Posts Tagged ‘food’

New Zealand photo dieter

February 28, 2010

Breakfast: Vogel’s cafe style light muesli & lite milk
Lunch: slice of Vogel’s 12 grain bread, olive oil spread, cheese, tomato, mini cucumber, red pepper, grapes
Afternoon snack: chicken noodles
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise
Supper: fresh pineapple 

Well, I’ve now moved to the other side of the world and have found a house and a kitchen. Our goods arrived by ship and were delivered the day after we moved into the house and I have set about putting my kitchen to rights, deciding what goes in which cupboard. I have a much better kitchen than the one I left behind in England. Well, it could hardly have been worse, really! 

Although I have visited NZ three times before, and fed myself each time, cooking in a proper kitchen in which I am staying put, rather than in a succession of backpackers, is a very different thing. I am discovering many subtle differences. 

Pork pies are not like UK pork pies (but I knew that already – my kiwi brother had raved about English pork pies when he visited many years ago). 

A standard large loaf in the UK is 800g. Here it is 720g. This means that slices are smaller. 

In the UK milk comes as ‘ordinary’ (I can’t for the life of me think what it is called) which is, if I remember correctly, 4% fat; semi skimmed which is 2% fat and which I usually bought; and skimmed which is 1% fat and is tasteless and unpleasant.
Here milk is standard (I think), lite and trim. I keep forgetting which has more fat, lite or trim. I know they have less fat than the UK semi and skimmed. There is also calci-trim. And probably others that I’ve yet to encounter. 

Supermarket meat is a better quality than I expected and they generally have a good selection of fish and seafood. Fruit and veg are generally more expensive than I had expected and have been variable in tastiness (so far). 

I feel that my weight is creeping back up so I have given up the L&P and Tim Tams and am photo-dieting again.
Nearly all the brand names are different so the calorie charts for bought foods that I already had are of no use. I shall have to start over again with a spreadsheet.


Now – The Travelling Photo-dieter

October 27, 2009

Photo-dieting while on my trip was going to be too much bother. But was it?

I realised that it was a perfect time to record the food choices I made, the food choices available to me, and the different places I ate. I’ll be travelling for nearly three months between leaving the UK and arriving in New Zealand. All but two of those weeks will be in the United States. We’ll betravelling from New York to Los Angeles. Then we’ll have two weeks in Rarotonga int eh Cook Islands.

So I decided to get the camera out at mealtimes again. To choose the ‘heathy choice’ where there was one, and not to worry too much when there wasn’t. I’ll photograph the food and, when I can, the place in which it was eaten or bought.

I missed photographing a couple of the meals on the first day or so as I’d not yet decided I was doing this.

Special K Day 3 – shouldn’t it start getting easier now?

March 12, 2009

It’s certainly easy to pack my food bag for this diet. The same everyday. Adding an apple t my morning food – eaten on the way to work – has helped get me through the morning. Putting the blueberries and raspberries (taken out of the freezer the night before) on the luchtime cereal makes it more interesting and gives me a ‘sweet boost’.

I can’t go from lunch at 1pm to dinner at about 6.30pm with nothing in between so I’m having a small tin of pineapple rings in the afternoon. My choice of tinned fruit was governed by my having lots of small tins of pineapple in the house as I bought some at Costco. The small tin is enough to give me some extra food without being too much.

Dinner was a Marks & Spencer microwave meal. Not ideal but right now Ineed something that I can just throw in the oven or microwave and be eating very quickly. If I make my own food I will eat too much of it. It was nice enough. There was quite a bit of veg (25%) and the rice okay. The chicken tasted like chicken in all microwave meals – artificial. The sauce left a lingering chemical taste in my mouth later that evening. But I’ve had worse.

SO had been to Costco and bought, as well as a twin pack of Special K, some bananas, apples and a huge box of grapes. I can eat a standard box (400g?) of grapes in one sitting. Fortunately, this box was so big – 1.8kg (I just checked) – that I was able to just weigh out 200g to eat now as my brain, and even my tummy, knew that I could not eat them all at once so didn’t even think about trying to.

