Yesterday, I wrote about all the things I have to do on the regular and the struggle of having to find balance in my world. However, one of the things I have noticed about myself throughout this process is that I will let a lot slip and slide when it comes to my schedule, but food is not one of those things. I am fiercely protective about my prep time when it comes to my daily and weekly food planning – I will NOT get caught without having some sort of plan in place for eating clean. If I’m not prepared, my stress level goes through the roof, and all else goes to hell. While I’m not really stressed about it right now (I’m a little whelmed, but not stressed), I wanted to take proactive steps to make my life a little easier.

I ended up posting about it on… I tell you, I absolutely LOVE that community. Such amazingly supportive women! I know I’ve said that before, but it always bears repeating. I got really great tips and advice, and basically, it all comes down to routine. ROU-TEEEEEEEEEN! God, I love that word…

One woman wrote that she has EVERYTHING scheduled. “I am on a schedule: the phone alarm and Outlook tell me when to wake up, when to work out, when to drink water (really! I fill up my bottle every hour, so if it is not empty, I chug it down and go get more)”. Someone else talked about the art of multi-tasking while cooking; how she gets multiple burners working and makes quinoa, eggs, veggies and pasta all at the same time. These are things that I do, but I loved the reminders and affirmations that I’m on track. I also feel a major Calendar cleaning event coming on over the weekend… me, my Outlook and iPhone alarms are about to take it up a notch!

But one simple idea blew my mind. I call it “The Ultimate Baggie Plan”, and it knocked me over! I can’t believe I hadn’t thought about it before!

The idea is to make MULTIPLE “baggies” of something so it becomes a quick-grab item. For example, oatmeal. I eat oatmeal every single day with a scoop of protein powder, handful of raw walnuts, handful of dried cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. I put this all together dry in a pyrex bowl and bring it to work for my 9AM meal. All I need to do is add boiling water (from the coffee machine), let it sit for 10 minutes, and voila – instant brekkie. What I usually do is put this together at night while I’m prepping the rest of my next-day food… but why not make 10-12 bags at one time???? OMG! That is the simplest time saver EVER!

I thought about it again this morning when I was making my post-workout omlette. I usually make it with organic salsa, but I’m looking for ways to up my vegetable intake to 10 servings a day, so why not add sauteed veggies to my egg dish? I paused when I thought of all that chopping… but wait! Why not do it ONCE, divvy the veggies up into baggies, and then freeze them??? I could take one out of the freezer before bed, let it defrost in the sink overnight, and then BOOM, add it to my omlette in the AM after Power 90 kicks my butt! EUREKA!

It’s so funny – I already do this with chicken breasts. I make a bunch of clean marinade (EVOO, garlic, balsamic), cut up the chicken into the perfect serving size, put two in a baggie, pour the marinade over and throw the bag in the freezer. Before I go to bed, I’ll take one bag out and let the chicken defrost and marinate at the same time. When I get home, I’ll cook them both and have one for dinner and prep the other for lunch the next day.

See, things like this make me breathe so much easier. I feel like I’m in the swing of things when it comes to my eating, but finding these little tricks really adds to my peace of mind. They clear space in my brain so I can concentrate on my other stuff. Love it!