Every now and again I get myself into a bit of a stressful state, life feels like it’s overtaking me, I have lists of things to do, nothing feels like it’s getting done and suddenly I realise I’ve no idea what we’re eating for dinner and am running low on food. DISASTER. You know that feeling?
Hilariously as a dietitian I am often found writing meal plans for others, but then I forget to write my own. OOOPS. I love recipes, food, cooking, meal ideas and all that jazz, so actually for me sitting down and planning out the meals for the week is a relaxing and fun thing to do, it means I have time to think through the week, flick through some recipe books, bring those food ideas to the front of my brain and at the end of it I have at least one part of life under control.
Here’s mine for the next 2 weeks, I’d love to see yours!
5 Reasons to Meal Plan:
SAVE TIME in the long run. Half an hour planning means you won’t be stood in the kitchen later racking your brains for a meal idea.
Use it as a chance to check the BALANCE of your weeks meals, see the tips below.
SAVE MONEY by then planning your shopping list so you don’t end up with random ingredients that you don’t need.
SAVE WASTE by using all the ingredients in your fridge and planning it so you can take leftovers for lunches or fill the freezer.
SAVE STRESS. Having a plan helps my stress levels, I can plan the quicker meals for busy days and know what I’m doing from day to day.
5 Top Tips for Balance over the week:
Meat free Monday: Plan in some meat free days, we usually have 3-4 a week.
Fishy Friday: Aim for fish a couple of times a week, oily fish contains those heart healthy omega 3’s.
Reduce the Red Meat: to just 1-2 times a week.
Veggie Vitality: Eat a range of colourful veggies over the week.
Treats Ahoy: Keep that takeaway or those chips to planned times, so they don’t appear on the menu too often.
Get planning those meals and please share – I’d love to hear how you do things and what meals you include.
Tonight I needed a quick, easy meal that could be thrown together with ease. You know those days when you wake up feeling tired, then spend the day running around, get to the evening and suddenly uh oh, it’s almost dinner time and you’ve not made any, you need something healthy and filling….well that was my day today. Pilates class, washing, cleaning, baking, baby party, and a teething, clingy baby but hungry mouths to feed.
So 5pm came and I raided the fridge. Finding a pack of peppers and some mozzarella I felt inspired. Cue the oven warming up to gas mark 6. Peppers thickly sliced onto a baking tray, chunky onions join them along with some halved large mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil along with a splash of water and in they go to roast for about 40 minutes. Remember olive oil may be a healthier fat but it is still a fat, so a small drizzle, the water does the rest.
Meanwhile the baby partially ate her dinner and partially painted it in her hair and around her highchair 😉
Towards the end of the roasting the pasta went on (wheat free for me). Once cooked all that needed to be done was mix the pasta with the roasted veggies, mix in some chunks of creamy mozzarella and a teaspoon of pesto. After a busy day, this was simple, quick, easy, healthy, tasty family food.
We love risotto in our house. It’s just so versatile. You can dress it up all fancy and swish for a dinner party or keep it simple for an everyday family meal. Plus, its wheat and gluten free, can easily be vegetarian and it’s easy, peasey to make….even my husband who isn’t into cooking can make a risotto 😉
Our favourites at the moment are mushroom and blue cheese and a creamy leek and lemon version with salmon. Butternut squash with a grating of nutmeg works well as does chicken and pea.
Risotto’s take a bit of love and time, you can’t really walk away and leave them to cook themselves, unless you like crunchy rice…so stay by the cooker and let it cook slowly, simmering not boiling.
Using a home made stock is tasty and lower in salt. We make stock using the chicken bones after a roast and freeze it down for later.
Swap cream for low fat creme fraiche or natural yoghurt and low fat creme cheese. Keeps the creamy taste but cuts the fat.
Add a splash of wine and some fresh herbs for extra flavour. You can go fairly bold in a risotto so try some different flavour combos.
You can make it in advance, then finish off with the last bit of stock or a swirl of milk/wine when heating up. It also makes great leftovers for lunches.
If feeding a baby it’s perfect sticky finger food, my baby adores risotto.
Freelance Dietitian specialising in helping those with Eating Disorders and a Media Spokesperson for the profession.