Sunday Ritual, with lots of shortcuts!
Lots of trainers and nutritionists talking about setting up a “Sunday Ritual” – using some of our time on a hopefully otherwise leisurely day to plan ahead for the week, food-wise, to make it easier to meet our nutrition goals for the week. Some folks go all out, cooking, packing and organizing food for hours. Personally, I’m very lazy in the kitchen and use as many shortcuts as humanly possible to meet my needs. There’s just other stuff I want to spend my time on! Here’s how to make a Sunday Ritual that works for you.
1) Look at your week ahead. What days are extra busy? What days have a lunch meeting? Do you have kids to feed? Make a list for each day of the meals you’ll need available. To keep things SUPER simple, I like to eat the same breakfast every day in a week so I don’t have to make different stuff; and maybe have a couple different lunch and snack options I can choose from. This week, I made refrigerator oats for breakfasts and cooked a bunch of chicken breasts I can throw with some steamed veggies I use my microwave steamer to make in literally 5 minutes. On a couple days I’m throwing an Amy’s frozen meal in the microwave. That’s fine! They align with my nutritional goals, fill me up, are tasty and take NO time – you don’t have to be fancy or go all out to be healthy and plan ahead!
For dinners, I’m partial to stuff I can dump in the crock pot, turn it on, and come home to a yummy dinner. I also LOVE microwave rice from Trader Joe’s! Rice goes with everything, and is a reasonably healthy option, especially if you go with brown. But if you don’t want to be -that- lazy, you can cook a big batch on Sunday and have it ready to go for the week.
2) Make a shopping list. Looking at your list of meals you’re going to eat this week, what do you need to buy at the store? Write it down on paper or in your smartphone. It helps to have an organized-ish pantry and fridge, so you know what you already have; but don’t worry too much about that right now.
3) Go to the store. (Eat something first so you’re not shopping hungry -that never works out!) Buy the stuff on your list. Check it off as you go. Be on a mission. You’re not here to browse and make impulse purchases! You’re here to get your list and get out of here!
4) Go home. Get the groceries out of your car. Put it away in a way that make sense to you, so that you can find it when you need it later in the week. Get in the habit of clearing all the expired stuff out of the fridge before you go, so you know everything you have before you go, and have a nice clear space to put things.
5) If you have some things that can be prepped ahead of time, do that. Put together your refrigerator oats in a jar. Put your crock pot meal ingredients together in a big zip lock bag so you can just dump it all in when it’s time to cook it. Cook some chicken breasts and stick them in some Tupperware or Pyrex to grab and go. Cook a big batch of rice and stick it in one bowl to use for the week or portion it out in smaller containers if you like. Chop up some veggies if you don’t already buy them pre-chopped. Make it easy for your frazzled weekday self to grab and go as much as possible.
6) Put your list up on the fridge, or stick it in your planner if you have one, or otherwise keep it handy so you remember what the plan was, and can grab the stuff you planned out so well.
7) Embrace imperfection. If you try to make a week’s worth of gourmet meals on Sunday, taking 8 hours, you’ll hate it and not do it again. Choose things you like and find relatively easy. We’re just trying to go a step better than ordering takeout every night. If you currently eat out every night, plan just a couple meals at first. Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you aim for just a little better each week, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your good intentions and find it a lot more enjoyable!
Hey! Following are some of my favorite easy things to prep ahead of time. Pinterest is amazing; you can find anything on there, and how to make it easier.
Mason Jar salads make a great lunch, are easy, and super customizable.
This Teriyaki Chicken slow cooker recipe is the bomb!
Crustless quiche can be made ahead, tossed in the fridge and eaten cold or warm when you’re ready, for any meal!
And here is my own lazy crock pot beef stew recipe: ridiculously tasty and easy as can be!
Put this stuff in the crock pot in this order. Serves 2-4 people; you can double for more.
-1/2 jar of Aunt Nellie’s Holland Style Onions (with liquid)
-a pound or so of pre-cut stew beef from the meat case
-salt & pepper & powdered garlic and any other spice you might want
-a package of white button mushrooms, sliced or whole
-a package of mini potatoes
-a package of baby carrots
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8+ hours. When you are ready to eat, mix it all up and spoon into bowls.
Enjoy! Let me know your own Sunday ritual shortcuts in the comments!