How to Get the Most out of your Pinch of Nom Planner
With the Quick & Easy Food Planner FINALLY available (woop!), we thought it might be the perfect time to share a few hints about how to get the most out of your PON Planner.
If you haven’t got your hands on the new planner just yet, there are lots of retailer links to choose from on this page.
This is our third planner, and it’s jam-packed full of features to help you get on track and stay there.
With 26 BRAND NEW slimming friendly recipes, you’ll have everything you need for fuss-free meals that are low in calories and big on flavour.
So, let’s get started – who needs a few tips on where to start with their PON Planner?
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1. Join our Facebook Group
Hands down, our favourite thing about any new release is seeing the reaction and support of our incredible PON community.
We’d love to see photos of any dishes that you make from your planner, and hear all about your journey.
Sometimes the hardest part is finding support from people on similar journeys – and that’s exactly why we started the Pinch of Nom Facebook Group.
We try to answer as many questions as possible in the Group, and there are almost 1 million members also on hand to lend support and a fresh perspective.
For tips and advice on how to get the most out of your Pinch of Nom Planner, there really is no better place to start!
2. Stock up on common ingredients
If you’ve tried any of our recipes before, you’ll know we like to keep things as simple as possible.
Minimal faff means using practical, easy to find ingredients wherever we can.
Sometimes, we swap out a traditional ingredient for a clever, low calorie alternative that helps to make sure our dishes are super slimming friendly.
Although we never use anything that’s too pricey or hard to find in your local supermarket, there are a couple of more unusual bits you’ll need to make some of our recipes.
First up is granulated sweetener, which is used in lots of our desserts and sweet treats like our Lemon Drizzle Cake.
We generally use one that has the same weight as normal sugar – that way, you can replace it like for like when following other recipes.
There are so many different sweeteners available that it can be confusing to know which one to choose.
We have a whole article dedicated to understanding sweeteners right here.
This is our favourite granulated sweetener – it’s not the cheapest brand available, but we really think you can tell the difference compared to budget versions.
Another store cupboard essential is some low calorie cooking spray.
Again, there are plenty of these available in the supermarkets, and they instantly make your meals healthier.
Cooking with oil or butter adds so many calories to your food, but these sprays are usually just 1 calorie per spray.
From sunflower oil or butter, to garlic or chilli infused sprays, there are plenty of options available.
They’re perfect for using instead of oil to create meals like this Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-fry.
Most supermarkets now offer an own brand version if you’re watching your pennies, but our favourite is this Fry light spray, as it’s available in so many different flavours.
Finally, a little bit of Worcestershire sauce goes a long way in lots of our best-loved recipes.
Thanks to its ‘umami’ flavour, it works wonders in the background, enhancing other ingredients to make dishes extra tasty, without adding loads of calories.
However, because Worcestershire sauce is traditionally made from anchovies or fish sauce, it’s not vegetarian friendly – and it’s not always gluten free either!
The good news is that you can substitute Henderson’s Relish in any recipe that calls for Worcestershire sauce.
It’s vegan, gluten free and adds plenty of flavour.
If you can’t find it on the shelves at your usual supermarket, you can grab some from Amazon.
We use it to boost the flavour of dishes like this Pasta Bolognese Bake.
3. Invest in the right equipment
Just like with ingredients, we like to make our recipes nice and easy to follow, using equipment that you’re likely to already have in your kitchen.
Every now and then we might recommend something a little out of the ordinary, but only if we feel it makes the recipe better.
There are a couple of things that will come in useful time and time again, such as a good food processor or hand blender.
These are handy for everything from blitzing up some breadcrumbs to making smooth, creamy soups or dips.
Why not try whizzing up this Spicy Tomato Soup?
This one from Amazon will do the job really well and it’s perfect for all kinds of different recipes.
For minimal effort but maximum flavour, it’s hard to compete with a slow cooker.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of throwing all your ingredients in at the start of the day, and coming home to the smell of a slow cooked meal like this Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole.
