Have I introduced my new blogger friend Steph from Confessions of a Meal Plan Addict yet? If I haven’t, it is long overdue. Steph is a cook once – eat all week guru! This woman has single-handedly changed the way my family is prepping and eating our lunch and dinners (baby steps — breakfast will be tackled next). This is no small feat as our eating and shopping habits were very disorganized.
What makes HER able to inspire these changes? Well, she has done it herself, and she shares how easy it is to do! Plus, she is funny as hell and one determined gal! Two of the many characteristics I look for in a friend.
I will be sharing the little changes I am making to help my family give up the junk food and ordering out habit. If you are looking for inspiration… you need to follow Steph. Really!
Baby Step #1- Salad bar in the fridge
My first mission was to increase the veggie intake of my family. I have found a squishy mess of rotted vegetables in the back of my fridge more times than I care to admit. The best way to make sure we all eat more veggies, and there are no squishy messy surprises in the fridge, is to prepare our groceries as soon as we get home. If the veggies are ready to go, the kids will eat them. I have caught the teenager grabbing a handful of chopped carrots on the way to paddling. I have also witnessed the anti-vegetable husband eating daily salads! I call it a win.
There is always the basics in my fridge for salads. That includes (and is not limited to):
- Chopped Salad (stays fresh in a glass container)
- Chopped Celery – cubed for salad and to add to recipes
- Sticks of Celery – for lunches and snacks
- Chopped Carrots – cubed for salad and recipes
- Sticks of Carrots – for lunches and snacks
- Asparagus – sometimes roasted for salads and sides for dinner
- Cabbage – great to add to salads. Use leftovers for an apple + cabbage salad the kids love
- Chopped Broccoli- for both salads and sides for dinner
- Chopped Cauliflower – for salads and sides for dinner
- Cucumbers – sliced for salads and snacking
- Peppers – diced for salads and quartered for snacking
- Eggs – boiled and ready for snacks, sandwiches and for salads
We will add or omit (price dependant – $8 cauliflower!?) veggies every week. Mushrooms (roasted with asparagus YUM!), kale, brussel sprouts, green beans, shredded or roasted beets, cubed cheeses, sprouts are all prepped and ready to use making meal prep a snap!
We mix the protein up daily. I have premade steak, chicken, ham, tuna, chickpeas or edamame beans to add to our salads.
Bonus side effects I never really expected:
Feeling better – When I mentioned this to Steph she said, “Eat better. Feel better.” and I thought “Duh! of course.”. We were eating out a lot and that means we had no control over the ingredients that were used.
Not feeling hungry after eating – Never failed. We would order pizza and wings and the kids would say they are still hungry 30 minutes after dinner. Now with meal prep (baby steps version) there is always a meal plan and veggies (ready to go) for a faster-than-pizza dinner. Really.
My fussy 9-year-old LOVES brussel sprouts – Huh, well that was a surprise.
My fussy hubby is enjoying edamame – This is HUGE! This man grew up on meat, corn and potatoes. That’s it! Something green was always looked at like the enemy. I call this a HUGE win.
The teenager is listening – The teenage is in high-performance sports and is learning that food is fuel. Feed your body junk and you will not get the results on the track, on the water or on the ice that you want. My pet peeve about hockey tournaments is eating crappy arena food. There are 3 arenas that we have been to that have ok food choices. That is it… 3… all run by the same chef too. That means that the kids would eat junk… very counter productive. I started bringing our salad-bar-in-the-fridge in a cooler with us. Add some tortillas, chicken and they are eating filling wraps between games instead of fries and pop. End rant!
Saving money: We are eating all of the veggies we buy. No more throwing out perfectly good food we let go to waste. We have cut down on the eating out and ordering in. Now we eat out when we want. Not because we have only rotting vegetables in the fridge.
That sums up my first step in the Meal Prep lifestyle. So far, it has been easy and the reward is quick. Why didn’t we do this earlier??