Best of Both Worlds podcast: Cook once, eat all week with Cassy Joy Garcia

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

We have to eat, but getting dinner on the table for a family can be complicated. Everyone’s tired after work and school. Someone has to invest the time in coming up with menu plans and grocery shopping. Someone has to cook, which often means ending a work day slightly earlier than that person might otherwise do so. People get frustrated trying to deal with everyone’s food preferences.

So it’s no surprise that Sarah and I get tons of questions about meal planning and prepping. Our solution is pretty simple: we outsource it. But we understand that this won’t work for everyone. So we were delighted to welcome Cassy Joy Garcia to the podcast today.

Garcia is the founder of the Fed and Fit online empire, and is also the author of the cook book Cook Once, Eat all Week. Her method tries to solve some of the downsides of the usual meal prep methods (you spend your entire weekend cooking, and then you’re basically eating leftovers all week!) She has people cook a protein, veggie, and starch on a weekend, with a few assembled sauces. This takes 60-90 minutes max. Then during the week, you become your own sous chef, assembling these ingredients into various meals. So, for instance, cooked shredded chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli can become a buffalo chicken dip, a teriyaki chicken meal, a Mexican-style chicken casserole, etc. The portions are designed to be big enough to take for lunches too if you’d like.

Garcia started her business before becoming a parent, but now that she has a toddler, she’s realized the importance of keeping things simple even more. We appreciated how positive and encouraging she is. Though the fact that she manages to feed her toddler liverwurst for breakfast is…well…welcome to growing up with a nutritionist as a parent!

In any case, it’s a fun episode, so please give it a listen. In the opener, Sarah and I talk about what we’re eating these days (and my 4-year-old’s limited vegetable consumption). In the Q&A we address the topic of financial independence, and what people should be saving.

6 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Cook once, eat all week with Cassy Joy Garcia

  1. Papa Murphy’s Gourmet Vegetarian is one of my favorite pizzas full of veggies. Sometimes I have them add feta.

  2. I gagged a little bit thinking about eating liver for breakfast (or ever)!! Ha! Our toddler is definitely more like your youngest, Laura. He’ll eat anything in pouch form but will not eat any fruit. Occasionally they will get him to eat a piece of peach or apple at school. We don’t even try at home because it’s just frustrating to cut things up and have him throw them. We have a major thrower on our hands! I’m hoping it gets better when we can reason with him a bit more (he’s 19 months so have very very limited reasoning abilities!). Cassie might have gotten lucky with her kid since she seems willing to eat pretty much anything. I so wish that was my child as meal times would be way more fun. But we are told he’s an excellent eater at school so I kind of give myself a pass for dinner time – at least for the time being! I am not at all picky and my husband isn’t either, so I would like our son to turn out like us!

    I am going to check out her cookbook, though, as her approach sounds like a good one for us. I kind of do something similar in that I chop all the ingredients ahead of time so things come together fast on week nights but they would come together even faster using her method.

  3. Resource suggestion: A book called “It’s Not About the Broccoli.” We haven’t fully followed the author’s recommendations, but it has influenced how I think about meals and snacks, and helped me set a goal for my kids to grow up to be functional eaters who eat mostly healthy and understand that they need a variety of foods for good health. That being said, if your youngest is extremely picky, count up the number of foods he’ll reliably eat. If it’s low, check in with your ped. There may be a totally fixable underlying sensory issue there. We’ve never done “feeding therapy” with our kids, but one of my kids had a lot of sensory issues as a tot/preschooler/early elementary kid…. when we worked through those her self-imposed pickiness went way down. As I’m facing a VERY picky 5 year old, my experience with my older kid is reminding me to be chill, help this kid learn and respect their own hunger, and not get too wrapped around the axle. Perspective can be helpful!

    1. I agree with this comment and also recommend the book mentioned for typical picky eaters. I’ve commented before on one of my children’s feeding issues and we are working with a new expert at the moment and I’m struck by how many different paths can lead to the outward manifestation of picky eating. Seems like it should be a simple thing but it’s really not!

  4. I don’t have a picky eater of my own, but my Mom still makes jokes about how I was a picky eater and now I’m sophisticated eater. For one, our taste buds change as we age, as do all of our sensory perceptions, so that’s part of it, but on the other hand, I have several food sensitivities that made me appear “picky” as a kid when I didn’t have control over my own food preparation. I am sensitive to acids and I don’t process raw food well, which means that I never liked salads and still don’t, which labelled me kid that wouldn’t eat vegetables. But I loved soups, and still do, and that’s still my primary way of vegetable intake. I actually have a reputation for making great blended soups, which is an adult take on the blended vegetable pouches your youngest likes. I also like my vegetables lightly roasted and sauteed, and I will still rather go hungry than eat a raw carrot stick, or a salad covered in vinegar dressing.
    I have a lot of empathy for kids who are labelled “picky eaters” it’s not always completely fair since most adults will not eat absolutely anything but they have a lot more control over what they get to eat.

    1. @Morana – it is true that having control over our food is an important difference between kids and adults. While I will eat just about anything should the situation call for it, I probably wouldn’t be happy if someone served me flavors and textures I’m not fond of over and over again.

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