How to enjoy a guilt-free Easter - from Slimming World

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There are nearly 40 million people in across the UK who struggle with their weight. And for many of them Easter’s festival of chocolate is one of the most challenging times of the year.

Most of the millions of people in the UK who are trying to lose weight think they have to avoid Easter holiday temptations. But there’s good news according to a local weight-loss expert; Cate Kutas, who is team developer for West Northants and manages local Slimming World groups in Northampton and Daventry, says slimmers can still enjoy Easter treats without guilt. “Easter can be an extremely tempting time for people trying to slim down in time for summer, as Easter eggs line the supermarket shelves, adverts for chocolate treats dominate TV screens and the smell of freshly-baked hot cross buns and cakes seems to fill every room.”

“So often we think that losing weight means going hungry and giving up all of our favourite foods – after all, that’s what so many diets tell us to do!” she says. “But it is possible to have your cake and eat it this Easter, and start this summer looking and feeling great. Members who join Slimming World to lose weight discover that we’re not about dieting and deprivation. What we help each other to do is make healthy changes to the way we shop, cook and eat and learn to make healthy choices.

“Every week at group we share tips and ideas and support each other to overcome challenges. I’ve put together a delicious Easter Sunday or Bank Holiday menu that shows how you can enjoy tasty Slimming World food on the plan,” says Cate.

“My three-course Easter menu proves that serving up a delicious bank holiday meal doesn’t have to mean feeling guilty or deprived. The menu is simple and quick, and typical of the sort of tempting and tasty dishes Slimming World members enjoy without guilt.”

Claire Willers joined Slimming World last Easter and has now lost 2st 11.5lbs. She says: “I can’t believe how much my life has changed in just 12 months. I joined at Easter time and by the time we went on our summer holidays a few months later I was 2st lighter and felt much more confident. Now I’ve lost another 11.5lbs and life just keeps getting better as I am now a Target member. I never feel hungry or like I’m having to miss out, and the support I get from Sylvia and the rest of the group is unbelievable.”

The recipes included in Cate’s, Easter menu are based on Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan which allows slimmers to satisfy their appetite on filling, lower calorie foods like pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, poultry and fish. At Slimming World these foods are called Free Foods because members can enjoy them freely to satisfy their appetite without weighing, counting and measuring.

Two new Slimming World are opening groups in Northampton on April 9 – Liz Dean at The Obelisk Centre, Obelisk Rise, Kingsthorpe, Thursdays 9.30am contact Liz 07951 890069 for details; and Shovorne Brown at Elim Church, Gladstone Road, Northampton Thursdays 7.30pm contact Shovorne 07545 107346 for details.

Cate says: “Everyone’s welcome at our fabulous Slimming World groups throughout Northamptonshire. For more information including more delicious recipes visit www.slimmingworld.com or call Cate on 07812 028290.

Easter menu:

To start... Leek and cannellini bean soup

Main... Mixed peppercorn crusted beef with cabbage and horseradish cream

Dessert... Chocolate, chilli and coffee mousse pots

Leek and cannellini bean soup – serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: about 45 minutes

-low calorie cooking spray

-3 leeks, thinly sliced

-2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

-500g King Edward potatoes, peeled and roughly diced

-2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

-1.5 litres vegetable stock

-a small handful of very finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra sprigs to garnish

-salt and freshly ground black pepper

-6 tbsp fat free natural fromage frais

Spray a large saucepan with low calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Cook the leeks and garlic for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the potatoes, cannellini beans and stock, bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables are very tender. Using a hand-held blender, purée the soup in the pan until smooth.

Stir in the parsley and season to taste before ladling into six shallow soup plates or bowls.

Top each bowl with a tablespoon of fromage frais and serve warm, garnished with parsley sprigs.

Mixed peppercorn crusted beef with cabbage and horseradish cream – serves 6

Preparation time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: under 30 minutes

-6 large, thick, lean fillet steaks, all visible fat removed

-salt

-3 tbsp mixed crushed peppercorns

-low calorie cooking spray

-1 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary

-1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

-1 small onion, peeled, halved and sliced

-600g Savoy cabbage, shredded

-200ml beef stock

-1 level tbsp creamed horseradish

-4 tbsp fat free natural fromage frais

-1 level tbsp low fat soft cheese

-1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley

Season the steaks well with salt and the crushed peppercorns.

Spray a large frying pan with low calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat.

Add the steaks in a single layer and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove the steaks with a slotted spoon, transfer to a warmed plate, cover and keep warm.

Wipe the frying pan with kitchen paper and re-spray with low calorie cooking spray.

Place over a high heat and add the rosemary, garlic, onion and cabbage. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, then add the stock and season well. Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the cabbage is just tender.

Remove from the heat and stir in the horseradish cream, fromage frais and soft cheese.

Divide the cabbage between six plates, top with the peppered steaks, scatter over the parsley and serve immediately.

Chocolate, chilli and coffee mousse pots – serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus chilling/freezing. Cooking time: none

-125g dark chocolate

-4 medium eggs, separated*

-4 level tbsp sweetener

-½ tsp dried red chilli flakes

-2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp water

-2 tbsp cognac or brandy

-fat free natural fromage frais, to serve

-1 level tsp cocoa powder, to dust

-orange zest, to decorate

*Pregnant women, the elderly and babies are advised not to eat raw or partially cooked eggs.

Break the chocolate into small pieces, place in a large heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly at room temperature.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff but not too dry.

Whisk the egg yolks, sweetener, chilli flakes, instant coffee mixture and cognac or brandy in a separate bowl and spoon into the melted chocolate, mixing well.

Lightly fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon until well combined. Spoon this mixture into six tea cups or dessert dishes and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until just set.

To serve, top each serving with a spoonful of fromage frais, lightly dust with cocoa powder and decorate with orange zest.