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Healthy Living, Weight Loss

Portion Distortion

Did you know….?

  • Dinner plate size has increased an average of 6.5cm over the last 50 years – that increases the area on your plate by up to 70%!
  • Choosing extra thickly sliced bread over medium increases the amount you eat of it by 60%
  • Fast-food chains used to serve just one size of fries, this is now the portion size provided with the kids meals

Given these facts, perhaps it’s not surprising at how quickly the obesity crisis has taken a global hold. It has become the norm to expect larger portions when eating out, and this (together with increased plate size) often leads to eating more at home.

This is portion distortion.
Your norm becomes bigger and bigger until the bigger is the new ‘normal’.

Obviously, everyone is different and will need different amount of foods depending on your weight, how active you are and your current situation.

However, there are some simple rules you can apply when cooking and when eating out that will help you get your portion sizes back in check – and there’s no need for weighing scales or any special equipment!

This reference guide groups food into different types to make it easy to see what a typical portion* should be.

Vegetables

Guiding-Hands-ArtWhen you’re looking at how much of what to put on your plate, the vegetable part of your meal should take up around 1/3 to 1/2 of your plate, and roughly fill your hands like the picture opposite.
Recommended portion size of vegetables is larger than other foods because they are low in calories and provide us with minerals, vitamins and fibre.

Guiding-Hands-Art

Fruits

A portion of fruit would be what you could fit in one hand, or roughly the size of your fist. The exception here is dried fruit, in this case you need to think of it in its hydrated form to get the right portion size. For example, 2-3 apricots would fill your hand, therefore 2-3 dried apricots are a portion.

Starchy Carbohydrates

Guiding-Hands-Art

Starchy carbs include foods like; pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, cereals and cereal products. You should look at having a source of starchy carbs with every meal. Good choices are oats, wholewheat pasta, brown rice and wholegrain bread as these are higher in fibre and release energy more slowly. Depending on how active you are, you could have between 1-2 portions (or 1-2 clenched fists) of starchy carbohydrates with every meal.

ProteinGuiding-Hands-Art

The amount of protein someone needs can vary depending on their weight and what their aims are, but for the general population a portion is around the size of your palm. This would be equal to a small chicken breast, two eggs or a few tablespoons of beans/lentils. Aim to have 2-3 palm-sized portions every day.

Fats & Oils

Guiding-Hands-Art

As it’s the most calorie dense nutrient, a portion of fat or oil is considerably smaller than the other foods. There are some fats that are beneficial for heart health, but when it comes to calories a fat is a fat! More info
When you’re cooking with oils, spreading butter or using oil as a dressing, try to stick to no more than a thumb-print (or teaspoon) size portion.

In addition to the above, you should also try to have 2-3 portions of dairy products per day. A portion is a matchbox size of cheese, a standard yoghurt pot (~125g) or a 200ml glass of milk.

 *Serving or portion?

A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 100mls of juice. A portion is the amount of food that you put on your plate to eat, you choose whether this is a big or a small portion. Take soft drinks for example, they will often quote a serving size on the label that is less than the amount within the bottle.

Healthy Living, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Fibre

Dietitians and other healthcare professionals can often be heard talking about how we should eat more fibre. You may understand that it is “good for you” to have fibre in your diet. But have you ever thought about why?

This post explains the different types of fibre, looks at some of its benefits and suggests how you can include more of it in your diet.

Types of fibre

Fibre-rich foodsAn easy way to remember foods that contain fibre is that they all come from plants. Meat, fish and dairy foods do not contain fibre.
Fibre can be split into two different types, soluble and insoluble. Both have different health benefits, so we should try to include both types in our diets.

  • Soluble fibre
    As the name suggests, soluble fibre dissolves in water. In the gut, this helps soften your stools. Consequently, if you suffer from constipation, gradually increasing your intake of soluble fibre can help make it easier to go. Soluble fibre can also help lower cholesterol levels.
    Foods such as oats, pulses, lentils, golden linseeds, potatoes and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fibre.
  • Insoluble fibre
    Insoluble fibre cannot be digested, instead it is used as a ‘food’ source for good bacteria we have in the gut, helping keep our gut healthy. Insoluble fibre also acts as a sponge, helping keep us fuller for longer and move food through our digestive system.
    Good sources of insoluble fibre include; bran, wholegrain and wholemeal foods, skins of fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds.

