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Twelve simple and healthy dessert snacks that have minimal preparation, quick-step methods and nutritional benefits.

Summer is just around the corner, and for anyone who has been searching for a sweet treat that will hit the spot but remain guilt-free these twelve simple and healthy dessert snack recipes are ready for your everyday repertoire. From pancakes, to peanut butter oats to sorbet and homemade nice-cream there is something for the whole family to enjoy. 

1. Easy Watermelon Sorbet

For those who are searching for something fresh but also like to indulge in the sweeter side, watermelon sorbet is the way.

Ingredients

• 3-4 cups of frozen de-seeded watermelon • 3/4 cup of coconut cream
• Half a small lime

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

2. Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet

A two ingredient simple mango sorbet that cools your cravings throughout the summer months.

Ingredients

• 3 cups of frozen mango • 1 can of coconut milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

3. Creamy Coconut Nice-Cream

Summer calls for creamy coconut goodness, nice-cream can be eaten as made or poured into ice cream frozen moulds ready to enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 frozen bananas (depending on the desired serving size)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice-cream

Perfect for the chocolate lovers a creamy and fresh consistency through healthy and natural ingredients.

Ingredients

• 4 frozen bananas
• 3 tbsp natural peanut butter • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup almond milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

5. Very Berry Nice-Cream

An easy and fresh berry combination perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool.

Ingredients

• 2 Frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen berries
• 2 tbsp almond milk
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

6. Chia Pudding

If you’ve been searching for an overnight snack option for those who love to healthy meal prep a chia pudding is a simple recipe that you can change up toppings daily.

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup chia seeds
• 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, Honey, Greek yoghurt

Method

Combine and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the chia seeds will have expanded and softened, ready to top with topping of choice!


7. Overnight Chocolate Oats

A solution for all of the chocolate lovers big and small, chocolate oats are a satisfying overnight breakfast or a ready-to-eat chocolate snack conquering cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 50-100 grams oats
• 150 ml almond milk
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, berries, yoghurt or peanut butter.

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

8. Baked Snickers Oats

Offering warm baked goodness of oats, with a melt-in-your mouth sensation the kids (and parents) will love as an after school treat or dessert.

Ingredients

• 1 cup of oats
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond milk
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Combine ingredients and blend together.
Transfer the blended mixture to a small baking dish.
Top with dark chocolate chips (optional) and a small
tsp of natural peanut butter in the middle before baking for 15 mins. The peanut butter will melt into the chocolate oats and be ready to enjoy!

9.Banana and Egg Pancake

Sunday morning breakfast just got a whole lot healthier, nutritious and delicious these pancakes are a simple revision to your classic repertoire.

Ingredients

• 1-2 mashed banana
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp Chia seeds / LSA Mix (Optional)

Toppings of choice eg. Mixed Berries, Greek Yoghurt, Honey, Peanut Butter.

Method

Mash the banana and combine in a bowl with eggs. Optional to add chia seeds or LSA mix-ins. Whisk until fully combined. Cook in a saucepan for roughly 5 minutes each side [lipping like a regular pancake until cooked on both sides!

Top with toppings of choice. Enjoy!

10. Cookie Dough

For all those cookie loving kids (big kids included) this recipe is a simple way to satisfy your cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 cup oat [lour
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup dates
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate!

11. Peanut Butter and Date Cookies

The cookies that will transform your baking, a gluten and guilt free alternative, these can also be a great Christmas cookie.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter • 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups almond meal

• 1/2 cup chopped dates • 1 tsp baking soda

Method

Mix wet ingredients; peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients; almond meal and baking soda in a seperate bowl. Combine both mixes and fold in the dates to mixture.
Seperate and roll mixture into bowls, [latten and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

12. Vegan Museli Bars

The perfect lunchbox or after school snack, prepare and store for throughout the week!

