I hesitate to share this photo of my fridge with you. It’s clearly a first-world fridge filled with food. But this is the reality of my life, so for history’s sake this is a true account of how I live.
Every (well, mostly) Sunday I grocery shop for the week, and then I prep the food in the fridge. This is my time-saving technique for the weeknights where I get home late from work and have an hour or two to serve dinner, finish homework, give baths, and read bedtime stories. If you have kids, I’m sure you’re familiar with the routine.
The reason I do this is for our health. Rather than buy lunches at work and throw together quick, carbo-loaded dinners, I’m trying to support a lean protein and veggie diet. To help me achieve that goal, I get the ingredients ready in advance.
The plan is to have salads and soups in our adult lunches, and wraps and other finger-foods in the kids’ lunches.
To help quickly build a salad for lunch every morning, I’ve washed and cut romaine lettuce. Roasted a chicken and shredded it–protein for the salad. Roasted some root veggies, such as beets and parsnips. And then I fill a small mason jar with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a hint of pomegranate molasses. If you haven’t tried pomegranate molassess….oh my gosh, the sweet, tart flavor is AMAZING! I love adding it to salad dressing for its nth degree of flavor boosting.
I’ve got snap peas, carrot sticks, and celery sticks ready for the kids’ lunches. I give them a small container of hummus for dipping the veggies in. I usually go old school and smear some sunflower seed butter into the celery sticks and then add some raisins. Ants on a log.
My youngest isn’t allowed to bring nuts to school, so we’ve switched from using peanut butter at home to nut-free sunflower seed butter. I adore the crunchy variety. Good stuff.
OK, on to snacks. This is for the 3pm food craving to help my hubs and I get thru the last few hours of the work day. Dieticians tell you to eat small meals every 2-3 hours, and to always balance your carbohydrate and protein intake. That’s to say, always eat some protein with your carbs. So for a mid-day snack, I usually cut up an apple and then include a quarter cup of cottage cheese in a container.
Then for dinner, I’ll saute some veggies, boil some rice pilaf, and cook up some fish or shrimp. One dinner a week is tofu, and one dinner a week is beef. My kids love sauteed fish with olive oil, butter, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro.
It’s not fancy. It’s not over-the-top caloric food. But when you work a desk job, where every day your secretary butt grows wider, you have to balance your meals with the level of activity in your day. Even with several workouts during the week, we’re just not expending the same amount of energy that a cowboy does. So no meat and potatoes for us.
This is how I spend my Sundays afternoons.
What are some of your tricks for balancing work and life?