As I head into a second week, this whole meal planning thing is definitely paying off! I spent a few days away, got home late and being able to get up the next day for work with egg muffins and a leftover meal to take for lunch was worth so much: not only in time saved and stress reduced but money I wasn’t going to spend eating out instead.
Paleo On The Road
It, also, meant that while I was away from home, I was able to eat in a manner in line with my health goals because I had packed some simple things in a cooler from what I had in the kitchen already, including those egg muffins. My rations looked like fruit, carrots, guacamole and hummus, egg muffins, dried capers, salami, turkey sticks, stone age bread and herbal tea. One thing I do is when I make one of my favorite snack breads like the Stone Age bread (or banana bread, for example) is I slice it up into individual servings that I keep in the freezer for on-the-go food.
I hadn’t been worried if we ended up eating at a place with minimal choices because I knew I had enough food to nourish me until I got home. These were just items I had in my fridge because I had made a grocery list of upcoming needs and normally keep some of my favorite go-to snacks in the freezer. Was I perfect? Nope. I picked up some gluten free crackers to go with my guacamole because it sounded good and when eating at my favorite paleo restaurant, I felt the urge to buy a new-to-me snack from their store for the road trip home. So, for the most part, I kept to my plan and felt good about it when all was said and done.
Okay, so what happened for the next two challenges after Days 1-6?
The challenge this day was to think about side dishes, emphasizing VEGETABLES! Yay, for veggies. The list of my favorite 7 vegetables to prepare and different ways I like to prepare them looks like:
My meal plan I wrote up for this week said I was supposed to make stir fry this day but that didn’t happen because I had enough leftovers in the fridge that it didn’t make sense to make another meal. This often happens to me when I get overzealous about meal planning and forget I really cook for one which translates into lots of extra food. Next week I will remember and my plan will look more like cook-leftovers-cook-leftovers-cook-leftovers-cook.
After eating some of said leftovers on Day 7, I put together the leftovers I had dehydrated into meals for the Food Saver. I’ll be writing a post on how I specifically use this amazing tool but here’s what I had when all was said and done: 10 MEALS. Yay, me!
My task for day 8 was to come up with another list of 5 meals that I could make in 30 minutes or less for those harried days when things go don’t as planned. Hmmm…that would probably qualify for most of my days. But the good thing is, most of the meals I make already have a requirement of taking less than 30 minutes to prepare. So, my list would look like:
- Eggs with veggies
- Coleslaw with nuts/seeds or meat (shredded cabbage homemade mayo, sunflower seeds, spices)
- A big salad (a bed of spinach, kale, romaine or other mixed greens) with a variety of topping like olives, capers, sardines, almond slivers, cut veggies, etc.
- Baked fish with roasted veggies
- Turkey burgers with paleo ugly fries
One of the ways that I make my meals easy is to keep staple ingredients I don’t mind eating every day like eggs and cabbage, then as I throw meals together I can vary them with things like different spices I keep in a drawer right by the stove as I cook. Sometimes I feel like Italian so I will toss in oregano or basil and if Asian suits my fancy it might be 5 Spice. Lately I have been playing with homemade curry and garam marsala, spices I never really ate growing up but LOVE now that I am eating better. Garlic, of course, goes well with almost anything! Because I don’t eat peppers, horseradish, ginger and wasabi help me make my foods spicy.
I am always trying new spice blends from recipes I find online or when I visit spice shops like World Spice Merchants. When I’m there
inhaling smelling all the jars and I find ones I like, I will read the ingredient labels and then come home and try and recreate them all my own. You might be able to see the last blend I did pick up from them in my drawer, Pacific Seafood. It turns a basic cod filet into a savory entrée and it’s good on vegetables, too. Spice blends are a great way to add variety to the meals that are easy to prepare without having to make an entirely different dish!
Day 8 was, also, the day I said I was going to make egg muffins for dinner as it would provide road trip food on Sunday and Monday (and I guess that technically, also, counts for Day 6 that asked me to think ahead to something I could make that would go in the freezer for the future). My latest fave version is THIS ONE which I made for my trip as well as a bunch in the freezer for upcoming quick breakfasts or snacks!
Only two more days in my meal planning boot camp and I think I am doing pretty well. I will have to adjust my next week of meals as I learned from this week that making more than 5 meals a week was a bit for little ‘ol me but the extra food meant meals dehydrated and plenty of lunches for work. I can do this!
If you are just joining this series and want to start from the beginning, THIS is the post for you. If you would like some more recipes like the ones I talk about here, my Recipe Index is the place to go!