#winter, dietitians, Easy Recipes, eating well being healthy, Money Saving, Soup, vegetarian, vitamin D

Vitamin D

Winter is HERE. What now?! Stay healthy and don’t forget about Vitamin D.

Hi everyone! In our last post we covered Vitamin C. So I‚Äôd like to chat about Vitamin D next ‚Äď are you getting enough?¬† Vitamin D has a vital role in the body.¬† A fat soluble compound, its responsible for increasing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphate and zinc in the intestine and its essential for strong bones, muscle and immune system. ¬†Vitamin D plus calcium supplementation effectively reduces fractures and falls in older men and women.¬†Vitamin D is measured in International Units (IU) or micrograms (15¬†őľg) per day and it is recommended to have:

–¬†¬† ¬†¬†600¬†IU (15¬†őľg) per day for people aged ‚ȧ 70¬†years; and
–¬†¬†¬†¬† 800¬†IU (20¬†őľg) per day for those aged >¬†70¬†years.

Whilst most Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to sunlight, but when sun exposure is minimal, vitamin D intake from dietary sources and supplementation should be monitored regularly as deficiencies can cause bone and muscle pain, and have a negative effect on the immune system.

Mushrooms are one of my favourite foods which are also rich in Vitamin D. There are several different types which you can use in different ways to improve the Vitamin D content of your diet., from shitake (chinese) mushrooms in stirfry to porcini in risotto and the classic button is always good on toast for breakfast. So much variety.

Exposing 100gm of mushrooms to sunlight for one hour will generate your daily needs of Vitamin D. winter sun for an hour will generate your daily requirement¬†of vitamin D.¬†The Medical Journal of Australia recommends ‚Äúfor moderately fair-skinned people, a walk with arms exposed for 6‚Äď7¬†minutes mid morning or mid afternoon in summer, and with as much bare skin exposed as feasible for 7‚Äď40¬†minutes (depending on latitude) at noon in winter, on most days, is likely to be helpful in maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body.‚ÄĚ ¬†Most people only get five to 10 per cent of their vitamin D from food. THATS RIGHT. Only 10 per cent. So its important to GET OUTSIDE and get some sun.

There are a number of other foods which contain Vitamin D naturally such as oily fish, and eggs but it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from diet alone so make sure you get some sunlight each day as well as these food types.  Margarine and some types of milk have added vitamin D.

People in high-risk groups may require higher doses. See your Dr if you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels.

One of my favourite winter dishes is soup so heres a recipe for Mushroom soup courtesy of the Australian Healthy food guide magazine.

Creamy mushroom soup

Recipe courtesy of Liz Macri of the Health Food Guide magazine.

Serves: 4
Time to make: 55 mins, prep 25 mins, cook 25-30 mins
See more at: http://healthyfoodguide.com.au

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 400g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 4 cups reduced-salt vegie stock
  • 1/2 cup light thickened cream
  • toasted wholegrain bread, to serve

Instructions

Step 1 – Spray a large saucepan with oil and cook mushrooms over high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove and set aside.

Step 2 – Spray the pan with more oil and cook onion, garlic and half the thyme over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat. Add stock and mushrooms. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10‚Äď15 minutes, until soup has reduced slightly.

Step 3 – Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in 1/3 cup light thickened cream. Gently simmer for a few minutes. Divide soup among bowls, swirl through remaining cream and sprinkle with remaining thyme. Serve with toast.

Variations – Use any mixture of mushrooms. Try flat mushrooms or use more Swiss browns for a stronger, earthier flavour.

