“Weekly Food Prep”
Hello Shapers. Today I’d like to talk about food prep. It’s what I do every weekend to prepare myself for the week ahead so that I stay on track and eat nutritious food that will keep me healthy and going strong.
I’ve mentioned before that I travel with tea bags for those sweet tooth attacks. That is a major part of my survival kit.
In addition to that, I find that having some food that is premade and already sitting in my fridge saves me from needlessly snacking when I arrive home from a long day inevitably hungry.
Here’s how a typical fall/winter Sunday will break down for me:
After I’ve put the groceries away (I’ll show you a typical grocery list in another post), I will preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the oven preheats, I will wash my root vegetables and peel and chop them.
Typically after that, I take all my root vegetables (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.) and throw them in the oven together.
*It will start to smell enticing, but remember this is food prep for your week not your day, so try not to do too much taste testing ;). I speak from experience.
As the hot food is cooking…
I then prep my breakfast for the week, Green Juice!
I will make 7 green juices for my week (ingredients typically include cucumber, lemon, carrot, celery, beet, and Romaine lettuce). I will put one in the fridge for Monday and the rest I will put in the freezer. On Monday, I will take Tuesday’s juice out of the freezer and move it to the fridge when I drink Monday’s juice and so on for the rest of the week.
The juicing process usually takes about an hour. So after an hour I’m usually done with my prep for the week.
*If I’m feeling particularly ambitious and time allows, I may make a large batch of soup or stew that I we can eat for several days, or a roast of some kind. I also sometimes make a marinara or bolognaise sauce for the week.
During the week:
A great snack that I pack in my lunch box (they are actually delicious cold) or they can be left in the fridge to eat when I walk in my apartment famished. They also make a great side dish and can easily be reheated.
*I prefer to reheat in the oven as opposed to the microwave.
As for the butternut squash….
It can be eaten very much the same way at the sweet potatoes (as a side dish, as a snack, in a container in your lunch box). You could even throw some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger on it and eat as a dessert.
However, my favorite thing to do with it is to make a zucchini “noodle” lasagna midweek. I use this recipe http://detoxinista.com/2010/02/detox-lasagna/ from Detoxinista.com. And I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I use some help from store bought no sugar added sauce to make it easier. (As an Italian, I never entertained the idea of jarred sauce until I was in my 30s. It’s not like homemade, but sure does help when you’re busy)
Alternately, if there is no butternut squash, or I’ve eaten it all by midweek (this happens more than I’d like to admit), another favorite of mine to food prep is spaghetti squash. This is also a simple recipe that you can throw in the oven and walk away from while it cooks to do other weekend at home activities like laundry, vacuuming, etc. “Oh the glamour!”
Here is a link to a simple recipe for spaghetti squash http://colorfuleatsnutrition.com/recipes/2013/9/30/spaghetti-squash-baking-essentials
After I make the squash, I usually season it with a little bit of salt as I would with traditional pasta. Then I cut the bounty in half.
I put half in the fridge to be eaten during the week and the other half goes in the freezer for a “rainy day”.
It’s good to have for weekends when we’ve been away and I don’t have time for food prep, or for the end of the week when I’m out of food and I know I can pull it from the freezer.
Another great reason to have it in the freezer is that I can easily go to it for last minute invites to my in laws, or elsewhere. I always bring it with me to my in laws so I can enjoy their delicious staples, like tomato sauce and not get sick or put them out making special “pasta” for me. My husband appreciates it too because I don’t need to spend time making it (it’s already made, you just need to reheat) and I don’t come home cranky because I ate poorly, or worse, feel sick.
I’ve only recently discovered spaghetti squash, but I’m truly in a love affair with it. It’s no secret that I’m Italian and that I was raised with all the mouth-watering cuisine that goes with that label. This delicious vegetable allows me to still enjoy many of these flavors without any guilt, or bloat.
As I digress…
I hope this glimpse into my food prep gives you some inspiration for your own. Let me know if you found this helpful. What are your favorite ways to food prep? Feel free to share your ideas.