Top 15 #GoFaster Foods to Fuel Your 2015

Long hours, stress, exhaustion....this is the term when teachers can get very run down. Choosing the right foods will strengthen the immune system as well as to give you more energy, for your teaching and your leisure. From Red Camargue Rice and Freekeh to Watermelon Juice, here are my top 15 #gofaster foods to kick-start your 2015, as well as a few recipes with which you can try them out!

1. Red Camargue Rice

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Red is the new brown! With its nutty flavour and soft texture, this colourful rice is packed with slow- release carbohydrate to power your 2015. A great source of protein, iron, zinc and manganese, it also provides more antioxidants and fibre per serving than the brown variety. If you want a meal that has a fantastic balance of carbs protein and fat, and that is packed with nutrients, try this deliciously energy-fuelled Red Rice with Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas recipe.

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2. Freekeh

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We're all freekin' about freekeh this January! Why? Like quinoa, this hot new supergrain is packed with protein, (110g gives you 11g of protein) and provides an excellent balance of slow-release, low GI carbohydrate, protein and fat, to sustain energy and keep muscles in tip top condition. Rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, substitute rice, pasta or couscous with freekeh in your diet and you won't go far wrong.

3. Avocados

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Perhaps a little old hat, but avocados will always be towards the top of my list. A rich source of unsaturated fat, avocados pack a nutritional punch with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, and contain even more potassium than bananas. And they're versatile and very tasty - spread ripe avocado on some delicious fresh bread and sprinkle with a little salt and a squeeze of lime, make this yummy GUACAMOLE, or try avocado as a butter substitute in this popular #gofaster CHOCOLATE AVOCADO CAKE.

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4. Watermelon Juice

I've always been a fan of watermelon as a post-exercise treat. Containing 97% water, and rich in natural sugars, vitamin C and potassium, it's great for post exercise rehydration and recovery. As a child, I only ever got to eat watermelon on very hot camping holidays in Greece, so to me, a glass of this tasty juice puts me in a holiday mood. Anything that does that to me in January has my thumbs up!

5. Almond Butter

Choose almond butter over peanut butter in 2015 for a tasty and healthy change. Milder in taste than the peanut variety and delicious spread on wholegrain bread as a pre-exercise or pre-double-period lesson energy booster, it’s loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorous, as well as fibre and protein. I'll be trying this in my energy balls recipes and flapjacks this year too.

6. Dried Apricots

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Supercharge your snacking in 2015 with dried apricots, packed with fiber, slow-release carbohydrate, vitamin A, potassium and iron. Use them in your cooking too; in salads, tagines, brownies and energy bars. Try them in these #gofaster ENERGY BALLS or ENERGY BARS. Apricot puree tastes amazing on porridge or in natural yoghurt - just pour boiling water over them, leave to soak until very soft, then puree.

7. Coconut Oil

I was a bit reticient about this oil, but I have to say it's growing on me. Said to raise the metabolic rate and therefore burn fat more efficiently, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which are absorbed directly by the liver to provide instant energy. The “lauric acid” in coconut oil acts as an anti-bacterial agent too. Health benefits aside, this oil enhances flavor in oriental dishes and energy bars.

Use coconut oil in this yummy ETHIOPIAN SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SOUP WITH CHILLI & LIME.

"Eat like an Athlete" posters for your classroom

8. Root Ginger

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As well as aiding digestion, root ginger is also a potent anti-inflammatory. Add root ginger to soups, curries, tea and smoothies to aid muscle recovery after workout.

9. Porridge Oats

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Ditch sugary breakfast cereals once and for all and set up your days with a delicious bowl of hot oatmeal porridge with milk, muscovado sugar, berries and toasted nuts or seeds. It’s packed with low GI, slow-release carbohydrate, protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and minerals, including iron and calcium, to sustain you through the day as well as help maintain concentration, and a healthy digestive system. Or try soaking oats, nuts, dried fruit and seeds in milk, yoghurt or apple juice the night before to make Birchermuesli.

more oaty recipes

10. Chickpeas

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Rich in slow-release carbohydrate, protein, B vitamins, fibre and minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc, chickpeas are excellent for sustaining energy levels and boosting the immune system. Add to soups, couscous and stews or blend to make your own hummus dip.

11. Eggs

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Sometimes the simplest things are the best! Cheap and convenient, eggs are an excellent source of protein, essential vitamins and minerals such as iron. A fabulous fast food for busy teachers!

12. Chia

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Crammed with carbohydrate, protein, healthy fats, B vitamins, fiber and important minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and potassium, chia continues to reign in 2015 as a wonderfood! In fact, I'm getting more and more excited about this seed the more I use it. Gram for gram, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon! Add to porridge, or even use as a thickener in stews.

no-cook chia seed energy balls recipe

13. Sweet potatoes

Delicious and nutritious, these are an excellent source of carbohydrate, vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, manganese, copper, fiber, potassium and iron. They help maintain steady blood sugar levels and boost the immune system for a superhealthy 2015.

14. Beetroot

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Love it or hate it, beetroot has pretty astonishing qualities. Said to help your body exercise more efficiently, it contains nitrates, which, once converted to nitrite and nitric oxide in the body, enables muscles to work more efficiently and demand less oxygen. Whizz up a nutri-blast of this BEETROOT, APPLE & CARROT IRON BOOSTER to give your immune system a helping hand.

15. Pomegranates

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A great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, iron and tannins, this delicious superfruit is claimed to be effective against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer. Pomegrates are fantastic added to couscous, sprinkled on salads or grill some thinly sliced aubergines, pour over some natural yoghurt flavoured with a little garlic and sprinkle with these mouthwatering seeds.

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