Recently I moved in with my boyfriend, Colton. We both care about our health and nutritional habits. Even though we share a glass of wine on Saturday nights and love cooking new things, we definitely focus on nutrition day to day and make sure we have quality groceries in our house. We made a little pact when we moved in together that we would never cheap out on wholesome groceries. So as of right now; I am sitting at my desk typing away with a fridge full of leafy greens, fruits and delicious sources of protein (like any personal trainers fridge). I am also currently taking a Sports Nutrition Certificate. I feel overwhelmed with knowledge and have started implementing it into my life.
We both cook our fair share and prep food for each other. I have had numerous questions pertaining to meal prep and how to be prepared day to day while being more efficient. I don’t want to spend 3 hours 2-3 days per week cooking food. How can you save money and have healthy options? Below are my little tips and tricks that improve my meal prep a LOT!
- Storing / Freezing Meat:
Although I don’t eat meat as often, Colton does so I have figured out a few ways to save money and affectively cook meat (chicken, ground beef, etc). With chicken, we get two trays from Costco. When we get the chicken home we actually cut each chicken breast in half, and put both halves in a freezer bag. This actually allows for 24 chicken breast instead of 12 huge chicken breasts which I find controls portion sizes. When taken out of the freezer it defrosts faster and cooks faster, therefore saving time! The same goes with ground beef/turkey. We take smaller portions and put them in freezer bags, we flatten down meat in the bag. This way it fits better in your freezer and also defrosts much faster.
2. Slow Cooker’s are your Friends:
Slow cookers are AMAZING! You can put anything in them the recipes are endless. Healthy and wholesome meals can be made in slow cookers. You can leave them sit with chicken, chilli, vegetables, even oatmeal recipes! You leave it sit, do what you need to do, and the food is ready when you are.
3. Baking Sheets for Everything:
We usually cook our vegetables on baking sheets in the over because you can cook enough for more than one day. Throw some olive oil and spices on top and you got yourself some awesome vegetables in half an hour. Meat as well can be cooked on a baking sheet. I have thrown 6-7 chicken breasts on a baking sheet or casserole dish and had chicken for the whole week ready!
4. Making Enough for Several Days:
I am home working for myself in the mornings/early afternoon. So I can cook myself food everyday. However, I have many clients who ask me how to have ready to go things everyday. You need to cook enough in advance. Whether you are a student or work all day out of the house, when you don’t have food made a packed for you, you typically grab something on the go or grab lunch with co-workers or friends. Spending the hour or so, to make enough food for the next three days take a little stress off your shoulders.
5. Ready To-Go Snacks:
Get creative. Grab some plastic zip bags and throw some of your favourite nuts, dried fruits, seeds, etc. Keep them in your pantry and grab one every day. Have fruit in your fridge ready to go, take time to make homemade granola bars, have frozen smoothie mixes in your freezer so you can just bend and go! The options are endless. Fill your fridge with chopped fruit and veggies, and take them with you everyday so you don’t get hungry throughout your busy day or grab some garbage along the way.
There is no way to have healthy food at the snap of your fingers. Just like anything; training, personal time, work schedule. You need to commit to making healthy food choices and feeling your body, you will need to make time to prep yourself good food. Making a habit of it is the key. Use your Sunday to make meals for the week, use little tricks like the ones I talked about above to be efficient and cut down prep time! However, if you want healthy food and RESULTS you will need to prioritize time to cook. Your a kick ass individual who works hard and has busy days, reward your body for allowing you to work as hard as you do by feeding it nutrient dense meals and snacks… it will thank you, trust me.