zapslr

Ok- new- please help!

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So i'll try to keep this short and sweet...

 

i am about 75% done w/ the book and hope/plan to start on Fri 8/1. 

 

Due to my work schedule i don't have a ton of time to cook, there's no chance i'll be cooking BEFORE work and i won't want to get home and cook a meal either, I eat all my food other then dinner at work most days. (and I work alone, in a retail environment, so my meals sometimes are rushed, i have a microwave available and a fridge/freezer, no oven etc to cook AT WORK.). 

 

I need meals i can pre-prepare, and bring to work that are easily heated up in microwave. 

 

I signed up for a website called "once a month meals" that has recipes that are whole30 compliant and it basically is how to cook 30 days worth of freezer meals in one day, freeze and you're good to go for the month (presumably i'd have to buy fruit during the month to eat fresh)....that SOUNDS all good and fine but now that i've printed out all the recipes, shopping list, cooking directions etc etc it not only seems expensive but also VERY overwhelming! 

 

So... please help. What are some good easy meal ideas? We can cook or grill in bulk easily enough, but i'm worried if all i eat is hard boiled eggs for breakfast and cold grilled chicken EVERY day for lunch i'll quit rather quickly. 

 

**I like most veggies, white meat boneless chicken, beef is fine, i don't eat much in the way of fish and don't like shrimp, eggs are fine and i'm not sure what else to tell you guys as i try not to freak out and quit before i even begin** (can you tell i'm a perfectionist??)

 

Thanks (ahead of time) so much!

Shanna

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Every weekend, spend a couple of hours making two one-pot meals to portion and freeze (casseroles, chillis, etc), and also grill up a pile of chicken thighs/steaks/Scotch eggs/whatever to have in the fridge. Prep all your vege by peeling, cutting and storing in containers. Then make a batch of mayo and split it in two or three and make different sauces with that base.

Then, in the morning, just grab a protein, some vege, a sauce, OR a portion from the freezer, and off you go. Easy peasy :) (After a few weeks it will be, anyway!) I hardly ever cook during the week, maybe bacon and eggs for breakfast if I'm feeling so inclined, but lunch and dinner are generally variations of the above.

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Do you have a slow cooker?  There are plenty of recipes with minimal effort and you come home to a cooked meal. 

 

These are some of my regulars:

http://paleomg.com/leftovers-brazilian-curry-chicken/

http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2012/10/16/slow-cooker-italian-pork-roast/

http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/7205-oh-man-brisket/

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/17812627326/the-healthy-gluten-free-lifes-dutch-oven-pork-roast  (more prep involved, but one of my favourites)

 

Also, you don't need to eat eggs for breakfast, I eat leftovers a lot.  And my new favourite breakfast is soup (with protein on the side, either eggs or leftover meat from the slow cooker)

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I do one big cookup on the weekends and then mainly reheat during the week (I also only have a microwave at work). Here's what I've done this week, if it helps.

 

Protein:

Breakfast hash - lots of ideas out there, but basically some combination of ground meat, produce and spices. I poach eggs to put on top (takes five minutes once the water is boiling, and you can do them the night before too), but that's optional.

Slow cooker chicken with gravy

Plain burgers, and a few times during the week I'll take five minutes and crisp up some prosciutto to put on top. Well Fed 2 has a ton of ideas for burger toppings.

 

Vegetables:

Kale salad

Tomato-peach salad

Sliced green peppers

Peach-prosciutto-arugula salad

Sauerkraut

Garlic mashed cauliflower

Garlic green beans - prep all the beans ahead of time, then for dinner, the rest takes ten minutes and is mostly hands-off (make extra and reheat for lunch)

Grilled squash - I slice it up ahead of time, then grill for dinner a few nights (you could easily sautee it if you don't have a grill or grill pan); when I do that I grill a double serving for lunch the next day

 

For the salads, I assemble everything but the dressing the night before, then pack a separate container for that (citrus vinaigrette for the kale, just olive oil + balsamic for the others).

 

Fats: make citrus vinaigrette for the kale and a batch of mayo, which I use on the burgers and for vegetable dip; this week the rest has been from olive oil and eggs.

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My go to for eat at work breakfast and lunch:

 

On Sunday, hardboil 15 eggs and massage 2 bags of kale in a bit of olive oil and salt then add pepper.  Bake 2-3 sweet potatoes, add a sliver of coconut butter.  Divide all that into 5 containers (I use the ziplock divided containers).  That is breakfast.  It keeps great all week.

 

Alternative is to scramble or fry all the eggs and then microwave it all at work.  I like cold in the summer, though.

 

Also on Sunday, make up 5 big containers of lettuce and veggies.  Keep cans of tuna, salt and pepper and a jug of balsamic vinegar at work.  Bring avocado each day.  That is lunch. 

 

For dinners, I like the big protein cookup on Sunday or in the crockpot and then mix up how you eat it all week. 

 

I actually have found that eating the same thing almost every day for breakfast and lunch makes this so much easier.  It's nice not to have to think about it.  Simple is better than fancy.  Then, when I have time on a weekend or other day off, I can be more creative if I feel like it.

 

Good luck!  You can do it!

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Keep it simple. I roast a bunch of vegetables when the oven is on for something else (tomatoes, onions, cauliflower -- whatever is in the fridge and whatever I have space for in the oven). These never last long because I eat them so fast -- but it's no trouble to chop up 10 tomatoes to shove in the oven.

