I wrote all about my basic meal planning strategy in this post HERE.
I wrote this post for another website about meal planning, with sample menus and recipes HERE.
That’s a lot of blah-blah about cooking and planning and stocking, no? As I looked at the editing room floor scraps of text that didn’t make the final Vegan Woman cut, I thought “But maybe my readers want to see things in ACTION more?” Like, less theory – more DO.
I know it is helpful to actually see what other people do in their day-to-day lives, so right now, in this hot summer weather, this is how things have been going down in my kitchen. Hope it’s helpful!
I’m up before the sun these days! Partly I am just excited about my new apartment and cannot wait to have a cup of tea on the balcony with my morning pages and the sunrise.
I don’t have to pack kids’ lunches because they are at home this summer, but I still pack a lunch for my husband. While I’m at it, I do two other things:
- Make a salad
- Cut up fruit
It’s hot and really I don’t want much other than salad these days. I basically take this large glass bowl and just FILL IT. I put in lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, chopped fresh mint, sun-dried tomatoes – just really whatever we have. Then I cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. It will stay fresh and crisp all day like this. I do not toss it. I do not dress it. Sometimes I even make segments of what each person likes, like this:
I serve it at both lunch and dinner – topped with different things like:
- toasted sunflower seeds and pumpkins seeds
- cooked beans
- cooked corn
- crumbled veggie burger
- leftover cooked grains
*I am totally grooving on the combo of 1 Tbsp salsa and 1 Tbsp hummus stirred into my salad instead of dressing. I imagine I will get sick of it, but right now it’s the wind beneath my wings.
The fact is, if this salad were not pre-prepared, when it came to meal time, I might not get around to making it. Kapish?
And the fact that it is not tossed and not dressed, makes it easy for picky children to pick around certain elements they don’t like.
Sometimes this ends up being a fruit salad. That usually happens when all the fruit becomes suddenly over-ripe at the very same instant. Other times, I just cut up a bowl of watermelon or mango or whatever is ready. Again, if it weren’t chopped and chilled in it’s nice bowl, do you think it would get served quite so easily?
My dears, doing salad and fruit prep in the morning before I go to the gym, is making it possible for me and my family to eat healthy this summer. If it sounds to you like “Oh woe! That is too much chopping in the morning!”, I promise it takes 20 minutes and is one of those things you will thank yourself for later in the day. You could also do it at night before you go to bed if that’s how you roll.
Be strong and chop on.
At some point during the day, smoothies get made. This is usually our afternoon snack. Getting up pre-dawn means I’m ready for bed at 4pm. That won’t do so I have been making this Coffee Frappe to perk me up:
1 frozen banana
1 date, pitted
1 tsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups water
Blend all until smooth and creamy. Drink and wake up.
The kids’ smoothies are usually more like banana-flax-peanut butter-dates-and cocoa powder affairs.
Basically whatever you see on this blog is what ends up on the lunch and dinner table. (Recipe Index HERE). But in the spirit of keeping it simple, I can tell you there are sandwiches and quesadillas or burritos normally for lunch and that dinner is a more organized cooked food deal with some sort of casserole, noodle/pasta dish, or bean/grain dish. Plus the salad and the fruit at both meals. Sometimes I pick up a really fresh bread at the bakery near my gym and center the meal around that with veggie dips and spreads.
Keep it simple sweetie! This is not the time for long, slow cooked meals that heat up the house and make you cranky.
One final tip: I am using Pinterest for meal planning A LOT. I have gone ahead and re-arranged my boards for different dishes, courses and cooking tips. It is truly a thing of beauty. I am on there every day and am cooking so many new and interesting things. You can see and follow along HERE.