This is Week 3 of the No Takeaway April challenge, moving away from purchasing any takeaway for the month and slowly incorporating healthy choices to a clean eating lifestyle. If you’d like to jump back, you can find the Week 1 here, and Week 2 here.
I tell you what, this week has seemed like the longest week of my life. Things are starting to drag from being heavy pregnant and sore, but not only that, I have been super busy.
A little while ago, we decided to change things up with our wedding. You see, we had planned an amazing wedding in August, full of fresh flowers, a photo booth, amazing food for our guests and an endless drinking package for the night time festivities. I was even going to include macarons and sparkling fruit punch after our ceremony while our guests waited as we did our photo shoot.
It was going to be amazing.
BUT. The bill at the end of the day wasn’t so amazing. It was going to cost us near $15,000 by the time we added the finishing touches to our day.
Now, that’s the norm actually with costs of a wedding – sometimes even more! Add wedding in front of a word and the cost triples for whatever it is. Mister B and I after post-poning it a year trying to come up with the moolah in our single-wage income, decided that, really, that money could be better suited towards a house deposit, to keep us and our growing family stable for the next 30 years!
So we cancelled our wedding. And decided to create a new one!
Same day. Different venues. A lot less fancy shmancy stuff, but still modern and cute, focusing more on our little family rather than all the spectacular extras!
So over the last few weeks, we have been able to plan our wedding and bring costs down to $2000, also allowing our guests to come without paying $50/pp for their dinners, in lieu of gifts.
This week, I was looking over venues, and went to inspect one, which ended up perfect for our reception. It was then off to finalise the booking, and I’ve been going through all other wedding planning stuff and sending out invites!
That, alongside the usual late-pregnancy symptoms, my baby shower, and getting Mister B and C vaccinated, has made it an exhausting week! Mister B is also off on his work travels..
Saying I have been busy, is a bit of an understatement. Thank god for meal plans right!?
One of the hardest things to do when on a weight loss program, is to stick to it. The next hardest thing is to stick to it, when you feel really crappy/tired/emotional/depressed/sick (add your own version of crappiness here).
So, with all the busy plans a-happening this week, and feeling so tired and sore all the time, it was pretty hard to stick to the meal plan I had set out. I ate cereal for dinner one night.
And, I have to admit, I did have take away this week. JUST ONCE!!
If you’re new to the scene, you may not know that this month I have been doing a No Takeaway April month, while slowly transitioning myself to clean eating.
We had spent over $800 in takeaway IN ONE MONTH. You can read more about that here! So far it was going well, but this week was a tough one! And, I’m still reeling a little from the transition into clean carbs. Sugar is fine for me obviously, but carbs are everywhere!
If it wasn’t for rye bread, I don’t know what I’d do.
So, what if you are trying to be healthy, but you think jumping straight into a clean eating/weight loss program isn’t going to end so well? Guess what, it all starts with meal planning.
You probably know from just daily life situations that if you don’t plan, you can easily lose track of things – bills, money, events you had said yes to.
The same goes for food.
If you don’t plan your food for your week, you’re likely going to eat a lot more unhealthy foods than you expected to.
Easy Ways to Meal Plan for Weight Loss and Easy Living
The best way to start meal planning, is to start your journey right from the beginning. If you don’t have any form of a diet, or guidelines you go by, and are just new into a health kick, the tips below are the easiest ways to help you meal plan for starting weight loss, and DEFINITELY to make things easier for you in regards to eating and staying on track!
Journal Your Food
This could be either through jotting down your meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day, or by using a healthy eating app such as Fitness Pal to document. Fitness Pal is also great as a way to understand just what are the healthiest serves, and what you might be going over in regards to nutrition each day as well. Journaling is the quickest way to realising your behaviours around food, and even what moods trigger emotional eating!
Write Down a List of Dinners
7 days in a week, 7 dinners for the week. Try to change up the meat content so you are getting a variety, and ensure you do the same with carbs. Food boredom is a killer when it comes to weight loss.
Keep a List of Quick Lunch Ideas, and a List of Snack Ideas
Pinterest is amazing for giving you healthy lunch and/or snack ideas in list form. Find some that you like and create your own list, or even better, just print out some off pinterest and slap them in your pantry. The above lists are ones I have created myself!
Meal Prep As Much As You Can
Ziplocks (leak-proof freezer bags) and jars can be your best friend. Freeze smoothie mixes for your breakfasts. Make some mason jar salads for your lunches (I have some options included in this week’s meal plan below). Chop up your veggies for dinners. Bake on a weekend for easy snack options during the week. Slot out 2 hours each week to do these things, or even a little bit every few days can make a big change in your eating habits!
Create your Own Meal Plan Guidelines for Your Week
Make meal planning an ongoing practice, to keep yourself accountable as you change your food habits. Depending on how many people are in your household, or the diet requirements you need, this can be different for each household or individual.
