Thursday, May 31, 2012

Food Prep!

Let’s face it… We are BUSY women!  Some of us are students’ writing papers and studying for exams.  Some of us are mothers caring for our families.  Some of us are business women pushing our careers forward.  We do it all!  Now and then the one thing that we can forget to do is take time for ourselves…  This is why it is so important to prepare your meals ahead of time!  I recently finished university (just a few days ago to be exact!) and I know how difficult it is to be a student eating on the go.  The salad bar is almost invisible next to all of the burger/pasta/dessert stations at school so it makes it really hard to make good choices.  The same goes for women who are working every day or those who are busy running after energetic little ones!  The saying goes “If you FAIL to PLAN, you PLAN to FAIL”… Meaning that we need to plan our meals and prep them ahead of time so we don’t have to worry about what we are going to eat or how we are going to find the time to make it. 

Sunday is my Meal Prep day… I prepare all of my chicken, veggies, and lean beef meals and package them up into Ziploc containers and organize them in the fridge.  I used to cook every single day, several times a day but I found I was constantly cooking and cleaning!  I didn’t have time to do anything else.  This saves me a lot of time and makes eating MUCH easier.  Plus there is less room for temptation… You know what I am talking about… It’s almost noon and you are starving, but you have a meeting/class/baby ready to go down for a nap etc. soon so you opt for something quick and easy… That tends to be junk food/Drive-Thru!  It is SO convenient, am I right?  Having your meals prepped and ready for you to heat and eat is pretty convenient too!  ;)

I find the most difficult time to get all of my meals in (I’m no pro… I still struggle!) is on day trips.  I would pack all of my meals and try to stuff them into lunch bags I had at home and I would walk out the door with 5 lunch bags and end up forgetting the car keys in the house because my hands were so full!  I recently purchased the 6 Pack Fitness Cooler Bag that holds everything I need!  (Here is the link…  There is room for water bottles, ice packs, Ziploc storage containers (it actually comes with 3 storage containers!), and SO MUCH MORE!  It is compact and the pink/grey colour combo is ADORABLE!  If pink isn’t your thing, not to worry, there is a black one too.  Now there is no excuse for not having my meals with me!  If only it had a microwave inside that magical little cooler bag!  (I will do a full review on the bag after I have tested it out!)

Two of my favourite cooking methods for prepping meals are poaching and roasting.  I poach my chicken because I find it cooks faster and stays juicier all week and I roast my veggies because all I have to do is pop them in the oven, or better yet on the BBQ!  Sautéing veggies is a delightful idea, but it takes more time and required more of your attention.  My FAVE veggie this month has been asparagus!  They are rather thin and tender right now so they roast up really quickly and taste fantastic with my poached chicken!  Another summer-time favourite veggie of mine is BBQ’d zucchini.  I slice it up lengthwise and grill it up!  It is delicious!  I am a huge fan of the BBQ :)

Food is FUEL and when your body has what it needs to perform, you are going to succeed!  So this is my challenge to all of you ladies out there… If you aren’t prepping your meals for the week, ahead of time, TRY IT!  It might seem like a lot of time to dedicate to one thing all in one day but I promise it will save you time and energy throughout the entire week! 


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ordering Food at Restaurants: How to Stay FOCUSED!

I LOVE going out to eat and trying new restaurants, new dishes, and enjoying the experience! However, it can be really difficult when you are following a meal plan, have food allergies, or are just watching what you are eating in general.  Nowadays restaurants are including Nutritional Information in their menus (or in a separate booklet) but they tend to leave things out or use teeny tiny font so you can’t read all of the information.  Don’t let this deter you from going out once in a while with friends and/or family.  I am going to tell you how to take the mystery out of the menu!

Use the menu as a guideline.  Don’t feel like you HAVE to order something directly off of the menu… get CREATIVE!  I will look over the menu to see what kind of veggies they are serving with their main courses but I always create my own meal.  For example, I might order:

-        A grilled chicken breast, no salt or seasoning (make sure you tell them this if you are avoiding these things)

-        Grilled or steamed veggies, no salt or seasoning

-        Side garden salad with a big slice of lemon to drizzle on top

This is generally what you find in a main course meal on a menu, just a “CLEAN” version.  No salt, seasoning, fatty oils/butter, dressings, sauces, etc. 

Most restaurants will have no problem with these requests!  Creating the same thing over and over again can feel a little robotic, so the chef(s) might even ENJOY making your special request meal!  I have had a few “is this girl serious?” looks when ordering like this but I don’t let it bother me.  It’s not like I am asking someone at the 7/11 to grill up a chicken breast for me!  If the restaurant is able to serve chicken and veggies smothered in sauce, they can make a clean version just for you and you don’t have to feel bad about it!

Now, if the problem is your company… Everyone is ordering all of the things you can’t eat… Stay strong!  Maybe you will inspire one/some of your friends to eat healthier and order something better the next time you all go out together!

Bottom line is: you can absolutely make healthier choices when going out for dinner at a restaurant; you just have to get a little creative!