Operation Transformation – Menu Ideas
28th January 2019
28th January 2019
We are now in to week 3 of our 8 week program and, inspired by our Nutritionist, Niamh Arthur’s lecture (26.01.19) on the importance of Food Preparation and menu planning for the week, here is a summary of her top tips and what is on the menu for this week in the Kavanagh household!
MEAL PREPARATION TIPS
- Buy frozen stir fry vegetables to save time
- Buy in bulk (1 big shop a week)
- 40% of your trolley should be vegetables
- If meal preparation seems a bit overwhelming (& too hard work!), rather than giving up altogether, start small by preparing and bringing in healthy snacks. Then when this is built in to the schedule, bring in 1 x lunch to work, then 2 etc. It only takes 3 weeks to form a habit!
- Do meal prep when you have time and are not under pressure. This way you will be more creative and productive. Below are some ideas to help get you started. Don’t forget to involve the family. My husband ‘enjoys’ making the porridge bread as it is easy and he says he finds it quite therapeutic.
- Cook a large meal and batch it up and freeze. Pay it forward to your tomorrow self who might be struggling mid week. It will be such a nice treat to have it already done for you!
- Spread protein throughout the day. As a general rule, 20g of protein is a good amount as it is readily absorbable by the body at any one meal. Aim for 1.5g of protein per kg of body weight. Increase this to 2g if you are doing lots of exercise and weights or reduce to 1g if you are more sedentary.
- Examples of 20g of Protein
- Small tin of tuna
- Glass of milk
- 2 x protein pancakes
- Greek style yoghurt & seeds
- Chicken fillet
- Grass roots Nut Cutlet
- 6 x tbsp beans / pulses
- Cheese (as a rule, hard cheeses have more fat in them, soft cheeses have more water and less fat)
- Routine is good as it means you don’t have to think so much about things. Have a few routine health meals that you learn to cook off by heart during these 8 weeks. Make it a routine when you do your shop and food prep for the week.
- Top Tip: Download the Carbs&Cals App if you are calorie counting.
- Have protein 20-30mins after a work-out as your blood flow to the muscles is still increased so they will get nourished and replenished more effectively, thus aiding your recovery.
- To increase fat burning, increase your muscle mass through weight training as this will increase your metabolism and help you burn fat more efficiently.
- Take vitamin D between October and April
- Omega 3s
- Magnesium if you suffer with muscle cramping
- Falafels – tasty and filling and made primarily of chickpeas, so full of protein and minimal carbs or sugar
- Crudites & low fat hummus
- Vegetable soup with a slice of porridge bread (see recipe below)
- Prepared fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, fresh pineapple, kiwi & melon are all quite low in sugar)
- Raw nuts (i.e. not roasted or salted). Almonds are very good.
- Overnight pinhead porridge made with almond milk and sprinkled with powdered flaxseed, 5 seed mix & berries (pinhead porridge is a ‘power food’ as it contains more fibre, protein and essential amino acids compared with rolled oats. A good way to power up for the day and help keep those blood sugars on a steady trajectory. I use 1 cup of pinhead porridge to 4 cups of almond milk and put it in the pressure cooker for 1.5hrs, then it is ready in the morning and I can box up the remainder for breakfasts later in the week)
- Boiled / poached eggs, smoked salmon, low fat cream cheese with porridge bread
- Low sugar granola with low fat greek style yoghurt & fruit
- Green smoothie (if you are up and out early and your tummy isn’t ready for a heavy meal). I used spinach, super sprouts (made up of sprouting alfalfa, broccoli sprouts etc. Very nutritious!), 2tsp of Superlife poweder (with hemp, spirulina, chlorella etc), 1tsp of Tumerix (containing turmeric, a great anti-inflammatory and ant-acid), fresh ginger (to keep away the colds and bugs), some fruit (usually melon) and fill to the line with coconut water.
