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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

At HFG HQ, we receive countless products and new cookbooks to test, and we regularly hit the streets in search of ways to make healthy living easier/more enjoyable. Here, we share the best of the week’s discoveries…

We cooked Med style on our hols… making classic Greek dishes at the home of Teta Fragedaki. The lively host runs relaxed, hands-on cookery classes from her traditional home on the island of Mykonos – and it’s as much fun as it is delicious. You’ll get fab recipes plus generous helpings of the island’s interesting and colourful history from Teta, before sitting down to spinach pie, stuffed tomatoes, stewed beef with orzo and more – all the while sipping homemade raki. We’ll be making Teta’s tzatziki all summer long… Peel and grate 1 cucumber and squeeze it completely dry of water. Mix 250ml Greek yogurt, crushed garlic (to taste), and a splash each of olive oil and white wine vinegar. Stir in the cucumber and enjoy (or kalí óreksi as they say in Greece). Book at mykonianspiti.com

Mykonospic

We got into the Christmas spirit… with the first of the supermarket Christmas preview shows (yes, they really do start this early!). So far we’ve seen meaningful developments in the healthy food aisles, with more festive vegetarian options, greater choice in the free-from sector and reduced-size meat cuts (to stay in line with the new guidelines). As for free-from foods, the focus now is on making them taste great so they cater for everyone, regardless of dietary needs. A product developer for Waitrose told us the brand is working to make its free-from options as nutritious as possible by reducing fat and sugar and adding fibre, which may be lacking in gluten-free diets – excellent news! We loved their romanesco cauliflower Christmas ‘tree’. Other ones to watch include the great vegetarian and free-from offerings at Sainsbury’s, and the inspiring selection of fruit and nuts at Ocado. Stay tuned for more updates after next week’s shows!

xmas

We tucked into summer salads… while it rained. Though the weather is unseasonal, the new Benugo summer salad menu is anything but. Fresh combinations are Benugo’s bag, and from this week you can grab wonderful wraps and salads, including the Vitality Salad (avocado, roast butternut, edamame and quinoa with a lemon and basil dressing) Salmon & Avocado, and Greek Chicken boxes. We enjoyed a salad snack box of chermoula couscous with beetroot falafel with a delish harissa yogurt dressing. There are fruit salads, too, including pots of watermelon, lime & mint, and juicy strawberries. All we need now is the sun! Until September; benugo.com

benugo

We headed to the barre… at the glossy new Xtend Barre studio in London’s Marylebone. Now we’ve tested our share of ballet-inspired workouts, and this is up there with one of the toughest – and most enjoyable. You actually feel like a dancer, flowing between tear-inducing pliés with almost-gracefulness, and the instructors – all trained ballerinas, some still practicing with The Royal Ballet – are so warm and encouraging, and by your side in an instant should your alignment slip or toes tire of pointing. The movements are minimal – the focus is on posture and bending deeper or stretching further – yet the next day we ached as though we’d completed a high intensity interval session. The best bit? Anyone can do it, regardless of gender, age or current flexibility (it will improve after a few sessions). And mums-to-be… it’s meant to work wonders for your pelvic floor.  £49 for two weeks of unlimited classes (new members only); xtendbarre.com

Barre