Salmon, onion and spice on cutting board. Red fish

New Foods for a New You 

Everywhere you turn there seems to be someone talking about the latest way to get fit and healthy, change your life or find the ‘new you’. It all sounds very impressive but also a little drastic for many of us. However, there is a simpler approach that is about looking at new foods to try, new approaches to what you eat and replacing the odd unhealthy food with a healthier option.

Healthy Foods

For starters, rather than drive yourself nuts trying to fit a formal diet into a busy life, why not consider adding a few healthy foods into your daily routine and reap their benefits?

A simple one to start with is the lemon. This little yellow fruit contains over 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C we require which helps increase the good HDL cholesterol in our system as well as boosting bone strength. It also contains citrus flavonoids which may help reduce the growth of cancer cells as well as being anti-inflammatory. And it is easy to add to your diet – add a slice of lemon to a mug of green tea or even just to plain water to start getting those benefits.

A surprising one is dark chocolate – one fourth of an ounce a day can reduce blood pressure in healthy people while the flavonoids it contains reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good stuff. A perfect treat that helps your body too!

Balancing Foods

Another area to look at is balancing the foods you eat to give your body everything it needs. Omega-3 is one of those substances that is much discussed – a fatty acid that helps reduce blood pressure as well as improving mood in winter. It comes from eating fish such as salmon and sardines as well as some kinds of tuna. Alternative, walnuts and flax are non-fish ways to get the substance.

Adding fibre to your diet is an area that can be easy to do and have good, solid benefits. The recommended amount of fibre is 21-38 grams a day and this helps to prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers as well as helping to lose weight. Whole wheat couscous, quinoa, bulger and polenta are all easy ways to increase your fibre intake.

Eating Healthy

Eating healthy isn’t always about just eating fruit and vegetables and not much else. It’s about eating the right kind of foods to get the balance you need.

Pizzas are seen as the enemy by many ‘diet experts’ but that doesn’t quite cover the whole story. Take the sweet potato crust pizza. This uses sweet potatoes, known for having a huge list of health benefits, along with almond flour, baking soda, Italian seasoning and a little salt to create a base. Mashed up and laid on a baking tray it creates a tasty base that can then be added whatever you like. A little mozzarella, some tomato sauce and then some halved tomatoes and basil is one idea but you can use whatever you like.

Homemade pizza served on a stone serving dish

Viva Italia 

Italian food is one of the most popular types of food around the UK and few of us don’t have our own favourite pizza or pasta dish. Most of us will also be adept at creating a nice simple spaghetti Bolognese or perhaps other pasta dishes. But we often shy away from other dishes that seem more complicated for one reason or another – lack of confidence and lack of time being two of the most common. But trying something different on the Italian menu is surprisingly easy and takes a lot less time than you would think.

Italian Stuffed Chicken

Chicken is a great meat to use in Italian cooking because it has a gentle taste, works well with absolutely anything and is simple to cook. This recipe is a great way to have an Italian style chicken dish that doesn’t take long to prepare.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Take 2 tablespoon of chopped olive or sundried tomatoes, depending on your preference then beat them with one garlic clove and half a teaspoon of mixed herbs. Also add in a 200 g full fat soft cheese and mix this all together. Next, cut a slit into the chicken and use the knife to keep the pocket open. Stuff the mixture into the slit, around a quarter of it per chicken breast then press it closed. Put the chicken onto a greased baking tray and season. Take four ripe tomatoes and slice them then lie these pieces over the chicken before scattering with herbs and drizzling with olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes until the chicken is golden and cooked then serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Fettucine Alfredo

Fettucine alfredo sounds pretty fancy but is basically a creamy pasta dish that is surprisingly simple to make. You can make your own fettucine or pick some up from the store then cook it following the instructions or until it is the texture you prefer. Next, make the sauce by heating 150ml double cream with 150ml single cream. Separate an egg yolk then add this to the cream, whisking it in. add in 60grams of Parmesan, grated as well as salt and black pepper. Once the sauce is heated through, the fettucine can be tossed into it and served. Finish it with shavings of truffle or gratings of nutmeg if you prefer along with grated Parmesan.

One-Step Coffee Ice Cream

You can get ice cream making machines quite easily today but this recipe means you don’t even need that. Take 300 ml of double cream, 175 grams of condensed milk and mix in with two tablespoons of instant espresso powder and the same amount of espresso liqueur. Whisk until soft peaks form on the mixture and it is a soft coffee colour. Split it into 500 ml airtight containers and pop it into the freezer overnight. When you come to serve it, take it straight out of the freezer and into ice cream dishes or even sundae glasses.