What a wonderful weekend! I was up in Denver for the Denver Rock-and-Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. My husband was running in the half, and we had some other friends out there as well. It was BEAUTIFUL – a spectacular Colorado fall day! Afterwards, we visited some friends and had a little lunch before making the drive back home. When I got back, I had to bathe the dog, take care of a few chores around the house, etc. and so here it is, rather late in the day and I STILL need to prep for my Whole 30, which begins tomorrow.
Maybe you don’t think this is a big deal, but I am a planner, so when I don’t get to plan and prep, it makes me a little anxious. And you see…a Whole 30 is kind of a big deal. I also know that tomorrow is generally my busiest day of the week, so if I don’t have a few things ready to go, I might have some challenges to overcome.
So I sat down and thought for a minute, “What can I do in the least amount of time that will have the greatest impact on the success of my Whole 30 starting tomorrow?”
I came up with my WHOLE 30 FAST 5
CLEAN GREENS Many people immediately think “cereal” when you mention breakfast. When you eat paleo, though, cereal is generally a no-no. There are very few options that don’t include a bunch of grains or added sugars so you have to look at that meal a little differently. I almost always think “eggs.” And for me, I love adding greens to my eggs. But when I’m in a hurry in the morning, the last thing I want to do is wash a bunch – or even a handful, frankly – of kale to add to my greens. And when I’m starving at lunch, if I’m going salad, that lettuce had better be ready!
So here it is – a bunch of kale, a bunch of collard greens, and a head of lettuce washed and ready to go! Easy.
PALEO MAYO If you were to ask me about something that I never thought I’d do pre-paleo that I will never stop doing now that I know how easy it is, that thing would be homemade mayo. Hands down. Check out this post by one of my very favorite paleo bloggers and authors, Melissa Joulwan. (She just released a new cookbook, WellFed 2, that was on my front porch when I got home and I am aching to open it!) Her mayo recipe from her first book, WellFed, includes a variation with apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, and that’s what I use, but seriously – Pass by the processed jar of you-don’t-know-what and make your own mayo! If you have a stick blender, it takes 10 SECONDS. No joke.
Then all week long, in a matter of minutes, you have tuna salad, egg salad (because of Fast 5 #3), creamy salad dressing half-way made, lettuce wraps with a dollop of something, tons of options!
HARD BOILED EGGS When you are hungry, about to workout, just post-workout, needing a snack, looking for extra protein for a salad or main, hard boiled eggs are the way to go. They’re quick and versatile and can be made in advance.
The method that works best for me is to put several eggs in the pot and cover them by about an inch with cold water. Bring it to a boil over high heat and then immediately turn the head to the lowest possible setting, put a lid on them, and set the timer for 9 minutes. Some people take them completely off the heat, but I’ve found it works best for me when there’s a little something happening underneath. After 9 minutes, remove them and run them under cold water for a second and then put them in an ice bath for at least 10ish minutes – I’ll often leave them for a bit. Peel them and store them in a storage container with a tightly fitting lid and a piece of paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Hard boiled eggs all week long. Excellent!
BAKED SWEET POTATOES Paleo carbs are different from what you may have previously thought about carbs. The idea isn’t low-carb or no-carb. It’s about finding the right amount of the most nutrient-dense carbs to fuel your activities each day. I work out nearly every day and some days are quite intense so it’s important that I have some healthy carbs to refuel, otherwise I won’t have enough energy the next day. In come sweet potatoes.
I plop a few into a glass baking dish, stick them in the oven at 400 degrees until they’re soft (time will vary depending on size) and then stick them in container in the fridge. I will mix them with things or cut a chunk off to eat with a meal. It doesn’t really matter as long as I don’t have to wait for them to cook when I’m in a hurry.
ONE BIG DINNER = LEFTOVERS FOR THE WEEK If I’m busy all day tomorrow, what will I have for lunch? Or maybe a last-minute dinner? Ummm…leftovers! I don’t acutally think of my pre-prepped meals as leftovers, especially when it’s something that tastes better the next day, like soups or stews or “pasta” sauces. Tonight I made a delicious meat sauce that will go on top of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Don’t worry – I’ll post the recipe tomorrow because it’s definitely worth making.
The idea is to make something you like and either eat it and save some for lunches, therefore saving you time, or make it simultaneously so that you can have it as your main meal when you need a break during the week. Double cooking or batch cooking are really helpful when you have a lot going on in your life but still want to eat right.
There they are…my Fast 5. That’s what I’m tackling tonight, and I know you can too! A little preparedness goes a long way for a successful adventure. Let me know in the comments below if there are things you like to do to be ready for the week. I’d love to hear them!