The fit foodie: Chili Beef wrapped in lettuce and Carrot, Apple & Beetroot Slaw

Great tasting, healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, time consuming or bland, says Derval O’Rourke.
The fit foodie: Chili Beef wrapped in lettuce and Carrot, Apple & Beetroot Slaw

It doesn’t have to be filled with difficult to source ingredients or ones you can’t pronounce! I think this week’s recipes demonstrate this beautifully.

Serve them together for a complete meal or mix and match with your current favorites to keep things interesting.

Anyone who knows me will be aware I really struggle to put my phone down. It’s something I have to make a massive effort with.

This week I’m chatting about the digital world and how it’s beneficial to take a step back from it and have strategies in place for healthy digital consumption.

A digital detox is when you detach from the digital world and engage more with the real world. I regularly have to remind myself to do this.

I tend to ask myself these questions when I think I’m overdoing it on screen time.

  • When was the last time you went without replying to an email, checking social media, answering your phone or watching TV for an extended period of time?
  • Do you give yourself time away from technology and social media each day to relax?
  • Are you feeling burned out or tired?
  • Do you find yourself reaching for your phone or device in any moment of down-time?
  • Do you lose track of time scrolling aimlessly through your social media feeds?
  • Do you sleep, eat and use the bathroom with your phone?

We are all tech obsessed. I am certainly guilty of keeping my mobile phone within touching distance for the majority of the day and I know many of us struggle to leave it out of sight - even when we sleep.

Over time, this obsession with our gadgets, can leave us feeling depleted. Studies have shown that overuse of phones can lead to anxiety (FOMO sound familiar?), fatigue and depression and that just the mere presence of a mobile phone can lead to distraction.

There are so many occasions when I find myself walking down the street and someone is about to bump right into me but they have no idea because they are staring at their mobile phone.

I notice in the playground that some people are so busy on their phone that they don’t seem to look up and notice their kids.

We are all busy and living lives that are challenging but I really feel we need to take a realistic and honest look at how much time we spend on our phones and in what situations we do it.

It’s great that we live in a digital age but at the same time, it is important technology doesn’t take over our lives.

Here are some of the ways I try to curb my digital use:

1. Don’t check social media before 9 am or after 8 pm.

2. Reduce the amount of times you check your phone, refreshing all day long isn’t a good habit!

3. Leave your phone at home if you are going to the gym, for a walk or for a jog.

4. Try to avoid internet use during the weekend.

5. Swap screen time for something else like food prep. Right before you click into that link for Facebook just stop and get up to make your lunch for work tomorrow. You’ll be much happier the next day.

6. Buy an alarm clock and go to sleep with your phone downstairs.

Turn the V off, put the phone down and get out in the world.


This week to stay within my theme of a digital detox a good idea is to read a good book.

So many people are so busy online that they don’t read anymore. My recommendation for a sports book read is Andre Agassi Open.

Chili Beef wrapped in baby gem lettuce

These chili beef and baby gem lettuce wraps are really quick to make and bursting with flavour, a great protein packed mid-week dinner when you’re short on time but still want something satisfying.

The leftovers are delicious the next day as a lunch box filler.

Consider them a healthier yet equally delicious take on a burrito type meal. The combination of the soy and honey with garlic, ginger and chili tastes so delicious in the crunchy lettuce wraps.

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Serves: 4 as a main or 8 as a starter

  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • ½ a fresh red chilli (seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp dark soy sauce
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1tsp honey
  • 2 heads of baby gem lettuce
  • 3tsp dried oregano

Heat oil in large fry pan or wok. Add the mince and paprika to the pan and cook until the mince is browned. Drain off any excess fat.

Add the vegetables and continue to cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce and lime and turn up the heat until almost no liquid remains.

Take pan off heat and stir in the honey.

Pick the leaves off the lettuce and discard the inner stalk.

Fill each lettuce leave with a large spoon full of the meat mixture.

Serve as they are or with a side of rice.

Raw Carrot, Apple and Beetroot Slaw

When I discovered this recipe, I was delighted; it’s like a healthier alternative to coleslaw and the perfect addition to any salad bowl or plate.

I love it served with some chicken and green leaves like rocket or spinach. Scatter some seeds on top for a lovely crunch and some added goodness.

It’s a zesty, vibrant slaw and is perfect for summer dining

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 0 mins

Serves: 4-6, as a generous side dish

  • 2 raw beetroot
  • 4 eating apples
  • 4 medium raw carrots
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 2tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season

Grate the beetroot, apple and carrot into a large bowl using the large side of the grater

Roughly chop the herbs and tip them into the bowl. Mix the herbs through the bowl.

Pour the orange juice and balsamic vinegar into the bowl and thoroughly mix through.

Finally season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up