February has been our ‘Love your Body’ Month – all about celebrating what our bodies can do, and enjoying workouts that make us feel good! We have our full 28 day plan for you to follow – and you can still catch our free live workouts over on our Facebook Page.
And talking about love, February is also home to Valentines Day!
If you’re planning a romantic meal out (or in!), here are some of our favourite recipes that have a healthy spin to them (but of course, if you want to go all out, do so – it’s only Valentine’s once a year! You don’t need to be worried about 1 meal ruining any progress or results you’ve made – although your body needs a certain number of calories a day, think of these over a weekly or monthly period rather than daily – some days you’ll go over and some days you’ll go under – but over time they’ll equal out!
Heading out this Valentines Day?
If you are eating out, here are some healthy changes you can make to your meal:
- Don’t be scared to ask how the meal is prepared. They might use a lot of oil, butter or salt. You then have the choice to ask them to prepare it differently or to choose something else.
- Ask for the sauce to be put on the side, then you have control over how much, or how little you’d like to add to your dinner.
- Be mindful of dressings, extra cheese and croutons.
- Fill up on red foods such as peppers, strawberries and tomatoes as they have lots of vitamins and antioxidants.
- Choosing grilled food over fried will lower the fat content. Fried food can increase your blood cholesterol level.
- Don’t think that you must finish the meal. You can ask for a box and take leftovers home.
- Think about sharing a starter and a pudding if a three course meal would make you feel uncomfortably full – how much more romantic can you be 😊
- Most Importantly – choose something you’ll enjoy! There’s no point eating a walnut salad if it’s going to make you unhappy! Food should nourish our bodies, and our minds and soul!
Cooking at Home for Valentines Day?
If you choose to have a romantic meal at home, it’s much easier to know what you are eating, and fill up on goodness! Have a look at these recipes to give you some ideas, whilst still indulging yourselves:
Spaghetti Puttanesca with red beans & spinach – Serves 2 (BBC Goodfood)
100g wholemeal spaghetti
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp capers
5 kalamata olives, halved
1 tsp smoked paprika
210g can kidney beans, drained
160g spinach leaves
Small handful of chopped parsley
Small handful of basil leaves
- Cook the spaghetti in simmering water for 10-12 mins until al dente. Meanwhile, fry the onion in the oil in a large non-stick frying pan with a lid until tender and turning golden. Stir in the chilli, garlic and cherry tomatoes.
- Add the vinegar, capers, olives and paprika with a ladleful of pasta water. Stir in the beans and cook until warmed through.
- Add the spinach to the pasta water to wilt, then drain well. Toss with the tomato and bean mixture and the parsley and basil, then pile onto plates or in shallow bowls to serve.
Caramelised onion & goat’s cheese pizza – Serves 2 (BBC Goodfood)
This is a great, tasty, healthy alternative to a takeaway.
For the base
125g wholemeal flour, plus a little for kneading if necessary
½ tsp instant yeast
pinch of salt
1 tsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing
For the topping
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
160g baby spinach leaves (not the very tiny ones), chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
50g soft goat’s cheese
4 pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
few soft thyme leaves
1 tsp sunflower seeds
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Tip the flour into a mixer with a dough hook, or a bowl. Add the yeast, salt, oil and just under 100ml warm water then mix to a soft dough. Knead in the food mixer for about 5 mins, but if making this by hand, tip onto a work surface and knead for about 10 mins. The dough is sticky, but try not to add too much extra flour. Leave in the bowl and cover with a tea towel while you make the topping. There is no need to let the dough prove for a specific time – just let it sit while you get on with the next step.
- Tip the onions into a non-stick wok and add the oil, 4 tbsp water and balsamic vinegar. Cover with a saucepan lid that sits inside the pan to help the onions soften, then cook for 15 mins, stirring about 3 times and replacing the lid quickly so as not to lose too much moisture. After the time is up, the onions should be golden and all the liquid gone. Tip onto a plate. Add the spinach and garlic to the pan and stir-fry until the spinach has wilted.
