Easy Meal Prep for Busy Dads: Mexican Chicken and Rice
As soon as I started eating healthily – higher protein, moderate carbs and fat – I began pre-preparing (also known as ‘prepping’) my meals.
That was few years ago now but since then, meal prep has become much more fashionable. There are whole social media accounts and blogs on the subject of meal prep with elaborate pictures of 7 meals a day for 7 days laid out and professionally photographed.
That’s 49 meals – a lot of work. If you look at the lifestyle of physique athletes and bodybuilders, much of their day revolves around meals and their food. Many of them take a couple of days per week to pre-pack chicken, rice, tilapia, cottage cheese and salads for their daily mealtimes.
There Has to be an Easier Way
If you’re running tight Dad game, you’ll know that time is a premium. That means you can’t afford to spend all of Sunday morning prepping ever single meal for the week ahead.
Which is why I don’t.
Instead I’m all about making my life as easy as possible when it comes to food and meal prep. Here are my main tips for making your life easy but still eating healthily:
1. Eat fewer meals: This sounds obvious, but if you’re prepping 6 or even 7 meals, that’s a lot of work. Are you really going to put on loads of extra body fat if you cut that down to 4 or 5 larger meals? Anyway, who said six meals was the bench mark? Supplement companies who want to sell you meal replacement shakes? Try different combinations. I switched to 4 meals a day 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since.
2. Don’t Prep: Wait, isn’t this a post about meal prep? Yes, but I try to prep as little as possible. One of my meals is simply tinned tuna with mayo and rice or oatcakes. All I need is somewhere to store the mayo and I’m set. I’ll also buy microwaveable rice which doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge and is minimal waste. Aim for 30-40g of protein per meal (depending on your size, training etc).
3. Use Left Overs: My wife makes delicious healthy meals in our slow cooker (I keep telling her to blog about it – maybe one day). She’ll make extras and I’ll save the leftovers for meals. Other times when we’re cooking, we’ll make extra and I’ll save that. Left over roast chicken, beef and chilli are all great for warming up the next day or eating cold if you’re pushed for time.
I try to stay away from meal replacement supplements such as bars and shakes. Whole food is much more satisfying, has a thermogenic effect and is more sociable too. If you’re read my free ebook, you’ll know that’s how I lost a lot of weight. As a short term fix, it’s fine. Longer term your body needs real foods.
Super Easy Meal Prep for Dads
Even with these tricks, there will be times when you want to cook some food for your meals through the week, especially if traveling for business or out of the office.
One of my favourites is Mexican chicken and rice. It’s super easy and can be done in under an hour. Keep reading to find out how:
You will need:
Diced chicken breast – 180-200g raw weight per meal.
White rice (I like long grain) – 50g per meal
1/2 packet of Mexican fajita spice mix
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
A large bowl
Baking tray lined with foil
Now you have all the ingredients, it’s time to start making the meals! I like to put on classical music as I cook. If it’s evening I might even have a glass of wine and read a good book while I’m waiting.
Mix the chicken, oil and spice packet in the bowl making sure all the chicken is coated in the spice mix.
Preheat your oven to 200 C (430 F).
Spread the chicken evenly across the baking tray.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked.
Weigh out the rice and place in a pan of water (use a rice cooker if you have one). Use double the volume of water to rice.
Boil the rice until the water has evaporated (around 20 minutes). Add more water if required for a longer cook.
Remove the chicken and rice from the heat and divide into tubs. Allow to cool before putting in the fridge or freezer.
Simple isn’t it? Check out my instructional video for a bit more detail and full walk through. If you enjoy it, please leave a comment or give me a thumbs up!
There’s Something about Vegetables
What’s missing from this? Green stuff right? OK, you got me. It’s not that I don’t like veggies, I just don’t like eating them in my prepped meals. Sitting in my car eating cold chicken and rice is bad enough without adding rubbery broccoli.
I make up for it through drinking green shakes in the morning and eating vegetables and salad for the last meal of the day. If you think this is degenerate behaviour, feel free to tell me in the comments section.
When it comes to health and fitness (and life in general) I’m all about making my life as simple as possible. If you’re like me, you’re a busy Dad with not enough hours in the day once you take away work, bath times, bedtimes and story times. So make meal prep simple – cut those corners and leave the elaborate meal prep for the Instagrammers.
P.S. Have you been inspired to change direction and live a bit healthier? My FREE ebook can help. It’s packed with loads of tips and has been endorsed by fitness coaches and Dads. Read more and sign up here.