Brain Power with Dr. Eko

Ep. 12 | Mastering Meal Prep: A Physician Mom's Guide to Wholesome Family Cooking

March 04, 2024 Dr. Hokehe Eko Season 1 Episode 12
Ep. 12 | Mastering Meal Prep: A Physician Mom's Guide to Wholesome Family Cooking
Brain Power with Dr. Eko
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Brain Power with Dr. Eko
Ep. 12 | Mastering Meal Prep: A Physician Mom's Guide to Wholesome Family Cooking
Mar 04, 2024 Season 1 Episode 12
Dr. Hokehe Eko

Ready to conquer the kitchen chaos and give your family's meals a nutritious makeover? Join me, as I team up with the inspiring Dr. Sandra Luyindula, lovingly known as Dr. L, to unravel the art of meal prepping for the busiest of bees. In a candid chat, Dr. L spills her secrets on whipping up a week's worth of delicious, healthy meals without breaking a sweat, all while keeping everyone's taste buds dancing. Together, we tackle how to make mealtime a breeze, getting your little ones on board with school lunches they'll be buzzing about, and seamlessly blending fresh and frozen options to keep both the flavor and the nutrients buzzing.

But wait, there's more! We're not just tossing ingredients at you; we're serving up a feast of advice on smart meal planning and savvy grocery shopping that can turn your weekly food run into a walk in the park. From navigating the maze of online shopping apps to reinventing those convenient store-bought baby foods with a wholesome twist, we cover it all. Plus, we sink our teeth into the organic vs. non-organic debate, dishing out guidance on how to balance the scales of health and budget for your family. So, tie on your aprons and tune in for a heart-to-heart with two physician moms who are passionate about nurturing healthy families, one meal at a time.

Connect with me!

If you want to schedule an ADHD/Autism appointment for your child, you may contact Glow Pediatrics:

🌐 Website: www.glowpediatrics.com
📱 Instagram: @drhokeheeko / @glowpediatrics
📧 dreko@glowpediatrics.com
👍 Facebook: Dr.HokeheEko / glowpediatrics
💼 LinkedIn: hokeheeffiongmd

And join our Glow Health Circle! Weekly coaching calls for a close-knit community of like-minded parents, to get practical strategies for your child's whole-child well-being — from brain and gut health to navigating the environment. Let's thrive together!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to conquer the kitchen chaos and give your family's meals a nutritious makeover? Join me, as I team up with the inspiring Dr. Sandra Luyindula, lovingly known as Dr. L, to unravel the art of meal prepping for the busiest of bees. In a candid chat, Dr. L spills her secrets on whipping up a week's worth of delicious, healthy meals without breaking a sweat, all while keeping everyone's taste buds dancing. Together, we tackle how to make mealtime a breeze, getting your little ones on board with school lunches they'll be buzzing about, and seamlessly blending fresh and frozen options to keep both the flavor and the nutrients buzzing.

But wait, there's more! We're not just tossing ingredients at you; we're serving up a feast of advice on smart meal planning and savvy grocery shopping that can turn your weekly food run into a walk in the park. From navigating the maze of online shopping apps to reinventing those convenient store-bought baby foods with a wholesome twist, we cover it all. Plus, we sink our teeth into the organic vs. non-organic debate, dishing out guidance on how to balance the scales of health and budget for your family. So, tie on your aprons and tune in for a heart-to-heart with two physician moms who are passionate about nurturing healthy families, one meal at a time.

Connect with me!

If you want to schedule an ADHD/Autism appointment for your child, you may contact Glow Pediatrics:

🌐 Website: www.glowpediatrics.com
📱 Instagram: @drhokeheeko / @glowpediatrics
📧 dreko@glowpediatrics.com
👍 Facebook: Dr.HokeheEko / glowpediatrics
💼 LinkedIn: hokeheeffiongmd

And join our Glow Health Circle! Weekly coaching calls for a close-knit community of like-minded parents, to get practical strategies for your child's whole-child well-being — from brain and gut health to navigating the environment. Let's thrive together!

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Hello parents, welcome to another episode of Brain Power with Dr. Eko. I have a wonderful guest with us today, dr Sandra Luyindula. I hope I said your name right, if I didn't miscorrect me. Well, I'm going to let her introduce herself, because she's an amazing, amazing doctor in North Carolina and I want her to do justice to her introduction. So, without further ado, welcome to the show, dr Sandra. Hello.

