Executive Head Chef at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne, Keith Mitchell, reveals how to get healthier in the kitchen in 2014
The New Year is the perfect time for refreshing the kitchen cupboards and thinking about your eating habits. With fitness and a healthier lifestyle high on the agenda of New Year’s resolutions, focusing on your nutritional needs is a good place to start to get yourself feeling and looking better.
However, this doesn’t have to mean the dreaded diet word! Balancing your meals properly, rather than reducing them, and ensuring they meet your dietary requirements, alongside a physical activity, may be more than sufficient in contributing to weight loss and a better, healthier lifestyle.
Here at The Grand Hotel we have many years of experience in creating perfectly balanced meals which are high in flavour. The use of fresh ingredients, coupled with herbs and spices, is the starting point to creating delicious, healthy and exciting dishes.
So what is the best approach to getting your kitchen and meal planner into shape? Here I have provided some top tips to help improve and maintain your diet.
Start by cleansing your fridge, freezer, cupboards and larder. This doesn’t mean that you need to start throwing away all the goodies you have built up over the festive period but it is a good opportunity to gather an understanding of what ingredients you currently have available, what you need to stock up on and how you can utilise ingredients in new, exciting and healthy ways.
Reducing your intake of sugar and salt can be achieved by balancing them properly with other flavours. A great way to improve meals and make them healthier is to use plenty of fresh herbs and spices. Aim to create a good stock of spices so that they are readily available whenever required. Fresh herbs can be easily picked up at local supermarkets or grown at home on a window sill.
Ensure meals include the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. As a rule of thumb you should be aiming for your daily intake to be 20-25 per cent protein, 45-60 per cent carbohydrates and 15-20 per cent fat. Think about portion sizes too. Plates shouldn’t be overloaded with food, but nor should portions be so small that you are left hungry afterwards. A simple and effective way to work out a portion is to count two palms of protein, two fists of vegetables and two cupped hands of carbohydrates for each meal.
Healthy eating is about the quality of food as well as the quantity. Naturally a freshly prepared meal, with the right ingredients, is always going to be better for you than the equivalent ready-made version. Knowing what goes into your food, and controlling the content, will make a big difference.
The key to enjoying food and striking a healthier balance isn’t constant denial but steady moderation. Indulging in a delicious four course meal is a pleasurable experience, but not something to be repeated every day. Likewise, fasting will only serve to decrease your metabolic rate. Get in to good habits with your choices by planning your meals in advance. Not only will this help you to eat better, but will also mean you are more organised and will reduce the urge to snack. Starting the day with a good breakfast, such as an omelette, is a fantastic way to kick start your metabolism and get focused on the day ahead.
Above all, eating should be an enjoyable experience so always remember to reward yourself with the odd treat like a beautiful meal in a dazzling setting or a sumptuous Afternoon Tea.
For more information about the restaurants at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne please visit http://www.grandeastbourne.com/eastbourne-restaurant