Have you made a pact with yourself to eat better this year? If you’re reading this because you’ve already hit the 40 mark – which you most probably have – then you will know that we can’t quite get away with shovelling any old thing into our system and not pay the penalty for it. The bottom line is that at 40, we need to start thinking about eating well to age so we can feel more vibrant and vital for longer. Because that’s the aim of the game now folks isn’t it?
So what’s the schtick here? At 40, eating well to age means we should all be eating plenty of veggies – the more colourful and intense in colour the better, a variety of fruits, wholegrains, the right amount of protein, healthy fats and the like. As our metabolisms slow down, quite simply…we need to be more selective about what we eat if we want to walk the path to improved wellness.
With that said, today we are sharing some of our favourite recipes for eating well to age from the very appropriately named book – Eat Well to Age Well – the inspiring new cookbook by Beverley Jarvis – which is a veritable bible for eating well to age. It’s packed full of delicious whole food recipes, as well as insightful nutritional and invaluable practical guidance to help us all become super agers, without the hard work!
Vegetable medley with chickpeas and almonds – V
This filling vegetable dish is ideal served as a light lunch or supper, needing only the addition of a dressed, mixed-leaf salad to make it into a complete meal. If you don’t eat the whole dish at one sitting, leftovers can be chilled and re-heated the following day. You may prefer to cook the vegetables on the hob while you cook the sauce in the microwave.
250 g washed and diced butternut squash
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 medium-size courgette, sliced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Juice ½ orange
25 g flaked almonds
1x 200 g chickpeas, drained
You will need a shallow microwaveable dish (about 1 ½ litre in capacity), a citrus juicer, microwaveable dinner plate, chopping board and knife, spoon for stirring and microwaveable dinner plate.
Butternut squash is a good source of dietary fibre and contains 22 g carbohydrate per cupful. One cup also contains 57% of the RDI for vitamin A and 52% of the RDI for vitamin C, as well as vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9. It also makes a valuable contribution towards the RDI for the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and copper. The chickpeas provide 7.4 g fibre, 7.2 g protein and 15.7 g carbohydrate per 100 g.
Dressed, mixed-leaf salad with chopped apple; wholemeal bread rolls.
1. Put the prepared vegetables into the shallow dish, sprinkle with the herbs and then add the orange juice.
2. Cover the dish loosely with greaseproof paper, wrapping it under the dish to prevent it from blowing off.
3. Microwave on High for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the dish from microwave and carefully stir the vegetables, then recover and return to microwave for a
further 3½ minutes on High.
5. Set aside to stand, covered.
Toast the almonds:
1. Arrange them around the outside edge of the dinner plate and then microwave on High for 5 minutes, opening the door and rearranging the nuts once during cooking. They will turn lightly golden.
2. Add the drained chickpeas to the vegetables and return to the microwave for 1 minute on High.
3. Serve the vegetables with their delicious juices, topped with the toasted almonds, accompanied by the bread rolls and salad.
Cod and courgette kebabs with pineapple
These tasty fish kebabs, flavoured with lemon and garlic could be cooked on the BBQ, or under a pre-heated grill. They are as attractive to serve as they are good to eat.
250 g cod fillet (or salmon fillet if
preferred), skinned and cubed
6 button mushrooms
½ tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice and finely grated zest of
½ lemon or lime
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
1 medium courgette, cut into 6 equal slices
1 small red pepper, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
2 canned pineapple rings in natural
juice, drained well, then cut into chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will need a chopping board and knife, small mixing bowl, shallow dish, fork, teaspoon, tablespoon, skewers, a pastry brush, citrus juicer, small bowl and fork.
The cod makes a valuable contribution towards your RDI for protein. It can also provide all or more of your RDI for vitamin B12 and is a valuable source of selenium and iodine. The potato mash makes a good contribution to your RDI for carbohydrate with the sweet potatoes adding vitamins A and B6, plus 6.6 g fibre per 100 g. The bell peppers are a good source of antioxidants.
Serve with the pickled vegetables on page 114 and a mash made from equal quantities of sweet and ordinary white potatoes, such as King Edwards, peeled, then cooked together in a covered large pan of boiling water until completely tender. Drain well, then mash, beating in a little semi-skimmed milk and a seasoning of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. Put the cod and mushrooms into a shallow dish.
2. In a mug or small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, lime/lemon zest and juice and the coriander.
3. Whisk with a fork and spoon over the mushrooms and fish. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Carefully thread the fish and mushrooms onto 2 kebab skewers, alternating with the courgette, red pepper and pineapple pieces, if using.
5. Brush each skewer with some of the remaining marinade mixture and season with a little salt and pepper.
6. Grill on a grill rack, lined with tin foil, for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, or until cooked through.
7. Serve immediately, with the pickled vegetables and the mashed potatoes.
If you are using wooden/bamboo skewers, soak these in water for ½ hour before use to stop them burning.
Curried lamb soup with broccoli
Any leftovers can be cooled, then stored in the fridge, for up to 3 days. The soup also freezes well; re-heat until boiling and simmer for 3 minutes before serving. Filling and sustaining, serve the soup as a complete meal, accompanied with some warmed naan or chunky wholemeal bread.
