Welcome back to For The Week, where my goal is to help make your life a little easier by providing tips, tricks and recipes to keep the stress out of your kitchen. Every Sunday, For The Week will set you up for success as you get ready to start the week streamlined.
If you missed last week’s edition, I highly recommend going back and reading it. What’s great about these tips and tricks is that they build off one another, meaning every week you are going to learn something new that you can simply add to what you already know.
Pick one meal and eat the same thing for the entire week
It’s that simple. Pick one meal and eat the same thing for the entire week.
But I’m sure you are thinking, it’s not that simple. How do I prep all of that? What do I do if I get bored? Good questions.
Let’s start at the beginning. Many people find this rule easiest to implement at breakfast. When I first added this rule into my meal prep, that’s the meal I went with. Lately, since I’ve been at home more often, I’ve started using lunch as an opportunity to stay consistent. By having that one meal set in stone ahead of time, it cuts out any extra decisions I have to make during the day about what I’m going to eat.
Researchers at Cornell University estimate we make 226.7 decisions about food each day. And many of those decisions pop up because of a lack of planning and preparation. I know I’m more inclined to order takeout when I have nothing planned or ready to go (one of the reasons why the Refrigerator Plate is so helpful).
Start small and think simple. Overdoing it or making the meal too complicated right away will only discourage you. This is supposed to make your life easier, not add more stress. Perhaps you start by whipping up some grilled chicken and roasted veggies over the weekend. Yes, it’s a simple meal. But it also gives you a lot of opportunity to beat food boredom during the week. Add different sauces, make it into a wrap, turn it into a rice bowl. It’s a great, simple base to get you started.
If you aren’t on board just yet, another good way to build up consistency is to use dinner as an opportunity to prep meals for the next day. Yes, it’s likely you’ll be eating the same thing (or at least, something pretty similar). But you’re already making your kitchen dirty. Why not squeeze out an extra meal?
My ‘One Meal’ Right Now
I’m about to prove to you that meal prep doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated to make your life easier and give you delicious meals.
Meet my fancy-ish Chopped Asian Sesame Salad. Every Sunday, I prep this bad boy in under 20 minutes. Then when it’s lunch time, I heat up some chicken, slice up an avocado, throw on some dressing and my lunch is ready to go.
I have been eating this salad for lunch for the last few months. It is so simple and delicious and I’m obsessed. It fits all of my needs — tastes good, loaded with veggies and easy!
- One bag of Dole Chopped Sesame Asian Salad
- Red onion
- Cherry tomatoes
- Garbanzo beans
- Edamame (Tip: Trader Joe’s Ready-To-Eat Edamame)
Empty salad mix into large bowl. Set aside dressing and wonton chips.
Clean and chop broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots and red onion. Add to salad.
Rinse tomatoes and beans. Add to salad.
Separate salads out into containers and store in fridge until ready to eat.
Add dressing and wonton crisps immediately before eating. Toss again.
You’ll notice there are no amounts listed in the ingredients. What I need nutritionally and what you need nutritionally are going to be different. Make this salad your own. This plan makes anywhere from 5 to 10 salads for the week for me. I typically divide it out in five containers to get me started and then split things up from there. This is a great option if you are someone who is trying to eat smaller meals throughout the day, too.
- You’ll likely need more salad dressing than what’s provided in the Dole salad packet. I’ve tried a few different Sesame Asian dressings and I like the Panera brand the best so far. What’s great about this salad is that it works with other dressings as well — eat whatever you enjoy.
- I add protein to my salad to complete the meal. It’s typically chicken, either leftovers from dinner, grilled chicken I’ve meal prepped over the weekend or gluten-free chicken nuggets I microwave and cut up before adding to the salad.
- I love adding avocado to my salads. Like the dressing and the wonton crisps, I don’t add the avocado until I’m ready to eat the salad. Sliced avocado doesn’t last long, even in the fridge. So if you are traveling with your lunch or bringing it into the office, add the avocado as close to lunch time as possible.
- These are the items I enjoy in my salad. You should put whatever you like to eat in your salad. I will say, the more I eat this veggie-loaded delight the more I crave veggies. It’s an easy, delicious way to get started on a veggie dense diet.
Reservation for the Week
In September, I introduced you to Justin and Becky Ahlstrom of Andoverr who were doing the unthinkable -- opening a restaurant during a global health pandemic. Not only did they successfully open their restaurant, they’ve since added an entire new menu to their repertoire -- brunch!
Note: Margie’s has a ton of gluten-free and vegan options on their menu, making it a great stop for families who need those substitutions.
Margie’s Kitchen and Cocktails is open for dinner Wednesday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.
Like Lindsay’s work? Follow her recipes, blogs and videos here on Bring Me The News or on her website https://lindsayguentzel.com/. Or follow her on social media @LindsayGuentzel on Twitter and Facebook.