I’m so glad the sun is shining today – it certainly makes us feel better when the news is so depressing! I’m sure, like me, you’re noticing how much your grocery bill is going up. You may even be thinking that losing weight is going to be even more difficult and too costly. Well let me set your minds at rest. If you follow the Slimtone Lifestyle Plan, you’ll not only lose pounds, but save pounds too!

One of our Slimtone mottos is “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Planning your menu for the week and writing it down – or using one of the weekly menus in the Lifestyle Plan – is a great place to start. It makes it much easier when you go shopping and you are less likely to but things you don’t need. That means there are no “little temptations” lurking in the cupboard or fridge AND it helps you stick to a budget.

Another way to save £££s is by making good use of your leftovers. Here are some ideas to help you along the way.

I always cook extra vegetables so that they can be “fried” in a non-stick pan and make a convenient addition to any of the recipes in the Lifestyle book. Carrots are great for adding to any of the mince recipes. Also, for a quick “5 a day” cook carrots and swede together, mash and leave for a few minutes over the heat to dry out, then freeze into convenient portions. 

If you have left over potatoes, simply freeze them for a later date – this works for mashed, roasties or even chips. Uncooked potatoes can be boiled for about 5 mins and then frozen for later. When you want them, thaw overnight and roast the next day. Did you know that adding an apple when storing your potatoes will help stop them sprouting! Also, avoid keeping onions near them as they also cause this problem.

Onions are a really versatile “free” vegetable but beware – when fried 28g/1oz = 100 calories! Try microwaving a Spanish onion and sprinkle with mixed herbs, it’s delicious with any meal and negligible calories. I find the frozen onions are really convenient – you can now get the red variety too and both sorts make a quick meal especially with the corned beef recipes.

Spinach is great for bulking out mince recipes or adding to curries and soup. You can make a tasty meal simply by making a pocket in a chicken breast and filling it with spinach and low fat cream cheese. Wrap it in foil and cook in a hot oven. I find the frozen spinach is both economical and convenient.

Another great idea for roasted vegetables is to parboil a selection of vegetables i.e. mushrooms, onions, sweet potato, peppers etc.  Place on baking tray, sprinkle with your favourite herbs and mist with one cal cooking spray.  Roast in a warm oven and serve with any of the meals in your Lifestyle plan.

Bubble and Squeak is another favourite. Mix together potatoes, cabbage, peas etc., spoon into portions in a non-stick pan to form patties and  cook on both sides. This is really tasty served with fish fingers and tomato sauce. 

Cheese is also great for freezing. Grate up your cheese and pop it in a bag to which you have added a tspn of flour this will prevent it sticking when frozen.  Ideal for adding as a pizza topping  etc.

If you find that you are always having leftover milk you can freeze it, just make sure you do this ASAP after buying. Make sure you pour a little out of the carton before freezing, as the milk will expand. Always thaw in the fridge and shake the bottle before using.

You might be surprised to know that you can also freeze eggs! Simply whisk them and pop into a Tupperware. They’re really useful for scrambled egg, cakes etc. Remember to always write the quantity on the container too.

There’s some great ideas there, aren’t there. And here are a few recipes to help use up those leftovers too.

Swede Chips
Pop a small swede in the microwave and cook on high for approx. 5 minutes – it’s much easier to clean and cut into chips. Place the chips evenly on a non-stick tray misted with one cal spray and season. Serve these with any of your favourite meals on the plan.  

Slimtone Fry Up
Add carrots, sweetcorn, cabbage or peas to your mashed potato as a tasty “fry up”. I enjoy this served as a main meal with the all-day breakfast and, of course, a serving of tomato sauce!

Quick ‘n’ Easy Stir-Fry  
Mist a non-stick pan or wok and stir fry sliced fresh or frozen vegetables with spices or sauces. Add shredded chicken, pork, turkey or fish and serve with noodles or rice for a very satisfying meal.

Slimtone Coleslaw
Another firm favourite! Make up your Slimtone coleslaw for a great addition to your sandwich or salad. To ring the changes try adding a few raisins, or chives, or sweetcorn, or peppers. Apple, celery and parsley give it a great crunch and fresh flavour. Or try a pinch of mixed spice and a squeeze of lemon with the extra light mayo. Mmmm!

And for your sweet tooth…..

Apple Sponges
Serves 4 – approx. 300 cals per portion

If you’ve got apples in the fruit bowl that are looking a bit past their eating in hand stage, try this delicious recipe. Make up the fat free steam pudding recipe on page 52 of your Lifestyle Plan. Peel and slice the sad-looking apples and pop into 4 individual ramekins or small oven proof bowls. Add a sprinkling of Stevia sweetener and a dash of vanilla extract and top with the sponge. Bake in a medium heat oven until cooked and serve with low fat custard or ice cream.

Coconut Bread Pudding
Serves 6 – approx. 150 cals per serving

One cal cooking spray                            2 large eggs
5 slices medium cut brown bread        300ml light coconut milk
75g/3oz reduced sugar apricot jam     200ml/7floz semi skimmed milk
75g/3oz no soak dried apricots            90ml/6 level tbsp half spoon sugar
Low cal sweetener

Mist a 1.1 litre (2pints) shallow ovenproof dish with the cooking spray. Spread one side of the bread with the apricot jam and cut into quarters. Slice the apricots into small pieces. Layer the bread, jam side up, in a dish with the apricots ending with a sprinkling of fruit. Whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, milk and sweetener and pour over the bread. Press the bread into the milk mixture and leave to soak for about 30 mins. Stand the dish in a roasting tin with enough warm water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Cook on 170C/325F/gas 3 for about 30 minutes or until lightly set and golden on top. A real treat!

Have you got any tips, ideas or favourite recipes for using leftovers? I’d love to hear from you – post on our Facebook page or email me.

See you in class,
Marie x