The Art of Preparing for Future Meals

There’s a certain finesse to seeing into the future. Not everyone does it well.

Today, I was driving down the road when I looked back and saw a girl about my age smoking a cigarette. Smoking is such an unhealthy habit. We all know this. But, still – we do it.

I’m so grateful I don’t smoke. I don’t think I’m smarter or better than the girl in the car behind me. But, I do think we’re different in one aspect. I think what sets us apart is that I think about “future me” and she doesn’t. I realize my actions today will affect my progress tomorrow. 

I don’t want to be a smoker now, because I don’t want to be a smoker in the future. 

Perhaps, she doesn’t think about her future self. I’m not sure.

Cooking/Eating for 1 or 2…

As I have a habit of doing – let me switch gears from life lessons to food. Part of looking into the future is preparing for change. Even with your meals.

Nutrition Tip #1: If you’re not a person that can eat the same food over and over again – don’t cook large portions. If this is unavoidable, learn how to store things smartly. 

One of the best tips that I can give you is that if you have leftovers – store them separately. Do not mix things into one huge casserole. You’re going to be wanting “flexible” ingredients later. Not “set” ingredients.

I recently made a chicken soup. This chicken soup included chicken, potatoes, milk and kale. I boiled the chicken and potatoes in a large soup pot. I added some seasoning, celery, and onion. But then I stopped. I didn’t add the milk or the kale to the soup. Why would I stop halfway through?

I anticipate future Sarah…

If I add milk to the pot of soup – is there anyway I can get it back? What if I want to use that milk for pancakes later in the week, but I used all of it in the soup. Can I extract it from the bowl to make pancakes?

No.

Who knows if I would get tired of eating this soup? Who knows if I would wait too long to eat it – thereby forcing myself to throw half of it away? I was not sure. So, I conserved.

The Art of Keeping Ingredients Separate

By keeping your ingredients separate, you ensure greater flexibility later in the week AND fresher looking leftovers.

Observe. Cooking for one.

Steps to Make Left-over Chicken Potato Soup:

  1. Warm up the chicken and potato broth.
  2. Add a handful of kale. I keep a bag of kale in my fridge. It’s really good about keeping for a long time.
  3. I added the milk to make it “creamy.” Notice I did not say half and half. This is a heart healthy apartment. ;)
  4. Serve with whatever sides you prefer. I had some toast with peach preserves.

Cooking Tip: Kale is really important to add “as needed” – especially when you’re adding it to a milk product like a milk based soup. Here’s why: when re-cooked, kale turns a ugly olive color and causes your milk to curdle. This will probably make you NOT want to eat your leftovers. (sad face) For this reason, always add kale last – right before you serve it.

Nutrition Tip #2:  A well stocked refrigerator is an asset. If you want to be able to prepare healthy meals quickly, go ahead and pre-prep the foods you can. I keep some foods ready to go – like fruit and vegetables. Other foods I keep “as is.” 

For any of you nosy people, here’s a quick peek into my refrigerator.

Look at all of that healthy food! I can see sliced limes, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, spinach, eggs, kale, cauliflower, corn, butternut squash, lettuce, almond milk, and chicken. All in their original forms.

What does your refrigerator look like? Did you know that dictates what you’re likely to eat?

If it’s full of junk food, you’ll eat junk food. If it’s full of healthy food, you’ll eat healthy food. See how that works? You only fix from the ingredients you bring home.

Make it easy on yourself. This cooking business is not rocket science…

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