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Protein

Protein is an essential building block of every cell in our body. It’s used to build, grow and repair every organ, bone, muscle, nerve, and tissue. It’s also used to make blood cells, hormones, enzymes and all manner of other components vital to our biochemistry. Protein is arguably the most important factor in our diet, and because we can’t store it in the body, we have to eat it regularly.

FISH FIRST
Fish is now regarded as one of the healthiest sources of animal protein. Oil-rich fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, and sardines, are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Shellfish are also a good source of protein, with the added advantage of being low in total fat. It’s recommended that we eat fish and seafood at least twice a week.

PILE ON THE PLANT-BASED PROTEINS
Pulses (dried peas, beans, and lentils) are a great source of protein, low in sodium and saturated fat and cholesterol free.

DID YOU KNOW?
Protein exists in every one of the trillions of cells in the human body. Without it, no life could exist.

Chicken, red pepper & almond traybake

500g boneless, skinless chicken thigh
3 medium red onions, cut into thick wedges
500g small red potato, cut into thick slices
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into thick slices
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin, smoked paprika and fennel seeds slightly crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
Zest and juice 1 lemon
50g whole blanched almond, roughly chopped
170g tub 0% Greek yogurt, to serve
Small handful parsley or coriander, chopped to serve

Method

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Place the chicken, onions, potatoes and peppers in a large bowl and season.
In another bowl, mix together the garlic, spices, oil, and lemon zest and juice. Pour this over everything and spread the mixture between 2 baking trays.
Roast for 40 mins, turning over after 20 mins, until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the almonds for the final 8 mins of cooking.
Serve in bowls with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and some chopped parsley or coriander.

 

Salmon & soya bean salad
serves 2

1 large egg
200g frozen soya beans, defrosted
Zest and juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp flax seed oil
250g pouch Puy lentils
Small bunch spring onions, sliced
2 poached salmon fillets, skin removed

Method

Put the egg in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
Cook for 4 mins (or 8 for hard-boiled), adding soya beans to the pan for the final min, then drain and run under cold water to cool.
Shell and cut egg into 6 wedges, then set aside.
Mix the lemon juice and zest with the oil, season, then stir through the soya beans, lentils and spring onions.
Divide between 2 plates, then gently break the salmon into large flakes and put on top of the lentils along with the egg.
Try it with seeded brown bread.

 

Stuffed avocado with spicy beans & feta
serves 2

1 large egg
200g frozen soya beans, defrosted
Zest and juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp flax seed oil
250g pouch Puy lentils
Small bunch spring onions, sliced
2 poached salmon fillets, skin removed

Method

Put the cumin seeds in a small pan on the hob and lightly toast.
Tip into a large bowl and mix with the beans, lime zest and juice, tomatoes, shallot, chilli and coriander.
Crumble in the feta and gently toss.
Serve on top of the avocado halves, scattering with a few extra coriander leaves and squeezing over a little extra lime from the wedges

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