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Thread: Simple meal routines

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Simple meal routines

    I am not eating as well as I should.. and I'm not sure why. Part of it is my habit of just forgetting to eat when I'm working on deadlines, and I've been pretty busy this month. But my appetite seems to be waning. For instance, I don't think I ate anything yesterday, except a bowl of beef broth and a banana--again, I'm sure it's work stress related, so don't suggest I go see a doctor.

    I am concerned, though, and trying to figure out how to make nutritious eating more automatic. My go-to breakfast is a banana, so I have that. And when I have time I do like to cook. Decisions are hard, though, because DH is your typical Anglo meat protein+starch, with vegetables as an afterthought, whereas I like more plant-based diets.

    Any ideas for meal templates? I don't mind eating the same thing every Monday, for example. I just hate making decisions, and if I'm working and spending my decision-making brain cells on work, my tank is empty at dinner time.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #2
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    A few months back, I came up with a general guideline for us, uses what we have, uses up left overs, lowers the amount of meat we eat, it's frugal, etc.

    Monday: Double Veggie meal: a casserole, a melange, stirfry, whatever. Enough for 2 full meals.

    Tuesday: Soup, stew, salad, dibs and dabs: whatever from leftovers on the leftover shelf in the fridge. (Our midweek dump day is Weds.)

    Wednesday: The second meal from Monday's pre-made food. Because I'm trying mightily to dehoard this place, on dump days I'm usually flat out, so I wanted an easy meal.

    Thursday:
    Egg dish. Something, can be breakfast, quiche, poached eggs on stirfry, whatever. Eggs are cheap protein, so I take advantage of that.

    Friday:
    Double meat dish. I'll make up to 2 or more lbs. of meat. I may or may not actually make a finished dish with enough for 2 meals for us. If I don't, I cook the meat very plainly and then season it when I use it. (Boiled chicken into tacos one night and in a stew or sandwiches or something the second night.)

    Saturday:
    Sandwich. We're usually flat out on the weekends. Wanted something simple. Normally NOT made with the 2nd portion of the meat from Friday. (Our dump is open. DH doesn't work on weekends.)

    Sunday:
    Second meat meal, uses up whatever is left from Friday in some form. (Our dump is open.)

  3. #3
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    For me, I'd probably settle for something like fish for a couple days - maybe with a sweet potato or something, lentil soup for the rest of the week (rarely I add meat to it also). I can't say it's not somewhat boring, but I'm always neck deep in the omnivores dilemma here, trying to decide what to eat, so I probably need something like that. Breakfast lately has been yogurt and berries, but berries are going out of season (no I don't like frozen produce at all). Lunch on weekdays is always green salad so though I vary the additions and leafy green some, that one is taken care of: salad forever.

    I do like sometimes trying a new recipe, but that's best just done on the weekend realistically (typical weekends off schedule here), because it's the last thing I want to do on a work day.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  4. #4
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    Choose 1 day to prep.

    1. Make a salad bar for the fridge. Rinse, chop, containerize everything you need for 5 chef salads.

    2. Keep hummus in the fridge and veggies to dip in it. You get veg and protein.

    3. Nuts. Take a handful and munch them away. You'll be fed and full.

    4. Keep apples on the counter. Cut one up and plate with 2 TBSP of peanut butter.

    5. Need some crunch? Pita chips. With that hummus :-D

    6. 1 piece of toast, sprinkle some shredded cheddar on it and top with 2 eggs (easy over for me).

    7. Make a pot of your favorite soup/stew. Have a bowl with a few pita chips. Empty by week's end.

    Being newly retired and home every day, these are the things I've done. I don't eat 3 meals a day anymore. I find I graze mostly until dinner. Today is the 1st day in a few weeks I was actually hungry early. I ate a handful of nuts as I'm meeting hubby for lunch at 1200. I'll be picking up sub sands from our favorite place-it's too far away IMO (9 miles) to run out but it is on the way to his current/temporary work location. (We get our free flu shots today at his work).

