Time…or lack thereof is one of the main reasons for midweek meals being a bit of a last minute rush and inevitably this means that they are rarely as healthy as they could be or as we would ideally like them to be.
Planning on the other hand sounds like something that only super organised people do who have time to do it, right? actually wrong. It is often a habit (although they will rarely shout about it) of healthy people and for many it becomes second nature. Why? because it really does work. Not only does it save time and the 5.30pm fretting of what on earth can I conjure up for myself/kids/husband etc etc this evening, but it also helps to avoid the….’have no time therefore lets order a pizza/Chinese/Indian/fish and chips’ scenario’.
Also, I promise it is not as scary as it sounds.
Here is how to get started…
1) Set aside 20mins on a sunday morning or afternoon (even evening) and plan 3 evening meals for the week ahead. Have a browse through some recipe books and look online for some inspiration. Perhaps think of a vegetable or ingredient that you would love to have a go at using and find a recipe based around this. Pick simple quick recipes, no need to go elaborate. Generate a list from this and add this to your weekly staples.
2) Take another hour to prepare some food. Here are some ideas to get you started but they will obviously vary depending on what you are planning on eating during the week.
Peel a couple of onions and store in an airtight container (dont chop up yet though as they will go a little slimy).
Peel and chop some carrots and chop up some celery sticks and cucumber into batons and store them all in a lidded container filled with water in the fridge.
Wash and chop some lettuce, rocket, kale and spinach and place in another box in the fridge ready to use.
Put some brown rice on to cook and when done, cool quickly, cover and store in the fridge in an airtight container. You could also do this with couscous or quinoa.
Mix up a little vinaigrette with one part vinegar (use a lovely cider/white wine one) and 3 parts good quality oil with a little salt, pepper and perhaps some dijon mustard – my favourite addition! Shake it up and store in an old screw top jam jar and you have a tasty dressing for salads, couscous, meats.
Hard boil some eggs and these are great snacks for you or the kids and great for breakfasts on the go or when time is short in the mornings.
Make a quick tomato sauce with some chopped onions and garlic gently fried in a pan and then add in a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, some tomato puree, a little salt and pepper and I add in a tsp of homemade chilli tomato jam for an extra bit of oomph! Let this bubble away and when cooked simply cool and store in the fridge and you have a base for pasta, add in a tin of kidney beans and some chilli and you have a veggie chilli in under 5 mins to serve with your already cooked brown rice, use it with some beef mince for taco shells or to put in jacket potatoes, bake some fillets of white fish in the sauce in an oven proof dish and serve with some veggies…..and on and on! Endless options and all in about 10 mins or less because you have done the hard work!
So approximately 90 mins on a Sunday and your midweek meals can be really quick, hassle free AND healthy!