Chef shares ‘nutrient dense’ and ‘affordable’ meal plan
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Thinking ahead about what to cook is easier in the week when you have a work or school routine, but it’s easy to go off-piste over the weekend. Finding three enjoyable, affordable meals to eat each day isn’t the easiest job when you’re juggling other things, though one chef has come up with a solution. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Lisa Marley, plant-based chef and head trainer at ProVeg explained that you don’t compromise on taste and flavour when looking to cut costs in your weekly shop. She shared day one of her “nutrient-dense” meal plan to get you and your family on track before the weekend.
Lisa said: “Healthy, nutritious food should be easy and affordable for everyone. Day one of my seven-day meal plan will ensure your days are packed with recipes the whole family will love.
“You can adapt most of the recipes or follow my step-by-step guide to ensure you feel fantastic in 2023. With a bit of planning you can boost your immune system, improve energy levels and increase all-around well-being.”
While healthy dinners are something many families focus on when it comes to eating on a budget, every meal counts if you want to stay full and satisfied all day long.
For day one of her meal plan, the ProVeg chef and nutrition coach recommended starting the day with a hearty bowl of porridge, followed by soup for lunch and a vegetable pasta dish for dinner. Here’s how to make them.
Lisa said: “Starting your day with a nutrient-dense, satisfying dish of oats is a surefire way to set you up for success. Oats are slow-release carbohydrates, a good source of protein, packed with fibre and contain vitamins and minerals.
“Chia seeds have a very neutral taste but are a powerhouse of goodness. They are soluble fibre and can help lower LDL, the bad type of cholesterol while promoting a feeling of fullness.”
To make Lisa’s breakfast oats for four people, you will need:
- 240g porridge oats
- One tablespoon of Chia seeds
- 400ml of plant-based milk (soy is cheapest)
- 300ml water
- 50g frozen raspberries (or other berries)
- One tablespoon of nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond or other)
In a medium saucepan, cover the oats and Chia seeds with plant milk and water. Stir in the raspberries and gently bring to a boil. Turn the heat right down and stir in the nut butter. Cook for one to two minutes and serve the creamy porridge.
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There’s nothing like soup to fill you up on a cold day, and it’s incredibly easy to make from scratch using in-season vegetables like sweet potatoes.
Lisa said: “Sweet potato soup is an easy crowd-pleaser. It’s warming, velvety, tasty and filling while also full of antioxidants which can protect your body from free radical damage.
“The potatoes are naturally packed with fibre and are a great source of vitamin A – offering plenty of immune boosting benefits.”
To make enough soup for four people, you need just three potatoes which will cost you £1.17 in Tesco.
- Three medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- One tablespoon oil
- One medium onion, diced
- One garlic clove, crushed
- Red chilli with the seeds taken out and diced
- 100g cooked lentils (tinned)
Chop the potatoes and add to a hot pan of 1.5 pints of lightly salted water, cooking until soft. Meanwhile, add the oil to a frying pan and fry the onion, garlic and chilli on medium heat for five minutes.
Once the potatoes are done, refrain from draining them and instead, add the contents of the frying pan into the water. Pour in the lentils and blitz with a stick blender. Season to taste and serve with wholemeal rolls for a complete meal.
For dinner, Lisa recommended a creamy pasta dish packed with mushrooms for nutrients and flavour. She said: “Mushrooms are rich in fibre, protein and antioxidants, they have a meaty texture but are low-cost and readily available. They are also a great source of vitamin D, which is needed in the long Winter months. Pairing a creamy mushroom sauce with pasta is a simple but tasty dish that everyone can enjoy.”
To make the dish for four people, you will need:
- 280g wholewheat spaghetti
- One tablespoon of oil
- One brown onion
- 400g of mushrooms, roughly chopped (white or chestnut)
- Two tablespoons of tomato puree
- Butter bean sauce
- 400g butter beans, rinsed and drained
- Two teaspoons of garlic powder
- One tablespoon of soy sauce
- 500ml vegetable stock
In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil lightly salted water and add in the wholewheat spaghetti. In the meantime, in a large pan fry the onion and mushroom in one tablespoon of oil for five minutes. Add in the tomato puree and cook for a further two minutes.
For the butterbean sauce, place the butter beans, garlic powder, soy and stock into a processor and blitz. You can also use a hand blender. Add the sauce to the pan and simmer for five minutes. Use a pasta fork to transfer the cooked pasta into the mushroom sauce, allowing some of the pasta water to be added and mixed in to loosen the sauce. Season to taste and serve.
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