How do you eat healthily when you don’t much have time to cook, have a lot of mouths to feed or are cooking on a budget?
Like a lot of things, it’s easier said than done!
So to help you I have created a whole week’s worth of recipes to get you started—where you cook once and eat twice. Here is the first recipe (with full pictures and method) below.
But first… some compelling reasons to give it a try.
Saves your Health
Colourful vegetables look good as they are full of pigments (which are the antioxidants) nutrients and fibre. Grains and pulses have a great balance of protein and carbs for energy. The nuts and seeds add extra protein and healthy oils.
Saves the Environment
Plant-based food is better for the planet too. Plants produce about 10 times as much food per acre than animals. Meaning we could get more food from less land. Pulses like beans and lentils help fertilise the earth as they fix nitrogen. They also produce the most valuable resource of all—oxygen.
Saves your Pocket
Wholefoods aren’t just better for the environment, they don’t cost the earth in another way. There’s a misconception that healthy food is expensive. That only the middle-class or rich people can afford it. That people on low incomes have no choice but to eat the cheapest and processed foods from discount supermarkets.
Healthy diets based on pulses, grains and vegetables are very cheap. Lentils, rice and split peas can cost as little as 50p or £1 a kilo. When cooked they double or triple in mass making the real cost less than 50p.
Seasonal vegetables are also great value at around £1-£2 per kilo. We have calculated that these meals work out at about 50p a portion which is cheaper than processed foods like burgers and frozen chips—which cost at least £1 a meal. Takeaway food is more like £3 to £5 a person. So this hearty home cooking can save you a packet.
It’s an Ethical Way of Eating
Intensively produced animal products are not good for us, the environment or the animals themselves. That is why a lot of people are eating more organic and outdoor grass-fed produce. But even free-range animals have to killed to produce meat so lots of others are taking themselves out of that food chain completely by going vegetarian or vegan.
The Meal Plan
Each meal is power-packed with nutritious vegetables, protein and good oils. And the good news is that it doesn’t mean you have to be chained to the kitchen sink all the time.
I’ve used a slow cooker for the recipes. It does all the hard work overnight as you peacefully sleep.
My full week’s 7-day meal plan is available as a free downloadable pdf when you subscribe to my blog.
The first recipe with full instructions is below.
Mung Bean Stew for lunch
Curry for the evening
Start on the evening before:
Put all the following ingredients into a slow cooker.
150 g mung beans
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 onion sliced
½ tsp turmeric
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 carrot sliced
1 small potato peeled & diced
1 small sweet potato peeled & diced
1 stick celery sliced.
The beans need to be cooked well so use the medium or high setting on your slow cooker. In the morning you will have a wonderful stew to put into a food thermos for lunch. Plus some extra which you can store in the fridge for later to make a second meal in the evening. The great thing about this plan is you cook once and eat twice!
Enjoy at lunchtime with a wonderful fresh salad and some healthy bread or crackers.
In the evening spice up the remainder of the stew with the following ingredients:
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic peeled
1 cm of ginger peeled & sliced
1 cm of fresh turmeric (optional)
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp jaggery (optional)
salt & pepper to taste.
Grind the garlic, turmeric and ginger to a paste using a pestle and mortar or electric grinder.
Melt the oil in a pan and add a few of the mustard seeds. When they start to crackle add the remain seeds. Keep your face well away from the pan. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Allow the seeds to finish crackling, remove from the stove and carefully add a handful of the chopped onion.
Stir in the powdered spices.
Add the rest of the onion and garlic / ginger paste. Now reheat the pan and fry for a minute or two.
Carefully add 50 ml of stock and simmer with a lid for a few minutes.
Let it cook for 5 or 10 minutes. The stock will evaporate and you will have a delicious paste. Add to the stew and garnish with fresh coriander.
Serve with rice and fresh steamed vegetables.
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And it’s only £4.99!