I know you’re busy. I know that you may have competing priorities that change daily and all require time and effort.
Time and effort are such limited human resources. You only have so much and at the end of a day it can be a monumental challenge to summon up another push to feed yourself and your family…..and that’s assuming you already have all the ingredients at home and don’t have to make a flying stop at the supermarket.
No wonder the market share of ready-made meals is growing significantly. What’s also interesting is that consumers are looking for healthier versions of the traditional frozen dinners or take outs. You’re looking for quality ingredients with high nutrition content. You make choices based on the amount of salt and the presence of additives.
You value healthy eating, you’re just struggling with time and effort.
It’s a tough balancing act and please don’t think of balance as a calm place by the way. Try standing on one leg, notice all the small and large adjustments you have to make to prevent you from falling over. Balance is a highly active process.
Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we stay upright. Always, we adjust.
OK, let’s get back to quality, ready-made meals. I’m all for convenience, for frozen and take outs. I just like to take it out from my own freezer having made it myself.
It’s useful having a couple of high quality recipes that you know freeze well.
Now all you have to do is remember to take it out before you leave for work, particularly on those days that you just know you’re going to fall over.
Here’s one of my favourite, plant based, nutrient dense, tasty, freezer friendly recipes.
It’s taken from ‘The Fit Foodie’ by Derval O’Rourke, a fantastic cook book with many freezer friendly options.
Butternut & Bean Stew (serves 3)
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 30 mins
1 TBS oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 chilli, finely chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger grated or finely chopped
2 cardamon pods, whole
1 TBS cumin seeds
1 star anise
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 aubergine, diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin mixed beans (my favourite is actually cannellini beans)
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS honey
Heat oil. Add garlic, onion, chilli and ginger and sauce for 5 mins. Stir in spices and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the butternut squash and aubergine, mix well and cook for 2 mins. Add the tomatoes, soy sauce and honey and stir well (I would have an extra can of chopped tomatoes or some passata on hand just in case more liquid is required). Cover pan and simmer for 30 mins. Stir in beans and simmer for another 5-10 mins.
Cool and portion into freezer bags or tupperware containers. Remember to label them!
If you need convenience when it comes to food and you value health then perhaps it’s worth a little bit of extra planning. Planning maximises your time and effort while delivering the quality you want.
Plan to cook a double portion of freezer friendly food. Build up your freezer. There are numerous freezer friendly meat and plant based recipes out there. Pick a few that might work for you and your family and we’ll go from there.
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