Plan Your Meals Ahead, Fitness Expert Advises

Organising your meals in advance is the best way to avoid impulse purchases. This works for 24-year-old Lauren Jagger, an English native who works as the Head of Sports and
14 Nov 2014 12:25
Plan Your Meals Ahead, Fitness Expert Advises
Lauren Jagger (left), with partner Chris Tomlinson shopping at Kundan Singh Supermarket in Tamavua. Photos: Losalini Rasoqosoqo

Organising your meals in advance is the best way to avoid impulse purchases.

This works for 24-year-old Lauren Jagger, an English native who works as the Head of Sports and Education for legendary rugby league player, Petero Civoniceva’s Foundation.

This week, Lauren shares her experience on shopping in Fiji and how she conducts it not only to save money but also to give her a balance diet.

As a sport fanatic having been brought up in the birth place of rugby which is Huddersfield (which is the reason she loves rugby league), Lauren ensures she lives on healthy meals – so shopping is definitely her key to nutritious meals.


“When I go shopping, I like to be organised and plan at least five meals in advance. This way when I shop I don’t give in to impulse purchases and my basket stays moderately healthy,” Lauren said.

She explained that she loves to go out shopping and shopping in Suva is an enjoyable experience for her “as the people are so friendly”.

Lauren is a vegetarian, unlike her partner Chris who she lives with – so that makes planning for meal times and preparation taking a lot longer than expected. So what does she do to save money?

Lauren buys produce that will last over duration of meals.

“I don’t like to eat the same thing over and over again but we are very keen on ensuring that we have “five a day” whether it be fruit or vegetables.”

“We visit the Suva market almost every two days to buy tofu and bok choi and fresh tomatoes are some of my favourite ingredients to cook with.  I am also keen to eat as many greens as I can, especially spinach so I can get my iron intake, something I will lack as I don’t eat meat.”

What she gets from the supermarket are basics that are not sold in the market such as coconut oil which she uses to cook with “as it is great for my skin and my hair.”

“We are firm believers that small businesses should not be affected by large chain supermarkets which are why we vary where we buy our produce from and always visit the local market stalls for fresh produce,” Lauren said.

“Having lived in the UK and now here it is clear to see that certain produce overseas is very expensive compared. I loved the vast choice of fresh produce and the fruits that we cannot get back home such as pawpaws and jackfruits.”


Lauren says it is important to have a family budget. This way, according to her, “you are in control of your spending on all purchases as you can assess where your money has gone over the duration of the month.”

“Sometimes we budget ourselves to $5 meals and we have a competition to see who can get the healthiest meal between my partner and I.”

“I wouldn’t say I was the best cook, but I try to cook a new dish at least every week, with guidance from my partner Chris. Recently, I made a pizza that was free from any salt and sugar and filled with lots of vegetables. I don’t like to add salt or sugar to any of my meals as too much salt can cause high blood pressure and too much bad sugar can increase weight gain.”

Her advice to the public are;

– Draw up five meals for the week so that you know in advance what ingredients you will need and if any of the ingredients can be duplicated.

– Never to shop when you are very hungry or just before meal times, as you will be more inclined to buy quick fixes such as chocolates and crisps that will only suppress your appetite for a short amount of time and have no nutritional value.

– Ensure that a healthy diet is balanced with a healthy lifestyle, ie taking the stairs instead of the lift or joining a local fitness or dance club.


She is from Yorkshire, England and has a BA Honours Degree in Physical Education from Leeds Metropolitan University and a PGCE in Secondary Education from London Metropolitan University.

She was head choreographer and dance captain for the Huddersfield Giants Rugby Super League team for three years, as well as training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Over the last six years she has been devoted herself to educating children through sport. She ran her own Sport and Dance Company offering physical education lessons to children in curriculum time, afterschool clubs and summer camps. She has first-hand experience of the “power of sport” in disadvantaged communities having taught underprivileged children in Bhopal, India.

She is now the Head of Sport and Education for the Petero Civoniceva Foundation based in Suva, Fiji. It is a charitable organisation aimed to harness a holistic approach to encourage a healthy lifestyle across the whole of Fiji.  The charity is focusing on reducing the amount of people with Diabetes in particular and offering physical education to school children in order for them to steer free from NCD’S.



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