10 questions with Niomi Smart
With over a million followers on Instagram, a further million subscribers on YouTube and now author of Eat Smart, it's safe to say Niomi Smart has a seriously impressive CV. A long time fitness and healthy eating fan (she is regularly spotted on social in Sweaty Betty), we caught up with her to talk all things fitness and food, and an exclusive recipe.
Tell us where the idea for Eat Smart came from?
When I changed to a plant-based diet I was enjoying the food I was eating so much, that I started writing down recipes and began to feature them on my blog and YouTubechannel. These were so popular, that they became some of my most popular videos. A lot of my audience suggested that I put all my recipes into a book because they found them so easy to follow, so I decided to go for it.
What’s your favourite recipe from the book?
This changes all the time, but at the moment I’d have to say the Pecan Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce. The ice cream is made with coconut and almond milk and the salted caramel sauce is made with dates and pecans – it’s really smooth and creamy. I love making this for friends and family for a healthier sweet treat.
What five staple ingredients would we always find in your cupboard?
Almond milk, wild rice, cacao powder, frozen bananas and avocados.
Describe your usual day on a plate?
It varies every day and depends whether I workout, but typically I would start my day with something like my Banana Bread Porridge, then as a morning snack I’ll have some fruit. For lunch I would have some kind of grain salad such as the Avocado and Turmeric Salad with Quinoa, then if I’m feeling peckish before dinner I’ll snack on hummus with rice cakes. Finally for dinner I love sweet potato wedges so I’ll have those with my Mexican Chilli Bowl.
Where do you like to work out?
I try to keep my workouts as varied as possible so it doesn’t feel like a chore. For example I might go to a boxing class on a Monday (as it’s a great way to start the week!), go for a 5k run on a Tuesday, a full body workout at somewhere like Oncore London mid week, perhaps some yoga on a Thursday to stretch everything out and then a long run of 10k or more at the weekend.
What do you like to wear to work out?
There are so many stylish workout clothes now – I honestly think that if you feel good in what you’re wearing, you’ll be more motivated to work out. I love Sweaty Betty's range of bright colours and prints, so I usually wear a bright sports bra, vest top and printed leggings to make it more fun.
After exercising do you have any go to snacks?
Absolutely! I’m always so hungry after a workout. I usually have a post-workout smoothie and for an added boost of protein I will add in a protein powder – this keeps me really full, replenishes my muscles and keeps me hydrated after an intense workout.
You ran the London Marathon earlier this year, do you have any tips for runners?
If you’re going to run a marathon make sure you have a really good training program, plan when you’re going to train at the start of each week and stick to it. If you don’t train, you won’t be prepared enough and you could seriously injure yourself. If you start to feel any kind of injury during training, see a physio straight away, as they will do everything possible to get you fit and ready for the big day. On the day itself, don’t do anything you haven’t done in training and ask your friends and family to spread themselves along the route, especially towards the end as it’s really motivating when you hear them cheering you on.
Your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate! I love dark chocolate so I’ll make my After Dinner Truffles which are made with peanut butter, oats and raw cacao.
What’s your favourite thing to do in London?
Walk around the parks! Hyde Park is my favourite so in the evenings, especially in the summer I love to go on a long walk.
Niomi's Jammy Dodgers
60ml (½ cup) Strawberry Chia Jam
150g (1½ cups) ground almonds
260g (2 cups) buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
125ml (½ cup) coconut oil, melted
125ml (½ cup) maple syrup
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla powder
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3 and line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.
Combine the wet ingredients and pour into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. If the mixture is a little wet, place in the fridge to chill and firm up.
Flour a clean surface and roll the dough out to 5mm thick. Use a 4cm circular cookie cutter or a glass to cut 50 circles out of the dough, re-rolling as needed.
Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter or a knife to cut out small hearts in the centre of 25 of the pastry circles, then carefully place all of them on the lined baking sheets (use a spatula or palette knife to do this to stop them breaking).
Bake in the hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool before adding ½ teaspoon of jam to the centre of each plain biscuit and topping with the cut- out heart biscuits.