Preparing ahead for Healthy Gluten Free Eating Success

You’ve probably heard it before, and deep down you know it’s true.

Preparing your own food is generally less expensive and can be more healthful that eating out or buying prepared food.

And for celiacs, it’s safer too. No risk for cross-contamination, no worries.

Some people think they don’t have the time to cook for themselves, or that they just are incapable of cooking.

I can assure you, I am not a chef. I have learned a lot from watching the Food Network, but you’ll see the recipes I post are not gourmet by a long shot. There are other gluten free bloggers out there who are extremely talented. (like Karina the gluten free goddess, Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, or Elana’s Pantry, to name just a couple of the many very talented cooks out there. My recipes are easy, straightforward, and healthy. Because quite frankly, these are my priorities and what I am capable of. I am a big fan of cooking in bulk-cook once, eat multiple times. If you have to heat up the oven, you may as well cook a metric ton (otherwise known as several pounds-I tend to exaggerate) of chicken breasts, your eggy breakfast casserole, some fish and some veggies at the same time. This helps save time in the long run. Spend an hour or two a couple times a week, and save time, money, energy, and calories all week long. You will probably need some food storage containers for all your stuff, so make sure you’re prepared with those.

An example of what I take to work for a day

An example of what I take to work for a day

Sunday-Shop, cook and Prepare Day

Really, this could be any day, but if you work a regulat work week you may find it easiest to get a large amount done on the weekend. When you go to the grocery/market, choose items in large quantities if possible. I am fortunate enough to have a food market nearby where I can buy boneless skinless, antibiotic free chicken breast for $1.79/lb. A large turkey breast can be thrown in the crock-pot, or a couple whole chickens. A couple pork tenderloin, a big top round beef roast-you get the idea. Take advantage of what is in season and what’s on sale to stretch your grocery dollar. And it may mean buying something you’re not familiar with. Take a chance! Google it up and try it out-a little variety is good for the soul, and the body. Some veggies that are great for roasting are brussel sprouts, (give ‘em a shot-they’re better than you remember I’ll bet) fennel, asparagus. Root veggies like potaties, sweet potatoes, tunips and rutabaga are wonderful roasted, along with squashes. Summertime zucchini roasts awesomely well. I mention roasting because for now we’re addressing stuff can can cook in the oven all at once.

When you get home, clean up your veggies.

I’ll buy some bell peppers and slice them up to keep in the fridge when the snackies hit, and they are great in salads. Jicama is terribly ugly in it’s natural state, all brown and furry, but when you peel it and slice it it is a lovely white sweet-ish crunch. Broccoli can go on sale and be very inexpensive when you buy the whole head, same with cauliflower. Cut ‘em up. They roast really well too. I was shocked how sweet broccoli got
when roasted, not bitter at all.

So here’s an example. Clean and trim up your chicken breasts, and line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Give it a little mist (LOVE the Misto ) and sprinkle with sea salt and lemon pepper. One layer only, please. Combine your ingredients for the eggy breakfast casserole and get that ready. Peel some root veggies and cube ‘em up. For this time of year, you can go for some butternut squash too. Or halve an acorn squash and place it cut side up. Then, put your ovenat 400 and let everything cook for 30 minutes. I use a convection oven, so that does it for me, but adjust as necessary. Toss in some scrubbed whole potatoes if you’ve got room.

While that’s cooking, you can use your stovetop to boil some water and cook some gluten free oats, some quinoa, or some rice. Hard boil some eggs while your at it. Blanch some green beans. You can get the majority of your breakfast foods, side dishes for grains, done now. If you want to check and see how long things will keep if you pre-pare them (for lack of a better word) check out Still Tasty. Great resource, beats the smell test by a mile. At the end of this hour or so, you’ll have enough food for at least a couple days. The “bones” of your meal are there, just fill in with fresh/frozen veggies or salads, or fruit.

All prepared within an hour-5# of chicken breast, egg casserole, and green beans

All prepared within an hour-5# of chicken breast, egg casserole, and green beans

Cook up some more bulk protein foods such as a big turkey breast or pork loin in the Crock Pot while you’re at work on
Tuesday/Wednesday. Good for another couple days.Buy in bulk and divide into single servings almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc.

Now that you have everything cooked, you can divide up for storage.

Generally I’ll keep all the chicken in one container, rice in another, etc. Then, the night before I divide up enough meals for my next day. Because I eat every few hours, I take several food containers to work. I’ll put my protein, carb, veggie portion into a container so in the morning I grab my stack and go. During the day, I pull out my dish and I’m ready to eat.

You can do this! It’s easy when you plan. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your suggestions-please post up in the comments!

Filed Under: celiac diseaseGluten Freenutrition

Tags:

About the Author:

RSSComments (4)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Donna says:

    Just the sort of eating out info I’ve been after. Glad I found your blog, I’ll be checking back often. Donna Xxxx

  2. [...] a little forethought and a tiny bit of planning, we can make it easier to fuel ourselves well.  Think about it.  Would you put low quality gas in [...]

  3. Thanks for the tips Erin. I also cook my lunch for the week in bulk (I tend to microwave oatmeal at work in the morning so my breakfasts are covered and I like making simple dinners in the evening). Instead of roasting I usually make skillet meals as I have a very large skillet. I usually dice and saute chicken until mostly done, then throw in a bunch of frozen veggies, add lemon juice, chicken broth, herbs de provence and simmer until the veggies are nice and soft. I usually steam brown rice or make quinoa in a separate pot. The whole process takes less than an hour and is very inexpensive since I get most of my ingredients from Costco. For variety, I will purchase the stir fry frozen veggies at Costco and instead of the lemon juice, chicken broth and seasoning, I will add one of the San-J Asian sauces that are available at my local health food store or can be found on Amazon. I will definitely have to try roasting my meals sometime.

  4. Erin says:

    Sounds awesome, Shirley, thanks for sharing your ideas! Skillet meals are great, and I also get a lot of frozen vegs at BJ’s (similar to Costco.) I’ll also do a tomato paste/balsamic vinegar add in.

Leave a Reply

Log in here!