Glow Meal Plan

7 Day Glow Meal Plan

In Collaboration with Sarah Chapman Skinesis

 

In the Glow Meal Plan, I have put together 7 days of suggested meals (and all the recipes you’ll need to make them), along with lots of practical lifestyle tips to help give a little boost to your skin health from within.

I am delighted to have partnered with Sarah Chapman Skinesis to bring you this meal plan. Sarah is one of the most respected and sought-after experts in the beauty industry and a fount of knowledge and expertise on all things skin health.

Click here for printable download of The 7 Day Glow Meal Plan

My Favourite Sarah Chapman Skinesis Products

Sarah Chapman Ultimate Cleanse

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Comfort Cream D-Stress

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Intense Hydrating Booster Serum

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3D Moisture Infusion Bio-Cellulose Hydrating Mask

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Ultra Recovery Booster

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Sarah Chapman The Facialift

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Please note, this website uses some carefully selected affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to keep all of our online content free for everyone to access. Thank you.


My Skincare Routine

My Skincare Routine and the Products I Love

I truly believe that good skin health begins from within and a good diet, good sleep, and good hydration make the most noticeable difference to my skin health (alongside avoiding smoking and sticking to very moderate alcohol intake). For more specifics on this, take a look at my free downloadable 7-day meal plan (with lots of extra tips), in partnership with Sarah Chapman Skinesis. This gives a starting point to see just how to put together a sustainable, skin-healthy diet. Of course, a week is just the beginning, but I do hope it’s a handy guide. As always, if you have any concerns about your skin health, please discuss this with a medical professional, and if you feel that you may have specific dietary issues that are contributing to your skin problems, I would strongly urge you to work alongside an appropriately qualified nutrition professional. Having said that, I have also learnt the importance of a good skincare routine in addition to a consistently healthy lifestyle when it comes to finding my glow.

I’m not a huge beauty buff, but I do love to try new products and revel in the opportunity I get from time-to-time to pamper myself a little bit. Over the years, I have been through different phases when it comes to beauty. While I do generally look for more natural products still, there is so much green-washing and inconsistent use of terminology, I am much more interested now in efficacy, experience and how something makes me feel while using it. My skin has changed a lot over time, and now I am focused on good hydration and support as I am not getting younger!

So with that in mind, I thought I’d talk through my routine with you and share the products that I find myself turning to time and time again.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find an exclusive discount code for Bare Biology.

1. Cleansing Oils & Balms

Cleansing has been the biggest lesson for me with my skin care and this is what I spend the most time doing. I do one cleanse in the morning before my shower and a double cleanse at night. If I have been wearing eye make-up I will remove this prior to cleansing with Neal’s Yard Make Up Remover and reusable bamboo make up pads. I don’t like to use soap based cleansers as I find them too drying. So I use a good oil cleanser and I really go to town with massaging and spending time at this stage, which is something I learnt from Sarah Chapman (I highly recommend watching this video of her demoing how to properly cleanse). The cleansing oils that I turn to time and again are Ultimate Cleanse by Sarah Chapman Skinesis and Rose, Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil by Votary or this gentle cleanser by Trilogy if my skin is feeling very sensitive. A budget option that I really love is the Oat Cleansing Balm from The Inkey List. I have a stack of face cloths from the White Company that I generally use to remove my cleanser (I buy them in the sale).

2. Hyaluronic Acid

This is my next step and has literally become my best friend over the last few years as my skin has started to age and get drier. It is light and quickly absorbed but it instantly soothes and I notice the difference in my skin’s hydration when I use this consistently. The hyaluronic acid products that I have tried and liked are Brightening Hyaluronic Serum by Votary, Intense Hydrating Booster by Sarah Chapman Skinesis. Triple Hyaluronic Acid by Beauty Pie, Hyaluronic Acid + B5 by The Ordinary and Ideal Moisture Level Serum by Twelve Beauty. All of these make my skin feel amazing.

3. Serums

Next I’ll use a serum, I really do love them! I have tried a few and will switch around what I use according to what is going on with my skin. A couple of times a year I’ll use this live probiotic serum by Esse. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way and has made the most significant difference to my skin of any product I have tried. One bottle can last me for ages. Other serums I love are this one by Twelve Beauty, Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultra Recovery Booster and this budget-friendly Vitamin C Serum from The Inkey List.

4. Oil

Even though my skin can get oily and is prone to blackheads, it is dry and I can get rosacea breakouts as well as very sensitive and sore if I get very stressed and run-down or when the weather turns colder. So I rely on a good oil to soothe and calm, which I gently press into my skin. I might use a facial massager or this cooling rose roller if I have time. There are so many lovely oils to use. I adore this one by Slow Ageing. The seasonal oils by De Mamiel are utterly gorgeous. I love that they are seasonal, although this does mean there is sometimes a bit of a wait until the next batch is available. This oil by Votary is a favourite as are the morning and nighttime oils from Sarah Chapman Skinesis. The one that I probably have used the most over the years is Trilogy Rosehip Oil because it is a bit more affordable. Oils can be pricy but you just need a couple of drops so I find they last well.

5. Cream

I have found that using a good facial cream is the step I most need to lock everything in and keep my skin hydrated. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Comfort D-stress Cream is the best one I have used and once again, it lasts for ages as I only need a tiny amount. I also love this one by Slow Ageing and Beauty Kitchen’s Really Radiant Moisturiser. I am a huge fan of this brand and it was the winner of the sustainable product category that I chose for the Natural Health Beauty Awards.

6. Eyes

I don’t get along at all well with eye creams so I tend to not use them. My eyes are very sensitive and can get really puffy with creams so I just lightly massage instead. If I need a little extra de-puffing, a teaspoon kept in the freezer does wonders to wake up my eyes and I always use these eyelash curlers, even if I am not going to wear eye make up.

