I’m not doing a health update this week, as I’ve basically just eaten cake from Wednesday onwards. I am so pregnant right now that I’m eating first and thinking second. I’ve only managed one and a half workouts this week too, as the heat that kicked in towards the end of the week meant I had to abandon my efforts in a sweaty puddle. Luckily, the sheer amount of calories I must be burning dragging my big ol’ bump around seems to be balancing things out and my weight has stayed fairly stable.
But I think another thing that has helped me is that although I’ve had more goodies than I should have had, my meal plan means that most of my lunches and dinners are consistently healthy. Meal planning is like my anchor, my stabilisers, my compass. Whilst I have the ability to go seriously off the rails when it comes to snacks and treats, because I’ve been using meal planning for longer than I can even remember it’s become an ingrained part of my life to have healthy meals built in. It’s so ingrained that I’m actually surprised when I meet people who don’t meal plan.
Why I meal plan
I can’t sing the praises of meal planning enough, I try to convert everyone I meet. It’s essential if you’re trying to lose or watch your weight, but even if you’re lucky enough to not need to focus on that there are still so many benefits to meal planning.
- If you’re watching your weight, meal planning..
- …helps you to think in advance of the healthy choices you will make that week
- …means you are organised and prepared, and so less likely to reach for quick fixes like takeaways
- …helps you identify what your syns/calories/points are being spent on, to help you make all the other choices around food you need to make
- And even if your weight isn’t something you’re focused on, meal planning still…
- …stops that “what’s for dinner” hassle at the end of each day
- …helps you draw up a shopping list so you aren’t wandering aimlessly around the supermarket
- …helps you stick to a food budget (if you stick to that shopping list!)
- …reduces waste because you know exactly what you’re going to use
- …encourages you to think about your meals, and maybe even try new things
Unlike last week this should be fairly quiet and a good chance to get my nutrition on track in the lead up to birth! I’m taking the four year old (and maybe the teen, if he’s willing) to a local farm tomorrow so we may have lunch in the shop there. I’ll try to go for something fairly wholesome…though I don’t know if I can resist the home baking! We also have friends coming to help Hubs lay turf in the garden on Wednesday so there’s been talk of a takeaway – I’ll try to sway it towards a kebab so I can go for grilled chicken and lots of salad. Other than that, I should be fairly on track, so what’s on the rest of our dinner menu this week…?
I’m feeling pretty good this week, as after struggling for a while I found it very easy to get back on track. I’ve had a week where moderation has been the name of the game. Having said that, I’m 37 weeks pregnant and not on an out-&-out weight loss mission, so the form of moderation I’m taking right now is just to minimise the number of indulgences but not exactly the content of them! So I went out on a lunch date with some of my friends on Friday where I temporarily appeased my one and only pregnancy craving (burgers…*drool*), and Hubs talked me into a curry last night (he’d been breaking his back in the garden all weekend and my SlimmingWorld-friendly syn-free lasagna just wasn’t going to cut it). At the moment I’m ok with one or two little discrepancies!
I got good results too – a 1lb loss at SlimmingWorld on Thursday which it looks like I’ve maintained over the weekend so I don’t feel too shabby. Ideally I’d like to avoid any massive gains from here on out, but I’m keeping an open mind as I’ve never watched my weight during pregnancy before and have no idea what the next few weeks could bring!
I did make the SlimmingWorld oat cookies (recipe by Kate @ WitWitWoo) as my evening snack, and I’ll have to be honest about them – Millies Cookies they ain’t. But of course they aren’t. They simply fill a hole, that hole being my need to nibble something whilst I watch the telly at night. We have some sugar-free syrups for coffee and I’m tempted to try adding a few teaspoons of that to the mix to see if that makes them a bit more interesting.
It’s my birthday on Thursday, so I’m hoping to get out for a meal to celebrate. We’re very lucky that the town we live in is a bit of a foodie haven. I’m torn between the tiny artisan place where the chef is so passionate and creates his menus based on what he has in that day, the tapas restaurant with the huge selection, or the lush bistro restaurant which was the catalyst for all the other high-end restaurants to open up in our town. Decisions, decisions.
