Meal planning can be a daunting chore to stick to if you never find the motivation to plan your weekly meals. Getting organized on a weekend will be a great idea for relaunching yourself to this awesome habit. Schedule a few hours of downtime to prep your healthy diet for the week by following these simple ideas. These are easy to do fun activities with your kids and loved ones on a boring Sunday afternoon.
Chop Your Produce
Having a batch of chopped vegetables and fruits in your fridge is always a smart thing in today’s hectic world. You may never know if you will get the stamina to find your knife in the midweek. I prefer to chop root and cruciferous vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli on the weekend. They last for longer inside a zip-lock bag when stored in the freezer. You can use them to make instant stir-fry, salad, sandwiches and soups. Freeze a batch of mixed vegetables for making variety rice, pasta and gravies.
Sauces are significant items to have on hand throughout the week for making instant recipes. The most common sources to whip up during the weekend are marinara sauce, onion tomato gravy, Thai green curry paste and chili garlic sauce. These sources can last for a long time in the freezer and make any dishes spicy during the midweek. I also like to freeze coconut paste and coconut milk into ice cubes and use it to thicken curries and sauces.
Prep Your Grains
I love to soak pulses and grains such as chickpeas, kidney beans, broken wheat, brown rice, millets overnight and pressure cook them as needed throughout the week. Once you soak the grains, you need to remove the water and store the soaked grains in a container. These soaked grains can stay good for a week in the fridge, or you can even freeze it for longer. But take time in between the week to soak a variety of grains for one or two days consecutively and use it instead of storing them for longer periods of time as they can lose their taste and crunchiness.
Proteins are a vital part of the week and you can marinate a batch of chicken, fish and prawns for the week in different varieties and flavors. The most common marination that works with chicken is soya sauce, Chili sauce, pepper, salt, sugar and some chili powder. We can use this variant for making sandwiches, grilled chicken, Chinese recipes and pasta dishes. I love to add lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste, salt, pepper and paprika for fish and prawns to keep them ready for gravies, fries and rice recipes.
You can make a yeast-based dough for breads and non-yeast based dough for parathas, chapati and poori. Wrap them and store inside a container. I make a rice-based batter for idli, dosa and paniyaram and store it throughout the week. This batter and dough can come in handy for breakfasts.
I usually pickle red onions, cucumber and mint leaves with vinegar, salt and sugar. These are crunchy and tasty accompaniments for a variety of salads and sandwiches. I also pickle raw mango, green grapes or lemon for the week based on the availability. These pickles are good for rice.
You can make kebabs with soaked black chickpeas and soya chunks. Pulse soaked chickpeas with bread, spices, herbs without adding water. Shape them into cutlets, and freeze them in zip-lock bags. You can even make burger patties. Take them out when needed and fry in oil without thawing. You can make spring rolls, samosas and momos and freeze them too over the weekend.
Whip Up Dressings/ Chutneys
The most common dressings to whip up during the weekend are lemon vinaigrette and thousand island dressing. These are versatile dressings for salads and sandwiches. Being an Indian, I love making a batch of tomato chutney and coconut chutney and freeze them for the week. You don’t have to make a dressing every day, instead spruce it up with additional ingredients such as fresh herbs and spices to make it interesting.
Stock up on Bread
Bake a fresh batch of sourdough or wheat bread or just buy them, having a variety of breads can save time during the week. I usually stock up on sandwich bread, buns and rolls. We can make these into sticky buns and cheese sandwiches for quick snacks.
Lemon juice is a must-have ingredient in my fridge. I squeeze a batch of lemons and store it in a glass bottle for my lemon water. I stock up on soda cans and fruit juices such as orange and aloe Vera as refreshments. You can freeze fruits for smoothies and juice them every morning.