Here we are, just over a week to go until Round 2 of the Whole30. And this time, there's a whole pack of us! So keep your eyes open for some guest posts this month. Anyone interested in joining, just let us know! It's always easier with support and when you've declared your intentions to the world! In watching Nicole's Facebook wall, I've been truly inspired by all the friends that are joining us this time around. I open my heart and arms to you all. We may not be nutritionists or dietitians, nor are we even related to any doctors, but with our combined knowledge and passion for food and positive change, we can totally make a difference in our lives. And it was while reviewing these posts that I encountered a really good question that I would like to address in my next few posts. Someone said:
In my experience, the Whole30 is much easier if you have time to prep, but it's not impossible even if you don't. Spending hours chopping, grating, parboiling, cooking, and then doing the mounds of dishes resulting from your productivity, may just be the impossible dream for some. I know I certainly spent a lot more time in the kitchen during my Whole30 than usual. But it also became a little therapeutic to prepare my own food. I started to take pleasure and comfort in my Sunday afternoon food fest. You may even find that it feels so good that you will start making the time. But for some of you that might not be possible; families, children, work, relationships, etc, all pull us in so many directions that you may not get to the point of enjoying the extra kitchen time. For those who are worried about not being able to spend time in the kitchen during the Whole30, my next few posts will concentrate on prep saving tips. Also in theses posts, I'll let you know what I'm doing now to get ready and set myself up for success. Let me know if they might they work for you, and please share any ideas you might have that could help others. And please keep in mind, that this blog is a way for us to share our ideas and our journey. We are not in anyway trying to give nutritional advice in any formal way.
Fanstastic Idea #1: Strategic Planning 101 - Leftovers
Cooking chicken breast for supper? Or making a pot of chili? How about roasted veggies? Sweet potatoes? Why not cook extra? There really isn't that much extra work to make 6 chicken breasts instead of 3, or a big pot of chili instead of small, etc. If you consistently make more Whole30 approved food than your family needs for a meal, you will ensure that you always have a lunch or quick meal for the next day. I found last time that this really helped. We would always put on extra supper and I would take it for lunch (or breakfast) the next day. And it doesn't have to be the same meal either. Chicken breast with homemade BBQ sauce on Monday night, can become diced chicken in a salad the next day for lunch, sliced as a side with eggs for breakfast, part of a fresh tomato sauce pasta (on spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles) for supper.
We all know chicken is super versatile, so what about something more difficult? How about sweet potatoes? For supper, peel and dice sweet potatoes (make LOTS, cuz they are yummy and easy to reuse), toss in olive oil and roast in oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper, eat. Take as a side with your eggs, or mash them up, add some other diced veggies, some spices, put in a skillet, add an egg on top and cook in the oven for breakfast. Sprinkle with cinnamon and eat cold for your after workout meal. Use the rest to use as the top of a Shepard's pie (just be careful of the other ingredients in the meat portion).
With some strategically prepared leftovers, you can easily create a couple of quick meals on the run with little additional prep time required. Note: if my leftovers sit in the fridge for a day and I don't use them, I freeze them immediately. No point in letting that food go to waste and you never know when you might need just that bit of sweet potato for a recipe.
Pre-Whole30 Prep Tip #1:
My first Tip is to scout out the grocery stores for sales, Whole30 compliant foods, and local items. Look at stores you don't usually shop at, seek out your local farmer's market, or health store. Start preparing a list of foods that you want to have on hand. Use the Whole30 Shopping List and their Meal Planning Template to make some preliminary choices about foods you want to eat and maybe need to buy. Check out this post on the Whole9 website and use it as a guide to your grocery store.
On my grocery list so far:
- more variety in meats: such as lamb, bison, and elk
- more wild caught seafood
- fresh, local, in-season produce that can be prepared and stored to both extend shelf life and to cut down on prep later. For example greens that can be parboiled and frozen such as bok choy, spinach, turnip and beet greens. Or maybe it means apples made into apple sauce, or bananas made into "ice cream", or pumpkins and other gourds that can be roasted, pureed and frozen for use in soups and sauces.
Note: A couple of reminders when freezing items. These may seem totally self explanatory, but just in case...
- Just because it's frozen, doesn't mean it will last forever, so don't buy and freeze more than you think is necessary.
- Make sure to freeze items in different sizes/quantities. Make sure to have single servings and family sized servings. The worst thing that could happen is that you spend all this time preparing, just to end up throwing it away because you needed a single serving but had to defrost family sized portion.
- I often use mason jars, those snapping and locking glass containers, or Glad freezer bags. Make sure to get as much air out of the bags as possible.
- Remember, stuff expands when you freeze it, so don't fill your containers up to the brim, leave some space for the food to expand. I did this with soup not too long ago with a container of soup and the top popped off in the freezer.
- Label your leftovers with the contents and the date frozen, in case you forget what they are. I have totally done that... And this is even more important for those of you who will have non-Whole30 foods in the same freezer. You don't want to ruin your Whole30 by grabbing the wrong container.
- Nicole swears by her vacuum sealer. Maybe an investment is in order...
So, some food for thought for all you out there reading along. I'll keep posting my ideas as the days pass. Let us know if you have any fantastic ideas and what you are doing to prep.