In this section you will find lots of different recipes that are ALL healthy. These recipes are meals that I make for myself and my family. Eating healthily and exercising are my passion and although like everyone else I have my ‘off’ days, I really do try to eat healthy homemade foods as much as I possibly can. I LOVE to cook and I hope that you enjoy some of the recipes I have tried and tested for you. Some of these are family favourites and I cook them regularly and some take a little more time - you may want to try those ones on a weekend when you have more time.

I am a HUGE fan of bulk cooking and freezing leftovers for another day so if these recipes make too much for you, then just freeze the leftovers. You can find out what is safe to freeze and what isn’t below.

I have quite a few kitchen gadgets and some are amazing time savers and, in my opinion, worth their weight in gold. You can find info about those below in the Planning and Preparation section.

Categories for recipes are:-

  • Main Meals For Meat Eaters

  • Main Meals For Vegetarians

  • Side Dishes, Dips and Snacks

  • Smoothies and Juices

  • Sauces, Stocks and Spice Mixes

  • Healthy cakes and sweet treats – Because sometimes you just want cake!

Planning and Preparation

In order to avoid readymade, factory processed foods and enjoy a relatively CLEAN eating plan, you are going to need to do some planning ahead. This seems like a bit of a task at first but before you know it, you’ll have a ton of recipes under your belt and a freezer full of sauces, gravies, stocks and homemade ready meals for those nights that you just can’t be bothered to cook - because we all have those!

Now, kitchen gadgets are not essential (and can sometimes be a bit pricey) but I do have some that I use over and over again and have been worth their weight in gold for quick, healthy cooking.

My top Kitchen gadgets are:-

  • Actifry

  • Nutribullet (before this I had a juicer, smoothie maker and a hand blender but this does the job of all 3 and is much better). I use this EVERY day without fail.

  • Pressure cooker

  • Slow cooker

  • Electric food processor for fast chopping, grating, mixing etc

  • Measuring cups – very cheap and I use them almost daily. I tend to use cups for recipes rather than weighing. It just seems easier to me.

 

Of course, I don’t want you to run out and buy all or any of these but if you already have some of them already, they can be real time savers.

Another great tip is to find the time to sit and make your menu for the week. This is a money saver as well as a time saver. Choose simple meals – in all my years of teaching nutrition and helping people to lose weight, those with simple recipes which include a variety of vegetables have the greatest results. I LOVE cooking and I’m happy to spend hours making a meal, it’s what I love doing and it relaxes me but I’m aware that some people don’t enjoy it and cooking can be overwhelming if you’re new to it so keeping it simple is a great tip to bear in mind.

Try incorporating left overs into recipes too. Use a full chicken for a meal one evening, then make a soup with the stock from it the following day for lunch. If you have lots of left overs, make up some meals and freeze them. I almost always double up a recipe and then freeze half of it for another evening because we don’t want to cook from scratch every single evening. The pressure of finding new meals to cook every night will make you cave in and buy a ready meal or eat something less nutritious. Be aware though that your food must be completely cooled before you freeze it and the following foods are either not safe to freeze or simply don’t freeze well:-

  1. raw eggs

  2. hard boiled – they go rubbery

  3. Soft herbs – they go brown 

  4. Egg based sauces such as mayonnaise will separate and curdle

  5. Yoghurt, cream cheese and cottage cheese are not unsafe but they go watery

  6. High water fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, apples, peppers, celery, watermelon, bean sprouts and lettuce just go mushy. They are fine in a stew but when you freeze these on their own, they defrost into something very unlike they were when they went into the freezer!

 

In my experience they are the only things that don’t freeze too well and eggs are not safe to freeze. Soups, stews, casseroles, burgers, bean burgers, fish, chicken and meat dishes, most vegetables and lots of fruit (especially berries) all freeze really well. But you MUST reheat all food thoroughly and defrost any meat before you cook or re heat it.

 

Food Groups

Our Food groups are:-

  • Grains and cereals

  • Fruit

  • Vegetables

  • Protein

  • Dairy

Grains

Pasta, rice, bread, cereals, noodles, quinoa, oats, millet, rye, buckwheat, amaranth, corn

Vitamins and minerals in Grains – Grains are usually high in carbohydrate but can contain protein too. They contain high levels of iron and dietary fibre, thiamine, folate, iodine, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin and vitmin E.

  • Dietary fibre from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fibre is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fibre-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

  • The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism – they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.

  • Folate (folic acid), another B vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods as well as synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.

  • Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anaemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other iron containing foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron. Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of non-heme iron.

  • Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.

 

Vegetables

Because vegetables is such a large group it is split into 5 sub-groups named:-

  • Dark greens such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, sprouts, spinach, watercress, bok choy, asparagus, etc

  • Starchy veg such as potatoes, corn, water chestnuts and some beans etc

  • Beans and peas such as chickpeas, borlotti beans, black eyed beans, lentils, soy beans etc

  • Red and orange veg such as squash, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, celery, cucumbers, lettuce etc

  • Other veg includes cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, lettuce and onions etc

Nutrients in vegetables:-

  1. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol.

