Sugar… Is it the new evil? Since the recent announcement from the World Health Organisation that we were seriously in need of cutting back on how much sugar we consume the media has been awash on the subject. Did we not already know that eating too much sugar was bad for us? That it provides no nutritional value… that it can cause tooth decay… and that it is most certainly a contributor to obesity along with a host of other illnesses.
Personally I don’t think sugar was as much of an issue in days gone by… before the abundance of packaged foods took over the supermarket shelves offering us meals in minutes and hidden sugar as a bonus. In this day and age though, with so much knowledge, information and studies available, is it not a case of us taking responsibility of our own eating habits and knowing the health benefits and the health negatives of all food. Then we can relay them back to our table… to our family… to our children. After all, it’s up to us to watch over and guard their health and wellbeing.
And yet in such a crazy fast-paced world it’s not always possible to cook meals from scratch every single day and I know my small one would not appreciate if I deleted chicken noodles off his weekly menu or God forbid put a ban on his Sunday breakfast treat of scones or banana muffins. But I take comfort in the knowledge that by providing unprocessed home cooked meals as often as I can, that I take the control of the quantity of sugar in our diet and create a balance.
There are some of us that will/have to go to the extreme and cut sugar completely from their diets for their own personal health reasons or purely as a lifestyle choice. That’s not for us and my belief is that self-awareness and moderation are key to a balanced and healthy diet and let’s not forget the model a lot of us grew up on for guidance – the food triangle, now replaced by the Eatwell plate. So with all that said I thought it only right to create a healthy option for this post. Love to hear your thoughts…
Fruit and nut bars
Makes 12 • Baking time: Approx 30 minutes
2 Granny Smiths apples
10 dried dates (steeped in water for about an hour)
1 small banana
45g pecan nuts
100g ground almonds
100g frozen blackberries
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 180c/Gas 4/160c (fan). Grease and line a 31cm x 18cm baking tray with grease proof paper.
2. Chop the apples into small pieces and whizz along with the pecan nuts, dates and banana in a food processor until chopped finely. Stir in the ground almonds, oats and blackberries.
3. Gently melt the peanut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup over a low heat. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together.
5. Turn the mixture out into the prepared tin pressing down firmly. Bake for approx 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting evenly into 12 pieces.