We took down all our Christmas decorations this weekend. I always have mixed emotions about that. It just signals the end to the holidays and that is just plain depressing. The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. Ah well, now we head into a long (at least in the Northeast), cold and dreary winter. But, then it also feels good to get the house back in order and all the extra clutter put away. Back to normal and a bit more organized life.
I find the time between Thanksgiving and New Years to be a bit chaotic. Habits we’ve worked hard to develop just fall by the wayside. Even though I’m a Dietitian, I know we don’t eat as well as we should and our meals and my meal planning tend to slip. We eat out more and grab lunch on the run instead of bringing it. So this weekend is a good one to get back on track.
There are 3 things I like to do each weekend so we eat a bit healthier during the week. It doesn’t always work, but for the most part I try to at least do these things and know in the long run it makes a world of difference for us.
Menu Plan – I like get our meals set for the week. I usually do this on Saturdays but my goal this year is to have it done by Friday afternoon. I write out a list of our meals for the week and from that I can make my shopping list. If all goes well, I can run out and do my shopping early Saturday morning before the store gets crazy, or better yet, stop on my way home from work on Friday night. There are a number of grocery stores that will do the shopping for you now and some even deliver. I haven’t taken advantage of that yet – I still like doing the shopping (I’m kind of a geek that way) but I might give it a try a couple of times this year.
Cook Once, Eat Twice – Not everyone is a fan of leftovers but they really can help save time if you make a bit extra. I’ll cook up an extra chicken breast and slice it for lunches or a salad for dinner the next night. I love to make a big pot of soup on Saturday or Sunday and will then freeze leftovers for a meal or two later in the month. Even things you wouldn’t think about making extras of can save time later in the week; extra roasted veggies are great in a salad for lunch, extra rice or quinoa can be tossed with ground meat for stuffed peppers or use it to make a rice bowl or grain salad, a big salad can be broken into small containers and taken for lunch and pancakes or waffles can be wrapped up and taken for a breakfast on the go.
Snacks – I think this is one thing that really helps both of us beat the afternoon vending machine trip. I’ll pack up snack bags on Sunday night for us to take to work. I love Ziploc snack bags for this – they are the perfect size. I always keep a variety of dried fruit and nuts on my kitchen shelf and make up little bags for each of us every Sunday night. You could get a pre-made bag of trail mix at the store but I find that most of these have a lot of sweets mixed in and I prefer just the fruit and nuts so I make our own and it honestly only takes a few minutes longer than if I were to separate a premixed bag.
Do you have things you do on the weekend to keep your week running smoothly?