This mum now only goes grocery shopping once every 2 months!

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Sometimes, the hardest part of your weight loss and health adventure is the beginning.

 There are many things to consider when embarking on this journey. It can often feel overwhelming. This mum-of-one says some things to think about before you start are your goals, exercise goals, time management, and how you plan to meal prep.

“I started my Healthy Mummy journey at 135kg, and now, 25 months on, I am 46kg lighter, 170cm gone from body!” Melanie says.

Melanie Arnold-Stemm before and after

Melanie’s meal planning

Melanie confesses to feeling too overwhelmed in the beginning, and started by using the free Healthy Mummy recipes while beginning to prep her lunches for the week and reduce her portion sizes.

“I worked full time, and as a single mother to my then toddler, it was the easiest way I could jump on board without the stressful feeling,” she said.

Now as a 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge member, Melanie loves taking 15 minutes every Wednesday to customise her meal plan, prep and prepare for the week ahead.

“I always make sure to make a serve of 4 (2 for dinner, one for lunch, and one for a freezer stash), which helps keep my prep work down, as I like to have my dinners made fresh each night! This also helps keep my budget down, because if worse comes to worse, there’s always a freezer stash,” she says.

Melanie’s weekly budget must always be under $75, and she does a big shop for staple ingredients usually once every two months (meat and pantry), and organises her meal plans around these things.

She says, “I’ve reduced my food budget by half, which is fantastic, and also gives me so much more time to enjoy my daughter as well!”

Melanie also loves to prep snacks for 3 days, and then make a freezer stash of the sweet treats like cookie dough bars, bliss balls, and fruit based ice creams!

“They are a wonderful go to when I feel like something a bit naughty,” she says.

What Melanie makes:

Lamb meatballs with spinach and sweet potato

Lamb meatballs with spinach and sweet potato
Meatballs and mash is a great substitute for pasta if you’re skimping on the carbs! Using sweet potato as the base of the mash not only gives you a healthy starch but also Vitamin A.
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 110g lean lamb mince
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil spray
  • 2 stp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Pre heat oven to 200 degrees. Line an oven tray with baking paper
  • Combine garlic, thyme and lamb mince, season mix with salt and pepper. Mix well and then form into golf ball size balls, 3-4 per serve.
  • Lightly spray meatballs with cooking oil and place on prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • While meatballs are cooking, boil the sweet potato in a saucepan of water until tender, around 10 minutes. Drain and add half of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use a hand masher or stick blender to mash/process until smoothe.
  • In a fry pan add remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • Place sweet potato mash on a plate and top with spinach and meatballs. Squeeze over lemon juice to serve.
380 calories.

Spanish rice with chorizo

Spanish rice with chorizo

Need a quick and easy dinner? This Easy Spanish Rice with Chorizo will be a hit with the whole family.

You can make this super speedy meal if you prepare the rice beforehand and then reheat it so it’s steaming before you cook the rest. Why not make a double batch and freeze individual serves to use for lunches on busy days?

  • 1/2 cup brown rice uncooked
  • 1 chorizo sausage chopped
  • 1/2 brown onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 Tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or tinned
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
  • 2 wedges fresh lime


  • Cook brown rice according to packet instructions or reheat already cooked rice until piping hot.
  • Place a non-stick fry pan over a medium heat and cook chorizo slices on both sides for approximately 3 minutes until edges are crisp. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add onion to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until it starts to turn golden. Add tomatoes, vegetables and paprika. Toss to combine and cook for 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly tender.
  • Add cooked rice and return chorizo to the pan. Toss together and garnish with parsley.
  • Arrange on serving plate with a wedge of lime per serve.
409 calories.

Pan fried beef with sweet potato

Pan fried beef with sweet potato
Steak and vegetables can’t get any simpler and more delicious. This particular dish has pureed sweet potato to substitute a white mash potato which can leave you feeling sluggish and can cause bloating due to it being laden in cream and butter. Enjoy your high-protein dish with some colour!
400 calories.

Caramelised onion dip

Caramelised onion dip
French onion dip lovers alas, you can create your own healthy version of this long loved (not very good for you) dip. Think light cream cheese and sour cream and this snack will leave you feeling satisfied yet light!
155 calories.
You can find this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

BLT Pita Melt

BLT pita melt
Who know you could have this pizza lookalike for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Using wholemeal pita bread as a base for your melt is what sets this health monster apart from the stock standard store-bought monster. A delicious way to start or end your day in only 3 steps!
  • 1 small wholemeal pita bread
  • 2 tsp tomato passata
  • 2 bacon rasher, lean & trimmed
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • Preheat grill to high. Place bacon on a lined tray and cook under grill until crispy.
  • Spread passata over pita bread. Slice cooked bacon and place over pita with tomato and baby spinach.
  • Top with grated cheese and cook under grill for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Serve immediately.
293 calories.

Grilled steak with sweet potato wedges and salsa

Grilled steak with sweet potato wedges and salsa
Adding salsa to this somewhat simple meal means you won’t get bored and will most likely want to have this for dinner more than once a week! Use a lean piece of meat to ensure your body can easily digest this afterwards.
405 calories.
You can find this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Grilled chicken and roast vegetable salad

Grilled chicken and roast vegetable salad
With minimal ingredients and effort this chicken and vegetable recipe is great for working mums, when you can’t think of what on earth to have for dinner, even with a whole kitchen full of ingredients, or simply on those nights where you’re so tired you can’t think straight. Easy to prepare and the whole family can enjoy!
380 calories.
You can find this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Strawberry and dark chocolate parfait

  Strawberry and dark chocolate parfait
With 4 ingredients, this parfait is the new trifle! Your kids will be asking for this over and over and you can rest assured they are getting nutrients with their dessert, winning!
262 calories.
You can find this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Poached egg and ham wrap Poached Egg and Ham Wrap

 A wrap for breakfast? Yes you heard right. This poached egg and ham wrap will have you feeling full and satisfied until your morning snack. No idea where to start when poaching an egg, no worries, here’s how to easily make them at home!
200 calories.
You can find this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge
The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has over 4000 recipes available, and are SO easy to prepare! They work for everyone; even fussy families or the time poor, and I haven’t found a recipe that I don’t like yet!
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