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The Student Summer Detox: Part Three

Published Thursday, 31 July, 2014 by Beth Bradshaw

When it comes to students, it’s safe to say most of us (including myself!) aren’t Michelin starred trained. In fact, most are limited as to what they can do in the kitchen – but you don’t have to be an outstanding chef to be able to cook up something not only delicious but nutritious too.

Hopefully the recipes in the Student Summer Detox haven’t put you out of your comfort zone in the kitchen, which proves eating healthy isn’t as difficult as you think! It’s a good idea to get yourself in the kitchen over the Summer, because before you know it it’ll be September and you’ll be cooking all of your own meals yet again – so don’t get too used to Mum making you tea every night! After reading these blogs you’ll hopefully pick up a few new and healthy ways of cooking that you can take with you back to uni in the autumn.

So this week - it’s teatime recipes! Don’t exclude yourself from your family at dinner just because you’re trying to watch what you eat, test a few of these recipes on them and get them involved with your healthy eating plan.

We often let ourselves down at dinner time if we’ve been eating on track all day we tend to indulge to reward ourselves, when really you’re just counteracting any progress you’ve made! So avoid grating that mound of cheese on top of your evening meal or slathering your salad in mayo and stay on track with these delicious and healthy dinner recipes…

Monday: Spaghetti primavera – a comforting but tasty, fresh and guilt-free meal! Use the pesto recipe featured on Part 2 of the Student Summer Detox, toss in cooked whole-wheat spaghetti (and stick to 75g portion per person – don’t guess, measure!) and mix through some steamed greens such as green beans, mange tout or peas with some grated courgette, if you like. Don’t be tempted to grate any cheese on top – remember there’s parmesan in the pesto sauce. For some protein, top your pasta primavera with flakes of tuna or slices of cooked chicken breast.

Tuesday: This salad is anything but a bore – try this beetroot spinach salad with toasted feta and poached eggs. Feta has almost half the saturated fat of cheddar, and if you toast it in the oven (200C for 5 minutes) the flavour intensifies so you can use it sparingly. Roughly chop cooked, pickled beetroot and use a range of salad leaves including spinach, rocket and watercress rather than iceberg, as they have a much greater range of nutrients and minerals. Seeing as this is a meat free dish, the spinach is very important as it provides you with iron, usually found in red meats, and is great for energy maintenance and brain function. Using an egg poacher is foolproof and you get perfectly runny poached eggs every time. Top with seeds, nuts and a low fat dressing of your choice.

Wednesday: Try this oriental, light and tasty tea of chicken avocado noodles – a real crowd pleaser which will be sure to impress your family or housemates (when in actual fact, it is deceivingly easy to make)! Just pick up a few key oriental ingredients such as dried noodles, sugar snap peas, lime, coriander, avocado, sesame seeds and soy sauce and combine with red onion, carrot and chicken breast. Make a quick dressing with soy sauce, lime zest & juice, sweet chilli sauce, coriander and sesame seeds to begin with, and set aside. Finely chop your red onion, use a vegetable peeler to create strips of carrot then prepare the avocado into chunks. Grill your chicken breast (one per person) and slice into small strips, then boil the noodles and sugar snap peas together. Simply mix the noodles with the onion, carrot, chicken and top with chunks of avocado and drizzle over the dressing – and there you have it, low in fat and totally delicious.

Thursday: Go meat free tonight with Studentrecipes' very own Mixed Bean Chilli recipe. It’s so versatile and a great vegetarian meal even the biggest carnivore will enjoy – serve with either cous cous, brown rice or a baked sweet potato. Allow yourself a little treat with either a dollop of low fat sour cream and chive dip or a small portion of your favourite low fat cheese. Replacing minced beef with mixed beans is not only a healthy swap but an economical swap too as tinned beans cost a fraction of the price of mince.

Friday: Now it’s the time for meat! A Friday night treat of steak and chips. Yep – that’s right, steak and chips. Who said steak was a no-go in healthy eating? Nobody! If treated and cooked correctly, steak can actually feature in your healthy eating plan on a regular basis. Red meat is an important food in our diet as it provides us with a great source of iron (like spinach), which is very important in preventing anaemia found in many weight conscious teenage girls. Whilst some eat too much red meat, others avoid it as they believe it to be an unhealthy choice! Simply trim off the outer visible fat on your steak and grill rather than frying in butter and serve with these low fat homemade chips and a mixed salad. Enjoy!

Saturday: A tried and tested delight in our household – grilled salmon fillet with cherry tomato lemon cous cous and green beans. Truly delicious and so easy to make. It’s very important to get at least one portion of fish into your weekly diet, especially the oily types such as salmon, sardines and mackerel as they are bursting with Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids – to you and me – good fat! Yes, there is such a thing as “good” fat, and it’s very important in our diet in lowering bad fats, keeping our joints nice and strong and fighting depression. Very quickly sear your salmon on a grill pan, a few minutes on each side, quickly steam your green beans and serve with lemon cous cous (Ainsley Harriott has a great range of flavoured cous cous) – I like to chop a few cherry tomatoes into it and more lemon zest for a real flavour boost.

Sunday: A healthy twist on a Sunday chicken roast – spring chicken stew. This summery recipe is a real homely treat on a Sunday afternoon that all the family will enjoy for sure. Simply fry four trimmed smoked bacon rashers until golden and crispy, then add two finely chopped leeks, one crushed garlic clove and two diced celery sticks and cook together for 10 minutes. Then add 4-6 skinless chicken thighs to the pan and toss all the bacon and vegetables on top of the chicken whilst it cooks. Allow the chicken to brown for 10 minutes, then add 500ml chicken/veg stock, season with pepper and dried thyme, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Check the chicken is thoroughly cooked, throw in a cup of peas, juice and zest of one lemon and finely chopped little gem lettuce and serve straight away with rice, quiona or barley.

Tried any of these recipes? Let me know what you think below in the comments or upload some recipes of your own to the Studentrecipes growing archive!

Next week, the Student Summer Detox comes to an end with guilt-free treats and snacks – stay tuned!

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