7. Lip Balm

I’ll finish my routine with some of this lip balm which really is the best one I have used and it lasts and lasts. It’s such a brilliant product. I keep one in my make up bag, one on my desk, one in my handbag… I can’t recommend it more.

8. Face SPF

In high summer when I know I’ll be outside outdoors, I’ll add Heliocare SPF 50+ Face Sunscreen after my cream. This brand was recommended to me by Sarah Chapman and it has been the one product that doesn’t trigger outbreaks for me in the same way that some other sunscreens have. As I am out in the garden a lot, I also always wear a sunhat. But read on to the make-up section as I also use make up with SPF all year round.

8. Masks and Occasionals

Once a week I’ll do a face mask. I love them and consider them a real treat. Mostly, I want extra hydration and plumping and other times I want a bit of exfoliation so I have several on the go that I use as and when I need.  Evolve Miracle Mask and the 5 Minute Miracle Mask from Beauty Kitchen are both good value and really make me glow. Otherwise, I absolutely LOVE the Votary Intense Overnight Mask and these ones from Sarah Chapman Skinesis.

8. Supplements

Of course, I am a huge advocate of beauty blossoming from the inside, supported by a consistently healthy lifestyle and good hydration. However, I do intermittently take a few supplements to try to support my skin, as and when I feel I need them.  Hyaluronic Acid by Wild Nutrition has been reported to reach the skin surface in clinical trials, helping it to stay soft and supple. If I’m not eating much oily fish, or my skin is very dry, I may take an Omega-3 supplement too, such as Life & Soul from Bare Biology or the new Biomega 3 from Beauty Pie. I have also recently started taking Ultimate Collagen  from Ingenious Beauty which was sent to me to try.

As always, please speak to your GP or an appropriately qualified nutrition professional prior to starting or changing any supplements. My personal supplement regime may not be safe or appropriate for you.

9. Make up

I have barely worn make up over the past year, but even before that, I definitely lean towards a more natural-look. Having an enthusiastic little one to look after in the mornings is also not conducive to an elaborate make-up routine. But, I have to say that since trying Trinny London make-up, especially this BFF Skin Perfecting Cream which has SPF in it, I have been pretty blown away by how quick and easy it is to quickly do my face. I am a total convert (and this is absolutely not an ad). Take a look at their online Match2Me service to find your recommended products and colours. Brilliant!

Discount Code

For a 20% discount with Bare Biology use code AMELIA20 at checkout via the Bare Biology website.

Although you may notice that there is repetition in a few of the brands mentioned, this post is not sponsored and is entirely authentic. These are the products I have in my cupboards, buy for myself and use regularly. However, some links are affiliate links which means that I may earn a small commission which helps me to cover the costs of my website and social media. There is no extra cost to you if you buy through these links, so thank you very much for supporting if you do, as every little helps to keep my content coming for free.

I was thrilled to recently be featured on Shop My Shelf as one of their trusted experts. Click here to take a peek at my shelves, what’s on my desk, what else is in my make up bag and some of my other favourite things.

 


How to make healthy food taste amazing

How To Make Healthy Food Taste Amazing

 

April 2021

So much of the enjoyment of food comes from flavour. But a common complaint I hear from clients is that their food tastes bland, especially when they are just starting out with healthy eating. While I know that this absolutely doesn’t have to be the case – healthy food can (and I’d suggest should) taste incredible – it can nonetheless happen if we don’t focus on perhaps one of the most important aspects of healthy cooking: Adding a pop of flavour.

To help you get started (or indeed, to offer a few new ideas), I have put together a load of flavour combinations that I recommend to my clients and use myself when cooking. With just a few quick and simple additions of herbs, spices, vegetables and a few other ingredients, we can quickly bring a nutritious meal to joyful life. Think of this as your quick reference guide. Perhaps print it out and stick it on your fridge or on the back of your kitchen cupboard doors.

Quick & Healthy Marinades

Click here for printable download of Quick & Healthy Marinades

My Merry Easter Plans

My Merry Easter Plans

With Christmas festivities put on hold last year, this coming Easter feels like the celebration many of us have been waiting for. A chance to be merry after what has felt like the longest winter ever.  I don’t usually go to town with Easter decorations or preparations, but quite frankly, it is making me so happy to plan the weekend, think about the menu, flowers, table setting and activities, that I am letting myself run with it. Unashamedly, I might add.

I am crossing both my fingers and toes for good weather, as lockdown rules here in England mean that from 29th March outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or two households will likely be allowed (although the dates are not set in stone, this is the suggestion so far). Easter is the following weekend, 4th April. If things change, well it will just be our little family, but I will have had a lovely time in the preparation anyway so I’m not too worried.

All being well, however, we will invite some of our dear friends over for lunch, and the little ones will go on an egg hunt, whatever the weather! I’ve suggested warm clothes and coats for everyone, and we will set up an outside table in the kitchen garden to dine at. There will definitely be wine, and quite possibly a thermos or two of tea. Here is the rest of the plan….

The Activities

I love the idea of making a floral Easter wreath, so I think Willow and I might get crafty and make one for the front door as a seasonal welcome to our guests. (I learned how to ‘build’ a wreath from watching Willow Crossley’s incredible flower arranging course on Create Academy – highly, highly recommended if you love flowers!) We will also think about making an Easter bonnet too, too, which should fill at least one drizzly afternoon of the holidays if needs be. This Easter craft kit also looks great and I will get Willow some of these fun Easter chalks for a little outside art.

