EASY CACAO TOASTED MUESLI

With so many muesli and granola varieties available it can be confusing deciding which one to select, with many high in sugar and energy which can hinder your health goals, so why not make your own? 

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This toasted muesli recipe is both super easy and nourishing, even the most basic baker couldn't stuff this one up. It is low in sugar, full of healthy fats and fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer and stabilising your blood sugar levels.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup almonds (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/3 True Protein cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup True Protein MCT Oil (coconut oil)
  • 1/3 cup raw maple syrup
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METHOD

  • Pre heat oven to 160 degrees
  • Combine rolled oats, chia seeds, and chopped almonds into a bowl and mix.
  • In a food processor or over low heat combine the coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder until well mixed
  • Coat the dry ingredients with wet mixture and stir well
  • Line a baking tray and spread mixture evenly on the tray
  • Place the muesli mix in the oven, check and stir every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking
  • Cooking time will vary from 25-40 minutes depending on how crunchy you desire your muesli
  • Once cooked, add the cranberries and toasted coconut flakes to the mix
  • Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy with coconut yoghurt, as a smoothie topper or a stand alone crunchy snack. Enjoy 10% off the True Protein range by using BROOKE10 at checkout.

Brooke x

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GREEN BREAKFAST BOWL

Do you get sick of smoothies, or would you prefer to 'eat' a meal rather than 'drink' one? This BFN Green Breakfast Bowl gives you just that, plus a hit of two veg before you've even left the house!

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I'm a huge fan of smoothies. They are a complete meal all in one, convenient, refreshing and a safe fail in our house. Not all smoothies are equal though and are often loaded with sugar, which if you're consuming first thing in the morning will spike you blood sugar levels like crazy, only for you to crash by 10am.

My smoothies always have a combo of veggies and fruit, in this particular smoothie bowl the ratio of veg is on par with or almost higher than the fruit - winning. This bowl contains satiating protein from the vegan protein powder, heart healthy fats (avo, coconut yoghurt & nut butter), fibre, vitamins A, B and D, potassium and so much more! Here's what you need and how to make it.

INGREDIENTS - SMOOTHIE BOWL

  • 1/4-1/2 avocado
  • Large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp coconut yoghurt (or greek)
  • 1 banana (place 1/2-1/3 in the smoothie mix, the remainder is to top the smoothie bowl)
  • 100ml coconut milk (or fluid of your choice)
  • 1 scoop vanilla plant based protein powder (I use The Healthy Chef)
  • Crushed Ice

METHOD

  • Place all ingredients in a high speed mixer, adding the protein powder last.
  • Blend until well combined, texture should be thicker than your average 'drinking' smoothie.
  • Top with the below toppings and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS - TOPPINGS

  • Remainder of your banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen berries 
  • 2 tbsp Natural granola
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (optional)

This is a hit with Byron also, although he does love drinking his smoothies. I'd love to see your photos trying the smoothie bowl, make sure you tag me @balancefitnessandnutrition and share away.

Enjoy!

Brooke x

PIZZA NIGHT MINUS THE GUILT - CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BASE RECIPE

Who doesn't love a good pizza and movie night? Often though when you are trying to stick to a fitness goal or weight loss plan pizza doesn't always go hand in hand with the two. 

Luckily there are plenty of options out there that are a little more guilt free. They may not be as convenient but are still just as delicious and pack a more nutritious hit than your standard take away or home made pizza.

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Try this simple cauliflower pizza base recipe next time you feel like pizza but don't want the bloat, calories and discomfort that comes with it. Whilst it is a simple recipe, it does take approximately 20 minutes to prep, then 20-30 minutes to cook the base before you put your toppings on - but it is worth it!

