Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Prep

Greetings and happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was fun as it included some time at the driving range with Phil (I am terrible at golf but it was a fun date activity) followed by dinner + gelato + a House of Cards episode (we finished season 1 on Friday), a long run with my running club, a coffee + macaron date with Marisa, and attending a BBQ at a friend of Phil's (we brought guacamole which was a hit).

Friday night and Saturday were mostly about fun things, but Sunday was mostly about preparation for the week.  Living a healthy lifestyle is important to me, but it's not something that just happens.  I think it's important to emphasize that as I think at times we can look at others and think that it's effortless for them to eat healthy or fit in workouts.  But really, it's not effortless - at least not for most of us.  In my case, it takes planning, preparation, and spending a good amount of time in the kitchen on Sunday.

Everyone's lifestyle is very different, but for me, if I'm not teed up (see how I threw in a golf reference there?) for a week of healthy eating, it's not going to happen.  My week nights feel short as I work longish days and use my precious free hours in the evening to workout and spend time with Phil.  So Sundays are my day to get myself ready for a week.  Here's how I spent mine.

First up, I made Peanut Butter Runner's Mexican Quinoa recipe which was incredibly easy.  I'll warm this up and eat it on top of baby spinach with some salsa for 2 lunches and 2 dinners during the week.

Those containers look huge but each portion is about 1 cup.

Next up, I cut up a watermelon.  I love watermelon so much and am so glad it's watermelon season because this one of my favorite snacks.  I timed myself and it took me exactly 20 minutes to cut up the watermelon, which was surprising because I thought it would take way longer.  I can always find 20 minutes no matter how busy each weekend is so I will aim to buy a watermelon every weekend this summer!

After scanning my fridge, I realized I had some leftover kale.  I had already bought spinach for my salads for the week so I decided to make kale chips with the leftover kale.  I think kale chips are soo good!  And they are so easy to make - you just toss the kale with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt (I used a fun seasoned salt from Penzeys) and bake them for ~15 minutes on 350F.

Lastly, I made a big pot of (GF) pasta e fagioli soup.  Yes, I eat soup in the summer.  I had a bowl for dinner last night, and will have leftovers for 2 lunches and 2 dinner and will freeze some. 

So there you have it!  All in all, I probably spent about 3.5 hours in the kitchen yesterday (plus time on Saturday meal planning + grocery shopping).  Luckily cooking is something I enjoy so those 3.5 hours were fun for me, and they allow me to start the week with a fridge full of healthy eats!

What is your trick to healthy eating?  Do you tend to make meals throughout the week, or are you like me and prefer to do most of your cooking on the weekends?


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I need to bring watermelon back in my life. This time last year I'm pretty sure I was living on it. But I have to admit I often buy the stuff already sliced. Yes, way more expensive but 20 minutes seems like a long time to me lol.

I just pinned that mexican quinoa, looks so yummy.

I also cook my lunches for the week on Sundays, and probably would do dinner too except that Eric mostly cooks that and/or we just eat whatever is around. This has become more of a challenge to fit in, so sometimes I use Saturdays now but basically if I don't organize something to eat for lunch then I have no idea what to take and it's not good ha ha. I'm hoping I'm in a better routine with this in September!

Becky said...

This is such a great post because it's so true - it DOES take preparation to eat good meals. When I meal plan and spend some time cutting things up so I can have lunches and stuff ready it makes a world of difference! And I completely agree about watermelon - yum!

Erin said...

Great post! Food prep absolutely takes a chunk of your time, but in the long run it can make your days go much more smoothly!

We love watermelon in this household and I buy at least one a week.

Your kale chips have motivated me to try and make some! I've seen many people post about them but have never made them myself!

I go back and forth between cooking ahead during the weekend or just cooking each meal every night! If really depends on our family schedule and what works best for that specific week!

Emilie said...

Sounds like you had a really nice weekend! Good mix of socializing and productivity :) Those of my favorite kinds of weekends!

I definitely prefer to prep ahead of time. I only work 9-5 but I hate spending 2 hours making dinner every night. I like to make a big meal on the weekend to eat for lunch all week and then only had to cook dinner maybe once during the week. Pete likes to cook so I am totally fine with letting him take the lead on dinner. If we are taking a night off I tend to make eggs or something really simple. Now that it's salad season again I'm hoping to chop all my veggies on Sundays so I can make salad lunches in a snap in the mornings.

It definitely takes effort to eat healthy. Meal planning, food shopping and food prep take a lot of time, and if you throw in exercising that can add up to quite a bit of hours! I actually enjoy working out though so it doesn't feel like a chore to me. Food prep sometimes does!

Marisa A. said...

Oh man I am making that mexican quinoa dish! It sounds so good! I did some meal prep Sunday too. That's what Sundays are for right??

Marlys said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend and those dishes you make look awesome! I do better with meal prep in the winter as we are busy outside at the lake etc in the summer! But I do love watermelon and bought one this past week. Charlie & James really love it and requested it for dessert instead of ice cream - yeah!!! I love the fruits of summer!

