Goal 2: Repair my relationship with food
Daily Habit: Eat regularly, 1 sugary snack a day
Because: I’ve been overeating for about 9 years out of boredom, a treat for a good/bad day, for something nice to do and from dieting. I’m terrible for starting a new ‘lifestyle change’ and managing 2-3 days (sometimes even 2-3 weeks) and then caving and binging and then restarting the cycle the next Monday. It means I’ve maintained the same weight for 3 years now but its not really a weight I feel good at. I can start with super small changes and build them up.
This one has really been up and down, as my mood and emotions have been! When I feel good, I eat well, when I feel bad, I eat rubbish food. Argh I need to change that, but that’s a blog for another day. I’ve recently signed up to a 6 week block with Kezia Hall the nutritionist so it’ll be really interesting to see what she thinks I should focus on. The first few weeks are like a reset where you don’t eat any refined sugar (the toughest thing in life), dairy, or gluten. You can do it all at once or gradually. Sticking to my BJ Fogg beliefs I’ve gone with gradually, mainly because I can’t face the headaches and lockdown is starting to ease a little, which means social occasions, which usually means refined sugar, gluten containing, dairy full food!
I’ve started with refined sugar; to help I made a ‘healthy’ cake to get me through and so it felt like I wasn’t missing out on anything and if nothing else, I can take that cake with me on the social outings! Its really quite nice actually!
On a complete other note, I really dislike food waste. We all hate wasting food, that’s why we’ve been forced to finish our plates all these years! Its a waste of money, of energy, its unfair to those who can’t afford such nice food and it causes a lot of landfill, especially when you don’t take it out of plastic packaging. I’ve always been pretty good at this (because we’ve always had such a tight food budget) so I thought I’d pass on my wisdom! Plus there just isn’t enough leftover recipes and I actually think it would be more useful to the average person.
1. Write a weekly menu. Some people like to go round the shop and buy whatever, or what they usually get, then decide on the day what meal they’d like. But then they realise they don’t have anything to make an actual meal and either go back to the shops (buying extras or something that’s on offer and looks tasty) or have a meal that’s not really that great. And who wants to waste calories, never mind food?! I sit down on the food shop day and write my menu, then the shopping list along side so I know exactly what we need.
2. Cook once, eat twice. This one’s for the single people or couples. Most food portions are family sized. 500g of beef mince, a whole broccoli, a whole chicken. They’re really for 4 people. We have the same dinner 2 nights in a row because we are then cooking for 4 and are left with less waste at the end. Saves time (because you only cook every second night), saves money because you’re buying less ingredients and chilli is totally better the second day…
3. If you know an ingredient only comes in large packs, plan multiple meals that can use the same ingredient. I make a turkey burger recipe that has leeks in it, Lidls only sell leeks (usually) in packs of 3 (I only need 1) so I’ll freeze one, use one and then plan leek and potato soup or chicken, ham and leek pie for another meal in the week.
4. Freeze leftovers, duh! We all know this one but you can freeze way more than you think. You can freeze cheese, leeks, meat, fruit, loads! Better that than throwing it out. I do this a lot when I can only buy big packs of garlic cloves / the onions are going off, I’ll chop them all up (in my Magimix food processor) and shove them in a tub/sandwich bag in the freezer for using as and when. Plus I don’t always fancy my frozen leftovers when they’re already meals. Sometimes they’re a bit watery so I’d rather freeze the ingredients than the full meal.
5. You can have dinner for lunch. Dinners don’t have to be strictly eaten at dinner time. You can have leftover chilli or pasta at lunch time the next day if you’re going out to eat the next night. If its too heavy, eat half and add a wee salad to it. Then you can have it for lunch the next again day too! Maybe boring but saves on waste.
6. Don’t plan a meal for 1 or 2 nights on the menu. The week is an uneven 7 days so this is really easy. Then this night you either eat out or at your friends or you make a leftover meal that’ll use up anything you have left that’s going off. Its when you can get your most creative and sometimes the random dinners are the best and end up as one of your main meals for the next week. The easiest things I find for using up veg and bits of meat are omelettes, soups, salads, pastas, curry and pies.
For my last leftover curry, I really cleaned out the fridge! You can honestly use anything you have. Its like a free meal of things that would otherwise be put in the food waste bin. Use any meat / bean / pea / lentil for the protein. I love a bit of lamb in a curry. You can use most spices; cumin, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, tikka powder – whatever you like / have. You don’t need the coconut milk or the tomatoes particularly but I needed to use up half a tin of coconut milk and I decided the tinned tomatoes would make it saucier. Any veg goes for this, again, whatever you have left/frozen. I also like to put a bit of sweet in a curry, just in case I’ve over done the spices and its a bit bitter. Whether its mango I have left or dried apricots from the cupboard or even a bit of frozen pineapple! Failing that, banana can work or a bit of honey / mango chutney – whatever you have!
Here is last week’s leftover curry ingredient list:
250g of beef stewing steak
Hot curry powder
Tin of coconut milk
Beef stock cube
A few baby plum tomatoes
Brown rice and fresh coriander to serve.
1. Heat up the pan and melt the coconut oil, add in any spices, if the spices soak up all the oil, add a little more.
2. Add in chopped onion and cook until soft.
3. Add in seasoned beef and cook until browned
4. Add in baby plum tomatoes and garlic
5. Add in green lentils and stir a bit before adding beef stock cube along with the tin of tomatoes. I don’t add water at this point, I hate a watery curry!
6. Add all of your veg and mango (apart from the spinach)
7. Add the coconut milk and set to simmer
8. Make the brown rice while the curry simmers, the longer it simmers, the creamier and tastier it is so if the rice takes 30 minutes, just relax and add a little water to the curry if it needs it. Another tip for cooking rice is to have a non stick saucepan and cook it like its risotto – adding just enough water to cover it to begin with and then adding in water bit by bit as it needs it to cook. Then you don’t need to find a colander with holes small enough that the rice doesn’t fall through it and I very rarely over cook the rice this way.
9. A couple of minutes before your rice has cooked, add the spinach in to the curry, it wilts really quickly and will taste fresher than if you put it in with the rest of the veg.
10. Serve with some fresh chopped coriander (or don’t if you hate it). If its still a bit spicy, a wee bit of natural yoghurt or sour cream or creme fraiche on top is perfect.