After my ‘Raaahhh! LIFESTYLE CHANGE!’ post earlier this week – well done if you read that lengthy one – I wanted to focus a bit on something I’ve claimed as my new mantra: it’s not what you can’t have, it’s what you can have.
You see, when you’re trying to be healthy, it’s easy to think about all the things you can’t eat, and often that’s dooming you before you’ve begun. If you’re eating salad and wishing you had chips, then you’re never going to stop thinking about those chips. So my new strategy is to plan meals that are healthy, nutritious and most importantly – delicious. Because if I’m not excited about what I’m eating, then I won’t want to eat it.
My top tip is having a recipe inspiration session. Haul out all those cookbooks and spend an evening going through them and noting down everything you want to try. I got a huge stack of them at Christmas, and most of them are on the healthy side, but after my original flick-through I’ve put them away and made nothing. After making my list of recipes to try though, I’m really excited to work my way through it, and have already started with Jamie Oliver’s tacos and kiwi salsa recipe (my take on that is coming up soon).
Here are a few of my must-cooks...
JAMIE'S EVERYDAY SUPER FOOD
The new Jamie Oliver cookbook, Every Day Super Food is great – I want to make almost everything. I love that he’s focused on eating well (with no faddiness – hello sugar, carbs and oil) with big punchy flavours and unusual recipes.
Fish tacos & kiwi salsa
Asian crispy beef
Asian stir fried veg & omelette
Squash Dhal with fried egg
Squash laksa bake
Black bean feijoda
Chicken squash cacciatore
Steak & tabbouleh
A MODERN WAY TO COOK BY ANNA JONES
I adore Anna Jones’s books, especially her first one, A Modern Way To Eat. The follow up, A Modern Way To Cook, is still good, but not quite as ‘I want to make the entire book!’ as the first one. All her recipes are vegetarian, but it took me a while to notice, as I was so fixated on the flavours. Also, no crazy ingredients – my bugbear in recipe books. I don’t have time to hike to Mongolia for that rare spice you mentioned!
Sweet potato and quinoa bowls
Pepper & white bean quesadillas
Plantain, avocado, black bean bowl
Halloumi & harissa rice bowl
Carrot & chickpea pancakes
Black bean & corn fritters
Butternut & leek hash
Sweet potato chilli
Roast lime feta & greens burrito
Avocado barley bowl
Sweet potato bake
Squash & spinach feta pie
Coconut, lime & tamarind curry
I love Nigella, but her new book, Simply Nigella, and TV show did feel like she was jumping on the clean-eating bandwagon because everyone else was, not because it’s her chosen direction. And to be honest, we love Nigella for delicious, indulgent recipes – we don’t want her to change. There are a few recipes in her book that I like the sound of though…
Cauliflower & cashew curry
Thai turkey meatballs
Sweet potato mac'n'cheese
Indian shepherds pie
Chicken & wild rice
Beef bourbon chilli
Pork bao buns
Moroccan chicken stew
GIZZI'S HEALTHY APPETITE
I have two Gizzi Erskine books, including her latest one, Gizzi's Healthy Appetite, and they seem to be focused on balancing healthy eating with indulgent eating. Gizzi’s recipes are often a bit more effort than the other chefs I’ve mentioned, but sometimes it’s great to push the boat out and experiment on a Saturday night, isn’t it?
Pulled Chipotle chicken with pink pickled onions
Thai chicken fried rice
Thai chicken fried rice
Green chileSome of my other favourite healthy cookbooks are Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, The Hairy Dieters, Cook Yourself Thin and the Leon ones – all can be picked up for cheap in charity shops or discount bookshops though as they’ve been out for a while.