In a rare turn of fate, London is experiencing a very long summer (6 days in a row). To celebrate this unlikely occurrence, it was high time for a little picnic in the park, and for the occasion I decided to make my nutritious ‘Quinoa, Rainbow Trout & Pomegranite salad‘ which I think was a smash hit given the empty plates! The salad is pretty straight forward to make and only takes c. 30 minutes to make from start to finish, (or c .15 minutes excluding the time it takes for the quinoa to cook and fish to bake) and serves a sociable party of 6. All-in, 100g of the salad provides c. 31g of high quality protein, and c. 280 healthy calories. I often use Quinoa in my recipes, as it tastes just a good cold in a salad as a it does steaming hot with Tuna. It’s a super-seed which provides all 9 essential amino acids (making it a complete protein). Along with the fish and beans / pulses, this dish makes for a protein rich salad packed with vitamins and minerals as well as slow releasing carb-energy. The Pomegranate may seem a bit “out-there” but I personally love the surprising texture and sweetness it adds to the dish – super summery!
Click MORE to learn extra about my choice of ingredients and get the ‘how to’… 🙂 Faya
I love Wagamama for a quick meal, BUT it’s definitely a case of ‘buyer beware’!!! I worry about the MSG-content and the calorie-count in dishes like their Chicken Ramen (not to mention the epic 1149-calorie, 50g-fat Chicken Katsu Curry!!!). For the Ramen, 520 simple-carb calories strikes me as alot of the wrong kind, so I set about making my own healthy, fun Chicken Noodle Broth recipe for the home too! This Chicken Noodle Soup recipe (‘Rahmen’ style) is low in calories (c. 390) fat and salt but rich in protein (30g) – ideal! It’s so easy and quick to make – just about 15 min – and it’s suitably filing / craving-neutralising when your body cries out for comfort-food. There are 2 key ingredients:
1) Wholewheat noodles are low in fat (1g fat per 100g), boast 0% saturated / trans fats as well as 0% cholesterol, and crucially, have 27g of slow-release, low-GI carbohydrates per 100g – containing only 1g of sugar! So much healthier than their pale, simple cousins 😀 !
2) Chicken is a famous source of ‘lean protein’ and I consider it one of the core building blocks for a healthy diet that aims to control weight. In the picture above, I’ve used ‘Roast chicken breast slices’ from Sainsbury’s the ‘Be good to yourself’ range. It’s plenty high in protein (29.6g per 100g), lower in fat than most ‘chicken breast’ products (with a teeny-weeny 1.6g per 100g) and has a wafer-thin amount of saturated fat (0.7g per 100g).
I’ve added some veggies – mainly peppers, mushrooms and rocket – but you can use whatever you fancy really, so get a bit inventive! Click to see the ‘how to’ here…
This colourful fish recipe has all the key fuel your body needs at lunchtime to stay on track for the rest of the working day! It consists of only three simple ingredients; 1) Sweet potato to provide the slow release energy needed to keep going 2) Monkfish, a great source of protein, and a meaty fish at that, and 3) Kale, a nutrient-dense vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals, with 0% fat content. But to understand why this recipe is so effective, I think you have to look at the ingredients in more detail:
1) SWEET POTATO – A DETAILED LOOK !
I once thought that anything with ‘sweet’ so clearly in its name, couldn’t possibly be healthy. I was wrong. Aside from being delicious, Sweet Potato’s also;
– a great source of beta-carotene (converts into vitamin A for healthy skin, an immune boost and strong vision)
– high in dietary fibre (for effective digestion and absorption, along with heart & blood benefits from the vitamin B6 content)
– super low GI, for slow-release energy throughout the day (with a glycemic load of 9, which is super-low for a food who’s calories come 93% from carbs!)
– very low in sodium, with practically no fat content (& 0g saturates).
– contains peonidins and cyanidins (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to maintain the body)
– high in potassium to lower blood pressure by banishing excess sodium, and regulating the body’s fluid balance
2) KALE – A DETAILED LOOK !
Kale is the superfood equivalent of Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows; all the rage right now, it’s versatile, and you see it everywhere. Why?:
– you can eat it raw, blend in a smoothie, steam it, stew it, or toss it in a salad or soup!
– it’s low in calories (28cals per 100g)
– Incredibly low in saturated fat and cholesterol – 0% for both!
– a fantastic source of iron (crucial liver function and cell regeneration), with more than you find in the equivalent weight of beef!