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3 tbsp tikka curry paste
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger,
peeled and grated
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
350 g lamb leg steaks, trimmed and diced
1 rounded tbsp plain flour, seasoned with
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.2 litre lamb stock
1 x 400 g can cannellini beans,
drained and rinsed
1 head broccoli, florets only
You will need a chopping board and knife, 2 dinner plates, absorbent kitchen paper, a measuring jug, tablespoon, grater, teaspoon, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, large saucepan with lid and large frying pan.
The protein in the lamb contributes significantly to your RDI. Lamb also contributes vitamins B6 and B12, iron and magnesium. There are fibre and vitamins A and C in the carrot, tomatoes and broccoli and protein, fibre, vitamin B9, and the minerals copper, and iron in the cannellini beans.
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan, on a high heat.
2. Add the onion and carrot and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, over a medium heat, until the onion is soft and translucent.
3. Stir in the curry paste with the garlic, chillies and ginger and keep stir-frying for a further minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée to the pan; stir well.
5. On the dinner plate, toss the lamb in the seasoned flour.
6. In a large, shallow frying pan, heat the remaining oil.
7. Add the lamb to the hot oil in the frying pan and stir-fry, over a medium-high heat, until golden on all sides.
8. Lift from the pan, using a slotted spoon, and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
9. Add the lamb stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
10. Cover and simmer gently, for 30 minutes.
11. Stir in the drained beans and broccoli.
12. Continue to simmer for 5-7 minutes, covered, until the vegetables are just tender. Return lamb to pan. Stir.
13. Serve, in warmed soup bowls
Avocado and chicken bake
Avocados are highly nutritious and simply delicious, quickly baked in the microwave. This easy recipe makes a great light lunch or supper dish. As an alternative to the chicken, try chopped cooked prawns or drained, flaked, canned tuna fish.
50 g cooked chopped chicken thigh
or breast meat
50 g freshly made brown breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Greek-style natural yoghurt
1 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon or parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe avocado, halved
Juice ½ lemon
25 g parmesan cheese, grated
You will need a 1-litre mixing bowl, tablespoon, teaspoon, citrus juicer, pastry brush, microwaveable avocado dish, 2 microwaveable dinner plates, chopping board and knife, and cheese grater.
Avocados have many nutritional benefits (see page 23). The chicken makes a significant contribution towards your RDI for protein. The breadcrumbs provide carbohydrate and fibre.
2 tsp crème fraîche; handful parsley sprigs, chopped.
1. Put the chicken into the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs and yoghurt then stir in the herbs with a seasoning of salt (keep to a minimum) and pepper.
2. Brush both halves of the avocado with lemon juice and wrap one half to chill in the fridge for use in a salad the following day.
3. Fill the remaining avocado half with the prepared filling.
4. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
5. Put the filled avocado half in the microwaveable avocado dish, then stand the dish on a dinner plate.
6. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 2½-3 minutes. Serve immediately with the crème fraîche and parsley.
This recipe can easily be doubled. If cooking two avocado halves together, allow about 4 minutes, and space them apart on a dinner plate.
Sweet jacket potatoes with smoked mackerel, horseradish and parsley
Sweet potatoes cook quickly in the microwave and can be counted as one of your seven-a-day. I often serve them for a quick lunch, straight from the microwave, with just some crumbled feta cheese and a dressed, mixed salad with a sliced kiwi fruit and some chopped dates added.
2 medium-size sweet potatoes,
washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
75 g smoked mackerel fillet, skinned
3 tbsp Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 dsp freshly chopped parsley
You will need a vegetable knife, microwaveable dinner plate, 1-litre mixing bowl, fork, measuring spoons, chopping board and knife.
A good source of fibre, and providing 6% of your daily requirement for carbohydrate, and 4% of your daily vitamin C needs, sweet potatoes also provide 10% of the daily requirement for vitamin B6. The mackerel and yoghurt contribute significantly towards your daily protein requirement and the mackerel also provides more than the RDI for vitamin D, significant B3 (niacin) and B12 and the minerals iron, magnesium and selenium. Greek yoghurt contains 121 mg calcium per 100 g.
Accompany with a dressed, mixed salad.
1. Score a cross in the top of each potato you wish to cook.
2. Stand the potatoes, spaced apart, on the dinner plate and spray them all over with a little spray oil and season with a little salt and pepper.
3. Microwave them, uncovered, on High for 5-6 minutes for one potato or 8 minutes for two.
4. Set aside for 4 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In the mixing bowl, mash together using a fork, the mackerel fillet with the yoghurt,
lemon juice and horseradish sauce. Add the parsley and fork in.
6. Serve the opened jacket potato(es) with the mackerel filling, divided between them, accompanied by the salad.
Baked sweet potatoes are delicious served with a dollop of lightly seasoned Greek yoghurt, with a little finely chopped red onion or a few snipped chives.
We hope you enjoyed these recipes which are a fantastic way of eating well to age. Have you started eating well to age? Which is your favourite recipe from the above? And if you haven’t why not join our Instagram community where we share all things related to life in your 40s here.