DO I NEED TO MEAL PREP?
You have likely heard the expression that abs are made in the kitchen. Whether your goal is to lose 10 lbs. or 50, or add substantial muscle mass… preparation is key to success. Food prep doesn’t have to mean measuring bland foods into multiple little plastic containers and eating the same thing every day. With a few tips you will be on your way to easy, healthy meal planning that the whole family will enjoy.
Easy Food Prep Tips
The most efficient way to ensure you have healthy food options during the busy workday is to double down on your dinner preparation so that everyone gets lunch leftovers the next day. Cook once and eat twice.
Shop once per week and focus on a couple of healthy options per food group. Try picking out three each of proteins, non-starchy veggies, whole grains/fruits, and fats. This might look like: steaks, chicken breast, salmon, asparagus, yellow squash, broccolini, quinoa, blueberries, apples, avocados, cashews, and olive oil.
Spend a little time on the weekend cutting veggies, marinating meats, and precooking grains so that you can quickly throw something fresh together each night for dinner.
Utilize healthy shortcuts. Rotisserie chicken, frozen vegetables and berries, fruit that doesn’t require prep (think whole bananas vs chopping watermelon), and pre-cut veggies. You might spend a little more money on pre-prepped food, but time savings might be worthwhile for you.
Break out that BBQ grill! Easily prep larger quantities of meats to use throughout the week. This method also reduces the number of dishes used and speeds up your clean up process.
Crock pot in the summer? You betcha. Using the crock pot instead of your stove or oven helps keep your house cool. Try a pork shoulder roast with some BBQ rub seasoning on low heat for 8 hours. Magical crock pot pulled pork. Just add your favorite (preferably organic) BBQ sauce.
Dinner Planning Ideas
Here are some food combinations to get you started. Try creating your own list with your favorite healthy foods and pick and choose one from each column for endless combinations.
The 5 Minute Work from Home Lunch
Grab a big bowl and add: Arugula, Canned Wild Salmon, Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Sliced Almonds, Salt + Pepper.
No sad desk lunch for you! And practically zero prep since you are using naturally tiny foods. Sweet tooth? Add a side of fresh fruit for a meal your doctor would love.
Easy Breakfast, Please!
Do you have a rice cooker or Instapot? Throw some steel cut oats (no instant oats, we are adults here) and water into your rice cooker and hop in the shower. Top with fresh or frozen berries, sliced banana, a drizzle of pure maple syrup, or unsweetened applesauce. Add some healthy fats with a sprinkle of nuts. (A sprinkle is the size of your thumb, not half of the bowl.) Freeze leftover oatmeal into muffin cups for easy reheatable weekday nourishment.
Crock pots also do great lazy oatmeal. Just prep before bed and wake up to breakfast. Steel cut oats can stand up to the long cook time. Try adding chopped apples and cinnamon before you cook for an alternative to those little flavored packets filled with diabetes.
Eggs you say? Eating protein at each meal is important for insulin regulation and muscle growth and repair. Eggs are a cheap and easy option to add to your breakfast routine. A serving of eggs is about what you can fit in one hand. The author eats three, although after a tough hero WOD can totally fit four.
Need breakfast and want to use up leftovers? Try chopping those lonely meats and veggies and add whisked eggs. Pour into a hot oiled pan for a quick scramble or bake in the oven for an easy frittata. Try this on a weekend and reheat leftovers throughout the week. Portion into mini muffin cups and bake for a pre-portioned grab and go breakfast.
Eggs not your jam? No problem. Find a protein source you enjoy. This could be leftover meats, tofu, or perhaps a tasty breakfast chicken sausage. There are good options out there, just check the ingredients for foods you recognize. Your breakfast shouldn’t sound like a science experiment. A great alternative to an egg scramble is a ground turkey or tofu hash with sweet potato and diced apple. Want to get fancy? Add some fresh sage.
Food Prep on a Budget
Cooking your own food is the healthiest, least expensive way to eat. Eat produce in season (25 servings of summer watermelon for three bucks!) and buy your grains and meats in bulk for lowest prices. Learn to grow your own herbs on a windowsill or a tomato plant on your patio.
Keep it simple. Organic grass-fed beef might be out of your budget. We might want $40 lobster, but we really can make do with conventional chicken breast at $1.50 per generous serving. Oatmeal and rice are super inexpensive year-round carb options, as are bananas. Frozen produce is picked at its peak and is packed with nutrients. Shop sales and stock up your freezer.
Have I covered everything? If you have a food planning challenge, shoot me an email for a solution.