5 healthy breakfast food swaps

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Smoked salmon and standard cream cheese on a white bagel

Swap for:

Smoked salmon and Quark (a naturally fat free soft cheese) in a wholemeal tortilla wrap or, if you really want a bagel, have a nice wholemeal one.


Standard cream cheese has saturated fat and is often processed with long ‘sell buy’ dates. Quark offers a fat free alternative that is fresher, natural, and wholesome. White bagels are made from flour which has been stripped of its natural goodness through processing and they also often have higher sugar content than wholemeal alternatives. Wholemeal is much more natural as the wheat grains are left as is and not altered. It also means you get much more fibre key for keeping your digestive system nice and healthy.



Fried eggs, bacon rashers, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, and hash browns

Swap for:

A poached egg, grilled turkey bacon, meat-free sausages, grilled large mushroom and tomatoes. Skip the hash browns.


Grilling is a much more healthy-concious option compared to frying. It removes the need for oil to be added when cooking. Turkey bacon is leaner than bacon from pork. Meat-free sausages have higher protein content than a lot of standard sausages due to them having less fat. The meat in standard sausages is often the cheapest cuts padded out with pork or beef fat – doesn’t sound very appetising, does it? Hash browns are fine as a treat but if you are aiming to be healthy then leave them out as they are fried extensively and often bought readymade meaning with the addition of chemicals.



Porridge/Hot oatmeal made with cream and topped with golden syrup, and jam

Swap for:

Porridge/Hot oatmeal made with water or semi-skimmed milk or half n’ half and topped with maple syrup and homemade fruit compote such as this one


By swapping you lower the amount of saturated fat and sugar. Golden syrup is made from refined sugar and jam is full of naturally sweet fruit but with the added addition of lots of sugar (the ratio of fruit:sugar is often shockingly low especially on cheaper ones). Homemade fruit compote, on the other hand, has only naturally occurring sugars or a little natural added sweetener such as honey or maple syrup. Maple syrup is used instead of golden syrup as it is less processed and much lower in sugar (and free of refined sugar).



A bowl of cereal

Swap for:

A bowl of custom (aka make your own) muesli or granola


Some cereal is reasonably healthy but despite the big claims on boxes of them being ‘fortified’ with ‘added vitamins and calcium’ etc., they are frequently full of sugar, and also often have quite a lot of salt. Maize-based cereals can also be found to be made from GM (genetically modified) maize crops.

If you buy, organic, low sugar and salt cereal then that is probably ok as part of a healthy lifestyle but if you buy the super-processed, sweet, cereal, then by switching to homemade muesli you can be fully in the know entirely what you are eating. It’s super simple to make and you can either make up a serving each time or to save time make up a larger quantity and store it as you would bought cereal.

Here’s a basic muesli recipe:

Oats, wheat flakes

Seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseed, chia)

Nuts (e.g. Almond, hazelnut, pecans, walnuts, macadamia, brazil)

Dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas, cranberries, banana, pineapple (watch out for sugar content though))

Serve dry or with dairy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.


Use fresh fruit (e.g. berries, sliced banana, mango, grapes) instead of dried fruit or have some of both



White toast and butter / chocolate spread / jam / marmalade

Swap for:

Wholewheat toast and spread with mashed ripe avocado seasoned with pepper and a little sea salt or home-made healthier chocolate spread

• Recipe: Homemade clean chocolate spread •

Basic method:

Blend some mashed ripe avocado and cocoa powder together and/or a little maple syrup or mashed ripe banana to sweeten. Approx. ratios 1/2 avocado: 1tsp cocoa powder: quarter mashed banana or 1 tsp to a tbsp maple syrup

This can be stored in the fridge until the next day in an airtight jar.


Helen x

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 Copyright©HLDCblog//Helen Redman 2015.

Pina Colada Style Drink

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This is a superbly delicious drink which is made from only three ingredients and takes just a few minutes to prepare. It is cool, creamy, and sweet yet has a hint of heat from the stem ginger adding a subtle kick. As a non alcohol drinker, this is a great alternative.

