At long last, I'm back to completing this Real Food Makeover series! Thank you for your patience with me as I took a couple of weeks off from doing any heavy writing, while I launched my new book (Real Food on a Real Budget) and my new site design. Phew! Let's continue...
A Sample Weekly Meal Plan
Since the Woody family is in a similar season to our family (3 young children and a busy mama who needs meals that are relatively quick and easy) I have planned out a menu plan for them that is similar to what we ourselves might eat in a week.
The foods are not crazy, odd "health foods". They are simply regular kinds of food, made from scratch, with wholesome ingredients, making sure to include a heaping helping of fresh veggies and varied protein sources.
Since breakfast tends to be a meal where we eat the same things over and over again, for ease of planning and shopping, it only make sense to create a regular breakfast schedule. Here's an example of something that might work for the Woody family.
Notice that I've included homemade granola a couple of times. The family enjoys cold cereal (especially Mom), so this is a really great alternative.
My two favorite soaked granola recipes are this Homemade Granola or the soaked granola recipe in the Healthy Snacks to Go ebook. I make one of these recipes every week or two, and I LOVE the ease of pulling out soaked granola for a quick and easy breakfast.
A Weekly Breakfast Rotation
Monday- Soaked oatmeal with milk (raw is best), honey or raw sugar, fresh or dried fruit, etc.
Tuesday- Homemade muffins with a fruit/yogurt smoothie (adding greens is a plus!)
Wednesday- Homemade granola with milk or yogurt. Fresh fruit is great.
Thursday- Eggs (style of choice) with whole grain toast (sprouted or sourdough bread is ideal).
Friday- Repeat one of the above 4 choices- whatever the family likes best.
Saturday- Pancakes or waffles (soaked, with fruit and maybe fresh whipped cream or real maple syrup)
Sunday- Granola with fruit and milk or yogurt OR Baked Oatmeal (both fairly easy options for Sunday mornings before church, since I prepare my Baked Oatmeal mostly before bed the night before and bake it while I shower/dress)
Image by simplyla
Ideally, I serve leftovers for lunch, and this would probably be easiest for Stephanie as well. This ensures that we are still eating well-balanced meals, but I simply have to heat them up. I achieve this by making my dinners larger than our family needs, so that we get one extra meal out of them.
Naturally, I have days when there just aren't enough leftovers. Here are some of the quick and easy options I use for lunches instead:
- Baked potatoes- either as Taco Potatoes or with Broccoli-Cheese Sauce (my kids LOVE this)
- Sweet potato fries with leftover meat or scrambled eggs
- Salmon (or tuna) melts
- Macaroni and Cheese (nice and creamy, with only 5 ingredients!)
- Sandwiches- either meat/cheese/veggie with mayo on bread or in tortillas, or maybe grilled cheese if we have a bit of leftover soup to eat them with
- Quesadillas- I make these with any sort of leftover meat or beans (whole or refried) that I happen to have in the fridge, and veggies like peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. as well, plus shredded cheese. We dip them in sour cream (or creme fraiche) or guacamole.
With any of these options, a few simple raw veggies (cucumbers, snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers, etc.) with or without a dip, round out our quick and easy lunches. Sometimes we throw in a smoothie as well or instead.
I created some possible themes for dinner each night. This helps to simplify meal planning, and also to ensure a more well-rounded variety of foods each week.
- Monday (Beef)- Shepherd's Pie (this is a nice easy version- I make mine similarly, though without an actual recipe. I also add in things like green beans, celery, diced zucchini, spinach-- whatever I have on hand)
- Tuesday (Fish/Seafood)- Baked Salmon with Spinach Rice Casserole
- Wednesday (Vegetarian)- Indonesian Rice with Peanut Coconut Sauce or Baked Beans with Dijon Scalloped Potatoes
- Thursday (Chicken)- Piled High Chicken Potpie or Chicken Divan with a green salad or broccoli salad
- Friday (Favorites)- Homemade pizza or Turkey Sausage Stromboli served with Greek Salad
- Saturday (Quick & Easy)- Breakfast for dinner (pancakes with fruit, eggs and toast, smoothies, etc.), leftover buffet (use up all the leftovers in the fridge like a buffet- everyone chooses what they want), or Taco Salad.
- Sunday (Pasta)- Tomato sauce (our favorite sauce recipe) over sprouted wheat or brown rice pasta (Food for Life or Tinkyada are great pasta brands)
Image by WordRidden
Help for Other Health Goals
In Part 1 of this makeover, I mentioned that both Mom and Dad would like to lose some weight and that Mom has dealt with some depression.
The most important changes that will bring about weight loss are:
- Eating whole, unprocessed foods
- Consuming less sugars, particularly refined, white sugar as well as white flour
- Cutting back a bit on grains in general
- Getting rid of modern, industrial fats (vegetable oils, margarine, hydrogenated fats, trans fat, etc.) in exchange for good, traditional fats (real butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, tallow or lard)
In particular, I would suggest adding in coconut oil to their diet, which is helpful for increasing metabolism and burning fat and also for keeping you more full. One tasty way to eat a bit of coconut oil before a meal is this Peppermint Pattie Coconut Bark. Mmmm... one of my favorites.
Some helpful reading on this topic is The Nourishing Gourmet's series, Losing Weight Eating Nourishing Foods Part 1 and Part 2. Another recommendation is the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.
All of the suggestions made in this makeover will also ultimately help with depression (weight loss, eating more whole foods, consuming less carbs and sugar, etc.).
However, depression can sometimes be more complicated than that. I certainly don't consider myself an expert on helping those who are struggling with depression. Instead I will recommend the best info that I know of for treating depression using whole food nutrition, the book Rebuild From Depression and the blog that goes along with it.
Lastly, my standard suggestion (cue broken record)... add cod liver oil to your diets. More important Omega 3's (DHA and EPA), Vitamin D and Vitamin A. All incredibly important. All nutrients that most North Americans are low in. Also helpful for depression, for a strong immune system, for skin issues, for children's development, and so much more.
To further help the Woody family with their Real Food Makeover, they will also be receiving:
- A copy of my ebook, Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time
- A 1 year Print Membership from ListPlanIt, to aid them in getting organized in the kitchen, with meal planning and with grocery shopping. Thanks, ListPlanIt!