Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated! Over the last two years we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks to speed up the cooking process. By having your food ready to go at the start of the week is the best way to stay on track. When you’ve got healthy options as the easiest choice, you’re more likely to reach for them. With these easy steps, a lack of time or cooking skills can’t be your excuse! I timed our prep this week, and in about 2.5 hours, we had 20 meals worth of protein cooked and portioned, as well as two carb options, vegetables and fruit. Seriously, just two and a half hours!
1. Do your shopping (obviously).
2. Start cooking the things which take the longest, such as chicken. We line the baking trays with tin foil to make clean up faster.
3. Once the chicken is in, we cook the ground meat in a pan – we should buy another large pan so both the beef and turkey can cook at the same time… For now, one after the other. When they’re done, we put it in a big bowl to cool before portioning.
4. I make a large batch of rice / quinoa / brown rice noodles (whatever I feel like this week) at the same time as the ground meat is cooking. This week was noodles.
5. Chop veggies and fruit and put them in ziplock bags (we chop red onions, peppers, and pineapple).
6 . When chicken is done, chop it all up and put in a big bowl to portion. With the chicken done, we cook trays of fish, and finish it with the broiler. *Or you could do one tray of chicken and one of fish at the same time because you likely won’t eat as much as we do over the week – save more time!*
7. Measure out your protein into your serving sizes and put in ziplock bags.
8. Clean up and relax!
We’ve made Friday our shopping & cooking night. The bonus of this is that the weekend is ready to go – which is the time when most people fall off track.
We’ve had to alter some stuff in our schedule due to work. The hours we’re required to be in the office have changed (in a bad way), leaving us with substantially less time in the evenings. We now do all of our training in the mornings during the week so we have our evenings clear to relax and get ready for the next day without feeling rushed.
With the meat portioned, it only takes us about 10 minutes in the evening to get everything ready for our work day. Here are a few more “tricks” we’ve learned:
- Leave three days worth of portioned protein in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer. When you run out, take out three more days to thaw.
- When packing meals for the following day, we put frozen vegetables in the container. By the time you go to eat, they’ve thawed. This saves so much time!
- We cook our breakfast the night before, because egg whites are better fresh.
- If you have a pre / post workout drink, prepare it the day before so you have one less thing to do when getting ready – a huge bonus when you train early in the morning!
I think that covers everything we do for the week! Give it a try – it might take longer at first, but it gets easier every week you do it. Remember, the base of your meal doesn’t have to be fancy, adding seasoning and sauces to it when you pack for the following day is when you can make it more interesting. Eat up!!