We tuck into the delicious life of the very hungry and very healthy Ms Kynigos.

Life growing up in a Greek-Cypriot household is not, according to Christina Kynigos, especially conducive to moderation when it comes to food. Raised by her adoring grandparents, she was surrounded by delicious things, from mini morsels to fabulous feasts, all the time. She was also in the permanent company of, as she puts it, ‘feeders’, through whom she fostered an enduring love, both of cooking and of eating. But when all that beautiful food began to take a toll on her body, she decided that rather than go on a gruelling and unappealing diet as punishment, she would instead tweak the recipes she grew up with; adored; and, rightly, couldn’t imagine her life without.

And so, in 2020, Christina began to post her doctored yet still delicious recipes – all under 500 calories – to Instagram. And no sooner had she started to do so than she noticed her healthy culinary creations popping up all over the platform, having inspired other home cooks to recreate her dinners, all of which deliver a flavour punch without being eye-wateringly high in calories. Since then, it has been a whirlwind, culminating in the spring release of her book, The Very Hungry Greek: 100 Slimming Recipes From Around The World All Under 500 Calories.

Here she shares her ambitions to take her glorious recipes onto the small screen – and a recipe for healthier churros.

Favourite place in all the world?

Japan. I was lucky enough to visit as part of a school trip, where I discovered that Japanese food is my absolute favourite cuisine. The culture just blew me away – the people are so lovely, kind, helpful, and super respectful.

Dream holiday?

Riding horseback where Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, as it’s so beautiful. I’ve been horse-riding since an early age so this would be paradise to me.

Most coveted item right now?

My air-fryer – it’s literally changed the cooking game and cooks everything in half the time. I’m obsessed!

Proudest professional moment to date?

The publication day of my cookbook. It still feels super surreal that I’m a cookbook author and I couldn’t be happier.

Your dream future project?

Having my own cooking series on the BBC or Netflix!

Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?

It would have to be my grandparents. They’ve had multiple businesses, so I’ve always looked up to them as inspiring role models from a very early age.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

I would say Japan as I could honestly eat Japanese food every day and I adore the culture – but out in the countryside where it’s more peaceful.

What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. I’m all about positivity and happiness and this book teaches you to live a more peaceful and purposeful life full of gratitude, which I practice daily.

Best film you’ve seen recently?

Encanto – what a film! The songs stick in your head… you’ll be singing along in no time.

Best binge-watched TV show?

It’ll have to be The Witcher. I adore a fantasy drama, and who doesn’t love Henry Cavill on the screen?

Top podcast of the moment?

To this day I haven’t listened to one podcast. I think something is wrong with me.

Your hero?

My grandad, he is my heart and soul. He always goes above and beyond and I literally worship the ground he walks on.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I love the water, so it would have to be a dolphin. Extroverted, sociable animals full of energy. Just like me!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A chef – which is pretty spot on for what I’m doing now!

Worst job you’ve ever done?

A head-hunter for IT security. It was cold-calling potential candidates which was just so cringy and hated it. I latest six weeks.

Favourite dish to cook?

I don’t have a favourite as cooking is my love language.

Favourite café/ restaurant?

It’s so close to my house, the food is incredible and the staff are like family to me: Bebas in Leamington Spa. A Greek café serving us unreal gyros and souvlaki.

What tune always makes you want to dance?

As It Was by Harry Styles. I play this song when I go for my daily walk and just want to leap like a gazelle and dance around like no-one is watching!

Favourite website or app?

I haven’t joined TikTok for long, but I’m totally addicted to it now. It really helps get my content out there to help people on their weight-loss journey, or for people who just enjoy eating tasty food without worrying about their waistline.

Most useful thing on your desk?

My notepad for sure as I find it really satisfying ticking off my to-do list.

Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?

Gandhi, David Attenborough, Marilyn Monroe, Chadwick Boseman and Morgan Freeman.

Marilyn Monroe postcard

Teichnor Bros., Boston, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Favourite building?

Can I say the Disney castle, even though I’ve never been to Disneyland? I’m addicted to Disney movies.

Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter?

It’s got to be Jay Shetty. He’s such an inspirational man and I can’t get enough of his quotes on Instagram.

Your screensaver?

My fiancé cuddling my rescue cat, Marley.

What would your biography be called?

Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

What would be your epitaph?

A lifetime of laughter and love.

Cheat Churros

Standard churros are deep-fried and calorie loaded. My cheat version is made from just one main ingredient and oven cooked instead. The flavour is unreal, especially when they’re dunked into melted chocolate!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes

Serves 14
Per Serving
46 Kcal
6g Carbs
1g Protein
3g Fat

160g ready-rolled puff pastry
Low-calorie cooking spray
25g granulated sweetener
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Using a pizza cutter, slice the pastry in half horizontally, then cut vertically into about 14 strips.

Place the strips on a lined baking tray and spray evenly with the low-calorie cooking spray.

Oven cook the pastry at 180°c for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, combine the sweetener and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Remove the cooked pastry from the oven and spray with more low-calorie cooking spray, then carefully dip each churro into the sweet cinnamon coating.

Serve with your favourite melted spreads and enjoy!

By Nancy Alsop
June 2022

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.