I am a keen cook, while Ann is more interested in eating things than preparing them – it’s a perfect arrangement! In fact probably one reason for my dieting success is that I have done most of the cooking, so I can cook to keep calories low, and I have just we two unfussy eaters to satisfy. I know that what we eat would not suit everyone, but I thought you might find it interesting to see some changes in my cooking since my weight-loss started – saucepan slow-cooking and different ingredients.
SAUCEPAN SLOW-COOKING. Most vegetables are quite low in calories, and I have made them central to what I eat. I knew that I was never going to find them very interesting if I was just going to boil them, or even steam them. So my usual way of preparing vegetables is now to put them in a saucepan, add lemon juice, a stockpot (for example a Knorr stockpot) and any herbs or spices I fancy. Then put the lid on, and put it on a low heat for quite a time – usually an hour or more. If, when the vegetables are ready, there is some water in the saucepan, I add some cous-cous, to absorb it.
I do this for almost every meal. It works for most vegetables, and any flavourings and nutrients are eaten, not poured down the kitchen sink. Also no fat of any sort is added, which it would be if I stir-fried the veg. In fact I use the above cooking style for many other dishes as well. Rather than frying (say) turkey mince, I put it in the saucepan, add lemon juice and flavourings, put the lid on and cook it on low for as long as it takes.
DIFFERENT INGREDIENTS. This is all part of the fun of eating much more fruit and veg – to buy anything I see in the shops that I didn’t recognise, take it home and use it, even if I have to google it first! These ingredients include:
- Beetroot (raw, not pickled). Takes ages to saucepan slow-cook, and gives you strange-looking wee, but a great taste.
- Courgette. Raw in salads or saucepan slow-cooked.
- Lettuce. Obviously in salads, but also great for shredding and bulking out hot dishes.
- Pak Choi. Interesting alternative to lettuce.
- Aubergine. I have always used this, but I now use it a lot more, including raw (I discovered that it’s a myth that it shouldn’t be eaten raw).
- Kangaroo. Easy to find on mail order, very tasty and low in fat.
- Buckwheat. Not dead easy to find, but an interesting alternative to rice, and fewer calories.
- Wholewheat cous-cous. For absorbing water – but not too much, because it is quite calorific.
- Lemon and lime juice. The basis of an awful lot of my cooking.
- Persimmon. My big fruit ‘find’. Delicious, not too expensive and similar calories to an apple.
- Soya-based yoghurt. I don’t care about the dairy-free angle, but I do like the taste, it’s high in calcium, and it’s low in calories.
There’s nothing clever here, but these things have changed our everyday eating totally, and have been very important in my weight loss and maintenance.