This post is a paid collaboration with Fish is the Dish.
When I told my husband that we “had a nutritionist” he rolled his eyes. But it’s true! Well, kind of…
I did indeed have a call with a nutritionist, Juliette, who has created a 28 day meal plan for me (yes, and the husband), as well as the baby (when he is able to join in), but she isn’t exactly our nutritionist – we’re working together as part of a project with Fish is the Dish. To explain, Fish is the Dish encourage people to eat more seafood – they have loads of tips and ideas for cooking seafood, as well as loads of recipes on their website Fish is the Dish. They’re part of the governing body Seafish, who take care of the UK fishing industry and those who work in it, as well as the consumers of fish and what we need.
Anyway, the project is Fish 2 a Week, which aims to encourage the public to eat two portions of fish a week – as recommended by health experts – as part of a healthy, balanced diet to help prevent health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease.
Basically, even though we generally eat well as a family (Juliette told me so) there are some improvements that could be made in our diet, such as eating less sugar and refined carbohydrates, and eating more fibre and fish. So, because I’m keen to get my diet back on track after nine months maternity leave, it made sense for me to team up with Fish is the Dish while they campaign for people to eat at least two portions of fish a week. It seems like a win-win situation.
Though I really do love fish (it’s my second favourite after red meat, naughty, I know) I definitely don’t eat enough of it – it’s so sporadic that I’m not really reaping the benefits of what fish has to offer. So, this project is a motivator for achieving something I’ve been talking about for the past year, without doing much about it so far.
Fish is the Dish had shared some stats with me that showed that I’m not alone when it comes to good intentions when eating more seafood. Although almost a quarter of UK adults (24%) know that omega-3 (found in oily seafood) is one of the health benefits of eating fish, two thirds (66%) of adults in the UK aren’t eating enough fish. That’s despite us all knowing the incredible benefits of eating more seafood.
Prior to the call with Juliette, I’d already sent an email detailing what we eat as a family. In it we were TOTALLY honest. We confessed to how much Toblerone I eat, and that husband enjoys a few oat-y biscuits with a cuppa. I admitted that yes, we do drink alcohol, but that it was in the region of two drinks a week on average. We eat red meat, perhaps twice a week, and we eat a lot of salad leaves, spinach and eggs. Fish is a favourite too; we’ll eat fishcakes at least once a week, a tuna salad sometimes makes an appearance for lunch, and more often than not we choose fish when we eat out. So, overall, we’re not doing too badly.
However, Juliette did have some pointers, such as swapping out white breads and pastas for wholemeal, choosing high fibre cereals (Shreddies, Weetabix, Cheerios) and porridge over muesli or granola, having salads with couscous and quinoa which are great for on-the-go lunches, and of course to eat lots of fruit and veg, and not too much meat. Juliette also encouraged us to eat our two portions of fish each week (to include one oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and trout as they are omega rich), more if we can manage.
This all makes sense to me – I don’t believe we should deprive ourselves of delicious foods or treats (such as a bit of chocolate), but that we should enjoy them in moderation. Life is for living! My family and friends all love food and, even more, we love to enjoy food together. I for one don’t plan on getting to the grand old age of 80 to find myself wishing I’d shared that bottle of wine with my friends, or indulged in the joy that is pasta, or drowned in a fully loaded hot chocolate with my little boy (not yet obviously, but one day).
What I do want is to actually get to 80, having lived a healthy and active – but memorable – life. I figure that continuing as I am, with a healthy, balanced diet, the odd treat, and lots more fish is a good plan – but I have to focus and be organised with my grocery shopping and meal planning. Then, come 2018, I won’t need to make any false promises to myself about the new year, or any year for that matter, because this is a lifestyle choice, not a fad. And I have Fish is the Dish to thank for the motivation and encouragement.
In a bid to start as I mean to go on, I’ve been cooking more fish lately. This dish pictured is a recipe by Lorraine Pascale, ‘Paprika Baked Fish with Lemon, Chorizo and Thyme’, and it’s super easy to prepare and cook which means I’m more likely to enjoy making it – as well as eating it!
I hope you stay tuned to The Daydreamer and social media @fishisthedish to see how we’re getting on with our 28 day meal plan (starting once I’m used to my braces) and new fish recipes. Do you need some encouragement too? Why not join me on my quest to eat well and enjoy more fish using #my2aweek?