Bites By Becs - Courgette Fritters and Thai Salmon Lettuce Cups

Friday, 28 July 2017

Bites by Becs - Fats cover

This time, Becca focuses on fats and shares some more of her healthy recipes.

What are fats and why do we need them?

Just like carbohydrates and protein, fats are a macronutrient and another source of energy. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy, providing 9kcal per 1g consumed, over double the energy content of carbohydrates and protein. Fats are essential in the diet to help transport vitamins A, D, E and K (all fat-soluble vitamins) and support their absorption in the intestine. Consequently, consuming fatty foods rich in these nutrients is essential for intake of these micronutrients. Fat is also needed for thermal insulation and to protect vital organs in the body. Our bodies cannot produce polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha linolenic acid (omega-3); thus, they must be provided in the diet from fish, nuts and seeds to support vital functions in the body.

Courgette Fritters with a Poached Egg


  • 1 egg
  • ½ courgette, grated
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour or regular wholemeal flour
  • 1½ tbsp. cottage cheese
  • A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp. coconut or olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
Courgette Fritters with Poached Egg

Serves 1

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg.
  2. Add the grated courgette, paprika, coconut flour, cottage cheese, chopped coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and good grind of pepper. Mix well until combined.
  3. Heat coconut/olive oil in a large pan.
  4. Carefully add tablespoons of the mixture to the hot pan. The mixture will make 4 fritters. Fry for a few minutes each side until golden. Once all cooked, stack the fritters on a plate.
  5. Whilst the fritters are cooking, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is simmering. Add a splash of white wine vinegar and stir the water. Carefully crack the egg straight into the pan and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes (the egg white should be solid). Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the pan (press gently on the egg yolk and if it feels too soft give it an extra minute). Drain on kitchen roll and carefully place on top of the stacked fritters.
  6. These fritters are great for breakfast with a spoonful of natural Greek yoghurt or for lunch with a rocket, avocado and tomato salad.

Cholesterol is important as the body uses it to build cell membranes and to make hormones. It is also a precursor of vitamin D and bile salts that enhance the absorption of fats in the intestine. For most individuals, eating foods such as eggs and cheese has little effect on blood cholesterol levels; however, a small percentage of the population may be hyper-responders and are therefore advised to reduce their intake. Unless you have been told by your doctor to reduce your dietary cholesterol intake, there is nothing wrong with having your eggs in the morning!

Reducing your intake of saturated fat and trans fats, which you’ll find in things like red meat and baked goods, will decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. A reduction of saturated fat in the diet also has a positive effect on reducing the amount of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol (known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increasing the amount of HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol (‘good cholesterol’).

Coconut Oil

As it is becoming increasingly popular on the market, I am going to mention coconut oil here. We need to be aware that coconut oil is high in saturated fat. I encourage you to use coconut oil as evidence suggests there are many health benefits associated with it; however, you only need to use it in small amounts and use it as well as other oils such as extra virgin olive oil.

Maintaining a normal BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference is important for staying healthy. When more calories are consumed than used (a calorie surplus), an energy imbalance occurs, which will result in an increase in total body weight and body fat. If the recommended amount of daily calories is not exceeded and energy is expended, an individual is unlikely to gain weight on a diet high in fat. Furthermore, long-term weight reduction will not happen from a low-fat diet alone, increased physical activity is just as important.

Where to find the fats we should be consuming

Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, almonds – rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, contributing to healthy cholesterol levels. Oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines and mackerel), flaxseeds and walnuts – these are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential as the body cannot make them. Natural yoghurt – as well as healthy fats, yoghurt contains probiotics, which are great for a healthy gut. Avoid flavoured yoghurts that contain added sugar.

How much do we need?

Total fat should make up approximately 30% of your daily total energy intake. Consumption should not be lower than 15-20% of total energy intake due to the essential biological functions that fat has. No more than 10% of this should come from saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids should be kept as low as possible (ideally below 1%). Aim to consume two portions of fish a week, at least one oily fish.

Snacks between meals high in fat are a great way to satisfy hunger and ensure you are kept full until your next meal! A few of my favourite mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks include a handful of almonds, peanut butter on corn/rice cakes, a couple of boiled eggs or a bowl of natural yoghurt with some berries and nuts. Adding a handful of nuts or seeds to your oats in the morning or on a salad at lunch is also a great way to get the good fats in!

Becca Sandwith

Eating fat will not make you fat - dietary fats are essential for our health. Saturated fats and trans fats should be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which have positive effects on brain function and vision as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Thai Style Salmon Lettuce Cups

Thai Style Salmon Lettuce Cups

For the salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp. honey

For the noodles

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli, chopped into 3
  • 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons (using a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 portions of thick rice noodles
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • ½ cup chopped cashew nuts
  • ½ tsp. dried chilli flakes

For serving

  • 8 small gem lettuce leaves
  • A few extra cashew nuts
  • Fresh coriander
  • Juice of 1 lime

Serves 2

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Remove salmon skin and place salmon fillets in a bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli flakes and honey. Leave for 10 minutes to marinate.
  3. Place salmon on a lined baking tray and drizzle the marinade over each salmon fillet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place rice noodles in a deep bowl and add chicken stock to cover. Leave until noodles are soft.
  5. Heat coconut oil in a large pan/wok. Add broccoli and carrot ribbons. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Using tongs add noodles and half a cup of the stock. Mix well.
  7. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chopped coriander, ginger, cashew nuts and chilli flakes to the pan/wok. Stir-fry for 5 minutes.
  8. Take off the heat. Remove salmon from the oven, leave to cool and flake into pieces. Carefully mix the salmon through the noodle mixture.
  9. Serve the noodle and salmon mix in the lettuce cups and top with extra chopped coriander and cashew nuts. Squeeze lime juice over the lettuce cups.

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