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What makes us feel good?

What gives us an Instant HIT, boosts energy, relieves stress and anxiety, helps us wind down?

Cigarettes, Joints, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Alcohol, Antidepressants, Ecstasy, Coke.

Then what happens?

Nasty aftermath, the come down, dependency, higher levels of anxiety, addiction, yoyo moods swings.  Usually a night on the drink means you'll feel irritable, moody and anxious tomorrow

Winter Blues?

SAD, which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, isn’t just a case of the winter blues. It is a form of major depression and can be seriously debilitating, causing symptoms such as chronic low mood, excessive sleeping, carbohydrate cravings, irritability, poor concentration, low libido and lethargy. SAD occurs most typically throughout the winter months and around 80% of sufferers are women, mostly those in their early adulthood.

Serotonin is often called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. Exposure to sunshine has an impact on the binding-capacity of serotonin to receptor sites in the brain, which essentially allows serotonin to work its magic, leading to feelings of contentment and happiness.

Get your body clock in check

Expose your face to daylight first thing in the morning, boosting vitamin D.

Scientists have found a strong link between vitamin D3 levels and depression.

Vitamin D3 helps to convert the amino acid, tryptophan, into serotonin.

Most people in Scotland should supplement vitamin D

Avoid electronic screens at night and try relaxing activities such as yoga or reading to encourage melatonin production.

Blood Sugar

Eating foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates leads to rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can have a significant impact on the brain and its neurotransmitters. Typical symptoms of imbalanced blood sugar levels are low mood, anxiety, brain fog and fatigue.

Important Vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and happy

B Vitamins - Deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to depression

Selenium - Can reduce symptoms of depression, irritability, anxiety &  tiredness

Tryptophan - Helps to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood (melatonin & serotonin)

Omega 3 fats - Low levels linked to depression.  Could smooth out mood swings

TOP TIPS For mental health and well being

Add wholegrains to your diet to increase B Vitamins such as - Brown rice, pasta and bread and oats, awesome oats are your best friend!

Add more green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase B vitamins

Eat more foods containing tryptophan such as beans, bananas, tofu & oats

Eat more Omega 3 rich foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and soy beans

Increase selenium intake from: brazil nuts, wholegrain rice, oats, sunflower seeds, baked beans, mushrooms, spinach, lentils, cashew and bananas. .

Eat more nuts and seeds - raw and unsalted are best. Get more goodness out of them by grinding them and sprinkling on cereal, soups or salads.

Love lentils - they are a complex carb so help your brain release serotonin to help you feel calm and happy.  They also help stabilise your blood sugar levels

Eat awesome oats every day - Oats contain selenium which helps to boost your mood.  Because they slowly release energy into the bloodstream, both your blood sugar levels and your mood remain stable.

Increase nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, wholegrains, nuts and seeds

Good News :) Dark chocolate boosts your mood, be aware though, its best eaten after meals for dessert.  Eating sweet desserts after meal times slows down the release of sugars. A small square of dark chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels

Eat complex carbohydrates that contain ample amounts of fibre, such as brown rice, starchy vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash and beets, combine with protein-rich foods with every meal and snack.

Reduce your intake of fried foods, ‘ready made’ processed foods and other sources of high fat, salt and sugar hidden in meals.

Balance sugar levels - avoid any refined sugars such as - biscuits, cakes, sweets, syrups, sweetened yoghurts, ‘fruit juice’ - this is key to avoiding sugar imbalances.  Try some lemons or raspberries in sparkling water for a refreshing & mood boosting drink.

Reduce your consumption of ‘quick fix’ stimulants, they will be more harmful in the long term such as - alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and coke.

Gat bananas about bananas.  Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate..

Get Active

People are less likely to become depressed with regular physical activity. It is well established that exercise can stimulate the release of endorphins such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine - all of which regulate mood and prevent symptoms of depression.

