Greek yoghurt (full fat) with berries and a few raw nuts.

A palmful of fresh coconut and a handful of berries.

By louiseodriscoll, Jun 20 2014 10:34AM

This recipe comes courtesy of an old Jamie Oliver book, adapted a little. An ideal way of getting your oily fish, together with the low GI, heart healthy and protein rich lentils and the lycopene in the tomatoes to boost antioxidants and lower cholesterol. If you prefer, leave the parma ham out. As usual, its fast, easy and delicious!

Serves 2

2 salmon fillets (skin off)

4 slices parma ham

1 tin/sachet of pre-cooked puy lentils (or you could cook your own, I am lazy)

1 large bag of spinach

100g natural or Greek yoghurt (full fat)

Handful of chopped fresh herbs (mint, parsley, basil)

About 16 cherry tomatoes

Some green veg to serve alongside.

Pre-heat the oven to 200deg

Season the salmon fillets with a little pepper before wrapping them in the prosciutto slices. Leave some of the flesh exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven along with the tomatoes, for around 15 minutes until the prosciutto is golden.

While the salmon is cooking, place the lentils in a saucepan and add a good slug of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon, add the bag of spinach so that it wilts into the lentils. Then stir in the chopped herbs.

Steam some broccoli or green beans, or roast some asparagus with the fish and tomatoes.

Mix the yoghurt with some salt and pepper and serve a spoonful on top of the lentils. Enjoy!

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