Instead of just sharing my own experiences on this topic, I asked people on my Facebook page for any tips they had for food prep. Not as many as I expected. There were a couple tips and a question. I’ll share what I do, share their tips, and answer the question.
When To Do Food Prep?
I prep on the weekends for the whole week. I grill chicken, brown ground turkey, cook sweet potatoes, cook rice, and sometimes I make a spaghetti squash. I even scramble eggs. Not a complete list of everything I eat. Just the food that needs to be cooked for my meals away from home. Everything else is raw. And I cook dinner each evening.
Michelle said “I prep two days a week, usually a Sunday and Wednesday. I bake all my protein at the same time as well my potatoes. I spend time cutting up the veggies/fruit too. Measure it out and cut them up during food prep day to save time. Tupperware and glassware are your best friends. I hate to microwave in plastic so I use glass for my proteins as much as I can. It might take you an hour or two in the beginning to prep it all but you have to set aside the time to do it. If you only have 15 minutes to prep food then you won’t get it done. SET ASIDE THE TIME.”
Random Breakfast Tips
- There is no rule that says you have to eat certain foods for breakfast. If you skip it because you don’t have time, make a little extra for dinner and eat left overs for breakfast.
- Scramble up a few eggs while you are making dinner and keep them in the refrigerator overnight. They can be heated in the microwave in the morning.
- Before bed, pour a little hot water on slow-cooking oatmeal, toss in a few berries and cinnamon, then seal it and put in the refrigerator. It will soften overnight and will heat up quick in the morning.
I used to measure and pack each meal or parts of meals in small containers. Looked like this when I was done:
I mixed everything together in one container for that meal. To make it really easy for prep, I’d eat the same thing. Here were my lunches for a week: chicken breast, frozen asparagus stir fry veggies, and a little organic Annie’s Roasted Red Pepper dressing. Sometimes, I’d add a little rice. I’d take them all to work and just dump it out on a paper plate and heat them in the small microwave oven I have in my classroom.
Last summer, after over two years of this routine, I had a brainstorm. I replaced the very tiny refrigerator in my classroom with a slightly larger compact refrigerator. I bought a second digital scale, too. I can now bring larger containers with my food to school and measure it out as I need it. I also realized that I don’t really need to measure the eggs. If I scramble what I want to eat over the 5 days, it doesn’t really matter how much I eat on any one day, just that I eat all of them during the week. At the end of the week, the average per day will be correct.
On days I don’t work, I have to pack and carry my meals with me when I leave the house for the day. That’s probably how most people handle it if they don’t have access to a refrigerator at work.
How Often Do I Eat?
Charlene asked, “How often do you eat? Every 3/4 hours? I’m trying to prep but I’m having difficulty covering all food groups. How many servings each day kind of thing. I seem to be short.“
I eat about every three hours. I have to eat between classes, usually when I’m standing in the hall greeting kids to class. They are very used to this routine. I try to have a protein and carb at every meal. Fats come from the protein sources and from almonds that I buy in bulk and keep at work. And avocados or that roasted red pepper dressing I like, but I don’t have these things everyday. Because I eat a little of everything in all meals, I don’t really think in “servings”. And the amount of each thing vary depending on the number of calories I’m working with for that day. It’s a very individual thing, so knowing how much I eat won’t apply to anyone else. I log my food and have to hit a certain number of grams of each of the macros – proteins, carbs, and fats. I eat four times at work (I work out in the mornings before work), and log during the day. When I get home, I eat two more times. I log as I eat, so I can keep track of how many more grams of whatever I need.
Adrianne asked “I want to learn more about clean eating. What is clean? I read that some consider honey as unclean, how can that be? I see people post that they are 100% clean, yet use whey protein mix.”
“Clean” to me means food grown my God. Most, but not all, of things I eat don’t have labels – veggies, meats, eggs, fruit, and nuts. If there is a label, there aren’t many ingredients and those ingredients are natural. I avoid processed foods, which I believe is the widely accepted definition of “clean” = “not processed”. I try to avoid refined sugar, but I like fruits. Fruits are not necessary in the diet since all the phytochemicals in them can be found in vegetables. I do try to eat a variety of vegetables to get as many of those wonderful things as I can, but I do like blueberries, apples, bananas, and oranges. When competition cutting gets a little serious, most fruits will cycle out. I only use stevia for a sweetener. I’m a coffee drinker and can’t handle it black. But coffee creamer is a kind of a cesspool of chemicals. It was hard to give it up. But I replaced it with almond milk and stevia. I’ve heard some people like coconut milk with coffee. I’m sticking with the lower calorie almond milk. For Christmas, I bought a small, flavored creamer. It tasted funny to me since I hadn’t had it in so long. When nut butters are in my meal plan, I use freshly ground almond butter. I don’t even buy “natural nut butters” because they have things in them that aren’t nut butter – like palm oil. I like my foods to be simple.
However, I do use supplements like protein powders and pre-workout drinks. Not clean. But I don’t eat based on an ideology. I eat to grow muscle, for recovery, and to bolster my immune system. I eat to feel good. It seems my age or hormone changes have caused some food intolerances. Wheat products are pretty much out, but I do well with Jasmine rice.
Melanie suggested “Cellucor Super Sport is a whey protein powder that is ultra clean…you may want to look into that..it is the cleanest one I have found on the market.”
More questions? All the info you need is out there, but I understand how frustrating it is when you don’t even know what you’re looking for. I have several posts and comments on this blog made about food prep and nutrition. If you can’t find what you are looking for there, I’m happy to help point you in the right direction so you can find answers.
Also, please add your tips to the comments. I know my blogger buddies have their own shortcuts. After a few years of this, I forget about a lot of things that I do without thinking now.
If you would like personal fitness nutrition coaching, please contact me privately with an email to TammyDTRFitness@gmail.com