Feature: Back to school – back to healthy lifestyle

Sheryl Macdonald returns with her monthly healthy eating advice – a series that is proving to be one of the most popular we’ve ever had on insideMoray!

Chicken Biriyani
Chicken Biriyani

SCHOOL IS BACK in session – I am so relived, I love spending time with my kids, we had a great summer but my routine goes out the window plus the kids seem to be constantly hungry so I find myself thinking about food more and more.

The return to school is not just for kids – it is for us too. Time to get our serious head back on for our weight loss – it is all very well saying we are going to get back on track but what do we need to do?

First of all, accept the mistakes you may have made. You are only human. Remember, your bad may not have been as bad as it was before.

Secondly, set yourself a target. Something to aim towards. Something that is achievable. Maybe you have a special birthday coming up or a holiday?

Thirdly, get back to basics! What did you do when you first started losing weight that you maybe have stopped doing? Why did you stop? How many times do we say ‘I know what I’m doing, I don’t need a class’? If this were true none of would need to come to class in the first place.

Lastly, remember how far you have come and be proud!

Chicken Biriyani (suitable for freezing)

1 cube Vegetable stock cube
200g Brown Rice, dry
4 sprays Calorie controlled cooking spray
1 Onion, chopped
1 Courgette, chopped
1 clove Garlic, chopped
½ chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
300g frozen mixed vegetables
300g Roast Chicken, Skinless, chopped
1 tbsp Curry Powder
½ tsp Cumin seeds
12 Cherry Tomatoes, , halved
1 pinch Salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the stock powder or cube. Add the rice and cook for about 25-30 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, spray a large frying pan or wok with calorie-controlled cooking spray. Add the onion, courgette, garlic and chilli and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.

Drain the cooked rice and add to the frying pan or wok with the mixed vegetables, cooked chicken, curry powder and cumin seeds (if using). Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Mocha Muffins

Mocha Muffins
Mocha Muffins

100g White Self Raising Flour
15g Cocoa Powder
25g Semolina, Dried, or fine polenta
40g Light Brown Sugar or caster sugar
1 Egg
40ml Sunflower Oil
70ml Skimmed Milk
1 tsp Ground Coffee, instant powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Preheat the oven to 190°C, Gas 5. Prepare 2 x 12 hole mini muffin trays with 20 small paper cases. (If you only have 1 tray then bake in 2 batches).

Sift together into a large bowl the flour (and baking powder if using) and cocoa. Mix in the semolina and sugar.

Beat together the egg, oil, milk and coffee water then mix into the dry ingredients to a thick batter. Do not over beat.

Divide the batter between the cases and bake for about 12 minutes until risen. Cool on a wire rack and serve freshly baked, lightly dusted with pinches of icing sugar, if liked.