Yesterday I listed common traps I fall into with eating- or the things that tend to lead me astray. I mentioned that I want my eating to be on point 95% of the time. But what does that mean? It is important to define my "eating right" and what I consider "fueling my body properly" to be, otherwise, there is no context. Everyone is going to have a different definition of what eating right is for them. I've put in enough time, and run enough experiments on my body that I know what works for me and what doesn't.
First and foremost, eating right for me means making my food. Making my food means shopping to have everything I need on hand. Typically I will go to Costco once every 2 weeks and spend $60-$100 depending on what I need, and I will supplement the rest of my groceries at the supermarket shopping 1-2 times/week, spending $100-$125/week. Costco has a tremendous amount of organic produce, organic meats, and things like organic coconut oil, almond butter, butter from grass fed cows; all staples in my diet. My Costco cart typically includes:
Organic apples or pears (12)
Bell peppers (6)
Asparagus/haricots vert (2lbs)
5lbs of cut and washed broccoli
2lbs of cut and washed cauliflower
Organic skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 pack of lean ground turkey
Aidells chicken sausages
Almond butter (every 2 months or so)
Coconut oil (once a year? Huge tub)
canned organic diced tomatoes (8 cans)
Quinoa (5lbs) (every 2 months or so)
I fill in the blanks weekly at the grocery store:
spices, if needed (from the bulk section)
any chunks of meat that are on sale
bananas and/or seasonal fruits
half and half
any household items (paper towels, soap, etc.)
I spend about an hour on the weekend doing meal preparation for the coming days. I try to keep things fairly simple, the fewer the steps, the better. A typcial Sunday cooking session looks something like this:
Set oven to 425 degrees, grab a sheet pan, and dump out the 2lb bag of cauliflower onto the pan. I heat up a few tbps. of coconut oil, drizzle it over cauliflower, then sprinkly with salt and pepper. I give everything a good toss with my hands, and put the pan in the oven for 30(?) minutes- until the cauliflower is fragrant and starting to carmelize. Prep time- 3 mintues. Cook time 30 minutes. While the cauliflower is roasting, I'll make up a batch of turkey taco meat. Using 2 of the ground turkey packages from Costco, I'll brown the meat, then add cumin, chili power, salt, pepper, two cans of diced tomatoes, and some fresh chopped garlic. I'll let that simmer for awhile, and usually by the time the cauliflower is done, I'll have my turkey taco meat done as well. Prep time - 5 minutes (chop garlic, assemble add ins). Cook time- 20-30 minutes.
Once my turkey taco meat is simmering, I'll chop up 3 bell peppers into strips, and an onion or two. When the cauliflower comes out, I'll throw the onions and peppers (with some salt and pepper) onto the sheet pan and roast until super soft and caramelized. Prep time- 5-10 minutes (depending on your cutting speed) Cook time 30-45 minutes.
Bam. In about an hour, I have ready to grab protein and veggies on hand for myself and husband to eat. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll roast or braise some other protein source as well, but I really try to only cook off what we will eat in 2-3 days. Tuesday or Wednesday when we start to get low on the fridge stash, I'll roast off another sheet pan of vegetables (half of the broccoli bag, some asparagus, or more peppers/onions) and some chicken thighs, or make more taco meat.
I've covered shopping and meal prep, so what do my actual days look like in terms of meal consumption? Pretty unconventional- unless you are simply looking at the food as fuel.
Typical breakfast- coffee with half and half, and 6oz of turkey taco meat and some onions/pepper mix or 2 chicken thighs and some roasted cauliflower, or 2 chicken sausages and some roasted veggie, or 2 chicken thighs, a nuked sweet potato and some roasted veggies...see a trend?
Snack- apple or pear with almond butter
Typical lunch- same or similar to breakfast. If I don't have a nuked yam at breakfast, I'll almost always have one at lunch, especially after a noon crossfit workout. Gotta replensish those stores, you know? Alternatively, I will have dinner left-overs if we made a roast or some other special meal- but it still has the same components- protein and vegetable.
Dinner- guess what...more of the same! Well, the nights that the husband works that is. When I come home from work and my husband won't be home till after I'm in bed, I don't want to spend any time cooking. That's why it is SO IMPERATIVE that I spend time on days when I can preparing foods to just grab and heat up. When in this cycle of shopping/prepping/cooking it is so easy to keep on track. Yes, I eat a lot of the same things over and over. But- I have played around with them enough that I know they are flavors I can eat forever. There is a reason why I eat chicken thighs and not chicken breast. With all the different fruits and vegetables, there really are a lot of combinations to be had.
I try to drink close to a gallon of water a day as well.
On days when my husband is home all day, he will sometimes braise off a large pork shoulder, or some hunk of beef. Summer is around the corner, so that means grilling- burgers, chicken, sausages, occasional steaks, grilled veggies and grilled yam slices. Or one night a week when we are together in the evening we might head out for some Pho' or Thai food. I don't get bored. I don't feel deprived. When I'm spending the time to shop and prep meals so that I have good foods to eat at my finger tips all the time, I feel amazing. I feel like I'm in a groove and doing it all. Yes, I am doing more, but I've figured out how to do it so efficiently I'm spending less time on cooking/eating, and feeling better. This is where I like to be, this is where I will continue to try to be, 95% of the time.
Saturday mornings I like to give myself a little leeway for something special- my favorite paleo pancakes (egg, banana, almond butter, 1 tbsp. coconut flour, dash of salt) with some bacon, or a scramble of eggs, bacon, yams, green onion thrown onto some corn tortillas.
This is my 95%. Making my food. Having a good variety of meats (mostly lean) and vegetables rotating through the week. Using different methods of preparation- roasting, brasing, grilling. Eating out at restaurants no more than once a week. Eating corn or rice once or twice a week. Eating bacon occasionally. Not fearing fat. Paying attention to portion sizes. Including vegetables in every meal. Eating organic/grass fed when possible. Drinking water. Feeling awesome.