The Healthy Plates Initiative with Uncle Ben’s

**Nope not sponsored by Uncle Ben or Aunty Bessie or any other long-lost relatives. Delighted to say I learned loads and left with a fantastic recipe**

The team working with Uncle Ben’s recently invited me to a mini workshop with renowned chef Gary O’Hanlon and esteemed dietician Orla Walsh (Athletics Ireland). They were launching a campaign to show Ireland how easy it is to make a healthier plate, in minutes. The healthy eating plate idea focuses on  food groups and the quality of food rather than the pain in the BLEEP calorie counting.

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My Dish – Adapted from Gary’s Recipe

My diet goes through phases of good, bad and Dear God is there nothing you won’t eat (in copious amounts). Plus I’m a massive food fan and I’ve  weakness for baked goods. I was delighted to be asked along for a private consultation around my diet with Orla and then to lend a hand to Gary who was cooking up a dish tailored to my needs.

“The great thing about Orla was she spoke my language.  She actually talked in pie”

Prior to heading in to meet them I filled  out a questionnaire and was a little shocked to see first hand how fond I am of a muffin for breakfast. My excuse, like many I’m sure, is its quick and easy and available in the Spar on the way to work.  I’ve only recently completed a course in Sports Nutrition myself so the timing of this couldn’t have been better.  I was in the head space where I wanted to learn more about making smart but small changes to my diet.  Changes which over time would benefit me the way I wanted.   I like to run so I told Orla I wanted to work on energy levels and becoming more lean physically.   The great thing about Orla was she spoke my language.  She actually talked in ‘pie’ ! Yes she explained smart choices and small changes using apple pie as an example. Now there’s a dietician I could listen to and learn from all day.

She took me through a simple yet effective template of what should be on my plate. A mix of wholegrains (I’m failing miserably here), healthy protein and vegetables and fruits.  In terms of fuel for running she gave me a beyond simple break down of where I should increase or decrease categories depending on whether I was inactive (lying on the couch), active (doing a bit) or mad active (yes she said mad active e.g. running). When we chatted about the abnormal amount of packets of crisps I go through I may have looked at the ground in shame. Luckily for me she didn’t pack an ounce of judgement with her for the consultation and  I left Orla inspired and determined to make some changes.

‘Over to you Gary’

Orla passed me over to Chef Gary O’Hanlon who had put together a great dish for me. It was a kedgeree with courgette, peas and onion.  Cooking with Gary is basically just having a natter and he is the most easy going chap ever.  He explained the steps simply and listened to my endless questions.  Apparently there is no such thing as a stupid question, although he may have lied about that so I didn’t look like a fool.  The recipe was simple, tasty and easy to make and I tucked into it for lunch.  In return I gave Gary a crash course in Snapchat, a fair trade if you ask me.  Then again I’ll do anything for a bit of food.  Have a peak below my shameless selfie for the adapted version of Gary’s recipe I put together.  His had fish, I substituted it for chicken, added a little more spice and left out the boiled egg (I had none). It’s a great recipe and so simple to adapt to your own tastes.

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Shamless Selfie

 Fake (Kedgeree, I took the fish out) – Boiled Chicken with Spring Onion & Pea

Ingredients:  Serves 2

220g Uncle Ben’s Wholegrain Rice & Quinoa

400g of diced chicken

Oxo chicken stock cube/water

2 spring onions

1 onion

2 tbspn of curry powder

Handful of garden peas

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Dice the chicken and boil gently in chicken stock. Enough to cover the chicken (Oxo chicken stock, add herbs if you wish)

Heat a frying pan with a little oil and add the onion and spring onion and sweat for a couple of minutes.

Add the curry powder, mix it well and cook it out on a low heat for two minutes.

Add in 5-8 tbspns of the chicken stock and mix well.

Add the Uncle Ben’s wholegrain rice and quinoa. Mix well and cook through for a few minutes

Add the chicken back in now, season and serve.

You can also find some more wholegrain based recipes right here!

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My Version of Gary’s Dish

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My Version of Gary’s Dish

Feel free to join in the conversation !