I'm Not Crazy. I'm In Control.
People think I am crazy for prepping and portioning my meals days in advanced. They say they don’t have that kind of time to spend doing such a thing. Seems like it would take forever. Or what about eating just about the same thing, day after day. It has to be boring. It must get old right? How about we change the perspective for a second.
There is no arguing the fact that prepping meals for multiple days is a time commitment. I first will break down the time I spend on my meal planning and preparation for the week:
Saturday/Sunday morning: protein goes into the slow cooker for 6-8 hours. This is usually a lean meat like chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Sometimes I like to have a red meat for the week, a roast works really well.
Sunday afternoon: Meals for Monday and Tuesday are assembled and placed in the fridge (I would do the entire week but I have limited space in the fridge). Accessory food items like pasta or bacon/sausage are cooked for the week.
Tuesday afternoon: Meals for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are assembled and placed in the fridge.
That is it. The total time I spend directly working with my food for the week is less than 3 hours. Saturday and Sunday I have more of a loose eating schedule but tend to stick to the foods I regularly eat. Out of my entire week, that is less than 2% of my week that is invested into food.
No more minutes adding together figuring out if what I am going to eat next is healthy enough. No more playing tetris with macronutrients (for those who track those things). My mind is not bothered by the thought of whether or not my next meal will help me inch closer to the goals I have set.
I simply know that I get to grab my next container of food, eat and enjoy it, all while knowing the choice aligns with me goals. My mind can think about anything else of higher importance.
Consistency helps with control.
It may sound boring but eating very similar things each day gives me the control knowing that my food will be what I expect and will fit how I expect it to. Constant variety gives me anxiety because there are always new factors that need to be accounted for. There is enough variety in the events from day to day life that if I can remove one thing from the craziness of life – I will take that opportunity.
Rotation helps with boredom.
There are limitless options for healthy sauces (I tend to use a BBQ sauce for my lunches and hot sauces on snacks) for adding flavor to foods. Dry spices and herbs or even fresh ones as well. This does mean watching serving sizes and reading labels but I can easily fit these into my food for the day and have full flavor in meals.
Even in food groups I do rotations. I don’t do chicken every week, the protein will change as each week passes.
Wild idea for spices and foods – MIX THEM UP! Literally add different flavors together. I don’t use a single flavor of BBQ for my lunches. I have 3 to 4 options and will mix two together for a meal. Now I have a personal blend of flavor!
This is not a prescription.
Let me be clear that I am not saying everyone should track their food. It depends on someone’s goals. Also, there are lots of strategies for improving eating habits that are varying from one person to the next. This is best discussed with a coach in a one-on-one setting to determine what best works for you.
My point is only to bring awareness on why I take the time to prepare and portion my food. As humans, we like to have control. It is a sense of security and helps reduce anxiety. This is why some people enjoy cleaning and organizing when they are stressed or if you feel anxious about a task or goal, it helps to write a plan for accomplishing it. It provides a source of control.
Life is full of little bits of chaos. My food doesn’t have to be one.