Few years ago , I did not really think what I put in my body. Well I ate consciously but I also drunk diet coke, ate chips and fries, loads of carbs. I thought that my body can take anything and miraculously I will not put on any weight and I will be always fit and healthy. Well that was not true at all and just before turning 40 I knew that something had to change. I was not comfortable in my body and I was not comfortable how I was thinking about my health in the long term.
I can see this in many of my clients and patients who come to me to help them to lose weight. Emotions and looking into food for comfort now more than ever is quite often problametic for many people . There is a lot of suffering from lack of self-acceptance, self-love, however this is not always on people’s mind as it is sometimes difficult to have that self-awarness. What you see is your reflection in the mirror which you quite often hate and do not have kind words for.
Why am I writing this in this blog post? What does it have to do with meal planning? Well good question!! I am writing this as I often hear so many excuses why we do not pay attention to what we put into our bodies, purely due to lack of time for prep and plan but also due to other committments and quite often family and children who may be fussy eaters. Don’t get me wrong I do not always get it perfect and although I am a Naturopathic Chef I do not cook gourmet meals every day and defintely I did not cook them two years ago. There is also some kind of notion that it does not matter what I eat , ill health will not happen to me. I only eat ‘those ‘ foods in moderation or when I am at social events. The truth is that it all adds up. I know that being diabetic for over 25 years. Diabetes taught me routine, I do not skip meals and look out for the carbs in my meals. I stay active and take supplements and generally follow 80/20 rule. (80% good with 20% off track sometimes). I want to enjoy happy and good quality life with minimum medical intervention. Examples in here are all diabetic friendly.
1. Balance Your Macronutrients
The first thing I learnt is how to balance macronutrients in my meal. The easiest way to do that at the beginning I found to be in smoothies and I often recommended them to my clients to start with. Make sure they have protein as well so I do suggest protein powders but you can add nuts and seeds especially hemp seeds as well. Than I use a simple rule of 50% of vegetables (with some low sugar fruits such as berries), 25% protein and 20% complex carbohydrates (carbs) – brown rice, brown pasta, slice of sourdough and 5% of healthy fats – nuts , seeds, a bit of avocado, 1 tsp of olive oil. You can count your portions differently and low carbs diet is less than 130g of carbs (Diabetes UK) a day which is not a lot (some keto diets suggest only 20g – be careful what you look at). A piece of bread may have 15 – 20g carbs , the same as apple but jacket potatoe can have as much as 90g.
I generally recommend to have some complex carbs to avoid cravings. Your body wants some carbs for easy energy conversion and for variety as well as well as for essential vitamins and minerals. We basically have too much and of a wrong kind that is why they have a bad press. Also use the carbs wisely. Use most of them for breakfast and lunch and not for dinner. People tend to have bananas with porridge for breakfast. Bananas are very high in sugars so unless you are active after breakfast I would not recommend them as such and a preferred portion for a smoothie is only half of banana.
An example of balanced plates (100% plant-based)
1.Veggie burger, with salad, chickpeas and cashew non-mayo; 2.Shepardless lentils pie with sweet potatoe and salad;3. Scrambled tofu with carrot ‘bacon’;4. Avocado on sourdough with fried mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
Options for breakfasts
I came up with few breakfast options which I can have – coconut plain yoghurt with sugar free granola, goji berries, fresh berries, or sometimes I use plant-based mylk instead of yoghurt. I also love Alpro mango or cherry reduced sugar yoghurt both delicious. During weekend I would have some avocado on sourdough bread which I bake myself (weekend treat) or scrambled tofu. I sometimes make a smoothie or recently my hubby got into the habit for our 10 o’clock smoothie time! – Benefits from working from home together 🙂 I use blue spirulina for fun and lovely blue colour and health benefits.
Options for Lunch and Dinner
Meal planning for weekdays got much easier with my Thermomix. If you have not heard about this machine than let me introduce to it. It is an investment piece which not only blends, chops , but also kneads dough, fries, cooks etc. You have access to a recipe platform and you can plan all meals for the whole week including shopping list which you now can integrate with your supermakets online shopping. How cool is that? This is the machine you keep on your worktop and use every time you need anything even making a smoothie. You can ground nuts , and grains for flours, you can ferment as well. My clients who have Thermomix get a bespoke plan which recipes to include in their meal plans based on their individual circumstances. Thermomix has also low GI recipes as well. All built in!! You just buy ingredients and follow instructions – easy peasy lemon squeezy.
My favourite options are: sweet potatoe curry with cauliflower rice, Tuscan bean soup, homemade pizza, bean burgers, tomatoes soups and sauces, vegan brownie etc.
Few examples below
If you would like a demo , book here
For lunch I usually have something from a salad bar. So I create this salad bar in my fridge with washed and cut up veggies, cooked chickpeas, beans, cucumbers, cherry tomtoes, hummous, cut up tofu pieces. I also prepare two salad dressings. I sometimes have a soup ready for two days. I rarely eat any sandwiches for lunch. They do not fill me up.
If you do not have Thermomix, planning for some theme nights is a good option. On Mondays you can have any left overs from Sunday, Tuesday you can have a stir fry day, Wednesday some bean burgers (or other plant-based burgers) with a big salad, Thursday you may have a curry or homamde pizza. Friday is fish time, I may have a miso soup. The truth is since going plant-based most of my portions got smaller. And it makes sense as I am sitting behind the desk a lot of the time, I do not need to have big portions and I never feel sleepy after lunch and my energy is stable. Hydration also pays an important role. Drink loads of water for balancing sugar levels . You can also try meal planning apps and I found this one to be good Mealime.
I am a massive supporter of three main meals and keeping min 4 hours between the meals and 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. I also like eating them slowly so my body has time to register the taste and my hormones have time to catch up with the fullness. I try to finish meals at 80% full. However, I love some healthy snacks and I make few during weekend such as tamari and maple syrup roasted mixed nuts, dark chocolates with crushed nuts and some dried fruits, hummous and cut up veggies, cherry tomatoes.
Bespoke Meal planning service (soon availabe in my shop)
I offer bespoke meal planning service. From £47 you can have a meal plan which you love based on your preferences , equipment, time, lifestyle. I am particular interested to give you a plan to transfer to more whole foods and plant-based diet. I have recently done an alkaline mealplan. I totally understand that you may want to give a new way of life a go yourself first but you need to have a starting point.
EBOOK (coming soon) – Intuitive Cooking With plants
I totally believe in intuitive eating, chosing food you know serve your body and mind well. It is not about perfection but getting a bit creative in the kitchen and cooking with love for yourself and others. In my ebook I am covering simple naturopathic principles of food and cooking. Like with all changes if you take them slowly one by one you will enjoy them more. At first you may meal plan for one or two days and gradually get better and quicker and actually enjoy the process. If you want to start and reset your eating habits you will also have access to my 21 days Cleanse program – do it yourself with Facebook group support at the preferable price, once you download the ebook.
I hope you enjoyed this article. It is only a begining and the You Tube video will follow soon.