T Nation

Cooking All Day?

I’m curious how you guys stay motivated to constantly prepare food. Eating the right foods, every two hours is a full time job almost. It’s the one thing that holds me back. I find I’m constantly in the grocery and my entire life is spent cooking just to follow massive eating guidelines. Any tips or tricks?

Cook for several days eating ahead of time. Tonight I fixed 22 meals for 4 days, and it took me 2 hours.

  1. Plan your meals
  2. Buy in bulk
  3. Prepare meals for several days
  4. Repeat.

It takes a little practice, but once you get on a schedule its not really that hard, just pick a couple days out of the week to get your meals prepared.

Good luck.

I agree with the former responses in general, but I also think it is a little useful to allow for some variety, while still preparing things ahead.

Let me give some examples. This week I bought a few big bags of spinach, cooked a number of chicken breasts with different seasonings, made some samon pattys, turkey lunch meat, had some cans of tuna, almonds, dried fruit, different simple salad dressings, strawberries, cherry tomatos, lentels, black beans, etc.

I put it all in a big bag in the fridge at work.

What I do a few times a day is throw together salads based on what seems like it would taste good at the time (how much based on what i planned for my diet), into really tasty salads. I keep beef jerky, nuts, and carrots and celery on hand for snacks (which is really useful with all the candy and snacks that wind up being offered to me at work). Another example is my typiccal breakfast, oatmeal, some sort of fruit, and some protein powder…

I design almost all my meals so I can make them with no cooking during the week (for dinner I usually grill stuff). It doesn’t get boring this way.

There are some easy meals you can do, I’m a big fan of the flavored bags of tuna from sunkist, mixed with some pasta(may sound wierd) it tastes pretty good. And it takes about 8 minutes to cook a couple chicken breasts, 4 for a microwaved potato, and 2 for some frozen veggies, that meal can be done in ten minutes tops. It doesn’t take up that much time if you get everything ready the day before, I’m usually done in 30 minutes with individual meals packed in seperate tupperware containers and I keep some Grow! at the office just in case.

I’d love to prepare at least 1 meal a day in advanced, it would save me from staring at the fridge, or skipping/putting off 1 meal, or picking something a little more carby because its handy. Luckily, Ive been sticking to generally good eating & staying away from junk, non-low carb bread & pasta. However, we have 2 freezers, both filled to the brink, and a mom who gets very mad when we ‘waste’ her space chuckle I really need to figure somethign out, I dont think im reaching the amount of calories a day I need to, especially now that I’m doing DDR for 2hours or more a day x.x

Lauren

Well, I usually eat every 2.5 to 3.5 hrs, not every 2 hours. I guess if you want to do that to pack in 8 meals/day, then go for it. I usually do 5/6 meals/day so I don’t go insane and actually have a life…

Right now I’m “self-employed,” so I lack the scheduale I used to have, but before I was a slob…

I loosely followed the massive eating guidelines. Being that I’m naturally thin, I tend not to worry if I get 30 g of fat into a PC meal, or CHO into a PF meal. Now, all that said, I used to cook about 3-4 cups of a grain–irish oats, rice, crack wheat, quinoa, whatever–every couple days. I’d cook five pounds of sweet potato–sweet potato will keep in the fridge, white and red potato will not–once a week, and on Friday or Saturday I would start to brine chicken and pork, and cook it on sunday. Everything goes in the fridge or maybe freezer. I’d eat all this stuff through the week, microwaving as necessary, and try to have fresh fruit around. For vegetables, i’d just go with freezer bags and fresh spinach.

With red meat, cuts that need wet cooking or smoking I would prepare ahead of time, because they can be reheated over and over again; dry-cooking should be done before the meal, because reheating sirloin will just toughen it.

I do the same as Rumbach(we are both metro`s too) What keeps me motivated?All the pussy I get due to my looks,and nice body!

Rumbach clue us in…what were the 22 meals you made in 2 hours?

Pretty much the same menu every day, I’m not able to divulge specifics.

But, most was done with a microwave, oven, a couple burners on the stove, and a food scale.

My trick has always been to keep it simple. I have about four different meal combinations. Once you find a few food combinations that meet your caloric needs, you like and can live with, it is not all that time consuming to manage.
I usually keep some extra bars and some MRP and a shaker handy for those days that I don’t feel like eating my regular meals. I work in the heat so these also come in handy on days when the sun causes me to loose my appetite for a regular meal.
Hope this helps,
GS

My big breakthrough came when I started learning how to cook and figured out what the hell I was doing instead of approaching every recipe like a new, standalone task, or resigning myself to eating the same bland shit all the time.

I may catch hell for this, but watch FoodTV, read cookbooks (especially regarding techniques), open all your spice jars and taste the stuff on its own so you know what it tastes like and why you’d use it, figure out how long it takes to cook a burger or steak or chicken breast so you can do it automatically. If you’re going to be preparing a lot of your own food, you might as well learn everything you can about food preparation! It will pay off big-time.

You will start to find that if you just have some meat and poulty, fresh herbs and vegetables and a decent spice rack you will be able to throw a decent quick meal together on autopilot. Invest in a timer and figure out how long certain tasks take so you can watch TV instead of babysitting the food.

