Plan, prep, repeat: Meet the YouTuber who is transforming our eating habits
Flagging on the healthy eating resolution front? Or just need a kick start when it comes to thinking of new things to make for dinner? Kevin Curry might just be your man, says Ella Walker
Fitness expert and foodie Kevin Curry, who has 1.3m followers on Instagram and almost 500,000 YouTube subscribers, is also the Harvard-educated brain behind the wildly successful FitMenCook food and drink app.
He is a verifiable social media sensation.
But apart from the fact that it's not just for men, what can you actually expect to take from his new recipe collection, Fit Men Cook?
1. He's very frank
Fit Men Cook only exists because when Curry was in his late twenties, he was out of work, had gone through a break-up and was living back home in Dallas, Texas, with his parents, applying for food stamps.
He talks openly in the book about his own struggles - with chronic depression, and problems with over-eating and over-drinking - and how he used lifestyle changes, like meal prepping, to help find a way through them.
He's clear that you shouldn't look at his food videos and just assume he hasn't faced difficulties.
2. You need variety in what you're eating
Dieting, or just trying to eat more green stuff and whole grains in general, can often sound too boring to even contemplate.
And the idea of meal prep tends to conjure images of two weeks' worth of bland chicken salad that you'll be forced to eat day in, day out.
Curry is all about eating "an assortment of nourishing foods" so you don't get cranky or demotivated by dinner boredom.
3. Preparation is key
Talking of meal prepping, Curry is a true believer in the power of making your meals in advance.
Why? Because it's handy if your schedule is tricky, helps you budget, and keeps you on track eating the right stuff, at the right times.
Prep offers you consistency - it's just a case of making sure you have enough Tupperware on hand...
4. He understands the pitfalls of changing your diet
And he's got solutions, too. Whether it's never giving yourself a break, not listening to your body, trying to do too much and rushing into new eating habits too quickly, or focusing too much on one thing (eg what the scales say, rather than how much better you're feeling), he's all for easing into new eating habits and treating yourself occasionally.
"You're not cheating by enjoying your favourite food every once in a while," he says.
5. His hashtag - #HealthyAF - is actually quite inspiring
Sure, it's a sweary hashtag, but Curry is adamant that it goes further than that.
The 'F' also stands for feeling: fit (he surfs, hikes, boxes); fresh (his food is all about pumping you full of energy); faithful (in terms of committing to your diet goals); fly (feel good about what you're eating, and you're likely to feel better about yourself), and free (to be confident, to tackle challenges, to be yourself).
They're not bad ideas to aim for - and are certainly more fun and inspiring than setting yourself targets like: 'cut out all bread,' or 'never touch a biscuit ever again'.
- Fit Men Cook by Kevin Curry is published by Simon and Schuster, priced £16.99. Photography Kevin Marple
How to make Curry's Alfredo meatballs with zasta...
What you'll need:
450g 99% lean ground beef or ground chicken breast or 93% lean ground turkey
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried sage
1tsp dried thyme
1/2tsp garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Olive oil spray (optional)
For the alfredo sauce:
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp minced garlic
3tbsp plain whole wheat flour or oat flour
160ml skimmed milk or coconut milk
80ml no-salt-added chicken broth
60g grated Parmesan cheese
60g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 medium courgettes, spiralized into noodles
Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 420°F/215C/Gas Mark 6.
Combine your meat of choice with the oregano, sage, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper in a large bowl. Use about two tablespoons of the mixture to form a meatball about the size of a ping-pong ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture; you should end up with 12 meatballs.
Place each individual meatball into a mini muffin tin coated with olive oil spray or onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the meat is cooked to the desired doneness.
While the meatballs are baking, set a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook for about one to two minutes, then add the flour.
Stir the oil, garlic, and flour together in the skillet and cook for about one minute, making sure to combine well and expose the flour to the hot surface of the pan. Pour in the milk and broth, making sure that the mixture is well stirred together and smooth, and bring to a light simmer. You'll need to use a whisk to ensure that there are no lumps, as the sauce will get very thick very quickly.
Gradually add the Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano, whisking to prevent the cheese from clumping, and continue to cook to thicken the sauce.
Reduce the heat or remove the skillet from the heat, then add the baked meatballs and courgette noodles.
Gently toss the noodles in the skillet until they are lightly wilted and start to absorb the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley and chives, and enjoy!