Hurried During Holidays? Sunday Night Prep to Eat Healthy All Week

hurried-during-holidaysIt’s a Sunday. With the holidays here, the week ahead is busy, busy so planning the week’s healthy meals, to avoid fast food temptation, may be challenging. Taking a couple of hours on a Sunday prepping and cooking for the week may not sound like much fun, but with some creative and smart time-saving steps, the task doesn’t have to be daunting.

Getting It Done Ahead of Time

Tip: Have plenty of freezer-safe plastic (or glass) containers with tight fitting lids at the ready.

One way to handle the protein for a number of dinners is surprisingly simple, taking chicken breast, for example. Cutting the organic chicken into bite sized pieces and separating into three or four mounds, season each differently. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and fold the foil so there are sections for each serving of seasoned chicken and roast. Consider roasting vegetables at the same time: toss favorites with olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Veggie portions may be added to each of the different roasted chicken sections, placed in containers and frozen. Try making a huge pot or brown rice while you’re at it and store in the fridge for easy re-heating.

Alexis Weedo, co-owner of CrossFit Lakewood Ranch, agrees that Sunday prep is a smart way to go: “If you have just an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon, you can easily set yourself up for a week of healthy meals.”

“It is really hard to eat healthy on a consistent basis without proper planning.  Convenience and instant gratification are so embedded in our society that the thought of taking the time to plan and prepare meals can seem daunting,” Alexis says. “And mixed messages about what is and isn’t healthy only make the task more difficult.  But it doesn’t have to be!! It is all a matter of what is important enough for you to make time for and it doesn’t have to be a lot.”

Alexis’ recipe for crockpot shredded chicken makes four to five servings; enough for a week’s worth of lunches or portion out chicken servings ahead of time and mix with salads and brown rice.

Crockpot shredded chicken salad (the chicken will cook for 10 hours, so leave it overnight or set it up in the morning before leaving for work).

Coat the bottom of your crockpot in a thin layer of light olive oil or coconut oil (quality of your fat sources matters a lot, both of these oils contain healthy fats that are good for you!) Arrange four or five organic (preferably pastured) chicken breasts, or a combination of breasts and thighs, in the pot and season with sea salt, pepper, and garlic (fresh minced or garlic powder). Add a little sliced lemon or lime for a citrus flavor. Set the crockpot to cook on low for eight to 10 hours.  Once the chicken is done, take it all out into a really big bowl and start shredding!  It should come apart easily with two forks or even an electric mixer. Mix in two to three avocados and season to your liking with a little sea salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro. Use this chicken salad on top of salad greens for a clean and tasty salad complete with good protein and fats sources, or add some rice for a starchier more carbohydrate rich dish.

Rather rest on Sunday?

‘DiDi’s Dinners’ is a great solution for those pressed for time. Dorrie Parsons has spent much of her life in a kitchen, from the family restaurant in Pensacola to the nursing home she ran where healthy meal planning was a priority. Now Dorrie prepares healthy, fresh, delicious and creative meals for people who have little time to do their own meals much less meal planning and prep and she prepares meals to meet any dietary need, from meals prepared to encourage weight loss, menus for vegans or vegetarians, or specific diets like Paleo or restrictive ones like gluten-free, for example. Dorrie plans menus with clients based on their needs but is happy to offer myriad suggestions: “I say, ‘Tell me what you need’ (in your diet) and I’ll go from there … what’s freshest that day, what’s best.” Dorrie prepares meals daily with the freshest of organic foods, she never uses processed ingredients of any kind and says she sticks with ingredients that are seed-based, not grain-based.  Recent main courses included almond pesto pasta, pear and pumpkin seed salad with organic honey, steamed organic winter vegetables, coconut shrimp with pear chutney and lime-ginger coleslaw. And she delivers! For more information about Dorrie and ‘DiDi’s Dinners,’ contact her at at 850-292-1379.

However it happens, by investing time and preparing meals ahead of time or by enlisting help from a provider like DiDi’s Dinners, cut down on holiday stress (and unwanted holiday pounds via fast food) by doing a better job of planning healthy meals and sticking to it.