We all live busy and at times hectic lives. Cooking each meal at home is not always an option for us. So what do we do? We stop in to the nearest fast food joint and fill up on preservatives and sugar until the next go around. This “solution” is not always the best option for eating healthy.
I say this because at one point in time, I was guilty of it! When I started college, the majority of my meals were not being cooked at home. This led to weight gain, lack of motivation, and took an overall toll on my health. It was not until I learned about the overall benefits of exercise and eating healthy that I became so concerned about preparing my food.
Save Time and Save Money
As a bikini competitor who has a busy schedule, food prep has CHANGED MY LIFE! Not only does preparing my own food save me time, but it saves me tons of money too. You might be saying "Whoa, I have a job, children to take to soccer practice, and gym sessions to attend. How do you expect me to cook all the time?" But what if I told you that you could prepare a whole week’s worth of food in LESS than ONE hour?
Tips on How to Eat Healthy – The Easy Way
Before we get started there are a few items you might want to get; unless you have them lying around in your home:
Tupperware– Invest in some small 3-4 cup size sets of Tupperware to use on a daily basis. The small size makes it easy to store in your refrigerator lunchbox or gym bag.
Lunchbox– If you do not have a lunchbox invest in one that has good insulation. This way you can bring your meals to work the gym or a road trip. You may also want to buy a gel pack or block that you can freeze and place in the lunchbox to keep food nice and cool. I use my Celsius cooler when I am running around town and my other cooler on the left is when traveling.
Make a "Go-To" food list– There are so many options of food to purchase when we walk into the grocery store. Rather than going down each aisle and grabbing what your stomach is telling you to buy sit down and make your shopping list before heading to the store. Or you may prepare a “Go-To” food list from your smart phone to save you time during your grocery trip and avoid straying from the task at hand. If you are trying to make your diet healthier I always recommend sticking to the outside of the supermarkets. That contains the produce section for your fruits and veggies and the meats for your protein. Also try to avoid anything that comes in a box. Boxed food are processed and loaded with preservatives. Try preparing fresh cooked food at home! I try to go shopping once a week and buy things in bulk so that it keeps my total cost lower.
Here is a list of my "Go-To" foods:
- Fruit (apples kiwi frozen strawberries and blueberries)
- Vegetables (frozen plain broccoli frozen plain green beans onions green peppers spinach carrots and sweet potatoes)
- Lean meat (ground turkey boneless skinless chicken breast tilapia shrimp Canadian bacon)
- Healthy Fats (unsalted nuts- almonds pecans or walnuts. Natural peanut butter)
- Plain oatmeal eggs and a container of egg whites.
And I always stock up on my favorite flavors of Celsius.
Remember-"Keep it Clean to Keep it Lean"
So now you have all of the tools needed to cook but how?
I cook all my meals in bulk usually on Sunday or as I like to call it "Sunday-Prep Day".
Here is what the breakdown looks like so YOU can enjoy eating a healthy diet too:
- Thaw two different types of protein so that you are not eating the same meal every day (that would get boring…fast).
- Begin chopping up the vegetables you want to grill with the meat.
- Season the meat with a salt free seasoning of your choice. You can find several of these in the seasoning section. No-sodium seasonings do not make you retain as much fluid as usual meaning you will not feel bloated. My favorite seasonings are Mrs. Dash and McCormick’s salt free options.
- Pull out two pans and heat them on medium- high on the stove and spray some non-stick spray on the pans. Then place the meat in the pan and let it cook. (I always add in some diced onions for added flavor. You can add any kind of vegetables you like.)
- While the meat is cooking begin microwaving your frozen veggies of choice. (Mine are always green beans broccoli and sweet potatoes)
- Lay out your Tupperware on the counter. (The key here is to multi task a little bit).
- Once everything is done cooking place your individual meals in the Tupperware. This will help those who are looking for weight maintenance and healthy weight loss. By separating the amount that you need to eat for each meal you are less likely to over eat. (For my competition meal plans I eat 4 oz. of protein 1 cup of veggies and a cup of sweet potatoes with my lunch meals.)
Last Sunday I prepped 11 meals and separated them. It took me 50 minutes in the kitchen and I have lunch and dinner for the next five days. If I were to eat lunch and dinner at a restaurant for the next five days I would be spending upwards of 100 dollars. The food I prepped cost me only 45 dollars!
Even better to prep all of my food it took me LESS than ONE hour! If I were to prepare each meal individually there would not be enough time in the day to cook eat clean train work and live my daily life. "Sunday-Prep Day" really makes life easier. Now I can spend more time doing other things that I enjoy!
By prepping my food in advance I save time and money. All I have to do is grab my food from the refrigerator and heat it up. By carving out a small portion of your day you can do the same thing and enjoy the benefits of healthy eating and living.
I hope that this information is something that you can put into practice. Living and maintaining a healthy life style is a combination of exercise and eating healthy. To reap all the benefits you can't have one without the other.
I wish you the best of luck in your prep. Stay Fit!
Angeles Burke is a group fitness instructor national level bikini competitor and Celsius sponsored athlete. She has a Master’s degree in Communication Studies and enjoys sharing her passion for health and fitness with others. She hopes to inspire and motivate those who want to know more about living an active and healthy life. You can connect with Angeles on Twitter on Facebook or her WordPress blog.