Health Check

Ham & egg breakfast muffins

Scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl and mash roughly. Stir through the chives and lemon juice, then add Tabasco and ground black pepper to taste. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and set it over a medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the hot pan and fry for 2–3 min until they’re cooked to your liking. Meanwhile, toast the muffins until golden. Spread the avocado mixture over the bottom halves of the muffins, then top each with ham and an egg. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, replace the muffin tops and serve. Nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam says: This high-protein muffin will help keep you feeling full throughout the morning. Eggs are particularly good at filling us up, as well as being rich in nutrients, providing B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D and omega-3. Although avocados are quite high in fat, about 80% of this is unsaturated, which is better for your heart health. They also contain vitamins B6 and E, potassium and copper. Smoked ham is salty, but using chives and lemon juice for a flavour boost means you won’t need to add any extra salt. How our recipe compares with a Sausage & Egg McMuffin: 430kcal 24g fat 8.5g saturates 1.9g salt

Pumpkin & bean soup with orange gremolata

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 min or until soft. Add the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, stock and nutmeg and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 min or until the veg are very tender. Add the beans and stir well, then blend the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. While the soup is simmering, heat the grill to high and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the bread on the tray and grill for 1–2 min on each side. Scatter one side with both cheeses and grill until the cheese melts and bubbles. Toss all the gremolata ingredients together in a small bowl. Divide the pumpkin soup among 4 bowls, scatter with the gremolata and serve with the cheese toasts. TO FREEZE Make the recipe up to the end of step 2, cool and freeze. When ready to serve, thaw and reheat until piping hot. Finish the recipe from step 3.

Swap bread for six low-carb sandwich ideas

Fancy a change from the usual bread sandwiches? Try our six low-carb alternatives With a few swaps, you can get the best of both worlds: a hand-held eating vessel that’s also a low-carb bread alternative. The best thing about sandwiches is they create a base for a variety of fillings and, unlike a salad, you get a taste of all the ingredients in every single bite. Whether you prefer a classic sandwich, a wrap or an open-faced sandwich, we’ve got a low-carb bread swap to match. They’re lower in carbs and calories and can help boost your five-a-day. The calorie count for 2 slices of white bread is 170kcal; for 2 slices of wholemeal bread it’s 156kcal. Check out the calorie count for these substitutes in the recipe suggestions below. Portobello bun Most closely related to the hamburger bun, the portobello bun works wonderfully for burgers because of the mushroom’s rounded shape and slightly hollowed center. Simply grill the mushroom caps until they’ve reached your preferred tenderness and serve with a minced chicken burger. Per 2 Portobello mushrooms (grilled): 21kcal portabella-mushroom-caprese-burgers Rice paper wrap Rice paper is super simple to prepare. Most brands just require a quick soak in warm water and – voilà– you have a moist, pliable rice wrapper. It’s perfect for wrapping around fresh herbs – think mint, basil and coriander – and crunchy vegetables such as carrot and cucumber. Dip them in a peanut sauce or another sauce that works well with your filling. Per 1 sheet (small): 20kal; (medium) 30-40kcal mang-thai-surprise-wrap Cucumber wrap Use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumber thinly lengthwise. Place your favourite filling inside, roll it up and secure with a toothpick. The good thing about using cucumber as a wrap is that it doesn’t have a strong taste so you can be inventive with your fillings without worrying about clashing flavours. Per 1 cucumber strip: about 2kcal cucumberfetarolls Bell pepper boats Served raw or slightly charred, bell pepper boats are a wonderful base for open-faced sandwiches. The pepper adds a bright burst of flavour and its meaty texture can stand up to heavier fillings like chicken salad. Per 1/2 red pepper (no oil): 26kcal peppers Aubergine roll ups Perhaps the meatiest of the bunch, aubergine rolls are wonderful grilled, sliced and topped with goat’s cheese and olive tapenade. Since aubergines are so filling they’re perfect served as a meat-free Monday supper. Per 1 aubergine strip (no oil): about 3kcal marinated-feta-yogurt-and-aubergine-rolls-470x540 Leafy wraps And last but not least, the mother of all vegetable wraps: the lettuce wrap. Lettuce wraps are, perhaps, the most versatile of them all but do consider branching out to different leaves (pun intended). Think kale, cabbage or chard for extra nutritious wraps. Per 1 lettuce leaf: about 3kcal 108011_duigan-lettuce

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Bean & feta salad

Put all the salad ingredients, except the feta, in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Make a dressing by whisking together the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, then pour over the salad and toss to coat. Serve the salad topped with the feta.

