I haven’t been having much luck in the new meal department. I tried a whole chicken in the slow cooker, and while it tasted okay, it dried out in the leaner parts (This is hard to justify when the store-bought chickens taste better and are cheaper!). My slow cooker’s low heat setting is pretty hot so leaving stuff in there all day usually means it gets overcooked.
I tried the same thing with chicken curry and the chicken thighs shrunk to half their size with the sauce burning around the edges. It still tasted good but a bit much for the little ones. But I still like trying new things because finding meals that work for my family feels like hitting the lottery. So, a couple of new items this week — and hopefully some recipe posts to follow!
For more meal plans, check out Org Junkie.
Monday: Turkey Tacos with black beans and toppings
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna, salad, bread and fruit
Wednesday: Leftovers — free night
Thursday: Chicken and Broccoli Peanut Stir Fry with Fried Rice
Friday: Salmon patties with black beans and garlicky green beans
Snack of the week: Carrot muffins topped with cream cheese
Making dinner easier by focusing on themes
I’ve been thinking about our dinners and what works and what doesn’t. Mexican night is our favorite, even when I introduce something new. Why? The kids know what to expect.
For Mexican night we always have guacamole, some chips, and beans. Big A knows she can eat these things if she doesn’t want the main course, although she will always at least eat the tortilla.
I thought I would try to carry these themes onto other nights. We usually do some kind of pasta on Tuesday so now that is “Italian night” — where we will always have a special salad and tasty bread. I’m going to get Big A and Little D special salad bowls to pique their interest. Wednesdays are usually slow cook or leftover nights because I work.
For now, we’ll make Thursday “ethnic night” with an Asian influence but will probably alternate this one with other meals. For some reason, I just haven’t made many stir-fries. I’m trying this peanut recipe from Gina at Feed Our Families. But because my kids aren’t used to this, I need to provide some sides they know and like. Big A loves rice. Maybe a good fried rice in case that’s all they eat? I’m still working this one out.
And Fridays, especially during Lent, are fish days. I remember when I interviewed Evelyn Tribole for our DHA guide and she mentioned how she took her son out for “Fishy Thursdays” and now he loves fish.
The structure of themes really helps me to decide which meals to pick. Also, I like to have default meals for the weeks I can’t plan. Monday is tacos and Tuesday spaghetti. You get the idea.
Anyone else doing themes for dinners? Or am I the only food geek??
Simple Mom Guest Post
I’m excited to announce my guest post today over at the Art of Simple: 5 Ways to Keep Weight Management Simple. In this post, I lay out 5 important lessons I’ve learned about maintaining a healthy weight.
Interestingly, there was a report last week that women with children eat more and exercise less than those without kids. I always remember clients telling me they gained substantial weight after each kid. This is a vulnerable time for many of us with children, as it’s so easy to lose touch with our own self-care needs.
I don’t want my article to mislead people into thinking I have no challenges, especially since having kids. The difference is I approach it much more effectively than I did when I was younger.
First, I’d love to be more fit as exercise is a luxury to me and something I’m gradually increasing as my kids get older. But the goal now is more about feeling good (and strong) vs. getting to some weight or looking a certain way. In addition to exercise, I focus on the healthy habits I truly enjoy including eating balanced, feeling satisfied at meals, and getting enough sleep. As a parent of young children, I can easily get thrown off, with sleep for instance, so it makes my health goals a bit more challenging.
I also struggle with balancing my own self-care needs with the needs of my family and career. There’s a constant push-pull but I’m trying really hard to make time for me. I’m finding this is essential to my happiness and quality of life.
The problem I see is that when people find their weight creeping up they immediately focus on deprivation — what they think they have to give up. Clients always tell me that they are trying to eliminate up some food they love — bread, potatoes, sweets, or salty foods. This fails every time and the literature supports this — deprivation causes more food obsession and overeating.
I try to redirect them to the WHY of their eating, which is different for everyone. Sometimes this is easy to catch like skipping meals, a slower metabolism, less activity, or sleep deprivation. Other times it has to do with their relationship with food including good-and-bad food thinking, leftover deprivation from years of dieting, or how they were fed as a child (think “clean your plate”).
What I talk about in my article over at Simple Mom is how I discovered my own WHY of eating too much and being obsessed with food in my twenties. So now when I get out of balance, I don’t look to cut something out of my diet, I check in with what’s going on with me.
Well, that’s it for now. Have a great week!