It’s a week until Christmas Day, all your Christmas shopping is done AND wrapped and sitting neatly under your tree. Your Christmas food shopping is all pre-ordered from Marks and...
What if I told you that with a little bit of food planning and preparation, you could save yourself £60.00 a month?
And that by implementing the information below you will not only be benefitting in your own body and health, but you’ll also be doing your bit to reduce food wastage.
As a nation we waste, on average, £700.00 worth of food each year per household (that equates to around £60.00/month), which is just not right!
SO, why, when the advantages are so great are we NOT preparing and planning what can be THE most important part of our journey – our nutrition?
Over-complicated? No idea where to even start? I completely understand!
I think the main problem is that you’ve probably been over-thinking healthy eating, and it then becomes very easy to ‘put off’ planning and cooking your meals in advance. In reality, it’s actually a very simple process and it will in turn save you loads of time and money – and who doesn’t want some extra cash in the bank!?
First off, every single person who is reading this is going to want to do this differently, and that’s okay – use this as a guide and take from it what will make your life easier. I’m going to explain what works for me and has worked for the hundreds of women I have coached over the past few years.
1. Write it down. Get a notebook, or make a chart on the computer if you’re in geek mode (I always use the old fashioned method because I love writing on paper). You can even buy meal planners from places like Home Bargains that are magnetic and stick to the fridge! Headings should be days of the week – and then split each day into however many meals you have in a day – let’s say 3 – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Leave some room for snacks too. Write down what you’re going to have for each meal. It sounds simple because it is. If you have kids, it might be an idea to make a separate list for them to include packed lunch ingredients and snacks, if different to yours. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t meal prep for the kids too.2. Write your shopping list. Once you determine the number of meals you’re going to have in the week (or days depending on how many days you’re prepping for) – you can start to write your shopping list for the supermarket. Ultimately you want to walk into the supermarket with your list, like a boss, and know exact quantities of what you need and where to get it. This is going to save you time AND MONEY. So make your list ACCURATE and SPECIFIC. For example, if you’re making a big Bolognese to feed the family, write down 1kg steak mince. Don’t just write steak mince.
2. Save money where possible. We all have this misconception that eating healthily needs to be ridiculously expensive and I’m here to tell you that this is complete and utter nonsense. You can hit a quick Google search for “in season fruit and vegetables”. Fruits and veggies that are in season are often much cheaper in supermarkets and at local markets. It’s always a good idea to source your meat from local producers – and in bulk. Often your butcher will sell you 5kg of chicken breast for example for almost half what it would cost to buy say 5 lots of 1kg. Buy in bulk and freeze – this is one of the best ways to save money. Also, check out websites likehttp://www.paleowales.co.ukwhich always have great offers on meat, game and poultry. Cupboard essentials like rice, quinoa, bulgar, wholemeal pasta, tins of chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans like kidney, butterbeans – they’re all pennies and keep forever! They can be added to any meal to enhance the nutrient density and satiety. I will touch on this in more detail later.
3. Invest in plastic food containers. It seems like a given, but it’s really critical to your meal prep success that you invest in some really good plastic food containers. If you’re like me and you love kitchen shopping, then this should be fun! Make sure your meal containers are dishwasher and microwave proof. You don’t have to spend a fortune on these, but make sure you invest in ones that are going to last, as this will save you money in the long run.
4. Keeping your food. I like to slightly undercook my veg, so that when I go to heat it up again – it cooks through. There’s nothing worse than soggy broccoli. Most food will keep for between 4-6 days in the fridge, but if you freak out leaving something in the fridge for just one day, freeze and take out the night before!
Which leads me to….
5. Freeze some! Make double what you need for one week, freeze the rest and BOOM suddenly you have two weeks worth of food prep! Now that was simple, wasn’t it? Now you can use some of your lovely new plastic containers!
If you’re as busy as me, you will know that the last thing you want to do when you come home from work at night is start cooking a full meal. Then you’re sitting down to eat at 10pm and lying in bed feeling horribly full. So now that your meals are all prepared and in the fridge its going to make your life and motivation to make healthier meals much more apparent. You just have to get it out, heat it up and serve.
6. Equip Yourself. Nobody would give a gardener a teaspoon and ask him to dig a hole, would they? Make sure you have the right equipment for preparing meals – it’ll make your life easier and make meal prepping so much quicker – trust me!
Find out more and see how Ditch The Diet can help you with this and more on your journey to a happier healthier future
IN PERSON – – > http://coach.ditchthedietuk.com/rachael-watson-leigh-manchester
Here’s what I suggest you need in your kitchen to get a head start:
Set of frying pans (different sizes)
Set of good pans (different sizes)
Sharp chopping knives
Plastic food containers
Store Cupboard ingredients that I always have and that you should consider stocking up on:
Dried spices & herbs (A-Z!! Always good to pimp the taste of a meal)
Chilli powder (I add this to just about everything!)
Nut butters (almond, cashew, peanut)
Tinned chick peas
Tinned kidney beans
Tinned Tuna (lasts forever & is great as a quick snack)
Meat, Fish & Poultry
I touched on this above in regards to sourcing this stuff from local producers. I truly believe that we should be supporting our local farmers by buying produce locally. Try to obtain free range and grass fed where possible financially and logistically. You will often find that if you take your prepared list to your butcher and give it to him/her – he will be able to do you a deal. If they don’t, ask them to! Don’t be afraid to haggle prices. Don’t be afraid to ask for the origin of the meat. If you are on a more restricted budget – try places like Costco or websites like Muscle Food who do a lot of bulk buy meat. Please, try to stay away from frozen food shops who sell bags of frozen chicken for super cheap. They’re dirt cheap for a reason – the chicken is pumped full of saline (salty water) to make it bigger. It’s just not good for you.
My favourite fish that is relatively cheap – trout. A really good alternative to salmon for those on a budget like me (plus I don’t particularly like salmon so that works out well). Right now, trout will cost you approximately £2 for about 150g fillet. That’s really not bad at all. Canned fish is also a really good option and it keeps for ages in the cupboard.
Fruit & Veg
If you can, check out your local market for fruit and veg, but for quickness, there are plenty of low cost supermarkets around these days who are often selling in season produce at half the normal price! Win! Another idea might be to check out if you have a local fruit & veg delivery service. Usually, you can create your own produce box that is delivered weekly and contains everything on your shopping list from local markets! Remember – find out what’s in season and eat it in abundance!
So to re-cap, the simplicity of meal planning and preparation makes for a less stressful lifestyle in general. Not only do you remove the ‘what are we having for dinner?’ stress every day – but you’ll also be doing your weight and your health a huge favour too, not to mention reducing the amount of food waste you have. If you’ve planned your meals, you have a much higher chance of sticking to eating food that you know makes you feel good. So go ahead, give it a go next week – let us know how you get on…
Ditch the Diet coach Rachael Watson has groups running in Leigh, Lancashire – her next group begins in January. For more information and to show your interest in her next group – please enter your name and e-mail address here: