By Henry Gould – April 30th, 2019
For any of us who fall into the category of “millenials”, we’ve no doubt been scolded by older generations telling us we eat out in restaurants too much, buy fancy coffee drinks when we should be saving, not to mention probably thinks we eat Avocado toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner @ $10 a pop.
Nobody is perfect and austerity sucks, but we can all probably agree that eating and drinking out is expensive. It’s also bad for our health! Restaurants generally just want you full and happy so you come back and spend more money. Good for the bottom line, bad for the waistline.
The solution? Cook at home! An even better solution?? Meal prep for the week! It takes a little bit of time and planning, but the results pay massive dividends in a small amount of time. When you have lunch for the day as well as snacks, you’re less likely to take that cookie from Jenny in accounting or give in and go to Cactus Club for lunch.
There are lots of great recipes available on this blog, so have a read through and get inspired. Below are some tips on things that can make the weekly meal prep a lot easier, and allow you to stay on target for whatever your fitness goals.
Buy 5+ Reusable Containers
Seems like a no-brainer; you need something to store the food in! If you’re prepping for 5 lunches a week, you’re probably going to need 5 containers, so something cheap like plastic Ziploc containers with a closing lid are good. If you want to go big and invest in glass or metal containers, that’s a good idea too. Sometimes the plastic containers can get stained by turmeric or tomato sauce, which can make you less likely to want to use them.
Cook Two Items Instead Of One
If you make a roast chicken on Monday, chances are by Thursday or Friday you’re not going to want to eat roast chicken anymore. Solution? Make two items on the same day! Perhaps make one roast chicken and one roast pork tenderloin, then alternate days on when you take it. Or a chickpea salad and a farro grain bowl. Tuna and salmon, quinoa and lentils. You get the idea.
Focus On Durability & Be Considerate
Ceviche is delicious when made fresh. Two days later? I’d rather eat the barnacles off a dock.
That lovely salad you made of farmers market greens with a delicate vinaigrette? By lunchtime the next day it’s going to look like a wet, sloppy mess.
When prepping things to take for lunch over the course of several days, you want it to be able to hold up fairly well, in addition to having as few “odorous” compounds as possible. Not only are you less likely to want to eat 2 day old fish soup or something with a lot of garlic, chances are your colleagues will start to resent you too.
Chili? Awesome. Stew with mashed potato? Great. Sushi? Not so much. Garlic aioli? Report to the HR department immediately.
Onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts), and fermented foods can be particularly bothersome to other people, so just something to keep in mind.
Condiments Are Your Friend
I dunno about you, but no matter what I make, I always seem compelled to just lather it in hot sauce or some other salty, spicy, vinegary condiment. It’s a habit I’m not particularly proud of, but it is what it is. And if that means getting you to eat your leftovers at work? I say go for it. The goal is to eat the food you brought to work, so a little shake of hot sauce is likely going to help you want to eat it rather than throw it out and get a $15 salad from the food court.
Essential condiments to keep in the work fridge. I skipped ketchup because it’s loaded with sugar, and is really only good on fried potatoes (don’t @ me).
Also watch out for condiment thieves at work…
- Maille Dijon Mustard
- Keen’s Hot Mustard
- HP Sauce
- Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- El Yucateco sauces
- Secret Aarvark (these are the best)
Root Vegetables FTW
Of all the vegetables in the grocery store, root vegetables and squash seem to hold up the best over the course of several days. Beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, squash (acorn, butternet etc) turnips, radishes, parsnips, carrots… the list goes on and on.
Root vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, and really only need boiling or roasting to make delicious. Instead of seasoning prior to cooking, either roast, bake or boil very simply and then dress afterwards with things like salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, herbs and spices.
Two recipe ideas below from past #YardHard blogs!