The following mixture will give you 1 pizza base.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Makes 1-2 pizza bases

  • 500g or 1 head of cauliflower (I got mine from Food Fanatics Veggie box)
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Mixed herbs, pepper, garlic/chilli salt (to add flavour to the base)

METHOD:

  • Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and add a pizza stone to the oven to warm up.
  • Chop the cauliflower into chunks and put through a food processor until they resemble bread crumbs. I used my Thermomix, Speed 5 for 6 seconds.
  • Once in fine pieces soften the cauliflower by boiling, microwaving or steaming until it has softened.
    • If using a thermomix for this stage add in 400g of hot water to the mixing bowl, put the cauliflower in the rice basket, set timer for 10 minutes, Temp - Varoma, Speed 1.
  • This is the most important step: Once the cauliflower has softened, use a muslin wrap or light tea towel to squeeze as much moisture out of the cauliflower as possible. Your pizza base will not remain formed if too much moisture is left in the cauliflower, so get squeezing!
  • Once as much moisture has possible has been removed add the cauliflower, eggs, seasoning and cheese to your blender or mixing bowel and combine to resemble a dough. 
    • If using a thermomix - Time 30s, Speed 4.
  • Place baking paper on top of your pizza stone and spray with coconut oil to avoid any sticking (in case you didn't get all of the moisture out).
  • Spread the mixture evenly over your warmed pizza stone to resemble a pizza base
  • Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Top with your favourite pizza top pins & put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, then enjoy!

I generally double or triple the mixture as one pizza isn't enough in our household and use my Thermomix. If I am doubling or tripling the mixture, I process the 500g of cauliflower separately (chop, steam & squeeze). I then combine it all at the end with double or triple the remaining ingredients, blend into one big mix and then divide out onto my pizza stones.

As I said, a simple (somewhat time consuming) pizza base that tastes fantastic and provides an extra nutritional hit packed full of fibre, B, C & K vitamins. Try it on your next pizza night and #balancefitnessnutrition so I can see your delicious creations!

Brooke x

SAVOURY PANCAKE IDEA TO USE UP YOUR EXCESS VEGIES

Have you ever found yourself with some cabbage and stuck for what to do with it? Sure you could make sauerkraut or an asian noodle salad, but heres a little something different. A take on a traditional Japanese savoury pancake dish.

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We regularly enjoy okonomiyaki either for breakfast or dinner. It is super easy, and you can even use the below recipe as a base & add extra veggies if you like. All veggies I used were fresh from my Food Fanatics Keto Box.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup flour (plain flour / spelt flour)
  • 2-3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1-2 shredded carrots
  • Sat & pepper to season

Sauce (optional but delicious)

  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp sesame oil

METHOD

  • Finely chop the cabbage, grate carrot and add to a bowl
  • Stir through flour
  • Whisk the eggs in a seperate bowl
  • Stir the eggs into the mix until well combined. Batter should be sticky and hold together.
  • Lightly oil a fry pan and place some mixture in, spreading it into a 'pancake' shape.
  • Flip pancake once golden brown
  • Serve with a side of avocado and okonomiyaki sauce.

To serve I love to add some avocado to the side and a dash of the sauce. Both are optional, but help to add an extra nutrient and flavour hit.

Enjoy!

Brooke x

WEIGHT GAIN DURING PREGNANCY

A topic that can be controversial, overwhelming and at times difficult to accept.

If the thought of jumping on the scales each week and seeing your weight increase despite regular exercise and a healthy diet scares you, you are not alone.  However when you are growing a little human inside of you, expect to see the numbers on the scales increase from month to month.

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If the thought of eating for two excites you and has you going back for seconds for dinner or saying yes more often to the lunchroom cakes, think again. The initial stages of pregnancy actually requires very little change in your daily energy intake, so it’s time to put down the ice cream (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) as your body just does not need excessive additional kilojoules at this stage, but more on nutrition during pregnancy in one of my blogs to be released shortly.

When it comes to weight gain during pregnancy, there is no one size fits all approach (much the same as diets and exercise). Those of smaller frames and lower pre-pregnancy BMI’s (less than 18.5kg/m) are encouraged to gain more weight during pregnancy than those of normal or overweight BMI’s as it helps to reduce the risk of delivering a low for gestational age infant. However high weight gain can be associated with other complications. Mummy’s to be that are carrying extra weight and falling into the overweight or obese categories on the BMI chart (25 – 29kg/m & above 30kg/m), prior to falling pregnant are encouraged to gain less weight throughout the course of their pregnancy. This assists in reducing the risk of delivering a large for gestational age infant (weighing more than 9 pound) and other pregnancy complications associated with weight gain such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and post partum hemorrhage.