To help differentiate between the two different types, think about making porridge (or oatmeal) on the stove, the oats ‘dissolve’ into the liquid. When cooking brown rice, the rice does not dissolve, but rather absorbs the water and goes soft. This is because the oats are high in soluble fibre, whilst brown rice is high in insoluble fibre.

Benefits

As fibre can help you feel full for longer, it can be a useful tool when trying to manage your weight. It can also help control your blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Having a diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.

How much?

According to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) adults should be aiming for around 25g of fibre per day. Most people aren’t eating enough. On average, people manage to eat around 14g of fibre per day.

Increase your fibre intake

If you want to increase your intake of fibre, it is important that you do so gradually. Increasing your intake too rapidly can result in stomach cramps and leave you feeling bloated. You should also make sure you drink plenty of water, aim for 6-8 glasses per day.

You can increase the amount of fibre in your diet by ensuring your diet contains plenty of fruit and vegetables, opting for wholegrains (brown rice/bread/pasta over white), leaving the skin on potatoes and adding beans or lentils to your soups and salads. Ensuring a vegetarian meal once per week is a great way of upping your fibre intake #meatfreemonday!

What does 25g a day look like?

fibre in a dayIBS

People who have digestive problems or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) may need to adjust the type and amount of fibre they have in their diets depending on their symptoms. This is something that needs to be assessed on an individual basis. You should see your doctor or dietitian for more advice regarding this.

More information

Fibre-rich foods
General information on fibre from patient.co.uk
NHS information on constipation
NHS information on diarrhoea
NHS information on IBS

Healthy Living, Weight Loss

Hydration, hydration, hydration!

As featured in my April newsletter (sign up here), this is a post all about the importance of keeping hydrated.

Sooo many clients I see tell me “oh, I know I need to drink more” or “I don’t drink enough”. Consequently, I often focus one of their goals around finding a way to get more water into their day.

Of course, drinking enough water is important all year round, but as the weather gets warmer, the amount of water your body loses increases, which means that more needs to be replaced.

waterWhy do we need water?

It is very easy to take the humble tap, hose or water cooler for granted. We typically use water for so much of our daily routine; watering the garden, washing clothes, showering, cooking and drinking. Water plays an important role in many aspects of life, and our body is no exception; we could not live without it.

Most of our body is made up of water; our cells, muscles and blood all contain it. Water plays a part in controlling our body temperature, metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure as well as removing waste products and ensuring the concentration of minerals in the blood stays balanced. When this balance is disrupted, processes in the body cannot function properly.

As well as the critical role water has in our general health, drinking plenty can also help with weight management. This is because occasionally our brain mistakes the signals of thirst for hunger. So next time you feel peckish, think about when you last had a glass of water before reaching for the nibbles!

What happens when we don’t drink enough?

If you lose more fluid that you drink, you will eventually become dehydrated. You lose fluid through breathing, sweating and urinating. However, the amount of fluid that you lose can vary a lot depending on how active you are, your environment and your current state of health.

Signs that you are not drinking enough may include: dark coloured urine, not needing to urinate as often as usual, dry mouth, thirst,  tiredness and lack of ability to concentrate.

How much to drink

This varies depending on how much water you are losing. The hotter it is and more active you are, the more you will need to  drink.

A loose guide is around 1.2-1.5 litres (or 6-8 glasses). However, the best way to tell if you are drinking enough is by the colour of your urine. It should be a light, straw colour.

NB: Try not to wait until you are thirsty to drink as by this point you are already dehydrated!

What to drink

Water is always best to rehydrate you. Milk, diluted squash, fruit juice and soft drinks also count, but watch out for the calories in juices and sugary sodas and the caffeine in teas and coffees (which can have a diuretic effect). Green or herbal teas are a good choice if you prefer something warm.

