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Setting Yourself Up for a Healthy Week Ahead

Do you want to start your week on a healthy note, but you are unsure where to begin? I've got great news for you! With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a week filled with healthy, delicious meals that leave you nourished and satisfied. Let me guide you through my routine.

Plan Ahead

It's not always feasible to decide on every meal for the week in advance, but having an overview of your week’s schedule can work wonders.

By mapping out your family’s plans for the week, you can anticipate those particularly hectic days when you need quick, fulfilling meals, or those days when you're hosting and might need extra food. If you want to put pen to paper, you can download a free meal plan template here.

Discover Your Nearby Farmers' Market

I typically start my week with a Sunday trip to the Farmers’ Market, Queen’s Park being my top choice. The farmers' market is not only my go-to for organic produce but also offers a myriad of other advantages. Wondering why I champion shopping at local markets?

Supporting local agriculture and small enterprises is a start. Additionally, the fruits and vegetables you find are fresher with richer nutritional value. This enhanced nutrition stems from allowing produce to naturally ripen on the plant and picking them when they're at their prime. This means they're packed with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

An added perk? Fresh food is simply more flavourful, especially when contrasted with produce that's been stored for extended durations or transported from far-off places. Limiting the transportation of produce also comes with its own set of benefits, such as cost savings and a reduced environmental footprint.

Wash Your Food Thoroughly

Here are a couple of handy tips. Take a chlorine dioxide tablet or a lid full of vinegar and fill a washing-up bowl with water. Pop your fruits and veg in it and leave them to soak for about ten minutes. This simple step ensures your produce is free from chemicals, worms, bugs, and bacteria, leaving them clean and safe to eat. For root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, you can take a veggie scrubbing brush to remove extra soil from the skin.

Prep Time = Me Time

While I don’t cook entire meals for the upcoming week, I love to meal prep on Sundays. For instance, chopping onions and crushing garlic can be time-consuming, but doing these tasks in advance can be a real time-saver during the week. My secret? I get ahead by chopping up veggies and opting for ready-peeled garlic cloves and garlic-infused oil.

Bear in mind that meal prep doesn’t have to be a chore. Why not turn it into cherished ‘me time’? Whenever I'm busy in the kitchen, I take the opportunity to listen to my favourite webinars or simply put on relaxing music.

A note on rice: contrary to popular belief, storing rice in the fridge isn't the best idea. No matter how many times you've heard that it's safe to reheat, it's better to avoid.

Clear Out and Organise the Fridge

Before introducing fresh produce, assess what's already in your fridge. If there are older items, consider giving them to those in need—maybe friends, family, or community members. This not only reduces food waste but also makes space for the new.

I always keep my chopped-up items in glass storage containers. I advise buying a range of sizes so you have plenty of choice. The better equipped you are to store foods, the more you end up using them.

A fun tip: I like to float sliced cucumbers in water. It keeps them extra crispy and fresh!

One Pan Wonders

Looking for a nutritious yet straightforward meal? Nothing beats a hearty chicken soup. I usually start with a chicken broth, throw in a medley of vegetables and chicken pieces, and let it simmer on low heat for several hours. About ten minutes before it's ready to serve, I add some rice. It's a nutrient-dense meal that is not only easy to whip up but also ensures minimal washing up afterwards!

Alternatively, if you’re feeling in the mood for a delicious roasted meal, place a whole chicken in the middle of a sheet pan, surround it with vegetables and potatoes that have been tossed in oil and seasoning, and just pop it in the oven. This is a perfect family meal and an easy crowd-pleaser, as people love to pick and choose from the pan. For the vegetarians out there, simply double up on vegetables and add in quinoa, chickpeas or beans as a great source of plant-based protein.

Setting yourself up for a healthy week might require a bit of effort initially, but trust me, the rewards in terms of health and peace of mind are worth every bit. Start today, and you'll soon notice the difference!

Happy healthy eating!

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