Derval O'Rourke's fit-foodie column: Granola bars and beating the cold

This week I refuse to listen to people telling me the weather is too cold or it’s too dark to get out. When it comes to being active I’m all about finding solutions so I’m talking visibility and functionality of outdoor gear in my fitness section.

When it comes to time in the kitchen, this week I’m taking the crappy out of snacking, finding a great solution to an evening treat, and cooking up my absolute favourite fish dish.

Happy Not Crappy Granola Bars

Derval O'Rourke's fit-foodie column: Granola bars and beating the cold

I popped into to see a friend of mine recently and she was mad busy cooking and baking to get organised for the week ahead.

I spotted a batch of granola bars cooling on a wire rack and admired them.

My friend pointed out that they are her way of avoiding eating crappy snacks during the week.

This is my recipe for happy not crappy granola bar snacking!

Makes: Roughly 10

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Batch

120g porridge oats

50g dessicated coconut

50g mixed nuts, roughly chopped

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

60 g dried fruit, chopped

Line a 33cm x 23cm metal baking tray with parchment paper. Pre heat the oven to 150.

Spread the oats, coconut and nuts on a baking tray and bake for ten minutes.

In a small bowl mix the chia seeds and water, this will make a gel.

Melt the honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract over a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chia gel into the mixture ensuring the gel mixes well.

Add the egg and dried fruit to the wet mix. Tip in the toasted oat mix and stir until all ingredients are well combined.

Turn the oven up to 180.

Scrape the granola mix into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake until golden brown, around 30 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Hot Pineapple With Toasted Nuts

I love to make dishes with only a few ingredients, it’s just far easier! I try to cut down my dishes to as few ingredients as possible to make it more doable. This is one of those recipes, it has few ingredients but put together it is much more than the sum of its parts.

This dessert is a keeper! It’s a quick answer to wanting something sweet and staying healthy. I love pineapple, it’s great for post training in the evening. It’s a healthy snack to aid recovery.

Serves: 4

Fast Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

1 pineapple, peeled cored and cut into chunks

60g, mixed nuts, chopped

3 tbsp honey

4 tbsp natural yoghurt (I love Glenilen yoghurt)

Pre-heat the oven to 180. Spread the pineapple onto a baking tray. Scatter the nuts over the top, drizzle the honey over the pineapple and nuts. Pop in the oven.

Cook for 12 minutes, remove and leave for a couple of minutes to cool. Divide the mixture between plates and dollop with yoghurt

Fish Stew

Derval O'Rourke's fit-foodie column: Granola bars and beating the cold

Fish is a big part of my diet. We have quality fish in Ireland and I think it’s important to make the most of it.

I love this fish stew because it is unbelievably tasty and it is done in just one pot. You’ll be delighted at wash up time!

This stew is full of flavour and it’s a dinner you will return to over and over again!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4 Batch

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Zest and juice ½ lemon

12 baby potatoes, halved

300 ml vegetable stock

600g mixed fresh fish, cut into bite size pieces

4 tbsp grated white cheddar

4 tbsp chopped dill

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat on the hob. Add the onion and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic lemon zest and juice and cook for a further 10 5 minutes. Tip in the tin of tomatoes.

Add the potatoes and stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fish and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle over the grated cheddar and the chopped dill and serve.

Fitness Focus

Here is a fitness announcement. We do not live in Sweden! It is not cold enough to stay indoors all the time!

A few years ago I travelled to Sweden to attend an athletics conference. I was absolutely frozen all weekend long. I spent the whole time shivering and looking forward to getting home to the lovely mild climate of Ireland. It made me massively appreciate the mild winters we get.

As the winter has closed in on us it can be difficult to muster the motivation to get out but trust me it’s so worth making the effort. There are two aspects that you need to consider for this time of year — visibility and functionality.

Most of us work during the day meaning getting exercise can happen either early morning or late in the evening. It’s essential you lighten up if you are exercising outdoors at this time, visible and reflective gear is essential for staying safe.

I wear reflective gear when I’m out and about. It’s so hard for drivers to see people who are dressed in dark clothing. Always light yourself up. The cheapest way to do this is get a reflective vest. Most of the sports companies make high- visibility jackets, shoes and leggings.

I recently came across a new Irish start up company that specialises in highly visible gear. The company was formed in 2014 by Joyce Brereton and is called As Bold As. It is well worth a look for those of you in the market for a stylish and visible outdoor coat.

Once you are well lit up it is time to think about functionality. I need to be honest here. I own a lot of sports clothes. As a professional athlete I was given a ton of it and now due to working in the food/ fitness world I still get a lot of it gifted to me.

However, once winter weather hits I only ever rotate the same few pieces due to their great functionality. I would hate anyone to think they need to spend a fortune on clothes just to get out and get active.

I have a super wind and rain proof jacket with strips on it for visibility, it’s lightweight which means I can jog in it without it irritating me.

I wear leggings that are thermal on the inside yet not too tight. My legs never get cold in them. I always wear a headband that covers my ears but not a full woolly hat.

On my feet I wear runners that have good material coverage. I don’t want the cold blowing through them. I have loads of lovely runners but as soon as a gust of wind hits my feet are frozen. The more robust runners are the ones I turn too in the cold weather.

Fitspiration: This week I’m loving the adventures of Annalise Murphy, Olympic silver medallist in sailing, on Instagram. It’s great to get a glimpse into her life travelling the world and sailing in some amazing locations. Go check.

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