Eating healthily doesn’t have to be expensive or involve complicated recipes.
I’m here to tell you it can be simple, affordable and enjoyable – and it’s your family’s best long-term health insurance.
These delicious recipes are packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, slow-release carbs and fibre – all the ingredients for a healthy diet that will help you look and feel great.
Golden rules for eating well
Get carb smart
Lots of people avoid carbs altogether but it’s not necessary. Instead, switch white carbs, such as white rice, pasta and bread, for wholegrain varieties, and cut your portion size in half.
As well as keeping blood-sugar levels steady, wholegrain foods are higher in fibre, which fills you up.
Don’t fear fat
For generations we’ve been led to believe that all fats lead to weight gain. However this information has now been proved wrong.
Don’t fear fat. When you’re cooking, use olive oil, which is composed of heart-healthy omega-9 fatty acids.
Coconut oil is also a good choice.
What should your plate look like? It should contain a portion of good-quality protein, a moderate portion of wholegrain carbs and the rest should be filled with a variety of non-starchy vegetables. Starchy veg include sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips and swede etc, and fall into the carb category. All other veg are fine and you can eat as much as
Eat a rainbow
Colour variety is essential for a healthy diet. Try to get as many different coloured plant foods into your diet as possible. Each colour represents different groups of phytochemicals – chemicals in plants that benefit your health.
We live in an age of convenience foods, which are heavily processed, having had beneficial micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements, removed. So look at every meal as an opportunity to eat fresh food. It could be as simple as adding berries to your morning porridge, a side of spinach to your cooked breakfast and snacking on fresh fruit and vegetable crudites between meals.
Top tips to save money
Know your local shops
Where you choose to shop can have a real impact on your shopping bill. Do you have a local greengrocer, vegetable-delivery scheme or, best of all, a local market? At the market, you’ll find fruit and veg at bargain prices, and the produce will be fresher than in supermarkets.
Using leftovers as part of the next meal is a great way to make food go further. Any leftover roasted veg from a Sunday roast? Throw them in a salad with some cheese and mixed leaves. Leftover soup? Use it as a base for curry or pasta sauce.
Shop your plan
Supermarket two-for-one deals and impulse buys are a sure way to spend more than you meant to. When you have decided on your meal plan for the week, make a shopping list of the ingredients you need, then shop the list – no extras and no impulse buys.
- Eat Shop Save: 8 Weeks to Better Health, by Dale Pinnock (Hamlyn, £14.99) is available now. Eat Shop Save returns to ITV next month
Three Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms contain a type of sugar called a polysaccharide, which has been shown to stimulate the immune system.
They are also a good source of vitamin D.
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
150g white mushrooms, sliced
150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
150g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
750ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1 Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan, then add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute until onion has softened.
2 Add the mushrooms and cook for 3–4 minutes until they start to soften. Remove some of the mushrooms at this point and saute in a separate pan until cooked. Set aside.
3 In the main pan, sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Then pour in stock and bring to a simmer, stirring. Continue to simmer for 10–12 minutes.
4 Using a stick or regular blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Divide between four bowls. Garnish with the extra mushrooms and some black pepper.
High street chain soup: 500 calories
Homemade: 116 calories
You save: 384 calories
Sun-dried tomato, courgette and red pepper risotto
One-pot cooking is a great way to retain water-soluble vitamins.
Boiling veg means the nutrients go into the water, which is often thrown away.
But when everything is cooked in one pot, no goodness is lost.
2 large red onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
120g sundried tomatoes, chopped
500g short-grain brown rice
800g chopped tinned tomatoes
2l vegetable stock
2 courgettes, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
1 Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add red onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Saute until onion has softened.
2 Add rice and tinned tomatoes, and simmer until liquid has reduced, stirring frequently.
3 Start adding stock, little and often, stirring until each amount is absorbed before adding the next.
4 When the rice is about two-thirds cooked (soft on the outside but still crunchy on the inside), stir in courgettes and red peppers.
5 Continue adding stock until it has all been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked – this will take about 35 minutes.
Restaurant risotto: 700 calories
Homemade: 525 calories
You save: 175 calories
Kale, parmesan, chicken and anchovy salad
Packed with protein, fibre and healthy fats, this tasty salad is super-satisfying, meaning you won’t be reaching for snacks.
1 skinless chicken breast
2 large handfuls curly kale, stalks removed
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 celery stick, cut into batons
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
6 anchovy fillets
Salt and pepper
1 Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Place chicken breast on a baking tray, season and bake for 20–25 minutes until cooked.
2 Meanwhile, place kale in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Using your hands, massage the kale until it has wilted.
3 Add tomatoes, celery and parmesan, and mix.
4 Plate up the salad, then top with anchovies. Cut chicken breast into bite-size slices and place on top of the salad.
Restaurant Caesar salad: 850 calories
Homemade: 360 calories
You save: 490 calories
Crunchy chocolate trail bark
Crunchy chocolate trail bark Chocolate is good for you – as long as you stick to dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which lower blood pressure and protect the heart.
100g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp goji berries
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp flaxseeds
1 Break chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan half-filled with just-boiled water, but off the heat.
Stir continuously until melted.
2 Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Pour the melted chocolate on to the tray so that it forms a thin even layer.
3 Sprinkle seeds and berries over the melted chocolate and place tray in fridge for an hour until set.
4 Break chocolate into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Mars bar: 260 calories
Homemade: 172 calories
You save: 88 calories
Eat Shop Save: 8 Weeks to Better Health, by Dale Pinnock (Hamlyn, £14.99) is available now. Eat Shop Save returns to ITV next month