Everyone is really busy. Like, REALLY busy. We know, because you tell us all the time, and because we are too. It’s just the way things are. One of the great ironies of the 21st century is that we are surrounded by gadgets and devices that are supposed to make life easier, yet in a 2018 survey by the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of respondents have felt so stressed in the last year that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. In addition, 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress, and 29% reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking.
So for lots of people, it looks like this…
We’ve already talked about the emotional relationship we all have with food, and how what we put in our bodies is directly linked to how we feel, but an important factor to bear in mind is that the relationship is 2-way. If we eat well, we feel better, emotionally and physiologically. So we’ve put together some tips to help you break the vicious circle, and maybe even save a few quid on the way…
The temptation to over eat is everywhere, so what we’re looking for with our food choices, particularly when snacking, are things that make us feel full. The feeling of fullness comes from a number of bodily signals that begin when food is consumed and continue as it enters the digestive system. There are no benefits to feeling hungry, it can have a negative effect on mood and makes sticking to healthy eating goals hard. If you’re eating properly, you rarely feel hungry.
It is a proven scientific fact that foods high in protein and fibre make you feel fuller than foods high in fat or carbohydrate, unfortunately most snack foods are incredibly high in fats and carbohydrate. Why is this? It’s because the food manufacturers want you to eat more, not less. The more you eat, the more they make. So if you want to do it right, you need give yourself some time, prep ahead and go DIY…
Fresh Fruit, Salads and Vegetables
Our fridge is always full of fresh fruit and veg. High in fibre and guaranteed to make you feel better, it’s a great way to snack. The key is to have it all ready to eat the moment you feel the need, if you have to faff around chopping and prepping you won’t bother, you’ll just reach for the Kit-Kats. You could go to the supermarket and buy it all ready-prepped, but I wouldn’t bother. It’s expensive, washed in a factory and has already done a few days in the supply chain. Go and buy the whole head version, get some Tupperware and a sharp knife and get ready to prep for the week ahead.
Oh, just a little tip, you might want to clear the fridge of all the mystery jars full of goop and decayed stuff in clingfilm first. Let’s start as we mean to go on, yeah? 😉
We want bite-sized bits that we can just pop in our mouths as we go past the fridge. Here are some of our faves:
Grapes, Starwberries, Blueberries – buy a big pack, rip off the lid, wash them under a running tap while still in the punnet (they have handy drainage holes for this very purpose). Place a piece of kitchen roll in the bottom of your tub, pick off the stalks or whatever and chill. They will last for 5-7 days
Pineapple – Pineapples are dirt cheap at the minute as retailers try to stimulate demand with promotions, so get a massive one, wait for it to ripen (the centre leaves will detach easily when ripe), slice off the outer skin, removing all the black bits and then cut into chunks. Sprinkle with mint sugar (just bash up fresh mint with sugar in a pestle and mortar) for a indulgent treat or dessert with a difference.
Watermelon – We LOVE watermelon fingers. They take about 3 minutes to prep, will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, and will ABSOLUTELY BLOW YOUR MIND when lavishly sprinkled with cinnamon and eaten cold straight out of the fridge. Simply get your watermelon, cut it in half and place it on a board with the cut side down, then slice as below (with thanks to Simply Sated for the pics) Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.
As well as snacking, you can also prepare simple meal accompaniments ahead. We always have a big bowl of crunchy salad in the fridge which takes minutes to prep and is picked at and used throughout the week. It usually consists of little gem or sweet gem lettuce, chunks of cucumber, whole cherry tomatoes, celery and sliced peppers. It will last, covered, for up to 5 days. You can also make up a simple vinaigrette dressing in a jam jar to keep alongside using one part red wine vinegar to 3 parts good olive oil, add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, season and shake as required.
And for supper, when you are craving something sweet, how about halving a Galia melon (also dirt cheap at the mo), removing the seeds and then going at it with a spoon. You don’t even need a bowl, nature provides one for you!
Remember the chicken breast recipe from the last blog? Why not try cooking a larger batch than you need (it’s usually cheaper to buy big packs anyway), slice the leftovers into strips and chill. You can use this for snacking, sandwich fillings for packed lunches, or just add it to your bowl of crunchy salad. Whatever, it provides a quick, simple and tasty protein hit.
If you want to go REALLY old school, buy a dozen eggs (from the local farm shop, obvs) and boil them for 6-8 minutes. Cool and keep in the shell in the fridge. Just crack and scoff as required, just like my Grandad used to.
Nuts are a great snack, and seeing as your fridge is probably full by now, we thought you might want us to talk about something that can be kept in the cupboard. Buy a big bag of unsalted mixed nuts and roast them for 5 minutes at 180C before cooling and keeping in an airtight container, it really brings out the flavour without the need to add salt.
Tinned fish is also brilliant. Tuna and mackerel are our faves. By having your boiled eggs and salad ready prepped, adding a tin of Tuna gives you an extremely quick, healthy and tasty kinda Nicoise salad. See? Brilliant. Oh, and it’s ok to just eat it straight out of the tin you know? Nobody is judging you, least of all us 😊
Be Good to yourselves
Gav & Emma x