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I'm Melissa!

A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!

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Most people think of Monday as the first day of the week. But if we look at the story of creation … day 1, aka ground zero for Him was Sunday.

Just like a tree needs strong roots to rise up and grow, I need a rock solid game plan to ensure the week ahead will run smoothly.

Here are a few things I do every Sunday to set me up for success.

EXERCISE

I get outside and get moving. I head to the beach, the canyons or take a walk around my neighborhood to get the blood pumping and the creative juices flowing. During this time, I set a few big goals for the week ahead.

Make a To Do List

I open up my calendar and review the family and work commitments I’ve agreed to. I add blocks of time to tackle the big projects and goals I set on my walk. I also add in workouts and time for phone calls, meetings, emails, admin and content creation. If it’s not written down, chances are it’ll get lost in the shuffle

Market run and meal prep

I head to the store and do my big weekly shop. I stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins. I then come home and marinade, cook, and prep the ingredients. You can find over 300 FREE RECIPES on my website. This ensures I have a weeks’ worth of healthy dinners.

BUY FRESH, LOCAL + SEASONAL

I am not super big on freezing stuff, I prefer to buy fresh. I generally do a weekly shop on a Sunday. I use this time at the start of the week to prep a week’s worth of meals to set myself up for success.

I want you to be mindful of what is in season. If you buy peaches in the wintertime, they will have been frozen, so they will have no taste. You will have to add a lot of sugar to make them taste sweet. When I am in Italy in the winter, they only have apples, pears, bananas, and oranges. They do not have tropical fruit. This past year they had a one-week fig season.

But today grocery stores import genetically engineered produce that is frozen and treated with pesticides your body cannot digest. Use the list below to do your weekly shop but be guided by the season. In winter and fall buy squashes and in the summer stock up on stone fruits like plums, peaches, and nectarines.

STICK TO THE PERIMETER OF THE STORE

You will find all the fresh produce, proteins, dairy, eggs, and bakery items on the outside. Try avoiding the aisles unless you need cleaning supplies or pharmacy and beauty items. Nothing good is in the inner rows of the store.

It is critical to ensure that over 70% of the foods you eat every day are alive. And by that, I mean fruits and veggies.

EAT THE RAINBOW

I like to walk around and grab a great selection of fruits and vegetables. The more variety the better. I aim to buy all the rainbow colors. People eat with their eyes first. So a colorful vibrant dish is more appealing. And each colored food has its own nutrients and vitamins. Multicolored food will also trick your body into feeling full. So, I buy a multitude of rainbow-colored vegetables and fruits.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

When buying fruits and produce, you are looking for ripe and ready so it is packed with flavor. Italian cooking highlights great-quality produce which becomes the star of the dish. If you use ingredients at their peak, you won’t need to do much to create a mind-blowing dish. Less is more. Just a little bit of salt, pepper, and good oil and you are golden. Bravo!

BUYING PROTEIN

Each week I buy meat, fish, and poultry options as well as eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese. Here is a list of the proteins you can choose from. It will allow you to take advantage of in-store specials and to mix it up, so you are not making the same dishes every week.

I generally use the fish first. I always check with my fishmonger that it is not farm-raised on hormones and antibiotics, and that it isn’t smelly. And the same applies for the meat, chicken, eggs and dairy. I want items that have been uncaged and grass-fed without GMOs and added hormones.

If you are single or a college student, you probably want to keep it simpler. So, you could just buy 2 proteins for the week and marinade them differently on prep day. If you are feeding a family, you would obviously buy enough to feed four or six people. You can also scale up the recipes so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day.

HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS

And I always leave dishes of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables at the front of my fridge so they are the first thing I see when I open the doors. That way I can easily grab them when I want a quick snack.

GET MY SECRETS

If you haven’t already make sure to download my FREE “How to Cook Masterclass”. It’s filled with all my secrets to turn you into a pro in the kitchen.

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You also love this episode of the Melissima Podcast

Spa Party

this is the part of the day where I take a long bath, put on a hair and face mask, and jump into my pajamas. I cozy up with my favorite book or watch a movie with Saul and Jade.

Shut it all down

I do my best to get an early night. I aim for around 7 or 8pm. I always feel like if I wake up bright and early at sunrise (yes before 5am) on Monday I’m ahead of the game. I can start off the week calmly feeling well rested with a clear mind.

Give these tips a try and let me know if they work for you. And tag me on social @themelissamayo #MELISSIMA

I really love hearing from you. May the road rise up to meet your feet whenever they wander. I love you most!

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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