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    Braai recipes that won’t compromise your weight this festive season

    Despite the pandemic, the festive season is bound to be lively with family and friends gathering for activities and indulging in South Africa’s favourite pastime – enjoying a braai.

    To keep the nation in good shape these holidays, a pharmaceutical company with a focus on healthy living, has developed mouth-watering braai recipes in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, as part of the Cooking from the Heart cookbook series, that will keep festive season calories in check.

    A spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics Nicole Jennings said the festive season could be a challenging time especially for those who had worked hard for their summer bodies and wanted to keep it that way. She said although a little bit of holiday weight gain was expected, many people put on too much of weight which is difficult to shed in the long run.

    The company shared a few simple strategies for mindful eating, and shared recipes you can try.

    • Fill up on vegetables first. The more colourful your plate, the healthier.
    • Take a break between bites so your body has time to process the food.
    • Wait at least 20 – 30 minutes before you have dessert. This gives your body time to figure out whether you’re still hungry. Listen to your body and stop when you’re full.
    • Focus on having a good time with the people you’re with rather than just the food.
    • Be aware of the amount of food you eat and adjust it based on its nutritional value and the goals of your eating plan by exercising portion control.
    • Finally, don’t feel bad about treating yourself to some of your favourite festive season treats, but remember to moderate your intake. If you overindulge during one or two meals, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just get back on track the next day.

    Veggie skewers

    Ingredients

    125g button mushrooms, halved

    3 baby marrows, thickly sliced

    200g baby tomatoes

    1 green, yellow or red pepper, seeded and cut into large cubes

    15 – 20 bay or fresh lemon or lime leaves (optional)

    8 – 10 metal skewers or wooden kebab sticks, soaked in water for 30 minutes

    ¼ cup olive or canola oil

    3 tbsp lemon juice

    1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind

    2 tsp each chopped fresh thyme, origanum, and parsley

    1 clove of garlic, crushed black pepper to taste

    ½ tsp salt

    Method

    Place mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with boiling water. Soak for 8 – 10 minutes to prevent the from breaking apart when skewered. Drain well and pat dry.

    Thread mushrooms and veggies on skewers for kebabs sticks, alternating the different veggies for a colourful end result. Add 1 – 2 bay, lemon or lime leaves in between veggies.

    Mix oil, lemon juice and rind, herbs, and garlic together and season with pepper.

    Brush oil mixture onto skewers on all sides and marinate for 30 minutes. Season skewers with salt.

    Grill over medium to low coals or until the veggies are just cooked, but not too soft. Brush with more of the marinade, while braaing, if necessary.

    Tips:

    Add pineapple to the skewers for a sweet flavour – it is delicious with pork or chicken.

    A pinch of cumin or paprika or a chopped chilli can be added to the oil mixture if preferred.

    For a different flavour add 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger or add 1 teaspoon mild mustard to the oil mixture.

    Mealie meal and corn bake

    Ingredients

    3 cups coarse mealie meal

    2 cups water

    1½ cups low-fat milk

    ½ tsp salt

    ¼ cup olive or canola oil

    1 x 410g tin cream style sweetcorn

    1 small onion, cut into thin wedges

    3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    ¼ cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese

    1 corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob, or ½ cup frozen whole kernel corn, rinsed.

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place the mealie meal, water, milk, salt, oil, and sweetcorn in a large mixing bowl. Stir well so that no dry meal is visible.

    Lightly grease a 20 x 27 cm oven dish with oil and spoon mealie meal mixture into the dish.

    Arrange onion wedges on the mealie meal. Mix parsley, cheese, and corn and sprinkle evenly over onions.

    Bake for 1 hour or until the mealie meal is cooked through. Serve hot.

    This barbecue sauce is a low calorie option for marinades or a side dish for a braai

    Barbecue sauce

    Ingredients

    2 tsp olive or canola oil 2 onions, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

    2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger

    1 tsp ground coriander

    1 x 50g sachet tomato paste

    1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

    ⅓ cup strong Rooibos tea, water, or apple juice

    ¼ cup tomato sauce

    ¼ cup chutney

    2 tsp dried mixed herbs

    2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

    1 tbsp lemon juice

    2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

    1 tbsp mild mustard or 1 tsp dried mustard powder

    black pepper to taste

    Method

    Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Fry onions for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and ginger and fry for another few minutes.

    Stir coriander and tomato paste into onions and mix well. Add tomatoes, rinse tin with liquid and add to ingredients in a saucepan.

    Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer without the lid for 10 -15 minutes or until thickened. Stir often.

    Season with more lemon juice and pepper if necessary.

    Use the sauce to marinate meat, before the braai. Or serve as a sauce to accompany the meat and side dishes.

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