my #1 Tip for meal prepping

Hello, and welcome to Wednesday! Today, I am going to discuss my #1 tip for meal prepping that I use every week. If you want to learn more about meal prepping check out Meals with Melissa. This post may contain affiliate links.

I am a Certified Health Coach, with a background in nursing. I am accepting new clients at this time.

What is meal prepping? So, this may look differently for different people. But, for me meal prepping consists of having a plan, and then preparing for that plan. I do my monthly menu plan in six month sessions. Six months for hot weather, and six months for cooler weather. Here in Florida cooking is not fun during the hottest months of the year, which is August and September. Cooking really just heats up the house. Once I know my meal plan, then I can prepare or prep. Prepping begins with inventory and a grocery list. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need if you are trying to stick to a meal budget. I shop weekly, but you certainly could shop bi-weekly, or even monthly. Buy what you can afford. If you can’t afford organic, then buy the healthiest option you can, but for optimal health you should be trying not to buy highly processed or pre-made meals. If you can’t eat fresh foods fast enough, buy frozen fruit and veggies.

So, what is my #1 tip? Pick one day, or like for me 2 days, to wash, peel, chop, and even cook some foods ahead of time. Some people will make freezer meals for the week, or even month. I find my family does not like frozen meals and they do not work for us. But, I can cook a large batch of rice that can be used through the whole week. Rice is very versatile and healthy. Organic Brown Rice is best, but my husband can not have all that fiber, so we use Organic Jasmine Rice. You could pre-cook pasta, but I don’t like it pre-cooked. However, I can make a large macaroni salad, pasta salad, or potato salad and it can be eaten all week for lunch or dinners. If you know you are going to use ground beef for several meals cook it all in one day, and store it in the fridge for the meals during the week. The same can be done with chicken and turkey. Hard boil eggs on prep day for use during the week. I tend to pick meals that are large and can be used as leftovers for a day or two. My family does not mind eating a meal a few days in a row, as long as it is one they like. If you like a fresh meal every night then pre-portion the items you need for that meal on prep day. I saw a lady on Youtube actually put everything in a Ziploc bag, for that meal, in portions she needs to cook it. The ingredients are in their own bag or container. She puts what it is and the date and puts it in the fridge for later use.

Picking one day to do all your prepping will save you a ton of time, especially if you work full time and have kids going here and there. I do two days because I can’t seem to get it all done in one day. Or, maybe I don’t want to, lol. Prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way you will avoid eating out, or grabbing vending machine items.

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meals on Monday: Budget meals

Welcome to another Manic Monday! I hope everyone had a splendid weekend. It is finally sunny here. The weekend was cold and dreary. I decided I would keep my Budget Meals, or 5 Dollar Dinners here on the blog, rather than my Meals With Melissa subscription plan. I will refer subscribers to the blogposts in addition to the weekly meal plan.

Part of Mindful Eating is knowing what you are eating and eating the healthiest options you can afford. Not everyone can afford, or wants to afford the most expensive of food choices and more expensive does not necessarily mean healthier. Budgeting and meal planning are all part of Mindful Eating. As you know if you are a regular reader I have created a unique Nutrition course for my homeschooled high schooler. As I continue to research information for topics I learn so much about food, food waste, food insecurity and so much more. During the wars and The Great Depression food was scarce and even rationed. Housewives had to be creative and wise with their food and money. While researching this topic I found a wonderful Youtube channel called YesterKitchen. She makes war time and old recipes that can be made on a budget. You will see one of her videos below for Tamale Pie.

Tamale Pie can definitely be a Budget Meal. All you need is Corn Meal, Diced Tomatoes, Onions and Ground Meat. I would use ground turkey as it is way more affordable than ground beef, plus it tastes better. I also would make mine in a 9 x13 pan with the corn meal only on top. It looked kind of mushy with the corn meal on the bottom and the top. This is not a low carb meal, but corn meal is a whole grain loaded with fiber and other nutrients. Read about corn meal here. It is calorie dense and filling. You could even make this meatless and use beans instead of ground meat. If you have CKD be careful because corn meal has a lot of Phosphorus as will the beans. If you are a hunter you could even use ground venison in this recipe.

So, how would this meal break down money wise? The prices are for my area using my Basket App. I have not made this meal yet as I do not have any corn meal on hand and my meal plan is already done for the week. But, we definitely will be trying it soon.