Eat in Season

When fruits or vegetables are in season, they are ripe and ready to eat and will be their most juicy, flavoursome and delicious! Not only is it at its most delicious, eating seasonally is more affordable as the food is more abundant. Local seasonal fruits and vegetables can be healthier because they don’t have to travel far so retain most of their super powers. And we help to save the planet! It’s greener for our environment and often does not need to be coated with harmful chemicals or preservatives to make it look good for longer. Plant based food that doesn't cost the earth :) makes you feel good :)

Breakfast:

Beans on wholemeal toast

A smoothie made with Oat, almond, coconut or soya milk or yoghurt with berries, banana & seeds

Breakfast bowl of oats, seeds and fruit topped with yoghurt.

Morning snacks:

A small apple, pear or peach, plus some brazil nuts or a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

A slice of wholemeal bread with peanut or almond butter

Hummus with oatcakes

Lunch:

Quinoa or wholegrain rice salad with plenty of greens and a rainbow of vegetables or an apple and beetroot salad with green beans and coleslaw

Bean or chickpea & vegetable soup

Jacket potato with beans or hummus and salad

Wholemeal pitta breads stuffed with salad and falafels

Afternoon snack:

A small natural plant yoghurt with a handful of berries

Veggie Stix / Crudités (carrot, pepper, cucumber or celery) with a small tub of hummus

Dinner:

Wholemeal Pasta with  tomato / vegetable sauce

Whole grain rice with sweet potato & vegetable chilli

Stir fry with wholegrain rice noodles, tofu and a rainbow of vegetables

Beany burritos - wraps stuffed with wholegrain rice, roast veggies and beans

Lentil Dhal with wholegrain rice

Chickpea Tikka Masala with wholegrain rice

Dessert:

Coco Bites - see recipe below

Enjoy


Choco coco bites ; ingredients:

1 cup oats (use gluten free if required)

!/2 cup desiccated coconut

3/4 cup almond butter

⅓ cup maple syrup

¼ cocoa powder or cacao

2 tablespoons flaxseed

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a food processor, combine almond butter, syrup, cocoa powder, flaxseed, vanilla, and salt. Pulse until the mixture comes together and is smooth. Add oats and coconut and mix until well combined. Mixture will be fairly loose, but should come together when scooped and rolled into balls. (If your mixture is too dry, you can add a little more almond butter or syrup, or a Tbsp of milk (almond or oat) at a time to help it come together. Scoop the mixture into balls and roll out to smooth, roll in extra coconut for a snowball look. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator and store up to 1 week. (You can also freeze these up to 1 month)

We all want to do the very best we can for our children. By investing a little time, effort and patience we can create healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Establishing good eating habits within a young family can be as simple as taking a few easy steps such as sitting down to eat with your children whenever possible and making food interesting or fun, children who are given the opportunity to help in the kitchen tend to be less fussy in their eating habits.

Eat meals without the distraction of the television and try not to give the impression that desert is the best part of the meal. When candy and sweets become the norm in a child’s diet, they are no longer a treat. In today’s snack and convenience culture, it’s very difficult to avoid the constant temptation with clever & appealing ads and packaging everywhere we look, but with a little determination, you can help your child develop good eating habits and knowledge for life – and that’s worth it! The difference between a child who is simply fed daily and one who is well nourished is immense. Mental alertness, sound sleep, energy without hyperactivity and a virtual absence of illness are the norm in children who are receiving the nutrition they need to blossom and flourish. For school aged children, foods to feed the brain are essential as are those that help to boost the immune system.

The ACE Vitamins Vitamins A, C and E are required on a daily basis as they are vital to the immune system. They work together in protecting the body from bacterial infections and viruses. As we can not store vitamin C, we must consume it every day. Good plant based sources of Vitamin A –, leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, orange peppers, tomatoes, peaches, mangoes and papaya Vitamin C – Citrus and kiwi fruits, red berries, green leafy vegetables, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage. Vitamin E – Nuts & Nuts spreads, seeds and avocados.

Zinc This mineral is required for the development of the immune system. Children who suffer from regular coughs and other infections or who do not heal quickly from cuts and bruises may require more zinc in their diet. Good Sources Zinc – Oats, rye, buckwheat, brown rice, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

Iron is also vital for the immune system. It is best absorbed in the presence of folic acid and vitamin B12 and also vitamin C. Drinking caffeine based drinks such as tea, coffee or cola can hinder the absorption of iron by up to 60% if consumed within an hour before or after a meal. Good Sources include peaches, figs, apricots, cherries, bananas, avocados, spinach, lentils, whole-wheat and rye grains.

