Academy Wife Meal planning 101

April 21, 2016

My husband has been in a fire academy for the past 13.5 weeks.  The most challenging part has been preparing meals for everyone, all the time. During the academy, my job is to have Kyle’s breakfasts, and lunches packed, and ready to go for his 4am wake up call the next morning. I’m also responsible for having dinner ready for him when he gets home at 7pm. He’s burning tons of calories every day because of the constant physical fitness and hands-on training. I’m posting for those that asked about my instagram pictures. Here is how I prepare for the week:

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  1. Plan: I usually do this on Thursday or Friday, the week before during naptime. I try to keep it to one hour at the MOST! The first 10 minutes, I browse new recipes, trying to get inspired. I also am mindful of things I have in my pantry and fridge that need to be eaten. I stick with quick, simple recipes. My recipes come from a combo of pinterest, cookbooks, and food magazines. I don’t have time for anything fancy, it has to take 30 minutes or less to prepare, because that’s all the time I have. Here’s the deal: with two little ones, I don’t have time to cook a brand new, fresh meal every day.  Shocker, right? I’m stoked that my family LOVES leftovers. If your family doesn’t, I am so so sorry…..I can’t help you ;(  As I pick out the recipes, I make a specific shopping list of what I’ll need, and divide the list among the stores where they have the best deals, per product. This is the gist of my plan: IMG_8557

Dinner: I plan three, large, home-cooked dinners for the week that can be eaten for two nights. I intentionally make extra, or have big sides so they can each last two nights. I also plan on one frozen, fairly healthy meal at the end of the week (I try my best, it can be hard with frozen food sometimes.) An example of this would be: frozen, wild-caught fish, quinoa, and a frozen veggie like broccoli, or green beans. Another example would be organic veggie potstickers (from costco), brown rice, and frozen asian veggies (another costco staple.)

Lunch: I always plan on having a combo of two different main dishes for lunches. My go-to lunches are quinoa bowls with veggies and fresh herbs from my garden, fresh green salads, veggie burgers, and veggie packed quesadillas. I always plan on having one or two veggies/fruits that I can have on the side.  I make sure these veggies/fruits are cut, and prepared during my prep day.

Breakfast: are always very simple as well. It’s usually a combination of oatmeal, and some kind of egg casserole. I make big breakfast casseroles to last a few days, or if it’s too much, I throw it in a tortilla, and freeze it for breakfast burritos that we can eat in week or two.

Snacks: I also like to have lots of healthy, pantry snacks on hand. Trail mix, dried figs, craisins, raisins, and protein bars are great things to have on hand. Every week I also strive to make a pot of fresh beans. I make a big batch of beans, and freeze the rest into baggies, so I can bust them out during the weeks to come for different recipes.

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2. Shop: With my husband in the academy, I usually go shopping on Saturdays. When he’s done with the academy, I’ll probably go back to Mondays, when no one is out and about. I stick to my list when I go shopping. I can usually hit my stores in 2 hours or less (without children.)  The only exception when I don’t stick to my list is when something is on sale for a great deal, I almost always buy extra; especially If it can last in the freezer, or in the pantry for an extended time. I love Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Stater Bros. These stores are within a 5 mile radius, so it’s easy, and efficient to hit these stores. I try to only go to Costco, and traders every other week, on a rotating schedule. I’m very frugal, so I try to be a good steward of our money, and shop where I’ll get the best prices. I’m also mindful of sales, and try to reflect my recipes based on what’s on sale. There are so many things involved with shopping that I might devote another post to this topic.

3. Prep: this is one of the most important parts of my plan. On Sundays, you will mainly find me in the kitchen, chopping, organizing, prepping the weeks meals, and dancing to Juanes. I make all of my husbands breakfasts, and lunches on this day. I also cut/prep, one or two fruits and veggies for the week. I have found that if I have them cut up, they get eaten. If I don’t, they wither away and go to veggie heaven. I also prepare my dinner for Sunday/Monday. The last thing I do is chop any other significant ingredients for the rest of the weeks meals. This allows minimal preparing throughout the week, more time to watch “Parenthood,” and drink my iced lattes.

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IMG_84494. Execute: Stick to the plan! Having gone through the planning, shopping, and prepping, I’m highly motivated to stick to my written plan. If I’m ever at a loss of what to eat, I consult my written plan and get inspired/excited again. I’ve also noticed that the more I stick with my plans, the healthier I am. I’m less likely to grab a Big Mac in a state of hangry starvation, those of you who have/are nursing a small babe, can relate.

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I really hope this helps. When I get time, I will try to post specific ideas/recipes that I’ve made so far for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while in this academy 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

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