On Easter morning, I will sneak out and hide a whole load of these fluffy chicks around the garden. Later on, the children will each take their bag or basket, and find as many fluffy chicks as possible (I’ll re-used them year after year), quite possibly dressed up as little bunnies too! They’re a little bit small to go wild with buckets of chocolate at the moment, so they will exchange their bounty for a little party bag with a fairtrade chocolate chick, adorable egg cosy, some bee-friendly seeds and stickers at the end. Then we will all sit down to lunch.

P.s., For slightly older children, this make your own Easter Treasure Hunt Kit looks gorgeous, and they could even help make it.

The Table

I love a beautifully laid table, perhaps even more so when it is outdoors. We’ve got a big parasol, which should keep the worst of the rain out if necessary, but I’ll only lay it with things that won’t spoil if they get a little damp.

I’ll start with a big cheerful tablecloth, and these stunning rattan chargers. I love my trusty Portobello white platesthese wine glasses are really sturdy and don’t topple over easily. I’ll finish with some lovely block-printed napkins and as a final touch, Willow and I will collect some daffodils and other spring flowers from the garden and fill a tray of jam jars to run down the middle. I think the more the merrier when it comes to these foraged flowers.

P.s., I’m a tiny bit obsessed with this duck water jug. One day soon!

The Menu

I think I am going to go fairly traditional with the lunch menu, and make this incredible slow cooked leg of lamb with creamy cannellini beans, served with a platter of roasted parsnips and carrots with green tahini dressing and big bowl of steamed seasonal greens.

For pudding, I can’t help but make this beautiful rhubarb and custard tart although I am also pondering making a few of these mini carrot cakes too.

Absent Friends

While we might be able to mingle with one other household over the Easter weekend, we still can’t have a big gathering. So I am planning to send out some beautiful, plantable wildflower notecards which will go on to grow a mix of 24 native British wildflowers) to my nearest and dearest in the days before the celebration.  For the children, I will be sending these beautiful, personalised enamel mugs and these gorgeous little boxes for collecting their Easter treats in. A little reminder that we are thinking of them and hoping for a bigger party next year.

Don’t forget the chocolate!

It will come as no surprise to many of you that I don’t eat chocolate all that regularly. I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth to be honest. So when I do choose to buy it, I like to get something really delicious and grown-up. And I certainly enjoy a bit at Easter. A good diet is, afterall, about sensible balance. Not about being ‘perfect’ all the time. Chocolate can absolutely be a healthy choice from time to time. I think my partner and I will be sharing a Booja Booja Almond & Sea Salt Caramel Egg, although I did spot some lovely other options too such as this organic dark chocolate egg from Cocoa Loco or for something really spoiling, how about this Easter Celebration Hamper?

Please note, this website uses some carefully selected affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to keep all of our online content free for everyone to access. Thank you.

Photos by Jen Rich, Susan Bell, Emma Goodwin and Guillaume de Germain and Andreas Brun on Unsplash.


New in Nutrition

New In Nutrition | Feb 2021

February 2021

New in Nutrition is a place to showcase the new products, books, podcasts, people, places or initiatives that my team and I feel are doing interesting, important or exciting things in nutrition and wellness. I hope it will soon become the go-to place to hear about nutrition news.

If you ever stumble across something new that you think we would all enjoy (that’s related to nutrition), please do drop us a tip-off email hello@ameliafreer.com and we will take a look. Thank you!

1. Book | Feel Great Lose Weight by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Drawing on 20 years as a GP, Dr Chatterjee has created a conscious, long-lasting approach to weight loss that goes far beyond fad diets and helps to find the best solutions that work for you. Helping us to understand the effects of what, why, when, where and how we eat, as well as the root causes of weight gain and an approach that focuses on nourishing our bodies without crash diets or gruelling workouts, this is the sort of sensible, safe and practical weight loss book that I can get behind. And I don’t say that lightly!

Amazon

Waterstones

2. Foodie | Natoora Nationwide Delivery

With a relentless pursuit of flavour, Natoora is well known for sourcing some of the best and most beautiful seasonal produce for the best restaurants (and is a secret source for most of the food stylists I’ve worked with too!). Wonderfully, it is now available for home delivery, nationwide through the new Natoora app. Alongside fresh fruits and vegetables (the selection is amazing), they also provide sustainably-sourced dairy and charcuterie.

Get the app for iPhone and Android.

3. Supplement | Beauty Pie

Although I advocate eating a fresh and varied diet to ensure we are getting all the nutrients our bodies require from our food, there are times that we all need a little something extra. I have been super impressed by the new range of supplements by the beauty members club, Beauty Pie. The range of supplements includes a multivitamin, vitamin D capsule and omega 3 fish oil. These supplements have been bio-engineered by top hormonal nutritionist, Kay Ali and are made without fillers or artificial preservatives or colours. I was particularly interested to try the Bi-omega 3 capsules which contain a high dose of cell protecting omega 3 essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by our bodies. I love that these are made from wild, sustainably caught fish and all the other products in the range are vegan.

Beauty Pie are offering one month’s free membership for any level of membership, by using the code AMELIASENTME. Terms and conditions apply, please see the Beauty Pie website for details.

4. Wine | Oranj

Oranj wine is a new online platform that champions natural wines, and offers monthly, sommelier-curated wine boxes for delivery nationwide. Childhood friends, Jasper and Ewin, had originally planned to open a bar celebrating low intervention wines, but unfortunately had to change their plans due to Covid, and so was borne Oranj delivery service. Customers now have the chance to enjoy some of the best natural wines from lesser known producers in the comfort of their own homes.

5. Book | The Origins of Cooking by Ferran Adria

OK, so this is not your average book, and it’s not got an average price tag. But Ferran Adria (of El Bulli fame) has put together a definitive tome of the origins of cooking in association with Phaiden. This would make a very special gift for anyone who loves to cook.