How to drink more

Sometimes, people are well aware that they should be drinking more, but it is a habit that is difficult to get in to. People find different ways that work for them but here are some suggestions:

  • Drink from a big bottle
    This is a handy way of measuring exactly how much water you are getting through on a daily basis. If you are sat at a desk and have the bottle handy, you are much more likely to take sips throughout the day. It is surprising how far away the water cooler is when you are in the middle of writing that report…!
  • Always carry water with you
    If you are often out and about it is very easy to go hours without drinking. So, it is always a good idea to take a bottle of water with you, especially when on holiday somewhere warm.
  • Have large glasses with meals
    If you really struggle to get into the habit of drinking water through the day, having a large glass of water with every meal is a good start.
  • Develop a schedule
    Start the day with a large glass of water, drink every time your kids do, set a reminder on your phone to leave your desk every hour for a drink…Find something to set a schedule to and stick to it. It will soon become a habit.
  • Mix it up!
    If you get bored with the taste of normal water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or even mint leaves! Green teas taste great too!

Like my Facebook page for more handy hints and to keep up to date with my nutrition goings on! 

Dietary Conditions

Allergies and Intolerances

allergy

I get so many questions regarding allergies and intolerances, so I decided it was time to write a post about it!

People are often not sure on how to go about getting a proper diagnosis, and there is a lot of self-diagnosing going on. As a dietitian, I recommend as varied a diet as possible, so will always recommend that people seek advice from a qualified professional who uses recognised diagnosis methods to avoid them cutting out foods unnecessarily.

Reactions to foods are common, but most are caused by an intolerance rather than an allergy. Let’s start at the beginning and understand the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.

The difference

A true allergy is defined as “a response of the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance”. The key word here is IMMUNE system. When someone has a true allergic reaction, this triggers an immune response, or, in other words, the body releases histamine. The release of this histamine will in turn cause a series of reactions which present themselves as symptoms. The presence and nature of these symptoms plays a key part in determining the diagnosis.

An intolerance does not involve the immune system, and therefore does not trigger the release of histamine. An intolerance can be triggered by various things, such as missing crucial enzymes needed to digest foods (as in lactose intolerance), IBS (see my post on irritable bowel syndrome here) or increased sensitivity to naturally occurring substances or food additives.

Symptoms

People who have an intolerance can often consume a small amount of the food and not experience any symptoms, whereas those with allergies can have severe reactions even to small amounts. Allergic reactions can also get progressively worse the more times the person consumes that food.

Allergic reactions are caused by the release of histamine, and generally happen quite soon after the offending food has been consumed. Typical allergic symptoms include; a bumpy, red rash formed around or inside the mouth, tingling or itching around the mouth and throat or swelling of the lips, tongue or throat. In severe cases, people can go into anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.

Symptoms associated with an intolerance are likely to be less serious than allergic symptoms, take longer to appear* and are often linked to digestive problems. However, this does not mean that they are unimportant. Intolerance symptoms can be debilitating and very uncomfortable for the individual. Typical symptoms include; bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

*To complicate things a little bit further, there are different types of allergies, IgE and IgG. IgE allergic reactions tend to cause immediate onset of symptoms. However, IgG symptoms can take much longer to develop, sometimes several days. People with allergies often experience a mixture of both types of symptoms. This is why it’s important to get the opinion of a qualified professional so that they can help you determine the nature of your allergy.

Diagnosis

If you think that you, or your child, may have a food allergy or intolerance, the first thing to do is to make an appointment with your GP. When you speak to your GP, they will ask you several questions to help determine the type of reaction you are having. Questions may include what type of symptoms, how long they took to appear, how long they lasted and also whether there is a family history of allergies. Sometimes it helps to begin keeping a food and symptom diary when you suspect an allergy to help you answer these questions!

If your doctor suspects an allergy, there are then a couple of options depending on the symptoms. The best, most accurate diagnosis is likely to come from a combination of your clinical history and the following tests:

Skin-prick test. This is where small amounts of the suspected allergens (foods likely to cause a reaction) are placed into the skin on the forearm. If the skin-prick becomes red, itchy or swollen, this indicates a positive reaction. This test is painless but should be carried out an an allergy centre or doctors clinic, due to it carrying a slight risk of anaphylaxis if your reaction is severe.

Blood test. This involves testing a sample of your blood for presence of certain anti-bodies.

