Like most of us, I usually have good intentions to eat well, but unfortunately good intentions aren’t always enough! I find the weeks I am most successful at eating well are the ones I have healthy options sitting in the fridge ready to grab and go. I also find that when I eat better during the day the call of the sugar monster after dinner is also easier to ignore.
My motivation and opportunity for healthy food preparation ebbs and flows throughout the week, so I try to take advantage of the times when I am keen to cook and make things in big batches - the freezer is my friend.
I roasted extra carrots, zucchini, pumpkin and sweet potato when I made a lamb roast early in the week knowing that I wanted to use them in a breakfast hash for the rest of the week. I like a warm breakfast in winter and the joy of maternity leave means that I have some time each morning to cook up a quick breakfast.
I added shredded purple and savoy cabbage and spring onion to the roasted vegetables in a big bowl and stored it in the fridge. In the morning I fill a frypan with a mixture of the vegetables and cook it down with some water, turmeric, ground cumin and grated ginger. When it is almost ready, I cook an egg in the same pan and serve it all with some avocado. It is warm and nourishing and fills me up for quite some time.
I’ve been making a big pot of soup at the start of each week, this week I made another batch of the spicy red lentil, pumpkin and cauliflower soup. Last week it was a cauliflower, kale and broccoli creation. It only takes 25 minutes to make and I have lunch ready for a week or I can freeze it in batches to use later. As a bonus JJ also likes to eat this for lunch.
For days I want something other than soup, I also made cauliflower ‘rice’ which I can use to make cauliflower pizzas, calzones and fritters. I blitz a head of raw cauliflower in a food processor until it starts to look like rice and then place 3 cups into a zip lock bag, which is a good amount to make one large pizza base, and store it in the freezer. (One large head of cauliflower gave me a bit over 6 cups of ‘rice’). When you are ready to use the rice, cook it covered in the microwave on high for 8 minutes and then remove all of the water by squeezing it in a clean tea towel or by pushing it through a fine sieve. The Iron You has some excellent recipes using cauliflower like this Cauliflower Crust Spinach White Pizza
I also cook up extra brown rice when I use it for dinner and store it in the freezer to toss through roasted veggies as another quick lunch option.
Snacking is generally my biggest weakness, especially after dinner.
I love that I’ve found a good green smoothie recipe, but I'm a bit lazy in making it since I use an old blender and I need to make the effort to cut everything up first. To overcome this and make it easier to have one every day, I made up four green smoothie packs with all of the ingredients cut up and placed in a zip lock bag. I now just need to just grab the coconut water and zip lock bag from the fridge, add a scoop of protein powder and I have a smoothie ready in one minute. Each bag makes two smoothies, so with four bags I am set for a week.
I still have some paleo caramel and I made a sugar-free raspberry chia jam. These are both perfect to add to high protein Greek yoghurt to make a quick and delicious snack. I also have a stash of 70% dark chocolate to meet my need for a little chocolate on most days.
I try to bake something for my husband to take to work each week, so this week I made my favourite choc-almond cookies that are quite healthy knowing that I wouldn't feel too guilty if I grabbed one or two in the afternoon or as a dessert option. Recipe coming next week.
I also made a batch of apple sauce to use in baking as a substitution for oil and butter. I simply core five green apples, chop into quarters and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes. I use a stick blender to blitz it into a smooth sauce, skins and all. It also makes a great snack for the boys.
I stuck with regular meals for dinner. This week consisted of lamb roast with roasted vegetables, easy paella, vegetable lasagna and hubby cooked chicken parmigiana. Not too bad, not overly healthy. But portions sizes continue to be huge - gotta work on that.
This was a great week for preparation, but I still had raisin toast with butter on most days (I blame breastfeeding for my bread cravings!), and more chocolate and yoghurt than I needed, but it's a good start right!
So, what are your best food preparation tips to keep your healthy eating on track?
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