Amazon

Waterstones

6. Plant-Based | Oato Nationwide Delivery

For anyone following a plant-based diet, a good tip to hear about is that Oato (which produces fresh oat milk from British oats, fortified with calcium) now distributes it directly to your doorstep in reusable, returnable glass bottles through Milk & More.  This service is helping to reduce the use of hard-to-recycle Tetrapak’s and is pretty convenient too.

Connect to a milk round here.

7. Publication | The Agricultural Transition Plan

This plan sets out changes to agricultural policy in England from 1st January 2021. The good news is that it promises a generally positive direction for the UK’s agrifood future, focusing on changes to grants and subsidies for farmers that re-prioritise ecosystem protection. We will see how this progresses, but where our food comes from and how it is produced has a big role to play in both our own health, and the health of our planet.

Follow the brilliant @farmstofeedus to stay up to date on these changes.

8. Foodie | Dishoom Vegan Sausage Naan Roll Kit

I am a madly keen Dishoom fan. Do you have their cookbook? I would highly recommend it if you don’t. The flavours they create are just extraordinary. Anyway, excitingly, one of their most-loved dishes is now available to us all to enjoy from the comfort of our homes with their new recipe kit. It arrives at your door with everything required to enjoy two vegan sausage naan rolls, as well as ingredients to make some of their renowned Masala Chai. The kit costs £16, plus delivery. And for every kit sold, Dishoom donates a meal to Magic Breakfast. I’ve made these – and they really are delicious. Nationwide delivery to most of UK mainland.

Please note, this website uses some carefully selected affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to keep all of our online content free for everyone to access. Thank you.


Small changes still count

Small changes still count

February 2021

Photo by Utsav Shah on Unsplash

However persuasively sold to us, it simply isn’t true that we need to radically change everything about our lifestyle and somehow becomes a new, ‘better’ person to be healthy. You would certainly be forgiven for thinking that was the case, given the plethora of advice, books, programmes and media noise surrounding health and wellbeing. Yet so often, grand gestures of renewal end up with a dejected retreat back into our old ways and we enter that familiar cycle of feeling like we have somehow ‘failed’ at the diet or regime we had so positively set out to maintain. Then the shame, guilt and need for comfort can creep back in and we find ourselves right back where we started.

So firstly, I would like to offer a collective wave of compassion to anyone and everyone who has ever been in this position. It’s tough, it’s confusing and I want you to know that you are most definitely not alone. Secondly, I would like to make a plea that this dichotomy we’ve inadvertently created, between being ‘good’ and ‘bad’, on-a-diet or off-a-diet, being entirely healthy or being wholly indulgent, is unrealistic and certainly unsustainable for the long run. We exist in shades of grey – where some parts of our days, myself included, are inevitably slightly healthier than others. Some whole days are more balanced, with more movement, more vegetables and more sleep. Others are a rollercoaster of stress, eating-on-the-go and late nights. That is real life and I would suggest that no restrictive or rules-based lifestyle will ever really be able to flex enough to meet all of these inevitable challenges.

There are, however, certain aspects of healthy living that are important not only to our current sense of energy and wellbeing, but also to our longer-term health. Whilst in the broadest terms, many of these factors are important for all of us (not smoking, restorative sleep, connection to others, a nourishing diet, stress reduction etc.), the combination, nuances and degree to which we need to be consistent, will vary between us and over time. We don’t need to do it all, and especially not in one go, in fact just making some small habit changes can add up to achievable and sustainable lifestyle improvements,

Photo by Susan Bell

Instead, I am an advocate of taking mini steps. And if those mini steps are too big, then make them micro ones instead. You want to feel like it is laughably easy to instigate the change you’re proposing. And even with my (pretty full-on) support, I would never ask a client to make more than 3 small changes at a time. If you’re doing it without professional input, I suggest that just 1-2 changes are enough. We are all busy, with numerous other things taking up our time and headspace.

But don’t be lulled into thinking that these little shifts are not important. My colleague, Rozzie, talks about the power of ‘1-degree course corrections’. If you set a ship just 1 degree off-course, it will end up in a completely different city by the time it crosses an ocean. The same principle applies to our wellbeing: shifting behaviour just 1 degree, maintained over the course of decades, can lead us into a completely different health space than if we’d stayed on the same bearing. One extra serving of vegetables per day adds up to 3650 more portions over a decade (and that’s a lot of fibre, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals). Just 30 minutes extra activity per week is 520 hours more heart-healthy movement over 20 years. Micro changes do add up. The fable of the hare and the tortoise come to mind here – big changes that burn out over weeks will ultimately be overtaken by incremental achievable changes that we just keep plugging away at.

I guess this could also be expressed as an equation, for those who are mathematically minded, that would look something like this:

Size of lifestyle shift x length of time change is maintained = degree of potential benefit

So remember, you don’t have to do it all to be healthy. You just need to do enough, on a relatively consistent basis, to feel well.

Photo by Jen Rich

Little shift ideas

  • Meditate or practice some mindful breathing for 2 minutes every morning, before getting out of bed
  • Eat one extra portion of vegetables per day
  • Drink a glass of water before lunchtime
  • Always take the stairs when you can. Park the far side of each car park.
  • Switch off your mobile phone before going to sleep
  • Have some protein with breakfast (nuts, seeds, nut butter, eggs, natural yoghurt etc.)
  • Avoid drinking caffeine after 3pm
  • Have three alcohol-free days per week
  • Eat a portion of oily fish once a week (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines)
  • Have a small portion of (unsalted) nuts or seeds once a day – they are packed full of various essential vitamins and minerals. A portion is roughly 30g / a small handful.
  • Arrange one phone call per month with a friend who makes you laugh, rather than just texting
  • Briskly walk for 10 minutes at lunchtime
  • Sit down to eat your evening meal, leaving your phone and TV off

Other articles you might enjoy reading: Non-Food Treats; The Power of Positive Nutrition; Is Joy a missing piece of the healthy puzzle


This article was commissioned by Natural Health Magazine


How to spend less on food and still eat deliciously well 

Photo by Wavebreakmedia from Getty Images Pro

How to spend less on food and still eat deliciously well

Jan 2021

Food is often one of the biggest expenditures in many household budgets, after rent or mortgage payments. It is also non-negotiable: We have to eat, so we have to spend money on food. But many households are feeling the pinch, even more so after the events of last year, and wish to optimise how far their budget will stretch. The food budget is one regular outgoing that we have a degree of control over, so it is often an obvious place to begin.

