6 healthy cooking tips from healthy cooks

THE CLINICAL NUTRITIONIST: Dale Pinnock

Also known as The Medicinal Chef, Pinnock combines his qualifications as a clinical nutritionist with the culinary arts and is a regular on TV cooking shows. His bestselling books The Medicinal Chef and Healthy Every Day (both Quadrille, £14.99) have been translated into seven languages worldwide.

1. Always add protein This may sound simplistic but by making this change you will be having a huge impact on your diet. By adding protein to each meal, you will create meals that release their energy slower, keeping blood sugar more stable. Managing blood sugar is one of the cornerstones to long-term health. It keeps energy levels stable, prevents insulin resistance and has massive benefits for cardiovascular health. Think eggs at breakfast or nuts and seeds on your cereal, lunch could be baked sweet potato with tuna mayo, dinner could be fish or chicken with vegetables and new potatoes. Always look at your plate and think ‘where’s my protein?’.

2. One fresh thing Always add one single fresh thing to a meal. This could be as simple as throwing a few berries on your morning cereal, opening a bag of salad and having that on the side of your lunch or cooking a few mixed pre-prepared vegetables to have with your dinner. By doing this you will increase your intake of vitamins and minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals – and importantly, make less room for the bad stuff.

Vitality Recipe Exclusive: Dale’s recipe for Salmon with pea puree and roasted butternut squash

THE CHEF: Rachel de Thample 

She has worked in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal and is currently the food editor for the organic box scheme Abel & Cole. She’s the author of Less Meat, More Veg and her latest book, Five: 150 effortless ways to eat 5+ fruit and veg a day (Ebury Press £14.99) came out in February 2015.

3. Blend it, juice it? Souping, juicing and smoothie-ing are the easiest way to knock back a mountain of energizing vegetables. I try to pepper my day with fresh soups, smoothies and juices. They’re amazing, hydrating snacks that deliver loads of nutrients, but go easy on the fruit as it can pile on the calories. They’re also great things you can make the night before so you can ensure you’ve got lots of deliciously healthy food lined up for your day.

4. Make fruity ice-lollies Speaking of juices and smoothies, you can turn any juice, purée or smoothie into an ice-lolly – it’s a great way to get kids to eat fruit. Try scooping out the flesh of half a ripe galia, cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Add honey or another sweetener, ginger and a squeeze of lime juice and whiz in the blender to a purée. Pour into ice-lolly moulds and freeze for at least three hours or until frozen solid. When you’re ready to eat, run under a little warm water to help loosen from the lolly mould.

Vitality Recipe Exclusive: Rachel’s recipe for Spiced aubergine salad with pistachio yoghurt

THE BLOGGER: Laura Agar Wilson

Author of the popular healthy living blog wholeheartedlyhealthy.com Laura is an award-winning blogger, health coach, writer and recipe developer. She recently released her new book Grains as Mains (Dorling Kindersley £16.99)

5. Get soaking Try replacing processed grains such as white rice with one of the newly popular but actually ancient grains such as quinoa or buckwheat – you’ll get an easy health boost. Soaking your wholegrains overnight is a great way to improve their digestibility and nutrient absorption. It also makes them quicker to cook! Just rinse the grain, place it in a bowl and cover with water to leave overnight before you cook them the next day. Nutrient-rich whole grains such as brown rice, wheat berries, barley and spelt all benefit from this process.

6. Perfect your grains If your grains get stuck to the bottom of the saucepan, add a very small amount of water while the heat is on low and use a wooden spoon to loosen the grain. Do this until the water has been absorbed. To soak up extra moisture at the end of cooking, turn the heat off, drape a tea towel over the pan and place the lid on top. Let it sit for another 5-10 minutes.

Vitality Recipe Exclusive: Laura’s recipe for American-style soaked buckwheat pancakes with cherry almond sauce

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