By Sara Baker
Sometimes eating clean “real” food 90% of the time for me in the Fat Loss Lifestyle can feel overwhelming, especially when you think about how to prepare and cook all of that food. However, I work full time, as I assume many of you guys do as well. I often leave my house between 5 AM and 6 AM and do not return until sometimes 6 PM at night, and so I know that preparing food in advance is a must and when I break it down into manageable components (as I did here), it doesn’t seem so ominous.
In fact, if I had to pick what I think is the most crucial aspect of following a fat loss lifestyle it is organization and preparation. For me, Sunday means Food Prep Day, and it is worth to spend 2 hours on a Sunday planning and prepping most of my meals to be organized for the week. Not only does this preparation help me to stick to a clean diet, but it also helps me mentally. I honestly feel anxious or a bit stressed when I do not pack or forget my lunch and have to rely on the cafeteria for my food. This is from both a financial and clean eating perspective. Though we have some decent options at my workplace, the cost also motivates me to bring my own food.
I start my Sunday by planning my dinners. For meals throughout the day, I stick to the usual clean foods of oat bran, egg whites and salads with chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes, almonds, apples, grapefruit and maybe the occasional protein bar. I eat mostly the same breakfasts and lunches from week to week with the exception of leftovers so I try to be creative and have fun with my dinners.
For dinner, I am cooking for my husband as well so my goal/challenge is to find clean, tasty recipes that he will like as well. I often use recipes from Clean Eating Magazine, various websites and magazines. I sometimes have to alter the recipes to make them a bit cleaner which is part of the fun and challenge :). I am fortunate to have a sister who is a chef who often helps me with certain techniques which has made my cooking much more enjoyable.
This week my dinner meal plan looks like this, hopefully this will help give you some great ideas to use with your family:
Monday: Orange Chicken (basically grilled chicken breast cooked with onions, garlic, orange zest and a tiny bit of fresh squeezed orange juice), asparagus on the side.
Tuesday: Turkey Breast with smoked paprika rub (rub is comprised of smoked paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon, pepper and a tiny bit of sea salt) and a small spinach salad.
Wednesday: Chicken Curry (broccoli, peppers, garlic, onions simmered in salt free chicken broth and green curry paste)
Thursday: Deer Chili (healthy chili of beans, stewed tomatoes, lean deer meat, chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic)
Friday: This day is usually leftovers as many of the recipes I used throughout the week feed more than 2 people.
Saturday: Often is my cheat meal so I eat out a restaurant :)
As far as prep goes for my meals throughout the day, I try to make at least 3 days’ worth of food. Chicken and sweet potatoes, boiled egg whites can be prepped and kept for days but egg white omelettes and salads are often best fresh or within a day or so.
My prep day involves cooking the following for my day-meals for Mon – Wed (serves myself only):
8 boiled egg whites
4 chicken breasts
2 egg white omelettes (I use 1 dozen egg whites and make one huge omeltte and divide in half)
1 sweet potato
2 cups broccoli
I will then do a little bit more of prep on Wednesday evening to prepare me for the rest of the week. Remember, prep and organization is a huge component of eating clean. However, this does not need to take up a whole day if you are organized and have planned your shopping trip and meals. By being organized and having a plan, eating clean will come much easier and will become a way of life. Let me know if you have any favorite clean and lean recipes!
Want more ideas for Sunday Food prep? Here they are!