I’m on day 2 of a 21 day re-nourish plan. Note – not a diet! For a little background on how this plan works, check out my post from yesterday. I love how many of you are doing this with me, and I can’t wait to hear how we all feel in 21 days. I’m sharing my menu plan for the week below along with some tips on how to eat like this without spending hours in the kitchen. Remember to follow me and get up to the minute motivation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I also just created a healthy eating board on Pinterest so be sure to follow me there. And I’ll post another plan next week.
Planning what we’ll eat each week is the only way I manage to cook from scratch, stay healthy, avoid waste and save money. I love to cook but I don’t like cleaning up or visiting the grocery store more than twice a week. I’d rather spend time cooking and eating than shopping!
I know from the cooking classes I teach that for most people, it isn’t an inability to cook but a lack of planning that stops them finding time to cook in their busy lives. I know how easy it is to slip into eating less than healthy food, or spending a fortune on ready-made food or eating out just because it is suddenly 7pm, you’ve just got home and everyone is starving. I’m no angel, I know the lure of take out when I’m tired.
The biggest things that help me stay willing and able to cook are:
- Plan a week at a time. Write out a menu plan for whoever you are cooking for, who’ll be in on what days, then write your grocery list. Don’t try to make 6 new recipes a week. Life gets in the way. Pick 2-3 recipes you can make with your eyes closed. Pick a couple of nights you’ll have leftovers or food from the freezer then try 1-2 new recipes a week.
- Think about recipes that have a pick and mix element to stop you feeling like a short-order cook. I cook for myself, a never-full husband and my boys – aged 3 and 4. But I only cook one meal – they just pick which parts they will eat. Below the menu plan you’ll see how I add bulk into their meals when I’m avoiding it.
- Have some ‘get out of jail’ dinners that are quick but healthy, things you can pick up from the store and do very little to to make a meal. My go-to is Whole Foods organic rotisserie chicken with the Whole Foods made in store guacamole and a bag of baby spinach (and tortillas for my boys)
- When you’re cooking, think about what other jobs you can get done while your kitchen is already messy and while you’re already in there. Maybe make a batch of houmus or pesto. Chop veggies for the next day. Roast some meat for salads or tacos. Cook some rice or quinoa and freeze it in individual containers.
- Plan that a couple of times a week, you’ll make double or triple of whatever you’re having for dinner that night. Freeze the extra portions ready for a night off cooking in future weeks. Stews, chili, curries, pasta sauce are all brilliant to freeze
- Keep a list of what is in your freezer and refer to it when you make your menu plan for the week. You will forget what is in there.
I’m happy to chat you about more of my strategies for keeping cooking fun while fitting it into a busy life. Just send me a comment with your questions/issues and I can help.
This is what I’ll be eating this week, I’ve linked to the recipes I use. I’ve also added a ‘prep ahead’ column to show you what dishes you can prep ahead, make alongside whatever else you’re cooking, or make extra of to help you have a few nights with minimal cooking. Pick and choose what appeals to you, let me know if you need any more info on my suggestions.
|week 1||Breakfast||lunch||dinner||Prep ahead|
|Monday||2 boiled eggs with a half avocado sprinkled with chili flakes and sea salt||turkey and slaw with Thai dressing and flaked almonds||roast cod or salmon wrapped in prosciutto with roasted broccoli and celery root (celariac). Sprinkle with with red wine vinegar. Add potatoes to tray of veggies for rest of family||1. roast some smoked paprika and fennel seed rubbed turkey breasts and extra veggies at the same time as roasting tonight’s dinner (around 30 minutes at 200C/400F or until opaque al the way through)|
|2. boil and peel eggs for the next 4 days|
|3. Cook buckwheat ready for porridge tomorrow|
|4. Shred veggies for slaw|
|5. Make 2 salad dressings and keep in jar in fridge|
|Tuesday||buckwheat porridge with dates, almond butter and grated apple||chopped boiled eggs with slaw, avocado and french dressing||turkey with black beans, guacamole, salsa and roasted veggies. Add organic corn tacos for the rest of the family.||1. make double the amount of salsa and guac and keep some in the fridge|
|Wednesday||2 boiled eggs with a half avocado sprinkled with chili flakes and sea salt||leftover turkey with slaw, guac and salsa||grilled steak or salmon with zucchini fries (baked in almond meal and herbs) and piedmontese peppers||1. grill extra steak or salmon for tomorrow’s lunch|
|2. Make a big pan of veggie and lentil soup while dinner cooks|
|Thursday||buckwheat porridge with almond butter and grated apple||veggie and lentil soup, slices of steak or salmon on the side to nibble on||meatballs with cauliflower tabbouleh and greens||1. Make double or triple the meatballs and freeze them raw, ready for dinners in the next few weeks|
|2. Make turkey bolognaise sauce. Make double or triple and freeze in individual portions for lunches and dinners|
|Friday||buckwheat porridge with almond butter and grated apple||smoked salmon salad with sesame seeds and Thai dressing||one pan prawns with tomato, fennel and paprika with shredded kale and fennel dressed in lemon|
|Saturday||veggie frittata or scramble and bacon||veggie and lentil soup||turkey bolognaise with veggies or zucchini noodles|
|Sunday||scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with avocado and cucumber||Vietnamese turkey burgers in lettuce wraps||chicken or prawn veggie curry or stew with roast squash and spinach||1. make veggie stew with any leftover veggies and freeze in individual portions|
|2. make double or triple of the turkey burgers and freeze|
|To add more bulk to meals|
|add brown rice or quinoa (I cook a big batch and freeze it in individual portions) to meals if you’d like|
|add organic corn tortillas or potato wedges|
|use brown rice pasta instead of, or mixed half and half with the zucchini noodles with the turkey bolognaise|
|serve soup with buckwheat bread, spread with goats cheese or houmus|