What is right for you?

Try not to focus on numbers. Any studies show that the overall the average recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy are between 11 – 16kg and again these vary greatly from each expecting mother due to the variety of personal and pre-pregnancy weight factors.

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Weight gain in the first trimester is relatively small with a total of about 1-2kg. This increases in the second and third trimesters with an average gain of about 0.4kg/week. Again, this is varying for everyone, but can help to be used as a guide. If you spend the first 12 weeks becoming best friends with your toilet bowl, you might find that you actually lose weight in the first trimester. Or you might put on 5-6 kg in the first and then notice that this slows during the second and third.  Those that had a higher pre-pregnancy weight may actually find they lose weight due to following a healthier diet and trying to incorporate regular activity into their week. As hard as it may be initially, try not to compare yourself to anyone else during this time. This goes for post pregnancy weight loss also. Every one is different. As long as you are fuelling your body correctly, eating a variety of nutritious whole foods and incorporating regular movement, your body will do what it needs to do and take care of the rest.

Where does the weight come from?

Try not to stress over weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Look at these 9 months as a chance to fuel your body to grow a healthy mini-me and enjoy the break from high intensity and impact exercise (something I initially struggled to come to terms with, now I am loving it!). The reason I say stress less is because when looking at the percentage of total weight gain during pregnancy in a normal, healthy pregnancy only about 26 – 30% is from body fat. The remainder comes down to the fetus (27%), extracellular/vascular fluid (15%) and blood (10%), with the uterus, placenta, amniotic fluid, and mammary glands accounting for the rest. Are you feeling puffy and like you are retaining fluid? Don’t stress, overall water accounts for over half of the maternal weight gained during pregnancy and will disappear soon after you give birth to you little miracle.

Overall

If you are concerned about your weight gain or loss throughout pregnancy always speak to your doctor. Whilst is can be difficult having to step out of your favourite One Teaspoon shorts, go up a size in the underwear department and upgrade the work wardrobe, try to embrace the journey that your body is headed on. Pregnancy is most certainly not the time to be dieting or restricting your food intake (unless you have been advised to by your doctor). You don’t have to make friends with the scales, but make sure you do make friends with salad both during and after your pregnancy.

Make sure you are choosing plenty of fresh, whole, healthy foods to give your baby the best head start possible and keep up the regular activity; the benefits of this to your physical and mental health and baby are countless! 

Brooke x

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BANANA BREAD - THAT THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN ENJOY

This banana bread recipe is one of my biggest hits, both within my household and with clients. It contains no refined sugars, is gluten free and perfect for that on-the-go snack, to pack in the kids lunch box for school or for that fussy toddler.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 x ripe bananas
  • 6 x eggs
  • 4 x pitted dates (optional)
  • 2 x teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • Place all ingredients except for coconut flour and chia seeds into a high-speed mixer and blend well.
  • Add in the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through.
  • Allow the mix to stand for 10-15 minutes to allow for the flour and chia seeds to expand.
  • Place mixture into a lined baking tin and bake in oven for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Allow to cool, serve with butter or almond spread. 

If you make this recipe and you and the family love it, be sure to share it & tag me on Facebook or Instagram @balancefitnessandnutrition. I'm sure you'll make this a baking staple just as I have.

Enjoy! 

Brooke x

 

7 GIFT IDEAS FOR THE HEALTHY, HAPPY WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE

We are really getting to the pointy end of the year now and if you are anything like me, you may still have a few (or many) 'gifts to buy' on your to-do list, despite your best intentions to have all of your Christmas shopping complete by now! 

Fear not! I have come to your rescue with my top Christmas gift ideas. From stocking fillers to your secret Santa gifts, there is something for all.

When it comes for buying for men, that shit is hard! Unless you want to fork out on a motorbike, surfboard, WAECO, drone or some other you-beaut bloke gift you'll generally have to stick to the socks, jocks, shirts and cologne categories (nothing wrong with those!).