Dr. L:

How are you, Dr. Eko? So I'm Dr Sandra Luyindula. They call me Dr L. I do have a license in North Carolina. I'm merely practice in South Carolina, also in Georgia and Indiana, I am a family medicine and lifestyle medicine physician here in South Carolina and with a touch of aesthetics and weight management.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Wonderful. So, people, if you're looking for an amazing doctor, and look no further, here she is. So we're going to chat today as two mommies who also happen to be physicians, who also need to keep our kids and ourselves and our entire family, eating healthy, and we're going to break down easy ways for us to do that. Because guess what Dr L was just doing before she came on? She was meal prepping, and that's perfect time for us to talk about what she's doing. You know, it's so natural. So, Dr. L, tell us.

Dr. L:

How do you put?

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

mommies, meal prepping. You know this thing called meal prepping and it sounds so like out there. So let's break it down to the Even though it's milk.

Dr. L:

Meal prepping always gets me in trouble, but I love to cook, right. But even if you don't, it's pretty easy. So I'm married, I have three children under the age of 10. And so that means it makes for busy days and so having your private practice my spouse also works Coming home and trying to figure out what to cook for dinner every single day. It's not ideal. So first we're spending an hour on the floor to try to decide what do you want to eat, and the kids decide something else, and then we have to go shop for it. That's another hour, hour and a half Then just to come home to find that you forgot the ingredients that you need for this new recipe You're magically trying to make that evening. So that's not going to work.

Dr. L:

So in my house, what we've always we haven't said it a long time ago to milk prep, and it was just. It wasn't just for the kids, it was for us, and as we're coming home from work, we just didn't want to cook every night. And so when you hear milk prepping, people think, oh, I just cut the ingredients and I put it in the fridge and then I mix it as I go. That's not what we do. So I actually cook a full meal and I will cook small amount of multiple sides. So my son loves Spanish rice, so I will make him Spanish rice today. I started, I didn't finish it yet.

Dr. L:

My husband loves seafood, so do I. So I meet seafood, basil, and that is a small quantity just to last us a day or two because it's seafood, but make a lot of veggies or squash, but not squash, broccoli, zucchini. So we'll make that and it's a meat on the side so that on the days when the kids come from school they want lunch I know they have lunch because mom and dad are still working most of those days and then the dinner. We don't have to worry about it. But it's not so much that they have to eat the broccoli and the chicken every single night.

Dr. L:

It's more lunch to eat broccoli and chicken, maybe dinner they want to eat banana, squash and shrimp, whatever it is that they want to eat. So we make a small quantity of a lot of meals so that each of us can choose whatever you want to eat. So it's not boring and it takes me about three hours, three to four hours. I can meal prep for a family of five for the whole week and that's very helpful. It sounds like a lot but it's doable and it's time saving during the week and we take a break. So if during the week the kids want something else, we'll take a break in there and get something eat out or bring it in order out and they will have that as a break.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Okay, wow, I really like that idea. So the way I meal prep is make large amounts of food and like freeze and I like this idea of small meals. So do you ever freeze? Or everything is in the fridge?

Dr. L:

So I most of it is in the fridge. But once I make like, I have certain vegetables that take so long to make, so refried beans, for example. If I want to have refried beans, that process takes so long and so I would make a large pot when I say large I mean a big pot and then I will refry it, I will seal it and then put those in the freezer so on those days where we want it, we can just take one bag and pour it and then eat it. So if it's something that takes me very long time to make and some of the traditional African food can take a long time to make then I will pre-stow, but in general the better not squash the broccoli and such. It's just a quick one and so that's smaller, not only in the fridge.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Wow, I like that. So how did you come up with the menu? Like what's the easiest way you found to come up with the different things that your family will eat that you can make at a go?

