Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Easy 7-Day Healthy Meal Plan

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The key to healthy eating is planning what you eat! This might seem like stating the obvious, but many of us try to embark on changing our diets without really planning it out. Because our lives are so hectic, there isn’t much room for spontaneity, so we need to know what we are going to cook and shop for in advance, if we wish to stick to eating healthily.

The recipes I have printed here will show you how your meal-planning and shopping-planning can be linked together and how everything to do with cooking becomes easier when you organise it holistically. If you create your own Healthy Eating Plan, as explained here, you simply use the ingredients contained in your recipes to make your shopping list.

My sample Healthy Eating Meal Plan below, is not meant to be prescriptive. It is merely an example of how a meal-planning system can work. What I want you to do, is to apply the healthy eating principles of this website, and to draw on your own experience, knowledge and liking for food, to create your unique food-plan that will really work for you.

Use the recipes you have collected over the years, or the cookbooks on your shelf, or recreate your grandmother’s recipes, take inspiration from wherever you find it and adapt it to your own liking. Before you know it, you will be developing your own recipes and telling others about what works for you. Gather all the recipes you want to use in a folder and have them to hand when you do up your own healthy-eating-plan. In the meantime, bon appetit!

***PLEASE NOTE: The main recipe ingredient is in bold print. Work out how much of that you need for the number of people you are cooking for and use everything else in proportion.

Healthy Eating Plan: Breakfast

PLAN: EVERYDAY BREAKFAST

TIGER SHAKE

Great for sporty teens. Whip it up for a power-breakfast, or send in the lunchbox.

INGREDIENTS

  • Seasonal soft fruits (strawberries, mango, blackberries, blueberries, papaya etc.)
  • Banana
  • Ground almond powder
  • Strawberry yogurt (or other favourite flavour)
  • Milk/Soya milk)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

METHOD

Measure out the milk and yogurt, about half and half, until you get the consistency you want. Then blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Freeze in a plastic drinks container (not completely filled) and take out the morning you want to use it. Otherwise throw in a cube of ice.TIP: Nicer drunk with a straw. If sending for lunch, make sure to send with an ice pack.

BREAKFAST SORTED! ALTERNATIVE EVERYDAY BREAKFAST

I think this is my all-time favourite recipe ever, because once I worked out the right muesli mix to suit my family, I stopped ever having to think about breakfast again. If the muesli isn’t enough to fill everyone up, make some brown bread toast and serve with a delicious sugar-free organic jam, or Dr Karg’s crackers, and some fresh juice, a smoothie, or some apple tea to drink.

WARM WINTER BREAKFAST INGREDIENTS

  • Good quality delicious organic muesli mix (containing loads of fruit)
  • Cinnamon
  • Water
  • Topping:
  • Maple syrup
  • Any chopped fresh fruit you fancy

METHOD

Pour muesli into a heavy-based saucepan. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and pour in enough water to just about cover it. Heat slowly on a very low hob, while stirring with a wooden spoon. When the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and pour into bowls. The purpose in cooking it is to warm it not to really cook it. This way it retains its crunch. (If you want something smoother, cook for a little longer, using a little more water.) Pour on maple syrup and add fresh fruit.(Okay, this is a version of porridge, but don’t call it that, or you might put the children off!)

TIP: Put everything except the water in the saucepan the night before to save time in the morning. If you like something more creamy and closer to traditional porridge you can add the water the night before, let it soak in and top it up in the morning.Regarding the muesli, I cannot emphasise how important it is to source a high quality organic muesli mix. It really does make a difference to the taste. I have never found a muesli that is perfect for me, so I buy the one that is closest, remove the nuts, which my daughter detests, and add in loads more dried fruit instead. I recommend you customise yours too. Otherwise you can just buy the oats and dried fruits separately and make up your own combination from scratch.

SUMMER BREAKFAST INGREDIENTS

  • Good quality delicious organic muesli mix (containing loads of fruit)
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice (or the closest you can get)
  • Any chopped fresh fruit you fancy (cherries are delicious)

METHOD

  • Combine all the ingredients.

