Have you ever thought of simplifying what you eat in any given week? Maybe you’ve already seen this in action. Do you have kids? Has one of them ever just decided that he or she wanted a peanut butter sandwich every single day for lunch? Or the same bowl of oatmeal for breakfast? Or the same exact afternoon snack for weeks on end? You may have seen it as difficult if you were trying to get him or her to eat something else that you made. But if you think about it, it makes a whole lot of sense. Provided that the snack or meal provides ample nutrients, who cares if it’s the same thing day in and day out?
It goes against what many of us believe we need in terms of variety, but in reality there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, we could all stand to get a little *more* boring in the kitchen. Yep, that’s right. How many of you are searching through exotic recipes every week before grocery shopping, thinking you have to make a gourmet meal for your families in order to wow everyone. Okay, so maybe it’s just me who has done this. I remember a time in my life when I had stacks upon stacks of healthy magazines with healthy recipes that I was convinced I needed to make regularly. I’d try a new one every night. It got so bad, at one point, that one my step-kids actually complained that even though these new meals were great, he never got try have any of the ones he really liked again, because my list of new recipes to try would surely outlive his time in our home. He was right! I never thought of returning to any of the well-liked ones because I was so intent on moving on to another new one.
One day, overwhelmed and exasperated about when I was going to find the time to cook all of these meals (not to mentioned tired of spending all of my time in the kitchen) I threw the pile of magazines out. I was never going to “keep up”, since a new one would come out every month. Multiple that times the number of magazines I was reading, and it was impossible. Boy was I relieved from that point forward!
Now I’m not suggested that you boil a pot of pasta and make that your meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of the week. I am suggesting, however, that just a couple of meals per week mixed in with simple snacks like nuts, fruit, and raw veggies can go a long way. Cook on the weekend and make beans, a whole grain, and some steamed veggies. Toss in a few spices and you have several things to munch on all week long. You can throw them together or use them individually mixed with different sides. One day you can sprinkle turmeric on the veggies and the next day you can put cayenne pepper on them. You can throw raw veggies next to the beans and/or the grain. You can stir-fry some new veggies to go with the grain, or even eat the beans and grain alone if you’re “veggied out” after a big salad for lunch. Or throw the beans and the grain into the salad. There are all kinds of varieties here, but the point is, keep it simple to make your life easier.
If you enjoy cooking, by all means don’t let me stop you from going crazy one or two nights a week if you really want to try some new recipes. But I think we can all use a free pass to have more time. A quickly prepared dinner means that it’s over sooner, which can translate to more fun at bath time for the kids, rather than rushing off to bed. Or how about a family card game or two after dinner? Once the kids are in bed on time, could you use just a few minutes to read, or listen to music, or call a friend, or to do something else you never make time to do for yourself? Or here’s a good one – – go to bed early! There’s no end to the possibilities when you make mealtime simpler.
What will you do with the time you save?