Whether it is a whole food’s meal on a plate or a blended meal on the run, Know what you need for a meal and be prepared. Be purposeful, not reactive! Check out “Keys to Healthier Meals” to see what to incorporate into your meals for maximum nutrition.
The following 3 steps have made my workload lighter.
1. a MENU
Creating a quick little menu, nothing elaborate, will give you a jump start on the week. Just three or four things: a sauce, a soup, some beans, maybe an entrée or burgers. Now the sauce could be for pasta or a Buddha bowl, the beans for a baked potato or “haystack”, and the soup can be supplemented with a sandwich or burger. Make enough that you can repeat it later in the week or put some in the freezer for another time. Those “freezer meals” really save the day when you are in a pinch. Even pastas freeze well for up to a month!
Don’t be elaborate with a lot of new recipes, save that for the occasional and leave the familiar for most days.
When cooking grains like rice, quinoa, or millet, I make extra to freeze in 1-cup amounts to easily grab for making some entree or to eat under beans. A batch of oven-baked burgers or meatballs are easy freezer foods, and beans are a perfect choice! Anything that freezes well, cook extra.
It can be helpful at the start of the week to steam or roast a bunch of veggies, making it easy to put together a meal in minutes when things get rushed.
A quick look at the menu and your fridge will let you know what items to pick up at the store, adding fruits and veggies to compliment the meals. I like to get a couple of items made on Sunday if I can, but at least all the ingredients will be available whenever I cook.
Wash everything that is “washable” so it is done all at once and the rest of the week you can easily make salads and serve fruit with meals without taking the extra step over and over again!
Keep a supply of canned beans, taking advantage of the organic, low sodium, and NON BPA brands when they are on sale.
3. a ROUTINE
This takes the “thought” out of serving meals and helps with the menu planning as does a list of all your families favorite meals. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it is nice if your needing ideas. For example, here is ours at the present time (I don’t have to write down breakfasts and suppers, as they are just how we always do it.)
Breakfasts: Sunday waffles or pancakes, Monday Muesli, Tuesday cooked cereal, Wednesday Granola, Thursday another cooked grain, and Friday cooked or cold cereal, and granola again on Saturday.
Dinners (this meal is served at noon at our house). There is a Mexican day, pasta day, potato day (regular or sweet), an Ethnic day, a soup day, and leftovers day. That is for ideas so I don’t have to stress, it doesn’t mean that is what we always do. Often I plan two or three things and repeat again later in the week.
Suppers are usually fruit and toast with variations on the breads, i.e., muffins, biscuits, crepes, French Toast, etc. I always make plenty and freeze the rest for another supper. However, any night we desire, I may make a 3-fruit shake and some air-fried French fries or scrambled tofu in pocket breads with tomato, avocado, cucumber and lettuce. We are not limited to the routine, but it always is there to fall bake on.
These three simple steps can ease your load and improve the quality of your meals without a lot of stress.
“Ask the Lord to bless your plans and you will be successful in carrying them out.” Prov. 16:3 (TEV)