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Finding time for meal prep

BigTazz

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I know I can't be the only one with this issue. I used to do fine when I had a 9 to 5 but now that I'm working longer hours (8 to 8 most days) I just don't have the same time I used to. I train early mornings, don't get home from work until just before 9 pm and by the time I'm done eating, showering and getting ready for bed, it's 10 and I have to be done for the night so I can get up at 5:30 to get ready for gym.

There is not enough time in the day. Lately I have really been struggling with getting my meals prepped for the next day. How do you do it? When do you find the time? Especially those of you with odd work schedules or long work hours. Any feedback appreciated.
 

Gpit

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i work as a personal trainer during the day and then a bartender at night, i've found what works best for me is cook all my food on sunday and put in the fridge my food for the next 2-3 days and then wrap the rest in aluminum foil and take it out before I go to bed for the next day....also Triple Chicken Flatbread from Subway is pretty good:D
 

Flex2019

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I have a similar work schedule - 9 to 8 most days, and I also train early in the morning. The only way I've found to handle my meal prep is to prepare meals for a few days at a time and store them in the refrigerator. My first two meals of the day as well as the last are prepared fresh. Many people don't like doing it this way, but preparing meals in bulk is the only way I can find to stick to my nutrition plan.
 

maldorf

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The microwave is your friend. I have always cooked up 3 big pans of boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the oven, and then the meat will last you 3-4 days or more. All you have to do then for a meal is heat up some vegetables in the microwave and reheat that chicken. Taste is fine too. You can also snack off that chicken or eat some tuna. Cooking shouldnt take too much time unless you cant stomach eating the same thing meal after meal.
 

hikitiki

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Basically what these guys have said: I cook 2-3 times a week and enough to feed a family of 10. Store it in the fridge and mix and match throughout the week. Cooking at different times of the week makes sure there is some variety to it (freshness, flavor, etc).

I'll open up canned veggies and beans and store them too so I can just mix, match, heat, and serve. I'll cook heroic amounts of rice at once as well.

I think mass cooking on weekends and such is really the only reasonable way to do it on a hectic schedule.
 

ScottMcD1

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My oven has an automatic shutoff point that you can set to a timer which is nice to be able to walk away. The types of food you are prepping are important here obviously but if you follow a regular diet...

If you have the option of an automatic shutoff...Throw chicken breasts and some potatoes/sweet potatoes in there before you go to the gym and you can easily make 2-3 days worth of protein there. You can of course microwave the potatoes as well and look into microwavable rice options.

Steam in bag vegetables are good if you have access to a microwave at work, or before you shower fill up a large microwave safe bowl with broccoli/whatever else you like, fill with water and cover to steam them for a few minutes. Your other option is things like green beans or salads which obviously don't require any preparation.

Fats require no prep, oils, nuts etc just need to be portioned out.

A real tool could be a slow cooker... throw everything you need for the day in there before you go to bed and spoon it out into some tupperware the next day. Rice/veggies/meats etc. A similar option for that is large batches of bodybuilder friendly chili.

Prep some shakes in advance, the dry ingredients in the shaker and if you have food on the side go ahead and toss that in a ziplock bag. I always have some "emergency" meals like dried tuna packets and pre portioned cashews if I'm in a pinch. They are making flavored ones now that aren't that bad really and the macros only change by 1-2 grams of carbs and maybe 1 gram extra fat.

Things that are already "made" that can be a big help.

Protein: Tuna in pouches or can, canned chicken, protein powder, liquid egg whites, cottage cheese
Carbs: Ezekial bread or cereal(love this stuff), fruits, ground up oats for shakes
Fats: cashews/almonds/peanuts etc nut butters

So really... someone could get away with almost no food prep eating those things... it just wouldn't be the most enjoyable day.
 
Last edited:

BigTazz

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i work as a personal trainer during the day and then a bartender at night, i've found what works best for me is cook all my food on sunday and put in the fridge my food for the next 2-3 days and then wrap the rest in aluminum foil and take it out before I go to bed for the next day....also Triple Chicken Flatbread from Subway is pretty good:D
Yeah, I've been relying on Subway and Pollo Loco a bit too much these days. :rolleyes: It's offseason for now, once prep time starts that won't fly anymore though. Need to start prepping my food in advance!

