Dieting side affects that no one tells you about…

Intentionally trying to lose weight is often hailed as one of the best ways to improve your heath but is that really the case? There are many negative side effects to dieting that you don’t often hear about and below are just some of the potential outcomes that can occur:

1.Feeling out of control around food – At first going on a diet may give a false sense of control but over time restricting how much you eat and having a lot of rules around food can actually result in the opposite effect because as you’ll read further along, your body will do everything it can to make you eat more if it thinks it’s being starved.

2. Disordered Eating – Despite being extremely normalised in our society; cutting out food groups (that you don’t need to avoid for medical reasons) skipping meals, avoiding foods for pleasure, counting calories, recording every single thing you eat and drink, binge eating and fasting are all forms of disordered eating. Our eating behaviours fall on a spectrum, with normal eating at one end and eating disorders at the other. Disordered eating falls somewhere between the two and for some it can eventually develop into a full blown eating disorder.

3. Metabolism slows down – Your body doesn’t know you’re intentionally trying to lose weight, it thinks you’re experiencing famine and will do anything it can to try and stop your weight from decreasing. One way it does this is to slow your metabolism down and becomes more efficient at surviving on less energy and this is why many people experience a plateau when dieting as it becomes harder and harder to lose weight.

4. Binge Eating – When you’ve been restricting certain foods and eating less than your body needs it can increase the likelihood of binge eating. Deviating from your diet just slightly can result in the “fuck it” effect, where you may feel like you’ve failed your diet today “so might as well eat whatever you want and then start again on Monday” and the cycle continues.

5. Feeling preoccupied about food/body -Your body releases the hunger hormone grehlin and neurotransmitters that drive a desire to eat carbohydrates when its not getting enough energy. So its not a lack of willpower when you smell something delicious that you know is off limits and it drives you insane, its your body increasing your motivation to eat!

6. Regaining the weight you’ve lost – Long term the research suggests that 1 year after taking part in a weight loss intervention, less than 20% of participants are able to maintain the weight loss and this number decreases further each year after they initially lost weight.

7. Disconnect from innate hunger and fullness cues – If you’ve been eating in accordance to someone else’s rules around food for a long time its going to get harder for you to tune into your own internal hunger and fullness cues that we rely on to eat normally. These can and will come back over time with the right guidance and support.

8. Distrust in your body – Although statistically most diets inevitably fail it can still feel like your body is working against you and this creates a sense of distrust. Intuitive eating can help you to rebuild trust in your body that it knows how much and what to eat and doesn’t need to be micromanaged.

9.Guilt that you’ve failed the diet – Dieting is one of the biggest predictors of future weight gain and it has nothing to do with willpower, its biology! But as diet culture and companies who profit from it know this is the case, they blame the consumer for it going wrong… resulting in repeat customers for years to come.

There are other ways you can improve your health that don’t include weight loss. Intuitive eating is a non diet framework I use with clients which has been found to improve glucose control, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, lead to a wider variety and better quality diet, reduce disordered eating behaviours and improve body image. If you would like to work on some of these areas together click here to arrange a discovery call and see how I can support you improve your relationship to food and body.

Why I won’t comment on your weight loss…

Apart from the fact that how another person’s body looks is none of my business, there are a number of reasons why I won’t comment on their weight loss. 

Disordered eating or a full blown eating disorder – You have no idea how they’ve come to this point, they could be engaging in disordered eating practices and/or excessive exercise, so commenting on their body positively reinforces those maladaptive behaviours which will most likely cause further harm. 

It could be a sign that someone is seriously unwell – Rapid weight loss is often an indicator that something significant is underlying. Unfortunately this red flag could be easily ignored due to the positive praise they’ve received, which could result in their condition going undiagnosed for a longer period of time, hindering their chances of recovery.

