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[My sister, Nicki (read about her here), has completely revolutionized her life over the last few years, in large part due to slowly changing her eating and body moving habits. Food does not control her life, food fits her life. She works at an office full-time and therefore, eats most of her meals while at work. Below, she gives fantastic advice to packing and prepping food for a day’s and week’s worth of work.]

Office Food Prep Made Easy

Fresh off a baked goods exchange with my ladies and into a new work week, it seems like the perfect opportunity to chat about meals & snacks for the Monday-Friday schedule and tips on ensuring we actually follow through in consuming them.

As I sit here staring at the two super-sized containers of goodies I’m about to put in the freezer, I could easily just pack up all the chocolate and shortbread into “breakfast” “lunch” and “dinner” tins for the week… but I have this vision where I have to write hundreds of “I’m sorry – I was in a walking, hangry, sugar-induced coma” notes and regret 99% of my life choices that past week. Maybe I’ll pass on that?

Prepping and planning out your nutrition is a fantastic first step in kicking the upcoming week’s a**. My Mon-Fri work schedule is outside of my home, so that means lots of Tupperware-filled-cooler-bag-toting. Are you in the same boat?

Confession – I kind of hate it.

I’m way more of a “what do I feel like eating right now?” soul, and like to be spontaneous with my decisions. When my only option is what I’ve packed, I sometimes get annoyed… 🙂

What’s a workin’ girl to eat to stay lean and energized? 

To stay on track and be excited about my choices, here are examples of options I typically eat throughout the work week (I get happy over ALL OF IT):

Breakfast:

• Eggs, Sausage (or Bacon), Veg

• Green Smoothies

• Almond Butter Balls, Greek Yogurt, Fruit

Morning Graze:

• Almonds

• Veg, Hummus

• Wheat/Gluten-free Crackers, Hummus

• Canned salmon/tuna

• Pepperettes, Mustard

• Cheese

Lunch:

• Spinach Salads (with tons of fixings)

• Chicken, Veg, sometimes rice

• Quinoa Salads (homemade)

• Soup (homemade)

• Lettuce Wraps

• Meat/cheese/veg/crackers/hummus

• Eggs, sausage (bacon), veg

• Chili

• Shrimp/Veg Mix

Afternoon Graze:

• Greek Yogurt, fruit

• Almond Butter Balls or Almond Butter Ezekiel Cereal Mix (homemade)

• Celery, Natural PB, Raisins

• Pumpkin Muffins

• Choc Zucchini Muffins

I have dinner/evening snacks outside of the office, but here are some examples of what those meals often look like:

Dinner:

• Nachos, packed with veg and protein

• Chicken/veg

• Shrimp/Veg

• Cauliflower Pizza

• Zucchini Pizza Logs

• Parm Chicken/Veg

• Breakfast for din

• Stuffed Peppers

• Spaghetti Squash Bake

• Burgers

My Best Food Prep Tips:

Luxuries like blenders, stoves or grills are not available to me during the work day so I heavily rely on pre-making and re-heating.

Breakfast – There would never be enough time in my morning schedule (I like my sleep) to whip up fresh breakfast meats, so I’ll cook up an entire package of sausages in advance and store what I don’t devour right then in the fridge, readily available for packing/quick heating & eating. Cutting up fruit and veg in advance for morning smoothies and freezing in individual portion sized bags will save you precious zz moments in the AM also.

Snacks – slicing & packaging your raw veggies the night before will make it so much easier to grab and toss in your lunch bag on your way out in the morning. Mixing up canned tuna/salmon with some plain greek yogurt & relish (and whatever else you want to add in) and storing in the fridge for easy next-day access is equally effortless.

The same can go for slicing or cubing up your favourite cheese and meats (or if you forget to the night before, just grab the whole block of cheese and hope your housemates don’t get a craving for mozzarella before you get home that night ;)). Whipping up a batch of protein bars/balls or your fav muffins on a Sunday will also save you baking time throughout the weeknights.

Lunch/Dinner – Speaking of Sundays, what better day to get a pot of chili, stew or soup brewing? Storing in individual portion sized containers will make your lunch decisions less stressful throughout the work week. Cooking double the amount of meats/veg you might need for dinner throughout the week will also leave you prepared with leftovers for the next day’s lunch (or even the following dinner).

Packing it up right after it’s cooked in a “lunch” container is ridiculously stress-free. Mixing all ingredients for a killer spinach salad (minus the dressing) in a Tupperware container the night before lets you plate, dress & devour it the next day faster than you can say that sentence….promise.

Plates/Silverware/Cups/Condiments – To make the day feel more comfortable and less road-trip like, I’ll pack plates & real silverware along in my lunch bag (Note from Jessie: SUCH a fantastic tip!). Sometimes there’s just something about eating with legit utensils and off real plates that makes the experience happier.

If you have the option, storing extra bottles of condiments (i.e. mustard, homemade salad dressing, etc.) at your place of work will help spice up your eats as well. Otherwise, allotting portions into small containers and packing in your lunch bag works just as perfectly.

Easy Access –  I tend to corner off a space in my fridge/freezer designated to the items I’m taking with me to work the next day, that way it’s all in one location and I don’t have to waste time searching throughout the shelves/drawers for the goods I need.

So, just in case you weren’t hungry from all this food chat, let’s look at pictures of it 😉

1. Cauliflower Crust Pizza – For real, THE BEST.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

2. Unmixable Spinach Salad

Muffins

3. Chocolate Zuccini Muffins and Almond Butter Balls.

Shrimp Quinoa Salad

Eat with happiness, my friends.

Nicki (and JMG)

PS. Sign up for the JMG Fitness Newsletter HERE to keep up to date on all that’s to come for 2014!

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