Nutritional information (per serve)

Kilojoules:  1,070kJ   Calories: 256cal

Protein: 14.2g                        Total fat: 7.9g

Saturated fat: 4.2g    Carbohydrates: 29.2g

Sugars: 6.8g               Dietary fibre: 5.7g

Sodium: 795mg         Calcium: 37mg

Iron: 1.1mg

References/Further Reading:

  1. Vitamin D and Health in adults in Australia and New Zealand ‚Äď a position statement. Nowson, McGrath et al (2012): https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2012/196/11/vitamin-d-and-health-adults-australia-and-new-zealand-position-statement
  2. Sunlight and Vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers and cardiovascular disease. Holick MF (2004): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585788
  3. Vitamin D and Healthy Living ‚Äď Vic. Government Website https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-d
  4. Australian Mushroom Council http://www.australianmushrooms.com.au/
  5. Healthy Food Guide Magazine http://healthyfoodguide.com.au/recipes/2010/july/creamy-mushroom-soup

 

 

 

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#winter, dietitians, vitamins

Eating Well and Keeping Healthy – Vitamin C

Its officially Autumn¬†in Australia now.. and Winter is coming. Its been confusing here in Sydney as its quite warm and humid, yet overcast and rainy. It feels like a non congruent fashion trend, mixing two patterns, which has everyone confused! But thats our weather right now. I’ve been kept busy at work and went to Melbourne last week for an Oncology study day at Peter MacCallam Cancer Centre, my visit there got me thinking more about nutrition and the basics as I often get asked about these things on a daily basis by patients going through their treatments. One big question I have had a lot lately is¬†around vitamin supplements. Can they help or are they just expensive placebos?

I am going to discuss a series of Vitamins starting today with VITAMIN C.

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin present in fruit and vegetables and it was previously associated with Scurvy, or sailors disease. Without access to any fresh fruit or vegetables Рthe human body cannot synthesise vitamin C by itself because it lacks an enzyme called L-3 gulonolactone oxidase to do so. In Australia around 40% of vitamin C we eat comes from vegetables, 20% from fruit, and around 30% from fruit juices. The body generally has stores to last 4 weeks before it shows early signs of deficiency. These can be very subtle and often be mistaken for feeling under the weather or being tired so often people do not check in with the doctor until much later. In Australia for adults aged 19-70 the Recommended Dietary Intake is 45mg of Vitamin C per day and any excess is usually excreted through the urine. There are different recommendations for children and pregnant women. (Reference: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand )

Vitamin C deficiency can take awhile to develop but it can be diagnosed by blood test with your GP. High risk groups for this are the elderly, people on restricted diets without access to much fresh food, or those who use drugs or alcohol regularly. Vitamin C is important for keeping your skin healthy and has a role in wound healing, keeping connective tissue and bone healthy, and assisting in the absorption of iron from food. It has also been found to have a role in cold and flu prevention.

A Cochrane review exploring the role of daily supplementation of 0.2g/day (or 200mg/day) or more  published in 2013 on Vitamin C for prevention and treatment of the common cold showed:

  • regular supplementation had no effect on common cold incidence in the normal population (based on 29 trial comparisons involving 11,306 participants);
  • regular supplementation had a modest but consistent effect in reducing the duration of the cold symptoms (based on 31 trial comparisons involving 9,745 participants); and
  • in 5 trials involving 598 participants exposed to short periods of extreme stress (including marathon runners) – the incidence of the common cold was halved.

Other research into high dose vitamin C supplementation has shown that taking 1000mg/day for the first few days of a cold can reduce the duration by about half a day Рbut not stop you from developing one. Long term high dose vitamin C supplementation above this amount may also be dangerous to your health and should be discussed with your Dr as it may affect other minerals stored in the body like iron. Absorption of vitamin C is also dependant on the dose Р a 250mg dose four times daily is more likely to be better absorbed than 1000mg once a day. So its always best to talk to your Doctor before you start any new supplement routine. (Reference: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand )

Finally, there are insufficient studies into high dose supplementation for people undergoing specialised treatments such as chemotherapy at this stage.

