How to Simplify the Kitchen for the Time Crunched Athlete
Life seems to be becoming busier and more hectic on a daily basis. Then you add in a training schedule with being a parent and it’s a whole new beast. We are inundated with images of the perfect athlete or the perfect mom or dad and even athlete by the media. You have Martha Stewart making dinner by scratch and always being perfectly crafty. Magazines are plugging away about the perfectly unattainable weight race for an average age grouper and how we all need to be thinner to be better athletes. Then for a bonus, there is always the next food trend everyone is touting. Vegan. Vegetarian. Paleo. Gluten Free. High Fat, Low Carb. It just goes on and on and it becomes difficult to not feel guilty when you order pizza for dinner or asked for an extra serving of pasta after a long day on the bike. Then there is the second-guessing of everything: Can I have this glass of wine? Am I bad for eating this burger? Should I make rice pasta over semolina pasta or am I even crazy for thinking I can have pasta?
Trying to navigate through all of this is annoying, confusing and time consuming. As an athlete and/or parent this is not a realistic approach to feeding yourself and your family. You need real life guides, not the latest food fad or the 5-course that you saw on a morning show. You need fast, easy, healthy recipes at night and time saving tips to help keep you stay organized. You need to simplify the kitchen.
Below are some helpful tips and recipes to keep you from being overwhelmed in the kitchen.
How to Stay Organized
● Start with meal planning. This is the one thing that you can not do without. It saves you time as you are not always running to the store. It saves you money by curbing the impulse to buy random things at eyesight level when navigating the aisles. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight as it allows you to avoid unhealthy food choices.
● Make sure your freezer and pantry are well stocked. This allows you to always have something on hand for dinner each night. It’s not unusual that life can happen and you didn’t make it to the store or got home really late from little Johnny’s soccer practice.
● Try prepping for the next night’s meal tonight, especially if you are using a crockpot. Marinate the chicken, dice veggies or start thawing the meat if it’s frozen.
Be a Real Person In the Kitchen
● Learn to embrace the phrase “semi-homemade”. It’s amazing what you can do with a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. Salads, pastas, rice dishes and sandwiches are all possible.
● Don’t try to be Martha Stewart in the kitchen. It’s ok to take short cuts and not be “perfect” or whatever that is supposed to mean.
● Start thinking outside the box when it comes to dinner. Grab the kids chicken nuggets from the freezer and sauté them with some veggies, store bought sweet and sour sauce and serve on top of rice.
Quick Recipe Ideas
Egg Tacos: Who doesn’t like tacos? Sauté some onions, bell peppers and tomatoes in olive oil. Then mix a few eggs into the mixture until cooked through. Serve on a warm tortillas, store bought pico de gallo and cheese.
Sausage Linguine: Sauté onion, garlic, pre-cooked Aidell’s chicken sausage or for a vegetarian/vegan option, No Evil Foods Italian Sausage for a few minutes and add in canned tomatoes. Season and toss with linguine.
Meatball Subs: Pull out some meatballs from the freezer and simmer with your favorite marinara sauce. Serve on a baguette with melted provolone cheese.
Pasta with Pesto and Chicken: Grab some store bought pesto and toss with spaghetti and a rotisserie chicken.
Vegetarian Salad: Combine pearl barley, arugula, canned chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs of your choice.