A Healthy Rotation

Dzień dobry! I just got back from Poland where I got married for a second time, visited my husband’s family and had a wonderful mini-moon!


The food in Poland was awesome and I was surprised at the urban food scene in Warsaw that blends traditional recipes using a plant-based approach. If you are interested in the places I travelled, I have pinned the stories on my instagram page. I am definitely looking forward to playing with and developing some recipes to share with you guys soon!

Now that I am home, one thing I have committed to focusing on this summer is rebalance. I know I sound like a broken record but it is something I really struggle with. I have started writing a lot of stuff down, such as “to-do lists” and of course, as I have done in the past, a return back to meal-planning.

As a passionate cook and wannabe recipe developer, I can’t help but naturally approach meal-planning from an eclectic perspective. A little guac here, a little saffron the next day, what can it hurt?

Well, unfortunately – even with meal planning – it can hurt the wallet. If you are not coordinated with your recipes, you amp up the cost of groceries by having to stock a pantry with an array of ingredients that can go to waste if you do not remake the recipe and use up the rest of the item in a timely manner.

Repetitive meal rotations have been written about in a variety of contexts. From the minimalist perspective, eating the same items daily can help eliminate “decision fatigue” as individuals can anticipate the same nutrient-dense and well-balanced items to help them feel good. If I know that on Day 3 of my rotation, I am having spaghetti squash for dinner, then that is what I am having. If I know the repetitive meal rotation, then my grocery shopping just streamlined as I pick up the same items for a while; thus, saving me time and stress.

From a dietary standpoint, repetitive eating rotations have been associated with weight loss. Again, this is due to well-balanced and nutrient-dense meals but also due to predictive portioning. If you eat the same meal plan which has been curated and well thought out in coordination with your lifestyle (e.g., working out, weeknights, shift schedules, overtime etc.) you can truly balance your energy. Your body can anticipate what it needs to digest. You know what you are eating is good for you based on a routine.

Finally, there is a financial standpoint. When you think about the foods that are in season and use them completely, you can help eliminate food waste and save money. Furthermore, if you have a meal prepared in accordance with your lifestyle, it can help with lowering the “convenience food” budget – as I have named it in my Every Dollar App. This is the money I save just in case I end up at work late and need dinner and did not pack anything. If I have a meal prepared along with my emergency protein bars, I can hang on longer recognizing that there is something easy to prepare at home.

So what does this mean for me? As I whittle down my budget with summer unemployment, I am looking for ways to stay healthy but also keep the budget tight. While Dave Ramsey talks about “Beans ‘n Rice, Rice ‘n Beans”, there is something to be said about repetition. The challenge is as follows, a very basic 2-week meal plan in 3 rotations. Breakfasts, snacks, and lunches will be very consistent and there will be a little variety in the dinner menu. Meals will be balanced considering caloric intake based on my lifestyle as well as balance in macronutrients. It is my hope that by taking on this challenge, my wallet, waistline and wellbeing will benefit. Furthermore, while trying to look after myself, I am looking to take the burden of complex meal-planning off of me for just a little while.

Would you ever try repetitive meals? Do you find meal planning a burden? Leave your comments below!

Menu Plan – July 24th to July 30th 2017

It’s Sunday night, friends!

Weekends are a funny thing to me. On the one hand, I want to sit back and relax, however on the other hand, if I do this, I end up paying for it during the week. Especially Sundays! I did not realize this routine of preparing for the week ahead until I hit my mid-twenties. It feels like overnight that I went from being able to live out of a single outfit and a toothbrush in my backpack at a friend’s house to being completely irritated – protective even – of my Sundays. I think most notably my Sunday routine shift got to me earlier this year when I had to attend a shower on a Sunday and did not prepare in advance. While I was happy to celebrate with friends, I was completely irritated that evening trying to prepare my grocery lists, menus, work distribution and lunches for the week – and failed to do so! I spent the week feeling completed off my roll.

Gone are the days …

Who am I kidding? The young days were fun and I enjoyed the ability to run around without a plan in mind but I am also enjoying this, albeit hectic, but naturally “settling down” transition. And on that note, I present you, my readers, with my very first installment of the Sunday Night Weekly Menu Plan for this week.

To preface, I use a tool called Pepperplate. It is fantastic because you can save all your favourite recipes, generate meal plans and grocery lists on your computer. With the app, it syncs to your phone and iPad. This means you can pull up your grocery list while you are at the grocery store, pull up a recipe from your meal plan in the kitchen on your iPad and many more. Even if you identify as an old-fashioned pen ‘n paper kind of person, there is an easy print option. I am not sponsored by Pepperplate in any way, I just really love the simplicity and design layout. I have been using it consistently for almost 2 years at this point and it has made my life so much easier! It is my hope that by sharing this tool with you, I can help streamline and curate your love for food, recipes and SUNDAY NIGHT SANITY… sorry – got excited. LOL.

Alas, the meal plan de jour:

Click image to enlarge.

A few things you are going to notice right away: 1) I like consistency; 2) leftovers are my homie – I know some people veer away from eating leftovers and such but realistically, I am insanely busy working as a grad student and professional so when I cook, I batch cook. Additionally, I do not believe in throwing food out. Sure, it happens sometimes but I have been to impoverished areas such as Kibera, Kenya (see photo at the end of this post) and my partner has spent years doing work in various countries in East Africa including a recent publication on food assistance. At the end of the day: not being cognizant about where food in my home is going conflicts with my values which is likely why I am so strategic in using tools like Pepperplate. It lowers food cost and waste – something we can all agree on.

Listed above in my menu plan, you will notice some items are blue and some are black. The blue ones are recipes with links to blogs which I will include below:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snacks

In developing my menus, I consider what I have in my fridge and freezer first and accommodate my meals to those ingredients. For example, the creamy polenta with mushrooms, chickpeas and olives recipe – I have had cornmeal in my pantry for some time and it is driving me crazy because outside of cornbread, I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO WITH IT!! Although, I have a few ideas for recipe development come the colder weather.

Also note that I have included my water intake in my meal plan as a hope to push me to increase this (if you haven’t seen my 14 day hydration challenge, click here). This weekend with hosting has not been great (why can’t sangria count as water!?); however, Monday starts a fresh week and I am hoping I can get back at it in an effort to report to you guys how it has gone – the successes and the challenges.

Anyway, on the note of protecting my Sundays, I am going to quickly put together my work schedule for tomorrow and get some shut eye! Wishing everyone a productive and delicious week!