So, next week I have a grocery delivery booked. It’s time for me to getting planning and create a shopping list. As a practice run I reviewed last week’s meals and used that to create a full week’s plan, shopping list plus how it would fit around work and training. In reality it definitely wasn’t this planned or organised, but the process illustrated to me how much easier I could have made my life if I’d spent a little more time on planning. I didn’t make the courgette muffins, instead I had shop bought seedy snack bars and instant hot chocolate. Chocolate is definitely my weakness! Chocolate doesn’t have to be completely removed from your diet. It’s the sugar that the problem. That instant hot chocolate is full of sugar and shouldn’t even be in my cupboard! I have been looking for an alternative and found cacao liquor buttons to try. I also have
chocolate flavoured protein powder to get my fix. Hopefully these can satisfy my cravings.
Instead of making the same mistake twice (see previous post), I’m making small changes to my routine in stages rather than jumping straight into full meal planning and prepping. Come
along with me on my journey. Hopefully we can keep each other motivated and share what we learn along the way.
The main benefits of meal planning and prepping are maintaining a healthy balanced diet and controlling your calorie intake. My first step is going to be planning my meals and snacks in advance, choosing recipes that include a variety of vegetables and a good balance of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates.
I’m going to choose recipes I’m already familiar with, are quick and easy or can be cooked in batch
I’m also going to choose snacks that are easy to put together such as apple slices and nut butter, vegetable batons and humous, smoothies and protein shakes.
This will be used to create the week’s shopping list so I know exactly what I need, with nothing going to waste, and leaving no gaps meaning no extra trips to the shops where I could be tempted to stray…….
Here’s an example week:
Monday is usually a quiet day for me, so I have some time to cook and bake. Whilst the oven is pre-heating, each salmon fillet is wrapped in tinfoil along with a handful of green beans, seasoned with salt, pepper and a splash of lemon juice, then baked for 20 minutes at around 180 degrees. The sweet potatoes are precooked in the microwave for 5 minutes before going into the oven with the salmon parcels.
The chickpea stew is super easy. I just throw everything in a large casserole dish, except the prawns, and slow cook in the oven. This can be prepared whilst the salmon is cooking, then put in the oven when the salmon comes out, turning the oven down to 100 to 120 degrees. It usually takes around 2 to 3 hours. The prawns go in for the last 20 to 30 minutes. If you have a slow cooker you can time this to be finished for dinner time.
The muffin mix can be made whilst the casserole finishes cooking and go in the oven when it comes out. I now have 6 meals and 6 snacks.
Tuesday is busier but I have time to make two portions of a stir fry and poach some pears. Wednesday I only need to reheat meals and make up some overnight oats and chia seeds before going to bed, and Thursday I get my soup maker out and chuck in a pack of ready to go carrot and swede soup mix. I have one simple meal on Friday to cook, again doing two portions, then easy days Saturday and Sunday allowing me to focus on my training.
Tips and tricks:
· Many of the big supermarkets offering home delivery or collection also have healthy recipes on their website with the option of adding all the ingredients to your shopping list. Just pick your meals for the week and adjust the number of portions. You might have to tweak the ingredients to your own tastes and what you already have in your store cupboard, but this is a great way to get started or keep things interesting with new recipes.
· Save your meal plans, recipes and shopping lists to use again. Make a few tweaks, swap out vegetables seasonally and have different plans for different times of the year, to keep things interesting.