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Continuing from our Steps 1 and 2 post along with our Strategies for Food Prepping, we continue onward to Step 3, which is breaking the food down.
Step 3 Bring Home the Bacon
You have completed your shopping, now it is time to action your plan.
THE KEY: KEEP IT SIMPLE and HEALTHY does not equal BORING (ADD SPICE)
Food prep is best conceptualized when you lay out what you have got in front of you in entirety. Overwhelming…you betcha! Let’s bushwhack our way through your mountain of veggies.
After laying out your haul, get your measuring implements out next. If using a scale, get that out, zero it. If using measuring cups. Get those out and start measuring. Open your Macro tracker app and test your food quantities to see your simulated daily macros.
I recommend getting pre-measured preferably glass containers to perform your food prep. The ideal sizes to utilize are 4 cups for lunch/breakfast and 6 cups for dinner pending your height, weight, etc. These glass containers have no potentially harmful BCAs found in plastic. They are re-usable and more environmentally conscious.
Layout your bowls meals by meal starting with lunch. Get out your lunch veggies. If using frozen organic, open, measure and place in the containers. If using fresh, wash, peel, slice/dice, measure and place in containers.
If you are roasting veggies. I recommend a large roasting pan. The typical roasting protocol I use for 1 large roasting pan, filled with seasonal veggies, cut to mouth-sized bites, is usually 12 cups.
A hack to food prep if you have it in the food processor. This thing can demolish 4 lbs of carrots at the same time it would take me to cut all my weekly veggies. If you have it, great, if not you will be fine.
Seasonal Roasted Veggie
12 cups of vegetables
1 tablespoon of coconut, olive, sunflower or avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional extra spices (red pepper flake, thyme, rosemary, etc)
Cut vegetables to bite-sized pieces. Place in pan. Add oil, S+P, herbs, mix.
Roast at 400 Fahrenheit x 30 minutes, done
While cooking your first veggie round, you can then cut and prep your dinner veggies, using the same plan. Get out your 6 cup containers (usually ½ container per serving for dinner). By the time you have washed, peeled, chopped/processed the veggies, your pan will be out of the oven, veggies in your containers and next round ready to roll into the already preheated oven. Take these out, then place them into your 6-cup containers.
If cooking grains (and limit these for lunch), follow the instructions on the package or search how to cook via the internet. I will tell you most grains involve washing, placing in water with some oil and/or salt and boiling x 30 minutes, followed by straining.
I will tell you I rarely have these for lunch for simplicity. Have them during your work-out days for extra fuel fine. Also, can be used as an added protein if you are veggie or vegan, but THEY ARE mostly CARBS.
Here is where you can really pack some flavor. Add spice, seasoning, and pepper. Get your proteins going strong.
Buy in bulk, meaning the same protein for the same meal during the week. If I am having ground beef all week for lunch, I know I need ½ lb per day x 5 days or 2 and 1/2 lbs of beef for the workweek. You just buy that. Or, buy three 1 lb packs, save the remaining via freezer for the next work week.
Cooking in bulk allows ease of prep and less energy. For ground things, use the stovetop. For most non-ground meats, fish, etc. I use the grill for as long as I can (just because it tastes amazing). If it is snowing or too cold, I use the oven or crockpot. You can also pan sear (which may be cumbersome due to volume and time). However, this may lead to dehydration/dry meat.
Speaking of crockpots, home-made soup is a great way to have a lazy food prep week. You can cook your proteins, veggies and non-veggie carbs all together with fat (bone broth), turn it on, walk away and eat it. More on that later.
If making eggs just cook your whole week’s requirements together. Generally steamed or hardboiled are the easiest to transport and make.
Easy Steamed Eggs
Take a large pot, place a steamer basket in and add water until just about to touch.
Heat the water until boiling.
Add the eggs and steam x 8 minutes (can be longer if extra-large).
While steaming, take a large bowl and fill ½ way with ice cubes and water to make an ice bath.
After steaming complete, turn off the stovetop and use tongs to place each egg gently into the ice water.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Then drain the water and peel (which should be relatively easy with this method).
Place in your breakfast containers. You will just have to add your other macros (fat if no exercise before breakfast, Carbs if exercising.
So how do I prep my fats? Well, most likely through adding fats to the above food you have neared your fat budget. Tack on ¼ cup of nuts for a snack or post-dinner snack and you are likely there already (ex. 1 Tablespoon of olive oil = 14 grams of fat, 14/4 assuming 4 servings of fat/container of roasted veggies = 3.5 grams/serving). Fat-prep is usually a non-entity. Add it to your foods to make them tasty, then supplement as needed with healthy fat snacks.
Well, you did it. You cooked all your weekly meals in one swoop. By the end, your fridge should look like a well-organized geometric arrangement that you can grab in go the rest of the week.
Usually, this takes me 2-4 hours of active time, which you save the rest of the week. Let that Food-O-1 K mature, spending time now, for your time during the workweek, and your health for the rest of your life.