Thursday, 2 January 2014

My Favourite Healthy Smart Swap Recipes

Well we're thinking on with it being New Year; time for change, renewal and as many people do, dieting.

I've said before, I'm not 100% sure that dieting works; especially if you are substituting 'diet' products for regular.  I know this is a controversial attitude, particularly considering official government advice reported in the media today.  That said though, some people really are out of the habit of eating healthily and I know I get like that sometimes and need to give myself a shake up, wake up and start to realise how delicious healthier food can be.  So rather than swapping sugary drink for sugar free, these are MY smart swap recipes!

Not all of them are salads either (even if this goats cheese salad is delicious) I can appreciate some people reject stuff like this as 'rabbit food' and need a little more encouragement towards their 5 a day.

So here are some recipes which often contain fruit and / or vegetables and have something else about them which I think makes them worthwhile as a 'healthy' recipe depending on your approach.  After all, remember, everything is ok in moderation but the important word is 'moderation' not 'everything'!

Frittata is a great way to get the flavour of a quiche without all of the fat and refined carbohydrate from the pastry, also a great way to get vegetables into your family's diet.

Fresh tuna is an excellent source of Omega 3.  Most of us don't have the right kind of balance of these good fats in our diet and oily fish like fresh tuna is one of the best sources.  Not all kids are massive fans though.  No problem with these tuna 'meat'balls.  Don't get me wrong, I think encouraging a love for fish is a great thing but for the most fussy of kids who aren't keen; they won't even notice they're eating fish or why not try my baked Salmon fishcakes?

My son has always been a reluctant salad eater.  So I decided to practice what I preach as I often advise other parents to try serving up rejected foods cooked or even just cut a different way.  This chopped salad was a winner and I thought it was tasty too.  Or why not try my coleslaw?

I always think spice is a great way to add flavour without loads of fat or calories.  This baked spicy chicken is delicious, yet made with skin off chicken thighs.  Very easy to cook for one busy Mum too.  Or why not try my baked Southern Fried Chicken?

With British interpretations of Indian food, there are often loads of hidden calories in the accompaniments; naan breads, poppadoms, pilau with ghee.  It all adds up.  If you're smart, rather than loading up with the calories in the bits which don't add all that much flavour anyway, why not have a salad?  Kachumber is deliciously cooling and full of vitamin C.

Soups are a fantastic way to reach your 5 a day without much effort and soup is more likely to fill you up with fewer calories.  Tomato and pesto soup is my current favourite, only 10-15 mins to make and really loved by my son too.  I often make extra, freeze in individual portions and reheat for lunch at work.  Wonderful on these blustery days, maybe substitute for gazpacho when the weather gets warmer.

Talking of quick meals, making these sweetcorn fritters is an awesome quick dish.  'Fritters' might not sound healthy but use spray oil and these aren't bad and remember if you serve this alongside some vegetables or salad, you're well on your way to 5 a day.

It's worth keeping an eye out for raw frozen prawns on offer in your local shops, not only are they frozen quickly and don't go off, they are delicious and healthy.  Baked prawns with a tomato salad and some crusty bread feels like a luxurious way to live life but as long as you're not lavish with the baked goods, it will taste good and help you look good too.

While I'm on the theme of prawns; making prawns into this sweet and sour is a great way to up the vegetable content of the dish and reduce the sugar.  It's still sweet but without the sugary gloopiness of commercial versions and with fresh green peppers, fresh pineapple and fresh carrots, it's full of vitamins too.  Piece of cake to make and very cheap as well.

I also love these thai style lettuce wraps; again a great way to cut the calories because it's served with lettuce rather than rice.

But even breakfast can be more delicious than breakfast cereal and can have added fibre and fruit like these wholemeal pancakes.

We could all do worse than starting the day as our grandparents would have.  A boiled or scrambled egg used to be seen as an ideal breakfast then fell out of favour due to Salmonella and the cholesterol content in the 80's.  Little did we know back then that the dietary cholesterol in eggs has little impact on blood cholesterol and now UK eggs are vaccinated against Salmonella and eggs are a fantastic source of vitamin D, they are a great option.  Alternatively porridge is a great source of beta glucan which is known to help heart health.

It's amazing how much a proper breakfast like this keeps you sated too and less likely to snack.

So I hope that convinces you with these photos of delicious looking food that healthy isn't necessarily boring, in fact, it can be far more appetising than the alternatives and not difficult to make at all.

I hope you enjoy.  Good luck with your plans for New Year.

I've linked to Nomday Monday.


  1. The baked spicy chicken looks good! I might need to tone down the spice for my kids, though that's okay. I love your reminder about salads being more than just green salads.

    I'd love for you to share these recipes with my readers at my Motivation Monday linky:

    1. I've already linked this week but I will follow your blog to look out for more link ups. It might be worth trying the chicken as is; sweet chilli sauce can be more sweet than spicy depending on the brand. Just try it first and use a little less if it's very hot?


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