Meals

Hi all

Just wondering what you all do in terms of meals. I'm struggling at the moment and I want to be healthier as I know it'll help me to feel better. I'm out of my house Monday to Friday between 7am and 5.30pm, when i get home I'm always shattered and i'm worried I'm not getting enough vitamins because sometimes I'm just having toast and tinned soup! (I know, don't judge me). Does anyone have any ideas of things I can eat that will boost my energy. Are any ready meals acceptable?

Many thanks xx

16 Replies

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  • Now you got me on a little bandwagon at the moment!!! I was exactly the same and relying on the family to warm up microwave meals. I am also on steroids. Now when u look at the packets they can be all red labels for fat , sugar and salt, one of them 28% fat!!!!

    So I recently after gaining 4 stone in four years with being immobile, eating pre prepared food and steroids took the bull by the horns and have lost a stone in a month. I eat lots of veg, I buy the ready done ones, chuck it in a pan with veg stock for 10 mins and blitz it and have it with crusty bread. Also have fruit and yogurt and if you look up slimming world recipes on the Internet thry rcreally quick easy and cheap .

    Good luck , of course if that's too much yes pre prepared foods are great and you can get deliveries of fresh meals from companies( tonnie Corbett did the ads) and they are more in line with good good guides and easier to use.

    Keep going it's so hard to do everything, you sound like a strong person xx

  • It's so difficult when you are tired and just need something fast to eat. I'm semi retired but I remember when I used to be just like you. That's usually when I hit the fish and chip shop, then I wish I hadn't.

    Allanah's suggestion about making your own soup is good, soup is my standby, I often make a big pot, eat some and then divide it into portions and freeze them, I love finding soup in the freezer.

    If you like eggs, there is nothing quicker than an omelette, you can add cheese or whatever to it, if I cook mini potatoes I always boil the whole bag full and keep the left overs in the fridge to use later and they are nice in an omelette.

    You could microvawe a portion of salmon very quickly and steam some veg in a just a few minutes. Change your bread to a nice wholemeal loaf. Like Allanah said, yoghurt is good too.

    If you have a slow cooker you can leave it to cook all day and then you will have something tasty to come home to.

    What about snacking on a handful of nuts and seeds - they are good for energy. Oatcakes and a banana make a nice snack too - could you have something mid afternoon so that you aren't utterly exhausted by the time it is time to go home from work? Or would it be possible to have your main meal during the day then you just need a snack at tea time?

    There are some good ready meals and, M&S we haven't had them for a while but they used to a range that looked and tasted home made, why not use them.

    You could always make extra when you feel like cooking and freeze a portion for when you feel too tired ( or in my case too lazy !) ) to cook. Next best thing to finding a portion of soup in my freezer is finding some curry or chilli.

    😊

  • Oh natal1a, we're not here to judge. Your problem is one many here face or have faced but f&ncase's ideas are spot on & as A says if you're relying on prepacked foods just be aware of fats, additives etc. M&S have a couple of ranges, Good for You & Count on Us (other supermarkets have similar) but watch for sugar content, often the amount is bumped up for flavour, particularly in low fat alternatives. if you can't face making anything or if you've got the wherewithal try to make a one pot meal at the weekend & make enough to divide into a few meals, bag up in freezable soup bags to take out & heat up in the microwave for your dinner. If you make something different each time you'll soon build up go-to options. Fresh veg stew packs are only about £1 & you can add meat or slices of chorizo if you're not overly keen on veg only stews.

    I'm fortunate in that my h does most of the cooking but I had to take the reigns recently following a couple of ops. I basically did as I've suggested above as I found it easier except I bought pre cut veg as I'm not good with a knife. It was more expensive but saved my fingers! That said I cut my thumb the other week with a new knife my h bought me!

    I have a recipe book called The Busy Cook's Book, an old M&S one but there must be similar more recent publications, Jamie Oliver's half hour meals maybe worth a look. They're helpful as all the meals are half an hour or less from prep to finish.

    Hope this gives you some ideas & you don't feel so much at a loss for what you can do.

