With copious amounts of party food, alcohol, mince pies, turkey, and chocolate now distant memories, we start 2017 off with health and fitness in mind. A little indulgence now and then does the body and the mind a world of good, but as far as the festive season is concerned, we can pretty much all agree that we’re more than ready to start training hard and eating right once the New Year rolls around.
The next major celebration after the festive period is Valentine’s Day, but if you’re training hard and dieting down, an indulgent Valentine’s meal can really throw a spanner in the works and can set you back a good week or so. For those of you who normally dine out and consume far too much chocolate and alcohol on Valentine’s Day, why not stay in and cook a gain-fuelling three-course meal for that special someone in your life? By cooking, you not only get to control what goes into your meals, and the macros, but you also get to show off your culinary skills, which is sure to impress. If you want to enjoy a delicious and indulgent Valentine’s meal that goes above and beyond chicken, rice, and greens, here are some great suggestions for a healthy yet delicious three-course meal.
Prawn Cocktail With Avocado & Mixed Leaf Salad
This starter is fantastic for those of you who enjoy eating rich, luxurious, and delicious food, which is not only good for you but also tastes amazing in the process. The prawns themselves are low in calories and are packed full of protein, as well as potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins E and A.
Avocado is one of the healthiest fat sources you can wish for, as it is packed full of heart-healthy fats that are also great for the brain, as well as lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. They are also a great source of minerals, plus they contain fat soluble vitamins and plenty of fibre. For those of you following a low carb diet plan, this is the perfect starter. To up the nutrient content, a generous mixed leaf salad will increase the micronutrient content even further.
300g fresh, good quality prawns
A handful of mixed leaves
2 whole avocados
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp ketchup
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Wedge of lemon
#1 In a bowl, combine the prawns with the mayonnaise, ketchup, diced tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon juice
#2 Take a ripe avocado, cut it in half, and scoop out most of the flesh, keeping it whole if possible.
#3 Dice the avocado and carefully fold it into your prawn mixture
#4 Arrange the leaves on your plates, sit both halves of the avocado on top, and fill each slice with a good amount of your prawn mixture.
#5 Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Ribeye Steak With Sweet Potato Fries & Creamed Spinach
This main is very simple to prepare, but if you cook it right, it tastes divine. The steak itself is rich in iron, B vitamins, amino acids, and proteins. The sweet potato fries have a low glycemic index, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including beta-carotene, and the spinach is packed full of zinc, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and vitamin K – making this dish super clean!
2 good quality rib-eye steaks, or rump steaks if you want to reduce the fat content
400g fresh spinach leaves
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries
2 tbsp of olive oil
100ml fresh cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
#1 Remove your steaks from the fridge around one hour before cooking and leave them to reach room temperature.
#2 Take both steaks, rub both sides with oil, and season generously with pepper only, as salt will draw moisture from them.
#3 Take your sweet potato fries, and parboil them in boiling water for 7 – 10 minutes, until they soften, but hold their shape.
#4 Drain them and leave to cool.
#5 Season them with salt and pepper, place onto a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil and bake for around 20 – 25 minutes, until crispy on the outside, and soft inside.
#6 Meanwhile, take your oiled steaks, heat a pan until it begins to smoke slightly, sprinkle the steaks with salt, and cook one at a time over a high heat. For rare, aim for 2 minutes per side, for medium aim for 4 minutes per side, and for well-done aim for 5 minutes per side.
#7 Remove your steaks from the heat and place onto a plate to rest.
#8 In the steak pan, add your spinach leaves, heat gently, and leave to wilt.
#9 Once wilted, add your cream, seasoning, and a pinch of nutmeg, and heat gently.
#10 Arrange the steak, fries, and creamed spinach onto a plate, and enjoy.
Protein Mousse With Raspberries
Finally, by making a protein chocolate mousse rather than buying fresh mousse, you get to enjoy a rich, protein packed, nutrient fuelled mousse that tastes great, yet doesn’t destroy your waistline in the process. The raspberries also up the vitamin content, and contrast the rich chocolate perfectly.