I have seen a few pineapple and coconut ‘juice drinks’ sold in shops which consist of pineapple juice from concentrate, sugar, sweeteners, water, coconut ‘flavouring’, and sometimes even added colouring. Pineapple and coconut is, in my opinion, a match made in heaven so in creating this recipe, you can enjoy the taste of the two flavours combined, but in an entirely natural and wholesome way free from anything artificial.


This is the sixth smoothie recipe in my January smoothie series aiming to help you kick off the new year in a healthy way. Links to the previous recipes can be found at the bottom of this page. Back to this post now.

Pina Colada Style Smoothie


Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup chopped pineapple (either sweet fresh pineapple or drained unsweetened tinned pineapple)
  • 1 cup chilled coconut milk (I tend to use a coconut milk that is made like other nut-milks, such as almond, i.e. it has water added and is not the sometimes high fat tinned versions)
  • Approx. 1 1/2cm slice fresh stem ginger

NOTE: The amount of ginger varies depending on the size of the root, and of your liking of ginger – add more or less as desired)



Add everything to a blender and blitz until thoroughly blended and smooth.

Garnish with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut and/or a wedge of pineapple.

Sit back and enjoy!





  • For an extra cool drink add 1/2 cup ice cubes before blending
  • If you would like an alcoholic version then add some rum

Here are the links, as promised earlier, for my previous smoothie recipes:

  1. Creamy Green Energy Machine
  2. Tropical Dream
  3. Breakfast Smoothie with a Kick
  4. Good Morning Smoothie
  5. Detox Green Smoothie

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Have a nice day,

Helen x


Smoothie 5: Detox Green Smoothie

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This post focusses on my tried and tested ‘Detox Green Smoothie’ recipe. Since the beginning of the year I have been drinking a number of smoothies regularly – usually to start my day. See earlier posts. This green smoothie is one of my recent creations. It contains many green elements: avocado, kale, kiwi, celery and pear. Sweet and savoury blends are the best way to go when making green smoothies to avoid the unappetising watery-veg-puree which will often occur if you fail to add anything naturally juicy, such as a pear, to a smoothie containing leaves such as kale.

The smoothie is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. In addition, the water adds hydration and naturally occurring sugars provide energy. This is an ideal smoothie to drink in the morning but can easily be enjoyed at any time of the day. If you have never eaten kale before, though, it may be better to use spinach first as it will ease you into the taste of green smoothies (spinach is milder and easier to blend). Also, if you have a hand blender rather than a full-sized blender then spinach may again be a better option as the result will be smoother. You can use a hand blender with the kale if you don’t mind a more textured smoothie. I use kale with both hand blenders and full-size blenders as I’m not fussed but I know other people who insist on smoothies perfectly smooth so the option is yours!

Here is the recipe:                


Detox Green Smoothie



  • Photo


    1 cup raw kale

  • 1/2 of a ripe hass avocado
  • 1/2 kiwi
  • 3/4-1 cup water (depends how thin you like the smoothie)
  • Approx. 1/4 stalk celery
  • 1 ripe conference pear


1. Make sure everything is washed, peeled, and in suitably sized pieces.

2. Add all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 17.06.09

Kiwi fruit

3. Check consistency to decide if you would like to add more water.

4. Serve and enjoy

Note: Green smoothies are not to everyone’s taste but they are VERY good for you so hopefully you’ll enjoy this one!

If you would prefer a completely different type of smoothie, try this ‘Tropical Dream’ smoothie (recipe here).

For more of my recipes, foodie pics, and meal ideas, follow this blog (button over to the right of this post if viewing on a desktop computer), or find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and PinInterest.

Helen x


Love to Cycle


This blog may be mainly about healthy eating, but it is also about healthy living in general. One of the ways I like to keep fit is by cycling regularly.

Who likes cycling?

Me! [Obviously]

For me, cycling is one of my favourite types of exercise. I love being out in the fresh air cycling, with a trail ahead of me, and good music playing on my iPod

First photo

I’m fortunate in that where I live, there are quite a number of cycle routes I can chose to go. Road biking or mountain biking – there are choices. It’s great! I’m much more of a fan of cycling off-road on woodland trails and nature trails, by rivers, and over different terrains. I find it exhilerating getting the speed up on the bike, and accelerating along a trail and descending down hills. As it is winter in Scotland just now, it is often freezing and frosty but with plenty of thin insulating layers, and training gloves plus mountain biking gloves, I manage to keep warm[ish!] Plus, once I get going the adrenaline gets pumping through me!