You can also marinate large quantities of meat and freeze it for later use. If you are making something like tuna or egg salad, make twice as much as you think you need… it will get eaten later (I’m still learning this lesson. Every time I think I’ve made food in bulk I tear through it in half a day).

Nick

Pre-plan and buy an entire weeks worth of meals on one day. Grill, roast, or bak all meats,poultry,and fish ahead of time. Wash all salad and fruit fixins’. Pack up all that up into plastic containers or ziploc bags for the entire weeks meals. Thats how I do it.

I’m lazy when it comes to food prep, so I started with small steps:

First, protein. I get 1Kg of extra lean ground beef, make 8 burgers at a time on the Foreman grill and store them in a Rubbermaid container in the fridge. Same with chicken breasts or turkey cutlets. Also, buy the large container of cottage cheese and divide into smaller containers as soon as you get it home. Even half asleep I can manage to grab a container of cottage cheese out of the fridge.

Second, veggies: Go with veggies that you can eat by hand. Broccoli or cauliflower florets, chunks of green/red/yellow pepper (cut the pepper into quarters, discard middle, bag), baby carrots. You can also eat a green pepper or tomato like you eat an apple (think about the Iron Chef guy biting into a whole pepper).

Third, fruit: go with portable fruit: banana, apple, pear, etc. can all be eaten on the run with minimal mess (ziploc bags and napkins are your friends). When you get bored or the schedule improves you can tackle cantaloupe, watermelon, mango and other fruit that require chopping.

Most food prep takes far less time than one thinks it does. I’m not a big fan of the egg whites that come in containers, so I separate eggs by hand… I’m probably setting speed records for egg separation by now.

Lastly, everyone’s pace is different; I didn’t switch to good nutrition all at once. I started with two good meals (of six), then three, then four, and so on. Eventually the difference that good nutrition makes becomes blindingly obvious, even to me… :slight_smile:

This is what I do proffesionally as well as train. So for me it has to be kept quick and simple.

Think 3 meals split in 2 to make 6 a day. That would be 2 breakfast/2lunches and 2 dinners. Easy stuff. Whatever you eat for dinner you eat for lunch the next day, so make 4 servings. Same for breakfast, make 2 days worth in a row up. So you cook only once a day for lunches and dinners (say 20 minutes max) and one breakfast every other day (or just use grow shakes)
Keep it simple, and keep it consistent

Okay, sounds good. I have two questions before I go do some monumental grocery shopping tonight.

1.) As for oatmeal, I can’t stand it plain, but I did try the Quaker Oats pre-made cups that come all mixed with different flavors. I don’t recall the ingredients off hand, I know there is some sugars in them. Are they an okay way to go? I really like the way they taste and so simple to make.

2.) The egg whites that come in a carton already seperated. Real easy to use, just pour them on the pan and there you go, no separating. Any reason not to use them? Again, convenience.

infin|ty for the oatmeal add cinnamon and stevia (a healthy sugar substitute).

[quote]infin|ty wrote:
Okay, sounds good. I have two questions before I go do some monumental grocery shopping tonight.

1.) As for oatmeal, I can’t stand it plain, but I did try the Quaker Oats pre-made cups that come all mixed with different flavors. I don’t recall the ingredients off hand, I know there is some sugars in them. Are they an okay way to go? I really like the way they taste and so simple to make.

Wrong answer. No, not okay. These are basically oatmeal with candy in them. Take the suggestions of adding cinammon, blueberries, etc.

2.) The egg whites that come in a carton already seperated. Real easy to use, just pour them on the pan and there you go, no separating. Any reason not to use them? Again, convenience.[/quote]

Yes, these are okay and I use them myself.

Infinity, due to the texture and blandness, I simply don’t cook my oatmeal at all. That could help. Find a health food store and get real oatmeal with as little processing as possible.

Adding a bit of milk and maybe a chocolate MRP is one route. Alternately, dump a bit of fruit and/or yogurt on it. Whatever you do, don’t ruin what should be a good meal by purchasing flavored oatmeal.

My favorites are the chocolate MRP or fat free blueberry yogurt.

As for cooking all day… oatmeal (uncooked) takes no time and is ready instantly when I want a P+C meal. Throw it in some cottage cheese with a scoop of your favorite MRP.

Many fruits and vegetables can be grabbed raw straight from the fridge. No chopping, slicing, dicing, cooking or dishes to deal with.

For meats, I like to buy things like pepper steaks, pork tenderloin and chicken breasts. Spice 'em up, cook 'em up… toss 'em in the fridge and grab em when you need em.

Being a bit lazy, if you couldn’t tell, I like to take nuts and tuna for meals while I’m at work. Grabbing a handful of nuts and several cans of tuna takes zero time and preperation.

Looking for a carb source with the chicken breast sitting in the fridge? Grab a can of beans. Lots of carbs, low or no fat, almost zero prep time. These things will sit in your cupboard for years – talk about convenient. Throw them both on a plate and nuke.

I might take convenience too far, but dinner is the only meal I’ll put any real work into…