Dr. L:

It began with what we like to eat, that when the kids started going to school and having lunch at school, I will have a note like hey, your son really love this lunch. He ate it. Well, your daughter really loved it. So we started incorporating what they really loved from school lunches at times when they eat at school, to add to the menu. And then I just have some staple stuff I know my youngest one loves he will eat peas, so that's a staple meal that will rotate every two weeks or so and then I will have peas one week and then I'll have green peas the other week. And even when we had to make baby food, same thing, just so that they don't get so tired and bored. But there are some things that are made every week because they don't get tired of it and, honestly, it's a lifesaver, so it's a backup.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

I love it, so it sounds like we mummies just need to take some me time, say an hour or less, and sit down and maybe list out the foods that your kids like and that you like and then just sort of put it into a sort of a schedule, like a two week schedule, so it's not like you're eating the same thing every week. And then I did those things that are like very stable to your diet, that you're making big amounts and you can freeze, correct?

Dr. L:

You got that right. Yeah, I mean you just sit down making this of what you really truly like, including restaurant food, right? Because then when you have time you can look at those recipes and say, oh, my kid really love broccoli soup from Panera, whichever one it is and then you look at the recipe and make a small batch and if it's a hit, you know that every so often you have another meal to add to the menu. So when I make the staple meals, because I've gotten so used to it, I can make five, six, seven at the same time. I can literally have all of them going at the same time. Yep.

Dr. L:

But when I'm having new recipe to learn, that takes longer, so I don't make new recipes. I don't make more than one or two new recipes a week because it will take me too long. So I will make my staple meals really quick and I have a medium extra hour to learn a new recipe if I need to. If it's a hit, then I master it and I keep going. I incorporate it into my rotation. But honestly, sometimes you don't even have to have a rotation because some days during the week you can eat out or you can order out If I don't have to spend an hour, two hours every night cooking. That's an hour, two hours that I can spend with my family once I get home.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Right, oh, I love it, I love it. I'm so glad we're having this conversation because it definitely impacts us as parents more than we even think. So let's talk about shopping. So what are some tips, as a lifestyle medicine doctor, that you would give visit mummies and dads for buying nutritious foods and actually just keeping track, because I too have found that sometimes I'll go to the store, even with my list that maybe I didn't quite fully put together, and then I'll come back and I'm like, oh my god, and I fight things. So tell us what you found that helps you create, do an appropriate shopping for your dad.

Dr. L:

So I have always been an online shopper and COVID just made it very convenient for me and so because more stores were offering online shopping, so I didn't have to go. But in general I have two or three stores. I know what food I get from each of them, so I know that my fresh produce I get from this particular store. So if it's either Trader Joe's or Walmart or Aldi or Lidl or Publix, I know which food I get from each store. So every week when we go to the app we started either Wednesday or Thursday my husband and I just opened the app and we asked each other what would you like to eat this week and just if there's anything additional. But because I've used the app so many times, my previous orders are already there.

Dr. L:

So what I have to do is just reorder what I want for that week, and that helps me. It makes it very easy. So I just go to the store, pick up or, better yet, sometimes, if you reach a certain amount, they deliver for you, so then I'll just have the food delivered. So anytime I get home on Thursday or Friday afternoon, my food has arrived and it's in the fridge so early in the morning, sometimes before the kids even get up. Then Saturday or late Friday night I can meal prep. I can start at little at the time. If I have to season something, then I can do it Friday and let it sit overnight and it's ready to cook for the next day. So online shopping has been my best and easy thing for me to do.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

I like that. You organized so much that I mean you can even go to the store using what's on your app already. You don't even need an extra list. If you just go on your favorite Correct, you will go through faster Correct. But there's multiple ways depending on what you like to do.

Dr. L:

Well, even if you don't want to order, you just go to your app and still read order. It puts it in your cart. So that's what my husband and I will do. Sometimes it puts it in our cart, especially like if we're looking for a pickup or delivery time that's not available, we still order to put it in our cart. Then one of us will run to the store and go through the cart and delete as we go. So as you pick what you want on your list, you just take it out and you in and out, and that also helps minimize the overspending and buying the extra stuff that you don't need and you won't use and that will spoil Right. Also, sometimes going to the store help us with brand new ideas. Hey, we've been eating this squash for so long. Can we get this spaghetti squash this time? So it helped us switch a little bit, add some variety to the diet, but in general, you have so many options that you can pick from.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

I love that. That's something I did when I was making baby food. I would go to the baby section and take pictures of the mixtures that they had and they go home and recreate it so that you can even do even with the package meals that are full of sodium and not good for you. Sure, just go look at the mixtures for ideas and go recreate it at home. Correct, ok. So we've talked about shopping. We've talked about how we get the meals that we are going to cook. So I did teach your patients about the food groups, right, how to eat balanced meals, because we hear a lot about the eat balanced meals. What exactly does that even mean?

