Meal Planning Prep:

Meal Planning for One Week

Part 5: Healthy Snacks and Crockpot Cooking

by Josh Day

In part 1 of this meal planning article series, we discussed the importance of having a plan for the whole week before making your shopping list and going to the grocery store.

In part 2, we covered how to efficiently write a grocery list and shop for the week, as well as shared a recipe for red beans and rice.

Part 3 discussed the most important part of your dinner meal: a large, fresh, healthy salad.

I have several delicious recipes for you in this last article, where we'll now talk about...

Healthy snax make babies smile.
Healthy snax!

Having healthy snacks available for you and your family is almost as important as our original weekly meal plan. And there's no rule that states healthy snacks have to be disgusting or lack flavor.

With the recipes I provide below, you'll be able to make enough for these snacks to last for a few days.

Onto the healthy snax!

Pico de Gallo

4-6 plum tomatoes, deseeded
1 red onion
1/2 jalepeno, deseeded (or a whole one if you want it HOT)
1 zucchini
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

The best way to make pico de gallo is in a vegetable chopper. But you can slice the vegetables manually too; just be prepared to spend half an hour getting everything minced.

Chop all vegetables as finely as you can.

Cut jalepeno in half and remove seeds. The seeds are the true source of the pepper's heat and can overpower the pico de gallo.

Squeeze the lime, add the garlic and cilantro, and season to taste. Stir well and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.

Pico de gallo is delicious by itself, goes great in a salad, in a tortilla with black beans and Mexican rice, and of course on chips. This healthy snack will hold for two-three days in your refrigerator so always make more than what you originally had planned.

Black Bean Humus

1 can black beans
1/2 cup tahini
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of lemon
Juice of lime
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Drain the black beans and rinse in a strainer. Place in a food processor or blender.

Add tahini, garlic, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to food processor. Pulse. Add lime and lemon juices and olive oil and puree until smooth.

Add cilantro and pulse a few more times.

Humus is delicious on tortilla chips and whole grain crackers. Can also be enjoyed on celery, carrots, with olives, or by itself.

Fruit smoothies also make wonderful, filling snacks.

Check out our smoothie recipes here. I've even written a book and compiled all of my favorite smoothie recipes.

Now let's talk about the staple of consistent, healthy, homecooked meals. This would be the crockpot, of course.

Crockpots can be left on all day, safely, while you're away at work. Generally they have two heat settings, low and high.

The low heat setting is ideal to cook something overnight. With the higher heat, you can cook a roast in 5 hours.

Here's my recipe for Italian Crockpot Roast:

1 top round beef roast
4 new potatoes
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 jar Giardiniera (found near the olives)
1 jar pepperoncini
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
Olive oil
1/4 cup water

Rub roast in olive and season on all sides. Sear in a pan so the seasonings absorb into the meat until all sides are brown.

Wash potatoes and quarter onion and place at bottom of crockpot. Add 1/4 cup water.

Place roast on top of potatoes and onions. Pour out vinegar from Giardiniera and pepperoncini and add on top of roast.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6.

Once again, here is my template weekly meal guide:

  • Monday: Red beans and rice
  • Tuesday: Chili with leftover red beans
  • Wednesday: Spaghetti (vegetarian or with leftover ground beef from chili)
  • Thursday: Crockpot Italian roast
  • Friday: Homemade pizza with leftover tomato sauce
  • Saturday: Free night*
  • Sunday: Leftover roast with fresh roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and gravy

This also includes a large, fresh salad before every single meal.

For our Sunday dinner let's use the leftovers of this spicy roast with delicious roasted vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes.

Roasted Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes

1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 red onion
1 green bale pepper
1 red bale pepper
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Celtic sea salt and black pepper
Wooden skewer rods for shishkebobs

Place all ingredients in a shallow oven pan. Drizzle with olive oil on all sides and season with salt, black pepper, and minced garlic.

Impale veggies on rods and place on pan. Cook until skins begin to blacken and crisp, then flip and cook until both sides are done.

These can also be done on an outside grill and taste even better.

Mashed potatoes

Russet potatoes, enough to feed family
1/2 cup goat milk
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain water. Add goat milk, butter, and prepared horseradish and salt and pepper to taste. Mash thoroughly until desired consistency is reached.

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