A number of health-related articles out there will tell you that the secret to staying on a healthy diet is preparation. Like many people, when I’m tired or stressed, my resolve to eat healthy foods is definitely tested, and having a plan in place for these situations helps immensely. That means having readily available healthy and satisfying meals in the fridge or freezer, ready to eat with minimal prep.
If you’ve taken a look at some Paleo recipes, you’ll find something common among them – there are a LOT of vegetables and require a lot of chopping, slicing, sauteeing, etc. This adds up to a lot of time and effort, and can be quite daunting when facing the prospect of a meal like this after a long day at work, or worse, when you’ve had to work late and you’re starving already. So enter Sunday, Cook Day.
I tend to be routine-oriented already, so Sunday is already my day for weekly chores like laundry and grocery shopping. Now in addition to these weekly activities, I always make 2-3 dishes that are fridge/freezer friendly and can be portioned out over the week for packed lunches or quick dinners.
First I start with 2 lbs of bacon cooked and cooled on paper towels. This bacon is then put in a gallon ziploc and used for breakfasts and other dishes that need crumbled bacon during the week. E.J.’s also been known to grab a piece or two for a snack if our eating schedule gets off.
Soups are also great for this – I’ve made a butternut squash soup several times now (which freezes well too) and I’ve got a chili recipe that I’ve created that we also make regularly now when it’s still cold outside (I’ll post that recipe sometime this week). Casseroles, like the Tex-Mex Casserole that E.J. likes so much are great for this as are things like meatloaf, meatballs, or smoked ribs.
While it’s fair to say that my Sundays are a lot less restful than they used to be, the extra standing and moving required is actually a good way for me to get exercise in without running so my knees can take a break. Plus, the better I eat, the more energy I have, so I’m looking for something active to do more than I used to anyway.