Tag Archives: healthy meals

Thai Chilli Chicken with Basil

thai

Thai is my absolute favourite cuisine I think (alongside Italian food of course ;-)) As always this is so quick and simple, about 16 minutes in total!

What you’ll need (serves 2):

  • 2 chicken breasts (free range and preferably organic) approx 150g each raw weight
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 red chilli’s and 2 green ones
  • 1 dessertspoon of tamari sauce (I use Clearspring)
  • 2 dessertspoons of fish sauce
  • 1 dessertspoon of maple syrup
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Light olive oil for cooking

What to do:

  • Coarsely chop the garlic and onion
  • Chop the chicken into small pieces
  • Add some light olive oil to a frying pan over a medium heat
  • Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes until its started to brown
  • Remove from the pan and set aside, then add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the chicken back to the pan with all the rest of the ingredients and cook for about another 8 minutes
  • Add the basil leaves, stir through, then serve immediately.
  • I like mine with a portion of brown basmati rice

Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli

Turkey Chilli

Turkey breast mince is very affordable and a great lean source of protein. Turkey contains good amounts of the essential amino acid tryptophan which is needed to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter dubbed the “happy molecule”. You can add any other veg into this recipe that you like, such as green peas or courgette, and more peppers. This is simple to prepare, like all my recipes as I don’t like to spend too long in the kitchen! It takes 4-8 hours in a slow cooker but if you don’t have a slow cooker you can of also do this in a crock pot on the stove for a an hour or so. This is great to batch cook every so often and freeze in portions.

What you’ll need (4-5 servings):

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Tin red kidney beans
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • Dessertspoon tomato purée
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 200mls of vegetable stock (I use Kallo or Marigold)
  • 1 dessertspoon Worcester sauce (I use Chippa Gluten Free)
  • 500g turkey breast mince

What to do:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Place the spices, salt, stock, turkey, onion, garlic, pepper (and or other veg of choice), puree, kidney beans, tin of tomatoes and Worcester sauce (basically everything!) into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Serve with a portion of brown rice and sautéed kale or spinach

Salmon & Courgette Frittata

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This breakfast is a really great way to start the day, and it can also be used for lunch too. I like to make this once a week and then I have enough for 3 or 4 breakfasts that week or a lunch on the go if needed. the combination of protein and healthy fats in the salmon and eggs makes it a fantastically balanced meal that will get your blood sugar balancing off to a great start. This will help to keep your energy levels stable, and prevent those all to common cravings and hunger later on in the day. This is great for fat loss too. Enjoy!

What you’ll need (4 servings – great to pre-pre for breakfast):

  • 8 free range organic eggs
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 8 baby tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion or 1 small
  • ¼ paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ cumin
  • Pinch of pink sea salt
  • ½ tsp of mixed herbs
  • 150g smoked salmon

How to:

  • Sautee the onion in coconut oil until translucent
  • Chop the courgette and smoked salmon into small pieces and cut the tomatoes in half
  • Whisk the eggs and add the spices, herbs and salt
  • Add the onions, courgette, salmon and tomatoes to the eggs and whisk again
  • Line a baking tray or dish with greaseproof paper
  • Pour the mixture into the dish and bake for about 30-35 mins at 180 degrees until a knife comes out dry
  • Cut into squares and enjoy immediately or save for tomorrows breakfast!

A day in the life of Pret – Keeping it clean and lean when out and about

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Prepping food in advance (once or twice a week) is a great way to ensure you are on the right track at all times and prevents you from reaching for less ideal meals and snacks when you’re desperate and there isn’t much in the way of nutritious options on offer. But, for those of us who don’t enjoy prepping their own food and actually prefer buying their lunch and snacks outside there are some great options if you work in and around London or another busy City or high street with lots of choice. One of my favourites at the moment has to be Pret! I used to think of Pret as nothing more than somewhere to get a sandwich or a croissant, but it really has stepped up its health game over the last year or so.

I want to go through some of their breakfast, lunch and snack options and I hope it helps you make good choices and not feel so stumped next time you’re looking for a healthy and balanced lunch option.

For those of you who don’t work near a Pret or just don’t like it, most of these options will be available in a similar form in other eateries so can just help to give you a good idea of the kinds of things to look out for.

 

Breakfast

I only found one decent breakfast option in Pret but you could also go for a protein snack pots I’ve listed in the snack section, who says breakfast has to be typical breakfast food? No one!!

 

Avoid:

  • Granolas
  • Porridge with honey or other sweeteners, remember these places want you to keep coming back so they wont be shy on the amount of sugar they include
  • Croissants, brioches, muffins, cereal bars, other so-called ‘healthy’ bars.
  • White bread and baguettes
  • Honey and compotes

 

Go for:

Five Grain Porridge – made with quinoa, amaranth, flax seeds, whole oats and organic coconut water. It’s naturally creamy (never gloopy), dairy-free and made with no gluten ingredients. We like this one! If you want to sweeten it up add your own raspberries, blueberries, or ¼ of a banana.