I hoped it might be helpful to pull together a few suggestions and ideas for simultaneously eating well and saving money. I freely admit that I am not an expert on shopping and cooking on a really tight budget (I would highly recommend the exceptional work of Jack Monroe for this). Please know that I am saying this with enormous gratitude, as I am very conscious of the blessing of having food choices on a daily basis. However, budget is still a consideration alongside variety and nutritional balance*. This is something that my team and I do in our own lives on a regular basis, so hopefully might be able to share a couple of insights.

Part One: Making conscious budget choices

The good news is that it is possible to eat an abundantly nourishing and delicious diet on a relative budget. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hugely expensive. However, depending on how tight the budget is, compromises may have to be made along the way. It’s a balancing act that we each have to find, according to the unique needs of our households. I think accepting that there are compromises and making choices about which ones matter most to us, is a good way to start thinking about budget priorities.

Photo by CarmenMurillo from Getty Images Pro

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Cooking from scratch (avoiding pre-prepared dishes, ready meals and ingredients certainly saves money).
  • Accepting a bit of repetition and batch cooking.
  • Reducing the number of drinks, meals eaten out or take-aways, to re-direct additional money into the weekly grocery shop.
  • Shopping in different ways, such as changing supermarkets and buying dried goods in bulk online.
  • Avoiding branded or premium products and looking instead for whole food ingredients and cooking from scratch.
  • Cutting back on other spending. Prioritising food shopping above other discretionary spending, such as memberships, clothes, holidays, beauty or homeware for example. This is simply highlighting the importance of making conscious choices about what you choose to prioritise. The money often does, afterall, usually come from the same pot
  • Fewer specifically health-focused foods (such as premium snacks, drinks, powders or other items like organic food). Non-organic food is not unhealthy, and still provides plentiful flavour and nutrition. Just wash your produce (fruit & veg) first, and peel where necessary. It’s a very personal decision so do what’s right for you.

Deciding which compromises we are prepared to make will depend a great deal on us as individuals. It is, however, well worth having a think about if you want to tighten your food budget. I hope that this offers a few ideas. I am sure I’ve missed a fair few.

*  That is also not to say that it is impossible to find variety and nutritional balance on a very tight budget, but it is harder, and may involve using multiple different suppliers. Grocers towards the end of the day may have good offers on fresh produce, and bulk dried goods can be ordered online, or as part of a local co-operative, for example. Using a large supermarket is not often the most cost-effective way to shop, but it is often the most convenient and is available to the broadest range of people. It is however, yet again, another compromise. Basically, I’m trying to say that this topic is complicated and nuanced and highly individual – much like nutrition itself. 

Part Two: 7 tips for shopping and cooking well on a budget

Photo by Ali Allen

1. Meal plan

This is my number 1 tip for helping to eat well on a budget. A meal plan helps you shop for exactly what you need, so food waste is drastically reduced. It saves time and stress throughout a busy week, as you never have to decide what to cook last minute, and it ensures nutritional variety as you can plan for different recipes and meals. Take a look at this article for a step-by-step guide on meal planning, and here is a free printable weekly meal planner to use.

2. Organise your fridge, freezer and cupboards

It’s really helpful to get into the habit of thinking a bit like a shop-keeper when organising your fridge, freezer and cupboards. You want to keep track of your ‘stock’ so you know what’s running out and what you’ve already got plenty of. Keep items on rotation, so that things get used in the order you purchased them, rather than older items staying pushed back for so long they end up going out-of-date. Remember, you’re not saving money if you never eat the food. Try to keep things neat, tidy, well-labelled and organised, as this really helps if you’re searching for ingredients when you need to cook something quickly from scratch.

3. Minimise or eliminate food waste.

According to the BBC, in the UK we throw away almost 20% of the food we buy. This could add up to a whopping £600 worth of food wasted per year for the average household. This has a high environmental cost and it badly impacts our budget too. Meal planning helps with this, as you buy only what you need, but getting inventive with leftovers – perhaps starting by branding them ‘planned-overs’ – and utilising the freezer or slow-cooker to use up or store odds and ends (such as making a bottom-of-the-fridge vegetable stew and freezing in batches – recipe in Simply Good For You will all help too. I will share more on this in the coming months.

4. Focus spending on the essentials

This one might seem obvious, but if you want to optimise the quality of your diet for your available budget, you need to focus that spending on the things that really pack the biggest nutritional punch (such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, high quality proteins, healthy fats, pulses, and minimally processed carbohydrates).

Once those important foundational foods are purchased, you can then consider the nice-but-not-necessary items, such as garnishes, condiments, sweet things, powders, snacks foods, ‘superfood’ products etc if you wish. We do not need to include these items in our diets to eat well, although I completely understand that they might be joyful for some of you. It’s really about prioritising the most important foods first and then seeing what is left over.

5. Exchange your time for cost savings

Pre-prepared and packaged goods, such as ready meals, pre-cooked grains, pulses or peeled and chopped vegetables can certainly save time. But they come at a premium cost. Putting the effort in saves money, while bulk cooking and preparation ensures that that time is still efficiently spent.

