REALISTIC MEAL PLANING AND PREPPING
Let’s face it. Meal planning always sounds like a wonderful idea. When we meal plan, we have #beautyfood at our fingertips, we can avoid the mindless afternoon-slump snack from the convenience store below your office, and yep, we even save dollar bills. Our skin, digestion and wallet LOVE when we meal plan! But can we get real for a second? Making 5 full meals on Sunday Funday before the week commences isn’t our idea of weekend R&R.
Before I launched Shop Good, my business began as a health coaching company, where I would work one-on-one with busy women in supporting them to fit healthy living and eating into their life with ease. Even before that, I was navigating a fast-paced corporate job in a big city, all while attempting to heal my body from a nasty chronic digestive illness. Needless to say, I’ve had practice in finding the shortcuts and kitchen hacks that allow us to have both — to participate fully in the busy life we love, all while practicing quality self care.
Here, I’m sharing my best meal planning tips and tricks that lead to MORE ease in feeding your body and skin with the beautyfood it loves, while spending LESS time stressing over what to eat next.
Before we dive in, remember, your own unique bio-individuality is so very special. And honoring that can be one of the kindest things we can do for our body! The below guidance is simply a guide. Substitute, supplement and fill in where your body asks for more, less or different!
TIP #1: MINIMAL BEGINNING OF WEEK PREP
We so wish we could snap our fingers and our fridge was filled with anti-inflammatory and nourishing meals, prepped and ready to go. But until they make an app for that, yes, meal planning will take extra time and energy. Let’s cut prep time and simplify to just the essentials. Making the below (simple) batches ahead of time or on Sundays will equip you to effortlessly move through the work week with hearty proteins, filling/starchy veggies and workday morning chopping to a minimum.
Take a bit longer so make these monthly in bulk and freeze:
- Bone Broth – We make a huge vat of it about every 6-8 weeks. See our recipe here
- Protein Patties – Make in bulk and freeze between parchment paper sheets. These make for great breakfasts, snacks or even dinners in lettuce wraps! Great recipes here (we like to bake instead of fry) and the vegan option here.
Make these on Sundays:
- Hard Boiled Eggs – I make half a dozen at the beginning of the week.
- Whole Sweet Potato – simply heat your oven to 400. Wrap a coconut oil dressed whole sweet potato in parchment paper and bake until a fork can easily enter the skin. Let cool and keep wrapped in fridge until you’re ready to enjoy!
- Roasted Sweet Potato cubes (or any root veggie) – dress these with cinnamon and cayenne before baking!
- Quinoa, brown rice or green lentils – I make about 3 cups at the beginning of the week.
- Chop any bulk veggies for weekday salads
Other hearty staples I like to have on hand throughout the week:
- Avocados – topped on anything or by the spoon; the essential fatty acids, fiber and healthy fats are filling and nutritious.
- Chia and hemp seeds – again, topped on anything or mixed into smoothies, GF oatmeal, or coconut-milk yogurt!
- Pumpkin or sunflower seeds – I sauté these in coconut oil until brown and crispy and keep in a closed container for the week’s snacks or salad toppings.
TIP #2: BATCH SHOPPING AND COOKING
Start slow and select 2-3 recipes that you’re excited about making that have similar ingredients. If you see 2 recipes calling for chopped onion, chop both onions at once and store what you don’t use in an airtight container when you’re ready for recipe #2.
TIP #3: INFORMED SHORTCUTS
Life gets busy, so taking shortcuts to meal prepping is simply about making the BEST decisions possible given the circumstances.
When taking a short-cut (ex: buying pre-made pasta sauce, salad dressing or taco seasoning), ensure you are utilizing the 5 ingredient or less rule and avoid any ingredients you cannot pronounce. A great rule of thumb when buying pre-packaged foods: if you can’t buy each ingredient in its whole form at the grocery store, it may not be food your body recognizes how to break down!
TIP #4: IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FREEZER
When making dinners, I am constantly asking myself if I can double or triple the recipe and freeze for future meals. A perfect way to maximize time and minimize effort. I’ll double up on the ingredients for recipes like stews, soups, curries or sauces and freeze them in glass pyrex containers. After a full day at the shop + a nighttime meeting, I know I can come home to a warming, healing meal without lifting a finger.
TIP #5: PRE MINCE MEDICINAL BEAUTYFOOD INGREDIENTS
Ginger, garlic and peppers all fight inflammation and boost immunity, and we like cooking with them LOTS. Pre-mince these ingredients in your food processor and pack them into a ziplock to lay flat and freeze. When a recipe calls for a teaspoon or more, chop off a piece of your frozen bulk and toss into your recipe. Say buh-bye to peeling, crushing or mincing on the reg. Quick tip: avoid over filling the ginger back, it freezes solid and can be difficult to break off chunks if too thick, so aim for 1/4 inch or less!
TIP #6: KEEP AMPLE SPICES, SAUCES AND FIXINGS STOCKED TO CONSTANTLY REINVENT
I like to think about my weekly meal plan in a 2 proteins, 4 vegetables and 1 starch and multiple salads – type of formula. But to keep same-old from feeling same-old, I love ensuring my “flavor boosters” are always on hand. Warming spices like cumin, coriander and cayenne… healing dried herbs like oregano, basil and thyme and varied cooking agents like organic sesame oil, mirin, tamari, sriracha, ghee, avocado oil and Brag’s liquid aminos are all perfect ingredients for keeping simple recipes fresh and new.
TIP #7: FOLLOW YOUR GUT AND EAT INTUITIVELY
While meal planning and prepping saves time and energy, check in with your intuition before shopping, prepping or indulging. Your body has an intelligence of its own and always knows what it needs, whether it’s chocolate during your period (your magnesium levels drop when you menstruate!) or a light salad during a warmer day. When we actually pause, check in and tune into this need, we can actually fuel our body and balance it a way that no diet book or doctor could ever predict.
TIP#8: EXPERIMENT WITH NEW #BEAUTYFOODS!
Check out our custom shopping list packed with beautyfoods in all food groups to indulge, experiment and delight in! You can download our Shop Good shopping list here!
Questions on meal prep or eating for your body? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! We are always here as your support system and greatest cheerleaders!
Image art via: MAURIZIO DIIORIO