Healthy Meals

If you are looking for some tasty meals for your new eating routine, here are some suggestions you may like to try.

Breakfasts

• Bowl of muesli with fresh fruit, followed by a slice of wholemeal toast with a little butter or low-fat spread and marmalade.

• Bowl of cornflakes topped with a grated apple and served with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, plus a glass of fresh unsweetened orange juice.

• Bowl of cornflakes with several strawberries and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk

• Two slices of wholemeal bread filled with grilled lean bacon

• One poached egg on a slice of toasted wholemeal bread

Haddock omelette

This is great for the weekend when you have more time to prepare a special breakfast.

3 egg whites

Salt and pepper

Spray bottle of light oil

50g (2oz) smoked flaked haddock

1 small tomato

2 slices of wholemeal bread

Whisk up the egg whites and season with salt and pepper. Spray a shot of light oil into a non-stick frying pan and, when it is heated through, pour in the egg mix. Shake the pan well and cook the egg whites. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flaked haddock, then pop them under the grill for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, halve the tomato and grill it. Toast the bread. Turn the omelette onto a plate and serve with the wholemeal toast and the tomato.

Kiwi smoothie

A treat for those who prefer to drink their gourmet breakfast.

4 kiwi fruits

1 small banana

Lemon juice

Small carton low-fat natural yogurt

Peel the kiwi fruits and the banana. Add them into a blender with a dash of lemon juice and the yogurt. Once blended, pop some ice into a glass and pour the smoothie over.

Lunch

If you have the time here are some ideas for nutritious lunchtime recipes you can try. Some of them could be prepared the evening before and stored in the refrigerator.

Mackerel toasties

Something to rustle up in a few minutes. Drain a can of mackerel fillets and put them into a bowl. Mash them up with a fork and stir in a teaspoon of mustard and some chopped spring onions. Lavishly spread the mixture over two slices of wholemeal toast and pop under the grill for a few minutes until warm.

Drumstick supreme

A very easy recipe which makes a tasty lunch time treat.

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

25g (1oz) breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

4 chicken drumsticks

2 tablespoons low-fat natural yogurt

Pop all the ingredients, except the drumsticks and yogurt, into a plastic bag and give it a good shake. Using a very sharp knife carefully pierce the drumsticks then cover liberally with the yogurt. Pop the drumsticks into the bag and give another good shake, making sure they each get well covered with the ingredients. Remove from the bag and place each under a pre-heated grill for approximately 15 minutes, turning them once. The drumsticks are ready to eat when no pink juices trickle out when pierced with a skewer.

Spanish omelette

A delicious lunch time snack that can be served hot or cold.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1/2 pepper, red, green or yellow

450g (1lb) new potatoes, cooked and diced

4 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper

Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan and saute the sliced onion and garlic. When just turning golden brown, add the potatoes. When browned, add the eggs, salt and pepper and cook slowly until firm.

Spicy chicken

This is the ideal lunch time dish when you have friends calling around, as the quantities will serve four.

1 large chicken, cut into four pieces

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder

Pinch of celery salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

150ml (5fl oz) low-fat natural fromage frais

1 teaspoon paprika

Wash the chicken and season the inside with salt and pepper. Mix the curry powder, celery salt and ground ginger together, then add it to the fromage frais. Place the chicken in a microwave-proof dish. Pour the fromage frais mixture over the chicken and then sprinkle with paprika. Pop it into the microwave on high for 8 minutes per 450g (11b). Leave it to stand for 15 minutes before serving. The chicken is ready to eat when, pierced with a skewer at the thickest part, the juices run clear; if still pink then cook for a little longer and test again.

Dinner

Mealtimes can a problem when you run out of ideas, but there are lots of delicious meals you can prepare with a little thought and ingenuity that will appeal to all the family.

Chilli con carne

A great family dinner, serving four.

450g (l lb) lean minced beef

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Bovril

425g (15oz) can red kidney beans

1 teaspoon chilli powder

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Black pepper

Dry-fry the mince in a non-stick frying pan, then drain it through a colander. Clean any fat from the frying pan, then add the onion and dry-fry it. As the onion is turning brown, return the mince to the pan together with the tomatoes, bay leaf, Bovril, kidney beans, chilli powder and garlic. Season with black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if it becomes too thick. Serve with brown boiled rice.

Chicken risotto

Serves four.

25g (1oz) low fat spread

225g (8oz) skinless chicken, cut into small bite sizes

1 green pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Herbs to season

700ml (1-3/4 pt) chicken stock

275g (10 oz) long grain brown rice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

275g (10 oz) mushrooms, sliced

Tomato slices to garnish

Melt the low fat spread in a large pan and add the chicken, pepper, onion, garlic and seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock, rice and lemon juice continue cooking with the lid on over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve garnished with slices of tomato and a mixed green salad.

Chicken celebration

Serves four.

Black pepper

4 chicken breasts, skinned

225g (8oz) brown rice

450g (1lb) canned beansprouts

Soy sauce

Sprinkle a preheated non-stick frying pan with black pepper, then add the chicken and saute until it begins to turn brown. Generously sprinkle the chicken pieces with more black pepper before turning over on to the other side to cook. Cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat down slightly and leave the chicken gently simmering for a further 20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so and turning the chicken over to cook on the other side.

Whilst waiting for the chicken, cook the rice in boiling water and drain. Pop the rice and drained can of beansprouts into a colander and pour a kettle of boiling water over to reheat them. Drain and tip onto a serving dish, placing the chicken pieces on the top and adding an extra tang with a dash of soy sauce.

Strawberry sorbet

Healthy, nutritious and a perfect source of Vitamin C.

450g (1 lb) fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

Juice of 1 large orange

Put the strawberries into a food processor with the orange juice and blend. Pour the mixture into a bowl and pop into the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and leave it to thaw slightly, then beat with a metal spoon a return to the freezer for a further 5 hours. To appreciate the taste, the sorbet should be left to soften at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Melon delight

450g (16oz) melon

275ml (10 fl oz) low-fat flavoured yogurt

225g (8oz) green grapes

Chop up the melon flesh and separate it equally between 4 tall glasses then spoon generous amounts of yogurt over the top. Cut the grapes in half and share them between the glasses. Spoon the rest of the yogurt over the top and pop into the freezer to chill.

If you feel peckish at any time during the day, avoid that tempting chocolate bar or packet of crisps and eat a low calorie snack of healthy fruit or vegetables. Choose from:

• An orange

• An apple

• Handful of grapes

• A banana

• Handful of cherries

• Dried fruit

• Cauliflower florets

• A carrot

• A stick of celery

• A pear

Desserts provide the finishing touch to a delicious meal but avoid eating anything too heavy. Try the following ideas:

• 1 meringue nest filled with 115g (4oz) fresh fruit and topped with 50g (2oz) low-fat yogurt

• 2 pieces of fresh fruit

• Diced apple and pear with low-fat yogurt