 

Breakfast is usually fried eggs and roast veggies; if I don't have roast veggies I pan fry something simple (asparagus; mushrooms; spinach) to go with my eggs.

 

Lunch is usually tomato salad (chopped tomatoes, olive oil, basil), with cooked chicken breast (sometimes pan fried, sometimes done in the oven when it was on -- see above -- again, shoving some chicken in the oven is no trouble) with some washed lettuce / rocket, and some mayo (I make mayo once a week). It doesn't even feel like cooking -- it's just bringing food together and eating it. Sometimes I vary it with smoked salmon and avocado instead, with lemon squeezed over. Again, no cooking really.

 

Dinners are usually something from the freezer: about once a week I make a big batch of something and then freeze it in portions -- casseroles, stews, curries; burgers are good (and can be frozen); home-made "sausages" -- basically whenever I can be bothered to cook I make loads and then shove in the freezer, and I only have to do that once a week.

 

I make a roast on a Sunday (again, hardly feels like cooking as it is just putting things in the oven) and then the left-overs from that make a couple more meals.

 

And then periodically I make a big coleslaw.

 

The cooking used to really get me down, but I actually feel like I do barely any cooking any more (I have done a W30 a few times). I need to be disciplined about making mayo once a week, and ricing cauliflower once a week to put in the freezer; and commit to cooking a roast, and making one casserole a week (which I can do on the same day, and both are actually low effort cooking). Good luck. Once you get started you'll find something that works for you.

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Here's my "Super Convenient" menu for doing Whole30's without spending a lot of time prepping food:

 

VEGGIES

  • frozen broccoli - throw it in the microwave, top with ghee or mix with homemade mayo
  • baby carrots
  • snap peas
  • red bell peppers cut into strips
  • jicama - peel and cut into strips for eating raw, or grate and fry up with onion & spices for breakfast hash
  • baby spinach - for salads or sauteeing
  • sweet potatoes - bake 3 on Sunday and stick in the fridge

PROTEIN

  • Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday for the week or make NomNomPaleo's Prosciutto Mini Frittatas - super portable!
  • Aidell's or Applegate Farms chicken apple sausages. Refrigerator case, check ingredients. They're fully cooked.
  • Do the "Weekly Cookup" in Well Fed with ground meat, chicken thighs, etc
  • Steaks for throwing on the grill or pan frying
  • Frozen shrimp for making a fast curry - just add veggies of choice, curry powder or paste, coconut milk
  • Make a batch of No Fuss Salmon Cakes or a batch of chili or meatballs from Well Fed
  • Tuna and/or wild sardines in water. Stock up on these! Nothing is more portable, and they are actually quite delicious.

FATS

  • cans of olives
  • a few avocados
  • a few nuts
  • coconut milk for my coffee and making curries
  • ghee, coconut oil

 

You can do this!

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Echoing what everyone else said. Look ahead to your schedule for the week and figure out what time you have that is free. Use that time to prep for the the week. I think that food prep can be one of the biggest challenges on the W30 because it takes forethought. 
Crockpots are fantastic appliances. If you don't have one, it's worth the investment. I also like to have a lot of single serve food storage containers available, so I can box everything up into grab-n-go meals. 

Pre-mix and pre-portion some flaked (unsweetened!, watch labels!) coconut/nuts/chopped dates/figs for those times when you just need a little something to get through the remainder of your day, otherwise vending machines and cafe court will call your name when you are slumping. 

One of my favorite go-tos is a mock taco salad: bed of assorted fresh greens, some cooked ground turkey or beef, chopped tomatoes, avocado, hot pepper, green onion
I also like to make cauliflower biscuits. It's easy to make a pan full and take a couple to work with you. I use prosciutto sometimes for variety. 
Definitely seek out the W30 compliant sausages. They're pre-cooked and really great for mixing things up. 
Sweet potatoes are a delicious grab-n-go, whether oven roasted with herbs, baked, or microwaved. 




 

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Honestly, the only secret is that you HAVE to spend more time cooking than you did before, but you can minimize that by picking stuff that's easy and will pull double-duty. Buy ground beef and make it into hamburger patties and freeze so you can pull out a few and pan-fry them. Dinner and lunch friendly.

 

I post this EVERYWHERE but it's seriously a lifesaver: http://www.sarahramsden.com/nutrient-rich-salad-for-the-time-poor/. I make it every week (I shred carrots instead of sweet potatoes) and it lasts the entire week. I just stuff a bowl with 2 big handfuls of it and I throw a can of salmon or tuna in olive oil on top. Easy. Tasty.

 

If you're convinced you hate canned fish, I'd give it another go just to make absolutely sure you don't like it, because it you find you can stand it a few times a week you'll save yourself TONS of time and stress. I like canned salmon because it's fairly mild and tastes much less fishy than tuna or sardines (although I eat both of those as well).

 

I also make MASSIVE amounts of soup, and I freeze individual portions for when my housemates want to order pizza on their cooking night. My favorites are roasted butternut squash with spinach and sausage, sweet potato with bacon and kale, and basic beef and chicken soups.

 

I think if you gave yourself a week of cooking every night after work you'd have more than enough to cut your actual cooking down to just crock pot meals. If you only have one crock pot, maybe you can invest in a second one and cook two meals at once. Maybe have a beef roast in one pot and chili in the other, and then you've got two nights worth of dinner AND as many leftovers to freeze.

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