Tuesday, 7 January 2014

#January Joy Day 7 : Plan Some Clean Eats


Now I am back at work it is time to get back into a daily routine, particularly when it comes to eating and mealtimes. I leave the house most mornings at 6.30am and arrive home between 5-6pm. For all of this time I am at school, unable to stroll out for a break to the local shops as I once did back in London, when I had an hour lunch break. 

The school day is shorter and more intense here, with two twenty minutes snack breaks for the children and teachers alike. I often have to supervise the children eating, so find myself wolfing down food mindlessly. In order not to fall into the trap of eating sugary snacks to see me through the day I must be prepared, otherwise I head to our canteen and fall into the trap of making a bad choice.

I like to sit down, either on a Friday or Saturday morning and browse through one of my many cookbooks, looking for inspiration. Any inspiring recipes I jot down, adding them to our weekly food list. I make a shopping list as I go along. The final weekly menu is stuck up on the fridge so that we can stick to it as best we can. Some weeks we are brilliant at following it, others we are so tired after work that we pick up the phone and are likely to order Wagamamas for ease. 

Since I've been pregnant, I admit that I have not stuck to my usual method of food planning as I have either been ill, or am just not able to make food decisions in advance, preferring to see what I fancy at the time. My choices have usually been whatever is easy and yes, admittedly I could be healthier. 


So, on Saturday I sat down and flicked through my cook books, an activity I really enjoy, and came up with the following menu.

Menu complete with step daughter's  doodles

Trying to stick to today's challenge as best I could, (allowing myself some slack since I am pregnant and have an enormous appetite at the moment) I bought wholewheat noodles, wraps and pasta instead of the usual white variety. I tried to include as many different proteins and carbohydrates to keep the menu varied and interesting, including two vegetarian dishes. So far, so good. we've stuck to it and having only bought what was planned for there has been no waste at all. I find that shopping little and often is best, ensuring the produce is at is freshest. However I have in the past also planned in this way, then done a big weekly shop. I'm just fortunate that I can currently shop this way.

Teriyaki Salmon: Excuse poor lighting

Admittedly, the salmon was marinated in this scrumptious jarred Wagamama sauce, and the canned mixed beans come in a tomato sauce, but both products contain no, or minimal additives and flavourings. So my menu does not completely follow the clean eating principles. However, I've enjoyed cooking each meal and we've stuck to it! You'll notice that I've only planned for five nights, leaving the weekend free for whatever takes our fancy. It's my birthday this Saturday and we're heading to Abu Dhabi for the long weekend (there's a public holiday next Sunday here in the U.A.E!!!) so we'll be eating out both nights.

Here are two of the above recipes;

Jamie Oliver's Pasta Peperonata from Jamie's Dinners
Savoury Stuffed Tomatoes from Karen LeBillon's French Kids Eat Everything.

How are your January food resolutions going? Are you a fellow meal planner?  How "clean" is your diet? Do you have any tip to share? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Planning.

Love Obouda x

Thursday, 2 January 2014

January Joy Day 3: Plan A Girls' Night In


Today's challenged has already been accomplished. 

For the last couple of years my social calendar has had a regular monthly Girls' Night In slot, in the form of Book Club. To be honest it's often the highlight of my social life, knowing that I will have the chance to catch up with good friends over a good meal and a glass of wine and have an enormous amount of fun in a very relaxed environment.

Giving your night in a title/club status definitely seems to guarantee that everyone will be able to make it, especially if you have a regular date, such as the first Friday of the month. Then everyone involved will know to always keep that date clear on the calendar. Everyone is so busy with their jobs, families, the daily grind, that it is too easy to let time slip away without seeing your favourite girls as often as you once took for granted in your teens, and in my case throughout my twenties. 

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