6. Watch the take-aways, snacks and coffees

It is worth spending half an hour or so going over your bank statements from the past couple of months and adding up all the discretionary food and drink spending you’ve made above and beyond your essential groceries.

Include all the take-aways, coffees, snacks and drinks that you’d purchased. These items can add up to a significant amount of money. While it is, of course, important to support local establishments at the moment, if this pushes your budget into a place where you feel squeezed on the important nutritional basics, then perhaps it’s worth reconsidering. Set yourself a weekly budget if necessary, and put the remainder towards boosting your grocery shop.

7. Try the discount supermarkets

If you have access to a Lidl or Aldi locally, give them a go. Their range of nourishing whole foods, organic produce and cost-effective olive oil, nuts and seeds are very good. Alternatively, try using a bulk or discount whole food online supplier (for more information, see this article).

Part Three: 1-week healthy meal plan – on a relative budget

In the spirit of putting all this theory into practice, my team and I have put together this 1-week meal plan, giving just one example of how we could potentially spend our money wisely to optimise nutrition within a relatively tight budget.

Photo by seb_ra from Getty Images Pro

I am very aware that this is not the cheapest way to eat overall, and it is of course possible and necessary for some to reduce this spending further, but I wanted to offer the option of a compromise somewhere between a realistic budget and a dietary intake that is really varied, balanced, nourishing and seasonal. Feel free to tweak, edit and adjust this as much as you would like, to meet either your own nutritional requirements, budget or tastes. This is just an example, but I hope it might offer a few ideas to get you started.

We developed this meal plan based on the following ‘guidelines’:

  1. An allowance of roughly £50-55 budget for a week of meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for 2 people.  This works out at roughly £1.25 per meal (3 meals a day for 2 people = 42 meals = roughly £1.20-£1.30 per meal).
  2. We assumed some basic staples are already in your cupboards (salt, pepper, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, stock cubes / powder, olive oil, spices). Don’t be afraid to make substitutions according to what you have available – most recipes can switch spices, change oils or swap vinegars or mustards without detriment, according to what you have at home.
  3. The meal plan needed to achieve the majority of the Positive Nutrition Pyramid daily (i.e., provide balanced and varied nutrition) and include > 30 different plant foods in a week. We have assumed a mostly vegetarian diet to increase how many people this meal plan appeals to, but have included one meal of oily fish for important omega-3 fatty acids. You can adapt this plan to meet your own requirements.
  4. It should use ingredients available from a mainstream supermarket.
  5. We have also assumed that most drinks consumed would be water (or tea and coffee according to what you have already).  Desserts are mainly simple fresh fruit, and snacks have not been included as (hopefully!) the meals are well-balanced enough already to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals.

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Simply Good For You | Amelia Freer

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Cooking on a Bootstrap | Jack Monroe

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Tin Can Cook | Jack Monroe

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Vegan One Pound Meals | Miguel Barclay

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Storecupboard One Pound Meals | Miguel Barclay

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Magnetic Meal Planner Board

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100 healthy, plant-based recipes

100 delicious plant-based recipe ideas

January 2021

A great many of us are choosing to enjoy more plant-based meals, for taste, health, environmental and/or ethical reasons.

With over a million people now signed up to Veganuary (where you commit to eating an entirely plant-based diet for the month of January), and some deciding to stay plant-based for the longer term, it’s a way of eating that is going to be increasingly common, and important, as we move into the future.

From a nutritional perspective, it is important to learn about some key nutrients that we need to be conscious of in a plant-based diet, to avoid inadvertently developing nutrient deficiencies. I have written about this comprehensively in this article, and also discussed some of the wider pros and cons in this article; Thinking about: Eating a plant-based diet. I’d also highly recommend taking a look at this article from the NHS on creating a healthy vegan diet. Finally, if you’re interested in developing your nutrition and practical cooking knowledge more generally, take a look at my online course, The Joy of Healthy Eating. I dedicate a whole lesson in this to finding plant-based balance.

As always, alongside the nutrition, I am also greatly interested in taste, joy and flavour in food. So I have put together this list of dozens of plant-based meal and recipe ideas. Some may need little adaptations (such as switching honey for maple syrup, natural yoghurt for coconut or soy yoghurt, dairy milk for your choice of plant m*lk alternatives, chicken stock for vegetable stock, using a chia / flax egg rather than a hen’s egg or omitting a garnishing ingredient – such as feta or parmesan), but with a little common sense I think most of them are easily tweaked. There is lots of advice on The Vegan Society website to help with this.

Photo by Susan Bell

in my books

Turmeric and mango spiced chia pot (Page 148, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Banana, mint and lime smoothie (Page 182, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Green smoothie (Page 210, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Avocado papaya salsa (Page 68, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Grab-and-go chia pots (Page 159, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Beauty bars (Page 42, Simply Good For You)

Coconut muesli (Page 39, Simply Good For You)

Berry smoothie (Page 35, Simply Good For You)

Chocolate smoothie (Page 35, Simply Good For You)

Fruity breakfast crumble bars (Page 45, Simply Good For You)

Winter Buddha Bowl by Amelia Freer
Photo by Simon Reed

in my books

Walnut lentil pate (Page 174, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Kale Waldorf salad (Page 228, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Chopped black bean salad (Page 247, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Green bean, pea and pistachio salad (Page 282, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Beetroot houmous (Page 136, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Green houmous (Page 73, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Guacamole (Page 70, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Steamed asparagus with pumpkin-seed salsa verde (Page 41, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Purple sprouting broccoli with peanut sauce (Page 146, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

There are masses of hero toppings for toast, pitta or jacket potatoes, many of which are plant-based, in Simply Good For You.

Soup for the soul (Page 86, Simply Good For You) – use vegetable stock.