TIP: If you like, you can do as the Swiss and let the muesli soak in the orange juice overnight for a softer texture, but my experience is that children prefer the quick crunchy version.

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 1

PLAN: MONDAY SNACK

A DATE WITH HALVA

This must be the easiest dessert in the world, and you can give it to your children guilt-free! If you are not yet familiar with this middle eastern combination, you will be amazed that something so delicious can be so nutritious. Halva is fantastic if you have a child with a sweet tooth, but you are trying not to give them sugar. It is made from pulped sesame seeds and honey, and nothing else! The sesame seeds are rich in calcium, which makes it deliciously creamy, and the honey makes it sweet. Like rich chocolate, a square or two is enough to round off a meal. Halva can be bought in health food shops. Both halva and dates keep well, so do like the Sahara nomads crossing the desert on their camels—stock up on supplies before heading off into the long school term!

INGREDIENTS

  • Halva
  • Dates

METHOD

  • Cut the halva into cubes and stone the dates for a young child. Voila!

VARIATION: Older children may enjoy the novelty of a small glass/flask of green mint tea with this dessert. (Use green tea and add a sprig of mint.)

PLAN: MONDAY LUNCH

PEACHES PITTA

Simple to make and great for children who will not eat conventional savoury or bread sandwiches. This sandwich is sweet, but absolutely healthy and nutritious, especially if you use wholemeal pitta. The nut butter and sunflower seeds provide great protein. The fruit provides vitamins and fibre. The pitta provides energy-giving carbohydrate and wild honey has great medicinal value in maintaining health.

INGREDIENTS

  • Wholewheat pitta bread
  • almond butter
  • sliced fresh peaches or apricots
  • wild organic honey
  • cinnamon
  • toasted sunflower seeds

METHOD

Warm pitta and cut in two. Allow to cool. Line the inside of each pocket with almond butter. Drizzle the fruit slices with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and sunflower seeds and put inside the pitta.

VARIATION: also good with peanut butter, or even with hummus.

PLAN: MONDAY DINNER

LEFTOVERS PASTA

INGREDIENTS

  • Pine nuts
  • Lots of ripe flavoursome tomatoes
  • Pasta
  • Fresh or frozen peas
  • Cooked wild salmon leftovers
  • Strips of smoked salmon
  • Black pepper
  • Herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram)
  • Fresh lemon juice

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200 C. Roast pine nuts on a baking tray for 3-5 minutes until golden and remove from heat. Cut tops off tomatoes. Place a little chopped garlic on top of each tomato. Cover with a little olive oil. Place in the oven until the tomatoes split open and disintegrate. Meantime cook the pasta and peas in a large saucepan. When al dente, drain. Add salmon, roasted tomatoes and pine nuts. Sprinkle with black pepper and herbs. Add olive oil to coat the pasta and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir and serve with garlic bread.

*To follow the Survival Plan, cook extra pasta shells, cool and refrigerate for tomorrow’s lunch.

PLAN: MONDAY DINNER

EASY GARLIC BREAD

Everybody loves garlic bread, which is really a comfort food. Many people are put off making their own because it involves turning on the oven, which can be time-consuming and so they buy factory-made garlic bread in the frozen aisles of the supermarket, which just doesn’t taste the same. Because I love garlic bread so much I evolved my easy way of making it under the grill. It does taste nicer from the oven, but unless I’m using the oven anyway, I usually don’t have time. Even cold, garlic bread can make a meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • Garlic
  • Butter/olive oil
  • Chopped parsley, basil and oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Baguette

METHOD

Chop or crush the garlic and add it to some butter or olive oil in a bowl. Add the herbs and pepper and mash everything up really well. Slice a baguette lengthways and grill the outsides until crispy. Spread the insides with garlic butter/oil and grill slowly for a few minutes. If you grill it on a very low heat it will taste nicer.

