So, you know you should eat a healthy breakfast every day, but those ready-made convenience foods — cereal, bagels, yogurt — make it so easy to load up on low-nutrient carbs that it’s hard to get out of that rut. But that rut is what makes you hungry again before 10 o’clock every morning!
If you didn’t get groceries yesterday, do that today. Doing ingredient prep before the first day of your new diet is probably the best thing you can do to start off strong. I like it better than prepping full meals, because it opens up more flexibility on a day-to-day basis. And it’s not as time-consuming on the front end, while still saving you time when you fix your meal.
You don’t have to do it all at once; do it over two or three sessions if that works better for you. Do you like company in the kitchen? Invite some! Prefer solitude? Put on your favorite music and tell everyone else to stay outta your way!
Ingredient prep suggestions:
- Chop enough onions to last you two to three days. If you’re not already adept at dicing an onion, here’s a how-to from SimplyRecipes. Dicing onions would be a good thing to practice and get comfortable with, because this is the first step to just about every savory dish.
- Nuke one or more sweet potatoes, and dice them.
- If you’ll be using hamburger: Cook up some hamburger, and/or form it into individual patties; store both in the freezer. Divide the cooked hamburger into one- or two-serving baggies for quicker, easier thawing.
- If you’ll be using cooked chicken, and you didn’t buy it already cooked: Roast some, grill some, or cook some in the crockpot. Divide the cooked chicken into one- or two-serving baggies for quicker, easier thawing.
- If you’ll be using bacon: Cook a batch in the oven.
- If there are any spice mixes you want to make, mix those up. (My taco seasoning mix.)
- Hard boil some eggs, if you want to use them in your menus. (This handy glass egg timer ensures that your eggs are cooked just right, every time!)
- Making salads? Make one or two salad dressings. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to find links to my sugar-free dressing recipes.)
- Chop parsley and put it in a baggie in your freezer. Squeeze most of the air out. It keeps for weeks, and it’s easy to grab a tablespoon or a handful, as your recipe requires. No more chopping, no thawing needed.
Optional bonus task to start your new way of eating: If you’re doing Whole30, going Paleo, or drastically reducing the amount of sugar and carbs you’re accustomed to, you might want to subscribe to the Whole30 Daily – 31 days of support and encouragement in the form of daily emails ($14.95). Every day you’ll receive an email newsletter from Whole30, telling you what to expect at this point in your journey, and how to cope with it. I found it really helpful and encouraging, especially through the first two weeks, which can be rough!
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Trying to plan a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal?
- What size turkey should I buy? How much turkey per person?
- What’s the easiest way to roast turkey?
- How to carve a turkey?
- Save yourself last-minute panic with this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe. I’ve used it; it works!
|Image from farmflavor.com|
- How much ham should I buy?
- What temperature should ham be cooked to?
- How far ahead should I buy the ham?
|Image from campbellskitchen.com|
- Make-ahead crockpot green bean casserole. Save your oven for other things, and save some day-of panic: Here’s the classic green bean casserole that everyone wants for Thanksgiving, tweaked to work in a crock pot / slow-cooker, and with optional make-ahead instructions. Classic green bean casserole for crockpot.
- Roasted vegetables timetable. The number one must-do side dish at our house — besides the turkey, of course. Oh, and pumpkin pie! Okay, the third-most popular dish: roasted vegetables. A slow roast works oven magic, turning onions, carrots and bell peppers into sugar-free candy-sweet goodness! Here’s a timetable for roasted vegetables: what goes into in the oven when, to make everything come out perfect.
All foods: How much per person?
- Here’s a thorough chart from Good Housekeeping, showing per-person serving recommendations for 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 24 people, for 10 popular holiday foods. It includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and more. View the pdf.
Holiday meal planning checklists and calculators
- A one-month to day-of Thanksgiving meal planning list from Food Network.
- An Excel spreadsheet that you can plug your number of guests into (including how many are vegetarians!), and it tells you how much food to buy. The page where you download it is a little confusing; just scroll down until you see this:
Would you rather have pictures?
|Image from The Savory|