Ground Turkey Version:

1 pound of ground turkey: $2.98 at Walmart

Roma tomatoes: You need one cup chopped and one Organic Roma Tomato is .30 at Walmart

Onion: 1 Yellow onion is .48 at Walmart

Corn Meal: You only need a third of a cup and a 12 oz bag at Walmart is 1.58

Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder you should have on hand, but are very cheap spices to purchase.

Total: $5.64 I counted two tomatoes. Dollar Tree may have Corn Meal for only a dollar

Venison Version:

All of the same ingredients and prices, except you can remove the $2.98 for the ground turkey as you got the venison by hunting. So the grand total would be $2.66

Ground Beef Version:

1 pound ground beef: $3.48 at Walmart

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $6.14

Kidney Bean Version:

16 oz of Kidney Beans: .72 I would rinse and drain them first leaving a little liquid. You could always buy dry and save even more by making your own.

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $1.81 Wow! Now that is a deal.

I am sitting down today to figure out our money budget, Dave Ramsey style. I can already tell we over spend on groceries and energy ie air conditioning. We do budget billing, so I am going to figure out what our monthly average is and work from there. We also have two car payments which means we over spend on transportation as well. This is where my focus will be. We did renew our Sam’s Club membership from 2017. We went on Sunday for our two week shop and I only spent 65 dollars for each week on food. That is way under budget to my 75 a week I had hoped to spend. The secret to Sam’s is making a list, sticking to it, staying away from the snack aisles, and staying out of the middle aisles. Some things, because it is in bulk, will last at least a month or more. So, there is that to consider as well. I spent only 55 dollars on meat for two weeks. That is a steal. I also restarted my Misfits Market. I upgraded to the bigger box and I am so pleased with the bigger box. I do have to include that into my budget. I get it biweekly which means I am spending 80 dollars a month for that. Each Saturday I do a social media share blogpost. It runs on Saturday and Sunday. This week will be Pinterest sharing. It is easy and it is free self promotions.

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Gift Ideas 3 and 4 for people with ckd, plus my weekly meal plan

I totally forgot to post gift idea #3 yesterday, so today I will do 3 and 4. Before I get to that I want to mention that today was grocery day. I really do quite hate grocery shopping, lol, and I hate going to various stores to get better deals. I can tell you one thing. There is no way I can only spend 50 dollars a week if I want to shop at Publix, which I do because I love their Greenwise products. It is just too expensive. But, I may have to sacrifice the budget a little, because when you start reading ingredients I really do much prefer organic items. For example, I needed Ricotta Cheese. Aldis, where I went first, had none at all. So, I went to Publix. I was going to get the one that was 4 dollars cheaper, and then I read the ingredients. Nope, spent the extra 4 dollars. But, with that said I don’t need to buy everything organic. I like grass-fed meats, and organic cheeses, and some other things. But fruits and veggies, honestly I don’t really notice any difference as long as I rinse them well. That goes for frozen too, but I do always check the ingredients on anything I buy. I might be able to do it if I did just their buy 1 get 1 free offering, but those are all processed foods almost completely and that is what I don’t want. So, I did go to Aldi’s first, and unfortunately, the Aldi’s near me is not really all that affordable. I save more at Save A Lot and Walmart in the smaller town near me. But, that is the point of me challenging myself. I learn through keeping track of where I really do get the most for my money. I went over budget and spent 70 dollars. Some of that was for baking stuff for Christmas cookies which we give as gifts. But, I left it in the budget for my daughter to see how easy it is to go outside the budget especially at holidays. I will subtract it from next week, and only have 30 to spend. I don’t know, though because our inventory of meat, and veggies are just about used up, so I may need to spend more. I did stick to my list though and bought no extras.

My meal plan for 12/4-12/11 just dinners.

12/4- Leftovers. There is pork, coleslaw, and sweet potatoes

12/5- Homemade pizzas. Aldis had flatbread so I bought those. We already had cheese and sauce. I have some leftover mushrooms and onions for mine, and my daughter will put pepperoni on hers. This is a work day for me, so I don’t worry about my carbs too much as I am constantly moving. Same with 12/6

12/6- Ravioli, bread and butter, salad. I am not sure how I will handle this meal, being low carb. I will share what I decide.

12/7- Chicken alfredo and broccoli. I bought some chickpeas to make a sauce for me, as I don’t like Alfredo. I am not sure it will be low carb, though, maybe.

