This week's baby step is:
To create your own list of 5-10 meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less, with no previous prep time, that you can turn to for those days when you just need to make a quick meal, but want to keep it healthy and homemade!
Why this step is important:
When it comes to nutrition and cooking, one of the comments or questions that I receive the most often is how to cook healthy meals that are simple, quick, easy to make. So many women (and maybe especially stay-at-home moms, but I would think this is a struggle for working women, single or married, as well), would really like to make healthier meals, but when the clock hits 4:00 pm (or 5:00 or 6:00 or later!) and you realize that dinner needs to be made, it can often feel so much easier to just make something because it is easy, not because it is nutritious (ie. frozen, packaged, processed, unbalanced, no veggies, etc.).
One major solution to this problem is one that I
harp on write about quite a bit, and that is meal planning. Although I will include some links to my previous meal planning posts for those who are interested, that's not actually not the point of this week's baby step. Another solution is making extra meals when you're cooking and freezing them for "instant" meals on days when you just don't want to or lack the time to cook (a great idea, but again, not the point of this post).
Rather, for today the idea is to have a handy list of easy-to-make, nutritious meals that you generally have the ingredients for, so that when those "it's 4:51pm and I have no clue what to make and Kraft Dinner sounds really tempting" moments hit, you will have a ready-made solution.
How to get started with it:
Personally, I have a handful of meal ideas that I use when I feel pinched for time, I forgot to take the meat out to thaw, it's the weekend and I don't really want to cook a big meal, or when I'm just not feeling up to it. I am going to leave you with a list of some of my old standbys, and links to recipes when possible. I will also link to a few other recipes on the internet that I think will fit the bill for this assignment.
However, my ideas aren't enough. I'm going to ask for your help in doing this!
This Friday, I'm going to host a "Say No to Kraft Dinner" Carnival!
I would love to see as many people as possible posting their favorite ideas for simple, healthy meals (recipes are great, but even just meal concepts are helpful). If you've previously posted a recipe or idea that you think would fit in, feel free to link back to that. If you have online recipes you use, let us know about them. If you don't have a blog, leave some ideas in a comment. Basically, I'm just calling in any and all resources you've got for me- the more, the better!
The only criteria for the recipes is that they are a relatively healthy and balanced meal, that they consist of whole foods only, not packaged items (things liked canned tomatoes or frozen peas or store-bought tortillas are fine; I'm just talking about canned soup, stovetop stuffing, etc.), and that they can be made in 30 minutes or less.
When the carnival goes up, it will enable all those joining me on this Baby Step (and yes, I'll be doing it too- I have ideas, but no official list, so I'm planning to write my list in my planner) to take a good look around at other's ideas, be inspired, and come up with a list of 5-10 meals for all of those no good, very bad days (and all the other days) that might make you want to keep it really simple.
Coming up, this Friday, May 30th! I will post my own ideas at that time, and there will be a Mr. Linky up (I'll aim for having it up by Thursday night) for all of you to add your own link and start gleaning ideas from others!
(But seriously, you don't have to look at these if you don't want to- it's Baby Steps, so that means not being overwhelmed with too much information and too many things to think about and try to do! I give these purely as optional resources, NOT as part of this week's actual Baby Step, ok?)
So, are you in? Will you join me for the carnival?