18 Sandwich-Free Lunch Box Ideas

18 Sandwich Free Lunch Box Ideas 2.png

 

I get it. You need healthy lunch box ideas that are nut free, super easy and tasty! I know it can sometimes be a challenge ticking all the boxes, and there are only so many varieties of sandwich fillings you can come up with before inspiration runs dry. So I’ve put together a collection of sandwich-free lunch box ideas that will keep lunchtime interesting, packed with nutrients and make things easier for you.

 

1. Keep a stash of ready made things in the freezer.

Like pre-portioned meals, muffins, quiches and slicesThis brownie freezes and defrosts really well, and so does this slice.

 

2. Have “back-up-items” on hand in your pantry.

Like snacks that you can grab and go when you’re time poor, such as sultanas, organic chips. sultanascorn chips, tinned tuna, popcorncrackers, or cookies.

 

3. Choose dinner time meals that can be re-invented as lunches.

Tacos or fajitas work really well as you can use all the fillings in wraps or a salad the next day. 

 

4. Be well equipped!

Ensure you have all the containers, tools and helpful items needed to easily make great foods quickly. If you don’t have a food processor or blender I highly recommend you get one! It’ll save you time on chopping, blitzing, mixing and grating. I use mine at least daily. I also use a lot of mason jars in all different sizes!

 

5. Ditch the bread.

Instead of bread try “omelette” wraps, lettuce leaves, or wraps

 

6. Try kebabs.

A teacher once told me that kids love anything served on a stick – so fruit kebabs are a winner! You could also try kebabs that are leftover from dinner the night before with a dip – chicken with tomato sauce, lamb with tzatziki for instance. 

 

7. Buy yoghurt in large tubs rather than the individual portions.

It’s way more cost effective. Or try making your own. Scoop plain yoghurt into a small container with honey, fruit or seeds for texture and flavour.

 

8. Make mini quiches.

Use a mix of eggs, seasoning and whatever veggies you have on hand. Pour into a muffin tin and bake until golden. It’s a great way to use up food in your fridge and they can be frozen for convenience.

 

9. Choose meals that you can make ahead and will last most of the week.

A large salad or a roast chicken can be reinvented throughout the week, and used in wraps, on crackers, served with avocado etc.

 

10. Make your own trail mix.

Mix up dried fruit, chocolate and seeds in jars for a sweet crunchy treat at lunch or a snack on the go.

 

11. Try an antipasto type lunch.

Put together a selection of dips, veggie sticks, cheese, crackers, boiled eggs, olives and cherry tomatoes.

 

12. Mix it up with something warm.

Make soups in big batches for easy meals to take to school in a flask. Things like porridgechilli con carne and spag bol also work well in a food flask.

 

13. Serve fruit with dip.

Try apple wedges with chocolate spread for a yummy sweet snack.

 

14. Switch sandwiches for chicken.

Try wings, drumsticks or homemade nuggets as a delicious change to sandwiches.

 

15. Use leftover rice or quinoa to create a salad.

Add chopped up veggies, nuts, seeds, tuna, chicken or salad greens.

 

16. Try celery sticks.

Slather them with chocolate spread or tahini and top with sultanas for a sweet and crunchy treat.

 

17. Freeze smoothies in jars.

Make sure you leave room at the top for expansion when pouring the smoothie into a jar. Take it out in the morning and it’ll be defrosted by lunch time. It will also work like a freezer block to keep the rest of your lunch cold if it’s not going in a fridge. 

 

18. Save your menu plans and go-to recipes.

Or keep a journal of your favourite lunches as a reference guide for when you’re stuck for ideas.

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

10 Steps to Rocking a Wholefood Lifestyle (and Ditching Diets Forever!)

10 Steps to Rocking a Wholefood Lifestyle-2.png

 

I first began changing my diet by default really. 6 years ago I found myself without a job, battling with depression and really struggling with my health. My husband and I were both out of work and it's fair to say I wasn't coping.

 

We'd pretty much eaten all the food left in our cupboards and simply didn't have the funds to replace it. Thankfully, months earlier we'd decided to have a go at our first veggie patch. And it was flourishing! For the next few months we literally lived off the tomatoes, zucchini and butternut squash that had been growing in our garden. It's amazing how inventive you can be with just a few ingredients when it's all you have! And despite the stress I was under, I began to notice I felt amazing.