Ingredients

• 1 mashed ripe banana
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
• 1/4 cup loosely chopped almonds • 1/4 cup loosely chopped walnuts • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/4 cup gogi berries

Method

Roast the nuts and oats in the oven for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan combine peanut butter, mashed banana and maple syrup and stir until a melted consistency.
When the oats and nuts are lightly toasted combine them to the saucepan mixture add gogi berries and mix together in a bowl.
Pour the mixture and press down with a spatula into a baking dish lined with paper. Put some more baking paper onto of mix and use the spatula to press down tightly.

Place in fridge for about 1 hour to set.
Take the paper off mixture and cut into bars and Enjoy!

This Christmas marks the fourth anniversary since 7 year old Jarvis was diagnosed with cancer. Make a Wish foundation has been valuable in offering joy, hope and the chance to feel like a regular kid, for many children like Jarvis.

#WorstChristmasEver

It was only a couple of days before Christmas 2014 when Jarvis’ parents took him to the doctor for blood tests. He’d been feeling out of sorts, lethargic and falling asleep all the time, and they’d noticed bruises on his legs that weren’t healing.

Just two hours later, their GP rang and told them to go straight to the hospital where the team from Ward 3B were waiting. While their instincts told them something was wrong, the truth came crashing down as they arrived and saw the sign – Ward 3B was the children’s cancer ward.

At just four years old, Jarvis was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

The diagnosis came on Christmas Eve, and Jarvis started chemotherapy the same day.

For the whole family – Jo, Ben, Jarvis and his two little brothers – it quickly became the most desperate Christmas ever.

Every parent’s worst nightmare

Jo and Ben did their best to stay strong for their three boys – with their youngest just 16 weeks old at the time. However, Ben remembers feeling completely overwhelmed: “I was just walking through the ward, pushing the pram with the other kids, and it was all just a bit of a blur.”

In the months that followed, Jarvis began an intense course of medical treatment including daily chemotherapy and high dose steroids. However, the life-saving regime took a huge toll on his health, leaving him listless and often withdrawn. He gained around 40 percent of his body weight due to the steroids and was almost unrecognisable. His muscles also weakened to the point that his parents had to carry Jarvis between his bed at home and the hospital.

As Jo remembers, Jarvis hated going in for treatment. “He’d be crying and saying ‘please, don’t take me….’ He was old enough to know what was coming.”

Over the next three and a half years of treatment, Jarvis missed out on many of the things other kids might take for granted – from school and swimming lessons to birthday parties and playgrounds.

During this incredibly tough time, Jo and Ben felt they had to ‘bubble wrap’ their son.

His incredible wish

Through cancer support groups, Jo and Ben heard about Make-A-Wish® Australia and applied for a wish mid-2017. As a keen reader, Jarvis wished for a very special treehouse, much like the one in his favourite book, The 13-Story Treehouse.

As the #WishForce team quickly discovered, Jarvis’ treehouse had to be somewhere a young boy could escape his day-to-day cares, enjoy some quiet time, and let his imagination roam free. Of course, it also needed a veranda, a rock-climbing wall and its very own flying fox!

Construction began earlier this year, with Jarvis watching on excitedly as his vision came to life.

Today, visitors to the family’s home will find a two-storey treehouse taking pride of place in the backyard – with a good-natured seven-year-old playing with his brothers and friends inside.

Jarvis is now doing his best to put the years of cancer treatment behind him – and while it will be five more years of regular blood tests before he’s completely in the clear – thankfully, his chances of a full recovery are strong.

For Jo and Ben, the impact of their son’s wish journey is clear – it has allowed him to become ‘a regular kid’ again.

“Experiences like this give everyone hope and give kids who’ve missed out and faced a lot of adversity a bit of happiness. That’s very special – and so important,” says Ben.
Bake-A-Wish for kids like Jarvis

Each year, thousands of Australian children are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. For their families and the kids themselves, life is put on hold while they learn to cope with and in the best cases, beat their illness.

Which is why a wish is so important – with the power to calm, distract and inspire sick kids at the time they need it most.

