It’s all about the taste, about the taste….no trouble!

Preparation is key

Let’s face it, when it comes to what we’re eating, it doesn’t just come down to what we fancy. More often than not, it comes down to what we have time for. What’s in the fridge? Am I going past the shops on the way home? But mostly what’s cheap, quick and easy. I’m here to tell you, preparation is king!

We all have busy lives, whether it’s trying to finish work and get to the gym, looking after the relentlessly troublesome, demanding balls of fun we call our children, or just generally juggling our work and social lives. What we want to have for our meals often differs from what we’re actually going to cook for our meals. Well I’m hear to let you know that you can give yourself a break. It is hard eating the “right” thing all of the time, not many people actually do it. But there are things we can do, making it a little easier on ourselves and that’s exactly what The Urban Canteen is here to do. We are going to give you little tips, recipes, ideas to save time, money and hopefully make your life a little less stressed.

For me, things need to be quick and easy. Unfortunately, quick and easy usually means “unhealthy” when it comes to food, but the mission here is to change that train of thought. Like everything in the kitchen, if you want “easy” then preparation is essential. This doesn’t mean having 20 different ingredients sliced and diced in bowl, ready to throw in a pan, because that is not quick or easy.

Where to start?

Let’s take it back to the start, buying our ingredients. Depending on what you want from healthy eating, to get ripped, bulk up, slim down or just to feel good from the inside out, this is where it starts.

Plan out your menu for the week (may be Monday-Friday and leave the weekend free to go crazy).Make a list of ingredients you require and stick to this list. Personally, I like to do the old online shopping and get my groceries delivered. This way I can plan out meals for the week, make a list of the ingredients, then order exactly that. When you walk around the supermarkets, even if you do have your list in your hand, I can guarantee you will put things in your basket you just do not need.

When planning meals for the week, firstly, think about the ingredients you like and what you can do with them. Are these ingredients versatile? Using it in a certain way one night, then differently the next day? This way you are spending less and saving time shopping as you are buying fewer ingredients, therefore saving money. The next thing you should be thinking of is, will these ingredients last the week? When getting your shopping at the start of the week, make sure its fresh by the end of the week. This way you are not going out several times throughout the week shopping.

It can be so stressful when you have a hundred different things to think about. The last thing on your list will be “what am I going to eat for dinner tonight?”.With your meals planned and groceries delivered, that is one thing you can cross off your “to do list”. It may be that you are doing this as part of your fitness regime. Planning meals in advance helps with making sure you are getting all your macro nutrients. Like I said, preparation is your friend.

Repetition in the kitchen not the gym

Reps in the gym are to be expected, but nobody likes repetition with food. Who wants to eat the same thing day after day? But as I previously mentioned, buying ingredients that an be used again and again can save time and money. For example, the awesome Sweet Potato, not only is it a great source of Carbohydrate, they taste pretty frickin great to. Have one baked on the first night of the week with a topping. Roasted wedges with a piece of chicken on the next night of the week. Diced in a salad on the third night does not feel monotonous in any way. Not only is it filling and tasty, it also counts towards your daily macros if wanting to stick to a strict meal plan. Below you will see a recipe incorporating Sweet Potatoes into a delicious and filling salad.

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Sweet Potato, Char grilled Chicken, Rocket & Pomegranate Salad

Serves 4 people

  • 1kg Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 500g bag of Rocket
  • 1 Cauliflower

Dressing

  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 400ml of Rapeseed Oil
  • 50g Grated Parmesan
Method
  1. For the dressing place all ingredients in a blender or use a stick blender and blitz for 30 seconds until all ingredients are mixed.
  2. Slice Sweet Potatoes into wedges, drizzle with a little of your dressing and place into an oven (180 degrees celsius) for around 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, Slice your cauliflower into small florets, place into a roasting tin and place dry into the oven for approximately 1o minutes (until they have started colouring).
  4. Mix your Chicken Breast with a little of your dressing and mark in a griddle pan if you have one. Then place onto a tray and cook in the oven for approximately 17-20 minutes.
  5. Whilst everything is cooking in the oven and smelling wonderful, slice the Pomegranate in half (around the waist), hold one half so the seeds are facing down with a bowl beneath your hands and start hitting with a spoon on the top so the seeds start falling down.
  6. When everything is cooked and out of the oven, place the Rocket in the bowl and arrange (in your most artistic way possible) the other ingredients on top, drizzle with more of your dressing and tuck in. If you have any of your dressing left over this can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge and used as a marinade, a dressing for pastas or salads or even in sandwiches.

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