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Hey all, I need some advice and ideas. I work 60+ hours a week, basically from 7:30a to 9:30p with very little time to eat during the day. I do get breaks but not really enough for anything complicated. I have all day Sunday available to cook and do my house-hold chores. That being said, I eat out a lot. Which is bad. I need to start eating better but I keep coming up with the excuse that "I don't have time". Basically, I wake up, get ready for work, eat out, come home, brush teeth and straight to bed. One of my jobs is at a health food store which is great because at least my options can be on the slightly-healthier side, but during the main part of the day I teach and it is hard to get away for more than enough time to say run to Burger King or Taco Bell (both across the street from the school) and head back.

 

So, basically, I would love ideas for meals that I can bring with me for lunch and dinner and maybe some snacks that I can eat as a teacher and a cashier. I bought some protein powder and I might start doing shakes for breakfast since I can just drink that in the mornings on my way in and while I start my lessons. Is that a good idea?? I've never done shakes before but I am getting to the point where I am so lost and desperate that I will try just about anything. I NEED to start eating better. I feel like crap all the time and since I have anxiety and depression, my poor eating habits only make them harder to handle.

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Some small advice from me (others are wiser):

  1.  Eat raw food and/or food that needs no preparation. Also, you might hard boil some eggs in the morning while you're in the bathroom. (For this, take the method of Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo. (Or is it "the method of Nom Nom Paleo from Michelle Tam"? Hm...)) Preparing salad is also, relatively, easy: At least here in Munich larger grocery stores sell bags of salad which is already washed and has the size of one meal. Throwing that into a glass/tupperware box, pouring oil and vinegar into a freezing bag and putting that, too, in the box takes 3 minutes. This all revolves around "Hacking your batcave" and similar topics in the NF blog. You might also search for what Nerd Fitness thinks of "I don't have time".
  2. Learn to cook ordinary meals fast. I usually take the approach Mark Sisson also uses on his blog Mark's Daily Apple: Choose a fat (coconu oil, ghee, butter), one or two vegetables and a protein (egg, meat, fish) and throw it into a hot(!) pan. The time it takes to prepare food this way is about 15 minutes. And the dirty dishes are a pan, a plate, a fork and, maybe, a knife.
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Seriously consider bulk cooking on Sunday and freezing\refrigerating single serve meals that are super easy to re-heat.  If you don't have a slow cooker - get one.

For easy transportable snacks - fruit or healthy bars (I LOVE Kind bars and always have some with me - I travel and never know when I'll be stuck in an airport or on a plane with no decent food choices).

Some bulk cook ideas:
Cook up a bunch of boneless\skinless chicken thighs (they're more flavorful than breasts - but if you prefer the breast - that's fine) in a pan or 2 in the oven using a couple of different spice mixes.  If you have a slow cooker - even better!

Steam\microwave some diced sweet potatoes (you can peel\dice whole or get them frozen)

Frozen veggie of your choice (or mixed)

Now, take some freezer containers, drop in the cooked\diced sweet potatoes, add some veggies and a thigh or two (whole, chop or shred).  Refrigerate or freeze!  Switch up the spices or proteins and you have easy to make\transport food for the week.

Container ideas:
https://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-TakeAlongs-Sandwich-Storage-Container/dp/B000VU7W8C/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1472134299&sr=1-3&keywords=take+along+containers
https://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-TakeAlongs-Rectangle-Storage-Container/dp/B0014CT9HI/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1472134303&sr=1-2&keywords=take+along+containers

Also google bulk cooking for more recipe ideas!  If you see something you like but it isn't diet friendly - post back here and one of the more experienced cooks may be able to help you tweak it into something more health\closer to the type of diet plan you're looking for.

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If you have a microwave available, you can get an easy an quick lunch with minimal prep time. All you need to do is embrace the power of steam. Get some steamer bags from the store (next to the ziploc bags), and build your meals on Sunday night. Cook off a bunch of chicken or good priced steak, throw in some frozen veggies, some good sauce (you can get creative here, use low salt soy sauce, homemade asian bbq, etc.) and steam for a minute or two and you've got a feast that would make Jabba jealous. Here's a post that has a few ideas on what else to use and the whole process written out better than I can. Enjoy!

