Fresh Food Frozen
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that it’s such a huge effort to cook for one or even two people. Gosh, I mean, I think even I’ve said that myself before. But, honestly, there are so many ways that you can build your meals and plan ahead to avoid the hassle and avoid reaching for cheap unhealthy options instead.
Having moved across the world I have been challenged with small fridges, no storage space and having to walk everywhere, which means needing to shop regularly each week. I've been exploring different ways to prepare balanced meals for my husband and I that are full of nutrients but that don't result in me throwing away food because we weren't able to use it all before it went off. Of course we would all prefer to eat fresh food rather than resorting to tasteless cardboard-like foods simply because they have a longer shelf life.
Preparing a whole healthy and nourishing meal lies in where you are getting your nutrients. All you have to do is make sure that you are getting your full checklist of Macros and Micros. “What about protein!” I hear you say… Well, if you are relying purely on meat, fish, eggs, and poultry for your protein sources, then you can always prepare the meals and freeze them until you need them. Though I am certainly not a vegetarian I, as a nutrition consultant, realise the benefits of plants and their place in the diet. I love combining plant based foods to create my protein part of the meal. What people don’t realise is that, as surprising as it may sound, you can easily combine foods like whole grains and legumes to provide your body with all of the essential amino acids you need. When you plan your meals for the week start introducing 3 or 4 days where the main meal is based on plant based amino acids, here are some examples;
Stir-fried wild rice and lentils with roasted Mediterranean vegetables
Green Thai vegetarian curry with chickpeas, veggies and basmati
Ratatouille served with wholegrain couscous
Now that doesn’t sound too bad does it? Not to mention
Veggie (chickpea and lentil) bunless burgers, coated with baked desiccated coconut with homemade tomato salsa
Butternut or any kind of veg based soup
for when its cold outside…I could go on forever.
The point is, that, a packet of wild rice, lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans, to name a few, all have a great shelf life. Plus they are still packets with essential nutrients, fiber and energy. Another great advantage is that you can make one big bowl and it will last you 2 or even 3 meals if you freeze a few portions for a rainy day.
If you are following a ‘paleo’ or ‘lower carb’ diet, it can be a little trickier. I love the idea of zucchini spaghetti with Parmesan, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower and a whole range of other belly friendly veggies, in this case I would buy them on the day or again make and store in the freezer so that you have access to fresh food.
So, don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment with the old farm style recipes that our grandparents used and forget the nonsense you get at MacDonald’s. It may take a little more time to prepare, but isn’t it all about taking care of your family’s health?