I am regularly asked what kind of food I ate throughout my weight loss journey and also now as I aim to keep the weight off. I have posted many of my favourite recipes in previous blog posts (feel free to search my blog using the desktop version or just scroll through previous posts) however this is more like my essentials shopping list!
So here are some items I buy every week or quite frequently and don’t think I could have lost weight without. My son Ben tells me I buy the same things all the time when he looks in my shopping bags, usually moaning there’s not the chocolate he wants or that he’s hungry and wants tea now not after I have put the shopping away!
Whether it be raw, stuffed or sliced into curries, stir fries or bolognese I love them. I’m not so keen on the green ones so hunt down the mixed packs without them in! I must get through about 12 peppers a week sometimes more for the three of us.
Personally I don’t like raw onions but I do add them to most things I cook and get through a couple of bags a week. I love adding them to rice to add that extra bit of speed foods and flavour with some spices. If I am making gravy for a roast dinner I use a large bag or two of onions for that depending how much gravy we are having, I fry off lots of red onions with a little garlic until caramelising nicely but not crispy then blend with stock to the consistency you like, lovely, syn free and easily adds to the third speed food you are aiming for on your plate.
Well what can I say it’s cheap and quick to make, it’s great with bolognese or cold in a salad but my recent discovery of fruity pasta salad really has to be my favourite! To make fruity pasta salad mix up some orange squash (sugar free) and pour into a pan enough to boil your pasta in it and cook according to packet instructions and then strain well. Mix with some defrosted frozen fruit such as a summer fruits pack available from most supermarkets or fresh fruit if you prefer. It sounds bizarre but it’s lovely.
Again I throw a few mushrooms in most things I make as they have to be one of my favourite vegetables. Stuffed large mushrooms are nice too or with cheese melted inside. Have you ever tried raw mushrooms? If you haven’t you really should they are lovely!
This is a fruit I love because I regularly don’t drink enough water, I’ve always been the same I never recognise thirst though I’m trying to improve as hydration is so important when you’re running! Melon is so refreshing and has a lot of water in so I do try to eat it often.
While grapes aren’t a speed fruit on Slimming World, they are a free food and if like me you’re the kind of person that likes to pick at snacks whilst watching tv or driving they are handy to have and sweet whilst not being chocolate. I know they will never be chocolate but they are still pretty addictive and fill that gap where you maybe did have a bag of chocolate or sweets!
I use this as a base for a lot of my curries and pasta dishes. Passata is such an easy thing to keep in the cupboard and cheap at around 35p for a supermarket own brand carton. Passata, being a speed food, is great to add to meals to contribute to the all important third speed on the plate.
Quite filling and great on a jacket potato or with omelette to feel like a comforting meal. I particularly love the Heinz BBQ beans but only tend to by them when they are on offer as at 95p a can I think they are a little expensive. I shop around a lot of the supermarkets though and usually somewhere has them on offer!
Alpen light bars
These are a favourite of mine for the healthy extra b choice on Slimming World, I like some of the hifi light bars made by Slimming World too but do find them a little expensive at £1.95 for 6 bars. Alpen lights tend to often be on offer somewhere at £1 for a pack of five. I love the Jaffa cake and banofee flavours but they are all nice. They feel naughty too but are low syn at 3.5 each so when you feel you need something sweet they are great!
Babybel light cheeses
This is what I use for my healthy extra a choice, it’s easy as I don’t often add cheese to meals and I don’t use milk so most of the time use this grab and go option! I refuse to pay more than £1 for 6 or £2 for 12 though and when they are on offer somewhere I shop I buy loads! My son always laughs and says “curse of the babybels” because I often have so many they fall out of the fridge when he opens the door, though usually because he doesn’t do it carefully!
I love strawberries in the summer and like grapes I think they are great for snacking as so sweet! Strawberries are a speed food too so personally I can’t fault them, if only they were available cheaply all year round!
I love all the flavours and think if you use them well there really is no need for bottles of oil at all, I’ve not used oil other than fry light for 2.5 years now and not missed it at all! A simple change that makes meals so much healthier!
Dry Long Grain, Basmati or Arborio Rice
A staple food really, I love making risotto using arborio rice or making a curry or stir fry with long grain or basmati rice. I often add onions and mushrooms with pilau seasoning to my rice just to jazz it up a little.
Dry Egg Noodles
So quick to cook and in 15 minutes you can easily knock up a stir fry with noodles so no excuse to order a take away in if you are short on time, easy with the right ingredients and dry egg noodles last ages in the cupboard! I find the Aldi ones excellent value for money and good quality too.
Roasted like chips, grated in a salad, raw, boiled/steamed or even in cake carrots are great and so versatile! I love making scan bran carrot cake!
Asda Sparkling Pineapple and Coconut Flavoured Water
This is definitely my favourite drink, it’s sugar free and syn free but tastes naughty, a bit of a Malibu taste! Asda so a few different flavoured waters and they are currently 45p each or 3 for £1 so if you’ve not tried them they are worth a try.
Lazy Garlic (in white wine vinegar)
I hate chopping garlic and get through loads of it so for me lazy garlic is the way forward! Kept in the fridge it lasts quite well I think but I rarely have a jar open more than 3/4 weeks so I wouldn’t know! I rarely buy anything that is at all convenience and happily cook things from scratch but garlic is one I avoid at all costs if I can!
I love flavoured teas and coffees but without sweeteners I couldn’t drink them as I would be using all my syns on sugar! The granulated sweetener is good too for sweetening quark, plain yoghurt or plain fromage frais. A little sweetener is also handy when cooking with things like balsamic vinegar to get the distinctive flavour without too much of a sharp vinegar taste.
I use potatoes for at least one of us most days. Chipped, boiled, mashed or baked and filled are all common uses for potatoes but they are also good in curries or soups to help absorb liquid if it’s a bit runny and thicken it a little.
This vegetable takes a bit of patience to peel and chop but in my opinion it’s well worth it as it has a tasty unique flavour. I use butternut squash in soups, curries, roasted on a Sunday dinner, in risotto and chipped as an alternative to potatoes. I recently made mashed “potato” using a 50/50 mix of butternut squash and sweet potato and it was lovely.
Are your essential items similar to mine? What could you not lose weight without? I would love to hear some of yours so feel free to add a comment with your favourites. I guess Ben is right I often buy the same things every week but cook them so differently with different flavours etc., how about you?
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