Quick and easy dinners

The last thing I want to do in the evenings during the week is spend hours chopping and then cooking food, especially if I’ve just worked out. My rule is, if it can’t be on the table within 25 minutes then it’s a weekend dish. 

So here are my top 3 quick ‘n’ healthy dinner recipes..

1) Asian spiced salmon with vegetable stir fry

1 x fillet of organic salmon (approx 200g)

Spices (five spice, cumin, garlic)

Assortment of vegetables (aubergine, onion, pak choi, mushrooms etc.)

Gluten free soy sauce

1 x teaspoon Thai green curry paste

1 x tablespoon coconut oil

Melt the coconut oil in a wok and add in the curry paste. Fry the paste until it smells amazing. Chop all of the vegetables (you can be fancy and julienne them or just cut them into cubes all roughly the same size) and throw them into the pan. In the meantime, season your salmon fillet and roast in the oven at 180 celcius for 10-15 minutes. It should still be pink and flakey. Serve in a bowl with a splash of soy sauce.

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2) Simple salad

1 x handful of lettuce leaves

4 x cherry tomatoes

8 x slices of cucumber

1 x spring onion

½ x sweet pepper

1 x cooked beetroot

150g of protein of your choice

Dressing (2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tsp wholegrain mustard, pinch each of salt/pepper/sugar – shake up in a jar and keep in fridge)

Chop and combine all ingredients. Dress with 1 x tablespoon of dressing

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3) Quick Tuna Stew

1 x tbsp olive oil

Assortment of vegetables (onion, aubergine, courgette, peppers)

1 x tin of tomatoes

1 x tin of pole & line caught tuna

Spices (cumin, garlic, chilli flakes, paprika)

1 x handful of green beans

5 x brussel sprouts

Chop up the assorted vegetables and cook gently until soft. Add in tin of tomatoes and tin of tuna with spices. Allow to bubble for 15 minutes. Steam the beans and brussel sprouts (I use a bamboo steamer, it’s brilliant…) and serve everything in a big bowl. This is like a big tummy hug in a bowl!

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Rise and Shine Breakfast Recipes

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt over the last few months is the importance of having a good breakfast every day. It kickstarts your metabolism after 12 hours of not eating, it wakes your brain up and it gives you the energy to get through the morning. I can’t function without breakfast these days!

Here are 4 of my favourite recipes, all under 350 calories…

1) Bircher Muesli

– 50g gluten free oats

– 1 x grated apple

– Splash of apple juice

– ½ cup fat-free natural yogurt

– Fruit to serve

Mix the oats, grated apple, apple juice and yogurt together in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning add whatever fruit you prefer and serve.

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2) Simple Fruity Oats

– 25g gluten free oats

– ½ cup fat-free natural yogurt

– ½ grapefruit (or 1 cup of the fruit of your choice)

Mix together all of the ingredients and devour.

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3) Quick Berry Oatmeal

– 25g gluten free oats

– ½ cup frozen berries

– Teaspoon of cinnamon

– Teaspoon of agave syrup (to serve)

Mix the oats, berries and cinnamon together with enough water to make the mixture runny. Microwave for 1:30, squeeze on the agave syrup and enjoy.

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4) 3 Ingredient Pancakes 

– 1 x ripe banana

– 2 x medium eggs

– ¼ cup berries

– Teaspoon of cinnamon (to serve)

– Teaspoon of agave syrup (to serve)

– 2 x rashers turkey bacon

Mix the banana and eggs into a lumpy batter and stir in the berries. Cook like a normal pancake in a greased pan (I use 1 cal olive oil spray), flipping only when the top side starts to cook as well. At the same time grill the turkey bacon. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and agave syrup. 

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My 30 day paleo challenge – an egg too far

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have noticed that for the past 30 days I’ve been trying out the Paleo diet, so called because you have to eat like a caveman.

Luckily that doesn’t mean eating ancient species of rodent but rather you eat unprocessed, natural and ‘whole’ foods.

Anything dairy is out as are grains (including legumes, so no green beans or mangetout. Sob) leaving you with a diet of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts (but not peanuts as these are a legume) and seeds. Healthy natural fats such as avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are allowed.

So here’s a typical day’s worth of food on my paleo diet:

Breakfast

1 x smoothie (banana + blueberries + mango + spinach + coconut water)

2 x hard boiled eggs (whites only)

Lunch

Mixed salad with poached salmon, beetroot and pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lemon juice

Afternoon snack

Handful of carrot sticks with a teaspoon of natural almond butter

Dinner

Lean turkey marinara with sweet potato wedges and steamed greens

 I decided to take on this paleo challenge after an incredible 2 weeks in India where I did nothing but eat white rice, garlic and cheese naan bread and paneer curry….

I felt fluffy, out of shape and wanted to get back on track. The first 2 weeks were easy as my motivation levels were high. I enjoyed all of the fresh food although eating out was very difficult when places weren’t flexible with their menus.

The final 2 weeks were much more of a struggle. I really missed plain yogurt, cheese and quinoa which normally form part of my everyday balanced diet. I ended up slipping a couple of times (one of which consisted of half a bag of kettle chips and 5 chocolate hobnobs but let’s not talk about that…) because I got frustrated that I couldn’t join in on family celebrations and eat some of the delicious food that had been prepared. Plus I was definitely over eggs. So many eggs.

All in all, after 4 weeks on the paleo diet, I hadn’t really lost any weight but I do feel leaner. My energy levels didn’t drop too much and I even managed to figure out how to bake paleo cookies to satisfy any sweet cravings. I think this diet would be good for those who want to build lean muscle but because of the higher fat content (from nuts, avocado etc.) it might not be such a good weight-loss diet.

However, I’m going to keep aspects in my diet, such as the healthier paleo treats and the morning smoothies.

 Next up, the 30 day pescatarian challenge… GOODBYE MEAT!