Chronic stress – Divorce, redundancy, bereavement are all major life experiences which can lead to elevated stress and sometimes weight loss. Making comments could add to their already high stress levels, as now they have the pressure to keep their body looking a certain way which leads to the belief that it’s more important to look thin, than prioritise their mental health.

It reinforces to that person that they look better/more desirable now that they are thinner– however if they regain the weight they’ve lost (which is the case for 95% of people who lose weight intentionally) then those compliments get turned on their head – being larger is less desirable and now they look worse than before. 

Commending someone on their weight loss or even their efforts to lose weight, especially in front of people in larger bodies is inadvertently saying that they look better now that they look less like them or that they are better for just attempting to change how they look. However well intentioned it may be, please consider the above before commenting on someone’s weight as the chances are, you’ll do more harm than good.

If you want to compliment someone, it doesn’t have to be appearance based – tell them how they make you laugh, that they’re a good listener, a great friend and fun to be around. 

I know it can be upsetting or disheartening if you’ve lost weight and it isn’t acknowledged by someone you care about and it can also feel awkward when you are the only one who doesn’t comment on a person’s weight loss but remember either way – you are worth so much more than your weight, it’s the least interesting thing about you! People love you for who you are, not your body size.

What is Intuitive Eating and how can it help you?

Intuitive Eating is a framework underpinned by 10 principles which teach you how to tune into and eat according to your bodies natural hunger and fullness cues as opposed to eating based on external rules e.g. “I can’t be hungry now, its nowhere near lunchtime” or “I won’t have pizza because I’ve already had bread today”.

We are all born intuitive eaters. As babies, we cry when we are hungry and stop eating when we are full because we listen to what our bodies are telling us. But over time with the influence of diet culture we start thinking about what we should be eating based on what we read online, hear from our friends or what our parents say we have to eat before you can leave the table or have dessert. It sounds pretty simple right, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full? Well although that is part of the intuitive eating process there is much more nuance to it than that.

First and foremost, Intuitive Eating is NOT a “eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full” diet and it’s not a weight loss intervention. Its designed to move you away from the dieting mentality that tells you to be healthy you have to lose weight, towards trusting that your body knows what you need and learning to enjoy food without thinking about it constantly or feeling guilty or anxious when it comes to mealtimes.

There are 10 Principles to Intuitive Eating which you are encouraged to work through:

