First Bite Experience + Sweet Potato Stir-Fry

sweet potato stir-fry

I want to share something really simple that just might transform your experience of your next meal.

I call it The First Bite Experience.

It’s that burst of taste and pleasure that comes across most strongly from the first bite of food but that we are often too distracted to truly notice.

And when we don’t really notice that first bite or any bite after it, our body doesn’t actually register that it has been fed, and starts asking for MORE food, or craves something sweet after the meal.

So one way to avoid overeating or cravings is to simply start by really being present for that first bite of food.

To really take the time to savour that first bite.

Here’s how:

Make sure you are sitting down. Close your eyes if you want. Put a mouthful of food in your mouth. Fully taste it. Do you like the taste? Do you enjoy the crunch or smoothness of the food? Can you taste all the ingredients in it? Try to give this first bite your full, undivided attention as if you were tasting this food for the first time. There is no right or wrong way to do this – simply pay attention.

You do not need to eat the whole meal like this – simply try to remember to bring your full attention to that crucial first bite. Even if you are eating with other people, you can still be attentive to the first bite you take – although you might not want to close your eyes for it!

I would love to hear your experience if you try it – please comment below!

And if you would like more simple, actionable steps to more mindful eating like this one, check out my online Mindful Eating Experiment!

Mindful Eating flyer

Sweet Potato Stir-Fry

This is the perfect recipe to try the First Bite Experience with because sweet potatoes, when you really taste them, have a very satisfying sweet taste. The combination of tastes and textures in this recipe is also incredibly interesting to the tastebuds, particularly due to the umami combo of garlic / onion / Feta / olives. If you lightly toast the pumpkin seeds, this also makes them more umami and lends a more enticing texture.

4 sweet potatoes – medium sized (about 500g)

1 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 cloves minced garlic

2 onions or scallions, chopped

200g Feta cheese, diced AND/OR olives

About 2 tablespoons parsley or coriander, chopped

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Green vegetable of your choice – here I added some steamed broccoli as a side to make a more complete meal but you can also add a handful of spinach leaves or chopped kale at the end and simply stir through to wilt the leaves slightly.

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. You will know it’s done when a knife or fork can easily pierce the skin and the center is soft.

You can make more in quantity and leave them to cool, then wrap them in the baking sheet and put them in the fridge to use over up to 3 days.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the turmeric, garlic and onion.

Add the sweet potato and heat through for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to coat the potatoes with the onion, garlic and turmeric. Add the Feta or olives and green leafy vegetable if you are using and stir until the mixture is heated through.

Turn off the heat and season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt. Add the parsley or coriander and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

You can serve this dish immediately with the sweet potato still warm or you can serve it cold.  It works well for picnics in summer.

sweet potatoes round

Healthy Snack Ideas

healthy snack ideas_banner

Are you looking for some tasty and healthy snack ideas? Here are some savoury and sweet snacks that all have a good mix of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates to fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal!

Try to snack only when you are truly physically hungry, rather than as a habit or excuse to take a break. If you are eating consistent, satisfying meals, you should be able to last 4-6 hours between meals.

I wrote more about how often to eat based on my own experience here in case you are curious (hint: I usually prefer eating consistent meals and try to avoid snacking)!

Combining sugary carbohydrates like fruit with a source of fat and/or protein like nuts or seeds ensures more stable energy as blood sugar levels rise more slowly and consistently.

I would love to hear from you: Do you snack? What is your favorite snack? 

savoury snack ideas

humus no breadHummus with raw vegetables (radish, carrot, celery, cucumber). You can make a big batch of hummus to keep in the fridge for several days.

Cottage cheese with chopped herbs like chives or chopped fruit like apple or pineapple or even berries for a little more taste.

Chickpea croutons are a super easy snack to make when you want something crispy – and you can add any spices you want to them.

Hard-boiled egg – you can actually make these in advance and keep them in the fridge to use over several days. Learn how to boil eggs perfectly here.

Plain, air-popped popcorn.

Tinned tuna or salmon. You can place it in a wrap made from nori or a lettuce leaf.

Piece of cheese, perhaps with a few grapes or slices of pears.

Dried meat – the Swiss meat viande des Grisons is a good option.

A few forkfuls of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi. Fermented food is great for balancing the bacteria in our gut and it can even help curb sugar cravings. You can make you own or buy fermented sauerkraut – just make sure it is raw + unpasteurized.kale chips

Whole grain crackers (like brown rice) with avocado, cottage cheese, hummus or nut butter spread on top.

