Tag Archives: menu planning

When did healthy eating become so complicated?

Healthy Eating is meant to be straightforward and a common sense approach to eating. Right? However when you look on Pinterest, blog sites and the internet you are suddenly confronted with complicated recipes using all kinds of specialist expensive ingredients and equipment – agave, coconut oil, himalyan sea salt, seaweed, the latest berries, spiralizers etc. Now I quite like a bit of faffing around in the kitchen and I’m all for experimenting with new foods…. but this isn’t something you can do everyday and I wonder how many people think this is how you have to cook to eat a healthily?

Dry tomatoes

Recently at a lecture I was reminded by the speaker how in the war, rationing meant that people had no choice but to eat less fat and sugar, grow their own vegetables, could afford less meat and had to make the most of the food they had. When rationing stopped there was a sudden binge on foods like sugar and butter, biscuits and cake!

Dietitan UK: War rationing

When I went to University I started out with minimal equipment, a small budget and I pretty much cooked all my own meals from scratch as it was the cheapest way to do things. Lots of vegetable and bean stir frys, pasta dishes, jacket potatoes and anything I could cook with a pack of minced beef! Chopped tomatoes, tins of pulses and beans and the local green grocer were my friend. It was a simple and enjoyable way of cooking with no real pressure, especially as I was mainly cooking for just myself.

Now I have to cater for a growing family. Fancy meals really do not work. We have our basic staple meals that work every time. Pasta with roasted veggies. Lentil bolognaise. Risotto done in many ways. Salmon Parcels

So what do you need in order to eat a healthy, balanced diet?

1. Fancy equipment is often nice to have but not needed! A good knife, peeler, spoons to stir with, a grater and a tin opener is enough to start with. 

2. A store cupboad with the basics in: chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, baked beans, tinned pulses, dried mixed herbs, tuna, pasta, rice, curry powder, olive oil are all things I have in mine right now.

3. A menu plan. Look for some simple recipes on sites like BBC Good Food and the supermarkets websites. Get hold of a cookery book that doesn’t have hundreds of ingredients per recipe and the meals can be cooked in 30 minutes. Make up a folder or use pinterest to save the ideas you like and use to build your weekly plan and shopping list. Think about foods you really like and the time you have on each night.

4. There is no need to be fancy on a daily basis! Save that for a weekend 😉

5. Cooking from scratch may seem like hard work at first but it really is worth it. Base your meals around your vegetables, add some meat and some carbohydrates on the side. Job done.

In the words of the great saying. 

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

 

 

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How to stay on top of family meals

 I love cooking. The kitchen is the place I relax, I create and I have fun. However when you are juggling too much, busy busy busy and have small people cooking the family meal can become a chore, even for me. 

 I run 2 businesses around 2 small ones, my days start early, end late and are a mix of pilates, dietitian work and being a mummy. Which means I don’t tend to have the luxury of spending hours cooking each day. 

Dietitian UK: Top Tips on Family Meals

 My top tips:

  1. Meal Planning really does work. We have a whiteboard in our kitchen and I plan out our evening meals and some of our lunches too.
  2. Keep a recipe book or file with the recipes you and your family love. This makes it easy to plan and quick to find that recipe that suddenly springs to mind.
  3. Use your meal plan to shop and prepare in advance. When you have a quieter day chop up some veggies in advance for example, or boil a pile of eggs for lunches, make hummus or cook a meal to get ahead.
  4. Cook in bulk when you can. If you are doing a casserole, chilli, bolognaise, soup or freezable meal cook double and freeze it. This saves me on a regular basis on days things go wrong and I realise I’ve no time to cook!
  5. You don’t have to wait until dinner time to cook. I often end up cooking our evening meal in the morning, as that’s when I have a gap in my day. It can be quite satisfying knowing dinner is already cooked!
  6. Embrace the slow cooker love. The beauty of this is you can prep it the night before and keep it in the fridge, then switch it on in the morning and by evening you have a cooked meal, often with leftovers to freeze. See my slow cooker recipes  or my pinterest board with over 50 ideas.
  7. Have a day a week you use up the leftovers. Put them on a pizza, add to pasta, put veggies in a frittata or stir fry… it may not be a standard recipe but it can save you time, money and is inventive! See Love Food, Hate Waste for top tips and recipes.
  8. Have some emergency meals in your stores. Baked potatoes can be cooked in the microwave in 10 minutes, add tuna and sweetcorn with some chopped veggies and you have a meal. We always have a jar of pesto ready for that emergency pasta dish and frozen veggies!
  9. Get the kids involved and make it an activity. Miss K loves cooking and will try to peel veggies, chops them and stirs things, as long as she can nibble on bits as she goes.
  10. Relax. I find if I’m stressed over it, things go wrong. There is always beans on toast for those days you need it 😉

Please share any other top tips you have.