PLAN: MONDAY DESSERT

GATHER YE ROSEBUDS

This is a great novelty dessert. The most delicious food is that which we gather ourselves and every now and then I think it is important, especially for urban children, to get a taste of the wild. If you are lucky enough to be able to send your children out to pick the flowers and berries themselves, all the better. (But only if they know that some wild berries and flowers are toxic and cannot be eaten.) Or maybe you could go on a Sunday afternoon family ramble and collect the ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • Edible whole flower blossoms such as marigolds/elderflowers
  • Rose petals
  • Shredded fresh herbs such as mint, flat parsley/coriander leaf
  • Seasonal hedgerow berries
  • Sauce:
  • Lemon and lime zest
  • Honey
  • Orange juice
  • Dash of lime juice
  • Black pepper/nutmeg/cinnamon

METHOD

Wash and mix the whole flower blossoms, rose petals, herbs and berries. Combine sauce ingredients and dress the flowers. (Or send sauce separately.) Stick it in the freezer overnight and next day your child will have a deliciously fresh, crunchy fun dessert.

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 2

PLAN: TUESDAY SNACKS

HOME-ROASTED NUTS

Ready-bought packets of nuts have far too much salt and often not very good quality oil. Try this delicious substitute and your child will easily forget packets of peanuts. Almonds are a great source of calcium, and the skins provide fibre. If you need to wean children off unhealthy TV snacks, this is a good thing to begin with.

*Not suitable for young children who can choke on nuts.

INGREDIENTS

  • whole almonds (with skins)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (optional)

METHOD

Spread the almonds over a dry cast iron frying pan and toast over a medium heat, turning them until they are nicely browned. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool. Coat lightly in olive oil and sprinkle sparingly with salt. (Delicious also without salt.) Store in airtight container.

VARIATION: Almonds are my favourite roasted nut, but this recipe also works beautifully with raw peanuts, raw cashews, and most nuts and seeds. Instead of olive oil, you can also use canola oil, or indeed, a little Udo’s oil (high in essential fatty acids) if you are looking for ways to include it in your child’s diet.

*TIP: Do up a large batch on a baking tray in the oven and fill airtight containers to keep them fresh. Then you always have a handful ready for the lunchbox or after- school snack.

PLAN: TUESDAY LUNCH

SWEET PASTA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooked pasta shells (extra ones cooked with yesterday’s dinner)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Seedless grapes
  • Cubed cheddar cheese
  • Dressing:
  • Honey
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Apple juice
  • Sunflower oil
  • Black pepper

METHOD

Mix together the pasta and salad ingredients. Make up the dressing and toss the pasta salad in it.

VARIATION: Instead of pasta, serve the dressed salad in a fluffy jacket potato and top with hummus.

PLAN: TUESDAY DINNER

APACHE PIZZA

Hot! Hot! Hot!

INGREDIENTS

  • Wholewheat pizza base
  • Salsa
  • Cooked drained black beans
  • Chopped red pepper
  • Chopped green chilli (omit if too hot)
  • Sweetcorn kernels
  • Sliced chedder
  • Sliced avocado
  • Coriander leaves
  • Dash of lime juice

METHOD

Preheat oven to 260 C. Spread salsa over pizza base. Then cover with beans, pepper, chilli, corn and top with cheese. Cook in the oven, on a pizza stone, or cookie sheet until cheese bubbles up. Remove and garnish with avocado, coriander and a little lime juice.

TIP: Those allergic to wheat can still enjoy pizza with delicious spelt pizza bases , which you will find in a health food store.

***Cook enough for tomorrow’s lunch and enough for next week’s dinner and lunch to put in the freezer.

PLAN: TUESDAY DESSERT

BANANA DOG

A favourite with young children! If you have difficulty introducing wholewheat bread to your family, this is a good place to start, as the deliciousness of the other ingredients should cancel out any objections!

INGREDIENTS

  • Soft hot dog roll
  • Peanut butter/chocolate spread
  • Banana
  • Whipped cream
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Cake sprinkles/ chocolate drops

METHOD

Spread the roll with peanut butter or chocolate spread. Add a little cream if you can keep it cool enough. Place a whole peeled banana inside and sprinkle with chopped nuts and cake sprinkles/chocolate drops.

