“You have to spend money to make money.” This phrase is quite common in the business world, but I am instead going to relate this to "time". In the case of meal prepping, we have to spend time cooking, prepping, and portioning our food to later save time when we want to be able to quickly grab a meal. But what happens when you don’t have the prep time to spend?
As the summer months roll in and bring the warmth with them, many peoples’ schedules seem to rapidly fill. Between time at the beach, hiking the trails, concerts in the park, and various barbecues or picnics, it seems there’s less time in the day to spend on the less-as-desirable activities – like meal prepping.
If you are finding that you have less and less time for meal prepping because your schedule is too packed with fun in the sun, you’re in the right place. Below are some options, ideas, and tips for quick meals to fuel your week:
1. Costco, Sam’s Club, and some major grocery stores now sell pre-made meals in bulk – often all that’s needed is the final heating or cooking of the combined dish! Distribute into separate containers and you have meals covered for the week! Options can widely vary, but some common grabs include pre-prepared salads, full pans of enchiladas, full pans of chicken alfredo, pre-grilled chicken breasts, and even easy to assemble taco platters!
2. Many gas stations now carry a variety of convenience foods that also provide fairly solid nutrition. Here’s some examples for great grabs on the go:
- Ready-to-drink protein shakes
- Beef jerky
- Cheese sticks or cubes
- Protein bars
- Granola bars
- Fresh fruit
- Pre-made sandwiches (if available)
- Bagel with peanut butter
- 1-2 protein options (above) with 1-2 carb options (above)
3. Pizza night can be every night! If you order a large enough pie for leftovers, pizza can act as your main dish for meals and stay good in your fridge for up to 4 days. The crust of pizza delivers a solid dose of carbs for sustained energy while the cheese boosts the protein for more staying-power. Choose plenty of vegetables to top your pizza to further enhance the nutritional punch! Add a small side salad or some fresh fruit for a well-rounded meal.
Some of my favorite take-out pizza picks?
- Herb Chicken Mediterranean Pizza – Papa Murphy’s
- Garden Fresh Pizza – Papa John’s
- Veggie Lover’s Pizza – Pizza Hut
- Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza – Dominos
4. Save your time on making sandwiches. Have someone else make them for you! Order a few larger subs from Subway, Jimmy John’s, or whatever your favorite sandwich shop may be. Pile them high with proteins and veggies to keep you full. Word of caution, ask them to hold the mayo or sauces (if possible) to keep the sandwich from getting soggy. Keep them wrapped and grab throughout the week for an easy on-the-go meal.
5. Frozen meals have come a long way from their “TV Dinner” ancestors. Many not only taste quite delicious, but many are actually quite nutritious, as well. While the options can be overwhelming, a few excellent brands to look for include:
- Feel Good Foods
- Tattooed Chef
6. Let’s not forget that Western is also here to help meet your needs wherever we can! Stop at the Fuel Bar for a bite of something tasty! No prep needed! Want some ideas on what to have and when to have it? Here’s some of my favorites:
Before a workout:
- Berry Boost Smoothie
- Get Buzzed Smoothie
- Fresh Fruit
After a workout:
- Blueberry Almond Protein Bites
- Power Paleo Smoothie
- Blue Recovery Smoothie
- Grilled Chicken Salad
- Veggie Hummus Toast
- Lunch or Breakfast Burrito
- Peanut Butter Lover Overnight Oats
- Carrots & Dip
- Matcha Bliss Smoothie
- Fresh Fruit
- Grapes & Cheese Cup
Don’t stop with the summertime fun! The warmer months are limited, so we have to make all the memories we can. If that means there’s less time to spend in the kitchen, know that you have plenty options to pick from to keep healthy meals within reach all week.