Interview: Rachel Allen Tells Us How to Get Your Family Eating Healthier

Interview: Rachel Allen Tells Us How to Get Your Family Eating Healthier

TV Chef and mother of three, Rachel Allen, is working with Sprite in their new campaign to get families eating healthier.

She talks to us about the campaign, how you can join in and what her favourite meals to make at home are.

You’re working with Sprite to help families reduce calories in their favourite meals, what tips can you give for doing that?

It’s quite interesting actually; Sprite has reduced the sugar and calorie content by 30 per cent simply by reformulating the recipe to include stevia which is a natural sweetener. Swapping ingredients in your favourite dishes - in a similar way to Sprite - is a great way to lower the calorie content; for example using honey or fruits in desserts for natural sweetness, using yoghurt instead of cream for creaminess, or using lighter versions of your staple ingredients. Think about the cooking method too - For example instead of frying a piece of meat, you could grill it. Not only does it use less oil but you also get that gorgeous smoky flavour. You could also simply reduce the amount of cream or butter in your favourite dishes. An important step to take is to use more vegetables and less meat. Vegetables will almost always have less calories but of course they’re full of nutrition and luckily they’re absolutely delicious.

When it comes to cooking healthy meals, is there anything we should avoid using, or anything we definitely should be using?

I don’t think there is any silver bullet. There’s no one ingredient which you must never use and there’s no ingredient you must use all the time. Healthy meals are about a good balance of nutrition. I don’t like it when people feel guilty about using a specific ingredient; food is also about what tastes great!

Everyone is so busy now, what tips can you give for eating healthily on the go?

I think the best way to eat healthily on the go is to take a little time to make yourself something to take with you. A salad for example (with the dressing in a separate container) is the perfect healthy snack. You know exactly what’s gone in there and you can pack it with nutrition using vegetables and nuts.

What’s your perfect summer dish?

A wonderfully fresh mackerel, grilled simply with just a simple squeeze of lemon.

We all deserve a treat once a in a while, what’s your favourite treat?

Cake is the treat I love most of all. Once in a while there’s nothing better than a slice of soft moist and crumbly cake. I even devoted an entire book to the subject!

Sometimes we all need to indulge in comfort food, which comfort food do you love to cook for yourself?

Comfort food is so personal, but it must be soothing and should normally remind you of home. For me I think fluffy, creamy, buttery mashed potato is just the ultimate in comfort food.

If it was your last day on earth, what would your last meal be?

It would have to be roast chicken. A wonderful, plump and moist bird, roasted simply with golden crisp skin and plenty of sticky sweet roast vegetables.

Finally, what’s next for you Rachel?

Well I’m still on the hunt for more inspired recipes as part of the Sprite Recipe Challenge. I’m also really excited about my next book which is published by Harper Collins on 12th September 2013. The book is called Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen, and it’s my practical guide to cooking delicious and nutritious meals for your family each day. I really adore the recipes and the book also has lots of information and advice about how to be an economical cook and really get the most out your family’s budget.

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