By Zerline Hughes
This week I start a full schedule of fitness. Fitness that I offer for others and fitness for myself. (I told you, 2017 is all about self care!) I will be teaching two Zumba classes (you’re invited), and taking two conditioning classes with SWEATDC. I’m really looking forward to four days a week of built-in fitness. I need it!
What this new schedule means is that I’ll be getting home late. Yes, we have frozen pizza and sandwich fixings, but I’d prefer that the family has a home-cooked and balanced meal – especially me, with all the other healthy activities I’m committing to.
When the kids were in Pre-K and elementary school (the early and exciting years of mothering before I became tired), I would often keep a cooler in the back of our mini-van and stock it with snacks, sometimes dinner in two plastic containers complete with plastic forks, napkins and a dessert. Yes, I was awesome. But now I’m withered. Planning ahead and finding the time to do so is such a challenge.
Nevertheless, because I’m committed to a healthy lifestyle and because I want us all healthy and happy, I’m back to my Sunday meal prep for the week. Cooking about three meals on the weekend makes for a smooth and successful week – and this is whether you’re solo, coupled up, or a part of a busy family. We’re all balancing crazy schedules and many of us are unable to get home early enough to unwind, cook, eat, work off our dinner, enjoy down time and go to sleep several hours after eating. (Or is it just me?)
This week’s menu in our household: curried and jerked baked pork chops with blue and red potatoes and brussel sprouts; homemade chicken pot pie (with store-bought frozen crust); spaghetti squash lasagne with broccoli and spinach; and shrimp/sausage and grits (not the most healthy but soooo good).
Now, the family can can dish it up when they arrive home, or on band practice days when I pick them up late only to hear my daughter whine about how she’s starving, I can pre-pack their dinner and by the time they get home they don’t have to spend time wondering what to eat. (Note: I haven’t yet graduated to having a refrigerator that’s full of food-filled plasticware, and we’ll see if I decide to cater to the kids or see if they’re up to the task in the morning.)
Do you food prep for the week? What are your go-to recipes? Have any tips?
Do you not do food prep for the week? Are you considering how to get started? Here’s some tips:
1.) Make sure you have groceries. That may be obvious to some, but subtle reminders are needed for those of us who get so inspired and then so tired after we figure out what steps are needed. So, get groceries during the week with a few meals in mind. I strongly suggest not rushing home to cook after your grocery trip. Trips to any store tire me out.
2.) Make sure you have food storage containers – large and small. You’ll need enough for the family to take to work and/or school and after school. You’ll also need some to store the meal so you can make other meals in your favorite skillets and pots. I’m a fan of containers with separators!
3.) Write the week’s menu on the refrigerator. Make sure your household knows what to choose from. I am planning on delegating a meal for a specific day of the week, but if one person in the household wants chicken on Monday and another wants fish, that’s OK, too.
4.) When you run out of ingredients, write it down in your phone. There’s nothing worse than deciding on what you’re gonna’ make and then realizing you’ve run out of something. Train your household to write down what’s missing from the fridge after they use the last bit of it.
5.) No need to get fancy. To get started, just make whatever meals you usually do, but make sure you control your portions. Then, as you get the hang of it, consider swapping out the pasta for spaghetti squash, mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower (our household favorite), or when baking, omit the eggs and use unsweetened apple sauce (your dish may look a little different, but no one will ever know – trust me).
Need more tips?