Food for Family Nutrition

In a world of social media, with Instagram stars telling you how to train, what macronutrients you need in your diet, and how much protein you should be consuming post workout, it can be somewhat overwhelming!  You could quit your job, focus solely on fitness, train daily and finish off every workout with a protein shake; or eat healthily and look after yourself, whilst actually having a life at the same time.

As a personal trainer it’s my job to help and guide people in achieving their personal fitness goals, but as a busy working mum, I know that life gets in the way.  I want to be able to fuel myself, enjoy what I eat, and be able to cook the same meal for my whole family.

Planning and prepping my family meals in advance, really gives me a stress free experience in the kitchen.  Putting a bit of time aside once a week means that getting a meal on the table at the end of the day is a breeze.  Nutrition is always key when I’m cooking, but I won’t sacrifice flavour in order to make sure that we’ve had our recommended daily allowance of every vitamin going!

As a family we tend to have three meat based dinners a week, with oily fish for two, and vegetarian or vegan for the rest.  I always use the best quality free range local meat I can buy.  We love turkey as its lean, nutrient dense, and the texture and flavour adapts so well to a wealth of recipes.

Turkey really isn’t just for Christmas in our house; we love it in Asian cooking, from spicy Thai curry to teriyaki bao buns.  When I’m really rushed for time between school pick up, clubs, cleaning the house, and just generally keeping it all together; I go to my failsafe turkey ragu, which I can cook  on my prep day and reheat another time.

The great thing about this turkey ragu recipe is that it’s a great base to work with. The meat is interchangeable, smoked chicken and chorizo also works well.

Turkey Ragu

Serves 4: with extra portions to freeze for another time

300g turkey mince

100g pancetta

1 large carrot diced

1 large onion diced

2 celery stalks diced

4 cloves of garlic minced

Glass of white wine

1tsp of fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

1 small bunch of fresh thyme leaves

Half a small red chilli diced or half tsp of dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper (remember the pancetta and chicken stock will add extra salt)

1 pint of chicken stock

400g tinned green lentils

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

½ tube of tomato puree

Pasta of choice 75g per person

I always like to start of frying off the diced vegetables in a little rapeseed oil, leaving out the garlic initially.

Once they have softened slightly with minimal colour, add the garlic, chilli, fennel seeds, bay leaf and thyme.

When the garlic has softened add the turkey mince, season with salt and pepper, frying off for a few minutes before adding the pancetta.

Continue to fry everything off until the meat is cooked and everything has taken on some colour.

Add the white wine and allow to reduce slightly.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and puree, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.

Leave simmering for 10 minutes, and then add the lentils, continuing to simmer until it has reduced and the sauce has thickened.

Whilst reducing the ragu, cook your pasta of choice, we like wholemeal spaghetti.