  2. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fibre, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.

  3. Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.

  4. Dietary fibre from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fibre is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fibre-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

  5. Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

  6. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

 

Fruit

 

Oranges, lemon, berries, apples, melons, bananas, peaches etc

 

  • Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol. But some fruits are very high in fructose (sugar) so should be eaten sparingly.

  • Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under consumed, including potassium, dietary fibre, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.

  • Dietary fibre from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fibre is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fibre-containing foods such as fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fibre however fruit juices contain little or no fibre.

  • Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

 

Protein 

                                                                                                                                                                             

Meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, eggs, beans and peas (beans and peas fall into the vegetable group too)

  • Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds supply many nutrients. These include protein, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6), vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

  • Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide calories (the others are fat and carbohydrates).

  • B vitamins found in this food group serve a variety of functions in the body. They help the body release energy, play a vital role in the function of the nervous system, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and help build tissues.

  • Magnesium found in protein is used in building bones and in releasing energy from muscles.

  • Zinc is necessary for biochemical reactions and helps the immune system function properly.

  • EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids found in varying amounts in seafood. Eating 8 ounces per week of seafood may help reduce the risk for heart disease.

 

Dairy

Milk, milk based products such as ice cream and yoghurt. All cheeses are classed as dairy products.

  • Calcium is used for building bones and teeth and in maintaining bone mass

  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Dairy products, especially yogurt and soymilk, provide potassium.

  • Vitamin D functions in the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, thereby helping to build and maintain bones. Milk and soymilk (soy beverage) that are fortified with vitamin D are good sources of this nutrient. Other sources include vitamin D-fortified yogurt and vitamin D-fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

  • Milk products that are consumed in their low-fat or fat-free forms provide little or no solid fat.

 

Vitamins and Minerals

 

Vitamins are organic compounds that help with growth, reproduction and general health. Vitamins are needed in small amounts by the body. We need to get them from food because the body cannot produce enough of them itself. Minerals are inorganic substances that help chemical reactions take place in the body and contribute to overall health. Deficiencies in important vitamins or minerals can cause various physiological symptoms.

 

There are many vitamins and minerals but below I have listed some info about a few that are essential to the body:-

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for reproduction and proper foetal development as well as strong vision and immune system function. Adult females need 700 micrograms of vitamin A daily, and adult males require 900 micrograms daily.

Good food sources of vitamin A include: meat, milk, cheese, eggs, green veggies and melon

B Vitamins

There are a variety of vitamins that make up the category of B vitamins. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, pantothenic acid and biotin are co-enzymes, which means that they aid in a number of reactions that take place in the body. Folate and B-12 are required for the formation of red blood cells. Folate also contributes to neural development of a foetus.

Good sources of Vitamin B are: eggs, chicken, fish, beans, broccoli, quinoa, asparagus, nuts.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for bone, teeth, skin, blood vessel and immune system health. Although many people associate vitamin C with prevention of a cold, it does not actually prevent the cold but can reduce severity and length, according to "Nutrition & You." Men should consume 90 mg of vitamin C per day and women 75 mg.

Most vitamin C is found in fruits and in liver.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for the proper absorption of phosphorous and calcium, which is needed for strong bones. Some research has shown vitamin D may also help prevent diabetes and some cancers.

Vitamin D can be synthesized from sunlight or consumed in fortified milk or cereals.  It is also found in beef liver and eggs.

 

Vitamin E

The most important function of vitamin E is as an antioxidant, which serves to protect the membranes of cells as well as prevent oxidation. Vitamin E also prevent the formation of blood clots. Adults should aim to consume 15 mg of vitamin E per day.

Vitamin E is found in highest abundance in oils, nuts and seeds, but can also be found in leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals. 

 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K allows the blood to clot when necessary and plays a role in the synthesis of proteins that contribute to bone health. Adult women require 90 micrograms of vitamin K per day, and adult men require 120 micrograms per day.

Green vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach and Brussel sprouts, are rich sources of vitamin K. 

 

Calcium

The most important function of calcium is to promote strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps contract the muscles and dilate the blood vessels. Adults require 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium daily.

Calcium is found in milk, yogurt and cheese, but can also be found in abundance in broccoli, kale and salmon. 

 

Iron

Iron is required for the proper formation of red blood cells as well as transport of oxygen to the tissues. A lack of iron in the body would lead to weakness and fatigue, light-headedness and a shortness of breath.

Iron is found in the greatest abundance in meat, poultry and fish. Grains and vegetables also provide small amounts of iron. 

 

Potassium

Potassium aids in many body functions including fluid balance, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, maintenance of blood pressure and bone health. Adults should aim to consume 4,700 mg of potassium per day.

Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables every day can help meet potassium needs easily.

Jo Bond, Decote Fitness 2016

© 2016 Decote Fitness. Proudly created and designed by www.danceschooldesign.co.uk

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