In recent years, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has become known for his crusade against unhealthy food in school lunches and for his efforts to promote fresh, home-cooked meals over processed fast food ones. But for his fortieth birthday, Oliver decided to take a look at his own diet and general health and give it something of an overhaul (hold the Funfetti cake).
What he found surprised him—and ultimately led to his most recent cookbook, Everyday Super Food. It's a smart eater's bible that breaks down 30 breakfasts, 30 lunches, 30 dinners, plus a bunch of delicious drinks and snacks too, all healthy, affordable, and—most importantly—easy to make. “In order to give yourself the best chance [at a long, happy life], good personal health needs to be your utmost priority," writes Oliver. "I know it’s a cliché, but I’m hoping this book will arm people with the tools to make the right choices.”
Which is not to say that he expects anyone to make the healthy choice 100 percent of the time. “Personally, I’m using this book Monday to Thursday/Friday, then hitting up Comfort Food at the weekend,” he notes.
But with his nutrient-focused takes on the classics (um, pancakes, bacon, and the chicken club), you may just find yourself coming back to these recipes come Saturday. Read on for a delicious day of easy, healthy eating, Jamie Oliver-style... —Victoria Lewis
Breakfast: Berry Pocket Eggy Bread, Pistachios, Yoghurt, Honey and Cinnamon
Healthy fact: Crunchy pistachios promote good digestion and keeping our gut happy since they contain the mineral chloride.
2 large eggs
1 small ripe banana
2 thick slices of whole-grain bread with seeds
5 oz raspberries
3/4 oz shelled pistachios
4 heaping Tbsp fat-free plain yogurt
In a blender, blitz the eggs, peeled banana, and 1 pinch each of nutmeg and cinnamon until smooth, then pour into a wide shallow bowl. Cut your bread 1 inch thick, then cut a slit into the longest side of each slice and wiggle your knife inside to make a pocket. Use your finger to stuff the raspberries inside—pack as many in as you can, but be gentle so you don’t tear the bread. Lay in the eggy mixture and gently squash the bread so it soaks up the eggs.
Meanwhile, put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-low heat with 1 teaspoon of oil, then wipe it around and out with paper towel. Pour half the excess egg mixture into one side of the pan, then place a piece of soaked bread on top to give it a lovely pancake layer. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and the other slice alongside it. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden, then confidently flip over to cook for the same amount of time. Meanwhile, smash up the pistachios in a pestle and mortar—toast them first if you like.
Serve the eggy bread dolloped with yogurt, sprinkled with pistachios and an extra pinch of cinnamon, and drizzled with a little honey.
Lunch: Portable Moroccan Jam Jar Salad
These delicious, colorful lunches will cause massive office envy. Make balanced jars by layering up carb, protein, veg, and a little dairy. Keep in the fridge and mix before serving.
1 cup cook whole wheat couscous (1/3 cup if cooking from scratch
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
2 heaping tablespoons fat-free plain yogurt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon preserved lemon, finely chopped
2 inches of sliced English cucumber
1/4 head Bibb lettuce, shredded
1/2 carrot, coarsely grated
1 blood orange, peeled and sliced
2 oz chickpeas, drained
2 sprigs of fresh mint, torn
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 oz feta cheese
pinch toasted sesame seeds
pinch chopped pistachios
pinch cumin seeds
Spoon the couscous into the base of a 1-liter jam jar. Add the pomegranate seeds. Mix the yogurt, olive oil and preserved lemon, then season to taste and spoon over the couscous. Make up the rest of your jar with the English cucumber, lettuce, carrot, blood orange, chickpeas, fresh mint and cilantro, feta cheese, toasted sesame seeds, chopped pistachios, and cumin seeds. Then, lid on.
Dinner: Spelt Spaghetti Vine Tomatoes & Baked Ricotta
Spelt spaghetti has an incredible nutty taste and is high in wheat bran fiber, or beta-glucans, which help keep cholesterol levels in check.
1/2 bunch of fresh thyme (1/2 oz)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2-1 fresh red chile
1 lb ripe mixed-color cherry
Tomatoes, on the vine
8 oz best-quality ricotta cheese
11 oz dried spelt spaghetti
4 handfuls of arugula
Optional: balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a small bowl. Run the bunch of thyme under a hot tap for 3 seconds to reawaken it, then shake dry and strip the leaves into the oil. Peel the garlic, then finely slice it with the chile and add to the bowl. Finely grate in the lemon zest, add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and mix together. Lay the cherry tomatoes in a 12 to 16-inch baking dish. Rub the flavored oil all over the ricotta and place in the center of the dish, then gently rub the remaining oil over the tomatoes. Add a splash of water to the dish, place in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes, then remove. With 10 minutes to go, cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water according to the package instructions.
Lift the ricotta out of the baking dish, then shake the tomatoes off the vines, discarding the stalks. Add half a cup of pasta water to the dish and gently shake to loosen all the sticky goodness from the base. Drain the spaghetti and toss straight into the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice, season to perfection, then break that beautiful ricotta over the top. Sprinkle over the arugula, toss together well, then serve. My missus likes this with a little drizzle of balsamic too.
Can't start your day without a glass of green juice? Jamie Oliver's got a healthy—and tasty—recipe for that, too.
(Photos: Everyday Super Food)
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