Wholegrain foods (like porridge) are low in calories and can help you to stay a healthy weight! They help you feel fuller for longer, and you’ll be less likely to over-eat during the day. If you haven’t tried porridge in years, try it again using this tasty recipe.
Put everything into a saucepan (non-stick if possible) and gradually bring to the boil. Take care that it does not boil over the edge of the saucepan. Once it has come to the boil, turn the heat down. Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how tender you like your oats. Stir it occasionally. If it gets too thick for you, just add an extra drop of milk. If you want to microwave the porridge, just follow the instructions on the pack and add the sunflower seeds at the end.
You can make this satisfying and healthy breakfast easily but it will keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
Mix and match from the above to create a healthy and satisfying breakfast. Try some jam on wholegrain bread, yoghurt and muesli, your favourite fruit juice and some fresh fruit pieces.
This filling smoothie will keep you going all morning as well as giving you a healthy start to the day. It’s perfect for trying to reach your healthy weight. If you are short on time in the mornings, make this smoothie the night before and store it in the fridge.
Put all the ingredients into a blender and whiz for about 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Scrambled eggs are an old breakfast favourite that everyone enjoys. Turn this dish into a truly healthy breakfast by serving it with wholegrain bread and tomatoes.
Wash and halve the tomatoes. Place them on some tinfoil under the grill. Break the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat well with a fork. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the low-fat milk and pepper. Add the beaten eggs. Stir them over a moderate heat until the mixture is thick and creamy (Do not cook for too long or it will curdle).
Serve on hot toast, with the grilled tomatoes on the side.
Enjoy a cooked breakfast from time to time, without feeling guilty! Just watch your portion sizes and remember to use as little fat as possible in cooking.
Wash and halve 2 tomatoes. Wash 6 mushrooms and remove their stalks. Place the tomatoes and the mushrooms on some tinfoil under the grill, and place the bacon on the grill. Grill for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked, turning occasionally.
Empty the tin of beans into a microwave-safe dish and heat in the microwave. Or cook them in a saucepan on the hob. Serve the breakfast on warmed plates with 2 slices of wholemeal toast and a glass of low-fat milk.
This soup is very easy to make and tastes delicious. It is quite filling as it contains chickpeas - a great source of protein - but is still low in fat.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion to the oil and fry gently for 5 minutes. The pan should be hot enough to let the onion soften, but not so hot that the onion starts to go brown.
Add the chopped red pepper and fry for 3 minutes.
Then add the chopped/crushed clove of garlic and as much red chilli as you like. Leave the seeds out unless you like things very hot! Fry for 2 minutes.
Add the coriander, turmeric and cumin, and fry for 1 minute.
Then drain the tin of chickpeas and add the chickpeas to the soup along with the vegetable stock. Bring it all to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Liquidise the soup using a handheld blender or normal liquidiser.
Squeeze the lime and add the juice to the soup. Taste the soup to see if it needs any salt or pepper.
Serve with pita bread that has been warmed in the toaster.
You might not assume it, but pasta is a great salad ingredient, even when it’s cold. Pasta salads are perfect as a tasty, low-fat work lunch because they can be prepared the night before and brought to work in a plastic container the next day.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until it’s cooked through but still firm. Drain it and rinse it in cold water.
Prepare the vegetables by washing and slicing them into small pieces.
Soften the vegetables in a pan with a little olive oil.
Drain the tuna from the can and add to the pan along with the pasta.
Cool and spoon into a plastic container that you can bring with you to lunch.
There is huge scope for variety with lunchtime sandwiches. There are endless combinations of lean meats and salad vegetables that can be put together in wholegrain breads to create a delicious, nutritious lunch.
Make up a tasty beef and onion sandwich using a dollop of horseradish sauce in place of butter. Add raw onions and iceberg lettuce to the sandwich for extra bite. Enjoy this sandwich with a low-fat yoghurt and a piece of fruit. A truly satisfying, balanced and healthy lunch.
Like most green salads, this one is great when watching your weight. And it’s packed with nutrition too. But this salad is slightly unusual as it doesn’t have any lettuce. Give it a go and see how great it tastes!
