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 eat foods like this, I feel invigorated.
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?
And here, I take weekends off! Well, not really, but I often feel like it. Weekend breakfasts here are more spectacular than the standard weekday breakfasts, and if we get a late start I’m cleaning up at 10:30 and the kids are wondering what’s for lunch and I’m thinking I need to take the rest of the day off from cooking.
I absolutely agree that planning and prepping ahead is the way to go. I just do it in giant batches, (perhaps per ingredient?) not weekly.
Like dishes–my spouse can put each dish into the dishwasher each time. I’ve learned (by osmosis) to do that as well, but I would prefer to wash a giant stack of pots and pans, not just the pan I used to heat up a can of soup for my daughter’s lunch. I’d prefer to wait until I’ve got a massive amount of carrots/celery/onion and do one monster food processor prep session and make a bunch of bags to freeze than to do a little bit every few days.
But first, tea.
That’s a great idea too. Wait until you have accumulated a sizeable amount and then go to town. Always after tea though. That’s a must.
Stacey Belasic says
THANK YOU for this post! I really enjoyed reading it! It is nice to see you are acutally human! I kinda thought you might be like Jeannie…haha! I think I am going to sneak upstairs and raid your granola stash when you are not around…teeheheheheheehe!!! You better hide it good…
I have gotten in the routine, on the weekends, of prepping casseroles for the week for my hubby! He is NOT a healthy eater AT ALL so it is very hard for me to stay on track–esp. because I LOVE all the stuff I end up making for him…so I started making him these casseroles and also making myself (in foil casserole pans–easy clean up too!) fresh veggies sprinkled with seasonings and olive oil so that I can just pop our dinners in the oven, set the timer and then eat! Its really helped me a lot! I’d like to start making granola and some of the other delicious concoctions you are making…but baby steps! LOL!
I actually had you in mind when I wrote this post. This and the “It Ain’t Always Pretty” post too. I know you’re interested in the behind the scenes magic and how it all goes down, so I’m trying to put that out there. I’m still tracking my meals everyday too so that one will be coming.
You are always welcome to come up here and try some of the granola to ensure you like it (if you like nuts, you’ll like granola) and then you can make it every weekend too. It really is one of the easiest things to make and takes about 30 minutes tops, which includes cook time and guarantees a good breakfast all week long.
You are very nice to your Hubby. Mine eats what I eat/cook unless he wants to make something for himself, which he will do on occasion. I’m only cooking one meal a night; if you like it, you’re welcome to it. If not, then you’re on your own. Also since I do the grocery shopping, I hardly ever buy any junk food so even if I was tempted, there’s nothing in the house for me to eat. If you don’t buy it, you don’t eat it as much. Simple but effective.
Stacey Belasic says
Awe, I thought maybe those two posts were with me in mind but I didn’t want to be big headed…LOL! THANKS!!
And I definitely will have to stop up and try that granola! I LOVE granola so I’ll have to get the recipe from you too so I can start being good! 🙂
Yeah, my hubby is definitely spoiled by me…first by his mom, though…haha! It’s just easier to make two meals because if not I have to deal with a “hangry” hubby…LOL!!! I do all the grocery shopping too (he helps unload/put it away though!) and lucky for me, he is not much of a junk food eater, so we usually do not have junk food in the house anyway. UNLESS I’m in a, “I feel like being bad” kinda mood! Haha! 🙂
Can’t wait to read your diary post! So excited you are doing that!
I think you need your own reality show………
Hangry Hubby…say no more. I’m the hangry spouse so I totally understand.
It’d be a reality show about a foul mouthed snarky hippie who loves bunnies and unicorns.
Twitching nose = Bewitched? Samantha?
Oh my gosh, you are totally right! Ha, ha. Jeannie did the whole head bob, arms folded thing. Oops.
Eating 4 Balance says
Wow. I’m totally impressed by your amount of prep-work, but it seems to totally pay off as you always have such delicious-looking foods throughout the week!
