Saturday, May 17, 2014

Meal Planning

It's been forever since I've posted anything.... over a year, actually!  Life with a 19 month old has been pretty hectic, in a good way.  We're actually expecting our 2nd little nugget in the end of August.  This pregnancy definitely has not been as easy as the first one.  I've had lots of headaches and morning sickness- something I never experienced with Chase.  I've been joking that if this little one is a girl (and we aren't finding out until the big day, so who knows!)  she's already making my life difficult!  Anyway, life's been pretty crazy, but I love every minute!  

I just wanted to take a minute to update the blog and re-commit to eating healthy again.  A few weeks ago, I started to document all my food on my facebook page (just look up The Cookin Cutie on Facebook and you'll see the page). It helps to keep me accountable and I always find it helpful to see what other people are eating!  Being preggers, I'm sticking with pretty much paleo, but I've been following Chris Kresser's recommendations from the The Healthy Baby Code   

Basically- it's paleo, but it adds in a few "safe" carbs and a lot of dairy.  So the dairy I'm eating is grass-fed and full fat.  It's hard to find grass-fed, full fat yogurt, so I've been making my own (future blog post to come).  

A lot of people ask me how I manage to continue with healthy eating while working full time and caring for a toddler.  At least 4 nights a week, there's a home cooked meal on the table.  There are always healthy packed lunches for me, Chase, and Curt.  Not because I'm a Martha Stewart wanna be.... and not because I'm killing myself to be the "perfect mom and wife"- heaven knows I'm nowhere close... but because to me, healthy eating is a priority.  I want Chase to grow up knowing what REAL food is.  I don't want him to be that kid in college who only eats Chipotle or hot dogs (I actually knew a guy who ate only that!).  I like that he eats what we eat and it definitely makes my life easier that I don't have to make 2 or 3 different meals each night. 

So, back to the point of how I find the time to cook at least 4 meals and 5 lunches each week... the key is PLANNING!  Here's what my planning consists of:

I come up with a few different ideas for meals: my inspiration comes from Pinterest, the Food Channel, the Cooking Channel, and my pregnancy hormones haha.  I just jot down what I want to make for the week.  Dinner plans are the main focus because lunches are either leftovers from the dinners or salads with a bunch of stuff on them (craisins/almonds/cheese/veggies/fruit).  I also check out the sales flyer at Whole Foods to see what's on sale.  If there's a good sale, I'll plan a meal around that.  

Then, I write down the "menu" for the week along with the sides I'll make to go with it.  I also like to write down the recipes- that way, I'm not searching for which recipe went with what.  I keep my weekly menus and the recipes all together in my little composition notebook.   It's also nice because I can keep track of what I made and when and which recipes I like.  

Then, I'll make a grocery list with EVERYTHING I need, sorted by grocery store section - all the produce together, all the dairy together, etc.... that way, I can get through the grocery store faster.  

I usually do my grocery shopping and prep work on Sundays.  Once I get home, I wash and prep all the food I can.  I wash and chop all the veggies and fruits.  If possible, I'll prep the meals too.  I'll marinate any meats and portion everything possible. For example, if I'm making a soup on Wednesday, I'll cut up all the veggies, so all I have to do is dump everything in the pot and turn on the heat.  Curt is amazing and takes Chase out to play when he gets home so I have some time to get dinner ready... but I definitely don't have hours to prep an entire meal from start to finish.  If I can minimize the process as much as possible, it makes everyone's lives easier!

So anyway, that's what I do.  Prep and plan as much as possible!  It takes a lot of time on the weekends, but it saves sooooo much time and effort during the week and is totally worth it!