It’s not working out, it’s not buying all organic, it’s not surviving on salads and green juices. Although these are included in the lifestyle haul, the number one habit of healthy eaters is: PREPARING Healthy Foods and having them on hand for quick and easy meal making. In simpler words: Healthy eaters are prepared and ready.
Yes, that’s right: readiness is key for committing to a healthy lifestyle. And even though I know this first hand, sometimes one (me) does not practice what they preach. However, it only takes a few bad meals outside the house to bring you back to your trusted and true good habits.
So, it’s been a while since I prepared food during the weekend for easy meal making throughout the week. It was a habit I found really helpful back in Jeddah, but with the move, this lifesaving routine got on the back of more time-filling ( and more fun) stuff. Tourism in Paris, anyone? Yep. With so much to see and do, time in the kitchen during the weekend was no longer a priority. But you know what? There are also things to see and do during weekdays, and a hungry kid is a whining kid and a hungry mum is an angry mum. Between the two of us, by noon, we were one “hangry” gang. And that is not fun.
To avoid the midday drama, I figured I’d go back to what worked perfectly back then and will work even better now. Besides, a helping hand during the weekend is always welcome.
From top left: washed tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, 2 roasted chicken breasts (big batch cooking, from Sunday’s lunch), cut-up melons, boiled chickpeas, salad dressing, boiled spelt, carrots, date fudge bars, washed and cut cauliflower, washed plums and peaches
Here’s how I go with my food prep.
Cook a whole grain: usually around here, it’s quinoa ( a pseudo-grain I know, but let’s not get extra technical ;)). Sometimes, it’s amaranth, whole wheat berries or steel-cut oats. These provide a filling addition to main-dish salads and can also be used for breakfasts or afternoon snacks. Boiling brown rice is also another option. Last week, I had quinoa and spelt. It was my first time cooking whole spelt. I liked the chewy texture, but it may be too much for some. I’ll save this for soups and maybe get the smaller variety for salads.
Cook some beans or legumes: black beans, red beans, chickpeas, canellini beans, lentils…I know they are found in tins, but cooking them from dried form is tastier and cheaper. Plus I get to portion and freeze, so it’s not a weekly thing with all beans. We don’t want things to get boring, right?
Wash the fruits and the vegetables we got from the market: Having ready to eat produce on hand makes all the difference in grabbing that healthy snack or fixing that quick dinner salad.
The fruits and veggies of the week, the pineapple and coconut were left uncut because we had to finish the melon first to avoid waste, washed kale, beets, tomatoes, peaches and plums, apples, eggplant, avocados, sweet potato and zucchini
Roast some veggies: this is definitely not a weekly thing, but roasted cauliflower, broccoli, eggplants, zucchini, onions and garlic make for great easy additions to soups, sandwiches and salads.
Prepare the dressing of the week: if you thought washing the veggies is crucial, then preparing a salad dressing is even more so. Think of your very own salad bar ready in minutes. Here’s where we spice things up because every week it’s a different dressing. Think lemon, balsamic, apple cider vinegar or wine vinegars. Think herbes de Provence, coriander, cumin, or dill… Variations are limitless and only your tastebuds dictate the outcome. Store in a glass container or special dressing mixer in the fridge. Since it doesn’t have any additives, the mixture will separate and freeze, but all it needs is a few shakes after leaving it outside for a couple minutes and you’re good to go.
Don’t forget about the snacks: so we’ve cut up fruits and veggies, but there’s more to that. Hard boiled eggs for a post workout meal, or date bars for satisfying a sweet tooth and beating those afternoon slumps are few ways to go about snacks.
And breakfast: our go-to breakfast is overnight oats, so chopping nuts and dried fruits is one thing I do to make this easier to assemble the night before. Not a weekly thing because I do a big batch that lasts approximately a month. Sometimes, I experiment with a quinoa breakfast bake or freezer frittatas.
At first, this may look overwhelming. However, as with any lifestyle change, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. Sometimes, I just prepare one thing and that would be washing the fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, I add to that a breakfast bake, and other times, I do nothing. And that is totally okay too. I just continue the rest of the prep throughout the week by doing double batches and freezing or saving leftovers for the nights that follow, and vow to prepare more the weekend after because it’s such a time-saving habit :)