T Nation

Meal Preparation, Exhausting.


Problems: I've been preparing my meals breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner, to go, for months now and I'm getting pretty tired of it. I'm starting to get lazy and just make protein shakes instead of meals. My sodium intake is high due to all the canned products. I have no room to store fresh veggies, so I have to resort to canned veggies, dried fruit, etc.

I have a handy steamer that I steam chicken and lean beef in, break up into portions and freeze, but that get so laborious.

Tips or suggestions? I'm losing my mind.

Possibly the worst part is I've turned my room mate on to eating healthy and exercising, now we both have the little mini fridge jam packed with veggies, eggs, and lean meats. What a mistake that was. He use to just eat fast food and stock the fridge with beer on the weekend..


it can get a little tedious, I'll admit. But I've just made it part of my weekly routine.

Every Monday I head to the grocery store and buy everything I need for the week, take it all home and cook up all the meals and tupperware em up. I have a nutritionist freind of mine set up my eating plan and I just do what I'm told.

I make the weekly ritual a little fun by getting myself a little snack, like gummy bears or soemthing silly to munch on. Just a little treat like that seems to help me look forward to getting it done as well. The real trick is determining if the results are worth it? Focus on what all that preparation will help you achieve in the gym. I put my menu right next to my list of goals- keeps it solid in my head that the food I eat will either help or hinder me from getting there.


I think learning to cook helps. Trying new recipes makes cooking them more fun as well as eating them. If all you can do is steam there are plenty of steamed meat recipes if you look at asian cuisines. Same for vegetables.

You can store most fruits out in the open without refrigeration. Not as long of course, but it's a way to get them in your diet. Just get the proverbial big fruit bowl.

Anyway for a size issue green leafy vegetables can be smashed down and stacked pretty easily and take up a lot less room, which may help break the monotony. You can even portion them into salads and bag them and, well even freeze them if you have to (though they tend to wilt).

If you can afford or have room for a mini fridge the end of the semester is coming up and I bet lots of college kids will be selling theirs soon so it might be a good time to get one cheap if you have the room.


Once a week, I plan what I'm going to cook/eat, go out and buy it, then cook everything later that day (enough for the week). Then I store everything in meal-sized tupperware and eat through it during the week.

I find that this drastically reduces the time it takes to prepare the meals since I'm doing everything all at once. You don't have to think of what to cook, whether you have to get ingredients, or even what to eat after it's done lol. Also cuts down on the dishwashing and storage.


Crap, I don't know how you do it with a mini fridge. I'd look for a deal on a second one, maybe keep prepared foods in one and raw foods in another.

You might want to invest in a slow cooker. I think you can get one for around $20. It's really easy to just throw everything in it, meat, veggies, etc, it makes prep a lot easier. You can make chilis or soups and pack a lot of vegetables into them and then stick the leftovers in the fridge.


It's the sacrifice we all make.

x2 on the slow cooker.


Trust me you're not the only one that gets tired of it sometimes. Yet the way my diet works. I do lots of white rice or roasted red skin/russet potatoes in the oven( lbs at a time). dry Oatmeal in blender + protein powder and frozen blueberries for quick breakfast. Used to eat it cooked with protein powder and berries yet took forever to down.

I like to cook a couple lbs each of ground turkey and ground beef (sometimes steak). Fry em up and rinse of the fat and add a whole bunch of mrs. dash (I know every flavor by heart ha) and redmonds sea salt. Then just chop up some veggies (which some day I probably dont eat enough of) like green peppers that you can saute up real quick and add to meals.

They should have low sodium canned stuff. Yet I'm not a huge fan of canned things.

It's just part of the game, soon you'll learn how to get more creative, faster and make it part of your lifestyle just like showering, brushing your teeeth.. etc etc...

x3 on the slow cooker also great if you like chilis/stews. I only use it once in a blue moon yet I should really use it more.


No offense but steamed meat sounds disgusting. Do you have a stove? You may be going overboard with the "healty".


I just go to the market every 2 days or so but it's a quick stop. I don't believe in frozen meats and I like fresh produce. If you get really great at cooking you can bang it out quick and tasty. You got to have things like homemade stocks, Complete spice rack, lots of condiments(whole grain mustards, horseradish, all the vinegars, canned tomatoes, ect). That way all you have to buy is protein, produce and maybe fresh bread to have any meal there is.


One good thing I've been doing lately is making home made whole grain waffles and freezing them. It's a good quick breakfast. I just add a couple eggs and a few fresh sausage links. Unless you guys are afraid of a little syrup?


No stove. Steamed meat taste pretty good I think. Taste pretty much the same as boiling. I didn't think of it being more healthy, most of an only option.

If I had a full sized kitchen and a stove I wouldn't be complaining. But with a kitchenette, no stove, and a mini-fridge... my options a limited.


A quick snack I like to whip up is chicken salad. It literally takes 2-3 minutes. In a bowl just mix together Tyson canned chicken, low-fat mayo, pepper, and grapes. Easy 30g of protein.


One thing I like to do which was most likely already touched on is cook a shit ton of food all at once. I have a chili recipe that is extremely tasty and nutritious. I'll make upwards of 5 pounds of it at once and then mooch off of it the rest of the week. Things like that can make the cooking less time consuming.


People seem to like the foreman grill. How about getting a hotplate or one of those small portable ovens from BJ's. Maybe a Large toaster oven?




Buy a second mini fridge... you can get a decent one on sale for like $20.

CrockPot/SlowCooker... amazing. Also cheap.

George Foreman grills work pretty well, as well as electric skillets/woks. Also, not that much.

Go to Target and walk through the small kitchen appliances... you'll find some good ideas.


Well, I know it's not what you want to hear: But how badly do you want it?

Remember, for as much work as you put in to the gym you need to do like three times as much out of the gym. Everyone else does - Just figure out how to make it enjoyable.