Grilled Haloumi cheese.

Leftover piece of chicken, meat or fish.

Kale chips! This recipe is fool-proof.

 

sweet snacks

A square of dark chocolate (at least 70%).

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailRaw date and nut balls like these. You can make a bigger batch and freeze.

Date halves stuffed with walnuts or almonds.

Chia pudding such as this recipe which you can make a big batch of and keep in the fridge over several days.

Frozen banana soft serve which tastes surprisingly like ice-cream!

A vegetable-based smoothie.

These chocolate cookies…made with beans.

Raw chocolate mousse made with avocado.

Make your own trail mix by combining your choice of nuts, seeds and dried fruits and putting them in small bags or Tupperwares. You can buy small, portion size bags from the stationary section of Migros or Coop.

Carrot or celery sticks, apple, pear or banana pieces with spread such as almond butter, tahini or peanut butter. Make your own nut butter or buy a brand that is made only of the nut, seed or peanut without anything added (no salt, oil or sugar). Here’s how to make your own almond butter in just minutes:

Nut butter recipe

Raw Spice Balls

Raw Spice Balls

When you are craving something sweet, dates are a great option. As a dried fruit, the sugar in dates is completely natural and also contains minerals and vitamins such as iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper and dietary fiber.

But did you know that dates are perfect for making healthier sweet treats? They add both sweetness and consistency and are very versatile. Make sure you have a good food processor (S-blade) to grind dates into a paste though as they can get stuck in blenders.

Always buy the best quality you can find, preferably the Medjool variety. They are bigger and softer than other dates and work very well as a paste.

These Raw Spice Balls are a great snack or dessert or for when you need a quick energy boost. They are extremely versatile, allowing you to use any spice or spice mix you want. They are also very simple to make, taking only a few minutes to blend and a few more to shape.

Ingredients

1 cup whole hazelnuts or almonds OR 2 cups ground hazelnuts or almonds

1 cup pitted Medjool dates

1-3 tsp spices (to taste): Cinnamon only, gingerbread spice mix, chai spice mix, cacao powder or any other spice you want

a dash of sea salt

Method

Grind the hazelnuts or almonds in a food processor. You can also buy them already ground but I find doing it myself adds more flavor.

With the food processor running on medium, drop in the dates one by one through the feed tube.

Add the spices and sea salt and process until the consistency is uniform and crumbly. You should be able to easily form a ball between your hands. If this is not the case, add more dates

Roll into balls and store in the fridge until you serve/eat them.

For a more sophisticated twist, you can roll the balls in shredded coconut or toasted sesame seeds and serve them truffle style (as in the photo below).

Raw Spice Balls

6 Recipes From 2013 to Start 2014 Off Right!

 

6 recipes for 2014

 

Happy New Year everyone!

If you are like me, your body might be needing a little break from all the heavy eating that happens during this time. So I put together a few of my favorite recipes from 2013 – a mix of snacks, not-so-decadant desserts and side dishes or meals to help you start 2014 on the right foot!

1. Chickpea Flour Crepe (Gluten & Dairy Free)

A great way of jazzing up any leftovers and a healthier alternative to bread. Top with anything you have lying around and you have a more interesting meal in minutes!

2. Raw Chocolate Avocado Pie (Gluten & Dairy Free)

A very easy and tasty dessert that tastes decadent but uses only healthy, wholesome ingredients – no baking needed! I always have a fun time getting people to guess the mystery ingredient…

3. Humus – No Bread (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Humus is one of my go to dishes when I need to bring something to a party or just want a light meal. While you can now buy ready-made humus in most supermarkets, it’s much healthier and very simple to make your own, especially if you are using canned chickpeas.

4. Harisa – Arabic Semolina Cake

This was  a traditional New Year’s dessert for me growing up – and this is a lighter, less processed version. It is very tasty with a touch of exotic Arabic flavor.

5. Roasted Winter Vegetables

This is my go-to recipe for preparing winter vegetables in a way which brings out their natural sweetness. Did you know that eating naturally sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots or carrots can actually reduce sugar cravings? This dish makes a great side dish or light dinner.

6. Brown Rice Zaatar Crackers

These are a great snack for when you are on the go and need something healthy to tide you over!

New Year Wishes