Get organised with this FREE 7 Day Meal Planner – #1 Small Step

Get organised with this FREE 7 Day Meal Planner – #1 Small Step

BlogHead_Nutrition Planning

When clients come for Follow On sessions, they tell me how planning and organisation have been the keys to making successful changes in their diet and lifestyle.

Planning and organising are the foundations to your new way of eating.  You will repeatedly thank yourself during a hectic week when you get home late and take a batch-cooked homemade soup out the freezer rather than a sad, beige, ready meal.

There are two main areas to focus on when it comes to planning ahead;

  1. How you organise your kitchen

  2. Meal planning and shopping

Before we look at the finer details of kitchen organisation, grab a pen and download the free meal planner;

7 Day Meal Planner_pdf

To inspire your shopping the Planner includes;

Planning chart

‘Eat a Rainbow’ food suggestions

Which foods have the highest pesticide residues and which are okay to buy non-organic

Now, lets look at your kitchen…

In the world of the Internet, everyone has a kitchen like this

neatkitchen_snip

In reality, it’s probably more like this;

messykitchen_snip

You may live alone, in which case great – all the cupboard space is yours!  However if you’re in a family of 6, there’s going to be several different food tastes and requirements that need catering for so space may be at a premium.

Firstly, go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and get rid of anything past its ‘Use By’ date (‘Best Before’ is a lot more flexible and can be safely eaten for a good while after the date has past – use your own judgment on this), and anything that no longer fits with your new eating plan.

If your cupboards are full of junk snacks it’s going to be harder to hold your nerve and resist them.

Give anything still usable to friends and family or donate to your local food bank or shelter.

Next, place on your worktops the utensils you need to make your new healthful meals and snacks.

  • Cutting out caffeine? Put the teabags and coffeemaker at the back of a cupboard and bring out the water filter, herbal teas and juicer.

  • Snacking on homemade protein smoothies? Place your blender jug next to the plug socket, ready to use.

  • Batch cooking meals? Sharpen knives, make space for the chopping board and have pans and cooking trays within easy reach of the oven.

  • Taking new supplements? Place the packets of supplements next to the kettle or sink (unless they need to be stored in the fridge) so you see them when you get a drink.

  • Organise your storage containers.                                             Many of us (me included) know only too well the sinking feeling that comes when you open the Tupperware cupboard and find mismatched lids and cracked boxes.  Invest in glassware containers for fridge and freezer storage; IKEA do a reasonably priced range and I use old glass jars for freezing soups and sauces.   Over the years I’ve gathered several 1970’s style brown ceramic bowls with lids from charity shops: perfect for storing leftovers in the fridge.

  • The Zero Waste Chef has a great blog post all about freezing goods in non-plastic containers, see HERE for the details.  Admittedly, plastic tubs are lighter and easier for packed lunches, and you can easily find BPA-free ranges.

Now that your kitchen is clear and organised, it’s time to plan those meals!

Before you do the shopping, whether its online or a proper trip to the store, take 30 mins to sketch out your meals and snacks for the week ahead.

 7 Day Meal Planner_pdf

If one of your aims is to include more variety in your meals, browse a few recipe sites or cookbooks, pick 1 new meal to try, and add the ingredients to your list.

With online shopping you can save time by storing your ‘favourites’ or previous shopping lists in the software so you don’t have to type it all in again the following week.

Veg box schemes provide organic, or locally grown (or both) vegetables and fruits, and often inspire new meal ideas – after all, once a new veggie has arrived on your doorstep you’ll need to find a way to use it!

Consider stocking up on some ‘emergency’ ingredients – things that can be quickly thrown together to make a meal – for those occasions when (and it is when, not if!) your best laid plans go awry.

Ideas include;

  • Baking potatoes: they keep for weeks in a cold dark place and can easily accompany a leftover chilli, ratatouille, frozen fish and vegetables…

  • Frozen vegetables: peas, sweetcorn and cauliflower florets have a pretty much permanent home in my freezer.

    For tips on which vegetables freeze well and which are best left fresh, see here

  • Frozen white fish (sustainably caught): this cooks from frozen in 25mins and is delicious smothered in a tomato & vegetable sauce served with that baking potato you bought earlier or sweet potato wedges and broccoli…

  • Tinned tomatoes, red lentils and vegetable stock: here you have the base of a vegetable and lentil broth. Add chicken or a selection of leftover vegetables and you have a nourishing, warming meal.

  • Vegetarians and vegans: buy extra tofu to drain and freeze, so you have a versatile protein source to hand when needed. Not frozen tofu before?  Follow the steps here.

What are your top tips for getting organised in the kitchen?  

Email me at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or share them in the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/nutritioninyork

If you’d like to know more about how we can work together to tailor your nutrition needs check out the consultation options or email or call today – 07910 705272 – and let’s get started!

 

Eat A Rainbow – #1 Small Step

Eat A Rainbow – #1 Small Step

Eat a Rainbow

Ever wondered why doctors and nutrition-people (like me!) keep talking about how important it is to ‘eat a rainbow’?  (A phrase which is dangerously close to the slogan for Skittles – ‘taste a rainbow’- which will have quite the opposite effect on your health!).