Vitamin C can be found in:

  • tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya)
  • citrus fruit (oranges, lemons)
  • berries (strawberries, raspberries)
  • vegetables (capsicum, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and other brassica cruciferous veggies)

Read more about these veggies in a fun article written by Stephanie Eckelkamp here via Prevention Magazine. Having a plant based diet aiming for 2 fruit and 5 vegetables per day is sufficient to obtain suitable Vitamin C levels over taking a supplement. These fruit and vegetables also contain other vitamins and antioxidants which can be positive for your cardiovascular system, and fibre for your digestive tract. But many people know they are not eating enough nutrient rich foods so take a supplement as they work on their diet. Vitamin C supplement are fairly inexpensive compared to other supplements, however there is much more to be gained from sourcing and cooking something fresh for you and your family.

So as always, a healthy,  diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables will help to keep the system functioning well even when its getting cold outside!!

 

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#winter, baking, DIY, Easy Recipes, Fruit, Healthy treats on the run, Home cooked, Prepare ahead of time, summer, Summer eating

Christmas Pudding Bliss

WARNING – These are highly moreish, very festive, and a little bit addictive. I have served these around at work today and they have been highly rated by everyone and even got the Drs approval! But seriously, unlike everyone else in the online health space, I am not going to tell you to eat this instead of chocolate because they are gluten free, and dairy free, and they don’t contain refined sugar, but I would rather show this as an example of health marketing and how it can change our perception of health. This recipe is originally adapted from one by The Healthy Chef Teresa Cutter. She’s got a great site and recipes but I just wanted to say that perception is everything.

I may be perceived as unhealthy for typing eat the chocolate, but I truly believe that you should sometimes, eat the chocolate. And I am sure Teresa would agree. When we try to deviate from what our body tells us to eat, sometimes we can place an unnecessary restriction on ourselves and thats sometimes the thing that can feel like deprivation. This is not healthy. It is good to try to make healthy choices but probably not good to sacrifice preference. The outcome should probably be a means of making healthy preferences instead of rules. BALANCE.

But anyways, being overly healthy because of marketing is by no means the point of this post; which is on Christmas in Australia and what it is like for all the Northern Hemisphere, cold Christmas goers. So now that we have that straight, disclaimer – they are in no way a chocolate replacement – just more of a hot pudding replacement and easy to eat alongside the chocolate!

Part of being healthy is eating the chocolate, and balancing it out with things like these fruit and nut truffles. Given its so hot in Sydney for Christmas, these can be really refreshing cold straight from the fridge. Its also a bonus not to have to steam a pudding (sweat alert!).. Plus we have a pudding maker in our family and she is the best at it with her years of experience, I really wouldn’t want to challenge her.

Another good point about this recipe is that this is versatile and it doesn’t take a lot of time out of the overall busy season. Its also something you can make into something else for whatever the occasion – so I am going to try to roll this into a log to be  served alongside some different cheeses tomorrow. There is one negative and that is the price of dried fruit and almond meal – you might need two batches of this as its yummy so go to your local community bulk buy store to get some cheaper prices than in the supermarket to help the Christmas budget.

To everyone in the Northern Hemisphere cooler climate, you might like to leave them out of the refrigerator and serve them at room temperature alongside a nice glass of warm mulled wine….  transforming them into wintery Christmas Pudding that you don’t have to bake. Time saving, delicious, and AMAZINGLY versatile!! Heres the recipe.

YOU’LL NEED:
A food processor with a sharp blade. Measuring cups. A wooden spoon for scraping the sides. And a large mixing bowl. 2 plates, one for rolling and the other for coconut. And a Christmas CD of your choice. Maybe a glass of wine.

INGREDIENTS:

DRIED FRUIT
250 grams diced apricots
20 pitted dates, diced

NUTS
1.5 cups almond meal, plus an extra half cup in case of emergencies with the orange juice.

