This month we’ve asked a chef, nutritionist and food blogger for their healthy food tips, and they didn’t disappoint! From the latest food trends, to a rival for the staple barbeque burger, we’ve got some great ways you can boost your meals.
Shaun Doyle is the Head chef at Liverpool’s Bretta & Co. Shaun’s menus are heavily influenced by the seasons, with light salads at the forefront of his healthy food choices. He says:
1. Swap out the meat at your next barbeque
BBQs may be the ‘go-to’ meal on warmer days, but all that charred meat isn’t necessarily good for you. Try swapping a greasy beef burger for a halloumi burger instead. Grilled halloumi cheese is a source of good fats and protein, and is one of the healthiest cheeses around. Add some red pepper and wild spinach, sautéed in a little teaspoon of honey – there will be so much flavour on your plate that you won’t even miss the meat!
2. Brighten up your lunch
When I want a light, healthy meal, I try to include as much colour on my plate as possible, brought together by lots of different vegetables. My staple lunch salad is a rainbow salad – full of protein-packed green lentils, beetroot, carrot and different coloured peppers. The beetroot is an underrated vegetable; it’s super tasty and can really perk up boring green leaves in a salad, it has an excellent colour, and it’s full of calcium, iron, vitamins and potassium. What’s not to like!
Hertfordshire-based Viki Harvey is a clinically trained nutritionist who runs her own clinic, Nouri, and believes that food can help boost the body and soul. Her top tips include:
3 . The wonder of watercress
Instead of limp iceberg in your salads this summer, I’m asking my clients to try making their salad with a watercress base. These peppery, wide green leaves that grow in streams are packed with everything you can wish for in a single food – more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges! It’s packed with vitamins A and K, which help protect and promote bone and eye and brain health as well as containing significant anti cancer compounds. What more could you ask for!
4. Happy hydration
Ditch the sodas, colas and fruit juices – they’re all high in sugar or artificial sweeteners, and pretty bad for your stomach and blood sugar levels. Instead, make your own amazing infused waters. Use sparkling water and decant into a large wide topped jar, add a variety of ingredients like chopped berries and lemon, watermelon and mint, or lime and cucumber. Leave in the fridge for 20 minutes and then drink – it’s incredibly refreshing and you can eat the fruit afterwards! If that wasn’t all, flavoured water is cheaper and so much better for you and your family.
As well as being a certified natural chef, healthy cooking teacher and food and recipe writer, Ceri Jones also finds time (somehow!) to run naturalkitchenadventures.com. Her advice is:
5. Replace processed carbohydrates with vegetables
Courgetti (courgette spaghetti) has rocketed in popularity recently – and rightly so. But this is only the beginning of what can be achieved. Thinly sliced and baked sweet potato slices (and other roots) make great canapé bases, cauliflower makes fabulous rice and the base of a tabbouleh salad, and thinly sliced courgettes and aubergines are wonderful in place of pasta sheets in lasagna. By taking out processed carbohydrates and replacing them with veg you can still get to enjoy your favourite meals without feeling like you are missing out, as well as upping your daily dose of vegetables (and the vitamins and minerals that are in them). Plus vegetables are of course naturally gluten free AND won’t send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster like high glycemic index pasta, bread and flour might!
6. Add leafy greens to every meal…
A photo posted by Ceri Jones (@cerikitchen) on
…or at least to lunch and dinner. Greens are a powerhouse of nutrition, and should be celebrated. It helps if you vary the way they are prepared as well as which ones. Don’t just stick to spinach. Think of rocket, watercress, chard, beet greens, kale, dandelion greens, ALL the varieties of lettuce and seasonal specials like wild garlic, purslane and sorrel. Steamed, raw and marinated, baked, pureed with other veg and made into pesto – the possibilities are endless!