One of the keys to healthful eating is being prepared. You might think that would require adding time to your already busy schedule, but according to wellness pioneer Dr. Frank Lipman, research shows that the average American watches more than five hours of television each day, yet spends barely half an hour on food preparation. This month’s challenge is for you to put your less-than-productive hours to better use by developing a healthful and manageable food plan for yourself.
This challenge will help you plan and make meals to get you through the week by mixing and matching what you have on hand with supplements from the grocery store. The point here is to be creative, but not to overburden yourself. Spotlight one ingredient in multiple ways throughout the week and if there are folks in your house to help you, let them. Everyone will appreciate the time and effort that went into making healthful and delicious food.
Regularly inventorying your kitchen, planning a weekly menu, and having a shopping strategy will save you tons of time and frustration later on.
- Check your calendar. Mark the days where you will realistically be able to grocery shop, cook, eat dinner at home, or bring homemade leftovers with you for lunch at the office.
- Inventory your kitchen. Write down everything in your fridge, cabinets, and pantry, grouping like items together on your list (meats, veggies, nuts, etc.). Toss any item that’s expired. Based on your calendar and kitchen inventory, design meals to last you the entire week. There are plenty of websites and smartphone apps that can generate recipes based on what you already have on hand. Shop for any items you need to add/replace.
- Prepare what you can. Cook in bulk for the week––a pot of chili, steamed string beans, mashed sweet potatoes. Divide everything up into smaller packages or snack bags and freeze/refrigerate them. All you have to do from this point forward is refer to your weekly meal plan each day or the night before, then defrost, reheat, or assemble your meals accordingly.