One of the biggest things we stress to our clients is how easy tracking macros can be if you’re prepared. The best way to make sure you’re prepared is by doing meal prep. It saves you time, saves you money, can be customized around your eating habits, and could be done with little to no actual cooking at all. But what happens when you actually can’t meal prep?
For the past month, I’ve had major construction happening at my house that left me with literally nothing but a bedroom, bathroom, and a microwave. As a nutrition coach, I felt like it was my responsibility to stay on track despite the less-than-ideal circumstances. There was definitely a bit of a learning curve but, now as I head into week six, I think I’ve accumulated enough tips and tricks to help you if you’re in a similar circumstance (traveling for work, remodeling your kitchen, etc.).
Use Meal Delivery Services
For a while, I’ve been weary of using meal delivery services because of the cost and because I actually do enjoy cooking. Now that I’ve been using one for the past couple of weeks, I realize that it’s actually not expensive and that I should embrace help when I need it. Over these past weeks, I’ve been ordering my lunches from Kettlebell Kitchen or Eat Clean Bro. They deliver healthy, balanced meals right to my door with full nutritional breakdowns. Best part? I throw it into the microwave and I have a delicious meal ready in 3 minutes or less. And no clean up!
Embrace a No Prep Meal Prep
In other words, the frozen aisle at the grocery store is your friend. Grocery stores are now stocked with foods that are already prepared and just require heating up, which is a game changer if you don’t have a kitchen. I’ve been purchasing frozen rice and veggies and heating them up alongside already prepared protein, like Trader Joe’s Just Grilled Chicken Strips or Whole Foods’ Rotisserie Chicken. Need more ideas? Check out this ‘No Prep Meal Prep’ guide for Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
Do Meal Swaps
This depends heavily on your circumstances but I’ve been lucky enough to have friends/co-workers who are more than happy to prep me lunch or breakfast. They just pack a container full of what they’re already bringing for themselves. In exchange, I give them some of those Kettlebell Kitchen meals (mentioned above) or buy them a coffee.
Find Macro-Friendly Restaurants
When time constraints or laziness takes over, I found myself relying on macro-friendly restaurants. When I say “macro-friendly”, I just mean places that serve healthy, balanced foods and provide nutritional information. Some of my favorites are Chipotle, Panera Bread, CAVA, and Chop’t.
Embrace the Fact that Things Aren’t Going to Be Perfect
This is true whether or not you have a kitchen. There are going to be days where things will be a little off. You miscalculated something, had to make a last minute change to your dinner plans — whatever. It happens. Recognize that this process is not about perfection but about being consistent. The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you’ll enjoy the process and notice your progress.
For reference, here is what a typical day looks like for me now:
Lightly Sweetened Steel-Cut Oats (frozen – Trader Joe’s)
Meatless Breakfast Sausage Patties (frozen – Trader Joe’s)
Kettlebell Kitchen Meal
Brown Rice (frozen – Trader Joe’s)
Spicy Thai Eggplant (frozen – Trader Joe’s)
Just Grilled Chicken Strips (frozen – Trader Joe’s)
Smoked Turkey Deli Slices (Trader Joe’s)
Justin’s Peanut Butter Cup
Coconut Greek Yogurt (Trader Joe’s)