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Cooking is one way you can easily claim full control over your well being without breaking the bank.

Lately I’ve seen the surfacing of many food delivery options, including friends of mine that are vegan chefs and several health conscious companies trying to target busy individuals. These food delivery start around $100 a week, close to what I spend to  food myself for over a week worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. It is interesting to see this happen. I guess people really have a hard time getting to the kitchen. This seems like their only option. But is it?

I was once that busy and I am by no means saying there is not a need for this service, but I wonder how big is this need and how much of it is actually self created and glorified by our culture. I would have benefited from such service back in the day, but only for limited periods of time. During let’s say budget planning or high season when I worked 12 and 14 hour days. I wonder if that many people actually work that much all the time. Can it be a fear too cook or a negative view on cooking?

My guess is that there is plenty of truth on both sides but most bypass the mindset issue.  And mindset is the missing link I most like to adress…because no-one in big business is addressing it. Because I am here to help you I would like to offer a solution for those of you not quite ready to pay over $100 a week for a pre-packaged lunch or dinner (that may contain artificial ingredients anyways). The solution is called planning your weekly menu without overwhelm aka A-la-Maria.

I personally don’t do the whole day by day meal planning thing myself. I’m far too spontaneous in the kitchen for that. But when you are entering the new world of eating clean and on top of that the kitchen is intimidating, I can see how that can make or break your success. The secret is to create a plan that is simple and that is not aiming to make you a master chef nor a food production manager all the sudden.

Here are 5 simple tips to help you take overwhelm out of planning your healthy cooking for the week.

1. Start with what you know. One of the worst things you can do when starting to create a new routine is to add too many new things. Make a list of the healthy recipes you now know and use them as your starting plan. Another good idea is to choose the ones you actually like best, because we want to enjoy our meals too. Right? . Aim for 5 to 7 recipes.

2. Cook once eat twice. I think it would be very hard to cook a new dish every day. And as you know my motto is to avoid burn out. You will sooner or latter burn out from cooing if you try to cook something new daily. Instead, make double quantities of your recipes so you can eat it twice during the week. If the idea of eating the same two days on a row bothers you, keep it in the fridge for another day. The point is to give yourself days when you don’t have to cook from scratch.

3. Have a safety net. These are things that become staples in your diet. I like to cook these over the weekend and sometimes I freeze a big part of them. What are these foods? Things you can wipe out in a few minutes when you don’t have ingredients nor time to go grocery shopping, or when the day just got too long to even thing about cooking. In my case I make beans or lentils, wild rice or quinoa, and/ or a soup of some sort every week. This is the weapon against the drive thru or getting “hangry”

4. Add variety as you go. Once you feel comfortable with your cooking you can start adding recipes once a week to get a different flair from your regular dishes. Boredom seems to be more of an excuse than a reality because there is little variety in the pizza or Chinese delivery or the fast food menu. I say this with conviction because when I ask people that eat out or use processed foods often, they tell me that they eat the same all the time.  To avoid self sabotaging yourself with the story “I’m bored of eating the same” start a little library by copying recipes you find online into a document that you save to your desktop for easy access. Don’t make this an encyclopedia and keep the recipes that you know are too complicated out (or save for dinner parties, etc on a different document)

5. Delegate the planning part. This seems to be the part where most people freeze. Trying to write down the blue print of the cooking, looking at all the ingredients for each recipe and then creating the shopping list. It is my view that once this is done the rest of the things that need to happen are more practical and tangible (shopping and cooking) and these days with amazon you can even have the food delivered so all is left is cooking. Who can do such a thing for you? A professional – like your truly – for a fraction of the price of a service that sells the whole shebang with unwanted artificial ingredients and perhaps a complete lack of freshness. Also, you want to make sure you don’t end up with someone that has you eating steamed veggies, cottage cheese, tuna and boiled eggs everyday ( I get these from gym people a lot) or someone that is a Chef by profession that may just go overboard with creativity. In a few words choose someone that keeps it clean and real.

If you have been wanting to get more organized with the planning of your food prep, start here. Many people these days jump into too complicated systems or recipes. As an expert, a plant based eater and a business owner that cooks 90 percent of her food I can attest to the fact that this is doeable, but you must keep it simple.

Now that I’ve helped you a bit I wonder if you would help me….I have a strong inclination to start helping you more here and I would like to know how many of you would be interested in having you clean eating menus designed for you. Imagine taking the strategy, budgeting, shopping list and digging for recipes out of the picture. Would’t that be a great start? If so, leave me a comment letting me know you feel this will help you…Who knows? Lighting might strike  :)

To your health and happiness

Coach Maria Marcano

Plan your weekly food without overwhelm

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