Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 2

Alright so we are halfway through the first month of the new year, and… wow. Things are already stressful, there is tension everywhere, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, get swept away with emotion, and drown in anxiety.

I have been going to counseling (for the third time in my life; no shame here) since March; I started going as a preventative measure before I had our second daughter, Selah, to help avoid postpartum depression/anxiety this time around. Then after the first two meetings with my new counselor, the world flipped upside down, and everything turned dark, a little scary, and a lot stressful. So on top of dealing with the stress of a new baby, I, like everyone, was dealing with the stress of current events, but my counselor advised me to really look at what I can control.

So what can I control to reduce my stress? Well, I can exercise because I know that when I move my body lovingly in a way that feels good to me (that is the key), those happy hormones will flood my brain and relieve some stress. I can make sure I don’t consume too much refined sugar, as I have found over the years that eating sugary treats will work against me by making my heart race and my stress rise. I can make sure that I feed myself and my family whole, healthy foods that will nourish us and make us feel happy and healthy (as always, with A Pinch of Crazy!), and this is really what got me through this week! Knowing that I am doing the best for my family to keep us all healthy, and make sure I’m doing what I can to reduce my stress.

On top of the upsetting news that is constantly swirling around us, this past week, my family got hit with that virus. I debated writing about this because I felt like I would get some backlash. However, at the start of the pandemic, with the professional advice from both my counselor and my midwife, we decided it would be unwise for me to self-isolate with a new baby. Due to my history with postpartum depression and anxiety, the best decision for me was to continue seeing my family, and I am so glad that I have! Both David and I have large families of origin (he has three siblings, I have four sisters, everyone’s married, and I can’t even add all the grandkids off the top of my head), so we figured eventually someone would catch the virus. It was David, my husband, but thankfully he is feeling fine now (though his smell is still slowly returning), and we finished up our quarantine yesterday.

So, yeah. All in all, a stressful start to 2021, but we had a fun snow day on Sunday, we are all healthy, and I feel thankful to control what I can. Please enjoy these happy snow day pictures to take your mind off your troubles! I hope this easy, yummy meal plan can give you some ideas for healing, healthy food for your family!

Here is what I had when taking my “kitchen inventory”:

  • Carbs- a little bit of brown rice, half a box of spaghetti noodles, a few packages of grits, oats
  • Protein- half a bag of frozen shrimp, ground beef, a little bit of Greek yogurt, nut butter, cheese, Cliff bars + Z bars, hummus
  • Produce- avocados, cucumber, apples, baby carrots, cilantro, frozen blueberries, bananas, lettuce

Starting with these few items, I made a menu for breakfasts, dinners, and snacks, then got my grocery order in. I ended up only planning for four dinners this week because my mom brought us a meal (which she just dropped on our porch while we said our masked hellos) on Tuesday since we had to miss out on my dad’s birthday dinner over the weekend.

Like I did last week (you can read last week’s plan here), I will share our meal plan with recipes and/or short directions, and any baby modifications necessary. We do baby led weaning, so while she typically eats what we do, sometimes there are modifications necessary, especially since Baby and I usually eat dairy free.

I am also trying to start implementing more of a schedule for meals and snacks with Z; otherwise she will want to eat snacks all day. I try and offer snacks that have protein and fat so that she feels fuller longer. I am always learning, and get excited to learn new things, about feeding these little ones!

Two resources that I have loved in regards to feeding my family healthy foods are Kids Eat in Color on Instagram, and the Doctor Moms Podcast (formerly known as “Whole Mamas Club”). Also from these wonderful health-minded moms, I have learned about some supplements, so while this is different from just a meal plan, I will also share the vitamins/supplements we were taking this week to get back to full health.

I hope you can find something that works for you and your family this week, take what works for you, leave what doesn’t. Enjoy!

