We are all busy. Between work, kids, gym time and the 800 other things it seem we have to get done daily, there never seems to be enough time to get through it all. Over the last couple of months, I’ve stumbled upon something that has freed up a significant amount of my time in the evenings and it has made me really happy. I’ve even read two books! (No, I’m not Super Woman, I don’t have any children, thus time for reading books.)
So what is it you ask? One of my best friends and I have been doing a meal exchange. It started with both us of wanting to participate in the Whole 30 as a reset after the holidays. We were both discussing which recipes we would be making that were Whole 30 compliant and I simply said, “Why don’t you make a few and I’ll make a few, we’ll double the servings sizes and them split them up and share them?” She was thrilled with the idea and so was I. It was so nice to not spend every weeknight night prepping, cooking and cleaning up, that we’ve kept it going for several weeks now.
We know each other very well (and our husbands are best friends) so we can navigate recipes easily knowing which ones will be a crowd favorite and some which we may want to avoid. We keep things simple, Paleo-ish and our ingredients are of good quality. We will usually send a text to one another at the beginning of the week, letting the other know what is on their “menu”, which usually includes one breakfast item, one snack item, two main dishes and two side dishes (mostly veggies and salad).
Here’s an example of one of my menus:
-Roasted lemon asparagus
-Paleo chicken pad thai
-Shrimp ceviche with plantain chips
-Kale greens salad with avocado
-Paleo almond butter honey “wheat” bread
We have set our exchanges for Sunday evenings, so a majority of Sunday has turned into meal-prep day for me and I kind of love it. I get up early, hit the grocery store, then come back and get out basically every kitchen utensil and gadget I own and roll up my sleeves and get going. Yes, the kitchen ends up being a complete disaster, my dog has eaten about a pound of scraps that have hit the floor and I don’t really want to look at food by 4 pm, BUT by the end of the evening my fridge is full of containers of good, healthy food and I have plenty of options for every meal throughout the week.
I know this option may not work for everyone, but consider buddying up and giving some version of it a try. Whatever works for your schedule and your lifestyle, maybe even if it’s just trading one meal that gives you one night off a week, I promise it’s worth it.