One of the hardest parts of dieting is preparing your meals and sticking to them. It seems like we barely have enough time to cope with the daily demands of life let alone have to worry about preparing specialized meals.
When I fist started looking through the zillions of diets out there the first thing that came to mind was “How was I going to find the time to make this stuff. Since there we so many recipes I constantly had that mental burden thinking things like “What am I going to make for dinner *sigh*” or “I still have to cook *grunt*”. Well with a little bit of organization, planning and some trial and error, it is definitely possible to get those dishes ready in record time.
This is especially important for those of you that have specific high priority health goals such as: weight loss, muscle gain, fitness/strength goals- then these tips will help keep you on track!
1. Make a meal plan
Creating a meal plan is one of the most important parts of dieting especially if you are just starting out. It will help you get organized much quicker than selecting your meals day in day out. What I used to do is create a meal plan that matches my fitness goals in terms of macro nutrients and then build a weekly shopping list of the things I will need for my plan. Here you have a few decisions to make when it comes to preparation. First decide which meal it is that you are most pressed for time for. For example, if lunch has you running out to the nearest McDonald’s or Starbucks to grab a quick bite, then decide what you are going to make to prevent that from happening. I usually have a nice chicken or shrimp salad (one of the many lunch dishes in my meal plan) ready for the next day to take with me to work. If breakfast is the meal you are most pressed for time for then make a smoothie before going to bed and put it in the fridge for the morning.
2. Get a food processor
Food processors save you tons of time especially when it comes to preparing your vegetables and meats. What I usually do is cut, chop, slice and dice enough vegetables and meat to last me a few days. If I want to keep them longer then I usually freeze them in freezer bags. If you want to see some tips on how to store your vegetables check out this post.
3. Cook in large batches
Batch it up, batch it in, let me begin, I came to win, batch me not thats a sin. One of the best strategies to save time with meal preparation is to cook your meals in large batches. So after following the steps above, what I usually do is make enough of something to last at least 2 weeks. So, for example if i make cauliflower fried rice then I would make at least 6 to 7 servings and keep 2 in the fridge to be used within the next 3 days. The remaining would be separated out into freezer bags of 1 serving each and put in the freezer. That way I can use them when I want. I do have to warn you that my kitchen usually looks like Alvin and the chipmunks had a food fight in it after I’m done. Thats one of the reasons why I prefer to do this only once a week.
4. Get a slow cooker
A slow cooker or crock pot is one of the best investments you will ever make. Not only are they cheap, but they also make some very tasty and healthy dishes. Put all your previously prepared ingredients in the slow cooker just before you go to work or after you come back. If you do this before work then the food should be ready when you are back. Keep in mind that you will need to time it properly because most dishes will take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to prepare. What I do is make a large batch of something by putting it in the cooker overnight. After waking up in then morning I pack whatever I made in the slow cooker to take with me for lunch. The rest goes in the fridge or freezer for later use. P.S. try not to make cauliflower in it, I tried this the other day and my neighbors on the other side of the building could smell it.
If you have any other tips for making quick and easy low carb meals then please leave a comment.