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A Whole30 Day
I know adapting to Whole30 eating can be tough, particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience cooking. But easy-peasey raw materials that require almost zero skill can be transformed into delicious, ethnic-inspired food that’s simple to make, packed with nutrition, and very satisfying to the tastebuds.
Last weekend, I grilled about 3 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken thighs. While the chicken was on the grill, I had a spaghetti squash in the oven, put a bag of frozen broccoli in the fridge to defrost, and par-steamed cabbage, zucchini, and some unidentifiable leafy greens from Farmhouse Delivery. When the veggies were done, I used the same pan to quickly brown and crumble a pound of ground beef… and then used the same pan again to cook a pound of frozen shrimp.
In the space of about 45 minutes, I had a fridge full of raw materials to build delicious meals – which was pretty awesome because this morning, I had 30 minutes to cook breakfast, lunch, and two snacks for myself, then eat and get my ass out the door.
I pulled a bunch of containers out of the fridge…
cooked spaghetti squash
defrosted, frozen chopped broccoli
grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs
a half serving of browned, crumbled ground beef
… and I put them together like this:
Snack 1 (Italian-ish)
A little olive oil in the pan. Add broccoli, diced grilled chicken, garlic powder, and salt. Saute 3 minutes. Place in container and top with sliced black olives.
Snack 2 (Italian-ish)
A little olive oil in the pan. Add zucchini, diced grilled chicken, garlic powder, and salt. Saute 3 minutes. Place in container and top with sliced black olives.
Some coconut oil in the pan. Add chopped greens, spaghetti squash, the measly leftovers of the ground beef, a few ounces of shrimp, garlic powder, salt, and homemade Turkish Baharat seasoning. Saute 5 minutes.
Some coconut oil in the pan. Add spaghetti squash, cabbage, diced grilled chicken, garlic powder, and salt. Saute 5 minutes. Eat like an animal while applying makeup and drying hair.
Every one of those meals was delicious. And my lunch! My lunch was a grand slam… SO good. I totally cobbled it together this morning, but from now on, I will make it on purpose. The bitter greens with the sweet spaghetti squash and the spicy Turkish seasoning was super yummo. And I liked having two kinds of protein in the sauté; I’m going to do that more often!
The leftovers-that-aren’t-leftovers theme continues for dinner. We’re having paleo egg foo yung, so I’ll be using these raw materials:
defrosted frozen broccoli
grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs
fresh chopped scallions
Need more help getting your head around how to shop and cook to eat paleo/dino-chow/clean/Whole30/real food? Check out these previous posts:
The Method Behind My Madness
Taste the Rainbow
Steam/Saute Any Veggie
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Thanks for this! I always get great ideas for meals from your blog. Success on this plan is really all about planning ahead, isn't it?!
Hey Melissa, Toni here, found your blog from the Whole30 forum. Question, do you tend to 'snack' all day? I find I tend to eat 3 meals a day and that is it. However, I do find I hit that 3-4pm wall/slump and get rather tired for the rest of the evening. Wonder if this is a result of not eating enough or getting enough "snacks". Thanks!
Martin –> Absolutely. I don't alway splan my meals, but I do a ton of prep once a week so that I always have the right foods around. In a pinch, a can of tuna and some raw veggies will suffice, but if I do that too often, I start to feel cheated out of deliciousness.
Toni –> I don't snack all day, but I do have scheduled snacks. I eat on a pretty regulated schedule, just because M-F, my days are pretty similar to each other.
Post-workout meal at 7:30 a.m.
Second breakfast (a full meal) at 9:30 or so
Lunch (a full meal) at noon-ish
Afternoon snack (half-size meal) around 3:30-4:00
Post-work snack (a few nuts or a little hunk of protein) – anytime before dinner, if I'm hungry
Dinner (a full meal) at 7:00-ish
On non-workout days, I eat a regular breakfast at about 7:30 a.m., then have a mid-morning snack around 10:00 that's a half-size meal. The rest of the day is the same: lunch, afternoon snack, dinner.
Sometimes I eat a little protein and fat before bed if I feel hungry, but lately, I haven't needed to.
I admire your preparation and for sharing your tips. Sometimes it's like DAMN that's a lot of work to do day in and day out, week after week. But that's just part of the investment in good health, I guess. And with practice it gets easier, I suppose. I feel like I'm at the bottom of the hill looking up. Eh.
Mz. G –> Yes! The preparation sometimes feels like SUCH a burden. But then I give myself a stern talking: it is worth the time investment. And that's why I have lots of days of food like the above, interspersed with more complicated recipes. I don't always want to spend so much time in the kitchen 😉
i tried the par-steaming technique last night with the assload of zucchini that was feeling neglected in my vegetable crisper.
worked extremely well! i have never in my life cooked zucchini without fat, but it throws off so much liquid (and i used a le crueset pot, which helped) that it was a snap.
curious to see how it reacts to another exposure to heat, and to try it with other vegetables, esp cabbage, which is also a favorite of mine.
i have learned tons from this blog. thank you again.
Michele –> I'm glad it worked for you! Zucchini is tricky 'cause it can go from tender to soggy so quickly. The cabbage and other sturdy greens work really well.