Instant watercress & avocado soup (Page 85, Simply Good For You)

Instant tomato & cannellini soup (Page 82, Simply Good For You)

Mediterranean quinoa salad (Page 99, Simply Good For You)

Photo by Susan Bell

in my books

Aubergine & chickpea curry (Page 186, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Falafel burgers (Page 248, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Lentil cottage pie (Page 283, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Stuffed peppers with chilli (Page 262, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Broccoli and cashew stir-fry (Page 24, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Nori wraps (Page 159, Simply Good For You)

Lazy dahl (Page 223, Simply Good For You)

Stir-fried veggies and tofu (Page 224, Simply Good For You)

One-Tray roasted salads (Pages 228 – 235, Simply Good For You)

Cauliflower & chickpea tray bake with rocket and pickled red onion (Page 236, Simply Good For You)

Butternut, cashew & sage pasta (Page 243, Simply Good For You)

Pad Thai with turmeric tofu (Page 244, Simply Good For You)

Photo by Susan Bell

in my books

Nutty banana nice cream (Page 227, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Baked orange & almond pear (Page 266, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan)

Passion fruit ‘crumble’ (Page 284, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Peanut butter & Jam Smoothie (Page 178, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Set strawberries with coconut cream (Page 246, Cook. Nourish. Glow)

Mango jelly (Page 263, Simply Good For You) – Use vegan setting agent alternative

Roasted fruit salad (Page 268, Simply Good For You)

Rhubarb and star anise crumble pot (Page 271, Simply Good For You)

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Simply Good For You

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Nourish & Glow: The 10-day plan

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Cook. Nourish. Glow.

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The Joy of Healthy Eating

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GreenFeast, Autumn-Winter | Nigel Slater

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GreenFeast, Spring-Summer | Nigel Slater

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Curry Easy Vegetarian | Madhur Jaffrey

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The Green Roasting Tin | Rukmini Iyer

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BOSH! | Henry Firth & Ian Theasby

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New in Nutrition

New In Nutrition | Nov 2020

November 2020

New in Nutrition is a place to showcase the new products, books, podcasts, people, places or initiatives that my team and I feel are doing interesting, important or exciting things in nutrition and wellness. I hope it will soon become the go-to place to hear about nutrition news.

If you ever stumble across something new that you think we would all enjoy (that’s related to nutrition), please do drop us a tip-off email hello@ameliafreer.com and we will take a look. Thank you!

1. Supplement | Bare Biology: Re-branded

A brand I have loved for years, which makes high-quality, independently tested and sensibly-dosed Omega-3 supplements, Bare Biology has just undergone a complete re-branding. I think the new designs look wonderful. I am currently taking their Life & Soul Mini Capsules, 2 daily (but as always, please consult your own health or nutrition provider prior to commencing or changing any supplements). They have also just launched a new Strawberry Marine Collagen Powder with Vitamin C, which blends well into smoothies.

Take a look at their website here and enter code AMELIA20 for 20% off your first order, valid until 18th December 2020.

2. Book | Cook, Eat, Repeat, by Nigella Lawson

A delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella’s engaging and insightful prose. Good nutrition is not just about eating enough vegetables. It is about embracing all the joys of good food in appropriate balance and I can’t think of anyone quite so brilliant as Nigella to remind us of how wonderfully important the pleasure of food is in our increasingly busy lives.

Amazon

Waterstones – signed edition

3. Film | Kiss the Ground, available on Netflix

An important film that explains the essential role that soil plays in our health and as a key solution to climate change. Healthy soil – healthy planet – healthy climate – healthy people. Kiss the Ground engagingly explains how we can potentially reverse global warming and benefit our health and nutrition through regenerative agriculture. It fills me with hope.

Netflix

4. Course | The Joy of Healthy Eating, by Amelia Freer

This is, I’m afraid, a bit of a shameless plug, but my new 30-part online video course filmed in collaboration with Create Academy is now available and covers the power of positive nutrition and the joy of healthy eating. Far from being about dieting or restrictive rules, my aim is to empower you with fundamental knowledge about nutrition and efficient cooking, so that you can make informed choices for yourself and follow them through in the kitchen with minimal effort or stress. Please take a look at my course page for lots more information.

Order now

5. Foodie | Wild Radish

A brand-new recipe delivery service from some of Britain’s best chefs, offering seasonal dishes to create at home, using the same ingredients and suppliers that award-winning kitchens use. Plus, each box comes with a carefully chosen bottle of wine to perfectly match the meal. A chef’s table, at your table. Each box contains dinner for two, either a meat, fish or vegetarian option. A treat indeed.

Only available in London currently, but will be expanding soon.

Order now

6. Initiative | Bite Back 2030

Bite Back is led by a team of incredible young activists from across the UK who want healthy food to be an option for every family. They are on a mission to know the truth about how our food system is designed, how it can be redesigned to put young people’s health first and how to build powerful alliances to help make that a reality. See their latest report, Hungry for Change, based on the experiences of one thousand 14- to 19-year-olds during lockdown.

Follow: @biteback2030

Read: Hungry for Change

7. Book | The Sourdough School Sweet Baking, by Vanesssa Kimble

If you’re in the mood for some comfort baking over these colder months, then this is the book for you. Vanessa Kimble (who runs The Sourdough School in Northamptonshire) has written a gem of a book on sweet sourdough bakes that not only nourish the gut but can support our mood too. With a forward by Tim Spector, and ringing endorsements from Diana Henry and Nigella, this really is a book that is ‘impossible to read without wanting to scuttle off into the kitchen’. Couldn’t have put it better myself (and I’m not usually an enthusiastic baker, so that’s saying something!).

