Cutting down on junk food is a great way to rethink what you’re eating. In our recent poll, chocolate topped the charts as the nation’s favourite junk food, with crisps, pizza and cake runners-up. We know that changing our eating habits can be hard – especially when junk food is designed to be tasty and can make us want to eat it again and again. But we can help and so can these expert nutritionists!
Gopi Chandratheva, Rhiannon Lambert, Sarah Ann Macklin and Zoe Griffiths share top recipes to inspire you to cook up a storm rather than call for a takeaway.
Gopi’s Nourishing Recipes
Gopi Chandratheva is a registered nutritionist with a BSc in nutrition and over 10 years nutritional experience. She currently works in the private sector specialising in adult weight management, and has her own website and social media platform working with food brands creating nourishing recipes.
She has worked across the NHS in public health and has freelanced at the London Obesity Clinic in Harley Street.
Food is a big part of my life and I’m happy to share this wonderful, light recipe that will satisfy your summer palate. Good nutrition is so important for the mind, body and soul – as well as benefiting your sleep quality, exercise and mental wellbeing.
Pitta chips with chickpea and avocado hummus
Gopi shares a great alternative for one of our all-time favourites, crisps, which came in second place in our poll. Are crisps one of your go-to junk foods? These pitta chips with chickpea and avocado hummus are a perfect swap – and the best part is that you can share them with friends and family.
- 1 pack wholemeal pitta bread
- 1 tin chickpeas drained
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 lemon, juice
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Handful coriander
- Preheat the oven to 180C degrees.
- Cut the pitta bread into triangles, place on a baking tray and brush with some of the oil.
- Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes until crisp and golden.
- For the hummus, pulse/blend all the avocado, chickpeas, lemon, tahini and remaining oil until creamy/lumpy texture. Season with black pepper.
- Garnish with coriander, take a big dip with the pitta bread and munch.
Rhiannon Lambert – Rhitrition
You may recognise Rhiannon as a trusted voice in the media and the world of nutrition, featured often on TV, and known for her best-selling book, The Science of Nutrition. Rhiannon hosts the chart-topping podcast Food for Thought, and is a voice of wisdom across all social media channels @Rhitrition. As one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, she always shares nutritional advice that is backed by scientific evidence – and not latest fad diets or trends.
Rhiannon founded Rhitrition in 2016 and believes in empowering everyone to embrace a healthy way of living through the food we enjoy and the life we lead.
Our bodies really are as unique as our personalities, so each of us should strive to find a way of eating that works for us individually.
Rhiannon is sharing her delicious pizza salad recipe with you to inspire you to make your own pizza. Pizzas that we buy from takeaway shops or supermarkets can be very high in fat, salt and even, sometimes, sugar. They’re often eaten by 1 person but are designed to be shared, and are considered ultra-processed, which may mean they contain additives and preservatives that you wouldn’t find at home.
With so many options around us, it can be a challenge to reduce the amount of our favourite junk foods, but Dump the Junk is a great opportunity to try just that. Instead of ordering your next takeaway pizza why not try my pizza salad – this offers the same delicious taste, and it packs more nutrients into your meal. It is not about complete elimination or restriction but moderation, nourishment and understanding more.
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 1 aubergine
- 1 red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 250g baby spinach
- 4 tablespoon sliced olives
- 2 tablespoon capers
- Handful fresh parmesan in slices
For the pitta pizza:
- 2 pitta bread
- 2 handfuls grated cheese
- 8 tablespoon passata
- Salt and pepper
For the dressing:
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 55ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 55ml red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Chop the red pepper and aubergine and roast for 15 minutes with the dried herbs and olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Spread the passata over the pitta bread, sprinkle over the salt and pepper, and cover with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted.
- Mix together the roasted veggies, spinach, olives, capers and parmesan. Serve with pizza pita.
Sarah Ann Macklin – Live Well Be Well
Hailed as the Jamie Oliver of the nutrition world by Marie Claire, Sarah Ann Macklin is an award-winning nutritionist.
As the host of the Live Well Be Well podcast, a TEDx speaker and a health journalist, Sarah Ann educates us all about healthy living.
Even if you’re keen to cut down on sweet treats such as chocolate, cakes or biscuits, you can still enjoy a delicious walnut and banana bread by Sarah Ann.
It’s essential to make healthy choices to support our physical and mental wellbeing – junk food is low in nutrients our bodies need and are often high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. These unhealthy foods can contribute to weight gain, obesity and other health problems, including cancer. By giving up junk food, we can help improve our overall health and longevity, which is why I’m supporting Dump the Junk.
Walnut and banana bread
- 200g self-raising flour (use buckwheat flour for a gluten-free option)
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- 3 over-ripe bananas
- 150ml unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Fan 180ºC.
- Grease a 1-litre loaf tin with butter and line it with baking paper
- Mash 2 and a half bananas in a bowl. Leave the other half for decoration.
- Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda in a mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together. Add in the mashed banana, cinnamon and almond milk and combine all together.
- Add the wet mixture to your dry mixture and mix together gently. Pour into your tin and top with sliced banana and walnuts.
- Bake for 40–45 minutes. Test with a knife – if it comes out clean it is ready.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
- Top with Greek yogurt and honey.
Zoe Griffiths – ZG Nutrition
Zoe Griffiths is a nutritionist who has been working in public health, education and research and running ZG Nutrition for over 30 years. She specialises in writing about nutrition, developing recipes, food and health projects, and careers support for nutrition graduates. She has done great work around encouraging young people to eat more healthily and is a longstanding supporter of World Cancer Research Fund.
You can read some of the tasty recipes she has written for us in our Budget bites recipe booklet.
I created this recipe to show a quick, easy and affordable way of making a stir-fry using lots of different veg. This is the recipe I make when I haven’t had time to plan an evening meal in advance. You can use any leftover veg you have that needs eating up, frozen or tinned, or veg in season. Choose a variety of colours and textures to make a healthy, quick and colourful dish.
Are you dumping your Friday night takeaway? Then look no further than Zoe’s chicken stir-fry – it’s quick to make and super tasty.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 350g skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- 500g mixed vegetables such as mushrooms, savoy cabbage, onions, broccoli or carrots, cut into batons or slices
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- Mix the orange juice, soy sauce and cornflour together in a mug.
- Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan on a high heat.
- Add the chicken and stir fry for 3–4 minutes
- Add the veg and stir fry for a further 4–5 minutes until the chicken is cooked. The veg may be bulky initially but it will soon reduce in size after cooking. The veg should still be crunchy when cooked.
- Give the orange juice, soy sauce and cornflour mixture a quick stir and add to the stir fry. Stir it thoroughly into the mixture.
- Serve with rice or noodles.
Dump the Junk is our fundraising campaign to encourage people to raise money for World Cancer Research Fund by cutting out, or cutting down on, junk food. You can ask people to sponsor you for every day without junk food or pay a “fine” if you give in to temptation. There’s still time to sign up for this year’s campaign – find out more.