While we love the roast potatoes and mince pies of December, it can leave you feeling a bit sluggish – so eating the rainbow is a sure-fire way to get your energy back in January.
By no means do you have to restrict your food or stop eating the things you love though. Instead, you could use the new year as an opportunity to expand your healthy food repertoire, try some new recipes, and hopefully start reaping all the benefits that come with it.
And there are plenty of new cookbooks to help kickstart your healthy eating journey. You might find they have other benefits too, such as saving money, making your skin glow, and even helping the environment…
1. Bored Of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker Book by Nathan Anthony
There’s a bit of a barrier to entry for this book, as all recipes need a slow cooker. However, if you have one, you’re in for a treat – because all the recipes are healthy, delicious and could even save you some pennies.
Red lentil dhal
380g dried red lentils
250ml cold water
400ml tin of reduced-fat coconut milk
Handful of cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2.5cm fresh ginger, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
1tsp ground turmeric
1tsp chilli flakes
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp curry powder
1tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh coriander and chopped
Spring onions, to garnish
1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, stir and season to taste. Cook on low for five to six hours, then stir and garnish with fresh coriander and chopped spring onions.
Bored Of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker Book by Nathan Anthony is published by Ebury Press.
2. Happy Skin Kitchen by Elisa Rossi
If you’re the kind of person who always wears sunscreen and has a multi-step skincare routine, this is definitely the book for you. It focuses on a particular type of health: skin health. After all, our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and what we eat and drink is just as important – if not more so – than the lotions and potions we put on it.
Red pesto traybake veg salad
1 courgette, sliced
1 small aubergine, cut into small cubes
1 red onion, cut into wedges
½tsp smoked paprika
½tbsp dried oregano a drizzle of olive oil
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
150g cherry tomatoes, whole
60g pitted olives, sliced
2tbsp small capers
10g fresh basil, roughly chopped
10g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
40g rocket, to serve
For the red pesto:
1 large pointed red pepper (about 170g), whole
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing
1 garlic clove
1tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp nutritional yeast
3 sundried tomatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
2. Put the courgette, aubergine and red onion on a large baking tray. Make sure there is plenty of space, as you will need to add the chickpeas and tomatoes later. Sprinkle over the smoked paprika, dried oregano and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and drizzle everything generously with olive oil. Put the pointed red pepper on a separate tray. Brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Put both trays into the oven. Roast the pointed pepper for 25 minutes, until soft and squishy. Roast the veggies for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and add the drained chickpeas and cherry tomatoes to the tray. Toss them around so they get evenly coated, and add a little bit more olive oil and salt if needed. Put the tray back into the oven for the final 10 minutes.
4. To make the pesto, remove the stalk, seeds and skin from the roasted pepper. Put the flesh into a food processor with the rest of the pesto ingredients and blitz everything together until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the olives, capers, basil and parsley to the tray of roasted veg. Gently mix everything together.
6. To assemble your salad, arrange the rocket on a large serving dish, then add the roasted veg and chickpea mix. Drizzle over the pesto and mix everything together before serving.
Happy Skin Kitchen by Elisa Rossi is published by Thorsons.
3. Healthier Planet, Healthier You by Annie Bell
If you’re hoping to adopt a healthier diet this year, why not try and do good for the environment at the same time? Healthier Planet, Healthier You – by veteran food writer and nutritionist Annie Bell, who has authored 20 cookbooks – is all about how you can adopt the planetary health diet.
Healthier planet burgers
For the burgers:
300g lean minced beef
300g cooked green lentils
2 heaped tbsp finely chopped shallots
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
½ red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
8 cocktail gherkins, sliced
4 wholemeal burger buns, halved
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
For the mustard mayo:
40g soured cream
1tsp Dijon mustard
1. Place the beef, lentils, shallots and some seasoning in a food processor and whizz to a sticky mixture, so some of the lentils remain whole. Shape the mixture into eight burgers using a nine-centimetre plain round cutter. If you want you can make them in advance, then cover and chill them.
2. Heat two teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the burgers, in batches, for two minutes on each side until an even gold, replenishing the oil as necessary. They burn more easily than a pure meat burger, so keep an eye.
3. Combine the sliced onion and gherkins.
4. If serving the burgers with buns, toast the cut side of the buns under a grill, preheated to high. Place a burger on each bun half, smear some mustard over and then plenty of tomato ketchup, or the Mustard mayo (below). Next lay over a slice of tomato and season, then scatter over some sliced onion and gherkin.
5. For the mustard mayo: Blend all the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and chill until required. This will keep well for several days.
Healthier Planet, Healthier You by Annie Bell is published by One Boat.