No Bake Brownie Bites (Nut Free)

nut free brownie bites

The perfect lunch box ‘treat’. With no added sugar, these nut free energy balls are a nutritious and balanced lunch box addition filled with wholegrain rolled oats for sustainable energy; hunger-busting fibre and protein from the seeds and dates, but still sweet enough to curb that sweet tooth.

So simple to make and always handy to have stored in the fridge when you’re feeling peckish.

What you need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
2 tb cacao powder
12 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, extra to coat
  • 1 cup of peptia seeds (optional)
  • 2 tb water


Process rolled oats, cacao powder, dates, 1 cup desiccated coconut and water in a food processor until almost smooth and well combined.

Scatter the extra desiccated coconut on a plate.

Roll two tablespoons of mixture into balls and evenly coat into coconut.

Place on a lined tray in the fridge for 1 hour or until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie Bowl


Did you say cauliflower? Yes! Here’s a sneaky way to add another veg into your family’s day. With the added benefit of turmeric, which helps to quell inflammation and boost immunity, this smoothie is tasty, the kids will not detect.


1 cup Frozen blueberries

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 cup milk or milk alternatives

1 tb nut butter

Handful baby spinach or kale

1/2 cup pre-cooked, frozen cauliflower*


Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Once mixed, pour into serving bowl or Mason jar and top with colourful seasonal fruit, dried coconut, nuts and seeds.

This recipe was created for Fitness First Australia

Plants That Pack a Powerful Protein Punch

Row of spoons with different dried pulses

There are many pros to a plate full of plants. From nuts to lentils to wholegrains, plant-based foods are antioxidant-rich and high-fibre wonders. But what’s often overlooked is their ability to pack a protein punch, especially when swapping out meat and dairy from your diet.

Here are the 5 best plant-based sources, and how you can easily add them to your diet.

Soy bean is a vegetarian’s delight. Just one cup of cooked soy beans (aka edamame) has a massive 18g of protein. So next time you’re at sushi train, hit up this protein-packed appetizer.

Tofu. Another soy-based option made from curdled soy milk, contains up to 8-12g of protein per 100g serving. It’s also your perfect blank canvas to marinate, fry, scramble, bake, you name it really.

Nuts. Just like eating fruit and vegetables, eating nuts is a daily ‘must do’. Not only do they dish up hunger-busting protein and fibre, they’re filled with waist-friendly fats. Research shows that eating a handful (30g) of nuts daily can reduce the desire to overeat later in the day, helping to reduce your overall daily kilojoule intake. Looking for intake inspo? Add them to stir-frys, smoothies, salads or just chomp them raw for an afternoon snack.

Wholegrains. Grain foods like wheat, rye, barley and oats are naturally rich in plant-based protein, on top of other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytochemicals. Recent findings from the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council’s (GLNC) annual food category audit, revealed that close to one in every five loaves of wholemeal/whole grain bread assessed was considered a ‘good source’ of protein, boasting at least 10g per serve – the same amount found in a glass of milk or two boiled eggs.

Legumes like chickpeas and lentils have a unique package of protein, fibre and slow-digesting carbs – the ideal combination for weight control.  With around 9g of protein per half a cup, they’re a cheap and nutritious addition to salads or curries or veggie patties.

Baked beans are another legume that are a solid protein source (around 9g per 100g). They’re also a source of energy-boosting iron and their slow-releasing carbohydrates help stabilise blood sugar, helping to keep sugar cravings at bay.

Health Benefits of Onions (and a free recipe e-book)


Onions are a budget-friendly pantry staple that are bursting with health benefits due to their high levels of vitamin C, phytochemicals and prebiotics. Their unique bundle of nutrients will even help ward off viruses, along with boost gut health.

Whether blended, sautéed, baked or fried, this tasty vegetable can be easily ‘disguised’ for fussy eaters in your favourite family meals and can help keep you and your kids healthy on the inside and out.

While aussie parents fight a daily battle to get their little ones to eat more veg, a recent survey, undertaken by Australian onions showed that children tend to shy away from meals where onions are obvious, and this often means the whole family skips them in order to keep the peace.

According to Australian chef and ex-My Kitchen Rules (MKR) finalist Scott Gooding, the secret to success lies in the preparation.

Bring onions back on the menu

Thanks to a series of delicious cooking tips to handy hacks for avoiding the tears, Scott has revealed how he prepares onions for his family in a bid to encourage Australians to boost the vegetable content of any meal.

Download The Secret Serve e-book or visit the Secret Serve website for more health information and many tips on ways you can utilise this versatile veggie to boost nutrition and taste.


Fast Fixes For Food Cravings

food cravings

Just can’t stop at two squares of chocolate or devouring the entire packet of salt and vinegar chips? Crush cravings with these fast food fixes.

The sweet craving

If visions of ice cream, chocolates or banana bread dance in your head, what you may be craving more than the sugar in these foods is the fat that provides their texture, taste and aroma. Several studies have shown that fat and sugar may release endorphins into the brain (neurotransmitters that can produce a feeling of pleasure or euphoria).

Beat it by

Guess what? Good old-fashioned exercise also boosts levels of endorphins. So next time you feel like biting into a chocolate brownie, lace up those walking shoes. You’ll get the same pleasing feeling and the benefits of doing something good for your body. If youre on the job or unable to get immediate fitness gratification, you can still get the creamy taste and texture you yearn for from yoghurt or nut butters with fruit.

The salty craving

Unfortunately, cravings for salt often result in the consumption of foods that are also heavy in fat (think chips, French fries, pizza), and sometimes the desire for salty foods, such as chips or pretzels, may have more to do with the wish to crunch than the actual salt.

Beat it by

Get Spicy. Experiment with spices other than salt for flavouring meals and dishes. Pepper, curry, paprika, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary all give dishes not wonderful flavour, but has nutritional benefits, too. Need to crunch? Reach for crisp, fresh, munch-able foods, like baby carrots with hummus or low-fat dip – they make great stand-ins for chicken flavoured chip or pretzels.

Craving carbs

Cravings for refined carbohydrates are most frequently associated with times of stress. The explanation behind this relationship? Heavily refined carbohydrates found in such foods as rice crackers, baked goods, biscuits, cakes, and white bread have been shown to help boost levels of the serotonin (a mood-enhancing brain chemical), shown to produce a feeling of calm and well-being.

Beat it by

Anything that relieves stress can help to inhibit these cravings. Try deep breathing techniques, yoga or simple exercise instead of resorting to the refrigerator. When you feel the need to feed, go for snacks that have a combo of low GI carbohydrates and protein. Think yoghurt, wholegrain crackers or veg with and hummus, smoothies, trail mix, or nut butters with fruit.