The Programme: Recipes

This short menu has been devised by Matt Lovell, a nutritionist who has been advising The Programme's latest participants on how to improve their diet.
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The Independent Online

Breakfast suggestion

Breakfast suggestion

Blend four scoops of strawberry protein powder with 400ml of filtered water and a handful of mixed berries and strawberries to make a shake. Add one tablespoon of ground linseeds.

Lunch ideas

6oz tuna steak on a bed of wild organic rocket and watercress with baby plum tomatoes halved around the edge of the plate. Serve with half an avocado, half a packet of sesame seeds and plenty of black pepper and lemon juice to season. Top the tuna steak with a teaspoon of sundried tomato paste. Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil, shake vigourously and drizzle on top of the dish. Add two soft-boiled eggs if necessary.

Man-sized lunchtime fix: Grill two chicken breasts and place on top of some mixed salad leaves. Microwave 200g of green beans on full power for 2 1/2 minutes and place on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Coq au vin

Four chicken breasts
Four rashers of bacon
Four onions
One garlic bulb
Six shallots
Four carrots
Two packets of mushrooms (for example shiitake)
1.5 litres of red wine
Bay leaves
Herbes de Provence
Bouquet garni
Chicken and vegetable stock cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the onions, shallots and garlic and lightly fry in olive oil until tender. Roughly chop the chicken and bacon and fry until almost cooked through. Pour in all the wine, chop the vegetables and throw them in. Add the herbs, bay leaves, stock and bouquet garni and simmer until done - usually 45-60 minutes. On a lower carbohydrate plan you can eat this on its own, like a bowl of stew. Otherwise add some rice or any other starchy carbohydrate to soak up the sauce.

Fish stew

10-15lb fresh fish - any sort is fine
Red onions
Chicken and vegetable stock
White wine
Bay leaves
One teaspoon of thyme
One teaspoon of basil
One teaspoon of oregano
One teaspoon of capers
Olives stuffed with anchovies and pimentos
A little saffron
A little paprika
Two tins of tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onions, shallots and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil (I use homemade chilli oil) until translucent. Add two pints of stock and all the herbs and spices. Simmer. Pour in the bottle of wine (or dilute with water). The sauce should be able to cover the fish.

Next prepare the fish, roughly chopping it into 2-3cm chunks. (If you're using monkfish, cod or large prawns, pan-fry in olive oil and garlic first. If you're using mussels, wash them thoroughly.) Add these and the olives and capers into the mix. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Take care not to overcook the fish.

This dish is best served with a long-grain brown and wild rice mix. It goes well also with baby spinach, which should be lightly cooked in butter and garlic, adding black pepper and soy sauce to taste.