Tehillah’s fave healthy dishes

20 April 2017 by
First published: 10 January 2016

Pro-surfer and PT Tehillah McGuinness shares her fave healthy dishes..

Potjiekos (pronounced ‘poi-key-koss’)

A very traditional South African dish that I remember having as a kid. Even just the smell of this cooking brings back so many memories of growing up in South Africa. Potjiekos literally translates ‘small pot food’, and is a stew prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot. My mum taught me how to make this dish and I love eating it with fresh, homemade, wholemeal bread, which is perfect to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Traditionally, the recipe includes meat, vegetables like carrots, cabbage, cauliflower or pumpkin, starches like rice or potatoes, all slow-cooked with Dutch-Malay spices. Other common ingredients include fruits and flour-based products like pasta. The ingredients you use can vary – from poultry to seafood – or even just a vegetarian option. This dish is full of flavours and contains a great mix of your basic food groups, making it my favourite healthy dish! If you have not tried potjiekos yet, you really need to! It is definitely a social experience as it can take around two hours to cook.

Grilled chicken salad with avocado and mango

I absolutely love salads and this is one of my absolute favourites. The ingredients are: olive oil, fresh lime juice, mango chutney, low-sodium soy sauce, grated, peeled fresh ginger, skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves, mixed salad greens, diced peeled mango, diced peeled avocado. I usually eat this with a toasted wholemeal baguette. This takes about 25mins with preparation and cooking time.

I would have to say this ‘dish’ was inspired by the time I have spent in the Canary Islands. Summer months can be very hot and I find I lose my appetite when the weather is very warm, but I need to keep my energy levels up, so this dish is perfect ‘warm weather’ food. I usually make a double portion.

Pumpkin soup

I really enjoy soups and I find they are a great ‘pick me up’ when I am rushing around during the day, especially during UK winters.

The great thing about this dish is that it’s really easy to make and only requires a few ingredients, such as extra-virgin olive oil, chopped onion, garlic cloves, pumpkin, low-salt vegetable broth, sugar (which I replace with honey), ground allspice and unsweetened coconut milk. This is cooked in a pan and takes roughly 30 minutes to cook.

The ingredient that really makes this soup stand out is the unsweetened coconut milk.

Even if you’ve decided to cut back on dairy, it’s possible to enjoy this creamy bowl of hot soup that doesn’t lay on the cream or calories too heavily.

Again, I usually eat this with fresh wholemeal bread. Pumpkin is full of fibre, vitamin A, phytoestrogens, plus a few other really beneficial properties. I fell in love with pumpkin soup as a child, as my mother would always make the best pumpkin soup for lunch on winter afternoons in South Africa. 


This rice dish from Spain has become very popular and is known around the world. It originated in the fields of Valencia, but there are so many versions of paella. It may contain chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, squid, beans, peas, artichokes or peppers. Saffron, the spice that also turns the rice a wonderful golden colour, is an essential part of the recipe.

Again my time in the Canary Islands has caused me to grow very fond of this dish. My favourite variation requires the following ingredients – chicken thigh meat, sea salt, freshly- ground black pepper, plain flour for dusting, olive oil, sliced iberico chorizo, pancetta or streaky bacon, onion, garlic, organic chicken stock, saffron, smoked paprika, paella rice, flat-leaf parsley, fresh or frozen peas, king prawns, mussels and squid. This is all cooked in a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan for about 90 minutes. This is definitely a dish you have to be patient with, and allow it to cook for the just the right amount of time. I usually stick to the traditional recipe, but the rice can be exchanged for couscous.

Paella’s main ingredient is rice, which in its unrefined form is a complex carbohydrate, high in fibre. Typically, paella is also filled with meat and fish. Oily fish is a rich source of omega-3 and some vitamins – such as vitamin D and B. Paella also has plenty of veggies, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. 

Melktert (AKA milk tart)

Melktert, which means ‘milk tart’ in Afrikaans, is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust, containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs. 

My mum has this recipe down to an art, and again this has so many memories attached to it from my childhood. It is incredibly easy to make. All you need is milk, vanilla extract, butter or margarine, flour, cornflour, sugar and cinnamon sugar. The ingredients are heated and then baked. Then the milk tart is cooled in the fridge and served cold with a dusting of cinnamon sugar.