Thursday, May 21, 2015

Turning Your Real Food Shop Into Nutritious Meals

It is easy going to the supermarket and buying healthy ingredients. You walk in and you grab all of the items that are whole foods. You stock up on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably ones in season). You go to the chillers and buy your milk, butter, cheese etc. Wander past the bakery and then head into the aisles.

As long as you follow a few simple rules then shopping isn't hard;Buy foods in as whole a state as possible
  • When buying pre-packaged, buy those with as few ingredients as possible
  • Avoid refined sugars
  • Opt for whole grains
However, eating real, nutritious food on a day-to-day basis is not so easy. I often find myself getting all enthusiastic at the supermarket, coming home with lots of great, nutritious food and then......... blank.

I have no idea how to use alot of it.

One of my friends has requested that I make up a meal plan with a shopping list that would essentially eliminate this problem. While I don't yet have one of those ready, I thought instead that I could try to inspire you a little with how I turn my weekly shop into real food.

Here was my shop:

First up are the essential fruits and vegetable. In this shop I had celery, beetroot, bananas, avocado, lemon, apples, lettuce, zuchinni, tomatoes and carrots. Here are some of the ways I use them:
  • Celery: I love celery as a snack. Dip it in some hummus or fill it with cottage cheese and raisins or peanut butter (my personal favourite is obviously peanut butter).
  • Beetroot: You may or may not know, but beetroot is really delicious raw as well as cooked. I love to grate raw beetroot, mix it with balsamic vinegar and salt and serves it with other salad ingredients. You can also roast your beetroot up with other vegetables for roast vege salads or a side dish.
  • Avocado: I absolutely love avocado!Mash it up for guacamole, throw it in a smoothie, eat it on its own coated in Dukkah or drizzled with lemon juice. You have no reason to throw out avocado!
  • Apples: I eat apples every day. Often as is, but I also chop it up with yoghurt for breakfast, dip them in peanut butter for a snack, or cook in the microwave with some cinnamon as a healthy treat.
  • Lettuce: Nothing out of the ordinary here. I use this in salad and sandwiches
  • Zuchinni: Or courgette, whatever you want to call it. I quite often use a wide vegetable peeler to make zuchinni pasta, topped with a lentil bolognaise, or I toss it in some balsamic and roast it
  • Tomatoes: Like the lettuce, nothing really out of the ordinary. Salads and sandwiches.....
  • Carrots: Another favourite of mine. I use carrots in stir fries and casseroles, throw them into salads, grate them and stir them into mince meals, or simply eat them raw as a snack.

Next up we have meat and dairy. I used to be the sort of person who only ate low-fat dairy, but I gave up on that over a year ago, and to be honest, I don't think it's made one scrap of difference weight wise. I also get lots of benefits from it like making me feel fuller. In this shop I had chicken, mince, steak, ham, milk, sour cream, greek yoghurt, yoghurt pots, and feta.
  • Chicken: This is a weekly staple for me. Sometimes I pre-stuff it in the weekend, so I have an easy throw in the oven weeknight meal. I also love it in stir fries, in pasta, marinated and grilled. It is a really great base for your "real" meals.
  • Mince: I tend to go for a premium mince as I just don't really like the taste and texture of the fattier mince. With mince I make slow-cooker meatballs, mexican style mince to top baked potatoes or in wholegrain tortillas, or cook it up traditional bolognaise-style.
  • Steak: I'm pretty uninventive. I tend to rub it down with a little oil, pepper, salt and smoked paprika and then grill it.
  • Ham: I don't eat a lot of processed meats, but sometimes ham comes in handy for on pizzas or for in sandwiches.
  • Milk: I don't drink heaps of cows milk as I prefer almond milk for my smoothies. For me, milk is most often used in my cups of tea or for in baking. I still tend to go for full-fat as I just think its better (and it makes a much better bechamel sauce!)
  • Sour Cream: Mexican-style food needs sour cream! Again, I don't use it heaps, but it's the sort of thing that is handy to have in the fridge.
  • Greek yoghurt: Plain, full-fat greek yoghurt is a staple for me!! I often have it for breakfast with fruit and oats, I stir it into my porridge, I eat it with nuts and fruit as a snack, or I use it in baking. I just really love my greek yoghurt.
  • Collective Yoghurt Pots: If you follow me on social media, you will know that I really love The Collective products. They tend to be low in refined sugars and these ones also had grains in them. These were used for my mid-afternoon snacks.
  • Feta: Feta is great to add a bit of flavour to things and a little goes a long way. I crumble it over salads, over vegetables, smush some into a sandwich, or make a delicious spanakopita (Spinach and feta filo roll). 

And finally we have all of my other cupboard staples. This included tinned tomatoes, beans, peanut butter, spices, tomato paste, muesli bars, pasta and a quinoa-rice blend.
  • Tinned vegetables: I always keep some beans or chickpeas in my cupboard so that I can add them to my lunch salads for protein, or use them in casseroles or soups. I also use tinned tomatoes lots for pasta sauces or other tomato-based sauces. 
  • Peanut Butter: I could probably go on for pages about my love for peanut butter. I use it on toast, melt it with coconut oil and honey for a sauce, spread it on crackers, have it on toast with bananas......
  • Muesli bars: These are processed so I don't eat them alot. These particular ones were for hungry male who tends to be a bit fussy, but when I buy ones for myself, I buy ones with as few ingredients as possible and with a small amount of refined sugar.
  • Quinoa-rice blend: I cooked this up as a nutrient-packed alternative to plain rice for stir-fries, curries or as a base for lunch salads

So that is the most of it. I'm not going to pretend like I am perfect and never touch processed foods, but I find that if I do some pre-planning before I shop then it is much easier to stick to eating and using up my real-food shop (because I really hate wasting food!).

Hope this inspires you to get into the kitchen and make some great real-food meals.

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