  • Please don't feel shattered. I ate like you most of my life. I still do, except now I force myself to eat fresh veggies every day. I buy peeled little carrots and place them in water in the fridge. I also have snap peas broccoli, etc all pre cut. So every time I open the fridge, I force myself to take a handful of veggies.

    All the best

    Sue

  • Well thanks for the timely reminder! I've come home from work in some pain and possibly in a flare and feeling sorry for myself, about to eat a simple meal of toast and marmalade but having read this I made myself a stir fry with fresh veggies and noodles - phew a close call on the 'healthy' eating front.

    In the main I have fruit, yoghurt and/or musli for break ids and salad for lunch so that I know I've done well on the food front by then so a quick less healthy tea isn't such a big deal :)

    All the best

    Ali

  • I eat a whole food, meat free, low gluten, organic diet ie lots of fresh vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts, fruit, and rice! But I'm retired so have time to cook......

  • Have you thought about buying a pressure cooker? You can cook things like potatoes in a pressure in less than 15 min or it is very easy to blend soups in something like a nutribullet.

    Also doing things like cutting up fresh fruit and veggies like carrots and pepper with a dip or apples and almond butter can be a quick and easy lunch time or afternoon snack.

    If it helps you out at all it took me a year before I changed my eating habit I started slowly cutting out certain foods from my diet and introduced plant based foods because I realised that I feel better eating this way. I always try to eat as simply as possible for example I will spiralize some courgettes and make pasta. What works for me might not work for you but I do hope that you find something that works for you.

  • Our slow cooker gets a lot of use this time of year and it's nice coming home to the smell of a veggie stew :)

  • Well at the moment I'm eating more sardines on toast than usual in an effort to boost my vitamin D, plus they are just plain good for you. I don't actually like them that much. Also advocados .... pretty much a ready meal, for lunch anyway. Breakfast .... I chuck a spoonful of natural yogurt on blueberries .... a £2 box of them lasts most of the week. A packet of spinach for £1 quickly cooks down to quite a small, vitamin-packed portion, lovely with butter.

    More substantial meals - I make a veg stew containin .... well, vegetables, lots of them, cooked up in stock made with stock powder and with a tin or two of chickpeas / red kidney beans etc. thrown in. It can last 3 or more days that.

    Smoked mackerel's good ... they sell it ready to eat don't they? Boiled eggs .... I could go on. I do like cooking and I do have time to cook ... but nutrition's so incredibly important when you have a chronic illness that I'd eat 'quick' good stuff if necessary. Once you get your own favourite list of quick, affordable, simple, highly nutritious foods you'll be cooking on gas!

  • I've been meaning to write a book full of quick, easy, cheap, nutritious, delicious meals for aaaaaages now - I've even been taking photos of my meals to illustrate it! - but I never seem to have the time and the energy... At least not simultaneously!

    Good food does make a difference to how you feel. Basically, the less processed it is the better - but there are no prizes for exhausting yourself, so cut corners if you need to! And for a balanced diet, at least 40% of your plateful should be vegetables (excluding potatoes) :)

    There are various meals you can make from scratch in 15-25 minutes. These aren't recipes, obviously - just ideas...

    Stir fry and noodles: use whichever veg you like - colourful ones are best. Gently fry a handful of cashew nuts, or make a one-egg omelette and cut it into strips, or add fragments of chicken, for extra variety and interest.

    Stir fry and rice: takes 5-10 mins, plus 10 more if you're using white rice or about 20-25 more if you use wholemeal.

    Pasta and tom sauce: use a tin of toms, plus 2-3 fresh ones and an onion. Add garlic and herbs to taste. I make batches and freeze it, sometimes.

    Pasta and mushroom sauce: fry an onion and half a punnet of mushrooms for 2 portions; garlic and herbs to taste, add milk and cheese, and thicken to make a white cheesy sauce.

    Tuna pasta: cook pasta. Separately, gently fry onion, garlic, and a few veg that go well with tuna, like 2 chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn, broccoli, wilted spinach... When the pasta is cooked, drain it, add the veg and a tin of tuna.

    Omelette: half fill a frying pan with veg chopped small, whisk 2 eggs and pour over. Add grated cheese to taste.

