Can you burn fat with comfort food? If you use our cottage pie recipe, which has a 65% lower GI, then yes you can!

It’s the carbs that kill your fitness in this winter favourite. A big slab of cheesy mashed spuds slathered onto fatty beef adds more than 1 876 kilojoules and gives a GI rating of 74, according to sports nutritionist Caroline Farrell.

By blending sweet potato and cauliflower in place of the mash, you lower the GI rating to less than 45, meaning you avoid the blood-sugar crash. And by shaving roughly a third of the kilojoule count, you can justify going back for seconds, maybe thirds.

Your average Cottage Pie: Calories 763 = 3 181 Kilojoules

The MH Cottage Pie: Calories 521 = 2 172 Kilojoules

Cottage Pie Recipe

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium brown onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

500g beef or ostrich mince

1½ cups beef stock

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 sprig fresh thyme

¾ cup frozen peas

1 tbsp instant gravy powder

500g cauliflower, peeled and chopped

250g sweet potato, peeled and chopped

¼ cup low-fat milk, heated

50g butter

½ cup grated cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 200°C

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the mince and cook for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the mince.

Add the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and thyme.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the peas.

Combine the gravy powder and 2 tbsp cold water in a bowl and stir into the mince.

Cook for a 5 minutes or until the mince has thickened.

Meanwhile, add the sweet potato to a pot and cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until just tender, adding the cauliflower in the last 5 minutes.

Drain and return to the pot.

Add milk and butter and mash until smooth.

Spoon the mince into a casserole dish and top with the mash.

Sprinkle the cheese over and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

65% Lower GI!