Why it is so important to plan and pack your meals for work

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Trying to stick to your macros and daily calories can be challenging when you are pressed for time. Whether you work a full time job with a crazy commute, are juggling the house and kids or are in school and bouncing from class to class, let’s face it – sometimes it’s easier to just grab something on the go from the vending machine or local convenience store. While it does take more work and time to pack and prepare your meals I have to say that doing so has kept me on the straight and narrow and curbing my temptations to just grab whatever is at arms length or nearby. Years ago when I was living in New Jersey and commuting every day into New York City for work, I was not able to pack lunch or snacks with me. Lugging all that stuff on mass transit and in crowded subways was just not possible or something I wanted to do. For that reason I ate a lot of crap, and even though I still remained “skinny” I was surely not healthy at all! I would grab a bagel and coffee, or quick wrap or sandwich for lunch, lots and lots of caffeinated beverages and snacks from the vending machine. I realized years later that the reason I was always tired, sick and sluggish was because I didn’t give my body the proper foods and nutrition it needed, especially with such a grueling commute.

Fast forward to my life for the last 3 or so years and meal prepping and packing my food with me to work has made a huge difference in how I look and feel. It all starts for me with what I buy at the grocery store. I won’t go into that in this post, but I do have a post here on my blog about my typical grocery shopping list and items. For this post I wanted to focus on the time it takes and what helps me decide what to pack with me for the work day. Typically I get to work around 9 and leave by 6, sometimes earlier and sometimes later, but not by much. So my mid day, lunch, mid afternoon meals are all eaten at work – and usually in my office at my desk (not very healthy, but when you’re busy you do what you can to get your macros and food in).

Before I go to work I eat my breakfast because I know that once I get to work I will never have the time to sit and have it. My breakfast for me is usually one of the following:

IMG_6965.JPG– egg white omelette with some kind of vegetables in it (onion, tomato, spinach) and a scoop of organic salsa. I avoid ketchup because it is usually just a ton of sugar

– 2-3 oz of Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats, 1 scoop of NutriWhey Belgian Chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp of D’s Naturals Fluffbutter, 1/2 sliced organic banana and cinnamon

– 1 piece of Ezekiel toast with 1 tbsp of D’s Naturals Fluffbutter

overnight-oats

I suggest having breakfast before you leave the house otherwise you are eating on the run and that just never seems to sit well with your stomach. I also take my daily vitamins in the morning before I leave for work, and for me I always take my vitamins when I have some food in my stomach so that is the other reason I eat before I leave. Sometimes if I take vitamins on an empty stomach it can upset my stomach, so I always like to have a little something in there before I swallow them. In the morning I prepare all of my food and I have an entire cabinet filled with Tupperware containers. I like the ones with the screw on lips since they never spill and I usually pick them up on Amazon or at Target.

Now that breakfast is out of the way I focus on my other meals which include mid morning protein shake/greens shake, a healthy lunch and then a mid day snack. Below is an example of what I took with me to work today to give you an idea of how easy it can be to get a good amount of protein, healthy fats and other nutrients into your diet in a few smaller meals.

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IMG_6128.JPGMy Protein/Greens Shake

I make this every single day and love drinking it. I use my Nutribullet and use 2 handfuls of ice, 1/2 cup of organic skim milk or unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tbsp of D’s Natural Vanilla Maple Fluffbutter, 1 scoop of Garden of Life Raw Cocoa Greens powder and 1 scoop of NutriWhey Belgian Chocolate Natural Protein Powder. This tastes very sweet without tasting like a greens drink, but it gives me a ton of protein and the benefits of the green powder too. I make this in the morning and since I use a lot of ice it is kind of slushy but by the time I drink it, which is usually around 1030 am it is perfectly cold and ready to drink.

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Lunch Time

For lunch I pack either an organic salad made with whatever veggies I have in the fridge from my recent trip to the grocery store and then I add a protein source, like hard boiled eggs or grilled chicken. For salad dressing I just use organic apple cider vinegar which has a lot of health benefits. I’ve learned to not use dressing as much and if I do it is apple cider vinegar or some other olive oil/lemon mix.

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Mid Afternoon Snack

For my afternoon snack I like to combine protein and a healthy fat so for today I did 1 individual container of Stonyfield fat free plain greek organic yogurt, 1 handful of raw unsalted almond, a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 slice organic banana. I also add in 1/2 scoop of a flavored protein powder like BodyTech strawberries and cream for some sweet flavoring and more protein. The banana is great to give me some fuel for my evening workout today and the almonds add some healthy fats as well.

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IMG_6964.JPGBy the end of the work day I am usually so ready to go home and have a good dinner! I’ve been using my Cuisinart Slow Cooker a ton lately so that by the time I get home my chicken is ready to eat. I’ve been loving making whole organic chicken in this or pulled bbq chicken as well. I buy my organic chicken at Trader Joe’s and have been doing a few different recipes using the slow cooker, but they’ve all been really great and very tasty! Last weekend I made an entire organic chicken in the slow cooker and added organic low sodium chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery and then used sea salt, basil, parsley, pepper and it came out amazing! The chicken fell off the bone and then it also made for a nice soup as well.

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All in all I highly recommend finding ways to pack your meals and plan ahead. This allows you to be more in control of what you eat and avoid having pit falls in your routine. I know when I don’t pack my meals I wind up being tempted to go get things I normally wouldn’t, so doing this, while it takes a bit of time in the morning (maybe 20 minutes total) it does save you some trouble later.

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