12/8- Grilled cheese and tomato soup. This is our busiest day of the week and we always have something quick and easy. I have some of my Ole tortilla wraps still and I will just make grilled cheese with one of them.

12/9- Pancakes with sausage. I can tell you already I only eat 1 pancake. They are high in carbs and sodium.

12/10- Homemade lasagna. I probably just won’t eat the pasta. Side salad, and texas toast. No Texas toast for me either.

12/11- Leftovers

For my 3rd gift idea I chose a robotic vacuum. Now, technically I would like one of these, but it is not at all something I need. I have a teen who sweeps, lol. But, if you have CKD, especially stage 4 or 5 housework can be exhausting. This is a bit of a pricier gift, but I picked one with 5 stars, and it is on sale. It is on Amazon, click here. Obviously, you don’t have to pick that one. It is just an idea.

Gift #4 is a great cookbook with great recipes for CKD. I picked this one, because I have read this one, and I loved it. Please note, I have noticed that a lot of these kidney cookbooks do not focus on Phosphorus. Be alert when cooking as to Phosphorus amounts.

There you have it. 2 more great gift ideas for anyone with CKD on your gift giving list. Come back tomorrow for gift idea #5. If you would like to learn more about any of my health coaching services. Please use the contact form at the bottom of this post to message me.

It is difficult to follow a limited protein, low sodium, and a low carb diet at the same time. Plus, be mindful of potassium and phosphorus.

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Menu Plan Monday

If you are following along with my #walkingchallenge be sure and visit my Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page to add your stats too.  Friday I posted about a new dish we were having and it was a huge hit at our house.  Read the post to learn which one it was and to get the recipe.  This week’s meal plan has a kind of pasta feel to it.

My menu plan for the week of 3/2/2020-3/8/2020:

Monday:  Miracle Pasta, pork on the side for those who want it and fruit

Tuesday:  No cream Italian pasta, broccoli, pork on the side for those who want it, and fruit.

Wednesday:  leftovers of choice

Thursday:  Mac n Cheese, cauliflower, pork on the side for those who want it, fruit

Friday:  This is a workday for me, and kids are going to a play, so dinner is Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

Saturday:  Ground orange chicken, brown rice, broccoli, and fruit.  This is a new recipe for us.  I will let you know how we like it.

Sunday:  Skillet turkey meatballs with lemon brown rice, cauliflower or broccoli, and fruit.  This is another new recipe for us.

Come back Friday to see how I made all of these recipes more kidney-friendly for my CKD stage 3.

Join my weekly newsletter to receive special offers and other great items.  New clients get one month of Health Coaching for 25 dollars.  Use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free meet and greet or to sign up for my newsletter.

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Menu Plan Monday: Family of 4, One with CKD

Welcome back to my second week of menu plans.  On Fridays, I go over the changes I made to make the meals more kidney-friendly for me.  We are a family of four, but one child does not eat here regularly anymore.  We are attempting to still eat healthily but cut our food budget.  I have CKD stage 3, and my husband needs to lower his cholesterol.  Eating healthy can be more expensive, at least that is the perception.  While it is true buying organic, grass-fed, etc type foods are pricier than other varieties, but it can be done with some meal planning.  Making a menu, and then a grocery list, and then sticking to that list should help you stick to a budget.  Menu plans are for dinner only.

My menu plan for 2/24/2020-3/1/2020:

Monday:  Chicken Alfredo and broccoli.  This is a workday for me, so this is a meal my family will cook for themselves.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Tuesday:  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Wednesday:  Spaghetti-O’s and hot dogs, fruit and or veggie of choice.  We had these leftovers from hurricane prep last year and they need to be used up.  Using food on hand is essential to a budget even if it isn’t gourmet.  I will still have one more can of them left, so they will probably become lunch at some point.

Thursday:  Grilled cheese and tomato soup. A side salad can be added if desired.  Fruit for dessert or snack.  Another workday for me so this is an easy meal for my family to make when I am working.

Friday:  Ground turkey with broccoli and pasta shells in a savory sauce.  This is a new recipe for us.  I would like us to eat more lean turkey.  I hope this will be a hit.  Fruit for dessert or snack.

