Now that we’re in the new year, I’m hoping to get back to posting about menus and food prep on a more consistent basis. Until the baby arrives, at least.
Because it’s basically my favorite thing in the world (and because pregnancy heartburn after holiday eats), I’m joining in on the annual January Whole30. I skipped out on starting Jan 1 though as my mom hosted a family baby shower for me in LA this past weekend. Since I’d be traveling and wanted to eat dessert at my own baby shower (a strawberry shortcake bar!), I delayed the start until the 5th.
I’m also doing something a little crazy. Since I’m telling the internet here and now I can’t back down! I totally subscribe to the “make it public, make it happen” philosophy. I’m going until the martian arrives. Aside from wanting to nip the holiday eating in the bud immediately (and the heartburn, oh the heartburn), I know that when eating this way I am the best version of me and frankly, I really rock at life. I’m not grumpy or short with people, I’ve got energy like crazy, I sleep like a rock, and I’m super level headed. Seriously, you may think this is a crazy statement but until you’ve done this or something similar for thirty days you can not understand the difference in how you feel. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Why wouldn’t I want to go into giving birth and the newborn weeks feeling like a rockstar? I can’t think of a reason I wouldn’t, so I’m taking this on. My due date is 2/15; this could really be anything from a Whole30 to a Whole60. Usually I pick a little present to get myself after I finish a Whole30. In the fall it was an InstantPot (which is so awesome). This time, I’m getting a baby!! (And maybe one these fun spiralizer gadgets, too.)
As mentioned, I was in Los Angeles all weekend having fun with my sister and nephew and enjoying the females in my family as they generously showered the baby and I with gifts and well wishes. But I wanted to start first thing Monday morning. I have an incredible ability to justify pretty much anything and knew that if I didn’t start Monday I would somehow come up with a reason to put it off until the following Monday. What can I say, I really like Monday starts.
The first step was to print out a menu plan template. I’ve been feeling less digital lately so I printed and wrote on mine, whereas most of last year I kept my weekly meal plans in a Google doc. Printing also allows me to use a pink highlighter, which is just fun. There’s a meal plan template in my Thriving In The Kitchen guide if you’re looking for some where to start.
I like to figure out the main courses first. I start with any night that I know I won’t have time to cook. Monday we had baby class in the evening and a rotisserie chicken picked on the way home is perfect. Then I raid the freezer to see what sort of leftovers we have – two servings of chocolate chili and several servings of brisket. Score. I plugged these meals in where they fit best on the menu plan. I next looked at what meat we had in the inside freezer that could be used for quick meals: salmon and lamb stew meat. Main courses done.
I didn’t have anything frozen for breakfast, so while making dinner on Friday night I threw together a casserole with whatever I had on hand (sweet potato, ground beef, eggs, and some spices). Once it was cooled I sliced it, wrapped in foil, and tossed in the freezer.
Let’s talk about sides. I was not able to prep any veggies this weekend, so I went the easy route. When I stopped by the store for the chicken, I also picked up a selection of frozen veggies and pre-cut fresh ones. Yes, more expensive, but that’s what’s going to work this week so that’s what I’m doing. For good measure I added eggs, sausages, and hot dogs, which are all easy to quickly make a meal out of in an emergency.
The key for me is filling out the prep and defrost sections of my template. If I don’t do that, I forget what I need to do and the plan quickly falls apart. I also highlight the meals where I need to cook something (meaning not everything is pre-prepped) so I can quickly gauge which evenings I’m going to need to spend time in the kitchen. I’m on day four and happy to report that we’ve stuck to the schedule 100% and are eating better than we have in quite some time.
Here’s a five minute dinner idea: toss a side of salmon on a baking sheet, add a bag of frozen broccoli and pre-cooked beets. Sprinkle your favorite season and fat of choice on everything. Bake. Be happy that you only have one pan to clean.