I have always shied away from writing any health, fitness, nutritional style posts. For many reasons which include many bloggers already covering it doing a fantastic job, not being qualified to discuss nutrition and having struggled through my teens and early twenties with a number of eating issues and anxiety problems when it came to food and eating which I have never really spoken about or even know how to openly discuss. Even though days and worries are long behind me and I have been well for a long time now my concern was always if I started writing about diets and health it would worry my family. However, I think over the years I have proven to myself and others how to balance a healthy life with wanting to stay fit and healthy. Like anyone I fluctuate I feel I have now got to the stage where I am pretty happy with myself. Of course, there are days where I wish I was more toned, looked slimmer but never do I wish I was thinner so I knew this was the right stage to start writing these posts.
Over the winter I probably enjoyed the lazy hygge nights a little too much. With the evenings growing lighter day by day I feel my motivation after work increase all the time. I don’t know if this is psychological or if there are studies to prove this, but as Spring starts I find this new motivation to get fitter and eat cleaner. I usually follow a fairly balanced diet all year round however during winter it is definitely more wholesome. More potatoes, more cups of tea with the odd sneaky biscuit and this is completely fine, but in the summer I want to feel better. I want the happy, energised feeling I get when I am not consuming daily amounts of refined sugar before bed.
So over the next few months, I am going to try and share some posts on my health and fitness and how I try to keep myself in shape. Today’s post I want to focus on what I buy in my weekly food shop. The one gripe I have is those who say it is expensive to eat healthy, especially if you want to eat a vegetarian diet which I do not think is true at all. Just before I thought about writing these posts I was in the supermarket and there was a mother bulking buying those ready-made, vacuum packed, microwaved burgers for her son ‘because he bloody loves them’. I cannot fathom why anyone would think this is ok, not even in my most hungover state have I thought about reaching for something like this. It made me wonder why in a supermarket full of easy food would you think that is ok? So for anyone stuck on where to begin this is what I routinely buy when food shopping.
What I buy
So I thought I would delve into the ‘healthy’ food I like to buy when I go shopping. I usually just shop in Aldi, I go on a Monday to do a big shop. This will usually last me 1-2 weeks and I spend between £20-£40 (including household purchases as well). I know budgets differ and this is just for me but I feel for someone who hates spending money this is a relatively ok amount to spend to cover all my meals for a week or two.
Fruit and vegetables
I always keep my fridge stocked with vegetables and the bowl with fruit. I tend to always have in bananas for smoothies, and oranges and grapes in for snacks. I will always have a bag of spinach in, avocados and mixed salad, along with butternut squash, white or sweet potatoes, carrots, red onions, mushrooms and mixed peppers. I feel these vegetables always give me a base whether I want to make a soup, something in the slow cooker or just some honey roast vegetables. I will also try to buy some Chinese stir fry vegetables if I can.
For breakfast I keep it simple, I don’t switch it up often as I am a creature of habit and don’t like to over complicate things. I will either make an almond milk or spinach fruit smoothie, porridge sachet measured out with almond milk (I use almond milk because I personally prefer it, I have skimmed milk for my tea and coffee) and blueberries or banana pancakes. If it is a Saturday and I am racing off to the horses, I will have two round of wholemeal toast with honey on.
I am fortunate I can go home at lunch time but I do try to prepare something the night before so I know what I am having. I usually buy packets of falafels in my shop. These last so well and are perfect to snack on or add to a salad. I will also buy pre-made salad, sundried tomatoes and add either quinoa or couscous. I often buy the microwave quinoa but I also love Aldi’s large couscous you can buy from the free from section. I mostly try to make dinner’s stretch to cover lunch as well and where possible I try to have a larger lunch and then smaller portions for my dinner. Other items I like to have for lunch is soup, scrambled egg and avocado on rye bread which you can also pick up from Aldi, unfortunately, they don’t sell sourdough otherwise I would have this or a cheese and spinach omelette. This is not all and do not think for a second there are not some lunches where I don’t walk up to costa order a full hot chocolate, toasted sandwich and flapjack because it does happen.
Aldi is so good at their healthy range of snacks, including their free from and paleo range. For the record, I do shop in other supermarkets but I find Aldi considerably cheaper. I try to do my shop weekly on a Monday to avoid going to Waitrose or Morrisons in my town in the week. These mini trips are where I spend the most amount of money and are more likely to make impulse unhealthy purchases. Snacks I will always buy nuts. Their packets are so affordable, I tend to go with almonds and cashews but I like walnuts as well and I think these are great to have in a jar on the side or to throw into a little tub and take with you. I will always buy full greek yoghurt. I tend to stay away from the lower fat versions of anything and opt for ‘full fat’ but fewer ingredients version. I love their ‘paleo’ dupes of nakd bars. My favourite is the peanut and choc chip Cacoa Brownies, they are so good. I also buy the fruit mentioned above and babybel to go in my snack box. When at work I am a constant grazer, I feel as though it helps break down my morning so tupawear and healthy snacks are a must to get me through the mornings. I also love the Cacoa and Maca powder Aldi do which I put in my smoothies in the morning.
Dinner is the tricky one, some nights I am so hungry I feel sick, other nights especially after the gym I don’t feel hungry at all. I am a simple mind when it comes to food so I try to keep the same easy things in the house which I know I love and can reach for. These tend to be a baked white or sweet potato, I always have this with cheese and beans. Wholemeal pasta or spaghetti, stirfry ingredients. I love the slow cooker recipes I have posted before so I make sure I have everything in to rustle them up If I need to. Bread, potato and pasta are what I love to eat. I know many avoid these when they diet but they really do not deserve the bad rep they get. I find a simple pesto pasta will fill me a lot more than what we deem ‘healthy’ like a salad which I can often pack full with high fats like oils and avocado or high calorie with sauces etc. I don’t count calories but I try to be mindful of how many ingredients go into my dinner and what they contain. I like having Fish/ chicken and vegetables although I don’t eat this as often as I no longer buy meat and fish from the supermarket.
Example shopping list (this is just an example it does change to make sure I don’t eat the same thing all the time)
Extras I keep in the house
- I get my eggs from the farm. We have free range chickens who literally lay eggs then leg it outside without a care in the world. We also do not have cockerels so there is no possible way there is a chick inside before anyone makes a comment.
- Stock cubes
- spices – cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric etc
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Rice & couscous
- Coconut milk
- Thai curry paste
And there it is, these posts are to help me and keep me on track more than anything but hopefully will give some of you some motivation if you are looking for it. I want to encourage healthy lifestyle instead of crash dieting so let me know if it helps. Jade