Food elimination. As the name suggests, this is when you cut out the food that you suspect is causing the reaction from your diet. After a period of about 2-6 weeks, the food should then be reintroduced. If the symptoms disappear during the time when you’re not eating the food, and reappear on its reintroduction, then this can be used as a diagnosis. Before starting such a diet, you should seek advice from a dietitian to ensure that you are not losing out on nutrients by eliminating the offending food(s).

Non-evidence based testing. There are some shops that sell kits for allergy testing or outlets that offer testing hair/blood samples for presence of allergens. The principles on which these tests claim to be based are unproven, and research into their effectiveness has found them unreliable.

Unfortunately, tests used for diagnosing food intolerance (with the exception of lactose intolerance) are not always reliable. Some practitioners use IgG blood tests as a result for intolerances, however the evidence is patchy and most allergy specialists consider IgG results unhelpful in isolation.

It is also important to note that none of the allergy tests above are 100% conclusive all of the time. Usually, these tests are used in combination with your clinical history and symptom description. Your GP or doctor will probably have his suspicions upon talking to you, and then the tests will sometimes be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Again, because of the significance of clinical history in diagnosing allergies/intolerances, you can appreciate how important it is to involve a qualified professional.

More information

Allergy UK
NHS Choices
Patient.co.uk
MayoClinic

Healthy Living, Nutrition

How to gain weight

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday which reminded me of my initial idea I had months ago for this post. Dietitians don’t just work with people who want to lose weight or in health promotion. Actually, before I came to Belgium, a lot of my work was helping people gain weight. Especially for dietitians who work within hospital settings, a lot of the time we help build up those who are struggling, for whatever reason, to maintain weight.

Of course this doesn’t just go for ill people in hospital, some people find it difficult to maintain weight generally. For some, maintaining or gaining weight is as difficult as it is for others to keep it off.

Energy-dense foods such as chocolate, cake and pastries may help us gain weight, but they’re not going to be providing us with many other nutritional benefits. So, how does one go about gaining weight in a healthy way?

Little and often
Small frequent meals (or SFM, for those of us dietitians who like our acronyms!). This technique is particularly helpful if you don’t have a very big appetite, or aren’t able to manage a large meal. Some people naturally prefer to graze all day rather than concentrate calories into three meals, and that’s fine, whatever suits you and your stomach!
If you are already managing three meals per day, you should try and incorporate snacks between each meal to up your calorie intake (see below for some healthy snack ideas).

Snacking
Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are all healthy snacks that are easy to pick at and convenient to have at your desk. A handful of nuts will provide you with micronutrients, good fats, protein and those much needed calories, so get snacking! You can also add seeds or nuts to your meals, they taste great on porridge and in salads. Try having peanut butter on toast as a snack or, if you haven’t already seen, check out my healthy flapjack recipes.
Of course fruit is a healthy component of any diet, but dried fruit especially is useful when trying to increase your calorie intake. Not just because it’s easy to store in your desk drawer, but compare eating 5 plums to 5 prunes…I know which I’d find more manageable!

Think full fat dairy
Sweets, cakes and goodies aren’t the only foods that are fairly energy dense. Dairy products are convenient snacks and a good source of protein and calcium. A 30g portion of cheese contains around 100 calories. Sprinkle on top of your meal, snack on some cheese and crackers, add it to your salads…the choices are endless!
If you currently use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk switching to full cream could make a difference to your total calories. Half a pint of full cream milk contains around 100 calories more than skimmed. Incorporate into your diet through making fruit and vegetable smoothies or hot, milky drinks. You can also try adding full cream milk to soups, curries or other sauces (a little cream and coconut milk may also work well here, depending on the dish!)

Good fats
You may know that there are ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats, but do you know that calorie wise, all fats are the same? Fats are the most calorie-dense nutrient, containing 9 kcals per gram. Naturally, it would seem more healthful that rather than upping your calorie intake using bad fats, you increase your intake of good fats, right? Well I’ve already mentioned some sources of good fats (nuts above) but the fats found in avocado, oily fish and olive or rapeseed oils will provide you with the calories and a dose of other good things too. Try making a guacamole dip or adding avocado to your lunch, aim to have oily fish 1-2 times per week and add an olive oil dressing to your vegetables.