 

Lunch

Pret are now using ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, black rice and buckwheat, oh and of course kale, which is really great! The options I’ve listed here contain these types of slow releasing carbohydrates, not refined quick releasing ones like white rice, pasta and bread.

 

Avoid:

  • Wraps, baguettes, sandwiches, toasties.

 

Go for:

  • Roast salmon & avo superbowl
  • Beets, squash & feta superbowl
  • Chicken, pesto & buffalo mozzarella
  • Chicken, peppers & feta superbowl
  • Red tapenade & avo superbowl – but this one needs some extra protein added to it to add one of the snack pots below e.g. boiled egg.IMG_7809
  • Red thai chicken curry quinoa rice pot
  • Tuna nicoise salad
  • Chef’s italian chicken salad
  • Chicken, broccoli & brown rice soup
  • Chicken, edamame & ginger soup
  • Coconut chicken curry
  • Lemon chicken
  • Smoky chicken & bean
  • Tuscan bean
  • Vegetable tagine

The salad dressings their and sugar content

The dressings are supplied on the side with the salads, in a small tub, some of them are higher on the sugar side than other and I’ve listed this below. So ideally take the salad back to the office and use your own extra virgin olive oil (and a small dash of balsamic vinegar if needed), but if you cant do that then just use ¼ of the pot of dressing if it’s a high sugar one.

How much sugar per 100g is ok?

Labels that show more than 10g of sugar per 100g are leaning towards the high side; ideally we want to see less than 5g per 100g.

The Dressings and sugar content

  • Apple Balsamic Dressing – 8g = 2 teaspoons of sugar (25.2g per 100g)
  • Coconut and chilli dressing – 13.1g per 100g
  • Dijon dressing – 2.3g = ½ a teaspoon (5.1g per 100g)
  • Lemon dressing – 0.4g = 10th of a teaspoon (1.4g per 100g)

 

SOUPS

Some of Pret’s soups are full of slow releasing carbohydrates like buckwheat, beans, butternut squash and brown rice, with great vegetables choices like kale. Some are lower in protein that others and I have specified this below. For a main meal you ideally want about 25-30g of protein so these soups could make a lovely heart-warming side.

Go for:

  • Coconut chicken curry – 7.8g protein
    Lemon chicken – 14.1g protein
    Smoky chicken & bean – 15.2g protein
    Tuscan bean – 4.8g protein
    Vegetable tagine – 7.4g protein

 

SnacksIMG_7811

They’re snack pots are great, they are based around protein which is exactly what you want to be snacking on to keep your blood sugar levels stable, keep you feeling fuller for longer and satisfied. Protein is also something so many people aren’t getting enough off, but the body and brain really needs it to function properly, and to keep your weight in check.

 

Avoid:

  • So-called ‘healthy’ bars, cereal bars, cakes, muffins, mousse, yoghurt and compote pots, croissants, bread, brownies etc.

 

IMG_7812Go for:

  • Egg & avocado protein pot
  • Smoked salmon & egg protein pot
  • Egg & spinach protein pot
  • Chicken & edamame protein pot
  • Crayfish and avocado no bread
  • Edamame beans
  • Miso soup
  • Nuts (natural, not salted or roasted) and an apple

 

 

 

If you’re still hungry

Check first that it isn’t just too soon after eating to make your mind up and wait 10-20 minutes, if you still feel hungry have a small pot of natural full fat yogurt with a good sprinkling of ground cinnamon to help balance your blood sugar levels nicely and keep you feeling satisfied. Or have a couple of squares of dark chocolate, I like mine dipped into some almond butter 😉

 

So, if you have a Pret near you, look no further, they’ve got your lunchtime covered, now there is really no reason to opt for a massive jacket potato, a sandwich, or fish and chips because there was nothing else available, Pret is at your service.

Courgette noodles/spaghetti

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Courgette makes a great healthy and nutritious alternative to regular noodles or spaghetti.

What are the benefits of using courgette instead of regular wheat or rice based noodles or spaghetti?

Well, rice and wheat, although far better when the brown version, are higher in whats known as ‘glycemic load’ than non-starchy vegetables like courgettes. Glycemic load basically refers to how quickly a particular food releases sugar into your bloodstream, the slower the better for health, energy levels and weight management. So, using courgette instead will reduce the glycemic load of your meal AND provide you with more fibre and nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, and some iron and calcium. If that’s not a good enough reason I don’t know what is!

You can use a Julienne peeler or go all out and get yourself a spiraliser like this one. I started off just using a peeler which is totally fine, and then once I started to have courgette noodles/spaghetti multiple times each week I decided to upgrade to the spiraliser and it’s been totally worth it, its quick and easy to rinse off and store on top of my cooker out of the way but with easy access. I use courgette in place of spaghetti when I make a nice bolognese sauce, in place of noodles with Thai dishes, or just thrown into a stir-fry with lots of other veg (in this case I usually slice cut the noodles up into smaller bits). I also use my spiraliser for carrots and beetroot to add to stir-fries or salads, its just great!

courgette noodles

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