(The veg prep: dipping veg, salad veg toppings, julienne cucumber & carrot salad, & turnip noodles ready for blanching – pic by Drew)

Hey all — that backup stock in the freezer is the gift that just keeps giving this week as Charlie heads out of state for a family gathering that will cross over the week marker. That means Jamie needed to prep for nearly 2 weeks of food in one week of planning, and that there needed to be a way to preserve meals longer than the average weekly refrigeration. (Check out her tips article this week on picking good produce.)

This is where eating preservative-free is extra tricky. Stay tuned for Jamie’s tricks for a longer road-trip meal planning option! And while you wait…pop on over and join our Twitter for more access to articles, and recipe shares curated for your healthy-eating journey!

Meal Plan – Week #23  (Written by Jamie)

Cost: $95.48 week for 3 people // $1.27 /serving* (*NOTE: These numbers are calculated off what we actually spend each week, which may include occasional supplements of grain, starch, or beef for Drew and Jamie which Charlie cannot have. Week-to-week fluctuations in cost are more reflective of the times we need to pick up staples like olive oil and vinegar, or weeks where Jamie is prepping three weeks’ worth of cauliflower rice, rather than one week’s meal plan costing extra. Overall, we believe this offers a more accurate reflection of what this diet might look like financially for others.)

(SECOND NOTE: This week, we cover 12 extra meal servings due to Charlie’s travels)

Meal Plan Diet Categories: (Gluten-Free, Lactose/Dairy Free, Diabetes Diet, Low Fat/Low Cholesterol, Cardiac Diet, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Meals: (Click on the names to go to the recipe) (1) Chicken Salad / (2) Herbed Chicken Bites (same recipe, just chopped smaller for snacking on-the-go) / (3) 3 Bean Bavarian Stew (from the freezer) / (4) Chicken Turnip Noodle Soup  (from the freezer) / (5) Garlic and Onion Pork  (from the freezer) / (6) Roasted Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Super Greens / (7) Roasted Veggies / (8) Seared Chickpeas (variation 4) / (9) Turnip Noodles / (10) Brown Jasmine Rice / (11) Corn / (12) Steel Cut Oats / (13) Green Salad

Snacks:  Chopped Veggies (for dipping) / Balsamic Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn / Berries

First: you need to drop a few bucks on a REALLY good cooler. If you are driving cross-country and in this heatwave, your fresh foods are NEVER going to make it unless you have a fridge or excellent cooler on board. Charlie had already invested in the latter on her last abroad trip.

Tip #2: Instead of pulling and defrosting the backup foods from the freezer ahead of time, Jamie instructed they be added directly from the freezer the 1st day of the trip. This allows them to double as ice packs for the other foods with a slower defrost time (thanks to the excellence of the cooler seal) and also buy several days of extra eat time once they reach the final destination and whatever fridge they are deposited into. Charlie knows from experience that the cooler has a two-to-three-day ice holding capacity before replenishment, so as long as ice is frequently added, there is no need to take up the hosting refrigerator real estate — the cooler for the long haul will do just fine.

Tip #3: Charlie will have to restock all her dipping and snack veg mid-week to keep things fresh and wilt-free. As she’ll need to grab the occasional bag of ice anyway, it’s an easy add-on to the weekly errands and maybe add a few berries as a reward while she’s at it.

Tip #4: As the bulk of this trip is based on a family memorial planning, running, and clean-up, Charlie will need to remember her self-care tricks (like the ones we discussed last week.) This is the family emergency sort of situation that can absolutely swallow you up. In this heat and with what needs to be done, as well as the personal grieving time, there is every single reason to chuck eating rules and regulations to the wind. However, because of the amount of detox to her system over the past almost 6 months, if she DID ignore her habits and program she would have some pretty nasty physical issues from food/tummy incompatibility at this point. Therefore, time will need to be set aside for her to focus on her own needs as well, which is a good thing to know, to set phone alarm reminders for, and will help her stay stronger for what she has to deal with ahead of her.

Tip #5: Comfort food is in order – It so happens that the bulk of the frozen meals consists of Charlie’s happy-place eating favorites. Meals she knows well, meals without a ton of spice and flourish, meals that are the kind of uncomplicated things you want when you aren’t feeling super awesome in general. Having these as part of her stash for just such an occasion has been a focus Jamie keeps front-of-her-mind as we move through and replenish these kinds of backstock foods. And it’s always a suggestion to keep some of your own ready likewise, just in case.


P.S. Check out our Accidental Nutritionist Guideposts here (in case you missed the Twitter release this week.)