I am LOVING this lunch lately! I hope you enjoy watching!
I am LOVING this lunch lately! I hope you enjoy watching!
That’s why I started meal planning. Meal planning reduces my stress massively. It reduces the amount of money we spend on food. It helps us to eat healthier. It helps our days to flow smoothly because the huge task of preparing every one a satisfying meal has been dealt with.
I used to do meal plans weekly. But since term 4 last year I have been trying something different and it’s working really well. I was finding that I wasn’t able to keep up with meal planning every single week and some weeks I wouldn’t get around to planning and would fall back to ‘winging it’. I find it stressful not knowing at least the day before what we are going to eat for the following days evening meal. When I have a meal plan I feel better prepared because I can just check and see what we are eating tomorrow before bed and get out any meat to defrost overnight.
My new and improved way of planning our meals involves sitting down with a pile of cookbooks and my laptop every school holidays and typing out the whole next terms worth of meals. I usually plan for the next 12 weeks so that I can still follow it during the school holidays while I’m planing the next 12 weeks.
I only plan the evening meal because we like to keep lunches, breakfast, snacks and sides very simple and repeat the same foods over and over.
For Breakfast depending on the season the children can choose eggs, porridge, muesli, yoghurt, smoothie, fruit, Vitabritz or toast. Sometimes we have other cereals for a treat but not all the time as they are too sugary and expensive.
For lunch we eat things like sandwiches, salads, soup, wraps, baked sweet potatoes or leftovers.
I always keep snacks like Saladas, rice crackers, cheese, yoghurt, nuts and fresh and dried fruit on hand for the children. I like to bake up large batches of biscuits too and try to always have some available in the house for them to eat but if life gets busy this doesn’t always happen. The home made biscuits that I usually have on rotation are chocolate chip, Anzacs, ginger bread and vanilla cockals.
To help make my meal planning simple I like to choose a theme with for each day of the week on the meal plan. For example Monday = lamb, Tuesday = chicken, Wednesday = vegetarian, Thursday = soup, Friday = pizza, Saturday = fish, Sunday = leftovers.
I also repeat the same meal 3-4 times or more throughout the 12 week meal plan. This helps to make cooking simple and to help me become confident with cooking a new recipe. Plus I’ve noticed children like to eat the same foods they like over and over again and are not keen on trying new recipes.
When choosing the meals I try to finds recipes that I think everyone will enjoy. Even the fussy ones.
I don’t include side dishes on my meal plan because I usually serve every meal with whatever vegetables are in season and were on special when I went shopping. We have vegetables with every meal either in a salad, roasted, fried or boiled. (or steamed, but my steamer is broken and I need a new one!) I serve many meals with rice, white or brown or with quinoa.
Savannah and Holly enjoyed flicking through cookbooks and pointing out meals that they would like to try this week while I was doing the plan.
I don’t usually get my 12 week meal plan done in one hit. I find I need to work on it in a few 30-60 minute sessions over a week or so. I can’t sit down and concentrate on something longer than this amount of time during the day when I have 5 children to care for who all need me to help them with something.
Above is my latest meal plan for the next 12 weeks. I always put a reference to myself of the cook book a recipe is from and the page number so I can find it quickly when I do my shopping list.
I really like Sarah Wilson’s cookbooks. Two of my favourites are Simplicious and her slow cooker one. I used her slow cooker cook book heaps this winter. Her vegetable korma is really delicious and was a huge hit with my family and friends at Savannah’s 5th birthday party. Click on the pictures below to purchase them for yourself and help me to earn a commission to support this blog.
Shopping is a huge part of meal preparation and I always go to the shops with a list. I have been using a master shopping list for a few years now. I simply typed up every grocery item I buy and store in my cupboards, fridge and freezers including household and toiletry items and printed out many copies. I then highlight the item that I’m out of with a highlighter texta. This saves me writing out a list from scratch before every grocery trip.
Do you plan your family’s meals? My mum likes to simply shop for similar ingredients every time and plans her meals based around what’s in her house and garden. She usually just decides what she’s cooking the day before.
It’s all about finding something that works for you. If my planning looks too elaborate then try something that suits you better. I believe that it’s a huge responsibility as mothers (and fathers) to provide our family with a healthy, filling meal everyday. It’s very important to eat meals together as a family with the TV and all electronic gadgets off. We don’t even allow our son to read when we are having a meal because I want him to engage in conversation with his family. A lot of joy and laughter can be shared at mealtimes. Luke, my husband, is especially good at making everyone laugh and we have a great time together while enjoying tasty food. These memories can bring a deep sense of comfort and belonging for our children and will last a lifetime.
I’ve done this. Here’s my top ways for keeping myself motivated to reach my final weight loss goal.