 

Up until I lost my job I was an obsessive calorie counter. I had an app on my phone and I tracked EVERYTHING. I'd even justified that a diet coke would be a better choice than a salmon fillet or avocado on toast, because the calories were less. Never mind the nutritional value! I'd been driving myself crazy, and it was only once I ditched the diet microwave meals and obsessive counting that I finally made the connection between food and how I felt. 

 

It was a shift in my mindset that I noticed first, and then I realised I'd lost weight and for the first time since I could remember, I felt really good in my body. It was then that I decided I HAD to share what I had learnt so I trained as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. And that was the start of Vitality Kitchen, and my journey towards true health and happiness.

 

You see, eating well isn't about signing up to the latest detox program, 30 day challenge or weight watchers group. It isn't about depriving yourself so much that you then binge eat Nutella straight out of the jar (I've been there!). It's about creating a lifestyle that's sustainable, finding foods that you actually love and want to eat on an ongoing basis. It's about nourishing your body and being kind.

 

So, I'm here to tell you it IS possible to ditch dieting and calorie counting forever. And you do it by adopting what I call a "Wholefood Lifestyle". And here are my 10 steps on how to ROCK it...

 

1. Begin by “detoxing” your kitchen.

Yep, a wholefood lifestyle starts here. It’s time to begin replacing your fridge, freezer and pantry foods with healthier options. It’s up to you whether you decide to clear everything out and start fresh. Or whether you prefer to eat what you already have and replace things slowly. But if it’s in a colourful packet, chances are it’s not all that healthy. Read the ingredients label and decide for yourself whether it provides any nourishment, and is it a food you want to keep?

 

2. Plan for success.

They key to this lifestyle being sustainable is preparation. Meal planning will keep you on track and avoid food waste. First take stock of the food you already have, and plan your meals for the week ahead taking those ingredients into account. Consider what can be made with those tinned tomatoes, half a packet of pasta and the random veggies in the bottom of your fridge. Think of your meal plan as a guide – you don’t have to be rigid with it. If Wednesday rolls around and you don’t feel like the Spag Bol you’d planned then just pick one of the other meals. 

 

3. Shop wisely, read your ingredient labels.

Based on the meals you’ve planned you can list the ingredients you’ll need to pull it all together. Shopping with a list will ultimately save you time and money too, but only if you stick to it! Don’t shop on any empty stomach – this is when you’re likely to buy packaged crap that doesn’t actually make you feel good.

 

4. Get real.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my apples to be coated in wax, perfectly polished or identical in size. Real food doesn’t actually look “perfect”, whatever that is. I’ve seen carrots come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it’s just that the supermarkets often reject produce that doesn’t meet specific measurements and requirements.  So embrace the weird! I actually enjoy looking for the weirdest produce now, and often look out for the less popular cuts of meat or reduced/imperfect food. Even if you can’t cook with it right away, it can be frozen for when you’re ready to use it… hello brown spotty bananas!

 

5. Batch cook as you go.

There’s no need to slave over a hot stove every night! If you always cook more than you need, then you can portion up leftovers into meals for another night or to have at lunchtime. I always double or triple a recipe so I have an awesome stash of delicious real food meals in my freezer and no need to order takeaway if I can’t be bothered cooking.

 

6. Understand that different foods work for different bodies.

YOUR Wholefood Lifestyle, what works for YOU, should be as unique as you are. Fermented foods and Amazonian super berries might be great for your friend, but not so great for you. Notice how you feel after eating certain foods. Keeping a food diary really helps in training you to listen to your body’s feedback and trust your intuition to make better food choices.

 

7. Keep it simple.

Don’t overcomplicate things with expensive superfoods, exotic ingredients and long fancy recipes. And don’t try and do everything at once as you’re likely to just end up feeling overwhelmed and defeated. The key to this being sustainable, is to make just one small change at a time. Remember, it’s not a race!

 

8. If you can’t eat it responsibly then keep it out of the house.

Seriously, don’t ever bring Nutella or Arrowroot Biscuits into my home! Just remember that every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. So stock your kitchen with foods that will make you feel alive.

 

9. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not.

Also known as eating mindfully. We’re all so busy these days that we often eat on the run or at our desks. But if you can take time to focus on your food, without the distraction of TV or scrolling through Facebook, then you’ll become better at noticing how you feel and when you’re full. As a bonus, I also found that my tastebuds woke up too as I was savouring my food more!

