Since I changed my lifestyle, I have been preparing my lunch as often as I can. I’m not doing this for the hype or purely for training (although this is partly the reason). I’ve been doing this as frequently as I can for the last 2 years.
Here are the top reasons why I prefer to prepare my weekday lunches:
- I’m lactose intolerant. Food around my office are mostly served with cheese.
- Preparing my own food gives me the freedom to have what I want to eat.
- I get to control calories and macros. I’m in an IIFYM diet or some would call it “flexible dieting”.
- It’s “grab and go”. I don’t have to worry about what to eat for the rest of the weekday.
- I like to cook. Prepping my weekly lunch encourages me to learn new recipes and be creative about it. Cooking is exercise.
- I watch TV series, listen to music or audiobook, or dance when I cook. It’s fun!
- Cooking gives me a reason to go the go to the grocery. I walk and I carry the bags. These are exercises.
- Shopping for grocery is fun too while listening to an audiobook or music.
Looking at this list makes me come to realize more that preparing meals is fun. How we perceive and approach an activity determines the feeling it imparts on us. Regardless of the mood we have when we prepare food, the end result is that we still get to eat it. Might as well turn up that volume and dance to Bang Bang while cutting broccoli.
As a special addition to this post, I’d like to share my “Peri-Peri Spiced Chicken Breast and Vegetables”. I wanted to compress this as much as possible because it’s really easy to make.
Prep Time: 30 mins cooking; 2 – 1 day marinading.
Macros (per serving):
- Calories: 213
- Fats: 11
- Carbs: 8
- Protein: 25
For the vegetables –
- 1/2 large onion (I prefer the purple one) chopped to small squares
- 1 large sweet pepper (really big) chopped to small squares – would probably result to 2 cups
- 400 gms broccoli florets
- 1/2 tbsp garlic paste OR 1/2 garlic clove minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
Heat oil in a deep pan or pot then throw in the onions first. Sprinkle a pinch of salt to caramelize it (a trick I learned). When the onion starts showing brown streaks, add the pepper and garlic paste. Cook until paste is mixed. Make sure you don’t soften the pepper too much. I prefer my vegetables crunchy. Then lastly, add the broccoli. By the way, I buy frozen florets so I usually soften it quickly in boiling water for 2-3 mins. Done! and set aside (or multitask by cooking this while the chicken is still in the oven).
For the chicken –
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (add more if you want)
- 5 cloves of garlic OR 1/2 tbsp garlic paste (I personally prefer this)
- 4 tbsp dark vinegar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 lemon – juiced or squeezed
- 400-500 gms boneless chicken breast
This is going to be super complicated. So ready?
Mix all spices and rub it over the chicken. Leave it for about 2 hours minimum. I like to leave mine overnight. Here’s another trick I learned on how to keep chicken breast juicy even after microwaving it – pan fry the breasts on each side for about 3-5 minutes then bake them in 400 F for 30 mins.
Cooking part done!
You’re probably on your 12th song in your playlist or in my case, my 3rd Mindy Project episode. Lay out your 5 containers. Slice your chicken to strips and distribute everything evenly on all containers.
Before I end this post, like any true blooded gamer, I always make sure I’m aware of “cheats”. If you just want to watch one episode of your TV show while prepping, buy a peri-peri spice then use it to coat the chicken instead of making your own marinade. Don’t forget to rub olive oil over before doing so. I use Clubhouse or Nando’s Sauce (if I’m lucky enough to find one).
But remember before opting for the cheat: nothing compares to the taste of authentic cooking and the fun that goes with more tasks. Just saying…