So I’ve been talking lately about how this Drive Thru Sue handles her weeks on THM, first with a handy-dandy starter menu, and then with a list of favorite specialty items. Today, I’m going to talk a little about weekend planning and how it makes my life easier.
First, let me say that if you want to spend tons of time in the kitchen everyday because that is your happy spot, Trim Healthy Mama is ultra-flexible and you can totally do that. For me, however, my happy spot is in the bathtub. With a book. And a large glass of wine. With the lights out so that the kids cannot find me. Don’t worry, I have a booklight
In all seriousness, I really do enjoy cooking, but for me it’s a relaxation kind of thing when I can play around and experiment and maybe stop for an impromptu dance with one of my boys. Weeknights are just not that relaxed around here. The boys are already asking for food before we even get out of the car at home, and typically, it’s another hour before P-Daddy gets home from work. I wanna be able to throw food together lickety-split before my children start to gnaw my – or their own – arm off. So I plan ahead.
I know these boys, and I know me, and I know our kitchen. And I know that we will not all survive if I have to cook from scratch on weeknights. So on the weekend, I do whatever I can to make my life easier during the week. That way, I’m calmer, I can get the boys a meal – or at least a snack – pretty immediately, and it just makes my week work better overall. It also makes my work week better, since I’m prepared with breakfasts and lunches as well as dinners. It’s not hugely time-consuming or a complicated task. But by doing these 5 things on the weekend, I make my week go smoother – and I don’t even (at least not often) have to resort to the drive-thru!
(1) I plan my menu ahead of time
Every Sunday I make a menu plan for the following week. I do this AFTER I grocery shop so that I can take advantage of any great deals that I find at the store. And I’m not saying that I then FOLLOW this menu plan to a T, but by making the plan to start with, I get an idea of what’s in my cabinet, what’s in my freezer, and what I can easily grab and eat when needed. At times, I fall back on my starter menu to make life even easier.
(2) I bulk cook on the weekends
Some weeks I do a lot, and some I do a little. But generally I spend a couple hours in the kitchen on Sunday cooking meats and other items that I can eat throughout the week. This makes my meal prep and kitchen time minimal on nights when we’ve got other stuff going on, and it helps make my breakfasts and lunches quick and easy.
I admit it: sometimes P-Daddy grills and makes my job easier!
Homemade burritos are a favorite and we try to keep some in the freezer at all times
Trim Healthy pancakes freeze beautifully for a quick and easy on-the-run breakfast
Frittatas are easy, use up extra veggies, and are good hot or cold
Wonder Wraps are versatile and easy, so they are great to make ahead and keep on hand
(3) I chop fruits and veggies so they are easy to grab-and-go
I know, you are thinking that fruits and veggies are easy anyway, but you wouldn’t believe (or perhaps you would, if you know me!) how many times I have skipped the fruit and veggies just because they weren’t already peeled or chopped. So while the bulk cooking is going on, I gather up the fruit and veggies I have lying around and do a bit of washing and chopping to make my life easier later.
That’s not all fruit and veggies – some of that is a huge batch of soup that was part of my bulk cooking session
Luckily I’ve got plenty of little plastic containers
Sometimes I’m even nice to P-Daddy and make watermelon chunks for him – and yes, those are a single serving for him!
See those strawberries down in front? They are totally ready to toss into some yogurt for a great easy snack!
(4) I prep and portion everything else that I can for my meals
I admit it, I buy things like tuna in packets so that this part is easier, but even things like canned beans can be made more convenient. On the weekend, I drain and rinse, and then toss small portions into individual containers to add to salads and things like that. Salad in a jar is a great way to get your salads ready ahead of time too. In other words, anything that I can portion out and make pretty instant for future meal times, I do on the weekend. Then I can toss together a salad like this one or my Seven-Layer Southwest Salad in a jiffy, whether I’m at home or at work.
(5) I bottle drinks for the week
I start with a huge jug of whatever I’m going to be drinking. In this case, I think I was making lemonade or GGMS. I make at least a double batch to start with.
And then, I fill up my drink bottles and have them ready to grab in the fridge. Makes my life so much easier, and because I have a bottle or two at work with me already, I’m more likely to refill them with water and stay hydrated.
Shhh…don’t tell the purists, but that’s canned whipped cream in there – it DEFINITELY makes my life as a Trim Healthy Mama easier!! Over on the right is a tub of boiled eggs – can you say instant snacks?!
How about you? What do you do on the weekend that helps make your week work better?