Amn_028

Help with easy to prep meal ideas

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Hi, I only lasted 14 days on my first whole30. I'm looking to start another round this Sunday. My biggest challenge was all of the cooking and prep work required to sustain this lifestyle change. I would spend 3 hours on Sunday prepping foods for the week and then would get bored eating them mid-week. I tried RealPlans, which I liked to some degree, but it required too much time managing the weekly meal plan. Help!! I would like to break my addiction to sugar and eventually get to a vegetarian lifestyle but I can't get past the meal prep!!!

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Weekly cookups will work best if you have a pretty high tolerance for eating the same things throughout the week. You can help mitigate that to a degree by keeping the seasonings on your meats and veggies pretty neutral, and then making a few different sauces to change up flavors (so for a couple of days, have your chicken and veggies with chimichurri sauce, then after a couple of days, make up some ranch dressing to use instead, and a couple days after that, maybe some hollandaise sauce or marinara). You're still eating the same foods, but it may change things just enough for you to avoid boredom. 

I just saw a post in this thread today:  https://forum.whole30.com/topic/54073-day-14-and-ready-to-be-done/  -- scroll down to @kirbz's response about how she's shopping every day, but keeping the meals simple. 

Or if Real Plans was okay but not great, what would make it easier? There are meal planning sites, but some of them you'll have to put in recipes, so the initial setup may be pretty time consuming, but then once you've got a good base of recipes, it'll be easier.

Think about what would work for you. What kinds of foods were you trying to make before that you'd get bored of? Do you need simpler foods, or more exciting foods? Do you have the time during the week to cook one or more meals a day? Or do you have a day mid-week when you could do a second prep day, so maybe do one (hopefully shorter) prep day Sunday and make enough food to get through Wednesday, and then do a prep day Wednesday to last until Sunday, so you've got two different batches of foods each week instead of just one? Are there restaurants or grocery stores around you that offer compliant grab-and-go options, so you could plan to do that once a week to give yourself a break? Would your budget allow for some of the pre-made meal delivery type things, not necessarily for every meal, but some offer frozen options, maybe stock up on some of those and plan one or two of those a week to give yourself a break from what you've cooked. (Here's some of the Whole30 Approved options, though there may be other options in your area as well:  https://whole30.com/whole30-approved/?cat=restaurants-and-meal-delivery/

You may not hit on exactly the right thing immediately. Try something for a week or two, and then evaluate, and try to figure out what's working and what isn't, and how to make it work better. Whatever you choose, it's going to be time consuming in the beginning, that's just the nature of doing something new and different. But like anything else, it will get better -- you'll learn more how much food you need and how long different veggies will keep until you're not willing to eat them anymore, and you'll get faster at things like chopping vegetables and making marinades. 

 

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I follow a bunch of W30 and paleo accounts on Instagram and have found a bunch of recipes that way. Here's a few easy recipes I've found...

Enchilada stuffed sweet potatoes

Sloppy Joe bowls

If you like spicy stuff, Yai's Thai curry sauces are really good. Just cook up some chicken or shrimp, toss in some veggies, add the sauce, and serve over cauliflower rice. Simple and pretty quick.

30 minute Tuscan chicken skillet - this one is easy to make compliant

Easy tuna cakes

Fried plantains are easy and quick.

Cauliflower rice is super easy and quick and can be spiced up a million ways. I just grab some from the frozen section at the grocery store.

 

Rachel

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One of my splurges is to buy fresh veggies that have already been cleaned and cut up: green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, or even a mixed veg like a cauli-broccoli mix. I buy new potatoes or small Yukon gold potatoes that don't need to be peeled. Then I use them as part of a roasted sheet-pan supper.

Heat your oven to 350F. In a big bowl, toss veg of your choice in a little olive oil and desired seasoning, and arrange along one long side of a sheet pan. Toss a few cut up new potatoes in oil and seasoning, and arrange along the other side. Toss boneless chicken thighs, or sliced compliant sausage, in oil and seasonings, and arrange between the veg and potatoes. This all will take you about 5 minutes! Pop in the oven and let roast for 30 minutes while you go watch the news, read a book, or toss a green salad. Voila: instant supper! And the leftovers work great for breakfast in a scramble, omelet, or hash; you name it.

Stephanie

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I just reached day 31. You can see a report of  my results in the Success Stories section of the forum.

The hardest part of my Whole 30 experience is the big amount of time I have to spend planning, shopping for, and cooking three meals a day. If I was still working full time, it would be nearly impossible. Even so, I plan to continue Whole 30 style meals with maybe a few select re-introductions. What I am thinking about doing is increasing the meal size of some of my favorites then vacuum sealing a meal portion for the freezer. I'm not sure how well cooked "Zoodles" will freeze and then re-heat. Same for breakfast frittatas. Pan frying or grilling steaks, pork chops, and chicken thighs is pretty easy. Chicken breast is hard to prepare without drying it out. There is just not enough fat in chicken breast. Brining helps with chicken. I rotisseried a brined chicken. The rotisserie chicken was tasty and juicy. I had lots of left overs that were useful for subsequent meals. The chicken broth I made from the carcass was outstanding. Steam in the bag vegetables are easy. You just have to shop wisely. I'm still looking for a compliant sauce for the steam in the bag veggies. Maybe some clarified butter will work. I have not found any ready made meals or restaurant meals that are not made with sugar, flour, legume, or cheese products. Practically every restaurant lunch item is presented on bread. I found that raw cashews with an apple, a banana, or melon pieces was a satisfying lunch when I was on the road. Anybody else have suggestions for good "take along" items?

Barbecued pork ribs without a sugary rub or sauce just weren't that exciting. The same for chicken wings. Anybody have a barbecue suggestion? I made a sauce in the blender with sweet potato and apple that was ok but would not compete at a cook-off.

Now that I am past the first Whole 30, I'm going to try some carefully selected deli meats with minimal sugar to make some lettuce roll ups for the ice chest I keep in the back of my pickup.

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I also don't like meal prepping for hours on end, so I'm careful about planning it out.  I usually write down a list of meal/snack ideas from mains to sides during the week and revise it on a Friday.  I make notes about whether or not I liked something from a previous meal or if I'm sick of it.  I then sit down on a Friday evening (or whenever best) and think about what meals would be easiest fro my week ahead as well as tasty. I also take the time to look at what could be made in batches ahead of time like crumbled breakfast sausage or different dipping sauces. I try and shop early on Saturday (I hate crowds) and then I plan what I want to prep over the weekend. 

I like to wash and prechop my veggies that I know will be put into other meals like fritattas, begin marinating/brining proteins, and mixing up sauces on Saturday (maybe even cook my proteins).  Sunday I usually just meal prep half of the week or whenever I know I'll fee like cooking.  I try to have everything set up for a combo of 3-4 different meals because I love variety.  Also, seasoning is your very best friend.  I can't stand a bland meal like simple steamed veggies with just salt and pepper and a piece of equally sadly seasoned chicken breast.  I keep a tone of different spices and complaint blends.  Making sauces/dips ahead also is a life saver.  If I'm tired of eating my prepped steak, drizzling it in chimichurri sauce changes the game.  I also switching up your prepped meals--switch up your prepped lunch for your supper.

Final note, sometimes I find a quick squeeze of lemon or adding a different texture can really brighten up my meal.

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