The Fit Foodie: Buy local for the best food and Christmas pressies

This week I’m sharing my top Christmas gift and stocking filler ideas. Recipe wise, I’ve got two delicious sweet treats, perfect for when you want something that’s super healthy but tastes indulgent.

Now that December is upon us it’s time to get thinking about Christmas gifts.

I love buying people presents and always try to put in the effort to find something they will use. This year I’ve decided to put a big emphasis on buying from Irish companies. 

We are a country full of hardworking people and I think it’s really important to support our small businesses.

Country Munch: This is a Limerick based company that delivers healthy food. They are a start-up company currently delivering in the Limerick area and plan to expand beyond Limerick in 2018. For Christmas, they are doing a selection box of Christmas themed treats. Check out their facebook page or website www.countrymunch.com

Flex in the City: This is a Cork-based reformer and barre pilates studio. It’s run by Juliette Jones, she’s full of energy and a fantastic instructor. I signed up for a class there and loved it. They do great packages of classes that would make a perfect Christmas gift for the fitness lover in your life. Go to their website to buy a bundle of classes for a loved one. www.flexinthecity.com

Aherns Organic Farm: This family business does stunning organic turkeys. I’ve met them at the Mahon Point Farmers’ Market and been really impressed with them. A gift of a good quality turkey would be very welcome in my house. Check out their Facebook page.

Mome: This company is the brainchild of Niamh Towey. She has flashcards for adults to give us visual cues to help us stay mindful. They are beautifully designed and wrapped. I love the messaging on them. They come in various packs. This is a really different and nice gift idea. www.mome.ie

The Squad: This is a brand new gym in Cork. Set up by two Cork ladies, Josie Parfrey and Joanna McCarthy, they are in Unit 2, John Harrington Industrial estate, Tramore Road. A gift of classes or a membership to the gym would be a super present: 0860846567.

Stocking Fillers

Bella bites: These are the perfect stocking filler for any healthy foodies. Founded by Cliona Hegarty and handmade in Dublin, they are stocked in Dunnes, Tesco and Supervalu. www.boostbites.com

The Birds and the Teas: This Wicklow based company do beautiful Christmas hampers. They are full of seasonal jams and chutneys. www.thebirdsandtheteas.ie

Gym Plus Coffee: This Irish start-up wants to make your life richer. Why not fill a stocking with one of their beenies or keep cups. www.gymandcoffee.com

Queen B Athletics: This activewear company does fabulous leggings and training bras. You’ll find it hard to get more comfortable or stylish training kit. www.queenbathletics.com

Book: ‘At The End Of The Day’ by Paul Byrnes would be my top pick. It’s about professional sports people that have retired.

Fitspiration:

This week my fitspiration is a little different than usual. I want to give a shout out to the Local Enterprise Office.

They offer so many great services and are incredibly useful for anyone with a business idea or currently in business.

Find your local LEO on twitter and follow them to keep updated.

Maple & Cinnamon Granola with baked apple slices

Shop-bought granolas can be packed with sugar so it’s often a healthier, tastier and cheaper option to make your own.

 I aim to make a batch of this once a week, normally on a Sunday. The baked apple mixed with the energy-rich oats and protein packed nuts will keep you going all morning. 

I’ve also added cinnamon to help stabilize blood sugar levels and to add extra flavour.

I love it served with some good quality natural yoghurt, banana and mixed berries.

Makes: 1 week’s supply (in my house!)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

100g jumbo porridge oats

50g flaked almonds

50g hazelnuts, broken up

50g pumpkin seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50g walnuts

6tbs coconut oil, melted

3tbs maple syrup

3tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 green eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thin rings

Preheat oven to 180C/Gas mark 4

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup and stir well until combined.

Tip the mixture into an ovenproof dish.

On a separate tray lined with parchment paper lay out your apple rings.

Place both in the oven and bake for 30 minutes making sure to stir the granola and turn the apple rings halfway through.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once cooled mix the apple pieces through the granola.

Store in an airtight container somewhere cool.

Healthy Hot Chocolate

There is no denying it, I love my coffee. 

But as winter rolls around and my hot beverage intake starts to increase — I like to mix it up! Winter is all about staying warm and cosy, and nothing says this to me like a cup of hot chocolate. This version uses raw cacao, which is high in both antioxidants and magnesium.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 2-3 minutes

Serves: 2

400ml full-fat milk

2tbs cacao powder

1tbs agave syrup

½ vanilla pod, seeds only

Warm the milk, agave and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Whisk in the cacao powder until fully combined.

It’s now ready to drink but to make it extra nice and frothy I like to whizz it up in my blender for a few seconds before pouring into two large mugs.


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