Feast on the Fab Five… and lose weight during lockdown!

Are you anxious not to put on weight now we are back in lockdown but panicking about what to eat?

If you piled on extra pounds during the spring lockdown and want to avoid a repeat, then you’re hardly alone.

Research shows that two out of three adults in the UK struggled with weight gain during the spring lockdown, according to a survey of more than 800 adults — with increased snacking, less exercise, and higher levels of anxiety to blame.

The study, made up of 637 people from the public and 222 members of Slimming World, found that the majority — 65 per cent of the public and 59 per cent of Slimming World members — said they had found managing their weight ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ difficult since lockdown began in March.

But if this sounds like you, rest assured that you can enjoy today’s lunch and dinner suggestions and still stay on track with your healthy eating goals.

If you piled on extra pounds during the spring lockdown and want to avoid a repeat, then you’re hardly alone [File photo]

If you piled on extra pounds during the spring lockdown and want to avoid a repeat, then you’re hardly alone [File photo]

If you piled on extra pounds during the spring lockdown and want to avoid a repeat, then you’re hardly alone [File photo]

In Saturday’s Weekend Magazine, we showed you how the Slimming World eating plan, called Food Optimising, means you don’t have to deprive yourself of comforting foods in order to lose weight.

This is because it’s based on the science of satiety (feeling ‘full’) and energy density which means eating foods that are best for satisfying your appetite and have the fewest calories per gram so you feel satisfied for longer.

Shedding extra pounds will not only help you to slip into your favourite winter clothes with pride, but you’ll have more energy to see you through the challenges and stresses of the continuing pandemic.

You’ll reap health benefits — it can help lift your mood and reduce your risk of developing serious conditions including type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

In Saturday’s Weekend magazine and in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday we brought you meal planners to help you lose up to half a stone in two weeks* simply by selecting a breakfast, lunch and dinner from each category daily. 

You can find further free sample menu planners and recipes online at www.slimmingworld.co.uk.

Today, to inspire you further, we are sharing another selection of brilliant Slimming World recipes, starting with stress-free meals that need only five ingredients. 

Even the most dedicated home cook doesn’t always want to contend with a fiddly, costly recipe to put dinner on the table — particularly after a long day.

Enjoyed as part of an overall, balanced Slimming World healthy eating plan, delicious dishes like these can help you banish excess weight for good. 

‘Cooking healthy food really does not have to be expensive or complicated — and that’s why our five-ingredient recipes are so popular,’ says Carolyn Pallister, nutrition and health policy manager at Slimming World, and a registered dietitian.

How the plan works…

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety (feeling ‘full’) and energy density. This means eating foods that satisfy your appetite and have the fewest calories per gram.

Food Optimising helps you adopt a healthy way of eating — without feeling deprived or hungry.

The plan encourages you to fill up on ‘Free Food’— which you can eat without weighing, counting or measuring. You can also enjoy measured amounts of ‘Healthy Extras’ and a few treats.

Free Food includes poultry, lean meat, fish, plain tofu, Quorn, eggs, pasta, grains, fruit and vegetables. Base your meals around Free Food and use it to snack on.

Healthy Extras include foods such as milk and cheese, cereals and wholemeal bread that provide you with calcium, fibre and other minerals and healthy oils.

So you never feel deprived you can enjoy limited amounts of treats, such as crisps and alcohol.

It’s a good idea to stock up on fat-free dressings, herbs, low-calorie cooking spray, oil-free tomato puree, seasoning, soy sauce, spices and stock cubes, which can be used to flavour meals. Making small changes to the way you shop and cook — such as buying leaner cuts of meat or cooking with low-calorie cooking spray — can help you to enjoy your favourite meals while watching your waistline shrink.

For best results join a Slimming World group for support, encouragement and advice. For more information, visit slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.

 

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Slimming World is the UK and Ireland’s favourite weight-loss organisation with 51 years’ experience in helping millions of slimmers lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived. More people in the UK and Ireland choose to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weightloss group.

Today, it has hundreds of thousands of members in its groups and online, and its ethos of losing weight while enjoying sustaining and mouth-watering food — along with the motivational support of other slimmers in the group — is key to its success. While some local groups aren’t able to run in person right now, they are running virtual Zoom sessions.