Get a large salad bowl and add the chopped chicken.
Break the broccoli into bite-size florets and add to the bowl with the sliced celery, chopped apple and finely sliced spring onions/scallions.
Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and pour over any French salad dressing. You can also top this salad with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or pine nuts for extra crunch.
Most of us love our pizza, and it can be a healthy meal choice. When buying pizzas, go for those with thinner bases and vegetable toppings more often. These are normally lower in fat. And watch your portion size. Better still, make your own pizzas! A tangy salad of chopped tomato, onion and fresh basil is perfect with this.
Preheat the grill. Spread the tomato puree over the cut surfaces of the baguette.
Top with slices of tomato and sweetcorn and season with black pepper.
Sprinkle the cheese on top of this.
Grill for about 2 minutes until the cheese has melted and is beginning to bubble.
Choose any number of your favourite vegetables instead of tomato and sweetcorn. For example, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple, courgette, broccoli, aubergine, onion all work well.
This simple dish is tasty but light. It’s perfect for a quick and easy evening meal. It’s ideal with a fresh side salad.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a little salt and slowly add the pasta to the water. Stir occasionally to stop the pasta from sticking. Follow the instructions on the pasta packet for cooking time, then strain and pour into a serving bowl. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the garlic, chilli and black pepper. Cook at moderately high heat for about two minutes to get the flavours into the oil.
Mix into the pasta, add a little salt and pepper if you like. Put the parsley on top and serve immediately.
This is a tasty way to marinate chicken breasts. A low-fat hard cheese would work well instead of Parmesan if you wanted to reduce the calorie content further. Best served with plenty of lightly steamed vegetables.
Remove the skin from the chicken and arrange the fillets in a shallow dish.
Add the garlic, salt and pepper to the low-fat milk and pour over the chicken. Cover the dish with cling film and store it in the fridge for at least four hours. Turn the fillets over at least once after two hours.
Once the chicken is marinated, pre-heat the oven to 220ºC.
Mix up the parsley, Parmesan and a little salt and pepper on a plate. Dab the chicken fillets onto a piece of absorbent kitchen paper and place in the bottom of a shallow, lightly greased oven-proof dish. It is not necessary to remove the garlic pieces. Brush the fillets lightly with olive oil. Cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture and bake them for 30 minutes until they are golden brown. It may be necessary to reduce the heat about halfway through. Serve immediately.
An old family favourite, shepherd’s pie makes a hearty, healthy meal. When you make some, why not cut it up into individual pieces to store in your freezer? To reduce calories with this one, use less meat and more vegetables.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Put them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are well cooked.
Chop the carrots and cook them in a small amount of water with the lid off.
Put the mince into a large saucepan. Gently fry the mince until it is completely brown and almost all of the water has evaporated (this can take about 10 minutes and you need to keep stirring to stop it from sticking).
Add the chopped onions and cook them until they start to go clear.
Add the flour to the mince and mix it well. Barely cover the mince with boiling water from a kettle and add the beef stock cube. Stir the mince until the stock cube has dissolved then turn down the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring it from time to time.
Add the cooked carrots and 4 tablespoons of the water the carrots were cooked in.
Add the frozen peas and transfer the mince mixture to a large oven proof dish.
Drain and mash the potatoes, adding a little margarine and some pepper. Top the mince with the mashed potato and put the pie in the oven for 20 minutes. When it is cooked, cut into portions and serve.
Salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. This meal is tasty, good for you and for your weight (because it has no sauce).
Put on 2 saucepans of water to boil (or set up the steamer if you have one).
Wash the potatoes and broccoli. When the water is boiling, put them on to cook (potatoes in one saucepan and broccoli in the other).
Pre-heat the grill for 10 minutes on a medium heat, and line the grill pan with tinfoil. Place the salmon under the grill for 3-4 minutes each side.
When cooked, serve the salmon on warmed plates with the broccoli and baby potatoes. Squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle some black pepper over the salmon to taste.
This dish is light and packed full of nutritious veggies.
Heat the oil in a wok. Fry the onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
Add the peppers and fry for 3 more minutes.
