Discover the healthy recipe guide that will leave you ‘pret a manger’ in every situation

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You might assume that eating as the French do implies miniscule portions, a willpower of steel and mealtimes of epic length, but it needn’t be so. Eating à la français is, in fact, immensely satisfying if you go about it the Sonia Tlev way, and when combined with her mightily effective 12 week workout programme , the nutritionally balanced meals that the personal trainer has devised in partnership with a French pharmaceutical doctor will satisfy even the most voracious appetites (there are carbs aplenty). Bon appétit mes amis.

What is it?

A very sensible 12 week menu plan that goes to town on no nonsense nutritional advice, but not in too preachy a way. The authors make no bones about the fact that Top Body is a plan for optimum overall health, not for weight loss, and it’s designed to be accompanied by Sonia’s 12 week fitness programme. Fuse the two, and your muscles will thank you.

Who is it for?

As above, it’s tailored to those following a workout plan, and as such meals are rich in energy sustaining ‘good’ carbs and high quality protein. Spicy rabbit drumstick anyone? A taste for the exotic and an excellent relationship with your local butcher will come in handy if you’re taking on the Top Body Menus. If you have a tendency to get bored when following any kind of meal plan or recipe guide, this healthy eating handbook was made for you.

What’s the main message?

That choosing healthy options from each macronutrient group, rather than eliminating any single food group, is the route to eating well for life. Whether you’ve got a fast metabolism (as Sonia does) or not, it’s also vital to appreciate that all calories are not made equal; a pain au chocolat for instance is a calorie bomb that won’t fuel your body or brain properly, no matter whether you have weight to lose or not. ‘Pampering yourself’ is part of the process every once in awhile, and while Sonia advocates not counting calories, you’d clearly be wise choosing veggies over pastries.

What will I learn?

There are some very serious and technical equations involving working out your protein requirements that will make you feel smug and very in tune with yourself if you do the maths. You’ll also be stuffing turkey, currying cod and, if things go to plan, preparing the likes of hake tartar with a lemon emulsion. This is possibly as ‘Michelin star’ as DIY healthy menus get, and you’ll likely need to do a lot of googling and making it up as you go along to get the method right, but dinner guests and family members will a) be in awe and b) never guess this is part of a new move to eat virtuously. On all foodie levels, you’ll be winning.

Any final takeaways?

You may need to brush up on your GCSE French, but on the upside you’ll come away with more than a few French phrases to show off on your next vacances. Buying fresh produce at markets is a ‘do’, but we’d feel tempted to mix the breakfasts up a bit. Petit déjeuner is most definitely on the continental side of things, so you’ll be missing your eggs and avo, plus we’re not entirely sure what ‘So Shape’ is, but we’re pretty certain we wouldn’t be rushing to glug it down even if we were…

Top Body Menus by Sonia Tlev, £28.  Visit our e-guide marketplace here to download it straight to your computer, tablet or smartphone.

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