Breakfasts:

  • Baked oatmeal again with blueberries, bananas, and almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, granola, and berries
  • Breakfast burritos with eggs, cheese, avocado, and salsa (for our slower mornings… which were almost all of them due to quarantining)
Spicy Garlic Salsa for our breakfast burritos

Snacks:

  • Hummus again with pretzels, carrots, and cucumber slices (for Selah I spread her hummus on toast or meat)
  • Fruit pouches for Z and Selah
  • Apple or banana slices served with peanut butter
  • Hard boiled eggs (sometimes serve with mayo and/or mustard for flavor and extra fat)
  • Cliff bars or Larabars for the grownups, Z bars for Z

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches with nitrate free turkey lunch meat or uncured ham
  • For Z’s school lunch this week (thankfully was the day after our quarantine ended!) I packed healthier vanilla wafers and strawberries for her snack, and for lunch a half a turkey sandwich, baby carrots, pretzels, and bunny fruit snacks

Dinners:

  • Monday: shrimp and grits *with cheese for those that could have it* and broccoli
  • Tuesday: meal from my mom plus any leftovers from the night before or weekend
  • Wednesday: spaghetti *I used this sauce recipe* with sautéed squash on the side
The sauce used for my spaghetti – great on noodles or veggies
  • Thursday: black beans and brown rice with avocado and cilantro on top and guacamole with plantain chips *I wish I had this recipe posted, but I cook dry beans in the instant pot (after soaking) with broth and water, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and lots of spices*
  • Friday: burritos/burrito bowls using leftover beans, rice, guac, plus sautéed bell peppers and onions, and turkey taco meat *will cook this taco meat*
Guacamole for beans and rice/burritos
  • Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights 🙂 AKA leftovers

There you have it! Our meal plan for a family of four – three meals and two snacks a day – this week’s grocery store total came out to $97, which is really pretty good! I’ll see what I can get it down to next week.

As far as supplements and vitamins go, usually I like to rely on food as our medicine, but we have been taking these off and on for months now, but really consistently these last few weeks. I love the Garden of Life vitamins/supplements as they are made from only whole foods, so I will be linking those below:

For David and me:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D every three days
  • Echinacea
  • Zinc

For just me:

  • Prenatal vitamin (not pregnant!)
  • Omega-3 to help with getting fattier breastmilk

For just Z:

For just Selah:

  • Vitamin D (does not come through breastmilk)

For all of us:

  • Elderberry syrup made with maple syrup
  • Plenty of healthy food, limited dairy (increases mucous production) and refined sugar (lowers immune support), and outside time!!!

Thank you for following along with our meals and health journey this month. I am far from perfect and know I could always do things better, so I always enjoy learning more about health and food, but I love sharing with others some of the easy things we do in our home for our health. I truly hope this helps someone in some small way! Stay healthy, have fun cooking and caring for yourself and your family… and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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Meal Plan Month: January Meal Plan 1

Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back with my first blog of the year! Enjoy a poorly lit photo of my family over the holidays. The girls’ dresses (and Z’s big purple bow from Santa) are just too cute not to share!

Before the holidays I was trying to plan out some easy blog content for 2021 and posted a poll on my Instagram (follow me here) asking if people would like to see meal plans. The result was unanimous – everyone that answered said “yes”.

Since everyone usually tries to get healthier at the start of the year, and since we’re all cooking more due to restaurant shut downs (although, let’s be honest, DoorDash was the real hero of 2020), I figured posting my meal plans for the month of January would be a fun way to kick the year off on A Pinch of Crazy!

If cooking more, eating healthier, saving money, or trying new recipes are some goals you have for the year, then follow along for the month! Hopefully you can get some ideas that will work for you and your family, tweak what needs tweaking for you, maybe scrap some things all together, and just maybe find a new family favorite!

I will start this meal plan month off by sharing how I usually plan our meals for the week. Over the weekends, we usually eat “last week’s highlights” (my husband’s cute name for leftovers) or go out/get food delivered. Over the weekend is when I begin planning for the following week. To start with, I take a little “kitchen inventory” in the pantry and fridge to see what we have – this little jumping off point ends up saving a lot of money, reducing waste, and fuels my kitchen creativity. The three categories I usually check for are carbs/starches, protein, and produce. Once I plan meals based on what I have, I make a grocery list for items I still need. Then I usually pick up my groceries on Monday so I start the week off with a well stocked kitchen.