 

10. Focus on nourishment.

Nourishment isn’t just about food – it’s all aspects of your lifestyle. Your work, your relationships, how you move your body, how often you move it, how much sunshine you get, your spiritual connection, your mindset. It all matters. Think about the people you spend time with that nourish your soul, how great you feel when you spend time in nature, consider what makes your heart smile and go do more of that. 

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

What's So Good About Chia Seeds, Anyway?

What's So Good About Chia Seeds, Anyway?.png

Chia seeds may be tiny but they sure pack a punch. These little seeds are a great source of energy, nutrients and antioxidants. Grown from the Salvia Hispanica desert plant, black and white chia seeds contain the same nutritional benefits – the black ones just show up more if they get stuck in your teeth!

 

Chia seeds have become quite a buzz word in the superfood world, and rightly so as they’re incredibly high in Omega 3s for starters. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.

 

They’re also high in fibre, 40% by weight. This means they can absorb around 10 times their weight in water by forming into a gel and expanding in your stomach, leaving you feeling fuller for longer too. Fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine, which is important because keeping your gut bugs well fed is absolutely crucial for your overall health.

 

The other benefit of their liquid absorption is that they prevent dehydration and provide slow releasing energy making them ideal for athletic endurance.

 

Chia seeds are also low carb and contain several nutrients that are important for bone health including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and 14% protein. The calcium content is particularly impressive. Gram for gram chia seeds contain more calcium than cow’s milk.

 

Studies have shown that chia seeds can level blood sugar. In type 2 diabetics one study showed that chia seeds can significantly lower blood pressure and inflammation.

 

So, how can we use these wonderful seeds?

 

1. As an egg replacement ( 1 tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 3 tbsp water = 1 egg) 

2. To thicken soups, stews, sauces and even jams

3. To create puddings and thicken mousses

4. Add to your smoothies 

5. Sprinkled on top of your breakfast bowl

6. In place of breadcrumbs on your fish, meat or veggies

7. Added to baking and raw treats like bliss balls

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

5 Steps to a Healthy Lunch

5 Steps to a Healthy Lunch-2.png

Would you like to be whipping up nourishing lunches that give you and your kids the fuel to power through the day without afternoon slumps, hunger, cravings or loss of concentration? Sounds good, right? The thing is, too many of us fall out of love with lunch time due to lack of inspiration, busy lives or confusion about what is the “right” thing to eat.

 

The truth is, there is no one perfect meal for every adult and child. Surprised? Well you see, we’re all unique and therefore the food we eat should be as individual as we are. The important thing is to find what suits you – what do YOU and your family love to eat? Which foods make your bodies sing? And which foods make you tired, unwell or simply undernourished? When we begin to understand that food has the ability to make us feel alive (or not) we can make better choices that our bodies will love us for.

 

Start to notice how you and your family feel after eating. Do you feel tired, bloated or achy? Do the kids get irritable? For instance, gluten always zaps my energy so I avoid it, especially at lunchtime otherwise I’m likely to fall asleep at the desk!

 

Another important factor to consider is what’s really in the food we’re eating? Start reading the ingredient labels on foods before you buy them so that you can make an educated decision about what you and your family are really consuming. Eliminating processed foods containing chemicals like additives, colours, preservatives and sugar is the best place to start. Eating for nourishment is absolutely not about restriction! It’s about eating real food, as close to nature as possible so that you can receive the maximum amount of nutrition possible.

 

Enjoying a nourishing and delicious lunch needn’t be hard, or take up a lot of your time. A little planning can go a long way towards making lunch times easier to manage for you and your loved ones.

 

Start by trying to include each of these elements for a nutritionally balanced lunch box for the kids, or meal for yourself that's packed with foods for healthy brain function, energy, hydration, a happy digestive system and strong immunity:

 

1. Protein

Protein includes so much more than just meat and fish! Think about eggs, nuts (if they’re OK at your kid’s school), seeds, cheese, yoghurt, beans and peas as alternatives.

 

2. Good Fats

When it comes to fats, there are bad guys and good guys! Good fats are essential for healthy brain function and include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, grass fed butter, fish, olives and surprisingly, green leafy vegetables which are high in Omega 3s.

 

3. Fruit

A piece of fresh fruit or a fruit salad ticks the box for unprocessed carbohydrates and a naturally sweet treat.

