Is little and often really the way to go?

Last week was my first attempt to curb my evening chocolate snacking by eating little and often throughout the day. Usually I eat my weekday breakfast (porridge made with skimmed milk, mixed with a grated apple and cinnamon) before 8am, and then don’t eat again until 1pm when I have my packed lunch (soup with bread, or salad usually). Then I don’t eat again until 8pm when I have dinner. The floodgates usually open immediately afterwards, and if there is a naughty snack in the house to be had, it’s usually in my mouth before 9pm (snack of choice is a six pack of “dizzy pralines” from Hotel Chocolat … I eat the whole pack in one go of course!).

So healthy snacking during the day was always going to be difficult, especially when you know you aren’t supposed to eat if you are not hungry. I decided to make super nutritious bran muffins (bran, wheatgerm, porridge oats, wholemeal flour – how healthy can you get?!), as I remember loving shop bought ones as a child. I used this recipe, which made 24 large fairy cake sized muffins (they don’t particularly rise). At first taste I decided they tasted healthy rather than delicious, but one every morning at around 10.30am soon became quite a pleasure … although I found they made me more peckish throughout the rest of the week. Even Andrew liked them, which was quite unexpected.

Then for lunches this week I decided a Vietnamese style noodle salad would hit the spot, so I boiled my chicken last Sunday, freezing the stock for future use, and topped vermicelli rice noodles with the shredded chicken, grated carrot, chopped spring onions, sliced chilli and coriander. Before eating, I added a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce as dressing, just because I had some in my drawer at work, but nuom choc would be a healthier option.

The chicken only lasted through until Tuesday because Andrew didn’t agree with my portions and added more to his salad, finishing it off, so Wednesday ended up being a small portion of leftover shepherd’s pie (which was made from Sunday’s leftover leg of lamb roast). Frankly I thought the portion was too small to keep me going, but by 3.30pm when I went to eat my yoghurt, I found that I wasn’t really hungry. Thursday was leftover chorizo carbonara (Jamie O), and Friday was a ham and cheese sandwich on granary bread (again, I didn’t expect this to be enough to fill me up and would normally have bought crisps and a kitkat as well).

Every afternoon at around 3pm I also had a bowl of Yeo Valley fat free natural yoghurt, and that combination of meals / snacks meant that I wasn’t hungry at dinnertime, which is unusual for me.

So the dinners were prawn stirfry on Monday, the shepherd’s pie on Tuesday (made with leek mash to bulk out the veggie content), chorizo carbonara on Wednesday, and then a made-up salmon curry that ended up being utterly delicious on Thursday, and dinner out on Friday (more details to follow on my next post).

During the week I became slightly addicted to MyFitnessPal as I tried to keep track of the calories in the new food I was eating, and because I felt fuller I did start to worry that the new regime would make me put on weight (as I only did 2 sessions at the gym this week on Monday and Friday), but at my weekly weigh in my weight stayed the same. I am going to come off MFP as I don’t want to be a calorie obsessed bore, so we’ll see how this week goes with more healthy snacks (and a couple of nights out – whoops) and go from there.

Thursday’s salmon curry

So, for this I mixed a tin of chopped tomatoes with a sliced onion, chopped garlic and ginger, a large teaspoon each of garam masala and masala powder, and a good shaking of turmeric. I added half a tin of water and simmered the mixture until the onion was soft and the spices had mellowed, then added a tablespoon of coconut milk powder which I had mixed with water, although half a tin of coconut milk would have been better (none in stock!). Then 5 minutes before serving I added cubes of salmon fillets and gently stirred until they were cooked through, and a sprinkling of chopped coriander for final seasoning. I am not usually a massive fan of strong tomato based sauces, but this one was really delicious and it made a very large dinner for each of us, served with brown rice.


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