I spend A LOT of time at the gym in a week (too much, according to some people) I also work full time, and have a 35 minute commute every other day. In addition to Crossfit, I have all the responsibilities of being a grown-up, as well as occasionally volunteering at my church and trying to keep up a social life with friends outside of Crossfit (yes, I do have some), not to mention getting some sleep in there. I also LOVE to eat, and getting good quality nutrition is really important to me (but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to indulge. Just ask Jess, she’s seen me house my fair share of deliciously unhealthy food in no time flat…but I digress).
So, how do I keep myself organized, and fueled with quality food throughout the week? I’m glad you asked! But before I continue, a couple of disclaimers:
- I often choose to WOD in the morning and lift in the afternoon/evening. I’m not saying this is what YOU should so. I’m just writing based on my experience and what works for me.
- I’m single, and don’t have a family/kids to take care of. I recognize that what I’m able to do and have time for is more than many readers in our audience. Again, my aim is not for you to copy me exactly, or even to make you feel guilty or like I have it all together (I don’t) or think I’m amazing….I just want to pass on some words of wisdom based on my experience.
- I am not certified in any way, shape or form to talk to you about nutrition, and I’m far from an expert. I just know what works for me. I’ve translated my strength in planning ahead into meal and food planning for the week ahead. Again, you don’t have to do exactly what I do, I’m just offering some tips for success.
With that out of the way, now we can get down to the fun stuff. How do I make it through a week jam-packed with work, commuting, Crossfit and life in general without resorting to take-out or stops at the drive-thru? Leftovers and eggs would be the short answer.
I cook a LOT on the weekend. I try to have a lot of vegetables cooked, as well as something with protein. A pot of quinoa is also a good idea to have cooked and ready to go in the fridge (as per my coach’s orders to get more healthy carbs into my meals. More on that later). That way, during the week, I can mix and match what’s in my fridge with quicker-cooking items and have supper on the table in 20 minutes or less (which is important when I get home from lifting, or else I get hangry in a bad way).
Here are some of my protein favs:
- Chicken curry stew (this recipe is my base but I typically cut out the potatoes, add some beans to bulk it up for cheaper, and add a ton of veggies to bump up the nutrition. A chopped apple/and or some dried fruit adds delicious flavour too)
- A big pot of chili
- Pre-cooked ground beef with onions and and garlic. You can throw this into almost any meal in a hurry.
- Mini meatloaves (try this recipe)
- Buy half a ham (or whatever size is on sale), roast it on the weekend then eat it all week
- If I don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time, I’ll buy a rotisserie chicken and eat it in meals throughout the week
- I always hard boil a bunch of eggs on the weekend for a quick, easy, cheap and portable snack or to throw in lunches. You really can’t beat eggs as an affordable protein source.
When it comes to veggies, here’s some of what I’m into lately:
- Roast a big plan of veggies and have them in a container in the fridge ready to go. Great thrown in salads, heated up for supper or under a fried egg
- Cook up a big portion of spaghetti squash and have it ready to bulk up almost any meal (goes great with the ground beef or mini meatloaves I talked about above and some tomato sauce)
- I am currently LOVING cabbage (not sexy, I know). It’s so cheap, and you can cook up a bunch on the weekend (I saute it with apple and onion, add some Dijon mustard, cider or wine, water salt and pepper and braise it until tender) and have it all week long. It tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge.
- Cooked squash or sweet potatoes can be easily reheated as a side or thrown into anything to bulk up a meal/add some healthy carbs (important for training).
And for quick-cooking staples?
- Eggs! I joke that my signature supper these days is a pile of random leftovers topped with a fried egg. Seriously though, eggs cook so fast, and are delicious and cheap…you really can’t beat them. Bonus points if you cook them in coconut oil.
- Kale/greens. Use one big non-stick pan, fry up your greens (kale, spinach, whatever you’ve got…) in some coconut oil. Then you can use the same pan for your eggs and save on dishes. Greens are great because you can cook them in no time flat and they’re so healthy, fibre and nutrient-packed that you can eat a TON (which is important for me as I can eat A LOT).
- Sweet potato. I mentioned having them pre-cooked above, which I often do. But you can also cook one in the microwave in about 6 minutes. I also love taking a pre-cooked sweet potato, then chopping it and frying in some coconut oil for a delicious hash (add some chopped onion and apple if you’ve got it- amazing!)
- Combining the above three ingredients is actually one of my favourite post-gym meals because it’s so fast, easy, and cheap (are you sensing a theme here?) to throw together, and is made entirely of whole foods (something that’s really important to me).
So those are my lunch and supper staples. Stay tuned for a forthcoming post on breakfast and snack ideas (I’m on the go for both of these so I have to be creative). What are your staples and go-tos for healthy food to get you through the week?