Cooking methods
When I’m talking health promotion, there are certain cooking methods that I recommend to reduce fat and calorie intake. For people who are struggling to maintain or gain weight, certain cooking methods will increase the calories found in that meal. Using ‘good’ fat oils, such as olive or rapeseed, and adding them in when cooking will increase the amount of calories in that meal. For example, consider frying fish or roasting vegetables, rather than baking or boiling them.

Adding in
Think about your current routine, and reflect on where it may be possible for you to add something extra in. Think about your meals, snacks and drinks. Even making those 3 coffees milky ones could make a difference. You may be able to try something relatively simple such as increasing the portion sizes of the food you eat, topping it in cheese or serving it with a side of avocado, having a snack of cheese and biscuits or even introducing something for dessert.

 

Not all of these tips will be suitable for everyone, and if you’re really struggling to maintain your weight I’d recommend that you seek out personalised help from a dietitian.

Recipes

Chickpea & raisin cookies

Here’s another chickpea recipe for you to try out! If you missed my chickpea chocolate brownie recipe, click here to take a look.

I’m having lots of fun trying out chickpea recipes! These cookies are nutty, sweet and more filling than your standard cookie. They’re also flour-less so suitable for those intolerant to gluten. When they’ve cooled they’re more of a cake texture than crunchy, but still, the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon cup of tea. Crunch from the nuts and sweet raisins, plus the protein will make you feel fuller so one will hit the spot!

20150329_165331Ingredients:
240g chickpeas
40g powdered almonds
100g raisins
80g chopped almonds
1 egg
80g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 220’c and line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Add all of the ingredients except the raisins and chopped almonds to a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes, until you have a smooth mixture.
3. Add the almonds and raisins to the mixture and ‘pulse’ the food processor a couple of times to mix them in.
4. Dollop a small ball of the dough onto the greaseproof paper and press flat into a cookie shape. Repeat until you have used up all the mixture (I made 18 from the above ingredients).
5. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are starting to get crispy. Let cool and enjoy 🙂

Store in an airtight container!20150329_165525

The nutritional information below is per cookie:
CALORIES: 100kcal
TOTAL FAT: 4.4g
SATURATED FAT: 0.3g
PROTEIN: 3.2g

Recipes

Chickpea Brownies

20150329_180015These gooey, delicious mouthfuls of chocolate indulgence are the perfect bake for the Easter holidays! Chuck all the ingredients into a food processor, throw in the oven and…voila!!

Honestly…don’t let the chickpeas put you off. They taste fantastic! Plus, they’re suitable for those with coeliac disease as they are gluten free!

The fact that they contain more protein than your standard chocolate brownie should help with satiety and prevent you going back for more! The perfect sweet treat for a little bit of what you fancy!

Ingredients:
300g chickpeas
2 eggs
40g cocoa powder
80g sugar*
1 tsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
20mls espresso coffee (optional)**
100g dark chocolate chips

*You can replace with sweetener if desired
**Another suggestion from a blog reader is to include marmalade in the mixture to give it an orangey taste…yum!

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180’c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2.  I used a bar of dark chocolate (at least 70%) and put it through the food processor to make chocolate chips. It’s a good idea to leave some bigger chunks as this adds to the gooey texture of the brownies. Tip this into a bowl for the moment.
3. Place the chickpeas, coconut oil, coffee and eggs into the food processor. Blend for a minute or so.
4. Mix together the dry ingredients (cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt). Add this to the chickpea mixture in the food processor and continue to blend….well!
5. Once you have a smooth mixture, stir in your chocolate chips.
6. Now pour the mixture into the lined tray. You’ll need to flatten it a little as the bake won’t change shape much, so ensure it looks how you want it to.
7. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch and the surface has begun to crack. A toothpick should also come out (relatively) clean.
8. Let the bake cool completely before cutting into 12 pieces. Dust with icing sugar, and serve 🙂

The nutritional information below is per brownie:20150329_175956
CALORIES: 134kcal
TOTAL FAT: 4.8g
SATURATED FAT: 2.5g
PROTEIN: 4.25g

I love receiving pictures of you making my recipes:

17116_10155461771410389_1640994925453148783_n

rachel brownies

Healthy Living

Seminar: 10 steps to a healthier you

“10 steps to a healthier you”

On Tuesday 17th March I will be holding a seminar suited for all you people who lead busy lives and want quick, easily applied changes that can help improve your health.

