It is always nice to get out of bed on a Monday morning feeling prepared for the coming week. An empty laundry basket and well stocked fridge go a long way to easing stress, no one likes to make decisions about dinner on the fly if you have just worked a long day. It is much easier to have that checked off your list already, if not with something specific at least with the knowledge that you have a couple options to chose from. If you read my posts over the weekend you know I was busy doing just that and I have a few tips for you on easing your weekday burden for meal prep as well as some key compliant foods to have on hand.
For starters, I have found a reliable breakfast option. You may recall I am not big on eggs, and though Jason loves them even he is getting tired of having them every day for breakfast. Coconut milk yogurt has come to the rescue for me! I have been having a bowl of mixed fruit with coconut yogurt pretty much every day, bananas with berries this morning, crisp sliced apple a few days ago. You can mix up the fruit and even add a sprinkle of nuts for crunch if you like.
We also found a few ready made sausage options that will work for any meal. I was surprised when I heard that Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage was compliant for the Whole 30. But read the label and you’ll see it is sweetened with apple. I also found that Fra’mani’s Classic Italian fit the bill, both a good change from bacon for breakfast or easily made into a meal later in the day. Unlike sugar free bacon, which all seems to be clearly marked as such, sausage makers do not tend to advertise that their products do not have added sugar. So read the label of any brand you are particularly fond of, it may surprise you with no added sugar.
I also picked up a few more jars of Rao’s marinara at Costco. Jason wants a repeat of the meatball recipe we tried and this marinara is delicious. (It is also a little pricey for jarred pasta sauce, so yay Costco for carrying a reasonably priced two pack!) I can use the second jar with some of that Italian sausage and a few zucchini turned into zoodles for a very fast dinner if I need to.
I also picked up some some grass fed butter at Costco from Kerrygold since I noticed they carried an unsalted version. Both of the ghee recipes that I consulted called for unsalted butter, and for me there is no other butter to use while cooking. Salt content can vary wildly from one brand to the next and while I am happy to add salt to most foods I want to be in complete control of how much. Grass fed butter is supposed to be both more flavorful and nutritionally superior, but I don’t have much experience with it. I will say that the butter behaved completely different when I made ghee. There was considerably less foam (milk solids) to remove as it melted and a lot less of the crackle and pop sound. It also turned out more golden, something I was striving for but I have to admit that may have been more from the deep color the butter started out with than any improvement on my method.
I also spent a large part of the day yesterday washing vegetables. Believe it or not this is a huge time saver. When you want to make a salad at the end of the day and your lettuce is already clean it makes it so much quicker and easier! And for things like roast broccoli or cauliflower rice, where you really want the vegetable not just clean but also dry it is doubly helpful.
I fill the sink with a few inches of water and add a few tablespoons of Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak*. I start with the things like apples and broccoli which need a good rinse but will not muddy up the water and end with the dirtier items, like spinach. You may need to change the water midway depending on how much produce you have. When you’re on the Whole 30 you tend to have a lot of veggies around!
It should be noted that soft vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers should not be washed too far in advance, they tend to get soft after they have been soaked in water. Stick with the heartier varieties and let everything have some time to dry before you put it away. I have some flour sack dish towels that I use for just that purpose, and I wrap things like parsley and cilantro in a paper towel before putting them away to make sure there is no excess water.
Our fridge is thoroughly stocked and we are ready to go not only for this weeks dinners, but with staples for breakfast and lunch as well. Jason says that is the real benefit of the Whole 30. We became so much better at planning our meals and grocery shopping for the whole week last January. And way better about eating leftovers! And though the focus here is on more healthful eating there are some undeniable economic benefits to that as well.
I’ll continue to try and think ahead as the week progresses. When I toasted pine nuts for our potatoes last night I threw in a dish of sliced almonds as well knowing those would be great on a lunch salad. I still haven’t made that mayonnaise I was talking about but I do hope to find time for it this week. I have never made it before and I’m having a lot of fun stretching my abilities right now. I promise to post a pic no matter how it turns out… just as soon as I get around to making it!
*Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak is a product by Young Living, a health and wellness company that sells essential oils, supplements, and non toxic household products. If you would like more information about their shopping platform please email me, I’d be happy to get you started!