With one like this, you can also use the pot on the hob – which is perfect for browning your meat before slow cooking it.
For a few recipes in the new planner, (and any Chinese style dish or stir-fry) a good quality wok will come in so handy.
They have a large surface area for cooking, which helps to distribute heat and cook food quickly and evenly.
You don’t need to use much oil or cooking spray with a wok, so they’re great for healthy, tasty dinners in a flash.
A wok like this from Amazon will be perfect for so many of our Fakeaway recipes.
Try it out on this delicious Hoisin Chicken recipe.
Of course, when you’re trying to stay on plan, being prepared is super important.
Our recipes are quick and easy, but it still helps to get a little ahead when you can, whether this means making lunch the night before, or cooking in big batches to help out on busy days.
You’ll need some handy tupperware to store all those freshly prepped meals.
Look for containers with a good, airtight seal to help keep your food fresher for longer.
These glass ones are leak proof, and microwave and freezer safe.
4. Browse your PON cookbooks for inspiration
Planning your week by week menu is the key to getting on track and staying there.
When you’ve thought out and planned for each meal in advance, it’s far easier to stick to it.
Our Quick & Easy Food Planner includes dedicated pages for exactly this purpose, so you can plan every meal of the day, for every day of the week.
There are 26 exclusive recipes in the planner, but hundreds more to choose from in your Pinch of Nom cookbooks!
Get out the sticky notes and browse through each of the three books for inspiration.
You can mix and match simple recipes from Quick & Easy with your favourite Everyday Light meals, and don’t forget to throw in some classics from our first book!
Creamy Garlic Chicken for dinner anyone?
Fill out the Weekly Meal Planner with whichever breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes catch your eye and you’re guaranteed to start off your week on the right foot.
5. Make a shopping list – and stick to it!
Once you know what you’ll be eating for the week ahead, it’s time to head out and buy the ingredients!
The handy pull-out shopping lists in your Quick & Easy Food Planner are ideal for this (if we do say so ourselves).
You’ve got everything in one place, so you can flick from your meal plan to the shopping lists and copy down the ingredients from the recipe pages too.
If you’re anything like us, it can be easy to get off track in the supermarket.
With temptations all around, bargains up for grabs and tasty treats right by the checkout, it’s not always easy to stick to your list.
Going shopping hungry or unprepared is never a good idea, so fill out your lists, have a healthy, filling lunch like a slice of this Crustless Quiche Lorraine, and go get the job done!
With all the right ingredients in the house it’s so much easier to stick to your meal plan.
There’ll be no need to pick up the phone and order a takeaway – you can cook something delicious in your kitchen in far less time!
6. Track your food and water
The diary style pages in your planner mean you’ve got plenty of space to record your meals, along with the calorie count or Point values if you’re following a diet like Weight Watchers.
Add notes about each meal, so you can spot at a glance which recipes were your favourites!
Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner you can add in any snacks and treats.
So, if you’ve snacked on a couple of these Biscoff Swirls, you’ll be able to note them down, add the calories (just 89 each!) and keep yourself on track.
There’s even a little water chart at the bottom of the page so you can make sure you get your 8 glasses per day!
7. Celebrate your successes!
Big goals are easier to achieve when you break them down into smaller steps.
The Quick & Easy Planner doesn’t just have space to set yourself a three month goal, there are pages to check in with your progress along the way.
And it’s not all about weight loss! Write down how you’re feeling, what you want to achieve, what’s going well and what you need to remember.
If that’s not enough to keep your motivation up, we’ve added in some of our favourite inspirational quotes to remind you that you’re amazing and capable of anything!
Plus, there’s some super-cute PON stickers tucked into the back cover to help you celebrate each little victory – whether that’s on the scale, off the scale or just nailing a new recipe!
What are you waiting for? Grab your copy today and get ready to smash your slimming goals!