The following guest blog is by Emma King of The Bacon Mum. Emma is a Brit who has been living State side for many years. She is healing herself of Rheumatoid Arthritis and helping her daughter effectively manage an Autism Spectrum disorder, using the Autoimmune Protocol. She is also a professional Learning Strategist and will soon, after deciding through her own journey that she wanted to help other families impacted by autoimmune disease and behavioral/learning difficulties onset by food sensitivities, be a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can find Emma here:
- Blog http://www.thebaconmum.com/
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thebaconmum
- Instagram http://instagram.com/thebaconmum
- Twitter https://twitter.com/thebaconmum
As any single working parent will know, the thought of getting food on the table after a long day can be overwhelming. Bring into the mix food intolerances/allergies and fussy eaters and putting a meal on the table starts to feel like climbing Mount Everest in flip flops!
By profession I am a Learning Strategist, I consult with Fortune 500 companies to bring their corporate learning to life inside a Virtual Classroom or Virtual Online Event. Any challenge a client throws at me I can typically, with some careful thought, provide them with a template for success. So I applied that same logic and project planning to bring healing foods and healthful plates to the family table, after all I can’t use drive-thrus as backup or rely on a partner to help out with the grocery shopping, meal planning, or cooking.
So after researching what my fellow autoimmune bloggers had to say and with some inherited tips and tricks from my Mum, I built the following template that I’d like to share with you.
- Buy Proteins in Bulk - Typically I do this monthly. Having a stash of core ingredients in the freezer ensures I have ingredients on hand. I use a lot of cheap cuts of meats such as bacon (well I am TheBaconMum) pork butt, ribs, flank steak, tenderloins, whole chickens, ground turkey, pork, lamb, beef, bison etc. There are many online organic meat companies that deliver to your door, which makes buying organic food in bulk more economical. However, if organic meats aren’t within your budget (it isn’t always possible within mine) many local grocery stores will often sell items in bulk too, just check that there are no nitrates or hormones added.
- Stock up on Staple Ingredients – Always have your staple ingredients in stock. My Mum taught me as a child to always have two of the same item in the pantry, the one you are using and the replacement for when that’s gone. Once you open the second item, replace it the next time you shop. This way you will never run out and will always have the ingredients on hand to make your meal.
- Enroll into a CSA - With pesticides being sprayed on our crops, it’s really important to try to afford organic veggies whenever possible. Joining a CSA, especially one that gets delivered to your door, is budget friendly and a huge time saver! (To find a local supplier click here.) If you can’t afford to go 100% organic – try to buy organic those foods listed as The Dirty Dozen.
- Batch Cook - Never prepare your meals just for one meal time, double or triple the recipe and freeze into portions for days when you know it will be hard to get food on the table.
- Invest in a Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker - This for me is my lifesaver. Many recipes call for browning the proteins before cooking but I honestly have no time for that . . . I throw ALL ingredients into said pot and presto six-eight hours later dinner smells divine as I walk through the door.
- Maximize Your Time - When you are clearing up the kitchen after dinner use this time to prepare lunches for the following day and prepare that crock-pot meal to place in the fridge overnight. The following morning as you are reaching for the pre-prepared lunchboxes, plug in the crock pot and rush out of that door!
- Maximize Oven Time - Never switch on your oven for just one item, always be thinking about what other recipes you can prepare at the same time. My favorite is to make up three-four batches of meatballs and burger sliders and cook them all in the oven at the same time. Let them cook, cool and freeze them in large Ziploc bags for school lunches and/or dinner time!
- Frozen is OK –Ever forgotten to remove the dinner from the freezer the night before? Don’t be afraid to use frozen protein in your crock-pot! While some may advise you otherwise, I can assure you I haven’t ever become sick, or any of my family, from using frozen protein in a crock-pot – From frozen solid chicken to succulent roast chicken in six hours – YES Please!!!
- Involve the Family – Kids can often get frustrated, certainly if they are only children, when you are constantly in the kitchen preparing foods. Involving children teaches them how to pair ingredients and provides them with the skills necessary to continue their healing diet as they flee the nest. My daughter loves to cook with me and on my weekends it’s rare that we don’t cook together. We start by choosing a recipe each from the wonderful selection of healing food recipe books that are now becoming available! (Don’t forget Angie’s cookbook is coming in out in December!!) This process has really helped my daughter understand what it takes to bring a meal to the table and that it’s polite to always try a new dish or new food. She knows she would be heartbroken if I didn’t taste her recipe and therefore she will always try a courtesy bite from my recipe too and nine times out of 10 she likes what she’s eating, emphasizing that taste buds do change, especially if they aren’t being over powered by chemicals and processed foods!
My Mantra – Prepare, Multiply, Store & Succeed!