Dr. L:

For me as a physician. Usually I tell them what ever grows from the ground, start there, eat that, because chances are you know it's whole food and whole grain chant most of the time, and then you can still enjoy the apple stuff. So I teach laughter medicine. The emphasis is on plant-based whole food. But there are many patients who are not ready to become vegan or vegetarian. And that's OK, right. You just heard me say I made seafood in my house because I do love seafood. So if I wanted, I would cook it and I would eat it. And that's for me and that's a simple approach to my patients.

Dr. L:

If they're not ready, we go slowly and ask them OK, you eat meat seven times a week. Can we decrease that a little bit? Can we decrease that maybe to five times a week? And then we go, instead of eating it three times a day, can we do it two times a day, then one time a day, and then we make progressive changes. When the patient sees that their health is getting better, the arthritis is getting better, they don't have as much inflammation they notice oh, my skin is looking better. All of that is more motivation for them to even push harder. But it doesn't mean that they shouldn't enjoy the food, because when I become too restrictive, it's when they give up, and so the approach is usually individualized. It's slow. What do you want to achieve? These are the conditions you have. This is what you need to eliminate to see better improvement. So how do we get there? So we make small, attainable goals with them until they reach them, one at a time.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Yeah, absolutely. I agree. There's the tiny habits that I don't, consistently over time. That's what brings transformation. It's not the big, massive goal that you are not going to do.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

So, if you put water and I tell people, the brain needs the most water in the body. So how do we start? Just drink one extra glass of water a day, that's all, and just do that every week and then in two weeks you can add another glass of water. But I also like that you pointed out that we don't have to be so restrictive. I mean within reason. If you like seafood, you eat that once in a while, but don't go eating deep fried seafood every day.

Dr. L:

So we educate on how to cook it right, absolutely so.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

do you also pack the foods in like lunch containers already, like after you do the meal prep?

Dr. L:

No, because remember, this morning I have made five meals already, five dishes already. They will go in either the glass parricks container, the big ones, and just with a lid, so that if you want the Spanish rice but you don't want refried beans and you want pinto beans, you can actually dish out your rice and your pinto beans by yourself. I don't have to pack it just in container because you may not want broccoli that day, you want but not squash, so you package it. However you wanted the day before, so for me to take my lunch to work.

Dr. L:

As I serve myself dinner the night before, I'll do my very best to put whatever I want in the lunch box, in my lunch container for tomorrow, based on what I think I want to eat tomorrow. So I put in just big containers and everyone will just take whatever they want, including the kids. They'll tell you can I have this, this and that? And then you just take the big containers out and then you serve them and then they eat and we find that when we give them the option, they tend to eat it faster and better than me mandating what they need to eat Now, when they can't bake the healthy choices. They don't have any veggie on the plate, then we mandate the veggie on the plate and they have to eat it. But in general when we ask them, what do you want, we find that it's better they eat it at their own pace and they enjoy the food, so then it's not so restrictive.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Yes, that's so important because it gives them a sense of ownership over their tum and their brains and them knowing they are eating good food. That will help them grow stronger and just love it. Yeah, that's wonderful to teach them that they have options, healthy options.

Dr. L:

And some autonomy right, so that you can choose and sometimes they choose something off the menu Like I want pasta to them. I don't have pasta but it takes 10 minutes to make pasta. So that could be like that's an example of the break during the week. We don't order a lot, so that break during the week is they want pasta, put some hot water on the stove 10 minutes and they have the pasta and they will eat it and be proud that the plate is empty.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Right, yeah, and of course, they will have some veggies with the pasta. Wow, herons, I hope that you're listening to this, that you're getting some great ideas and seeing how simple it is really. It's just a matter of making a few changes in how we think about healthy eating and that it's not this big, overwhelming task, because when we see it as a task, then we're less likely to do it and more likely to shut down. But if we see it as you know, we're helping our brains be the very best versions of I mean, we're helping our brains grow and be healthy, and that runs our life then we're more likely to make the good choices. So, and do you find that you and your husband working together on making the food list and even the interaction with what do you want to eat today? What does it do for your relationship?

