Making it easier to eat nutritious food more often
Like many people I know, we have great ideas and knowledge on nutrition but somehow what we end up eating week after week isn’t always the plan!
Life is so busy with people working long hours, feeling tired, trying to fit in exercise and looking after others such as kids or parents or family members and colleagues. It is hardly any wonder cooking nutritious food fails to happen as you’d hoped.
Let’s start with a simple way of picturing what we want to achieve in an eating plan
- 3 meals a day usually works for most people.
- Snacks available as hunger dictates and kids usually do well on 2 to 3 extra snacks, eating about every 2-3 hours through the day.
- Minimum 2 cups of vegetables for adults or ½ the plate of veg PER MEAL. Even breakfast can often get veggies in with smoothies or eggs e.g. poached or omelette.
- ¼ meal protein, ¼ meal carbohydrates, ½ the meal vegetables is a good guide for most people.
- Have a range of proteins in the fridge or pantry, depending if vegetarian or not: meat, chicken such as smoked chicken or some cooked chicken, fish (smoked salmon, snack tins of fish), nuts (unsalted and salted mixed or cashews or almonds), eggs (hard boil eggs once a week for lunches), yoghurt (cow, sheep, coconut), cheese, protein powder (whey, pea, rice, hemp or egg white I like Thompsons Red 8 brand of unflavoured powders from health shops), chia seeds (good for breakfast cereal, in yoghurt or in a smoothie), lentils and beans such as chick peas, kidney beans, hummus.
- Eat good quality fats such as Olive oil (for low temperature cooking such as pasta sauce and dressings), Coconut oil (for snacks and high temperature cooking- do check a quality brand like Blue Coconut oil or organic brands, as some cheaper ones have palm oil added), Avocado oil (for high temperature cooking), Avocado, Organic butter, Ghee, Nuts, Seeds, Tahini paste, Nut butters.
- I don’t recommend any low fat or ‘light’ / lite products for any one including margarines, yoghurts, milk, salad dressings, mayonnaise or artificial sweeteners. Use real food and whole fat products in their most natural state.
- Eat foods not too high in sugar but use real food sweeteners- a bit of honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup or fruit to sweeten foods.
- Enjoy fresh or frozen fruits – usually a handful up to twice a day is great.
Here are some of my strategies for making it happen
MAIN MEALS- Once a week or fortnight plan dinner/ tea meals for 5 or 6 nights of the week. Allow a night or two for takeaways or eating out to happen and this means less wasted food.
Put the menu on the fridge so everyone at home can see it.
Have a few of your recipe books handy and enjoy taking a look through them. I suggest if you want to try completely new recipes, then add one a week at most to keep you from feeling too pressured!
Can’t think of new ideas, want inspiration, short of time or family members can’t cook? Why not use My Food Bag (in New Zealand) with all sorts of options- 1 person, 2 people ,4 people, gluten free, vegetarian options and express bag and you can use them just for 4 nights a week often giving enough for lunch the next day. A lot of people use My Food bag for a few weeks at a time, then get inspired to make the meals themselves. So keep it real for you. https://www.myfoodbag.co.nz/
There is also a budget version of My Food Bag here https://bargainbox.co.nz/
Need a recipe book for people who are learning to cook? I love ‘Ministry of Food’ by Jamie Oliver. This book came out of the ‘Pass It On‘ campaign where Jamie taught 8 people how to cook some simple recipes, and they each ‘passed it on to another 2 people.
Or do you want to have nutritious meals ready prepared and delivered to you in Christchurch, NZ? You just re- heat them. You can order exactly what you want when you want it from Fit Food in Christchurch who deliver twice a week. The food is yummy and many people love it. (Some eat it cold, it’s so tasty!)http://www.fitfood.nz/
SNACKS- Have one or two snacks in the freezer that are really tasty, nutritious and great for a sweet desire. Make enough for lasting a month to make it easier on you. My favourites are Nut and fruit slice and Tahini Balls, both of which can be eaten almost straight from the freezer or taken to work in a jar. If a snack is made with coconut oil and taking to work or school then keep cool next to a chill pack or in a fridge as it can crumble or go a bit soft. Here are my favourites on my blog http://www.allnourishing.com/category/recipes/snacks/ but you can also get so many yummy bliss ball recipes on line too or from any of Dr Libby’s recipe books.
Bought snack bars that are very nutritious are the Pure Delish range of bars – Primal choc bar http://www.puredelish.co.nz/biscuits/primal-bar-biscuit-bite-slab/ and No grain ola bar http://www.puredelish.co.nz/snack-bars/nograin-ola-bar/ These are in the snack bar section and then in the snacks or biscuit section you can find them as bite sizes http://www.puredelish.co.nz/biscuits/primal-bar-biscuit-bite-slab/
LUNCHES- Plan 2 salads or soups to make for the week lunches and that’s your lunchtime vegetables sorted and tasty too. If it’s a salad then I will choose a couple of salads I can make on Sunday and Wednesday.
Make a salad or soup that can last 2 to 3 days in the fridge. This way yummy vegetables are sorted for all lunches. Soups of course freeze well.
My favourite salads are coleslaws (see the raw energy salad on the blog), roast vegetables, or cooked salads of blanched vegetables with roasted nuts and an amazing salad dressing- current favourites are green goddess dressings packed with herbs like basil, parsley and mint. Here are some lunch salads I love along with amazing soups for winter from recipes on this blog http://www.allnourishing.com/category/recipes/lunch/ be sure to look at all pages of ideas so at the bottom of the first page click on ‘ next page’.
You can always buy ready prepared salads from the supermarket deli as well.
On the day of eating, add some fresh green leaves e.g rocket, mesclun leaves, spinach leaves
And add the protein e.g. feta, cheddar cheese, boiled eggs, chicken, smoked chicken, fish, hummus, falafels, nuts and seeds or cold meats
And put some carbs in such as crackers or slice or two of bread or pita and either with the carbs or in place of them add some avocado and / or nuts or seeds for a great fat boost to give you some fuel for longer.
BREAKFASTS- Have what you enjoy and the ingredients ready for breakfasts that give you long lasting energy:
Smoothies are great, such as a Breakfast Booster smoothie http://www.allnourishing.com/breakfast-booster-smoothie/ You can have frozen fruit including chopped bananas and berries in the freezer and could always put them in pre-portioned freezer bags to grab in the morning to go in the blender or nutribullet.
Another very quick brekkie to put together is yoghurt and fruit crunch with yoghurt, a sprinkle of chia seeds and protein powder stirred in, then topped with banana / berries and Pure Delish Raspberry maple nut no grain-ola from the cereal section of the supermarket. Wowee! http://www.allnourishing.com/yoghurt-and-fruit-crunch/
And if I have nothing ready or that I fancy for breakfast but have the Tahini balls or Fruit and nut bars in the freezer, these are great for breakfast too. I have also made Dr Libby’s Beetroot chocolate cake for the freezer and loved this for breakfast! https://www.drlibby.com/recipes/beetroot-chocolate-mud-cake/#newzealand
I hope you find too that you eat more often what you plan to and feel less pressure and more ease each week.