There is a tendency following a break-up to neglect your diet. Last night for instance I skipped dinner in favour of three mini chocolate Lindt eggs and a gin and tonic in bed. Desperate times and all that. Plus I needed the fluids to replace the tears.
However, I’ve also heard rumour that it’s a great time for new starts and taking stock of your life and reassessing what you eat and making positive changes can be an important part of this. Plus I do have to think long-term and not every man I meet might be quite as impressed at the size of my bottom as Boyfriend was. It is in this spirit of self-discovery and improvement that I am taking on the Weight Watchers #StepIntoSummer challenge. There are prizes to be won too, so don’t give up reading now, thinking it’s just going to be me waffling on.
The idea behind the #StepIntoSummer challenge is that you don’t have to do anything drastic, that simple changes can make a big difference, and so we’re kicking off week one with the challenge to include at least one portion of fruit or vegetables in every meal.* When I told people about it some seemed confused – ‘how can you have a meal without them?’ someone asked. Very easily it turns out. Think about it – how often do you have just toast or cereal for breakfast? A cheese or ham sandwich for lunch maybe? It’s easy to miss out on your five-a-day but thankfully it’s also pretty simple to get them all in, once you actually start thinking about what you eat.
The #StepIntoSummer challenge works alongside the ethos of the new Weight Watchers Simple Start plan, which simply gives you a list of healthy and filling ‘approved’ foods and you can go nuts with them. Seriously, you could eat 20 crumpets and 6 tins of beans for breakfast if you wanted to. It’s brilliant for me as I hate that feeling of having ‘used up’ all your calories for the day and not being able to eat anything else. With the Simple Start plan I can rest assured that there is never going to come a point in the day when I can’t enjoy a casual hard boiled egg or a bowl of peaches and natural yogurt if I want to.
I’ve found the key over the last week, when I’ve been taking up the fruit and vegetables challenge, is just awareness – take the time to think for a minute about what you’re eating and it isn’t hard to pop a handful of salad on the side of your plate or opt for the thing on the menu that comes with piles of vegetables. In fact, the competitive side of me has relished the challenge and enjoyed being a little bit creative. It’s meant I’ve been forced to cook a bit too rather than just sob into an M&S ready meal every night, (see prawn curry recipe below), and although I can’t lie and say I’ve done everything right at every meal (see Lindt foil wrappers by my bed as evidence) I have certainly been trying. In all senses.
So now it’s your turn.
(This is the winning prizes bit.)
There is going to be a different challenge every week for the next five weeks and a different prize to win each time. This week, continuing the fruit and veg theme, you can win a juicer. Hoorah!
The competition is running across all the Weight Watchers social channels, so entering is easy peasy – all you have to do is take a picture of a meal you’ve created as part of the fruit and vegetables challenge and share it on Twitter with the #StepIntoSummer hashtag. You can also share it on Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, just don’t forget to tag Weight Watchers and mention #StepIntoSummer.
So what are you waiting for? Even if you don’t need to lose weight it’s still important to eat well, and getting fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet is one of the basics. In case you need some inspiration, here’s what we’ve been cooking this week:
8 points per serving including 60g of brwon rice.
Calorie controlled cooking spray
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 small courgettes, cut into batons
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
Pinch cayenne (optional)
200g can chopped tomatoes
400g raw peeled prawns
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 lemon, juice only
Steamed brown basmati rice, to serve
Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli and cook briefly before adding the courgettes.
Stir fry for a minute before adding the turmeric, cumin and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes before adding the prawns.
Increase the heat to reduce the sauce and cook the prawns. When the sauce has thickened and the prawns have turned pink, add the coriander and lemon juice. Season to taste and serve immediately with brown basmati rice.
*A slice of lemon in your gin and tonic doesn’t count unfortunately.
Disclosure: I am being compensated by Weight Watchers as one of their #stepintosummer challenge bloggers but all words and opinions are my own.