Fast Food, Healthy Steil!

(My last name is pronounced “style” for those of you who don’t know me)
 ~
“I gotta give you a reward…”
My coach raised his hand in a high-five when I came back with my teammate Lindsey from a fast food restaurant.
“A … what?” I asked, puzzled.
“A reward … for going through your first drive-thru!” he said, smiling.
Lindsey had asked to get lunch while we were at a track meet. She picked McDonalds–unfortunately, a place I had only been to once back in my junior year of high school when I got hot chocolate with my friend Kristi. And that experience was embarrassing to say the least, as I ended up stopping and talking into a trash can to give our order, thinking it was the speaker.
Needless to say I hadn’t been back to a drive-through since, part because of that embarrassing incident and another for my fear of any fast food.
Thus, I asked Lindsey how the drive-thru worked. The “adventure” ended up working out well, except that this “fast” food ending up taking forever. I mean, fifteen minutes waiting in line? It made me realize how good I have it when I just prepare my own healthy food at home. I’ve gotten in to a routine that I’m happy to share with you all here.
Thanks to the help of my dietician, whenever I think of a complete meal I think of the three macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fat. I add “vegetables” in there as well even though it isn’t a specific macronutrient group, but most people don’t see them as “carbs” so I always have to add them in.
Carbs: I usually cook up oatmeal since it’s the quickest and easiest-to-cook carb (in my opinion). This could go for rice, potoatoes, and quinoa as well; whichever you prefer. Bread is probably the easiest of all carbs since all you have to do is pull a slice or two out of a bag, but from a health perspective and for those who are gluten-intolerant, cooking carbs works well too. I try to cook a large batch of carbs and pour them into a large container or two for the next few days to a week. I’m always about preparing ahead.
Protein: I always try buy one or two dozen eggs for the week. It’s great to hard-boil them, too, so they are a quick grab-n-go protein snack during the day. I also buy about 10-20 packages of meat and keep them in a small freezer I have so that I don’t have to go to the store as much. Each week I thaw a package or two to use for the week. I also keep cans of fish in my cupboards for emergencies if I don’t have any fresh protein to eat. Cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk work in the refrigerator too as good protein sources if you are vegetarian and can digest lactose.
Fat: The easiest one! Peanut butter is as easy as dipping your knife in a tub of it, as well as coconut oil. I may keep an avocado or two in the refrigerator and slice into that as well.
Vegetables: I buy many packages of frozen vegetables and keep those in my freezer just in case the fresh vegetables I buy from the Farmer’s Market run out. I try to buy frozen vegetables that I wouldn’t normally eat raw—like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, summer squash, zucchini, and carrots. The raw vegetables I buy from the Farmer’s Market—especially celery. I try to buy vegetables that don’t need much chopping, too, like green beans. That way I don’t feel like I spend so much time in the kitchen. I can just rinse off the vegetables in the sink, throw them in a pan with some coconut oil, and voila! Instant meal. I try to cook up all the vegetables and just store the leftovers for the next few days.
I am a celery fiend. I chop off the ends of these suckers and break off smaller pieces with my hands. This is a great grab-n-go snack that I keep all prepared in small baggies in my refrigerator.
Fruit: Of course, fruit is the easiest grab-n-go option. No explanation needed here.
Don’t let all of this overwhelm you. Let me tell you, this took time and patience. It was confusing at first for me when I tried to plan it all out; and even then I didn’t have the “perfect” plan down yet.
When I first learned to cook, I just tried to arrange all these different recipes that I would just try to prepare every day of the week. That proved too difficult and time-consuming. I began to just hit the basics and now I combine a carb, protein, and fat in each meal to make my own “recipes.” I get all of my spices from Penzeys (same price as spices you would find in a regular store, but fresher ingredients) so that each meal tastes a little different.
Please feel free to ask questions below, and even share your own strategies for preparing healthy food for the week!

About Rachael

This is my personal journey in my poor relationship with food while racing competitively at the collegiate level. What began as gradual restriction for weight loss during my senior year of high school turned into a mental battle to keep the weight down, only for my mind and body to battle back a year later after attempting first the raw food diet, with other diet trials thereafter. As I write about these different diets, I do not advocate a certain way of eating, but instead I show what seemed to work for me, and what didn't--and that with having an eating disorder (while certainly mild compared to others) I was unable to have a good relationship with food at any point.
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One Response to Fast Food, Healthy Steil!

  1. Florence says:

    So simple and yet it can be so difficult to find a plan that works for us. I’m so happy you’ve found something healthy that works for you!

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