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I found when I went on a thoughtful diet I needed to develop simple menus that I could follow with little effort but covered the basic necessities. I still follow it today.

    B - oatmeal, fruit and some dairy, mostly 2/3 cup of plain yogurt

    L - when cold weather. a substantial soup made to last for several days; I reheat a bowl, add some prepared fresh veggies to nibble and a fruit
    L - when warm weather, a multigrain bread with a protein often cheese, nibble veggies and a fruit OR a large salad with a variety of veggies, a bun/bagel and a fruit

    S - stir-fry or chili or baked potato with lots of cooked veggies and a fruit.
    I prepare a salad for two days, soup for 4 days and nibble veggies for 5 days and all proteins are cooked as soon as they come in the house and are frozen in portions to suit me.

    I use homemade oil and vinegar salad dressing for cooking the stir-fry in a hurry and have a bowl of fruit salad and prepped veggies ready in the fridge. I often will make my prepped veggies as diced cukes, peppers, tomatoes with option of adding beans when necessary.

    That said, I will buy a large basic pizza from the grocery, add extra veggies and more cheese before baking and then slice and freeze the leftovers to reheat in the microwave for lunch.

    I keep it really simple with ensuring a protein, a starch, lots of veggies and a fruit. If it meets that standard, I don't think about it anymore.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #6
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I decide in the evening what meat to thaw for the next day. It really depends what I am hungry for. I usually get at least 2 meals out of what I cook.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'm not much of a planner. I have a version of keema (ground beef, onions, sauce) in the Instant Pot at the moment. I probably would have lots of salads and stir-fries if I thought about it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I like Gardnr's suggestions.

    DH has an array of foods like yogurt or PB&J that she brings to work for breakfast and lunch. My basic menu here at home is an egg or two and a breakfast meat for the first meal of the day, a big salad with some protein for lunch, and a dinner that typically spans two or more meals for both of us. So breakfast rarely varies and lunch relies pretty heavily on having lettuce (or packaged salad greens), cucumbers, radishes, peppers, and some form of onion (scallions or onion I have to use up from another meal) and some protein (tuna and sardines keep forever canned and are good for me but I'll use whatever needs to be used up). Sorted.

    Dinners generally are on a menu (for example, chicken and fish one week; pork and beef the next) so that I cook something in the first 2-3 days of the week and what's left over holds for remaining days. Often it's something simple I can broil and with which I can steam a vegetable, or it goes into the slow-cooker or pressure-cooker to minimize my prep time. We rarely do takeout and we rarely do convenience foods. That's been the plan for about three years now. And it seems to work for us.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  9. #9
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    It's interesting, I've been working from home since June and find that I'm actually having a harder time maintaining any sort of food plan. Before, when I worked at an office half an hour away, I HAD to plan what was for lunch or else I had to spend $10+ so I was efficient about making sure I had leftovers, etc. Now I seem to assume I can just wing it, which seems to mean, go out for a $3.65 slice of pizza two or three times a week for lunch. I'm traveling the rest of this week and most of next week so my goal is to figure out how to get back on track after that.

    I do like Gardnr's ideas though. Enough variety, all easily prepared in bulk, to keep me happy.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yes, thanks for all the feedback--some great suggestions here.

    I'm trying a little harder to stay on track with meals. I've suggested to DH that maybe we should try having our main meal at lunchtime, rather than waiting until later when we might be too tired, or too involved in Jeopardy

    We had a bunch of crudite left over after the weekend, so I made a minestrone soup. I do love soups, so maybe I'll do better with eating now that winter/soup weather is almost here.

    Packaged salad greens are great.. I'm also using more of those.

    We do much better when we think to make a weekly menu, so maybe I'll try to go back to that. I subscribe to plantoeat.com, which allows you to collect and store recipes really easily, so I probably also have to think about how to utilize that more effectively.

    Plus, that big jar of nuts from Costco comes in handy.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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