‘Many people are very busy with work and families, so they want to be able to look forward to something that’s straightforward and cost-effective to rustle up as well as being delicious,’ says Carolyn. 

‘Our recipes feature brilliant combinations of simple ingredients you can easily pick up at most supermarkets — some can take as little as 20 minutes to prepare. Many of our members say they’re encouraged to try more different foods because they know our recipes are so simple and reliable.

‘What’s more, simple recipes are a big hit with younger family members. Children love them because they’re not overcomplicated, which means the whole family can enjoy a meal together without sabotaging your health goals.’

So why not pick a tempting recipe from today’s suggestions? You may well have some ingredients already — and you could easily pick up the rest. 

In hardly any time you could be enjoying a filling plate of home-cooked food, secure in the knowledge that your waistline will thank you for it as well as your taste buds.

Pork kebabs with patatas bravas

Ready in 45 minutes

Serves 4

  • 750g lean pork fillet (tenderloin), all visible fat removed, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 sweet peppers (red, yellow or orange), deseeded, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 250g passata with onions and garlic

From the storecupboard: 

  • Low-calorie cooking spray

Put the pork in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tbsp paprika, ¾ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss well and thread the pork and peppers onto eight short metal skewers. Lay them on the rack of a grill pan lined with kitchen foil.

Put the potatoes into a saucepan of boiling water over a high heat, bring back to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and fry for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, turning regularly.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high. Grill the pork skewers for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through, turning them as they brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of paprika.

Put the passata and remaining paprika in a small pan over a low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste, stir through the potatoes and serve hot with the pork skewers and a salad.

Pork kebabs with patatas bravas

Pork kebabs with patatas bravas

Pork kebabs with patatas bravas

Turkey and broccoli pilaf

Ready in 35 minutes

Serves 4

  • 225g dried brown rice (see tip below)
  • 400g long-stem broccoli florets, cut into shorter pieces
  • 750g turkey breast fillets, cut into strips
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or grated
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

From the storecupboard:

  • Low-calorie cooking spray

Put the rice in a medium-size saucepan. Add 450ml boiling water and a pinch of salt, bring back to the boil and stir. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the broccoli in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

When the rice has been cooking for 20 minutes, spray a large, deep non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add the turkey and stir-fry for 5 minutes, then add the carrots and most of the lemon zest and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add broccoli, lemon juice and a little seasoning and toss together for 2-3 minutes or until everything is piping hot.

Fluff up the rice and stir it into the turkey and vegetables. Scatter over the remaining zest and serve hot.

Tip: Brown rice is a whole grain, which means it has more fibre, filling power and health benefits than white rice.

Turkey and broccoli pilaf

Turkey and broccoli pilaf

Turkey and broccoli pilaf

Sri Lankan salmon curry

Ready in 15 minutes

Serves 4

  • 4 level tbsp korma curry paste
  • 200 ml reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 250 g okra
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 skinless and boneless salmon fillets, cut into bite-size chunks

Put the curry paste and 3 tbsp water in a medium-size saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the coconut milk, okra, 200ml boiling water and a little salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salmon and simmer for 5 minutes or until the salmon and okra are just cooked through. Serve hot with boiled dried rice.

Sri Lankan salmon curry

Sri Lankan salmon curry

Sri Lankan salmon curry

Pearl barley and seafood risotto

Ready in 50 minutes

Serves 4

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced, any fronds reserved
  • 3 sweet peppers (red, orange or yellow), deseeded and cut into small chunks
  • 300g dried pearl barley
  • 300g passata with garlic and onions
  • 400g fresh or frozen and thawed mixed seafood

Bring 800ml water to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the fennel, peppers and 3 tbsp water. 

Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

Uncover the frying pan and stir in the pearl barley, passata, 200ml of the hot water and a little seasoning. 

Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Keep adding the hot water until it has all been absorbed and the pearl barley is tender, 30-35 minutes.

Add the seafood and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed, the seafood has heated through and the pearl barley is cooked. Serve hot, with any fennel fronds scattered over.

