Prepping for 21 meals a week

So I’ve figured out that when you are dairy-free, gluten/grain-free, legume free, and low sugar…what you are really doing is following a Paleo diet.  I like that frame of mind because it’s about what we are doing vs a list of things we aren’t doing.

Regardless of what you call it, there is a ton of meal prep involved.  We’re too new in the process to have the kids self-sufficient for breakfast – so that means mom is planning for 21 meals (ok maybe 20) a week. Of course Nom-Nom Paleo has a brilliant schedule worked out for meal prep.  Can you find this kind of time?  Not me.  Containers

That said , you can’t just start chopping veggies on a Sunday night – you need to plan to plan.  Without it you have cranky kids in the AM or when they get home from school and no one’s day gets better with that:

  • What kitchen tools do you need? Because I’m living in a furnished rental 6 months, I’ve been quick to identify what’s an absolute must have to get started with Paleo.  All the equipment here is complete rubbish – here’s the short list of what I’ve bought to make the 6 months manageable:
    • Baking Sheet & muffin tins
    • Vitamix
    • Cast iron pan
    • Chef’s knife
    • Sturdy cutting board
    • Kitchen grill – this was probably not necessary, but it’s fun
    • More glass containers than you ever thought you would buy

Stupid Easy Paleo – Meal Planning has some good tips on how to structure your time to the through week, so you aren’t cooking every day.  She also recommends a slowcooker as a must have.  I don’t think so – I’m making due with the oven.  When we were still eating beans – the slow cooker was huge.

  • When do you have time to grocery shop, that is followed by time to prep?  For me that’s usually Saturday shopping and Sunday afternoon prep.  I don’t schedule anything for Sundays – we get home from Church and the kids have free time until dinner.  I try to have some relax time, some time walking the dogs and my afternoons are spent getting the lunches, breakfasts and 1-2 dinners organized.  If you don’t have a specific list of what you need for the week, Paleo Leap has a great set of all purpose suggestions for things to get ready, so you’re not scrambling every day.  Of course, you can’t chop everything on Sunday or it gets squishy.  I try to carve out a little time Wednesday to get through what’s required for Thursday and Friday.  And Saturday’s is simply cobbling together the odds and end we didn’t get to or didn’t quite finish.

Don’t underestimate the value of your containers.  It’s an investment – but there’s value to being able to put together 10 little packs of olives, 10 little packs of chia pudding, and other additions to packed lunches in advance.

 

 

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60 day gluten & dairy free challenge

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Grain Free Granola

 

 

 

 

 

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Cherry Coconut Pudding

 

 

Of course the best time to go Paleo is right after Easter when the kids still have all their Easter chocolate hanging around right?

What’s interesting about having tweens is no longer can I simply decide that we’re going to try more raw veggies, or have fish 4x per week….well I can decide that, but they can also decide to put up a revolt.  And I have no interest in instigating an insurrection.

So we’ve been talking about sugar and it’s impact on how you feel, the work you can do at school, whether you get hungry or hangry etc.  We’ve been talking about how there’s been more and more dairy/wheat creeping in since we moved into short-term housing.  We’ve been talking about how much they like being self sufficient in the AM.  Can you say raisin bran with cow milk?  (don’t judge…. we’ve all made the easy choice on occasion).

We were so busy talking about this gluten free, dairy free, low sugar experiment – that it was easy to say “let’s start April 1”.  So easy in fact that I forgot to prepare.  I did spend one evening tossing any of the old food. And I might have bought more veggies than normal, but I did not meal prep or plan for the first week.  Big mistake.  It’s one thing to have more veggies, or less processed food.  It’s a whole other level to go 100% in — 3 meals a day from home, no processed food.  Can’t emphasis the need to plan ahead enough.

Someone tried to make their own guacamole

Someone tried to make their own guacamole

 

Week 1 was bumpy.  Week 2 was better as I spent most of Sunday afternoon prepping breakfasts, school lunches and post swimming snacks. Week 3 is next week.  I need a full meal plan and shopping list.  And I will need to get smarter about the time it takes — no way I’m spending every Sunday locked in the kitchen.