Well I had no idea I'd really need my own tips today. I woke up feeling queasy this morning and it really hasn't gone away. I should probably make some ginger tea but the thought of putting liquid into my stomach is not agreeing with me right now!
So today my own tips were invaluable! I'll share the best ones I've had recently:
- Plan your menus. Plan out on a weekly basis, or perhaps bi-weekly if that works better for you. Plan breakfast, lunch and dinner. You may want to have breakfast and lunch the same every week (a certain meal every Monday, a certain one on Tuesdays, etc.)
- Plan your cooking. I think this is the thing that has helped me the absolute most recently. Look ahead to what you'll cook the next day so any meats are thawing in the fridge or beans are soaking. And learn to think about what vegetables will need to be chopped for the meal. What dishes need to be started an hour before supper – and how you can make that very easy for yourself.
Now, these things aren't really very easy. Especially if you haven't learned how to plan meals or how to order your cooking – and like I said yesterday, they're not skills taught anymore.
A Nice “Shortcut”
I've been taking care of a family for awhile now, and cooking for others since I was in high school. But I was mostly “winging it” and figuring it out on my own. It has just been the past couple of months that I've really grasped how to plan cooking well. And one resource has made the biggest difference – a menu mailer service.
This service emails you a menu plan each week. Your menu is all made out with delicious, healthy recipes for your main dishes. The recipes are well-written with step-by-step instructions. And there's a shopping list made out for you already. And the biggest bonus of all – a day-by-day preparation plan. It tells you when to thaw or soak what. It tells you when to chop veggies. When to start marinating a dish.
Using this menu mailer service I was able to truly learn how to think about meal preparation in an organized way. I used it for several weeks while I was having my worst morning sickness (and I also ordered a special mailer issue of all crock pot recipes for my hardest days!). It was so helpful then, but the benefits are continuing even now. My meal prep times are close to effortless because I'm able to think about everything I'll need to do to prepare a meal.
Doing Just a Little Ahead
Now let me give you a tip related to the above that has helped me: As I prepare a snack or lunch I do some of the preparation I'll need to do for supper. For instance if I want to roast a chicken that evening here is what I do:
- Morning Snacktime: I prepare the snack then take a few minutes to cube potatoes for the chicken.
- Lunchtime: I get lunch ready, then slice a few lemon slices. I mix the spices I'll need for my chicken.
- Around 4pm: I grease the bottom of my roasting pan and scatter the potatoes in. I season my chicken with the lemon wedges and the spices I mixed earlier, put in on the rack over the potatoes and put it in the oven.
- Around 5pm: I take the chicken out of the oven to cool and get together a salad. It's ready to be carved and served shortly thereafter.
I have a delicious meal with just small bits of effort here and there throughout the day. On days I don't have time for prep throughout the day a crock pot meal is perfect – or a “30 minute one skillet dish.” On these days it can be helpful to chop vegetables for the crock or skillet the night before.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful to you! They have been so wonderful for me and have really helped make my meals “effortless” but still delicious (and healthy for making a new baby!)
- An outline of a balanced pregnancy diet
- How to Survive Your First Trimester
- Podcast: How to Survive Morning Sickness (and keep up with it all while parenting)