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Figs are high in fibre, which prevents constipation and reduces cholesterol,  and potassium, which helps to regulate bloodflow

Figs are high in fibre, which prevents constipation and reduces cholesterol, and potassium, which helps to regulate bloodflow

This is, essentially, a plug of my breakfast from this morning but it was delicious, balanced and healthy fulfilling all major food groups!  Figs are a really good source of fibre so great for lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation (sorry, perhaps not the best breakfast topic but an important one none-the-less!). They also contain a good amount of potassium which can help to keep the blood pressure normalised – potassium is found in most fruit and vegetables in varying quantities so if you’re eating your 5-a-day then you’re probably getting enough potassium.

If you can’t find fresh figs then you could use dried ones but the texture and flavour of fresh figs is definitely more subtle, sweet and fresh. If you wanted to substitute the cinnamon pancake for an American-style plain or lemon flavoured one that would work just as well or you could make your own thin (English or French-style) pancake.  To keep the calories similar just make sure the weight of the pancake is no more than 65g and that you don’t use too much fat when cooking – 1 tsp. of oil or butter in a hot pan should do.

INGREDIENTS (per person)

1 american style cinnamon pancake (65g)

2 tbsps of reduced fat creme fraiche or low fat greek yogurt

2 sliced fresh figs

1-2 tsp. of flaked or chopped almonds (or about 6 whole)

1 tsp runny honey

pinch of ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

There’s not much to it really! 

*  Lightly toast the pancake if you’ve bought a pre-prepared one (mine were from the Asda bakery counter, but any other brands would do or you could make your own – don’t use too much fat to cook them)

*  Layer the creme fraiche or greek yogurt on top (mine was reduced fat creme fraiche at around 50kcal per 2 tbsps)

*  Layer the sliced fresh figs in an attractive manner on top – or simply chuck them on!  Fresh figs can be pricey but if you look out for them around autumn (fall) time then they are a bit cheaper – I got 4 for £1

* Throw the almonds over the figs, drizzle the honey on top and sprinkle the cinnamon over everything

* Serve and enjoy – mine was wolfed down in less than 2 minutes!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(Per pancake)

Energy                  455  kcal / 1904 kJ

Carbohydrate    43.2g

Fat                          22.8g

Protein                 7.6g

Sugars                   28.0g

Saturates             8.5g

Fibre                      3.5g

Salt                         0.08g

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Serves 4

A delicious warming, low fat dish

A delicious warming, low fat dish

There was a chill back in the UK air again this morning (at least in Yorkshire) and it felt kinda autumnal again which to me means only one thing for lunch….SOUP!

 This is a really quick, classic, tasty soup to make with ingredients that you are likely to have in stock in your kitchen cupboards and freezers.  Peas are a really excellent source of fibre which is helpful in regulating blood glucose levels, keeping cholesterol levels normal and keeping your bowels regular.  In addition peas also contain plenty of vitamins including decent levels of iron, calcium, zinc and Vitamin C.

 You could make this soup vegetarian by leaving out the ham or gammon.  If you want to make alterations to the meaty elements you could use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and substitute the ham or gammon for shredded bacon rashers (grilled before adding to the soup).

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)

1 small chilli, deseeded and chopped fine

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

2 small onions, chopped fine (120g)

1 litre vegetable stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)

450g frozen peas

1-2 tablespoons of fresh or frozen mint leaves, chopped fine (20g)

1 tsp. mint sauce

100g thick cut, pre-cooked good quality lean ham or gammon, cut into cubes

Ground black pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for approximately 30 seconds, just to infuse the oil with some flavour.
  • Add the chopped onion and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
  • Add the stock with the peas and fresh mint. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes – to cook the peas.
  • Stir in the fresh mint, mint sauce and black pepper.
  • Remove approximately one quarter of the soup and use a blender to blend the remaining three quarters.
  • Mix all of the soup back together. Return to the heat, add the ham cubes and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Batch

Energy                  755 kcal (3159 kJ)

Carbohydrate    64.5g

Total sugars        19.0g

Fat                          31.2g

Saturates             6.7g

Protein                 58.4g

Fibre                      23.1g

Salt                         7.3g

 

Per Serving (Serves 4)

Energy                  189 kcal (790 kJ)

Carbohydrate    16.1g

Total sugars        4.8g

Fat                          7.8g

Saturates             1.7g

Protein                 14.6g

Fibre                      5.8g

Salt                         1.8g

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Try with:

1 x tbsp. of reduced fat crème fraiche = 70 kcal / 293 kJ

1 x tbsp. of low fat natural yogurt = 25 kcal / 105 kJ

A crusty roll = 130 kcal / 545 kJ


Seafood Risotto with steamed mange tout (snow peas)

Seafood Risotto with steamed mange tout (snow peas)

Serves 4

Seafood is naturally low in saturated fat.  Despite popular belief foods high in natural cholesterol, like eggs and prawns, DO NOT have an effect on our own bodies’ cholesterol levels. That means good news for all of you wanting to keep an eye on your blood cholesterol – you can still enjoy these tasty high protein foods (but keep watching out for saturated fat which has much more of a negative effect on your cholesterol levels.

 This tastes great served with some garden peas, steamed mange tout or other green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or broccoli and this will add in some extra fibre and vitamins too.  You can add any combination of seafood you like – try cockles, whelks, white fish or salmon as an alternative to any of the seafood I have suggested.

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 small red chilli (fresh or dried) – remove seeds if you don’t like spicy heat

2 small red or white onions, finely chopped (120g)

1 stick of celery, finely chopped (30g)

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (160g)

300g Arborio (risotto) rice

1 litre fish stock (made with a 10g fish stock cube)

150ml white wine

Juice of one lime

150g peeled prawns (fresh or frozen)

150g mussels, out of shell (fresh or frozen)

100g squid, chopped into bite size pieces (fresh or frozen)

10g fresh dill, chopped

Zest of one lime

Ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare and chop all vegetables. Zest and juice the lime and set both aside separately for later.

    A work in progress!

    A work in progress!

  • Make the fish stock and mix in a large jug with the white wine and lime juice.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Fry garlic, chilli, onion and pepper for 8-10 minutes until slightly browned, stirring all the time to prevent burning.
  • Add the Arborio rice and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add a little of the stock mixture at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more stock.
  • When you have added about ¾ of the stock, add the seafood and stir through.
  • Continue adding the stock liquid a little at a time until the rice is plumped up and the liquid starts to form a creamy consistency. This may take 15-20 minutes, from start to finish.
  • Stir in the lime zest and dill and black pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a side of green salad, garden peas or steamed mange tout.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per whole recipe

Energy                           1870 kcal / 7824 kJ

Carbohydrate              291.2g

Fat                                   21.2g

Protein                          98.8g

Total sugar                   22.2g

Saturates                      7.4g

Fibre                               9.1g

Salt                                 12.4g

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per portion (serves 4)

 Energy                         468 kcal / 1958 kJ

Carbohydrate            72.8g

Fat                                 5.3g

Protein                         24.7g

Total sugar                  5.6g

Saturates                    1.9g

Fibre                             2.3g

Salt                                3.1g