But now I have to start thinking about food for the weekend, and for Friday when we go to aqua aerobics straight from work and traditionally go the Chinese chip shop on the way home. I had toyed with the idea of making somekind of chicken and vegetable dish in the slow cooker, so it would be ready as soon as we got in on Friday. I’d asked the SO to get some carrots, and some mushrooms for the prawn stir-fry I’m planning for Saturday but he didn’t find any.

Limiting my food intake when I have to carry it away from the house is one thing; restricting my food intake when I’m at home with a full freezer, fridge and cupboards is a whole different story. I popped into M&S Food at lunchtime (there is one a couple of minutes walk from my office) and bought some spinach and three ‘Count On Us’ (ie diet version) beef lasagnes. Why three? they were three for £5 makeing the third one cost not a lot (I don’t remember the exact price of buying just one). I decided that we can have them when we get home from water aerobics on Friday. I’ll have to wait 40 minutes though (30 mins cooking plus time for the oven to heat up). I guess I could try setting the oven to come on so they are cooked when we get home. Then I realised that doing a 45 minute aqua aerobics class on about 400 calories is just not going to work. Should I have a meal at lunchtime and cereal after the class, I wondered? I decided that something hot to pop in the microwave at lunchtime was a must, and that I would still have a hot meal (the beef lasagne and spinach) after the class. I can still keep within the calorie limit. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Special K day 2

March 11, 2009

I remembered some fruit today (well last night, when I took the raspberries out of the freezer and the pineapple (not shown) out of the cupboard). I also put the cereal in a much smaller contain and it seemed to be more filling – it must be true that our eyes inform our tummies about how much food they think we are getting.

I was dismayed (probably too strong a word) to discover boxes of cakes in the office kitchen this morning, must be someone’s birthday. But I ignored them. They are not for me, I am dieting.

I had to get the bus to work as SO had an osteopath appointment at about 9ish. I knew that I woul dneed to eat before I got to work so put an apple in my bag. I then had the first lot of cereal once I got there.

I try to take my lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. That way the afternoon is shorter and home time seems to come more quickly. However, I was very busy today and barely had tome to stop. I too twenty minutes at 1.40 and had athe second lot of cereal with the berries that I have forgotten earlier.

During the afteroon I was quite hungry, but not as much as yesterday (well I had eaten more today – an apple and 60g of raspberries more) and kept drinking water.

This didn’t stop me from feeling hungry by home time (though not as badly as yesterday) and I had a can of four pineapple rings (which I forgot to photograph) just before I left the office for the 25 minute walk to SO’s office.

Dinner was more runner beans (I do like them) with a Marks & Spencer COU (Count On Us) sweet & sour chicken with vegetable rice microwave meal. I’d love to cook something instead but know that I will add too much oil or make too big a portion if I do. I’m sticking to prepared food for a couple of days and am looking forward to a home-cooked prawn stir-fry on Saturday.

Tuesday evenings is the pub quiz at our local and we go with our next door neighbour. I was going to have orange juice and diet lemondade but wondered ‘is there more calories in orange juice than lager?” So I had lager, but two halves instead of two pints.

When I got home SO asked me to cut him a piece of cake (left over from last week’s party). It smelled good but I resisted and had a tin of peach slices in juice instead.

Nutritional data:
Calories (kcal) 1351
Protein (g) 51.9
Carbohydrate (g) 222.6
Fat (g) 11.0
Fibre (g) 19.8
Fruit & Veg 10.5

I know it’s a marketing ploy, but maybe it’ll work for me ..

March 11, 2009

Dieting by eating (mostly) healthily for most of the time but eating too much and having ‘non-diet days’ far too often means that I have lost weight but very slowly. I need a quick fix.