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 3

PLAN: WEDNESDAY SNACKS

BAKLAVA

This is a classic middle eastern treat. Pick up good quality baklava at your ethnic deli, or try making your own.

INGREDIENTS

  • Filo pastry ( If in a hurry, use puff pastry)
  • Chopped almonds
  • Chopped dates
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Honey

METHOD

Cook the pastry. Mix all the other ingredients and layer between several layers of thin pastry. Allow to cool.TIP: Try to get pastry with no hydrogenated oil.

***Make enough for next week also and keep in the fridge.

PLAN: WEDNESDAY DINNER

SALAD FEAST

In our house salad means ‘feast’. The trick with salads is variety. Going to the extra trouble of doing the different dressings and toasting the nuts and seeds can make all the difference to your child. Like the Sambo Smorgasbord, this salad version gives your child a delightful array of nibbles to choose from. Use lots of different colour, textures, flavours and dressings and fill a large segmented tupperware with all your child’s favourite salads.

SALAD IDEAS:

  • *** Cooked chickpeas with chives, black pepper, fresh parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • *** Finely chopped leek with grated carrot and vinaigrette
  • *** Grated carrot, seedless raisins and toasted whole almonds and vinaigrette (for younger children toast almond flakes).
  • *** Cooked pasta shells lightly dressed with pesto sauce
  • *** Chopped boiled potato with scallions, parsley, black pepper and mustard vinaigrette.
  • *** Celery, apple and chopped walnut with tahini dressing
  • *** Guacamole
  • *** Rocket leaves, mustard cress/water cress, alfalfa sprouts, fried bacon/chicken/tofu strips with lemon and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • *** Hummus
  • *** Couscous
  • *** Rice with finely diced orange and yellow peppers

NIBBLES IDEAS

  • *** Sesame sticks
  • *** Unsalted tortilla chips
  • *** Peanuts or cashews
  • *** Toasted flaked almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • *** Mini crackers
  • ***Make enough for tomorrow’s lunch also.

PLAN: WEDNESDAY DESSERT

FRUIT SALAD SEASONS/SUMMER

INGREDIENTS

  • Honeydew
  • melon
  • cantaloupe
  • red grapes
  • mango
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • chopped mint
  • Salsa:
  • Fresh lime juice and honey
  • OR freshly squeezed orange juice and honey

METHOD

  • Chop, mix and toss the fruit in a lime and honey salsa, or some orange juice.

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 4

PLAN: THURSDAY SNACKS

APPLE BAGEL

INGREDIENTS

  • Cinnamon and raisin bagel
  • A little butter for spreading
  • Sliced apple
  • Maple syrup

METHOD

Slice bagel in half. Toast and butter. Arrange apple slices on grill tray and cook until soft. Put inside bagel and drizzle with maple syrup.

PLAN: THURSDAY DINNER

CHILLI

INGREDIENTS

  • Canola/sunflower oil
  • chopped onion
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped red pepper
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped celery
  • sweetcorn kernels
  • kidney beans
  • water
  • tomato puree
  • chilli powder
  • cheese shavings
  • chopped scallions
  • taco shells

METHOD

Cover a heavy-based saucepan with oil and heat. Add onions and garlic and soften for a few minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir until they begin to soften. Add kidney beans. Add enough water to cover everything. Add tomato puree and chilli powder according to taste. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until cooked. Reduce if sauce is too thin. Fill taco shells with sauce and garnish with cheese and scallion.Serve with brown rice, guacamole and tortilla chips

TIP: If your children won’t eat rice, mix some in with the chilli before serving.

VARIATION: This recipe works with different vegetable combinations, so vary according to taste. If you prefer a more meaty texture, add some vegetarian TVP or some organic mincemeat after you have softened the vegetables. Brown slightly before adding water.

PLAN: THURSDAY DINNER

GUACAMOLE

INGREDIENTS

  • Finely chopped red onion
  • Crushed garlic
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Deseeded chopped tomatoes
  • White pepper
  • Mashed avocado

METHOD

For a smooth mixture, which will disguise the vegetables, blend everything in a food processor except the tomatoes and add them at the end. For a chunkier mixture, mix everything together by hand. Store refrigerated.