Waterstones

Amazon

8. Publication | Marine Conservation Society

The MSC has recently updated its Good Fish Guide, helping to guide our choices about which fish are the most sustainable (green rated) and which are the least sustainable (red rated). It has a really easy-to-use website with search function, so you can quickly jump to check out the fish you buy most often. Interesting findings? Line-caught mackerel is OK, wild Atlantic salmon is now classed as ‘at risk’. It’s more than worth finding a few minutes to check out the sustainability ratings of your favourite fish.

See the guide here

9. Foodie | Roots of Kimchi

Newly launched Roots of Kimchi makes small-batch kimchi (addictively delicious Korean fermented vegetables) here in the UK, based on the family recipes of their Korean-born chef, Seo. I am a complete fermented vegetable addict – I add it to as many things as I can, from open sandwiches and salads to my everyday breakfast. It not only boosts flavour but can also be a source of beneficial probiotic bacteria too. To try Roots of Kimchi products with a 10% discount head to the website and enter the code AF10, this code is valid until 25th November and can be used once per customer. Roots of Kimchi is also available from Amazon and selected health food stores.

10. Policy | Agriculture Bill

Attempts to protect current standards of food safety and animal welfare and farming practices in law were overturned by the UK government in mid-October.  This defeat occurred in parliament despite a high-profile campaign to protect it, notably led by Jamie Oliver to #saveourstandards, and a YouGov poll finding that the vast majority of people wanted to protect current British standards in future trade deals. Please read this to understand the implications of this vote.

The Agriculture Bill 2019-2021

Photo by Iga Palacz on Unsplash

Please note, this website uses some carefully selected affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to keep all of our online content free for everyone to access. Thank you.


The Power of Positive Nutrition

The Power of Positive Nutrition

November 2020

This article was commissioned by Natural Health Magazine

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Everyday food choices have become quite fraught for many people, which I think is a real shame. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, comforts and lovingly held expressions of cultural and familial identity and this is not inherently confusing. It is just food. Ingredients alone cannot be all ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Of course, certain types of food, once ingested and digested, may be more beneficial to health than others. And the production of different foods will have variable ethical and environmental considerations.

But sharing a few glasses of wine with a girlfriend who is having a rough time is not ‘bad’ or enjoying a slice of cake on your child’s birthday is not ‘naughty’, or even confusing. These are all lovely experiences that can beneficially nourish our social and emotional health.

I feel that limiting ourselves to such black-and-white nutritional thinking can inadvertently be a risk factor for creating unnecessary anxiety and restrictive rules around food. We of course need to find a sensible balance and prioritise having plenty of nutritious foods, but a little perspective and common sense can go a long way here.

I therefore can’t help but find the confusion around food, with messages coming at us from all directions about what we supposedly ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, as well as the unprecedented shaming of other people’s nutritional decisions, really worrying. We seem to have lost sight of the bigger picture – that the fact we have abundant food and choice is a reason to be joyful. Many, many people around the world simply do not have this option. Gratitude can be a powerful antidote to the noise.

How do we move forward? How can we begin to establish what a good enough diet looks like for us as individuals – and feel confident enough in our choices to be able to respectfully allow the tide of incoming opinion to the contrary to simply wash over us? Good Enough in terms of nutritional quality, but also speed, taste, sustainability and cost.

Photo by Jony Ariadi on Unsplash

I suggest we start from the basics. Human bodies need a wide variety of essential nutrients to function. These are a collection of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids (healthy fats) that we cannot make for ourselves, and therefore need to consume in our food. This is a universal equaliser – while different people will vary in exactly how much they need of each nutrient for optimal function (something we are still not often good at defining or measuring, even in a research context) – we all need at least some of these essential nutrients.

A balanced and varied diet is generally the best way to provide ourselves with this diversity of nutrients. In reality, that looks like a diet containing plenty of colourful fresh fruit and vegetables, high quality proteins, healthy fats, nuts and seeds and unrefined wholegrains or other complex carbohydrates. For most of us, this is a sensible place to begin.

This approach helps to shift our focus onto getting enough of the important and necessary nutrients our bodies need for growth, repair and metabolic function, rather than a worrying about having ‘too much’ of the less nutritionally dense foods. And that mindset shift is the basis of Positive Nutrition. It’s fundamentally about what we do eat everyday, of the foods our bodies need, rather than what we don’t eat so much of. It’s a shift in thinking from deprivation to abundance that can be incredibly liberating, particularly if we have been caught up in a cycle of on-off dieting for a long time. It also provides us with a framework upon which we can start to experiment, play and discover more about what works for us, at this moment in time.

Knowing what we do about individual variability in responses to food – from genetics to the impact of the microbiota – there can never be a single diet that works for all. It just doesn’t make sense, from a scientific point of view, that this could exist. So instead, we could take the principles of Positive Nutrition, and then give ourselves the freedom to adapt, tweak and shift them to work for us. Perhaps adding more carbohydrates if we are particularly active, or reducing our intake of vegetables if we struggle with a higher-fibre diet. Shifting to a more plant-based approach, or prioritising our food budget on a few more ethically sourced animal ingredients. Or simply using it as the basis to find a handful of easy, nourishing recipes that work well for our families in the busyness and chaos of everyday life.

It’s deeply empowering to know ourselves well, nutritionally and gastronomically. Knowing what works for us as individuals, and knowing what we can let go of. To me, that’s the power of positive nutrition.

Would you like to learn more about this topic?

What is Positive Nutrition?

Understanding food categories

For lots more on how to embrace Positive Nutrition in your life, and specific information on how to use the Positive Nutrition Pyramid please see my third book, Nourish & Glow: The 10-day plan, which is written specifically about this topic.

Download free, printable copies of the Positive Nutrition Pyramid in A4 and with 4 to a page.

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Nourish & Glow: The 10-day plan

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Natural Health Magazine

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Simply Good For You

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