So after Christmas and New Year’s Day I actually didn’t have much in the way of leftovers, but I will share what I did end up starting with.

  • Carbs: brown rice, a few potatoes/sweet potatoes, oats, instant grits (a treat for my hubs), and a can of crescent roll dough
  • Protein: turkey bacon, almond butter, chick peas, tahini, some cheese, and a package of little beef sausages
  • Produce: carrots, greens (kale, spinach, and lettuce), cauliflower rice, blueberries, apples, and bananas – this is not really “produce” but I also had a half full jar of green curry paste

Starting with those few ingredients I planned five dinners (leftovers on weekends), and leftovers are used for lunches. I also planned a few breakfast items to meal prep for the week and wrote down snack ideas. These meals are all things I share with my two girls, but I will make sure to include which modifications, if any, were needed for our nine-month-old. Baby and I also eat dairy free (though I am starting to introduce a little here and there), so I will include modifications for that, too.

Breakfasts:

  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Grits
  • Baked oatmeal with almond butter, blueberries, and bananas *this is the only breakfast I fed to the baby, and I added less maple syrup so it wasn’t too sweet for her*

Snacks:

Classic Garlic Hummus
  • Hummus with carrot sticks or crackers *I put the baby’s hummus on toast or rolled up in nitrate free lunch meat*
  • Boiled eggs (I only did 6 since they weren’t for breakfast)
  • Cliff bars for grown-ups, Z bars for our oldest
  • Apple slices or bananas with peanut butter
  • Pouches and mandarin orange cups for both girls
  • Puffs for the baby
  • Christmas candy

Dinners:

Roasted Chicken with Carrots
  • Monday: Roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes *This recipe is for a whole chicken, but I used just drumsticks and chopped the carrots and potatoes to roast underneath them.*
  • Tuesday: Brown rice risotto with mushrooms, kale, and shrimp *I made this dairy free, but topped with cheese for those that could have it and subbed in my chicken stock in place of veggie broth*
  • Wednesday: Green curry chicken with coconut lime cauliflower rice, topped with avocado and cilantro *I don’t really have a recipe for this, but I just heated some shredded chicken with the cauliflower rice, added a couple tablespoons of the curry paste, poured in coconut milk, and squeezed a lime in. On this day I also took a meal (chicken tacos) to a friend so I boiled a bunch of chicken, shredded it, and seasoned it like taco meat. This is the chicken I used for the curry; it turned out great!*
  • Thursday: Lettuce wrapped mushroom swiss burgers and fries *Again, no real recipe for the burgers, but I usually season the ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and smoked paprika then cook them in my cast iron skillet. We will top them with sauteed mushrooms and onions, swiss cheese (I will omit this for Baby and I), greens, dairy free ranch, and use lettuce in place of buns.*
  • Friday: Breakfast for dinner – turkey bacon (will not give to Baby), scrambled eggs, toast and/or leftover potatoes from burger night
  • Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights!

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • A couple of days we had outdoor picnics with friends so I packed sandwiches/lunch meat, hummus, fruit, and crackers for the girls and me
  • Our oldest went back to her Mother’s Day Out program this week so for her lunch I packed crackers with uncured salami and cheese cubes, a mandarin orange cup, and avocado and cucumber slices

Alright I think I covered it all! My grocery list for this week was basically proteins and snacks, plus of course a giant box of diapers and other essentials such as paper towels and foil. I ended up spending more than I usually do because I actually shopped in person for once and took advantage of coupons I saw to stock up on snacks and essentials; that brought my total for this week to $189. Since I got so many snacks this week, I am hoping next week to get the grocery bill down to less than $100. I’ll come back next week and share!

I hope you were able to get inspired for some meal ideas for your family this week, and that maybe you are able to save some money and try something new. Bask in the freshness of a new year…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

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