Vegetable spaghetti

Cook the pasta in a large pan of water according to the pack instructions. Drain, then return to the pan. Meanwhile, spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and set over a medium heat. Stir-fry the peppers for a few min until browned. Add the tomatoes, peas and broccoli and simmer for 5 min. Add the vegetable mixture to the pasta with the lemon zest, rocket and cheese and mix. Season with ground black pepper, then serve in 4 bowls.

Cheesy peppers

Preheat the grill to low. Arrange the pepper halves on a large baking sheet and cook for 10 min or until they soften. (You may need to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of the grill.) Put a tomato half and a mozzarella cube inside each pepper half, then return to the grill and cook for another 5 min or until the cheese melts. Season with ground black pepper and garnish with basil leaves to serve.

Chunky chicken & avocado salad

Put the potatoes in a large pan, cover with water and boil for 12–15 min until tender. Drain, allow to cool slightly, then cut in half. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with a little oil and set over a high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3–4 min until cooked. Remove from the heat and keep warm. In a large bowl, gently mix together the sweetcorn, rocket, avocado, spring onions, tomatoes, parmesan and halved potatoes. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jug. Divide the salad among 4 serving bowls, then top with the chicken and drizzle over the dressing. Season with ground black pepper, if you like, then serve.

Berry nut chia muffins

Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases. Sift the flours, baking powder and bicarb of soda into a large bowl. Add the oats and chia seeds. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, date syrup, orange juice and vanilla extract until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the berries and all but 1tbsp of the almonds. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases. Mix the extra oats and reserved almonds and spoon on top of each muffin. Bake for 25–30 min until springy to the touch, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container and eat within 2 days, or freeze.

Lemon prawns with spinach rice

Pat the prawns dry, then put in a bowl and toss with the oil, lemon zest and garlic. Cook the spinach and rice according to the pack instructions. Drain the spinach, then fold into the rice with the cumin in a mixing bowl. Meanwhile, put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the prawns, in two batches, for 2–3 min, turning occasionally. Return all the prawns to the pan, then add the lemon juice and sugar and heat for 1 min, stirring. Divide the rice and spinach among 4 serving plates, then put the prawns on top. Pour over the pan juices, then serve with the steamed veg, garnished with the extra lemon zest.

Banana & honey cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan 130ºC/gas 2. Lightly grease a 24cm loose-bottomed round tin and line the base with baking paper. To make the base, combine the melted spread and the biscuits in a mixing bowl, then spoon into the prepared tin, pressing down into the base. Set aside. Put all the remaining ingredients, except those for the topping, into a food processor and whiz until smooth. Pour the mixture overthe biscuit base, then bake for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min until golden around the edge.Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for a further 2 hr to allow it to firm. Remove the cheesecake from the tin, transfer to a plate and cool completely in the fridge. To serve, spoon the yogurt over the chilled cheesecake, then slice.Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with lemon zest and cinnamon, and decorate with the mint and lemon.

Herb-crusted fish with new potatoes

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Steam the potatoes for a few min or until tender. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the herbs and capers in a shallow bowl. Add the fish fillets and coat on both sides with the herb mixture. Spray a large frying pan with a little oil and set over a high heat. Add the fish and cook for 1–2 min on each side until golden. Transfer to the prepared baking tray, then bake in the oven for 5 min or until cooked through. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli and beans until tender-crisp. Transfer to a mixing bowl with the almonds, olive oil and lemon zest and juice, then toss. Serve the cooked fish with the new potatoes and vegetables.

