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.
Basic curry paste
RED LENTIL DHAL
80g dried red split lentils
1 batch curry paste (left)
1 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
Fresh coriander leaves to serve (optional)
Place the lentils, curry paste and 400ml water in a medium non-stick saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft, stirring occasionally.
Add a splash more water, if needed. The dhal should be very soft and not too thick.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion until pale golden, turning frequently. Set aside.
When you are ready to serve, spoon the onion rings on top of the dhal and scatter with the coriander leaves, if using.
Red lentil dhal. Calories per serving 302
CHICKEN & CHICKPEA CURRY
1 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 450g), trimmed and quartered
1 batch curry paste (left)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 210g can chickpeas in water
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes, or until lightly coloured.
Stir in the curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, half fill the can with water and pour this into the pan as well. Add chickpeas without draining them and bring to a simmer. Cover loosely with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add a little extra water if needed and season well.
COOK’S TIP: You can serve the curry with cauli-rice. Coarsely grate or blitz 200g cauliflower in a food processor. Cover and cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until tender. Or spread over a baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes, 200c/180c fan/gas 6.
NON-FAST DAY: Serve with a drizzle of full-fat live Greek yoghurt or raita and include 2-3 tbsp brown or wild rice.
Chicken and chickpea curry. Calories per serving 313
ROASTED VEGETABLE PASTA WITH MOZZARELLA
A comforting, rich dish that’s a doddle to prepare. It is best cooked with bean, pea or lentil pasta, which is higher in protein and fibre.
2 peppers (any colour), deseeded and cut into roughly 2cm chunks
1 medium courgette, trimmed, quartered lengthways and cut into roughly 2cm chunks
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp crushed dried chilli flakes (to taste)
50g dried bean, pea, lentil or wholewheat penne pasta
50g young spinach leaves
125g mozzarella pearls (mini balls), drained and halved
Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Place the peppers, courgette and onion on a large baking tray. Drizzle with the oil, season with sea salt and lots of ground black pepper and toss together. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn all the vegetables.
Roasted vegetable pasta with mozzarella . Calories per serving 460
Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with the chilli flakes. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and stir. Return to the boil and cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return to the pan.
Add the spinach, roasted vegetables and mozzarella pearls to the pan, toss everything together and season with more ground black pepper. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring until the mozzarella begins to melt and the spinach wilts.
COOK’S TIP: To reduce the sugars released when eating a starchy food like pasta by up to 50 per cent, try the cook-cool-cook method. Cook your pasta, rice or potatoes as you would normally. Then cool them, ideally for 12 hours, in the fridge. When you heat them up fully again, you convert some of the simple starch into non-digestible resistant starch.
NON-FAST DAYS: Sprinkle 25g lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts over the pasta and serve with grated Parmesan and a mixed salad.
CHOCOLATE AND BEETROOT BROWNIES
Challenge your family to identify the main ingredient in these delicious treats. We bet they will never guess!
100g coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
275g cooked beetroot, drained and cut into small chunks
3 large eggs
60g cocoa powder
100g soft, pitted dates
100g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g plain dark chocolate (around 85% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm loose-based square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
Chocolate and beetroot brownies. Calories per serving 128
Place the beetroot, eggs, cocoa, dates and oil in a food processor and blend until well combined.
Add the flour, cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt and the bicarbonate of soda and blend until combined. Add extra water to loosen the mixture, if needed. Stir in the chocolate, then spoon into the tin, spreading to the sides. Bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and just firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cut into squares to serve.
COOK’S TIP: If you use ready-cooked beetroot from the supermarket, make sure it doesn’t contain vinegar or spices. Otherwise, you can cook them yourself – wash, place in a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until tender, then peel. Freeze leftover brownies, wrapped in foil.
NON-FAST DAYS: For crunch and extra protein, add 150g chopped pecans with the chocolate. Serve with berries and a dollop of full-fat yoghurt.
CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
1 tbsp coconut oil
A scrumptious chocolate indulgence, ready to enjoy in about 5 minutes
4 soft pitted dates (about 30g), finely chopped
1 medium egg, beaten well
25g ground almonds
7g cocoa powder (about 1 tbsp)
¼ tsp baking powder
1 square (about 5g) plain dark chocolate (about 85% cocoa solids)
Handful fresh raspberries, to serve
Microwave-proof mug (300ml capacity)
Chocolate mug cake. Calories per serving 216
Try this for instant gooey-centred chocolate indulgence.
Place the oil in the mug and melt in the microwave on high for a few seconds.
Do not allow to overheat.
Add the dates, egg, almonds, cocoa powder, baking powder and a small pinch of flaked sea salt to the mug and, using a fork, mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Add an extra 1-2 teaspoons water to loosen the mixture, if needed.
Press the square of chocolate vertically into the top of the cake batter until it is submerged, and microwave on high for about one minute, or until the cake is risen, firm and just beginning to shrink from the sides of the mug.
Holding the hot mug carefully, turn the cake out onto a plate and cut in half to reveal the melted chocolate within its centre.
NON-FAST DAYS: Serve with a dollop of full-fat live Greek yoghurt. Divide the cake between two plates and serve each half with a handful of fresh raspberries.
STRAWBERRY AND VANILLA YOGHURT
A super-easy yoghurt treat that makes a great dessert or breakfast. Strawberries have a natural sweetness but are surprisingly low in sugars.
250g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
300g full-fat live Greek yoghurt
½ tsp vanilla extract
Place the strawberries in a mixing bowl and mash to crush the berries and release their juices.
Mix the yoghurt and vanilla in a separate bowl, then lightly fold in the strawberries.
Divide between small dishes or glasses and keep chilled.
COOK’S TIP: You can use frozen strawberries or mixed berries for this recipe, just make sure they are well thawed and drained before you mash them.
NON-FAST DAYS: Enjoy with an extra portion of strawberries.
Strawberry and vanilla yoghurt. Calories per serving 123
For more nutritious, low-sugar Mediterranean-formula shakes, visit: thefast800.com.
The Fast 800 Recipe Book: Low-carb, Mediterranean-style Recipes For Intermittent Fasting And Long-term Health, by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison, published by Short Books, £16.99.
The Fast 800 Health Journal by Dr Clare Bailey, published by Short Books, £9.99.
Recipes by Dr Clare Bailey
Photography: Smith & Gilmour.
Food styling: Phil Mundy