This is second update on my progress following the 90 Day SSS Plan – today it’s how I’m getting on in the kitchen. For the first instalment look here.
Ok, I’ll prep, but hold the tupperware
I’ve been impressed by the variety and tastiness of the recipes in my diet plan (even Gluten Eating Husband commented ‘are you sure this is diet food?!), but I’ve found the concept of weighing and measuring each ingredient precisely to be so alien. It’s also been difficult when trying to cook the same meal for the whole family – I must double the quantities for
me to have seconds for lunch the next day, then double again so there’s enough for husband, plus add a bit more for baby; and think what carbs they might like to go with it. Of course this is also whilst juggling my gluten free diet and Baby A’s dairy and egg allergies! Trying to figure out what that means in terms of number of chicken breasts and fillets of salmon is a mathematical feat! We’ve had to ditch the slap dash approach to our weekly (sometimes twice weekly) food shop. A visit to the butcher or fishmonger is better to avoid a freezer full of half chicken breasts. Instead I now cook a whole side of salmon or buy per-weight lean beef for example.
Even though I’m used to trying to ‘balance’ our meals, to make sure we all get enough of what we need (especially things like calcium which are so important to coeliacs), I’m by no means a nutrition expert. One of the things I hope to learn on this plan is what a sustainable macronutrient balance should look like for me, but this cycle has been quite prescriptive. Personally I learn better when I understand the ‘why’ of what I’m doing, so I’m a little disappointed I don’t have that in cycle 1, but I understand that it comes later in the plan.
As expected, I can’t leave the recipes alone. After checking with Joe (the Body Coach) I’m switching vegetables out in almost every meal for suitable alternatives from our weekly veg box. I can’t bear those shrink wrapped out-of-season asparagus spears from the supermarket. I treat the recipes a bit like a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ bag of ingredients, figuring seasonings are for free, and so long as I stick within the macronutrients and quantities suggested I’d be ok. So stuffed peppers became turkey meatballs in red pepper & fennel sauce, or ‘meatzza’; egg & feta hash became a huge frittata that was twice as good the next day for breakfast; almond butter chicken came with coconut fried rice which was apparently ‘takeaway good’ (Gluten Eating Husband again). It’s a new test of invention, which I’m starting to enjoy; although I’m looking forwards to the next cycle which has greater freedom around recipes.
The preparation bit though, is just not me. If you follow any fitness nut online, you’ve no doubt noticed the litany of uniform tupperware that haunts their kitchen every Sunday night, filled with every meal for the following week. I personally find that to be such a joyless way of eating. Yes, some preparation is key to making sure you stick to plan, but for me that was a food plan then weekly Ocado order, and making extra of dinner to have for lunch the next day rather than turning my house into a production line at the weekend. I like to have flexibility depending on who is in, and what we fancy.
The main thing I’m learning is about portion control. Previously I’ve always had very small meals, but then a lot (a LOT) of snacks between them. The portions in the plan are much bigger than I am used to, but the snacks are considerably smaller. I suspect the calories net out the same, but obviously with much more coming from protein and fat rather than the carbs they used to. I’m hoping I can ditch the kitchen scales soon when I’m used to how much I need to eat.