Our national trainer Jo presents her favourite low-fat meals to keep you in shape, give you more energy and improve your wellbeing
With COVID-19 still circulating, and the prospect of a winter flu epidemic in the mix, it’s time to get in shape. There’s no doubt that this will give you more energy and improve your wellbeing. So, what’s the best way to lose weight and get fit? A healthy diet, featuring plenty of tasty, filling, low-fat meals, is a great place to start.
A simple formula
There are metabolic exceptions, but there’s a relatively simple formula you can follow to stay slim. If you consume more energy (calories) than you expend, the excess is stored as fat. In other words, you get bigger if you eat more food than your body needs. So, a strategy featuring smaller portions of low-fat meals, plus some form of regular exercise, is a great way to slim down and you’ll feel good, too. Read on for a selection of tasty and filling healthy-eating ideas, compiled by our national trainer Jo Underhay:
vegan mushroom bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm family favourite. However, the more traditional version that includes pancetta, minced beef and Parmesan can be highly calorific. So one of my favourite low-fat meals is this vegan mushroom bolognese alternative. The combination of dried porcini and chestnut mushrooms will satisfy even the most avid meat-eater. In fact, mushrooms contain potassium, fibre, B vitamins, minerals – and they taste great too!
I find this recipe super easy to follow and I can cook everything on the hob. If you’re worried about lingering cooking smells, our state-of-the-art COR540SL Ceiling Hood will take care of any unwanted odours. This stylish circular extractor features our signature perimetrical extraction for reduced noise and increased pressure which results in improved motor performance. The model has four speeds, a dimmable LED light and a stainless-steel grease filter. I think it looks absolutely amazing too!
Sweet potato curry
I love curries, but the takeaway versions swimming in oil aren’t the best low-fat meal options. However, this sweet potato curry recipe, courtesy of cholesterol charity Heart UK, is packed full with the good stuff. It includes three of your recommended five-a-day and is high in fibre and healthy (unsaturated) fats. Swapping saturated fats for unsaturated versions can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. It can also help you keep your weight under control.
This tasty recipe takes me about 20 minutes to prep and just under an hour to cook, but there are no difficult processes. You simply bake the sweet potato in the oven and cook the rest of the dish on the hob. If you’re cooking for a crowd, I think our C3246 electric double oven would be perfect. The main oven boasts a generous 61-litre capacity with an A-rating for energy efficiency. It also features an easy-clean enamel interior, a handy light and removable shelf racks.
Butternut squash risotto
Butternut squash is one of my favourite ingredients – and it’s perfect for all sorts of low-fat meals. It has a sweet, nutty taste that’s super versatile. I love this butternut squash risotto recipe. It tastes so rich and creamy, you’d never know it was low in fat! You can bulk it up with other vegetables if you prefer, but I think it’s filling enough just as it is.
You roast the squash in the oven, but prepare everything else on the hob. Risotto does need a fair amount of stirring, but I think it’s always worth the necessary TLC.
Have you ever cooked on an induction hob? I’m a big fan of our Sense Premium C901i. Its minimalist frameless design is stylish and practical. It has a ‘pan move’ function that allows you to switch your cooking utensils from one zone to another, without fussing with settings and controls. The hob automatically picks up the selected settings from the zone the pan has been moved from. I find this makes cooking so easy.
Chicken + bacon carbonara
Carbonara is classic Italian comfort food.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t rank highly on anyone’s list of low-fat meals, thanks to all the cream and cheese it usually contains. However, this clever alternative has retained the essential eggs and bacon, albeit grilled not fried. It also uses reduced fat crème fraîche to keep the calorie count low, while still tasting absolutely delicious.
Beans and legumes contain no cholesterol and they’re packed with fibre and protein, to help keep you feeling fuller for longer. This hearty, healthy soup recipe is perfect for cooler autumnal days. In addition to black beans, you’ll enjoy plenty of other vegetables and tasty spices. Don’t be tempted to leave out the avocado and coriander – this combination really is the perfecting finishing touch.
Although couscous looks like a grain, technically it’s a pasta. This is made with semolina flour from durum wheat, mixed with water. It’s easy to store and speedy to prepare – you simply pour boiling water/stock over it and leave to stand.
Chicken with couscous
Couscous is yet another versatile ingredient that makes a great addition to almost any midweek menu. This chicken couscous recipe is one of my favourite low-fat family suppers. It involves minimal prep and takes just 15-20 minutes to cook. You basically fry the seasoned chicken while the couscous soaks, then assemble everything on your plate.
If you have a built-in warming drawer, you could stand your couscous in there while you crack on with everything else.
I wouldn’t be without mine. I use it to prove bread dough, warm my plates and keep different foods at the right temperature until everything is ready to eat.
Seafood is low in saturated fat, but a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. So, it’s a fabulous way to add interest and variety to a low-fat diet. I try to eat lean white fish or seafood at least twice a week. It’s delicious and always makes a welcome change from chicken.
Prawn and pea pasta
Low-fat meals really don’t have to be bland and boring. This recipe for prawn and pea pasta with lemon crème fraicheis colourful, tasty and healthy. The lemon zest adds a refreshing zing, and complements the garlic and the basil perfectly.
It takes me about 20 minutes from start to finish, and I do everything on the hob. If you favour gas, you’ll love cooking with our C887G Gas-On-Glass Hob. It incorporates five burners, including a triple ring for more uniform cooking.
Keen to grow your own fruit and veg? It’s another great way in which to improve your wellbeing. Click here for a selection of great GYO recipe ideas, including some tasty, low-fat options.
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