Lemon fishcakes

Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Boil the potatoes for 10–12 min until tender. Drain, mash and cool. Meanwhile, put the fish in a large pan, cover with boiling water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover and leave for 5 min. Lift the fish out of the cooking water, then flake into a bowl, discarding any bones. Add the cooled mashed potato to the fish, then mix in the lemon zest and juice, spring onions, parmesan and 1 of the beaten eggs. Divide the mixture evenly into 8, then form into fishcakes. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season with pepper. Put the remaining egg in another shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs in another. Dip each fishcake into the flour mixture, shake off the excess, then dip it into the egg, then the breadcrumbs and press to coat. Put on the baking tray. Lightly spray the fishcakes with oil, then bake for 20 min or until crisp and golden. Meanwhile, toss together the cucumber, dill and onion in a bowl. Combine the oil and vinegar in a salad bowl, then add the mixed leaves and toss. Serve 2 fishcakes per person, with the cucumber salad, dressed leaves and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Grilled chicken salad with ginger dressing

Put the dressing ingredients, including the coriander stalks, in a small saucepan with 4tbsp water and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. Pour half the dressing into a small sterilised jar and put in the fridge. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and pour over the remaining dressing. Cover, then put in the fridge to marinate for 20 min or until ready to cook. Heat the grill to medium. Cook the chicken for 2–3 min on each side until cooked through. Transfer to a clean chopping board and keep warm. Meanwhile, toss the spring onions, courgettes and peppers in a mixing bowl with the sunflower oil. Grill the veg for 5–7 min, turning, until tender. Thinly slice the chicken, then toss with the spinach, tomatoes, chilli, coriander leaves, the grilled veg and the reserved dressing. Serve with the bread rolls.

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Chicken & mushroom rigatoni

Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. Meanwhile, spray a large non-stick frying pan with a little oil and heat on medium-high. Cook the mushrooms for 5 min or until golden and the liquid evaporates. Drain the pasta and season with ground black pepper, then toss with the mushrooms and the remaining ingredients. Serve sprinkled with more ground black pepper.

Mustard salmon with vegetable pilaf

Line a baking tray with foil and spray with oil. Put the salmon in the tray, then spread over the mustard and drizzle with the lemon juice. Cover and put in the fridge for 10 min to marinate. Heat the grill to medium. Put the rice in a large non-stick frying pan, then pour over the hot stock and bring to the boil. Stir well, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 min or until the rice is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed. Stir through the sweetcorn, peas, spinach and dates, then cover again and cook for a further 5–6 min until piping hot. Season with ground black pepper. Meanwhile, cook the marinated salmon under the hot grill for 12 min or until cooked through. Divide the grilled mustard salmon fillets and the vegetable pilaf among 4 plates, then sprinkle with chopped parsley

Halloumi bruschettas

Heat a griddle pan to high. Spray a little oil on both sides of the veg and cook, in batches, for 2–3 min on each side until charred. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Spray the halloumi all over with oil, then add to the pan and cook for 1 min on each side or until charred and soft. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Spray the bread on both sides with oil and toast in the pan for 1–2 min on each side until crisp. Transfer to a board, rub one side of each slice with the garlic, then spoon over the tomatoes. Top with the grilled vegetables and halloumi, scatter over the basil and season with ground black pepper. Serve straightaway

Salmon & spinach frittata

Preheat the grill. Spray a large ovenproof frying pan with a little oil and set on the hob over a low heat. Add the leek, pepper and potatoes and cook, covered, for 5–8 min until soft. Add the spinach and stir to wilt. Lightly whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl. Add the dill, feta and salmon. Season with black pepper, then pour the mixture over the veg. Cook over a medium heat for 5 min or until nearly set. Put the frying pan under the grill for a few min or until the frittata is golden on top and fully set. Cool for 5 min, then cut into wedges. Serve with the salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumber, garnished with extra dill.

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