How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices

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How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices

How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices 2428 2428 Alicia East

What’s worse than going to the grocery store hungry? Working all day without opportunity, time, or access to food that’s actually food. That’s when a Big Mac and Biggie fries start to seem like a good idea. These recipes provide an alternative to the “just get something in my belly” options we sometimes have working on location. In about an hour, you’ll get week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. And since many of our readers spend long days working live events without access to microwaves and refrigerators, the snacks, sides, and lunches included here can be kept safely in an insulated lunchbox and don’t need to be heated on-site.

These tips will take your on-the-go meals from ho hum to finger-licking good

Breakfasts:

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These sous vide egg bites (sous vide not required) from My Forking Life are creamy, satisfying, and highly versatile (substitute veggies and meats as you see fit). They take about 10 minutes to prep and will feed you for the whole week. Note that in addition to a blender, you’ll need a silicone food mold and electric pressure cooker.

Don’t have the tools? Try kitchn’s similar option made in the oven. It’ll take a little longer, but the bonus is that you can make more at once and freeze them to last even longer than a week or to feed more members of your family.

Lunches:

Another 10 minutes of prep and you’ll have a versatile chicken or tuna salad you can eat with veggies, crackers, or bread. The Wellness Mama has a great recipe if you want to make the chicken from scratch and have it for dinner the night before (you’re an overachiever and I’m secretly jealous). If you’re already going through the trouble of making dinner, why not make a little extra? That’ll allow you to break up the week and pack leftovers for a hot meal or two. No microwave? No problem. Just heat your meal in the morning and a good quality thermos (here’s a guide) will keep it palatable for 5 hours.

Sides: 

veggies food prep

Take another 10 minutes to slice up some veggies (bell peppers, carrots, and celery are excellent for cutting ahead), peel or chop fruit, and cut cheese cubes for your sides. Nuts or Real Food with Dana’s simple trail mix are other great side options with minimal prep.

Snacks:

food prep larabar

Another 10 minutes of prep will get you these way-better-than-store-bought “Larabars” by 100 Days of Real Food. The ingredients are embarrassingly simple and when I don’t have cashews, I sub any mix of other nuts and the bars have always been delightful.

The process from prep to cleanup

Here’s how to maximize every precious minute.

  1. Get all your ingredients and tools out on the counter.
  2. Blend up those sous vide bites and throw them in the oven or pressure cooker.
  3. Prep Larabars and put in the freezer to set.
  4. Prep your chicken or tuna salad and sides.
  5. Clean all the tools and dishes that aren’t currently in use.
  6. Slice the Larabars.
  7. Remove the sous vide bites.
  8. For super duper overachievers, you can pack up your lunches for the whole week while the bites cool. That means less cleanup and prep during the week, but a little more time up front. It’ll also require you to have enough lunchboxes (these and these are some of my faves) for the job.
  9. Finish cleanup.
  10. Feel like a champ for setting yourself up to eat like a grownup.

Bottom line

Eating nutritious food is hard enough. Doing it on the go or in the middle of a long day and without access to a microwave is practically a miracle. But with a little bit of work up front, you can say goodbye to junky handfuls of nothingness.

*The definition of “real food” is probably about as controversial as politics, so I will include a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist or doctor and am simply including recipes that contain real food as I understand it. None of these links are affiliate links. I am simply sharing resources I, the queen of making regrettable food choices on the run, have found helpful in my very busy life. 

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