Thursday, March 26, 2020

When is a grain not a grain? When it's a pseudo-grain...

Pseudo-grains, or pseudo-cereals as they're also known, have increasingly been enjoying the limelight as our awareness of grains expands beyond wheat, oats and barley and new grain varieties become more and more popular. 

So what is a pseudo-grain?
Pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are actually seeds and just like regular grains have similar overall nutrient compositions, being a great source of protein, fibre and minerals. This group of 'grains' also has the benefit of being gluten free for those who need to avoid gluten.

How do I use them?
Pseudo-grains are used in very similar ways to 'true' grains and are becoming more accessible in foods like breads, cereals and snacks, as well as in their whole form. To mix up your grains, try using pseudo-grains anywhere you would normally use a 'true' grain, think buckwheat groats in risotto, quinoa flour in home baking and amaranth mixed in porridge. Why not try our Lemon & Olive Quinoa Dolmades, Buckwheat, Kale & Chicken Soup and Adam Liaw's Whole Grain Rice Mix.

Are pseudo-grains better for me?
In short, neither variety is any better for us with all types of grain showcasing a great nutrient profile. Whichever grains you enjoy though, it's important to choose mostly whole grain to benefit from more than 26 nutrients and phytonutrients and to try and eat a range of different whole grains to boost the variety of nutrients you're consuming!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

It's Time to Love Your Legumes Australia

Many of us have a bag or tin of dried beans sitting at the back of the cupboard and it can be difficult to know what to do with them. But thanks to a wave of plant-based trends, coupled with the International Year of Pulses in 2016, the humble pulse, or legumes as they're more commonly known, are now increasingly being seen for the nutritional powerhouses that they truly are. With pulses on the brain, we've been looking at the health benefits they provide and new ways in which to incorporate them into our diet!

But first, what actually is a pulse?

Pulses belong to the wider legume family, which is a group of plants whose fruit or seed is enclosed in a pod. Pulses refer specifically to the dried, mature seeds of these plants and include dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. The term ‘legume’ includes these dry varieties, as well as fresh peas and beans and is a more commonly used term than pulses.

Many people are most familiar with legumes in the form of the much-loved baked bean, but there are hundreds of varieties of legume out there - some of the most familiar including chickpeas, lentilspeas and beans - like butter beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans and soybeans.

Legumes and pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be eaten in many forms including whole, split, ground into flour, dried, canned, cooked or frozen.

Why are they so good for me?

Legumes are packed with a whole range of essential nutrients, they are...
  • An economical source of plant-based protein.
  • Higher in protein than most other plant foods.
  • Generally low in fat, and virtually free of saturated fats.
  • Rich in energy-giving carbohydrates, with a low glycaemic index to help maintain blood glucose control.
  • A good source of B-group vitamins including folate, plus iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
  • Abundant in fibre, including both insoluble and soluble fibre, plus resistant starch - all essential for maintaining good gut health!

There are many studies which show that legumes offer significant health benefits including protection against chronic diseases, assisting with weight management and helping to maintain good gut health.

How much should I be eating?

Pulses like chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans are full of nutrients, inexpensive and important for health and well-being. We recommend aiming for 100g or ½ cup of pulses at least three times a week to maintain good health.

 Download your copy of our latest e-book here for exclusive legume recipes and tips!

So how do I add more legumes into my diet?

  Enjoying legumes as part of a healthy habit is easier than you might think...
·        Use hummus instead of mayonnaise in a sandwich
·        Substitute a mix of kidney beans or red lentils for half the mince in a spaghetti bolognaise or chilli
·        Mix in a handful of black beans or lentils when cooking scrambled eggs
·        Try whizzing a handful of cannellini beans into a fruit smoothie 
·        Use mashed cooked brown lentils in a nutty bliss ball mix

Why not try something new with these legumes…

Chickpeas offer a creamy texture and mild taste and make a great base for soaking up flavours.

Try something new with chickpeas: why not mix up your hummus with additions like sundried tomatoes, beetroot, feta or cooked sweet potato or why not try the latest foodie trend, sweet hummus!