1 small orange, zest removed, and set aside, and half of its juice – around 1/4 cup.
1 tsp vanilla extract, essence or vanilla bean paste
2 tsp cacao powder

SPICES EVERYONE HAS AT HOME BUT NEVER USES UP, EVER:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

HOW TO MAKE:
Place the chopped dates and apricots into the processor first.
They should be room temp for easy processing. Don’t do what I did this morning and use hardened and refrigerator cold dates, as they don’t combine well and any cold fruit will rattle around in the processor. Annoying.
Make sure they are at room temp so that mix in the same consistency. SUPER LAZY TIP – If you haven’t diced them you could blitz them a little before to get them together.
After they are mixed, add almond meal, cacao, orange zest, spices, vanilla and blitz together until it resembles a mince. For about 2 mins. Seriously. Then add in the orange juice and process until it forms a sticky ball. If its too wet and you can’t hold it without it sticking to your hands a lot, add in the extra half cup of almond meal at this point and blitz into the mixture.

Turn it all out into a bowl and form into whatever shape you like. This should only take about 15 mins if you are a fast roller.

Dust with cacao and cinnamon or icing sugar. To dust: in a bowl, mix together 1 desert spoon of cacao and 1 tsp cinnamon. Then dust them with the mixture and some icing sugar. Or roll them in 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut on a plate (untoasted).

Refrigerate in a container for a bit before you eat them, for the max effect on a hot day.
My favourite is with the coconut as I think it adds something to the flavours. I used McKenzies coconut flakes, they are a much larger and thicker shredded style of coconut, not so dry and generally more dense than desiccated coconut usually is, so they stick on better overall and taste way better too.

I hope you will try this, its really easy and really delicious!!!

Thanks for reading and your likes and follows this year. Its been really cool to build the Healthy Little Kitchen page up and Ive got a few more in store for 2017!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas,

Jill  x

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breakfast, eating well being healthy, summer, Summer eating, water, What to eat when

Heat-waving… Hi Summer !!

Hey readers, I know its probably cool where you are, but geezzzz its hot in Sydney right now…. we’re officially in heatwave territory, and its not going to get cooler anytime soon.

Are you drinking enough? According to the mayo clinic the average person expels 2L of fluids from their body each day and 60% of our body weight is from water.

Heres a quick guideline for you – if you or your loved ones are drinking less than 3 glasses of water each day, you need to increase it as it can affect bodily functions such as your bowel health and your skin health.

Some people say they feel more hangry when they are dehydrated! Everyones different I guess.

If you are having between 5-10 glasses, then you are probably well hydrated – WELL DONE!

If you are having 3-5 glasses then you should keep an eye out and try to get it up to 10 glasses each day.

Coffee, tea and other fluid foods do count as having a water content, but its always best to stick to H2O in its purest form (without the caffeine and the diuretic effect!)

Drink water. Be cool.

 

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baking, BBQ accompaniments, cafe food, Cardioprotective food, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Mid week lunches, Prepare ahead of time, vegetarian

My Cheat loaf … not for cheat days!!

This thing, this loaf, is not a cheat day meal – its a vegetarian meat loaf comprised of chickpeas, black eye beans and vegetables. I know I make a lot of loaf style things and its just because they are easy to make. Baking something is so easy to do in between emails and laundry, it basically cooks itself once the oven timer has been set!

I came across this recipe on the¬†Connoisseurus Veg blog¬†and its become popular with my home crew who usually love their meat. I didn’t have all the ingredients that Alissa used so this one is more basic that her recipe, I didn’t have flaxseeds or the liquid smoke either – it was a bit fancy for me. But still successful – particularly with the brothers and my mom who are usually huge meat fans. I also substituted out one of the cans of chickpeas for black eye beans which Edgell¬†have finally started to be sell here in Aus now. I first tried these when I lived in the states and I loved them. They are a good source of¬†protein and fibre¬†and mix in well with the chickpeas in terms of flavour and legumes are usually quite economical as well. The other thing I like about this recipe is that it is super simple; all you have to do is fill your food processor and blitz until everything is a bit crumbly and broken down to a mince consistency.

You’ll need:

Food processor – large capacity – or you could use a small one but just blend it in batches.

