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As a nutritionist, dietitian and trained chef, I can show you how to make delicious, appetizing meals that ensure you get the most from the foods you eat.
At last, my late-planted lettuces have reached their peak, along with the peas and runner beans. One of the things I most look forward to when summer comes is being able just to walk into the garden and pick whatever I fancy, whenever I fancy it, then putting together simple, crisp, delicious salads. At the moment, I’m adding all sorts of other ingredients to the leaves and vegetables, to make them complete meals in a bowl. My daughter Maya loves grilled haloumi cheese, which I add to lettuce along with some smoked trout, lots of finely chopped dill and cooled, steamed new potatoes to make a scrumptious herby salad. It needs nothing more than a classic vinaigrette to finish it off.
When you’re undergoing cancer treatments your gut can feel more sensitive than usual and you may find that too many raw vegetables can aggravate it. But you don’t want to miss out on all the wonderful nutritional value they bring. Vegetables are full of fibre, which is great for the gut; vitamins and minerals for a healthy body; and certain vegetables, such as broccoli, contain protein.
I suggest cooking vegetables which you can cool down before adding to a salad. I love a salad bowl made with asparagus, peas and roasted cherry tomatoes. Or try a French-style salad, such as a traditional salad Niçoise made with green beans and new potatoes. Cooking the beans seems to make them easier to digest, and the new potatoes add extra calories which can be useful when your appetite is a little off. I like to make a dressing of half mayonnaise and half yoghurt whizzed up with lots of dill and tarragon, to make it feel fresher to the palette.
This month, take advantage of what’s in season and move the salad from the side of your plate to become the centrepiece of your meals. Start with a base of leaves – there are lots of varieties of lettuce in the shops, or try baby spinach, rocket and watercress. Add raw or cooked vegetables and herbs for lots of goodness and flavour. Top with some tasty protein, such as feta or mozzarella cheese, flakes of fish, or some chickpeas or cannellini beans. And finish with a drizzle of dressing.
I hope you enjoy building your salad bowls. So often, just seeing all that vibrant colour and freshness can lift the spirits and inspire a jaded appetite. Let me know how you get on.
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Photo credit: Toa Heftiba
I absolutely love salads and can honestly say it must be terrific just walking into a garden with an awesome supply of fresh vegetables right there. The great advice on this page is very informative and I definitely recommend your blog to everyone to read . Congratulations on your topic .
Thank you for your kind comments, Elle. I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. Do let me know if there are any particular topics you'd like me to cover - or simply what you enjoy cooking and eating. Jane
I tried some of your salad ideas and discovered you are right that a colourful plate of food can help a poor appetite. So thank you very much. I always enjoy your blog.
I had cancer treatment in 2013 but I still suffer with a poor appetite and can only manage small sized meals. I'd be interested to read about some recipe ideas for a main meal that is small, healthy and nutritious, but has lots of calories.
Hi Margaret - many thanks for getting in touch. For a small, calorie-rich meal, I'd recommend a ramekin of cauliflower cheese or shepherd's pie with a cheesy topping. You could make in batches and freeze in small portions, so you don't waste food when you don't feel like eating too much. Another idea is to enrich a bowl of soup with a swirl of cream or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and to enjoy a soft crumpet with butter on the side. Hope that helps.
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