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Life and Religion

Eating healthy on the go
Prepping meals in advance helps keep you on track
 
Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014
by Andrea Royal

Eating on the go has never been a favorite of mine.  

Personally, I like to sit comfortably and enjoy my meal – tasting every ingredient and savoring every morsel, just like the French.  However, I can’t always do as I please as I am constantly on the go. 

Wherever I go - whether it’s running from one meeting to the next, going to the gym, volunteering with youth organizations, attending church, going to the gym, grocery shopping, attending a writer’s workshop or book club meeting – I have to take my food with me.

Regardless of where I am, I cannot afford to skip a meal. So I make eating a part of my schedule. It’s like an appointment made with myself, every 2-3 hours, 5-6 times per day. Sticking to this schedule is mostly important when I am in competition prep. To make sure I get it done, I always pack and prep my meals for the week all at once on Sunday evenings.    

Meal prepping in advance saves time throughout the week. It may sound like a lot of work, but trust me, having your meals prepared ahead of time and stored in ready-to-go containers makes eating on the go painless. It will also help you resist the temptation to visit the office vending machine or fast food drive-thru for a convenient meal or snack, because you will have one readily available.

Now, when I say meal prep, I do not mean prepping pasta or any other heavy foods that will essentially drag your energy levels down because of the amount of carbs.  Since I am a competitor, I eat clean and my meals consist of foods that boost energy and aid in muscle gain and retention. 

When it comes to meal prepping, it’s best to start with the basics. You will need:

·   Protein – chicken breast, turkey breast, fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia), egg whites, lean ground beef, protein shakes

·   Carbohydrates – sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, squash, oatmeal, black beans, strawberries, melon, apple, orange, yogurt (Greek or fat-free)

·    Vegetables – broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, carrots, spinach, kale, celery, artichoke, green beans, green peppers, cucumber

Now, think of the meals you eat throughout the day.  I eat 5-6 meals a day, but I understand this could be a lot of food for a non-competitor to consume. So, I suggest focusing on breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between. 

If you are on the road to a healthy, clean-eating lifestyle, which I strongly encourage for everyone, you want to plan your meals accordingly.  This is just a breakdown of how I go about the thought process for prepping my meals:

·    Breakfast – I boil a dozen eggs, eating one or two within the day. I also have my oats for oatmeal.

·    Lunch – I usually like to eat tuna with fat free mayonnaise (it’s not for everybody and definitely an acquired taste) with spinach.  I also have lean turkey breast on hand as an alternate on other days to eat with a whole wheat wrap.

·    Dinner – One week I may prep chicken breast or fish because it is easier to take out of the package and line on cookie sheet and bake in the oven.  I eat that with asparagus spears, broccoli or kale spinach, alternating and switching up meals within the week, along with brown rice or quinoa.

·    Snacks – My snacks consists of assorted nuts, and by assorted I mean almonds or walnuts, plain Greek yogurt with fruit, celery (I have to have a dip such as cookie butter or almond butter to eat this) and fruit (strawberries, apple, orange).

When you package everything together, meal prepping can be one of the easiest things you can do to get your week started.  If you live an active lifestyle, such as I do, where you have to have food ready at a moment’s notice, having your meals prepped can make your week run much smoother.  It is about finding balance and what works for you.

Competing has taught me how to master meal prepping, and I know there are others out there that have busy lifestyles that could benefit from meal prep as well.  Try it out and see what it can do for you.  

Andrea Royal is a Charlotte-based bikini fitness model. On her blog, "The Royal Truth: A Fitness Model's Story," the self-described shy, awkward, goofy girl from New York chronicles her journey breaking into the world of bodybuilding. Visit her website at qcfitnessmodeling.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @a_royalfit. 

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