Nora said...

For me it's all about having the right food in the fridge; makes it easier for me to grab what I need when I'm on my way out the door! I'm big on meal planning (which, ok, I've been bad at the last few months and need to get back to ASAP since the kids are here) and that helps our weeknights go more smoothly, at least generally speaking. I'm so mad at my food allergies because I miss cantaloupe and watermelon in the summers =(

Leigh said...

I haven't been great about eating healthy lately, but definitely taking to the time to make sure veggies and fruits are cut up help so I can quickly grab them for my lunch. Mmm watermelon...we bought one recently too and it was so good!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I mainly do my prep the same time I'm making my meal but I do plan ahead and figure in the amount of time I have to make a meal. Then I just have leftovers the next night. Or we will make a big meal on Sunday so leftovers are on Monday. I've come to learn that Monday's when I work are not good big meal making days. I also will make my lunch for the next day as I'm cleaning up dinner. However, I use my free time on Sunday's to read/laundry/catch up on life since I have a 3 year old helper ha. Sometimes I do make big pots of soups in the winter but yeah, if I have veggies to cut, I'll wait until I need them and then cut them all up then.

Carolina John said...

That's great prep! You are setup for a nice healthy week. I'm loving watermelon season too, they are huge already down here.

missris said...

I do the same thing! And watermelon is a summer staple for me so I don't mind spending the time to cut it up and portion it out for snacks. I usually just put on a good pandora station and zone out :)

Anonymous said...

We are preparation twins! It is so nerdy but I looooooove productive Sundays like yours. I feel so ready for the coming week.

I haven't had any watermelon this summer and now I have to find some immediately.

Stephany said...

Watermelon is easily one of my favorite fruits! I typically buy the pre-cut ones because if there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I will always choose the convenient option, ha.

I’ve been SO good about meal planning and meal prepping this year. I’ll make one meal to eat for lunches throughout the week (I’m not a fan of typical lunch options, like salad or sandwiches so I make a casserole or chicken dish!), and then I can get away with only cooking twice during the week and having LOTS of leftovers.

Also, I like what you said about eating healthy requiring a lot of work. I think it’s so easy to forget that, especially when we see people who seem to have it “all together” with healthy living. It takes work!

Amber said...

Love this! Yes I do a lot of meal prep on Sunday's as well. My big one is cooking chicken for my salads during the week and making my daily oatmeal (which I actually didn't do yesterday since we played ball so I had to fit it in this morning!)

I am definitely going to try that mexican quinoa soon. Maybe even for dinner tonight! It looks so good!

Sue @ SimonsSistaSaw said...

I haven't quite got the healthy eating plan worked out but making big strides in the right direction. My lunches are a mix of toasted sandwiches and leftovers although I do buy out once a week which feels like a treat. When I was less organised and buying lunch more often, not only was it worse for my waist and wallet, it really felt like a chore deciding on something and going to get it.

We tend to make something in the slowcooker on a Sunday and use that for a few nights but different ways. Eg pulled pork which we'll have as tacos, on a salad, w rice etc. Once we're out of that, we'll pick some more vegies up for other standard quick dinners we have or just get creative with what's in the pantry/fridge/garden.

Jeanie said...

I've never made kale chips. Now I know I must!

I tend to make my "big food" during the weekend, unless it's a special day -- and "regular food" during the week. Rick and I alternate cooking quite often, so that's good too. At this time of year, his is often on the grill which is better than pasta every day!

Amanda said...

I am the absolute worst at meal planning! I think it has a lot to do with not usually eating lunch. By some oddity, over the last ten years I've never had a schedule that was conducive to sitting down and eating a "normal" lunch, so I mostly take small snacks (healthy if possible) and make breakfast and dinner a bigger focus. A habit I would like to break!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I eat soup in the summer too :-) I pretty much could live on soup.

I usually cook during the week, but like to make some extra dishes on the weekend to take for lunches during the week.

Abby said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend!!! Love it :) Mmm...I love incorporating gelato into date nights. I think it may be my favorite!

That Mexican quinoa dish sounds great! I love how versatile quinoa is.

We are very similar in our "healthy planning" - I have to do the same! I always get comments from my coworkers about my healthy lunches, and "how do you find time to do that?" I get annoyed by that.... I make time.

I always pack my lunches the night before. And Sunday I will try to make a big portion of brown rice or quinoa, and cut up vegetables and fruit for the week.

Cherry Blossoms said...

All sounds so yummy and yikes I feel like a little porky as I def eat way more than that during my week. I do love summer time as it is so easy to grab fresh fruit and veggies esp when you're in a pinch.

Shoshanah said...

We tend to make one big meal a week, although normally on Monday, and eat that throughout the rest of the week. Neither one of us mind leftovers, and it does make things a lot easier.

And I eat soup in the summer too. After all, it's air conditioned inside, so it isn't that crazy. At least not in my opinion!