- Omelette with 2 x veg (I like spinach and cherry tomatoes) +/- smoked salmon
- Monday: Left over roast meat from Sunday, with roasted veg, leafy greens
- Tuesday: Toasted wholemeal pitta with hummus, falafel, peppers, tomatoes, salad
- Wednesday: Wholemeal pasta (145 -160g cooked weight) with tomato sauce, chicken, and veg+
- Thursday: Vegetable soup with porridge bread
- Friday: Baked sweet potato, steamed salmon, spinach with balsamic vinegar or tameri soy sauce to taste
- Weekend: Steak, sweet potato wedges and salad / Roast dinner
- Monday: Left over ‘fish pie’ (see recipe below)
- Tuesday: Thai green chicken curry with brown basmati rice and veg (see recipe below)
- Wednesday: Spanish Omlette / tortilla with vegetables +/- smoked salmon or bacon
- Thursday: Happy Pear 3 x bean chilli (even if you are not a vegetarian, this recipe is delicious and really only takes minutes to prepare and cook. Add mince if you like)
- Friday: Fish Inspirations or veggie burger, veg, sweet potato wedges
- Weekend: Chicken chow mein (see recipe below) /satay / curry with wholegrain noodles / rice, and veg
- 2 x carrots
- 1 x onion
- 1 x lemon
- 1tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 1tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 300g salmon fillets
- 300g smoked haddock fillets
- 300g cod fillets
- 125g King Prawns
- Milk or Almond Milk
- 1tsp of corn flour to thicken
- 1/2 Knorr fish stock cube
- sweet potatoes
- Grate the carrot and chop onion and stir fry
- Add milk, herbs, stock, grated zest of one lemon, and corn flour and thicken
- Add fish and prawns
- Add juice of lemon
- Thinly slice a few sweet potatoes on top (not too thick) and place in oven at 180C for 30minutes or until cooked through
- Alternatively, add mashed potato (made with small amounts of oil, milk, salt and pepper) and finish off cooking fish mix on hob
CHICKEN CHOW MEIN (Courtesy of Niamh Arthurs of BodyMed and Biabites)
- 4 chicken fillets, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 5cm root ginger finely chopped
- 4 spring onions finely chopped
- 1tbsp ground cumin
- 1tbsp paprika
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2tbsp of rice vinegar (or else wine vinegar)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2tbsp of sesame seeds
- 4tbsp of soy sauce (Tip: if you have oyster sauce, use 2tbsp of oyster sauce and 2tbsp soy sauce)
- 500g of stir fry vegetable mix (including: beansprouts, carrot, green cabbage, red onion, broccoli)
- 3-4 nests of noodles
- Place chicken in a dish to marinade with the lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, spring onions & chilli. Leave to marinade for at least 10 minutes, or overnight in the fridge, covered in cling film to infuse the flavours in to the chicken and tenderise.
- Place noodles in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes (or as instructed on label). Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Heat a wok on high heat. Add the marinaded chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Stir in the sesame seeds, vegetables, soy sauce and mix together
- Continue to stir fry for about 3mins
- Finally, add the noodles to the wok for the last 2 minutes of cooking to heat them up and stir them through the mixture.
THAI GREEN CURRY
- 6 chicken fillets
- 1 x onion
- 2 x cloves of garlic
- 2-3cm fresh ginger
- 2 x 400g cans of low fat coconut milk
- 2tsp of Thai Green curry paste
- 2-3 Kefir lime leaves
- 1 x fresh lime
- 1tsp of fish sauce
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cornflour to thicken
- Stir fry the onion, ginger, garlic until soft. Remove and place in bowl
- Stir fry the chicken until partially cooked through. Drain any water / juices
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger and Thai Green Curry paste and cook for 1-2mins to release the flavours from the Thai Green curry paste.
- Add the coconut milk, Kefir lime leaves, 2 x strips of lime peel, the juice of 1 lime, and the fish sauce (Tip: go easy on the fish sauce and taste before adding any more)
- Add cornflour to thicken to your liking (Tip: mix with cold water or milk and add to the mix so that it doesn’t clump up)
- Heat until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
- Sprinkle on fresh coriander and mix in.
- Serve with brown basmati rice (155g of cooked rice = 2005 cals / 45g of carbs)
PORRIDGE BREAD (Courtesy of Lisa Hughes, Nutritionist at Nourish for Life)
My husband always says he has married the only Protestant who can’t bake! But even I can manage this recipe! It’s so easy and delicious. We originally started baking this bread as a healthy, slow release carb option for our daughter who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and now we are all hooked!
- 360g rolled oats
- 500g natural yoghurt
- 1 egg
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees
- Mix the yoghurt, soda and salt together in a bowl
- Add the oats and whisked egg to the bowl
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper, add the mix and bake for 50mins
- Remove the bread from the tray and bake for another 9 minutes
- Allow to cool before slicing