Avoid the sugar rollercoaster ride by reducing or even better eliminating processed foods from your diet (check the labels as almost all will have sugar added sometimes called dextrose, sucrose or glucose), and aim to:
- reduce white carbs such as white potatoes, white rice & white pasta
- pack in more fresh veggies and therefore nutrient dense foods.
- Ensure you eat good quality lean protien at each meal needed to repair tissue post birth and to keep you fuller for longer.
Enjoy feeling less bloated and shed fat!
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, with any excess stored as fat in the body if not used. However, they are not all equal. The white or refined carbs release sugars much quicker which causes blood sugars to spike and drop leading to cravings, plus they contain less fibre that their wholemeal or brown counterparts. Traditionally carbs tend to dominate the plate. So instead aim to fill your plate with veggies with some lean protein at each meal and carbs contributing to about a third of your meal.
Theses are the best carb choices for a lower sugar option:
- Sweet potato
- Small amount of brown rice
- courgette or squash spagetti (e.g. courgetti which can be bought spiraled for you)
Or if like me you struggle to give up bread completely then aim for wholemeal/seeded loaves and go easy!
Lean protein ideas may include:
- 2 boiled eggs or 2 egg omelette
- Chicken breast/lean ham/tinned tuna/fish/turkey/sardines/mackerel
- Pulses or beans (lentils, quinoa, soyabeans, kidney beans, chickpeas etc)
- Other foods high in protein include almond butter, pistachio & cashew nuts, low fat greek yoghurt, cottage cheese.
- Protein powders (good quality) if you can stand the taste!
TIME SAVING HACKS FOR BUSY MUMS:
- Buy good quality cooked chicken slices or cooked turkey slices (to save time cooking). I low raw salmon slices that are ready to go when needed.
- Prepare a lovely salad with lots of your favourite salad veg & herbs but omit the tomato as it goes soggy! E.g. try spring onion, spinach leaves, sweetcorm, beetroot, cucumber, olives, parsely, feta cheese.
You can also pre mix a tub of tuna mayo with chopped tomato, onion & sweetcorn and keep refridgerated for a healthy sandwich or baked potato filler.
- Batch cook what you can when you have some help e.g at the weekend perhaps and either refrigerate or freeze such as:
- cook chicken breasts to keep in the fridge in a tub ready to add to meals
- soups for fridge or freezer
- ratatouille is an easy base to use for sauces (fry peppers, onions, courgette plus anything else you enjoy, add tinned tomatoes, garlic herbs and simmer). Any excess can be frozen until needed.
- Roasted veggies such as squash, sweet potatoes, courgettes, aubergine etc. (pop in the oven at 180 degrees covered with foil with a little oil for 20 mins and uncover for another 5-10 mins). Keep covered in the fridge.
- Turkey meatballs (turkey mincemeat, finely chopped onions, garlic & herbs mixed with an egg and make into balls). Can be frozen or popped in the fridge.
- You can buy pre chopped frozen fruit/veg in bags in Aldi for juices/smoothies, handy if you have a blender/juicer and just add to Almond milk or a little fresh juice.
- Lastly, I didn't used to understand why you would pay more to buy pre-chopped veg...NOW I GET IT!!
Here we go.. some ideas for both lighter meals and main meals to tickle your taste buds. Feel free to add or omit things to please your pallet.
Light Meal/Lunch Ideas:
- Omlette, packed with veg/Salmon and a side salad
- Chicken & avocado & bacon salad
- Wholemeal pitta bread with tuna & salad (or other protein filling)
- Soups with added protein e.g chicken, bacon or lentils/pulses etc.
- Super salad (packed with lots of veg) with a choice of protein e.g salmon
- Leftover dinner from night before
- Don't forget the breakfast ideas are also ideal lunches too!
ASPARAGUS, PEA AND LEEK SOUP (<15mins prep)
8 asparagus spears (roughly chopped)
1 leek (finely sliced)
200g frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a tablespoon or olive oil in a saucepan. Fry the asparagus and leeks in the oil until soft. Add the frozen peas and then cover the mixture with water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and blend mixture with a hand blender/food processor.
1) Fry up some crispy bacon, bacon lardons and use as a garnish
2) Add green beans, broccoli or any other vegetable you have available if you don’t have asparagus or leeks
SWEET POTATO SOUP (my absolute favourite due it's sweetness!)
2-3 sweet potatoes
teaspoon of cinnamon
salt & pepper to garnish
Just fry the onions until soft, add cinamon, then add the chopped potatoes with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins. Add garnish & blend. Sometimes I add a little dolop of reduced fat greek yoghurt too. Delicious! I would eat this alongside a small chicken wholemeal roll.
