Under Pressure

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In a recent conversation with my rock star friend, who is notorious for her elaborate party preparations, beach cooler creations (for days at the ocean with the kids) and doing her best to nourish her three little ones, she confessed that when it comes to her own eats, they are often sub-par. I was slightly mortified to find out that on her way to and from gigs, she jets into a bright light convenience mart to grab some whatever you want to call it.

Balancing life is not an easy task whether work, relationships, family, health or that necessary self-care that we just can’t get to. So when people come to me with their food and health woes, part of my job is to teach them how to NOT crack under pressure.

Now, back to my friend—if she has time to plan and cook for the party, the beach feast and nourish her kids, why can’t she find a moment to take care of the caregiver? Sometimes people just need a little help shifting priorities. And I find that one very simple thing is often the solution—planning ahead!

So this is the advice I gave my friend to organize eats for herself and her family:

  1. On a Friday or over the course of the weekend (or a day that suits you), take 10-15 minutes to plan a weekly menu for the upcoming week (see below what a week in my home can look like)
  2. Then take 2-3 minutes to look at your upcoming week’s schedule and determine when you will be able to food shop and cook
  3. When it comes to food shopping, I like to do a BIG shop once or twice a month with a smaller shop weekly as perishables are needed; this tactic is especially useful if you want to save time, money and limit food waste
  4. Even as an avid cook, I can’t be in the kitchen every night so I aim to cook three nights per week
  5. For the other nights, I pick a day during the week to prepare a few staple dishes like vegetarian chili, turkey meatballs and a soup or two. This helps guarantee Stefanie-approved nourishment on the nights that I can’t cook.  With a little re-heating and supplementation with a quick salad, vegetable and/or starch, a balanced meal is born.
  6. And there are those nights that pizza or some prepared food is what feeds the frenzy

My reality is not different than most. Navigating food is just my expertise. So take some advice from this soul sister—planning food for you and your family a week in advance will save you time, money and reduce stress. So, create realistic goals for yourself, even if it means that you cook only one to two nights per week! For many, that alone is a great start!

As for my friend, she continues to do a stellar job taking care of those around her. And she is working towards including herself in the mix!

Family Dinner Menu_2012

And, don’t forget to tune in to Stirring the Pot on WPPB 88.3 FM Thursdays at 5:30pm (with an encore Saturdays at 5pm) for Pressure Cooking Deconstructed and surely check out the Weekly Yum Recipe.

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