I have a similar work schedule - 9 to 8 most days, and I also train early in the morning. The only way I've found to handle my meal prep is to prepare meals for a few days at a time and store them in the refrigerator. My first two meals of the day as well as the last are prepared fresh. Many people don't like doing it this way, but preparing meals in bulk is the only way I can find to stick to my nutrition plan.
I hear you, looks like prepping is something I'll have to do whether I like it or not. I only have one weekend these days and spending all Sunday cooking doesn't sound like much fun but yeah, must be my only option. Thanks for the response, knowing I am not the only one working all the damn time helps!

The microwave is your friend. I have always cooked up 3 big pans of boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the oven, and then the meat will last you 3-4 days or more. All you have to do then for a meal is heat up some vegetables in the microwave and reheat that chicken. Taste is fine too. You can also snack off that chicken or eat some tuna. Cooking shouldnt take too much time unless you cant stomach eating the same thing meal after meal.
Honestly I used to have doubts about cooked protein lasting 3-4 days without spoiling. But I guess if you all do it it must be fine. I already cook the rice in bulk so if I can take care of the protein, I should be ok. Thanks!

Basically what these guys have said: I cook 2-3 times a week and enough to feed a family of 10. Store it in the fridge and mix and match throughout the week. Cooking at different times of the week makes sure there is some variety to it (freshness, flavor, etc).

I'll open up canned veggies and beans and store them too so I can just mix, match, heat, and serve. I'll cook heroic amounts of rice at once as well.

I think mass cooking on weekends and such is really the only reasonable way to do it on a hectic schedule.
Canned beans! Brother, that helps more than you can imagine! Forgot about that and have been getting tired of rice but not much time to cook other carbs. Beans!! Thank you for that.

My oven has an automatic shutoff point that you can set to a timer which is nice to be able to walk away. The types of food you are prepping are important here obviously but if you follow a regular diet...

If you have the option of an automatic shutoff...Throw chicken breasts and some potatoes/sweet potatoes in there before you go to the gym and you can easily make 2-3 days worth of protein there. You can of course microwave the potatoes as well and look into microwavable rice options.

Steam in bag vegetables are good if you have access to a microwave at work, or before you shower fill up a large microwave safe bowl with broccoli/whatever else you like, fill with water and cover to steam them for a few minutes. Your other option is things like green beans or salads which obviously don't require any preparation.

Fats require no prep, oils, nuts etc just need to be portioned out.

A real tool could be a slow cooker... throw everything you need for the day in there before you go to bed and spoon it out into some tupperware the next day. Rice/veggies/meats etc. A similar option for that is large batches of bodybuilder friendly chili.

Prep some shakes in advance, the dry ingredients in the shaker and if you have food on the side go ahead and toss that in a ziplock bag. I always have some "emergency" meals like dried tuna packets and pre portioned cashews if I'm in a pinch. They are making flavored ones now that aren't that bad really and the macros only change by 1-2 grams of carbs and maybe 1 gram extra fat.

Things that are already "made" that can be a big help.

Protein: Tuna in pouches or can, canned chicken, protein powder, liquid egg whites, cottage cheese
Carbs: Ezekial bread or cereal(love this stuff), fruits, ground up oats for shakes
Fats: cashews/almonds/peanuts etc nut butters

So really... someone could get away with almost no food prep eating those things... it just wouldn't be the most enjoyable day.
Ha! Yeah that's the problem, not the most enjoyable thing to be eating nothing but canned tuna, canned chicken, and drinkin shakes. But I hear you, I have done that before and may have to again from time to time.

You know what though? SLOW COOKER! That is not something I thought of! There is no auto shut off on my oven but the slow cooker has got to work well for me now, so long as I can leave it unattended for a good 14 hours a day, that should do well.

I'm dropping by and picking one up after work tonight. This may be what I need! Thanks bro!
 

BigChef

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Basically what these guys have said: I cook 2-3 times a week and enough to feed a family of 10. Store it in the fridge and mix and match throughout the week. Cooking at different times of the week makes sure there is some variety to it (freshness, flavor, etc).

I'll open up canned veggies and beans and store them too so I can just mix, match, heat, and serve. I'll cook heroic amounts of rice at once as well.

I think mass cooking on weekends and such is really the only reasonable way to do it on a hectic schedule.


i would'nt recommend canned vegies mate, too much sodium in those. Best to cook fresh vegies!
 