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.49.30As an artist, too, I really enjoy being out and about seeing the natural beauty of light-dappled woodland trials, the view of glistening water from on a coastal track, and the naturally carved stone inlets and caves of cliffs weathered by the sea. Nature provides endless inspiration for my artistic pursuits. •

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.48.41Reflections and shadows are things which I enjoy the most. These two photographs were taken on Saturday while I was out cycling in the countryside along a nature trail. There was frost on the trail but you wouldn’t think it was as cold as it actually was by these pictures!

Cycling photo

I don’t understand people whose sole exercise and fitness activities are confined to the four walls of a gym. I’d much rather be out in the fresh air passing changing scenery! I have been on cycling machines in gyms and every time I’ve been on one, there has been the choice of staring out the window into darkness (it was evening), or staring at my reflection in the mirror. Neither of which appeals to me! Obviously when weather conditions make outdoor exercise impossible, however, I can see why gyms would be useful. But, as for using them on an everyday basis, and never exercising outdoors, I don’t think they will ever be my idea of a good way to spend my money. Each to their own, though. I certainly have quite a few friends who just love going to the gym.

Cycling photoI’m off cycling now! Have a great day,

Helen x

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Smoothie 4: Good Morning Smoothie


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Tired? Half-asleep? Keep reading and try the recipe that follows.

Here is a refreshing smoothie that is made using a combination of store cupboard tinned fruit and fresh fruit. It is free from added sugar, thickener or anything else, just pure fruit and water. The sweetness of the smoothie will depend upon the sweetness of the fruit and so if you’d like a sharper smoothie use a green rather than red apple. Also, using an unripe green kiwi rather than a golden one will give a sharper result. I prefer just a hint of sharpness so tend to just stick with the broken grapefruit for that.

It is entirely up to your personal preference, though. Have a go at experimenting with different combinations and find your favourite! It’s fun coming up with various tasting ones.

Good Morning Smoothie


  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 golden kiwi
  • 2 slices of pineapple (I used unsweetened tinned pineapple as I didn’t have fresh)
  • 1 tbsp of broken grapefruit (tinned)
  • Water


1. Peel, core, and cut apple into chunks.

2. Scoop flesh out of kiwi.

3. Add the fruit into a blender with a little water and blend.

4. Add more water to thin if desired.

NOTE: I use golden kiwis as they tend to be much sweeter than green kiwis. They are easier to get hold of in the summer rather than winter, so if making in the winter then you can substitute a green kiwi for the golden one.

This is the 4th smoothie recipe from a series of posts I’ve been doing since last week. For the earlier recipes see:

1. Creamy Green Energy Machine

2. Tropical Dream,

3. Breakfast Smoothie With a Kick.

For more healthy recipes, meal ideas, and tips, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Helen x


Smoothie 3: Breakfast smoothie with a kick


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This is the third of my smoothie recipes for the first full week of January. I past two smoothies were the Creamy Green Energy Machine and Tropical Dream.

Today’s smoothie  is a tasty, sweet, cherry and banana smoothie which has the addition of fresh ginger root to give a little kick. The bananas are packed with potassium, the cherries with antioxidants, and the flaxseed with omega 3. Moreover, the oats contain slow-release energy to get you going while the milk gives you calcium. What more could you want to kick start your day?!

Breakfast smoothie with a kick


  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup semi-skimmed milk (or unsweetened almond / soya milk)
  • 1/3 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2-1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed (find in health food shops)
  • 3 tbsp oats

Optional: 1 tbsp chia seeds (find in health food shops)


Place everything into a jug and blend with a hand blender until fully combined into fruity deliciousness!

Serve straight away perhaps over some ice if you want a super cooling breakfast.

Have a great day,

Helen x

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 Copyright©HLDCblog 2015.