 

4. Vegetables

Getting veggies into the lunch box, especially of the green variety will provide kids and adults alike with a quality source of carbohydrates, full of fibre, calcium and protein for healthy digestion, energy and strong bones.

 

5. Hydration

Think still or sparkling water, coconut water, or a small smoothie. Avoid sugary drinks which will cause blood sugar levels to rise resulting in the dreaded afternoon slump.

 

And there you have it! Address each step and you’ve got yourself a balanced, nourishing meal for yourself or lunch box for the kids, resulting in energised, happy little learners at school (or for the big kids, at work!).

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

11 Ways to Stop Wasting Food (and Money!)

 

Did you know that Aussies throw out $10billion of edible food per year?! With the average household wasting 14 percent of their weekly groceries. That’s the equivalent of $1000 in food waste per household each and every year. Just think what you could do with that money instead! Think about the time, energy and resources it takes our farmers to grow the food that you throw out. And what about the greenhouse gases this food produces once in landfill, and the impact that it then has on the environment? Then there’s the issue of world hunger… the United Nations estimates that one in nine people in the world do not have access to sufficient food to lead a healthy life. 

 

So yeah, food waste is a pretty big deal. But as with most things, it starts with YOU. Right here, in your own household. One simple change at a time. But you won’t just reduce your food waste you’ll also save money. And who doesn’t want that?! Here are 11 tips to get you started…

 

1. Take stock of what you already have

Before shopping for more food, check out what you’ve already got. You’d be surprised what you can find lurking at the back of your pantry!

 

2. Plan your meals

Once you know the food you already have, you can plan your meals for the week ahead taking those ingredients into account. Consider what can be made with those tinned tomatoes, half a packet of pasta and the random veggies in the bottom of your fridge. Think of your meal plan as a guide – you don’t have to be rigid with it. If Wednesday rolls around and you don’t feel like the Spag Bol you’d planned then just pick one of the other meals.

 

3. Write a shopping list

Based on the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks you’ve planned for the week, now you can list the ingredients you’ll need to pull it all together. Shopping with a list will ultimately save you time and money too, but only if you stick to it!

 

4. Buy only what you need

Using a shopping list certainly helps you avoid those impulse purchases, but you also need to consider how much of an ingredient you need. It’s great to have a well-stocked pantry, but how many uses will you really have for that obscure ingredient you once bought for a recipe? Shopping online will also help you to keep on track. Plus you won’t have the hassle of finding a parking spot, traipsing through the shops and then loading it all in your car. Surely that’s worth the delivery fee, right?!

 

5. Support local growers

Keep your money local by supporting small businesses in your area. Buying from places like The Organic Butler means you’re getting produce straight from the farm, as nature intended, without all the waxes and sprays and over the-top packaging. And even though it looks appetising and is perfectly edible, it’s often the stuff that the big supermarkets would otherwise reject. You’d be amazed how much produce Aussie farmers are forced to waste if the supermarkets reject it when it doesn’t meet their strict guidelines for colour, weight and size!

 

6. Buy the “odd” or reduced produce

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my apples to be coated in wax, perfectly polished or identical in size. I enjoy looking for the weirdest produce now, because I’d hate to see it go to waste for not being “perfect” enough. Juicing carrots for instance, are just as nutritious as regular ones – they’re just all different shapes and sizes. I pretty much always snap up reduced produce too. Even if you can’t cook with it right away, it can be frozen for when you’re ready to use it… hello brown spotty bananas!

 

7. Sort your food in order of what needs using first

When unpacking your grocery shopping at home make sure the stuff that needs using first in your fridge is brought to the front. Or keep a special shelf in your fridge for all the produce that needs to be eaten first.

 

8. Embrace your freezer

There’s no reason for food to go to waste if you have a freezer. Bananas can be peeled and frozen for smoothies, herbs can be blended with olive oil or coconut water and frozen in ice cube trays, veggies can be turned into soups, meat can be portioned up into containers in the freezer until you’re ready to cook with it… you get the idea.

 

9. Store your food well

Investing in glass jars and containers will help keep the food in your pantry fresher for longer, and you’ll also be able to see what you have more easily. Learning which conditions are best for certain ingredients will help prolong their life too. For example, some nuts and seeds can go rancid in the pantry and are actually better stored in the fridge.

