It’s Friday so that means it’s time for the nutrition tip of the week, just in time to stop you from making too many bad decisions this weekend.
One thing I can tell you from my experiences in fitness and performance is that a huge glaring weakness for most is cooking. This is especially true for males, and even more of an issue for males who are busy and out of shape.
Sometimes this can be helped if they are lucky enough to meet someone who is a great cook. It’s an added bonus if the person they meet is actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
That means they are:
- Going to consistently put better quality food on your plate and more often than not you are going to eat it.
- Going to remind you that you shouldn’t have that dessert or extra serving of fries because you had it recently.
- Probably going to hint the hard truth that you probably should be working out and trying to be healthier so you can longer.
As much as it might bug you to have someone reminding you about the milkshake you had two days ago or that you need to eat more vegetables, it’s definitely a benefit. You should be thanking those people, even though you don’t want to.
What I want to do in this nutrition tip of the week is unleash the secret weapon for everyone that requires little time for prep and allows you to continue your daily routine without much cooking at all.
Enter the crock pot
A man’s best cooking tool, besides the good ol’ grill out back.
This is such an important tool in the kitchen for anyone with a resolution this year because it allows you to set it and forget it. Have important stuff to do for a few hours and don’t have time to stare at your chicken while it sizzles? Great. Just buy all your ingredients, chuck it in the crock pot, and turn it on “low and slow” mode for some seriously awesome food that you’ve made yourself. Being athletic again means working out and eating better. Things like protein (chicken/fish/turkey, sometimes beef), carbs (oatmeal/potatoes/rice), and vegetables (peppers, green leafy ones, carrots). A secondary benefit to this is when you throw in these ingredients together the flavors mix giving a cool taste, especially if you have a few great spices that help to add variety.
Template to a great crock pot meal
I’d like to hand out recipes of specific meals, but we’ll save that for another video down the road. Instead, I want to give you a template that allows for all kinds of options and combinations. Part of learning to cook is the experimenting. So, following a sort of guide to what needs to be in your meals will allow you to buy different foods and chuck them in.
- Start with your protein- Lean meats will be your best bet here. Working out will cause a breakdown of muscle and recovering properly requires good sources of protein to rebuild back stronger. Choose fresh versions over processed, pre-prepared versions. Great options will be fresh ground turkey, fresh chicken breasts or tenderloin, or fresh options of fish like grouper or salmon.
- Next comes your carbs- Carbs are topics of debate constantly, especially in the fitness world. Do we eat them or do we not? My answer is absolutely we do. Carbs are preferred sources of energy for the body, debate me if you want but my body is happier when I have healthy carb sources included in my diet. It will take a little preparation if you choose a potato here if you prefer skinned potatoes, but not longer than 5 minutes. Sweet potatoes seem to be everyone’s preference over the white potato, which has gained a bad rep somehow. Sweet potatoes are great, but white potatoes are too. Another great way to use the crock pot is to steam rice. Just throw in the rice, water, and a little bit of sea salt and bam.
- Now come the dreaded vegetables that are too easy to forget. But don’t. We need all the things they provide while we recover from the physical work we put in. Please don’t throw in shredded lettuce and tell me you have veggies in your crock pot. Peppers, carrots, asparagus, or green beans would count. This step might require a pre-wash of your food and chopping up into smaller pieces. Also, fresh veggies over non.
- Last, and most important, my favorite seasoning. I prefer and always recommend Mrs. Dash’s variety of seasonings. Mrs. Dash is a salt substitute type of seasoning and has tons of different types allowing for variety in your food. I have tried a lot of these and find them very enjoyable especially because eating healthy has a reputation of getting boring. It doesn’t need to be!
I hope that this template can help the next time you go to cook a meal. You can do extra research on different crock pot meals and see which ones sound interesting. I recommend thinking about what style of cuisine you typically gravitate towards and begin your search there. For example, my wife and I love eating Asian style cuisine. So, a healthier version of orange chicken and rice is what I would begin searching for.
Always remember that when you are on your way to being athletic again, there isn’t one standard boring way to get there. Many people have searched for an answer to a question you have and with the way the Internet has developed, it’s not so hard to find.
If this article helped you, please like and share so that other people trying to get back into fitness can find an easy way to prep their meals and save some money. Also, check out my instagram @AthleticAgain for daily workouts and goals to get you back to being your athletic self again.