  1. Ditch the Diet Mentality – Rejecting the idea that “thin” is the only body type to strive for and that losing weight/toning up is the only way to be healthier. We have been manipulated to believe that our bodies are wrong or undesirable unless they fit a very narrow beauty standard and that constantly watching what you eat is totally acceptable – it’s not and you are worth so much more than that – we come in all shapes and sizes and this diversity should be celebrated!
  2. Honour your Hunger – Skipping meals, avoiding snacking or putting off eating until you’re HANGRY is super common because we’re taught that our bodies can’t be trusted when it comes to hunger. Once we’ve had breakfast we can’t possibly eat something until lunchtime! Acknowledging those early feelings of hunger and eating in response to them rather than trying to pacify your hunger with water, caffeine, chewing gum etc starts with tuning into your own hunger signals which can look different for everyone.
  3. Make Peace with Food – Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and allowing all foods to fit into your life. This may sound scary but it’s a vital part of the process. Foods that you feel out of control around usually stem from restricting them to begin with. When foods are off limits they are instantly more desirable!
  4. Challenge the Food Police – Dieting is very black and white when it comes to food, its either good or bad. Healthy or unhealthy. That little voice in your head telling you to to have a salad when you really wanted pasta is the food police, guilt tripping you into eating things that are “safe” and unsatisfying. Get curious with these thoughts and what they serve.
  5. Feel your Fullness – Eating when distracted, in a hurry or when you’ve gone past the point of hunger can lead you to eat more than you need in a short pace of time, which can result in feelings of guilt, shame and physical discomfort. Regularly checking in during a meal to see how you are enjoying the food and how full you are starting to feel can help level things out. When you know no foods are off limits, it reduces the desire to eat so much in one go, so if you want to leave some for later it’s ok to do that – no rules here!
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – Diet foods are often lacking something that hits the spot so you never feel truly satisfied. This is why you could easily eat a handful of low sugar 99 calorie brownie bars when one regular gooey brownie would be just what you fancied. Discovering the foods that really bring you pleasure and letting go of foods that don’t can make the whole eating experience enjoyable and improve the connection between body and mind.
  7. Understanding Emotional Eating – Comfort eating is a common and completely normal coping mechanism, however if it’s your only option when you aren’t feeling great its not going to solve those long term problems that eating could be masking. Checking in with what emotions come up when you want to comfort eat can help you to find other ways to cope. These could include reaching out to a friend, reading, taking a bath or going for a walk so that you aren’t only relying on one thing to ease those feelings.
  8. Respect Your Body – Another one of diet cultures lies is that once you lose weight you will love your body but the truth is you are worthy no matter what your body looks like! You might never love the body you have but its yours. Learning to respect it and be more neutral towards it can help improve body satisfaction and body image.
  9. Joyful Movement – Moving your body in ways that you actually enjoy, whether that’s walking, yoga, swimming, or pole dancing, can help change your mindset that physical activity has to be a punishment or to compensate for what you are eating. There are many reasons physical activity is beneficial for our bodies and our mental health and focusing on them rather than exercising to burn fat or lose weight is more likely to last long term.
  10. Gentle Nutrition – Once you’ve ditched the diet mentality and give yourself unconditional permission to eat this principle can help you to figure out what foods are enjoyable but also how they make you feel. Understanding that all foods can fit into a balanced diet but not all have to provide nutrients for the body, some are just good for the soul.

You don’t have to follow these in order as it’s by no means a tick box exercise but it can be beneficial to work on certain principles at the early stages of the process and others towards the end. For example it would be very difficult to honor your hunger if you haven’t ditched the diet mentality first. If you’ve ever dieted before you will know that once you’ve used up your calories, macro’s, points or syns (bleugh!) for the day then that’s it, regardless of how hungry you are, you aren’t allowed any more.

The practice of trying to shrink our bodies through restriction of food or avoiding whole food groups is so normalised and often praised in our society that losing weight is perceived to be the only way to actively improve your health. Working through these principles is a process and it takes time to unlearn a lot of unhealthy behaviours that diet culture ingrains into us. However you can find freedom from this all or nothing thinking and develop a better relationship to food with the right support.

If you are interested in this approach and feel that working through these areas would benefit you, please do get in touch and see how we can work together.

Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about snacking…

For some, snacking is a way of sailing through the day without getting overly hungry in between meals. It’s not something that requires much thought and can be as simple as recognising feelings of hunger and choosing to satisfy them.  However for others its not always that straightforward.

Snacking Photo

Grazing regularly throughout the day by having snacks here and there might be more suited to some people because it fits in better with their lifestyle. Having a busy job or taking care of children doesn’t always leave enough time to sit down and have a substantial meal, so grabbing food little and often can be much easier and more manageable.

Equally, having 3 square meals a day may suit those who need to prepare their food in advance,  who don’t particularly get hungry in between meals or for people working shifts and have set breaks.

However the reality is that some people really struggle with knowing what to snack on if they haven’t prepared something in advance, especially if there are limited “healthy” foods or many options for under 100 calories – which seems to be the golden rule for snacking. So avoiding food between meals may seem like the best thing to do in order to prevent those feelings of guilt for eating something  simply because you couldn’t wait until your next meal.

I’m telling you this is not something you should ever feel guilty about and its why “honoring your hunger” is one of the key principles of intuitive eating.

Since starting the IE process, I realised that for a long time I avoided snacking for the purpose of being “good“. I would put off eating my lunch for as long as possible until I was absolutely starving in a bid to stop me from being hungry in the afternoon and looking for “unhealthy” snacks… but the only “unhealthy” thing about that scenario is the repetitive behaviour of ignoring my hunger.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to eating as you know your body better than anyone. Only you know what satisfies you, keeps you going and what works best for you as an individual.