I told my SO “I guess I’ll have to buy some Slimfast.”
“Or Special K” he said.

Well I don’t like milky drinks so cereal has to be better than slimfast.
The idea is that you have ‘a bowl of cereal for breakfast and another for either lunch or dinner with ‘a balanced meal’ for the remaining meal. I decided that I would have to add some fruit to that.

On Sunday I was in London visiting a friend and knew that I would not feel like, nor have much time to cook when I got back as it would be quite late. So, while waiting for my train at Euston I went into M&S and bought something for dinner (a delicious seafood curry and some parmienter potatoes with shallot butter). I also bought some fish cakes and a couple of calorie counted meals.

Diet started today. I took to work two separate 30g portions of Special K and a contianer with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk (125ml for each portion). I didn’t take anything else and forgot to take any fruit. 30g of Special K is not as filling as 30g of muesli and no where near as filling as 30g of porridge. Or maybe my scales were wrong and I had much less than 30g? I doubt it. Anyway, as usual when I’m in an office, I drank lots of water during the day – about two litres. I also had my usual two cups of tea (semi-skimmed milk, two sweeteners) – one when I woke up and one when I got home from work.

By ten to five I was ravenous. On the 25 minute walk from my office to my SO’s office I was cold and I was hungry. Whenever I said (whined) to myself ‘I’m hungry’ I changed it to ‘I’m getting slimmer’, then realised that all I was doing was conditioning myself to equating ‘getting slimmer’ with ‘hungry’.

In the car on the way home I reached for a cereal bar (we keep a box of them in the car as my SO often forgets to eat before/after the gym or is too busy to eat at work). Ironically, it was a Special K bar. I savoured every mouthful.

Dinner didn’t take too long to cook (I’d planned it that way). About 25 minutes, in fact. I had some of the parmentier potatoes left in the oven from yesterday (the package said ‘serves 4’ but those four must have had small appetites) and I left them in while I cooked the Orkney crab cakes. I cooked myself some runner beans to go with this (yes I know they are out of season but I can’t feel guilty about everything) and did peas for SO.

It was delicious and almost enough to keep my tummy happy and not too full before going for a one hour pilates class.

However, once home, I was soon looking in the fridge again. There were two M&S ‘Count On Us’ lemon mousses which had a ‘die by’ date of a couple of days ago. At 80 calories per pot I figured I could have one, and pressed the other on SO so I didn’t eat both.

While getting tomorrow’s food ready, and putting a tin of pineapple into my bag, I decided I could have a tin of pineapple now. After all, 250g of beans is not ‘five a day’.

Total nutrition for the day:
Calories (kcal) 985
Protein (g) 43.4
Carbohydrate (g) 138.8
Fat (g) 29.3
Fibre (g) 14.2
Fruit & Veg 5.5
Water (litres) 2.0

What do you eat now that you didn’t have as a child?

February 1, 2009

or vice versa – are there things you used to eat that you don’t now? I got to thinking about this when writing my week two story for 52 stories. I never ate yoghurt till I fed it to my first child. Chinese and Indian, indeed any ethnic ‘take-away’ foods were unheard of in my childhood. We didn’t have gravy with our roast dinners – and I’m still useless at making gravy. I never had sweetcorn (either canned or frozen, or on the cob or mini), courgettes, aubergine, mange tout or sugar snaps. We seldom had rice or pasta – when we did they were considered exotic. We certainly never had curry.

Is there anything I ate then that I don’t now? Probably although nothing springs to mind. Jelly and blancmange, perhaps. But I suspect that is more to do with it being a children’s dish rather than it being ‘of it’s time’ (although it probably true too.

I certainly ate a lot more cakes in a greater variety then than I do now. My mother made wonderful cakes. As well as the chocolate eclairs mentioned in the story – with tinned cream inside and chocolate icing made with cocoa powder on the top – she made coconut pyramids and cream horns. She had special tins for these. The cream horns were made by wrapping a long thin strip of puff pastry around a cone-shaped tin, egg washing it and sprinkling with sugar. After it was cooked and cooled a spoonful of strawberry jam was put in the bottom and the rest of the cone was filled with (tinned) cream.