 

10. Use the whole plant or animal

Those celery leaves are perfectly fine thrown into a stock or soup, and the leftover bones from a roast chicken are ideal for making broth with. Once you’re more conscious about avoiding waste, you’ll find all sorts of uses for the food you may have thrown out in the past.

 

11. Love your leftovers

There’s no need to force ourselves to finish what’s on our plates anymore. We can be far kinder to ourselves than that by simply eating until we feel satisfied. Whatever we don’t finish can be saved for lunch the next day or re-purposed into another night’s meal. For instance, leftover roast veggies can be used as another side dish or turned into a casserole, hash or soup.

 

So there you have it… a few simple changes that can make a whole lotta difference to your food waste, and your budget. Just remember this simple mantra: “love food NOT waste”.

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

 

15 Nut-Free Lunch Box Snacks & Treats

I'm often asked by parents for new ideas to keep their kid's lunch boxes interesting and coming home empty. It seems that as the school year progresses, children either get bored of the same things, or suddenly don't like what they loved the day before. And I'm pretty sure the inspiration you started with must start to dwindle over time.

Especially now there are so many restrictions on what children can take to school with all the allergies that now exist. I've even heard some schools that restrict eggs and tuna in classrooms. Add to that, the challenge of feeding them healthy food that will fuel their bodies and minds, and I can understand why it gets a little tricky!

So here, I've shared 15 of my favourite nut-free healthy sweet treats and savoury snacks to help fill up those lunch boxes and your kiddies tummies...

 

1. Spelt & Oat Anzac Cookies

This is my wheat-free take on the classic Anzac biscuit. I've swapped golden syrup for honey and this recipe also gives you two methods - Thermomix or traditional.

2. Zucchini Super Slice

This slice is a great alternative to sandwiches in your kids lunchbox, and is just as yummy served hot for your own lunch.

3. Chewy Marshmallow Bars

These bars are so moreish! They remind me of LCM bars except waaay better. 

4. My Delicious Dairy Free Raw Chocolate

This recipe is the basis for so many yummy raw treats! You can enjoy it just as it as or add in other toppings and flavours for texture and crunch. I love to add dried fruit, spices and seeds to mine. This mixture can be poured into a slice tin, chocolate moulds or over banana slices like I've done here. The options are endless! Just store your chocolate treats in the freezer and pop them in the lunchbox frozen so they're not melted by lunchtime. 

5. Mini Breakfast Quiches

These quiches are great for breakfast, lunch or any time you fancy a savoury snack. If your kids have these instead of sandwiches at lunch time, they'll be fuelled with goodness, avoiding the afternoon slump that refined carbs often gives them.

6. Gooey Chocolate Brownies

Gooey, chocolatey and oh so delicious. These brownies taste kinda naughty and decadent but I say they're a pretty healthy version. No nuts, gluten, refined sugar or grains, they're paleo and can be made dairy free too.

7. Green Dream Smoothie

I love this smoothie! It keeps me satisfied, fuelled and focused, as it’s packed with healthy fats, fibre and quality protein. You can make these ahead and freeze in glass jars or plastic bottles, pop them in the lunch box in the morning and they'll act as an ice block to keep everything else cold, and will be defrosted to drink by lunch time.

8. Berry Cherry Ripe Slice

For years, this recipe has been loved by all that try it. The beauty is, it's so simple to make and you can tweak it depending on what you have in the pantry. My husband even says it's better than the cherry ripe bar you may have had in the shiny red wrapper ;) And, let's face it - it's certainly healthier!

9. Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

Chia puddings are a perfect make-ahead breakfast or lunchtime snack. Simply mix all the ingredients together the night before and grab and go from the fridge in the morning. 

10. Chewy Choc Chip Cookies

I have a love affair with these cookies. And so does everyone who tries them because they're just the right amount of soft, chewy, crumbly and sweet. It's kinda hard to believe they're free from nuts, gluten, dairy AND refined sugar yet they taste so damned good. Perfect for the kiddies lunch box and pretty much any occasion. And they freeze really well too so you can save time by baking a double batch. You may just have to hide them so they don't get eaten all at once ;)

11. Popcorn

I get it, sometimes you just don't have time to make healthy treats from scratch. This is when some pre-packaged foods can come in handy. I love this Cobs Popcorn - it's organic, contains minimal ingredients and is super tasty. Pop some in a container and you've got yourself an easy lunch box snack.