– rich in vitamin K (essential to bone health and with anti-carcinogenic properties) and vitamin C (immune health).
– it’s also a strong anti-inflammatory, weighs in with a glycemic load of just 3 (!), and leaves you remarkably full for something of such mini calories!
3) MONKFISH – A DEEPER LOOK !
Once thought of as ‘poor man’s lobster’, this fish has since climbed to its equivalent ‘social elite’. The meaty texture makes it a perfect low calorie filler, plus:
– it’s a good source of lean protein (14g of protein per 100g, with just 2g of fat per 100g)
– the little fat it has is mono/poly-unsaturates inc. ‘Omega fatty acids‘ (can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and promote healthy neural function)
– a fantastic source of vitamin B6 (aids metabolism and the breakdown of fats, helps regulate blood glucose levels) and vitamin B12 (maintains the nervous system)
One of life’s greatest pleasures is eating – for me that means trying out new restaurants or cooking for friends and family, but I remember a time when eating felt more like a guilt trip. As a young, impressionable teenager I used to guinea-pig my way through unrealistic diets because I was led to believe (through clever marketing, and a pressurising ‘media onslaught’) that eating 5 bars a day was ‘the best way to be healthy’. I also thought the word ‘skinny’ was synonymous with ‘healthy’ and that the quickest way to achieve ‘skinny’ was by eating less food. The scales may have told me I was right, but I felt physically tired, emotional, starving and frankly miserable…. That is anything but an informed understanding of ‘healthy!
I think that especially amongst women, there is a vast and dangerous misconception. By eating far too little in order to lose weight you starve the body of essential nutrients, & have less energy to do anything, including work out! My ‘trick’ is to eat the right food, little & often, throughout the day, to speed up the metabolism. Weighing scales can be very deceiving. Going on bizarre fad diets which promise ‘rapid weight loss’ generally rely on either water loss (i.e. dehydration – bad, as c.70% of the body is made up of water, and there’s a reason for that!) or the loss of your natural muscle mass. Some long term diets may also slow down your metabolism further. Caring for your body by eating well and by being active, you’ll lose the right kind of weight (thus improving the ‘body fat percentage’ ratio).
I hope some of the recipes on my blog can help inspire healthy eating. With that in mind, here’s my asian-inspired lean Chicken Curry packed with nutritious flavour! It’s perfect for sharing!
FOUR KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE RECIPE ???
1) GREEN FRESH JALEPENO CHILLI Chilli is full of immune-stimulating and health-promoting properties. One is capsaicin (which gives it the spicy kick, and is a strong anti-diabetic). It also has anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties, whilst reducing (bad) LDL cholesterol levels. These Jalepeno peppers are pretty fiery (2500 on the Scoville scale of ‘can you handle the heat?’), and are more than enough to raise your metabolism a few notches too! It’s rich in vitamin-C (100g chilli = c.240% of RDA) which is immune boosting and fights free radicals from the body. There’s a good amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium too, all of which will help regulate the blood pressure. It also provides your body with its required dose of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1).
2) LEMONGRASS Contains beneficial ‘essential oils’ (counter-irritant, anti-fungal & anti-septic properties), as well as vitamins and minerals (such as vitral, lemonal, and aldehyde responsible for that strong lemony scent, but which also has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties). It contains a mini ’99 calories per 100 g’ and not a trace of cholesterol! The stem and leaves are high in folic acid (19% of RDA) which is important in cell division & repair. Plus it’s also rich in vitamin B5, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1 (essential for the body to replenish). There’s also a cheeky amount of anti-oxidant vitamin-C and vitamin-A (immune and sight-boosting respectively), and finally lemon grass has plenty of bonus minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. The body needs these – lemongrass has them!
