One Of The Best Things You Can Do On A Sunday

by Sally on September 3, 2013

Food Prep from Real Mom Nutrition

If you read my last post, you may be thinking that by “one of the best thing you can do” I mean “go to yoga class” or “ignore the mountains of laundry and snuggle with your kids” (read “A Back-To-School Pledge To Myself“). And yes, do those. And go to religious services. Or watch football. But trust me: Even though this involves adding something to your weekend to-do list, it’s a stress-reliever that keeps on giving, all week long.

I’ve always done extra food prep on the weekends, simply because I have more time (and helping hands). But I was recently inspired to take it up a notch by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean. She has an entire blog series called Sunday Food Prep. Each Sunday, she shares what she’s made for the week and features photos from readers and fellow bloggers of their own prep work.

Lindsay says weekend food prep is the reason she’s able to eat healthy during the week. I second that–and for me, weekend food prep is also one way I stay sane. If I have food made and ready to grab for lunchboxes, after-school snacks, and quick meals, my whole week goes smoother.

Here’s what I managed to do this weekend:

1. A batch of Homemade Peach Fruit Leather. I based it on my recipe for Strawberry Fruit Leather but substituted three cups of fresh, sliced peaches (I kept the skins on, which my Vitamix is able to pulverize). These will be fun treats in the boys’ lunchboxes this week.

2. A double batch of whole wheat chocolate chip flaxseed pancakes for quick kid breakfasts.

3. A tray of sliced fresh peaches, which I froze in a single layer, then put in a gallon-size ziplock bag for my morning green smoothies.

4. A double batch of Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. Just because. These are amazingly delicious and you should make them immediately. (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa which gave them a deep, rich flavor and a darker color.)

5. A batch of Easy Crockpot Applesauce using a variety of apples I got with my farm share last weekend. My boys like this as a snack or as a side with dinner.

I dare you to read Lindsay’s Food Prep series and not feel inspired. You’ll see everything from prepped raw veggies, cooked beans and lentils, and hard-boiled eggs to grilled meats, quinoa salads, and a week’s worth of pre-packed lunches. Just don’t be intimidated: I figure that some of these gals don’t have babies on their hips or minivan shuttle service duty to play dates, birthday parties, and soccer practices. Weekend food prep is certainly more challenging with kids in the picture. But  even if you can only manage to get your salad greens ready, you’re already one step ahead of where you’d normally be.

Do you do any kind of food prep on the weekends? Tell me about it!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel September 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

Because the weekend is my busy time, I tend to prep on weekdays instead and make sure I have enough muffins/bread/snacks to grab and go for breakfasts and lunches. It’s a great way to save money too because buying prepared foods can really add up!

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Sally September 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

Thanks Rachel. Yes, squeezing in some extra food prep at any time during the week is helpful. And ditto on saving money. That’s a great bonus.

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean September 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm

i love it Sally! Email me your collage so I can feature it in an upcoming sunday food prep post!

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Sally September 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Lindsay–will do. Thank you for the ideas and inspiration!

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Katie September 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Crock pot of pinto beans for simple taco dinner and cheesy beans in a thermos lunches

Wash and slice veggies and salad greens for lunch box snacks and dinner salads

Chocolate pudding for a little treat

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Sally September 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Katie–I need to try your chocolate pudding recipe from your cookbook! My kids would love that in their lunchboxes.

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Anne September 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I often have prep and/or bake-heavy days, but they are not necessarily on weekends. Yesterday it took nearly all day for us to can 40 pounds of tomatoes and make 2 peach pies, a batch of pita bread, and some baba ganoush. Today I’m on the hook for making ice cream, flour tortillas, and granola (in addition to fajitas for dinner and lunch prep for tomorrow’s lunches).

Thankfully, my husband usually does the meal planning (and figuring out how to creatively use up everything from our garden and farm share) and he often cooks on weekends, in addition to brewing beer and keeping us supplied with a steady flow of homemade yogurt. Without him I would be a lot less organized that I already am.

I will have to read Lindsay’s Food Prep series for sure, as I often think to myself “there has got to be a better way” as I routinely spend upwards of half an hour of my sacred after-the-kids-go-to-bed time in the evening prepping lunches. I love the idea of prepping school lunches ahead of time.

Thanks for the recipe ideas… I may just have to take advantage of the hot oven today and put together a batch of those delicious looking chocolate zuchinni muffins! Our apples aren’t ripe yet around here, but I’m looking forward to applesauce and will have to try it in the crock pot. My favorite combination for applesauce is potato latkes– so yummy!!

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Sally September 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Anne–Sounds like you and your husband make some wonderful homemade items at your house. Lunch packing is definitely time consuming. I’ve finally enlisted my fourth grader to start packing his own lunch, with some guidance. I’m hoping that will help lighten my load. Hope you enjoy the recipes–let me know how you like them!

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Kate @ Indulgent Wellness September 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Love your comment about not being intimidated. I keep comparing myself to bloggers that I know full well have no kids – what did I do with all my time before becoming a mom? :-)

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Sally September 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Kate–I wonder the same thing myself! :)

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Jennifer @ healthfulsaver September 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for the link! I will check it out.
I am trying to do more school lunch prep the night before – filling water bottles, etc.
Yesterday I put home-made pudding in my own tiny Glad-type containers for a little kid lunch time treat on the first day of school. It was a revelation to me that you don’t need to have the Jello-O company do it for you!

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Emma September 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Yes, I try to do this on the weekend (but could definitely get better at it). I also sometimes do it after dinner when I’m cleaning up the kitchen, or I’ll prep for the next night’s dinner while I’m prepping that night’s.
Examples include:
- mixing up the meatloaf mixture so I just have to pop it in the microwave the next night (microwave meatloaf is a revelation! especially on hot summer days when you don’t want the oven on for an hour).
- cutting/peeling veggies for stirfry or oven-roasting
- prepping crockpot ingredients (cutting the onion & other veggies, measuring all the non-meat ingredients into one container) the night before, so that it’s just a matter of dumping in the meat, the container of veggies and other stuff and hitting “cook” the next morning. I haven’t tried it, but you could probably sear the meat the night before too (in the pan you used to cook that night’s dinner to avoid more dishes), and then just pop it back in the fridge for the night? I usually skip the searing part, but it really does add more flavor… will try this next time!
- cooking a double batch of pasta/rice/couscous/etc for use a couple of nights later in a different dish ( make sure to add some olive oil to the pasta before refrigerating; and just add a sprinkle of water to rice/couscous before re-heating in the microwave).

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Sally September 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Emma–those are all great ideas. I especially like cooking the next night’s dinner in the pan you just used, so you don’t have to wash it twice. Nice!

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Mandie Marie @ The Fruitful Turtle September 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Sundays I make huge batches of brown rice, quinoa, cut and wash veggies, make date cookie bars, and homemade tomato sauce. I love that you mentioned Lean Green Bean’s Sunday Food Prep because I get awesome ideas from all the girls she mentions on her blog! :)

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