Main Meal Ideas
CHINESE STIR FRY CHICKEN & BROWN RICE (<30mins)
Stir fry spring onions, sliced carrots, sweetcorn, cabbage and chicken thighs or alternative meat until cooked. Boil brown rice until cooked (about 15 mins) and add sauce to chicken & veg (sauce: combine dark soy sauce with honey to taste for a delicious sweet sauce) and serve.
SLOW-COOKED MOROCAN STEW (<15 mins prep)
Chop lots of your favourite veg (root veg works well and adds starchy carbs such as squash parsnip) and put into the slow cooker or large pan. Add either a meat option such as lamb or chicken or lentils, add almond flakes, dried apricots and a little chilli, cinamon, paprika. Simply add enough stock to cover the contents and cook for several hours. You can always add more flavour as it's cooking if needed or cornflour to thicken to desired consistency.
I tend to wing slow cooked meals but if you need more guidance try this: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/moroccan-chicken-stew
Tip: If you haven’t already got one, I’d suggest getting a slow-cooker, because, if you’re busy out and about during the day time, the easiest way to make healthy, nutritious food for the evening is to bung a load of ingredients in the slow-cooker in the morning, then when you come home, your house smells amazing
‘SUPER SALAD’ and choice of protein..SALADS DON'T HAVE TO BE BORING!
Ingredients: Spinach Leaves, watercress, rocket leaves, beetroot, grated carrots, fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumber, sweetcorn, red pepper, spring onions, rocket, artichoke, avocado, olives, handful of mixed nuts or seeds, 2 tablespoons of flaxseed,
ROAST VEGGIES, CAULIFLOWER COCONUT MASH & choice of protein
Cauliflower: Steam or boil 1-2 heads of cauliflower.
When tender, place in a big bowl and add 1/4 teacup of coconut milk, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and apply masher until you get a consistency that looks like mashed potato.
'SUPER SOUP’ with choice of protein added – bit like a dahl depending on your preferred consistency and really yummy!
Ingredients: Add onions, carrots, green leaves (like kale, spinach, cabbage) garlic, chicken or vegetable stock, ½ teacup of coconut milk, quinoa, freshly ground black pepper. Chop veggies, place all ingredients in a saucepan with sufficient water and simmer until everything is cooked.
MAcKERAL, SPINACH & VEG (WITH DRESSING)
Dressing Ingredients: Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or juice of half a lemon, Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground pepper , 1 clove of garlic crushed and a few chilli flakes. Use to dress your salad or over steamed veggies for a healthy, clean and tasty dressing.
Smoked makeral (already bought cooked). Simply fry up baby tomatoes, mushrooms and add a handful of spinach at the end of cooked for 1 minute. Serve with roasted veg or brown rice.
How about some well known favourites with a few tweeks?
COURGETTI BOLOGNAISE – home made turkey meat balls with spiraled courgette or butter nut squash or try half n half with brown pasta if needed. (<30 mins prep)
Fry onions & choice of veg, then add the sauce (or premade ratatouille) and add the meatballs to the sauce. Add stock for extra flavour, cover and simmer for 30 mins turning meatballs ocassionally very carefully. Meanwhile steam the courgetti/squash or boil the rice.
HOME MADE PIZZA using flat bread for a thin and crispy base (without the natsy transfats added to normal pizza bases!) (<15 mins prep)
Add tomato puree,lots of cooked veggies and a little cheese/mozzarrella. Pop directly onto the oven shelf at 180 degrees for 8 minutes. Serve with salad (kids love helping with this one!)
BAKES SWEET POTATO WITH CHILLI FILLING (or half n half veggie mince & minced meat) and salad. (<20 mins prep)
Rub some olive oil over a medium sized sweet potatoe and place directly on the oven shelf and bake for 40mins/180 degrees or until cooked. Simply reheat pre made veggie mince and serve with salad.
Veggie Chilli: Fry onions, garlic & courgette until soft then add diced carrots, frozen peas and I bag of veggie mince and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1 carton of passata sauce and ½ a stock cube & italian herbs and simmer for 15 mins.
BAKED FISH & SWEET POTATO CHIPS (& choice of steamed veg >15 mins prep)
Cut sweet potatoes into large wedges (skins on), drizzle with oil and bake at 220 degrees for 30-40 mins. Brush fish with olive oil and bake in oven at 200 degrees for 7 minutes or until cooked. Serve with steamed kale and a low fat mayo dressing with a squeeze of lemon for a zingy dipping sauce.
...and there you have it...Bon Appetite :-)