What we eat, when we eat, how we eat, how we prepare our food and it what environment we eat our food in all influence the quality of the food we consume and how our bodies can use it.
You would probably agree that having a plan and doing a little prep is necessary to avoid diving face first into the wrong type of foods. But, how do you get the prep in with work, family, school and all the other things that require your time and pull you away from prepping food?
It isn’t easy, but it is doable.
In case you don’t know me well, or at all, I have three boys. They are out of their minds most days of the week. I own and operate EBM Fitness Solutions as a one-man operation. Anything that goes on with EBM is me. Billing, social media posts, emails, vacuuming the floors and even changing the TP when it is out.
My wife operates Root Nutrition (interestingly, it is located right next door to EBM), teaches three days a week and works two days a week as a Registered Dietitian working with individuals battling with Eating Disorders.
Things are crazy, so I get that people think meal prep and eating better are impossible. Some days, I would agree with you.
1 dad. 3 kids. Time to prep dinner
Right now, our Friday schedule constitutes me getting the older two off the bus, relieving the babysitter and hanging out with the boys for the night as my wife works late on Fridays.
This meal prep example is from a Friday afternoon.
Once the boys get home they dove into a snack and some legos or other activity. Cue the motivational music as I am getting a start on my prep. I was going to clean the chicken and chop up some sweet potatoes.
By cleaning, I do not mean giving it a bath. I am very particular about my food and do not want to bite into any nastiness in my chicken so I clean all the garbage off it before cooking. If you ever eat chicken that I have prepared, know that it is void of anything you cannot bite through.
I would prep now and cook in a few hours.
Once this was done, I threw this stuff in the fridge for later. Now, it was time for some Mario Bros on the Switch.
A few hours have passed since we last chatted. Now it was prep time. The potatoes take longer to cook, so we will discuss those first.
Here’s the recipe.
Cajun-Style Sweet Potatoes
2 medium (5oz) sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 teaspoon thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon rosemary
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, stir together paprika, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
2. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. This should already be done.
3. Brush each half with olive oil.
4. Rub the seasoning mix over the cut surface of each half.
5. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan.
6. Bake until tender or about 45 minutes.
NOTE: I have a convection oven and these were done in about 35 minutes so be careful with walking away for 45 minutes without checking on these are they might be potato chips when you get back.
While these are in the oven, you can start to get the chicken ready.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2⁄3 cup raw cashew pieces
1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons macadamia oil. I could not find this at my stores so I used either some butter or coconut oil spray.
Salt and pepper
1. Put the cashew pieces in a food processor and grind them to a fine texture. Dump them out onto a plate and add the salt, pepper, and paprika, mixing the whole thing well. Set aside.
2. Break the egg into another plate with a rim around it (or large bowl).
3. Dip each chicken breast (make sure they are not too thick, if they are just pound them) into the egg and then into the cashew mixture, coating both sides. Add macadamia oil in skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the chicken.
4. Sauté until it’s golden on both sides and cooked through about 5 minutes per side.
NOTE: I sauted these the first time I made them and baked them the second time. Both worked well. Player’s choice.
I also cooked some of the chicken plain as my kids wouldn’t eat it with anything on it and I had other plans for some of the chicken.
As the food was cooking, I prepped the boys dinner. When my food was done, I was able to sit down with them at the table and we ate together.
I did have some help prepping the sandwiches that the boys wanted.
Teach your kids how to cook
Not to get too far off topic or too high on my soapbox, but if you have kids, teach them how to cook. Especially if you have boys. They need to know how to cook for themselves.
Start with something simple like PB&J. Let them flip pancakes when they are older (my 7-year old has done this). Let them add and mix ingredients. Let them do anything. Just get them comfortable in the kitchen.
This is one example but it shows that it is possible to do some meal prep even when you are in the eye of the storm. Time is always a consideration as to why we can’t/won’t/don’t do things. Just know, there are ways of making it work.
Until next time,