People always talk about food prep – like it’s the answer to all your nutrition problems. Well it’s partly true. Preparing things in advance is an efficient way to make things a LOT easier later. Think assembly lines – factories make things in batches and use assembly lines because it is efficient, so that’s what the idea behind food prepping is! That sounds like a lot of work! It is at first. Which is why you do it when you have assistance (ahem- family!), and after you’ve eaten (don’t go grocery shopping hungry!!!).
I will share with you a few of my little secrets, and hopefully you will find them useful. They may seem obvious, but when put into practise routinely, you will find it much easier to eat healthy on the run and during your hectic work week.
First: I batch cook. I am a creature of habit, and don’t mind eating the “same” meal over and over again. It’s not that I eat one thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I will make a GIANT pot of chili or stirfry, or a big quinoa greek salad, and eat it for lunch one day, dinner another, and so on. The photo to the right shows an incredibly delicious stuffed-peppers recipe that took like 30 minutes of prep to make, courtesy of the Eating Bird Food blog. So make a big meal – I mean BIG, then you can either freeze it in portions for another time, or you can have 2-3 days worth of dinners at your fingertips in your fridge. If you have a family, get them to help – washing and chopping and cleaning up is so much better when others help out.
Second: I buy LOTS of veggies, and as soon as I get home, I wash ’em and package them up in two ways. Little baggies of mixed veggies for lunches with hummus (I usually only store 3 days worth at a time because the peppers get yucky). I also wash and cut them up and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for easy meal prep for later. Example: it’s WAY less work to grab already cut peppers and carrots to toss in an easy stir fry when they are washed and chopped. Plus it keeps your fridge neat and tidy ;). Pre-washing and cutting your berries is a fast way to make a breakfast on the go – I do 1/2 cup greek plain yogurt + 1 cup of berries + 1/4 c mixed Chia seeds and hemp hearts. Perfect! Check out my fridge – it’s fully stocked with ready-to-go items!
Third: I buy ready-made stuff. Before you freak out about this one, hear me out! I buy the boxed lettuce/spinach that are organic and pre-washed. WAY less work! I come home at 8 pm from training and need to eat dinner, so I can whip up a salad in 10 minutes once I fry-up some cubed tofu, grab a handful of spinach and do some minor chopping of my already prepped veggies! Then I have a bottle of delicious home-made vinaigrette in the fridge to top it all off. Voila! A healthy, quick, nutritious meal!
The moral of the story is that eating healthy and exercising should not add stress to your life. We want people to be able to fit in a workout under an hour (see the photo to the right for a sweat-filled 20 minute workout!), and be able to come home and prepare a nutritious meal and not feel exhausted. When you are out shopping, think about buying things that are as fresh as possible, and there is no harm in buying something that is more convenient (like little cherry tomatoes, or mini cucumbers), to make your life easier. Eating healthy and fitting in exercise is all about simplicity. Reduce the things that make it more stressful and complicated 🙂