Now that I have read the book, it’s time to do some of the workbook exercises. I regularly clean out my pantry and refrigerator/freezer, but do I really read the labels…. no. Although there is not much in the way of processed foods, I want to look at what I have on hand with a fresh perspective.
One of the foundations of the Mediterranean Fasting Lifestyle is the concept of High Sacrifice Foods and Low Sacrifice Foods. Deciding what mine were was easy. I like desserts, like most people, but the things I could not live without were bread and cheese. I never met a cheese I didn’t like. Or a type of bread that wasn’t welcome on my table.
Now that I am armed with the knowledge that those two items will live in my kitchen for all time, I could begin to plan what else I needed to keep handy for meal preparation. Since I work all week, I also purchased some divided dishes that could go in the freezer. This would allow me to cook on the weekend and save leftovers. Eating the same thing for several days never works for me. Now I can freeze my leftovers and avoid the inevitable waste that used to happen.
If you are like me, the pantry is a forest of stuff. I cleared my counters and my table. Everything came out of the pantry and was placed on the counters. Next, a good scrub and drying of the shelves to provide a clean slate for organizing what I would keep.
All the items were looked at for freshness (use or sell by date) as well as taking the time to read the labels. If I could not pronounce it without the help of Google, it would go in the trash. Once that was done, I arranged everything in a way that made sense to the way I cook. All my spices, canned beans, dried pasta, and grains were grouped together. I was able to get some containers from my local dollar store to keep them organized when I was looking for things while prepping meals.
With everyting sorted I proceeded to make a list of what I had. The app that came with my MFL subscription allowed me to enter what I had on hand. I was also able to create custom foods for the recipes I fall back on and those that are family favorites. Now I was ready to generate my first week’s meal plan.
The app will allow me to select my own meals, or it will generate daily and weekly meals based on the profile of likes and dislikes I entered when setting up my account. If something doesn’t appeal to me, I can generate other options to replace that meal entry. So easy!
Once the meal plan is completed, the app references my online pantry for ingredients needed to prepare the selected meals. Any items that I do not have on hand are added to my grocery list. If I am having a particularly busy week, or just feeling a bit lazy, I can have the items delivered to me through the Instacart interface, saving me time and trouble!
Armed with my nice, clean, and organized pantry, and all the ingredients needed to prepare the meals for my week ahead, I can then concentrate on cooking. Immediately I was struck by how much more appealing the thought of cooking became when I was confident that everything I needed was on hand and organized.
I spent a couple of hours washing and chopping veggies and fruits. While I was doing that pasta boiled, sauce sizzled, and meats marinated. When a couple of hours had passed, I was left with a week’s worth of meals cooked and placed in individual containers in the refrigerator and extras in the freezer. Fruit and veggies were available for quick availabilty at lunch during the work week. Snacks were measured into servings for those weak moments.
Now my food roadmap for the week is set. Everything was listed in my app, by meal for each day of the upcoming week. As I consumed something, I ticked it off the list. When I began my MNFL subscription, my coach had met with me to align my health goals, which had been entered into both my workout and food tracking apps. Calories were now tracked against the metrics my coach had set for me, along with my protein, fat and carbohydrate intake. This makes it so easy for me to stay on track and not stray into the weeds when tired or short of time. I can do this!