Mum also made something that didn’t have a name. We just called them ‘those round pineapple things’. This was a circle of shortcrust pastry – the size of the tin which pineapple rings came in – topped with a ring of canned pineapple. On top of that went another circle of pastry – this one had a hole cut out of the middle, to correspond with the hole in the pineapple. The hole was filled with a meringue mixture before baking it in the oven. Which reminds me, pineapple always came from a tin, never fresh. Avocados were also something I didn’t see until the late 1990s.

So what about you?

Bolognaise for the freezer

January 29, 2009

I bought some minced beef steak at Costco last week. I used 1kg to make a batch of mince & carrots and 1kg for the bolognaise pictured here (there’s another 600g raw in the freezer, to be cooked at a later date).

My bolognaise is a meaty dish, not a tomato sauce with a hint of meat in it. I always use a tin of plum tomatoes, some mushrooms, some onion, and usually some red pepper. However, I had no red pepper in the house.

Here’s what I used:
1000g lean steak mince
200g onions
2 cans chopped tomatoes
3 beef stock cubes (Oxo)
3-4 cloves of garlic
90g mushrooms
a large squeeze of Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs

Using a tip I read in a Rosemary Conley diet book, I dry-cooked the mince in a saucepan (ie, I put the meat in but no fat, no liquid) and then drained the fat off by putting the meat into a sieve and making sure all the fat had gone, I then washed the saucepan with soapy water, ensuring there was no fat left in it before rinsing, drying and putting the meat back in to continue the cooking.

I did put the chopped onion into the meat during the first part of the cooking as I wanted it to cook in the fat.

With the meat back in the pan I tipped in the tinned tomatoes (always a good thing to have in the cupboard and better in this kind of recipe than fresh), sprinkled in three Oxo beef stock cubes and some crushed garlic then let it come to a simmer before adding some chopped mushrooms and some herbs.

I let it simmer away happily on its own for about 40 minutes. It probably doesn’t need that long but I feel that it improves, tht the flavours mingle more, if it is cooked long and slow. I left it to mature overnight before batching it up for the freezer but it can be frozen as soon as it is cool.

I fed the data into weight loss resourceswhich told me that a 175g portion (that’s how much is shown here) is 177 calories. I served it with 100g (cooked weight) of spaghetti for another 119 calories and added some broccoli just because I like to see a vegetable on my plate.

The food on the plate comes to 315 calories and it was plenty.

There are five more 2-people portions in the freezer.

Getting my five-a-day

January 21, 2009

Well I’m back from my week in the sun and have got decidedly podgier. I got on the scales on Monday morning expecting to find I’d put on about half a stone – that’s what it felt like I had gained. To my surprise the scales reported a one pound loss. That could be due to the slightly dodgy tummy I’d had for two days.

I deserved to be heavier as I had made full use of the ‘all inclusive’. The food was rather good and I had a couple of beers each day as well. Apart from a little walking, I did no exercise. The unheated pool was very cold (well I may have been in Egypt but it is still mid-winter). The sea was too rough for me to risk (I am not a strong swimmer) and the gym was a no-go area due to the pestering to try the beauty treatments and massage (at UK prices!).

So I’m home and back on the straight and narrow. We arrived home in the early hours of Monday morning and, obviously, there was no fresh fruit or veg in the house. Although I was very good with Monday’s calories (961) the fruit and veg count was very low (2.9). Here’s what I had – the broccoli and the mandarin were from the Co-op round the corner.

Monday, 19th January

For reasons I don’t want to go into, in fact I want to forget, Tuesday was a very bad day nutritionally. I did go to pilates in the morning, though.

So I stocked up on fresh veggies at Lidl yesterday and made a delicious high veg content lunch today.

