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Food Stress and a Weekly Meal Plan

Food Stress and a Weekly Meal Plan

I mentioned I was doing Whole30, a diet reset to start the year out right.  I successfully got through a hard food weekend at family camp.  But the next weekend we had a crazy weekend with several parties and get togethers.  That weekend I was not as prepared…one was a pot luck and one was dinner out at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  For the pot luck I made a main dish (chicken lettuce wraps…very yummy!) and a dessert that would work for my whole family  (Thank you Detoxinista for these amazing chocolate peanut butter bars!!) But how could I pass up actually EATING one of those bars?  Yeah…that isn’t a level of will power I posses.  Needless to say 1 turned into 3 or 4. But it was worth every decadent bite!

Then at the restaurant I was all prepped with my gluten free option, only to realize, as they set my risotto in front of me, that it contained dairy.  Doh!  Then I figured why not have 1 pieces of bruschetta since I had already “blown” it. And the chopped salad had Parmesan in it.  So…weekend blown.  Not to mention the leftover risotto and, ahem, the leftover chocolate peanut butter bars.

I was feeling guilty…like failure kind of guilty.  But then I realized something.  Food is not supposed to stress us out more!!  I eat amazingly healthy compared to much of the rest of the US, which can be stressful enough at times because of the reaction my kids and I can have if we don’t eat right.  But I think because I started out from a place of eating healthy to begin with, I wasn’t feeling much different on Whole30. Well, except that I was HUNGRY, like could not consume enough food hungry.  I know that that can be a sign you are finally feeding your cells, so I rolled with it for a few days.  I also had an EXTREMELY challenging week…and I did not handle the extra stress well at all.  So, I confess now I am not sure if/what part Whole30 had to do with that.  I don’t know if going grain and sugar free was helping my body or if my body needs a little bit of properly prepared grains and real sugar.  I don’t know if the stress was really that big or if what I was (or wasn’t) eating left me unable to handle the stress that week. We know bodies needs some good carbs/sugar to survive (I was eating some fruit but maybe not enough). Hmmm…I guess that part of the puzzle is for another day.

But back to the stress…stress can be as harmful to us as a bad diet is.  So, I decided to get back to a “Regular” diet of wholesome, healthy and traditional foods….no guilt…no feelings of failure. On this food journey we have to be willing to listen to our bodies and respond, we have to be willing to try things and figure out what works for us, even if it isn’t what works for our friend or neighbor.  Once I went back to my regular diet, I immediately stopped being so hungry.  My stress reserves still don’t seem to be all the way back, but I will keep working on it.  I wish that food, diet, or anything health related was black and white…everyone eat x and don’t eat y and you will be healthy.  But that isn’t how it works.  Every person is a unique set of cells, nutrients, DNA, needs & health challenges…so we each have to figure out our own formula for what works!!  And then, we have to be willing to continue to re-evaluate because darn it if we don’t get older and our bodies change!!

To help with the stress…and some food options…here are two weeks of menus.  The first one is my last week of Whole30.  (Sorry I didn’t get that posted last week!  As I said…rough week!) Anyone not doing Whole30 could still use that menu, you just don’t have to omit the sweetener or switch out the rice for cauliflower rice (although cauliflower rice is YUMMY so don’t be afraid to try it!).  And a note to families with school aged kids, my lunch menu is “inspired” by the school lunch menu.  I use that word loosely, as our school lunch menu is pretty lacking in inspiration to begin with (Monday = pizza…EVERY. WEEK.  Bleh!).  But since my kids don’t take hot lunch, I got an idea from a brilliant friend to use that menu that generally goes into the trash to figure out what to serve for lunch a few days a week.  So, hot lunch serves nachos, my kids get 7 layer dip.  Hot lunch serves french toast, my kids get stuffed french toast sticks with sourdough GF bread.   The cool part is that my kids get real nutritious food but feel like they are getting something special!  It’s a win-win.  Thank you, Jen, for the suggestion!

Without further ado, here is the Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK3Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK3!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, here is the Meal Planning Calendar Weekly JANWK4!

Meal Planning Calendar Weekly JANWK4

As always, be well!