12. Raw Chocolate Mousse 

This mousse is a delicious, sugar free option for a chocolate treat, using only banana for sweetness. Pop it in a container with a spoon, and you've got a really healthy snack that's packed with good fats.

13. Chindii Cookies

These cookies are so handy to have in the pantry for those times you haven't been able to bake your own snacks. Of course, they're nut free, but they're also free from refined sugar, grains, dairy, gluten and preservatives. And they're super tasty!

14. Chocolate Pana Cotta

This pana cotta is a delicious dairy free alternative to a restaurant style dessert. I find this recipe makes 4-6 portions and keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. So depending on how many mouths your feeding, it may help to double the recipe. Make this on a Sunday, and you've got sweet lunch box treats to last the week. 

15. Banana Pancakes

Made with just 4 ingredients, these pancakes make a great snack. I often make up a double batch, serve some hot for breakfast and keep the rest in the fridge for an easy treat. I like them sandwiched together with butter or topped with a spread like this one.

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

16 of the Best Easter Treats

For me, Easter food is all about the flavours of chocolate, coconut, marshmallows and basically anything with cinnamon in it! Sounds yummy, right? But you don’t have to have a sugary, junk food hangover with it. Choose these treats instead that taste delicious and feel indulgent, but are full of ingredients your body will love.

 

1. Paleo Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns from Rumbles Paleo contain chocolate chips, and personally I think that's the best kind. I mean who wants just regular hot cross buns when you can add chocolate too?! And for a limited time, there's an Easter special on all the chocolate goodies in their store. Check them out here.

2. Spiced Orange & Almond Chocolate

This is my all time favourite chocolate recipe. Made from scratch and infused with freshly ground cinnamon quills, whole vanilla bean and wild orange - what's not to love? 

3. Ecology Skincare Pamper Packs

OK, so technically this one isn't food. But these products are actually good enough to eat. Yes that's right, clean, simple skincare without any nasties. Ecology creams are my absolute fave moisturisers and their bath salts are such a treat for aching muscles. So I consider this a pretty damned good Easter treat! And when you spend $25 or more, you get a yummy chocolate bar gift. Just enter the code ECOBUNNY at the checkout.

4. Chewy Marshmallow Bars

I love the mix of sweet, salty and chewiness in these bars. Chop them into squares and serve them up at your next family gathering, or cut into bars for the kids to enjoy as a nut free lunch box treat.

5. Organic Chocolate Bunny

These bunnies have been Easter gifts between my husband and I for the last few years. I buy him the white chocolate one, he buys me the milk one. It's a good arrangement. The bunnies are certified organic and made with fair trade ingredients. The dark chocolate one is dairy free and they're all free from gluten and GMOs. And did I mention they're delicious?

6. Peanut Butter Cacao Truffles

These truffles are just so, so good! Plus, you can whip them up easily with only 4 ingredients. Happy days.

7. My Delicious Dairy Free Raw Chocolate

This recipe is the basis for so many of my yummy raw treats! You can enjoy it just as it as or add in other toppings and flavours for texture and complexity. I love to add nuts, fruit, spices and seeds to mine. This mixture can be poured into a slice tin, chocolate moulds or over banana slices like I've done here. The options are endless!

8. Gooey Chocolate Brownies

Gooey, chocolatey and oh so delicious. These brownies taste kinda naughty and decadent but I say they're guilt free. No gluten, refined sugar or grains, they're paleo and can be made dairy free too. AND they're free from nuts so they make the perfect lunch box treat for when the kids go back to school.

9. Organic Rocky Road

This rocky road is the way to my heart. Seriously, it's so frickin yummy. Also, you can get 10% off your entire shop when you order your rocky road from The Organic Butler. Just use the code VITALITY10 at the checkout. 

10. Nut Butter Truffles

These beauties are packed full of goodness and super easy to make. They're kinda gooey and truffle-y and feel super indulgent. 

11. Homemade Marshmallows

Don't these marshmallows from Jo at Quirky Cooking look amazing! I think they'd be great on their own and even more delicious in a homemade rocky road.

12. Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

I’m not afraid to say these cupcakes are SENSATIONAL. They’re gluten and refined sugar free, and great for school lunch boxes too. They freeze well without the ganache and have been tried, tested and loved by kids aged 7 - 40 ;)

13. Coconut Macaroons

If you ask me, these raw macaroons are just pure deliciousness. And they’re packed with healthy fats your body will love. Enjoy them as they are or dip them in melted chocolate for a decadent treat.

14. Jaffa Fudge

Orange and chocolate would have to be one of my favourite flavour combos! So of course, I just had to create a sweet treat to satisfy my jaffa loving tastebuds. This fudge fits the bill – it’s super easy to make and totally delicious! I keep mine in the freezer and pull out a couple of pieces each morning for an afternoon treat later that day.

15. Choc Mint Bliss Balls

I think chocolate and mint are just made for each other, and these bliss balls bring them together beautifully. Make them, they're seriously yum.

16. Berry Cherry Ripe Slice

For years, this recipe has been loved by all that try it. The beauty is, it's so simple to make and you can tweak it depending on what you have available. My husband even says it's better than the cherry ripe bar you may have had in the shiny red wrapper ;) And, let's face it - it's certainly healthier!

 

Hey, if you liked this blog post then don't be shy... share the love! Hit like on the way through or share with a friend so we can spread the health word together. Thank you. Kirsty x

10 Things I Know About Anxiety

With Sarah Wilson at the Melbourne launch of her book First We Make The Beast Beautiful. 

With Sarah Wilson at the Melbourne launch of her book First We Make The Beast Beautiful. 

After meeting Sarah Wilson recently and hearing her speak about anxiety (and it’s many flavours) I realised just how much this affects so many of us. Mental illness has been very present in my life either through my own experience, or seeing members of my family suffer through it as well as rise above it. So here are my ten biggest takeaways from what I heard today and also what I know from my own journey with anxiety and depression. I hope they help, empower and inspire you like they have for me...

1) Anxiety and it’s many related disorders actually fulfil a purpose. What you’re doing and feeling in the difficult times is important. We need our journeys and experiences to create the richness of life. The trick is to learn how to nutrure it and live with it so that it serves us, rather than controls us. Anxiety and those that experience it can be celebrated, instead of feared. 

2) Excitement and anxiety produce the same hormones. So, in moments of anxiety we can actually practice choosing excitement instead. We have the power to choose our emotions and how we interpret them.

3) When experiencing panic attacks, the best thing to do is sit through it and experience the emotions as they run through you. Being anxious about your anxiety quickly causes your state of being to spiral out of control.

4) There is no "cure" or quick fix for anxiety. There’s no proven medication. There’s no end point. But we don’t need to be fixed, we just need to be understood. By ourselves and others.

5) Anxious people can often appear to be controlling. However, those things that are being managed and controlled are usually a coping mechanism. For myself, when I’m in control of the things I CAN be, I’m preventing unnecessary things from causing me anxiety. Having an anxious meltdown or panic attack would actually be much worse for those around me to experience than my controlling nature! It’s just one of the many ways I manage my emotional wellbeing, and certainly isn’t meant to be a reflection on anyone else.

6) Every action an anxious person (or anyone for that matter) takes is a coping mechanism for something going on beneath the surface. Rather than fixing the person, or the thing that’s happening and trying to stop it, understanding WHY it’s happening and the deep rooted issue is more important. Seeing examples of people who’ve experienced anxiety and are thriving is always reassuring for us too.

7) Attempting to be happy ALL the time isn’t actually possible. Happiness is not a destination, a place to get to. In fact, happy is just ONE emotion of thousands and life is for experiencing them all. Putting pressure on ourselves to be just one emotion can in fact cause anxiety.

8) A daily routine helps to take the thinking out of an already over-active anxious mind. Take away the need to make unnecessary decisions wherever possible. Doing the same activities upon waking each day like doing the same exercise, eating the same breakfast, choosing the same or similar clothes can all help. 

9) Walking turns on all the hormones that shutdown anxiety!

10) To embrace anxiety I think we need to embrace ALL the parts of ourselves. The “good” and the “not so good”. To breathe through it all, to experience it all and to not label it as right or wrong. We need to be OK with WHO, and HOW we are. To celebrate the gifts that anxiety offers and to dance with the ups and downs. To sit in the discomfort, to be with ourselves and to look inwardly. Rather than looking outside of ourselves for permission, acceptance, validation or fulfilment. 

In the words of Sarah Wilson… first we make the beast beautiful.

Kirsty xx.