When I tell people I eat paleo (after the general eye roll) they usually ask how many hours a day I spend cooking. It is true, I cook a lot more eating the way I do, but if you’re smart about it, it isn’t so bad. Have you ever heard the phrase “fail to prepare or prepare to fail”? Well, it had never applied more to my life than when I began eating whole, real foods. Foods that you had to cook rather than place in the microwave for two minutes.
I love to cook, I always have. But when you’re busy with work, busy with workouts, and just busy with life in general who wants to come home (exhausted) and have to find something to make? No one, that’s who. Especially not me. And if I don’t have a plan I will always find the easiest option which is rarely healthy and definitely not cheap. This is why I meal prep. It saves money and it saves time (in the long run!).
I try to do all of my cooking for the week on Sunday and Thursday. I do the mass majority of the cooking and prep on Sunday. It literally takes me half the day but this amount of time could be decreased if you use crock pots or pressure cookers. I try to sit down and plan what I will make each week on Friday or Saturday and once I have that list I go through the ingredients and make a grocery list. Once I have gone grocery shopping I prep as much as possible on Sunday: cook the proteins, chop up veggies, roast veggies, and pre-pack meals for easy grab and go lunches. If I’m really proactive I can knock out meals for the entire week on Sunday alone, and man do I love when that happens! Sometimes, though, I will supplement on Thursdays to get us through the weekend.
The biggest issue people have with meal prepping is variety, they get bored easily. I know it’s nice to eat something different every meal and I’m sure not everyone loves leftovers, but sometimes you have to just suck it up and deal with it. Sorry, that was a little tough love. I know I used to not like eating something more than twice so I finally had to have a come to Jesus meetin’ with myself and kindly tell me to “just put on your big girl panties and get over it!”. Food is fuel, not your friend. Write that down. FOOD IS FUEL, NOT YOUR FRIEND. So, don’t get all sentimental about it, just eat the dang food and realize it is doing your body good! It also helps to be really, really hungry. I find that if I don’t snack and stick to three solid meals a day I tend to not care what I’m eating because I’m just that hungry.
This example of a work lunch is one of my all time faaaaave meal preps. It comes together in maybe 30 minutes? If that? Here is what I do: salt a roast (pork or beef: chuck, shoulder, arm roast, whatever you have) and place it in the crockpot with 1 cup of broth and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Once that is in, bake your sweet potatoes at 425 for about an hour or until fork tender. While those are baking throw together some pico de gallo and guacamole. For the pico I use chopped tomato, onion (my fave is purple), minced jalapeno, tons of cilantro, and salt. For the guacamole I mash an avocado and add onion (purple again), salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and lime juice (start with half a lime and taste if it could use more). Once you have all of that made you know have yourself all that’s need to assemble this bad boy!
Keep it simple but always make it delicious, that’s my motto!