You can help bring more incredible wishes to life in 2019 by joining Make-A-Wish Australia’s largest ongoing fundraising campaign, ‘Bake A Wish’.

It’s a piece of cake, and whether you choose to arrange a dinner party with family and friends or an afternoon tea – every dollar raised means more unique and life-changing wishes coming true for sick kids like Jarvis.

Visit www.bakeawish.org.au or call 1800 032 260 to find out more, pledge your support and access your free fundraising toolkit.

Choose the best health insurance cover that suits your family’s needs!

Whether you’re thinking about starting a family or you already have children, you probably want piece of mind to know you’ll have access to the medical services you need, when you need them. There are few things more important than our health, and while we do have access to a range of public health services in Australia, you’re likely questioning if it’s also worthwhile getting private health insurance.

Whether you’re new to health insurance or are reviewing your current cover, with so many health insurance providers and policy options on the market, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why we’ve developed this guide to help you choose a health insurance cover that suits your family’s needs. 

Click here for more health-related articles on reading food labels, wine mums and parent mental health! 

Why take out private health insurance?

The main reason families take out private health insurance is to have more choice and control over their medical treatment.

While Australia’s public health system does provide access to a range of services and procedures, if you want more control over your health and treatment options, you may need private health insurance. Private health can not only provide you with access to services that may not be covered under the public health system, it also gives you the ability to choose your doctor or specialist and where you receive your treatment.

Having private health insurance also means that you can potentially avoid long waiting queues you may encounter in the public health system.

Choosing your type of cover

The first step when selecting a health insurance policy for your family is to choose the type of cover you’ll need.

Generally, you’ll have three options to choose from:

  • Hospital cover – Hospital cover is designed to cover some or all of the costs associated with receiving medical treatment as an inpatient in hospital.
    Having private hospital cover gives you the flexibility and choice of doctor and hospital you wish to be treated in. Plus you can also elect to be covered as a private patient in a public hospital.
  • Extras cover – Extras cover is designed to cover some or all of the cost of a range of other health services and treatments, such as dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy and optical.
  • Packaged Hospital and Extras cover– Packaged cover is a combination of hospital and extras services under the one product. Most health insurance providers offer packaged covers aimed at suiting the needs of different ages and stages of life.

Most policies also include emergency ambulance cover, however it’s important to note that some insurers include this with their hospital cover, while others include it as an extra. It’s best to make sure you know what your chosen policy does or does not cover.

Choosing your level of cover

While most private health insurers currently offer customers the choice between top, medium or basic levels of cover, the federal government recently announced some changes to the way policies are categorized to make it easier to work out the level of cover you need.

From April 2019, health insurers will need to categorise their policies into four basic tiers (Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic) which are based on the items included in the policy and the level of cover they provide.

If you’re just starting a family and want cover for pregnancy or fertility services, you’ll need to opt for a Gold level of cover. Private Health Insurance policies have no lock in contracts, which means that you are able to review your cover and change levels whenever your life circumstances and needs change.

From April 2019, health insurers will need to categorise their policies into four basic tiers (Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic)

Make sure you also consider any specified waiting periods when selecting a policy, as these will affect how quickly you can access some services (for example, most insurers will specify a 12-month waiting period for pregnancy, meaning you’ll need to plan well in advance if you want to give birth in a private hospital).

You’ll also need to consider any excess or co-payment you’ll need to pay if you are admitted to hospital. Policies with an excess will require you to pay the specified amount upon admission to hospital regardless of how long you stay there, whereas a co-payment will be calculated based on the number of days you are admitted. Electing an excess and or co-payment is often a good way to reduce premiums, so make sure that you ask the question, but make sure you are aware of any costs that you will be up for if you do need to go to hospital.

Choosing your extras

Budget is a key constraint for most of us when shopping for private health insurance, so if you’re looking for a way to reduce the overall cost of your policy, your extras cover is usually the place to start.

If you know that one or more family members will need regular access to things like dental, optical, physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment, your extras policy is likely to pay for itself over time. It’s always a good idea to consider the cost of your extras policy versus the total benefit amount you may claim for using the covered services. Each private health provider offers different levels of Extras cover, so make sure that you are getting generous cover that is good value for money.

