Healthy eating isn’t always easy. Pimpin’ either.
I could lie and tell you nutritious and vitamin dense meals just magically appear in front of me every time I wiggle my nose, but it doesn’t work that way, and believe me I’ve tried. I’ve been working the nose wiggle ever since I first saw I Dream of Jeannie.
Talk about warping young children’s mind with the unattainable: beautiful, belly baring, busty, and magical powers. You could get lucky and have one, two, or possibly even three of these traits, but nobody can do the nose wiggle, and I’d pay good money for that skill. House clean: wiggle, wiggle. Holiday gifts wrapped: wiggle, wiggle. Office work done: wiggle, wiggle. Damn, she was talented.
The point of my ramblings is healthy eating isn’t always easy. The reward though is worth every extra lick of work; pun intended.
Right now, I’m pretty stressed about my workload at the office (late nights and weekends are the norm) and the upcoming holidays and all that entails. I have constant To Do lists running through my mind. On repeat.
Since I’m a tight little ball of tension, I’m employing as many stress relief tactics as I can, including Saturday dance parties in the kitchen. A little Fatboy Slim really got me going this weekend, and it felt damn good. Since I want you to feel the same way, I’m going to share. Feel free to pause your blog reading long enough to get your dance on. I’m serious. Turn off everything else, hit play, crank the music, stand up and just dance.
It’s amazing what an invigorating dance party can do.
Another way I’ve been managing my stress is eating healthy. In tough times, it’s even more important to stay on track because it helps with all things mental.
Food has the power to comfort, energize, nourish, satisfy, sustain, and when you choose the right ones, it makes you feel good. Eat well = Feel Well. Simple enough.
When I regularly eat food like this, I start to feel like shit. To be clear, this is not from my house; I just googled images of processed foods.
So in order to make sure I eat well, I need to do my due diligence, which translates to spending a couple of hours of every single weekend dealing with food prep in one way or another. Let’s put it in a list form because lists rock my world. If you were to speak to me in lists (as opposed to tongues), I’d run away and marry you (Sorry Hubby).
- I go to Nature’s Bin, my grocery store every weekend. They actually know me by name, which is pretty cool since I love grocery shopping. It’s an indulgence for me. I can get lost (in your eyes) in the produce section, and I spend the majority of my time there. So many colors and so many pretty things.
- I loosely plan our meals for the work week. I come up with some general dinner ideas, based on what’s in the fridge or pantry. I may not make anything on the list or a little bit of everything, but at least I know I have the food to do it. This way I’m not standing in front of the fridge on a Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., trying to figure out what’s for dinner. This week the list includes, but is not limited to, Huevos Rancheros (I still have leftover black beans and sautéed onions and peppers from last week’s Huevos), some salads since we got a big bundle of lettuce in our CSA, Cauliflower Soup, Veggie Stir Fry with a Seven Grain Medley, Acorn Squash and Baked Potatoes, Ravioli and Broccoli, Tomato and Lentil Stew, and Spicy Mac n Cheese. Obviously, I won’t make every meal, but it’s nice to have options. Of course, there are some nights, the ones when I get home after 8 p.m., where I end up with a grilled cheese or a bowl of cereal instead. The best laid plans… don’t always wok.
- I wash all the fruits and veggies I know I’m going to want to use that week. I peel and store ripened bananas in the freezer so they are good to go for my morning smoothies. I chop up veggies and wash lettuce when applicable, so they are at the ready. Attention. Fall in line soldier!
- I also make some variation of granola, usually a double batch, so the Hubby and I both have quick and satisfying breakfasts for the entire week. I bring my granola to work on Monday morning in a giant Tupperware, along with a vat of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Then when I get hungry, I have an easy, delicious and nutritious option at my fingertips. This week’s granola includes dried bing cherries and almond extract. Mmm, I can’t wait to dig in.
- I also make at least one “snack” for the week. Sometimes it’s energy balls or bars. Other times, it’s hard-boiled eggs, or Candied Almonds. This past weekend, I went on a bender and made all of the above. Should the apocalypse come, I’ll be ready. It’s snackalicious up in this house.
- If I’ve really got some time and the motivation on the weekends, I’ll make a batch of Mac n Cheese or some other type of casserole. I’ll take care of every step, except actually baking it. Then, during the week, when I return from a day of hard mental labor, I can just pop dinner in the oven and set a timer.
- All fall long, I’ve been storing and freezing soups, chilis, and stews. I’m like a squirrel stockpiling nuts. At the beginning of each week, I remove one of these bad boys from my freezer, so I can count on taking at least one night off from cooking. These sweet little dreams require reheating only. This week, I’m having Chili made back in September.
Yes, all of these things require time and some effort, but I routinely do them on weekends because it allows me to have good food options at the ready, and when I eat well, I feel well. It’s as simple and as worthwhile as that.
Do you prep food on weekends? If so, what does it involve for you? What’s your favorite thing to prep?