Add the broccoli florets, sweetcorn and courgettes and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, light stock and ginger juice.
Using a wooden spoon, make a space in the centre of the stir fried vegetables so that the base of the wok is visible. Pour in the sauce and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until it starts to thicken.
Toss the vegetables to coat them with the sauce.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cashew nuts.
This healthy dessert drink takes only a few minutes to make. It’s also a tasty way of getting one of your daily fruit requirements. For a thicker smoothie, use less milk.
Wash the strawberries. Slice them in half. Put them into the blender.
Pour in the low-fat milk and yoghurt, and mix until smooth.
Serve immediately in two chilled glasses.
This is a simple but highly nutritious little dish. It works well as either a snack or a healthy dessert.
Place the berries into a dessert bowl. Spoon out the yoghurt over the berries. If serving as a dessert, impress your friends by adding a drizzle of honey and a sprig of fresh mint to the yoghurt.
This is an old family favourite, and you can play around with the recipe to include any fruits you may have. As well as being the perfect light dessert, fresh fruit salad makes a really refreshing start to the day.
Prepare and mix all the fruit in a bowl.
Fill ¼ cup with the mandarin orange juice, squeeze the juice of the lime into the cup and stir in the sugar. Pour this over the fruit.
Refrigerate for one hour or until chilled.
Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds over the yoghurt to get even more goodness into this dessert.
Cooking your own meals is a great way to reach your healthy weight. It gives you the chance to use fresh ingredients and to control how much fat you use in cooking. Out of habit, many of us cook using more fat than we really need. Or we use the less healthy types of fat in cooking. Refresh your memory as to how best to cook for health:
When you use fats in cooking, try to choose vegetable oils like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil instead of animal fats like butter or lard. Use margarine instead of butter when you are baking
As well as breads and cakes, we can bake poultry, fish, lean meat and some vegetables like potatoes. Baking means that you are cooking the food in the dry, hot air of the oven so there is normally no need for you to add any fat. But when you are cooking meats in this way, you may want to brush a small bit of vegetable oil over them to keep them from drying out.
Grilling works best with fairly thin pieces of meat, fish or vegetables. Just set them on a grill rack and expose them directly to the heat. Again, this is a very healthy way to cook because there is no need to add any fat to the foods. Better still, grilling allows fat to drip out of some foods and into a collecting tray underneath.
Poaching means gently simmering food in a liquid until it is cooked through and tender. We are probably most familiar with poaching eggs in simmering water. Cooking eggs like this is ideal. You don’t need any added fat but your finished product is very like a soft fried egg.
Roasting is like baking, but you normally do it at higher temperatures and you do need some oil for the meat or vegetables that you are roasting. Use a basting brush to add a little oil, and choose a vegetable oil, like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil, rather than lard or butter. When roasting meat, you could place the meat on a rack above the roasting tin so that the fat has a chance to drip out.
Sautéing is a way of cooking thin pieces of food in a little fat until they are tender, such as sautéed onions. If you have a good-quality non-stick pan, you should be able to sauté without using any fat. If you do use fat, try to use the healthier vegetable oils, like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil, instead of lard or butter. You could also use a cooking spray to sauté. And if more oil needs to be added, try a drop of water instead.
This is a really healthy way of cooking. Food (like vegetables or fish) cooks in a perforated basket above simmering hot water. It is healthier to steam vegetables that to boil them as they cannot lose any of their nutrients to the water during steaming. It is also quicker. Steamed foods taste great too as they have retained all of their flavour!
Stir-frying is a traditional Asian way of cooking. You cook small pieces of food in a wok or a non-stick frying pan while you stir them. Remember that you only need a small amount of oil or cooking spray to stir fry. When you cook with oil, choose the healthier vegetable oils, like olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil. You could also get adventurous with nut or seed oils, such as peanut oil or sesame oil for your Asian cooking. If you feel you need to add more oil to the pan, try adding a drop of water first instead.
Using herbs and spices in foods is a great way for you to add taste and aroma to foods without adding any extra salt or fat. There are endless ways to experiment with herbs and spices. Here are some ideas:
Remember that you need to prepare your foods in such a way that they are as low as possible in fat.