My husband travels a lot, and sometimes he’s gone for a couple weeks or more. It can be a real struggle to make sure I’m still preparing healthy food. Dinner time can be the most exhausting time if I need to take attention off my 4 year old and 13 month old. But I’ve fine tuned a few tricks. You just need an hour or two to prepare for the week (which may seem too much to ask, but is worth it).
- Either stay up before bed, wake up early, use nap time, or get another adult to watch the kids while you chop up a bunch of veggies. It hardly even matters what kind but you have to do a lot because they’ll be useful for the next 5 days. Sauté them in a little oil with salt and pepper. Remember to start with onions first, your root vegetables, cruciferous and bell peppers. I always add garlic towards the end because I don’t like it too browned and the healthy properties of it are better preserved. If you want to include delicate leafy greens like spinach. leaves those out until your ready to prepare a meal with the vegetables. Let the veggies cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
- Create a couple of sauces or make sure you purchase them. I recommend hummus, pesto, peanut sauce, miso sauce, savory yogurt dip, aioli, guacamole, and salad dressing of choice. Find some great ideas on the following website https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-dip-recipes. A search for healthy dips and condiments will yield you even more thoughts.
- Make sure you have whole grain tortillas, breads, pasta (not whole grain), and/or actual whole grains such as quinoa, rice, amaranth, barley, and farro. Meats, eggs, and beans that are easy to prepare are also nice to have handy.
- When meal time is coming up you can do so many things with the veggies and sauces. You can add the veggies to scrambled eggs, have a pasta dish with sauce, make quick pizzas, wrap veggies in a tortilla with choice of sauce, grill up some meat and serve veggies on side or top, add the veggies to a grain and pour sauce over it all, and so on. The variations are endless. And if you make sure you mix up the veggies, sauces, and vehicles in which you eat them with you won’t get sick of it.
- In your rare spare time make a plan of the meals you would like to make. Make sure they are quick to prepare and easy to clean up, like any one dish meal.
- Carve out that hour or two to prep. Chop up all the vegetables according to their recipes and store. Make any necessary sauces. Do whatever preparing you can ahead of time.
- When it’s time to cook it should be as easy as throwing the meat and veggies onto a pan, spicing it up, and sticking it in the oven until it’s done. Then you can go play with your children while it cooks.