As we all know, life changes constantly and even the most organised people have days where everything goes wrong, you leave your lunch at home or meetings run over so you don’t get to eat what you want, when you wanted. So having a couple of biscuits mid afternoon might be the difference between becoming so ravenous that you feel hangry and consequently over eat when you get the opportunity or feeling satisfied enough until your next meal so that you can get on with more important things in the day than worrying about food.

Ignoring or wanting to suppress hunger will often lead to overeating and this may by why snacking gets a bad rep. Overeating is a completely normal thing to do if you are starving! So to avoid this, try and really listen to your body. When you start to feel a little hungry and you feel like a snack would help relieve this, then allow yourself to have one!

Diet culture and the media are to blame for why we feel so crazy about food and with appetite suppressants being promoted on the daily its no wonder why we want to avoid snacking – particularly when all the snacks targeted at women are low calorie, low fat, low sugar and taste like air.

I think when it comes to eating there is a lot more to the behaviour than the food itself, therefore the the way you eat snacks is just as important. So eating more mindfully, slowly and without distraction where possible will help you to register your fullness cues so that you are comfortably full, rather than stuffed. However if this isn’t realistic for you, just stopping midway through whatever you are eating for a few minutes can help you to tune in with how you are feeling.

If you are after a little inspiration for snack ideas, check out some of my recipes…


Vegan mushroom stroganoff

Since starting my nutrition course, I’ve learnt a lot about vegetarian and vegan diets and I must admit, I wasn’t aware of just how important it is to substitute certain foods that you are cutting out of your everyday diet. It made me realise how many people take the plunge (myself included) by reducing or completely avoiding meat and animal products without thinking what will replace them.

Soy beans make up a large proportion of meat and dairy free alternatives from veggie sausages to milk and cheese and they are a great source of protein and fibre which can help to reduce cholesterol. One of the benefits of eating a more plant based diet is that you naturally eat more fruit and veg (which can only be a good thing!) and it gives many people more variety in the meals they eat through trying new recipes. However don’t be afraid of making your old favourites with meat/dairy free alternatives as eating healthier should always be about what you can add to your diet, rather than take away!

Although cream is not something we buy regularly to have in our meals, sometimes coconut milk is too sweet or simply doesn’t taste right in certain recipes so I was chuffed when I found Alpro Single Soya in Asda and tried it out in one of my favourite dishes. Previously I used sour cream or crème fraîche but they both have a slight sharpness to them which I’m not massively keen on so this cream works brilliantly as a diary free substitute. I’ve not tried it poured over a desert yet so can’t comment on how it tastes on it’s own but it definitely works in this delicious stroganoff…


This is a great midweek meal to rustle up in 20 minutes or so and is so full of flavour! If you wanted extra for lunch the following day you could bulk this out by adding a variety of different mushrooms, some chopped leeks or even Quorn chicken pieces for some plant based protein.


  • 2 white onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 carton of dairy free cream (I used Alpro Single Soya)
  • 200ml of vegetable Stock
  • 250g or 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce

Method – Serves 2

  1. Finely slice the onions, roughly chop the mushrooms and mince the garlic cloves
  2. Add all of the above into a pan on a medium heat with a good glug of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add in the paprika,  season well with salt and pepper and leave for another 5 minutes, stirring often to avoid it catching.
  4. Add the stock and turn the heat up high for a further 5 minutes until the stock starts to reduce and thicken.
  5. Finally mix in the soy cream, and a tablespoon of soy sauce and stir until fully combined.

Serve with brown rice or quinoa and a sprinkle of parsley!


