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We’re reaching the end of January and it’s make or break for most New Year resolutions. For my own part, I don’t think I’ve done too badly. Following a greedy summer, an excessive autumn and a gluttonous Christmas, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to discover that I didn’t fit into some of my favourite clothes. My aim was to get myself doing some exercise and to stop eating so much chocolate and cheese. Easier said than done considering my department at work has a desk purely designated for sweets (aptly named the ‘Snack Table’). But having preached for so long that diets were a sham and the only way to lose weight is through exercise and cutting down on treats, I had sort of boxed myself into a corner.

So thanks to an increase in exercise from zero to a couple of 5km runs and an hour long pilates lesson every week, the weight should soon start to drop off. However, being such a foodie, I found it very difficult to resist eating exactly what I want. Don’t get me wrong, a trip to Bodean’s in Fulham for ribs, chips and coleslaw is never out the question, but I needed to balance this with satisfying lunches that will help me shed the pounds.

Before I take you through the yummy recipes below, I want to stress that I have never been much of a leaf eater. It’s shocking to think I didn’t touch a vegetable until I was 16 years old (aside from mushrooms and cucumbers, weirdly). And even though my savoury tooth has now acquired a more discerning palette, I still have bad memories from the sole time I ordered a salad as a main dish at a restaurant. You’ll notice from the previous posts that I’m doing better these days. However, my main problem was not enough variation. Although I love rocket, avocado and cucumber (look, it’s still one of my faves!) even I couldn’t eat them relentless every day.

And the great thing about making a conscious effort to eat salad a few times a week is that it saves pennies too. All you need are a few basics, and then you can add whatever you fancy on top – from left over roast chicken to some tuna mayonnaise. But if you’re still stuck for ideas or simply want to shake it up a bit, below are a few scrumptious combinations of ingredients that will definitely restore your faith in salads again.

Take a protein hit with this Mexican bean salad.

Try one of my regular lunch favourites – a couscous salad.

This potato salad is brilliant for BBQs or for using up your last few potatoes – tastes amazing with chicken.

Excellent as an accompaniment or as part of a main meal, this chunky salsa always works well.

Hot food is best during winter, so try this warm chorizo salad

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