I know that using time on your weekend to cook for the week can feel both overwhelming and lame. But, think about all the stress “not eating well” brings you each week. Heading to the work cafeteria to try and find something substantial and healthy day after day can feel exhaustive. For one, you don’t know exactly what you’re eating unless you are the one preparing it. Secondly, the bagels, muffins and sugar-laden cereal can become temping after a while.
I generally use a part of my Sunday afternoons to cook for the week. Some call it meal prepping. I call it sanity. I feel much better about myself when I know what I’m eating, not to mention I save a good amount of money using my own food rather than buying food on the fly. While you may not have a few spare hours in your weekend to cook, you can simply start with preparing your breakfast and worry about lunches once you get into a groove. Small changes, like preparing your weekly breakfasts, will start become habit. Shortly after, you can start cooking up some lunches or dinners to freeze soon. But, let’s just start with breakfast!
- Oatmeal with chocolate protein powder: This is something I use after a 45-90 minutes lifting session. 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 16 grams of chocolate protein powder, almond milk and cinnamon is my choice. Oatmeal itself is a bit high in carbohydrates, so I enjoy it on heavier workout days and make sure I’m aware of my portion. If I’m adding even more carbs for energy, I’ll throw in fresh berries or a half of a banana.
- Greek yogurt with fresh berries and cinnamon: Greek yogurt has a good amount of protein. I know a lot of people struggle with the slightly bitter taste of plain yogurt. To sweeten it up when some berries aren’t enough, you can try some Truvia, a tablespoon of a natural jelly like Polander’s or simply mix a small portion of the sugary mix yogurt cups already provide. The latter would be my last choice 😉
- Stored baked turkey roll ups and a small apple: Some people aren’t really into meat very early, but I find it to be convenient and enjoyable. There’s a nice balance of sweet in there. You can even throw in some peanut butter or avocado for some beautiful fats.
- Protein shake: We use a zero carbohydrate/zero sugar substitute chocolate protein powder with organic frozen berries, PB2 (powdered peanut butter) and almond milk. I’m not a huge organic snob, but something like berries is worth the extra few dollars if you are willing to swing it.
- Hard boiled eggs: I generally boil 12-24 eggs on Sunday which takes zero effort. They last in the fridge all week and make their way into my breakfast with hot sauce and avocado (my favorite… don’t judge) or in my salads for some extra protein at lunch. They also make a convenient snack.
- Cottage Cheese: I am one of those weirdos that absolutely loves no-salt cottage cheese. But, I’m sure I’m not alone! There’s a ton of protein in cottage cheese. I’ll pair that with some fruit and nuts and get a perfectly balanced meal of protein, fat and carbohydrates. I also like to eat a variety of options in one meal rather than one big bowl. It forces me to eat slower and more mindfully. But if it’s one of those mornings that can’t afford more than a 5 minute breakfast, throw it in a bowl and chow down.
- My absolute favorite are egg frittatas. The options are absolutely limitless and you can put a little effort into it or zero effort. You can also add so much flavor with veggies or spices that you can enjoy the entire week. I’m partial to sautéing chopped onions and spinach. I mix the veggies with 20 egg whites and 2 servings of shredded cheddar. You can use the same principles and use a muffin tin as well. The internet is flooded with these great egg based recipes.
Meal prepping has taken on a life of it’s own. If you scour through Instagram, you’ll see people who have gotten it down to an absolute science, 15 meals deep! If you are new to preparing food at home, please know that it doesn’t have to be complicated. I also highly suggest starting slowly. Just conquer breakfast for a couple of weeks to get into the swing of things. Once you are more aware of the time it takes, sprinkle in some portioned snacks like nuts and sliced veggies. Pretty soon you won’t want it any other way; saves on calories and expenses. You can’t put a price on sanity.