A couple of weeks ago I asked a question to my friends regarding what was the ONE main thing holding them back from achieving their fitness/weight loss goals. And the answer was a resounding plea for better time management in terms of food prep – having the time to plan, make and eat meals for themselves that were healthy and “diet” friendly.
Now, I do NOT claim to be an expert at this. 🙂 I, too, struggle with time management of all kinds, lol… and food prep and meal planning is something I am currently working on. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the zillion things we need to get done every day… really whether you are a mom or not, right?! Between keeping the house clean, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, playdates, school activities, work responsibilities, coffee with a girlfriend, working out… phew! What am I missing from your life?! You get the jist… 🙂 Often, it is only after I fill out my complete to-do list for the day that I realize I haven’t budgeted any time to actually stop and eat. No bueno.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
I knew there had to be a better way. There are all kinds of delicious and healthy breakfast and lunch recipes available. But, I know myself… and I came to the realization that I simply did not have the time or the inclination to chop/cook/prepare breakfast and lunch for myself every day. It just wasn’t gonna happen. (Disclaimer: now, dinner is a different story. For me, it is important that we sit down, as a family, for dinner. So, that, I do plan and prepare…that’s maybe for another blog post) Where I was personally struggling was breakfast and lunch. The good news is that there are all kinds of things you can grab for a quick “meal” that will satisfy your hunger and your dietary goals! Now, keep in mind, a meal doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes my meals are as simple as a protein bar or sliced apple and cheese stick. Key word: Simple.
So, for me, it became essential that I always have things in the house that are quick to grab and/or throw together. There are several different ways you can make this happen. There are companies that you can pre-order all your meals, weighed, balanced and macros calculated, but that can be expensive. (some day I’ll try that 😉 ). You can also meal prep – where you plan your whole week’s menu, grocery shop and prep all the meals in one day to have ready to grab and cook throughout the week. I have done this in the past, and it is awesome – once you have it all prepped, it does make the week very simple. You do need to plan ahead and it will take about 3-4 hours of your Sunday to get it done. The most difficult part of this, for me, was that the whole family has to like (and want to eat) all the same meals… a near impossible feat in this house! There are a few really great companies out there that will help you with your menu, list and easy to follow directions for your prep day. I can put together a future post with that info, if there is interest for that. 🙂
These days, I like to spend my Sundays playing with my family – and not spend so much time in the kitchen. So, I have come up with a few “meals” that are quick, easy, fit my macros well that I can grab on the go. If you like a lot of variety, this might be hard for you. Lucky for me, I am a total creature of habit, and I can eat the same thing over and over for awhile. When I find something I like, I have no problem sticking with it day after day.
The picture above is the inside of my actual refrigerator. These are my current go-tos… hope it’s helpful!
- At the top – a ready made salad (full meal for on the go, or to take to work)
- Hummus (quick snacking with pretzels, carrots, snap peas – or, my fav, stuffed in a hard boiled egg white which is a lot like a deviled egg… suh good!)
- Sugar-free jello (for when I’m out of macros, but still want something sweet!)
- Sugar-free pudding (well, just cause it’s delicious)
- Middle shelf – tupperware with shredded pork that I made in the crock pot on Sunday and can pull out 3-4 ounces at a time for the rest of the week.
- Hard boiled eggs (precooked, great quick protein – ready for hummus 😉 )
- Cottage cheese (try mixing with chopped tomatoes, or my fav, a Tbsp of sugar free jelly!)
- In the back, Greek yogurt cream cheese (my new obsession, I put it on everything! Try spreading on White Cheddar rice cakes for a snack or preworkout fuel or on half a bagel or english muffin for breakfast)
- Chobani flips (if you haven’t tried these, you’re missing out! A little high in sugar, so I don’t eat everyday. Mostly I use these around 3am at work, great pick me up when I’m starting to drag)
- Oikos plain yogurt (if you follow me on IG or Snapchat, you’ll know I eat this all the time. I like to throw a little Cap’n Crunch on top… nom nom….)
- Tupperware of cooked ground chicken with 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese (don’t knock it til ya’ try it – seriously!)
- Ground turkey – easy to cook up, add a few spices. I like Lawry’s and then I throw in a cup of frozen (heated, obviously, first) peas and carrots and a dollop of peanut butter – delish!
- Pre-cooked grilled chicken strips (or often I buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it all up – easy to grab and throw on some salad mix, cherry tom’s dressing = salad!)
Breakfast is a busy time in my house! And, if you have little ones, you can probably relate. I’d love to eat egg whites and fruit every morning (and we used to!), but that’s just not realistic these days. Either I’m coming home from a night shift at the hospital, or just getting up with enough time to get my son fed, lunch made and off to school. So, cooking breakfast for myself… well, I need something quick, and (ideally) doesn’t require washing any dishes. My daily breakfast is this… a RTD protein drink and a carb of some kind; either half a bagel, a piece of Ezekiel toast, english muffin, or oatmeal – quick, easy and balanced.
I like finding out what other people eat, because often it gives me a new idea to try, something I haven’t thought of. So, I hope, this does the same for you. This is simply my way of always having good options, especially if I am in a hurry or too busy to cook. If my choices are things that you don’t like, you can easily substitute your protein and carb of choice. Something to note; I follow flexible dieting, therefore I try to keep each meal at a certain balance of protein, carbs and fat. For me, each meal consists of (roughly) 30g of protein, 35g of carbs and 10g of fat. This is what makes it really easy to plan each “meal” because I just plug in a my choice for each macro in about the same amount for each meal. Watch for a future post where I will talk about what Macros or Flexible dieting is and how it works for me. I bring this up now, because it helps to explain how I pick and choose from what’s in the fridge, plug in the appropriate amount of each and ~ voilà ~ meal created. 🙂
Hope this was helpful!! If so, please drop me a comment below or send me a private message!! I am happy to answer any questions that I can!! Happy eating!! 😀
** For more information regarding Macro dieting, I follow the people over at Led Better (www.ledbetterinc.com). Head over there for some great info. This is also who I used to have macros calculated specifically for me. There are other sites and resources where you can calculate your macros for yourself, if you choose.