Sunday 25 September 2016

Making a plan is key to maintaining a healthy diet

As back-to-school time looms and routines fall back into place, why not try these delicious dishes from dietitian Aoife Hearne and establish some good nutritional habits for you and your family in the process?

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Pork medallions
Pork medallions
French toast
Hawaiian chicken fingers
The Plan by Aoife Hearne

From easy-to-follow recipes to preparing your food plan for the week, to recognising portion sizes, Aoife Hearne, author of The Plan, says that the key to successfully reshaping your diet is to "get the simple things right and be persistent with them".

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"My intention with this book is that you will start to think a little differently about how you eat, what you eat, when you eat and why you eat. I want to help you be successful at making better meal choices for you and your family and, in turn, to lose weight if that is your goal," she says.

The Plan (Gill Books) is out now, priced €19.99

Hawaiian-inspired chicken fingers and sweet potato wedges

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Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese style of breadcrumbs made from bread without crusts - they make these chicken fingers extra crunchy.

Serves 2

Ingredients

10g dessicated coconut

60g panko-style breadcrumbs

1tsp paprika

6tsp rapeseed oil

1 large egg

350g chicken breast, cut into 7.5cm strips

200g sweet potato, peeled

For the dipping sauce

2tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1tbsp mayonnaise

juice of ½ lime

For the side salad:

50g salad leaves

100g cherry tomatoes, halved

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Mix the sweet chilli sauce, mayonnaise and lime juice.

Spread the coconut on a baking tray and place in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Then transfer to a dish and allow to cool slightly.

When slightly cooled, add the breadcrumbs, paprika and 3 teaspoons of oil.

Beat the egg in a separate bowl. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg and then coat with the coconut mixture.

Spread 1 teaspoon of oil on a baking tray. Place the coated chicken pieces on the tray and cook for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

For the sweet potato wedges, cut potatoes into wedges, then boil in a pot of water for 10-12 minutes.

Spread 1 teaspoon of oil on a baking tray. Place the sweet potato wedges on top and drizzle over 1 teaspoon of oil. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

Serve the chicken fingers with the salad, sweet potato wedges and dipping sauce.

Feel indulgent with this 'treat' breakfast option to spice up a dull Saturday morning.

French toast

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Feel indulgent with this 'treat' breakfast option to spice up a dull Saturday morning.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 egg

25ml low-fat milk

1tsp cinnamon

½ tbsp butter

2 slices of wholemeal bread

½ tbsp honey or fruit compote (pictured)

Method

In a bowl, mix the egg, milk and cinnamon.

Melt the butter in a frying pan until softened.

Dip the bread in the egg mixture, soaking each side well.

Now place on the pan and cook on both sides until golden.

Top with honey or fruit compote.

Pork medallions with super green sauce

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I love the flavour coriander brings to this meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2tbsp capers

bunch of coriander, chopped

bunch of spring onions

3tsp olive oil

300g pork loin chops

8 tomatoes or 300g tinned chopped tomatoes

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped

300g potatoes, peeled

50ml low-fat milk

pinch of salt and pepper

Method

To make the super green sauce, combine the capers, coriander, spring onions, 1 teaspoon of oil and 1½ teaspoons of water in a food processor or hand blender.

Remove all the fat from the pork chops.

Add 2 teaspoons of oil to a pan over a medium to high heat and add the pork chops. Cover and cook on each side until cooked through.

Add the tomatoes and pepper, and cook until slightly softened.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a pot and add water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Drain the potatoes, add milk and mash. Season with salt and pepper, if liked.

Serve the pork chops with the tomatoes and peppers, drizzle with the super green sauce and finish with the mashed potatoes.

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