Meal Planning Means No Excuse to Eat Poorly – Part 1
The following is a testimonial (in two parts) from Amanda Hillock of www.TheNetBaller.com.
I have worked with Amanda in the past, advising her on her diet and nutrition to improve in her sport. I asked her if she would like to review and trial my eBook, Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours, and provided me with feedback. Here is the first part of her experience.
I got stuck on the first page – crikey – look at this guy’s biceps!
Alas, I was on a mission: to prepare a week’s worth of meals and snacks for my 2-person household in four hours. Andy and I had just signed up for a “Body Fat Buddy Buster” and we were aiming for a loosely Paleo, whole-food diet that would put us in good stead for our challenge.
I used Darren’s book to gather my thoughts, find recipe inspiration and plan my afternoon in a series of steps.
Step 1: Choose – meals and recipes, and compile an ingredients list.
Step 2: Shop – butchers, vegetable market + supermarket for all the bits + bobs.
Step 3: Cook
The introductory sections of the book outline the benefits of cooking in bulk. For me, it’s purely lifestyle-driven. My partner and I both hold busy corporate roles. I spend my evenings running, doing yoga or at netball practice. Afterwards I like to work on my blog, knit or read, and be asleep by 11. We simply don’t have time to prepare and cook meals every night. Doing it all on a Sunday afternoon works so well for us.
Darren explains how inexperienced cooks can build up their skills and confidence. The recipes in Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours don’t require any difficult cooking techniques – they are pragmatic, tasty recipes. By the end of the book, I was itching to get started.
Step 1 – Choose
Darren recommends choosing 2-3 meat dishes, three vegetables, and a starchy carb. Because we were going to be eating this food for both lunches and dinners, I added a fourth vegetable dish for variety instead of the starchy dish.
- Roast Mango Chicken Breasts, Beef Burgers, and Slow Cooker Beef Roast with Turnip
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Sweet Potatoes, Beet Carrot Salad, and Roast Eggplant with Bell Peppers
I chose these dishes because we had chicken breasts and ground lamb in the freezer, and beef roast was on special at the butchers. With these veggie dishes I knew I had flexibility to pick what was in season and available at the Farmers Market.
I compiled a big list of everything I needed, checked what we already had on stock and then made three shopping lists: Butcher, Farmers Market and Supermarket.
Shopping List (Butcher)
- 1.5kg rolled beef roast
Shopping List (Market)
- Cherry tomatoes, carrots, garlic, chillies, 2 red onions, 4 brown onions, organic yoghurt, eggs, brussels sprouts, coriander, mint, 3 medium sweet potato (aka kumara here in NZ), apple, orange, lemon, baby spinach, eggplant, 3 capsicums, cabbage, asparagus
Shopping List (Supermarket)
- Balsamic vinegar, sesame oil
Already had – canned mango, lamb mince, walnuts, chicken breasts, red wine, Dijon mustard, kitchen basics like dried herbs, etc.
Time taken to prepare lists: Saturday afternoon, 20 minutes
Step 2 – Shopping
I love my local Farmers market, not least because it gives me reason to haul my sleepy butt outta bed before 9am on a Sunday morning. Especially on a beautiful morning in spring, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
Most of my required vegetables were in season and therefore available at the market. Buying in-season keeps my veggie bill down, and means I get a variety year-round. The only thing I couldn’t get my hands on were brussels sprouts. We’re heading into spring in New Zealand so the late-winter sprouts were all done. Instead I bought a small head of cabbage and decided to roast wedges of it. Yum.
A quick trip to the butcher and supermarket completed my shopping expedition.
Time taken to shop: Sunday morning, 50 minutes
End of part 1. The conclusion of Meal Planning Means No Excuses to Eat Poorly will be published next Thursday.
This is a guest post by Amanda Hillock of www.TheNetBaller.com, an avocado-fuelled fitness & sports blogger from down under.
Find Amanda on: [Twitter]