TIP: Avocado discolours quickly once peeled, so leave it whole until all the other ingredients are prepared then add it in and the lime juice will keep it from going brown. If you place a sheet of cling-film on top of the mixture inside the tub, that will also help keep it airtight and stop discolouration.

*To follow the Survival Meal Plan, make enough guacamole, or just mashed avocado and lime juice, to put in a baguette for tomorrow’s lunch.

PLAN: THURSDAY DESSERT

QUICK CHEESECAKE

This sugar-free dessert tastes wonderful. If your child loves cheesecake, but you don’t always have time to make it, try this quickie version.

INGREDIENTS

  • Fromage frais
  • Blueberries
  • Honey
  • Linseed
  • Plain digestive biscuits

METHOD

Mix the ingredients and spread over the biscuits and you have instant cheesecake

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 5

PLAN: FRIDAY DINNER

OMELETTE

INGREDIENTS

  • organic eggs ( about two per person)
  • fresh chopped herbs
  • black pepper
  • a little water

METHOD

Beat eggs with a hand whisk and add a little water to thin the mixture (a few teaspoonfuls). Throw in a nice big handful of chopped herbs, season with black pepper and stir. Heat olive oil on heavy-based frying pan. When hot enough, pour in egg mixture and cook. (for detailed instructions on how to cook an omelette see this page) Serve with summer couscous and green leaf salad.

PLAN: FRIDAY DINNER

SUMMER COUSCOUS

A lovely summer salad dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • Water/stock
  • Couscous (instant type)
  • Tomatoes
  • Scallions
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil

METHOD

In a saucepan, boil about one and a quarter cups of water/stock for each cup of couscous. Add couscous and remove from heat. Add stock powder and a teaspoon of olive oil or butter and stir with a fork. Place lid on saucepan and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Chop tomato, scallions and herbs and add to couscous. Add black pepper, lemon juice and a little more olive oil or butter. Fluff with fork before serving.

This can accompany almost any summer dish. Also good with hummus, olives and pitta.

PLAN: FRIDAY DESSERT

FRUIT KEBABS

These fun kebabs make fruit-eating a little more appetising for young children. Remember, instead of sharp skewers and cocktail sticks, which can be a hazard in the classroom, use wooded lollipop sticks or strong drinking straws. (Pinch the end of the straw while pushing it through the fruit.) Choose from whatever selection of fresh fruits are in season, cutting into cubes and arranging in an appetising variation of colours. However avoid apples, or any other fruit that might discolour, or is too ripe or too soft to stay on a kebab, such as peach.

INGREDIENTS

A typical kebab might include any of the following:

  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  • Melon
  • Stoned greengage
  • Stoned apricot
  • Stoned nectarine
  • Mandarin orange (pips removed)
  • Mango
  • Cherry
  • Grape

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 6

PLAN: SATURDAY SNACK

PEANUT BUTTER EXTRA

If you despair at your child’s propensity for eating nothing but peanut butter, try this…

INGREDIENTS

  • peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • raisins or sultanas
  • grated carrot
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds
  • linseed
  • a sprinkling of wheatgerm

METHOD

  • Mix all the ingredients and spread between two oatcakes

PLAN: SATURDAY LUNCH

MISO SOUP

The most nourishing soup in the world!

***PLEASE NOTE: Not suitable for babies/toddlers, or anyone with soya allergy.

The Japanese diet is probably the healthiest in the world and if you can get your children to acquire a taste for this type of food when they are young, it will stand to them throughout their lives. This miso soup is the type of thing a Japanese child might carry in their flask to school. Miso is made from fermented soya beans and has wonderful health and nutritional value. However, it is an acquired taste, and alien to the western palate. You could start with small amounts of miso and build it up gradually. The best time to introduce this to your children is when they are young, but not to under two’s, as they can be allergic to soy products.