FOOD FOR THE BRAIN There is no question that optimum nutrition improves your child’s ability to learn and perform both physically and mentally at school. Studies show that academic performance and concentration are better when children have an optimum intake of nutrients. Vital for intellectual development are essential fatty acids. Research shows that essential fatty acid levels in infants correlates with their intellectual performance as children. A diet high in essential fatty acids improves attention and reduces anxiety and aggression. Many studies in recent years have shown that children who receive extra essential fatty acids both behave and learn better.

Good Sources. Flaxseed oil, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, olives, olive oil and evening primrose oil, nuts and seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts and also avocados.

TOP TIPS TO EAT WELL -

Provide healthy school snacks for children (ideas below)

Avoid foods and drinks containing sugar, look out for ingredients such as sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup.

Avoid refined foods such as white bread, biscuits, cakes and processed sugary breakfast cereals.

Avoid foods high in saturated and hydrogenated fats.

Avoid artificial additives and preservatives and artificial & natural flavours (commonly used in sweets, crisps, biscuits, ready meals and soft drinks).

Energy drinks are absolutely not suitable for children.

Cut down on salt – often ‘hidden’ on processed foods.

Increase fresh fruit and vegetables. EAT A RAINBOW  Ensure a wide and colourful selection everyday to provide a wide variety of nutrients

Choose wholegrain or spelt versions of bread, pasta, rice and cereals

Choose protein such as Legumes, beans and pulses.

Eat Natural food - organic when possible – look for foods with little added or take away.

HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS -

The beany burrito from the now with wholegrain rice, roasted veggies and avocado.

The now’s breakfast bowl to sit in or to go.

Oat porridge – add a spoonful of ground seeds such as flax, linseeds or sunflower with some fresh fruit

Whole Grain toast with a nut spread such as peanut or almond and banana

Sugar free bran flakes, all bran or other

Whole Grain cereal with oat / almond milk or soy yogurt

Selection of fresh chopped fruit or frozen berries with plant based yoghurt

Fresh fruit smoothie – made with fruit such as berries, plums, apricots, apples, bananas, strawberries, the possibilities are endless, add ground seeds to increase beneficial fats and proteins.   Dilute to taste with yoghurt or water

We have several smoothies on sale every day in the now which are made from only real, pure plant based ingredients.  Thanks to www.thefitnutprogram.com for our smoothie recipes.

HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS -

A  healthy snack can provide your child with the energy they need just when they need it.  Unhealthy snacking can back your child up with highly processed chemicals which are loaded with salt, sugar and fat to make them very tasty

If your kids have a busy social life with lots of after school clubs and activities, after school snacking has to happen, they have run their batteries down and need a quick re-fuel which often happens on the go, in the car.  While this can be the most common time for unhealthy snacking to happen, it is the ideal opportunity when kids are literally desperate to consume anything to offer a rainbow of healthy choices such as:

A tasty very berry bowl (as served in the now) perfect to refuel.

A wholemeal sandwich, wrap or quesadilla with peanut or almond butter and banana, adding cinnamon to this is also tasty and cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels.

Apples with peanut or almond butter dip (you may need to mix yoghurt into the dip to make it more dip-able)

Coco Energy Balls - recipe is below, you can make these no bake snacks at home with your child and have them roll them into shape.  Super quick and super easy.

Mixed seeds or nuts with Fresh fruit or wholemeal crackers, grapes and olives

Raw Vegetable sticks (peppers, cucumbers, baby corn, celery, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, celery, whatever your child likes! Add some hummus dip to add protein for good brain power. A rainbow of colours is very appealing

A smoothie that tastes like ice-cream (but is full of body boosting berries, bananas, chia seeds and oat milk like the ‘pinky perfect’ in the now)

Plant based Yoghurt drink

Oat or rice cakes with a natural nut spread (there are lots of these available now in most supermarkets)

HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS -

Wholemeal wrap or pitta pocket with falafels, hummus, avocado and lettuce/tomato/cucumber - so many colourful options.

