Since we had Bonnie, I have really dropped the ball when it comes to planning our meals and prepping our food each week. There are several excuses I’ve used: My free time is more limited than it was before Bonnie arrived. When I do have free time, there are about a thousand things I would rather be doing than spending time in the kitchen…. I could continue, but enough with the excuses.
I realize that even though spending a few hours of my weekend in the kitchen is not what I want to be doing, it’s what I need to be doing. I need to do it for Andrew’s and my health, but I also need to do it for Bonnie, so that she can grow up with healthy eating habits. My hope is that she will develop an appreciation for, and maybe even a love of cooking, planning, and preparing meals… a love that I’ve never really had. While I do not want Bonnie to obsess over food, I do want her to realize that part of being a good steward of the bodies God has given us means eating well and wisely. I do want her to realize that food is powerful, and that choosing the right foods is an important part of life!
My parents came for a visit over the weekend, and were an ENORMOUS help. We spent Friday running errands, including a trip to both Costco and my regular grocery store. It had been several weeks since I’d done any major grocery shopping, so it was time to stock up while I had help here! Since having Bonnie (here I go again, blaming things on her!) I’ve had an irrational fear of grocery shopping with just the two of us. I am afraid she will have a breakdown in the middle of the store at a time when I won’t know whether to drop everything and tend to her, or even take her home, or fight through it and finish what I am doing. I mean, what if she starts screaming while I am standing in line at the register, surrounded by people who don’t think her cry is quite as precious as I do? I know this fear is silly, especially since her breakdowns are soooo few and far between. Even so, it’s nice to be able to save big grocery trips for when I know I’ll have a bit of help. (One day, I will get over this.)
Although having help with my shopping was great, what’s even greater is that my mom spent a lot of time helping me prep our meals and snacks after we got done shopping. When I actually take the time to do this, Andrew and I eat so much healthier, and I feel so much less stressed when mealtimes roll around. Plus, we save money, and no food is wasted. When I list all the benefits of meal planning and prepping, like I just did, I cannot believe I let it go undone for so long!
But moving on…
I’m planning only for Monday through Friday, because the weekends are so unpredictable these days.
Spaghetti squash spaghetti, toss salad, garlic bread (on gluten free bread)
(I will make my spaghetti squash in the crock pot, and use homemade spaghetti sauce. The recipe is at the bottom of this post.)
So while my mom was here to help me, here is the prep work we did to get ready for the week:
– Made a big batch of spaghetti sauce
– Made a batch of brown rice (for lunches)
– Made a batch of quinoa (for lunches)
– Baked 6 chicken thighs (for lunches)
– Hardboiled a dozen eggs (for snacks)
– Scrambled eggs with kale (for breakfast)
– Cooked sausage (for breakfast)
– Froze the extras sweet potatoes we bought (Here’s how to prep sweet potatoes for freezing)
For our lunches:
The reason we made so much brown rice and quinoa is so that we can toss some veggies, meat, and dressing with either the rice or the quinoa, and have quick, filling salads.
I also love a simple tuna salad, served with celery sticks, crackers, as a sandwich, or over greens. YUM. If you aren’t comfortable using store-bought Mayo, you could use Greek yogurt instead, or if you don’t eat dairy, you could make your own mayo.
Apples, bananas, carrots, 3-ingredient protein bars (recipe coming shortly), nut butter, gluten free granola (I like this kind, because it is gluten free, and because the sugar content is reasonable. Oh, and because it has lots of fiber!)
And here is that spaghetti sauce recipe I mentioned earlier:
- 1/2 pound – 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 2 small zucchinis, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- Mushrooms (as many as you feel like)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1, 28oz can crushed tomatoes (look at the ingredients and pick the one with the fewest… obviously)
- 1, 15oz can tomato sauce (do the same with this can)
- Dried basil (to taste)
- Dried oregano (to taste)
My sister gave me this recipe. It is great as it is, but it’s also very versatile. If you don’t want or don’t have meat, just add extra zucchini and/or mushrooms. If your husband won’t touch mushrooms with a ten foot pole (like mine) then just leave them out all together. If you like your sauce a bit spicy (like I do) then add some red pepper flakes. Basically, take this basic recipe and run with it. Or don’t. It will still be good!
Needless to say, it was such a productive weekend, and I am thrilled to have gotten the week off to such a great start.