Raise your hand if you are busy and don’t seem to have time to cook. Do you find yourself struggling to create quick, healthy meals?
I hear this a lot from athletes. “I would eat better, but I don’t have time.” While there are healthy options eating out, you still have to be careful about what goes into those meals.
Being busy is one reason to have pre-made meals. This fall and winter I have another reason freezer meals will come in handy. Next week I’m scheduled for arthroscopic hip surgery. (I have a torn labrum, more details are here.) I’m not going to be able to stand much or probably have the energy to cook for a few weeks. Unless I want to live on take-out/delivery, the best thing to do is pre-make good, healthy meals and put them in the freezer so I can access them when I need them.
If you are a busy athlete, why not do the same thing? Carve out a few hours on a weekend, go shopping and then get to work! Put it on your training calendar if you have to. No excuses! Do it once or twice a month and you should be good to go with easy to grab meals.
What to make?
When I found out I needed this surgery, I contacted the sports dietitians I know to get some ideas. Soups, casseroles, and other easy to make crockpot dishes will freeze well. My starting point will be lean proteins, beans, and lots of veggies. I’ll make sure I have healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil) included as well.
I’ve also looked into anti-inflammatory foods and spices. My plans will be to incorporate as many of those as I can. I will look for recipes that include ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon.
One other thing that I have to take into account is that I’m going to be going from training 10-15 hours a week to zero. While I will need carbohydrates for the recovery process, I will try to get most of them from veggies, fruits, legumes, sweet potato, and the occasional whole grain.
This weekend I’m going to be busy in the kitchen getting my meals ready. Some things I have in mind:
- Lentil Soup (already in the freezer!)
- Yogurt Marinated Chicken (includes garlic & ginger in the seasoning.)
- Buffalo Chili
- Jambalaya (made with lean mean)
- Picadillo (includes cinnamon)
I’m sure I will also make plenty of smoothies. And my recent breakfast staple of greek yogurt with wheat germ, milled flax, and blueberries will also be easy to make.
What are your favorite freezer meals?