Tropical Dream


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Smoothie 2: Tropical Dream 

Missing the summer sun at all? I may have a quick fix DIY solution… Bring the sun to you, in the form of a sunny smoothie! Ok, so not a real sun, and no heat comes with it, but it looks nice and bright and tastes of the tropics. My mango and banana smoothie is a rich yellow smoothie which is dairy-free and free of any added sugar. It is packed with vitamin C and other nutrients. The flaxseed is an excellent plant-based source of omega 3 and also adds some texture to the smoothie.

Smoothies are a fantastic way of getting towards your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables. They make great snacks, additions to breakfast, or a work-break drink as they are quick to make and easy to take with you. This is the second in a seriesof smoothie recipes I’m posting to help you all kick off the first month of 2015 in a tasty, healthy way. Check out yesterday’s post for another idea and come back tomorrow for the next smoothie instalment!


  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed (ground linseed)

Makes: 1 glass


1. Add everything into a blender.

2. Blend until smooth.

Note: The finished smoothie is reasonably thick, so if you’d prefer it thinner, just add a tablespoon to a quarter cup water to thin it down. TIP: Add ice cubes and blend for a slightly thinner and refreshingly cool drink.

*Drink and pretend you’re on a beach in a tropical place bathingin the gorgeous warm sun* 😉Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 15.45.49


Helen x

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Top 5 Healthy Foods to Snack On


Tempted to pick up a handful of crisps, sweets, or pop to the nearest coffee shop to buy a triple chocolate muffin?! Try these healthy options instead. All require no, or virtually no, preparation making them perfect for work breaks and study snacks.

1. Grapes


  • They are lower in sugar than other fruit such as bananas.
  • They are easy to eat, no sticky fingers or juice going everywhere (a nightmare if you’re busy working away in an office – no one likes sticky keys on a keyboard!)
  • They require virtually no preparation – just be sure to buy the seedless variety for minimal effort.

2. Half an Avocado


  • It is a power-house of goodness it is good if you’re in both a savoury or sweet mood
  • It can be eaten easily just with a spoon it is filling.
  • Here’s a quick little recipe for a sweet serving idea. 

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 10.45.07

3. Nuts


  • There is no preparation – providing you buy ones already shelled.
  • They are a good source of minerals, vitamins and protein. Although, the high fat content in some nuts can worry people, the fats in the nutritional make-up of nuts are good fats rather than bad. [1]
  • There are many types to choose from including almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. My favourite are pecans and fresh coconut.

Coconut photo

4. Sliced red pepper, carrot batons, celery and hummus dip


  • It’s a colourful snack filled with nutrients and easy to eat.
  • Celery, red pepper and carrots are all low-calorie making it a light snack.
  • Celery aids digestion and lowers blood pressure, red peppers are full of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, while carrots give a source of beta-carotene, promoting eye health.

This requires some prep. but works great for preparing in the morning to take to work as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. The different vegetables vary in colour and taste making them appealing to both eyes and tastebuds. This snack got me through many an essay break at university! I used to buy pre-cut carrot batons (lazy, I know) and store-bought hummus too – serving idea [here].

5. Apple and cheese


  • Apples are a good source of Vitamin C while cheese is a source of protein.
  • It is sweet and savoury – perfect if you can’t decide what mood you’re in (tastebud-wise!)

The snack I had as a child when other kids were eating fries / crisps / sweets etc. My parents have always encouraged a healthy diet. I did love it as a child and I think that’s why I still enjoy it now. Simply chop up an apple and cheese into similar sized cubes and serve as is in a bowl or, if taking to work, place in a sealed snack box with a squeeze of lemon over the apple to stop it from going brown due to oxidisation. To me, it’s the perfect sweet and savoury snack.

  • TIP (from my childhood): Try to end on a piece of cheese as cheese will help get some of the fruity acidity off of your teeth.

Apple and cheese


Helen x

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[1] http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-nuts





My Shopping Basket: 6 Great Fruit and Vegetables


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My Shopping basket

I think I might make this a bi-monthly feature where I’ll show a selection of food items I’ve bought and say what I’ll be using them for etc. Hopefully it will inspire you to try something new with foods that you may not have thought of before or, remind you of something you enjoy. This post will focus on fruit and vegetables I bought this week. For me, fruit and vegetables are naturally delicious on their own but obviously that would make for a pretty boring post so I’m going to hopefully try and give various serving ideas.