Italian Style Stuffed Aubergines

Stuffed aubergine 1

Back in my uni days I used to make a mean stuffed butternut squash but it took sooo long to roast in the oven that I’ve slowly stopped making it ( as you can imagine I had plenty of time on my hands back then!) Aubergines on the other hand, take half the time to do and they go well with so many different flavours, thats one of the reasons I really like this recipe as the herbs are simple and most people tend to have them in their cupboard. If you are stretched for time you can cook the aubergines in the microwave and they taste just as nice. The only thing is that their skins are much softer and tear easier, see bottom of the page for how to make them this way.

stuffed aubergine 3Aubergines are one of my favourite veggies right now, they’re really versatile and absorb flavour very quickly when roasted which is great for a mid-week, meat free meal. There is nothing too fancy about this dish either – if you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes or olives don’t worry about it, they are a nice addition but aren’t essential.

Its so frustrating when you find a great recipe only to realise that there is one ingredient you don’t have in, so whenever I look for new ideas, whether its in cookery books or on Pinterest I usually end up adapting them in some way to suit me. So when sharing recipes with you I always try to think of simple meals which can be altered easily so you can make them again and again 🙂 Also I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to measurements (and creating mountains of washing up and making a general mess of the kitchen) so again if you want to chuck more couscous in or a whole jar of pesto, go right ahead, just try it as you go!


Serves 2

  • 2 aubergines
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • 6-7 sun-dried tomatoes
  • olives (optional)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red onions red onion
  • 100g plain couscous
  • 3-4 tbs basil pesto
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1x Mozzarella ball (sliced) (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 and line a baking tray with tin foil.
  2. Slice the aubergines in half length ways and score the flesh using a knife, be careful not to cut the skin underneath.
  3. Put onto the baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Place into the oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Whilst the aubergines are roasting, finely chop the garlic and add to a frying pan over a medium heat with some olive oil for a few minutes.
  6. Chop the red onion, courgettes and peppers into small chunks and add to the pan, sauteing until soft.
  7. Then half the cherry tomatoes and olives (if you are using) and roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes then add these into the pan.
  8. Add the pesto to the cooked veg and add in the herbs and season well.
  9. Once the aubergines are done take them out of the oven and scoop out the flesh and add this to the pan with the pesto veggies. Be careful when you do this so as not to tear the skins.
  10. Mix all of the veg together, seasoning well and then spoon back into the aubergine skins but leave back a a couple of spoonfuls for the couscous
  11. Pop this under the grill at the same temperature for a further 10 minutes. You could also add mozzarella slices on top of the aubergines at this point if you wanted.
  12. Whilst this is cooking you can make your couscous. If you don’t have plain couscous then a sachet mix will be fine, they usually have around 125g in them so it shouldn’t make too much extra. Add the dry couscous straight into the veg and mix well until its all coated. Then add enough boiling water so that all the mixture is wet but not covered in water.
  13. Put on a lid and leave until the aubergines are done on a low-medium heat.
  14. Remove the aubergines from the grill, squeeze the lemon juice over the couscous and serve!

Microwaving your aubergine’s:

Pop both of the aubergines into the microwave whole (no pricking) for around 8 minutes until they feel soft and tender to touch. Then cut them length-ways and gently scoop out the flesh with a spoon, careful though, they are extremely hot! You can always put these skins under the grill whilst you are mixing the aubergine with the other veggies to help them crisp and firm up slightly.

Give them a try this weekend and let me know what you think!

Healthy Beetroot dip – two ways!

On Wednesdays we wear pink…

ummmmm actually, most days I wear grey and black much to my mums disapproval, “you’ve got your whole life to wear black” she used to say. I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this, so I’m going to eat pink and colourful food instead…does that count?!beetroot dip 1.JPG

Whenever we buy cooked beetroot in the vacuum packs I always end up with a few leftover, I put them in the fridge with every intention of using them and in a blink of an eye they’ve gone off. I’m trying to consciously reduce the amount of food we throw away so I thought I would create some simple recipes to use up the rest, so no excuses!

