I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about what I feel is one of the most vital aspects in eating consciously. Preparation! Being prepared keeps me sane and keeps me eating right even with my sometimes hectic schedule. I am going to share several tips that can help you through a Whole30, eat a paleo diet, or just eat more home-cooked wholesome foods.
Plan meals. I like to plan my meals for the whole week. Goodness knows the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is figure out what I am going to make, let along come up with something healthy and delicious. I like to write down what I am planning to make for dinner and stick it on the fridge and also make a grocery list for the week. A really great tool which I use is a subscription to Emeals. They have a great paleo plan and it takes a lot of the pressure off of me to come up with dinner every night. So, for the week, I usually pick 4 or 5 of the Emeals dinners, have one leftover night, and one night where we could go out to eat or have a “favorites” night. For breakfast I rely on a couple standard meals I know will get me through the morning. For lunch I typically will eat leftovers from the night before or a giant salad available at work.
Have a prep day. This has been the key for me. I take one day a week, usually Sunday, to do all my food prep for the week. I take my shopping list from my meal planning and hit the grocery store.
A typical week’s worth of food
After I have all of my food gathered I will cook some things for the week. I usually eat a sweet potato every day, so I bake four or five at a time. Another great food to have ready to eat is shredded chicken, pork, or beef. I make that in the slow cooker (recipes coming soon). I also like to make a big batch of soup, chili, or stew. We all need to eat more veggies, so roasting or sauteing up a big batch of veggies is a good idea. Sometimes I will make a frittata with loads of veggies. The idea is that you have plenty of ready to eat food available when you might not have the time or energy to prepare it.
Stock up. I keep as many essentials as I can stocked in my cupboards and freezer. Purchasing meat in bulk is a great place to start. Find a farmer who raises pastured, grass fed animals. Other essentials I buy in bulk are coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil, canned salmon, canned tomatoes, nuts, and certain vegetables that will keep like onion and winter squash. I like to shop my local Costco about once a month, it is a great place to find frozen fish, organic frozen vegetables, and many other bulk essentials. I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of paleo and Whole30 friendly foods I have found at Costco. Make sure your spice drawer is well stocked as well. Some of my spice basics are sea salt, black pepper grinder, cinnamon, garlic, dried onion, curry powder, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, and oregano. I say some because I have a tendency to hoard spices. My idea of fun is browsing the local Indian grocery store. Oh, the aromas!
Join a CSA. In the summer months I get most of my vegetables from my friendly local farmer through a Community Supported Agriculture program. I get a paper grocery bag or two weekly full of the freshest local seasonal produce. A lot of CSA programs will also offer eggs and additional produce for purchase. By joining a CSA I have been challenged to eat things I may have never chosen at the grocery store.
I hope this has helped you see how I make it possible to eat the way I do without spending every waking moment in the kitchen.