Wholemeal sandwich or bagel with vegan cream cheese, hummus or smashed avocado and topped with rainbow veggies

Wholegrain rice and mixed bean salad, add in some mixed seeds eg. sunflower, sesame or pumpkin

Wholegrain cold pasta salad – include all kinds of vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, pickled onions, broccoli, spring onion, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, sugar snap peas, mix with a good plant based pesto

If providing a desert, try making the no bake energy balls or a simple piece of fruit or make some  food art together eg. fruit kebabs or fruity faces on homemade pancakes.

DRINKS -

Water, water, water!!! Your child requires about 8 glasses a day! – and NOT all at once!!!! Water or smoothies are far superior to any fizzy sodas or energy drinks (which are totally unsuitable for young children).  If your kids have already developed a taste for fizzy pop, try introducing sparkling water with sliced fruit or mixed with fresh orange juice to make a ‘healthy fanta’

ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES & BEHAVIOUR

Regular snacking on refined carbohydrates, sweets, chocolate, fizzy soft drinks and juices cause children’s blood sugar levels to see saw continually and trigger wild fluctuations in their mood and levels of activity, concentration, focus and behavior. Processed foods and foods with low nutritional value tend to have many artificial ingredients. These foods are body breakers instead please GET REAL - build stronger, healthier & happier bodies by providing real, natural food.

How can we help In The Now

Eating out doesn't have to involve unhealthy food and should not mean you as a parent have to compromise.  At the now we take children’s health very seriously. We offer a mini version of our lentil based cottage pies, homemade soups, roast veg or salad and hummus sandwiches and delicious, nutritious real fruit and veg smoothies, plant based milks and 100% fruit juices as well as water to all of our guests.

We also have ‘cluck-less’ chicken nuggets (made from wheat and potato protein), veggie sticks and of course our delicious berry bowl with oats, yoghurt, fruits and seeds.

We are proud to bring the FitNut ethos into our menu and to strive to make food that encourages positive reactions within our body.  The FitNut goal is to inspire a whole generation to understand that they can live better in tune with their bodies.

​The fitnut superstars are on a fitness and nutrition mission and want to share the healthy message with young people everywhere. We are delighted to serve Fitnut inspired smoothies in the now and to use the recipes from the fitnut program to create healthy soups and snacks for all of our guests.  There are several FitNut books available for our little ones to read while they power up with the best ingredients.

And, there's plenty of space for prams and lots of high chairs, so the now is definitely the place to put a smile on everyone's face.

If you don’t have time to stop and haven’t managed to prepare a snack, pop into the now and grab a healthy snack to go, call us in advance if you are in a rush.  We have free parking on site. Healthy fast food.

Energy Balls Ingredients:

1 cup (80 grams) of oats

1/3 cup (115 grams) of maple syrup

1/2 cup (125 grams) of almond butter

1/2 cup of ground flax seeds (55 grams) or whole chia seeds (110 grams)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla

1/2 cup (80 grams) of desiccated coconut - you can also use dried fruit instead

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Roll the mixture into small balls and refrigerate.

Small plates in the now - great to share. from £4.5

There’s big benefits in our small plates.  Whether you like to combine 2 or 3 of them to create a delicious & nutritious main meal or just want to pop in for a small bite with a fresh mint tea or smoothie, they are a brilliant way to boost your health, are full of bodybuilders and are a delicious treat any time of day.

These fabulous dishes have been lovingly created by chef Kenny to perfection with some healthy input from myself to keep us all in tip top condition.  Without revealing all of Chef’s secret ingredients, let's see what benefits these little gems are bursting with and what effect they have on our body.  

Korean style Cabbage pancakes

Cabbage is a low calorie vegetable which is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Cabbage can help to keep your digestive system healthy by feeding healthy bacteria in your gut and promoting bowel movements due to the high fibre content. Also an excellent source of vitamin K which is vital for blood clotting.

Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger which can promote weight loss

Lemon & garlic broccoli

Packed with calcium and vitamin C, Broccoli is great for your bones, skin, gums, teeth and immune system.  Broccoli prevents and fights disease. It is good for your hair and can improve skin conditions such as acne.  Vitamin K - found in green veggies is very good for your blood, your heart and for building strong bones.

