Food Prep It's Easier Than You Think!
Where do you get time to prepare your food? You must be in the kitchen for hours, How do you do it? Those are the two most common questions that I get asked. My answer is??It?s simple, and it doesn?t take me long at all.? I honestly spend about 1 to 1.5 hours in my kitchen every Sunday preparing my meals for the week. Yep, that?s right, 1 to 1.5 hours. I?m kidding right? Not at all. Let me explain how my food prep is quick and easy. You just have to micro-manage your time and be disciplined in doing so. Here is a quick sample of what a week?s worth of preparation looks like:
I preheat my oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After removing all of the fat from my boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I cut it up into small pieces. After cutting the chicken, I wash it all off with water. I then lay my chicken pieces on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and season it. (15-20 min). I then place the chicken into the oven and bake the chicken anywhere from 29- 32 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices run clear. This will alter a little depending on how much chicken you are cooking, and how big of chunks you cut it up into. The cooking time should roughly be the same. (30 minutes).
*All the rest is done while the chicken is baking*
Protein (Liquid Egg Whites)
I next move on to preparing my pasteurized liquid egg whites for the week. I have all of my shakers ready to be filled with the desired amount of egg whites. I then carefully measure out the correct amounts and store the shakers in the fridge. (2-3 minutes).
Oatmeal (Complex Carbohydrate)
Next step is to prepare my oatmeal for the week. Once again, I have the desired amount of shakers for the meals planned, and measure out the amount of oatmeal needed for caloric purposes. I then add fresh ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon) to the oatmeal (4 shakers for me) and then add 1 scoop of Whey protein and fresh ground cinnamon to the other shakers (2 for me). I will then add water to the oatmeal shakers when needed, and let the oats get soggy. This is a quick meal when you are in a bind for time. I can down a shaker in about 2 minutes, and still be happy knowing in such a short period of time I have had a nutritious meal and have stuck to my nutritional plan. You can always change up your carbohydrate selections.
This is just the easiest for me with my work schedule. (5-6 minutes).
I usually eat fresh vegetables, so the only prep work I need is to wash and cut them up. I tend to stick with broccoli, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and celery. (10-15 minutes).
** I now get out all of my plastic containers to put my chicken and vegetables in for the week. I also have a food scale and measuring cup handy, so that I will be able to measure out the correct portions that I need. This process may take another 10-12 minutes. I will then start to wash my dishes and put them away. (10 more minutes).
** I also supplement with multi-vitamins and EFA?s throughout the course of the day, to achieve maximum nutritional benefits.
That?s about an hour. Some areas may take a little longer, in cases of making more amounts of food, more peeling and cutting veggies, or just simply preparing to season your food, or add a little of this, or a little of that. The main thing is to try and stay on course while doing this and not get distracted. This is easier said than done, trust me, I know, I have 2 little ones at home that require constant supervision. Nonetheless, it is definitely something that everyone can do. It might seem like a lot of work at the beginning, but think about all the time you will save during the week. I have prepared anywhere from 50-55 meals for the week, depending on how I space my meals apart, and have done it within the time frame of 1-1.5 hours.
I am also saving on other things. You save TIME, the number one advantage. You also save money on water (washing all dishes at once, washing all food at once, as well as gas and electricity (saving by making all of your food at one time). Preparing in bulk is the way to go. I understand that my meals may appear bland to some, but that is something everyone can tailor to their own likings. This works for me, so I will stick with it. You can always alter proteins, carbs, veggies, and seasonings to switch things up, so experiment with it. This type of preparation takes all of the guess work out of eating and cooking for the work week. When you are tired from work and your workout, the last thing you want to do is go home and make your dinner. This is where many of us fall into the pit of eating something fast. Catching something on the way home or ordering delivery will only throw you off course. Stay mentally strong, and stick to your nutrition plan.