Plan your meals to make a variety of nutritious, energy-giving dishes for the week ahead with these quick tips.
In the previous posts we established what’s good for you and what to avoid, so now it’s time to follow this with food planning.
We’ve put a nutrition planner together to satisfy your taste buds and keep your energy levels up. Obviously to make such a variety of food on a daily basis takes more time than it would to warm up a ready-made meal, so we’re not saying do this everyday but it gives you something to aim for. Like most people we don’t like to spend too long in the kitchen when we could be outside or surfing, so let’s work on how to do this as quickly as possible.
Begin with easy steps, think about what’s achievable. Could you spend a few hours at the weekend making the dishes and then putting them in the fridge or freezing them? Dishes like breakfast cereals, smoothies, wraps and stir fries are really quick and easy to do. While other dishes take a bit longer to cook, most things in our planner will only take half an hour or so. You can prep your food and put it in the fridge for when you’re ready to use it – chop vegetables for stir fries, blitz the cauli to make cauliflower rice, these kind of things take out the chore of making everything from fresh everyday.
It’s all about being prepared. Having a well organised and well-stocked fridge and cupboard is key to stop you reaching for the ready-made meals and snacks. It begins with what you shop for, having nourishing food at your fingers tips makes it easier to pull together a nutritious and speedy meal. Go for locally-produced products and organic if possible as they contain fewer harmful residues of pesticides. Imported produce is heavily treated to keep it fresh after a long journey, so try to buy in season that’s when the fruit and vegetables contain most vitamins.
Below we’ve included a 3-day Meal Planner with a variety of daily nutritious meals. You should be aiming for three meals and a snack a day to keep your blood sugar levels in check. The main thing is to enjoy your food and keep everything in balance.
Store Cupboard Essentials
Here’s our shopping list, it’s a long list so start with what you think you’d like to cook the most and gradually introduce the products into your weekly shop, that way it’s not so overwhelming.
Brown rice, quinoa, oats, wholewheat pasta, sweet potatoes, these foods are relatively cheap, filling and supply a good amount of energy.
These are convenient, full of protein and vitamin D which is good if you’ve been inside a lot this winter. Go for organic and free range ones and keep them in your fridge so they stay fresh.
It’s annoying doing a weekly shop and then the veg and fruit goes off half way through the week, so try for smaller shops. Go big on leafy greens, spinach, kale, peas and broccoli.
Go for what’s grown in season as well as bananas, apricot, avocado, red grapes and apples. Look for frozen berries too like blueberries and blackcurrants.
Try to have as many spices in your cupboard as you can. Favourites are cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, these will give your dish flavour.
You can make the most amazing dish full of veg but if it’s not seasoned correctly it’s going to be bland. For quick seasoning try a hot sauce like Sriracha and garlic or onion salt is another good one to add easy flavouring.
Nuts and seeds
These are always great to have on hand as they’re an amazing source of fat, fibre and protein. Best ones to go for are walnuts, almonds, cashews, then sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, sesame and chai seeds. Nut butters are acceptable too but look for the healthy ones not the ones full of hydrogenated oils.
A good source of calcium and protein but don’t go for the fruit-flavoured yoghurts as they’re full of sugar and calories. Choose the plain, unsweetened probiotic live varieties as they’re good for your gut. Add fruit and chai seeds and sweeten with date syrup or Manuka honey.
These include lentils, chickpeas, beans, soybeans and are loaded with dietary fibre and protein. Plus as they’re very versatile they’re a good replacement for red meat as they contain many of the same nutrients.
High in protein these typically Japanese natural soy products like tofu, edamame beans and miso soup are a rice source of vitamins, minerals and isoflavones and a great alternative to meat and dairy products if you’re vegan.
Chopped or whole, tinned tomatoes are a decent source of vitamin A and C and the antioxidant lycopene. They’re a great cooking basic and the stalwart of soups, sauces and stews.
Good for fatty acids, vitamin D and zinc always try to shop for sustainable fish if possible. Try your local fishmonger or these days the fishermen are selling fish directly so check them out on Facebook. Go for blue mussels, rainbow trout, herring, Alaskan salmon, haddock, mackerel, sardine, North Atlantic prawns and canned tuna if it’s pole and line caught.
TRY THIS 3 DAY MEAL PLAN TO MAXIMISE ENERGY
Click on the meals below to take you to the recipes! (Apart from the mid afternoon snacks).
Post workout snack
Handful of unsalted nuts
Post workout snack
Carrots and Celery Sticks with Houmous
As a service to our readers, Vitamin Sea Collective provides information but this should not be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.