Black beans have a delicious meaty texture and make a great addition to burgers or as a mince substitute in chilli.

Try something new with black beans: use them to add a fudgy texture to brownies or showcase them as the star in your next veggie burger.

Download our latest e-book here to get a delicious brownie recipe where you can use lentils or black beans!

Lupins are slowly making their mark in the world of legumes due to their incredible versatility - they can be eaten fresh, or use lupin flour, flakes and kibble to add extra protein and fibre when baking.

Try something new with lupins: use a mix of lupin flakes and oats for a nutritious homemade muesli or use lupin flour to make these delicious Blueberry and Vanilla Muffins.

Top tips for prepping and storing your legumes

·        Cooking dried legumes (or pulses) in large batches is easy and cost-effective - simply freeze individual portions of cooked legumes for up to three months for ready-to-use convenience.
·        When using canned legumes, rinse contents thoroughly to reduce sodium content by more than 40%.
·        Soaking dried legumes for an hour or two, or overnight if you have time, ensures that they're easier to digest and maximises nutrient bio-availability. Split peas and lentils don't need to be soaked.
·        Store cooked, cooled legumes in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than 3 days - this applies whether they're from a can or cooked at home.

With so many varieties to choose from, there are many reasons to love your legumes - their health benefits, versatility and abundance of nutrients being just a few. But however you choose to eat them, know that whenever you do you’re making a significant contribution to your health.

Visit the GLNC website for more information on the nutrition benefits of legumes, handy tips and recipe inspiration or download your copy of our latest e-book here for exclusive recipes and tips!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How to create a balanced sandwich in four easy steps!

It’s that time of year again when the kids are headed back to school, you're off to work and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the thought of so many lunches to prepare. We’ve got your back this new school year - creating a nutritionally balanced lunchbox doesn’t have to be so stressful. Take a step in the right direction by making your kids - and yourself - a wholesome sandwich!   

Did you know bread contains vital nutrients such as fibre, B-group vitamins, folate, thiamine, zinc, vitamin E and antioxidants? So it’s the perfect vehicle for creating a nutritious, portable lunch.

If you’re lacking inspiration when it comes to packing school lunches, simply follow our 4 easy steps to creating the ultimate portable lunch…

1.     Choose your base - a well-constructed sandwich relies on a substantial base! Whatever you choose to build your sandwich on - sliced bread, wraps or rolls - we recommend choosing whole grain, wholemeal or high fibre varieties where possible. Whole grain and high fibre foods can reduce our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

If you have a picky eater on your hands try using one slice white and one slice wholemeal bread or use a high fibre white bread!   

2.     Add flavour - use your favourite spread like vegemite, hummus or avocado to add a pop of flavour, colour and nutrients. Mix things up and try this bright beetroot hummus.

3.     Add your veggies - use a handful of salad or any other raw or cooked vegetables you have at home. Don’t look past last night’s leftover roast pumpkin or zucchini!

4.     Finally, choose your protein power - quick and easy sources of protein like cheese, tuna, boiled egg, crushed beans or leftover poached chicken are great for sandwiches.

Getting the kids involved...
Now that you’re ready to get creative, why not get the kids to help? A great way to get younger kids involved and make lunchboxes fun is by cutting sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters. Or get them to roll wraps in foil to make it easier for them to eat.

Encourage your kids to get involved in lunchbox choices too - asking them to choose their fruit and veggies will help to reduce uneaten food at the end of the day.

Top tips for avoiding soggy sandwiches
·       Very lightly toast bread, just 1-2 minutes 
·       Make sure lettuce leaves, rocket and salads are nice and dry before assembling - use a paper towel to remove most of the moisture
·       Put condiments like mayo in the middle of your sandwich, between meat or cheese
·       Use lettuce leaves as a barrier - layer first so they are directly in contact with the bread

Still lacking inspiration?
Don’t worry, we’ve prepared a lunchbox planner for the week ahead, plus a bunch of sandwich, wrap and roll recipes that are sure to inspire your lunches. You can find all these and more on our website. Check out our Mexican Bean Wrap which takes just 5 minutes to prepare, plus it’s a winner with the whole family!