It’s because brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain an array of natural compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that are all bound up with what colour they are.

Food choicesSo for example, orange and yellow veggies like peppers, carrots, and butternut squash are rich in beta-carotene, an immune-bosting antioxidant compound that’s a member of the carotenoid family, whilst dark bluberries and red grapes contain cyanidin – another protective antioxidant compound.

Including at least 1 food from each colour group everyday means you will be nourishing yourself with a vast range of naturally powerful ingredients, giving your body the support it needs to cope with modern life!

Pick any one of these top 10 practical tips to start increasing the colour, variety and nutrient load of your diet;

  1. Green powders are helpful if you struggle to get enough greens into your day: mix spirulina, chlorella, barley grass or wheatgrass powder into pesto to boost the antioxidant and protein levels.

  2. To support blood sugar stability and reduce reliance on refined carbohydrates, swap to higher protein alternatives. Mung bean pasta, lentil pasta, quinoa, or wild rice are good alternatives.

  3. If you’re dealing with intestinal yeast overgrowth (and this is best confirmed with a stool test rather than trying to guess), think foods before supplements: natural anti-microbials such as garlic, ginger, oregano and marjoram can be added easily to salads, soups, casseroles – even herbal infusions.

  4. The anti-inflammatory actions of turmeric and cinnamon are well documented; these spices blend well with warmed almond milk to make a simple chai-style beverage.

  5. Seaweed flakes can be sprinkled into salads, soups or casseroles, and Nori sheets make a good alternative to wheat wraps, instantly increasing the iodine, zinc and magnesium content of your meal – perfect for thyroid support.

  6. Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil into 25g of butter creates a spreadable butter rich in oleic acid – with none of the negative effects associated with margarine or poorly processed vegetable oils.

  7. Encourage children to explore different coloured vegetables by using a picture colour chart and negotiating which coloured veggies to try next.

  8. Nourish your friendly gut bacteria with pre- and probiotic food. Add a tablespoon of sauerkraut to grilled salmon and roasted vegetables; use unfiltered apple cider vinegar in salad dressings with lemon juice and fresh herbs; or mix kefir into a morning smoothie.

  9. Green vegetables can be problematic for many people, especially supertasters. A basic smoothie made from baby spinach, banana and almond milk is a gentle option to begin with, and is packed with folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the antioxidant compound lutein.  If you’re managing IBS, add fennel or caraway seeds when steaming brassica greens as this helps to soften the taste and aid digestion, reducing bloating and wind.

  10. To eat different foods you have to buy different foods. A vegetable or fruit box delivery scheme is a hassle-free way to have new ingredients delivered direct to your door. Many schemes offer inspiring recipe ideas too.

Remember, the idea behind #1 Small Step is to encourage steady change and growth whilst side-stepping overwhelm.  So pick 1 new idea to try, and build up those changes gradually!

If you’ve enjoyed this post you might also like;

#1 Small Step – Plan Your Way to Nutrition Success

#1 Small Step – How You Can & Why It’s Good To Eat Mindfully

#1 Small Step – 7 Energy Boosting Breakfasts

What Small Step can you take today?

Tweet me at @nutritioninyork or drop me a line via sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

A shorter version of this post was originally produced for Nutrition I-Mag (July/August 2017 edition) downloadable HERE

Inside a Nutritional Therapist’s fridge…

IMAG0040One of the main reasons I don’t ‘do’ Instagram is that ten minutes browsing through reams of aspirational images related to nutrition and health leave me in despair: my kitchen isn’t stylishly minimalist, I don’t hashtag all my thoughts with #eatclean and if I see one more picture of smashed avocado and poached egg I may well break the internet.

There’s a fine line between being inspirational and unrealistic and for me, so much of what is online is contrived and unachieveable.  When you’re struggling to balance the stress of poor health, family needs and work demands, the last thing you need is to feel that the small changes you are making to your diet – however positive they are – are Just.  Not.  Enough.  And this is the negative power social media can have.

So, in the interests of honesty and sharing I’m going to give you a glimpse of what my fridge looks like after the weekly shop.  (You wouldn’t want to see it beforehand…the sight of a lonely lemon and scrag-end of celery inspires no one…)

Lets start at the bottom…

Salad drawers: these contain courgettes, celery, avocadoes, lemons, an aubergine and some mixed peppers.  Mixture of organic and non-organic, depending on what’s available and what I can pay that week.

First shelf: packets of free range chicken thighs, bag of potatoes and a cauliflower.  I do prefer to buy a whole organic chicken, roast it in coconut oil on a Sunday then use the rest of it during the week, culminating in a chicken & veg soup (I recently created a chicken, ginger and butternut squash soup..divine…)  However we had friends over for dinner that day and chicken thighs were needed.

The cauliflower will be turned into cauliflower and lentil dhal which does me for several days as either breakfast or lunch, accompanied by yoghurt, mint & cucumber dip.

