An Introduction and Inspiration to Meal Prep
Picture it…Sicily 1912…just kidding! But seriously, picture it…you come home from a long day of work/school/training, it’s dinner-time and you are not only starving, but also exhausted. You look in the kitchen for something to eat, but don’t really have the energy to make a proper meal. What do you do? Call for a delivery? Well, that’s not generally the healthiest option and you’re probably going to have to wait 45 minutes for your food to arrive. So, what can you do? Slap together a PB&J and call it done? Eh, maybe quick, but not terribly satisfying or the healthiest option. What if we could show you how to go from an empty plate to a piping hot meal in under 5 minutes?
Being ALL too familiar with long days, hunger, and lack of interest in spending an hour in the kitchen prepping for a table of one, Coach Andrea from Athletic Evolution SPT has come up with a number of ways over the years to go from hungry to happy in relatively some short steps. All steps are all easy to follow and only require a little planning and preparation.
Introducing… Your Steps (& Ideas) For Meal Prep
Cut chicken into strips and place into storage containers in serving sizes appropriate for the number of plates at the table. Add a different marinade to each container, pop the lid on, give it a shake, then place in the refrigerator…although I recommend adding a label to each container so you know which flavor is in each container.
To serve–cook chicken in a toaster oven or skillet while prepping a side of rice and/or salad. Since the chicken strips will cook faster than a large piece of meat, you will have dinner in about 10minutes!
*This could possibly work with beef or other meats but Coach Andrea primarily sticks to chicken.
Get into the crockpot awesomeness.
Many folks think of Crock-Pot cooking as a lot of work because of the large amount of time required for the Crock-Pot to cook the ingredients. However, in reality, it only takes a few minutes of putting in your meat, vegetables, spices, and/or liquids into the Crock-Pot, turning it on, then leaving it on for 4-8 hours! Come back and serve right away or put in serving containers; easy peasy! While the Crock-Pot is cooking you can multi-task and prep other meals, sides, and snacks; a few hours in the kitchen can save HOURS of cooking the rest of the week!
Because no one likes the idea of eating the same thing for an entire week, including Coach Andrea, invest in a few small Crock-Pots (they are really inexpensive!) so you can cook up a few different flavors. Coach Andrea loves to make a mix of ethnic dishes like Thai, Indian, and Chinese.
Keep it simple with smoothies.
As a BIG fan of smoothies, the single serving blenders that make them, and Costco’s frozen fruit section, Coach Andrea is a master smoothie maker. Stock up on blender cups with lids, a variety of frozen fruits and/or vegetables, a good protein powder, and “superfoods” like chia seeds, flax seeds, and goji berries. Dole out the ingredients into varying flavor combinations, put the lid on, and then place it in the freezer. When it’s time to sip on a smoothie, add your favorite liquid (juice, water, milk, etc) until the cup is almost full, screw the blade lid on, and then blend until all of the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Change the lid, add your reusable straw, and enjoy!
Put together (healthy) snack packs.
Grab storage containers that can fit a few snacks to throw in your bag, purse, or briefcase. Stock it with a small baggie of almonds, string cheese, a snack bar, or a variety of your favorite healthy snacks. Whatever it is, make sure it’s packed with food you like and the nutrients that fuel you for your sports performance training.