INGREDIENTS

  • Packet of miso paste
  • Babycorn halved lengthways
  • Shredded savoy cabbage
  • Chopped scallions
  • Beansprouts
  • Wheat noodles
  • Water
  • Serve with Japanese rice crackers or fortune cookies.

METHOD

Dissolve the miso in water. Add the babycorn and bring to a gentle heat according to the directions on the packet. (Miso should not be boiled like other soups). Add the cabbage and scallions and cook for a minute or two. Don’t overcook, as the success of this soup depends on the vegetables being nice and crunchy. At the last minute, throw in the beansprouts and noodles.

PLAN: SATURDAY DINNER

RIBOLLITA

More than a soup! This is a big Italian meal full of Mamma’s love! Children will love the bread dunking, so do initiate them in this Mediterranean way of eating, which is still not quite the custom in the more northern countries

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped onions
  • Thin tender broccoli stalks (try to get purple sprouting broccoli)
  • Kale
  • Cooked cannelini beans (canned are fine)
  • Canned plum tomatoes
  • Water
  • Stock powder
  • Black pepper
  • Chopped thyme
  • Serve with rustic wholewheat rolls

METHOD

Heat olive oil in a pan and soften the onions and garlic. Add broccoli and kale. Add beans, tomatoes, water, stock, black pepper and thyme. Simmer until cooked. This soup is traditionally eaten with rustic bread broken and dunked.

PLAN: SATURDAY DESSERT

BERRY YOGURT

This is a wonderful way of avoiding the sugary, over-processed yogurt products that fill supermarket shelves. Your homemade version will be 100% creamy goodness!

INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries etc)
  • Natural organic bio-yogurt
  • Honey

METHOD

Combine everything in a food processor and whizz until smooth, until you have a fabulous dark purple smooth mixture. Freeze in little portion-sized tubs and take out the morning you want to use them.

Healthy Eating Plan — Day 7

PLAN: SUNDAY LUNCH

SUMMER SUNDAY ROAST

INGREDIENTS

  • Filleted side of wild salmon
  • Butter/olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • New potatoes
  • Parsley
  • Green salad:
  • Mixed green leaves
  • Rocket
  • Watercress
  • Scallion
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Chopped parsley
  • Vinaigrette

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200 C. Place salmon on strong tin foil in a baking tray. Place a little butter or olive oil on top and halved garlic cloves. Sprinkle with black pepper and lemon juice. Seal the foil and place in the oven and cook until the salmon is done right through. Remove garlic cloves before eating. Check with a knife to see if all the flesh is cooked, but don’t overcook it or it will dry out. While the salmon is cooking, boil some new potatoes and serve with butter and parsley. Accompany with salad.

PLAN: SUNDAY DESSERT

EASY GOOSEBERRY CRUMBLE

This really is worth the effort and is much easier than you think. Your children will love you forever when you cook this!

INGREDIENTS

  • Gooseberries (topped and tailed)
  • Raw cane sugar
  • Shortbread fingers (use pure butter shortbread )

METHOD

Place gooseberries in a deep cast iron saucepan that can be placed under the grill later. Sprinkle with sugar. Place on a very low heat on the hob and allow to cook, stirring from time to time. Do not add any water as this will dilute the flavour. The juice will provide enough liquid. Crush the shortbread in a bowl with a pestle. When the gooseberries are cooked, sprinkle the shortbread crumbs on top and place under a high grill for a few minutes until the shortbread turns golden brown.

Day 8 (Stand-By Meals)

(Always plan out an extra day, in case there are things you cannot get ingredients for when you go shopping.)

PLAN: STAND-BY LUNCH

THE ONE-MINUTE LUNCH

By the time Friday comes round, it’s a case of TGIF in our house! I’m low on food stocks. After a tough week’s work, I’m also low on ideas, low on time, and low on energy. What to make for the lunchbox? Most supermarkets now stock ranges of very good quality artisan breads. I usually keep a cake of foccacia in my freezer for Friday emergencies and I always have a block of cheese in the fridge. Feeding your child well doesn’t always have to be laborious. If you have a good quality bread to hand, even a very plain sandwich can be a feast.