Shopping basket graphic 1

1. Bananas

To me, these are a staple. I buy them all the time and often have one a day. I much prefer them to apples as I find they are a lot more versatile being able to use them as a natural sweetener to add in baking, as the base of a smoothie, frozen and blended as ice-cream (see below), or simply to eat on its own, like the monkeys and orangutans do it! They can be eaten at any time of day. Breakfast, Mid-morning break, as a sweet component of lunch, as dessert in a banana split or frozen and dipped in chocolate, and as a pre or post-workout snack as they are high in energy and potassium. Fancy a tasty treat, try this banana recipe!

Frozen banana ice-creamServing suggestion: Banana ice-cream // frozen banana blended with a blender and served on top of fresh bananas // i.e a bowl of banana – sweet!

 2. Apples

Despite my previous paragraph, I do have a fondness for apples just not as much as banana! Anyway, at this time of year I often cook apples infused with spices, see Winter warming spiced-apples. I love cooked apples with Greek yoghurt, clotted cream, or as served as a topping for porridge or granola. Baked apples are also nice at this time of year making a warming winter dessert. If I have apples uncooked at this cold time of year, I tend to have them with cheese and crackers, or just the cheese on its own, as it makes a very satisfying snack or after dinner dessert.

 3. Lemon

Lemons are often merely used as a garnish for drinks. But they have a much greater potential. The zest is great for providing zest for a variety of recipes but I think the juice is the best part. I love using it, combined with some black pepper and extra virgin olive oil as a minimalistic and refreshing salad dressing. (For example in this tasty salad recipe.). It also makes a great marinade for prawns or salmon. Lemon juice also prevents chopped apples from going brown.

TIP: Start the day with a large glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Water is crucial for keeping your body hydrated and drinking it first thing, kick starts your metabolism for the day ahead.

 4. Red onions

These are tasty cut into rough wedges, tossed in olive oil, seasoned, and oven roasted. I also like them finely chopped and added to salads to give a fiery kick and a distinctive colour.

TIP: Use in place of white onions when you want a stronger flavour.

 5. Cucumber

This is more of a summer food but I enjoy it year-round as I find it refreshing in sandwiches, on crackers and in salads. It goes perfectly with smoked salmon and cream cheese – two of my favourite things!

TIP: If you don’t like plain water or lemon flavoured water, then try adding a slice or two of cucumber to a glass of water or a few slices to a jug of water and leave it for a few minutes before serving. It’ll give a hint of flavour and make the water slightly more interesting than simply ‘still water’.

 5. Avocados

Avocados are truly a superfood being high in vitamins, fibre, and many other nutrients. Served either sweet or savoury, they are fully versatile. I use them on their own and in combination with other foods. I love them pureed and blended with a banana, which forms a delicious naturally creamy ‘whip’ , and equally enjoy them seasoned with black pepper and sliced in a salad. They are also great served filled with maple-sweetened Greek yoghurt (recipe here.)

TIP: Avocados are not only great for you inside, but outside too. There are many great skin products you can make easily and cheaply at home using them. A handy list can be found here.


Serving suggestion

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Helen x

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Nutritious Salad

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 11.02.29

This is super easy to make as it simply involves assembling the ingredients in an attractive way on a plate. The dressing is minimal but satisfying and the dish is suited for lunch and dinner alike. It also features the fruit with which I’m most obsessed at the moment: avocado!

Ingredients (to serve 1):

  • 1 portion of cooked prawns (about a handful)
  • 1/2 an avocado (peeled and chopped or sliced)
  • 2 handfuls of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 wedge of fresh lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 nest of rice noodles
  • 1/2 tsp reduced salt light soy sauce


  • 1 handful of baby leaf spinach


1. Cook the rice noodles according to their packet.

2. Stir in the soy sauce and some black pepper

3. Arrange the lettuce and/or spinach on a plate and top with the avocado

4. Scatter the prawns over the salad and serve the noodles on the side.

5. Finish by squeezing the lemon juice over the prawns and salad leaves and season with black pepper to your liking.


Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.38.41

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Have a lovely day,

Helen x