1 x400g tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 x400g tin of black eye beans drained and rinsed

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 onion,¬†2 carrots &¬†2 celery sticks … all diced. I chop my veggies a bit larger so that some of them are still visible in the loaf once its cooked.
Salt & Pepper to season – you could add in extra paprika or other herbs if you like.

2 Tablespoons each of Olive Oil, Worcester sauce, Low Sodium Soy, Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Soy Milk or dairy alternative – increase to 1/2 cup if mixture is too dry after blending.

Maple Glaze Ingredients – in a small bowl, mix together
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika

Once the mix is blended, place into a lined loaf tin, top with tomato maple glaze and bake for 40 mins at 180 degrees. This will be quite soft so I would recommend eating it when its cooled for awhile, you could bake it in the morning and let it sit for bit.

I’ve taken to serving it with my other side dishes like some stirfried tofu or asian greens or sometimes have it with a green salad. Its even nice cold. My little brother who I think is actually a genius has taken to shallow frying it for an extra crunchy element, and served with polenta. And I also think it might be good with a serve of sweet potato fries *drools*!

Overall, its versatile. Give it a go and let me know your thoughts on it.. on a meatfree monday perhaps?

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breakfast, dietitians, What to eat when

Accredited Practising Dietitians Vs. Nutritionists. What is the difference, you ask?

Why APDs should be the specialists of choice for people needing advice for medical conditions.

Dietitians (or Dieticians) are highly trained individuals and we are specialists in the application of medical nutrition therapy. This year  it has been 10 years since I qualified from the University of Wollongong in Australia. Here in Australia, we study either a 4 year undergraduate degree in Nutrition & Dietetics straight out of high school Рor if you are like me, a combined Undergraduate Science and Business degree, and then a Masters degree in Nutrition & Dietetics + research thesis.

Much of our Dietitian training centers around medical knowledge, scientific research around nutrition, and taking individual dietary histories, action planning and solution designing for an individual depending on their medical condition and nutrition status. We study the human body and biochemistry as well as metabolism and food in order to get a good understanding of the role nutrition can have to protect against illness and in reducing the progression of medical conditions like obesity and diabetes. We also train in hospital before we graduate.

As a dietitian working in hospital, I see a variety of clients from different areas and it is never the same day twice. Our work in hospitals is a given since we know malnutrition can be a consequence of hospitalisation or long illnesses.

Today for example, I was referred a client by one of the Geriatricians I work with for optimisation of energy after she was admitted to hospital quite weak, and having been unable to eat for several days at home.

She is on several different types of medication and has a cancer of her bile duct which has affected normal food digestion and absorption. We discussed her usual weight, diet and made a plan for her to preserve her en

ergy, muscle mass and strength.

She was great in that she was able to eat still, compared with some other patients who might require feeding via a nasogastric tube or special intravenous like drip called Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN).

Contrast that with this afternoon and I have just seen a 50 year old male client who had an elevated Glucose Tolerance Test for weight loss with a background familial late onset diabetes. He is otherwise well and healthy, and wants to lose weight to allow him to be fitter and healthier. He told me that his personal trainer yelled at him for eating muesli in the morning because of the sugar content. I find this pretty unreasonable advice especially given that this client is bordering on type 2 diabetes but it is not uncommon for Personal Trainers to provide restrictive dietary advice. He needs the right advice to navigate his current situation and a meal plan which can provide nourishment and reduce the risk of advancement to diabetes, which unbalanced eating can sometimes do. This client is already feeling tired given his health status, and was considering restricting his intake of breakfast until he came to see me today.

avo-affirmations

Nutritionists, which have more of a whole food approach, might work more at a general population or public health level, or on a project basis within a food company. Nutrition Australia has a voluntary register for nutritionists which you can check out here http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/nutritionist-or-dietitian

The Nutrition Society of Australia does too, look one up here http://nsa.asn.au/find-a-registered-nutritionist/

Nutritionists can study at the University level, and I became a Nutritionist before I became a Dietitian. Usually a Dietitian is also qualified as a Nutritionist, but it is never the other way around. Today there are many Tafe style, Diploma level courses offering qualifications of sorts which do not give the same level of academic vigour and scientific inquiry into Dietetics as a 4 year undergraduate University degree, or Graduate level qualification, however this title is not protected by any laws here and therefore this means that anyone could call themselves a Dietitian even if they are not someone who has gone to University, done the study, and qualified for their degree without being prosecuted for doing so.