Pearl barley and seafood risotto

Pearl barley and seafood risotto

Pearl barley and seafood risotto

Cheeseburger pasta bake

Ready in 40 minutes

Serves 4

  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g dried pasta shapes, such as fusilli or spirali
  • 500g lean beef mince (5 per cent fat or less)
  • 6 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 80g reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

From the storecupboard:

  • Low-calorie cooking spray
Cheeseburger pasta bake

Cheeseburger pasta bake

Cheeseburger pasta bake

Spray a medium-size saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, but drain and return to the pan a couple of minutes before the end of the recommended cooking time.

Uncover the onions and increase the heat to high. Add the beef and fry for 5 minutes or until browned, breaking up any lumps. Drain off any liquid and season lightly.

Preheat your grill to high.

Stir the beef into the pasta. Spoon half of the mixture into a shallow baking dish, cover with half of the tomatoes and season lightly. Grill for 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle over half of the cheese and top with the remaining pasta, beef and tomatoes. Grill for 5 minutes then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and grill for 2 minutes or until golden. Serve hot with a salad.

Irish hotpot

Ready in 2 hours

Serves 4

  • 750g lean lamb leg steaks, all visible fat removed, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 600g prepared casserole veg or a pack of mixed whole casserole veg
  • 75g dried pearl barley
  • 700g floury potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

From the storecupboard:

  • Low-calorie cooking spray

Spray a non-stick casserole pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add half the lamb and fry until nicely browned, turning now and then. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining lamb.

Add the onion and 3 tbsp water to the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.

If you’re using a pack of whole casserole vegetables, peel and chop the veg. Add the casserole veg to the pan along with the lamb, 900ml boiling water and a little seasoning. Cover again and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the pearl barley, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220 C/ fan 200 C/gas 7.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat. Add the potatoes, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender but not breaking apart. Drain well.

Overlap the potato slices on top of the stew. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray, season lightly and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden. Serve hot with a mixed-leaf salad.

Irish hotpot

Irish hotpot

Irish hotpot

Butterflied chicken with hammy rice

Ready in 35 minutes

Serves 4

  • 200g dried basmati or wild rice
  • 400g sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 4 large skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 120g canned lean ham, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar

From the storecupboard:

  • Low-calorie cooking spray

Cook the rice according to the pack instructions, adding the sugar snaps for the last 2-3 minutes.

Put a chicken breast on a chopping board and rest your hand flat on top of it. Use a sharp knife to slice into the thicker edge, taking care not to cut all the way through. 

Open the chicken breast out, cover with cling film and bash it with a rolling pin to flatten slightly — you’re aiming for an even thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and season.

Place a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat. Spray the chicken with low-calorie cooking spray and fry for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the ham to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Drain the rice and sugar snaps, stir in the ham and sherry vinegar and season to taste. Divide between plates and serve with the chicken.

Butterflied chicken with hammy rice

Butterflied chicken with hammy rice

Butterflied chicken with hammy rice

Spinach frittata with smoked salmon

Ready in 20 minutes

Serves 4

  • 300g spinach
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs to serve
  • 200g smoked salmon (about 8 slices)
  • 8 tsp fat-free natural fromage frais

From the storecupboard:

  • Low-calorie cooking spray

Place a large saucepan over a high heat. Wash and drain the spinach, add a large handful to the pan and let it wilt down. 

Spinach frittata with smoked salmon

Spinach frittata with smoked salmon

Spinach frittata with smoked salmon

Keep adding handfuls like this until it has all wilted down, then cook for 1 minute, tip into a colander and press out any excess liquid. Transfer to a board and chop coarsely.

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, beat with a fork and stir in the spinach, dill, ½ tsp salt and some pepper.

Preheat your grill to high.

Spray a non-stick frying pan (about 22cm across) with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Pour in the eggs and cook for 4 minutes or until almost set. 

Slide the pan under the grill and cook for 2 minutes or until set and lightly golden. Slide on to a board and leave to cool.

Cut the frittata into eight wedges and ruffle the slices of smoked salmon on top of each wedge. Dollop 1 tsp fromage frais on to each wedge, grind over a little black pepper and top with dill sprigs to serve.

All recipes are taken from Slimming World’s Take 5, Second Helpings recipe book.

© Slimming World 2020. Slimming World recipe books are available to buy in Slimming World groups or online.

You can find your nearest group at www.slimmingworld.co.uk or by calling 0344 897 8000. 

Please contact your local Consultant to book in before your first Slimming World group and to find out how your local group is running safely in line with national and regional guidance.

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