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Category Archives: Healthy
I’ve always been a big fan of spaghetti bolognese. I think it was actually one of the first meals I learned to cook at home – and during my student times this dish was very much a weekly staple! However these days as part of my 80/20 diet, on my healthy days I try to limit my carb intake. Luckily eating clean and healthy doesn’t need to mean missing out on your favourite foods because there are many substitutes you can use in your cooking that are more low-carb. So nowadays when I cook bolognese, I just make zucchini noodles and substitute that for traditional pasta. And it is just as delicious!!
This is my healthy spaghetti bolognese recipe.
So instead of boiling wheat based pasta I get out my beloved spiral cutter to create a bowl of low carb zucchini pasta! You can read all about how I make them here; link! Not only are they a super healthy replacement, it is also very fast and low-fuss cooking. The noodles are created in less than 5 minutes and just before my bolognese sauce is ready, I pop them into the microwave for about 3 minutes to heat them up (but ensuring not to overcook them because you want to keep a nice ‘al-dente’ crunch).
Looks so much like pasta doesn’t it? Zucchini’s don’t have much flavour of their own so it makes them are a perfect vegetable pasta substitute, plus it even soaks up a bit of the flavours from the sauce you decide to add with them. So onto the recipe for my bolognese sauce;
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 250-300grams lean beef mince (I usually get extra lean mince, which is about 5% fat)
- 250grams white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until just softened. Stir in the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook for 2–3 minutes until the beef mince is browned.
- Stir in the sliced mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
- While your sauce is cooking away, you have time to create your healthy zucchini ‘spaghetti’ and right before the sauce is ready heat them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes so they are nice and warm but remain firm – no one likes soggy noodles!
- Divide your ‘pasta’ into serving bowls, top with the bolognese sauce and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you fancy it; I love the stuff!
- Serve immediately and ENJOY!
How easy was that right? This meal comes in at approximately 300 calories per bowl/serving (including the ‘pasta’) and it is super filling! Spaghetti bolognese is always a crowd pleaser and preparing it this way means you don’t have to worry about the calories or the carb guilt!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I would love to know if you gave it a go :)
As part of my 80/20 Diet I try to eat healthy most of the time, and therefore I am always trying to find great new recipes that are healthy but that also taste delicious. Now believe me, I very much like my carbs. I could never be one of those people that cuts out carbs from their diet altogether (for example I couldn’t live without my daily porridge) but I do try to limit my carbohydrate intake at dinnertime on my healthy days. Now what if I told you that you could eat as much pasta as you wanted without the carb guilt? Yes it’s true; let’s talk about Zucchini ‘Pasta’ shall we!
I was first introduced to the concept of zucchini pasta a few years ago by my good friend Tanya; a raw food guru who blogs over at Better Raw. As a raw foodie, Tanya had this amazing spiralizer machine at her house that turned zucchinis / courgettes super quickly into spaghetti! Ok so it is not really pasta but it is an amazing low carb substitute.
Over time I kept seeing zucchini noodles pop up on blogs, so I decided I needed to get myself a similar clever little gadget so I could make my own zucchini pasta. I found this great Gefu spiral cutter on Amazon (link) and for £21.69 and it has been one of the best kitchen purchases I have made in a while!
So let me tell you how to make Zucchini Pasta in no time! First up you need to wash the zucchini. Now I leave the skin on my zucchinis, as I don’t mind the green colour plus it actually contains a load of fibre and nutrients but you can peel it if you don’t want it to look green and more pasta-like. Then I simply slice off the bottom of my zucchini and place it into my spiral cutter. I twist and twist and tada beautiful thick spaghetti looking ribbons will come out (whilst simultaneously discarding the seedy core in the middle). This spiral cutter can actually be used from both ends – the stripes on the side show you which side will give you thinner or thicker noodles.
If you don’t want to invest in one of these spiral cutters you can also make zucchini pasta with a julienne peeler, a mandoline or if you want to practice your knife skills, you can even finely slice the zucchini in ribbons by hand.
Once you have your beautiful zucchini pasta (I normally use about 1 or 2 medium sized zucchinis per person) there are lots of delicious ways to enjoy them! You can have them cold and raw (as part of a crunchy salad), you can quickly stir fry them with a tiny bit of oil or you place them in a microwave safe dish and heat them for about 2 minutes until they are warm and then serve them with for example your favourite pasta sauce! Do watch the ‘spaghetti’ closely when heating because you don’t want to overcook them, they will become soggy! You want them warm but still with a nice ‘al dente’ crunch ;)
I am now hooked and absolutely love eating zucchini pasta because it is such a great way to have a healthy, filling delicious low carb lunch or dinner. Soon I will share some more recipes on how I like to eat my Zucchini Pasta!
