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Pack as much goodness in as possible

For most of us, the festive period is a rite of passage to stuff our faces. The result: that gross, ashamed feeling, more commonly known as food guilt.

Now maybe you didn’t go too crazy on the sweet treats over Christmas which is great – gold star for your incredible self-discipline. But the sad truth is that the majority of us have started the New Year feeling a little heavier and we feel guilty about it.

Let’s not beat ourselves up about it though. It’s OK to indulge now and again, especially at this time of year.

The best – and most bearable – cure for food guilt is to ease ourselves back into healthy eating habits.

Don’t go cold turkey (that’s not a Christmas pun – I promise) and live on leaves for the next few months. Instead, bulk up your salads with other tasty veggies, plenty of protein and nutritious carbs.

Try these three hunger-killing salads to beat your food guilt and get your diet back on track.

GRILLED CHICKEN PESTO SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon green pesto
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups cos lettuce
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your grill to a high heat. In a bowl mix together the olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper to cover the chicken before popping it on the grill for 10 minutes each side. With a few minutes to go, add the pine nuts to the grill on a foiled baking tray so they brown up.

For the dressing, mix together the pesto and lemon juice in a ramekin. Combine the tomatoes, spinach and rocket before pouring over the dressing and tossing through the salad.

Cut your grilled chicken into strips and add to the salad along with the toasted pine nuts. Toss through once more before serving up with a sprinkle of parmesan.

ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND COUSCOUS SALAD (V)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • I brown onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup wholemeal couscous (pre-cooked)
  • 1 cup leafy salad
  • 1/2 cup chick peas
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Combine the olive oil, cumin and coriander in a medium-sized bowl. When fully mixed, add the cubed sweet potato, toss through and place on a non-stick baking tray. Bake the sweet potato for 45 minutes.

Next add the sliced brown onion into the same bowl and toss around to collect any remnants of the seasoning. With 20 minutes to go, add the onion to the baking tray along with the potatoes.

Pour the couscous into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water before covering with cling wrap. After five minutes, or until all the liquid is soaked up, fluff the couscous with a fork.

Once everything is cooked, drain the chick peas and chop the spring onion. Combine the roasted vegetables, couscous, chick peas and spring onion. Toss together, place on a bed of leafy greens and drizzle with white wine vinegar.

SPICY THAI BEEF AND NOODLE SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef steak fillet, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 serve of vermicelli noodles (or whichever noodles you’d prefer)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

Directions:

Fry your beef slices to your liking and then place in foil. Pour sweet chilli sauce over the beef, turning to coat. Enclose the beef in the foil and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and soak, according to packet directions. Drain once cooked.

Place the noodles, carrot, mint, coriander and spring onions in a large bowl. Juice half your lime and then mix together the lime juice, soy, sugar and fish sauce. Add this and the chilli beef to the bowl, before tossing to combine. Serve with lime wedges and top with chilli flakes if you want an extra kick to your salad.

All recipes serve one.

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