 

http://www.primermagazine.com/2012/earn/the-perfect-easy-and-healthy-office-lunch

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On 22.08.2016 at 5:21 PM, Akura said:

Some small advice from me (others are wiser):

  1.  Eat raw food and/or food that needs no preparation. Also, you might hard boil some eggs in the morning while you're in the bathroom. (For this, take the method of Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo. (Or is it "the method of Nom Nom Paleo from Michelle Tam"? Hm...)) Preparing salad is also, relatively, easy: At least here in Munich larger grocery stores sell bags of salad which is already washed and has the size of one meal. Throwing that into a glass/tupperware box, pouring oil and vinegar into a freezing bag and putting that, too, in the box takes 3 minutes. This all revolves around "Hacking your batcave" and similar topics in the NF blog. You might also search for what Nerd Fitness thinks of "I don't have time".
  2. Learn to cook ordinary meals fast. I usually take the approach Mark Sisson also uses on his blog Mark's Daily Apple: Choose a fat (coconu oil, ghee, butter), one or two vegetables and a protein (egg, meat, fish) and throw it into a hot(!) pan. The time it takes to prepare food this way is about 15 minutes. And the dirty dishes are a pan, a plate, a fork and, maybe, a knife.

 

100 % agree!

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When I am working crazy overtime at work, here's a healthy, go-to lunch formula for me: 

 

2 servings frozen veg

1 serving cooked meat, tofu, or nuts

1 serving grains (can use rice if you cook it on your day off and shove it in the fridge to keep)

salt and pepper to taste. 
Optional: some garlic, or your choice of sauce. 

Pop that in the microwave on the defrost setting, and you'll have a hot, balanced lunch in less than 10 minutes when you get to work - and if you choose your grain and protein wisely, it takes less than 5 minutes to prep at home.

 

Note: If you have a rice cooker and you cook up a 50/50 mix of rice and lentils on your day off, that can take care of both the grain and the protein. 

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Hard boiled eggs are a great go-to, but I like my eggs poached. People don't know this, but you can cook them in advance! Immediately after cooking, transfer them to an ice bath (so the yolks don't keep cooking). Then store them suspended in water (most any tupperware will do). When you're ready to eat them, just put them in a bowl of hot water for a minute or so and then go to town! 

 

Other on-the-go options: deli turkey or chicken slices (I often spread with hummus and roll into logs), string cheese, apples. I also usually have cashews or almonds floating around somewhere; they're my favorites, but if you prefer something else, nuts keep fairly well for a while and they're great to munch on (although they're calorically dense so be careful!). I also regularly bring an avocado to work with me and eat it with a little salt for breakfast. 

 

I keep one of these with peanut butter (creamy only, of course -- chunky would get stuck!). It's a pain at the time but it's perfect for on-the-go and lasts me forever. That way, I can easily eat peanut butter on an apple or banana without making a mess. 

 

If you have a microwave at work, you can steam things when you're there. Basically any vegetable is going to be steam-friendly. If you have a fridge, you can keep a jar of olives on hand. I also really like Brooklyn Biltong, which is supposed to be kept refrigerated. If you don't have a fridge, you can get another jerky, but I haven't had much luck finding a good one that's sugar-free. 

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My recommendation is always going to be making a lot Ratatouille on a day off and then your veg is sorted for like a week.
2 Bell peppers
4 Tomatoes 
2 courgettes/zucchinis (that's what americans call them, right?) 
1 aubergine/eggplant (again with the other names)
and an onion or 2
plus whatever else you want, mushrooms, green beans, etc.

dice it all, leave it to boil in it's own juices with the lid on until everything is soft and mushy (I give it like 30 minutes), et voila, veg for the week, just pop in the fridge :)
I've found frying it with minced beef makes for a veggie-high pasta sauce, and adding salsa makes for good wrap mix.
It's also good cold. 

In total the dicing is pretty quick, and the cooking itself is super low maintenance. Ultimately you save A LOOOT of time :D 

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