Second shelf: 2 cartons of coconut water; I’m currently taking Spirulina each day IMAG0040for it’s amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and antioxidant powers.  If you’ve tried spirulina, you’ll know how strong it tastes and how it needs to be mixed with something to lift the flavour – coconut water and blueberries work perfectly!

Asparagus, spring onions, carrots, cucumber and tub of blueberries.

Third shelf: bag of spinach because my own crop has been an abysmal failure this summer; selection of cheeses (cheddar, goats cheese and lacto-free cheese to satisy everyone in the house); limes, local strawberries, free range organic eggs and a tub of butter.  It’s a regular intention to make my own spreadable butter by mixing a tablesoon of olive oil into a chuck of organic butter.  Sometimes I do it, more often than not I forget, so we have a tub of spreadable butter to hand.

The bottle of sweet chilli sauce is a rarity as this stuff is heaving with sugar, but the meal we cooked for friends included it as a dip.  This shelf frequently holds a dessert too as Mr Nutrition In York cannot resist sticky toffee pudding.

Top shelf: broccoli, plain live soya yoghurt, ground flaxseeds – essential for mixing with my morning porridge or adding to smoothies – full fat mayonnaise and tomato ketchup.

So, no secret ingredients here, and no glamorous chic kitchen.  I’m certainly not the world’s best cook (ask Mr NIY, he’ll tell all!) but I am living proof you can change how you feel with everyday foods and learn how to understand what your body needs to thrive.

Confused about what to eat?

Feeling stressed, exhausted and strung out?

Struggling with crazy hormones or erratic digestion?

Drop me a line and lets get you back on the path to vitality & wellbeing…

Salmon Paella – from the Greedy Wordsmith’s kitchen

Here we have the second in this series of recipes from expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith.

To discover more about Claire, her workshops, and her food and copy writing services hop on over to  www.greedywordsmith.com

 Claire says…

As is often the case with modern favourites, the roots of Paella lie with farmers and workhands of the past. The name refers to the pan itself but has come to be known as a dish of rice flavoured with tomatoes, saffron and paprika. The addition of seafood, chicken or meat changes with each region of Spain so feel free to
experiment in your own kitchen. I also love mine topped with squid or mussels.

Soaking the saffron ahead of time allows for the true flavour of this luxurious spice to really shine. The resulting liquor always fills me with excitement and gives a beautiful ochre colour to the final dish. The stamens of the saffron crocus have a long culinary history due to the belief that they could imbue miraculous healing properties. In medieval England traders could be put to death if they were found doctoring their produce. Today the stamens are still picked carefully by hand and – weight for weight – demand a price more expensive than gold.

Ingredients

Pinch of good quality saffron
saffron stamens(1)
2 fillets of salmon (around 200g)

1 lemon, cut into quarters.

A large onion

1 medium carrot

2 cloves of garlic

200g of paella rice

1tsp of sweet paprika

½ tsp of smoked paprika

1 tbsp. of gluten-free vegetable bouillon powder

300ml of hot water

Half a can of chopped tomatoes

2 – 3 sprigs of fresh thyme

8 – 10 green Spanish olives

A handful of frozen peas

A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preparation

You will need a large, deep frying pan for this dish.

Place the saffron in a bowl and cover with around 20ml of warm water. Leave to
infuse for at least 4 hours.  Squeeze a quarter of the lemon over each salmon fillet and wrap loosely in greaseproof paper. Set aside.

Peel and finely dice the onion and carrot. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Fry these
gently with a little coconut oil or ghee until the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Add the paella rice and stir well.

Make a flavoured stock by combining the paprika, vegetable bouillon and hot water.
Pour this into your pan along with the chopped tomatoes and saffron liquor. Mix well before tucking the fresh thyme sprigs under the rice. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for fifteen minutes.  If the rice appears dry pour over another 100ml of hot water. Add the peas and  arrange the olives on the top of the rice. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for a further ten minutes. You are seeking sticky textured rice.

Towards the end place your salmon parcels in the microwave and cook for just a
couple of minutes. The salmon should still be slightly pink in the middle but not raw.
Leave to rest.

Taste your paella and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Stir through the chopped parsley before spooning a portion of the paella into a bowl, topped with one of the salmon fillets and a quarter of the lemon for squeezing.

Green Bean soup

gluten free option, dairy free option, vegan option, yeast-free option

A fantastic zingy soup packed with protein, magnesium and zinc.  Great for using up all the green beans from the allotment!

60g organic butter OR 1 dessertspoon of coconut oil

2 onions, chopped

30g plain flour OR gluten-free equivalent (buckwheat, potato or gram)

1l vegetable stock

2 cloves of crushed garlic

400g fresh green beans; topped, tailed and chopped.  If fresh beans are unavailable, use frozen.

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Juice of 1 lemon

Pumpkin seeds and pine nuts to sprinkle on top

Melt the fat in a large pan.  Add the onions and garlic and cook gently for 2-3mins.  Add the flour, stirring to combine it all together, then gradually add the stock.  Once the liquid has thickened slightly add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer ubntil the beans are cooked.  Blend until smooth and serve topped with pumpkin seeds and pine nuts.