Here is a basic guideline blueprint for small and large families to start off with. Double up your meals if you can, so you can freeze the extra portions for even quicker (and cheaper) lunch or dinner options.
Guidelines for singletons and couples
4 dinners + sides – to prep in advance, freeze and switch up each night;
2-4 options for lunches – maybe two hot, two cold lunch options (to alternate);
2 carb/fat snacks made in bulk (e.g. Snack bars, protein balls, healthy biscuits, pancakes).
Smoothie options/2 hot breakfasts
Guidelines for families with children (based off 4 people)
7 dinners +sides- to prep in advance, freeze and switch up each night;
4 options for lunches – maybe two hot, two cold lunch options (to alternate), leftover dinners;
2 carb/fat snacks made in bulk (e.g. Snack bars, protein balls, healthy biscuits, pancakes);
Smoothie options, 2 hot breakfasts, 4 cold – this depends on your morning routines with kids – make sure these are easy for all family members.
If you’d like some more meal planning and prepping tips, you can read my blog on How to Meal Prep Your Week for Quick and Easy Meals.
Tomorrow is Sunday, calling for Week 3 in the No Takeaway April challenge! This week we focus on substituting our dairy. This one can be tricky as it all depends on your own individual tastes, and what you are willing to remove and replace.
To help you on your way, I published a post this week showing you How to Choose Healthy Dairy Products for Clean Eating which will definitely guide you along the right path!
As always, I like to throw in a few extra recipes so that by the end of this month, you will have a really good healthy eating tool kit. As this week is focusing on dairy substitutes, I wanted to give you a list of dairy-free drink alternatives including turmeric tea, detox waters and a little trick I love to use when I’m feeling like a really cold nice bubbly refreshment but don’t want the ton of chemicals or sugar alongside it! (I’ve included that beauty below for you!).
I’ve also added more snacks in this meal plan, including lemon poppy seed cake (YUMMM!) and veggie chips for snacking on!
For the few recipes that are not on the Pinterest board, I’ve included them at the bottom of this post so be sure if you are saving the recipes to your desktop or phone, you also save the link to this post for easy access!
Just like last week, the meal plan is nutritionally adequate for women aged 19-50 years old (serving suggestions per day as to the Australian Dietary Guidelines). To adjust the nutritional requirements for men aged 19-50 years, you will need to either include or reduce the serving sizes by –
Men (aged 19-50 years) –
|Servings/day||Carbs – 0||Fruits – 0||Vegies – +1||Protein -.5||Dairy – 0|
If you’d like to also look at the servings per food group recommended for other age groups, please reference the Australian Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines also give you recommendations for serving sizes which will help you when preparing your meals.
As we are now into Week 3, and have substituted sugars, carbs,and this week dairy, all options in the Week 3 meal plan are clean alternatives! Woohoo!
So let’s get to it, and grab your Week 3 Meal Plan by clicking on the banner below!
And here are the recipes that haven’t been included in the Pinterest board, so save away or copy and paste to print out and keep in your own recipe folder! You’re going to want to keep the banana bread recipe, that’s for sure!
This little treat is my own creation I decided to try out one day, and is still something that I love to grab and go when I feel like something refreshing. It’s even more awesome if you have a Sodastream machine in your kitchen!
Easy Bubble Tea
Herbal Tea Bags (preferably organic, as some tea bags are bleached to keep them ‘pretty’)
Brew your herbal tea ahead of time in a jug, using 4-5 teabags in 1 litre of water. Once the water is room temperature, remove the tea bags and put the tea into the fridge to cool down.
When preparing, grab out some cold soda water from the fridge, and fill half a cup with tea, the other half with soda water.
Easy Bacon and Egg Cups
Servings – 12.
Cooking time – 15-20 minutes.
Oil of choice.
Preheat your oven to 180’C.
Grab out a muffin tray and line with oil. (Do not use spray oil varieties as you are getting the chemicals from the gas into your food).
Line each muffin hole with bacon strips, and then crack open an egg into each as well.
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until your egg is cooked. Be sure to keep an eye on them as if left too long, the egg will be very dry and rubbery.
Foodie tip: Pair this up with some spinach, and the easy Hollandaise sauce recipe in the No Takeaway April Pinterest Board, and you have a breakfast for champions!
I hope you enjoy the recipes from this week’s meal plan! Be sure to keep track of how my No Takeaway April is going on my Instagram and join in on the conversation by jumping over to the Healthy and Golden Health Friends Facebook Group! I’d love to see you there!
Please let me know what you think of this post, and what are your favourite go-to’s for dairy substitutes if you’re a clean eater! I love to hear from you!
Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy foods and what they can do for the body, but each body and it’s nutritional requirements are different.