Even though our title is not protected legally, our credentialing body, the Dietitians Association of Australia keeps a register of all Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) and holds us accountable for our work. We also have to complete a mentoring program to qualify as an APD when starting out, and then we must complete 30 hours of professional development education each year to retain our credentials. See this link to find an APD in your area. http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/find-an-apd

I’ve been very lucky and been able to travel and work in other countries since qualifying for my degree back in 2006 from Wollongong University.¬†In the United States, there are licensure laws which exist within the individual states to reassure consumers that they are accessing dietary advice from individuals with an the right education and experience. Their system is different depending on the state and the licensing laws around the Registered Dietitian credential. I worked pro bono and did a lot of voluntary work in the US in my travels there, and did not work in hospital as I did in the UK., so my work there had more of a public health and community focus. I learnt a lot from these experiences and I loved my time in the United States.

In the United Kingdom, the term Registered Dietitian (RD) is protected by the Health and Care Professions council and anyone using this title without the relevant qualification to match it could be subject to prosecution and a fine of up to 5,000 pounds. Read more about it here https://www.hpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/protectedtitles/

Overall, reflecting on the last 10 years, I can definitely say that my education began when I first stepped onto University grounds and it has continued each year since with every different role I have undertaken both here and in the UK. I relish my role as a Dietitian and it is always a pleasure to assist people to optimise their health and live happier and healthier lives.

The final point about dietitians vs. nutritionists are that we are recognised by Australian Health Funds, Medicare, and the Department of Veterans affairs and have item numbers we can use under Medicare. Most comprehensive health funds cover dietitian visits as well with some funds paying up to 55% back on our fees. The sad thing is that some health funds have started to cover nutritionists and naturopaths now, not only dietitians as they once did. Shame on you health funds.

So before going to visit someone who uses either of these terms, check if they are registered with an appropriate credentialing body, check your health fund and your coverage level. But most of all, enjoy the experience. We are here to empower and assist you to optimise your nutrition.

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baking, BBQ accompaniments, DIY, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Prepare ahead of time, vegetarian

Lentil and Quinoa Stuffed Capsicums

These make a good veggie lunch or can be a side to any roast dinner.

You’ll need:

5 or 6 traffic light capsicums all around the same size
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup aborio rice
1/2 cup French (blue) lentils
1 medium onion, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 -3 cups chicken or veg. stock
salt and pepper

This is an absorption method recipe. You could also use a rice cooker for this mixture.
Heat up 1 Tablespoon of oil in a heavy based deep pan. Fry the onions in the oil until they are translucent. Make sure the heat is not high as you don’t want to brown the onions. Then add the rice, quinoa and lentils. You could rinse these in a sieve before you add them in if you like. Mix to combine with onion and add in the stock. Place the lid on top and let simmer for 5 mins. Stir the pot every 5-6 mins. it should take around 15 mins to cook.
You can vary this recipe by adding different seasoning or combinations like bacon and onion to fit the occasion. You could also add toasted almond slivers, sultanas or walnuts in the rice.

When cooked, allow to cool for 5 mins or so while you prep the capsicum.

Line a deep baking tray with greaseproof paper. Wash the capsicums and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the tops off about 1 inch from the stalk and remove the seeds inside and in the top. Place them on the tray.

Stuff each capsicum with the quinoa and lentil mixture.
Replace the lid of the capsicum.
Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
Baked in a mod. oven (180 deg) for 15-20 mins, or until the outer skin of the capsicum has cooked.

Serve with a side of your favourite protein or salad.

Enjoy!

 

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