With the big group of new faces we’re seeing at the gym these days, I thought I would take the opportunity to address a common issue we hear when we start talking nutrition at the gym:
“I understand that eating well is important for my goals, but I’m so busy that it’s hard to eat well all the time”
We totally understand how hard it can be to make a full, wholesome meal every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s even harder when it’s more than just one person eating. Personally, between the job, working out and coaching at the gym, there are days I can be gone essentially from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm, and still have more administrative-side aspects of the gym to take care of at the end of the night, and Morgan’s schedule isn’t much different. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for eating, much less preparing a meal to eat.
From our experience, we’ve come up with two pieces of advice that are pretty important to making good meals in a limited amount of time:
1. Find a few “staple” dishes that work for you. This can take some time and experimenting to establish, but picking a few go-to meals will make meal preparation much quicker. From the menu planning phase, to shopping to preparation, making something you’ve made several times before will always be more efficient than creating a new masterpiece every time you pick up a pot and pan. Through the process of trial and error, you can eliminate meals that take more time to prepare than they’re worth and find those menus that you can execute quickly and efficiently every time. This doesn’t mean you can’t have variety; pick a diverse set of go-to meals so it doesn’t seem like you’re making the same thing every time.
2. Find a block of time and cook a lot. Tupperware and refrigeration are your friends.
For an example, here’s what I made tonight:
From the top left, we have:
- Four baked sweet potatoes (actually grilled, but same idea)
- Sweet Potato Paleo Egg Fritata inspired by Everyday Paleo. I steam two sweet potatoes to al dente, cube them up, then finish browning them in coconut oil. I reserve half of the sweet potatoes for later in the week, distribute the remaining cubes in the bottom of the pan and pour 12 beaten eggs mixed with seasoning of my choice over the top. Cook without stirring over med heat for four minutes then finish under the broiler for four minutes. This makes four servings for us, which means breakfast Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night I’ll use the reserved sweet potatoes to do the same thing and get me two more breakfasts.
- Paleo mayonnaise. I don’t actually know what I’m going to do with this, but I was feeling a little creative. I’ll probably make a Paleo Coleslaw later in the week. I also like mayo on chicken, so it will get used. Making paleo mayo is a good reminder that there’s a lot of fat in mayo
- Bottom left: stew of random veggies from my parent’s garden. Okra, eggplant, onions, tomato, basil. If you don’t have a parent’s garden to steal from, I’d recommend a farmer’s market or a grocery store
- Paleo Dirty “Rice” from Paleo Comfort Food. Uses shredded cauliflower instead of rice. All Natural Farmland (I think?) sausage (pork, water, seasoning on the ingredients list), chicken thighs instead of giblets, onions, peppers, celery, chicken stock, and celery. Not too bad to make but again, it’s one of those things that the more times you make it the more efficient you’ll be and the smoother it will go.
- Six pounds of grilled chicken breast. Marinaded in olive oil, white vinegar, and a sugar-free spice rub.
- Not pictured: I cubed up some raw zucchini and tossed it with olive oil, rosemary, granulated garlic and onion, and pepper. It’s a nice change of pace snack – cold, crunchy and a little salty
We went a little heavier on the protein this time around because we rely pretty strongly on protein shakes. We also have four pounds of tilapia in the freezer and two pounds of brussel sprouts plus two pounds of broccoli in the fridge ready to be made up Wednesday or Thursday night. We keep a jar full of raw almonds for a quick snack and we have a bag of avocados we’ll eat with the chicken throughout the week.
And here it is all ready to be refrigerated.