I’m also a massive fan of dips; hummus, tzatziki, guac, tahini, salsa, you name it. They’re such an easy way to make a meal taste amazing! They’re also great for when you’ve run out of ideas, especially for things like salads, just add a dollop of dip and it totally changes the dynamic of the dish.

Beetroot is an amazing source of antioxidants and vitamins such as potassium which is important for muscle contraction and it’s very high in folic acid which the body requires on a daily basis. Folate is used in the body to produce DNA and to help with cell division which is essential for you to heal and grow.

Cooked beetroot is really cheap too, I think the pack I bought to make both of these dips was around 80p. They are easy to juice or chop up in salads but one of my favourite ways to eat them is to cut them into chunks and mix with warm goats cheese  🤤

Beetroot mint and yogurt dip


  • 3 medium sized cooked beetroot
  • A small bunch of fresh mint
  • 200g Greek yogurt – you could use a plant based yogurt to make this suitable for vegans/dairy free.
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1 clove of Garlic


Grate the beetroot into a bowl.

Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and with a teaspoon remove the watery flesh to leave 2 long “C shaped” sections. Grate these too and add to the same bowl.

Finely slice the mint and the garlic (if you have a garlic crusher use this) and add to the bowl along with the greek yoghurt. Mix really well, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

beetroot dip 2.JPG

Beetroot Hummus


  • 1 can of Chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp of Tahini
  • 2 cloves of Garlic crushed or finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 medium sized cooked beetroots


Roughly chop the cooked beetroot into quarters and add to the food processor.

Drain the chickpeas and add in along with all of the other ingredients and blitz. If it’s still very thick add in small amounts of olive oil until it’s the right consistency.  Season to taste and serve!

beetroot dip 3.JPG

Both of these dips are really easy and quick to make and can be made vegan too. They go well with crackers, bread, pittas, crudités or just dolloped ontop of your meal 🙂



Iced mocha smoothie…for when you need a little more than coffee in the morning 

I’ve been dying to make this recipe for ages as we’ve been out of cacao powder for some time but after a trip to Sainsburys I am now stocked up and ready to make this dreamy smoothie!

Think iced coffee meets frappaccino but waaaaayyy healthier and only 6 ingredients so it’s an easy one to do.
Avocado gives a wonderfully creamy texture and the cacao and coffee are just an amazing combination! The sweetness comes from a little honey and some dates for some extra fibre too.

Avocado’s are a fantastic source of vitamin E which is beneficial to your immune system for fighting off infection and helps to keep your eyes and skin healthy. They are famously known for their monounsaturated good fats which contribute towards a healthy heart. One of the fatty acids found in Avocado’s is Linoelic acid which cannot be produced by the body so must be consumed in your everyday diet, so that’s good news for avo lovers!

It’s a really nice smoothie to make before work, especially when it’s a warm day as the caffeine wakes you up but it’s cold, icy and refreshing!

Serves 2

  • flesh of 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 handful of pitted dates
  • 3 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp honey – vegans could use maple syrup instead
  • 200 ml milk of choice (almond milk works well)

Put the dates and the milk into a blender and blend until smooth.

Add in 3 large teaspoons of good quality instant coffee, I like to use Nescafe espresso instant which is a powder so it doesn’t need to be blended for long. If you are using granules you may have to leave it blending for slightly longer. However if you have the time and you own a cafetiere then it’s definitely worth making some fresh coffee (enough for 2 people) and pour the whole lot in. You can always add in more ice/milk/water if you want to make more too.

Add in the avocado flesh, 2 tbsp of cacao, honey, ice and top up with 300 ml water and blend until smooth and creamy! Let me know what you think 🙂

Sweet and salty peanut butter ice cream shell

Hands up if you love ice cream!

peanut icecream shell 2.JPG

If like me you love the stuff then I think you will also love this sweet and salty peanut butter sauce. It goes really well with my current favourite – Alpro Hazelnut and Chocolate “ice cream” – which is dairy free, low in sugar and it does not disappoint. Anyone out there who can’t have dairy or chooses not to then you’ve gotta try it…it’s so creamy, I don’t know how they do it but it’s delicious.

