So this weekend sees the clocks going back! That means one thing for me! Shorter days!
It’s not my favourite time of year. Ok, the sunny autumn days are beautiful. The red and gold tones of the leaves against a clear blue sky, are a photographers dream. None of this takes away the fact that I am now going to be leaving home in the dark, and coming home in the dark!
The temperature is dropping, so more layers, hats and gloves are coming out of the wardrobe!
The route I take for my dogs, when I am on my own, now has to change, as I don’t feel comfortable going down the alley in the dark!
The other big thing that changes, is my food! Those light salads no longer do it for me! I might get away with them for lunch after the gym, but after a walk in the cold or wet with the dogs, I’m going to be craving hot, stodgy food and snacks. These are my danger zones for weight loss.
If I plan, I can actually have all my favourite foods without gaining the pounds. So what do I go for?
Overnight oats are still a firm favourite. I enjoy them all seasons, as they are filling and tasty.
If I’m looking for something hot, it has to be an omelette, topped with baked beans. For work, I will do it in a mug the night before and just warm it up in the microwave when I’m in the office. This is my recipe.
If you are at home, then you can easily make it in your omelette maker, or in a non stick frying pan. See how I make mine.
Again the omelettes are a great choice, but if you have had them for breakfast, you will want something a little bit different!
Pasta is a very quick and easy dish to make, and you can make a few portions up at a time, and leave in fridge.
For my basic recipe, I will just cook wholemeal pasta, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers, mushrooms and onion.
I will then separate that into separate air tight containers. Rather than having the exact same every day for 3 or 4 days, I vary what I then add to it. Some days it will be chopped ham, another boiled eggs, another tuna or mixed beans! Top off with a bit of grated cheese just before you microwave it and you have a hot, healthy lunch. Don’t worry if you don’t have a microwave as it is delicious cold too!
Have you ever melted Dairylee Light triangles into pasta with mushrooms? Delicious and so so quick and easy. Add a bit of ham for extra protein!
Rice salads can be done just the same.
Don’t forget last nights left overs warmed up too! Perfect the next day, and I think some meals such as lasagne and curry taste better the next day!
Jacket potatoes with baked beans, chilli or dairylee triangles are a good hearty lunch. Bake them in over the night before with your evening meal, then reheat the next day!
My slow cooker is my absolute best friend during the whole year, but this time of year, it is even more valuable. You can literally throw anything into it, put it on low before you go to work, and then you walk in to a ready dinner.
Mexican chicken is a real favourite. You can make it as hot and spicy as you like, or mild for the kids.
Lemon chicken is perfect for week days and weekends. Imagine walking in after a nice autumn Sunday afternoon walk to the smell of this dish. Just add potatoes and veg and you have a perfect Sunday dinner!
Don’t forget the family favourite – Lasagne. This is perfect to bulk cook, divide into containers and freeze. You can then take it out when you are in a rush. Its also good to take to work for your lunch!
Keeping it Healthy
It is so easy during the winter months to hit the chips! Don’t get me wrong, if you want to lose weight, you can still enjoy a trip to the chip shop, but it must be factored in. Normal fish and chips from the chippie for 220g serving is around 14 syns, 100g is only 6.5 syns. If you take the batter off, the fish becomes free! Even if you don’t take the batter off, with 15 syns a day you can still have them! And don’t forget that mushy peas are free food too!
One of the great things about this time of year, is the increased number of vegetables on offer! Pumpkin, sprouts, parsnips and many many more root vegetables. You can make great tasty meals quickly and easily.
If you chop a selection of root vegetables up and place in a slow cooker, with a tin of tomatoes or passata, add a few herbs and spices, you have a great base for soups, casseroles and sauces.
If I have vegetables coming to the end of their life, this is a perfect way to use them up! Its perfect to freeze too! I can then defrost it and add any left over cooked meat from the night before, to make a quick and easy meal.
Tinned of mixed beans with tinned tomatoes, chilli powder and less than 5% beef mince, in the slow cooker is quick and easy. Serve with rice or over jacket potatoes! Yummy.
Winter can be a really great time to experiment in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to play around. I’m always making up different recipes from left overs, or whatever is in the fridge.
I even do this when friends come to dinner. This was quick, easy and perfect for a light lunch this time of year or as a starter, as I used it.
For other ideas and recipes, visit my website http://www.slimminginspirations4u.com or my Youtube channel.