Once I started regimenting my lifestyle, I knew I had to plan my diet. Like I had mentioned in the previous post, diet refers to the foods I plan to eat according to my goals. My daily eating schedule now will essentially remain the same for the rest of my life, so I planned according to a lifestyle in which I could enjoy and maintain forever. As you may have read before, planning (and cooking) your meals ahead of time is key to succeeding in your health and fitness goals. Some people recommend cooking the week's worth of food on Sundays since it is the day when the majority of people have the most free time to do so. I generally do mine on Wednesday nights only because that's when school is the least demanding, and I only cook what would last about half of the week for me. Cook based on your schedule, however much or as little as you chose.
Regardless of when, I would definitely recommend prepping your meals in advance. Whether you are a full-time student, a full-time mom or have a full-time job, you are busy. We are all busy. Food is the last thing to plan when you have five million other things to worry about, right? Wrong. Health is constantly overshadowed by busy schedules, but in reality, it should be a priority to everyone.
When it comes to eating clean, I always like to have my protein sources, vegetables and healthy snacks cooked and ready to go when I'm on the run, which is all the time. If you are out of the house all day long, you should invest in lunch-sized tupperware. I found a really cute insulated lunch bag from SAM's Club with a matching tupperware for my lunch and two smaller ones for my snacks. It even came with a non-toxic ice pack to fit inside the tupperware. I bring it to classes when I know I'll be on campus for most of the day. Not only does it save me time and calories from dodging the on-campus fast-food options, but it also saves me money by cooking all my own meals rather than dining out .
I want to share with you my favorite foods to prepare in advance that I always have on hand.
First is my chicken breast recipe (pictured above.)
12- 4 oz servings frozen chicken breasts (thaw in refrigerator overnight)
Clean, but flavorful marinade mix:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey dijon mustard
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Southwestern Chipotle flavor
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy flavor
1 tsp garlic powder (I LOVE garlic)
In a bowl mix all marinade ingredients together. Put the thawed chicken breasts and marinade in a gallon plastic bag and shake until it is evenly coated. Make sure there is no extra air in the bag when it's zipped. Then place in back in the fridge for up to 24-hours. The longer it marinades, the more flavorful your chicken will be.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees on bake.
Line a pyrex or baking dish with aluminum foil and place the chicken and leftover marinade in the foil. Gently close in the side of the foil, wrapping the chicken breasts like a present so it is completely covered.
Place the pyrex in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cooking times vary, so slice open one of the breasts to make sure there is no pink color on the inside.
I love this chicken because it stays moist when baked and wrapped in foil. Also, you can change the seasonings based on your taste preferences. Mrs. Dash is very popular among fitness and health enthusiasts because it doesn't contain sodium, which makes your body retain water making you look fuller in appearance and is one reason your weight fluctuates during the day time.
Eat this chicken on a spinach salad or enjoy it by itself with a vegetable and a healthy fat or low glycemic index carbohydrate for a complete meal. I will go into further detail about the different proteins, healthy fat food options and what exactly is a low glycemic index carb in future posts.