Colleen

A Weekend in the Woods, a Food Plan and a Meal Plan for This Week (January 11)

A Weekend in the Woods, a Food Plan and a Meal Plan for This Week (January 11)

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Snow, snow, snow, snow, SNOW!!!!  How did it get to be Tuesday…or the middle of January?  I keep thinking time will slow down a little bit but it just doesn’t!!

This weekend we went to a wonderful Family Camp…in the middle of the woods in Central Wisconsin with no internet access!!  It was wonderful to unplug and spend time with friends, and that is the main reason I am late in posting this!!  Sorry!

Before I post the menu, I just have to tell you about the food at camp this weekend.  This is a wonderful church camp that we go to and all the food is included in the cost.  It is tasty, but sadly, like most camps and restaurants, it is far from healthy.  While it is made on site, it starts with processed ingredients like white pasta, white bread, canned soup, salad dressing, chicken strips, etc.  Needless to say the gluten free, dairy free, additive free family can’t find much to eat there.  Add to that Whole30 for me, and I didn’t even bother.  So, I got the menu from the camp and made all our food…trying to make the same basic meal they were providing so my kids would not feel left out or deprived!  I am happy to tell you I made the 6 meals that I needed in about 3 hours on Friday morning.  And that included clean up!  Not bad!

Their menu:

Saturday Breakfast:
Cinnamon French Toast & Sausage
Orange Slices

Saturday Lunch:
Grilled Cheese & Chili
Salad Bar

Saturday Dinner:
Chicken Parmigiana & Spaghetti
Cucumber Salad

Sunday Breakfast:
Egg Bake & Hashbrowns
Bagels & Cream Cheese
Cantaloupe

Sunday Lunch:
Chicken Tenders & French Fries
Tossed Salad

MY MENU:

Saturday Breakfast:
Paleo Pancakes  & Sausage (reheated the pancakes in the toaster)
Smoothies (Premade and put in freezer the night before to thaw)

Saturday Lunch:
Chili
Yogurt Parfaits
Salad Bar (we ate theirs and I brought salad dressing)

Saturday Dinner:
Balsamic Chicken and Veggies (done stir fry style)
Mashed Cauliflower
Cucumber Salad

Sunday Breakfast:
Quiche Muffins with a sweet potato crust
Smoothies

Sunday Lunch:
Chili
Yogurt Parfaits
Tossed Salad (from them with our salad dressing)

I also brought snacks with us, because there are delicious but so-not-good-for-you treats out all weekend!  I brought bananas, HB eggs, Guac with plantain chips, apples with almond butter, and popcorn. Oh and I brought 4 GF cookies for my kids! We ate all the snacks!!  The cool part is that I didn’t hear any arguing from my kids about NOT getting all the chocolaty, gluten & sugar filled treats that were there because a) they had full bellies, b) I offered cookies and other sweet snacks at the right time…like after dinner and c) they were so busy having fun (sledding, ice skating, hiking in the snow, and playing board games) that they didn’t give it another thought. At least that is my theory!

Overall I call this weekend a win.  And, though some would feel odd doing this (bringing their food into the dining room), I can’t even tell you how many conversations our food opened up with people at camp…some were SO eager to learn!!  The best part is that after spending a weekend in confined space with some people who were getting sick that I have a healthy family the following week AND we had ZERO TEMPER TANTRUMS ALL WEEKEND LONG (despite far less sleep for my kids than normal)!!  PRAISE GOD!!!  My friends, this works!  And it makes spending 3 hours cooking on Friday worth every second!

Here’s a quick picture or two of some of our weekend fun. Both my kids tried ice skating for the first time!  The lake ice under the snow was so smooth!

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In order to get down to the lake you had little choice but to take this hill.  Most adults walked.  Most kids took this route (with or without a sled!).  We have no idea why there were so many leaves on the hill…there really was snow there too!

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Now, without further ado, here is the menu for this week…week 2 of Whole30!!  I hope you enjoy!!

Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK2

And here is the downloadable pdf version: Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK2.

As always, be healthy!

