The Friday Five – Healthy but not dull


We were debating in the office at the beginning of the week that there is no worse time of year to try and adopt healthy eating habits. What your body really craves is warming stews and carbohydrates, and possibly sugar and warm drinks. It’s certainly not after a salad and a cup of green tea!

So I’ve tried to find five books that are about healthy living, not faddish diets, or subsisting on cinnamon and maple syrup water.


Hemsley Hemsley


The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley & Hemsley – this does seem to be the book of the moment, and the recipes seem to turn up everywhere. Of course the girls are very photogenic, so that probably helps, and the recipes seem good, even with a preponderance of kale. It’s free from gluten, grains and processed sugar, and it seems to have produced some interesting options. I like the sound of sesame chicken with cucumber noodles, or baked broccoli fritters with spiced avocado. They sound healthy but not dull.


river cottage light


River Cottage Light & Easy – I think we all remember Hugh’s weight loss, and it’s probably no surprise that this book focuses quite a lot on vegetables, but good wholesome recipes even so. It does focus on new grains, so less dependent on wheat, as well as new oils to reduce the use of butter. But swede and smoky bacon soup has to be a lot more appealing than cabbage soup!


Thug Kitchen


Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F**k -well, I think it’s safe to say this is the polar opposite of the Hemsley sisters, but I like a bit of attitude. Besides, it would catch people out who were being nosy and browsing your cookbooks. And who doesn’t want to learn to cook roasted beer and lime cauliflower tacos? I could be very tempted by this one.


The Healthy Slow Cooker


The Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook – I think I’ve written before about how much I’ve got to love the slow cooker I was given last year. One of the things I’ve found with many of the recipes coming out of particularly the US is that they’re not particularly healthy, as they have processed foods as a starting point. Well, I’m not often that kind of cook, so this appeals much more to me, and I have to say the joy of coming home to something that’s ready to go is a great one, particularly in these back to work days post Christmas!


Good without Gluten


Good Without Gluten – not saying that gluten free per se is healthier, but for many people it’s a choice they have made, or have to make, but it shouldn’t mean missing out on great food. These recipes were developed by a team of Parisian chefs with a passion for great patisserie, just without the gluten. It covers alls kinds of meals, not just cakes and sweet things. If it’s a choice you’re making, possibly worth a look. I have a feeling I will be.

My view remains that the only diet that really works is to eat less and move more, but you may as well make sure what you are eating is delicious and nutritionally sound. Not to mention a joy to eat, something which you can’t ever say about cabbage soup!


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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