When it comes to females we are easily pleased! There is a plethora of gifts you could get us which we would love. But if you are stuck on what to buy for your best mate, Sister, Mum, Nan, Granny, Aunty, Cousin or any special lady in your life - here are six items any health loving, sun seeking, fitness enthusing woman would love!  All of these products are tried, tested and loved by me (in alphabetical order):

BALANCE FITNESS & NUTRITION GIFT VOUCHER

I had to throw this one in there. It's a safe bet and can be used for a nutrition and/or training plan, to join up to my STRIVE program, PT sessions, BFN merchandise and more! For any amount starting from $55 and valid for six months. Email me to arrange your gift voucher today!

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INIKA ORGANICS

INIKA Organics is the #1 certified organic make-up brand, trusted worldwide and the makeup of choice for stylishly natural women everywhere. This is now all that my make-up kit is comprised of and I love this brand! Gift vouchers are also available, but if you had to ask me or wanted to give a physical gift, my top three picks are the BB cream (an absolute favourite), Baked Mineral Bronzer and Long Lash Vegan Mascara. For the healthy, eco-conscious lady in your life, know that she'll love anything from their range.  https://www.inikaorganic.com/au/

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MOVE YOUR BODY

Be it activewear, swimwear, granola or fitness accessories - Move Your Body is a one stop shop when it comes to health and wellbeing. With one very driven and passionate lady behind the brand, MYB is all about every size, every shape, every body (so there really is something for EVERY woman in your life). Be it online or in store check them out for a gift voucher or latest luxe activewear. My latest lusts are the Abi & Joseph Tied Up Tank, Vie Active Charcoal Vine Tight and CadenShae Tank in Blush. 

https://www.moveyourbodyfitness.com.au

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POLAR

POLAR make both stylish and practical candy for the fitness lovers arm. I have always been a big fan of heart rate monitors for a number of reasons (which will be tackled in a soon-to-be published blog), and a loyal POLAR lover. They are great for tracking distance from the novice to the experienced runner, activity levels, monitor sleep, check your calories burnt, recovery time and so much more! With products ranging to suit those that are after a 'lifestyle' friendly watch right through to pro level. My current top picks for these products would be the M200 GPS running watch and M600 smart watch. The easy to use M200 is a waterproof running watch with wrist-based heart rate, integrated GPS and 24/7 activity tracking, and great value for money. If you have a little bigger budget, the M600 is a sleek, stylish smart watch that provides all of the functionality of a great heart rate monitor, all whilst keeping you connected. You can also receive $50 off of the M600 until the 31st December online at POLAR. 

https://www.polar.com/au-en

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THE SILVER WREN

Specialising in meaningful, handcrafted and personalised jewellery, from silver and gold to rose gold. There is a metal to match us all. I now own a number of pieces from this unique brand and love each one. My top picks would be the disc necklaces, I got mine personalised with a wave to symbolise my love for the ocean, coastal living and sunny adventures. Michelle and her team will be sure to look after and you'll most probably end up a repeat customer life myself!

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/TheSilverWren

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WE ARE FEEL GOOD

These babies make GREAT stocking fillers and will also get plenty of use over your summer holidays! WAFG are a WA owned and based business that aim to produce the world’s best broad spectrum sunscreen with the best possible ingredients to do the job. Whilst their range isn't organic or natural, it is SPF50+, free of parabens, oxybenzone, PABA and preservatives. I don't know about you, but for me protection factor and affordability are a must - particularly if you go through sunscreen at the rate in which our little family does! My top three picks are the PAWPAW, Sensitive Sunscreen and Coconut Sunscreen. They suit our active, outdoorsy, practical lifestyle perfectly, as they will yours!

https://www.wearefeelgoodinc.com.au

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WOMEN'S HEALTH & FITNESS MAG

Whether it be the January edition or a yearly subscription that is gifted, you cannot go wrong with this! WH&F mag is my favourite health and fitness magazine out there and I love being able to contribute to it on a regular basis. With a tag line like 'It's a look, not a lifestyle', which aligns perfectly with my very own 'Extremes are easy. Strive for balance', the publication encompasses it all from nutrition, mindset, movement, beauty and more.  Check out the January edition out on the 20th December for something exciting from yours truly x

http://www.womenshealthandfitness.com.au

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With so many to choose from, the lady/ies that you love in your life will be stoked to get any of the above!

Brooke x