Eating well to age + 5 scrummy recipes!

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

Eating well to age
Credit: David-James Selling

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.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

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

EQUIPMENT:

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.

NUTRITIONAL NOTE:

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.

TO SERVE:                                

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

Eating well to age
Credit: David-James Selling

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.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

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

(optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

EQUIPMENT:

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.

NUTRITIONAL NOTE:

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.

TO SERVE:

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.

COOK’S TIP

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

Eating well to age
Credit: David-James Selling

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.

SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS:

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

EQUIPMENT:

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.

NUTRITIONAL NOTE:

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.

TO SERVE:

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

Credit: David-James Selling

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.

SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS:

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

EQUIPMENT:

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.

NUTRITIONAL NOTE:

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.

TO SERVE:

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.

COOK’S TIP

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

Credit: David-James Selling

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.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium-size sweet potatoes,

washed and dried

Spray oil

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

EQUIPMENT:

You will need a vegetable knife, microwaveable dinner plate, 1-litre mixing bowl, fork, measuring spoons, chopping board and knife.

NUTRITIONAL NOTE:

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.

TO SERVE:

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.

COOK’S TIP

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.

Eat Well to Age Well is available to buy at Waterstones and on Amazon. Check out the first chapter of the book here.

The best healthy recipes for ageing

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.

Cover picture credit: Food photo created by senivpetro

How to keep calm and carry on in your 40s

Being in your 40s can be a funny old time. On the one hand you can feel mentally fierce and fabulous, on the other hand your body starts letting you know its age, and you are teetering on the brink of hormonal calamity otherwise known as the menopause. But hey! who are we to let all of that stop us from living our best life in your 40s?

But the thing is, in your 40s, you can no longer take for granted all the things you had done previously – especially when it comes to health (both mental and physical). The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, you are on a one way ticket towards perimenopause – a whole can of worms hormonally – as you edge close to the menopause (more on that in our upcoming article!).

Here, Kate Chaytor-Norris author of I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This shares her top ten tip for keeping calm and carrying on in your 40s:

Be calm

Do anything that makes you feel calm – this helps the adrenal glands to work optimally – if we are running lots of stress, they then cannot take over the job of producing sex hormones to maintain a balance. 

Balance your blood sugar levels

This is so that the adrenals do not have to produce stress hormones when they are swinging up and down.  Try to avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta rice etc) to reduce your sugar intake as much as possible and make sure that you have some source of protein with every meal or snack.

Breathe

This is probably the single most important thing that we can do for our health – breathing deep down into the diaphragm (fill the balloon in your abdomen) and practise exhaling more slowly.  This calms the body and so that everything works better.  If you extend the out breath this also helps to switch the body out of fight/flight.

Meditate

This for me is about stilling the mind so you can do this whilst walking, running or with any activity where you can switch your mind off. When I walk the dogs, I try to really focus on what the dogs are doing to bring me into that moment, instead of pounding along thinking about all the emails I need to send. It really helps.

Embrace nature

Be outside in nature and ideally with your bare feet on the earth/grass or if it is in the midst of winter, hug a tree.  This fills the body with free electrons which act as antioxidants helping to reduce the ageing of our body. Nature sounds help to switch off the fight/flight stress response.

Sleep

Sleep is a hugely undervalued activity – my rule of thumb is if you have to wake up to an alarm you are probably not getting enough sleep.  Try to be strict about bedtime, and as much as you can, go to bed at the same time each night.  If you struggle to get off to sleep watch your bedtime routine, keep it gentle and calm (no heart thumping thrillers or news at 10) with low lighting if possible.

Support your liver

Man-made toxins in our environment, such as pesticides and household detergents can overwork the liver. The liver is responsible for clearing out excess hormones, so to help it work better eat more cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts – as they help support the detox pathways in the liver. An optimally functioning liver can really help you through the menopause.

Drink more water

Try to make sure that you are hydrated every day as our bodies do not function properly if dehydrated. To work out how much water to drink, take your weight in kgs and multiply by 0.033 – this will give you the amount in litres that you should ideally be having daily.

Eat a rainbow

…of different coloured foods every day (think red pepper, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, kale). Not only is it a joy to sit in front of a colourful plate but the antioxidants in the different coloured pigments help to reduce ageing and inflammation in the body.

Hug

…as much as you can and if you are on your own or self-isolating hug yourself- wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze tight.  This helps to increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress hormones, balances sex hormones, reduces cravings and helps with sleep.

How do you keep calm and carry on in your 40s? Share your tips with us in a comment below or keep the conversation going on Instagram here.

Reader offer: Get 20% off I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This with the code KATECN20 at checkout here.

Kate Chaytor-Norris is a Nutritional Therapist who has made it her mission to empower people to heal themselves. She trained at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and has been practising for the past ten years. Kate is also trained in Health Kinesiology, Nutrigenomics, counselling and PSYCH-K®. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels