Wellness in a family lifestyle

I don’t do ‘dry January’ but prefer to take the ‘wellness’ approach and moderate as needed. This fits in better with leading a family life, taking into account the needs of two hungry teens as well as myself and my partner. After the excess of December which seems to be whirlwind of rich food, wine, champagne, late nights and socialising, it really isn’t difficult to cut back a little and in turn, regenerate and re-energise.

Wellness is described as ‘the active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards leading a healthy and fulfilled life’ . There are no hard and fast rules, and its about making dynamic and evolving lifestyle choices. In my house we generally have a well balanced and healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit and very little processed food. What we have ‘adjusted’ for January is our daily reliance on meat and switched to fish and vegetables, with chicken a day or two a week only. Brown rice is our carbohydrate of choice. Last Sunday was my youngest son’s birthday so dinner was his choice – roast chicken & dauphinoise potatoes, followed by white chocolate & raspberry cheesecake which we all really enjoyed, especially the leftovers the next day! We are all convinced we are feeling better – healthy skin, hair and nails, no teenage spots and we are even dropping a few kgs in the right places!

My challenge has been to keep the flavours interesting whilst making meals which are relatively quick and easy when I come home from work. I’ve marinated chicken the day before in low fat yoghurt and a couple of spoonfuls of tikka paste from a jar – cooked under the grill and served with cumin roasted cauliflower and brown rice, this almost feels like an unhealthy curry. Salmon fillet topped with pesto mixed with cooked quinoa and then grilled gives you perfectly moist salmon and a crunchy topping. Its been fun experimenting!

The best success so far has been fresh tuna fishcakes – which could even become tuna burgers. My recipe is as follows:

2 packs of Waitrose tuna steaks (4 steaks) chopped up into little cubes (1cm of less)

1 Tbs grated ginger

1 clove grated garlic

1 red chilli chopped finely

1 Tbs Brown miso

1 Tbs Mirin

2 Tbs Ponzu

1 small red onion chopped finely

2 Tbs fresh breadcrumbs

1 egg – white only

Mix all the above ingredients well together and leave aside for about 15 minutes for the flavours to soak in. The mixture will also firm up slightly as the breadcrumbs absorb the moisture.

Shape into patties – I made mine bout 6cm across and 1.5 cm high, but you can do them smaller or larger.

Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil and pan fry the patties. Let them brown on one side before flipping over. You want them to be cooked all the way through but not dry.

I served it with pak choy stirfried with garlic, steamed brown basmati rice and a wedge of lemon.

The hungry teens and I unanimously agreed it was one of the best dishes I’d cooked in a very long time, and it was even delicious for my lunch the next day, just with green salad and avocado.

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