Alright, folks. I’ve spent a mere three days on the new job and my head is already spinning with time management and food management strategies to keep us all chugging along during these LONG, BUSY weeks of March. It’s about survival. We are a family of over-doers. We pack our schedules with too many events, responsibilities and commitments in not enough time. I can’t figure out why we do this: a special kind of shared mental illness or personality disorder, maybe? Even when we actively attempt to cut back, do less, and schedule down time, we end up booked solid from 4:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., every day, and sometimes we go around the clock (when my husband has late night and overnight shifts in the ER, at least one member of our little team can be awake, working, eating and creating laundry for several days in a row). We have two crazy work schedules, volunteer stuff, high school and all of the frills (debate team, sailing team, SATs, college hunt, friends, prom, kid jobs), a freshman in college, a big local immediate family, friends, neighbors and of course, marathon training and the never-ending fight for fitness and wellness. Are you this kind of family? Based on how many images come up when I google, “over-scheduled” to find this photo, I bet you are. What is wrong with us? It’s madness, I tell you.
The first thing that I worry about when our days/weeks/months look like this is FOOD. If we don’t go into Monday morning with a strategy for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, none of us will be able to muscle through the days ahead. If we have to build extra time into our crammed schedules for eating out, spontaneous grocery trips and/or all of the thinking, planning, prepping and cook time, we will fail or be forced to compromise on health/nutrition, energy, efficiency, and/or ability to execute on our commitments. So, before I went to bed last night, I wrote a few lists, and then I felt better. I spent the entire day today as a volunteer judge for the State Championship High School Debate Tournament, so tomorrow is my chance to put plans into motion.
Here’s our high-energy, high-performance, high-nutrition, high-flavor, highly-satisfying method to beat the madness this week:
Baked egg cups (spinach, bacon and cheddar)
Bananas and cut cantaloupe
Yogurt w/ blueberries and homemade granola
English muffins, peanut butter w/ homemade granola
Lentil Salad with crumbled goat cheese (alone or over spinach)
Goat or cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers
Homemade apple sauce
Cold green grapes
Carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, and hummus (black bean and garlic)
Trail mix (almonds, cashews, walnuts, craisins and dark chocolate chips)
Ravioli with red sauce, meatballs and roasted broccoli
Pork Loin, garlic smashed potatoes and kale chips
I’ll make a dozen double baked egg cups tomorrow morning (recipe to follow); those will hold us for breakfast and afternoon snacks all week. If anybody wants a break from savory, we can always switch to english muffins, yogurt, berries and/or granola for breakfast. The granola is already made, thanks to a little spare time last week. Apples will go into the crock pot tomorrow for applesauce while I chop the veggies for lentil salad. Snacks (fruit, cheese, crackers, trail mix, applesauce) will go into lunches all week. The red sauce is already made, and the meatballs will come together quickly on Monday night (recipe to follow). The crew will scavenge leftovers on Tuesday night; we’ll do Pork Loin on Wednesday night, and we will enjoy leftovers again on Thursday night. On Friday night, I’ll be thawing some chili that’s in the freezer for the boy and the grown ups will probably opt for salad, wine and cheese.
Stay tuned for more recipes and methods to keep the madness at bay, and I’ll let you know how well this plan does or doesn’t work out for my team. There is always room for improvisation, substitution, and cancellation! Good luck with yours!