So one of our friends started Crossfit with Michael, and says he would like to try this lifestyle, but sees it being difficult to do without someone cooking for him, like Michael has. Well this blog is for you Gabo! I can see how this would seem to be a stumbling block for a lot of people – cooking takes time and it is understandable that a lot of my recipes might seem daunting either to people who just don’t like to cook, don’t have much time to cook, and to the many people who have for a long time depended on frozen dinners and the pizza/chinese delivery guy for most of their meals. As much as I like to cook there used to be a whole lot of Lean Cuisines in my diet (yuck) – surprise, surprise – I was starving an hour after I finished one!
Well, the reality is, cooking takes some time! And if you don’t like to cook, well, hope you marry someone who does, or suck it up and do it because you know eating foods not out of a box will make you feel your best. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to do this lifestyle that make things as fast and easy as possible. Or easy things to make that don’t require a whole lot of ingredients to put together. My biggest tip would be to spend a day on the weekend (or your day off) prepping to make things easy for the week when you might find yourself short on time.
Here are some specific suggestions for different meals (of course interchangeable, eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner if you want) and some ideas specific to the Microsoft cafe for all you Softies out there : )
- Hard Boil a dozen eggs on the weekend, or you can buy them already done at Trader Joe’s.
- Mash some avocado with the hard boiled eggs and serve with a couple of all natural microwaveable sausages (I like Applegate Farms) or whatever meat you want
- When you do have time, make a big batch of frittata egg muffins – example here. Just refrigerate and then pull out each day.
- Get some all natural pre-cooked sausages from the refrigerated section, you can change it up with chicken sausages in different flavors (just make sure they don’t have sugar and gunk) and simply poke a few holes in them, microwave for a minute or 2 and then if you have time, sear them off in a pan. I have 2 of these for breakfast when I don’t have time for eggs.
- Keep all natural deli meat, like Applegate Farms, on hand to grab, and wrap around some avocado
- Make a big batch of bacon on the weekend and keep in fridge to reheat – save the fat for cooking eggs and other things in
- You could keep some spinach or peppers that have been sauteed in coconut oil or butter in the fridge as well to serve along side any of these quickly.
- I drink a cup of coffee with heavy cream and a little Stevia in the morning – go for heavy cream, not milk if you need something in your coffee
At the Microsoft cafe:
- Simply ask for an omelet with whatever veggies you want and then grab some bacon or sausage for the side – but I would ask them to cook in real butter or at least olive oil – I have no doubt that bottle of oil they use is some processed vegetable oil. Or just ask for some hard boiled eggs and then grab yourself some meat for the side.
- Cook up a bunch of burgers on the weekend and wrap up to take to work (I suggest making your own burgers instead of pre-made ones, because Grass fed ground beef is readily available and worth the cost, so do it yourself). You can also freeze these.
- In case you don’t have time to make your own burgers, keep turkey burgers on hand in the freezer. Try to get them as natural as possible and without all the fat drained out if you can – not extra lean. Just make some of these up quickly in a pan or grill and then refrigerate.
- Buy a big bag of frozen veggies (preferably organic), in the morning just put some into a tupperware, add a pat of butter or coconut oil and salt and pepper and then heat at lunch. I also like canned green beans.
- Buy bags of salad and veggies you like. Cut them up all at the same time and have on hand to add to the salad quickly. Cook up protein on the weekends to add to your salads. I would try to keep a bottle of olive oil and vinegar at work so you don’t have to use conventional salad dressings that are full of unnatural oils and who knows what other junk. Even if they are allowed to call it “natural” junk. My favorite is to make up taco meat and take that along with some salsa and avocado to top my salad. Here is a great taco seasoning recipe.
At the Microsoft cafe (or really a lot of places out in the real world):
- Order a burger patty, turkey burger patty, or chicken breast from the grill, cheese optional. Top with grilled onion and peppers, with a side of steamed vegetables. Add some real butter or olive oil and salt and pepper to the veggies.
- Max out the salad bar – just make a salad avoiding any legumes (beans) and other carb heavy items, add some protein like chicken or tuna, and top with olive oil and vinegar
- The entree station if you have one is perfect, Michael eats here all the time. Just get the meat that is being offered, add whatever non- starchy veggies they have and that’s it. No dinner roll!
- The Stir-Fry station. Now this is one I would only hit occasionally as they cook in what I’m sure is some kind of vegetable oil, and I’m sure the sauces they use are relatively high in sugar and whatever else. But if you are tired of everything else and craving some Asian food, ask for extra veggies, no rice, and light on the sauce.
- The sandwich bar! The sandwiches they make at the cafes are huge and a good price value. I would actually order the whole sandwich with lots of veggies, then just throw away the bread and either wrap in lettuce or just eat it with a fork and knife.
Here are my favorite insanely fast and/or easy dinner ideas – I count the slow cooker here because it does all the work for you. You can serve any of these with veggies heated in microwave, sauteed in bacon grease/butter/coconut oil, roasted in the oven or grilled. Asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, peppers, spaghetti squash, and green beans are some of our favs!
- Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Bake
- Emergency Protein
- Crockpot Beef Stew
- Salsa Crockpot chicken
- Balsamic Pork Chops with Broccoli Blasted
- Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork
- Steak Fajitas (or sub shrimp or chicken here)
- Spicy Flank Steak – my favorite
- Keep boneless chicken (as it cooks the quickest), burger patties, (preferably grass fed) steaks, and wild caught fish on hand in the freezer to add to your veggies as well. Just a little spice rub and the grill, oven or skillet can make a great meal.
I find that I really don’t need snacks anymore as what I eat now actually keeps me full and satiated, instead of my blood sugar constantly going up and then dropping down making me think I am hungry. But if you do get hungry between meals, here are some suggestions:
- Small handful of almonds
- Deli meat like Applegate Farms wrapped around avocado – you can wrap in a piece of lettuce too
- Tomato sliced up with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Hard boiled eggs
- Beef Jerky
- Celery with Almond Butter
Hopefully this is helpful to all of you out there who aren’t big on cooking or are short on time!