Lemons help sore throats and boosts immunity to help you fight off infections.  They can help to clear your mind and brighten your mood, making you feel refreshed and energised.  Lemons can help to reduce fever, balance PH levels and are a blood purifier.

Garlic is an excellent decongestant and strong antibacterial which could stop germs from growing and boost your immune system. 

Olives, Grapes & Walnuts 

Olives are an antioxidant-rich food and have anti-inflammatory properties making them a natural protection against sickness.  Like the walnuts, they are a great source of vitamin E, which has the ability to neutralize free radicals in body fat.

Olives contain mono-unsaturated fat, the same good fat you find in nuts and avocados. which increases good cholesterol.  They also contain dietary fiber and can help improve your memory.

Grapes are great after exercise as they can give you energy to replenish your muscles.  They can protect your heart and keep your blood healthy, help you recover from illness and help to protect you from disease.

Walnuts are a good source of the plant form of omega-3 fats, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.  Eating walnuts can nourish the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut, they also contain nutrients that may help protect your brain from damaging inflammation which supports good brain function as you age.  Together this combo has all the nutrients you need to feel amazing.

Bruschetta Bread

Our wholemeal bread is a vegan friendly tasty granary and sour dough blend, full of fibre which helps your body get rid of waste and reduces your risk of disease. It helps your body balance blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling satisfied. 

Tomatoes have a high amount of antioxidants, your body's defence system which fights against free radicals (which cause sickness and disease).  They are also good for your skin, your heart, your eyes and your mood :)

Basil is good for your digestion, is anti-inflammatory and helps to fight free radical activity.  It can be good for your skin, helps you to fight depression, control diabetes, can help support liver function, detox your body and promote a healthy gut.

The Onions and garlic are excellent decongestants and strong antibacterials.  Onions are helpful in the treatment of colds and chesty coughs and garlic can help fight chest infections and sore throats. Garlic may stop germs from growing and boost the immune system.

Cashew & spinach dip with Seeded sweet potato crackers

Well here we go nuts for nuts and seeds.  What a wonderful way to pack in your protein for the day with this smooth and satisfying dip paired with the seeded crackers.  

Mounting evidence suggests that eating nuts and seeds daily can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease by controlling glucose levels and improving your cholesterol profile.

Nuts are rich in fat, fiber, and protein, all of which are more likely than foods high in carbohydrates to make you feel full. For that reason, people who eat nuts regularly — especially those who substitute nuts for animal fats, are less likely to be obese than those who don't.  

Sweet potatoes are a super source of vitamin A which can help to protect your eyes and skin, they are powerful disease fighters and can help to protect your lungs.  Every smoker should eat them!

Spinach also protects your eyes against vision loss is good for your hair, skin and bones.  Of course, it is healthy for your blood and can feed your muscles to keep you feeling strong. 

Together this recipe is a powerful palate pleaser that Popeye would be proud of :)

Picco de Gallo 

Tomatoes have a high amount of antioxidants, your body's defence system which fights against free radicals (which cause sickness and disease).  They are also good for your skin, your heart, your eyes and your mood :)

Coriander may help lower your blood sugar, fight infections, and promote heart, brain, skin, and digestive health

Onions are an excellent decongestant and have strong antibacterial properties helping in the treatment of colds and chesty coughs  

Lime is great for respiratory disorders and just the smell can help relieve congestion.  They are a great source of vitamin C are a good boost to your immune system and are a tonic for your skin, your eyes and your gums.  Lime stimulates your digestive system and is good for heart health too.

Hot peppers are bursting with beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system and can help fight off colds and flu  They also boost your metabolic rate which helps you burn more calories.  

Infact, HOT TIP... if you eat chillies at breakfast time, it can help suppress your appetite for the rest of the day! 

Patatas Bravas

Potato skin contains fibre which helps us to feel satisfied so encourages us not to overeat, is good for our digestive system & can help prevent constipation.  

Tomatoes have a high amount of antioxidants, your body's defence system which fights against free radicals (which cause sickness and disease).  They are also good for your skin, your heart, your eyes and your mood :)

The Onions and garlic are excellent decongestants and strong antibacterials.

Onions are helpful in the treatment of colds and chesty coughs and garlic can help fight chest infections and sore throats. Garlic may stop germs from growing and boost your immune system.