Sticking to healthy eating is much easier if you actually enjoy what's on the menu. Lauren Taylor speaks to Tom Kerridge about dieting the delicious way...

Diet food has a bad rep. It conjures up images of chewing on cardboard-like rice cakes and low-fat packet soups packed with preservatives, while you dream of a comforting bowl of pasta and battle cravings for anything that so much as resembles dessert.

Enter Tom Kerridge. He not only runs the UK's only pub with two Michelin stars (The Hand And Flowers in Marlow), but he knows a thing or two about weight loss - having shed a staggering 12 stone himself. Now back with a second diet book, Lose Weight For Good, and accompanying BBC programme, he's determined to demonstrate that calorie-controlled meals can be delicious - and easy to whip up at home. And who better to create a weight-loss plan that you actually want to stick to, than someone who loves really, really loves food?

What's the new book about?

"I looked at lower-calorie recipes and I found them incredibly depressing, boring and flavourless," Wiltshire-born Tom, 44, explains. "I thought, 'Well no wonder so many people yo-yo on diets, they're not enjoying what they're eating'."

He describes his new book as a "celebration of great-tasting food", with an emphasis on recipes that use everyday ingredients and come in portions big enough to fill you up. It's full of nutritious but hearty recipes, and some that might surprise you, like spicy lamb burgers, pork samosa pie, pizza with parma ham and mozzarella, and coffee and chocolate custard pots.

Pastry, red meat and puddings might not be classic health-book fodder, but pub grub is what he's famous for - and it really wouldn't be a Tom Kerridge book without a pie. The accompanying TV show, currently on BBC Two, follows a group of 13 dieters on their mission to achieve steady but lasting weight loss with Tom's recipes. "Seeing them actually enjoying what they're eating has been the biggest thing for me," says the chef.

How did Tom lose his weight?

Alongside a typically hectic lifestyle, being in the restaurant business and constantly around food saw Tom's weight creep up to 30 stone. "I worked very hard, I spent a lot of time in other people's restaurants, a lot of time labouring in the kitchen. I'd go home late and have cheese on toast," he recalls. "It was the same trap everyone else falls into, but I suppose my lifestyle made it even more extreme." 

Can lower-calorie meals still be comfort food?

While changing your diet does involve some self-control, it doesn't have to mean missing out on all 'treats', or enjoying food less.. "I think when people are on diets, what they miss the most is desserts and things they feel like they shouldn't be able to eat," he says. 

Although the desserts in the book don't have the same amount of butter or sugar, and therefore calories, as traditional pudding recipes, they're still proper puddings. "There are some fantastic sugar alternatives, fantastic cream alternatives, things that are lower in calories that can help you still produce things that feel a bit more 'treaty', that shouldn't feel like you're on a diet, but you are," he says (yes, this includes cheesecake!).

Lose Weight For Good: Full-Flavour Cooking For A Low-Calorie Diet by Tom Kerridge is published by Absolute, priced £22. Available now.



You'll never want boring fried eggs again.
If you're on a bit of a January health-kick, making sure you get a nutritious breakfast is essential. Eggs - naturally high-protein with loads of good vitamins - have been found to keep you fuller for longer than things like cereal or toast.

Shakshuka, a skillet of eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, is traditionally from North Africa, but the dish is gracing Instagram accounts everywhere now. Tom Kerridge's version, from his new book Lose Weight For Good, is a perfect way to start the day, and very simple to make. Crack on...

(Serves 2)
1tsp light olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 large red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
1 large green pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp hot smoked paprika
A pinch of flaky sea salt
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
4 medium free-range eggs
50g half-fat feta
A handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan (that has a lid) over a high heat. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, then add the peppers and garlic and cook for a further four minutes. If the veg begin to stick, add a splash of water to the pan.
2. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, paprika and salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the spices become fragrant. Tip in the tinned tomatoes, stir to combine and lower the heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
3. Make four small wells in the tomato sauce for your eggs. Crack an egg into each well and place a lid on top of the frying pan. Leave the eggs to cook for five minutes or until the whites are just set.
4. Crumble the feta over the surface and finish with the chopped coriander and a grinding of pepper. Serve straight from the pan.

Try making Tom’s Courgette Cake


Yes, you can have dessert on a diet.
If you haven’t tried vegetables in your baking yet, you should. Beetroot, sweet potato and courgettes (when done right) can add extra flavour and nutrients and help keep a sponge moist.
It also means you can skip using so much butter, for a much lighter and more diet-friendly dessert. Tom Kerridge devised this courgette and cardamom cake for his new book, Lose Weight For Good, for people who want to keep a check on their weight but still enjoy good grub.

(Serves 8)
Sunflower oil spray
250g half-fat margarine
100g caster sugar
4tbsp granulated sweetener
3 large free-range eggs
250g self-raising flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cardamom
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
200g courgettes, grated
For the icing:
100g icing sugar
1tbsp light cream cheese
1tbsp lime juice
To finish:
Grated zest of 1 lime

1. Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas 4. Spray a 900g (2lb) non-stick loaf tin with a few sprays of oil.
2. Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk and large bowl, cream together the margarine, caster sugar and sweetener until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground cardamom together over the mixture, add the vanilla seeds and lime zest and fold in gently, using a spatula, until just combined. Lastly, fold in the grated courgettes.
4. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes. To test, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake: it should come out clean; if not give it a little longer.
5. Once cooked, leave the cake to cool in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make the icing, in a bowl, whisk the icing sugar, cream cheese and lime juice together until smoothly combined.
7. Spread the icing on top of the cake and sprinkle with the lime zest. Cut into eight thick slices to serve.



Who says you can't eat cured meat when you're watching your weight? Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge has created a range of recipes for his new book, Lose Weight For Good book, which won't leave you feeling hungry or craving junk food.
This clean, fresh fish dish includes a small amount of chorizo to add a tasty, crispy layer- so you won't feel like you're depriving yourself too much. It's bound to be a hit...

(Serves two)
2tsp flaky sea salt
1tsp hot smoked paprika
2 cod fillets (200g each)
3 medium courgettes, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
200ml fresh fish stock
1tsp dried oregano
Olive oil spray
400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
200g cherry tomatoes on the vine
40g pitted green olives
8 thin slices of chorizo
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to finish

1. Mix the flaky salt with half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and sprinkle over both sides of the cod fillets. Place them on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for one to two hours.
2. Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas 4. Line a roasting tin with baking parchment.
3. Place the courgettes in the roasting tin. Add the garlic and pour on half of the fish stock. Sprinkle with the oregano and some salt and pepper. Spray with 25-30 sprays of oil. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.
4. Remove the fish from the fridge, wash off the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper.
5. Take the tray from the oven and mix through the butter beans. Nestle the fish fillets into the mixture, along with the cherry tomatoes and olives. Pour on the rest of the fish stock. Lay the chorizo slices, overlapping, on top of the cod fillets.
6. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice and the remaining half teaspoon of smoked paprika over everything and season with salt and pepper. Spray another 20 sprays of oil over the surface and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.