I noticed in your one produce picture that you had really green bananas (I think?). I’m always frustrated on the days I go to the grocery store and all that they have is inedible green bananas and no yellow ones in sight! Haha. Have you ever tried those get-yellow-quick ideas like putting them in a brown paper bag?
I was a prepping queen this weekend because I want to make sure I’m ready for the upcoming week. Since work is so stressful, I want the food to be easy.
Yep, those were definitely green bananas. I usually buy a bunch of green ones and a bunch of yellow ones. I freeze most of the yellow ones for smoothies, and then by the end of the week, the green ones have turned yellow and are ready to go. I go through a lot of bananas and if I bought two bunches of yellow ones, they’d all be brown by the end of the week, in which case I’d have to make muffins. 😉 I’ve never done the brown bag trick on bananas, but people say it works.
Eating 4 Balance says
I go through a lot of bananas too, and I do the exact same thing as you- buying both yellow and green 🙂
Actually, I have a funny story to share! Haha. Just thought of it… One morning I found the greenest batch of bananas that I had ever seen in my life on our kitchen counter. They were seriously green, like just picked. I asked my mom where she got them from, and she told me that her principal had given them all a big bunch…?? Apparently on her way to school one day a truck had tipped over that was transporting, you guessed it, bunches of bananas 🙂 Haha. He had to get rid of them all because the truck needed to be emptied and fixed. So my mom’s principal got a lot when she mentioned that she had teachers at school who could use them!! Too funny.
That is a funny story. I wish I could get my hands on a busted banana truck. :)T
Team Monday-List-Posts for the win! And darn right I prep on the weekends–all my lunches for the week, plus anything that will take more than fifteen minutes to cook. Sure, a baked sweet potato for dinner sounds great–but if that potato isn’t already cooked? No way I’m coming home from work and waiting an hour. I like instant (or maaaybe up to fifteen minute) gratification when it comes to food, and doing that healthy-style involves prep. Or salads. But really, who gets excited about a salad?
Ain’t that the truth. I have an easy dinner in mind for tonight but thought I’d bake my Acorn Squash too, so it’s ready for later this week because I’m definitely not waiting an hour, especially when I get home after 6:30 most nights. It would totally interfer with my early bed time.
I can get excited about a salad if you give me the right toppings, but the toppings have to be spot on. Plus, unless my lettuce is all washed and ready, salads take too long as well.
Washing lettuce=way too many steps to salad. I should try your pre-washing trick, then I could maybe talk myself into a salad every so often, rather than just on those days I desperately need to clean leftovers out of the fridge and don’t know what else to do with them but dump ’em on lettuce.
Since we get ginormous (technical term) heads of lettuce in the CSA, prewashing is really the only way I can do it. Or else it goes to waste, and I hate wasting food.
Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles says
Yes, dance parties in the kitchen are the absolute best stress reliever! I’m a big food prepper too….but lately, I dont have a chance on the weekends so I end up doing it ridiculously early (5am) on Monday morning or Monday night when I get home from work. It takes away soo much stress from weekday meals
That’s a bummer, and not an ideal way to start your week. Hope it slows done soon.
I love this post! So many awesome ideas for people who have a hectic and busy filled life. I wish you weren’t so stressed though hunnie. Just take a deep breath, and remind yourself that work will let up soon (hopefully), and soon enough it’ll be Christmas & you’ll be enjoying lots of family time <3
I know. I do a lot of deep breathes throughout the day. One foot in front of the other mentality, and it will slow done in another month or so. This is my busy time for work so I know it’s crazy and can be stressful, but it’s also what I signed up for, so I work on ways to minimize the stress. Hopefully, I get better at it every year.
caren @ voodies says
I tend to always prep my meals. It keeps me from going down a path of nutritional destruction, and it’s also great for those lazy moments where you don’t feel like cooking. Although I rarely have those….I’m pretty much always in the mood to cook 🙂
a path of nutritional destruction; I love that.
I nominated you for a leibster award.
Yeah! Thank you; I will check it out.