On a cold winter’s evening, nothing is guaranteed to win over the whole family more than a steaming dish of spicy chicken and chickpeas, or aromatic spinach and paneer curry.
Even better, these tempting suppers are less than 400 calories a serving, which means they can help you to achieve your weight-loss and health goals.
In Saturday’s Weekend magazine and all this week, we have given you a toolkit based on my new Fast 800 Health Journal, with recipes to help you break unhealthy eating patterns, lose weight successfully and keep it off.
But we realise how important it is to have something tasty and sustaining to look forward to after a long day. That’s why, today, we’re focusing on delicious supper suggestions — which include non-curry recipes too — that won’t take forever to make.
Sitting down to a meal as a family can help everyone to handle the stresses of daily life by talking over recent events or simply enjoy each other’s company (file picture)
What you eat is important, but how and when you sit down for the final meal of the day can have a big impact on how easily you lose weight and on your general health, too.
We’ve already seen how valuable it is to leave gaps between meals and avoid snacking wherever possible.
But it’s also vital not to eat late at night. This is because the longer you leave your overnight fast, the better it is for your weight loss and health.
Pioneering scientific research by Dr Satchin Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, in the U.S., has shown that extending your overnight fast to ten to 12 hours not only encourages your body to burn fat more efficiently but also helps it to start ‘spring cleaning’ and repairing damaged cells.
This led Dr Panda to develop the Time Restricted Eating (TRE) regime, which we’ve been advising you to try this week.
Start by trying to confine eating to a 12-hour daily window. This means that if you have breakfast at 8am, you’ll need to be eating your dinner at 8pm.
What you eat is important, but how and when you sit down for the final meal of the day can have a big impact on how easily you lose weight and on your general health, writes Michael Mosley (file picture)
You can drink plenty of water or herbal tea after this, but nothing else until morning.
Record how long you go without food in your Health Journal — there’s a weekly weight log to fill in overleaf. Making your healthy eating habits a natural part of family life will also help you to achieve your weight-loss and health goals.
There’s no need to isolate yourself on the Fast 800 diet — as our delicious recipes, based on a wholesome Mediterranean-style diet rich in protein, vegetables, whole grains, good-quality fats and legumes, will be satisfying for the whole family.
You can adapt them by adding extra portions for hungry teens or partners who do not want — or need — to lose weight.
Sitting down to a meal as a family can help everyone to handle the stresses of daily life by talking over recent events or simply enjoy each other’s company.
Family meals also promote mindful eating — and more sensible eating habits — which can help with weight loss and control. And after you’ve all enjoyed a healthy supper together, there will be more hands to help with the washing up.
For more support, visit thefast800.com. Instagram: #drclarebailey
See Monday’s pullout or go online at dailymail.co.uk for a guide to how the Fast 800 and new 5:2 diets work.
STIR-FRY TUNA WITH HOISIN SAUCE
This quick tuna dish is the perfect meal to make after a busy day. Packs of ready prepared stir-fry vegetables save time and are readily available. Or make your own combination with any fresh crispy vegetables. And don’t worry about the minor variations in the calorie count of the stir-fried veg, just enjoy it!
Use any firm fish for this easy dish; salmon and cod work well. Prawns can be used, as can thin strips of chicken breast
1 x 110g fresh tuna steak, cut into 3cm chunks
1 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
1 x 300-350g pack stir-fry vegetables
2 tbsp ready made hoisin sauce
Pinch crushed dried chilli flakes (optional)
Season the tuna chunks with sea salt and ground black pepper.
This quick tuna dish is the perfect meal to make after a busy day. Calories per serving 328
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over a high heat and stir-fry the tuna and vegetables for 3-4 minutes, or according to the pack instructions, and the tuna is lightly browned.
Drizzle over the hoisin sauce and toss with the fish and vegetables for 20-30 seconds more.
Sprinkle with the chilli flakes, if using, and serve immediately.
NON-FAST DAYS: Serve with a small portion of wholewheat noodles or brown rice. You could also add a few tablespoons of defrosted edamame beans with the vegetables.
LAMB CHOPS WITH CRUSHED, MINTED PEAS AND FETA
A quick, easy and wonderfully satisfying supper. Serve with a leafy salad or a generous portion of wilted spinach (which tastes even better with a teaspoon of olive oil or butter — add 40cals).
2 thick lamb loin chops (each around 175g) or 4 lamb cutlets
1 tsp olive oil
Peas are high in protein, low GI and a good source of fibre
For the crushed minted peas and feta
200g frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil
15g pine nuts, toasted
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
10g fresh mint, leaves finely chopped
Rub the lamb with the oil and season on both sides with sea salt and ground black pepper. Heat a griddle, barbecue or frying pan to a medium-high heat and cook the chops for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, or until done to taste. Turn on to the fat side for 30 seconds at the end.
Meanwhile, to make the minted peas, third fill a pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the peas then return to the pan and mash lightly. Add the olive oil, pine nuts and chilli, sprinkle with the mint and crumble the feta on top. Season with lots of ground black pepper and toss lightly.
Divide the lamb chops and crushed peas between two plates and serve.
NON-FAST DAYS: Add 2-3 tablespoons of cooked quinoa or pearl barley.
Lamb chops with crushed, minted peas and feta. Calories per serving 542
SPINACH & PANEER CURRY
CURRY 3 WAYS
The three quick and easy curries here are based on the richly flavoured paste below, suggested by my colleague Parmi whose mother would make it every day.
It’s far tastier than shop- bought and has fewer calories.
1 batch basic curry paste
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 generous handfuls young
spinach leaves (about 75g)
100g paneer cheese, cut into
Place the curry paste and tomatoes in a large nonstick frying pan and bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 200ml water, then the spinach, a handful at a time, and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Now add the cheese and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until piping hot.
Spinach and paneer curry. Calories per serving 325
BASIC CURRY PASTE
Makes 3 batches
4 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
5 tsp curry powder (hot, medium or mild, to taste)
25g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves (about 10g), peeled and finely chopped
20g fresh coriander, chopped
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the onions, cover with a lid and fry gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the curry powder and cook for a few seconds more. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1 tablespoon water halfway through the cooking time, and another if the spices begin to stick.
Stir in the coriander and a further 3-4 tablespoons water to loosen and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until softened, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Use a stick blender, or cool for a few minutes and transfer to a food processor, and blitz into a paste. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Divide into 3 batches (each will serve 2 people) and use immediately, or cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for one month.