Here’s another hot-button issue I deal with all the time. I work, I have kids, the kids have sports, the dog has to go to the vet, the phone is ringing, the baby is crying….Ok, you get it. We’re busy. Who isn’t? That does not mean there’s no time. I would be willing to bet my house to your pocket change that if you stepped back and looked at your day, you could fit in an extra 20-30 minutes, and one day per week to do some planning and cooking ahead. Skip your “shows” perhaps? There is some good news for all of us: My friend George from Civilizedcavemancooking.com (genius) has offered to collaborate on some ideas that we can all use to make it a bit easier. Easy is good, right? (my comments in bold)
Well after reading my awesome friend Nichole’s rebuttal to the most common reasoning regarding avoiding a Paleo diet or eating healthy in general, I got inspired to fight excuse number 2. Can anyone guess it? Wait for it….it really is epic: “I just don’t have TIME”. In the world we live in, everything is about convenience; worst part about that, it always seems more convenient to stick with what you are used to rather than making a change to benefit yourself. This is where I start to get angry; if your single or live alone, your choices and lack of interest in your own health (luckily) only affects you. If not, I do not have words to describe my disappointment. That 10 minutes everyday that you refuse to sacrifice to ensure you or your family have proper healthy nourishment and not overly processed or preservative ridden food can easily result in them or you losing 10 years off of your life. Personally, I would never want to be responsible for instilling bad habits or contributing to the health demise of anyone especially my family. (I get up about 15 minutes earlier- yes only 15- to make breakfast.)
Now, I understand that there are always going to be times when there really isn’t enough time or things come up, I understand and fully support that. For all the other times the biggest solution is to just plan ahead. I am such a huge fan of so many amazing people in the Paleo community that awe me with their dedication and drive to keep themselves and their families healthy and they manage to do it with a wide array of circumstances. Let’s start with the author of this blog post, Cavemomma. She is rocking out with a family of 6 and making it happen cheaper than she did with processed $H!T.(I would also interject: I own and operate a full-time business, go to Nursing school full-time in the evenings Aug-May, and work out 6 days.) My awesome pal Nom Nom Paleo who is a mother, wife, and works the graveyard shift and has time to blog every second of her meal journeys while getting her children to help her cook. Next one I am sure everyone knows is the awesome Sarah Fragoso from Everyday Paleo who is also a mother, wife, trainer, and Paleo goddess. I could continue to rock this list out until you are blogged out and your vision has deteriorated from the repetitive reading. Only reason I listed all these people is because, they all have 2 things in common: They wish there were 28 hours in the day to get everything done they need to everyday, and they all make a plan for their meals, shopping, cooking, etc. and stick to it. I am not saying you have to get all extreme couponers on it, but writing something down sub-consciously forces you to stick to it and helps you avoid those drive thrus and take out menus.
Here is my recipe for success whether you are single, married, or driving the Duggar bus to the grocery store with your 19 kids and counting.
- Look at your overly busy schedule and set a block of time to sit down and do a meal plan for the week, that’s right – you have to sit down and plan at least 27 delicious meals that you actually have to cook (this is my favorite part). In all actuality, this normally ends up being more like 15 meals with lots of leftovers and easy to go breakfasts so don’t let that number intimidate you.
- Cavmomma interjection – I sit down with the kids on Sunday afternoon and go over the options. We look at what we have in the fridge and what we want for the week, then make a plan. It works out well in that they learn how to plan and how to give and take (not everyone likes the same things)
- From your meal plan, make a grocery list and separate it from where you are going to get it, i.e. meat already in your freezer, farmers markets, etc. Making a list and forcing yourself to stick to it alone will save you TONS of money and time. You won’t waste those precious minutes aimlessly aisle wandering putting no good shelf shopping junk in your cart. Cavemomma int – if you have kids with you, they can hold your list and remind you as you remind them we have to stick to the list. In our budget, I only bring enough cash to cover what we have on the list. I’ve done this enough times to know how much I need. It takes some time, but budgeting is crucial.
- Now that you have established your meal plan and list, set a day aside for your food preparation.(Cavemomma does Sunday afternoon/evening and Weds night while kids are at youth group.) As you do this over and over again the day turns into a couple of hours but it saves you so much time and hassle. After you return home from your grocery trip once a week, prepare all your ingredients for your next 4 days of meals. Chop up fruit and vegetables and freeze them, portion everything out and that will make your normal 45-minute meals 20 minutes of just cook time. (I highly recommend reusable BPH free plastic or glass containers. genius.) After this all you have to do on a Wednesday or Thursday is prepare 2-3 more days of ingredients until you shop again. (I heart leftover days)
- BUY A CROCK-POT.(Seriously. Do it. It’s an investment you will not regret ) They will save your life and as I am learning as I use it more and more, you can make almost ANYTHING in a crock-pot. The one I use is 6 quarts and is a true set and forget it, when completed cooking it automatically goes to warm so even though my food finished 8 hours before I got home, it was still delicious and warm. Having a crock-pot will make your meal planning even simpler than it already is and it will cover more than one meal. You also don’t have to worry about cooking at 5 o’clock in the morning; I place my entire crock-pot meal in the pot minus whatever liquid ingredients and place in the fridge overnight covered. I wake up at 0430, take 5 seconds to pour liquid in, cover and hit on and I am out the door. (I’m out the door by 6:30 with 4 kids most days.)
- Always make leftovers, you don’t have to finish everything you cook since you are no longer giving in to insulin spikes or carb commas so utilize one meal cooking session to make 2 or 3 meals and that frees up even more of your precious time. And one thing I have learned on Paleo, dinner makes great breakfast too, especially in the absence of time. (Here, you have to change your perception of Breakfast. I also take the leftovers for mine and hubby’s lunch the next day)
- Keep it simple. One of the reasons everyone spends so much time coming up with all different crazy concoctions when cooking is cause they are using junk meat which tastes like crap and pesticide ridden produce. Source your food from a trustworthy and reliable source and enjoy the taste of it, you will be surprised how easy your meals will be when all you have to do to season anything is salt and pepper and it always tastes amazing
I hope someone is still reading at this point, you learned something or could take something out of this, and most of all that you will continue to strive to live a healthy lifestyle and spread that wealth to the world. It only takes 1 to make a difference and by staying positive and being supportive of anyone’s interests in a positive lifestyle change we can touch so many lives in such a positive way. Stay healthy, keep spreading Paleo love, and keep it simple. Your body (and your children’s bodies) will thank you.
-George at www.civilizedcavemancooking.com – Nichole the “Cavemomma”
Thank you as always for visiting. PLEASE ASK ME QUESTIONS. THAT’S WHY I’M HERE!!