Time seems to be our biggest obstacle, both when it comes to working out and healthy eating. Let’s face it – a homecooked meal takes more time and effort than swinging through a drive-thru. But let’s also face this fact: that’s the only pro drive-thru’s got. I know I have the “luxury” (I use that term very loosely) of being a SAHM. But I’m busy, too. I’ve got those crazy workouts every day and those crazier kids. I’ve got the pets, the online business – plus all those “…With Friends” games to keep up with. (As my daughter phrased it: “Mom, you’re very attracted to Gems.” I’m pretty sure she actually meant addicted, but in either case…she’s right.)
However…I cannot bring myself to go back to our previous prepackaged ways. This means I gotta continuously plan ahead (something I have never quite managed before) while putting in the extra effort of measuring, mixing, and cooking. It also means I squeeze this new addition into an already cramped schedule. Yet all is not lost! I have discovered shortcuts and cheats on this journey, and I’m quite willing to share. You’re welcome.
First and foremost – abuse the hell outta your crockpot. Ten minutes of prep work can yield culinary masterpieces on a daily basis. For instance, yesterday I stuffed my slow cooker with apples and pork and then poured honey and cinnamon over top. Set that sucker to low, relished the divine scents, and came back seven hours later to discover an instant family classic. You know what I did today? Same f*&#in’ thing. It’s pouring out and I had lots of catching up to do. Plus, it was that good. Do some googling, some bing-ing, or whatever. Find the recipes you like. But first, try these. Because they’re gonna be your favorites anyway.
Second – take one day and do serious food prep. Chop what needs chopped, grill what needs grilled. Cut, mix, marinate, and store. Then every meal is just as easy as slapping a frozen pizza in the oven, just a hell of a lot tastier and more fueling. Grilled chicken is fab. You’ve got salads, wraps, and entrees all week long. Same with steak. Oh! And bacon! Because with Paleo, I eat that now (organic, of course). And I love to cook it now, too, because I’ve discovered a naughty little secret: baking bacon. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, line up your delicious strips, and shove it in the oven for 20 minutes on 400. DO NOT preheat your oven. No mess, no burns – and believe it or not, better tasting. Again I say, you’re welcome.
Now, in order to prep, I need a guide. I plan the menu once a week and make note of what I can make ahead of time on food prep day. For instance, this week I was able to make pumpkin bread, lemon poppyseed muffins, guacomole, salad, hardboiled eggs, and more. So plan accordingly. And learn to use as much of your produce as possible. For instance, I bought my pumpkins solely for their pumpkin meat…but was reminded of their seedy delicacies when I cut those bitches open.
Which brings me to my next point: grab-n-go. Sometimes, you don’t even have the time to throw your chicken into your salad. Sometimes, the Babe is still teething (and seems like he will be till he hits puberty), the older kids are bickering about seating and/or proper pillowcase application (I kid you not), and you are simply EXHAUSTED. That’s when you need to have your grab-n-go items on hand. Often times, for myself, these are my pre-prepped snackages listed above. I also have whole fruits at all times (your bananas, apples, peaches, plums); chopped veggies (carrots, cukes, spring onions, bell peppers); various nuts; and, though I try to limit is use, organic deli meat. For special occasions, I even keep some dried fruit on hand. This week, the Babe is totally grooving on dried papaya. This used to be my greatest challenge: thinking that quick snacks had to come in packages. Duh. Nature has ‘em packaged already.
And, yes…my other on-the-fly go-to is Shakeology. Toss it in the blender with some frozen fruit and almond milk and I’m done. Tasty, nutritious, and fast. That’s my kinda shake. Say I need a snack instead of a meal replacement. Swap the milk for water and voila. Amazing, right? Get some.
There’s effort required, but trust me: it seems less and less as time goes on. You’ll discover your own little tricks of the trade. You’ll also discover the way you were meant to feel. Walk away from packaged foods. Don’t eat anything pre-made unless you pre-made it.