INGREDIENTS

  • Foccacia bread
  • Sliced cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs
  • Black pepper
  • Anything else you have to hand (olives, leftover meat, ham, tomato etc.)

METHOD

Cut the foccacia into triangles, slit it open and tuck in a slice of cheese. Then drizzle a little olive oil inside and sprinkle whatever herbs you have to hand, with a twist of black pepper. If you have anything else in the fridge, tuck it in too.

PLAN: STAND-BY MEAL

CLASSIC HAMBURGER

Take on the opposition and show your family that McMum’s burgers are the best in the world! Burgers are not inherently unhealthy. It depends on the quality of the ingredients. Home-made burgers can be more delicious than anything you can buy. And they can be 100% healthy because you control what goes into them. The key to a good burger, obviously, is the quality of the meat.

INGREDIENTS

  • Sunflower oil
  • Chopped onion
  • Mincemeat
  • Chopped mixed herbs
  • Black pepper
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Burger buns
  • Ketchup
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Pickled dill
  • Serve with spudulicious potatoes

METHOD

With a little oil, soften the onions in a pan. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Put the raw mince into a mixing bowl. Add the onions, herbs, pepper, and an egg to bind. Mix well and mould into burger shapes. Coat with a little flour and grill or shallow fry. Make sure it is well cooked. Place in toasted burger buns with ketchup, mustard, lettuce and dill. TIP: If you like your meat rare, stick to steaks! When using mincemeat, you need to make sure it is thoroughly cooked, all the way through. Otherwise, surfaces of the mince, which were on the outside when you began cooking, can end up in the middle of the burger, where the germs don’t get killed until they are thoroughly cooked at a high temperature. Also remember, never reheat a burger and once cooked keep it well-chilled until it is to be eaten.

PLAN: STAND-BY DINNER

VEGETARIAN OPTION–NUT BURGERS

INGREDIENTS

  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped garlic
  • Finely chopped mushrooms
  • Finely chopped celery
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped chives
  • Black pepper
  • Crushed toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Crushed toasted almond flakes
  • Crushed toasted cashew nuts
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Chopped almonds
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Toasted wholewheat burger buns
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Ketchup

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions and garlic. Add mushrooms and celery and stir until cooked. Remove from heat and stir in herbs, black pepper, seeds and nuts. Add soy sauce, egg and breadcrumbs. Mix well and mould into burger shapes. Fry until golden and crispy. Place in toasted burger buns with lettuce and ketchup.TIP: If you’re out of breadcrumbs cook up some rice and use instead.

Serve with spudulicious potatoes.

PLAN: STAND-BY MEAL

SPUDULICIOUS POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

  • Thin-skinned scrubbed potatoes
  • Basil, oregano and thyme
  • Chopped garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Atlantic sea salt crystals
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil

METHOD

Cut potatoes into chunky slices, leaving the skins on. Place in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, coating all the potatoes. Space them well, on an oiled baking tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked.

VARIATION: Coat potatoes with chilli powder, garlic and olive oil.

Emily Murdoch
Hi I write about health and fitness for women! You may contact me at emily@cleanseplan.com

Red Cabbage Cleanse & Detox Recipes

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Prep time: 8 min Juicing: 7 min Ready in: 15 min Red Cabbage Recipe #1: Parsley, Onion Cleanse Delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, and easy to make, this is one...

Butter vs Margarine

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The great margarine versus butter debate should have ended long ago. Since the early 1990s, scientific evidence...

Endometriosis Symptoms, Causes Medical & Alternative Treatments

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Endometriosis is a common reproductive disorder in females. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 25 to 35 years. Endometriosis...

Infertility and Reproduction: What Women Should Know

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Medically speaking, infertility is identified as the inability for a male and a female partner to reproduce or procreate (get pregnant) after ...

Early Loss: Stress and Depression

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Trauma and stress are normal parts of life, even of childhood. Specific types of childhood adversity are not clearly linked to psychiatric...

What Is Depression?

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About 1 in 10 Americans suffers some form of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Women experience...