Making healthy changes

Chicken harissa and aubergine tagine hero

We all know the basic principles of eating a healthy diet and following our guideline daily amounts; we need to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish and pulses, and less fat, sugar and salt. However, knowing the principles and actually being able to translate that knowledge into a plate of food that is quick, easy, affordable and healthy can be quite a challenge.

A long day at work, a busy family life or a lack of passion for cooking if it’s just for one, can all make eating a healthy diet a distant dream. However, with just a little extra knowledge and few, inexpensive, cupboard ingredients, your favourite meal can be transformed into a healthier version with ease.

It’s important to remember that anyone can learn new skills at any age, so always be prepared to give a new dish or idea a go. You’ll probably surprise yourself and become the best family chef in no time!

This delicious Chicken, Couscous and Aubergine Tagineis a great way to serve chicken, with wonderful flavours and doesn’t it look exotic! The surprising thing is, this is really a fail-safe dish that will impress your household and quickly become a family favourite. If this is your first time making this dish, I suggest you have all your ingredients weighed out and ready to go before you begin, then you can easily concentrate on your timings. Give it a go – you’ll love it! This is healthy eating at its tastiest!

Try these recipes too – and take notice of how well you feel after eating a healthy meal…

A great start to the day – everyday

Take a few minutes at the weekend to make up a batch of this healthy Super Berry and Honey Granola. Once cooled and stored in an airtight container, this will last for up to 10 days. Boost your fruit intake even more by serving with a sliced up banana or peeled and segmented orange.

Hungry for Lunch?

This recipe for Roast Sausages with Squash, Red Onion and Sage shows that healthy food can still be a crowd pleaser. Reduce the number of sausages by half and increase the veg with courgettes, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, or whatever you have in the fridge.

Although sausages can contain higher salt levels, I would still consider this a healthy family meal when balanced with plenty of vegetables. It’s important to take into account what is eaten over a day or a whole week and planning a healthy family diet. So if you have, for instance, sausages which are higher in salt be sure to have a low salt dish for the following meal. This way, your balanced diet is sustainable everyday.

When looking at our recipes, there is no rule to say that you can’t add a few extras in here and there. I like to spice this dish up with a sprinkling of paprika. Watch what you add though as stock; Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce will all add to the salt levels – and because this dish contains salt in the sausages already, we want to keep any additional salt at bay. So stick to herbs, spices and lemon juice for additional flavour.

Afternoon treat

One of my best tips for developing great healthy eating habits is to get children involved from a young age. Children like to feel well. They are happiest when they have loads of energy and glowing little complexions and the best way for you to ensure their future health is by encouraging them to eat well. That’s not to say, they don’t need treats. Lets face it, we all need treats!

This Brown Banana loaf is a sumptuous afternoon treat and by getting the children involved in helping you make it – you will be encouraging their interest in healthy eating. Although this recipe contains sugar and a small amount of butter, it is also packed with goodness from the bananas and has no chemical additives. Feel free also to swap the butter for a low fat cooking margarine.

Sally Bee’s tip: You’ll need 4 ripe bananas for this recipe. If you only have one leftover ripe banana at a time, simply take it out of the skin and freeze in an airtight container. Collect them in the freezer, until you have enough!

Sally Bee book Article by Sally Bee - home cook and author of ‘Have your cake and eat it too’.

Click here to find out more about the book >

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