I’m always asked what I cook for dinner, what I feed my family and how I stay consistent with healthy meals. So here are a few of my tricks. I plan, purchase and prepare (P, P, P) on the weekends. That is my saving grace. Without that, our alternatives would be frozen or ordering in which we do occasionally but not my favorite go tos.
Plan- I look at our family calendar to see what the week’s landscape is like for practices, games, events, meetings, travel, etc.. Then I check my email for seasonal recipes and ideas that come from newsletters I subscribe to. I also get inspiration from my CSA box. I pick 5 things to cook for the week. Then scan the refrigerator and pantry to see what items I need and make a list. As I scan the refrigerator and pantry, I take note of what we need for snacks- yogurt, fruit, cheese sticks, nut butters, crackers, chips (yes chips), baby tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, carrots, hummus (if I’m too busy to make it myself). I also grab bars- larabars, kind, clif and Rx bars for back ups.
Purchase- The next day I set out to grocery stores, yes stores. I have a few that I go to that I am particular about for certain items. I make a trip to Costco a couple times a month for eggs, milk, bread (sliced) and any pantry items I may need. A house full of teenage boys and friends requires food in bulk. I also like Trader Joes for convenience items washed, bagged and ready to go vegetables. I often only have 20-30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Lastly, I hit up Whole Foods or Safeway. Depends on which is closer to me.
Prep- I have a love hate relationship with prep. I hate doing it on the weekend because it takes time from other things that I could be going. However, I love it during the week when I come home and the meal is almost done. I just need to add the finishing touches. So some of the prep that I do is wash, cut and store vegetables. I marinade meats. I clean and chop garlic (super time saver or buy the frozen cubes from Trader Joes these are such a time saver!) If I am putting anything in the crockpot/slow cooker, I prep all the items and store in a gallon size zip top bag and just throw it in the morning I am planning to make that meal.
Top 5 favorite meals in our house.
- Tacos (pork or chicken cooked in the crock pot) and then tortillas and toppings ready to go. I pull out the cut up veggies to go on the side.
- Asian flavored Salmon- I make a orange marmalade, soy, garlic marinade for salmon and serve it with brown rice and a seasonal veggie or salad.
- Granola, yogurt, fruit. I make sure I have homemade granola ready to go for the week. Kids will add some mini chocolate chips to it. We always have greek or icelandic yogurt and some time of berries.
- Stir fry- Either pork or chicken, white rice and assorted veggies (again from trader joes or safeway).
- Grilled meat/Kebab- I’ve done it all. I marinade the meat ahead of time and then do a starch and a salad or veggie on the side. I usually do extra meat here so we can use it for salads for lunch the next day or other type of leftover.
Top 5 Snacks
- Veggies and hummus
- Dave’s Killer bread, nut butter and fruit
- Ham and cheese sandwiches with lettuce, tomato.
- Labne and crackers or dried whole wheat lavash.
- Trail mix varieties- sometimes just almonds and raisins or we can get creative with dried persimmons, walnuts and cereals.
Remember a little P, P, P can really help you stay on track with your lifestyle and performance goals. It’s just carving out a little time on your lighter days to get it done. As a dietitian, the clients that are most successful are the ones that have some version of P, P, P in their lives.