    Savoury pancakes: make pancakes or use shop-bought ones. Make a filling. The same mushroom sauce described above is good. The stir-fry veg also work. If you make your own, you can add a handful of spinach before you whisk, to make your pancakes green!

    Tortillas: very similar to above. You can make various fillings in 20 mins.

    Rice and veg: one of my very favourite meals is simply courgettes cut into 'finger' slices and gently fried in garlic, with spinach added and reduced down, seasoned just with salt and pepper (and served with white rice for a very quick and reasonably nutritious meal, or wholemeal rice for a very nutritious and reasonably quick one!)

    Pastry slice: buy ready-made puff pastry. Roll out and top with anything you like - mushrooms, tomato and onion, med veg and goats cheese, whatever. Cook according to instructions (usually about 15 mins).

    Baked potato - if you have a microwave: pre-cook for about 10 mins in the microwave while your oven heats. Then finish off in the oven. Eat with cheese/cottage cheese/beans/garlic mushrooms/tuna... Whatever you like! You can also have baked sweet potato - it's particularly nice mashed up with feta cheese :)

    There are a whole load of other things you can do/eat, if you can cook in bulk at the weekend and freeze in batches: curries, more exciting pasta sauces, soups, lasagna, stews, bolognaise sauce, chilli...

    Snacks that boost your energy include nuts/seeds, avocado, banana, olives with cheese, an apple... Avoid anything containing sugar and/or white flour because that causes your blood sugar to rise quickly, but it then soon crashes again, leaving you feeling exhausted and craving more junk.

    Enjoy!

  • I know how you feel. I live alone and finding the energy and motivation to cook once home is a nightmare. You can buy packs of stir fry veggies which cook in a few minutes and put what you want in them. I use cheap frozen prawns usually. I also have a steamer you can use in the microwave and often resort to pre-prepared or frozen veg to put in it and a pork chop on a grill - all ready in about 10 minutes with very little effort. Most supermarkets also do a 'fresh' range of ready meals and you can see through the packaging as to the ingredients you will eat - they don't usually have loads of unhealthy sauces with them. Then I also resort to the normal ready meals when I don't have the energy for anything! Sometimes I just don't even bother to eat - not advisable though!

  • Oakhouse supply frozen meals, my grandfather used to get them when he was on his own and we laughed. Now I have some in stock in case I am on my own when my partner is dealing with his sick father. oakhousefoods.co.uk

    My sister who is a district nurse recommends Wiltshire farm foods

    wiltshirefarmfoods.com

    Both are great quality, but some meals from Tesco or M&S are great when you can't prepare your own.

    Sometime just just don't have the energy

  • I buy ready meals but always check the back for calorie, fat and salt content - there are some really good ones about - Asda/Sainsbury etc. They also do packs of pre-chopped fresh vegetables to make various soups - and also chilli and curry. Microwave rice is good. Iceland do some really good fish that you just put in the microwave - eg salmon with garlic and butter or lemon and pepper - and these are good calorie wise. There is some good stuff out there -its having the time to look - luckily I have. (I've recently lost nearly 1 and half stone - but still got a way to go!)

  • Sorry, forgot - I have a small slow cooker too - fantastic, just switch it on and forget about it! The food will never spoil!

  • Are you able to put together crockpot (slowcooker) meals before you head out? You can google "GF slowcoooker" and a few options will pop up, some that require less prep than others. Can you make a few items on Sundays & freeze for the week? You could make up hamburger patties or mini-shepherd's pies, even pre-cook so all you have to do is warm up. I know it's hard and requires planning, but eventually it gets much easier! :) Good luck!

  • I've been using Somerset Local Food Direct since my health challenges first began. I place an online order with them about once a month, putting meat and fish in the freezer -some examples: they do a fish pie mix for an easy fish pie, fresh trout which cooks in minutes with lemon juice, wine and a dash of olive oil, and a winter stew pack - plus I have one of their veg boxes. There may be equivalent suppliers in your area. Anything to make cooking for a family a bit easier!

    localfooddirect.co.uk/

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