With obesity levels rising at an alarming rate, I think it’s important to help tackle the problem. Costing the N.H.S a whopping £6 billion a year, it’s time for people to sit up and take notice of what they are putting into their bodies. Ultra-processed foods with very little – if any, nutritional value, sugary cereals dressed up with words, such as fortified and wholesome, when they’re anything but. Ready meals with high salt and sugar content making you ‘crave’ the flavour, all washed down with a sickening, seven teaspoons of sugary liquid, that also doubles up as an awesome toilet cleaner!
If this is the part where you are expecting me to give out a lecture, about how we’re all lazy and don’t cook enough fresh, food then you’re wrong. I believe the ball should be set off rolling by the big companies, instead of taxing us for buying sugary products, tax them for putting it in the product to begin with. After all, you can’t eat rubbish if you can’t buy it right? It annoys me how the finger of blame is always pointed in our direction as the consumer. Telling us ‘we need to stop doing this’ we need to start doing that’, how about THEY take some of the responsibility and we all work together?
Anyway, enough of the finger wagging, here is where I want to help those who do want to make a change, by ditching the ready meals and cooking fresh, delicious meals they can be proud of. Whether you’re a big family or a single person, you can cook a fresh meal from scratch in minutes. On my website there are plenty of varied meals to cook from scratch, granted all of them are not the healthiest, but they use mostly fresh ingredients.
I have just started a fitness challenge with a group of friends, and one of the factors of the challenge is to control your portion sizes. This is the part I struggled with to begin with, I’m not going to lie. I was of the impression that while you’re eating healthy, home-cooked meals, you could eat as much as you wanted – wrong! It’s all about smaller portions, so for the people that say eating fresh costs more, it doesn’t.
Ever heard the saying give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, give him a rod and you will feed him for a lifetime? Well, shopping fresh is the same principle. Buying spices, pasta and rice in bulk, combining fresh and frozen vegetables can make your shopping a lot cheaper than you would think. Also giving you the means to cook many meals, not just one. Mine, last week for instance, was £50. That’s for a family of five. I also cooked a few meals that were just for me, so if I had been living alone, it would still work.
The truth is, it will be hard for the first few days, if you are used to eating processed food all the time as the ingredients will have you almost addicted to them. So, I won’t pretend for one minute that you will cook meals from scratch and thoroughly enjoy every single one to start with. Once your taste buds change, you will enjoy fresh, tasty food, that is also good for you. Not only that, but the kick you will get from cooking for yourself or your family is great.
For the families that are feeding everyone separate meals (I’m not talking food allergies or intolerances) stop it - now! You are in charge in your house, of what the children eat, not the children. If they think they have a choice, they will moan for something that they believe is tastier, however if you get them involved in the preparation, they will instinctively want to try it. You are responsible for their health and teaching them how to look after themselves properly, so don't feel guilty or see it as a punishment.
Here is a super quick and easy recipe you can try at home – also don’t forget to look through the website for more. Of course, you will find a few recipes that are naughty but nice, after all everything in moderation.
Bowl noodle – see what I did there?
4 Cloves of garlic sliced (79p for three bulbs)
Thumb sized piece of ginger chopped into small pieces (about 30p for a big piece)
100g kale (£1 a bag in Lidl)
7 spring onions roughly chopped (48p a bunch in Lidl)
150g mushrooms sliced (69p in Lidl for 350g)
3 large carrots shaved (use a peeler to shave strips until you can’t shave anymore) 47p a kilo in Lidl
Red chilli sliced (52p for 3 mixed chillies in Lidl)
Tbsp Sesame seeds (90p 100g in Sainsbury’s)
Tbsp soy sauce (45p 150ml in Lidl)
2 tsp honey (£1.25 in Lidl for 454g jar)
1 pack of 300g ready to wok noodles (59p in Lidl)
Place everything, except the noodles and sauces in a frying pan on a high heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the sauces and noodles, stir and cook for another five minutes.
DONE! As Gordon Ramsey would say!
Cost for ALL ingredients £7.44 to feed five people not just one meal, but this one and more.
Time taken, not much longer than to do a Pot noodle.