W e all have great intentions when it comes to healthy eating, but time-consuming recipes just aren’t going to happen when we’re juggling a million things. That’s where Annie Bell’s new recipe book, Low Carb Express (Kyle Books, £16.99) comes in. All of the recipes take no more than 30 minutes to prepare, with many taking much less than this. After her first book Low Carb Revolution (published 2014, Kyle Books, £16.99), Bell did a masters in human nutrition to increase her understanding of the way our bodies tick when it comes to food, and she’s convinced that a Mediterranean-style diet that’s low in starchy carbs is the answer for helping you stay trim and healthy. So how do you go about it? ‘By bumping up your protein intake; eating fats and some carbs, with the emphasis on non-starchy fresh vegetables; and avoiding processed foods and added sugars,’ says Bell.
So it’s out with the starchy carbs (think refined grains such as pasta, white bread and rice), and in with non-starchy carbs such as green veg, aubergines, mushrooms and celeriac. Eat betterquality wholegrains (try quinoa, buckwheat, spelt and the like) in smaller amounts with more fresh vegetables. ‘Replacing starchy carbs with veg allows us to eat a much larger volume of food, as well as consuming more dietary fibre (and vitamins and minerals) that helps to lower the energy density of the food in question,’ says Bell. ‘In short, you can eat more. You can also eat plenty of protein, which reduces your appetite and uses lots of energy to digest it.
Think fish, eggs, dairy, legumes and nuts and seaweeds.’ And you don’t have to ditch all fat, either. ‘Fats help keep us feeling full for longer by stimulating the production of the hormone cholecystokinin, which inclines us to stop eating,’ she says. So while you should avoid too many ‘bad’ fats, eating some high-quality fats (found in oily fish such as salmon, avocados, nuts, olive and rapeseed oil and dairy) is encouraged. Thanks to recipes such as Red pepper, feta and olive fake-accia, made with ground linseeds, almonds and soya flour and Miso noodles with prawns and choi sum, we challenge you to feel carb deprived!
ROAST ASPARAGUS AND RED ONION WITH FARRO
Serves: 4 Per serving: 186 calories, 15.4g carbohydrate (6.2g sugar), 5.6g protein, 10.5g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 0.2g salt 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed to a paste Approx 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 350-400g fine asparagus, ends trimmed and halved Sea salt, black pepper 2 red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced across 50g farro 1 tbsp small (non-pareil) capers, rinsed Handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley Chia seeds, for scattering (optional) Lemon wedges, to serve Pre-heat the oven to 190°C fan/210°C electric/gas mark 6.5.
Try these speedy recipes to help you keep your weight in check, and gain more nutrients while you’re at it Photo Gallery
Combine the lemon juice and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the asparagus and toss to coat, then season well and spread over the base of a large roasting pan. Spread the onion over a baking sheet, separating out the slices, drizzle over a little oil and toss to coat them. Roast the asparagus for about 20 minutes until lightly golden, and roast the onion for 25 minutes, stirring it around halfway through to ensure it caramelises evenly. Meanwhile, bring a medium pan of salted water to the boil and cook the farro for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain into a sieve. Stir the farro and onion into the asparagus, then mix in the capers and taste for seasoning. Transfer to a serving dish and eat hot or at room temperature, stirring in the parsley at the last minute, and scattering with chia seeds, if wished. Accompany with lemon wedges.
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