Is Zucchini ‘Pasta’ something you’ve heard of before, or would be keen to try?
OK let’s talk diet. Now to be honest, I really despise the word diet. Dieting is horrible and no fun at all. There are so many diets out there; think no carbs and all protein, weight watchers, restricting yourself to only eat soups, counting calories, or maybe some crazy lemonade juicing detox?! You name it and most likely you or one of your friends are bound have to tried one of these at some point to lose weight.
Just like any other girl there have been times in my life where I have struggled with my weight. I either have felt unhappy about how I look or feel or was just keen to lose those few extra kilos to feel good in a bikini or try to squeeze myself back into that favourite pair of jeans! We all constantly feel the pressure to be thin and many of us of girls think (too much) about what we ‘allow’ ourselves to eat or feeling guilty for having that piece of cake.
And now that is my main problem right there; I LOVE FOOD! Eating cakes and chocolate, going out for dinners, fun nights out drinking cocktails or indulging in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when at the movies. I just wouldn’t want to imagine my life without it. And most people know you could pretty much wake me up for a perfectly warm oozing chocolate fondant any time of the night! So as a real foodie the thought of some restricting diet just doesn’t work for me.
Now I am no expert (so this is just my personal opinion and experience) but for me I have given up on diets. Diets can be soul (and body) destroying. These days my focus is all about being and staying healthy. Diets are hard because when you restrict yourself, it makes it easy to fall of the wagon. For me I have found the best way to lose weight and keep the weight off is more about a lifestyle change. A wise man (my dad) once told me you can eat ‘everything in moderation’ which pretty much explains my diet. So here it is. I don’t diet, I eat healthy….most of the time!
Because if I ate healthy all the time; my life (and me included) would be no fun. But if I treated myself to too much naughty food all the time then I’d be an unhappy fatso. So when it comes down to it, it’s all about balance! This brings me to my ‘diet’ – the 80/20 diet.
The 80/20 diet is super simple; The idea is to eat healthily for around 80% of the time and then you are feel free to eat the foods you love for the other 20% of the time!
What I try to do myself is to exercise and eat very healthily during the week and then I relax and treat myself at the weekends. But the 80/20 rule also works for me on a daily basis. Say I’m having something naughty like a greasy burger or cheesy pizza for dinner, then I’ll have a light breakfast & maybe a salad for lunch. Plus I will try to ensure I work out or go for a run the day before or the day after. It’s all a matter of balance, balance, balance!!
This way I have learned not be too hard on myself. For example when I go away for a weekend, I always want to try all the amazing foods from that country! So I treat myself and I ENJOY it (without the guilt) because I will balance it out by upping my exercise sessions and eating correctly before and after my trip! So just think; after couple of naughty days, just be good for the rest of the week. Très simples!
Victoria’s Secret model, Miranda Kerr also follows this diet saying, “I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and organic, 20% indulgent and that works for me and my body personally. I indulge occasionally and avoid counting calories.”
Being good (80%) for me looks like this;
- Fill up on lots fruits and vegetables
- Exercise at least 30min a day
- No ready-made meals
- Drink lots of water
- No starchy carbs for dinner (think pasta, rice, potatoes, white bread)
- Eat healthy fats like salmon, avocado and raw nuts
- Cutting out sugar, cakes and candy
- Breakfast & lunch include healthy foods like porridge, sushi, eggs, butternut squash, quinoa, salads and soups.
- No alcohol during the week
- Plenty of sleep
I probably don’t have to explain what being ‘bad’ (20%) looks like. You can use your own imagination here but for me it looks a little something like this….
YUM!!! See, I never want to have to give up these delicious things and with the 80/20 diet I don’t have to as long as I just remember to balance it with healthy living. I love cooking and baking so on the blog here I will continue to share my favourite recipes for naughty treats but also some healthy recipes I use on a daily basis to give you some inspiration for the 80% part! People often ask me how I stay healthy/skinny and I hope this post helps or can inspire you in some way. In the end I feel it is all about loving yourself and your body and making a lifestyle choice to be healthy and fit instead of starving yourself to be a size 0!
What a great formula to live by.
Life is too short so you may as well enjoy the ride right?
Happy Hump Day everyone :)