I’ve got to admit… when I first made the recipe I hadn’t planned on it going solid when it cooled, I just wanted a little something extra that was as satisfying as toffee sauce but a healthier version! I’m really chuffed that it does though, it reminds me of when we were little getting ice cream from the lakes that was dipped in hot chocolate sauce which were always so good!

peanut icecream shell 3.JPG

Anyway whether you have it drizzled over porridge or a stack of pancakes it’s equally as nice but I just love how when you pour this sauce over ice cream, it hardens and forms a shell, ready to be cracked open!

This recipe can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes, so whilst you are waiting for your ice cream to soften a little you can make a quick batch of sauce. Its so good you’ll end up eating it out of the pan before it even makes it near your dessert bowl, did I mention that it’s completely vegan too…

Give it a try next time you have a cosy night in and let me know what you think!


Serves 2


You can make this in a little saucepan or in a bowl in the microwave.

Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat until melted, add in the rest of the ingredients, stir well and serve!

The sauce is ideal for freezing too, just reheat in the microwave when you are ready to eat!

Herby lentil and tomato salad with griddled halloumi

Halloumi and Lentil Salad

When I think of lentils, hearty winter stews, indian dahl and my favourite vegan shepherds pie spring to mind. Salads are probably the last thing I would put lentils with but they go so well! I’m always trying to come up with new salad concoctions to keep things interesting and this one is easy to do, filling and really tasty.

I never used to cook with them as the idea of pre-soaking for hours on end was a no go. Sometimes you don’t always know what you are going to fancy the following day for dinner! So luckily you can buy them cooked, canned and ready to go, so all you need to do is gently heat for a few minutes or you can drain them and serve cold.

They are a great source of soluble-fibre, plant-based protein and iron, in fact per 100g, they contain more iron than steak! Lentils are really filling too so they go well in salads to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

You can opt out of the halloumi all together for a vegan option, replacing with tofu or another meat free alternative. Or use another type of cheese, goats cheese would work really well or paneer too.

Serves 2

  • 1 pack of Halloumi
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach/salad leaves of choice
  • 1 can of pre-cooked lentils
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp of powdered
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes – not essential but goes really well
  • 1 large handful of baby plum or cherry tomatoes
  • juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon.
  • 2 tbsp of Balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley and thyme


Cut the courgette in half length ways and then cut those halves into further strips. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper onto a chopping board and then rub the courgette slices in this so they are nicely coated and then put onto a griddle pan over a medium heat, turning after a few minutes to cook on the other side.

Whilst that’s cooking, pour the lentils and their water into a microwavable bowl and cook in the microwave according to their instructions. Once cooked add to a separate pan over a medium heat with olive oil and chopped garlic (you can use fresh or powdered) the dried herbs and the vinegar. After a few minutes add in the fresh and/or sun-dried tomatoes and season well.

Once the  courgette slices are done put them into the oven on low to keep warm whilst you cook the halloumi. Cut the halloumi into approximately 10 slices and then rub each slice in the olive oil from the courgettes and place into the griddle pan, turn after 3-4 minutes once they start to brown (the griddle pan is just to make it pretty so if you don’t have one just use a regular frying pan).

Whilst the halloumi is cooking, add the lemon juice and zest and plate up the salad leaves. You can add any of your favourite salad ingredients now such as cucumber, beetroot, radishes, spring onions etc or you can keep it simple.

When everything is done, divide the lentils between the two plates, then top with the courgette and finally the grilled halloumi.

If you don’t finish it all, it’s a great dish to have cold the next day for leftovers. On top of this salad I’ve also thrown in some crispy Cajun chickpeas as a little added extra, if you want to make them then just click here.