Other eating-out-of-the-norm situations this week are lunch in a primary school canteen, and a buffet at a christening. The school lunch is part of our youngest’s primary school induction and we’re basically at the mercy of the dinner ladies, and buffets (or any sort of free-for-all eating) are my kryponite. Oh, and then there is a cake-based send off planned on Wednesday at work to see me off on maternity leave! What did I say about wanting to avoid massive gains?!
I just need to make sure the meals in between keep me on plan, so what’s on the rest of our dinner menu this week…?
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a meal plan…mainly because Hubs was working away and as the kids get fed by their grandparents when I’m at work I didn’t really have any motivation to cook just for myself. I did make a plan last week, which we stuck to for the most part, but I do still feel that I’ve been way off track.
As a rule, I have the same thing for breakfast every day (either porridge or overnight oats made with water and fromage frais, or Grapenuts and almond milk, all with a banana chopped over the top), lunch is always leftovers from dinner the night before (or a salad with couscous and either mackerel or egg), and our dinners are always healthy. So meals are not my sticking point.
It’s the eating between meals that scuppers me, and I have struggled to keep myself on a healthy course these past few weeks. Its been a combination of lack of planning, lack of motivation and just plain greed. If there’s been food available, I’ve eaten it. I was thrown a surprise baby shower this weekend too, and the amount of cakes we’ve been left with is crazy. Sure, I could chuck them out…but I’ve been conditioned never to waste food and basically I want to eat them.
But I’ve seen the impact on the scales, and whilst I can kid myself on that it’s all baby weight I know deep down that I’ve probably gained more than the wee fella has! This week needs to be one of focusing on moderation and giving my baby the food he really needs, rather than the goodies that mummy wants. So I’m having a clear out this morning to get rid of any remaining tempting-but-unhelpful treats, and giving myself a stern talking to. Snack-wise, I’m going back to my fruit and natural yogurt, and I’m going to have these SlimmingWorld oat cookies (recipe by Kate @ WitWitWoo) as my evening snack. I made them a few weeks ago with some added spices, but I’m going to keep trying to tweak them. I know they’ll never be the real biscuit deal, but if I can make them interesting enough to enjoy with a cuppa that’s fine by me!
So, what’s on our dinner menu this week?…
For the first week in forever, I don’t have a meal plan this week. I don’t cook for the kids when I’m working – it would be too late for them by the time I get dinner on the table, and the grandparents like to feed them – so I usually just cook for Hubs and I during the week. But Hubs is working away, and when it’s just me I really can’t be bothered making the effort. I have leftovers in the freezer, eggs in the fridge and a mum who is always desperate to feed me, so I’m not doing much worth mentioning this week. I also never made the shepherds pie I had planned for this weekend, so that covers Saturday, and my in-laws can’t make it for Sunday dinner so I’ll probably just decide on the day what to make. Lunches will be salads as I wont have leftovers to take, and I’ve scored some peanut Nakd bars for my evening treats.
When I linked up to #MealPlanningMonday last week, there was some interest in the Thai salmon I’d picked as one of our dishes. I thought I would share the recipe here, as it’s a real favourite with us. It’s really delicious and sounds quite impressive, but it’s quick and simple and can be done in one pot in less than half an hour!
I’ve been making this one for years, so I don’t even know where it came from and I’ve tweaked it a bit over time. The flavour really comes from the spice, so you can judge for yourself how much you want to add. If you can’t find Thai 7 Spice, I would guess Chinese 5 Spice would work well (although it would totally change the dish).
So, on with the recipe…
I’m pleased to report that after facing up to falling off the wagon last week, I had a really
good week. Apart from missing Clubbercise on Tuesday because I was knackered, I managed to achieve all my other fitness commitments. And my eating was on point right up until yesterday where Easter did get the better of me. I still managed to lose all the weight I’d put on during my indulgent previous week, and I now feel like I’m back on an even keel.
Our favourite dish last week was the Thai salmon with jasmine rice, which I’m not surprised about as we’ve loved that one for years. I got a few comments on the blog about it too so I’ll be sharing the recipe later in the week. The Jamaican chicken was lush too. I was disappointed with the Spanish chicken, it must have been a different recipe to one I’ve used in the past and so there wasn’t much sauce to speak of. It was still nice, but not as I’d hoped.
I’d said I was going to shake up my snacking too, after realising I’d fallen for the SlimmingWorld Muller Light brainwash. So I cut them out this week and made sweet potato hummus instead…what a game changer! Check out the recipe over at Slimming Eats. I’ve also had frozen grapes and used my healthy extras for Grape Nuts with almond milk, which I am now addicted to!
