December 31st- wow! Today is long noodle day, which means an easy lunch that my daughter loves- long noodle soup to symbolize living a long life. I add lots of veggies to the noodles (symbolizing a healthy life haha). After all, the pleasure of a long life comes from good health.
Recipe (if you can even call it that):
Boil up a bowl of any noodles (soba, miso, spaghetti, whatever you have on hand- the longer the better) in vegetable broth or broth made with miso (try to avoid the commercial miso flavour packets- they are mostly salt and chemicals). Throw in some tofu if you like, and maybe some furikake. Add any colorful veggies- quick cooking/leafy ones work well cut chiffonade style. Snap peas, snow peas or green onions are also good, but whatever you have will work. For toddlers, a perfect trick is to throw a handful of frozen peas or veggies in the hot soup. The frozen veggies cool it down so they can eat it immediately and if you do this from the start they will never know the noodles don’t just come with veggies. Slurp them down and enjoy a long, healthy life!
Today is also the last day to get prepared for my next lifestyle tweak. I’ve logged in and created a free account with an online food/exercise tracker. I’ve also got my food plan in place. The final step for this year is to plan my menus for the week, based on the vegan power plate.
Some people follow menu and weight loss plans set up by other people, which is fine, but I always found them to be wasteful and expensive. Most menu plans do not allow you to take advantage of “double duty dinner” opportunities, nor can they make adjustments based on what is in season or on sale. Yet, without proper planning, I fall back far too easily into the “default” method of menu planning (aka- grab something- anything- from the store or pizza joint on the way home). So, I have created an extremely simple way to plan and shop for menus for a whole week, using a visual template. Feel free to use it if you think it would work for you. I will soon sort out a way to get an easily printable version on here. (For some reason it is not too clear, either- I’ll fix it asap)
Basically, it is a squared version of the power plate that I fill in for meals through the week. One benefit of eating healthy vegan food is that there is rarely a need to count calories. However, I do have to watch that I eat more veggies and legumes than fruit (sugar) and grain (simpler carbs), so I have purposely made the veggie and legume boxes bigger as a visual reminder. I don’t always expect every meal to have all 4 groups in it, but having a whole week in front of me allows me to see that over time I am getting a good balance. I can also take advantage of sales in my planning. I usually do my planning for the week on a Friday or Saturday, and then do as much prep. as I can on Sunday (including washing and cutting veggies and prepping several days of salads). I also try and plan for the easier “clean the fridge out” meals for later in the week, preferably taking advantage of things like crockpots. There is nothing like coming home to dinner ready for you at the end of a tiring work week. And with the fridge emptied, it is ready for the early weekend shop again.
On the second page is room for notes (what worked, what groceries you need to buy, what recipe did not work, tweaks, etc). This works well with my daughter, since she is allowed input into the meal planning but knows that she needs to make sure her choices also fit the food groups (if she had free choice, she would eat plain long noodles for every meal). I print off a big stack of these and fill them in each week. We keep many of the old weeks as a reminder of what worked. In a pinch, we have the old ones to reuse when we don’t have time to plan. Last minute grocery lists are a snap when you have the meal plans right there.
Happy Healthy New Year everyone!