I put some Thai rice on to cook with a pinch of saffron (I need to use it up before I emigrate) while I chopped the following:
41g red pepper
57g mushrooms – a mix of common and chestnut
36g carrot (chopped into thin sticks)
47g broccoli

Of course, I didn’t specifically measure out those amounts – but I put the food on the scales so I could count the calories and F&V portions. It was one carrot and two thirds of a pepper, several mushrooms, what was left of the broccoli in the fridge. The quantities given above are half of that as I made enough for two of us.

I sprayed a pan with fry light and cooked the veggies, adding some Gourmet Garden ginger, lemongrass and coriander (I keep the tubes in the freezer) and a splash of water when the food started to stick. I added some freshly ground pepper.

When it was cooked I emptied the pan into a pasta bowl and covered it to keep it warm.
A quick wash of the pan (easy when it is still hot), a wipe and another spray with the oil, then I threw in five raw, frozen, king prawns and 10g of coconut cream (again, something that needs using up before I go). A splash of water meant that the coconut mixed in well. When the prawns were nicely turning pink I tipped 50g washed baby spinach over the top (the extra water helped the moisture content) and let it wilt, stirring it in with the prawns.

I tipped the stir-fried veg back in the pan and stirred it all together to warm through. I served it with the rice and a couple of halved cherry tomatoes. Together with the defrosted blueberries I had with my porridge this morning, this means I’ve had 4.1 portions of fruit and veg and I’ve not had dinner yet.

A Full Week of Photo-Dieting

January 9, 2009

Well I’ve restarted the photo-dieting for 2009. I didn’t bother over Christmas because I gave myself permission to snack and nibble.

The photo above shows my best day this week. All healthy, all weighed and counted. But recording what I eat on the bad and the not-so-good days is important too. The rest of the week looked like this:

Friday 2nd Jan:
Friday 2 Jan 09
Saturday 3rd Jan:
Saturday, 3rd Jan
Sunday 4th Jan
Sunday, 4th Jan
Tuesday 6th Jan
Tuesday, 6th January
Wednesday 7th Jan
Wednesday, 7th January
Thursday 8th Jan
Thursday, 8th January
Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the original on my flickr stream which tells you a bit more about them.

Tomorrow should be okay-ish. On Saturday we are going out for lunch and on Sunday we are off to Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt for a week so the food should be interesting!

I’ve exercised quite a bit this week.
On Monday I swam 25 lengths.
On Tuesday I did my first ever pilates class.
On Thursday I did my first relaxercise class. I had hoped to do my second pilates class as well but the instructor was delayed.
On Friday I will be back at ‘splashy’ (aqua aerobics) and hope to swim before the class.

Next week I’ll be swimming – in the sea and a pool, I hope – and will use the hotel gym.

Food Shopping Project 2/3

September 17, 2008

If you click on the photo it will take you to the original on flickr where notes on each item will tell you what they are and the individual prices (in GB£).

I hadn’t thought about shopping bags before I left the house as I was going to the gym. But I caught the train back and that stops near(ish) the supermarket so I got my shopping done in the same trip. So I had to buy bags. I didn’t want plastic, even the recyclable ones, so bought another jute bag (I must had three now) and a rather nifty cotton bag that folds up into its own pocket.

Also bought but not shown: toilet rim cleaner thing £1.22 and two bags: one jute at £1 and one fair trade cotton at 99p

The cheesecake and the loaf cake are for Rik. He loves cheesecake and has been feeling a bit low and stressed lately so I wanted to cheer him up.

Total cost £38.35
or US$68.54
or NZ$103.55
or €48.12

Before getting on the train I popped into the little M&S food shop at Milton Keynes station because I’d not only forgotten bags, but hadn’t brought anything to eat after the gym. I bought this
Food Shopping Project 2/2
Total cost in M&S:
Total cost £5
or US$8.92
or NZ$13.49
or €6.30