Colleen

 

Meal Planning and Whole30 Jump Start

Meal Planning and Whole30 Jump Start

Well, holidays are over folks.  If you are like many people at this time of year, you probably indulged a wee bit too much over the last 6 or so weeks.  Your “indulge” might look VERY different from someone else’s version of that word. For some it might mean you ate out, maybe even ate fast food, several times this holiday season. For some it might mean you ate gluten or dairy and you normally don’t. For a handful of you really disciplined folks it might just mean you didn’t consume as many veggies as you normally would.  For many of you (ahem…me!) it might (just MIGHT!) mean you ate a few (dozen!) cookies or extra sweet treats!!  Oh those Christmas cookies….darn you!!  No matter what your “indulge” looks like, are you feeling the effects of it now?

 

So, here we are on January 5.  It is back to work, back to school, back to the regular routine.  But it doesn’t have to be back to the regular diet.  If you are starting this year with a little extra weight or feeling sluggish, your body could probably use a little reset.  If you are experiencing a flare of an auto-immune disease like Crohn’s, MS, or Hashimoto’s or a condition like asthma, migraines, joint pain, or depression, if you have seen an upswing in bad behavior from your kids or maybe moodiness in yourself, or if you are recovering from an illness like the flu, maybe your body could use a bigger reset.  The bottom line is…how about we give our bodies some much needed TLC to start the year?

 

A body reset is the reason I am jumping on the January Whole30 program.  It’s designed to “put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system….Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing.”  Now, I am not saying you can fully heal in 30 days, but most people never even give themselves that amount of time to actually cut out ALL the foods that could be causing problems and see if it helps.  So 30 days is a great start@ After that you will have to decide where to go based on how you feel!  And so I ask you…what have you got to lose? It’s only 30 days, and at the end of it either you won’t feel any different or you will (and most likely it will be in a positive way)! The January kick-off officially started on Jan 1.  I started today, January 5.  You could start tomorrow…or this weekend…or next week!  It doesn’t really matter what date you start, just that you do something to start.  And it doesn’t have to be this program…there are others.  Some are free, some are not.  But I figure these wonderful folks have already done the research and put together the basics.  And it doesn’t cost A THING!!!  Make sure, if you want to try it, that you poke around their website or read their book, and figure out what you can and CAN’T eat to give your body the best shot at resetting and healing!  And, if you want to do it along with me, let me know and we can cheer each other on!!

 

I want to point out that although this temporary reset removes some food groups to accomplish its goals,  I no longer believe food avoidance is the best long term way to handle health issues for the general population. Removing a food or food group can be helpful temporarily for healing purposes and it might be absolutely necessary for someone with permanent damage (like Celiac).  But, if you don’t have permanent damage, then gut healing should be the goal. All God given food groups have a purpose for our body and when they effect us negatively we need to see that as a symptom that our body that needs healing!!

 

To make it easy if you want to do this with me, I am even sharing MY Meal plan with you. And I will do that each week for at least the next 4 weeks.  I hope to keep it up after that but we will cross that bridge when we get there!!  Take parts of it and use it, use it all as is, and just use it as inspiration.  You won’t hurt my feeling either way!

 

One of the cookbooks I reference in my meal plan is the new cookbook by Danielle Walker at Against All Grain called Meals Made Simple.  She has a beautiful story of healing from ulcerative colitis through a complete change in her diet.  She is one of my favorite bloggers and her recipes have yet to disappoint.  You can find many recipes and tons of information on her blog at www.againstallgrain.com.  Her cookbooks (her first cookbook is simply titled Against All Grain) are available at most bookstores, and generally at Costco.  They are a treat to add to any real food library and I am greatly enjoying working my way through these two books! (I have included Amazon links to both, where it seems like the kindle versions are listed at a great price right now!!)

againstAllGrainMealsMadeSimple

Without further ado…here is my meal plan for this week. I will try to get next week’s out earlier! I hope you enjoy.  As always, please feel free to ask questions!

Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK1

And here it is in a PDF: Meal Planning Calendar Weekly WHOLE30WK1

 

Happy and Healthy Cooking!!

Colleen

 

 

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