 

Click here for more information: https://www.healthpartners.com.au/ 

Almost every packaged food we pick up in the supermarket will have a food label – but who knows how to read and interpret the information on the food label? I am the first to put my hand up and say that food labels can be confusing, but armed with some handy information, food labels can become useful tools in helping choose the right foods for you and your family. 

 

Here in Australia, food that is packaged and manufactured must have a food label. There are a few exceptions to this rule including fresh food such as fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, very small packages or single herbs and spices. A food label will usually including the following: 

  • Ingredient list 
  • Nutrition information panel 
  • Allergen statement  
  • Product and brand name of the food 
  • Use by date or best before date 

 

Ingredient list 

Let’s start by looking at the ingredient list. I will often refer to the ingredient list first when I look at a food label as I like to know what I am buying and eating. Ingredients are listed in order of descending weight, so the first ingredient listed is the main ingredient in the food and the last ingredient is the smallest. If you see that sugar, fat or salt are one of the first three ingredients, then perhaps that food isn’t the healthiest choice. It’s also important to note that sugar, fat and salt may be listed as many different names.  

Other names for Sugar, Fat & Salt 

Below is a copy of a nutrition information panel from a yoghurt that was in my fridge. 

 

Nutrition Information Panel 

Servings per package: 4 

Serving size: 250g 

Here are my five steps to successfully reading a nutrition information panel: 

 

  1. Always look at the ‘per 100g’ column as this is always on foods and allows you to compare between products. The other column ‘per serve’ is determined by the food manufacturer and may be much smaller than the amount of food that you eat. Breakfast cereals are a good example – the serve size of breakfast cereals will be different from Weetbix to Cheerios to muesli, for example. But if you look at the per 100g column you will be able to compare and decide which is the best choice for you. 
  1. Energy per 100g – after the ingredient list, this is the second thing that I look at on a food label as it gives me a quick idea of whether a food is going to be a good choice. Great when you don’t have much time and a child or three in tow! 
  1. Total fat and saturated fat – As a quick scan, the best choice is to look for products with less than 3g total fat/100g and less than 1.5g saturated fat/100g. Next best is between 3-20g total fat/100g and 1.5-5g saturated fat/100g – which is where my yoghurt from the above nutrition information panel fits, as this is a full fat yoghurt. 
  1. Sugar – look for foods with less than 5g sugar/100g. Keep in mind that sugar includes naturally occurring sugar, such as lactose in dairy products, as well as added sugar as in biscuits. So if you are choosing muesli, you might see it is high in sugar and wonder why. This is where it can be useful to look at the ingredient list – where is the sugar coming from? Is it coming from dried fruit (where you also get the benefit of fibre) or is it from honey that is used in toasting the muesli? Again, this is shown in the above nutrition information panel, as the extra carbohydrate and sugars is from lactose. Next best option is to look for sugars between 5.0-12.5g sugar/100g. 
  1. Sodium/salt – look for foods with less than 300mg salt/100g. 

 

There are always exceptions. For example choosing an olive oil means that you will not be able to find one with less than 3g total fat/100g – so here is where common sense needs to kick in.  

Nutrition Claims 

I would encourage you to be a savvy label reader. Food manufacturers want us to buy their products. Here are a few common claims that you may see on food packaging – and what they really mean: 

  • ‘Lite’ or ‘light’ does not necessary mean it is low in fat. It may also be referring to the colour or taste of the food. 
  • ‘Baked not fried’ sounds like it must be healthier doesn’t it?! Always check the nutrition information panel as it can have just as many kilojoules and fat as a fried food. 
  • ’93 per cent fat free’ still contains 7 per cent fat (or 7g fat/100g) which doesn’t make it the healthiest choice. 
  • ‘Reduced fat’ means the product should have at least 25 per cent less fat than the original product. But the food may still have more fat than another similar food.