So I’m sticking to my new snacking, keeping my focus now I’m back on track so all that remains to be asked is…what are we eating this week?
Honesty is something I need this blog to have at it’s core. It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re on a health journey, and it’s important to the ethos of this blog that I don’t pretend to have it all sussed out. I’m trying to find health on my own terms, and with that comes some wrong turns. Those slip ups are as much a part of my journey and my blog as the successes.
I have to ‘fess up – I’ve been off the wagon/plan/radar this past week.
Whether it’s because I don’t deal well with being out of my routine or whether I just used being on holiday as an excuse, I’ve eaten like a crap…and eaten a lot of crap. I can’t even lie – McDonald’s, Greggs, cakes, chocolate, a big dirty fry-up, pizza, macaroni cheese, doughnuts…all that shit and more has graced my palate in the last seven days. It was like the healthy switch in my head was flicked to off, and I used that downtime to make bad food choice after bad food choice.
To top it off, I also ignored two of my own mantras – don’t skip weigh-in just because you’ve had a bad week, and don’t wait until Monday, get back on track with your very next meal. I skipped SlimmingWorld on Thursday, and it’s only now that I’m drawing a line under my gluttony.
I’m trying not to beat myself up about it. After all, I could have been spending my whole pregnancy eating like that and piled on weight like I have in the past, so one bad week isn’t the end of the world. But I am angry at myself for undoing some of my good work – I stepped on the scales and it looks as if I’ve gained about 4lbs this week.
I can’t turn back time so I just need to look forward.
And that begins with a meal plan and some exercise commitments. Exercise-wise I’ve done a body weight and stretch session today. If I’m not too knackered after work tomorrow I’ll do a (gentle!) Clubbercise class, and then try to fit in another body weight session when I’m working at home on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll fit in a session with weights and a yoga dvd over the weekend too, but we’re going to Stirling on Saturday and our youngest is having a friend round on Sunday so I wont hold my breath.
You can read on to see our meal plan…
When I linked up to #MealPlanningMonday last week, there was some interest in the beef goulash I’d picked as one of our dishes. I thought I would share the recipe here, as it was really delicious and very simple. Maybe it’s because I have a smidgen of Hungarian blood in me, or maybe it’s just because Hubs and I had a great holiday in Budapest many moons ago, but I do love this dish!
The original recipe is a Hairy Bikers one, taken from their Hairy Dieters Eat For Life book. This is one of my most used cook books, and definitely my favourite of all the Hairy Bikers books I own. I would recommend you add it to your collection, and it’s equally a good book to start with if you’re new to cooking.
This is great on the day of making, but it also freezes well. It has a long cooking time though so it’s not ideal if you’re starving and need something now, but it would work well in a slow cooker.
This recipe requires a casserole dish, but if like me you don’t have one you can either use any pan that can be put in the oven, or use a pan on the hob and then transfer to an oven dish when the time comes. I just use a ceramic pan I can use on the hob and in the oven and cover it with a foil lid.
So, on with the recipe…
Last week’s meal plan – 20th March – went well. I made every meal I planned to (although we did have a Chinese on Thursday night after weigh-in. I still made the planned meal but took it for lunch on Friday), and even the new dishes went well.
L-R top-bottom :: tuna with ratatouille, chicken biryani, pork chop with roasted butternut squash, beef goulash, Moroccan chicken, fruit trifle
The beef stroganoff got some interest in the comments, and it was delicious so I’ll be posting the recipe for that later in the week. Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter or Instagram to know when that post goes live.
So what are we eating this week…? Click the button below to find out!
I am a huge advocate of meal planning, not just from a weight loss perspective but also from a sanity and budget one. I literally couldn’t go into a week blind to what I’m going to be eating. So when I found out there was a link-up about exactly that, I couldn’t not get involved!
I’m also big on keeping things simple. So I have the same breakfast each day (oats, fromage frais and chopped banana, either microwaved or as overnight oats), my lunches throughout the week are leftovers from the night before, and weekend lunches are usually either soup of lentils, tomatoes and leftover veg, fry-ups tweaked to be healthy, or jacket potatoes with healthy toppings and lots of salad. I cook a meal each night though, and that is what my meal plan focuses on.