By Gia de Picciotto
I am so happy to be a part of the Reboot with Joe community. My goal is to share helpful tips for families to keep you healthy and happy in the most timely and affordable way possible. To begin I’m sharing tips on how to best prepare for the week (and even month) ahead! I share my tips and tricks to make it a healthy week, without too much effort. Come join me and put on your apron! I assure you, in two hours, you’ll have everyone fed and full of healthy foods.
1.) Get your groceries:
Get your groceries by the end of the week when your fridge and freezer are likely running dry so I can prepare for the busy week ahead and have what I need for my Sunday in the kitchen. If you have a grocery delivery service available to you, it’s a great way to have everything you need.
2.) Get organized on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoons our house turns into a catering service…for a family of four. I’m in the kitchen by 3 o’clock, which is about the time my husband and my sons are cozied up on the sofa watching sports (any and all kinds), to start preparing our meals for the week, and sometimes even the next month.
3.) Get your kids involved:
My boys and I take a few minutes to sit down and literally write out the menu for the school week which helps to give me ideas for what to put in their school lunches. We always plan for 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% grains or beans, and 25% animal protein (wild fresh fish 3x a week.)
If we haven’t organised for a delivery, on Sunday morning I take a walk with the kids, pop into the market and have them help me by thinking about what they’d enjoy during the week. I grab as many punnets of blueberries as I can manage and a few bags of spinach or kale. They enjoy seeing the bright colours of the fruits and vegetables.
4.) Get plenty of vegetables and herbs.
Don’t be scared to overbuy vegetables. I assure you they will be put to good use in some way! I find that if I’m going to prepare a healthy carrot soup, it doesn’t take me much more time or money to make enough so that I can freeze another week’s worth. And use some of the carrots for gluten free muffins as well! And if you have anything unused that’s looking slightly mushy after a few days in the fridge, pop it in your juicer or blender and drink it up!
I also double up on onions for onion soup and red bell peppers (capsicum). Why roasted red peppers? I roast then puree them in my food processor and voila, I have a wonderful replacement for processed ketchup, and other sauces too!
I always make sure to have fresh herbs as I love to throw them in juices. Mint, parsley, basil can also be frozen easily so again, no waste.
5.) Get frozen fruits (and peas for Pea Soup).
I never leave the store (or online order) without a couple of bags of frozen fruit. They are a quick, easy and delicious addition to morning smoothies or oatmeal.
Get focused (and be confident you can do this!)
If this sounds daunting to you, don’t second guess yourself. I promise you can do it, and by the second week, you’ll do it on autopilot. Come get started. Put on some music, your apron and a smile.
OVERVIEW OF MY WEEKLY RECIPES
Here’s a quick rundown of how I prep my simple meals with no fuss, and no specific directions.
Scrub your carrots. I normally buy 1.5 kilos (about 12 large carrots). No need to peel them. Just chop and put into a pan covered with water. Boil then simmer for an hour. Add a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of dried coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Throw in some chopped ginger or two cloves of crushed garlic if you like.
EASY PEA-SY SOUP
Sauté one chopped onion until soft, add a bag (500g) of frozen peas to a stock pot. Cover with water, boil, return to a simmer, and add fresh or dried mint leaves then purée in a blender. You’ve got two soups to last you over a week in under an hour!
GO-TO SIDE OF QUINOA
Rinse 2 cups of quinoa and toast it in a pan with 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil or coconut oil. Cover with four cups of water, boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. I love having this in the fridge. It lasts about 5 days and is a great lunch base for me and any mommy friends, and a perfect side to any kids’ meal. I throw in any veggie that’s left over at the end of the week for a delicious stir fry.
RED PEPPER SAUCE
Wash and cut in half four red orange or yellow peppers and lay in a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes at 350 F/177 C. Then remove, throw in the blender and puree and you’ve got sauce to freeze or keep in a jar in your fridge. This is a great replacement to ketchup!
KALE: TWO WAYS
Chips: Preheat oven to 425 F/218 C. Wash 6 leaves of kale (Tuscan cabbage) and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil, sprinkle with Himalayan or sea salt and add to the oven for about 5 – 10 minutes (until crispy but not burned). It’s a delicious healthy weekday snack. Tell your kids, it’s what dinosaurs eat!
Steamed: Tear 6 – 8 large leaves of kale into bite size pieces (Tuscan cabbage) and steam them until slightly wilted. Serve it with your dinner of choice!
Here’ a quick glance at what my week looks like including the above recipes:
Carrot soup, steamed kale, serve with wild salmon
Pea soup with quinoa stir fry and organic grilled chicken
Green beans with parsley and lentils, grilled salmon
Wheat free pasta with fresh pesto, grilled vegetables
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, served over Turkey or Vegetarian meatballs and a side of brown rice or quinoa