Dr. L:

In general, you find more interaction. So we interact more, make decisions more about it. Sometimes it's it becomes pillow talk, like you literally sitting there ordering food, and that's just another way to have time together, time to communicate a little more and plan for our family together, because then I have your input and what you want to see in the menu for the following. And my husband cooks too. My husband cooks as well, so there are certain things that we know what he's great at and some other things he's just gotten lazy at, because he says he claims oh, you make it better. But I think that his way of just kind of escaping that part, but he's a great cook.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Well, give him grace. It's OK. Give him grace, Like I think we all know. So what's your? One last tip for parents and for kids of how they can incorporate healthy food without stress into their lives.

Dr. L:

One day at a time. If your kid you put some veggies on the table, there's really not having. Yet we substitute with the fruit at the end of dinner for dessert, right? So your dessert today will be an apple. Your dessert today will be grapes. So just incorporate some fiber food full of antioxidants, right? So we get some raspberries or blackberries added on to their diet. Really, take it easy. Learn to learn to know what the kids love and what you love. And it's a day at a time. Don't make it too complicated. Don't force feedback on any of them Although some of them they need it at times, but it makes it less enjoyable. So, one day at a time.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Yep, I agree. I just thought of one last question. So what is your take on organic versus inorganic? Or yeah, that can be a whole other podcast, can't you?

Dr. L:

Yeah, that's a whole other podcast.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

OK so let's table that we will come back for the podcast.

Dr. L:

We'll come back. Just a quick answer to that Do I buy all organic food? No, I don't. I have had friends who work at stores and what's labeled organic is not always organic. But then I also have some very good friends who grow their food for a living right, and so that's a huge conversation, but I don't always buy organic food and, frankly, for some of my families we can always afford organic food right Because of the price tag. And so then you start talking about how do you clean your food before you prep that right? If it has any pesticide, how do you clean it before you even use it? And so I wouldn't use that as a as another area to stress if you cannot get organic food.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Yes, and so just give one tip. Since now we've talked about how do you clean your food, what's one way I mean we're already in it what are a couple of tips on how to clean your food appropriately to get the pesticides off, because that is a huge problem. I just tested the pesticide level was elevated and I was like weak the second. So yes, tell the.

Dr. L:

I can use water and vinegar, just mix water and vinegar and clean the food out and put it away. But you also have to be careful. Certain food you cannot cook, I mean you cannot clean and then store right, because then it will spoil. So, for example, if you put all your blackberries in water and then try to store it, that's gone and so cleaning maybe right before you eat it. So usually water and some white vinegar has been my go to clean, and they have a lot of other things out there that are sold as organic cleanser for fruit and veggies and all of that. Apple cider vinegar has been used as well, so I've used those in the past.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Okay, and the other tip I would add is for fruits that, like apples, you can use like a soft brush with soft bristles, so like just scrub on the inside of it or like where the core is and around it, just to get extra amounts of the pesticides off of it. Do that with those that have the thicker skin and I found that even fruits like bananas that have a thicker skin, you don't necessarily have to buy those organic because of the protection it has already.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

So, yeah, but definitely stay tuned for another podcast on that. We can dive into the whole thing. But I hope, parents, that you had a wonderful time. I did learn. I hope you learned as much as I did, and thank you so much, dr L, for coming on. So can you please tell the listeners where they can find out more about you and how they can come join you?

Dr. L:

So we have. I have a private practice here in Greenville, South Carolina, again with licenses in North Carolina, georgia, indiana as well. So it's called the well MD, t H E W E L L M D and you can find us at the well MD, the well dash MD dot com on social media. I am Dr Sandra Luindo, as my name appears on your screen, or the well dash MD or the well dot MD on Instagram, so feel free to find us out there. And then we can also find me on the well project, which is the nonprofit branch where we provide resources to nations in general. So that's where you can find me.

Dr. Hokehe Eko:

Wonderful. I love what you do, so thank you, parents. I hope, as you listen to this and if you enjoyed, if you have questions, leave us some questions, leave us a review. Please share this with someone in your life that needs to hear about this, and wishing you a wonderful day and see you on the next episode.

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