Femlifter

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I cook all my meals on Saurday or Sunday for 5 days, and then I freeze it. the night before I thaw out the meals I need in the fridge and take it with me to work and use the microwave to heat it up. I also boil a whole carton of eggs, and once cooked, I place them back in the carton unpeeled (they are easier to peel for me the day I need them if I put them back into the fridge thay way...).
 

Femlifter

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i would'nt recommend canned vegies mate, too much sodium in those. Best to cook fresh vegies!
What about frozen veggies? I don't cook those bec since I freeze my food for the week anyway, I'll just add them to my container with whatever my meal is and when I heat it up in the microwave, it cooks the frozen veggies anyway.
 

BigChef

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what I normally do is, marinate my lean meats and it would last me for fews days and I tend to do this twice a week so it save alot of time. I do my vegetables early in the morning before I go to gym/work and packed them in 4-5 meal containers. When I do my vegetables, I half blanch them1 half cooked and half raw so I get all the nutrients.
I have my breakfast at home after the gym in the morning and then shower and take my prepared meals to work and come home with 1 more meal before I go to bed.
I dont like Microwave ovens but I tend to make a salad type with Lean Meat and vegetables by mixing it all together.
 

BigChef

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What about frozen veggies? I don't cook those bec since I freeze my food for the week anyway, I'll just add them to my container with whatever my meal is and when I heat it up in the microwave, it cooks the frozen veggies anyway.
I never like frozen vegies but I cook my own fresh vegies every day because it taste better than frozen vegies.
 

bigguns078

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Easy grass fed beef recipe and brocolli:

Wake up and throw two pounds grass fed beef in a skillet or pan on low heat.. Add a packet of natural taco seasoning or homemade (what i do) and a little water.. Mix together and let cook a bit longer.. Protein for the day.. At the same time bake fresh brocolli florets (with a little red palm oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper) at 500 degrees for 8 minutes.. Couple baked sweet potatoes from last night and ur set..
 

Skip

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Get in good with your local Whole Foods. I call once a week and they marinate and cook Rosemary chicken for me at between 8-10 pounds, depending on what I need that week. They cook it fresh that day and I pick it up after the gym at night all packaged and ready to roll when I get there.

Bags of vegetables in steamer bags cook in 6 minutes.

Skip
 

Gunsmith

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Bags of vegetables in steamer bags cook in 6 minutes.

Skip

These are a life saver , I eat them almost exclusivly , and their rice in the same type bags
 

j4ever

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i dont see how you guys prepare a few days worth of chicken at 1 time because it seems like it would be dry as hell after a couple days,i prepare my meals on a daily basis unless its sweet potatos or brown rice,yeah its a pain in tha azz somtimes but i like my protein sources fresh. Those steamers are great!
 

luvthetest

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i work between 10 and 12 hrs`a day so i cook all my food for the wk on sunday put it in large tupperware containers then each night weigh out what i need put it in smaller containers then just pack it in the lunch box with a couple of ice packs in the morn.i eat 5 meals a day out of a lunch box and been doing it for yrs.
 

maldorf

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Get in good with your local Whole Foods. I call once a week and they marinate and cook Rosemary chicken for me at between 8-10 pounds, depending on what I need that week. They cook it fresh that day and I pick it up after the gym at night all packaged and ready to roll when I get there.

Bags of vegetables in steamer bags cook in 6 minutes.

Skip
Wow, that sounds great but doesnt it cost major $$$?
 

RexHead

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What works for me is to designate a day of the week (or two) that you will prep your food and go food shopping. Every Saturday I shop and every Sunday I prep my food for the week. My wife knows that's my schedule and if anything needs to change we work together to find a different time.

I get all my food cooked and measure for the week. I'll refrigerate meats that I'll eat in the next 3 days. The rest of the meat goes in the freezer. I put each individual serving in it's own zip lock bag or vacuum sealed bags.

I typically have the stove and the grill going at the same time so I can get everything done quicker. I start off with fresh fruit in the beginning of the week and end up with steamed veggies at the end. I try to get to the store to restock on fruits and Wednesday.
 

BigTazz

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Just came home to a cooked meal courtesy of slow cooker. Smells great in here though haven't tasted it yet but I bet it will be better than the tuna I would normally have right now. Thanks again for that idea!

The ground beef recipe, I used to do that and haven't in a while, thanks for the reminder.

And the Whole Foods idea, I did not know they do custom orders like that. There is no whole foods where I live now at least to the best of my knowledge, but I'll do some investigating. That would be as convenient as it gets.

Thanks for all the feedback.
 

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