- Take the dough from the bowl and cut in half with an oiled knife, then press each piece into a 25-15 cm oval on a large greased baking sheet with oiled hands. Don’t knead the dough first otherwise it will be too elastic and it will keep shrinking back.
- Spread with the spinach followed by the onions, then dot with the cheese and scatter with the olives, thyme and sunflower seeds. Bake for 15 mins until golden and the base is cooked through.
Thai prawn & ginger noodles – Serves 2 (BBC Goodfood)
100g folded rice noodles (sen lek)
zest and juice 1 small orange
1½-2 tbsp red curry paste
1-2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp light brown soft sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
25g ginger, scraped and shredded
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
85g sugar snap peas, halved lengthways
175g pack raw king prawns
handful chopped basil
handful chopped coriander
- Put the noodles in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover them. Set aside to soak for 10 mins. Stir together the orange juice and zest, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and 3 tbsp water to make a sauce.
- Heat the oil in a large wok and add half the ginger and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 min. Add the pepper and stir-fry for 3 mins more. Toss in the sugar snaps, cook briefly, then pour in the curry sauce. Add the beansprouts and prawns and continue cooking until the prawns just turn pink. Drain the noodles, then toss these into the pan with the herbs and remaining ginger. Mix until the noodles are well coated in the sauce, then serve.
Chocolate Souffle – Serves 2 (Eatingwell.com)
These taste great while still warm and are so easy to make.
3 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
2 ½ ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 large egg, separated, plus 2 large egg whites
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
Confectioners’’ sugar for dusting (optional)
- Position rack in centre of oven; preheat to 190°C. Lightly coat two 10-ounce ramekins with cooking spray; coat the insides of each with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
- Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Whisk egg yolk and cream in a bowl until combined. Whisk in the chocolate until smooth, then whisk in flour and cinnamon until incorporated.
- Beat egg whites and salt in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in four additions, until stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture until smooth; then gently fold this combined mixture back into the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Divide between the prepared ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Bake until puffed and firm to the touch, 18 to 22 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.
Lemon Meringue Tart for Two – Serves 2 (Eatingwell.com)
Per Serving: (1/2 tart)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 large egg, at room temperature, separated
2 tbsp plus 4 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornflour
¼ cup water
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Prepare crust for two.
- Dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Dust the dough with flour and roll into an 8-inch circle, dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer the crust to a 6-inch tart pan with 1-inch sides and removable bottom. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides, folding the overhanging dough back into the pan to form double-thick sides. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.
- Bake the crust until lightly browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C.
- While the crust is cooling, whisk egg yolk and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl until thick and pale yellow, about 1 minute. Whisk in cornflour until combined.
- Bring water, lemon zest and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Whisk about half the lemon mixture into the yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream. Whisk the combined mixture back into the remaining lemon mixture in the pan. Return the pan to the stove and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and puddinglike, 1 to 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared crust and spread evenly to the edges.
- Beat egg white in a small bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 4 teaspoons sugar in a slow, steady stream until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Mound the meringue over the warm filling; spread to the crust’s edges, forming peaks with a rubber spatula.
- Bake the tart until the meringue is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.
Died and Went to Heaven Chocolate Cake – Serves 16 (Eatingwell.com)
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 cup white sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot strong black coffee
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 – tbsp buttermilk or low-fat milk
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a 12-cup Bundt pan or coat it with non-stick cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, invert and shake out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, white sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Whisk in hot coffee until completely incorporated. (The batter will be quite thin.)
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan and let cool completely.
- To make icing: In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough of the buttermilk or milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Set the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the icing over the top.
Enjoy this romantic day without feeling that you must deprive yourself. We never recommend cutting out certain foods or food groups but rather to eat in moderation. This is a more sustainable, healthy lifestyle to adapt.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at W Fitness.
Caroline & Hannah xx