Here we go! This post may be a little long since it includes more explanation and background than others would, but bear with me! I’ll get to the yummy details quickly!
To help keep this post in the proper perspective, here are a few details about our family/needs/limits/etc:
For the Bear (husband):
- is gone six days a week, 13-14 hours a day
- needs to have at least two meals + snacks sent with him
- eats in the car so all food must 1. taste good cold (he doesn’t like hot food anyway), and 2. must be easily eaten with one hand
- doesn’t mind eating similarly throughout the week, but prefers some variety from week to week
- needs protein options and is relatively picky about foods
For the kiddos (ages three and under) :
- need quick and easy breakfasts since that is the craziest part of the day
- LOVE eating the same thing over and over again (which can be helpful some weeks..)
- aiming for balanced eating paired with a simple rotation of meals
- two are in a lovely stage of picky eating…yay….
- trying to stick to a THM (Trim Healthy Mama) diet as much as possible (detailed description of THM)
- am very comfortable eating similarly throughout the week, but prefer some variety now and then
- prefer to have meals that only require a few minutes to cook/throw together
- LOVE sweets. For everyone’s sakes-there better be something sweet in the house
- am NOT an advanced-or even natural-cook, so the simpler, the better
I prefer to deal with ONE meal prep/cooking day, if possible. Some people aim for once a month, others prefer every few days. All these options are great, but I find that I handle my week much better with a one day a week system. So I grocery shop the day before, then clear my schedule for the next day to tackle this (that means no cleaning, no accounting, no outings, no laundry- just meal prep).
So after my first day back into this system, here is what I ended up with:
For the Bear (who does not technically follow THM by the way, though I tweak his meals a little):
- five chicken dinners packed for easy grabbing (grilled chicken thighs with wild rice pilaf and steamed asparagus) THM-E
- four “snack packs” comprised of cherry tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, and cucumbers THM-E
- four fruit packs-pineapple cubes and sliced strawberries (I’ll probably add a couple more at the end of the week)
- five containers of deviled eggs. He LOVES these and I can usually send him with three whole eggs’ worth per day (THM-S)
- I also send two roast beef sandwiches with him each day, though I don’t make these ahead of time (those are the only items I have to prep day of)
For the kiddos:
- two loaves of banana bread baked for morning breakfasts (alternate with oatmeal)
- large pot of mac and cheese, with hidden veggies inside (they found the broccoli….) for dinners (alternate with scrambled eggs with spinach or popcorn, apples, and cheese for movie night)
- lunches are usually sandwiches or finger foods, so no early prep needed
- canned tuna mixed with three wedges of Laughing Cow cheese, salt and pepper (to top a couple of Wasa Rye Crackers). That gives me at least three servings. THM-FP
- flourless peanut butter cookies THM-S
- batch of my own version of skinny chocolate THM-S
- two chicken dinners, with steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus THM-FP
- two salad toppings containers-steamed asparagus, cucumbers, boiled eggs, ham, and feta cheese THM-S
- meals I don’t prep ahead: tortilla pizzas for lunches, oatmeal with blueberries and Greek yogurt for breakfasts (THM-E), and scrambled eggs for alternate dinners (THM-S)
I am pleased with the first week’s results. Already half way through the week, and the family is better fed, and fewer random trips to the grocery store have occurred.
A list of meal prep goals to hopefully implement within the next few weeks:
- return to routine of baking challah bread once a week (the Bear LOVES it for sandwiches-not THM at all, but again, he doesn’t care…)
- concoct a couple of healthy, tasty drinks for him to take along with his water (since the current weather is crazy hot!). Experiment idea: mix Singing Canary with black unsweetened tea for an Arnold Palmer taste…hmm….
- devise a couple more dinner ideas for the kids
We’ll see how the month progresses!!
Note: The above does not in any way indicate ALL that we eat during the week, as there are other fruits/veggies/snacks/etc…This is simply a breakdown of what I prep ahead of time to make each day smoother for us.