I will talk through 10 simple steps and provide practical tips on how you can apply these changes today. These suggestions can help improve your diet, manage your weight, boost your energy and prevent disease.

For more information, or to sign up, click here.

I look forward to seeing some of you there!

Recipes

Chickpea and spinach risotto

Risotto is a bit of a go-to for me. I like the whole one-pot thing it’s got going on, and I also find its gooey deliciousness indulging and comforting. Risotto is also easy to adapt by adding different vegetables and ingredients. This particular recipe is often one I use when I’ve forgotten to get meat out of the freezer, or one for meat free Monday!

IMG-20150304-WA0005Ingredients (serves 2):
100g risotto rice
100g chickpeas
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
100ml dry white wine
100g mushrooms
200g spinach
100g courgette
1 tsp oregano
Lemon zest
500ml stock + water
Salt and pepper to season

Method:
1. Heat the butter over a low heat in a large saucepan big enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the chopped onion, garlic, oregano and seasoning. Stir the onions and keep cooking them till they become translucent, don’t let the garlic burn.
2. Add in the risotto rice and allow the grains to heat up slightly. Then, pour in the white wine. It will sizzle and smell amazing.
3. Let the rice take up the white wine, and when it is all absorbed add a small amount of the stock. This is where the continuous stirring comes in. Little stock, stir, let rice absorb, stock, stir, absorb…..
4. When you’re about half way through your stock, add in the mushrooms, courgette and chickpeas. Then, continue to add the rest of the stock little by little. (If your rice hasn’t cooked but you’re out of stock, continue the same process with water until the rice is cooked.)
5. For the final few minutes, add the spinach and allow it to wilt into the risotto before stirring in. I like to add a little lemon zest here too but that’s optional!
6. Taste, and season further if required. Serve and enjoy (a little Parmesan would also work nicely!)

The nutritional information below is per serving:
CALORIES: 430kcal
TOTAL FAT: 8g
SATURATED FAT: 4g
PROTEIN: 14g

Recipes

Mediterranean Hotpot

I’m a big fan of Mediterranean food because it’s healthy, tasty, comforting and, typically, easy to make. You can pretty much throw in any veg and it goes well together. When it comes to dishes like this, I tend to just use up what veg we have left. Consequently,this recipe probably isn’t one for those who like precise, follow-to-the-letter recipes. However, it’s quick, sooo easy and packed with vegetables, fibre and protein.

Serves 4

20150303_184130Ingredients

Chicken (I used 2 breasts, diced into bitesized chunks)
2 large onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 aubergine
1 courgette
Mushrooms (a couple of handfuls)
1 pepper
1 chili
2 cloves of garlic
Cherry tomatoes (a couple of handfuls)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Water
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

1. Add the oil to a large pan and heat on low.
2. Dice the onions, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Leave to soften for a few minutes.
3. Add the bitesize chicken chunks to the pan and leave for 5-10 minutes to cook. Meanwhile, chop all your remaining vegetables.
4. Put the vegetables (aubergine, mushrooms, pepper, courgette and tomatoes) into the same pan, along with the chili, herbs and spices. Season if desired.
5. Add the tinned tomatoes and water (I add a further tin full of water). Stir well and leave for 5-10 minutes with the lid on.
6. When the vegetables have begun to cook and the contents of the pan has reduced a little, add the chickpeas. Stir again, and leave for 10-15 minutes with the lid on, stirring periodically.
7. Check the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is piping hot. Your hotpot is ready!

HINT 1: If you want, you can use this dish as a ‘sauce’ for pasta (as pictured above)
HINT 2: A little crumbled feta tastes great on this dish!

The nutritional data below is based on the above ingredients yielding 4 portions (not including pasta):
CALORIES: 300kcal
TOTAL FAT: 9g
SATURATED FAT: 1.2g
PROTEIN: 19g