Sunday, 3 December 2017

A week of food with FoodSaver Fresh

In my last post I talked about my latest diet changes and discovery of the FoodSaver Fresh, which has made the transition to a more plant based way of living so much easier. 

Since then I've received a lot of messages asking about what I usually eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I thought it would be helpful to document a week of food for you and how I actually store the food to make it stay fresh, reduce waste and save money!

Weekly grocery haul (minus the store cupboard staples)

Protein zoats and all the best toppings 
My morning routine hasn't changed for years now. I'm a creature of habit and stick by the saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". You guessed it - zoats. They're my go to breakfast and you can find my recipe here BUT to make it completely vegan I now use 1 chia egg instead of egg whites. I find that this brings the dish together really well and still keeps me just as full as the voluminous egg whites would. 

I mentioned on Instagram that oats can have the tendency to make me feel a little weighed down. So if I'm training in the morning, I will make my sweet potato protein bowl, which can be found here. It says 'pudding' on the recipe but I have it for breakfast too. Because who doesn't like dessert for breakfast?!

My other option on early training days is a big protein smoothie filled with all the usual culprits - sweet potato, banana, spinach, greens powder, protein powder and almond milk. I also like to throw in some extra fruit if I have some such as berries or mango. 

A lot of the time I'm using up portions of fruit or vegetables and want the remainder of the packet or cut open fruit/veg to stay fresh until I need it again. The FoodSaver Fresh has been a great way for me to store this food in their vacuum packed bags as shown in the photos. No more soft, brown bananas/mangoes/courgettes. They're all much fresher for at least double the time than they otherwise would be using conventional storage methods. 

The FoodSaver Fresh is so easy to use too. Line up the bag, adjust the height of the vacuum head and press start as soon as the green light shows. 10 seconds later you're sealed up and it's ready to be stored in the fridge!

Left: pre vacuum seal
Right: post vacuum seal..! (obviously)

Typical lunchbox for me - Thai marinated salmon, quinoa and veggies
My lunch is simple and easy. It's often just left overs from my dinner! 

Recently I've been making an effort to make them completely vegan for a couple of reasons:

a) I'm now only eating fish for 3-4 meals a week 

b) because of the above I thought I'd be slightly kinder to my colleagues and stop making the staff room smell of fish..! So I'm keeping the fish to evening meals most of the time. 

So lets get onto these dinners..

I like to cook up a few big batches of pulses or beans and then combine them with different veggies that I sauté each evening - just because they are so quick to fry and whilst I'm doing so, I can think about what else I want to eat with them - ultimate multi-tasking, right..?! 

I structure all my meals with a source of protein, carbohydrates (including lots of vegetables) and a healthy dose of good fat. I also have dessert every evening without fail. This is usually a bowl (or two) of all the good stuff - it's basically a slightly smaller version of one of my breakfast bowls..!

Bought two red snapper fillets so I can cook once and eat twice! Winner.

Curried salmon, sweet potato mash, veggies and tahini ofc
A few of my current favourite protein (and carb) sources:
1. green split pea curry and rice (recipe here)
2. lentils (usually red lentil daal or puy lentils)
3. basic rice and beans 
4. tempeh
5. roasted spicy chickpeas and wild rice
6. smokey sweet potato and pinto beans (accidentally made this recipe when I had cinnamon sweet potato mash in the same container as some smokey pinto beans. Thought I'd try it together and now I'm obsessed - it's just the best mix of flavours and textures!) 

So those are the main things that I cook in batches and will then store for 3-4 days (if I don't eat them all before that time!) The great thing about using the FoodSaver Fresh is that because my meals stay fresher for longer, I can cook a few more options than I otherwise would. Before FoodSaver I would pick one or two of these options and eat the same thing for a couple of days. Now I pick three or four and alternate each meal. It allows me much more variety in my diet, which keeps it interesting and exciting! 

The magical mistake - smokey sweet potato and pinto beans!
I'm addicted.
Storing fish has now also become a lot easier. I was actually amazed the first time I did this with the FoodSaver Fresh as when I took the lid off the container a couple of days later, I wasn't overwhelmed with the smell of fish as I usually am with standard tupperware (gross I know, but I'm just being honest..!) 

As a lot of plant based meals are naturally much higher in carbs, I don't often then add in a separate carb unless I'm just having fish as my protein. 

If I am having fish or tempeh, then my carb sources are usually:
1. quinoa 
2. sweet potato wedges or mash 
3. brown rice 
4. mashed parsnip (I love parsnip in the winter!)

Again, I used to hate having tupperwares of quinoa or rice and found my mash went a little bit weird after a couple of days. BUT removal of all air using FoodSaver preserves the freshness of these dishes so much more. It makes putting time into cooking seem that much more worthwhile when you know it'll last more than one day in the fridge!

Stackable FoodSaver storage - fits SO easily into the cupboard and fridge
I'm very samey with my fat sources:
1. nuts and/or seeds 
2. tahini (it goes on virtually every meal I have!)
3. avocado 
4. olive oil or sesame oil 

Now I use the FoodSaver Fresh for 90% of my food storage, however, there are a few things that it specifies cannot be stored using their vacuum sealing system. These include foods that naturally release gases including fresh mushrooms, raw onion, cauliflower and bananas. 

For these items I still put them in the FoodSaver containers but don't vacuum seal them. I just love how easily the containers all stack up and how neat it looks in my fridge - I think it's my OCD.

I haven't had a chance to buy a loaf of bread this week but is it weird that I'm excited to buy one, vacuum pack it in a FoodSaver container and not wake up to a rock hard sourdough loaf in the morning..?! Okay, yes, it's weird but I'm still excited to do it.

So that's a brief overview of my week of eating at home, however, I do go out for brunch and dinner about 3-4 times a week. This is another reason that I'm becoming a little obsessed with FoodSaver - I can prep food and know that even though I am not eating at home the day after or for the next two evenings, the food will be fine in the fridge and taste just as good in 3 days time.

Next week I will be researching some common food beliefs and looking into sustainability and waste I the UK. It's a topic I'm becoming much more aware of after previously being quite ignorant about it so stay tuned for the findings..!

Jess x

N.B. This post was kindly sponsored by FoodSaver but as always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest

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