#WakeuptoOrganic breakfast bars with #noaddedsugar

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This time last month I was at Natural and Organic Products Show Europe where we launched the Organic Trade Board’s Wake up to Organic Campaign with the help of food blogger and food tutor, and more, Laura Scott. Laura made a cool green smoothie which had a great minty zing and a sumptuous granola breakfast parfait.

The campaign will take place on the morning of 15th June (it’s our second year) where all over the UK independent retailers will host #WakeuptoOrganic events where they serve free organic breakfasts to their customers and passers by to show how easy it is to make the switch to organic.

Why organic?

There are plenty of reasons to choose organic, it’s better for the environment, the animals are reared using higher animal welfare standards and of course organic produce has lower pesticide residues and is GM free. There is evidence now that there’s a difference in terms of nutrition.  A recent study  by researchers at Newcastle University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that organically grown fruit and vegetables have:

  • Higher levels of antioxidants
  • Lower pesticide residues (which were 4 times higher in non organic) and
  • Significantly lower levels of the toxic heavy metal, Cadmium.

A recent meta analysis published by the same researchers in British Journal of Nutrition found that organic meat and dairy had:

  • about 50% higher levels of healthy omega 3 fats (which are good for heart and brain health as well as protecting against cancer)
  • Under organic standards cows must eat a 60% fresh grass based diet or hay/silage (conserved grass) which is likely to be a factor in the higher omega 3 levels.
  • Organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats linked to heart disease.
  • Organic milk and diary has 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been associated with reduced cardiovascular heart disease, some cancers and obesity.
  • Organic milk contains slightly higher concentrations of vitamin E.
  • Less iodine than non-organic milk.¹

Both studies were meta-analyses of the available evidence which assessed peer-reviewed papers. Where studies did not meet the standards set by the researchers for methodology and/or reporting they were excluded from the review. This means the quality of the evidence included is good and the evidence is robust.

So to celebrate our Wake up to Organic launch I made these breakfast bars, based on my popular no added sugar banana and date flapjack recipe. I’ve also added nuts and seeds to increase the protein content. While these contain no added sugar they do have dried fruit in them, so it’s a good idea to have them with a glass of milk and drink water after to protect your teeth!

Wake up to Organic breakfast bars

Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 25 minutes
Makes 12

You will need…

150g Oats
2 large bananas (about 200-220g)
50g desiccated coconut
120g chopped dates (if you don’t have enough dates substitute chopped raisins)
100g melted coconut oil (or butter)
80g nuts and seeds (I used pumpkin seeds, chia and pecan)

How to…

Mash the bananas on a plate and put in a bowl.
Add the coconut oil, dates nuts and desiccated coconut and mix well.
Now add the oats and again mix well
Turn into a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Press down so it’s evenly spread
Bake in an oven at 190 °C or 160 °C in a fan oven or gas mark 3 for 25 minutes.
Cut into slices whilst still warm.

 

¹Historic research highlighted that organic milk contained less iodine. However, the industry has taken steps to address this. OMSCo (the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative) representing over 65% of the UK’s organic milk supply, announced that in 2015 organic milk had achieved comparable levels of iodine to conventional and in 2016, following recent testing of bottled milk, they announced these levels of iodine have been maintained. Richard Hampton, managing director at OMSCo, said; “We initiated projects to boost iodine levels and applied these to our farmer members’ enterprises, and by early 2015 we announced that we’d achieved comparable levels with those in the conventional market. Our latest results have shown that one year on from the initial milestone we’re maintaining those levels.”

 

 

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Pecan and date spelt breakfast muffins

 

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I’ve been looking for healthier breakfast muffin recipes because, who doesn’t love cake for breakfast, especially children. And if it’s lower sugar then you’re good to go.

Helping with the Organic Trade Board’s  Wake up to Organic campaign has made me want to come up with some new ideas for breakfast. On 15th of June all over the UK independent retailers will dish up a free organic breakfast to their customers and passers by. The idea is to show easy it is to make the switch to organic. Follow us on twitter to keep up with the campaign

Gluten free

I haven’t tried this recipe with gluten free flour but I am sure it will work – you can also use gluten free oats. I am going to try to make them with buckwheat flour and will report on how well it works.

Dairy free

This recipe is dairy free but if you want to use butter instead of coconut oil or milk instead of dairy free alternatives to milk.

