Our national trainer Jo delivers her favourite easy healthy meals for those who want to enjoy filling, nutritious dishes to help you get back into shape
Welcome to 2021! It’s probably an understatement to say that most of us were only too happy to say goodbye to last year. 2020 will go down in history as the year that COVID stole – and even Christmas did not fully escape its clutches. It’s likely that the way you celebrated the festive season was different from usual. And yet some things stay the same: the calories! If you overindulged in December (and let’s face it, most of us did!), now’s the perfect time to make a fresh start.
For plenty of people, two lockdowns and the resulting lack of exercise had already caused clothes to feel a little snug. Then Christmas merely added to the excess. But don’t despair at the thought of diets and deprivation! That’s most definitely not what this blog is about. National trainer Jo Underhay has collated a selection of easy healthy meals that are filling, nutritious and delicious. Read on for some culinary inspiration that will help you nourish both body and soul:
This is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. ‘Bowlfood’ generally, in the words of Nigella, is soothing, undemanding and sustaining – exactly what’s required from easy healthy meals.
This cheesy risotto recipe, courtesy of Good Housekeeping, comes topped with fried eggs for extra protein. I think it’s the perfect meal in a bowl for this time of year, when the days are still disagreeably short, dark and dank. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, full of fibre and low in fat – in short, a great superfood we should all be eating more of. Like all risottos, this recipe does require some stirring, plus you’ll need to fry the mushrooms and the (optional) eggs.
For recipes like this however, you’ll need an efficient extractor to keep unwanted odours under control. Our DD780BK induction downdraft performs brilliantly – and looks super stylish! Its innovative design means you benefit from two appliances in one (making it cost-effective too!). This frameless induction hob features 10 power levels, including Booster and a powerful 648m/3/h downdraft extractor. There’s even a handy bridging function that’s perfect if you’re cooking larger quantities.
Pea pappardelle pasta
Yes, easy healthy meals can contain pasta. Starchy foods are a good source of carbohydrate – a key energy source. And did you know that gram for gram, they contain fewer than half the calories of fat? This colourful recipe, from CookingLight, is packed full with gorgeous greens from the sugar snaps to the pea shoots. It’s light, naturally sweet and filled with satisfying textures.
This simple vegetarian recipe goes from pan to plate in just 15 minutes. Just make sure you drain your pasta properly, to avoid any sogginess. Our stunning MODE3415/R/CO would be ideal. This gorgeously bold gold model can be inset or under-mounted. One and a half bowl sinks are so versatile in terms of washing, rinsing and draining, and this model can be used with our handy waste disposal units.
Top tip: Look for pea shoots at your local farmers’ market. If you’re struggling to get hold of any, simply substitute with watercress.
Corn chowder is another of my favourite, easy healthy meals for winter. This is simpler to make than you might think, I promise. As an added bonus, most chowder recipes are very forgiving, and easy to adapt with whatever you have to hand. This version, from Jamie Oliver, uses store cupboard staples and frozen corn, so it’s perfect for a speedy mid-week supper. Hearty soup like this is wonderfully warming. I often add some fresh or smoked fish to make it more substantial.
Our C864iGM Induction would be perfect. It has no fewer than four induction zones, which you operate with slider touch controls. Each cooking area features a 10-level digital power display for greater control. There’s also a programmable timer of up to 99 minutes, that lets you set finishing times for each zone. In short, this hob is a fabulous, flexible cooking solution for busy families and keen cooks, with lots of reassuring safety features, including residual heat indicators and an anti-overheat function.
Top tip: Make sure you reach right into the corners when you’re stirring this soup, so nothing ‘catches’ and burns.
No round-up of easy healthy meals would be complete without at least one tasty fish dish. This is a good source of vitamins and minerals – and oily versions are considered to be one of the most heart-healthy foods you can eat. White fish is low in fat, so it’s a great alternative to red or processed meat. This fishcake recipe, from BBC Good Food, is packed with flavour and texture. Shallow (rather than deep) frying helps to keep the calorie count down.
If your hob is on an island unit, our Zalto island hood would be the perfect extractor option. Available in a trio of chic on-trend finishes, this eye-catching sculptural design minimises all sorts of cooking odours, while taking centre stage in any contemporary kitchen. The hood has four speeds, so you can adjust the power, according to your recipe needs. The maximum extraction rate is an impressive 550m3/h, with a maximum sound level of just 63dB.
Top tip: Your fresh breadcrumbs needn’t be too fresh – in fact, bread that’s a day or two old is preferable for the best results!
Easy healthy meals can even include this dish – if you choose your toppings carefully! This recipe, from Food Network, takes just 15 minutes to cook, so it’s ideal for those mealtimes when you need something filling, fast. Takeaway pizzas are often swimming in grease. This version uses a store-bought, thin crust shell, topped with healthy options that include spinach, Parma ham and baked eggs. It’s a good source of fibre, vitamin C, protein and iron. And each serving comes in at around 385 calories – pretty impressive for such a large, satisfying slice!
Our C2600SS Pyrolytic oven would be perfect for this recipe, as it features a specific setting, which heats the oven to an impressive 345°C, leaving you with perfectly cooked traditional Italian pizza in mere minutes. For the ultimate authentic experience, treat yourself to our Pizza Accessory Set, comprising of a stone, shovel and wire tray. It’ll transform your crust and cook this Italian staple more evenly.
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