We travel a lot. As in a whole lot. In 2017 I took 13 trips, 2 of which were to two international countries. Coming home can be hard: jet lag, mounds of laundry, routines getting back into the swing of things, and getting back into normal eating habits. I’ve found this really great system now for coming home that allows me almost a full week to adjust back to life without having to worry about food and I want to share it with you all in case it can help relieve some pressure or struggles when maybe you’re working long hours, or traveling yourself.
You see- I’ve found that I am most stressed out coming home- I feel there is so much to do and so little time. There is this constant pull to “go back to normal” and generally just jumping right in trying to be super mom leaves me irritable, frustrated, and exhausted. And let’s be real for a second- when mama is like that- everyone is unhappy. Attitudes are high, tantrums are ramped, and arguments are a regular occurance. So in order to avoid all of that, I like simple systems.
First: Simplify what you’re eating. It’s just for a week or two- it’s not forever.
Breakfast is either avocado toast OR oatmeal. The bread I freeze when we’re gone so it doesn’t go bad, and the avocado keeps for 1-2 weeks in the fridge believe it or not. Oatmeal is easy and effortless- we do plain quick oats and season them ourselves.
Lunch is generally some sort of soup or defrosted meal (I’ll explain further down). Remember- it’s just until you can get your bearings straight and allow yourself time to adjust back to life.
Dinner is a defrosted meal that I’ve made and frozen weeks prior.
Second: Freeze meals the weeks leading up to your trip or crazy schedule.
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of this years ago when I was working full time and prepping for overtime etc. But this has been a life saver. I made a little bit more or double of a serving of something on the menu about a month out- 1-2 times a week leading up to our large trip. We eat one serving and freeze the other. I’ve frozen everything from pot pies, casseroles, soups, lasagna, burger patties, etc. This means we have full meals for 2-4 servings when we return and there’s no pressure to throw together a grocery list and grocery shop after traveling for the last 24 hours. It also means there’s something nutritious and satisfying waiting for us after a week or so of being off our normal eating habits.
Third: Stock up on non perishables.
It does help immensely since we went vegan at home this past year- because this part is incredibly easy. I always make sure we have some:
Cans of Beans
That way it’s there in the home and we can just make due as our meals dwindle down until I’m ready to think about a meal prep list and grocery shop. I don’t go crazy, and extra can or bag here and there throughout the month before. But it makes a huge difference, because being vegan means we can pretty much throw together stuff and call it a meal- which is a huge stress relief in our home.
This may all seem like a no-brainer to some of you- but really- this was key for me. It has relieved so much stress and I can take my time and relax after the hustle and stress of traveling.
What are some things that you do to prepare for coming home after vacation when it comes to meal prep? Did I miss any?