Early on in the beginning of my GAPS journey, I wrote about how overwhelmed I was feeling in the kitchen. It just seemed like I could never get on top of the piles of dirty dishes or making enough of my own staples.
While I will admit that there are still days when that overwhelmed feeling creeps back in, for the most part I feel like I have a bit of a handle on what’s taking place in my kitchen. I could still do better in a few areas, but I hope these tips will help you find your kitchen counters, and your sanity, once again!
1. Clean as you go.
I have my husband to thank for insisting that we clean as we prepare. I actually try to build that into the allotment of time I leave for getting a meal ready. It is so much nicer to not have a mountain of dirty pots and pans waiting for you after you eat.
Also, it really helps to start cooking with an empty dishwasher. Every morning before I begin making breakfast, I empty out my dishwasher. It just takes a few extra minutes, but then you can immediately put any dirty dishes right into it, instead of piling them in the sink for later.
2. Make a meal plan.
I’ve been talking about meal planning lately here on the blog, and it’s an area that I still need to work on. It really does make a difference, especially with keeping up with the essentials that I need to have on hand. There are so many ways to make a meal plan, but the most important part is to actually create it!
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My checklist method is helping me keep track of all of the items outside of regular meals that I want and need to prepare each week. I’ve also started keeping a list of the veggies I pick up from my CSA share on the fridge. It helps me to quickly see which ones I still need to plan on incorporating into upcoming meals.
3. Focus on your priorities.
There are only so many hours in a day, and sometimes you just can’t get everything prepared that you want to. I’ve found it helpful to make sure I have the foods that are of the highest priority for my healing prepared before moving on to others.
Broth, soups, ferments, and main-meal dishes all take the priority in my kitchen. Other foods that I enjoy, but aren’t essential to my healing, come next. These are items like crackers and desserts.
Instead of trying to force all of my cooking desires to fit in a limited amount of time and energy, I’ve found it to be really relieving to focus on top priorities and then add in the fun extras when I can.
4. Simplify your meals.
There are so many amazing blogs out there with lots of fun, creative GAPS recipes. I like to try out new recipes quite a bit, but it can quickly become an overwhelming thing to do on a regular basis. It’s been really relieving to instead focus on simpler meals the majority of the time.
It’s also great to have some regular meals in the rotation that I know how to quickly put together. When I first started out on GAPS, it felt like I was always having to come up with something new to make. Now that I’ve been on the diet for eleven months, I definitely have my go-to meals that I can rely on.
This really goes hand in hand with focusing on my priorities. There are often some desserts that I want to try to make, and I pin many of them on Pinterest. However, if I don’t have time to make them after getting my main meals and soups prepared, they get skipped. Fruit works just as well for dessert and doesn’t take much prep to complete!
5. Ask for help when you need it.
Sometimes you just can’t get it all done on your own. This is when it’s best to ask your spouse, older children, or a friend for some help. Most of the time these days I can keep up with the dishes and kitchen items on my own. But there are days when it’s just much too overwhelming. That’s when I actively ask Kent for a hand. I feel fortunate to have a very supportive and understanding husband who is willing to help me catch up from time to time!
The other option is to look for a local service to help take a little of the burden of cooking or cleaning off your plate for a day or two. I feel fortunate that I have such a place here in Boulder where I can order a GAPS meal each week as needed. It’s so nice to get a break from cooking now and again!
I hope these tips help you get a handle on your GAPS kitchen! What strategies do you use to keep dishes from piling up out of control?
This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, GAPS Legal Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursday, GAPS Friendly Fridays, Fight Back Friday, Monday Mania.