Sugar

These muffins have no refined sugar in them – though they do have maple syrup which as a syrup is classified as sugar. I will be trying this recipe without maple syrup as I think they can easily be made without – 30ml contains about 15g of sugar which is equal to about 1.3g of sugar per muffin, the dates contribute 7g of sugar, the bananas provide just under 1.8g sugar per muffin, the coconut milk provides less than a gram. So in total each muffin has about 2 teaspoons of sugar which sounds like a lot but most shop bought muffins will be bigger portion sizes and contain 4-5 teaspoons of sugar, and they also won’t be in natural fruit form – which of course include lots of micronutrients, from vitamin B6 in the dates, to potassium in bananas. Under the latest Scientific Advisory Committee guidance this is equivalent to just over 1 teaspoon of refined sugars.

We do have some sugar in our diet in our family and I want to reduce it. Have you found that children don’t notice any changes to what you feed them, if you don’t mention it and also make those changes gradually. In between work, parenting, and walking the dog I don’t have much time to experiment in the kitchen so I need tried and tested recipes that work, like this one. These make a great treat breakfast and of course can be put in lunch boxes too.

Pecan and date spelt breakfast muffins

Vegan, soy free

Makes 12 muffins
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes

You will need…

240g white spelt flour (or a mixture of white and wholemeal)
130g dates chopped
190ml coconut milk or almond milk or other diary free milk.
2 small to medium bananas mashed (about 180g)
30ml of maple syrup
30g chia seeds
30g pumpkin seeds
50g pecans chopped
30g oats
60ml coconut oil melted
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Medium carrot finely grated (about 80g)
pinch of salt

How to…

  • Preheat your oven to 190˚C/gas mark 5/350°F.
  • Put the mashed banana in a big bowl with the carrots, milk, maple syrup, vinegar and vanilla extract  and melted coconut oil, mix well.
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, mixed spice and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Gently fold in the seeds, nuts, dates and oats.
  • Don’t over mix as this helps keep the muffins fluffy.
  • Place the mixture in 12 muffin tins.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. You can test with a skewer and if it comes out with mixture on it bake for a few more minutes.
  • Cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve with some chopped fruit and/or a cup of milk.

Oaty apple breakfast bake with #noaddedsugar

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This breakfast dish is very popular in my house. I have to admit that eldest daughter loves it and the youngest will eat it but its not her favourite. But I think a lot of families have that going on.

You make the apple sauce in batches and freeze that makes it easier. We have lots of windfalls at the moment so am doing this when I can, in between everything else.

You make this dish the night before, we make it weekdays and weekends. All you do is turn the oven on when you get up and bake it for 30 minutes. It’s mainly measuring and mixing, so it was easy for my 2 year old to help make it last night.

Have been using windfalls for my apple sauce, I am beginning to run out of freezer space. Maybe time for another freezer.

I’ve made this dish with no added sugar, only the sugars found naturally in fruit.

Because it has no added sugar it’s suitable for weaning. Just take out the raisins as they’re high in sugar, it’s best to wait until your little one is 1 before introducing them.

You’ll need an oven-proof dish – mine is about 25 cm x 17 cm.

Gluten free and dairy free

You can make it gluten free by using gluten free oats.

Milk can be swapped for non-dairy milk like coconut drinking milk or almond milk, and the butter for non-dairy unhydrogenated spread or coconut oil.

Oaty apple breakfast bake recipe

You will need…

100g raisins
180g apple sauce (stewed apples blended without sugar)
300ml milk
350g whole oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple cored but unpeeled grated
3 medium eggs, beaten
50g melted unsalted butter

How to…

Grease a shallow dish.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Put in the dish, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning heat the oven to 160º c fan oven / 180º c / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
Serve with a little milk poured over and chopped fruit.

Portions and nutrition

This recipe makes enough for 1½-2 rounds of breakfast for a family of 4-5. Based on a 5 year old having a 100g portion this breakfast it contains good amounts of protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium. It makes a good contribution to iron and zinc intakes too along with key B vitamins such as B6, B12 and more. So it makes for a really healthy start to the day.

The sugar content per 100g is 9.5g (just under 2 teaspoons) but it’s all from fruit so doesn’t count towards the maximum recommended intake for this age of ‘free sugars’* of 4 teaspoons a day.

*’free sugars’ is a definition by World Health Organisation which has been adopted by the UK Governments Scientific Advisory Committee in their recent report on Carbohydrates and health. Free sugars are any processed sugar added to foods by a manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juice.