I am only buying fruit in season, and that my family will eat to avoid waste.  No trying new fruits to just have them be wasted.  I bought apples, oranges, and bananas for this week.  I shopped at Save A Lot and Walmart. The California oranges were amazing and are almost gone with a few more days until the next shopping day.    I forgot to keep my receipt, but this week was a little higher than last due to the meat I had to purchase.  It was still well below my 100 dollars per week limit. That 100 dollars is for 3 meals a day, not just dinners.   I still have to meal plan better for when I work.  I am doing low carb at dinner time, and I have not been well prepared for that when I work.

If you would like to learn more about menu planning for chronic illness, message me for a free meet and greet with an assessment. All new customers get the first month for 25 dollars.  Use the contact form at the end of this post.

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Updated Disclaimer: 6/04/2021

Health Buddy Melissa is a Sole Proprietor website owned by me. I pay my taxes as an Independent Contractor.  This updated disclaimer date 6/04/2021 replaces the outdated disclaimer.  Please read and understand it before requesting coaching services from Health Buddy Melissa.

1-  Health Buddy Melissa  is not meant to be medical advice, or to replace seeing a doctor, or other health practitioner.  Anyone who does so, is doing so at their own risk, not mine.  I will share opinions, or engage in topics and conversations of information that can be found in publications, on the internet, and from my own personal experience.   You may see affiliate links on this blog.  I only use reputable companies to affiliate for when and if I choose to do so.  As a Holistic Health Coach I can help you with many goals such as:  learning about a chronic illness, follow a diet set by your doctor, learn about menu planning and diets to lose weight or build muscle, learn about kidney disease and ways to help manage it, communicate better with your doctor or anyone, time management, deal with difficult people and so many more. I am in the process of targeting my plans to be more specific rather than so broad. You will see wellness replacing health.

2-  Privacy-  Privacy is very important to me.   I will never sell your information, or let others have access to it.  All client info is deleted from my private email account within 7 days of our contract together ending.  If you decide to work with me after that time, a whole new account will be made.  No one has access to my private email account but me.  However, you always have to be aware that things can get hacked.  It is in the news all the time.  I have never been hacked, but a release will need to be signed absolving me of responsibility should it be hacked.  I have purchased a business email through Google Suite.  They assure me it is private, encrypted and safe. 

3-  I am a Licensed Practical Nurse, for 34 years, and that means I have been coaching people for many years already.  I am 51 years old, you do the Math.  I am a  Certified Holistic Health Coach.  I also have certificates in Aromatherapy, Reiki level 2 Practitioner, Herbalism, Mindfulness Practitioner, and Guided Imagery.  I also took a free course on Sports Medicine, but no certificate was supplied. I have a second Health Coach certificate that taught me about exercise and plans. But, I am not a personal trainer. I have taken many Nutrition courses, but I am not a Nutritionist.  I can not prescribe a diet to you legally, but I can help you learn how to eat properly to lose weight and maintain good health.  If you have a prescribed diet from a doctor I can help you to understand and modify your life to follow that plan.  

4-  As your Health Coach it is my job to educate you, motivate you, and support you to reach your health goals.  I will not provide nutrition advice, or medical advice.  It is actually illegal in many states to provide Nutrition advice.  Some states it is allowed.  That will be discussed at the Meet and Greet.  I will not make meal plans targeted to certain nutrition requirements, but I will create general meal plans, unless allowed in your state.  I will, however, teach you to do so yourself.  There is much more to health than just diet, nutrition, and fitness.  I can work with you on any goal you may have.  See some examples below.  I can not help you with serious Mental Health Issues.  I am not qualified to do so, and feel it can be incredibly dangerous.  If you just need someone to listen to you, I do have a program for that, but I will not give opinions, or advice, and if I feel you are suicidal I will recommend the hotline to you.

5-  If you live outside the USA, I can still work with you.  You must speak, write and understand English, and all times of meetings will be Eastern Time Zone.  It will be your responsibility to know what that means, and when the meeting time will be. All payments will have to be made via Paypal in US dollars only.  It is your responsibility to follow your country’s laws for dealing with Health Coaches in other countries.  A disclaimer will be required if you do not live in the USA.

6-  If you need a young, skinny, hot Health Coach, then I am not the Health Coach for you.  However, if you want someone who will care about you, and work hard for you, then I might be the Coach you need.  I will not promise big results.  The results will depend on how much effort you put into meeting the goals you will set.  Health Coaching is about you, not me.  It is not a personal relationship where I tell you all about my life.  It is a professional relationship aimed at steering you towards meeting goals you want met.  If at any time I feel the relationship is no longer professional services will be ceased.  

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