Garlic is a great source of potassium (regulates blood pressure / oxygenation & heartbeat pace, lubricates joints), iron (supports red blood cell formation), calcium (promotes healthy bones), magnesium (aids nervous-system functions, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and hormone balancing) manganese (an antioxidant enzyme), zinc (cell regeneration, digestion-aiding, with anti-cancerous properties), and selenium (heart-healthy, antioxidant enzyme). It also has a compound called ‘allicin’ which has been shown to reduce cholesterol, alleviate high blood pressure and help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
4) ORGANIC CHICKEN
Free -range, hormone & antibiotic free organic roast chicken breast (100g contains 116 calories, 22g protein, 3g fat) is perfect if you’re trying to lose weight, as it’s lower in fat and calories than other meats such as beef (100g fillet steak contains 196 calories, 26g protein, 9g fat) and pork (100g pork chop contains 260 calories, 28g protein, 16g fat), whilst still being high in lean protein. It contains vitamins B6 and B3 (to help cell recovery) and contains essential selenium (anti-cancerous properties) and zinc (as per description in ‘garlic’, above). A small serving of chicken can meet the niacin requirements for the entire day (essential for brain health, shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease & dementia), as well as Vitamin E, betacarotene, and Vitamins B6 and B12.
Click more below to see the full instructions to make this delicious and healthy dish. Enjoy, and I’d love to hear what you think of it! firstname.lastname@example.org for any feedback and questions. Faya 🙂
It’s cold and wet outside and if all you want to do is snack – at least graze on something healthy!!Part of my daily goal is healthy snacking, so here is my recipe for heart-healthy ‘Protein Cookies’. These cookies are the ultimate snack for the working day – full of protein (c. 15g per 50g cookie), low in carbohydrates, and the mild sweetness comes from natural fruits and a couple of spoons of immune-boosting Manuka honey. I’d suggest taking two generous protein cookies to work with you, eating one between breakfast and lunch and the other towards the end of the day when you are ready to give in to the vending machine! The four different flavours I make are apple, carrot, banana and peanut. I usually add pecan nuts, raisins and flaxseed to all four different cookies to give them a bit of crunchiness, and to release sustained energy. Experiment and use your own favourite nuts and seeds! I personally LOVE flaxseed (aka linseed), and try to use itin/on almost everything – in my uber-muesli, sprinkled on salads, soups, and broths. It’s one of the richest sources of the fatty acid Omega 3 (c.7.2g per 30g) – it boosts heart health, it reduces inflammation throughout the body, the joints and in the blood vessels. There’s also a school of thinking that suggests omega-3 may help lift depression and ease rheumatoid arthritis. Since the body does not naturally produce omega 3 fatty acid this is such an easy way to make sure you get enough of it on a daily basis.
To get my ingredients, which are all fairly specialist, I usually buy online; the Pea Protein powder is from a relatively new company called Pulsin’, the Flaxseed I use is made by Linwoods, and the Manuka Factor-25 Honey is by Pure Gold. Have a browse, see what other healthy ingredients you think might work in your cookie; you can shop by goal at GNC, here. Make your mid-work snack fun! Here are the instructions:
Introducing the runner up to ‘champion superfood’ Quinoa… it’s Spelt, a weird cross between emmer wheat and goat’s grass. I picked some up the other day at the lovely Daylesford Organic in Notting Hill (there’s one in Selfridges too). The spelt is easier to digest than many other wheats, because of its brittle gluten structure. It can be an aleternative for some people with a wheat intolerance though it’s not gluten free (unlike quinoa). But just like quinoa it’s high in protein (10g per 100g vs 15g in quinoa), low in sugar (1.3g per 110g vs trace in quinoa), has plenty of fibre (7.4g per 100g vs a mere 3g in quinoa) and is mercifully low in fat (1.1g per 100g, of which saturates 0.2g, vs quinoa at 2g). As a tasting note, it’s quite nutty, mildly chewy, pretty neutral in taste, but decent for adding texture to a dish.
SO I put it into practise, with my high-protein, high-fibre, low-fat, low-sugar vegetable dish – pictured above! Aside from spelt, I’ve added:
– broccoli (full of vitamin C and antioxidants for immune health, dietary fibre to aid digestion, and vitamin A for healthy vision, as well as other minerals like manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus)
– carrots (rich in dietary fibre to aid digestion, vitamin A as above, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease)
– leeks (rich in antioxidants to promote immune health, and calcium to condition muscles and strengthen bones)
– pine nuts (contains plenty of vitamin E to maintain skin by protecting it from free radicals – whilst its fairly high caloric content is mostly from fat, (hence why I only used half a 100g bag) it’s rich in mono-unsaturated fatty which also helps to lower cholesterol in the blood)
– chilli powder (for a metabolic boost, and a flavoursome kick!)
If you find you want even more flavour try adding a vegetable stock to the boiling water. However try to pick a stock that’s relatively low in salt. I made it for friends and they loved it thankfully. The below recipe serves c. 4 people.