Date and banana flapjacks with #noaddedsugar

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I have got into the habit of making flapjacks on a Sunday night for the week – though they don’t always last that long. I have taken to storing them in the car so I am not tempted – there is evidence that unsurprisingly shows that if you can see food you eat it!

This is the first time I’ve made them with no honey, just relying on natural sugars from dates and bananas. There is a lot in the media and books to buy, and recipes online for no sugar foods. Which is great. We are still waiting to hear following on from the draft guidance on sugar intakes published by the Government’s SACN. In the meantime World Health Organization has published their latest recommendations to reduce intakes to 10% with an ideal target of 5% or less.

It’s worth remembering that honey, maple syrup, dried fruit and smoothies still contain sugar but because the sugar is in it’s natural form it also provides nutrients. So recipes that contain these natural forms of sugar are not “sugar free” but have no “refined sugar” or “processed sugar” or, I suppose “added sugar”. Refined sugar is has no vitamins or minerals, so really only provides empty calories. The sugar in honey, maple syrup etc, is in its natural form, so it has a lower GI (a slower release of sugars into the blood) and also contains some minerals. Maple syrup is high in manganese, and contains good amounts of zinc and potassium. Honey contains very low levels of iron, copper and manganese.

These flapjacks are perfect for picnics and after main meals. Not recommended for between meals as the sticky sugars can get stuck on teeth. Regularly eating dried fruit, juices or smoothies between meals increases risk of dental decay. See my previous post, Sweet Tooth for more information.

This recipe is vegan if you use coconut oil, if you use butter best to use organic. Organic Standards legally set mean that organic cattle have to be pasture fed for the most of the year.

Flapjacks are really easy and quick to make, your children can help with the mashing and mixing (my 2 year old happily helps out – it gets messy and keeps her busy).

You will need…

  • 180g Oats
  • 2 medium bananas (about 190-200g)
  • 60g desiccated coconut (optional)
  • 160g chopped dates (if you don’t have enough dates substitute chopped raisins)
  • 100g melted coconut oil (or butter)

How to…

  • Mash the bananas on a plate.
  • Put the bananas in a bowl
  • Add the coconut oil and dates and mix well.
  • Now add the oats and desiccated coconut and again mix.
  • Turn into a lined baking tay
  • Bake in an oven at 170 °C or 150 °C in a fan oven or gas mark 3 for 25 minutes.
  • Cut into slices whilst still warm.

If you have older children do not mention these flapjacks have no refined sugar in them as they will immediately hate them. My 8 year old had these happily last night because I said nothing!

Dairy free blackberry ripple ice cream

This is my last blackberry recipe for the season as they’re ever so nearly gone. I went foraging at the weekend and there’s only a few in the hedgerows – enough to add to a crumble and not much more.

Blackberry ripple coconut ice cream

This ice cream is much lower in sugar than usual recipes or any shop bought ice cream. Using maple syrup which contains half the amount of sugar weight for weight as granulated sugar. It is also a natural form of sugar so has a lower GI compared processed sugar. The amounts of maple syrup used are low too.

You will need…

About 350g blackberries washed and checked for signs of life
2 egg yolks (freeze the egg whites for other recipes)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
Capful of vanilla extract
300ml coconut drinking milk
1.5 teaspoons of cornflour
400g can coconut milk

How to…

…make the custard
Heat the coconut drinking milk in a pan to boiling point.
While you are heating it up beat the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Mix the cornflour with a little water to make into a paste.
Add the paste to the egg mixture.
When the milk has reached boiling point, gradually whisk into the egg mixture.
Then pour into the pan and bring back to the boil stirring continually til it thickens.

Shake the tinned coconut milk
Mix into the custard.
Chill for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.

…make the ripple
Heat the blackberries in a pan with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Simmer for a few minutes.
Take off the heat.
Pass through a sieve so you end up with a seed-free syrup.

…bring it together
Once the coconut mixture has cooled for long enough, add half the blackberry mixture.
Whisk for a few minutes with a handheld electric whisk.
Put in a sealed tub in the freezer for about an hour and a half.
Take out of the freezer put in a bowl and whisk again with the electric whisk.
Put in the freezer for another hour or so.
Whisk again.
It should now be solidifying and so now’s a good time to add the rest of the blackberry syrup.
Stir it through.
Freeze for an hour or two longer and it should be ready.
When you come to serve the ice cream, let it thaw for about 10 minutes before serving.

Allergens

This recipe is dairy free – made with coconut milk. However as it includes home made custard, egg yolks are used.