Happy Chinese New Year! Saturday is the start of the Year of the Dragon – a year predicted to be full of potential and opportunities for personal growth, professional success and social impact. Now that’s good news for us all, isn’t it!

If you are planning to celebrate Chinese New Year, instead of grabbing a takeaway, why not try some of our Slimtone ‘Fakeaway’ recipes. There are lots of ideas for Chinese meals in the Lifestyle Plan and the Lifestyle Plan Extra. Chinese Chicken Stir-fry is a traditional Chinese favourite and Chicken with Pineapple is quick and easy to prepare too. Both are great with rice or noodles, as well as being tasty and filling. And if you’re fed up with chicken, why not try the Slimtone Oriental Pork, one of my personal favourites. Remember, you can substitute the chicken for pork, prawns or Quorn in any of these recipes.

It’s a great time to ring the changes with your “free” veggies too and add in some different flavours and textures. Try adding bamboo shoots, beansprouts, Chinese leaves, bok choy or water chestnuts to the more usual broccoli, mushrooms, celery and peppers. Steamed, stir-fried or as a side salad, with a dash of soy sauce you’ll soon bring an oriental flavour to any dish.

And if you’re looking for something sweet, a fruit salad can be transformed by adding some exotic fruits. Try star fruit, physalis, kiwis, mango, pineapple or lychees. Or simply grab a selection of different types of melon – they look so pretty in the bowl and are a sweet and refreshing end to any meal.

Of course, Chinese New Year is not the only thing to celebrate in the next few days. Saturday sees the second weekend of matches in this year’s Six Nations competition with Wales facing up to England at Twickenham. Fancy a curry after the match – again Slimtone offers a range of different ideas from Chicken and Mushroom Curry to Fruity Chicken Curry or even a Vegetable Curry, simply follow the recipes and make it as spicy or mild as you want. The Uncle Ben’s individual 62.5g bags of rice are really convenient to go with your curry and help you to manage your portion sizes too.

And once the weekend is over, we’ve got Shrove Tuesday, better known as Pancake Day, on Tuesday and then Valentine’s Day on Wednesday! Wow, it really is a busy time, isn’t it!

Who doesn’t love a pancake! Just because you are trying to lose weight, you don’t have to miss out. Pancakes make a great sweet or savoury treat – at any time of the year. Use a basic pancake recipe and top with some delicious fresh or frozen fruit for a great dessert. If you prefer a savoury pancake, use the pancake as a wrap for your favourite sandwich filling.

Wednesday brings St Valentine’s Day, one of those special days when we like to celebrate – maybe a romantic dinner with a loved one, a special treat for the family or a celebration with friends.

Flip through the Lifestyle Plan and Lifestyle Plan Extra for your favourite meals and you’ll find you can enjoy a special night without going overboard.

Then all that’s left to do is create a romantic setting and invite that special person in your life to share a delicious evening!

Phew, what a few days we’ve got ahead of us – and all during half term! But I hope I’ve shown you that with a little planning, you CAN enjoy yourself.

Happy Every Day!
Marie x