When you work all day and then spend time working out to keep fit, having time to prepare a balanced, nutritious meal seldom happens. You end up grabbing fast food meals or heating up processed or frozen food than provides less nutrition than you need and is less appetizing than you want. You can have homemade meals from fresh ingredients that are just as convenient at mealtime as those other options are. They will taste a lot better and be far more nutritious too.
It is sort of a shortcut in meal preparation. At least it is a shortcut at mealtime through the week. It does take a lot of work all done in one day but the results are meals that taste great, are well balanced and just as convenient as going out for fast food or heating up a commercially made frozen dinner.
Choose one day a week to devote to preparing meals for the week. Though it is best to do the grocery shopping the day before, it can be done early in the morning on the day you will be cooking. So you have variety during the week, plan to make at least five different entrees. When you are selecting meat, think in terms of each type of meat being used for several meals. For example, if you plan to have beef for three meals and chicken for four meals, buy a large roast and a large package of chicken breast and thighs. This will be enough for the meals planned for the following week and could leave some leftover to use the next week.
On the day you have chosen to do your cooking and meal prep for the next week, have everything organized and all your pans, bowls and utensils where you can get to them easily. This will save time so you can work quickly and efficiently. Stews, soups and casseroles are great meals to prepare this way so you will want to have serving size bowls with lids to freeze your meals. You can also get plates with covers that are made for preparing meals for the freezer.
Most vegetables don’t need much cooking and for reheating, you don’t want them cooked too much anyway. With many vegetables, cutting them into bite size pieces and putting them in the freezer uncooked is best since they will cook enough when you put the plate in the microwave to heat your meal. Meat is best to slightly undercook so heating in the microwave finishes the cooking without over cooking and drying the meat out. Fish is best not to cook until it is going to be eaten. It doesn’t take long to cook fish so you can cook it while the rest of the meal is thawing and heating in the microwave.
You can use this method to make meals quick to fix during the week for a lot of different meals. Once you get started preparing meals this way, you will think of a lot of ways to have meals ready quickly so you don’t have to sacrifice good nutrition because you work all day and then go to the gym after work.