2. Get some inspiration. Read a pretty weight loss book. Buy a fitness magazine. Read a weight loss blog. Find something that triggers your motivation to keep going. Other people’s weight loss success can be inspiring.
3. Get out some clothes that don’t fit you yet that you hope to fit into once you lose weight. If you just keep going these clothes will fit you again.
4. Get some air. Do some exercise outdoors. Go for a walk, run or bike ride. While you are out think about why you really want to lose the rest of your weight and imagine yourself as the new slimmer you.
5. Change your program. If you can’t be bothered to keep going with your weight loss program but you were enthusiastic at the beginning, chances are that if you begin a different program you will get excited and motivated again.
All the best with your weight loss!
I have finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight!
It has taken me the longest this time – about 14 months. But I stuck at it and here I am 16kg lighter and at the same weight I was before I became pregnant with Willow.
I’m also feeling the fittest I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve been running and cycling outdoors 3-4 times a week and walking on the other days. The exercise has benefited me in more ways than one. I was prescribed exercise as part of my treatment for the anxiety attacks that I had been having and it has helped a lot. Not only does exercise release serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone. It also gets rid of stored up adrenaline in the body that contributes to anxiety. I always exercise outdoors which gives me a boost of fresh air and sunshine, which are both great mood enhancers and give me an energy burst.
This may be a good time to make another announcement…
I have been writing a book on postpartum weight loss.
The content is 3 quarters of the way finished. Then I am getting some photography and graphic design done to bring it all together.
The release date of this book – which doesn’t have an official name yet- is mid 2018.
I will give you more information as the time of release gets closer.
So what did I do exactly to lose all the weight again? I mainly followed the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating. Sometimes strictly and at times pretty loosely. That may explain why it took me so long this time. Over time as I began to learn more about nutrition and what foods help me lose weight I began to write my own detailed weekly eating plans. The plans include a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, drinks – everything. I am including these plans for you to see in my new book.
It feels great to be able to pull out some clothes that have been packed away for so long in my ‘too small’ clothes bag. Trying on new clothes is exciting again because I am enjoying the size I am. It hasn’t been a smooth weight loss journey either. For the first three months postpartum I lost nothing. I wasn’t really being very strict with my eating at first though. In the past I would lose weight initially without even trying much then later on I would have to work harder to lose the last 10kg. This time was different. I had to be strict with what I ate if I wanted to lose any weight at all. I had to say no to comfort eating. I also reached a plateau when I only had 1kg to go and I stayed that weight for several weeks.
I almost gave up and decided that I feel okay at leaving my weight where it was. It was a healthy weight for me and that would have been fine. But I took a look at some of the pre pregnancy weight clothes that still didn’t quite fit and thought – I’m not going to give up!
I revved up my exercise sessions to 45 minutes each instead of 20-30 and I followed the eating plans I designed for myself more strictly and was extra careful about what I ate after tea.
And…I did it!
Now it’s time to enjoy and maintain and set some new goals.
I first stumbled upon the book ‘The Metabolic Clock by Julie Rennie’ on my mum’s bookshelf. While I was over at her house, I couldn’t stop reading it and when I left I took it home. I
stole borrowed it. Since then I have read this book over and over again. After we moved mum just gave it to me!
It has helped me set some good habits – like not going to bed past 10pm. And it has inspired me to be the healthiest version of myself I can.
I love this book!
It teaches you how to speed up you metabolism to help you lose weight based on the metabolic clock. It shows you how to change lifelong patterns that have been preventing you from living life to the full.
The gluten free flourless chocolate cake recipe in the back of the book is yum! I use coconut oil instead of butter to make it dairy free too and it turns out great. It has the consistency of a mud cake and it makes a great treat. I’ve made the spicy bean stew many times too and it makes for a hearty filling vegetarian meal. Sometimes I don’t like to eat too much meat and it’s good to have a few vegetarian recipes up my sleeve.
The pictures in this book are beautiful – I love inspiring photography and nourishing food photography.
It teaches you how to think positively and how a negative view of yourself can impact your health and weight loss.
The 21 day lifestyle challenge has helped to go to bed before 10pm. I have struggled in the past with disciplining myself to get to bed at a decent hour. And with babies still waking me in the middle of the night – an early bedtime is essential to my well being and ability to function and think clearly throughout the day.
The book briefly mentions yoga and meditation. I choose not to do these things as they are associated with eastern evil religious practices. As a Christian I don’t want any part in stirring up the wrong spirits.
All in all – it’s a great read and the best thing is that it inspires me to keep up with my health regime. I’ve been riding my bike weekly and going for at least 3 power walks a week. Plus I’m always looking for ways to improve my diet.
*I thought I’d do a review of a few of my favourite books. There’s no affiliate links.