If there is a ‘greedy’ gene, I definitely have it. I do not eat to live, I live to eat! It is a rare occurrence when I leave any food on my plate, whether I am full or not. For me, eating is a treat, a highlight of everyday that should be savoured and relished.

This was not always the case however. I did not always appreciate the enjoyment that food could bring. As a teenager, I was apathetic to meal times. I guess I was too busy enjoying what life had to offer in the big bad world. I could barely spare the time it took to swallow down some sustenance and get on with living. Let’s just say that I didn’t need to worry about putting on any weight back then.

Then I met my husband and discovered the joy that making food for someone you love can bring. Dining together, food became a passion we happily shared. And as the years passed, it became apparent that our ‘youth’ was no longer keeping us skinny. We have had to face facts….the ‘middle aged spread’ that people talk about is not a myth and it bloody well begins before middle age!!

Despite being armed with the knowledge that I am not immune to getting chubby, I have not completely given up the naughty things in life. As a lover of food (and wine, wonderful wine), that would be impossible for me to achieve.

But I do try to moderate myself and if it’s necessary to reign things in a bit in order to balance the scales so to speak, then I am happy to do so as I have some cracking little low fat recipes up my sleeve. Try these and dieting will not suck all the joy out of your life!

My first tip….try to fill up on vegetables; moderate your meat, bread and pasta. When I am trying to shift a few pesky pounds, I eat a lot of home made soup. I watched a program on dieting a few years back and learnt that the liquid blended into soup keeps your stomach feeling fuller for longer. Check this out if you don’t believe me:  How Soup Can Help You Loose Weight via BBC News UK.

Tomato, Courgette & Chard SoupSo, why not try my Tomato, Courgette & Chard Stoup. Yes, I did say ‘Stoup’, as this is so hearty and filling that I think it is the perfect cross between a stew and a soup. Absolutely chocoblock with glorious veggies, this does not need bread with it to make it satisfying.  Courgette, Tomato & Chard StoupJust a splash of olive oil to get things going followed by oodles of vegetables and garlic, blended with stock. The chard is added at the end and adds wonderful texture and bite to the stoup. A wonderful meal in a bowl that is nutritious and gratifying. You will have to polish your food halo after eating this one!

Next I want to share my favourite low fat lunchtime salad. Beans with Tuna, Red Onions & Anchovy Dressing. Bean Salad with Tuna & Red Onion & Anchovy & Garlic DressingNo cooking required this fast and flavour packed salad is both filling and sophisticated. The beans give it substance, the red onions a crunch and the dressing a big punch of flavour. With the addition of the flaked tuna, it can make a meal on it’s own but it is also wonderful without the tuna, as a side dish served with grilled sardines for example. However you serve it, it is healthy and yummy!

And finally, my Vegetable & Mozzarella Bake…a bit like Aubergine Parmigiana but using a variety of vegetables and low fat mozzarella. Griddled Courgette & AubergineThis dish came about as I started to think about making a vegetable lasagne without any lasagne sheets, using griddled vegetables instead. I must say that the preparation for this dish was not fast but it was well worth it and I don’t really mind laborious prep if I know that the result will be not only delicious but healthy and low fat also! Vegetable & Mozzarella Bake I used just 2 tablespoons of oil in this dish, carefully brushing it onto the vegetables before griddling to ensure that it did not end up as an oily mush. I made a garlic and basil tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, skinned and deseeded, straight from the garden.  The spinach was wilted in a little water and then squeezed as dry as possible. Then the whole thing was layered up; sauce, aubergine, mozzarella, courgette, spinach and repeat. Finally topped with brown breadcrumbs with a touch of oregano and Parmesan.  It was just wonderful and felt like a decadent treat with the Mozzarella oozing between the vegetables and the rich sauce bringing it all together. You could be forgiven for forgetting that this dish is low fat! Sit back, relax and savour this one as you cannot fail to enjoy eating yourself slim!

Let’s face it, there’s not many of us out there who can eat foods indiscriminately. I am sure we all think about watching what we eat from time to time. I think a lot of diets are really tough, forcing you to deny yourself so many of life’s pleasures all at once. Different strokes work for different folks, but for me, I don’t mind a diet high in veg, low in fats and full of delicious meals like these three. The main thing is, never forget to enjoy eating or life can get very dull, very quick!