Thank you to everyone who noticed my ability to combine healthy eating with a hectic lifestyle – this blog is for you!
Many of my friends and family have requested that I do a blog with some of my tips for a week’s worth of hassle-free healthy eating. First, my disclaimers: this is going to seem like a lot of work at first. I know it is Spring now and almost summer and the last thing you want to do is spend 3 hours on a weekend making food but you will be SO glad you did when you look awesome in your tank tops, bikinis, short shorts, speedos, or whatever it is you wear! In order to say you have actually given this a chance you MUST do it 3 weeks. It takes 3 weeks to make something part of your routine. Trust me, the first couple weeks I was dragging my feet to do this but now if I don’t do it I feel like I left my house without my cell phone.
Okay, you get the point on to the Virginia Food Prep Plan Extravaganza!! (Can you tell I am trying to make this seem as exciting as I can?)
Step 1: Grocery Shopping – you do not have to grocery shop the same day as the day you do your actual food prep. I usually do though. I like everything to be very fresh and it just works well with my schedule. I tend to do my food preps on Sunday. I go to the gym first thing in the morning then I hit Wegman’s before the church crowds and get home to do my work so I can have the afternoon/evening to spend with my loved ones or folding laundry and texting pictures of Wylee to my mom. 🙂
Here is what I buy:
– Organic 50/50 Spinach Mix – I usually just get a big box of each and mix the spring mix and spinach to my liking. I like to have both. As you will see salad is a big part of my diet.
– Chicken Breasts – I usually get these in bulk from Costco because we go through A LOT of them and it is more affordable to get the all natural ones from Costco then Wegman’s.
– Lots of fresh fruits, veggies and beans
– Salsa – I really like the Wegmans Roasted Tomato Salsa – it says it is medium but I think it is more mild.
– Taco Seasoning
– Nitrate free lunch meat – I get the most all natural lunch meats I can find
So, then when you get home you unload the groceries and wash all the fruits/veggies. I wash them this fruit/veggie cleaner I get at the Common Market (Frederick’s Version of Whole Foods by 1,000 times better!).
Some people make their own Fruit and Veggie wash with vinegar. I may try that once this bottle is all gone. I will refill it.
Now this next part is very important. The order of operations here can save you tons of time. First, you are going to start by making some of what I call “Salsa Chicken” in your crockpot. This will be the lean protein you use in your “Southwest Salads.” Ben doesn’t eat salads so he gets his served on brown rice.
Take a bunch of Chicken Breasts (I usually use about 8) and put them in your crock pot with salsa (I use half a jar or more) and taco seasoning (eyeball it to your liking). Turn on your crockpot. I put mine on high because I start with frozen chicken and then I turn it later. The key is to never let it actually boil because I have read a lot of articles that indicate slow cooking preserves the protein in chicken by never letting it reach boiling point. At boiling point the protein in chicken starts to breakdown. I want all the protein I can get so I keep an eye on this. After about 4-5 hours of slow cooking you will add the black beans, shredded carrots (I buy pre-shredded, “matchsticks” carrots), corn and fresh squeezed lime choice then cook some more.
Okay, so while you chicken is getting started I cut up the fruit into a big bowl like this:
Isn’t it beautiful? It makes me want to go down to the kitchen and eat a bowl right now. It is so yummy. I take a bowl of this with me to work everyday and it is my afternoon snack. I usually stick with mangoes, strawberries and blackberries as my staples and then I add kiwi and/or blueberries sometimes to mix it up a bit.
Once you have it all cut-up you just put it in containers in the fridge and it is ready to go!
Ladies – when your boyfriend/significant other/husband opens the fridge and sees all the beautiful food ready to eat you will get text messages like this:
Let’s not forget the way to a man’s heart!
Okay, so the chicken is cooking, the fruit is done. Next you want to focus on Salad Prep. I get all my salads ready to go so I just grab a container in the morning, dump it out on a plate when I am ready to eat it and top it with the chicken. You can use any kind of container you want it. It should be fairly large. You should put all the “wet” stuff on the bottom and the spring mix/spinach on top. You mix it all together when you are ready to eat it. I usually include: onions, avocado, tomatoes, diced peppers, etc. You can do any combo you like. I was hooked on strawberries, avocado and balsamic for a while. I mix it up every couple of weeks. Right now I am really into the “southwest” salads.
At this point I usually take a dishes break. I load up my dishwasher and wash my wood cutting boards. Then, I make some brown rice for Ben and I usually put two days worth of sandwiches together for him as well.
I also will cook some eggs whites to have on hand for breakfast.
Okay, so once you do all that it should be time to add the beans, carrots, corn and lime juice to your salsa chicken.
I also sometimes grill some salmon and/or chicken to eat throughout the week during this time. I really make everything and now I rarely need to cook during the week which really helps!
You can do so much with the Salsa Chicken. Here is what I do with it:
– I warm it up and put it on top my salad. SO GOOD! You won’t even need salad dressing so it saves you lots of fat/calories and it is virtually fat free anyway.
– I bake a sweet potato in my microwave, slice it open and put the Salsa Chicken in it with a little sprinkle of organic cheese shreds on top.
– I serve it over brown rice
– I just eat with half an avocado sliced on top
Okay, so now that you know what I make let me explain a day’s worth of eating.
I eat breakfast at home or in the car. I eat a light multi-gran English Muffin (they have lots of fiber and protein) and I will eat it with peanut butter some days. I mix it up and eat one with egg white, nitrate-free Canadian bacon from Costco (check it out) cooked on my Panini press (thanks, mom!).
Then I bring a banana for my morning snack.
I eat the Southwest Salad with Salsa chicken for lunch.
Then I eat the fruit cup I made for afternoon snack.
I usually also bring a small baggie with some high-protein/high-fiber cereal to eat if I am especially hungry.
I also bring my dinner because I eat dinner around 4-4:30 so I can go straight to the gym after work. So I will bring some grilled chicken, sweet potato, another salad, whatever I feel like – there is usually plenty to choose from.
Okay, so I hope this helps. In a couple of weeks my girlfriend is going to help me make a video which I will post here and I think that will be better than trying to explain all of this. You need to see it in action!
Also, as a side note – to make this process more enjoyable I usually watch movies/tv shows on my iPad as I am doing my food prepping. It really has become something I look forward to as I get very little down time and this has become quite relaxing for me.
Just in case you have not read enough tonight here is a good article on 12 Workout Myths de-bunked that I really liked: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/17/12-common-workout-myths-_n_3288666.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular.
Final words of wisdom: When you are hungry you will make MUCH better choices when healthy options are readily available. It also helps to hang a picture of a Victoria’s Secret bikini model on your fridge. I know those girls are unrealistic but it just makes you pause and re-think your goals/priorities. You SHOULD eat LOTS but make good choices.